Another day out in Lismore

It was a much quieter trip out to Lismore yesterday. There was none of the predicted shouting, kicking, screaming, nor dummy spitting – just a quiet nothingness that it was happening. Kinda like being on a travellator where you commit to being ushered onto the moving ramp and glide, glaze-faced to your destination. It in fact set the tone for the morning, which went surprisingly well.

Arriving on time at the Cancer Care Unit (I know, amazing and it was a 9am kick off) and being greeted by a plump cherub named Kylie, whose job was to induct me/us into the IV chemo world in a beautifully, calm, succinct, caring, manner. Another angel with the nursing ‘it’ factor. Four hours passed easily with our cherub doing a quick wardrobe change into a lovely purple number while she proceeded to hook me up and explain thoroughly everything from how the chair works to what I can and can’t do whilst on chemo. I had no idea I needed to know how a chair works, don’t you just sit in it? No no no… you can sit, recline, ascend, descend, you can raise your legs to the horizontal position, or any other for that matter, and then there’s the arms. It’s like how hospital beds can turn into chairs and chemo chairs can turn into beds – they both need instruction booklets.

I asked our Cherub ‘what’s with the wardrobe change? I mean, why are you clad in protection gear whilst I am not?’ ‘Well it’s like this; I’ve been working with chemo for eight years and dealing with it day in day out, we need to protect ourselves as best we can’. Hmmm, ok then, never mind me already feeling like a freak!

IV Chemo 1 - 1

Interestingly, there’s little I can’t do whilst on chemo. I can eat and drink what I like and can even keep up with the cannabis oil. What’s strange is I have to stop any naturopathic supplements? WTF? Apparently because there’s over 300 forms of chemo none of which have been clinically trialled with naturopathic supplements. Eye roll. But cannabis oil is ok?

Onto the “potential” side effects that oncologist James assured I wouldn’t experience. Apparently it’s the first two days that are the worst; your fingers and feet may feel really cold so wear slippers and gloves, especially if you handle anything from the fridge. Also don’t drink or eat anything cold on day one or two, you’ll feel your airway close and possibly panic. D’ya think? Shit. Damn, there goes my ice cream fixes let alone my G&Ts… they’re two things one cannot do warm. I was also given a thermometer and a ‘fever card’. If my temp hits 38° I’m to hit emergency – hard – and hand them the fever card. I sure hope they know what to do with it cos it all sounds a tad dramatic.

Whilst I tap this out, I’m noticing my cannula arm is feeling better. The cherub felt the top of my right wrist was the best possie for the cannula which given the size of the vein on my old squash arm, it was a good call. What she overlooked informing me of, was the weird sensation that would later travel up the vein to the crook of my elbow. Until now, I could’ve sworn the cannula went in there and all around the elbow is super sensitive. Kinda like that prickly burning sensation you get with shingles if you’ve ever had it, or dry ice and foil – cold yet burney and prickly. These weirdo sensations are supposedly in the first 2 days only. They better bloody be.

We even had a one on one session with a hospital pharmacist, which I have to divert for a moment here because she was far from what I perceive to be typical of the usually conservative appearance of a pharmacist. There was no white coat to be seen, although she was wearing a tight NSW Health issue navy blue pencil skirt with aqua pin-striped shirt and navy sweater, but thats where any skerrick of uniform stopped. I can pretty much guarantee NSW Health don’t provide peroxide or hair straighteners for her long locks, nor the false lashes, nor the black, enclosed, bondage looking, lace-up stilettos she sprinted about in. And yes she was tall, slim, heavily made up, and commutes from the Gold Coast. Got the picture?

In judging all of this, her knowledge floored us and thankfully defied my judgement of her appearance, big time. She ran through in more detail how the drugs work, a tad too bleak for this black duck. This is the bit that pushes my buttons, I’ve never been able to get my head around a body being pumped with toxins to eradicate corrosion but I guess as m’darlink puts it ‘treat it like rust… it’s gotta be cut out and then treated with anti-corrosion paint to repair it’. Ok m’darlink, I’ll do my best. Meantime, Barbie pharmacist went on to explain how all the oral drugs are charged and will be invoiced each month whilst the IV bits and extras like soap-free detergent, hand cream and thermometer are covered by medicare. Our public health system never ceases to blow my mind.

Next appointment is June 29. Meantime, I’m to take the same oral chemo as I did in phase one where I take three tablets with breakfast and three with dinner. This combined with the IV component is taken for 21 days and then nothing for the following seven days, with a total of eight cycles. Got that? Hope so cos I’m struggling!

After a big morning, we arrived home in time to greet our Care Connect provided cleaner. You’ve gotta love that. Care Connect is a program/service for out patients and assists them with domestic challenges during recuperation. I’m incredibly grateful for the service but wish our cleaning fairy was a little less ‘fairy’ and a lot more cleaner. Anyhow I went straight to bed, not so much from the chemo but for overall tiredness, and as you’ll see below, I was joined by some furry buddies.

IV Chemo 2 - 1

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25 thoughts on “Another day out in Lismore

  1. This post bloggy thing is so good eh? I’ve been thinking about you the last 24 hours but have restrained from sending yet another enquiring text? So this post is fabbo. It demystifies the whole process and answers all my questions and more. I love that you ask so many questions of your ‘cherubs’, and make sure you’re all over whats going on and in. As soon as I saw purple gloves and gown, I thought, ‘Jaysus, a bit OTT’. But cherub gave the perfect answer. Hope the next 24 hours is not too weird and tingling, and the cleaner sprinkles some magic dust whilst she’s being a fairy. Lots of love and stuff. xx

  2. Ditto above, great way of passing on lots of info. Made me laugh when Mick said about putting rust stuff in, sounds like what we’ve done with the balcony’s in Cronulla and they are guaranteed for the next fifty years!!!

    love and hugs Vic and Philly

    1. Well I’m not sure I’ll still be around in fifty years but I wouldn’t mind getting close-ish. Ta for your equally quick comment, not quite as close as that Scull chick on this occasion but you’re both proving to be quick as! Tis fun. xx

  3. That’s great Prue, 1 Chemo session ✅ done. Loving your descriptions of the Cherubs and Barbie Pharmacist. It reminds me of my days working as a Cherub in the Day Oncology unit 24 years ago. Sadly we didn’t have the Purple gowns and the fancy chairs! I am sure you and Michael will be keeping the Cherubs entertained 😄, they would love having people like you around. Rest up and lap up the love 😘Xxx

    1. Thanks Peta. I think of you often and know that you would have been one of the best cherubs out. H and I were only talking about that yesterday, saying how amazing you would have been.xx

    1. Angel, cherub? I’ll take what I can get at the mo and this cherub was certainly bordering on Angelic. She was just soooooo lovely she makes me hug myself thinking about her. xx

  4. P&M – After living in Shepp town for far too long I’m a bit slow off the mark. I was still working on my reply to your post from yesterday. I’m not sure how I’m going to be entertained when this blog comes to its happy ending…… you guys could write a book – that might work for me…
    I’m pleased to hear you are off and running on the final part of this eviction process. I mean you could probably try the anti corrosion paint…. I think I may have seen it previously in the Bob Malloy book of handy remedies – right after the chapters of “if it doesn’t belong just cut it off ” (slightly unfortunate when it’s attached to your personal being) and if all else fails just use Ratsak! 🤔Then again maybe just stick with your purple cherub.
    Putting my work hat on – Kick your cleaning fairy and her employer in the arse . You both need good solid useful support – not airy fairy crap!

    Finally, Prue I don’t know how you do it – but how do you make sitting in an oncology chair look so stylish?!
    Lots of love and hugs from us all💕

  5. So very, very good to read and see dear PM. Fabulous descriptions of Kylie, the chair, your cannula, Care Connect and clever Barbie. Power to you dear Prue xo

  6. Love Michael’s analogy, it explains everything. Keep up the questioning, you what to make sure Barbie’s concentrating on the correct injectables.
    Thanks so much for the updates and lot of love and hugs for the new phase. xxxx

  7. Getting there Prue – one step at a time!! Great pic and great to hear you are in good hands with the anti-corrosion treatment kicking in. Take care and rest up. B x

  8. Finally tracked your blog down – glad someone in your family is tech savvy. Haven’t read all your posts yet but gotta say, love seeing you on vids – still that cheeky kid from next door with the infectious laugh 😄 Much love to you and MM xox

    1. Well hello stranger! Soooo lovely to hear from you Brenda (& Chris). Don’t get too excited re the vids, I can’t guarantee them being too regular… have you ever tried to do one? F’n scary stuff! xx

  9. Hi Prue & Michael,
    Prue, you’re looking SO much better than you did in December, so well done for jumping through all the hoops. (Personally, I prefer to think of my ‘hoops’ as croquet hoops, where one uses a mallet to whack the balls – a tad easier for us of us without the stature of basket ballers, and I hated being forced to play netball at school…but I digress). Roll on phase 3 (and so you don’t end up with an aversion to the colour purple, could she alternate her wardrobe?).
    xx K

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