It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well, it does in our house… I blame the manifestation of twinkly lights and all things festive on the absence of outdoor influences. Usually we’re rushing around with work and moaning about the traffic in town that comes with the Christmas Market and influx of tourists. But due to Nigel’s condition, we are housebound! The need to brighten the days is tangible and what better way than with well placed lights and tinsel.
When last we spoke, radiotherapy was due to start alongside oral chemotherapy. This kicked off with an appointment with a delightful pharmacist, who tied herself in knots trying to explain the timings and dosages of the various medications. It went a little like this;
“So this is the Temozolomide. It comes in two sizes, 140mg and 5mg. Each day you’ll need to take one 140mg and two 5mg, totalling 150mg. They need to be taken one to three hours before your radiotherapy and two hours after food or one hour before.” I take two larges boxes filled with individually wrapped capsules. “Now many people feel nauseous when they first take Temozolomide so there’s these; Ondansetron.” Two more boxes… “You need to take one of these thirty to sixty minutes before the Temozolomide. After six or seven days you may be fine to stop them. I’ll give you these, Metoclopramide Hydrochloride. You can take one, three times a day if you do feel nauseous once you’ve come off of the Ondansetron.” A small, white tub is produced from the bottomless bag, “In this tub we have the antibiotics, Co Trimoxazole. You need one, twice a day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday…”
“We do continue with the steroids don’t we?”
“Oh. I’ll check that.”
“It says on the prescription ‘ongoing’ so…”
“Then yes, continue with those. After food.” Nige looked at me, panic on his face, and asked, “Have you got all that?” Believe it or not, I completely followed everything the pharmacist said, “Yep. I just need to get it down in my diary, down to the minute!”
We left with a huge carrier bag full of six weeks worth of medication, eager to start and so to end this part of the journey.
From our first appointment, on Monday the 14th of November, the camaraderie of the ‘Radiotherapy Waiting Room’ was truly enlightening. Filled mainly with men undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, their wives sat stoically, nattering about the small stuff and listening intently to each other’s tales of traffic madness, unruly grand children and favourite dishes. I’m cursed with disinterest in such people generally, but by Wednesday I caught on to the point of the pointless banter and by Friday I was chatting shit with the best of them.
We have now finished our third week: half way through. Here follows a brief rundown of what we’ve noticed so far:
- Nigel’s head is bigger. Seriously, he looks like he’s storing nuts for Winter…
- He’s lost the ability to taste certain – most – foods. We’ve spoken to the dietician about this and have plenty of tips.
- His skin is a little spotty.
- Tiredness. Like, really tired! Not all the time and not necessarily at night. He generally has a sleep when we get back from the hospital, mid-morning.
- His sex drive has returned – yay!
So it’s not all doom and gloom ;^)