Monday, 16 November 2009

Five months on.... Cycle 6, Day 7

It's five months to the day since Steve was diagnosed with mesothelioma and he's now almost at the end of this last cycle of chemotherapy.  If you have followed the blog, you will know that the side effects of chemo have been cumulative in his case (everyone is different in this respect).  

In recent weeks, the nausea, sickness and fatigue have started earlier, lasted longer and been stronger.  There has been little respite even in the "rest" week between cycles 5 and 6.  Yesterday, Steve said that had he felt like this at the same stage in cycle 5, he would not have started the last cycle of treatment. But with only two more doses of Velcade to go, I think he will last the course, determined as he is in spite of feeling rough. These Wrides can be stubborn like that!

All the comings and goings, backwards and forwards to the hospital over the last five months has kept us pretty busy. So much so, that there have been times for me at least, when the day-to-day process of getting on with living has dulled the bigger picture.  A skin has formed over the raw emotions of the early weeks as we plough ahead, determined to be as positive as we can about the potential benefits of chemo and making the most of the days when Steve has felt good.  

However, the veneer is fragile and the emotions just below the surface break out from time to time. Then the tears well up, as I remember that Steve is living on borrowed time.  I have to remind myself not to give too much weight to the survival rate statistics which are so crude as to be meaningless when applied to individuals.  

We keep telling ourselves that although he feels awful at the moment, he hasn't had any chemo side effects that are life threatening or causing long term damage, unlike some people on the earlier trials of Velcade. And it seems that everyone who has Cisplatin (which appears to be the norm in many cancer treatment regimes) experiences nausea, sickness and fatigue to some degree, so he is not alone.  

The cancer itself appears to be under control, and is not causing Steve pain or making him breathless. The side effects of chemo WILL wear off when the current regime finishes and then he will be able to get on and do things, and enjoy life again.  Just in time for Christmas and the New Year.  

Leo, please stay small and neat for a very long time to come. That's the best present we could ask for this year.  

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