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Thursday, 12 November 2009

And so the Chemotherapy Starts

Telephoned the Hospital today and the Thalidomide drugs had arrived, so went into pharmacy to pick them all up and headed down to the haematology to go through the process.

Went in to see one nurse who ran through the injection process.

Tinzaparin (Injection)
Thins the blood to help prevent blood clots. I have to inject that myself on a daily basis into my side just under the rib cage. I’ve never had to inject myself before but found it quite easy although a little apprehensive as it first went in.

After going through the first injection the nurse provided me with a yellow sharps bin for disposing of the needles (brightens any room).

Then off to see another nurse (Laura) to run through the rest of the tablets.

We started with the main CTD medication

Cyclophosphamide (Chemo)
500mg (10 x 50mg tablets) Once a week. Possible side effects include bruising or bleeding, anaemia, feeling and being sick, loss of appetite, irritation of bladder lining and hair loss (if this does happen it doesn’t bother me. I’m hoping I wont have to shave as much either, bonus :-D). There are other less common side effects, which you can have read about on the Macmillan site.

100mg (2 x 50mg capsules) Every Day. I haven’t taken these yet as they cause drowsiness, I am taking these in the evening before going to bed (I might even get a good nights sleep). Other side effects are birth defects (not planning on having any more children), Feeling and being sick, blood clots, temporary reduction of blood cells causing anaemia, lethargy, loss, of balance, constipation, loss of appetite, numbness or tingling in hands or feet, headaches, dizziness on standing, rashes and ‘swelling and fluid retention’

Dexamethasone (Steroids)
20mg (10 x 2mg tablets) Taken every day for four days then a break of seven days then again for four days (Called a pulse/burst method). Possible side effects include irritation of the stomach lining, temporary changes in blood-sugar levels, fluid retention, increased appetite, increased chance of infection, delayed healing and behavioural changes (does this mean I will suddenly become very patient, that would definitely be a change in my behaviour as I’m not that patient. I’m sure Charito would agree with that)

And now for the rest of the medication…

300mg (1 x 300mg) Taken every day. A prevention against Gout.

100mg (2 x 50mg) Taken every day. An antifungal drug to reduce the risk of infections that can cause problems with the mouth, throat, lungs, bladder as well as other areas.

8mg (1 x 8mg tablet) Taken twice a day on the same days as the Cyclophosphomide. This is an anti-sickness drug to reduce the possibility of me being sick because of the Chemo.

30mg (1 x 30mg capsule) Taken every day. Reduces the acid in the stomach and prevents stomach ulcers.

So in all today I have have taken 28 tablets/capsules and one injection.  This only happens every three weeks as some of the tablets are reduced on certain days as mentioned above.

Fortunately they provide printouts with al the days listed and the medication take on the relevant dates. It’s really useful as there is so much to take in, I couldn’t remember it all.