I’ve had a lovely relaxing week at home and I’m feeling really good again. Every healing sleep seems to make a difference and I’m sure being home and in this beautiful environment is also important. I’m going for walks (on the flat), swims and yesterday out on the lake in the canoe (with Helen paddling). I’m eating and sleeping well and really have nothing to complain about 🙂
My next chemo is in Brisbane on 24th Feb so you can picture me enjoying Yungaburra for another week.
Some people have been asking me about my chemo, so just to recap:
At my surgery on 29th December 100% of the tumour was removed. However, in the fluid drained from my torso, floating cancer cells could be seen under a microscope. The purpose of chemotherapy is to destroy the remaining microscopic cancer cells afloat in my lymph system before they can regroup and start to grow new tumours.
Each chemotherapy session at the hospital involves many hours lying back in a chair, a bit like a dentist’s chair, waiting while a volume of the drug flows into my body via a drip. Each 3 week cycle consists of:
Day 1 – intravenous (IV) – drip into my wrist and flowing around my entire body
Day 2 – intraperitoneal (IP) – drip into my torso and filling up my peritoneal cavity
Day 8 – IP again
… so I will spend 8 days in Brisbane each time, then home for 2 weeks. That’s the plan anyway, hoping I can cope with all the travel. There are 5 more cycles, taking us to about June.
During my operation an “IP port” was inserted in my midriff all ready for the chemo. It is a small weird lump, as if they left a bottle cap under the skin.
Janet has access to the medical literature and has been reading the research reports and explaining the information to me. As you can well imagine, throughout this medical experience I have been questioning everything!
Cancer cells are like normal fast growing cells but they have a big fault – they don’t know when to stop cell division. I gather there’s no way to differentiate cancer cells from my good cells when it comes to my diet or medicine etc. It is infuriating to think that all my wonderful healthy organic and biodynamic meals have been nurturing the enemy!
Chemotherapy works by taking in a toxin that kills all rapidly dividing cells. It attacks the cancer but also kills healthy cells that are replacing themselves eg in hair, fingernails, bone marrow, wound healing etc. This is sad, but the best we can do. The good cells recover after the treatment stops but the cancer does not.
If a way had been found to protect my healthy cells from the poisoning without undoing the process of destroying cancer then obviously that’s what the doctors would give me. They’re working on it, and it is fantastic they’ve come up with this new IP process that targets the exact site of the cancer and has been proven to be much more effective. It is a very new method, developed at the Mater in Brisbane and being taken up all over the world, but unfortunately it hasn’t come to Atherton hospital yet, or even Cairns. I’ve been asking everyone if I can please have the chemo nearer to home but it is just not possible at this stage.