This next blog post was going to be all about my first cycle of treatment, however I haven’t managed to quite get there yet. As everybody kept saying to me there are bound to be bumps in the road, because of the harsh nature of chemo therapy, I just didn’t imagine it would happen so soon… (yet more naivety from me!!)
On Monday I went to clinic to have my bloods done and to see my oncologist to discuss everything so far. I felt fine that morning other than some sores in my mouth, which is a really common side effect of chemo. My oncologist didn’t seem worried at all so he didn’t prescribe me anything. But I wasn’t home long and I was faced with terrible pains on my face and in my throat, as well as flu symptoms and a temperature! I phoned up my nurse explained my symptoms and she wrote me a prescription which I sent my dad to collect. The nurse said that if anything got worse to phone the emergency line and get advice, and a few hours later I did just that. The nurse who answered the phone told me to come in straight away because I needed to be admitted. I felt like saying only joking!!! I’m fine really!!! and hanging up the phone!!! Staying over in hospital was something id never done and was something I knew would happen but was definitely one of my fears. But obviously I took her advice and went straight in.
I am sat writing this on day 4 and no sign of being let home, and on top of this my chemo was cancelled as I wasn’t well enough to take it!!! Turns out that I have a really low count of neutrophils in my blood (white blood cells) which means that I really easily pick up infections, and thats exactly what I have done. I took a sneaky look at my medical notes and it said I have Neutropenic Sepsis. Okay, now I’m ready to take it seriously. (After my google search said life threatening!!!) Where as before I had been so frustrated that I had been admitted for ulcers! Although mum did remind me, Liv you do have cancer. Oh yeah… Easily forgotten?!
Every bump in the road is going to make you appreciate something new – and on this occasion it was the amazing ward I have access too for teenagers and young adults, which is funded by Teenage Cancer Trust.(https://www.teenagecancertrust.org/get-help/how-we-can-help/our-units/southampton-general-hospital) The ward has all private rooms with an ensuite, a kitchen with everything you need, social room with loads of films, xbox, pool table, instruments to start your own band ?? and OBVS a craft table!!! All jokes aside, most importantly, the ward is full of people your own age so you don’t feel out of place. Some people don’t have access to these wards at their hospital and travel for hours to get to one, I feel so lucky to have this on my door step.
BUT I have not been lucky enough to get a bed on the TYA ward (teenage and young adult) and my experience in hospital has made me appreciate this facility so much, mainly because before hand I had nothing to compare these facilities too. Unfortunately the unit was full so I had to stay on a regular ward with mainly elder women… Although this was quite entertaining at times I have felt so out of place age wise. The mood on the ward is so gloomy and it is a negative place to be trying to recover with several of the women being told in front of me that they only had weeks to live. I felt I wanted to do everything I could to try and help the lovely ladies but I was unable to. Little did I know, that just by being there and being my positive self I was immensely helping these ladies, I was told that my laugh was the best medicine that they could receive! As well as one of the other ladies saying to me as she left that I should never let anything get in the way of my giggle. This was a huge lesson to me, that my positivity is in fact rare among cancer fighters, and reminded me that I need to use it to help people as much as I possibly can.
So, all things considered my first experience of having to stay in the hospital has been much better than expected. Particularly the morphine and riding my drip like a skateboard up and down hospital corridors!!! But most importantly, it has been a reminder that I must stay positive. Oh and hospitals really do make you feel better, and quickly too. Yet another one of my fears faced.