I know the blog has been conspicuous by it's absence and unsurprisingly people are wondering what's going on. The reason is that the past few days have been quite eventful and frankly I haven't felt well enough over the past couple of days to even fire up the laptop and tax my brain by writing.
My last blog indicated that I'd been back to the hospital on Wednesday for my bone marrow biopsy and that it went well. It is this procedure that provides the samples to identify whether my bone marrow and the Leukaemia within it is responding to the chemotherapy.
My trepidation in my last blog was over my return on Thursday as I really didn't want to be admitted as an inpatient again. Thankfully it was short lived and I was actually given the choice once the hospital were satisfied that my treatment could proceed. I elected not to be admitted and travel each day, but as subsequent events will show perhaps my confidence was higher than it should have been.
So my treatment on Thursday was the lumbar puncture, which involved the drawing of some spinal fluid and injection of chemotherapy drugs direct into my spinal sack. This was the second time I'd had this procedure but I hadn't heard so far what the results were of the samples that had been taken previously. The sample indicates whether my Leukaemia has spread to my central nervous system and when I asked the consultant he was pleased to report that the previous sample had been clear. This was of course good news.
Andrea was with me for the day and after laying motionless for two hours after the procedure, to allow the chemotherapy to track up and down my spinal chord, we were able to leave and go home.
That evening I felt fine and even managed to go to watch Sam at his Rugby training.
On Friday morning though I woke with a mild headache, which I'd had following the previous lumbar puncture, so I took a couple of paracetamol and thought nothing of it as I drove myself to the hospital again that morning.
The treatment on Friday involved more chemotherapy with a different drug to my previous cycles (Cyclophosphamide). First though I was on a saline drip for 4 hours to hydrate me. I left the hospital late in the afternoon having first called at the Pharmacy to collect more tablets (Mercaptopurine) which were due to start on Saturday for the next 28 days.
By this stage I was starting to feel unwell and had a very uncomfortable journey home, particularly as it was late on a Friday so rather busy on the roads. I was in a cold sweat and my head was pounding.
When I reached home I went immediately upstairs for a lay down and within seconds felt sick, promptly rushing to the toilet and vomiting hard. I didn't get up again that evening but wasn't sick again.
On Saturday morning I still felt ill, with a banging head and ringing ears. I didn't feel sick until later and managed some bacon and scrambled egg for breakfast. I spent much of the day laid on the sofa sleeping until late in the day I had to return to the hospital for my next chemotheraphy treatment, again another new drug (Cytarabine). I was in no fit state to drive myself and so Andrea drove me back to Leicester and the boys came with us.
When we arrived at the day unit apparently I was an awful colour and as I sat in the chair the consultant was called. When he arrived he listened to my symptoms and reported that I was ticking all the boxes to be readmitted.
He was happy for me to go home though after my treatment but ultimately it was my decision.
Before he left though he gave me more good news with the initial feedback from my bone marrow biopsy, which showed that the Leukemia had gone from my bone marrow and that the chemotherapy was evidently working. The trick now wil be making sure it doesn't come back so there is still a lot of treatment to undergo and ultimately a bone marrow transplant is still a possibility as the best solution of preventing the disease returning.
Because there was only one nurse on duty in the day unit we had to move down a floor to the assessment unit and I was confident that I could make it under my own steam. We made it in the lift to the next floor but I felt shocking as we arrived and had to sit down in the lift lobby as the nurse went to get a wheelchair and a vomit bowl. She made it back just in time and I was profoundly sick!
We finally made it to the assessment unit and after a short wait got my treatment. By the time we left I was feeling better and made it back to the car on foot, but the journey back home, not helped by the football traffic that was now leaving, was punishing once again.
I spent the evening on the sofa watching Leeds Rhinos triumph again as Super League Champions for the sixth time and went to bed afterwards.
On Sunday I'd hoped to go and watch Sam play in his first Rugby festival of the season but there wasn't a prayer of being there in my condition. I managed to arrange to have him picked up by his coaches and off he went alone. Apparently he and his team played really well and they advanced to the final to be beaten by the only team that had beaten them all day. It sounds like I missed a great team performance.
Before Sam got home we had to leave for the hospital again but this time I decided that I couldn't face the journey there and back and elected to swallow my pride and rang the hospital beforehand to see if they would admit me. They confirmed they would so I made sure I had everything I needed to stay in hospital once again.
The journey back was agony for me. My head was absolutely pounding and I felt every bump and jolt of the car as we made our way up the motorway. When we arrived at the hospital I collected myself as Andrea went to find a wheelchair to get me into the building. The rear steering of the chair almost defeated her though and pushing my bulk was an experience for poor Andrea!
It was such a relief to get up to the ward and into a waiting bed, and after a wait of about half an hour we got confirmation that I could stay, which allowed Andrea and Tom to go home.
Since my admission I've been in bed almost constantly and not having drunk or eaten much since Friday I've been on a saline drip for about 16 hours so far to keep my fluids up. I was given an antibiotic yesterday which it turned out I was allergic to and had a reaction which made me tingle all over, burn up with a temperature and also made me vomit. Thankfully I've been OK since and they won't be giving me that again!
So despite not wanting to be here a few days ago I've now decided this is the best place for me. I couldn't have stood the daily round trip of eighty miles in the state I was in and being here means they can keep a closer eye on me.
So far today I'm feeling better and managed a Weetabix for breakfast and have been able to drink some water, hot chocolate and juices so hopefully the sickness and nausea has gone. I'm still feeling dizzy when I stand and so am spending most of my time laid in bed resting.
So things are starting to take their toll and the road is getting rougher as I always thought it would. But the positive news I've had with the results for the lumbar puncture and the bone marrow biopsy which indicate my treatment appears to be working are keeping my spirits up and I'm keeping fighting as I have since the start.
The blogs may not be so regular over the coming days but I'll try to give updates as and when I can.
Thanks for reading.