Chemotherapy Diary - Cycle #4: Day 6
***Pre-warning in advance - this blog post will contain graphic details***
Day #6 involved a long night, lots of vomit (every 2 hours) and frantic calls to the triage line. Sometimes, chemotherapy feels like a vicious cycle, or an equation that just doesn't quite add up.
If vomit + anti-sickness medication = vomit then - anti sickness medication.
That's not really maths that I like to do. In other words, at 5am, after waking up every hour, it meant exhaustion for both of us and the realisation that I still had to get changed and go to work as I was attending a 3 day course. The first day locally but the subsequent two days in London. Thankfully, we had previously arranged for my sister to come and stay with my mum during the day aswell as take her to an appointment at the hospital for a routine examination. We had received strict instructions from the triage line that the primary goal was to try and stop the feeling of nausea my mum was experiencing. But that was much harder and more frustrating than sounds since the constant vomiting meant that my mum wasn't able to keep any medication down to stop the feelings of nausea. What then!?! Simultaneously, she also started to feel a lot of pain in the abdomen and this carried on for much of the morning. In a previous blog post, I described how the organisation I work for have thankfully accommodated my caring responsibilities and are understanding to my needs. But this doesn't mean that the flexibility is endless or that I don't feel guilty about not turning up for work. At the back of my mind, I still think about how the time that I am not at work affects my career progression. But this is no different to the millions of working mothers who set aside their career needs in order to take care of their children. This is because this is what's important to them. And my mum is important to me. So I went to work but thought constantly about how my mum was doing at home insisting on frequent updates from my sister and giving her advice on things she could do to ease my mum's pain. In other words, I was trying to be both an employee of the organisation I work for and a carer but doing both jobs badly - exactly the reason for why I had started working part-time. During midday, the messages from my sister ceased as my mother was seen by the gynaecologist for her appointment, I was still extremely anxious but glad that she was being seen by medical professionals'. This doesn't mean I wasn't shocked when my sister messaged me to say that my mum's pain had increased considerably and she was being admitted. So I went to the hospital straight away to see her which I think my sister was glad about - there's safety in numbers. When I saw my mum, she was in a terrible state and in so much pain but much like the time she was admitted after her first chemo session for sepsis, for me, the NHS provides relief and saves lives. Yes, the NHS is stretched for money, waiting lists are extremely long and oftentimes, a bed can only located where the symptoms are critical but I cannot forget the people. I cannot forget the CNS nurse who on walking by, insisted that my mum be admitted somehow, even if it meant marching into the ward with my mother. I cannot forget the doctor who seeing the nurse struggle to get blood from my mum, stepped in to try and assist. I cannot forget the doctor who on asking my mum's medical history stopped me from talking as he saw that she was in so much pain, he wanted to administer some pain medication straight away. This cancer journey is difficult but the kindness that we have met along the way from strangers eases our aching hearts. It was obvious that my mum would be spending the night there, if not several nights, so my sister went home to get some supplies. When my mum is admitted, we always stay with her. Day and night, someone will be by her side, sleeping on a chair, she will not walk alone. The doctor's were able to quickly assess my mother and identify the cause of her abdominal pain so were able to administer medication - quickly she started to feel slight relief. I stayed until 11pm before leaving my mum with my sister knowing that it was going to be a long few days, especially as I would have to wake up in 5 hours to get a train into London for the next two days. One day at a time, I thought to myself.
I'm extremely excited to be able to say that I've been nominated and shortlisted for Carer blogger of the year within the Health Unlocked 2017 Health Blogger Awards. I'd appreciate it if you could vote for my blog here.