twas the night before chemo…..

So, treatment starts tomorrow… something we’ve been building up to in the last 7 days.  Since being diagnosed, Mrs Q and I have tried to have as normal a week as possible.  After leaving the hospital last Monday, we popped into a coffee shop in Southgate to take it all in and make some calls to close family to update them of the situation.  Then, it was home, and back to work.

Mrs Q has been fantastic throughout all this (Nurse Power!) but I have encouraged her to keep to normal working schedule.  Unusually, there is some online footage from one of her Incognito Artists gigs from London Unites for Grenfell Tower fundraiser held on Tuesday 18th.  I believe over £100k was raised that night for those unfortunate to have suffered in that disaster. Hopefully, lessons will be learned and such a disaster will not occur again.

Wednesday morning I had an unusual but not unexpected appointment at UCLH.  One of the side effects of the medication I will be taking this week (more on this later) is that it may potentially affect my fertility.  So, I had to, er… um… make a deposit at the bank.  Basically, you turn up, fill out quite a lot of forms, then, you are interviewed, forms reviewed, then you are taken to your “Production Room” where you are requested to “Produce”.  Not exactly difficult but thinking of what trauma women must do in this situation as storage of eggs must involve some kind of complicated medical procedure.  Blokes just turn up and, er…..  knock one out…   Hmm, wonder how my work colleagues feel reading this as I went to work at the office after this for the remainder of the day.

Thursday and Friday pretty normal, working away from home.  I did receive a fantastic thoughtful gift from my colleagues on Friday, which will prove really helpful as I build up my strength during and after treatment.

I’m down to about 10.5 stone (and I’d say about half stone of that is spleen!) so all this week I’ve been trying to consume at least 3000 calories a day to keep weight up and have strength to get through next week.  It does seem a bit bizarre to have to eat to put on weight but needs must.  It’s a case of many smaller meals / snacks throughout the day. I’ve also had great advice from others who have been through this or similar via the Bloodwise facebook page and website.  It is also very reassuring that based on what I’ve read to date, my “normal” diet is pretty good on this front.

The main treatment for hairy cell leukaemia and sometimes B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is a chemotherapy drug called Cladribine.  I will have a daily injection of this for the next 5 days.  If you read the link above, there is a whole range of side effects, I’m in two minds as to whether to keep a check list and keep score of which ones I suffer from.  I guess the smirk will be on the other side of my face (an old school teachers expression…) when I start to go through this process.  Anyway, I’ll post another blog next week will details… time will tell.

I can’t finish yet without saying how overwhelmed both Helen and I have been with the kind words we’ve received on Facebook, Twitter and by more traditional mediums.  You have lifted our spirits with your kind words and thoughts and I take strength from this.  From close family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, current employers & colleagues, previous employers and colleagues you have all been fantastic.  If any of this raises awareness and prompts someone to get themselves checked out it will have served it’s purpose.