Monday, 22 February 2010

Mistletoe reaction

I have had quite a reaction from my first mistletoe injection; it should cause a small red patch and a little itching. Mine has caused a big red-hot patch with quite a lot of pain. My Doctor says not to inject anymore until I see him in two weeks. He had ordered 20gr. strength for my future use but it seems that the 2gr. strength is already strong enough. I must say it is a relief to not have to inject for a couple of weeks, as I wouldn't want any more sore patches around my stomach.

Currently the NHS pays for this treatment but I understand that MP's want to take homeopathic medicines off the NHS; I hope this doesn't happen as many people benefit from them.

I have volunteered to work at the Heart of Kent Hospice and my first day will be this Friday if the references have all come through. I will be in the fundraising office doing admin and some fundraising, I will find out more once I start. I am quite looking forward to it. I haven't worked since I was a classroom assistant for a term at our local primary school, before I was diagnosed as having mesothelioma, and I really enjoyed that too.

The painting of my daughter Emily and her Pete went down well, he has put it up on the wall, bless him.

Today's watercolour is one I have just done of our 16th century church on a snowy day, taken from the bridge.

Saturday, 20 February 2010


I have bitten the bullet and had my first mistletoe injection today. I was a bit worried about having needles stuck into me but I needn't have worried. Doctor McGavin made me practice snapping open the ampule, filling the syringe and getting the air out of it, on some out-of-date mistletoe. He then gave me an in-date ampule and a syringe, which I filled. I then expected him to administer the injection, but he said 'Go ahead and do it.' I was a bit shocked and asked how. He said that as the needle is quite short I could just inject straight into my skin, as I had 'Plenty of meat on me.' (Cheek!) I hesitated and he told me to just go for it and not be tentative, so I just stabbed myself and it didn't hurt at all! I then squirted the fluid in and it was all done. The fluid stung a bit after a few seconds, for about an hour, and now I can't see where the injection site is, but I am expecting, and hoping, for a local reaction as this means that my body is reacting.

I did wonder if I could start the mistletoe so soon after the chemoembolization, apparently it is not a problem.

I am hoping that as well as protecting me a bit from cancer it will help with sleep. I have not slept properly since my operation and it does wear me down somewhat. Dr. McGavin has also prescribed me some herbal sleep inducing drops but the chemist hasn't got any in stock so I guess it is another week of sleepless nights. Actually I do get some sleep it is just that it is in fits and starts.

I hear tonight that MP's will discuss homeopathy being excluded from the NHS, this would mean that the mistletoe would then be excluded. It is one step forward and two back in this country.

I heard some good and bad news this week about other Mesothelioma sufferers, one poor man has died after putting up a very brave fight, and another has had his three month check with the Prof. and has been told that there has been no more cancer growth. Although several Meso people or their families are in contact, and this helps, it is quite hard sometimes to hear of their news. Overall though I would say it is beneficial to be in touch and help support others going through the same as my family and me.

My painting this week is of my lovely daughter Emily and her man Pete, I did it for a birthday present for Pete. I was all fired up after a good art lesson and rashly told Emily that I would do a painting of their favourite picture. This was very arrogant of me, as I have never actually done any portrait painting before. Having said I would do it I was quite anxious of their response to the painting as it sort of looks like them and sort of doesn't. Still it is done now. We did buy him a nice shirt as a real present just in case he didn't like it. I would hate for him to have to drag it out from the attic and put it on the wall each time we visit.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Fourth Treatment.

My word, what a roller coaster ride!
I have just been for my fourth chemoembolization treatment for Mesothelioma. This time was both better and worse than the previous treatments. The point of entry is in the groin, and usually hurts for a few seconds. This time it was a bit painful for the whole time of treatment, about 3 or 4 minutes, I don't know why, but this does happen sometimes. I wasn't so sick afterwards though, which was very good.

Afterwards I was sent up to the Day Ward and the lovely Nurse greeted me with a smile, it was good to know she was on duty again.

I have to be up in the day ward for 3-4 hours and have to stay flat on my back. Usually I cannot sleep on my back but this time I am assured that I nodded off and snored for about two hours! This was great, as this time can be very tedious.

The wards in the hospital are not nearly as hot as here in the UK, and they give you a duvet for the bed. As it was cool, I had my arms under it. I took my hands out from under the duvet and noticed that the drip tube going into the cannula in my hand was filling with blood. I looked up and saw that the drip itself still appeared to be working OK so my blood should not have been leaking back. Then I became aware that my bed was wet and NO it wasn't me!
I was hanging on so I didn't need to use the dreaded bedpan!

I followed the drip line from my hand, under the duvet and up to the stand. There was a three way join in the middle of the tube, which is unusual, and it was leaking the fluid out onto my bed quicker than the drip could feed it. This was why my blood was coming out through the tube.

I called the nurse and she realised that a cap had come off the join, probably not put on properly in the first place, and she ran to get a new cap and stopped the leaking.
This all seems very dramatic in print but wasn't too bad really.

Now I was fully awake and watching the clock until I could get up eventually to go to the toilet.

The Prof. told me that my "cancer is now sleeping but it is still a terrorist". I took that to mean that it was currently stable, but could start growing again, which is very good news. He doesn't want to see me for three months and then will give me a full body CT scan and an MRI scan and decide then if I need some other treatment or not.

To have a three month break and not have to worry is amazing and we intend to take a holiday and enjoy ourselves, I think we have earned it!

Today's picture is my watercolour of some tree blossom.