Almost there…the final cycle of BEP

With my third and final ‘top up treatment’ complete and after everything going well with my consultant appointment, it was time for my forth and final cycle of BEP.

Looking back now, the last few weeks leading up to my final cycle of treatment seemed like a big blur, with only the massive change in my physical appearance and none existent energy levels providing evidence of what I’d been through. Due to the gradual and timely pattern of BEP Chemotherapy cycles you don’t quite realise the full extent of how ‘it made you feel’ until you have the chance to look back some weeks / months after all treatment has been completed and being able to reflect on ‘what normal’ truly feels like again. Yes, between cycles you feel slightly better, but your body is still in the middle of being ‘blasted’ with a poison. Albeit a poison for good (in the long term).

Tuesday, 24th April. Just 4 weeks before my wife’s birthday and our 9th wedding anniversary. My goal was to complete treatment and be strong enough to take her away for a long weekend. Better get a move on!

Going in to my final treatment felt strangely good. Ok, I wasn’t looking forward to it, but on the other hand I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. If all the signals and feedback from my consultant were right, I was only 5 days of treatment away from potentially being cured.

The final regime of BEP was exactly the same as the other 18 days, but this time I would have a CT scan during the treatment which would then be examined by the MDT clinic to see how much my tumours had shrunk and ultimately if the treatment had been a success.

With the scan looming (day 3 of the 5-day cycle) my brain did what all good brains do, it went in to overdrive. What if the tumours have grown? what if the treatment hasn’t worked? what if, what if…

As always, I had my reliable sources of encouragement by my side and the phrase I’d only heard all too often over the last few weeks “you’ve got to think positively”. A phrase that as ‘annoying’ as it might be to keep hearing, was so very true. Positivity and keeping your mental mind ‘clear and focussed’ is key to helping your body fight the fight.

My scan took place on Thursday the 26th April, but the weekly MDT clinics took place every Wednesday. As those who know me would tell you, I’m not the most patient person at the best of times so waiting some 6 days for the results was going to be challenging to say the least. My consultant was also on holiday and wouldn’t be back for a couple of weeks, so I asked (a lot) if one of the registrar’s or one of the specialist nurses would be able to call me with my results. Thankfully they obliged and agreed to call me on either the Wednesday or Thursday the following week once my scan results had been evaluated by the team. We’ll come back to the results in my next post!

Saturday 28th April had arrived. My last day (hopefully) of having chemotherapy. I remember spending the morning in my room looking at photos of me with Robin, my family and friends and reflecting on all the memories I had been so fortunate to make and if all went to plan I’d be given the chance to make even more memories. The last day of my treatment became quite an emotional day for me. A lot of reflection about the last few weeks, recognising how I’d never thought when the year of 2018 started I’d be spending the first 4 months of it fighting Cancer. I was also emotional because as the staff that had been looking after me throughout my journey changed shifts, it was time to try and thank them and say ‘goodbye’. If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I talked about how ALL the staff become ‘friends’ and an extension of your family during the journey.

As we approached mid afternoon and half way through my last treatment, my canular decided to spring a leak! Yup, that meant a delay. Not a big one, but the ward was really busy and only certain staff can change a canular when chemotherapy was being given. Remember me saying how impatient I can be? Well I was like a ‘cat on hot bricks’. The delay can’t have been more than 40 minutes, but those 40 minutes seemed like forever.

Connected to a new canular in my other arm I was set to go again! (Just a quick note on ‘leaking canula’s’). When your treatment is given, the nurse will always check your ‘line’ with some water or similar solution. It’s really important that the line feels comfortable and that nothing is leaking. Remember Chemotherapy is a poison and you don’t want any complications that could arise from it getting in to places in your body it shouldn’t. If you notice any bruising, discomfort or liquid on your arm always let your nurse know.

The last 3 hours had begun. Bags packed and dressed ready to go I just wanted to get home. Unfortunately, the last few parts of my treatment bag kept getting air in the line so the nurse was in and out resetting the machine, but then finally I was done. A very surreal and for me emotional moment. I was choked up as we left the ward for what would hopefully be the last time as a ‘patient’. It was time to head home, recover and wait for the results…
To read more posts in time line order click here

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