Top Up Week and an idea that helped me a lot!

Hello March! Spring was surely just around the corner. Spring is one of my favourite times of the year. The days start to get longer as the darkness draws out, temperatures start to rise and mother nature bursts in to life.

March 2018 wasn’t delivering this year. Not only did the weather seem to be getting colder but I knew that as the month progressed I’d face another round of treatment and 2x top up day treatments as well as a couple of check up appointments. Certainly not the March I’d been hoping for.

As my body slowly continued to recover from the first treatment cycle my mind was asking me the question ‘how am I going to manage another 18 days of treatment’? Just thinking about it made me want crawl in to a ball and hide until it had all passed, but as my family kept reminding me, I’d already completed one cycle so I was nearly ‘half way there’!! Wow that was an optimistic view 🙂

So what was this great idea? Don’t get too excited…remember it’s the small things that can make a huge difference!

Faced with another 2 months of treatment was a daunting prospect for me. I needed to be able to measure and see my progress each day. So after a few Google searches and exploring around in hundreds of pre-programmed Excel templates I found a ‘Calendar month’ chart, after hitting ‘print’ for the months of February through to May I had found my visual saviour. Robin knew exactly what days I’d be in hospital so quickly got to work writing them down and once complete I very proudly ‘crossed’ off the days I’d already completed. For me this visual representation of the time I had completed and had left on my journey was a fantastic help. Each day I would be able to get up and tick off another day. If you or a loved one is struggling with the progress they’re making on there own journey, perhaps something like this may be of help.

My Calendar for March 2018
My Calendar for March 2018

Top Up Day!

Sounds like fun right? 6 days ticked off the calendar for March, it was time to head back to Western Park Hospital for my ‘top up treatment’. Just as I was starting to feel that little bit normal it was time for another zapping. I wasn’t nervous on this occasion as I knew I would be coming back home just a few hours later.

With Robin by my side we headed over to the hospital. As we arrived I could feel myself becoming anxious, it was my mind playing games with me, taking me back to the 5 days I’d spent in there just a few days ago. Like a true pro, Robin pulled me back to reality and in we went.

The top up treatment is done in the ‘Day unit’, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but I can assure you what I was about to see was a real shock.

After a long wait my name was called. We walked in to the ‘ward’. It was basically the size of a normal hospital ward but much more open plan. Filling the space were what felt like ‘hundreds’ (that’s an exaggeration) of cancer patients all hooked up to their treatment. It was (for me) a very awakening experience. All these people, all different ages, all on their own journey, all fighting for themselves and their loved ones!

As I said previously, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but this really wasn’t it.

The nurse took Robin and I down to the end of the ward where we were sat down and explained everything to us.

Basically, the ‘top up treatment’ is where I’d be given one of the three drugs that make up the BEP chemotherapy regime. After a health check and blood test my treatment was brought through and I was on my way. I was so pleased I’d be in and out within a couple of hours. The treatment went quickly, we got a coffee, chatted a bit and I remember sending a selfie to a couple of friends and work colleagues to try and ‘normalise’ my feelings.

Once the treatment finished, the nurse put a ‘flush’ on ( a type of water mix used to ‘flush your system / veins) and then all we had to wait for were my blood results. Thankfully these came back ‘clear’ albeit my immune system was very low. Now I was ‘topped-up’ we were good to go!

Both faced with a rumbling tummy, we headed over for a ‘cheeky’ Nandos before heading home.

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