Health update for cycle 2

So, the second cycle of my chemotherapy is drawing to a close. I’ve two more days of my “resting week” left, before I start cycle #3 with another IV infusion in hospital. I can’t say that I’m looking forward to it, but by the end of this next cycle I’ll be over a third of the way through the treatment, rather than just a quarter. And in some ways, the only thing that keeps me going with this is focusing on the end of it.

Overall this second cycle has been very similar to the first cycle. I’ve had much the same side-effects; some worse, some better than before. The nausea has been better. The peripheral neuropathy has been a lot worse. The tiredness was much the same.

The thing that has caused me the most problems however has been the management of my ileostomy. My output has been much higher during this cycle than the last one, and I’ve struggled to maintain a reasonable level of hydration, despite having gone back onto the full dose of codeine again. Of course, this has raised problems itself – I’ve struggled with the tiredness, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration that that causes.

It’s frustrating really – I would really like to get back to work, but it’s clear that at the moment that’s unlikely to be possible until such time as I can get the codeine reduced or removed. And that seems unlikely while I’m taking the chemotherapy medicines, though I will discuss it again with the oncologist when I see him on Monday. My best hope at the moment is that my management and I (possibly with the help of the Occupational Health department) may be able to find some useful background work that I can get involved with where there aren’t any specific deadlines, and I can pick up and put down the work as my abilities allow. Failing that, I guess my next best option is to work up some sort of self-education plan so I can at least use the time to build some useful skills ready for when I can return to work properly.

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2 thoughts on “Health update for cycle 2

  1. Hi Richard – I went through similar treatment 3 years ago. My colorectal nurse insisted I drank at least 2 bottles of Lucozade Sport a day whilst I had the Ileostomy to aid hydration and replenish lost salts. I was sceptical but it worked wonders for me. When I didn’t drink the stuff I felt awful. I even got to like it and found it refreshing. As soon as I had my Ileostomy closed I was unable to drink it again – tasted awful. Happy to to talk if it would help.

    • Interesting. My colorectal nurse recommended Lucozade Sport to me too. I understand the reasoning – it’s isotonic, and so easily absorbed by the body, and doesn’t help leach salts from your body as it passes through. However, I really struggled with the taste.

      What I really should do is get in the ingredients to allow me to make up some St Marks solution, in case of going through another problematic time with my hydration. As it’s hypertonic ie forces water into the body, it’s invaluable for situations such as the one I described in this post.

      Mind you, St Marks solution makes Lucozade taste heavenly in comparison! Official formula:
      Glucose 20g )
      Sodium Chloride 3.5g ) made up to one litre with tap water
      Sodium Bicarbonate 2.5g )
      You can buy the powders from any community pharmacy and some supermarkets. Sodium Chloride is table salt which you may have in your home already. Sodium Bicarbonate is also known as Bicarbonate of Soda. They are cheaper to buy than to obtain on prescription. Needs to be made up freshly each day.

      Recipe I was given (easier than trying to measure to 1/2 a gramme):
      6 level 5ml teaspoons glucose powder
      1 heaped 2.5ml teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
      1 level teaspoon salt
      Add this to 1 litre of water, pre-flavoured if necessary. Ideally you should not make up the solution and then add cordial though, as it will upset the balance slightly.

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