Since I had my blood tests done on Monday (all very good, according to my oncologist) I was able to start the IV almost as soon as I arrived at the hospital. I had a cannula fitted in the back of my left hand by the same doctor who fitted the cannula last time – Martin, from South Africa.
One interesting piece of information obtained from the nurse who did my observations; my blood pressure was 105/58, resting heart rate of 70bpm, and oxygenation of 98%. Which although still in the “normal” range, is right at the very bottom of that range, and fairly low for someone of my age. I do wonder if it might be time to consider talking to my GP’s about my blood pressure medications again, and whether or not I still actually need them, as I’d rather not be taking medicines unnecessarily. My temperature was also a touch high – 37.3C, when my norm is around 36.4C. Given that I’ve been snuffling into tissues for the last couple of days this is probably to be expected. In any case, it wasn’t enough to cause them to delay my treatment – which was good.
The infusion went very well, taking a little over 3 hours, though we didn’t get the flow-rate quite right on the glucose “piggy-back” bag, so the chemotherapy medicines were more concentrated than the last time. The ward was also very busy, so I wasn’t able to keep the heat packs on my arm as much as normal. The combined result of this is that the sensitivity and pain in the arm is much worse than the last few cycles, though nowhere near as bad as the first cycle. Hopefully it will fade over the next couple of days.
I do wonder why they can’t just make up a more dilute solution for me. The solution is always 260mg of oxaliplatin in 500ml of glucose solution, which is then piggy-backed with another 500ml of glucose solution. So why not simply make up 260mg of oxaliplatin in 1000ml of glucose, and avoid all the messing around with secondary lines, matching flow rates by guesswork etc etc? Most strange, and probably one to mention to my oncologist next time I meet him.
Side effects are as per the previous cycles, with the tiredness significantly worse than cycle 4. I had to go straight to bed when I got home as I could barely stay on my feet. Apparently I looked as white as a sheet. A couple of hours sleep had me back on my feet again, though still feeling very weak and tired.
Otherwise, I’m still seeing all the main cumulative side-effects. The hiccoughs are relatively minor so far, with no major attacks so far. The peripheral neuropathy is definitely present, but so far doesn’t seem as bad as cycle 4 – which is positive if it stays that way.