Update on cycle 5 (part iii)

My arm seems to finally be settling down – the swelling is subsiding, and the general pain and tenderness is finally fading away. I still have some pain at the point of the IV itself, and a rather strange “lump” in the vein near to that point, but overall it’s no longer painful. I suspect the lump is where the cannula was pushed through a valve which has been damaged in some way. It’s not painful, and doesn’t seem to have any ill-effects – it just looks a little odd.

My peripheral neuropathy continues unabated in my fingers and hands, though the strange effects in my throat seem to finally be fading away now. Just as well given the horrible weather which we’ve been experiencing – if I go outdoors my fingers quickly get cold, and I’d hate to have the same happening to my throat too. As it stands I can certainly now drink colder drinks without too many problems, though ice-cream is still beyond my capabilities. Of course, I consequently have a real craving for some vanilla ice cream, but as the Stones would say, you can’t always get what you want 🙂

The hiccoughs have now completely gone away. They lasted only a day beyond my last update, which is great as they were quite frustrating to deal with on top of everything else.

Incidentally, I notice that I’ve not mentioned one of the stranger side-effects I experience; where everything tastes of nothing (or rather it tastes so blandly metallic that it may as well taste of nothing). This cycle has been worse than normal for this, and I’ve found it hard to motivate myself to eat much at all. It’s funny how even your favourite foods suddenly become completely uninteresting when you can’t taste them. This also ends up being quite depressing, as there are only a limited number of pleasures in life at the moment, and having my love of good food taken away seems like yet another major loss. My wonderful wife has been trying out new recipes to see if they are more suited to my current condition (think spicy!) but unfortunately I generally still can’t taste them, which is all very frustrating. Meanwhile I’m working on the basis that if nothing else it’s probably helping with my long term diet goal. There is always a silver lining …

The tiredness and insomnia have taken a toll over the last few days. The good news is that my insomnia has faded away considerably; I’ve still been waking for an hour of two each night, but I’m fairly sure that this is more related to dehydration and thirst than anything else. I found that once awake if I made myself a couple of cups of tea I was able to get back to sleep quite quickly; if I didn’t then I’d be awake and listless for most of the night. A case of my needing to listen more carefully to my body, and then act on it.

The tiredness however has continued unabated. The last couple of days in particular have been especially hard – I’ve been sleeping almost constantly, both day and night, and waking simply to take tablets and get back to bed again. I find it hard to understand how I can sleep the 15+ hours a day that I’ve apparently needed. For someone who normally sleeps a token 6 hours or so I find such huge amounts of sleep incomprehensible. Still, there’s no doubting my need for it – I’ve barely been able to keep my eyes open.

Today however, I actually woke up at a reasonable time, feeling relatively refreshed, so I’m planning to try to get out the house and go for a walk along the seafront to see if I can blow out the cobwebs. I’m hoping that with a little luck this may be the final major kick of the chemotherapy side-effects for this cycle, just leaving me with my normal ileostomy medicines to cope with. If so then perhaps I can start to plan on a week or two of being more in control, which will let me get on and do some things both for myself and with my family, which will be nice.

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