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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

May 2013: Chemotherapy.... Slow, Slower, Stop!

With Suzie's cancer and its treatment having taken priority over everything else we were eager to get to the end of the chemotherapy so that we could get back to addressing the more debilitating problem of the MSA. Everything had been going so well with the chemo until, all of a sudden, we hit a 'road block'. On the day before Suzie's 4th session of chemo was due we had a phone call from a nurse on the Oncology Unit. She told us that the results of Suzie's latest blood test had shown that her blood platelet levels hadn't recovered sufficiently and so the chemo would have to be postponed for a week. We were to book another blood test for the following week and provisionally reschedule the chemo accordingly. This was disappointing, but we were told it was nothing to worry about. A week later all was well again and so the chemo went ahead.
Three weeks later, on the morning of her 5th treatment, we had another phone call.... Need I say more? Everything had to be re-booked again, and we were now two weeks behind schedule. With the completion of treatment so nearly in sight we couldn't help feeling like, every time we got a step nearer, someone was moving the 'finishing line' further away.
The treatment went ahead a week later, but three weeks down the line, on the evening before Suzie's 6th and final chemo session was due, the phone rang. We were almost afraid to answer it, but, of course, we did.... and, of course, it was the same problem yet again. Although we had half expected it, still it was a bitter blow. As the old song says 'The longest mile is the last mile home', and that certainly seemed to be the case for us.
We resigned ourselves to yet another week's wait before we could finally reach the last session of chemo, but we were knocked sideways when, a week later, we were contacted again to say that the problem hadn't resolved itself. Previously Suzie's platelet level had been about 75 (it needed to be 100 for the chemo to be given), but, each time, an extra week had been sufficient for this level to increase. This time though the figure had been 71, and, after a week, it had only gone up to 76. It seemed Suzie's bone marrow was just too weakened and worn out to replace the cells that were being wiped out by the chemo.
After an agonising weekend we received a phone call from the Oncologist who said she was cancelling the final treatment completely. She said it would be many weeks before Suzie's blood would be ready to have any more chemo, but she was fairly confident that the five sessions she'd already received had achieved the desired effect anyway. It was a strange feeling.... We had waited so eagerly for that milestone moment when Suzie's final session of chemo was completed, and suddenly we were being told that this momentous event had actually passed five weeks earlier without us even knowing!!
So.... with the cycles of chemotherapy now finished, that would surely mean that our lives could get back to some sense of normality and not be quite so dominated by hospitals and medical procedures?? Wouldn't it??
Apparently not......