Thursday, 19 May 2011


H is being treated with Caelyx (pegylated liposomal doxorubicin), given once every three weeks.  (The initial plan was to give it every four weeks because her blood platelet count was low, but it's recovered.)  She's had two treatments so far, most recently a week ago.  So far she's tolerated it quite well, and it seems to have made the lump on her scalp softer.

The drug is administered in the hospital's Oncology Outpatient department.  The nurse inserts a cannula in the back of H's hand, and she gets 20mg of Dexamethasone (a corticosteroid) before the Caelyx.  This is a large dose, primarily against anaphylactic shock, but also to reduce swelling of the tumour close to her spinal cord.  The drugs are pumped into her from plastic drip bags, interspersed with bags of glucose solutions to flush the lines and her veins.  The whole procedure takes about two and a half hours.

After the first treatment I collected a big bag of TTOs (drugs To Take Out) for her from the hospital pharmacy.  More dexamethasone, and various drugs to mitigate the side-effects of the chemotherapy.

A week after her first treatment, she spent a night in hospital with a temperature, but it turned out to be nothing serious.

Her skin reaction to the radiotherapy was mild - it looked like a touch of sunburn - but it came back much worse after the first dose of chemotherapy.  I learn that this "radiation recall" effect is well-known to oncologists.  We've treated it with E45 cream.

This week H is tired but otherwise ok.  She's been running and rowing, and we've planned a cycle ride together for tomorrow.

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