The following post is Part I of an article from Jan Egerton, a long-time mesothelioma survivor. Jan has suffered many setbacks during her battle with mesothelioma, and here she discusses her last struggle with chemotherapy and the anxiety leading up to her CT scan.
After a terrible few weeks leading up to the appointment for my followup CT scan, I had set my mind that no matter what, I was having chemotherapy for the third time. I was dreading the chemotherapy, but with the choice of something that could work against me or only one trial on offer in the UK what choice did I have?
I still class myself as a healthy person, the only thing wrong with me is mesothelioma, and okay, this annoying bile problem that has developed over the years from a mixture of the side effects of chemo and having my gall bladder removed to prove a point. [Jan has been struggling with bile buildup in her stomach.] I have found I don’t ail from the normal things that people without cancer do.
On the eve of my first chemotherapy infusion I started with one of my “sessions”, this is when my mesothelioma is on the warpath and does a kind of growing surge, at least that’s what I say. My temperature drops to around 35.3C [95.5F], I can’t get comfortable and I feel like my adrenalin is pumping. When they took my temperature before commencing the infusion, again showing it was low, I was worried they wouldn’t go ahead, but I told the nurse it would be alright I was having a “mesothelioma growth spurt.”
I knew the minute the chemotherapy started pumping through my veins it would do some damage [to the cancer cells], even at the low dose of 50% of what my body could handle. That night my body hurt, each area where my mesothelioma resides told me it wasn’t happy, I could imagine each tumour opening like a flower to send its seeds out and the chemo creeping in and killing all the seeds. It was a full out war going on inside.
The second infusion wasn’t a good one [November, 2012], my body took a dislike to the carboplatin as it was pumping through my veins, and I found myself in an ambulance being transferred to a hospital with an A & E department. Needless to say that was the last chemotherapy I was allowed.
Now I really dreaded the upcoming CT scan: my aches and pains were worse, my imaginary steel cage that tightens around my left ribs had turned to a solid iron one, each movement feeling restricted, my back ached and I felt dreadful. My bile problem had also increased in intensity, and I was sure when I finally had my CT scan, some two months after my second infusion, it was going to be extremely bad news.
I was giving myself a year at most, so I looked at projects I wanted to get done before I was too ill to complete them. My life with my husband was the most important one, creating a storyboard of our time together, the happy times, the dogs we have poured our love on, the holidays we have had – I wanted it all mapped out and put onto DVD’s so if he wanted to remember me all he had to do was press play.
Read Part II of Jan’s story next week to find out the results of her scan.
Know more about mesothelioma and how we can help.