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Herceptin: 2 down, 16 to go

Posted Aug 19 2009 6:25pm

Yesterday found me having my second dose of Herceptin.
I'm struggling with Herceptin, I must admit. It has very few side effects. It doesn't hurt. It has a phenomenal success rate. It costs the NHS a stonking £3000 per dose. It's better than taking lapatinib and going toxic.
None of which explains why I woke up with the words "I don't want to go" on my lips yesterday morning.... anyway. I gave myself a bit of a pep talk ad off I went. I reminded myself that I'm a member of the Blue Sky Club, on the way. (Thanks again, Rob's Dad.)

The drug was ready by 11.30am. It took two goes to get a needle in, but I think that was partly because the first attempt was into the back of my hand. As I had lymph nodes removed from my right armpit, any blood pressure measurement, blood tests, or cannulation needs to happen via my left arm, now and for all eternity. Which is fine - except that I'm left handed, so I find that when a needle goes anywhere near my hand I really tense up - my left hand is the one I lead with, and use when I write, carry, sew, hold a book, bake a cake, hold hands....
Still, a vein in my arm decided to play, so by 11.50am the Herceptin was on the way in, and an hour and a half of knitting later, I was done.
Here's what I'm knitting.
It's beyond beautiful. The pattern is really simple - it's 'Luscious Lace scarf' by Knitting Pixie, and you can find it on Ravelry here - and the yarn is by Nimu, a blend of cashmere and silk, gloriously soft and dyed in shades of green and blue.
One of the lovely things about knitting is that it starts conversations. So while I was knitting, I talked to the people around me, all of whom were having chemotherapy. Most of us seemed quite used to the process so there was a fairly laid back vibe going on. An hour and a half flew by, and I was done.
The blues came back afterwards. Again, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's an effect of the drug, maybe it's an effect of the fact that there are 16 more of these sessions to go, which seems endless. Maybe it's because the inside of my nose had only just healed and it's all sore again. Anyway, some time with my lovely godson, a diagnosis of the Mystery Painful Toe (ingrowing toenail - not that mysterious after all) and a little light shopping had me back to my usual self, with my usual sense of perspective, in no time.
Today, I think I'm OK. I'm a bit tired, a bit cold, and my nose hurts. Otherwise, all is well. And only 16 more rounds of Herceptin to go....
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