We were transferred over to the oncology (cancer) ward on Saturday, and there was a clear plan of what was in store in terms of Cian’s cancer.
First up was an operation for a Hickman line to be installed on Monday… basically this is a robust tube that would be inserted into Cian’s chest so the chemotherapy could be more easily, and more safely administered… then the chemo would start Tuesday or Wednesday.
Unfortunately, and very scarily Cian’s condition deteriorated considerably on the Sunday night, to the point where we were told to consider the worst. Cian’s symptoms had got much worse and very fast. The speed at which this cancer attacks the body can’t be underestimated. Just over 2 weeks ago Cian was a very fit, healthy and active little lad enjoying his brother’s 9th birthday weekend with his family at Trecco Bay, Porthcawl.
So much for the plans!! It was now decided that the risk of putting Cian under general anaesthetic for the operation was too great and that no further delay should be given for Cian receiving the powerful drugs… or ‘strong medicine’, as we have explained it to our children.
Therefore, number one dose of chemo was given to him first thing yesterday (Monday) afternoon. I won’t go into the names of the specific drugs unless anyone is interested.
As he didn’t have the Hickman line installed the chemo had to go through a cannula (a more fragile and temporary tube) inserted into his arm. This had to be closely monitored by a nurse as any leakage could have caused severe and painful damage to skin tissue. Just goes to show how potent this crap is.
Cian was excellent during the hour it took for all the bright red drug to filter into his veins, and even managed to fall asleep.
By early afternoon Cian had much improved, to the point that he was asking to go for rides in his wheelchair not that we could go far as he is connected to a variety of different machines using various different tubes. So we took him down to the playroom, where we were quickly met by some of my family who decided to visit.
It was great as I had initially told them to not
expect too much due to how poor he was in the morning, but he had a good few
hours of almost being the Cian we know.. and also got to meet Santa (again).
This turnaround in his condition could not be attributed to the chemo, however much we want the drugs to kick in quickly, but more likely due to some of the other stuff they are pumping into him.
Today (Tuesday) he had his second dose of the same chemo drug, which went in without any hassle. After that he has slept most of the day. I don’t think that this is a side effect of the chemo but probably due to him being in less pain and more relaxed, and needed to catch up with some of the sleep he has lost in the last 2 weeks.
What has also been positive is that we haven’t seen any of the more immediate side effects associated with some chemo drugs such as nausea and vomiting. Don’t get me wrong, we are under no illusion that this is a breeze and that there will be no adverse reactions. This drug will be attacking his cells (both good and bad cells), and his body will pay a price… but this is the nature of chemotherapy, that it will make you feel a lot worse in the hope that it will make you better in the long term.
There will be no more chemotherapy now for a couple of weeks, but this doesn’t mean that we can put our feet up. We will be preparing him for radiotherapy (which will start in a few weeks) and for the installation of his Hickman line (which can now hopefully go ahead as his overall condition has stabilised)…. But these will be covered in future blogs!