Monday, 27 December 2010

Chemo terminated- not yet but soon!

Hi everyone, Helen here- writing this against my better judgment. Don't know if I can measure up to the standards already set!! Mairead wants you to know what's been happening over the last week.

Some of you may be surprised to know I am a fan of the Terminator movies.  It struck me recently that the effects of this chemo (CarboPEC-Taxol)resembles Schwarzenegger's character in Terminator One  - every time he seems to have been destroyed he comes back to get you again. In the same way just when we thought the side effects of this chemo were controlled they produced something new to deal with!

Just when it seeemed the pain and sickness were controlled on Monday we had low Potassium levels which initially caused an SVT (heart rate 160- not pleasant to watch or experience). As I write this more Potassium is going in to replace what's been lost due to the chemo's effects on the kidneys. The stem cells were delayed a couple of hours but went in successfully after being brought up deep frozen and thawed out in a tub before our eyes!

On Tuesday some of the side effects experienced from previous chemos got worse - numbness and pins and needles in hands and feet, and tinnitus and deafness so TV needs to be turned up!

On Wednesday the mouth and tummy pain started - due to inflammation throughout the gut. This remains problematic requiring increasing doses of painkillers and making eating and drinking very difficult.

On Thursday platelets plummeted to just 9 (should be at least 120) and had to be replaced.

This catalogue of symptoms was relieved on Friday with the arrival of Rona, Teenie and James with bags of presents and cards -  THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!! We are staying at hospital accommodation next door to the hospital, including a flat run by the Karen Morris Memorial Trust ( This has made such a difference and we are extremely grateful for their kindness.

One of Teenie's first tasks was to give Mairead a Mohican haircut which was further enhanced by a Chanel bow as decoration. Unfortunately photos of this were vetoed.

Christmas day was certainly different. It started as semi-normal with Christmas presents, but then fatigue set in. The rest of us had steak in two sittings- with or without sprouts. One plus was the absence of the usual huge number of dirty dishes.

To get back to the Terminator- he was eventually totally crushed. Hopefully it will not be long before stem cells appear and this chemo is crushed too!


  1. I had no idea you were a Terminator fan - Mairead normally doesn't like it when I force her to watch Schwarzenegger movies :(

    I want to see photos of the mohawk! :)

  2. terminator- Helen I had no idea, you keep surprising me! like the piano playing incident :) It is not long till I descend upon you all- I am so excited!

    love love love

    PS- you are like Carrie Bradshaw, you will have to write more for us :)

  3. Helen, maybe you can talk Mai and Ruth into watching Terminator once you are all back up here- Jamie and I have been trying for ages!

    Sad the mohawk photos didn't make it on. That's the first thing I want to see when we're down!

    Excited to see you all soon.


  4. I'll bet the mohawk looks amazing!

    Lots of love to all the crew in London town- and big hugs and kisses to the special lady herself


  5. really want to see this mohawk.

    everyones thoughts have been with you over the holidays.

    good luck mairead

  6. Terminator is secondary only to Kindergarten Cop in levels of Schwarzenegger greatness. Can't believe the mohawk has been vetoed! Great blog Helen. :)