I have decided to go ahead with three sessions of paclitaxel. I had forgotten that Dr S. told me that it is given in three weekly sessions and then the fourth week is the chemo-free week. My first session is on Friday 11 November.
It is harder to agree to the chemo this time round because this drug is one of the ones that can cause an adverse reaction in patients. As I witnessed two adverse reactions earlier this year while having my PEXG chemotherapy in the day stay unit that were not handled at all well, I am very nervous. For paclitaxel it is actually the solvent the drug is mixed in rather than the drug itself, but this is a technicality when it comes to my fear.
The second time it happened it was to someone in the same room as me, and this was even more frightening. If we had been prepared for this possibility either during the Cancer Society chemotherapy sessions that we are all encouraged to attend, or received some general reassurance after it happened then it would not have been so traumatic. We were all temporarily transferred out of the room and an hour or two later when we resumed our chairs the patient was gone and there was no mention of what had just happened. This simply added to the trauma. I lay awake that night wondering if she had survived and whether the other woman had as well. Fortunately Dr S. responded to my email and answered all my questions which helped reassure me. Besides, I wasn’t on any of the chemo drugs he mentioned that sometimes cause an adverse reaction, so I tried to forget about it. Until now.
However, I have done my best to get as much information as I need, and I have started another list of questions for my next visit to the oncology clinic on 8 November. I also have family and friends who understand and are prepared to be with me for these first three sessions.