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By the end of the chemotherapy info session on Tuesday it became clear to both my son and me that I actually have a new part-time job – as a cancer patient. It will start in earnest in a week or so. My first 8-hour chemotherapy session is scheduled for 3 December. On the Monday afternoon prior to that I have another appointment with the oncologist, and before I see him I have to have an ECG. Dr S. also wants me to have another CT scan before I start my chemo.

It was made very clear to all of us that seeing the doctor before our chemo session is not optional. If we don’t attend the appointment with the doctor, we don’t get the chemo.

At the end of the session we were all given personal packages which contained information about the specific chemo drugs we were each due to have. I learned that three of my four drugs would be given by infusion and the fourth, capecitabine also known as Xeloda, would be taken in the form of tablets. My own brief research had revealed that capecitabine appears to be mainly used to treat metastatic breast and colorectal cancers and that this drug is made by my arch enemy, Roche – which is going to make it a very bitter pill to swallow indeed.