Day 1 of Bendamustine. We really have no idea what to expect from this ‘bit more vicious’ drug but Husband manages to stride into the cancer treatment room with commendable cheer. The nurses put a heat pack on his hands to make it easier to get the cannula into the vein. It makes him look a bit vulnerable – at odds with his strapping frame.
The nurses warn that Bendamustine can sting and that some patients get pain going up the arm during the drip. If that happens they can slow down the flow or dilute it with saline. As ever we face what feels like a long wait for the pharmacy to have time to deliver the drugs. But then they arrive in their dramatic black bags.
It’s an odd feeling to watch poison dripping into your spouse but we know that this is essential and Husband’s down to earth pragmatic attitude helps everyone. I try not to ask him how he’s feeling too often but can see that he’s doing okay. About an hour in he starts to feel a bit of discomfort in his arm but he tells me it’s minor. He does feel a bit out of it, a bit light-headed – perhaps the steroids? And then he’s done. 4 hours after we arrived they flush the vein with saline and tell him he’s free to go.
We had no idea how he’d react to Bendamustine but so far so good. He feels fine to walk to the car, although neither of us would want him to be driving.
He had a snooze at home and then managed a 10 minute walk. He feels a bit queasy this evening but overall he feels surprisingly normal.
Day 2 of Bendamustine
Last night Husband had a nosebleed which took 15-20 minutes to stop so the nurses insist on taking blood and telling the doctors. The headaches and nosebleeds have been improving so this is a bit disappointing.
Doctor Inscrutable looks a bit concerned but explains that things should stabilise since treatment has now started. He also says that if the bleed is just on one side it could be a local cause and that if it happens again we should go to A and E to get it cauterised. So basically we don’t know but it’s not much fun. On the plus side Husband’s skin sensitivity on his scalp is improving already.
Husband is feeling less sick today – thank you, Ondansetron. He hates the taste of Lactulose but Ondansetron causes constipation so he really needs something to counteract that and the Lactulose is working well.
The nurse taking blood remarked that it was easier today, that the blood seemed much less ‘gloupy’.
Husband says that he already feels more like himself. He’d felt that something was off for the last 3 months but couldn’t put his finger on it – “it just felt like everything’s been working in opposite directions”. The symptoms have been different this time. He’s been a bit breathless but says it feels very different to what he experienced when the cancer was first diagnosed. He didn’t have headaches and nosebleeds last time either. He’s also got very red / purple looking eczema patches on his legs. They look quite alarming but apparently don’t itch.
Husband has so many things that aren’t quite right at the moment. It’s impossible to know what to tell the doctors about and what to just get on and live with.