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My 1st day in the chemotherapy suite

Follicular Lymphoma

Here I am back in the #chemotherapy suite on treatment, the 3rd time in as many years.

#Follicular #Lymphoma is incurable but it is treatable and the aim of treatment is to knock it right back into remission, sadly the gaps between needing treatments seems to get shorter each time, 1st time it was 4 years, 2nd time it was 18 months, this time it was 8 months.

The treatment I am having is Rituximab infusions, Rituximab or Rituxan is a monoclonal antibody and what it does is to seek out and identify a Protein, CD20 on my cancer cells then it attaches itself to that protein as marker and says to my immune system “Hey look at me, I am some really bad shit, come and kill me” sadly it also attaches to healthy cells with the CD20 protein as well and can damage them meaning that my immune system is even less functional than normal so I have to be vary wary of infections.

I have this now every week for the next 6 weeks then monthly after that for 4 months and the a CT scan to see if it’s worked or we need to continue with it.

I am having this in conjunction with a chemotherapy drug, Revlimid, but right now that’s on pause as I have had a severe reaction to it and they are going to try another more “gentler” drug later in the week when I have recovered from my “reaction”

The 1st day

1st day of treatment is always a long ( and boring, take a laptop or a tablet and a Netflix/ Amazon prime video subscription with you) I was there in the treatment suite from 9:30 until 6pm.

It’s long and slow because they start by inserting a cannula through which they give you pre-meds, piriton and hydrocortisone and they also give you some paracetamol tablets, all these are in case you have an allergic reaction to Rituxan.

They give the meds around an hour to get well into your system then they start infusing you through the canula, they start of really slowly at first and then every 30 minutes they check your temp, blood pressure and SpO2 levels, if they are happy with them and you are showing no signs of a reaction they speed the infusion infusion up a bit each time until by the end of the day you are getting it at the fastest rate possible if you haven’t had a reaction.

This as I said above is a long and boring process and because you are connected to your drip machine you spend most of the day in a chair, really, really boring, I take my laptop and watch Netflix or Amazon.

Today I didn’t have any bad reactions so next week the day won’t be so long as they will start at a much faster rate.

How do I feel?

It’s hard to quantify, it’s been a long boring day and I feel totally wiped out, some of that is because of the boredom, some because I guess the Rituxan is busy killing shit, I know something is happening with my body but I can’t quite quantify how I feel, just very wiped out, so a cuppa and bed for me in a while I guess.

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