Today was chemo day. A day, that considering everything we have been through, we were all dreading. It turned out to be much better than anticipated. Trent and Pat were due at the hospital by 8.30. There was a minor mix up where only one chemo med was ready to go, but once that was sorted they were all set. Pat is on a combination of two drugs which together have improved outcomes when used with metastatic Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer (than when used in isolation). He’s on Abraxane and Gemcitabine, one after the other. The first is about 200ml and takes about 30 minutes to infuse and the second is a couple of litres and takes the same time!
Today’s nurses were Charlotte, Nikki and Karen. Charlotte was the youngest, bubbly and seemingly the person in charge despite her youthful (early 20s) appearance. Nikki had recently moved from Canberra where she didn’t like living, she had visited Seaworld with her two kids (age 3 & 5) and she didn’t like that either – Trent was wondering what she did like, but apparently she was lovely. Karen, we’re not sure what she was there for. After two failed attempts at inserting the cannula they had to get Nikki to help.. poor Karen. The tea lady came by while Trent was grabbing a coffee and delivered a cuppa and a sandwich to Pat, who was on the phone at the time. He excused himself to his friend on the phone explaining that the “tea lady” had just dropped by, which she rather indignantly tutted at as she explained that she’s not the “tea lady” but the “blue shirt”. I suspect Pat will continue to call her the ‘tea lady’ in weeks to come.
Post chemo, so far so good. They’ve given Pat steroids which should alleviate the worst of the symptoms and the chemo should be through his system in a few weeks, but a perk of the steroids is hunger! Pat’s hungry!! Tonight I risked it and gave him the same size serve as me and he did a good job on it – didn’t quite finish it, but since he’s struggled to eat kid serves lately I’m taking that as a win.
This morning the kids and I spent time cleaning the apartment. Both kids were really cooperative and eager to help. It’s great to see them helping in the little ways they can, they even join me to take the washing out every couple of days.
Pat enjoys reading Better Homes and Gardens magazine so I offered to make him anything he liked from the cooking section. He requested ginger and caramel biscuits and Honey Miso Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash. The kids and I made the biscuits as a team this morning so a treat would be ready and waiting for Poppy when he got home – but of course, he wouldn’t touch them because he thought the kids might want to give them to him (we were out).
As the kids had been so incredible, I decided to take them up to Seaworld for the afternoon. We had such a pleasant day, both kids were delightful and excited by the theme park. We bought annual passes on sale when we arrived in Australia so I thought we should start getting some value from them! When we arrived home both kids asked if they could go again tomorrow!!
The atmosphere in the house is more relaxed today. I think knowing that chemo is behind us for this week is positive, as is knowing we don’t have to go back to the hospital again until next Wednesday. I feel the entire house rides a wave of ups and downs depending on how close we are to the next hospital visit. I do hope that next week will be less tumultuous, fear of the unknown has wrecked havoc on the family, but at least that is behind us.
Memories from today
Pat encourages Cha (who he nicknamed Flossy) to dance , he notes that he thinks she’ll be a dancer when she grows up and shares that Trent used to be a good dancer (to Playschool etc) but was never a good singer.
and another of his quirky sayings “Where’s my pocket? I forgot it”