Today I return to hospital to spend just short of an hour on a drip in the chemo ward. While my treatment doesn’t yet involve chemotherapy, my previous visit to this place was one of resigned acceptance. It’s where I will receive my final life extending treatment as the medics try to squeeze an extra couple of months of life out of me. While I try to cling on beyond April 2019 to avoid an inheritance tax bill.
But this morning is about bone strengthening and the drug zometa being pumped into me. I’m dreading it. While I’ll most likely sit there wearing down the battery on my phone, I’ll be surrounded by others at different stages of treatment. And I’m not sure I’m ready to face people who are further down the road to the end than me.
That said, I suppose some could be facing into different cancers where chemotherapy can fix them. I think I’ll be able to avoid coming across as a tad jealous. “Bully for you, but I’m doomed” isn’t really the response to share.
Anyway, zometa. An intriguing side effect last time, also a Tuesday treatment, hit me in the early hours of the following Sunday morning. Sore hips. Followed by agonising deep thigh bone pain. And then some back pain too. In a short period of time I went through my full array of painkillers from paracetamol through to morphine and everything in between. I don’t know if others in the household heard my screams, but I think it’s fair to say I was vocal.
I didn’t care what the pills would do to the pain. I just wanted them to send me to sleep and let me escape the agony. They failed. Nine hours later the pain subsided and I spent much of the day asleep or in a drugged up haze. It was all thoroughly unpleasant.
The statistics tell me zometa has a 3% chance of extending my life. I think that tells me six more people in a trial of two hundred people died from complications arising from broken bones in the sub group that didn’t receive zometa compared to the group that did. I should probably stop reading statistics as all I seem to be doing is looking at death by tumour growth v death by falling over and breaking a few bones. Maybe a quick dose of MRSA from bone reconstruction surgery is a better way to go?
In the short term, I’ll take the zometa. Whether the deferred pain side effect will hit me as hard this time I don’t know. I’ll make a point of lining up my myriad of painkillers and a glass of water by my bed just in case. I don’t even know if the pain time differential will be the same. I suppose there’s a risk of me experiencing discomfort at the big Oldham v Rochdale local derby game on Saturday afternoon. There’ll certainly be howls of pain around me if Rochdale score. I’d hate to have to share my own zometa agony sat in a half full football stand.