Chemotherapy and a bike
I had my first chemotherapy today. It went a lot better than I was expecting.
They put me in a very comfortable chair, cannulated me (just a sharp scratch) and then dripped stuff into me for about five hours. And that was it. They gave me a cheese sandwich and soup for lunch.
My back is a lot better than it was when I first came off my bike on 11 September (which was the day before I was supposed to go in for chemo). And on the following day, my back was in too much pain, so instead of staring the chemo, I visited A&E (on the advice of the chemo people), which turned out to be a mistake.
So here's what happened with the bike. I was cycling on tarmac, on a road that was so minor there was nearly zero traffic, and I became aware that my back wheel wasn't running smoothly. So I stopped, had a look, and it was totally flat.
What to do? I thought, maybe I can wheel it back home, because I was only about a mile away. So I dismounted ... I put my right foot down on the tarmac, swung my left leg over the saddle ... but maybe I'm not as flexible as I thought, because I was a couple of inches shy of getting my leg over.
And then I toppled. I fell flat on my back, and banged my head quite hard on the tarmac. I was wearing a helmet, and it wasn't just one of these skeletal bike helmets, it was more like a motorbike helmet. So I knew I'd banged my head hard because of the sound the helmet made when it hit the tarmac, but there's about an inch thickness of padding between the outside of the helmet and my skull, so it didn't hurt my head at all.
But it did hurt my back.
I was able to disentangle myself from the bike and stand up, got off the road, and my back was hurting ... a lot. So wheeling it home was not now a possibility. Of course, I had my phone, so I called ladysolly and she came out in the car and picked my up. I chained the bike to a nearby tree for later collection (that bike is much too heavy for her to lift into a car). And she took me home.
At the A&E, I gave them all the details, and then sat and waited. And waited. It turned out that they'd had a major computing crash the previous day, and they were still recovering from that, and their system lost my details - lost me completely.
Eventually, they found me, and sent me off for a scan - of my head, which wasn't actually the problem I was presenting with.
After about nine hours total, I eventually saw a doctor who told me that my head was fine. "I'm not here about my head, it's my back!" I explained. So he pressed each of the vertebrae in my back, and told me that if I'd broken anything, I'd be reportinng a lot of pain, and there was no pain. So he discharged me.
OK, it's nice to know that there's no major problem, and I took some paracetamol to reduce the pain for a while. And now it's feeling pretty good. But I won't be biking for a while.
When I returned home today after the chemo, I did three walking laps round the garden, about a third of a mile, which told me that my back was indeed recovering nicely.
The main possible side effect of the chemo that I'm taking is nausea, and they gave me several prescriptions for that, two that I had to take, and others which were optional if I felt bad. But it's five hours since I completed the chemo, and I feel fine.