It’s Been One Week

A week ago we met with the Oncologist to discuss options.  We left the hospital that day with the picc line removed and the knowledge that there would be no more chemotherapy treatments for two months.

First – the removal of the picc line.  When the picc line was inserted back in July, it was done behind a screen.  My husband’s arm was extended and two individuals (not sure whether this was a nurse and technician or doctor) worked behind the screen to prep and insert the picc line.  It was inserted using local freezing and consequently pretty painless.  The first couple of weeks he was really aware of having the line in, but things became pretty routine afterwards.  Showering was no issue as we would wrap his arm in a press and seal type of cling wrap which made the whole area waterproof.  He found it a bit uncomfortable to sleep on that side (left) and so he tended to sleep more on his back.  For appointments where they needed easy access to the picc line he wore short sleeved, button up shirts.  The nurse routinely flushed the line once a week and it was not problematic in any way.  Last week they removed the line.  It surprised my husband to see how long it actually was, right up his arm into his chest.  It was a little uncomfortable coming out as it was removed without any sort of freezing – not painful, just uncomfortable.  The incision point was remarkably small.  He came away with a fairly dense area bandage which we were to remove the next day.  The incision has since healed completely with no issues.  He’s back to a full range of sleeping positions without needing to be mindful of the external hardware that had been taped to his arm.  All is good on that front.

Second – No chemotherapy for two months.  We have had a week to assimilate this information and what it can mean.  It doesn’t mean that we have lost our resources.  Certainly we can contact Oncology at any point to get some assistance.  It does mean that we can take a strong run at diet modification.  During chemo the intake of high protein meals is essential to rebuild and repair blood cells, consequently it was easy to include a lot of meat in our daily diet.  While researching an alkaline diet the focus is on reducing the amount of acidic foods in the diet and meat falls in this category.  So with the luxury of a little time we are now looking at a diet that ticks all the nourishment needs for health and wellbeing but not through reliance on meat.  It’s a learning process which we have just started.  One of the most helpful sites I have found in this regard is http://www.alkalinesisters.com/ which provides lots of information supported by a wealth of research.  We’ve also found a cookbook that has some pretty decent recipes, Eating the Alkaline Way (Corrett and Edgson).  We made the mini pizzas last night, mine was artichoke and basil with mozzarella, my husband’s was fennel, sweet potato and goat’s cheese.  We did cheat and use premade shells – it is still baby steps for us. They turned out awesome. There is so much more to learn and try.  There are so many articles written on real life experiences of people who have successfully beaten the odds using an alkaline diet.  As my hubby says – he has no choice but to try this.

Interestingly, I spoke to the pharmacist and obtained a litmus paper sample which measures pH (acidity or alkalinity) and when he tested, my husband was at 7.0  which is a good reading since anything above 7.0 is considered alkaline.  This reading is not overly surprising; since he was diagnosed with cancer my husband has started every day with a warm glass of lemon water, and throughout the day drank a homeopathic remedy of ginger/lemon/maple syrup as well as a nice Kefir/kale smoothie, and just generally added more fruit and veg to his diet.  When he was suffering from chemo effects meat had no appeal for him – it was too heavy and dense – makes you wonder.  This journey really impresses on me how forgiving the human body is.  We cut ourselves – we heal, we break a bone – it mends, we nourish our bodies appropriately – we can send some diseases packing.  There’s everything to be gained in feeding ourselves properly.

Post Chemo – Days 4 and 5

Today is five days post chemo treatment and today I called the visiting nurse to come and administer hydration.  The first two or three days after his chemo treatment were okay, but we had two strong anti nausea medications for those days.  Once the meds ran out (day 4) things started to slip a little.  It became harder and harder for him to drink the required fluids and his appetite, although reasonably good on Sunday, was completely gone this morning.  He awoke this morning feeling quite lightheaded and we had to move slowly to get him up and about.  He was somewhat despondent and listless, with little to no energy to even move. His sister came for a visit and stayed for the long haul, helping him keep his mind occupied and encouraging him to eat.

Right now he’s resting while his saline is being administered through his picc line.  I will need to call the nursing agency when he gets down to his last 100ml and then a nurse will come and disconnect the IV and flush the picc line out.  It seems silly not to take advantage of the services that are available.  Hopefully he will be back on track after this, and good enough for an outing tomorrow, weather permitting.