While in my earlier posts, i have talked about chemotherapy being a painful process. My experiences with chemotherapy were horrific especially because papa received it through veins (Intravenous). He
- The veins were always swollen
- At places blood clot appeared
- The area around the prick darkened as compared to the natural color of the skin.
- There was itching and since, the healing mechanism was already very slow, so the prick actually never healed.
My knowledge about chemotherapy was very limited then. All i knew was, what i could see. Papa was already in pain due to spreading cancer and chemotherapy only added to the woes. I am not not suggesting not to get chemotherapy. In 97 % of the cases it doesn’t work. May be you are one of the fortunate 3% who beats cancer and survives (Pls see the video )
To understand pain, you don’t really need to know about chemotherapy. But to understand the treatment your loved is undergoing, it is important that you know all about chemotherapy
Chemotherapy, is a treatment usually given to patients suffering from cancer. More then 100 drugs are available and to treat cancer they are combined in different proportions depending upon the type and stage( spread or size of tumour) of cancer and the patient's age, overall health and the ability to deal with the certain side effects.
Depending upon the prescribed treatment, your oncologist will be able to tell you about the schedule that you need to follow in the months to come. Papa, in all received 2 cycles of chemotherapy orally. Each cycle comprised of 3 months. In the these 3 months the treatment was received in 2 phase(s). These cycles comprised of giving medicine and drugs orally and through veins. After the first phase a picc line ( will explain in my next post) was inserted in papa's right arm.
In the first phase, he had to spend 3-4 days in the hospital. After that a gap of 7 days was given in order to heal ( known as the recovery period). In the second phase .i.e on the 8th day the chemotherapy session lasted for about 6- 10hrs, so papa was allowed to go home the very same day. And again on the 8th day, he was admitted to the hospital for 3(or 4) days. This continued till the end .After 3 months, a review was done to check the response of cancer to chemotherapy (medicines).
Chemotherapy - ways to receive
Through Veins (Intravenously) :The medicines are injected directly into the veins. This is the most effective method and most of the traditional chemotherapy drugs are given by this method. A single dose of IV chemotherapy can last from a few minutes to a few hours. However, there are certain drugs which have best effect when given at a slow continuous rate for a few days to fews weeks at a time.
Via Injection: The medicine is given injected as a shot to a muscle or to the fatty part of the arm abdomen or leg.
Oral : Pills, capsule, or liquid(s). Popular traditional treatment method. But of late is becoming a much more common method of administration, especially with newer targeted therapies.
Intra-arterially (IA): The medicine is sent directly into the artery that supplies blood to the part of the body affected with cancer.
Intraperitoneally : The medicine is sent directly into the abdomen or peritoneal cavity ( part of the body that contains the intestines, liver, stomach). In case of women, the medicine is sent to ovaries.
Topically. Ointments and creams. The medicine is applied on the surface and then rubbed into the skin.
In 2012, when papa was detected with cancer, my knowledge about cancer-the disease was very limited. To be honest, I just knew the term “CANCER, that too heard mostly in hindi movies. But when papa was diagnosed and treated for cancer, everyday was a new challenge. The journey was painful. It was an emotional roller coaster for me and papa. Ultimately papa lost his life and it gave my life a new direction. I decided to write about CANCER. My father's last wish was that i write ( how unfortunate that i am writing when he is not here to see ) I learnt things mostly during the course of treatment or after papa left. Now , I try to read about cancer as much as i can. So that i can pour my research into words to the benefit of someone who wants to know. There is so much, I have learn't , there is still so much to learn. But i will never stop. This is my way of keeping close to papa and may be..... he is reading!
Love you papa!