Musings of a Lab Rat: The holiday is definitely over...

The look of joy that comes with treatment number 1!

The look of joy that comes with treatment number 1!

This week has been bittersweet… definitely more sweet, than bitter.

For those of you that follow Dear Melanoma on social media, you would know that I FINALLY started the clinical trial that I have been speaking about for months! After such a rollercoaster of feelings and having the trial almost taken away from me because of issues collecting viable tissue, on Tuesday I was able to breathe easy. I was in the treatment chair ready and raring to go. It was not difficult to see my excitement, but was super special seeing the relief and complete joy felt by my oncologist, the clinical trial’s team, the nurses, the receptionists and all of YOU!

I definitely had a whole lot of people praying to the Pavlova Gods for this trial.

So where does the bitter come into this, because this sounds pretty sweet?!

Well, this young lady that has been on treatment, with maybe one or two weeks break, for THREE WHOLE YEARS and was starting to enjoy the feeling of being treatment free that came with a two month break.

Three years is plenty of time for your body to forget what’s normal.

What many don’t realise about cancer is that it is generally the treatment that is making the individual feel sick, exhausted, on edge etc etc. Even when I was told that I only had three months to live if I did not gain access to the Keytruda clinical trial and had A LOT of cancer throughout my torso, I didn’t actually feel sick. I was in pain from the lesions pushing on nerves, but that was it. The only physical side effect, from my cancer, has only ever been pain.

I have been extremely lucky in that my side effects from the various treatments I have been on have not resulted in me being bedridden for an extended period of time or impacted my life drastically, but after three years of treatment, I had definitely forgotten what it felt like prior to treatment – the last two months gave me a taste of this again.

Over the past two months I have been able to wake up not feeling exhausted. I have been able to fall asleep without the help of sleeping tablets. I have been able to perform at the gym to the point where my trainer was shocked at the energy I had (Matt, that would be lack of treatment in my body). I was able to go to bed without squirming, shouting and crying in pain. I had the energy to cook dinner. And probably the thing I was most excited about, I was able to walk pass the chemist without buying a truckload of laxatives – winning!

Am I ready to welcome back these side effects? No, but I have no choice. I would rather be on treatment than not.

Treatment was last Tuesday and by Wednesday I was already feeling tired and a little wobbly on my feet. Thursday my trainer at the gym stopped me because I was awfully pale (yes, I probably shouldn’t of been at the gym in the first place). Thursday night I was hugging so tight on a heat pack in hope that it would distract me from the aches I was feeling down my legs. And, what is probably too much information, I had my first lot of laxatives this morning.

Far out brussel sprout!! The holiday is most definitely over!

I am feeling much better today, but I didn’t quite expect for the side effects to come on so fast. I am hoping the fatigue and anaemia (which I already have) comes later or not at all.

I am so lucky that this is all I have had to experience so far when it comes to side effects. Every time I open Facebook I am faced with another friend experiencing much worse.

This week I am only at the hospital for a blood test and a check in with my oncologist, and the following week it is treatment again. I am still pinching myself that I actually got on this trial. I hope this treatment is going to give me what Keytruda gave me almost three years ago – time!