Treatments for cancer include, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, hormonal therapies and biological therapies. See Macmillan for more information. The treatment which I received was a course of R Chop Chemotherapy. R-CHOP is named after the initials of the drugs used, which are, with links to more information at MacMillan:
- rituximab – is a monoclonal antibody
- cyclophosphamide – a chemotherapy drug
- doxorubicin a chemotherapy drug that has the chemical name hydroxydaunorubicin
- vincristine – a chemotherapy drug that was originally known as Oncovin®
- prednisolone – a steroid.
On the same day as my first cycle, just before the R-Chop chemotherapy was ready I was given anti-sickness (anti-emetic) drugs. I also began a five-day course of 100 mg per day of prednisolone tablets followed by 16 days of just 20mg of prednisolone. That made 21 days or three weeks for the cycle known as R-CHOP21. Other drugs I had to take were, 300mg Allopurinol, 305mg Ferrous Fumarate, 480mg Co-Trimoxazole, 900mg Valganciclovir,500mg Calcichew, 50mg Diflucan, 20mg Omeprazole, 5mg Odansetron, 15mg Metocloprimide, 10g Sodium Bicarbonate, 400mg Dipyridamole,.Sub Cut injection of Lenograstin. Some of these drugs were treatment for the kidney transplant which I had received.
After the rest period the same treatment was repeated again, which began the next cycle of my chemotherapy. Usually 6–8 cycles are given over a period of 3–4 months. I received 6 cycles which made up a course of treatment.
I found myself taking a lot of drugs and it was obvious that I had to have some organisation in order to make sure I took the right drugs at the right time and also to ensure that I had adequate stocks. With my partner we developed a simple chart with the drugs to be taken and the times on the left side of a sheet and days of the week across the top. I also took stock once a week to ensure that I had sufficient drugs in hand, I settled on ten days supply as being the re-order point and along with the pharmacy helping.by obtaing repeat prescriptions from my doctor I rarel found myself short of any drugs. Some drugs had to be taken 3 or 4 times a day others just once a day or even once per week. Reading the instructions on drugs was very important became second nature to me. I found that some HAD to be taken on an empty stomach, at least one hour before food and you could not lie down for at least 30 minutes. Other drugs HAD to be taken just before food or even just after food. Using the drug sheet to keep track of the different requirements was really useful and saved me from going totally mad.
As well as these treatments there are also what is known as complementary therapies, most often used by people like me with cancer. These therapies are used to to give support through cancer and its treatment. I had regular sessions of Reiki which I found to be effective on two levels. Firstly I found that it had a relaxing and calming effect and secondly it helped to make various pains more bearable with less drugs.