Sunday, 21 June 2015

My First Blood Transfusion

When I'm not regularly visiting QMC for chemotherapy, I have a community nurse that visits me at home to take a blood sample to be tested for a range of different things. This day I was feeling ill like I would before I was diagnosed and had a headache, and sure enough the sample showed I had a low red blood cell count and that I needed a blood transfusion. This was on Friday the 12th and it was organised that I would be going to Lincoln County (my local hospital) early on Saturday to have a sample taken to be matched with the correct blood type.
This was then sent to Sheffield to be matched, and then the blood was sent back to Lincoln to be transfused. I've always wanted to know what blood type I am, O+ as it turns out, so for me that was a bonus. I had to have 2 and a half units transfused that was calculated by my weight and blood count, which took around 7 and a half hours meaning it finished at 1.30am. Although I was tired, I could feel the benefit as the headache I had started to go after the first unit.
My consultant made it clear from the start that it was almost certain I would need a transfusion, and probably more than one, but the nurses made it as pleasant as possible for me, so I'm not worried if I need another. Plus I did get a McDonald's out of it at 9pm- bonus!
The only thing that annoys me is that I can't thank the people who donated the blood that I had transfused. They don't know how much of an impact they had on me. I imagine it's the same for someone who had a transplant, although that is much more extreme. It really made me feel less lethargic and more like myself, which is something I have been missing so much, and something that I had forgotten what it felt like. What I don't think people know is how much blood is given to people who haven't lost a lot of blood, I certainly didn't, so it was definitely a learning curve for me.
Giving blood can have a massive impact on so many people and their families, so if you can give blood, please do consider it.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Accepting things will be different... for now.

The last few days have not been good at all, but being honest that that is what they are and accepting that it won't be forever helps me to get through them.
I've been so tired - now usually I like sleep but having 15-16 hours a night and still feeling like you could do with a nap about 4pm is actually very annoying. I expected to feel a bit more like myself but I feel like an elderly version of what I was before I started my treatment. But I've accepted that that is ok.
I'm not expected to carry on as if nothing has changed, and my family and friends have certainly helped so that always have someone to talk to or someone I can ask to get me anything I need.
I describe days like these as 'Betty' days, days where I feel older and weak. I spend days like these doing a great deal of nothing at all. I don't get dressed, I stay in pyjamas and the only goal I have for the day is to get out of bed and come downstairs. Staying in bed all day doesn't help, and I have only spent one full day in bed when I was really struggling to walk.
It's only temporary, and as I'm now on my second cycle of chemotherapy and not back at the hospital until Tuesday, I'm hoping I will feel better by the end of this week - fingers crossed:)