A toxic cocktail
I’m awake and out of bed before 5am every day; it drives my wife mad. I’m convinced my lazy gene was destroyed, along with my tumour, by the gallons of cancer drugs which were pumped into my body for nearly two years.
I did my best not to sleep when I was in hospital too. Each night I shut my eyes, wondering if I’d open them again in the morning. When I did sleep, I was terrorised by a recurring nightmare; another reason for not wanting to sleep.
The relief each morning when I woke, that I was alive and the nightmare couldn’t haunt me until the following evening, was instantly spoilt by the realisation I was in hospital, receiving cancer treatment.
Before my Hickman line was fitted, I’d watch as two nurses wearing gloves and protective glasses prepared the toxic chemicals. Just the sight of them entering the room got my heart racing.
My body would stiffen and I’d look away as the tourniquet was tightened around my arm. If I was lucky they’d find a vein first time, and insert a needle. This remained in place for hours, while a cocktail of drugs flowed into my body.
These drugs work by killing all the cells in my body, both good and bad. Unlike most cancer treatments today, 20 years ago treatment was considerably more primitive which is why cancer treatment has such a awful reputation today.
I’d feel rough, dizzy and flu like. I’d sweat and the lymph nodes in my neck would swell. Ultimately I’d be sick for hours, as these drugs started killing everything in their path. Side effects which have been all but eliminated with today’s cleverly formulated, highly personalised treatment.
Though no fault of my own, I endured two years of this almost medieval, torturous treatment. Again I stress treatment that is totally reformed and improved since my time.
So when I see people purchasing cigarettes, getting frustrated with staff for keeping them waiting, I feel entitled and well qualified to try and explain why what they’re doing is wrong. Clearly smokers are either dumb or dyslexic, if they can’t read the message on the side of the box. “Warning, Smoking Kills” or “Smoking causes Cancer.”
The sight of people smoking makes me angry. Hopefully it makes you angry too. These people are wasting resources of the cash-strapped NHS, and your hard-earned taxes are being wasted treating patients with self-imposed health conditions.
I’ve received messages from cancer sufferers, inspired by my story; telling me they’re going to continue their cancer treatment. Hopefully I can now educate and encourage smokers to quit, before cancer makes the decision for them. This is my reason to leap out of bed every morning.
Chris Geiger is an ambassador for Bristol’s ‘Above & Beyond’ hospital charity. To contact him, visit www.ChrisGeiger.co.ukTagged in: cancer, chemicals, Chemotherapy, nhs, nightmare, smoking, treatment
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