Below are details of my first time getting chemotherapy treatment at Guy's hospital (London). My first appointment was originally booked for today (10th November) at 10am, but yesterday afternoon I received a landline call from the hospital stating that my 10am appointment was only a provisional booking and that my official appointment is now booked for tomorrow (today, 10th November) at 11:30am.
As all calls and texts up to this point (over many weeks) have always been received on my mobile phone only, I found it strange to receive a landline call yesterday. Anyway, it turned out my appointment was for 10am today after all. With this experience it means I now double check any changed appointment by calling the chemotherapy department one day before that appointment supposed to happen, just for piece of mind and clarification.
After arriving at Guy's hospital at 11:30am today (10th November), and booking in at reception, the actual chemotherapy process did not start until 12:15pm; partly because they were expecting me at 10am, to the point they rang me half an hour earlier on my mobile phone to ask where I was.
Anyway, the first part of the process began by me confirming my Full Name and Date-Of-Birth before then being given Anti-Vommiting tablets. Luckily I was in time for lunch, so was given a drink, sandwich and jelly pudding. I mention this because, again in hindsight, you should eat something before leaving home or at least before taking your Anti-Vomitting tablets.
Furthermore, you need to drink plenty of liquids (such as tea, coffee and/or water) before the next part of the process - The Chloride cleansing process. Shortly after taking your Anti-Vomitting tablets, and in my case taking my diabetic tablets too (which I had brought along so I could clarify whether or not they could be taken during this first session of chemotherapy treatment), you will be given (injected with drip-by-drip) 1 Litre of a Sodium & Potassium Chloride solution. This basically flushes your system (i.e. kidneys) in preparation for your actual chemotherapy treatments.
The Chloride cleansing process normally takes 1 Hour for the drip bag to finish whereby in that time you are expected to flush out at least 500ml of urine before being given your actual chemotherapy treatments. In my case I could only flush out 250ml, which meant having to have another half litre of Sodium & Potassium Chloride solution injected into me. So altogether I had 1½ litres of Sodium & Potassium Chloride solution whereby I then flushed out another 500ml and was therefore able to start the Chemotherapy treatments.
The flushing process is to make sure your kidneys are functioning properly. With my second chemotherapy session and the others, I did not worry too much about urinating exactly or more than 500ml of urine simply because, with hindsight of the first chemotherapy session, I knew I would be urinating up to ten times after the flushing process.
In my case my chemotherapy treatment involved being injected for 2 hours, drip-by-drip, with Cispatin (Phase #3) and then 1 hour with Epioposide (Phase #4). These two chemicals try and attack cancer cells, breaking up their DNA sequence, in the hope they shrink the tumor (cancerous tissue growth) that is in and around my head and neck.
The final phase (Phase #5) involved being injected for 2 hours, drip-by-drip, with another solution of Sodium & Potassium Chloride. More time was needed for this phase because this time it really needed to flush out actual lethal toxins and other residues that could be left behind if not flushed out of my system properly.
As you can see: It takes up an whole day (around 8 hours at least, including travel time) for DAY #1 treatment of chemotherapy to be administered.
Before leaving the chemotherapy ward I was given Epioposide tablets to take on Days 2 and 3, 8 Filstagrim Syringes to inject on days 5 to 12, and various Anti-Vommitting Tablets to take from day 2 onwards; which are straight forward to take.
When you enter the chemotherapy village and book in, the receptionist will take your Blue Appointments Book off you (which was given to you on your Pre-Chemotherapy Consultation) and later give it to the head nurse of the chemotherapy ward looking after you. She will then give it back to you, before you leave the ward, with new appointment dates inside it.
When you take your Blue Book home again: You should fill in the Symptoms and Notes sections if/when you feel new symptoms and/or side-effects from your chemotherapy tablets for example, that you feel the head nurse may be able to take actions on in order to resolve their pains for example; preferably on your next chemotherapy visit.