To Do List Before Chemotherapy: 1. Bank Sperm
So we were a week or two into January and my chemo was due to start at the beginning of February, I needed to square a few things away. Work have been amazing and nothing but supportive but there was some admin to do and lots of forms to fill out. I would be off work for the year because treatment was so intense. I started to prepare myself physically and mentally for the turmoil that was coming my way. I’ve always eaten extremely well but started to do research on what could help fight cancer. I would do anything that might help, and I mean anything!! I eat more turmeric than most Indian restaurants use a year, broccoli, cauliflower, green tea, tomatoes, leafy greens and as much other fruit and veg as possible. The majority of all this was in my diet anyway so I didn’t have to change it. My sister sent me some tea called Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed. It looks and sounds like something dodgy and tastes like muddy pond water, but I was chucking the stuff down me as it was supposed to have cancer fighting properties and even benefit the chemotherapy.
I also had to have a Hickman line put in. Its basically a tube that goes into my chest, under the skin, over my collar bone and down into a large vein above the heart. They use this to pump the chemotherapy drugs in and take blood out. When they put it in I couldn’t feel much but when I stood up the pillow and tissue under me was covered in blood! It was like a crime scene. This fucker would take a very long time to get used to and I’m counting down the days till they take it out. Because of this line I had to get used to sleeping on my back which was really annoying and I just laid their staring at the ceiling for hours most nights, but started to get used to it after about 3-4 months. It also stopped me from going in the sea for the first summer of my life which was another really frustrating thing I found hard to accept. There is nothing that helps clear my head like a dip in the sea. I had to learn how to drain blood from these lines and rinse them out with syringes to stop clots forming, this has been a weekly chore since January.
I also had to have a bone marrow sample taken to check the cancer hadn’t spread there. For this I had to lie on my side in a hospital bed (see pic below) while the Dr went to town on my pelvis behind me, and when I say go to town I mean she wasn’t far from getting a hammer to get into the bone. I was on gas for pain relief which was awesome. I haven’t had it before so didn’t know what to expect. I took as much as I could and got as high as a kite. I could just feel the metal mining equipment she was using scraping on the bony part at the bottom of my back under the kidneys. I was man handled shaking back and forth while she tried to get the needle through the bone and after 15 minutes of sucking on the gas like I was getting paid for it she finally got in. Afterwards she said it was the hardest bone she had ever come across so maybe they did inject me with Adamantium when they did the biopsy, that made me happy anyway and even better the results came back all clear. There was some much needed good news!
Mum maybe skip this next paragraph if you’re reading. Just a little heads up.
So the last and most important thing for me to do was a visit to the bank, and I don’t mean NatWest. I wouldn’t be withdrawing any deposits from this bank. This was very important as one day I want to have kids and the chemo drugs might make me infertile. More great news! I went twice to ensure I had as much jizz banked as possible and both times were equally shit. With everything going on and just finding out I had cancer, beating one out was the last thing on my mind. My libido would now disappear for a very long time. This was something important that needed to be done so down to business it was. The nurse showed me to the room of shame. It was just a toilet with a table and a chair covered in blue tissue. I wasn’t sure where to put my stuff down or the logistics of this. Sitting or standing…. There was some ‘material’ in a folder and luckily they looked brand new despite the questionable 80s haircuts, and I’m not talking about the hair on their heads. I don’t know the NHSs budget for pornography but I cant imagine its that high up the list. I hadn’t held a porno mag since I was about 15 so this was a novelty! No 3G either so my phone was rendered useless, damn. Old school it was.
So, I tried not to think about everything going on or all the staff and other patients thinking how much time I was taking. I didn’t want to look weird and walk out after a few minutes nor did I want to take so long someone would have to come and check on me, no one wanted that! After a while I finished off the least enjoyable tommy tank I have ever had and managed to aim the torrent of semen into the pot. Job done. Well, I was disappointed with the amount but it would have to do. When I got called in by the nurse they said my swimmers were perfectly healthy and they got 18 samples, that was so great to hear. A whole rugby team! Although I didn’t worry about it I did wonder if my boys were working or not, I think everyone does until they know for sure. They keep it frozen for ten years for free! What a bargain. After that there is a fee, so I have to pay rent to keep my baby gravy frozen. I Didn’t anticipate being distressed about this process but the thought of not having a baby naturally played on my mind quite a bit. I suppose we are all lucky we live in a time things like this are available.
So my to do list was now complete just in time to start chemotherapy in a few days. All these things were not enjoyable experiences, completely new to me and things I never thought I would do in my life let alone at my age.