Paul Lockyer
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Chemotherapy starts today

Paul Lockyer
Posted by
30 Nov 2015

An abridged insight into my treatment & chemo.

Came to hospital early today for chat with the Doctor prior to my treatment, he spoke to us about my condition & re-assured me that I was going to be given the best treatment & chance, he had some literature to read about my condition & the Campath chemotherapy I would be receiving. 

Having to deal with T-Cell Leukaemia was bad enough but reading that the average life expectancy for this disease was around sixteen months was't the best. 

Exactly how long I had been ill was unknown so had the clock already been ticking was my first thought. This made me more determined to survive this ordeal, something I am still doing.

My wife & I were taken into meet the Senior Nurse & she provided us information on the help I could expect to get if & where needed. She entered my details into my "treatment diary" something I had to bring with me when ever I visited the hospital.

Off to the Haematology Day Unit, this was going to be big part of our lives for the next four to five months. It was busy with patients being treated in big comfy chairs.

The nursing staff & patients were all very friendly which helped us to relax immediately. You could help yourself to tea, coffee & cold drinks as & when. The fridge always had sandwiches & yoghurt in, there were bananas on the side sometime biscuits if we were lucky.

Hooking up my PICC line to the drip & pump my first dose of chemo had begun, slowly to begin with to prevent any reaction. The PICC line had been fitted during my first week, a small incision was made in my arm the tube run through my veins & close to my heart. This gives the chemotherapy the best chance. I settled down plugged my earphones in & within minutes I was pushing up Zzzzz. 

Estimates were that I would need twelve to sixteen weeks of chemo, three times a week ! In fact I eventually received fifty seven doses. I tolerated it quite well I think overall, a few set backs along the way but you have to expect that. 

Radiography & Ultrasound were the departments for me to be introduced to, I was having trouble with breathlessness & digesting my food. No time wasted they soon found out the causes.

Ascites & plural fluid were complications I could have done without, my stomach would swell after a few days & I had to be admitted to hospital on several occasions for this to be dealt with. I had around twenty five litres of fluid drained during this period, it also provided me with the "lowest point". 

Pentostatin was prescribed for me to beat/treat this, it was to be given alongside the Campath once a month. Initially four times & if good progress was made then a total of eight.

Yes!! After fifty seven doses of chemotherapy I had finally reached remission. A big mile stone which meant we could move on to the next phase in my treatment, the bone marrow transplant.

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Paul this is a brilliant summary of chemo. I can't believe that you managed to get through 57 rounds of chemo with so few complications. You're clearly made of some very stern stuff indeed!

Thank you so much for everything you're doing to help raise awareness through these blogs. It's so important for others to be able to read from people who have been through something similar and are now well especially when the initial prognosis can look very bleak indeed.

All the best going forwards - I look forward to reading your next blog installment.



I can't say it was a breeze but I wasn't ever going to lose my hair (l had already ordered my Elvis wig !). People have said since about their cycles of treatment where they have chemo for a couple of weeks then have a break, as mine was every other day l didn't have time for ups & downs. Also l think the fact we made laughter throughout helped. Did you notice l managed to spell "CHEMOTHERAPY" with each first letter.


Hi Paul,

Great to hear from you as always! I would love to see a picture of you in an Elvis wig - one for another blog perhaps?

I remember when I was having my treatment they advised me to shave my head in advance of the chemo to avoid having to wake up with clumps of my hair on my pillow. I got my sister to do the ritual shaving and we still do it every year on transplant day to remind myself of what I went through and as a sign of solidarity to others still going through treatment.

My chemo was intense, too, so I didn't really experience the ups and downs of cycles either but I completely agree about the value of keeping a sense of humour and your spirits up. I did indeed notice you spelt chemo which rounded off a brilliant blog.

Hope you're well and looking forward to Christmas.