On Sundays, the TYA unit didn't open, so those of us who had treatments on that day would visit Adult Ambulatory Care. A tiny room off the main hall, staffed by about six nurses at a time, it quickly became crowded and chaotic - but the staff never made us feel like a bother, no matter how often we seemed to be in their way.

The sketch at the top of the page shows a bag of fluids being prepared for a fellow TYA visitor. (We seemed to be on the same treatment, and I often wondered if he was a Ewings kid too, but I never had the nerve to ask.) This little routine seemed important to record, as it was a massively important part of our treatment. Here's how it all worked:

One of the chemo drugs we were given, Ifosfamide, could potentially cause bleeding in the bladder. To protect us from this nasty side effect, we were given a "fluid backpack" which we carried 24/7, which helped to flush it out of our system. The backpack contained a 3L bag of fluid, which had to be changed each day when it ran dry. The nurses would take a bag of saline (salt water) and add in a drug called Mesna, which protects the bladder from irritation. The the fluid bag was carefully strapped into our backpack, and it ran for the next 24 hours.

My parents used to refer to the backpack as "my friend." I'd have to tuck it into my hotel bed beside me when I slept, and carry it to the toilet when I needed to go. Which, given I was having 3L of fluid pumped into me, as well as being encouraged to drink constantly, was a frequent occurence.

On Sundays, the TYA unit didn't open, so those of us who had treatments on that day would visit Adult Ambulatory Care. A tiny room off the main hall, staffed by about six nurses at a time, it quickly became crowded and chaotic - but the staff never made us feel like a bother, no matter how often we seemed to be in their way.

The sketch at the top of the page shows a bag of fluids being prepared for a fellow TYA visitor. (We seemed to be on the same treatment, and I often wondered if he was a Ewings kid too, but I never had the nerve to ask.) This little routine seemed important to record, as it was a massively important part of our treatment. Here's how it all worked:

One of the chemo drugs we were given, Ifosfamide, could potentially cause bleeding in the bladder. To protect us from this nasty side effect, we were given a "fluid backpack" which we carried 24/7, which helped to flush it out of our system. The backpack contained a 3L bag of fluid, which had to be changed each day when it ran dry. The nurses would take a bag of saline (salt water) and add in a drug called Mesna, which protects the bladder from irritation. The the fluid bag was carefully strapped into our backpack, and it ran for the next 24 hours.

My parents used to refer to the backpack as "my friend." I'd have to tuck it into my hotel bed beside me when I slept, and carry it to the toilet when I needed to go. Which, given I was having 3L of fluid pumped into me, as well as being encouraged to drink constantly, was a frequent occurence.