Curveball – another lump appears

22/02/19

Half term ongoing, chemo done on Wednesday, recovery working and its two days post chemo. Then BAM, lets destroy this little beautiful moment of half term, cub craziness, escape from work legitimacy. I am so f**king angry right now, so cross, so furious. Having my lie in today (we take it in turns in this house!) I laid awake listening too the cubs downstairs nattering away, cherishing my family and the love I have for them.

Later on (still just morning !) I’m in the shower and remembered to randomly check out the boobs (I still forget regardless of the journey I’m on).

Yep, another lump, is it a lump, no it’s not a lump, let me check again, yes, please no, stay in the shower – it’ll disappear, FML, this is not how I anticipated my morning turning out. It’s in the good boob (but the one that I had found the last lump in and turned out to be a cyst, they found the cancer in the other boob). Nooooooo.

I quadruple check before shouting the man cub in for a check. (Lets also be clear, romance is a little bit dead when you’re asking your OH to prod your boobs rather than anything else in the romantic angle). But yep, by the look on his face it’s definitely a lump. A lump that he can easily feel. A huge lump.

I can see us both sag under the weight of the knowledge. We can’t act like we did before. A lump can be more sinister now. I mean, it might not be, but we also are now well versed in the alternative bad news version. We don’t like that version. I can see in his eyes that he is working through all of his own pragmatism to deal with his own emotions as well as the fact he knows he’s going to have to deal with mine. This is so brutal. And it is Friday – we are heading into a weekend again with all likelihood that we aren’t going to get answers. It is an enormous lump. Huge. A bloody lump. Aaaaaaggghhhhhh. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it earlier? How did I not notice it earlier.

The self pity moment is destroyed by a small cub rocking into the bathroom shouting that she needs a poo. I mean, if there’s a more grounding experience needed I don’t know what could meet that criteria!!

Cub toilet functions dealt with and distracted with the million toys she possesses I ring my Pauline. The phone bounces and I end up speaking to some random Receptionist that listens to my woe and then decides to impart the knowledge that Pauline isn’t back in until Tuesday (work to be done on dealing with cancer patients here!!!). She does tell me that I can see Caroline (one of the other Breast Cancer Nurses) on Monday, but to be honest – as ridiculous as it sounds considering a lot of folk have now handled the boobs – I can’t deal with building another emotional attachment to an NHS member of staff while they deal with my boob area. I make the call that I’ll wait an extra day. I ask for a call back from Pauline on Tuesday. It is Friday. I need to wait until Tuesday. Three full days stretch out in front of me as I put the phone down.

My pragmatic head is staying in a good place. This is a cyst. Has to be. I’m in the middle of goddamn chemotherapy that is killing all good cells in my body along with the bad ones. There is no way this can be bad.

My devil on the other shoulder is messing with me. Could it really be cancer again. What if it hadn’t been detected in the numerous ultrasounds, MRI’s, scan’s, feels, and its just been slowly growing away. What if it has grown through chemo and is aggressive. Is this my life now – every slight lump, every pain in my body, every niggle that is a bit random – will I relate it to cancer? My likely answer at this point is yes. And this frustrates me more than anything (will talk to the clinical psychologist about this). I have never been a person to immediately go to worse case scenario, I don’t believe in wasted emotions on something that ‘might not’ happen. It’s a waste of time in my old opinion. So now that I am in a head spin I am telling myself off at the same time as bottling up everything and trying to have a normal weekend which is stretching out in front of me like a wasteland.

Two hours later I also make the decision with the man cub that we aren’t going to tell anyone about this latest development. We are hunkering down and going to deal with this ourselves. There is no way I can put the parentals, wider family and friends through this uncertainty. I appreciate I didn’t put any of them through the waiting game the first time, I certainly, definitely, defiantly can’t put them through it now.  The last time I had to tell everyone an outcome that I never thought would be words out of my mouth. It would seem perverse to put them through the waiting game this time if there is no need. We decide we can do this.

While appreciating it is going to be a long three full days until I even get to speak to Pauline, I pull the big girl pants on and whack a smile on the face. We have a family catch up with the man cubs side tomorrow, and a catch up with my friends who have also been going through their own cancer journey on Sunday for a lovely lunch and at no point can we tell any of them, give anything away about our turmoil, or be any less than our usual cancer living selves.

I also suddenly realise that I have my clinical psychologist appointment on Monday. I so feel like cancelling at this moment. But maybe this might be exactly what I need.

We have this. We’ve got to have this.

Fifth chemo – lets be having you…

19/02/19

I got my fifth card from my gorgeous colleague in the chain of chemo cards. ‘It is what it is, and what it is is shit’. Couldn’t have put it better myself. And the beautiful message to build me up is what I need. I appreciate these cards more than she will ever know. I am so apprehensive for tomorrow and need to get my big girl pants on. I’m already thinking about side effects and how quick they may kick in. All the while I am getting so tired. These drugs are certainly breaking me down, so I’ll hope that they’re doing the amazing job they are supposed to and wiping out any naughty cells that might be still lurking.

But tonight we have had a lovely evening pre chemo. It is half term and we have dispatched the cub to the parentals for the evening, so decided to have a cheeky walk down to the pub, beat the man cub at pool while we waited for food in the bar (we moved out of the normal bar area as it was going to be quiz night and we ain’t that clever!). I managed to taste my food (before taste disappears tomorrow again) and we had a lovely evening reconnecting. We laughed and laughed, then froze on the brisk walk back home. Which is where we discovered (for probably only the fifth time as cub never stays out) that we don’t know how to be empty nesters anymore! So had another drink and felt a bit naughty!!

20/02/19

Fifth chemo – lets be having you. Wake up crazy early and wait for the alarm to signal that the day has actually started and we need to do this. It was the Oncologist appointment first today and we both anticipated it might well be a joke again. True to form, it was. I did actually see the lady Doctor, who I have distinctly gone off, who did actually give me some more information about the next stage. It will likely start in April, four to five weeks after the end of chemo. Then twenty days (not weekends!!) of being blasted for five to ten minutes and I’ll do a two hour round trip for the pleasure! Five minutes later we were headed for the chemo ward. Not really equipped with knowledge, but some timeline at least.

On the ward, we grabbed a corner seat (different one! We like to be rebels!) and the day continued to be a bit shit. My veins weren’t playing and after the second go, there was slight panic in the man cubs eyes which was mirroring my inner panic. I couldn’t get this far and end up not getting the damn drugs into my body. Two chemo left and I needed these veins to pull one last miracle for me. Third nurse worked a charm a finally got the needle in. I thanked all the gods at that point.

Then a mother and daughter entered and started rearranging the furniture for the daughter and her mate who was due. As the man cub and I rolled our eyes and thanked our lucky stars that I was halfway through getting the drugs dripped through. Eavesdropping, I remembered that I am very lucky – the daughter mentioned to the nurses that she had ten attempts to get a vein before she was fitted with a ‘port’, (still not googling so not 100% here), where something is placed just below the chest skin and the needle is pushed through the skin into this. It took everything I had not to wince as the nurses rammed a needle straight through that girls chest. I’m going to keep being grateful.

As the last bag of saline was hooked up to me, we had to endure a last half hour chat that you literally can’t unhear. The point where one of the girls was discussing emailing her consultant and subject header was ‘MUST READ’, I decided that I must be a sweetheart of a patient. I turn up, I ask very few questions, I do what I’m told and I’m ultimately compliant! In some ways this could be naïve and but I’ve chosen to adore the NHS for what it is doing for me and take the ride in their hands. I might change my mind when I Google later on, but for the moment I’ll trust all the health care professionals who are a lot better equipped and knowledgeable than I am. I also have a word with myself as we leave; who am I to judge someone else going on this hellish journey. She may well be justified and have a consultant that is the equivalent of my oncologist, slightly useless in the patient concern but also extremely clever. If she wants someone to ‘READ’ her email, why am I sat here rolling my eyes. I’m leaving the ward winding my neck in (and for a sleep until the cub gets dropped off!).

We’re still both all over this, taste is going already, but I’ve got this and only got to have one more chemo! Lets do it!!

The curiosity of children.

13/02/19

This is a really tricky one to write. I have struggled with what has happened today, how I dealt with it, how I continue to deal with it and how I help my beautiful soul of a cub deal with it.

I waffle, lets get back to what today dealt me. I went back to work after my seven days of isolation, following my fourth (brutal change of drug) chemo. Over half way and I am slowly getting more tired, more wallowing self pity, more side effects kicking in, more visible roughness! But today I made it into work. I bussed in, walked up a mighty bank (and thought I may need a nap at the top!) and was actually functional (I mean – more functional than I have been over the last few days!). The poorly eye situation has kicked in though – where they were dry before, they now feel like they could weep constantly. I also realised that eyelashes do a very important job – and while I did do GCSE Biology, and fully understand the concept of why we have eyelashes, it’s only when you don’t have them that you realise the amazing job they do. Keeping dust and particles out of your eyes, protecting from breeze and preventing sleepy gunk from sticking your eyelids together is certainly something that I never thought I would suddenly appreciate!!

After a long, meeting filled day, I returned to normal mama duties and went with the man cub to pick the cub up from after-school club. All innocent as per usual, and I had my woolly hat on as haven’t quite braved dealing with the mix of children that make up after-school club and the questions that my cub may get from a range of children up to the age of eleven.

Tonight though, I was tossed a curveball. While persuading the cub to ‘come off the stage’ (!!) where she was strutting about to some music with a friend, she jumped down to a half level stage to give me a hug. At that moment, her friend asked both of us why I was wearing a woolly hat indoors. My immediate response was that it was chilly. My cub (in her gorgeous innocence) went one step further and while whipping the hat off my head, proudly proclaimed that it was also to keep my head warm. At that point I had no where to turn!

And while I had been open about my baldness at a previous childs party with the cub (assuming that parents would have conversations if needed), no children had reacted the way that I observed next. As I rescued the cubs bag and coat from the storage boxes, I turned just in time to witness that my cub was being dragged backwards while frantic whispering was underway. She looked uncomfortable, she walked away without answering whatever was being asked of her, and she was quiet in the walk out to the car. I was fizzing.

Checking in with her in the car, I asked what her friend was chatting to her about – keeping it casual – she responded that they had been asking why I had no hair and it was strange, but she said that I had been poorly so that was why. My poor heart broke somewhat. My baby girl, my cub, my only child is having to deal with playground craziness already. And she rocked it!!

Later this evening, talking it through with the man cub, we have discussed how cubs behave and accepting that they are all different and I don’t want to cause any issues with how this played out. I think my issue with how this did pan out was with the way my cub wasn’t quite prepared for the weird questions. The open ones are fine – she copes with those with her mamas pragmatism – she is honest, she states facts; what she didn’t cope with was sly, weird backhanded whispers.

I’m all good with the kids asking questions. I’m all good with the parents asking questions. I really am. I want people to know now (I mean its hard to miss the differences to how I look, so why not make something of it and spread the word to prevent anyone else having to deal with a worse fate). But what I am baffled by with the five year olds is the polar opposite approaches by them about how I look. The cub has never flinched  but she wouldn’t, her mama is still here and giving her hugs! I’d imagine that some other cubs have asked the question behind closed doors, but also that sensible conversations have also happened following those questions! I’ve had some of the other kids from the cubs class ask whether I had my hair cut off at the hairdressers and why I had it cut off – and I sat down with them and mentioned I had been poorly so had to have my hair cut. They asked whether it would grow back and then said it was shorter than theirs (the boys!) and all of this was fine. I sat down, I was as open as I would ever be with someone elses child while still being honest and truthful in front of my cub.

That is the difference though – genuine curiosity versus being a tinker (they are still five). My heart breaks for my wonderful, caring, accepting cub. School, friendships, trials and tribulations of being five are still a minefield and she is having to deal with my ‘visual’ differences and explain them when she shouldn’t bloody have too. Aaaaagh.

As a family we have this now, my cub has this, my man cub has this and I have this. We’ll make it!

Decisions made and eyelashes lost!

08/02/19

Well I’ve done it. I’ve informed the man cub and the parentals of my decision too officially postpone my birthday. I don’t want to celebrate when I’m not my best like I’ve already said. Remembering my last big birthday (god, it really doesn’t feel ten years since my 30th!), I had the loveliest of days. I had a lovely meal with twenty of my nearest and dearest. We went to a small rural pub, had a lovely meal, then (after the parentals were dispatched home) I watched the end of the Six Nations as its always falls that weekend and might have had to be carried into a taxi home. A perfect day and night.

I know it’s another milestone in my life, but I just don’t feel like there is much to celebrate at the moment. I am tired. I am feeing like this isn’t the celebration that I anticipated or want. I’ll be like the Queen this year and pick another day once this journey is over to celebrate properly. I’ll do all the cards and presents then, so it feels like a celebration. But I just can’t focus on anything else but this journey at the moment and I’m parking everything else in my life. I am also sliding full on into another cold and cough, along with a spectacular taste in my mouth that is rendering all food substances to be in the yak category.

09/02/19

So this new drug – Docetaxal – is a real treat. Who would have known that where FEC took my head and bodily body hair, Docetaxal would take my eyelashes and eyebrows. It has made me so sad again. After a look in the bathroom mirror, properly, for the first time in a while I realised that I have one lonely eyelash left on my lower right eye. My eyes are puffy (steroid aided) and I am feeling the most unattractive version of myself. I’m no supermodel normally, but at least I looked well. I now look like the roughest version of myself and its not great.

All of this is not helped by the fact that I have the migraine from hell, helpfully assisted by the hacking cough. It’s a fully blown migraine that I haven’t dealt with the likes since being a hormonal teenager. By 1pm I have begged the man cub to go and find me any drugs that will alleviate this. I have been on the chemo line with it being Saturday and because of my temperature being ok, legal drugs seems to be the only way forward. This wallowing self pity is tiring.

11/02/19

So my second appointment today with my clinical psychologist. Still feels weird saying that out loud. We did some meditation today to try and centre my thinking on just breathing and shutting everything else out. This kind of mindfullness can be used to recentre my thoughts and can be used at any time. It was the most bizarre experience, and again – while my pragmatic head ‘gets it’, I just really struggle with this. I am so far out of my comfort zone and it feels strange that while my body is fighting something it never thought it would have too, my mental health is having its own internal fight.

Old school me would have ran a million miles from a bit of meditation, ran out of the door of a clinical psychologists, laughed in the face of anyone who suggested I might need mental health direction and scoffed at the idea that I couldn’t ‘cope’. Coping with the challenges of chemotherapy and side effects that it has caused (regardless of knowing pragmatically that it is short term) I have understanding of how meditation could be helpful (not sure how effective I will be with that!), I have stepped twice in through the door to meet CP, I won’t laugh in the face of anyone who suggest I need mental health support (I promise), and seven months into a cancer journey I never anticipated I would have – I might finally say I’m coping a bit less well than I ever have been.

That doesn’t sit well with me though. I’ve never been one to admit I don’t cope. I am stubborn and under stress I shut down, shut help out and soldier on. Nine times out of ten I will succeed in whatever it is I’ve set my mind too, and I don’t think those odds are bad especially since I am now getting old!! Problem is that, while I have ‘coped’ externally so far with the diagnosis of cancer, the operations, the recovery, and three doses of FEC drug which caused me to lose my hair; the latest round of Docetaxal has brought me too new lows and as my body feels like it is submitting in the fight, my head and thoughts are also submitting in the fight. It’s harder to be positive, to say out loud that I’m coping and to believe it.

But deep down I still have this. And I will keep going.

Normality has up and left the building!!

04/02/19

Wallowing self pity continuing today. Last night the cub must have known her mama was off, and she appeared at 2am with a torch. She was promptly dispatched to her own bed but reappeared ten mins later to check that it was a firm no! It was a firm no, which probably threw her as usually I cave first time so she was likely confused and thought the second time would be a winner. In reality and hindsight, I should have just done what I always do, let her crawl in, then I crawl out and into her bed. As 3am and I was in a weird trippy version of myself, business planning and strategising cancer – you couldn’t make it up!!

After escaping to the sofa to give the man cub some uninterrupted sleep, the alarm went off for work when I was mid planning!! Yep – work was sacked off. Dispatched the cubs and returned to my actual bed. Woke up midday and the parentals arrived with flowers and a shelf to put up! That’s what they do!! My mam does flowers, my dad does practical!

I was a proper grouch (thankfully they have to put up with me, so I’m probably at my worst behaviour with them as I know they have to love me no matter what – childish behaviour I know).

The day then ended in hilarity when the cubs returned. The small cub came in and hid her mouth while telling me she had lost her tooth. Her first one. My first thought was that she was fibbing as she is a wind up merchant, but no, hand moved away to remove a gaping gap in the middle of her lower set of teeth and it wasn’t even the full on wobbly one. She then proceeded to explain how it was lost – eating a freeby apple in Tescos and she’d swallowed the bugger. Her first tooth and she’d swallowed it. Too be honest, that had me laughing more than anything as she’s definitely our daughter!!! No bloody luck! After sneaking in to play tooth fairy duties after the cub had shouted loudly at bed time to the fairy so she knew (we’re tight and a single gold coin was all the cub got – to be fair she’d have been happy with a chocolate one) I admitted to the man cub why he had been in Tescos in the first place.

I had caved about the food taste situation and posted on the FB group what food I might actually enjoy this afternoon. I was miserable about the loss of taste buds and it appears that it isn’t going to get any better on docetaxal, probably going to get worse, and the list of food items that might assist in getting me through were:

Thai Green Curry

McDonalds

Lemon curd

Greggs

Space Raiders

Rice Crispies

Chicken kievs, beans and chips with vinegar

Salt & Vinegar crisps

Ice Cream

Sweet Chilli Crisps

Curry

Strong Cheddar on Toast

Vimto

Now, bread has tipped me over the edge – I could actually gag like a child on it, so half of these items are already on the ban list. I also don’t think crisps, cereal or hangover burgers are going to do the trick. Which leaves me with curries and ice cream. I mean, if there’s a plus side to this crazy I’ll eat that every day!! So I had messaged the man cub late afternoon to attack Tescos and get me chilli crisps and I was already planning on a chicken chilli noodle soup (usually a firm favourite this house) to see if I could kick start any pleasure in eating food.

After I had performed tooth fairy duties I ate the soup (yak), tried bread with the soup (super yak), pinched a bit of chocolate cookie to see if that could nail some taste (yak), chocolate rolls (equally yak) and then I tried some liquorice twists (something I added to the list myself as a strong aniseed taste that might break the barrier of awfulness) – yep, liquorice twists is what I am going to live on for the next nine weeks. Yay!

05/02/19

I am back on the chemo ward early doors. Had a phone call yesterday to ask me to come in and recheck my bloods. I mean, if they weren’t good last week, they gave me chemo so god help me. If they were borderline – aaaaagh – how do manage to keep it going for the next two if its that bad. But lets remember I had been poorly with the cold, so I’m sat in the waiting room at 8am, confident as, but literally falling asleep in the chair. The Unit doesn’t open until 9am and I feel like part of the furniture by the time I rock in to see the girls. Bloods taken, platelets are ok, neurolites (making these words up but I still won’t google so that’s what it sounded like!) are close to ok (good side of ok but also close to not ok). But I left in the knowledge I had made round 4 and I just needed to be really well for round 5 and 6.

After a mile walk back to work in the frosty morning I made my way through the day with my lovely colleagues who always welcome me back with open arms. And I finally was honest in my responses when I was caught off guard when I went to get coffees (to keep the eyes open). I finally admitted that I wasn’t ‘OK’, my stock response normally. I’ve been broken down to the stage where I need to admit this, and maybe this is the realisation that I need help. I know that everyone understands, everyone has probably expected it for longer than I have, no-one is judging me. But I still struggle with it, I still view this as failure on my part. I am never this low and I’m unsure now if there is a lower level this chemo will take me.

But I have my lovely CP who will ‘fix me’! And I have this. I am determined to have this.

Procrastinating at its finest ……

31/01/19

There is no going back to previous life after a cancer diagnosis.

Believe me, I am procrastinating now like an absolute pro. I appreciate its absolutely ridiculous. I am now in my isolation long weekend after my fourth chemo blast, which leaves me a long time on my own while the man cub and cub are out at work and school. This time alone is not helpful for my mental health to be honest. And trying to work from home is getting harder and harder. While previously I loved a good day working from home and knocked doors out of windows, I have now lost all desire and motivation as I am tired and spend too much of my time dwelling on this bloody situation.

I have tried reading my ‘Happiness’ book today and while a bit of it resonated, I still can’t deal with it fully. I know that I need to make some changes in my thinking, but hey – I’m a good few years into my life and its difficult to change my lifetime pragmatic thinking habits! I know I need to change this thinking for the next few days, weeks, months and years as I can’t sustain this craziness, but I am finding it really hard to actually commit to the change I know I need to do. In my previous life (pre cancer diagnosis) I would have found this beyond hard to accept and take on board, and that was when I had a clearer head. I probably would have scoffed at the ideas raised around negative thinking – to be fair, I didn’t have the negative thinking to deal with.  Post cancer diagnosis, I am finding this beyond challenging.

Post cancer diagnosis irretrievably changes you. There is no going back to headspace that was just full of managing three diaries. I would like to go back to those days now.

The only way I can equate the change in mind-set is that of becoming a carer of a child. If you don’t have children, you have amazing lie ins, get drunk when you want, go out when you want and have no big deals to worry about. Then a cub arrives and wham bam, lie ins are a beautiful dream; drunkenness isn’t good craic when you have to wake up early; every outing requires a thought of change clothes, bottled water, snacks, fruit, sunglasses, woolly hats etc; and worry for another human being multiplies beyond control.

Post cancer diagnosis is similar, where before I managed three diaries, flapped about uniforms and work clothes being washed and ironed, dealt with mama guilt on a daily basis (especially on a Friday when she is sometimes last in after-school club as we don’t have the luxury of finishing early), and shouting when I shouldn’t have shouted because I was tired. Post cancer, I have to factor in an additional diary of hospital appointments, still get the washing and ironing done while feeling a bit crappy, attempting to do my paid work badly, doing mama guilt in a different way – that this damn cancer may take me too soon, and shouting in frustration.

So in other words – I would really like to return to uncomplicated life pre cancer as post cancer isn’t great and I have a cub that needs me so I already have enough to deal with.

02/02/19

Man cub and I are happy with the start of the Six Nations last night, the cub is happy as it’s snowing and yesterday was a cheeky Inset day so no school (which meant she thought 5:30am was an acceptable time to start the day!! We’ve managed to go sledging today and while it was lovely to make more memories and fill my phone up again with a few more photos and videos I was still in a weird head space. My body is starting to feel more tired now – a short walk to our favourite sledging hill had me wiped. After making a snowman (albeit a mini one as I didn’t have the energy to crawl about making a big one), I feel guilty. I have fought so far with a lot of grit and determination and now it feels like I’m giving up the fight as I am so tired.

03/02/19

3:00am and I am in some weird steroid trip where my body isn’t my own and I feel like  am actually floating out of bed and above my body. I am hallucinating and feel like I’m on an acid trip (I mean I’m guessing – I’ve never actually had an acid trip!). It was a long  night where I didn’t ever feel like I slept. And by god, I’m sure the cub knows as she’s being proper clingy – mama, mama, mama – every two minutes. In turn I have been snappy and irritable. I still managed to boss the Sunday jobs – washing, dishes, ironing, Sunday dinner, pudding – and not fall over.

I’m getting bored already of my pity parties now. I didn’t want to change, I didn’t want this diagnosis. Now I have it I’m not quite sure how to move forward. We were talking last night about those who have similar diagnosis to me (Triple Negative) and don’t take on chemotherapy and radiotherapy as actually the ‘cancer’ has been removed. Words can be linked to that – confident/brave/assured/stupid/naïve/regretful – who am I to judge? At some points so far in this chemo journey I’d happily get off the train and say I want to end the journey now. I haven’t and I know I won’t but I daren’t dwell too much on it as an option as I may well take a assured/naïve choice!

But I did make a decision tonight. My birthday is next month – the big 40 (ssssshhh don’t tell anyone!) – and I do not want to ‘celebrate’ two days after my last chemo. I appreciate that probably is also worth a celebration but I will feel like crap and I just can’t see how I will enjoy anything properly. I want to taste a lovely meal, I want to feel good, I want to have enough energy to be excited all day long and I want to have a bloody good drink! I also want to smile, laugh and guffaw without it being forced and masking my pain. And if I already feel on the floor at 4th chemo, how will I feel two days after 6th chemo. Nope – birthday is being rearranged. Not cancelled (my family won’t forgive me!), but rearranged to a date where I can do all that I want too and feel fabulous. I just need to explain that to everyone and hope they understand. Fingers crossed my mama and the man cub get on board!!

I’m still fighting this, I have to. I and I have got this – just with a looser grip than I usually have.

 

4th chemo coming at me with a change of drugs…

29/01/19

I mean, regardless of the fact I saw the clinical psychologist on Monday I am still doing my own head in today about the change in chemo drugs from tomorrow. I’d kind of got used to the FEC, I know it ruined a few veins, has made my eyes weird, lost my hair (won’t quite forgive it for that), but all in all I haven’t been too bad. Now I move onto the ‘T’ part of the regime, which is strange as its called docetaxal but I guess FEC-D doesn’t have the same ring as FEC-T!

I think what’s worrying me is that as I wasn’t that floored with the FEC, this is where I am going to be floored. Where has my bloody pragmatism gone?I I am struggling with these thoughts, and  I finally said out loud to colleagues at work ‘I am struggling’. I have spent all morning procrastinating, attending meetings, avoiding wok that needs dealing with, emails falling apart and all I can do is think about tomorrow. What is bloody wrong with me?

To add to the chemo joy tomorrow, I also have the follow up Genetics appointment to see if I have the dodgy gene. I am actually a lot more pragmatic about that to be honest, I can deal with that like the original lump situation – it isn’t a thing yet, so don’t make it a thing. Its just this actual bloody cancer that is throwing my head about.

We follow our usual ritual of having a couple of drinks before chemo tomorrow as the man cub doesn’t have work, and we relax our way into the routine. Everything will be ok and we chat through it like we usually do. Then BAM, 9pm and I suddenly realised I had bloody steroids to take (its even written on the calendar) from 9am this morning – I had missed a bloody dose. F**k, f**kety, f**k. I am in a blind panic and I don’t know what to do, will they delay my chemo tomorrow? Will I have to live this bloody day again? Should I not tell them?! After a good half hour panic, I posted on the secret FB group and joy of joys I got positive feedback – it’s more than likely that I will just get an IV tomorrow of additional steroids which will prolong the time I’m in there, but unlikely to be cancelled. Thank god for that. I go to bed still reeling but happier that tomorrow is going ahead (pragmatist all the way!).

30/01/19

Fourth chemo – I am coming for you! Well, I didn’t feel that chirpy this morning but I’m ready for it. Straight into chemo ward (I say ward – I hate it, its so bad and we try and hog a corner seat so I don’t have to socialise) and I admit to the beautiful nurses that I missed steroids yesterday, so as anticipated they need to give me an extra IV. But I have more drama to deal with first – my platelets in my blood taken on Monday are borderline, I need to have that checked before I can even start. The man cub and I have a chuckle as of course we have a hiccup and an unexpected one at that! Thankfully, by 9.15 bloods were a go. Then the next hiccup!!! The veins weren’t playing and took three goes and two nurses to try and get the bloody needle in – then we started. I sent the man cub off half way through the morning as he was practically snoring and he got my fourth card in the collection from my lovely colleague at work. When he brought it back I opened it and absolutely burst out laughing (honest, I’m going to get a banning order on this ward!!). It was so perfect in tone and appropriate to my mood:

‘Your love of stiff cocktails and hard drugs has gone a little too far this time…’

The very fact that I was hooked up to the scary hard drugs, that I had dreaded this change, made me chuckle. (Just to clarify, I do like a stiff cocktail but not any other hard drugs!).

Finally, after the cold new drugs had entered, we were done by midday (bit panic as Genetics appointment at 1pm) and headed to the next hospital. I was numb by this point and just wanted to get it over and done with and get on with my afternoon. We popped into the shop to grab food and I stared for a long time at a prawn sandwich – why is it that you want what you can’t have – even sandwiches are defeating me at the moment.

After resorting to a ham and cheese (NOT a substitute by the way), scoffed in the car, we entered the next hospital in the queue today and waited for the appointment in a sterile corridor with lots of signs about dementia (it’s a community hospital). Thankfully the crazy woman who had talked at us last time was absent, replaced by a smiling, lovely woman who didn’t mess about and got straight to the point.

‘You don’t have the BRAC gene’.

And just like that, this part of the journey is done. Two minutes later, after some advice about my sister and cub being checked as they reached certain age points, we were walking back out of the hospital. I think we were stunned. I was in a bit of a daze at this point – so no dodgy genes means that I don’t have to consider a mastectomy, I also don’t need to consider a hysterectomy (chances of Ovarian Cancer are raised with the BRAC gene) , so in reality I now just need to deal with the drugs and radiotherapy. The belt and braces to ensure that no little pesky cells remain in my body. I guess I feel like the fight is now all on my body to do and I don’t quite have any control over that.

But this is a good day. I am happy, I don’t have to make more decisions, I just need to keep going with the chemo, the radio, and then recovery. I’ve got this. I really have!!