I am SO excited I can barely contain myself. I’ve got a glass of shiraz next to me to keep me steady (though it’s a tiny bit cold). Here goes.
I saw the lovely Dr Stephen Houston, my consultant, this afternoon. He asked me how I’d got on since the first chemo on 18 November. Then he examined me (I am getting used to men and women I barely know having a good feel of the ol’ knockers now). And…the lump in my lymph node in my armpit has DISAPPEARED! And the big one in my breast is ALMOST GONE!!!! After ONE chemotherapy session! Oh. My. God. How amazing is that? That’s some powerful shit. No wonder I felt a bit rubbish!
I’ll just pause for a second so you can take that in. The combination of drugs I am on to treat my breast cancer is so effective that after one of six planned sessions, my tumours are, as Houston-We-Don’t-Have-A-Problem put it, ‘melting away’.
He’s usually cool as a cucumber, but he actually said. ‘Wow. That’s amazing. I’ve never seen anyone respond so much so quickly.’ Yay for me, A* patient or what? I half jokingly said, that’s all the visualisation I’ve been doing, and he said ‘no it isn’t, there’s been studies done on the effects of visualisation on your immune system and it makes no difference’. So I said: ‘No, it’s not that: I’ve been visualising the chemo and the other drugs being strong, powerful, beneficial things that my body will allow to work, rather than seeing them as scary and toxic’. And even the arch-scientist agreed that that is important.
He also said that he was really pleased when he saw I’d randomly drawn the particular combo of drugs I’m on for the trial, because the guy who invented Herceptin prefers to pair it with carboplatin chemo as they seem to work more synergistically together than other chemo drugs. This was good to hear, and a bit weird, because for some reason I was overjoyed when my Wonder Nurse Celia told me which arm of the trial I would be having. I had just felt drawn to it, no idea why, but it seems things really are happening perfectly for me.
I asked what the implications were for the plan for my surgery to include removing my lymph nodes under my arm, and he said they’d have to monitor it as we go along, but it’s possible not as much will have to be removed as originally assumed. Hurray! This is potentially great news too, as it might mean a quicker recovery period. (I’d started to fret this week about the surgery as my gorgeous friend N’s mummy has just had her underarm lymphs out and can’t drive for six weeks, and I just cannot see how things will work with the kids at school and nursery and Andy at work in another town. But still. Let’s take each thing as it comes).
Tigger then bounced out, very happy with the results, and all of a sudden I felt really emotional and had to have a Special Celia Hug in the consulting room. Once I stopped welling up, I felt elated, and haven’t stopped smiling since. I came home to tell DH the news and he was in tears. It’s the first bit of really positive news we’ve had for a few weeks now, and it has given me new energy and impetus for the next round of treatment this Friday. It’s working! I will be free of cancer!
There’s still the tricky matter of the pre-cancerous stuff, which doesn’t take any notice of chemo and will still need to be kicked into touch with a scalpel, but hey. The Big C, as so many of my fantastic friends and family have said from the start, has messed with the wrong chick this time. (I’ve never referred to myself as a chick before, that’s odd). And the awesomeness of this development won’t stop the nasty side effects (which are starting to include the dreaded hair loss, of which more next time, gentle reader).
But let’s say it again: the cancer is melting away, just as I have been seeing it so clearly in my mind. The drugs DO work! I am toasting my consultant, my nurse, the rest of my medical team, the whole St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and everyone else on Team Pinchy. Cancer, my friends, is being well and truly f%cked. Shiraz me up.