Happy New Year chums! How did you spend yours? Bet it was more fun than being in the chemotherapy suite for the day! I’m being crass, of course. The day of my third treatment of six was fine, much shorter now they know I’m not going to keel over at any point and they can run the drugs through the drip in super-speedy time.
I did my usual visualisation at each stage, imagining Herceptin as a pale topaz light gently stopping the ‘grow’ signals from my rogue proteins to the cancer cells; the pertuzemab (the new trial drug) as a light rose energy that weakened those signals even further; the carboplatin as a clear, scintillating light that started to melt away the tumours, and the docetaxol (aka The Big Guns) as a piercing stream of emerald green energy that completely melts away the cancer until there is nothing left. (Non-Fact Fans: apparently cancer hates the colour green, and emerald light is associated with Archangel Raphael, the healer.)
And I had delightful company: my gorgeous, funny sister (we had an exceedingly rare actual conversation without our four smalls creating noise and havoc – it was almost like being a on spa day together!) and my very fragrant friend S, who patiently listened to four hours of amusing tall tales from one of my Cancer Colleagues and bought a healthy, yummy lunch from M&S which made the rest of the ward green with envy as they munched their tasteless, vitamin-free hospital fare. Well, a sort of grey-green – some poor souls are on platelet and blood transfusions and already look like they are Friends of Robert Pattinson.
Then I got home to my kiddies and my incredible parents (without whom, frankly, we would not be coping in any way), and my lovely, sweet DH lit a huge Chinese paper lantern in the garden. The six of us held each other tight and watched silently as its little flame took the horrors of 2010 up, up and far, far, away into a cloudless, windless sky.
DD and DS duly dispatched to bed, we cracked open the first of several bottles of champagne (no idea whether this is OK after chemo; didn’t care) and us grown-ups had a very relaxed evening. We moved between kitchen, dining room and sitting room for canapes, Coquilles St Jacques, Beef Wellington (made by my fab brother-in-law) and Heston’s Christmas pudding he did for Waitrose with the orange in the middle. Though if I’d realised I could have sold this prized pud on eBay for a few hundred quid before Christmas, we would just have nicked one of the kids’ Petit Filous, to be honest. At midnight we oohed and aahed over the fireworks on the telly, spoke to our other nearest and dearests, kissed the babies, and said GOOD RIDDANCE to a truly shitty year.
And now I’ve got over the post-chemo week of feeling weak, wobbly, achy, nauseous and exhausted, so I am officially half way through this bit of my treatment. Collective whoop whoop at this point, please, people. Every time is differently crap, so this time the highlight was spending Tuesday being sick. And my mouth isn’t sore (yay!) but it is just completely dead in there so I have a permanently vile taste and then food and drink taste wrong too (noooo!). My lovely friend J sent me a bag of old fashioned barley sugars, which helped her mum when she was going through chemo last year, and I am sucking on one as I write.
It’s good to have got to this point. I never really got my mojo back after Chemo Deux and the subsequent cold, and was in tears on Boxing Day, just feeling I had months ahead of not having any energy or feeling like myself. I am starting to feel the relentlessness of all this, to be honest, and occasionally it gets pretty depressing.
But I did finally have two normal-feeling days before New Year’s Eve, and promised myself that this time I would be absolutely fine by today, which I am. My beautiful, smiley DD was back to school today after nearly three weeks off (snow ended term early), my newly-wordy and funny DS is at nursery (don’t you think they seem to grow up in a big leap after spending so much time with grown-ups after Christmas?), and I’ve spent all morning in the office on conference calls with a new client. I’ve been productive and managed to sound (I think, I hope) intelligent despite the general fogginess that comes as another unordered side order with chemo.
I’m also looking forward to seeing how my status as a Medical Miracle progresses – I saw the registrar before my last treatment and she said by her reckoning the 5cm tumour I had at the outset (that’s huge, no idea how I didn’t notice it before) is now less than 2cm. Good stuff, eh?
So welcome, two thousand and eleven. Be gentle with us all. Let your winds be refreshing, your sun and rain be nourishing, and your tides soothing. May your paths be free of things that jump out of dark corners to blindside us. Give us a break, eh? Or I may have to send my man round to box your ears.