I had my fourth chemotherapy session yesterday. It all went swimmingly, apart from a ‘cannula incident’ (you don’t want to know) that delayed things a tad. On the plus side: 1) only two chemos left to go – that’s only six weeks left! 2) my gorgeous old school mucker J trekked up from Winchester to spend a couple of hours filling me in on seriously good gossip, laden with treats 3) my darling sister, my rock, brought me a delicious healthy lunch and was, as ever, the bestest company 4) DH got me home by 4pm in time to give the babies a big squeeze and wave them off to Salisbury for their customary weekend minibreak.
We’ve swapped things round this time, with DH’s parents doing the chemo day/weekend childcare admin, and my mummy and Pops bringing them home on Sunday night and staying for a couple of days to look after us all. I still can’t believe how blessed we are to have this level of support from our families. I know they love having the kiddies, and it’s wonderful that they are all so close and the smalls ADORE all their grandparents, but I can’t help feeling a bit guiltyabout the amount we are having to rely on them at the moment – a four year old and a two year old are, you know, a bit full on when you’re in your thirties, let alone your sixties.
But last night me and DH took advantage of the child-free house and the calm before the side effects storm kicks in (any minute now, judging by my mounting nausea and tingly tongue) to head out for supper in Guildford. He had very sweetly booked a table at Cote Bistro, a fine steak frites emporium (after mooting Maccy D’s and dirty chicken at Fleet Services – he’s not one for enthusiastically spending money on meals out, bless him, in complete contrast to me).
My confidence has taken a bit of a bashing with the hair loss situ. Even rocking the Hermes in a full on Kylie Stylee, with my gorgeous butter-soft nude leather dress, fishnets and my highest heels, it has to be said I was basically feeling old, knackered, sort of diminished, and a bit nervous about going out. The food was fab, though – we had scallops, rillettes, rib eye, cheese and creme caramel, washed down with kir royale and a cheeky little Macon Villages. I texted my fab friend S to tell her I was eating rare cow while dressed in dead cow, and she replied that it sounded like a Damian Hirst installation, and how pickled was I?
DH then said he was taking me for a post-prandial cocktail somewhere new. Apparently he and ‘the boys’ discovered this really cool place on their Christmas day out (the one that ended with DH in A&E, remember?). Almost inevitably, the bar in question was not quite up to the love of my life’s somewhat fuzzy memory, however, and we had an awkward half hour drinking the first frozen margaritas the barmaid had ever created (ie not historic), surrounded by drunk students. We were quite literally double the age of everyone else in there, and on a day when I wasn’t feeling at my most hip and groovy, it was time to hotfoot it out of there and jump in a cab home.
I’d had enough alcohol to get me to sleep, but not enough to counteract the effects of the steroids I have to take the day before, day of and day after chemo to stop me having some crazy allergic reaction to the yew tree extract they inject me with, so for the second night running I had about four hours’ sleep. Rubbish! Still, I am going to cuddle up on the sofa for the rest of the day, armed with the Sky+ remote and some ITV Mystery Dramas Sponsored By Toyoya Avensis (who sez advertising doesn’t work?).
And I have some more Medical Miracle news to share with you. At my pre-chemo check-up with my genius Aussie whirlwind of an oncology consultant, he declared, after much prodding of the old knockers, that my tumours have, to all intents, and purposes, GONE! Disparu! Melted! Tah daaaahhh! He said ‘This is going down as an outstanding result!’ Nice work fella. More than nice.
I have to be honest: I didn’t actually respond with such unbounded joy at the time. I just thought: Oh, that’s good. Let’s crack on, then… The intense rollercoaster of crapness I am strapped to on my pretty unrelenting treatment schedule is beginning to take its toll. My levels of energy, cheerfulness, and enthusiasm are low. My cognitive function is becoming noticeably impaired: my short-term memory is buggered and I am starting to hesitate in my speech as I can’t always find the right words. I am tearful a lot of the time.
And I am starting to think about the surgery at the end of the chemo tunnel and Not Looking Forward to it one little bit. I’m sure I’ll feel more reassured after meeting my very talented surgeon again next week, but I think my chances of escaping her deftly-wielded scalpel are going to be nil. I know it’s all for the good, but I just want it to be June, in Spain, with a great book and a cold drink, and No More Treatment. Other than the three-weekly Herceptin drips I’ll have until November and another five years of checks and scans… Altogether now, F&CK CAAANCER!