Four out of six ain’t bad

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?

This is my dress. This is not me wearing it.

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!



  1. Ah I love the idea of you being ‘cow in two ways’ – wrapped AND stuffed? Impressive. And piffle, I bet you looked divine.

    I’m waving my pink cheerleading pompoms for you along your journey. Mwah x

  2. Tremendous news about the vanishing tumour, Maj!!!!!

    I’m sure you were the epitome of chic (and if you return to the bar in a few weeks they’ll all be wearing knock off Hermes and suede-look dresses!)

    You are an inspiration!

  3. Don’t feel guilty about asking the grandparents to help out. They are parents too and want to look after their own babies in any way they can. Embrace any help offered that might make your current load easier to bear. And that includes taking friends up on the offer of babysitting!!

    Lots of love and hugs


    P.S. The short-term memory loss,etc. that you describe may just be your hormones after having babies as I get that too.

  4. Hello!
    As another traveller along the yew tree poisoning route I read your blog with a smile and an understanding of exactly where you are at! ….Glad also that I am not the only one trying to run a business and juggle kids in a chemo haze of forgotten words!!

    Best wishes for the rest of your treatment and your op!

    Val xx

  5. I love that i can feel the postivity in your post, despite everything at the moment, and particularly the effects of hair loss on your confidence, you are still finding and talking about the good in everything.
    I bet you looked like a million dollar cow…..

  6. Well done you and your fantastic body for zappy the nasty cells. If I can help you with any questions about the surgery just ask. I will be honost and open with you.

  7. OMG, thats just fantastic.! You are the most gorgeous and inspiring person I know and there is so much love for you out in this world, we’ll carry you to Spain before you know it.

    I am reeling from the news that not only are you fabulous but you are also capable of melting tumours! Is there no limit to your talents?.


    Love and Hugs

  8. You don’t sound like your enthusiasm levels or language skills are at all inhibited! You sound AMAZING. There’s a reason everything’s working more slowly, it’s so your body can put all its efforts into destroying the evil masses. Which is working! Hurrah! Fantastic news about the tumours. Very many congrats. Long may they stay dead and melted.

    Sorry about the hair loss (and the rest!) induced sadness. Thank goodness it’s cold outside so hats are de rigeur! Thank goodness for our amazing families who make going through these times so much easier to bare. Don’t feel guilty, they’ll just be so relieved there’s something they can actually DO to help!

    Soon it will be June. And all this will a dim and distant memory. You’ll be praising the mental fuzziness then for how quickly it all melts into the past!

    Keep on trucking and absolutely F*CK CANCER!!

  9. Thank you all SO much for taking the time to reply and send messages of such love and humour. It means an awful lot, and really helps to keep me going! And yes, this too shall pass… Lots of love xxx

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