Light at the end of the tunnel

Botany Bay, Sans Souci

Botany Bay, Sans Souci

Months ago, I promised that this blog was not going to turn into a description of my experience with breast cancer. I think I’ve stuck with that on the whole – this is going to be one of the times I talk about it though.

So far I’ve had surgery, four rounds of AC Chemo spaced fortnightly and 12 weekly rounds of Taxol (also chemo). Now, as of last week, the chemo is over. Yay! It’s actually been pretty ok – the AC was a bit rough but not anywhere near as rough as I had feared. By contrast, on the Taxol I felt almost normal. It’s not as hard on the immune system so I’ve been able to go back to the office 3 days a week. This was awesome after 2 months of working from home full time (which actually translated to about  3 -4 days a week during the AC).

Now that part is over I get 3 weeks off 🙂 before starting radiation. 30 daily doses. Weekdays only. Not counting public holidays or the fortnightly machine maintenance days. Or any days I’m sick and can’t get there. Factoring in all of that it should take about 7-8 weeks to get through. I’ve also got another infusion that I will keep getting every 3 weeks for the rest of the year.

With the chemo part over and done with, there’s a huge sense of relief coupled with an almost equally huge sense of scary about the future. While I was having this stuff pumped into me it felt like I was doing something proactive and positive to fight the beast. Intellectually I know that the drugs continue to do their work, that I have had the optimal dose of the optimal drugs for my particular type of cancer and that best practice science says we have given it everything we possibly can to effect a cure. The trouble is of course, that the rational mind doesn’t always work well late at night which is when I seem to lay awake thinking about these things.

Of course my treatment is not actually finished yet and there are some other things I can do to give myself optimal health. Lifestyle things such as:

  • eat more plant based foods,
  • drink less alcohol,
  • get more exercise,
  • get more sleep,
  • spend time meditating,
  • laugh with friends,
  • lose weight; and
  • pay more attention to my health

may or may not help prevent the recurrence of the disease, but they certainly won’t hurt me in the meantime and they will all help me to feel better both physically and emotionally.

Last, I want to acknowledge the amazing love and support I have had from friends and family. Whether it was helping us move house, cooking meals for us, coming to visit when I was feeling unwell, collecting me to take me for a walk, adjusting to working with a colleague who is at home most of the time or just sending me messages to say ‘hi, thinking of you’ the list is long and impressive. It’s always risky making a list in case someone is left out but I think I’ve covered it! Aside from my own amazing immediate family of course, I’m incredibly grateful to and humbled by these folks: Heather, Deb, Kim, Kimberley, Robyn J, Louise, Robyn M, Peter, John, Fiona, Cath, Sharon, Janine K, Linda, Julie, Jo B, Jeni, Rebecca, Janine L, Cherie, Elizabeth, Brian, Hannah, Beth, Bob, Lesley, Kate, Helen, Anntoinette, Jay, Bec, Reece, Jo D, Juliet, Mark H, Roxanna, David, Merilyn, Penny, Geoff, Lauren, Alyson, Michelle, Anne, Ann, Liz, Eamon, Maude and of course all the wonderful, wonderful staff at the Oncology Clinic at Sutherland Hospital.

Oh and if you’re still reading this and you are female? When did you last have a mammogram?

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2 thoughts on “Light at the end of the tunnel

  1. Pingback: Getting creative | Who are these kids and why are they calling me mum?

  2. what a wonderful post (we are so different aren’t we- I think I overshare way too much….you are so brave and strong). I love brave, strong women!!
    Those lifestyle points are ones we could all do more often.
    I want to thank you for sharing.
    My supervisor has been through a similar journey – now five years past. She was on a trial and had monthly injections for 5 years- has just completed 🙂
    A big hug to you my brave, strong, lovely friend xox

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