So, last time I wrote about the exciting topic of cancer, it was New Year’s Eve, and I was preparing to snuggle up and see the New Year in from bed… and had some great company for New Year’s Day, whilst the antibiotics continued to work on my ear infection (still got cracking and whooshing going on :-():
There followed days in which I had some lovely visits from friends, much steaming of the head to try and clear my ear infection (trying not to end up with long-term problems like this), and the joy of a visit planned months ago, which happened to fall on ‘the good week’, with the joy of watching this film, and this long-planned panto:
Scanxiety and Surgery
It’s a little scary to receive extra letters from the hospital, and I was called in for another scan – after the big ‘all clear‘ at the end of October, apparently there’s a small spot on the lungs they want to check out … though they sound largely unconcerned …so it was back in the CT scanner… but I’m still waiting for the results from that … :
On 25th January, I’ll also be heading in for a mini-operation. An extra lump was discovered on the mastectomy site – identified as a fatty lump, but as a precaution, that’s coming out too (local anaesthetic only). So this round of chemotherapy/surgery, I’m officially staying off sick from work (although I didn’t finish my journal article re-write – still time, right?) …
There’s a number of organisations around that seek to make life a little easier for those undergoing cancer treatment … Ellie’s Friends (which has just merged with Maggies) is one of those that collects small gifts from different organisations … I won £50 worth of vouchers fo Annabandana – and quickly received the following hats:
Back in ‘The Chair’
By Friday, I was back in the chair for the third round of chemotherapy, and the final dose of EC, officially marking half-way through the drugs infusion (though I won’t count it halfway for treatment til 3 weeks post-infusion!), and hopefully the last round with filgrastim injections too:
I enjoyed the company of Daphne, who kept me occupied whilst the cold-cap froze onto my head (my hair still seems to be hanging on, so I’m sticking with it). This round of chemo has left me extra-fatigued, still dizzy, continued nausea and indigestion (accompanied by the munchies), stomach fun, continued ear whooshing/crackling, jaw ache, stiffening up around surgery site, mouth in a mess, back/shoulder pain (which might be white blood cell growth, or a crappy chemo chair), peripheral neuropathy in fingers/toes (which might be temporary or permanent) … and a healthy dose of just feeling a bit fed up and bored of it all…
Buzzing in my head are a mix of voices of encouraging friends, family and new connections met on the treatment journey, including one voice indicating that it’s rare that one gets time out – so I should make the most of when I have enough concentration to read, watch films, etc. so over the past few days have enjoyed Moana, The Good Place, and currently Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them around my naps and wobbles round the block:
Thanks for sticking with me people … it’s a boring, tiring and quite lonely journey, watching other people get on with their lives, but I can’t say how many times I’m grateful for the NHS that we have in the UK!!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.