30th August feels a very long time ago, when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, before being dropped into surgery, and commencing ‘the dreaded’ chemotherapy (as I read on an Instagram post earlier today – all of my imaginings have been much worse than the reality … although it’s certainly not been pleasant!). Throughout the #chemo, I’d tried not to get fixated on the end date, but as the last couple of weeks came into view, 30th March/Good Friday certainly started to form into something to aim for!!
Well I am hoping calm enough for a good sleep! #chemotherapy As the whole last 6+ months have felt – pretty unreal – so does this! Now lots of prayers that my bloods are all good in the morning and there’s nothing to stop the #lastchemo going ahead!
As I sat in the chair, the reality that this is the last time I have to do this (hopefully) hasn’t really sunk in, any more than the initial diagnosis really has … still waiting to wake up and for someone to tell me it’s not real! Whatever, even if I get a recurrence (which I am praying not to, but meeting a specialist oncology psychiatrist in Tuesday to help with fears of that), at least that should be the last time with the cold cap – although it’s worked EXCEPTIONALLY well for me, the time (rather than the pain) makes me think I’ll just ‘experience the bald’ if necessary!
My mum managed to accompany me to the last chemo, and the hand holding for the first 5-15 minutes of the cold cap still just as gripped as ever! It was definitely a bit of a clock-watching countdown one, although the (early) start was delayed by a fire alarm (quite glad I wasn’t hooked up at that point). Meantime here’s me captured trying to take a selfie with my cancer companions (Poppy and Turkey) – actual pic made it to Insta:
If you’re not clear on why I like the ‘Keep Calm’ so much, you need to check out the book I wrote last year!
Ringing The Bell
There’s a small charity that provides ‘End of Treatment’ Bells for units, and it was great to be able to ring that with two of the lovely nurses who have accompanied me for several of my chemo sessions at the Christie.
— Kate Bottley (@revkatebottley) March 30, 2018
Well, I’ve been ‘gently’ back at work this week (working from home, although I’ve mostly been trying to get my head around Symplectic, etc.) and I’m speaking at Spring Harvest Harrogate next Friday, but otherwise there’s still more cancer treatment to come, starting with an MRI on Easter Monday to double-check the hermangioma on my spine (if nothing’s changed, then that worry gets tied off), meeting the onc-psych on Tuesday, port being removed on 10th April, radiotherapy planning on 17th April, whilst seeing what all these treatments have done to my energy levels, my slightly numb fingers/toes, etc. etc.. Hopefully whilst I’m out having radiotherapy the following week, that’s when new kitchen should be being installed …
After radiotherapy, time to learn about Zoladex (for 2 years?) and Tamoxifen (for 2-10 years?)… and find that ‘new normal’… oh, and if you want to support a good cause, my sister in law Pippa is doing the Moonwalk to raise funds for breast cancer (I did it in 2005)!
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) 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.