So, last blogged about cancer on 18th Feb, and the appointments have continued… before this week, just counselling and zoladex. This week has been a little busier:

Monday: Appt 1: The Christie

This was a very swift appointment – finding a new part of the hospital (officially in the private part of the Christie, but same equipment isn’t it) – and went straight in for echocardiogram:

 

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Very swift into echocardiogram with no time really for #waitingroomfeet. Appt 1/7 done. #whatcancerlookslike

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She said before I left that she wasn’t seeing any problems, so that was straightforward. Herceptin treatment can mess with the heart, so need to be sure that the heart is in good condition before that treatment starts.

Monday: Appt 2: Stepping Hill Hospital

Via the excitement of refuelling my car, and picking up a few groceries from Aldi (life is really rock-and-roll), it was onto Stepping Hill straight after the Christie – time to meet the oncologist:

 

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Here we are #waitingroomfeet, friend is joining, 3.45 has apparently just gone in, and waiting room is heaving! #whatcancerlookslike

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For once, I was called in before my friend had arrived, but as soon as she arrived, we went in for a chat with Dr Chittalia, about where we’re going with treatment (thanks Aspa for company).

The chemo/radiotherapy treatments need to happen at different times, otherwise might cause problem with my spinal chord, so that’s why there’s so much to-fro-ing over treatment plan.

Tues: Chemo Planning: Stepping Hill Hospital

I went into the Laurel Suite for the ‘new patient talk’ (yes, I’ve had chemo before, but I had it at the Christie as they had a chair available earlier… hadn’t twigged before that treatment that breast chemotherapy is only done on a Monday at Stepping Hill – different days for different types of chemo). Thanks to Helen for coming with me to that appointment:

So I need to find my chemo bag ready for each week, ensure hospital admissions bag is sorted, and note that bloods that I’ll need to have done before each cycle can be done 2-4pm Friday before (via the port, yay!). Hurrah for pancakes after!

Weds: Appt 1: Port Consenting

I was at the hospital before 9am in order to sign paperwork for having portacath inserted (the one I had taken out last summer – well, a fresh one, obvs). As I’ve had a portacath before, I didn’t need to watch the video, I’d had bloods done yesterday, and used the antibacterial stuff already, and there was a slot, so by 9.15am I was having the port installed (local anaesthetic only) – Svetlanka was was putting it in kept up a lovely chatty flow of conversation and before I knew it it was all done:

 

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Well that was unexpected, but means I don’t need to go to hospital tomorrow. Still got 9am Friday for ultrasound .. #whatcancerlookslike

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I then popped across to Maggies for some comfy chairs as having your main blood vessel attached to a portacath is not the most comfortable thing. Will now leave the stitches/large covering on for 7 days.

Weds Appt 2: Stereotactic Radiotherapy

I headed back into the hospital for 11.30am appointment – and into Dept 22 (newly opened on 26 Feb!), where I sat in ‘Waiting Room Area A’ for 40 minutes (working on my prep for that afternoon’s meeting on grant applications), before being weighed/height (seriously, why does the hospital need a machine that speaks your weight to you … for people with ED, it’s not helpful!).

 

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I’m next #waitingroomfeet … rads talk. #whatcancerlookslike … preparing for 2pm meeting at work .. will I make it!!

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As time was ticking away, and I had a 2pm meeting wanted to get to at work, I checked where I was in the system – hospital clearly getting used to new systems so running quite late! Around about 1pm, got to talk to Dr Colaco, who’s the specialist in stereotactic radiotherapy (apparently there’s 40-ish radiotherapists trained in standard radiotherapy, only 1 in stereotactic – Dr Colaco has done 60+ in the USA + 6-7 in the UK).

I made it into work for my ‘Get That Grant’ meeting, headed home, been writing this. Tired, tired, tired! Got work to catch up on tomorrow, not allowed to gym/swim til stitches out, but as the port’s been done, can be a PJ day (and pokemon walk in scruffies)!

When’s the chemo?

Chemo now starts on 15th (and 16th) April, with other treatments 6 May, 27 May (bank hols?), 17 June looking likely! Let’s see where that fits into my overall timetable.

Work are seeking to take mental stress off, and make job as flexible as possible – so I have no face-to-face teaching where I NEED to be in the classroom every week until at least academic year 2020-2021. For 2019-20, I’m currently on the ‘Developing Research Excellence’ programme (2 days week), 1 day a week on public engagement/media work, 1 day of research supervision, and – if we get it, a day on Macmillan project (we’ll hear any time now) – if we don’t get it, something else will fill that slot.

Friday Appt

I’ve got an ultrasound on Friday on my thyroid, as something showed up on my thyroid on the full body MRI scan. Here’s hoping it’s nothing, and that it’s one of those appointments that they’re allowed to tell you on the day .. before heading to BCC event for ‘younger women with secondaries‘.

Saturday: BIRTHDAY

For my birthday last year, it was chemo time! This time, I’m at an event until 3.30pm, and then hopefully meeting a handful of friends in the afternoon for a few cocktails – message me if you want to know more!

People keep asking what I want … not usually good at saying, but … well I’ve been decluttering like mad – but here’s some ideas on Amazon – Netflix vouchers always good! More fun would be to suggest days out, meals out, hot choc, options on visits/walking company (I love a bit of company, but a message to see if I’m up for a visit/not working, etc. is always appreciated), if anyone fancies tackling my garden, house is making progress (and mostly requires £/professionals), and after years of being on short-term, part-time, low-paid contracts, electronics, etc are gradually being replaced! *Oh, and I need someone a bit taller than me to finish tiny bit of hallway painting…

And did I mention I’m on Radio 4 on 27th March (and seeing oncologist again 18th March, with a port flush).

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