Today I returned for further treatment at the hospital, the sixth infusion, and the first since my recent scan was NEAD. Thankfully no more docetaxol for now, but ongoing Herceptin and Perjeta infusions (until they stop working – I think around 5 years is most I’ve seen so far). I was also supposed to start Denosumab (bone strengthening) injections today too, but I need to have a filling done in my wisdom tooth, and that treatment is usually suspended for any dental work .. so I’ll start that in another 6 weeks… around the time I’ll likely be due my next CT scan to see what’s going on in my body…
Now that the docetaxel and the cold capping has finished, going for treatments feels like it’s no longer a big deal, but along with the monthly injections/daily tablets, and the ongoing scans – it is a reminder of how much cancer has affected my life so far … and will continue to do so. Every treatment I have a chat with one of the nurses about how I’m doing – physically and psychologically – they’re very pleased that as of this Thursday evening work emails and files go off until 3rd September… yes, having work to keep me focused has given me purpose outside of cancer treatment but also yes, academia is a pressurised environment and I’ll have to keep an eye on how/if I can make it continue to work for me…
I burst into tears on nurse today as post NEAD statement the other week I carry on with treatment – she said unsurprising it’s all hitting now … https://t.co/uMNKACaevf
— Dr Bex Lewis (@drbexl) July 29, 2019
My mood has been up and down over the last couple of weeks … but one thing guaranteed to make me laugh (aside from TheCancerPatient on Instagram) is the wonderful Rox Nicholl, who sent me another of her #Kale Poems today:
Keep wondering when it will happen.
All of it. Any of it.
Learning to live is hard.
Emotions don’t do what I say.
From Instagram it can look like I’m as busy as usual, but of course I am sharing the stuff I am doing. Physically I’m struggling, and my brain feels like it’s fighting syrup a lot of the time … even small jobs can feel like a big achievement … it’s incredibly frustrating .. and also that fear is still there knowing that there’s something in my body which is trying hard to kill me. Stage IV cancer is not curable … nor is it predictable … it will be back at some point… let’s just hope it’s not too soon…
Meantime I’m …
- Trying to work, thankfully at home for now … not expected to be full-time yet … considering I did 50+ hours a week pre-diagnosis + own business (no, not proud of that)
- Not at the gym for now – though I’m trying to get out/get some fresh air every day
- Not made it to church much in last 2 years, and if I do make it, I seem to cry at the first hymn
- Not going into work – the days I’ve gone in, a couple of hours + the commute is enough
- Not seeing enough of friends – and when I do have a busy day, quite often kills the day or two after…
- Living with the uncertainty of waiting for oophorectomy operation later this year, and expected regular scans.
But thankful that there are movements forward in treatment (I had SBRT), lovely staff, and a month off work to look forward to…
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.