Another week, and a whole lot more cancer stuff going on … Last week I found that I’d finally got my appointments! So, this week:

Tuesday: COVID Test

It was an early start (for me – the pregabalin I’ve been given for pain relief has been knocking me out) – at The Christie for 9.20am. Freaked out the person doing the questions/temperature checks by saying that I was coming in for a COVID test – but I said it was precautionary, before my (aerosol producing) procedure. I was called in pretty much on time and:

Went home and pretty much forgot about that.

<edit-add>. If it had been positive I would not have been able to have my procedure, though there was talk of everyone having to be in full Hazmat suits anyway as ‘aerosol producing procedure’, but everyone was in normal scrubs/blue masks…

Thursday: Biopsy

An even earlier start – I had to be at The Christie for 7.30am – thankful to Andrew who got up and dropped me off there. He said he would come in with me as far as they would let me, but I said – stay in the car – they’re not letting anyone other than patients past the front door!

 

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It’s #WaitingRoomFeet time for my biopsy … early start .. long day – but hopefully we’ll get some answers! #BusyLivingWithMets #Stage4NeedsMore

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In recovery – only til 1pm. He thinks he has the right samples … and tumour is about 3cm on chest wall under mastectomy scar. #BusyLivingWithMets #CancerSucks

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Friday

It’s been a lazy recovery day for me today – feel quite fuzzy, didn’t sleep well last night, quite a lot of pain in my non-mastectomy breast which is causing extra worry and conversations with BCNs, but we’ll see what the scans have to say, and assess it all on 29th – when hopefully I’ll have a face-to-face appointment to be able to see my scans/ask questions – and get my next treatment plan. In the meantime, I have signed off work again til 1st August – aside from anything else I’m trying to deal with the pregabalin – apparently it takes 2-3 weeks to adapt to it – but for now I’m dozy during the day, then half-awake at night!

Facing Realities

When I had my primary cancer diagnosis, I thought, loads of people get this, survive it, and get on with their lives – it did draw me up short, but mostly I was still pretty optimistic that I could return to some kind of normal life. With the secondary cancer diagnosis, that shook me up quite a lot more, but there was so much optimism that we’d got it all, and that I had a decent chance at ‘living well’ with ongoing treatment for 20-30 years. The treatment coming back from NZ felt hard work – and I questioned my quality-of-life when I was ‘NEAD’ (I thought), and had cancer controlled, but still felt rotten … but aside from the treatment side-effects, my body has clearly been hard at work growing this new tumour, so – no surprise I’ve felt rubbish. This new tumour has knocked me back off my feet again (I hadn’t expected it again!) .. and it leaves lots of questions about prognosis – people have lived with secondaries worse than mine for 10+ years (get me trying to sound optimistic, when I’ve pretty much lost faith in my body’s ability to keep cancer away after 3 diagnoses in 3 years) – or another tumour can pop up and make the situation worse again … I’d already reduced my working hours by 20% so I can have my ‘retirement’ on Fridays, but this really feels like it’s raising more questions about the chances of getting to retirement (I’m still 27 years off that officially) … and making me think about what life needs to look like. Am chasing up questions about ill-health retirement, but at present feels like it’s not the right time to ‘retire’ (nor have I the £), assuming that treatment may yet keep me stable for some time yet – if you know me you know I’m not good at sitting still – and this diagnosis brings me the dilemma of ‘I’m tired, and the side-effects suck and I can’t manage as much’, and ‘I want to get stuff done because life feels short’.. and I said I didn’t want to die til I was a Professor … (we’ll see if that desire remains)!!!

3 Responses

  1. Thank you Bex for such an informative and personal insight into your treatment and experiences. I don’t know you, but I know Andrew and Jane and what unique people they are, so you must be pretty special too!
    You are obviously strong both physically and mentally and what is obvious from your piece above is that there is a lot of hope and lots left to achieve. That alone will sustain you and increase the impact of any treatment I am sure. My Stepmum is undergoing treatment at Christie’s at the moment and she is having to do so alone because of COVID-19. I hope friends like Andrew and Jane (and the nurses and medical professionals) mean it isn’t such a lonely experience for you.
    In my thoughts,
    Emma

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