It is just over a year since I was diagnosed with cancer.
It’s not an exact anniversary – I’m rubbish at remembering anniversaries. Anyway, which date would I have chosen? When I saw my GP about The Lump? 8 days later when I was seen at the breast clinic and was told, yes it is cancer? A week later when the results of my biopsies were available (but not communicated)? Or a fortnight later when I was finally told the type, size and spread of the cancer?
All valid reasons for not being too pernickety about the date.
I’m still here and feeling pretty well. In the past 12 months, I’ve completed 6 cycles of chemotherapy (FEC-T), one operation, 25 radiotherapy treatments, 3 months of daily Anastrozole tablets, and I’ve lost count of how many Herceptin treatments (and a partridge in a pear tree!)
Which of them was the worst aspect? Actually none of the above.
It was the waiting: for the outpatient appointment, to be seen at the clinic, for further appointments, for tests and scans, for the results, and then finally waiting to start treatment. Then there was The Fear: of the unknown, of dying, of leaving people behind.
Once you actually start treatment, everything is a doddle by comparison. Yes, really.
Of course chemo is crap (loss of hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, feeling and being sick, fatigue, sore toenails, food tasting strange, diarrhoea and constipation (but not at the same time). For 4 long months. But starting treatment means that battle has finally commenced: you are fighting back and the tumour is shrinking.
Once you’ve done with the chemo, things start to look up. Hair re-growth, spring arriving then summer, holidays and sunshine. Surgery and radiotherapy are just little blips along the way.
I’ve got a few more months of Herceptin to go, 5 years of Anastrozole (at least), and some reconstruction work ahead.
No big deal.
As long as this lousy cancer doesn’t not come back...