So, I have a confession to make… I haven’t given you the full facts. Not because I wanted to mislead you in any way, but I guess I didn’t want my first blog to sound too much like a “pity-fest”. But I think I should tell you all, so that you understand.
Before my diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, when I just had a bad back, I also had a very painful right leg along with some weakness. If you’ve ever had growing pains when you were young, think of that annoying pain but triple it. At the time of course, I just thought it was as a result of the bad back but shortly after my spinal surgery I had a bone scan to determine the extent of the cancer spread. This showed that my right femur was significantly compromised; so much so that I was immediately given crutches as any weight on the leg might result in the bone breaking. So only five weeks after major spinal surgery, I was back under the knife; this time to have my right femur pinned. (Think of me more as Metal Mickey than bionic woman though.) Luckily, as you already know, it was successful and after several months of rehab I was able to get back on my dancing feet once more.
The other blip came at the end of last year, when I mentioned that a small lump in my neck (which scans had shown up before and they were just keeping an eye on) seemed to be getting larger. Although I was told that it was highly unlikely to be connected, an ultrasound was ordered and a biopsy done. They were right, it wasn’t part of the metastatic cancer, but it was thyroid cancer – just another primary cancer (how lucky can one girl get, right?). So, when I say “trust your gut instinct”, I really DO know what I’m talking about!
So, where are we now?
I have metal in my spine, metal in my leg, I am minus a thyroid, minus two ovaries and fallopian tubes, and the cancer has become resistant to the hormone treatment which has controlled it over the last two years.
Onwards and upwards onto a new treatment regime. This time the dreaded chemotherapy! I’ve been put on a lovely little cocktail of something called Docetaxel, six cycles (one every three weeks) alongside two targeted therapies, Herceptin and Pertuzumab which work on the HER2 protein, and which will continue for as long as they work (fingers crossed we are talking years here…) All these are given as an infusion through the vein and I’ve been given an implant in my chest to avoid having to cannulate each time – maybe I am more bionic woman now? So far I have had two cycles (that’s a third of the way along already – hurrah!) and have used the cold cap treatment to stave off hair loss. Unfortunately, the cold cap doesn’t seem to have been successful (judging by the amount of hair that came out on Sunday). I have a lot of hair, but even I wouldn’t be able to sustain that amount of loss.
As far as side effects are concerned, I have had relatively few. (I currently have everything crossed as I say this – fingers, toes, eyes…) The main side effect I am experiencing seems to be a numb tongue, which halfway through the last cycle did turn into a very painful mouth. I do, of course, have to be super careful to avoid getting any infections as my immune system is very low (particularly during the first week after treatment). Having said that, I am still working when I can, and work has been fantastically supportive!
So in the great scheme of things, I am extremely lucky – not to have cancer; that well and truly sucks; but the thing that keeps me going is that it could be so much WORSE!!! Which I guess is a pretty strange way to look at things, but you know what I mean…
I saw a status today on someone’s Facebook page which resonated for me, so will leave you with this thought:-
“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice,
because the flow that has passed will never pass again.
Enjoy every moment of your life!”
Till next time. Take care! xx