Had my 4th and final FEC today. As I said yesterday, my bloods were a bit low, so I arrived at 9am for another blood test and had to hang around for the results of that. The neutrophil count hadn't changed (still 0.9) but my overall white cell count had, so the oncologist approved me getting my chemo. This is good - we don't want any more delays that we have to!! But then he had to prescribe it and wait for the pharmacy to prepare and deliver it, so I didn't get my treatment delivered until 1pm, so 4 hours of hanging about. I was feeling tired before chemo, nodding off in the waiting room, probably because I've had a few early mornings and late nights!!
But all done within the hour. The nurse tried and failed once with the canula in the back of the hand so I have a small bruise in the main vein, but she got in on the vein just above the knuckle of the forefinger, so that was OK. Arm doesn't seem to hurt too much, so lets hope I don't get any ache. Also had a chat with another lady in the clinic, who was having her 16th (out of 18) Herceptin. It is delivered via a drip, every 3 weeks, so I will be visiting this clinic for another year yet for that! I have always shied away from talking to other patients - can't really explain why - but it was actually nice to have short chat with her and know that you don't have to explain everything. She knows. She said she has a CT scan to do due to some hip problems (once diagnosed, you become aware of every ache and pain and can't help but wonder if it is a secondary cancer - most hospitals will take this seriously and give you scans to get things checked out, so it isn't just paranoia), and reconstruction, so even though her Herceptin is nearly done, it isn't over for her yet, by a long shot. Couldn't help look at her boobs (obviously, clothed!!) and thought her prosthesis was excellent. I couldn't tell if she'd had a full mastectomy or a lumpectomy!
I slept a bit this afternoon - probably had 1.5 hours with Mary Poppins on the telly, until Greg came home from work - and have felt mildly nauseous and headachy, but nothing a couple of paracetamol doesn't sort out. Certainly well enough for us to take a jaunt to the 24 hour Tesco in Chepstow to buy some beer to take to tomorrow night's party!! (not for me to drink, I hasten to add!). It was something to do on a bad TV night!!
So, tomorrows task is to sort out our fancy dress outfits, and to wait for the District Nurse who will come sometime after 2pm and give me the Neulasta injection.
Various additional things to add this time, that I forgot to mention yesterday:
#1: You may remember I mentioned another lady, and her 'mastectomy was a doddle' post that caused a bit of a furore on one of the online forums I chat on? This lady is 35, has had chemo (to reduce size of tumour) and then a mastectomy and has inflammatory breast cancer. She started getting migraines after her surgery. It turns out she has brain metastasis and has been given a prognosis of 1-5 years. She is having radiotherapy to try to help. I am so, so, so sad. I generally stay away from discussions about further cancers, as I don't want to scare myself (one step at a time, eh?), but she was someone I identified with. Please don't think her diagnosis has frightened me - it hasn't. She has a different kind of cancer to mine (mine is invasive ductal, not inflammatory - inflammatory is worse), I am just so sad for her. She is going to fight and to enjoy every day she has, so she won't be giving up just yet!! Good for her!
#2: Also referring back to the 'In denial' thread, the lady who particularly got my back up is still doing it, although none of it is aimed directly at me. Her general posts annoy me (I don't reply, it's not worth the argument and I don't want to upset her further). Firstly, I really do feel for her, as she is in a dark place right now, but I do not understand her. Here is one of her posts:
"I still wish I'd never had treatment and if I had to do it all again I would ignore the symptoms and meet death earlier rather than this awful, protracted waiting for the axe to fall. Life is not the same - I thought I'd get through it all and back to normal but it isnt so at all.
I would never encourage anyone to get treatment. This gets worse the longer I live with it. I wish I had never got treatment. They should warn you, I feel it's better to be scared and make informed choices about treatment rather than pushed into living because your family want to see you live at any price, even if you are not or never can feel like yourself.
My apologies to anyone who feels differently - for me it just gets worse."
I don't believe she has secondaries or a recurrence, but she is living in fear that she will get them. I am very sad that she feels that way, and I know she is not the only one. But I also know there are plenty of people out there who do not feel like this.
The thing she posts that annoy me, is stuff like the following:
"This may sound odd though and I hope it doesn't but I've noticed that those women who are really upset in the beginning seem to do better in the long run."
She has the view that those of us not upset about everything early on will come crashing down harder, later - because she did. That we are pretending to be strong, like she pretended. That we're not facing up to things soon enough and asking for support when it is there, like she wished she had. I just don't like that she is posting that kind of stuff to those who have been newly diagnosed. Be supportive where they are scared, but this feels like the wrong kind of support to me. I am leaving well alone, and having my rant here instead!!
And seriously, I am not all that upset to have lost a boob (I accept others are/would be), I am dealing with that fine. I am not upset to lose my hair, it will grow back. I am not upset about the chemo, I have been lucky and stayed well and it is just an inconvenience (so far, I know it may get harder). I do worry about the future and I am sad that this has happened, I do cry, but I do not obsess about it or think the worst. I have faith (and am more grateful than I can express) that we are doing everything we can about this, that I have amazing support from the hospital and my family and friends, and what will be will be. In the meantime, life goes on.
#3: A friend noted in a Christmas card (and I don't know if you are reading, hello if you are!!), that they had another baby last year but hadn't wanted to say. I do want to say again, that hearing of other people having babies, being pregnant, anything baby related - does not need to be hidden from me. I am happy for you and your babies, truly, truly thrilled. I WANT to share in your joy. Not jealous or upset or anything negative.
I want you to be able to share stuff with me just the same as you always would. I can still listen. This blog may be all about me, me, me, but the rest of my life isn't!! :-)
Rant over. xxx