Friday, June 4, 2010

A third of the way through

Yes, go on, admit it. You thought I was all done and dusted, didn't you? Chemo is done. Radiotherapy is done. Yeah, Ok, so I'll be on Tamoxifen for at least 5 years but that doesn't count, does it?

Well, sadly, I am not all done just yet - but I am a third of the way through my Herceptin treatments. That means I have had 6 of the 18 treatments. I still have to go to hospital to have them. I have to have a cannula in my hand and sit there for half an hour while it drips through. (and the rest of the time waiting for the nurses to be ready for me and to remove the needle at the end). Every three weeks, until next February.

The good bit is that there aren't any immediate side effects, so I walk in, get it done, walk out and then forget about it again for another three weeks until I go "Oh! That time again!" and off we go.

It feels good to be a third of the way through, it feels like progress. The 6th was delivered last Wednesday.

Today, I had my 3rd MUGA heart scan. Just to remind you, these are to check that the Herceptin hasn't damaged the heart in any way. It checks to see how much blood is pumping through. This time, the needles didn't want to go into my elbow, so one went into my hand (you have two: tin and radioactive fluid). And then, under scan, the tin was all staying in my arm instead of heading to my heart to show up under in the picture! I had to hold it above my head to give it a bit of help! They also took my blood pressure this time - they don't normally - and it was 133/56 which seems a bit odd (as far as my very limited knowledge tells me, the first number is on the higher side, and the second on the lower side - so maybe that means I am normal?) To be honest, I think there probably was some 'white coat hypertension' going on as they took it just after messing about with needles, so I was probably a wee bit tense!

Results next week, when I see Dr Iqbal on Tuesday.

I keep getting asked whether I have had the "All Clear" yet. So will you allow me to educate you on that one? There is No. Such. Thing. I am learning this as I progress. There is only 'No Evidence of Disease', apparently. I will always live with the worry that it will come back - same place, other boob, somewhere else, and I have to hope that it doesn't. My cancer was gone immediately that I had surgery, so if you like I was 'all clear' from that moment onwards. The chemo and the radiotherapy and the tamoxifen are just there to mop up any stray microscopic cells that might go on to settle elsewhere and multiply. We hope that it has killed them all, and that the tamoxifen keeps any loose ones at bay.

One more positive news, I have now gone out in public a few times without any hat or wig. The wig got ditched about two weeks ago when I had a moment on a Monday morning where I was dreading having to put it on for work. So I didn't. I wore my hat instead. This week has been so hot, and my hair is thinly coming along, so I have gone bare. My grey hair looks very distinguished (I like to think)! I took some photos last week (click the photo to see the slideshow), but it has grown a little since then.

I've also got some more eyebrow and eyelash growth, and whilst camping last week, Verity (a former professional make-up artist) gave me a lesson in how to make up my eyes as I have hated them looking kinda 'blank'.  It is definitely helping, and I am feeling a bit more like 'me' everyday.

We've had this week off work and have done:  Westermill camping (Friday to Monday, including Greg being very sick on Sunday night/Monday) - ; visit to Exeter; Herceptin and sorting out camping gear; trip to St Davids; heart scan and visit to Cardiff city/Bay and house/car cleaning). Tomorrow, we are off to Greg's house to tidy it up a bit, and Sunday...? Sleep probably! Back to work on Monday...

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