Today is sunny, and I don’t just mean the weather. It’s amazing what a few rays of warm sunshine can do for your overall mood and it’s especially amazing when you couple this with a very positive appointment with a glorious new medical team.
This morning I met my new oncologist, Dr Alison Jones. She is BRILLIANT. She specialises in secondary breast cancer, is a government adviser on cancer and is generally a bloody great woman. With a fantastic bedside manner and a roll-your-sleeves-up-and-tackle-this-bugger-head-on attitude. Very much my kind of woman.
I’ve been completely bombarded with information today and I’ve got a week to regroup, swot up and get ready for the next stage of this mental, mental journey but to summarise, I am eligible for these new trials. They’re at stage II which means the very best brains have got past the head-scratching, not-really-sure-how-this-is-going-to-pan-out-let’s-guess-at-a-dose-and-see-what-side-effects-crop-up stage and they know a little more about them now. Side-effects are apparently minimal as they’re such clever drugs. None of this bumbling around your body shooting out all the good cells too (so that hideous wig can stay in the cupboard and I definitely won’t be shaving my head at Glastonbury this year, HURRAH). They just mess with the cancer cell’s mind. Which is what we need so they can stop messing with mine. I’ll be the only person on this trial at UCH too, so I can expect extra special care and attention which, after the past 6 months of general crapness and having to sort everything out myself with little medical support, is a massive bonus.
So what’s next? Next week I sign the consent form and start the process of a squillion tests on my heart to make sure my tough little body is ready, and off we go on 14 March. It’ll be 5 days a week, one week per month, with CT scans on my lungs every 6 weeks to see what effect it’s having and various other bits and bobs in between. Before that I need to have a little reservoir thing fitted in my chest so they can get the drugs in me as my poor little veins are shot from the first round of chemo I had in 2009. So that might make my good boob look as weird and knobbly as my faux one but them’s the brakes. Oh and I’m not to lose any weight apparently. Another biscuit? Oh, go on then, for medicinal purposes obviously.
How do I feel? Going from utter despair and crushing disappointment on Tuesday to pure hope today has been a rollercoaster and I’ve been thrown so much information this week which is totally mind-boggling. It’s all stepped up a gear very very quickly now and I’m just about trotting along to catch up but the good thing is how this new team have made me *feel*. Edwina, the fabulous Aussie nurse who is leading this trial (“alright babe, follow me babe”) is a little Mary Poppins, according to my friend Katie who came today. Pulling things out of her carpet bag and weaving a bit of magic, in the form of managing my life and looking after every aspect of my care, as well as the treatment itself. I won’t be able to do anything or go anywhere without telling her and that’s what I need more than anything right now, the sense that someone is *on it*. And my God is she on it. I’m so much more confident that I have the best minds in London on my side now.
My life will be even more dominated by cancer from now on which saddens me, and I will have to spend a lot more time in hospital but that’s the reality of this disease and I have to do what I can to stay well. Luckily I have fantastic employers who couldn’t be more supportive and I know they’re with me every step of the way. I am a very lucky girl. And I’m determined to stay normal. I’m living with cancer, not dying of it.
Of course I’m apprehensive and I must caveat this by saying there are no guarantees this new treatment will work. But if it’s one thing in my armoury to try, then I’m game.
BRING IT ON.