Cancer and other stuff

A really good response

There’s some fact about how many words the average person hears in a typical day, can’t remember how many, suspect it’s in the tens of thousands or something, but yesterday I only heard four: “a really good response.” You might have already seen on FB or Twitter that my scan results yesterday were very good. Having had 7 months of increasingly bad news, things seem to be back moving in the right direction, for now at least. The chemo I’ve been on since May is really doing what it says on the tin. When I saw Alison last week, she very much managed my expectations about what we’re aiming for here and in fact, rather than the things in my lungs staying the same size, which would have been a good result, they’ve actually shrunk by a fair amount.

You don’t need me to tell you how that feels. It doesn’t change the overall outcome, I’m never going to be cured (and remember the first lot of chemo I was on in autumn last year worked brilliantly at first then stopped) but one 20 min appointment has meant a bit of a shift in thinking. That’s how constantly up and down this thing is – yesterday morning I really wasn’t expecting good news and was semi-preparing myself for the fact that things were deteriorating quite rapidly and how long will I actually be here? What does that mean for family, friends, my beautiful but still very new relationship, the job and colleagues I love? How can I possibly accept and deal with the pain they are going to face if I’m not here any more? And then, four small words change all that and now I’m very much of the opinion that this isn’t (yet) the immediate death sentence I thought it was, and maybe this could eventually be a long-term, chronic but MANAGEABLE condition, like AIDS and diabetes are now (largely?). Of course I’m still scared to death but at least I have a little breathing space until my next scan in August (two more cycles = four hits of this same drug, had one yesterday and it’s as unpleasant as I remembered. I’m still in my pyjamas with no plans to get dressed and just about holding food down now, yum). And before that, the boy wonder and I have two glorious weeks in Thailand v soon. We both need it, individually and as a couple I think, this can’t be easy for him and we’re having to build a relationship based on very different foundations than ‘normal’ couples. And I’m moving house, somewhere bigger with a garden and away from all the associations of this flat. When I moved here I was ill, bald and brokenhearted and now I’m only one of those things. It’s time to move on and make plans. Yesterday morning I was really wondering if that was possible and it definitely is now.

I’m also happy to be transferring hospitals from UCH where I have had a total nightmare, to the Royal Free as of next month, which I am hoping will also help in this ‘new start’ frame of mind but I’ll save that particular narrative for another blog. It does not make happy reading!

I’ve been touched and quite frankly gobsmacked by the support I’ve had from everyone reading this blog, many of whom I’ve never met. So thank you for rooting for me, wherever you are.



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