Cancer and other stuff


I’ve talked a lot about Alison in many of my posts and you’ll know how much I adore her. She’s v no-nonsense, immensely clever, totally bosses the men around (and bear in mind she’s in what is, I think, is a very male-orientated profession) and comes highly, highly regarded by her peers. She spoke at a conference I was at a couple of weeks ago and totally blew most of the male speakers out of the water. She’s also the chair of God knows how many clever, techy cancer bodies and seems to have drug companies in her pocket; she’s hugely charming and a very clever networker which are qualities you absolutely need in the person who is effectively in control of your life. She’s made the research and treatment of breast cancer her whole life  and I for one am SO grateful for people like her. She also likes bags and shoes. A lot. Having seen her no 2 last week, who is lovely and very good but probably not as familiar with me as some of the others in the team, I was a bit alarmed and confused all over again about what was apparently going to happen in terms of more chemo, weird things showing up in scans etc which meant they were being brought forward and it’s so easy to freak out when spanners like that get thrown in the works. But having seen The Boss yesterday, she could see, both from my consistently low blood results and just my general demeanour that I’ve had enough and she is happy with me having my last chemo session today, as opposed to one more in 3 weeks. I don’t mean to moan, but chemo is tough and these particular drugs are quite a lot more brutal than anything I’ve been on in the past. I’ve done this 7 times now and have dragged and puked myself through the last few times. I desperately need a break – physically, psychologically, every other possible way. Andy and I both do. This is as hard for him as it is for me. And I have a job that needs more of my attention, and a life to get on with. My next scan will be on 9 November as opposed to January and they’ll scan my neck too this time to check there’s nothing suspect re this clot or my thyroid which feels quite big at the moment (if you see me constantly swallowing, that’s why). ASSUMING no big surprises, it’s bye bye hospital for a few months and they’ll just monitor me regularly after that to see what happens. This means it could be AGES before I go back on any treatment (pleasegodpleasegod). And I won’t have to spend an average of once or twice a week there sitting around in waiting rooms which is what I’ve been doing for over a year. Of course I’m a bit nervous about what might happen during that time but if The Boss says it’s OK, then I’ll take it and bloody well enjoy it while I can. I can’t spend my life shitting myself about the future, nor spaced out on drugs the whole time. What will be will be, it’s today and tomorrow that’s surely most important cos they’re gone all too soon and in years to come, I don’t want to think I wasted my ‘good’ time while I had it. Anyway the point of all this is that, yes in an ideal world I probably would have ‘just’ one more chemo session but Alison has listened to me, understands I’m knackered and I have a trip coming up that I seriously need to be well enough for, and she’s prepared to make that the priority. Which I could kiss her for. Too many doctors and oncologists in particular don’t treat you as a person, just a patient, so when you get one who does, you need to hang onto them. I wish I’d had Alison right from the very beginning, I suspect things would be very different by now if I had. But I have her now and she’s fabulous. On my list of things to be grateful for, she’s right up there. Everyone should have one like her.


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