Cancer and other stuff

What is it?

I had my scan result today and it was less hideous than I feared. The things in my lungs have got a bit bigger but, crucially, there is no sign of anything new to worry about. My liver is clear, as are my bones which is a pretty good result all things considered. If you’ve read this blog recently you’ll probably have guessed that I really was frightened this time. My logic ran like this: if I had 3 months on the most hideous, gruelling drug I’ve experienced so far and THAT didn’t stop it growing then it would be an absolute miracle if, having had no treatment at all for 2 months, the sodding thing hadn’t spread like wildfire during that time. To hear it hadn’t was, well, just very good.

Statistically, things still don’t look wonderful. Every different type of chemo you have has a smaller success rate percentage-wise. Percentage-wise, there’s probably around a 30-40 per cent chance – at best – this next drug, Eribulin, will do anything. I know this statistic. I also know the statistic about life expectancy of triple negative, BRCA1 metastatic breast cancer patients and it doesn’t make for happy reading. But something is working. It must be. How else could I have had all this time off treatment and not be riddled with the damn thing? Statistically I should probably be dead by now or at least in a lot more trouble than I’m in now but instead I’m bounding around, large as life and twice as ugly.

Today was a good result. It was unrealistic to think there was a chance nothing would have moved on in that time off but, my God, it could have been worse. A LOT worse. I should be horrified about going back on treatment now and obviously it would be a lot more pleasant if I never had to have chemo again but I’ve realised that this whole disease is one little stand-off after another. It whacks me one, I feel like I won’t recover but then I come bouncing back and suddenly it’s anyone’s game again. The last few months, the last few weeks particularly, have been tough – I was due a bit of good luck and I’m prepared to thank my lucky stars, and Alison obviously, that I didn’t just pay a very hefty price for that treatment break and our holiday. It could have gone horribly wrong but, touch wood, it hasn’t at the moment so I’ll bank that time off, play nicely and get back in the plastic chair with the bucket of hot water and invest some time and energy into the next little squabble, whenever that may come. I’ll be on this drug for 2-3 months now so no bricking it about scan results for a while. Just head down, get on with it and see how we go.

I’m amazed I didn’t get *really* shitty news today given all the ‘statistics’. While my mind may have been sobbing under a blanket, not answering the door, my tough little body has rolled its sleeves up and punched the cancer in the nose. Something has worked. I don’t know what it is. Could it be the various herbal potions I throw down my throat on a daily basis, the vitamin C we max out on, the home-cooked food I am treated to every day? Could it be the unwavering belief of my parents that I will get better one day, even though that drives me mad? Is it the arms of my friends that link and catch me when I call out to them, or is it the feeling of being so utterly in love and happy with the partner I have found? Is it the kindness of people I know and people I don’t, wishing me good things and praying for me? Is it a combination of all these things? Or none of them, and just weird luck? I don’t know, I can’t really explain anything that goes on when you have cancer. It’s all mad and that’s why it can be so hard to treat, it just doesn’t behave the way it should. The last few weeks has been tough but I feel like I’ve been given a bit of breathing space today, just the tiniest bit. Enough to build on I hope. I’m ready to start treatment again. I know how wonderful Alison is, and she just astounds me with her brilliance sometimes. I am 100 per cent sure I am in the best possible hands.


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