I had my last chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday last week (hopefully). I will go in to the hopefully bit shortly...
So many people have said to me 'Oh you must be so happy to have it out of the way'. Maybe I should be. I feel like I should be. But happy isn't how I've felt since Tuesday. I burst in to tears in the middle of town, cried all the way home, screamed and smashed some plates. Smashing plates is quite satisfying until you realise that you actually have nothing to eat off of and need to bugger about replacing them the next day. Since then, I've felt like a bloated, fat toad with horrid indigestion and heartburn and a massive round steroid face. I seem to have ballooned in weight over the last week or so and feel so puffy and uncomfortable I barely recognise myself in the mirror. I can cope with feeling ill, but looking ill and feeling fat, unfit and lethargic I really do no deal with very well.
I'm not sure Tuesday started out too well to be honest. I had to be at the hospital for 9.00am for an appointment for a scans on my bad and good boob, after finding an 'area of irregularity' in it. The letter sent to me was reminiscent of my first diagnosis and almost triggered some sort of flashback, so you can imagine my nerves were considerably on edge by the time I got to the hospital.
After an ultrasound and titty squash, good news was that the good boob was fine. Not so good news was that the tumour in my bad boob hadn't shrunk since October. After meeting with the surgeon once the scans were in, he told me that it is entirely possible that when the tumour is taken out, all they will find is dead tissue. Apparently, when cancer cells start to die, they form necrosis, or scar tissue and that's all that may be left of the bastard. However, there is no way of knowing until it's actually removed. The scans only show a mass and don't differentiate between alive or dead cells. Psychologically it's a bit of a blow - after months of feeling like absolute crap you expect to have some sort of result - indeed there still could be but once again I'm thrown in the pit of uncertainty.
After discussing the results with my oncologist, he told me that in the unlikely event of them removing the tumour and it not having responded as well as they would have liked, there may be the chance of more chemotherapy. Different drugs this time as no point giving stuff that hasn't worked already. Essentially, the chemo is to try and zap any random cancer cells that may have escaped to other areas of the body, such as the bone marrow or liver. Surgery can deal with what is in the breast - the chemo tries to destroy any floaters before they can settle and set up home.
Not the best news, but in one way a bit reassuring that they won't just cast me afloat and there is more they can do. Again, it just adds to the total uncertainty, which gradually I'm learning to deal with. I've accepted I'm never going to know when this whole process will be 'over'. It is impossible to give timescales. I don't know when I will be back at work properly or when I can have a holiday. No - I don't know when I will be 'cured'. I'll never know whether if I go in to remission, whether or not it will come back. I'll never be entirely done with treatment. I'm not sure when I will get some semblance of my former life back, if ever. But enough - I've purged now. I feel slightly better. Maybe. I just need to avoid mirrors for the moment!