I don’t really know where to start with this blog, I really didn’t think I’d be writing about the end of chemo yet. As you know from my last blog cycle 7 was delayed a week because those naughty platelets weren’t behaving. When I saw my oncologist on Friday he said “I’m afraid your platelets are still too low and have barely increased in the last week so I’m ending treatment because I don’t want to put your body under anymore stress and cause any long lasting issues”. Even though I knew it was a possibility it didn’t sink in that he had just told me your treatment is done I hope I don’t see you in here again 😂 He was happy that we achieved 6 cycles and reassured me that not having another 2 cycles won’t make a massive difference to my long term prognosis but I wasn’t to run any marathons yet 😂 as body is going to take a while to recover. I was dazed and as it was a routine appointment I had gone on my own so I rang the bell to signify the end of my chemo journey with one of the lovely nurses. The patients clapped for me and it reminded me when I had my first chemo session and hearing someone ringing the bell and thinking how good that must feel and it was a goal to aspire to. I actually felt very numb and went and sat outside the waiting room staring at the wall thinking that’s it 6 of the most difficult months of my life is over. I went up to the chemo suite and told them I’d finished treatment and I shed a tear and hugged the nurses that had given me such great care. I got back in the car and cried most of the way back to work but when I got to work and walked through the door all my colleagues were clapping which set me off again it was so overwhelming, they’ve lived this journey with me through tears and frustration so I can’t thank them enough for their support. We all raised a glass of champagne in classy Nescafé paper cups.
A tidal wave of emotions!
I pretty much cried on and off all day, so many emotions at once hit me like a train. As anyone that’s had cancer and undergone treatment will tell you it totally consumes your life and you don’t live much beyond more than 1 appointment to the next and then suddenly it all stops. I didn’t celebrate that evening I came home to an empty house and just sat, cried and reflected. Cancer has been the focus of my life this year from investigations in January/February to discovering a tumour in March, having major surgery in April and adapting to life without a large Bowel, getting the cancer diagnosis in May and then chemo commenced in June and has taken me through to November and now there’s a void and I have to learn how to fill it. I hate cancer it’s a vile disease and I hate what it’s done to my body and mind but I am also grateful for the lessons it’s taught me. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, when I was at my lowest and in pain I somehow found the strength to get up each day and get through it, cancer has given me a determination to appreciate life and those that I love on an entirely new level, it’s allowed me to be more open about my feelings more than ever before, raw emotions are just part of the cancer journey and it’s okay to admit you aren’t okay. Most importantly for me having Bowel cancer has allowed me to meet some amazing people through Bowel Cancer UK and through the online community that I can now call friends, we all understand each other’s struggles and for me having cancer has found something I’m now very passionate about.
The chemo chapter has ended but I’m still on the cancer rollercoaster but for now the ride has slowed down a bit. I joke that I’ve kicked cancers butt in reality I don’t really know if I have and once you’ve had cancer the fear of a recurrence will always live with you. For now I get to have a break and begin to slowly get my life back on track with the new normal. I’m hoping after a period of time I can start introducing more varied foods into my diet that wasn’t possible whilst on chemo, begin to exercise again, dye my hair 😂 and have a much needed holiday.
My genetic results that were expected last week weren’t ready yet so it’s likely to be December before I hear anything. This is currently my biggest worry, what the tests will reveal and if it will impact on my family. My follow up scans and investigations begin in April 2019 one year after my surgery and will continue for the next 5 years, anxious times ahead but all I can do in the meantime is crack on with the life I’ve been given a second chance at.
The blog won’t stop here I will continue to share my journey partly because I can’t imagine not writing anymore. I will continue to clog up your news feed with stats, education, awareness, donating blood etc etc 😂 I won’t apologise it’s a subject I’m very passionate about and I will now be a life long supporter of the Bowel Cancer UK, watch this space for my first fundraising challenge so have you 💰 at the ready 😂
Today I give Thanks to all those that have supported me on this journey
As I said before cancer is one shit of a disease (no pun intended 😂) but it’s shown my the kindest of the human spirit. I really don’t know how to begin thanking people for their support and some will be personal but I’m so grateful for all of the words of encouragement and support, the cards, gifts, flowers and food, it means the world to me and has helped lift me out of some pretty dark places. You are amazing and I couldn’t have done it without you all. I may still need your support a while longer especially as the rollercoaster of treatment has finished and I’m now facing a void in my life that I have to re learn how to fill but I’m excited for the things to come.