Best of all I can concentrate on healing for the first time without the onslaught of the treatment to deal with. How did treatment for illness become so horrific? Hopefully one of our children will deviate from the generation that wants to be models and celebrities and find a kinder cure for this ghastly disease.
My sister went to a good bye party for the mother of a friend who was diagnosed six years ago and chose not to have treatment. I never understood how you could do that before I had the treatment myself. Now I feel differently and can see her point of view too. It may depend on what or who you want to live for. In my case it's mainly who.
I am off for my final radiation zap today. It has become less tolerable over the last two weeks and I am feeling very scorched. It will be a relief to stop doing it. There is the strangest feeling of walking the green mile when you passively walk into these rooms to have bits chopped or irradiated or poisoned. It is a bit like jumping off a cliff to bungy jump. Your brain tells you it's okay and you have to do it but every defensive instinct in your body is screaming," Nooo!"
Yet you smile and make small talk with the lovely technicians and doze off to the music while the machine goes about its merry way decapitating the DNA of any straggler cancer cells. Because in all of this, I am still a mother and lying down still for a few minutes inevitably warrants a nanna nap. (I have been known to nod off during a leg wax!) Ha! Hair removal! Remember that!
I remember somebody telling me it's like using a bomb to kill a flea. I just hope they have bombed the right spot!
It has been quite the experience, a lot of which I haven't shared with you, but for the record, I am going to put some of it down here now for me and mine, should they ever be curious, to be able to refer to.
Four core biopsies
Four fine needle biopsies (unanaesthetised and failed to get material)
Four more fine needle biopsies from another doctor (anaesthetised, thank you very much, and successful!)
MRI of breasts
Radial mastectomy of the left breast and axillary nodes. (22)
Full body scan
MRI of liver
needle aspiration of seroma under healed wound site (the first of seventeen- so far)
Chemotherapy protocol, three weekly, six times on T.A.C. treatment.
Readmitted once with dehydration for IV fluids and IV maxalon
Ongoing physiotherapy for lymphodoema treatment and lymphatic drainage of seroma
Mapping for radiotherapy
Daily radiotherapy for six weeks for twenty five sessions. Fourteen beams per session to four areas.
Listening to instrumental Andrew Lloyd Webber musak whilst remaining immobile.
Who is this person? I NEVER listen to Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It feels like the end of a long, arduous path. Now there is a wide open place in front of me and the opportunity to step through and find the rest of what life has to offer.
I still had to go see the honkologist again yesterday. It's a bit later than I should have because it took me eight weeks to summon the resolve to walk back into that bloody chemo unit again and make the appointment. It still gives me a very bad feeling passing those doors, even that floor on the elevator.
Then there is the bone density test, a bit more drainage, five years of Tamoxifen tablets, instant menopause, burn healing, visits every few months, annual scans, check ups, yada, yada... It will hopefully wind down into a new easier life with a different viewpoint and priorities. I just want to get back to being the same person I used to be but don't know if that will ever happen.
There are so many ways to describe all this- journey, experience, battle, ordeal, passage, illness, enlightenment. For now I will just call it 2012, my annus horribilis, and try to move on to resume life beyond the 'C' word.
Thank you all so much for your support and ongoing kindness throughout.
See you in the great beyond.