Thursday is so close! I can’t believe it, the lump will finally be removed from my insides! I asked the consultant if I’d be allowed to see it, “If you want to” she said, pulling a face that was adding “you weirdo” to her verbal reply. But to me it’s just natural to want to meet my lump face to face! It’s a being that has turned my life upside down. It belongs to me and my body, even if it needs to be taken out (for obvious reasons). If you had a cancerous lump taken out, would you want to see it? what are your views?
Moving on from the lump onto me, the other day I caught myself thinking “I’m scared”. And I have decided there is no room for such thoughts, and no point in having them. If I tell myself that I’m scared then I will be, right? So I turned it into excitement. I am excited that they are taking the lump out because that is the first step towards a cancer-free life. Also, it’s a new experience. Last time I was in hospital I was 3 and it was because a tick was stuck behind my ear, sucking my blood out. Unlike the lump, which no-one knows where it came from, the tick came from my dog. I had the habit of having naps in the garden with him you see…
My growing acceptance and strength has made me realise how far I’ve come in such little time. I was diagnosed on a wednesday afternoon, and by friday I was having my first test (a bone scan to be precise). Being the inexperienced person I was with hospitals, tests and cancer stuff I went along on my own, just like I do when I go to see the gp or the dentist. Bad idea. Since my train was delayed and I feared I would be late, I decided to travel by bus. The first leg of the journey was fine, but then I started panicking about not being on time. Thus I decided that money don’t matter today, and I found myself in the middle of mare street, trying to find a taxi, being drenched by the pouring rain. No black cabs. “Shit shit shit”. Walk to the taxi company nearby. Rain. As I’m about to cross pavements, on a little side street I spot a black cab. “Yes” I run towards it. “Where are you going?” asked the taxi driver in the most unfriendly manner you can imagine. “The independent hospital”, I replied. I then started to cry, freaked out by the whole situation, realising that I was going to hospital to have my first test to see if the cancer had spread. The trigger was of course the taxi driver’s rudeness. He did a gesture with his hand telling me to move away “I do not know where that is”. Sob sob sob. Then another cab appeared. “What’s wrong darling?”. Sob, sob, sob. “That taxi driver was very rude”. So nice taxi driver takes me in. He knows where I am going. He knows why I am going there. He asked me and I could have said “for a bone scan”, but being inexperienced as I was I told him it was “I was diagnosed with breast cancer two days ago”. He says he’s sorry to hear. We chat. I feel protected in the taxi. Warm and dry, I look at the rain from the window and I stop the sobbing.
So yeah, it’s funny how quickly you become accustomed to having breast cancer. This is my life now and this is what is waiting for me:
1) Lumpectomy on thursday. They take out your lump, plus 2cm around it. If those 2 cm are cancer free, that’s it. If they are not, then they will take a bigger chunk which could lead to a mastectomy or complete removal of my boob. They are also clearing my armpit’s lymph nodes.
2) 6 weeks later I will start chemo. I am very happy about the timing, as it’ll be after nadia’s hen weekend, the blur concert in hyde park and nadia’s wedding in france. The chemo is FEC (more info here http://www.cancerbackup.org.uk/Treatments/Chemotherapy/Combinationregimen/FEC#6878). I will have it for 18 weeks, and I feel quite lucky that I got this particular treatmen. I go in one week a month for a day, stay in hospital for a couple of hours while they inject me with the poison. Then I rest for 3 weeks! I am hoping that once I get into the routine I will carry on writing my phd. I am excited about finishing it now! perfect activity for rainy days. I shall be finished with chemo mid november. By then I will feel very tired, and I expect those few months to be hard and nauseous. But I have christmas to look forward to! Oh and I will be bald by august. Bald and beautiful, oh yeah ;-). Will I be able to pull the “cancer chic” look ? (as fausto and I call it)
3) radiotherapy. Don’t know so much about this one. I think it will start like a month after chemo, so just before christmas? after christmas? and I think it’s for 4-6 weeks? more details to follow.
So all in all I shall be done with treatment sometime in january 2010. Then give me 2-3 months to recover (hair, energy levels…) and I will be out and about and dancing all around once more.