You know when you come back from your holiday (not this year obviously) and you sit at work for at least a week saying ‘this time yesterday’ and ‘this time last week’? Well, this time last year I was just coming round from my operation in CUH, having had the offending lymph nodes removed.
The melanoma had spread through them and was on a fast track of destruction like a Keanu Reeves film.
Thankfully, the incredible team in CUH removed them all and all I had to do was just go through a bit of pain, a bit of treatment and all would be well…….
It’s been a hell of a 12 months. I remember the incredible relief when they told me I wouldn’t have to have chemotherapy. I wouldn’t lose my hair. I’d have this new fabulous treatment called immunotherapy.
I still feel incredibly lucky that I didn’t have to have chemo, but there has been times in the last year that immunotherapy has not felt that fabulous. I’ve wanted to ignore Mr M and Mr T. when I’ve missed out on important events and had a cry on my own.
Let’s be honest, having OH have to help me in the shower has not been one of the highest points in our relationship. For the record, his hair washing skills are not that great.
But here’s the thing. If you are reading this and just starting out on this journey – always try to find the humour, not the misery. Play that damn cancer card if you want to watch a film that OH is literally going to hate – you deserve it.
The other thing is – be good to yourself. Have fun when you can, but also do the right things. Eat the fruit and veg and get yourself out walking in the fresh air. It’s been a hard slog, but most days I walk 11,000 steps now which is about 5 miles. If that seems unreachable to you, just break it up into a few shorter walks throughout the day. And trampoline! I’m telling you – it’s the future! However, always do this without the aid of two ginger kittens – more on them later. Don’t get me wrong – my new found love of pink gin is still very much on the menu!
So that brings us up to last week where I had my CT scan. There is a word amongst cancer patients – scanxiety. I’m a pretty optimistic person, but as you’re sitting in the X Ray department, drinking that weird squash before your scan, all kinds of thoughts race through your head. And that’s not even mentioning what you can imagine in the middle of the night while you’re waiting for the results.
Let me cut to the chase. My results came through and they are completely clear!!!! The oncologist rang to say he knew I’d been worried about the scan – you will recall I wanted the scan in June – so wanted to give me the results as quickly as possible. When the call was over, I sat and had a cry. Over all the bad news, I barely cried. Here was some amazing news and I was sobbing.
As I said to my friend later, I don’t think I’d realised how long I had been holding my breath.
Of course, as I started to text my family & friends, I sobbed some more, just reading their reactions.
Losing Rog, the Ginger Prince, earlier this year hurt so much and I really didn’t know if I would love a new kitty as much. But the house has been empty without him. It wasn’t an easy decision but when two baby gingers became available for adoption, it was basically fate in action.
When we first got Rog, the vet told us having a ginger cat was not like any other cat. She was right. So of course, it made total sense to double that madness this time round! Please meet Butch and Sundance.
They have brought joy back into the house and the scan results have sealed that joy today.
I have to see the meds through to the end, which is a few weeks yet. I will see the oncologist in September who will hand me back over to the wonderful surgical team. They will then monitor me for the next five years.
I will still blog about my ongoing scans and tests but I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me such fabulous messages in the last twelve months. Every single message has helped me beat this damn thing.
Finally let me tell you that sea swimming has become a regular fixture in my life and each swim still makes me feel so alive and exhilarated. If you’re in any way able to try it – give it a go. OH goes as well now and we roar with laughter. It’s an amazing release where you forget all your troubles just for a while.