Chemo – done and dusted! I never thought I’d get to this point but I’m happy to say I’ve finally finished chemotherapy.
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Technically I had my last dose of Taxol chemo 2 weeks ago. I was getting really bad peripheral neuropathy and nerve issues such as pins and needles and numbness for a while and my Oncologist thought it best to stop the chemo.
Although these issues are very common during this particular chemo, there is no guarantee that the damage won’t be permanent so it’s about finding a balance between getting enough chemo to be effective but also guaranteeing a decent quality of life post-chemo.
So, I’m done!
It’s a weird feeling and one that we’ve all been building up to for a while. After I was told I was finished I felt the elation and immense relief that chemo was all over.
Very quickly though, I kind of slumped into a very unusual feeling. It was like being overwhelmed and underwhelmed all at the same time.
I think this is for two reasons. Firstly, I look in the mirror and I still look ill. I still look like I have cancer. I’m bald, my eyelashes and eyebrows are almost 100% gone and I’ve put on so much weight with the steroids and water retention that I look nothing like my ‘usual’ self. Because I’m a size 8 normally…LIES!
But you know what I mean – I look like a fat, grey, bald person ate me. I say person because I do not look or feel feminine in the slightest.
Secondly, all of a sudden those dark feelings I had just after my diagnosis came back.
I started to think about what if the cancer comes back. What if it comes back quickly. It is Triple Negative breast cancer after all and is more aggressive and fast-growing than other forms.
I wonder again if my Oncology team is keeping the truth from me and letting me walk around blissfully unaware that I don’t stand a chance at survival.
What if it isn’t my last chemo and I have to return when the cancer inevitably comes back again?
What if I die? What if cancer is going to kill me after all?
Does anyone survive after a Triple Negative breast cancer diagnosis?
Perhaps I’ll have a look on Google and see. Maybe I’ll find some survivor stories and feel better.
STOP RIGHT THERE!
And that’s where I had to stop myself. I will not be googling the above – it’s a dark, steep slope to depression. There are NO positive stories of Triple Negative breast cancer survivors on Google. Trust me, I’ve looked.
But I tell myself now that the reason there are no positive stories is because those survivors are out there living their lives to the full and they’re too busy to blog about being cancer-free or comment in cancer forums about how they’re over it.
I make a mental note to keep blogging about my survivor story – I want someone in the future to be able to read how I got through it and how 5, 10, 30 years on, I’m still living my life cancer-free. I hate the idea of someone else being scared.
So I’m trying not to fixate on those dark thoughts because at the end of the day, a big old bus could mow me over tomorrow but I’m not going to waste my time today fixating on tomorrow’s possible bus-in-the-face!
Sooo for the rest of the week I’ve been resting up (because I am well and truly, utterly knackered) and getting my head in the game for the next step – radiotherapy.
I have an appointment with my Radiotherapy Oncologist next week – I’ve met him before and I remember him being nice. I’m hoping he’ll give me the dates for when I’ll have my 20 sessions of radiation and I hope it’s soon because the sooner I start, the sooner I’m done!
So here I am: bald, grey, knackered, fat with a couple of comedy drawn-on eyebrows but hey ho, I’m alive and I’m on the rebuild. Slow as it may be.
Being the sentimental type, I thought I’d end with an open letter to Chemo. It really encapsulates how I’ve felt in getting through the past 6 months:
Love from Mim x
I think that just about sums it up, don’t you think? Ooh that’s my first swear word on this blog ever you know – apologies etc.
I will finish this post by thanking you all once again for getting me through the past six months because you DID get me through.
I didn’t do chemo, we all did. We didn’t like it too much but we’re grateful for it nonetheless.
Thank you to you all for your support, love, friendship, patience and, of course, for letting me be oh-so-self-indulgent many times.
I’ll never forget the friendship and love you have extended to me during this absolutely horrible time in my life.
I promise you two things. Firstly, I will get through this.
Secondly, if you ever need me for anything, if you’re ever struggling or need a friend, I’m here for you too. I’m that kind of friend you can’t really shake off you see. Once I’m your friend, I am for life.
I love you all! Love from Mim x
Related: Download my Chemo Appointment Stickers here.
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