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My Fourth Chemotherapy Treatment Experience

Well today marks the end of the last of my AC chemo cycles – my fourth chemotherapy treatment is over. OVER!

No more ‘red devil’ for me – never, ever again! This is mainly because it’s so harsh that you can only have so many in your lifetime. Whatever, I’m done with it!

This last cycle was so much easier than the previous ones, due to the fact that my Oncologist reduced my dose by 25% as I was so ill for the last 3 sessions.

This time around, apart from a couple of bad days, I handled the side effects so much better. I actually felt like a few of my friends who have undergone AC chemo felt whereas previously I couldn’t understand how they had got off so ‘lightly’ compared to me.

I don’t know, maybe my original dosage was just too much for my body to handle. I don’t care. What I do care about is that I’ll never have to undergo AC chemo again and thank God for that.

So now I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on the past 3 months and the first half of my chemotherapy treatment.

My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson
My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson

I can honestly say that AC chemo is not for the faint-hearted. It is all-consuming and at times you think you’re not going to get through it. I couldn’t see the end until very recently. I felt like I would be in the chemo bubble forever and I just couldn’t see past the end of my treatment, let alone a life without breast cancer.

As horrendous as it was at times, I’ve got through it. I’m done with it. I am not the person I was before I started and I doubt I will ever be that person again but I made it through.

It might not be all bad that I’m different now because in the past 3-4 months, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the person I am and the people I surround myself with and I’ve started to make some changes. For the better.

For my whole life, I have felt like the person everyone came to with their problems, when they needed advice, a shoulder to cry on, the first to share good and bad news. And I’ve loved being that person and still do.

I have learned though that some of the people that have leaned on me are simply not cut out to be that person for me in return. I do not know why, nor do I care why.

Additionally, I have found that despite me facing the (hopefully) toughest time of my life, some people will still insist on making every situation about them. They have kicked me while I’m down. Or they haven’t contacted me. And shame on them.

I can count these people on one hand and instead of feeling sad or disappointed in them, I actually feel empowered. There’s nothing like a bit of cancer to help make some tough decisions and let some people go.

I’ve just finished reading Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying” a and I wish I had read it years ago – I wish she had written it MANY years ago! It’s all about looking at your possessions, discarding those that do not “spark joy” in you and treasuring those things that do.

I am applying this to all aspects of my life and whilst Marie asks you to start by sorting and discarding your clothing, I am starting with People!  So it’s goodbye to people I cannot rely on, who think only of themselves or who are constant drainers. It’s as simple as that. There is no sadness but a weight has been lifted.

Marie says you only have to tidy once, because then everything you have is precious to you and has it’s place. I will constantly be ‘tidying’ my circle of family and friends though – but I suppose she didn’t really intend for her principals to be applied to people!

But that’s enough of discarding the bad because what I am left with is undoubtedly the best circle of family and friends that anyone could wish for. Not only are they (you!) supportive, positive and uplifting but you are also many! For every person I discard, there are a hundred of you that I treasure, that spark joy when I think about you, or when you call me, or when I read your messages of love and support. You are amazing and I am so lucky to have you! Please know how grateful I am to you for being there for me when I really, really need you. Please know I am here for you too.

So I’m 3 months into chemo and I have 3 months to go before I start radiotherapy. I’m halfway there! Altogether now…wooo-oooahh livin’ on a prayer!

As much as 3 months is such a short time to many, I won’t lie, it’s dragged for me! It’s behind me now though. So I need to focus on round 2 which goes by the name of Paclitaxel. Rolls off the tongue, right?

I’ll be having a weekly dose of Paclitaxel for 12 weeks. It’s a different chemo and a much lower dose than AC chemo so I’m really hoping it will be much easier to take. The side effects are similar to the last chemo but as I’ve already experienced pretty much everything on the list in full-force, I’m ready for it!

In other news, my eyebrows and eye-lashes have started to regrow! Which would be bloody awesome if I was done with chemo ha ha argh! BUT it’s really given me a boost to see how quickly they can start to grow back so when I lose them again and start to complain, feel free to remind me that they WILL grow back and it won’t take long.

My mum is coming with me tomorrow for my treatment YAY so it will be nice to introduce her to my lovely chemo nurses. She met my Oncologist last week which was nice too.

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I’ve only felt this way very recently. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t even imagine Christmas this year. Not because I thought I would be dead, I just couldn’t see that far into the future.

I can now, I can see everything really.

I think the biggest change in that, aside from finishing the harshest chemo, is that I got the results of my genetic testing to see if I had either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Honestly it blew me away when I got the good news – it was like getting the ALL CLEAR from cancer! If I had been positive for one of the genes, I would have scheduled to have a bilateral mastectomy and my ovaries removed and although I desperately didn’t want that to happen, I had come to terms with it being likely because I had gotten cancer so young. It would also have meant that my children, particularly my daughter, would have had to get tested as soon as she was old enough too. I felt tremendous guilt about the possibility of me ‘passing’ the cancer gene to them, as much as I know rationally it wasn’t my fault.

When my husband and I went to get the results, we nearly fell of our chairs when the Professor told us I was negative for the genes! Then we cried. Then I called my mum and dad!

My result was not 100% conclusive because they did find an unclassified variant in the BRCA1 gene but at this stage they think it insignificant. They will keep my results and DNA though and as new testing procedures are found, they will let me know if they uncover any new info and I will call them in 1-2 years for an update too.

So, all-in-all, it’s been a wonderful 3 weeks. A very happy and positive few weeks surrounded by my amazing family and friends!

Oh I’ve also attended the “Look Good, Feel Better” workshop with some other lovely cancery ladies where we got to try on new makeup, wigs and headgear which was a lot of fun!

If you want to see me in my new wig, check out this video :)

Right then, that’s about enough for this cycle. Wish me luck for tomorrow and let’s hope in my next chemo update I’m telling you I barely felt a thing :)

As the Queen song goes, “I’ll face it with a grin, I’m never giving in, on with the show”!

Love from Mim x

My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson
My Friend Has Cancer eBook by Mim Jenkinson

Read next:

My Fourth Chemotherapy Treatment - www.lovefrommim.com - AC Chemo, Paclitaxel, Taxol, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Mum with Cancer Mummy Blogger Mommy Blogger

 

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42 Comments

  1. Jane Allen
    / 8:22 pm

    Sharing your story has encouraged me greatly. This morning, I was feeling a little bit down but feel better after reading this. You’re truly inspirational. Wish you the very best with the remaining 3 months.

    • / 2:08 pm

      Thank you so much Jane :)

  2. Georgina whitehead
    / 6:41 am

    What an inspiring post all filled with my favourite rock songs!! Haha’ no seriously though you are one tough mother and it sounds like your doing amazingly and doing it all with a smile! You’ve made me smile and not feel sad about cancer, I was preparing for a sad post and this is so positive and strong! High fives for the negitive results too :) X

    • / 9:59 am

      Oh thank you! It’s all going so well and I’m on the home run :) Rock songs are helping me along :) x

  3. Kate
    / 10:36 pm

    Much love to you. I think your amazing and I applaud you for sharing your journey! We all need to hear about cancer and what people really go through. Not keep it inside the ward. I write about my sons journey occasionally and Its confronting for me writing and for those reading but its necessary! My son is in remission but i have a whollleeeee lotta things to get off my chest. I cant imagine being inside his body.
    You are strong!

    • / 11:20 am

      Oh thank you so much x I am so glad to hear your son is in remission and send him and you all my love and well wishes x x

  4. My Petit Canard
    / 10:42 am

    Ah Mim, Im so pleased for you! Best news ever on your results and a great (relative) few weeks to boot! Its lovely to see a glimmer of light, hope and hapiness for you all. Hope the new treatment has started as well as it can. Look forward to reading all about how youve gotten on. Emily x

    • / 12:42 pm

      Thank you so much Emily! x x

  5. Katie Heels and Hooves
    / 9:48 am

    Oh Mim, I’m so pleased that awful treatment is over and you are feeling so much more positive. Congratulations on getting through what sounds like an awful experience.
    But I’m so sorry that people have let you down. You don’t deserve that. Kick them out of your life and embrace the people like your mum and family who are there for you as you deserve better than that xxx

    • / 12:41 pm

      Oh thank you lovely and you’re absolutely right :) x

  6. Caroline
    / 7:02 pm

    Wow, you are an amazing lady. I hope the next stage of your treatment goes well and wish you all the very best. Love reading your posts x x

    • / 12:39 pm

      Oh thank you so so much! x

  7. Sarah
    / 9:54 pm

    You sound so positive Mim. I can’t imagine what a horrible experience it must be to go through what you are going through but your positive attitude has got to be helping. And yay to being done with the first stage of chemo and no cancer genes!

  8. You Baby Me Mummy (@YouBabyMeMummy)
    / 7:58 am

    You are amazing! I can’t believe what you have gone through and how positive you are. You are so inspirational Mim xxx

    • / 1:12 pm

      Oh thank you lovely lovely lady!! x x

  9. Shiv
    / 11:20 pm

    I am very proud of you chicken, and I love reading your posts, you MUST carry on writing when this shitty phase has finished you really are very good at it hon. “Half way through half way through half way through!!”

    • / 1:13 pm

      Thank you so much lovely x x YAYAYAY halfway through!!!!! x x

  10. Julia @ Rainbeaubelle
    / 8:13 pm

    I am so happy for you that you have done with the first three months of horrible chemo and that you tested negative for the genes. What a rollercoaster hey? I can totally to relate to when you say you have changed, massive things like this do change you and so does so much time spent in hospitals and having massive brushes with awful things. You have come so far and are doing absolutely brilliantly. Sending you so much love and luck fir the next stage of your treatment! xxx Julia

    • / 1:15 pm

      Ah it really is a roller coaster yes – thank you so so much beautiful Julia, that means so much to me x x x

  11. Hannah Atkinson
    / 6:11 am

    Well done Mim, I’m so happy for you, that this stage is over. I know you have plenty more to face and that it won’t be easy but well done for getting through the first slog. I agree about cleansing your circle of friends. It takes a life event to prompt us sometimes but it’s so worthwhile x

    • / 7:18 pm

      Thank you lovely and you’re so right! Another chemo down, feeling good :) x

  12. Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    / 5:41 am

    Tunes! I love a bit of Queen and Bon Jovi – what better music to beat this to. Hooray for the half way mark and such good news that you’ve not been knocked sideways by your fourth treatment. And a massive high five about the genes. You are totally rocking this, oh, and the wig! Huge love xxx

    • / 1:15 pm

      Ha ha me too – big rock fan (as well as country!). Thank you lovely lady! x x

  13. Kim Carberry
    / 5:24 am

    You are blumming amazing! Good luck with the rest of the treatment. I am so pleased you are half way through.

    • / 1:15 pm

      Oh thank you so so much Kim! x x

  14. Donna
    / 4:47 am

    Ah Mim I am just so happy for you! I know you’re only half way through but your outlook is so inspiring, your hair has started to grow back and you don’t have that pesky gene! YAY!!!! x

    • / 1:16 pm

      Oh thank you lovely! You know I’ve never been so happy to see my eyebrows getting bushy again! x x

  15. Natalie Ray
    / 4:11 am

    You’re so positive Mim, it’s wonderfully inspirational. I do hope your next three months of chemo is notably more tolerable. I totally agree with you about letting negative people go from your life too. Friendship should be a two-way thing. My husband had a motorcycle accident last year and when it came down to it, there weren’t that many people who cared enough to be there for us and help us out. The ones that did are total gems, the rest of them I won’t miss.x

    • / 1:17 pm

      Thank you so so much lovely! So far this next chemo is MUCH better. I’m sorry you went through the same thing with friends – you really do see who shines and who doesn’t in hard times x x

  16. Beth @ Twinderelmo
    / 12:37 am

    Queen and Bon Jovi in one post – you are spoiling us! Hope all goes well and half way there – yay. Great news about the eyelashes must be good to know they’re ready and waiting once all is done
    Good luck. Counting down the days to read the all clear post Mrs! xxx

    • / 12:38 pm

      Hee hee I do love a rock song! Thank you lovely x x

  17. Catie
    / 12:08 am

    People really do use the word inspirational too much nowadays but I will gladly and rightly use that word to describe you Min. So pleased you have made it through the harshest part and that your strength and positivity and amaZing attitude continue to shine through. Routing for you Hun. Sterkte as the Dutch say.

    • / 12:37 pm

      Oh thank you so so much Catie! x

  18. Mrs TeePot
    / 10:56 pm

    Wow, what a strong and positive lady you are.
    Good luck with the coming treatments, it sounds like you’re in a great place mentally to be able to deal with them. Much love

    • / 11:37 pm

      Thank you so much lovely lady! x

  19. / 10:06 pm

    Fabulous post! I will show this to my mum for inspiration. I’m all for weeding out the drainers too….It all gets too much. I have a fair few of these people in my life too who take everything you have and give nothing back. Assholes!
    I just think you have tremendous guts…and it’s this and not the chemo that will get you through the other side of this hideous ordeal. Fabulous post, fabulous lady…see ya later cancer. You ain’t strong enough to hang out with Mim. She’ll destroy you xxxx

    • / 10:26 pm

      Hee hee this really made me laugh! Thank you lovely – I will totally destroy it – cancer messed with the wrong lady! x x

  20. Liz
    / 9:06 pm

    Great Blog Mim, good luck with the Taxol tomorrow. Was hoping to see you tomorrow but might not be in until Tuesday… See you soon though ????
    Ps just think of how well my hair is doing on Taxol ????????

    • / 9:20 pm

      Oh thank you lovely! I hope you’re doing well and hope to see you next time :) x x

  21. Vicky Charles
    / 8:54 pm

    Onwards and upwards! What an amazingly positive post.
    I think when you go through something as massive as this, it really shows you who your true friends are – and it can feel freeing to just let go of the ones who aren’t quite up to scratch!

    • / 9:19 pm

      Thank you lovely! You’re absolutely right – despite the chemo blur I have so much clarity in other ways, it really is freeing! x x

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I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land I work and live on, the Awabakal peoples, and pay my respects to Elders past and present.
I thank them wholeheartedly and express my love and gratitude for the privilege to live and work in such a beautiful part of the world and for the opportunity for my family to be part of this vibrant and supportive community.