This Monday I had my second chemo session of cycle 3 (each cycle is made up of three sessions). Last week, I found out that my tumour markers have dropped from 58 to 31, so I was feeling really positive about having more chemo. Last week, I also met with my consultant surgeon to talk about: how I am doing, the plan for my upcoming surgery and chemotherapy plans following this. It was a really positive meeting and it felt so different from when I last met with him to confirm the diagnosis. This time I felt better emotionally and felt more able to think and talk about what’s to come. It’s a long road ahead, but I just have to take it one step at a time.
Once again, my chemo session this week went smoothly. I had just one little hold up because I had to have my full blood count test repeated because there was not enough blood taken in the first set. You do sometimes end up feeling like a pin cushion by the end of the day! I was happily distracted by playing ‘UNO’ and ‘Guess Who?’ with family. It was also great to see my friend Rosie at lunchtime. Also, as you can see from the photos, I had one of the best sleeps ever during my foot massage!
I now have to prepare myself for the last session of my current chemotherapy cycle next week and then for surgery in a few weeks’ time. I naturally have my fears about the operation. I worry about being put to sleep, coming round in Intensive Care with lots of tubes, being attached to machines and wires and being in hospital for up to three weeks after. I’m also worried about the pain I will feel after and coping with recovery. One of the biggest things which has started to hit me more now is the consequences of surgery with regards to my future, and not being able to have my own children. It is obviously a really difficult thing to get my head around and something which I know will take time, so I know not to pressure myself to ‘be ok’ with everything at the moment but instead to think one step at a time at the moment.
The Royal Marsden team understand all of my concerns and they are encouraging of the additional therapies that the hospital offers that can support people on their journey with ‘Cyril.’ I am keen to access the art, relaxation and psychological therapies before and during my stay in hospital to help me through the next hurdle and find ways of coping with what is to come.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’” This quote makes a lot of sense to me at the moment as my current chemotherapy treatment draws to an end. When I reflect on my last eight sessions of chemo, I can honestly say I have gained in strength, courage and confidence and this is going to help me with coping with the next stage. I know that as I continue on my journey I will keep gaining this strength, courage and confidence to deal with the next chapters.