Sunday, 4 December 2011

The highs and lows

When I saw Dr M last Wednesday I asked him when I could finally have my portacath (ie Gross Protrusion in my upper arm where all the drugs have made their entry into my body) taken out and he told me to speak to the chemo nurses, which I duly did. Surprisingly, I received a phone call from the hospital later that same afternoon, telling me that the procedure could be done on Friday.

Sadly, LH could not make it to hospital on the day; I could have postponed until the next week so he would be there, but as I'd had the GP in my arm for seven months, I really just wanted it out. As I was going to be heavily sedated for the operation I would be unable to drive myself home after the procedure, so the sweetest S drove me there, only informing me along the way that she had passed out the last time she had a close encounter with surgery. Luckily, this time she made it to hospital without fainting.

The procedure itself went very well - I actually had the option of just having local anaesthetic injected near the site but I obviously opted for being knocked out. I have a very low pain threshold and worse, the thought of being cut and butchered whilst awake was too much to even contemplate.

Surprisingly, I was compos mentis and not even remotely groggy after the surgery; I was brought back into my room after the operating theatre and ate lunch. The loveliest A arrived a few minutes later to bring me back home and was surprised to find that I did not need the beautiful quilted blanket she had brought; she was expecting me to sleep all the way back home but we ended up chatting instead.

Back home and I was in such a high - after all, the portacath removal is another signal that my chemotherapy is over. Spent the evening of my operation dancing the night away to the Bee Stung Lips (fab) and was up early the next day baking as I had joined the Village Christmas Fayre. I was also looking forward to the evening as we were off to the local Quiz Night with friends. Before that however, I had to pick up the children from their various activities; and along the way, I met a lovely woman who I will call X2. She's beautiful and is sadly currently undergoing chemotherapy. I almost feel an alliance with people who have cancer; I suppose we're members of a club and I feel that they can truly understand what I am experiencing. I asked if we could meet up for a coffee and she was reticent; as it turns out, this is her second bout with cancer and she was nervous that she would frighten me. X2 had breast cancer nearly ten years ago and did everything that she had been told - but now it has come back in her lymph nodes and liver.

I was not upset when I left X2 - I suppose the children were with me and they are very good distractions. However, I lay down for a bit when I arrived home - the operation, the dancing, the baking and the Christmas Fayre had finally taken their toll on me. And once alone, I suddenly felt frightened: after all, I'd only done "almost" everything the doctor had asked me to do - I did not have my lymph nodes taken out, after all. What if the cancer comes back and comes back with a vengeance? I called LH and he comforted me, telling me that at the end, both doctors (and the Sloan Kettering) had decided that a full lymph node dissection was not necessary. However I was still scared - a recurrence would be an absolute nightmare.

We did end up still going to the Quiz Night, although I was slightly distracted by horrible and morose thoughts. And I also slept quite badly last night, waking up twice in the night in a sweat, thinking awful, awful things.

I am feeling a lot better today - I have comforted myself with the thought that X2's treatment was quite different from mine and that things have progressed a lot in the past ten years. I will have to accept that sadly, one of the things this cancer has given me is a slight fear. I will just have to make sure that I take it in stride as much as possible and not let it rule my life. After all, there's no point in worrying about something over which I have no control.


  1. Mayet German Tiaoqui5 December 2011 at 02:00

    Just continue praying... I understand your anxiety-- the fear of a recurrence will always be there, but please take comfort in God's promise. As it says in Philippians 4:6 "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done" =) My prayers are with you everyday. Love you!

  2. Dear Chinot,

    I know exactly what you feel and what you mean. Cancer peeled the veneer of immortality.

    I always felt that I would die at 87 or 95 and that's too far off, it would never happen. And then I got cancer. Somehow, I am learning to number my days because we don't really know when everything in this life will cease to be.

    But Mayet is right. Give thanks to God for all he has done and don't worry. When after 15 years you look back and you haven't had even a single recurrence, well, you would have worried in vain. That said, may your worries be all in vain.