I’m 48. Hairs had started to appear where they should not, my chin seemed to be a favourite spot. Well, it was, chemo helped there. If they grow back red and curly whilst my head hair does not, I want to know who I write a strongly worded letter to.
I wasn’t fussed one way or the other about nose hair, who gives nose hair a second thought? We should give nose hair more credit, it’s a vital part in the fight against pollen. I’ve only ever suffered from hayfever when running, usually past those great big, white, flowery, weed things. Those and carpet shops, I can’t breathe in carpet shops. We have wood floors, I can breathe in Wickes. Anyway, I have hayfever, “by dose dubbn’t work . I bought a nasal spray which promised to repel the nasty pollen and allow the oxygen to flow. DO NOT EVER SQUIRT ANYTHING UP YOUR NOSE IF YOU HAVE NO NOSE HAIR. You’ve all experienced a brain freeze? This was a brain sting. Don’t do it, just be a mouth breather and make your peace with that.
I saw the Dr about the next step of treatment today. He was either a radiographer or a radiologist, I can’t remember which. He was very patient, he wanted me to start treatment 4 weeks after my last chemo session (It’s on Wednesday for anyone who hasn’t been paying attention – do try to keep up). I had to explain that whilst I’m totally on board with any treatment which will let me hang onto this mortal coil…August is a bit busy. I could see his eyebrows rising (damned insensitive given my lack of those tools of communication). He was very kind and moved forward as far as I could make him. The only slight problem is I’m going to pitch up for one session dressed for a wedding, and turn up the following day probably looking a bit green and possibly carrying a bucket. It’ll give them something to talk about.
I do want to clear up something I’ve been asked many times. Scans. The tool by which treatment is deemed a success, or not. Have you had a scan? What do the scans show? Is it working? I’ve never had a scan, or been offered one. I didn’t think much of it, the cancer was removed when they did the mastectomy, chemo and radio is the ‘mopping up’. Maybe it’s because I’m nearing the end of chemo (did I mention that?) but lately the lack of a scan has kept popping into my mind. Had they forgotten to scan me? That could happen, couldn’t it? I called my oncologist, she and every other person involved in my care, surgeon, MacMillan nurses, chemo nurses, have always called me back on the day I’ve called them. I asked why I hadn’t had a scan, it seems to be an expected part of treatment from many I’ve spoken to, granted not many of those have had breast cancer but most of us know someone who has. She explained that it’s not something they do when a patient is being treated for early stage breast cancer (in our NHS Trust, it may vary across the country). They would be quick to scan if I reported any symptoms, such as persistent pain or discomfort, but not until then. I almost called her back an hour later as I’d developed persistent pain AND discomfort in at least 15 areas. This is why I don’t ask for too much info and have a terrible habit of singing LA-LA-LA in my head whilst possible side effects are given to me. If I know about them, I’ll convince myself I have them.
Diagnosis, treatment, diagnostic tools…they are individual to each patient. There will be similarities but each case is dealt with on it’s own merits. If you find yourself on this journey, and I hope you don’t, ask questions as much as it suits you and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. If you have a team you are confident in, trust their judgement on what will work best for you. In my experience every Dr and nurse I have spoken to has been more than happy to discuss what is happening at length. I’ve never felt rushed, or dismissed, the time spent has been driven by me. Ask what you want to know, stop them before they freak the hell out of you.
Other than all that it’s been a busy week. Pat has been on a stag do to Cork, he and his stinky bag of washing are back. He had a most excellent time and enjoyed a well earned break. Apparently they all ended up just watching sport on the telly last night, albeit in a bar. Middle age has caught them all. The hen do is a couple of weeks away, I have to recover fast after chemo on weds, there is wine to be drunk and laughing to be done. I can’t wait.
Pat being away meant I was on basketball taxi duty. I swear my satnav is possessed. There were 3 exits on that bloody roundabout, not 4. I checked on the way home, there was no 4th exit, lying bastard thing. We got to the venue on time, just. But, here’s the real gem of wisdom for this post. If you have a sporty child, and that child doesn’t like if they lose, don’t play as well as they could have…if you’ve got one you know what I’m talking about. The ones you can’t jolly out of it. Stop at Dominoes on the way home and put the pizza box on the seat next to them, don’t suggest they eat it (that won’t go well as they are in a funk and will argue with anything you say) just leave the pizza to work it’s warm bread and melty cheese aroma. They will cave, eat the cheesey carbs, and all will be well again.