chapter 1

In October, when I was first diagnosed with HER 2 positive breast cancer, I went to see my consultant with the idea in my head that I would simply need to have a lumpectomy and a little radiotherapy. I never thought for one minute that the treatment would include chemotherapy and a full mastectomy. I think at this point I stopped listening and wanted to correct the expert that she was wrong. It’s a good job I had Rob, my husband with me to carry on listening.

It seemed ages before my treatment started (about 5 weeks) and I was keen to just get started but I needed test after test, MRi’s and CT scans before anything could begin.

Finally, the first chemotherapy went ahead on 24th November. I didn’t know what to expect or what side effects I would experience. It lulled me into a false sense of security because I was expecting an immediate response, but it took days to begin to take effect. It began with a cold head, tingly hands and awful metal taste in my mouth. Nose bleeds began and the obvious hair loss but only in small amounts at this stage.

Each treatment from then repeated most of the previous effects but in a different order. It was extremely strange.

Treatment three turned out to the be worst one and I had a pretty major meltdown. My hair had all but disappeared (I thought I was going to be special, and it wouldn’t affect me… how wrong was I). In addition, everyone in the household had returned to work and school after the Christmas break and I was left alone. I felt poorly and genuinely didn’t know what to do with myself. It was cold and miserable outside and I couldn’t get out and I was bored. I have to admit I felt pretty sorry for myself. 

However, I have since come to realise that it’ not all bad as showers now take minutes and I have no bad hair days!

Fast forward to treatment 5. I was looking forward to this one weirdly. It was my penultimate treatment, and I couldn’t wait get this one over and done with in order to be able to say that I only had 1 treatment left to go. This was by far the best aftermath. I’m not sure if this was as a result of the positivity going into round 5 or just that the side effects had eased because I was more used to it. However, this one made me really tired and I slept for days which was a new one on me, however, I think it meant that I slept through the illness I’d experience previously. Before treatment 5, I had not experienced much loss of energy, just days before I was outside cutting the grass! However, there was no chance of that this time. This lasted around a week as per previous treatments before I was back on my feet again.

When I was originally told about my treatment plan, I was given the date of my last treatment as 9th March 2023. It was the day after my son’s 13th birthday and seemed such a long time away. Well, that date finally arrived, and I was so excited (if you can be actually excited about receiving chemotherapy). It has been an emotional day knowing that I wouldn’t be returning, and that stage of my journey was almost complete. Today was a means to an end. Before today, I was on a roller coaster ride that I couldn’t get off and today meant that I could get off for a little while until the next chapter begins.

Today I also got to ring the bell.  It was the perfect way to mark the finish line to the end of this chapter.

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