Many of you have been asking how I am so I think that means it’s time for a bit of a cancer update – despite (thankfully) not having too much to tell.
It’s now been over 2 months since my final chemo session and I’m well and truly done with side effects. My tastebuds are totally back in action and I am enjoying food again now. Probably too much! My hair is growing too. This makes me VERY happy. It’s still incredibly short but thickening up nicely, soft, grey and straight. It’s probably not long enough to reveal any curls yet so there may still be some surprises to come. I’m not brave enough to show you a photo but here’s a picture of Annie Lennox totally rocking a slightly longer version of my hair.
I am desperate to lose the wig. Having completely embraced the whole wig thing all this time I do feel done with it now. But even if I could come to terms with having such short hair, I hate the grey too much to whip the wig off. And there’s no dying allowed for 3 more months yet. So the wigs will have to stay for a while longer yet. In other hair news I’m back to shaving my legs. Only every 2-3 days so I’m not quite at my pre-cancer daily shave levels, but I’m getting there.
I’m now 5 weeks post-op and have recovered well. I needed my wound drained a few times (nice!) but this was completely expected given the surgery I had. I’ve been a good girl and have done the recommended exercises and I’m now getting more and more movement back in my arm. Scarring on my boob is pretty much non existent, the incision was around my nipple and unless you knew it was there you wouldn’t notice the scar. Incredible. My armpit scar will fade in time but given I don’t often walk around waving my arms in the air, there’s little to worry about there.
The Herceptin injections continue every 3 weeks and they still hurt. A lot. But it’s a small price to pay to reduce the risk of a recurrence. There’s a small chance the Herceptin could damage my heart so I will be having a heart echo next week along with a blood test to check my body is coping with the treatment.
I’ve also started hormone treatment within the last month – my daily dose of Tamoxifen will also help stop the cancer returning. I will be taking it for 5 years, so when my oncology consultant reeled off a whole raft of likely side effects I was a little freaked out. Apologetically (to Ad!) he told us that the most likely side effects would be weight gain, mood swings and hot flushes. My husband is a lucky man 😂😂😂😂. I’m now 3 weeks in and only really experiencing the hot flushes. They’re actually not too bad compared to what others suffer. I feel a heat build up inside me which radiates through my whole body. It’s uncomfortable and disconcerting, but I don’t sweat profusely and I don’t go red or blotchy. I just overheat for a few minutes and then it slowly subsides. It is a bit worse at night and my sleep is very disturbed but having a window open helps. It’s really not so bad. Not yet anyway!
Radiotherapy hasn’t started yet. This should be the last part of treatment and again is given to help reduce the risk of the cancer returning. I now just want it to get going so we can jump this last hurdle. It will be a 4 week slog, but will halve the probability of a recurrence so definitely worth it. I should find out more about what to expect and when it will start at a radiotherapy planning session next week.
I’m also doing fine emotionally most of the time too. I’m not sure everything I’ve been through has registered with my brain yet. I’m still in “head down, keep fighting” mode at the moment and I guess will stay that way until radiotherapy is done with. The fear is still there though. It’s at a much lower level than it used to be and as such I can control it quite well. The scariest question that bubbles up from time to time is “Will it come back?” Just the thought of going through all this again breaks me.
I’ve talked about recurrence a few times in this post. Once radiotherapy is complete there will be less than a 1 in 20 chance of my breast cancer coming back. That’s more than a 95% probability that I’ve kicked cancer’s ass firmly, and forever, into touch. And that’s pretty incredible. ❤️
PS – keep checking those lemons!!! 🍋 🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋🍋