Thoughts After Chemo

I am home at last with 4 weeks ahead to relax and enjoy being here before returning to Brisbane for surgery (scheduled for 2nd July). Looking back over the the last 4 months, the difficulties are already receding and I would summarise that the chemo wasn’t too bad. The care is so excellent. Those amazing chemo nurses do everything to make us as comfortable as possible. The stoma complications were a much bigger challenge. This last time was the worst when it came to prolapsing, including stoma tricks too gross to describe! I had to keep reminding myself I can get through this patch because it will settle down soon (I hope)!

Celebrating Chemo Finish
Celebrating Chemo Finish

Evan has been fantastic and such a lovely carer for me. Memories of this time we spent together will stay with me forever. Janet is incredible the way she thinks of everything and has provided solutions to things before they ever could become problems. Thanks to her and my great family (extended) and friends it hasn’t been a hardship travelling to Brisbane so often. Yes, it has actually been fun! At the same time it has intensified my enjoyment of being home with John and Helen.

By the way, those 2 chemo drugs I was having are not so alien if I think of their ingredients. Paclitaxel is derived from the Yew tree (Taxus sp.) and Cisplatin is a form of platinum. The work done in the laboratory has given much more careful control of dosage than if I was to go back to the original forms, and that seems important with substances this strong.

I’m still not ready to explain about the Pazopanib trial that I’m considering as there’s so much for me to take in. I’ll write more when I can.

With the distractions of the busy treatment regime over, I find I’m beginning to ask myself if I can accept the realities of being a person with cancer. It must sound strange, but sometimes I still can’t believe any of it is true. I’ve been a little teary lately and I suppose there’s plenty of grieving to catch up with. Even without the scary monster of cancer to contemplate, I do believe there’s grief with every transition – just letting go of the old expectations and moving to the new. I’ve always been so strong and healthy, independent and able. This disease definitely doesn’t not fit with my self image! I wonder if I will still live my dream to be a wonderful and eccentric old woman who is fun to be with, like my own dear Mum! At a couple of low points in my life I have felt cheered by donating blood. (Even if I can’t do anything else, I make good blood.) But now the Red Cross won’t want my blood and I’ll probably have to drop off the organ donor register too. These are just some thoughts as I struggle with reality. I am fortunate that I usually find it quite easy to focus on the present, so that will be a pleasure. I suppose the trick is to attempt to balance this with small healthy amounts of reflection and forward planning, so that’s my goal now.

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