It was with mixed emotions today when I turned up to the hospital for my last Herceptin. The last time I was there, just before Christmas, my port decided not to work properly. They were able to administer the Herceptin, but, unfortunately, they weren’t able to get any blood to test. Before I left that time, they pumped a drug into it to hopefully blast the clot that had clearly developed. When I got there today, it looked like the same was going to happen, but with a bit of jiggling, it seemed the clot buster had worked, bloods were taken and the Herceptin was pumped through.
Forty minutes later, the Herceptin was in, the saline flush had been done, and I was unclipped for the last time. I’m seeing the Oncologist next week and he’ll hopefully say I can have my port taken out, and tell me I am officially “In Remission”. Then it’s to see the Cardiologist to check the Herceptin hasn’t done any damage to my heart. After that it’s to the breast surgeon to make sure he’s happy I’ve healed well enough to crack on with the reconstruction surgery. I’m not off the rollercoaster yet, but at least it’s slowed down for a bit.
As I mentioned, there’s been mixed emotions. I’m obviously feeling delighted to no longer need to have chemicals pumped into me every three weeks. But I’m also feeling a bit teary. I’ve spent 15 months dealing with very scary treatments since I was diagnosed in October 2013, but also not dealing with them as I’ve just been concentrating on turning to each appointment when I’m told to. At some point I’m going to have to face up to the fact that “I have had Cancer”. Despite losing my hair, my boobs, being ridiculously tired, it’s still quite hard to understand that this has all happened to me as life has gone on. I’ve still had to get up each morning to take the kids to school. I’ve still had to watch them play rugby, watch school concerts, take them to various parties, swimming, etc. We’ve tried to keep life as normal for them as we can, as they are children and shouldn’t have to deal with this in their short lives. I kiss them when they are asleep each night, and am thankful they are as resilient as they are.
I had thought I’d want to celebrate tonight. But Ross is doing Dryathlon, (please donate if you can), and to be honest, I don’t really feel like celebrating. It’s not over. I thought I’d be walking on air, but I’m not. The nurses in the Chemo ward have given me some booklets to read, “Life After Cancer Treatment” and “Your Feelings After Cancer Treatment”. I’ll be reading them both with interest because life can never go back to how it was before. I’m never going to be “Julia - Pre Lump”. She’s gone. This is “Julia - Post Lump”, not quite as confident, a bit more needy, more dependent on Ross, family, friends, and frightened, I’ll always be thinking “Will I get Cancer again?”. The genetic abnormality I have, not only raises the chances of breast cancer, but one or two other cancers too, so it’s not an unfounded fear.
So how will I carry on? The same way that I’ve got through things since I found the lump in May 2013. Take each day as it comes, and Keep on, Keeping on.