Sadly it didn’t get off to the best of starts. Both bairns were off school for most of the last week of term with a horrible lurgy bug that appeared to have decimated the school population. They missed out on the rugby club christmas party, Imogen missed all performances of her school play, and they weren’t really that fussed as they were so poorly. Lots of films, and lounging around on the sofa with lots of Calpol and Ibruprofen were required. Ross took Imogen to A&E twice when her temperature spiked above 40’c and we couldn’t get it below 39’c. At one point they were going to keep her in over night, but due to there being “no room at the inn”, she was sent home once her temperature got below 38.9’c.
I also managed to get the bug and tried to manage it valiantly at home with the usual selection of home remedies. I gave in after 5 days and sought medical advice when I started coughing up blood. A short course of antibiotics later, I’m not 100% but definitely better than I was. The doctor was under the impression that given the past years’ events, 7 days worth of antibiotics weren’t going to do any harm.
So, we’re out the other side with lingering coughs but feeling more spritely and we enjoyed Christmas. Grandad Mike, Grandma Julie and Uncle Max all came to stay and share the festivities with us. Much laughing and frivolity occurred.
It was a world away from last year. Last year, where I had no hair, where I was bone tired, where we had to get up the day after Boxing Day to have blood tests and chemo, where we didn’t know whether I’d be here for this Christmas.
It’s interesting that now we are just about to close the Active Treatment chapter, Ross and I have started discussing things that a lot of the time were left unsaid. If I’m honest, I didn’t like to think too much about what would happen if the treatment didn’t work, as that would be admitting that I could die. That’s not really a thought I wanted to entertain. And Ross said that he didn’t really want to think about it either because that would mean he’d be left behind alone to look after the bairns. Not a scenario either of us liked the sound of.
Next week I have my last Herceptin and end active treatment. Fifteen months of chemicals and procedures. In some ways it’s quite hard to get my head around the fact that it’s lasted so long. Usually when you are ill, it’s a short solution, and you’re up and at it before too long. This just seems to be a marathon. I’ll be so relieved when it’s finished. They can then put me back together again, and we go to the new normal.
I’m not going to lie, there of times when I’ve been having dark moments and though to myself “I’ve had Cancer”. It’s something that happens to other people. Despite all the treatments, it has felt like it’s happened to someone else, to Evil Julia. It’s really scary, because everyone knows that Cancer is a really scary thing to have. The disease is scary, and the treatments are scary, and the side effects are scary. And it’s happened to me. Why me? What did I do wrong? Dwell on it for too long, and I’ll go mad. So I pull myself up by my bootstraps, have a word with myself and tell myself to count myself lucky to have everything go my way. I’ve got Ross, I’ve got the bairns, I’ve got Dad and Julie and I’ve got the Gin Club. With all that support, how can things not go my way.
I reread last year’s blog post, and in it I said “Bring on next Christmas when I WILL be free of cancer and this year will just be a memory. Oh how we’ll laugh!”. I’m not quite at the stage where I can laugh about the whole situation. If I dwell on it for too long, it brings tears to my eyes. Maybe next year, I’ll be far enough away that the rose tinted glasses can be engaged.
I’m hoping once the treatment finishes, I’ll stop feeling so tired all the time, and my brain and memory will start to work again. I need to completely recover from this bug so I can get running again. I haven’t run since Michelle and I did the Standalone 10k and I think I’ve turned to jelly.
The Christmas holidays have contained a few social occasions with the Gin Club, and we’ve got a couple more before the bairns return to school. They are looking forward to rugby training starting again, although given how cold it’s been recently, I haven’t missed standing on the sidelines.
So, we’ll keep on, keeping on. As we always do. Because what else is there to do?