Three months in and I’ve made it to the halfway point of my chemotherapy treatment! On Friday I went in for round four of eight. This was also my final round on the drugs doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. For the final four rounds I will be given different more targeted drugs to the HER2 receptors on my tumor: herceptin, pertuzemab and docetaxel.
I have started to dread going into the hospital. The staff are always lovely and friendly but I find it lonely not being able to have anyone there with me. There are a few patients who are very frail or don’t speak English, who are allowed to have family members sit on the ward with them. I thought to myself that maybe I should pretend that I can’t speak English so that I can bring someone with me to interpret. My preggo friend Rose is a sign language interpreter and she suggested that I pretend that I am now an elective mute and therefore need her there to translate. The only problem being that I don’t know any British Sign Language so would have to fake it, and it might not be that much better an experience if we just had to sit there in silence together making incomprehensible hand gestures.
So far I have always had afternoon appointments and this was my first morning one. As it was near the start of the day, the nurses didn’t have time to get the infusions out of the fridge before I arrived and so all of my IV drugs were cold. An hour and a half of a freezing left arm was not enjoyable – I think next time I will bring a hot water bottle with me to warm the infusions.
On a happier note, since leaving the hospital I have been feeling good. I was met by Tom & Frank and we walked back to the flat. Frank played a great trick on us on the way home, he must have known that Tom only brought one poo bag out with him so Frank decided to stop for two poo’s on our way back – which I found highly entertaining. Luckily Tom is very resourceful and a responsible dog owner and managed to clear both up.
Friday afternoon was spent in the park with Herbie, Luke & Philippa playing a new game called Molkee. I can highly recommend it for anyone looking for a new outdoor game. It involves throwing a wooden cylinder at others and trying to knock certain ones over, similar to bowling. I would not recommend playing Molkee with a dog present, especially one who has just learned to fetch a stick. Frank found it all very confusing that he wasn’t involved in the game.
Since last writing I am please to announce that Tom and I have had two sell-out weeks of running Frank’s! We now have a (very small) profit-making pizza business! It has been so much fun getting it all set up and we have both enjoyed the two Wednesday evenings so far. We have teamed up with one of the pubs in Bakewell, the Joiners Arms, to deliver the pizzas there. They don’t have a kitchen so were happy for us to bring them down. This setup works well for us too that we don’t have people coming round to the house to collect them and that we don’t have to go all over Bakewell delivering them. The pub is only a 30 second cycle away, perfect for quick drop-offs!
For the first week of Frank’s I was cycling to deliver the pizzas. Last week as it was raining and I was having a day of not feeling very well, we recruited our first staff member: Ben, who was a very willing and able delivery man! Sadly in these modern times, as he was on a zero hours contract he will not be returning for a second shift. He has to go back to Newcastle to finish his final year of medicine, fair enough! Good luck with your final year Ben, it will be tough but I know you can do it.
Thank you to all of our friends and family who have supported us in the past two weeks, Tom and I really do appreciate it. It is so great to be able to have this project to keep us busy and we hope that we are spreading some pizza love throughout Bakewell in return!
I had some great news back from the genetics team – I do not have any predisposing genes for cancer! This means that is was most likely a case of bad luck that I developed it (and great luck that I found it!) it also means that my chance of developing another tumor in the future is normal (rather than increased) and the genetics team does not recommend that I have a mastectomy. For now I will stick with the original treatment plan and have a wide local excision surgery (or lumpectomy).
I had another letter this week back from PALS, responding to the complaint that I made about that fertility team. The repose was frustrating, it did not address any of my concerns about the team and I was told that only one of the doctors (who wasn’t even really involved in my care) wanted to pass on an apology. Overall very disappointing as all I really wanted was an acknowledgement that I had been mistreated and an apology from the doctors involved. I hope that they at least were forced to discuss the complaint and that it might have a positive impact on future patients being treated in their department.
There is not much else to report apart from that Frank is doing very well and enjoying longer walks. We have had a steady stream of lovely visitors to Bakewell and are looking forward to more over the next couple of weeks! I have my fingers crossed for a dry September as I really do feel robbed of summer this year, I will have to make up for it in 2021 – Tom and I have already started planning our holidays!