11/11/2020

This chemotherapy lark is really catching up with me. I have spent most of the past few days in bed and when I do eventually make it out of bed, I am horizontal. Usually the first day or two post-chemo I feel relatively good. I take a high dose of steroids for the days before, during and after chemotherapy so I probably have those to thank for my feeling of wellness. Last weekend I managed long walks on Saturday and Sunday then the steroids must have worn off and tiredness and sickness kicked in.

Frank leading the charge on his last walk in Derbyshire for a while

Since my last treatment, Tom and I had our final week of running Frank’s. It was a great project for us to be able to complete, with such a delicious end product. We had a lot of fun doing it and are already thinking about future food-related projects that we might like to try! We were so happy to have raised £556 for CoppaFeel. I know that charities have been struggling during the pandemic due to a lack of fundraising opportunities so I am happy to have been able to do something to help. I hope to run the London marathon in October next year (Covid-permitting!) so will continue my fundraising effort for them then.

Before university (in my gap-yah) I went on a ski instructor course in France. It was the best 10 weeks of my life. I was lucky to make some fantastic friends on the course who came up to visit me recently in Bakewell. Since then I have spent six years at university, three years working/training and then this year is a write off for obvious reasons. Now feels like the perfect time for a break before applying for further training. During Abbi & Naomi’s visit we decided that we should all do another ski season, fingers crossed for a winter season 21/22. I have a feeling that Frank will love the mountains!

Good times to come with my skiing babes

In London this time for treatment I met with Laura, the surgeon who initially gave me my diagnosis. She was wearing Gucci trainers for the appointment, super glam! The appointment went well, Hannah the Macmillan nurse was also there. The plan is to go ahead with the lumpectomy, hopefully the week before Christmas. It’s a relief that I can get the surgery done before the New Year as I have to shield up until the surgery date and it means that 2021 will feel like more of a fresh start.

Laura warned that as I have had chemotherapy pre-surgery, I have a 15% increased risk of the cancer returning in that area. This is due to the tumour shrinking before they remove it, which means they can’t be 100% sure which direction is has shrunk from. To counter this, they will take a safety margin of healthy tissue when they remove the tumour. She reassured me that as we found my tumour when it was relatively small, taking a good safety margin shouldn’t be a problem. The radiotherapy that I receive after surgery will also help reduce the chance of local recurrence.

Prior to surgery, I need another marker placed in the tumour, next to the one that was put in when I first had the biopsy. This second marker will be able to be detected by a machine that will help them find the tumour during surgery. The operation will be a day surgery, I should be in and out before dinner! Laura couldn’t tell me yet whether it would be at Barts or a private hospital where she also operates. Apparently it is the same team at each site, the only difference being the choice of refreshments in recovery.

After seeing Laura, I went for round 7 of chemotherapy. I had a lovely nurse called George who explained that it gets increasingly difficult to find good veins to cannulate due to the chemo drugs damaging the ones that have previously been used. I had been told at the beginning to always have blood taken or cannula’s inserted on the left side. This is because the cancer is the right side and it’s important to keep the veins on that side in good condition to help with healing post-surgery. So my poor left hand’s circulation has been thoroughly abused over the past 6 months! George however managed to find a good vein to cannulate painlessly.

Whilst being infused, I spent my time applying to go back to work! I have really missed working and can’t wait to get back to having a routine. I have applied to go back to work in the same practice as I was working in before covid hit. It’s a community dental practice, which means that we treat patients with special needs. I loved this job so much when I was there and loved the team that I worked with. I am looking forward to being back in London and very much looking forward to going back to work!

Tom and I have now moved to his parent’s house in Leicestershire for three weeks before going back to London. Frank is enjoying terrorising their family dog Paco! We had the best time in Bakewell with my parents, who themselves have now returned to work. It was an unexpected six months to spend at home and I can say that we had a lot of fun. I am very grateful to mum & dad for welcoming us back with open arms and encouraging so many of our friends to visit whenever possible. Woodstock has always been a party house and there was no way my parents would let covid or cancer get in the way of that! The outdoor setup they created to facilitate outdoor socialising is second to none…I think they may even be ready for an outdoor Christmas!

Plan:

  • pre-surgery MRI & ultrasound scan on 17th November
  • FINAL ROUND CHEMOTHERAPY 27th November!!
  • move back to London
  • Caramas celebrations 12th December
  • surgery w/c 21st December

8 thoughts on “11/11/2020

  1. Great picture of you and your friends! You have a lot going on in the next few weeks…And you’ve done a lot in the last 6 months. Cara, your amazing! We’ll be thinking of you. Sending you lots of love, Roxanne, Bridget, Mia, Ashley & Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are truly a sparkling light on this planet.

    It is beyond remarkable the efforts you take to add sunshine to our lives, despite the physical and mental fatigue.

    We adore you and could not be more appreciative of these posts.

    Your American Cousin,

    Gary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Cara, probably you should not publish my post, because some might find it too controversial but I was thinking about this comment since the begging. of your blog. My comment is: whenever I see a doctor who is too glam, I think that he/she should spent more time in a medical library than at fashion shops, there are many professions where being glam is part of the work, but doctors looks the best and the most professional in a medical uniform or decent clothes. A perfect doctor is firstly concentrated on others and has limited time to care how he/she looks. I see many female dentists who have label of all brands all around, but these are not the leaders of our profession. I believe that in medicine is the same…or I would be even more critical to medical doctors for their look, because their knowledge saves other lives and I am sure that reading one more medical book or one more scientific paper cane help others much more than a visit to the shopping high street.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Cara,

    Your writing is amazing and I wish you all the luck in the world. We miss you and hope you’re doing well. Stay strong! We hope we can see you soon, either on your side of the pond or on ours! Or somewhere in between!

    Love,

    Mia

    Liked by 1 person

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