Yesterday was the longest I have gone without receiving chemotherapy for six months now and I feel great! Dealing with the last round of chemo side effects was tough as they had a cumulative effect, but I can gladly say that I feel as though I am over the worst of it now. Tom and I are really enjoying being back in the flat with Frank. We have been exploring the parks of Shadwell and Wapping and meeting lots of other dogs on our adventures.
Last week we took Frank down to Brighton so we could see my friend Geraldine and spend a day on the beach. Frank loved chasing the waves and having a run around. He was so excited that he must have swallowed a good few litres of seawater, which then came back to haunt us as we walked through the lanes, ruining the days of passers by doing their Christmas shopping. I’d like to think that Frank has learned his lesson with swallowing sea water but that might be a tad optimistic.
Tom and I both have our birthdays in December so have enjoyed celebrating them as best we could. My birthday involved going into the hospital for a scan first thing. The tone of the day was set when the sonographer asked me to confirm my name and date of birth then responded only with a nod before starting the scan. Maybe he was a Jehovah’s Witness? Anyway it wasn’t the best day as I felt quite sick and tired, but out my 29 years I think having one bad birthday is acceptable. Thankfully, I wasn’t so sick that I turned down my tradition of chips for breakfast.
Last week I had a mysterious voicemail from Laura, the surgeon, asking me to confirm that everything was still going ahead the following week. I emailed her back confirming that I would see her first thing Monday morning for surgery. Her reply was that surgery was planned for Wednesday 23rd and she asked if I could cope with it so close to Christmas? I was sure that the last time I had spoken to Hannah she said surgery would be on 21st although with my memory I could be wrong. I replied to Laura that I was under the impression it was 21st but if it had been moved then I would just have to change plans. Most of all I just want to get it over and done with and even though it is closer to Christmas, and whilst I was initially very upset hearing about the delay, I’m just glad that it’s being done before rather than after Christmas. My fear now is that it gets pushed back again until after Christmas or worse, in the New Year. I am scared about going in, not that I think something will go wrong, or at least I really hope it doesn’t. I have spent time working in theatres over the past two years and feel like I know too much about the process once the patient is asleep, I hate the thought of all that going on and me having no control over it. It makes me feel quite sick to think about it.
I went into Barts on Thursday for my pre-op assessment. The nurse really got my hopes up by saying that I was expected to come in for surgery on Monday morning. When I excitedly questioned if this was correct, and suggested that there must have been some confusion on Laura’s part, she showed me my name on the list for Monday. Then she called the office who sadly confirmed that I had been moved to Wednesday. “Ah” she said, “you’re now out of the 72-hour window for your covid swab. You’ll have to isolate up until surgery.” I reassured her that this made no difference to my life as I had been isolating for six months now, two more days was nothing.
On Friday I had a very dramatic phone call from Laura. Her opening line was that the list on Wednesday had been cancelled at Barts. My heart sank as I put her on loudspeaker so that Tom could hear what was said. She then followed with “so we have to move to an independent hospital instead” which meant that surgery was still going ahead but at a private hospital. I feel as though she probably should have started with something more like “Surgery is still going ahead but we will be doing it at a different hospital” rather than letting me think it was cancelled. On the plus side, I am looking forward to the fancy post-op menu!
The plan for Wednesday is that I still need to go into Barts in the morning to have an injection. This allows them to see which lymph nodes to biopsy during surgery to check if the cancer has spread. Then I will go into King Edwards VII hospital for surgery on Wednesday afternoon. Sadly I can’t take anyone with me due to covid but Tom can come and collect me when I am allowed to leave.
The news of London going into Tier 4 restrictions means that we have had to cancel plans to return home for Christmas. I am really sad about not being able to see my family, especially after what has been such a tough year, but I know that this will not be a normal Christmas for most people and celebrations can be delayed until it is safe. The silver lining for me is that I no longer have to shield after surgery and so Luke & Philippa can move back into the flat!