So, we're halfway through the chemotherapy and my tumour has reduced by an enormous amout. It's shrunk by 43.5% in the last three weeks alone and by over 70% in total since my treatment began.
Obviously Mr P and I are delighted and so is the Oncologist. It's clearly gratifying for him to see a patient respond so well to the treatment, because not everyone does.
However, it's important that the tumour continues to shrink and doesn't just plateau. That's why they're changing my drugs for the next three treatments to surprise the little f*cker with something new.
The tumour currently measures 1.8 x 1.8cm which, on the face of it, is quite small. However it is all relative. On someone bigger this would be quite a straightforward operation but being small and slim does seem to be to counting against me! Consequently, I may yet need to have a mastectomy but that will be decided by the surgeon. We'll find out more in the coming weeks.
And so to treatment. My next three will be Docetaxel which can cause an allergic reaction in some people – (it’s derived from the Yew tree, apparently). As a result I have to take lots of steroids both today, and tomorrow before treatment, to mitigate any potential reaction.
It's all new and unknown and
feels a bit like starting over. FEC was horrible but I got used to how I was
going to feel and when – but now I have to start that process again. By all
accounts, you end up feeling very stiff and sore like you’ve done a really intense
workout. So I think I might need to stock up on plenty of Radox ...
I also went to the Maggie’s Centre this afternoon to attend a ‘Look Good, Feel Better’ workshop. It’s a brilliant cancer support charity sponsored by the cosmetics and perfume industry to help women manage the visible side-effects of their treatment.
The workshop was run by volunteer beauticians who gave tips on skincare and make-up application, and we also got given a very nice (big) bag of products. I also took along some false eyelashes and got a few tips but I think the main thing now is to practice. A lot!
Surprisingly, one of the volunteers also recognised me from my amateur theatre antics – having seen me perform in ‘Daisy pulls it off’ and our recent pantomime. I was very flattered, although I wasn’t sure I should be having been previously dressed as a 1930s school-girl and a green-faced fairy ...
It was also a chance to talk to some other people going through treatment. I was by far the youngest patient there and, sadly, the prognosis for some of the ladies was not good. It did rather put things in perspective.
So now I’m home and getting my things together for tomorrow’s treatment and two-to-three days camping out at Mr P’s flat while I recuperate. In fact, he’ll be here shortly. Not to collect me, mind, but for me to chaffeur him round to his Poker Night! Fair's fair. ;-)