December 2015 – As ever the prospect of getting my scan results fill me with dread. My appointment is in the evening but as schools have broken up I don’t have more than five minutes to dwell on things without having to intercept two wrestling boys, or insisting the cushions are taken back to the rooms they belong in and the sofas made to resemble sofas once again! I had an inkling the result would be positive but the ‘what if’ gremlins were there loud and clear in my head. At my appointment my oncologist quickly cut to the chase and told me the scan didn’t show any cancerous cells and that I was disease-free. The treatment has done what was intended – whoop whoop!
I knew friends and family would be eager to know my scan outcome. I plumped for telling people via Facebook. It was the first time I’d explicitly referred to my illness on social media and it felt slightly indulgent but I felt too emotionally exhausted to update people individually. I sensed people would interpret the news as the “all clear therefore she’s cured” which I know for me isn’t an option but what it does mean is that my cancer’s managed; and long may it stay that way.
January 2016 – With treatment over and a clear scan I felt comfortable having my portacath removed – slightly surreal having it done under a local anaesthetic, not painful but a similar sensation to having a caesarean section with a lot of rummaging about going on, overhearing requests from the surgeon for new blades and forceps whilst trying to ignore the feeling of blood trickling towards my neck. Hopefully the next time I find myself on the operating table it will be for the long-awaited hernia repair.
Whilst my head is still swimming with cancer noise and I’m still experiencing a multitude of side effects from the treatment, I feel like I have regained some control over my life. Life is slowly returning back to normal, or as normal as it can for someone living with cancer. The short bursts of time when I almost forget about my cancer are persisting – I then worry about whether I’m taking my illness seriously enough, but on the other hand I sense it’s a positive sign that I’m adapting to living with cancer and the very scary prospect of it coming back. Whilst I can’t change the fact I have cancer, I now feel empowered to influence a lot about how I live my life.
My current focus is doing everything I possibly can in the hope my cancer remains managed and ensuring I spend quality time with friends and family as I look to the New Year.