We’ve been going through chemo for 5 months. It has been scary, painful, depressing, tiring, all consuming. Our lives have changed, been on hold. We’ve been sucked into a vacuum of appointments, living in a 3-week cycle. Every day, every hour, has brought new unexpected side effects.  Going back six times knowing what’s to follow, is hard.

Chemo is incredibly isolating – physically as I’ve spent the majority of time since May at home because I’ve been too ill to go anywhere/do anything – and emotionally as my experience is different to Dan’s, to family’s, to friends’. Isolating for all of us involved.

It messes with your brain so you can’t read, can’t concentrate on a conversation. It removes your sense of self. I catch my reflection and don’t recognise me as me. I look in the mirror and can’t quite believe it’s me looking back.

Since diagnosis in April control has been taken away from us in so many ways. We’ve been told we won’t have any more children due to the treatment regime. Our future will be very different to what we had thought.

In the last 6 months we’ve spent countless hours at hospital and spent about £90 on parking and £350 on petrol…so far.

Chemo has finished, hopefully never to be revisited. It has left us battered and bruised and on our knees.

All a bit bleak isn’t it…the good things?

The major one – it worked! To go through all that only to find it hadn’t had a positive effect on the tumours would have been so awful. The fact it has worked makes it easier to accept the nightmare of the last few months.

It really helped to accept the chemo and not fight it. A friend gave me a mantra – ‘My body is healing, all will be well’ which helped to clear my mind and focus on the point of treatment and to try to focus on the treatment as healing rather than destructive.

The staff were amazing, supportive and kind, making us feel safe at such a precarious time.

My blood results were good each time, with the levels bouncing back to pretty normal levels, which I’m told is unusual. We’ve all remained well for 6 months, which has meant I’ve been able to keep to the treatment timetable. This again is unusual apparently.

I’ve discovered I’m a pretty strong person. I didn’t spend my days sobbing…well only a few. I got on with treatment, while doing all I could to keep some normality at home for Dan and Tilly.

Tilly’s had a birthday and started nursery in the last month. She didn’t have a birthday party, and I couldn’t take her to her first day at nursery. It hurt to miss these little milestones but she hasn’t been hurt by it and that’s the main thing. Tilly has accepted a million changes with no trouble, been ever so gentle with me when I’ve needed her to be. She’s been totally accepting of being looked after by a variety of friends when we’ve needed help. And even when her leg was broken she was great.

The book I wrote for Tilly to explain things in a way she would understand really helped her and her little friends.

Family, friends, friends of friends, and neighbours have been amazing. They’ve done more to help than we could have ever expected. I’ve been so touched by kindnesses of time, emails, letters, gifts etc etc. Tilly has been looked after as one of their own.

And Dan. He has been beyond fantastic. Despite being so hurt watching me go through this, he’s supported me totally while working and looking after Tilly the majority of the time. I can’t thank him enough.

Chemo has stolen a summer, but it’s only a few weeks in what will hopefully be a long life. We’ll look back and laugh…perhaps. The first quarter of this long journey is complete.

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