In 2 weeks time its the 5 year anniversary of when I was first diagnosed. Anniversaries are hard. But this time I’ll be celebrating. I’m lucky enough to be currently cancer free at this anniversary. I am still slightly in shock. It’s a lot for your brain to process, to go from “incurable” to “No evidence of Disease”. It’s also a fragile state of mind to be in. Yes I’m on top of the ice right now, but how thin is the ice, will it crack again? Who knows.
When I had my first clear scan I’d worked my socks off for it, I’d envisioned it, dreamt of it, believed in it. It was the best feeling ever to be given that news. Then 3 months later I had my second clear scan, again I was elated. Still it felt miraculous and unbelievable, but I felt like the chemo was still in my body, that it was still working for me. A fabulous summer of fun happened then I had my 3rd clear scan. This was September, I still felt that after 35 chemotherapy treatments and the cyber knife having been less than a year ago that perhaps the treatment was working for me still. And keeping anything from growing.
The next few months were hard, I had to undergo lots of health assessments, picking up the pieces from all the treatment. I had a referral to ENT (nose polyps, chronic sinusitis), to a Respiratory team (lung scarring from Pneumonia earlier in the year, asthma diagnosis), to a Haematologist (blood clot in neck and ongoing blood thinners), to my vascular surgeon (my Port needed to come out as it couldn’t be flushed). Everything felt ongoing and I ended up on lots of new medicine. Then in October a beautiful friend passed away. Losing Kim hit me, and so many others, so very very hard. All my old anxieties reared their ugly heads and life felt smudged with grey and heartache and grief.
Picking up the pieces continued and steps towards my new normal were made. I upped my counselling, made fun plans with my family, and tried to surround myself with friendships that lift me. My Port was safely removed, and despite the risks from the blood clot in my neck the operation went really smoothly. Then I received the amazing news that after years of daily injections I could STOP! My stomach was delighted!
We roll into December, which was great fun, all of the planning, children’s activities, Santa, nights out. A lovely distraction! And then to Christmas, which was wonderful, and then into the new year. I realised pretty quickly that my head had gone into scanxiety mode. We had decided to move my due scan from December to January, so I could enjoy Christmas and make the most of everything. But as soon as it was January my head and fear went into overdrive.. surely after 9 months of NO chemo now woud be the time that it comes back, if it’s going to. Tripe negative cancers can’t have ongoing recurrence prevention options like other type of Breast cancer. I try my best with attitude, happiness, exercise, Supplements, nutrition and love and support, but is this enough? Cancer is sneaky. If one remaining rogue cell can find a cosy home it likes to Multiply and return with a vengeance. My head was everywhere.
But I think you already know the punchline. ANOTHER clear scan. Nothing to be found. Results day was hugely stressful as the PET scan had shown tracer uptake in my neck, in the lymph nodes where I had cancer previously. After a 5 hour wait an ultrasound showed that the uptake was due to inflammation as I am fighting off a throat and chest infection. Outcome NED, Still NED.
And so here we are. LUCKY ME. 9 months no treatment and I’m still NED. I like to write this all down, it’s very therapeutic. What’s next? Well I Plan to get fit and do another triathlon. I plan to stay happy and to make the most of life. To love and support others and to really appreciate this gift of life that I have. As we know, not everyone makes it. And Right now I’m off for celebratory Sushi and to do some holiday planning. This is a turning point for me and It’s sinking in that I could grow old, I may see my children grow up. Wow. Lucky me 🍀
I dedicate this to the Memory of our Beautiful BBB Kim, in our hearts and memories for ever 💕