A plan has been devised; it’s time for more chemo. Hair falling out, eyebrows dropping off, eyelashes swept away-type chemo. Losing the hair on your head is invariably traumatic but for me it’s losing the eyebrows and eyelashes that really twists the knife. It annoys me to see some beautiful actress playing the cancer victim with a headscarf or bald head but with immaculate eye-brows and long luscious lashes. If you’re going to portray cancer then do it fucking properly; make her face look oddly featureless, her eyes small and undefined. Don’t sugar coat it because there’s nothing sweet about it at all.
And then of course there’s the wedding. What if it’s not back for the bloody wedding? You know, that one day a girl is supposed to look her best? The threat of having no lashes, no brows and maybe a buzz cut looms large amongst my worries. Maybe the title of my wedding blog will be Buzz Cut Bride. Sounds like a good comic strip character.
But of course I’ll do it. I’m happy to have a plan, as months off any medication has allowed the cancer to rampage unchecked. I picture it as some grubby squatter (no offence to any of you right-on Occupy lot) seeking out places of refuge to pitch a tent. Brain? Yes please. Lungs? Nice and airy, ta. Liver? Bigger than expected but could be cosy with the right paraphernalia from Millets.
Then there’s a suspicious red mark on my chest that was worthy of a comment from Prof Hope today. It’s all a bloody worry and yet for some reason I can’t get stressed about it. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I’m not suffering any ill effects; I’m still here; functioning, getting around, living.
I’m meditating a lot which I’m convinced is helping. I went to see an EFT therapist last week who was amazing. It’s strange to feel so calm in what should be a very traumatic time. For the moment I feel very accepting of what is to come. I hope for minimal side effects and positive results. And I make no excuses to anyone when I say I truly believe I can beat this cancer.
Sometimes I feel that I have to justify myself for having faith in something miraculous, but why shouldn’t I have that as a goal? I have no idea why I am conditioned this way. I know I should be proud to believe in my ability to heal but instead I find myself worrying that people will think I’m in denial and kidding myself.
I have mixed feelings about the new drug. It’s called Eribulin and has just been rejected by NICE. I have managed to get it through a special cancer fund but have read of women who have been denied it, so there’s an element of guilt mixed in with my apparent good fortune. In the past I’ve reported about drugs getting rejected for work so it seems strange to be on the other side of the same news story.
According to the trials, Eribulin gives you an average of 13.1 months life expectancy compared to 10.6 on an already established drug. It’s not worth the funding, the people at NICE say. Of course, this is a highly controversial topic full of ethical questions and conundrums. All I know is that I’m thankful to be one of the lucky ones and I hope it does something really fucking nasty to the cancer. I’m talking bad-ass, evil, unmentionable shit.
And as all this goes on I feel so incredibly fortunate to have the most amazing man by my side. Tom makes me realise that there is a plan in there somewhere. To have met him and to be so in love and so at ease with someone is by far the greatest gift I have ever received. That, and friends who make me smile and surround me with so much support and kindness.
As I waited in the ward today with my friends Matt and Miffy, I was all geared up for the chemo when we were called into a room with the head nurse and pharmacist. Matt started rubbing my back and Miffy looked fearful. Here it comes, I thought to myself, another body blow. I quickly concluded that my blood results must have shown that my liver is in fact one giant tumour so there’s really no point in any chemo anyway.
“Because this drug has been rejected by NICE and you’re getting it on the special cancer fund everything needs to be completely signed-off, and unfortunately there is still a part of a form to be filled in. The person who can do that isn’t in until tomorrow so you’ll have to wait another day for treatment.”
Phew! We sighed with relief. “Worse things happen in Milan” Miffy remarked. Matt and I laughed; we had no idea what she was on about and neither did she but it seemed to sum up our thoughts perfectly as we mooched off into the grey, autumnal street.