We fast forward through the sleepless nights, worry-filled afternoons and ‘what if’ conversations to the day of the scan results. Tom and I sat in the waiting room filled with fear, although our ways of dealing with this feeling were quite different; I was chanting, ‘I’m fit, I’m well, the cancer is in remission’ over and over in my head. Tom was playing Angry Birds!
To add to our angst we were told there was at least a thirty-minute wait. It felt like waiting for school exam results. I had been putting in the extra work; diet, yoga, meditation, knocking back the green shit. I desperately wanted to believe it would be okay, but having sat in that room many times before only to be told something horrible it was hard not to think the worst.
After an hour and five minutes we were called in. Current Consultant seemed cheery and as we sat down she began to ask me about my hands and feet. Capecitabine, the chemo I’m on, can give you what is called hand and foot syndrome. I had developed this unfortunate side effect over the past few weeks but at that point it was the last thing on my mind, and brushing this line of questioning aside I blurted out, “What about the scan results?”
We’d waited over an hour – it was like being given your A-levels on a piece of paper but being told you can only look at them if you wear a blindfold.
“Oh yes, they’re good,” she said with a smile on her face.
I turned and looked at Tom, relief filling every fibre of my body. I asked if the tumours were shrinking or had just stabilised. We waited impatiently as Current Consultant tippy-tapped on her computer before reading out the results. She explained that before I’d started on Capecitabine the biggest tumour in my liver was 27mm.
No one had told me this before and I was shocked. I’m sure I’d been told they were pretty small tumours, but to my mind 2.7 cms is a pretty big wodge of evil. Despite this, the shock was soon overridden by a feeling of utter happiness. After this second CT scan the biggest tumour in my liver was now 1.1cm. Insert loud, joyful, girly, glass shattering scream here.
This particular bastard of a tumour had been more than halved! Take that, cancer! I like to think that it’s not just the chemotherapy. I’m playing my part and so are others too. All those prayers said, all the messages of hope and positivity sent to me via this blog, I’m always so grateful for them but never more so than when I was told that the cancer was still responding to treatment and the results were better than I could have imagined. All that goodwill was kicking the shit out of the cancer.
“There are also signs of sclerosis in your bones, meaning that the bones where the cancer was found are healing and growing stronger.” As one of my best friends remarked when I later told him this news, “So the Valley of Dry Bones story is right, literally!” Whether by a higher being or medical science, or perhaps both, life was being breathed back into my dying and decaying bones.
That weekend Tom and I went away to Brighton as carefree as we could, knowing that cancer is swimming around in my body. The only hiccup was emergency work on the track, causing us to have to get off one train, catch a bus and pick up another train to continue our journey.
“There’s nothing worse than a rail replacement bus,” I said to Tom as we stood obediently in the queue waiting for said bus.
“Nothing?” Tom asked, grinning.
“Nothing.” I smirked back. “Except maybe Angry Birds.”