Waiting rooms – Part 2

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.”

The good news meant we could have a fun weekend in Brighton


38 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Becoming herself
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 09:29:47

    Such good news! I’m so happy for you. Maybe Waiting Room Woman does have the gift…


  2. Frances Pringle (@FrancesPringle)
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 09:47:32

    Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!


  3. Rebecca W
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 14:49:53

    Having just had my 3rd child in 3 years I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Every night when I go in to check on the beautiful miracles (god) that Daniel and I created (biology) it strikes me that maybe deity (in whatever guise suits your religion) and science are not so far apart.

    I look at Woody, all brand new and helpless and think: “Did I really do that? Has my body really created and delivered that tiny perfect little human being?” Biology doesn’t seem enough, it has to be an act of god surely?

    And then with the other two, who both have their own unique personalities, who are turning into people before my eyes, I think: “What did I do to deserve to be so blessed? How brilliant are these funny, frustrating, amazing little things as they learn to walk and talk and play?” Have I created these little people, or is it god’s way?

    Not being fantastically religious I still have to concede that I think it’s a bit of both. There just is something devine and spiritual about the way the body recreates. Even the birth, which in theory should be physically impossible, clearly is miraculous!! We do our bit, we eat the right things and take the vitamins etc etc but it’s our bodies that have to do the hard work.

    So, I feel maybe it’s the same for you and your fight with/against this cancer. You’re fighting it, your body is fighting it and somewhere out there there is a devine force that’s also adding it’s two penneth worth. But actually, they’re all one and the same (heck, is that not the holy trinity?!)

    I’m currently walking with a friend, tentatively, through a special kind of pregnancy. When we were kids at high school together she got cancer of the Lymph nodes. The Chemo killed her ovaries and egg harvesting wasnt an option back then so she’s had to have egg donation. Her first two attempts didnt work but third time in and she’s hit 20 weeks. Still a long way to go but it’s further than she’s been before. Through her I’m seeing a whole other side of science and miracles working hand in hand. And I’m also being educated to a whole other side of procreation. My family is complete, but my body could still make those little miracles either through egg donation or surogacy – both of which are scarce in the UK (she’s had to go to Spain for her eggs).

    Keep doing exactly what you’re doing because it seems to be working. Little tiny miracles happen every day. I know this because one has just vomitted all down my shoulder!!!


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Sep 27, 2011 @ 16:56:42

      Thanks Rebecca – this experience is certainly make me question faith, miracles and without sounding too cheesy the meaning of life. My very best wishes and positive thoughts go out to your friend. Enjoy your miracles and their vomit! xx


  4. Luciana Baigun
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 14:51:35

    Wonderful news Ellie! Keep it up and knock it down with all the weapons you’ve got!


  5. Yasmin M
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 16:53:55

    WOOHOO!!! Congratulations Ellie. Keep doing what you’re doing. Prove that woman with a gift to be so very true! x


  6. Ann
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 16:54:48

    So very pleased for you, long may the good news continue. Apparently we’re heading for a mini heatwave, so make the most of some more daytrips – you both look so happy. Take care, good health, wish you love. Ann x


  7. Peas and Cougars
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 19:32:10

    You look quite cute as a mermaid! Maybe after you’ve beat the cancer you can look into becoming a mermaid professionally. The possibilities are endless!


  8. Tina
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 20:44:09

    Brilliant news Ellie 🙂 Long may the capcetabine keep working! I know only too well the fear anxiety that awaiting scan results creates, and also the enormous relief elation felt on receiving good results. A complete emotional rollercoaster…
    Stay well
    tina xx


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Sep 27, 2011 @ 20:53:25

      Thanks Tina. Waiting for scan results is the worst. Sometimes I think it would be easier not to know, but that’s no way to stay ahead of the ‘fight’. Thanks for continuing to read, Ellie xx


  9. Midge
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 22:10:06

    You have got to enjoy those good days and may you have many more. As my friend says a lot live and love now and don’t borrow sorrow from tomorrow.


  10. Steve, Clapham
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 16:08:53

    Wooop! Freaken awesome news! Will continue to knock on God’s door for your complete healing.

    Can I recommend http://www.alpha.org.uk to explore ‘miracles, faith, and the meaning of life’ (your response to rebecca above)?

    Last bit of God marketing – promise!


  11. laura c
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 21:36:11

    I am so so happy for you. My partner just turned to me and said ” Are you ok?”

    apparently i look like a teary panda.

    I am so so so happy for you! Thinking of you all the time.

    And I believe in gifts like that woman, i’ve had many strange experiences. x


  12. Rachel
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 23:04:56

    Oh such good news, be assured the prayers from me will continue and are said not only by me and mum but also by my church friends. Lots of love and keep putting happy photos of you and your fiance on here, they do make me smile.xxx


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Sep 30, 2011 @ 08:46:53

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers Rachel – I can’t express how grateful I am for the lovely messages I’ve been getting from everyone on the blog. xxx


  13. Anna van Heeswijk
    Oct 02, 2011 @ 22:37:17

    This is such brilliant news! Keep doing what you’re doing Ellie – it’s working! I’m so happy to read this post and I’m sending all the positive vibes in the world. Glad you could enjoy Brighton!!! Anna xxx


  14. Cait
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 19:53:55

    I am Delighted for you


  15. laura c
    Oct 03, 2011 @ 20:35:41

    I keep checking on here to see if you’ve posted anymore….

    I am so so happy for you, I keep thinking of you all the time. I hope that you continue to have positivity!

    I can’t wait to hear about your wedding next year! I’m so so so SO excited for you Ellie! I am so fond of weddings, and I imagine yours will be truely wonderful! And I bet you will look stunning in your wedding gown!

    Lots of love! Laura & Boys! x


  16. Charlotte
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 00:09:10

    Ellie what a truly inspirational blog. Everything about your whole blog touches my heart; Your love for Tom, your family bond and your dreams and aspirations. I am the same age as you and i tnk this therefore rings even more true to me. I am so glad to read about your latest fanstastic news. Go you…the ‘green shit’ must be working. Your brother and you maybe interested in reading a book called Anti-Cancer: A Way of Life written by Dr David servan-schreiber. It is a very interesting and productive read.
    Long may your positivity continue and well done for fighting your cancer from every angle.


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Oct 05, 2011 @ 07:20:04

      Thanks for reading Charlotte and taking the time out to leave such a kind comment. I’ll definitely check the book out. Ellie xxx


      • Charlotte
        Oct 06, 2011 @ 23:11:01

        Your welcome. I believe greatly in everything you are doing for your cause and this book reiterates a lot of what you are doing. With regards to the nhs it’s those that shout loudest that get somewhere. Question the doctors at every opportunity; it’ll keep them on their toes. This is not a time for mediocracy or complaicencey. Your fight and zest for life will give you well deserved time, focus and hope. Hope is an underestimated factor in life expectancy.
        I’ve just started a blog myself about having a breast cancer gene and I hope that it can help some people in the way that yours very much does. Like you said at the beginning I don’t understand why people would want to read about me but the charity I work with assured me it would be useful to
        Some people. Your blog is beyond being helpful it is life altering and makes me thankful each day. Long may you keep so motivated, focused and determined and keep flicking the v’s at the big C!!

  17. Jan
    Oct 05, 2011 @ 21:58:02

    I am so happy to read this! What a success….keep pumping that positive energy through your body!!! I will see you soon! In London in mid November! xxx


  18. Amy
    Oct 12, 2011 @ 20:49:11

    Bless your heart, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep kicking the crap out of it xx


  19. Clare Coe
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 07:11:33

    Hi Ellie

    Congrats on the scan results – the green stuff must be paying off!

    Am sitting here reading your blog whilst waiting for my CT results today. The appointment is not until 1.30 but have been awake since 6. Luckily for him, my husband is snoring away otherwise he would have been forced to listen to me ask questions that he can’t possibly answer!

    Whilst I would give everything for no-one else to be going through this, your blog makes me feel that I am not alone with my thoughts and that really helps.

    Keep up the good fight and believe it’s one you can win.


    Clare x


    • Ellie Jeffery
      Oct 26, 2011 @ 08:43:37

      Morning Clare,
      I’m sending you so many positive vibes for your scan results. Waiting is the worst. I too am waiting on some results – I haven’t had time to blog about this yet. Tom and I have decided to allow ourselves the speculation ‘it can’t be X because of this’ or ‘it must be X because of this’ – if you get what I mean. However, our newest trick for dealing with the unknown is ‘whatever it is we will deal with it.’ Because that’s what we’ve managed to do so far.
      Good luck today – whatever happens you’ll get through it.
      Sending love and bucket loads of goodness!
      Ellie x


  20. Clare Coe
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 18:42:59

    I know exactly what you mean! You can drive yourself mad with the over thinking and self diagnosis!

    After waiting 40 mins for my consultant (why are they always running late when they have your results??), I have been told that all lymphnodes have shrunk and the inflammation has nearly gone. I really couldn’t take it in and by the time I got to the chemo ward, I couldn’t even remember my date of birth! I am sure the relief will hit tomorrow.

    I think the motto of whatever happens you’ll deal with it is a great one. Lets face it, we have all had the worst news we could get and have dealt with it – whatever it is (and I am sure it will be positive) you will push on through. Everything I have read about you says you are a fighter!

    Love and positive thoughts

    Clare x

    Ps I not sure whether you have read the Jane plant books or whether you are a fan (I was a little sceptical ) but I met with her at imperial college last week and she gave me some really interesting information. Happy to share if you are interested??


  21. Ellie Jeffery
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 20:05:35

    Hi Clare,
    So pleased for you. I’ve heard of Jane Plant and when my cancer was hormone receptive I tried to avoid dairy etc but then when it ‘flipped’ to triple negative I went straight back to cheese and milk! I’d be interested in hearing about the books though and the advice Jane gave you. My email is eleanor_jeffery@hotmail.com
    Congrats again on the good results – long may the good news continue


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