Sunday, 23 June 2013

Relief...

It has been a while since I have posted. To be honest, once I got out of hospital, it took quite a bit of time to get over the infection and other treatments.  My stamina seems to have taken a permanent hit and I'm still battling to eat enough some days. Dr M had cancelled chemo while I was in hospital because it had nearly killed me. She said that if I had more the chemo might kill me before the cancer.

When I was discharged from the Big Hospital, it was arranged that I would attend the Oncology clinic at the Little Hospital the following week.  The day arrived and I took myself off the the Little Hospital on the bus. Nervous does not really cover my emotions that day.  I got there to find that Dr M was away, and I was seeing Dr R.  I was rather stunned when he asked me if I wanted chemo! He explained that in his opinion two weeks in hospital was not quality of life. As my head thought maybe chemo might knock my cancer back a bit more, my heart screamed 'NEVER AGAIN'.  When I realised he was not going to make me have chemo, I calmed down a bit. We decided that the issue would be discussed after my CT scan four days away.

Thursday 20 June was the day appointed for the discussion. Mr G took a special family day to come with me to the hospital. We had discussed my last appointment and felt that Dr R did not want to make the 'no more chemo' decision, and that we definitely wanted to talk to Dr M about it.  The clinic was running late and my name was called to see Dr R. I said I wanted to see Dr M and kept waiting. My Clinical Psychologist was in the department so I did get a chance to make an appointment with her to talk about all the recent stuff!
We eventually got into see Dr M an hour late. I was so relieved we had waited. She , too, asked about chemo. I realised that they did not want me to think they were writing me off. She had already said that all the other chemo's would knock my very weak immune system out completely with possibly fatal consequences. So a mutual decision was made that I would have no more chemo. The two cycles I had managed had knocked my cancer back, so I don't have ascites, and my disease is stable. Of course we have no idea how long it will hold, but it has helped.

What now then? I am taking an oestrogen suppressing drug often used for breast cancer patients and is being used sometimes in ovarian cancer for patients whose tumours (from original operation) have hormone receptors on them. It had been established at the Multi- Disciplinary Team meeting* (MDT) that my tumour had got hormone receptors meeting the criteria. It is putting me into menopause #3. I had a normal one in 2009. a surgically induced one in 2011 when my ovaries were removed, and now a drug induced one. I can stay on this drug for years (if I have years!) but its efficacy may not be know for six months or so.

So, now I know I do not have to endure any more chemo, my main emotion is relief. The chemo and stress have robbed me of half my hair, given me stress related tremors which make functioning difficult. I am half the woman I was. I need to use a wheelchair when we are out and about. However there is a silver lining, I can finally make some plans. We can book some holiday. We can arrange to visit people. I can plan some kind of a future without having to factor in chemo down time and living in constant fear of another hospitalisation.
Life is good.

 
* The MDT meeting has Macmillan Nurses, Gynaecologists, Oncologists, Radiologists etc so is truly multi-disciplinary and they look at patients and their needs from a variety of opinions, and make advised decisions regarding care.