Today is the last day of 2015. The first 9 months of the year were like a dream. It was our tenth anniversary, and we celebrated with a trip to the Maldives, followed by our annual skiing trip to Japan. Then came a month in Italy. Work was going well, we were happy.
Then, October came all to quickly and with that, my cancer diagnosis. 2015 after that pretty much went downhill in my view. 2015 is my annus horribilis.
On Monday 28th December I started my first round of chemo. It came as a bit of a surprise. My plastic surgeon, Dr W, still wasn’t all that comfortable with giving the go ahead, as he was still wary of any infections. Although, all the tubes were out, and I was keeping a very close eye on the situation. There was some fluid build up, but once he extracted that fluid the redness subsided. The wound on my left breast was taking time to heal. Dr W extracted some blood from me, put it in the centrifugal machine thing, and split the blood into red blood cells and platelets. It was these platelets that he used as an ‘ointment’ to help heal the wound. At this stage, I was still on 3 antibiotics a day, but functioning quite well.
My medical oncologist, Dr KW, on Monday said that we should start chemo. She then proceeded to ring my plastic surgeon (Dr W) and Dr L who is in charge of my ‘infectious diseases’ to get their go ahead for chemo to start. They both gave her their blessing. I on the other hand, was not expecting this. I looked alarmingly at The Rock, and started to hyperventilate. Dr KW then said all the right things. That I’d “live forever” and that the thing I had to monitor was my anxiety.
They lay me down on one of their beds, and inserted an IV into my non-plump veins. This could be a problem for future treatments. First, they ran through anti nausea and anti allergy medicine. Then, they did a test run of Taxol, to see if I had any reactions. None. So then they ran through my first course of Taxol, followed by Herceptin. Good thing they had me on the bed, as the anti nausea and anti allergy drugs made me quite drowsy. My arm in which the IV ran was freezing. The medicine that ran through it was so cold. I had 3 blankets on me and it still wasn’t enough to keep me warm. The whole process took about 4 hours. But, future treatments would be roughly half that.
I was told the side effects of taxol are very mild. Hair loss, some nausea, some joint pain. It’s now day 4, and I hate to jinx it but I’ve been feeling O-kay. Yesterday I felt a bit tired, but I wasn’t sure if that was due to chemo or the fact that I hit the gym for the first time in 2 months. It was a bit of a shocker how my strength had dissipated over 2 months. But I’m learning some new things about my upper body. It’s still a bit alien, and I have to build up my strength again, one rep at a time.
My sister also came to visit from KL with her family. It was a good distraction, but now it’s time for some quiet time I think. It’s New Years Eve, and I don’t expect to see the new year come in. After all, even in past years we’ve struggled to keep our eyes open till then, so why on earth should this day be any different? I’m very relieved that I’ve started my first round of chemo. I have in total 12 rounds of taxol+herceptin. Then, herceptin every 3 weeks for a year. We’ve already booked our easter holiday to a tropical island so that I don’t have to do much.
My hopes and wishes for 2016? To live. To be healthy. And I think every year after that, my hopes and wishes won’t change much. Funny how when life throws you a big old rock everything that you thought were important are so trivial now. Here’s to you, and your family, and wishing you a 2016 that is full of light, love and happiness. And, good health.