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Chemo #5 completed today, 42% completed. 

Today I went down to Gleneagles Hospital for the 5th cycle of taxol + herceptin. Prior to that, I had my blood work done and it’s all good. No worries mate. My Uric acid levels are back to normal, mainly because Dr KW asked me to give up my vegan protein shakes for two weeks. I’d been O/D-ing on protein. There was no concern on any of the other levels, all my white blood cells are good – yippee .

I made a new acquaintance in the chemo lounge (they don’t call it that, but that’s what I’ve been taking to call it). This lady, I never got her name, was going through a chemo regime to reduce the size of her lump before she went in for a lumpectomy. Here’s the interesting thing. When she discovered her lump it was 3.8cm (just to remind you, mine was 5mm, yes that’s also 0.5 cm. Her Lump was 7 times larger than my lump). She said, it took them 6 weeks to decide which course of action to take. Why – I don’t know, but I’m sure it was part and parcel of her personal cancer journey. Now, in those 6 weeks, that lump grew, in her own words “at least 2 cm”. So, that’s ONE CENTIMETER EVERY 3 WEEKS. Put in another way, if she had waited :

  • 3 months, it would have grown another 4 cm to about 7.8cm
  • 6 months, it would have grown another 8 cm to about 11.8 cm which is, about the size of a whole breast.

Ladies. Listen up and listen good. I beg you. This lady, shared with me that her cancer, was also of the aggressive type – HER2+. That’s the one I have as well. This is an AGGRESSIVE cancer. I simplified the rate of growth above I’m sure, but what I’m trying to get at, is that this wasn’t a lazy dormant cancer stretching itself out slowly. This cancer, was on … I don’t know. It’s a crack-cocaine-meth freak of a lump. It was like Jack Nicholson in The Shining – gone all crazy ape like, saying “I’m baaaaaaaack”. This cancer was not giving up without a fight.

Okay I’m over dramatizing it. But there she was. Trying to reduce the size of this lump – can you do me a favour, get a ruler and measure out 6cm? That was about the size of the lump when she started her chemo. And measure out 5mm (my cancer, Dick). See the difference? The chemo she is doing now is trying to reduce that 6cm lump to an operatable size. And when she’s done, she’ll then get a lumpectomy.

 

I measured it out for you. Visualisation of different sizes of lumps

Early detection Ladies. I’ll say it again. Early Detection. Early. Detection. EARLY DETECTION. Get your head out of the sand, if you feel something that doesn’t feel right, don’t freaking put it off. Don’t be scared. Oh to hell with it, it’s  terrifying okay? But do you want to give yourself a chance? Please please please get it checked out. Chances are – it’s nothing. Then you can breathe a huge sigh of relief, put a reminder in your iphone for the next check in 12 months, and get to know your breasts with your hands. Get to know your body, so you can get a feel for what’s right about it and what could be wrong.

My right breast. It’s wrong. There’s fluid build up. Again. On Friday last week it was red. I didn’t feel right. Went to see Dr W on Saturday and he extracted I think around 100ml. I went to see him again today, he extracted nearly 100ml. I’m seeing him on Friday, and he’ll keep on extracting. Why all this fluid? I think the expander hasn’t adhered as it should have. It’s not been a well behaving breast. But I just hope it’s fluid, and not an infection. I’m on antibiotics again – just Augmentin (pah child’s play). I’m going to practically live in my Lululemon sports bra as it provides good support and will try to eliminate more fluid build up.

So – it ain’t all rosy but hey, it could be a helluva lot worse. This is my cancer crusade. There must be the crap days to make me appreciate the monumentally wonderful days. I’d like to end with a quote:

We should not complain about growing old – to grow old is a privilege“. By my Mother.

 She said this in December 1979. She passed away March 1980, aged 38. She never grew old. She didn’t detect her lump early. She was too late.

Let’s get old ladies. Old, wrinkly, and alive. Let’s live.

 

my tattoo in honour of my mum

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