12 months ago today (by the date) I was in hospital undergoing surgery to determine what the mass was that had been showing up on my CT scan for the last 5 months. The mass everyone thought was pneumonia.
I woke up to be told it was cancer, adenocarcinoma, and it had been inoperable. The tumor itself was 11cms and was too close to the cardiac vessels and it had already spread. I remember thinking it was a dream (I was full of morphine though). I don't think it was until the next day that it really sunk in. I remember my sisters crying, my husband and my daughter trying so hard to be brave and my mum and dad devastated. My surgeon came to see me and told me not to give up hope as they had sent a specimen to be tested for a genetic mutation and if positive I would be able to have a new form of chemo therapy. He also told me to eat everything I could so I wouldn't lose too much weight and I would have the strength to fight. He said on average people lost about 3 stone!
Initially, I thought I can't fight if I'm not fit, so I did eat. I ate everything that was put in front of me and I lost a grand total of 0 pounds! I had my 50th birthday 3 weeks later, not the 50th celebration I had planned but special all the same, I was alive!
I had the all important oncology appointment that week. The one that would determine what treatment I was to have. I was positive for the EGFR mutation and could have the targeted chemotherapy! I felt a pang of sorrow however when I had to sign the consent form for 'palliative' treatment. I was told that this chemo was just supposed to stop the tumor growing, not to shrink it, but if It didn't grow it wouldn't spread. Within a few weeks I was no longer coughing, I was getting stronger and stronger, the pain meds were being reduced and I was able to do more and more for myself.
So what has happened in the last year? In May I had my first scan, the tumor had shrunk by 20%. In July I did the race for life-walking only but I did it in 50 minutes. We went to Majorca and Spain in the summer. We had 2 fancy dress parties in the garden. I joined the gym, our extension was completed (although I'm still waiting for rails in my walk in wardrobe) I went to Cannes and Monte Carlo. Second scan in October shows tumor is now immeasurable and has collapsed! I bought clothes and shoes I have always wanted (the 'one day I'll have one of those' kind of items). We had a lovely Christmas. We went to Jamaica (again!). I started fund raising for Roy Castle lcf and have been getting stuck into my hobbies!
What haven’t I done? I haven't been down in the dumps or sad. I feel blessed for every day I have and don't intend to waste anytime I have feeling down. Overall I've had a fantastic year and hope I will be hear this time next year to write an even longer blog!