Last October I reached my own personal milestone of five years of living with advanced breast cancer with no little surprises cropping up. Then November came for all my routine tests. I felt well and thought to myself that if anything was going to appear, surely it would have by now.
I was just starting to feel proud of myself for keeping it at bay. Off to my oncologist for the results and he tells me we have a lot to talk about. BANG!
Apparently some new cancers had shown up in my chest area, and this time there was no escaping the dreaded chemo. Terror again entered my life. A fear of the unknown and all the horror stories.
So three weeks before Christmas I was having a chest port put in and then 3 days before Christmas, I had my first lot of chemo. Christmas day was spent trying to smile at my mum, dad, kids and husband while inside I was experiencing a most horrible pain from my pelvis down. I had to lift my legs by my jeans because they simply didn't have the strength to move by themselves. I understand now that most people get this after the first chemo. The second and third ones were painful also but not as bad as the first.
It has been decided that I will have 8 chemo treatments as I am apparently handling it well. I have two more to go and then it is wait and see again. After the 2nd or 3rd treatment it was found that the new cancers had resolved themselves and that my secondary was stable, so all was good. I thought I would be happy to see the back side of chemo, but there is a bit of doubt in the back of my mind that it might jump right back in as soon as I stop chemo. At the same time, I just want to stop the toxic stuff going in.
I still do work and do karate and have also taken up Tai Chi. These things keep my head straight and that is such an important part of living with this sinister disease. I know I am extremely lucky to be here, I don't think anyone else expected me to still be hanging around, but here I am.
I have started this new fight and I will give it my all. Who knows what is around the corner? Maybe a cure. Maybe the switch to stop it spreading or put it to sleep. Anything would help.
I have achieved a couple of my goals but there is still so much more that I need to achieve and I will try my hardest to do so. I wish everyone out there battling this disease in one form or another, all the best. My thoughts are with you.
If you or someone you know has advanced breast cancer you may like to call the Cancer Helpline on 13 11 20. You will be able to speak with a specialist cancer nurse who can provide you with any information and support you may need. You may also find it helpful to read the information on our website about living with advanced cancer. CancerHelp UK, an international cancer patient website, has specific information about advanced breast cancer.