26 Nov 2013
After cycle 3 had been administered it meant I had received half of my chemotherapy treatment, whoohoo. In my eyes I still had to get through the side effects before I would actually feel properly half way there but a week after chemo I went to Wansbeck for my “half way through treatment MRI”, the purpose being to find out how my 3 tumours and lymph nodes were doing on this chemotherapy drug. Hopefully it would indeed be doing its job and getting shot of the little buggers.
The scan itself takes about 40 minutes, plus setting up time when I get changed into a lovely hospital gown and waiting around time to check I’m ok afterwards. I decided to go on my own as it’s pointless someone sitting outside bored for over an hour and I’m fine to drive afterwards too.
So this is the scan where you lie face down on the bed, two holes are in the bed and you are shoved in this machine for 40 minutes, face down whilst the scanner emits a noise similar to that of a machine gun being fired continuously for those 40 minutes. I was given a set of headphones and a choice of music but the noise drowned out ABBA completely. My head always rings after that scan! The scan itself takes hundreds of images from all different angles which are then put together and read by a clever medical person who writes a report on their findings having compared it to the initial MRI scan taken prior to chemo.
As ever my Breast Care Nurse Amanda was amazing and rang me at 9am the next day to give me the results! The report confirmed an “excellent response to chemo” and also said that the cancer was no longer present in my lymph nodes. YAY its working. Amanda couldn’t confirm how small the tumours were now but I did find out exactly how big they were to start with which was between 7mm and 10mm. So the three tumours didn’t start off very big but sadly they did cover an area of 9cm from one side to the other.
I have an appointment with my Oncologist next week and Amanda said she expects he will carry on with the remaining chemo as planned before sending me off for surgery. Ill also try to find out how small the tumours are now just for my own interest. Amanda being Amanda also said she would get the ball rolling with the surgery side of things and I’ve since received an appointment to see the Breast Consultant in January shortly after the last chemo session.
If my health allows I’m hoping this part of the journey is sooner rather than later following chemo as I’ll then have recovery to go through (I’ll be a complete nightmare of a patient I warn you now) and I’ve been told to expect a course or radiotherapy which is a daily treatment for a number of weeks.
Whilst I’m dead keen to just get on with it all I did have a mild wobble about the reality of surgery but I’ve put it to the back of my mind to worry about later. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. It’s not going to be nice and if they can’t immediately put back on what they take off I’ll have that to face too but until I speak to the surgeon I can’t let myself worry about that at the moment even if it does keep popping into my head. So all is going to plan as far as I can tell at this point in time which is a relief.
I would like to finish this post by saying how wonderful I think the NHS has been. So many people complain about this service we have and I know that for the majority off the population it is not a free service as we pay for it with taxes and national insurance. I appreciate some may have had bad experiences, delays in being seen, wrong diagnosis’ and bad experiences with treatment. Again I’ve been lucky I think. The speed they reacted to this awful disease, the tests they have put me through, the care I have received from the nurses has been brilliant, they were so helpful when I rang up about the thrush and spots and sorted me out quickly with what I needed. So I cannot fault them. To me they are like armed forces personnel and teachers, they make such a huge difference to people’s lives and help them whilst picking up and dealing with a lot of shit and hard times on the way. They should be paid heaps more than they are and I for one cannot praise them enough and think we are extremely lucky to have this service here in the UK.
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