Yesterday (Tuesday 27th December 2016) was a significant day for me. I had the last of my chemotherapy related drugs. So today is an even more auspicious day … the start of regaining my strength and my health. I know that my approach to food and health gave me a very strong foundation going in to treatment but I am now completely running on empty – at least this means the chemo has performed its sledgehammer role.
5 1/2 months ago I was in blissful ignorance. I decided it was time to have a career change and turn my passion for healthy living in to my new career. So I made the leap and handed my notice in at my place of work for the last 15 years.
June 17th – routine mammogram
July 6th – recall letter, ‘nothing to be concerned about…but bring a friend for support.’ I saw my unwelcome visitor clearly on the screen. Another mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy and a very frank radiologist made it clear that it was 95% likely to be malignant.
July 11th – results confirmed Grade 3 invasive malignant tumour.
July 13th – met my consultant and fully accepted that now was the time for me to put my trust in the wonderful team of medical professionals taking over my care.
July 29th – tumour removed and lymph biopsy
August 17th – only 2 months after the initial mammogram – met with my consultant to be told that the removal of all the tumour was successful but that cancer cells were found in my lymph nodes. Met with my oncologist to discuss my next treatment: chemotherapy; radiotherapy and drug therapy. Also to arrange a barrage of tests to check my body was strong enough for the onslaught of the poisons.
September 5th – picc line inserted and first chemo treatment. I must admit as I watched the red poison moving along the tube to my arm I did wobble.
Ahead of my treatment I thought chemotherapy meant hair loss and feeling a bit rough…I was so wrong – not about the hair loss which I actually have found quite liberating and of course have saved a fortune in hair products and time wasted washing drying and generally faffing. It has been grim – most of the time I have managed to remain upbeat but there have been times when I have felt so sorry for myself and wondered, ‘Why me?’ But of course the words of Paul Kalanithi (When Breath becomes Air), ‘Why not me?’have pulled me up sharp…I am still alive after all.
December 19th – last chemo session – I made it without any sessions being delayed (a target I set my neutrophils 🙂 I got to ring the bell at Clatterbridge Cancer Centre. A place filled with laughter, positivity and hope and staff who are truly wonderful.
December 27th last injection and chemo related drug.
So here I am…
Whilst undergoing chemo I have not been able to eat many of the foods that I would choose – some would make my body fight back against the poison; some because of the risk of bacterial infection.
I am now looking forward to feeding my body the foods it is used to and the foods that I know will get me back to full strength rapidly. Afterall…as Hippocrates said, ‘Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can heal the patient with food,’ and, ‘Let medicine be thy food and food be thy medicine.’
Thank you to all my fabulous friends and family, without whom, the last few months would have been both unbearable and unmanageable. x