Friday, 3 September 2010

A new kind of normality

Thought it was about time I updated the blog as it's been a good long while since my last post.

To summarise: mam had her final two sessions of chemo, but the usual three week gap between each of those two turned out to be 4 or 5 weeks because she'd been suffering from cystitis - which, ironically, is apparently a side-effect of the chemo! The consultant didn't want her to have the chemo while she was taking antibiotics and not feeling 100%.

So she eventually had the last sessions, and was asked back a fortnight afterwards to have a scan, to compare with the one that was done at the beginning of the chemo. The outcome is bad in as much as the last two chemo sessions weren't particularly effective, because the gap between them was longer than it should've been. However the good (?) news is that overall the cancer has shrunk significantly. Not disappeared, though - there ARE still a few 'hotspots' - but the consultant says they're under control. Not growing, not shrinking - just there. Stable. For now.

So for the meantime she's done with chemotherapy and all the other medication she was on. The only remaining thing is the stoma bag - a tube drains one of her kidneys into a little external bag, and this was set up last Christmas because the hospital thought there was a problem with one kidney. They did some tests recently and seem fairly sure that the kidney still isn't working at all - so the stoma bag stays (no idea why, my father-in-law has only one kidney and he doesn't have all this faff on). She'll have a raft of tests every three months to see if the cancer's started growing again.

But most importantly mam is looking really really well. From seven stones and starting to get a bit skeletal in January/February, she's put weight back on and is looking really healthy and happy again. Her arms are still quite skinny but the rest of her's fine!

Thankfully she didn't lose any hair during chemo so that hasn't been a problem - the main issue now is that she gets physically tired very quickly. She used to be a human dynamo in the supermarket (which is obviously where I inherited it from!) - in, targeted raid on the bits she wanted, pay, and out. Now she takes it a lot slower and has to lean on the trolley, and she's tired afterwards - but a cuppa later she's ready to do something else.

We were 'psyched' and ready for her to have an op to remove the last of the cancer hotspots after the chemo, but didn't really feel like celebrating when they said they weren't doing that. We've had so many false dawns since this whole thing started, I can't face another one. I don't want to seem pessimistic, I'm just keeping things in check - she's only in PARTIAL remission.

Mam herself has said that she's being a realist - she knows the cancer will start to grow again and the consultant will have to decide what to do. Until then she says she's just going to enjoy this new kind of normality for as long as it lasts.

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