I've just been for my appointment with my oncologist in advance of my final blast of chemo. She said my blood levels are all fine, so chemo can go ahead on time tomorrow. This is a massive relief - I get to be well for the run up to Christmas.
She also wanted to examine me. I told her that when others have examined me, they couldn't feel the lump anyway, but she insisted, so she did, and straight away she said she felt a hole. Not a lump, a hole. Where the tumour used to be. She had a big smile on her face, and told me the chemo had been doing its job. I didn't believe her, and she got me to have a good old grope of myself but I couldn't tell what she meant. But she was convinced that there isn't a tumour there and that she can feel a hole in the place it used to be. I don't know what to think. If she's right, this is obviously incredible news. But the oncologist having a good manual rummage round isn't the same as a scan. So I have thought about it and decided to not believe her. Why get my hopes up. In my experience that doesn't tend to work out well.
I told her I was prepared for chemo to not make any difference, because mine is a grade 1 tumour, and I thought that grade 1, slow growing tumours, didn't respond so well to chemo. She said my tumour might look grade 1 under the microscope, but it's in my lymph nodes, so the "grade 1" is irrelevant. It isn't behaving like a grade 1 tumour. I guess I already knew this but hearing it frightened me.
She said that when I meet with the surgeon I should consider delayed reconstruction. Lob the cancer out, have radiotherapy, and then further down the line have reconstruction. Better cosmetic results apparently. This frightened me. I'm scared of one surgery. I don't want multiple surgeries.
And then she said that after all that, I will go on tamoxifen which is a drug that stops estrogen fuelling any estrogen receptor positive cancer cells (this is the type of cancer I have - estrogen receptor positive). I told her that I'd been told tamoxifen wasn't an option for me, because I have a family history of blood clots. I said that I thought if I could have ovaries out, that would do the same job as tamoxifen because that would mean there wouldn't be estrogen being produced in my body. She said that there would still be estrogen in my body from other places, and she is referring me for testing to see if I personally am at risk of blood clotting, because tamoxifen is the best drug they can give me and she wants me to have it. So this frightened me, because if I can't have tamoxifen then I guess I'm not getting the best drugs to prevent recurrence, but if I do have tamoxifen I am frightened of getting a blood clot and dying from that.
I should be happy right now. I can have my last chemo on time, and the oncologist thinks my tumour has gone.
But I am just really, really frightened. I have that small feeling again. Like I am just so small, and everything is just so scary. I wish someone could just make it better. I'm not cut out for this.