And now for some good news…

These last 14 days have seen my stomach tipped upside down, emptied of all contents, shaken vigorously, knotted multiple times with marine rope and finally today returned to its rightful position nestled between my oesophagus and my small intestine.

The big scary appointment was on Monday when I had a PET CT scan to see if there were any other cancerous hot spots lurking around.  My Doctor; the ‘normal’ one who still gives me treats like prescriptions and cervical smear tests; not the one that nukes me, or the one that cuts out bits of me; well she explained that the PET scan will check to see how the cancerous cells are behaving, how fast they are turning over, as well as any other ‘hot spots’ of cancer gobbling glucose and behaving badly that might scupper our plans for surgery.  And I would be injected with heavy metals, made to wee in a special loo and be restricted from kissing babies or pregnant women.  And then after 90 minutes when they hoped I would sit still and wait for the radiation to circulate throughout my body, I was to lie down in the PET scanner with my hands above my head in the diving position and not move a muscle for 45 minutes.  Sound good to you?  Yes, me too…

So, my incredibly wonderful and trusting man, John decided that as scary as this appointment might be, I could still up the scary stakes a bit by driving the MG to Oxford for a bit of pre-scan fun.  That’s the MG he recently bought as a project to do up, but since the cancer business returned, super fast tracked the repairs and got it insured (in my name!) taxed and on the road with its top down ready for me to drive us to The Churchill, Oxford.

“I didn’t know it went that fast” he casually remarked as it reached 110 mph and somewhat less calmly,   “RACHEL, that’s reverse!” as I tried to change ‘up’ from 3rd gear to 4th, not realising I was already in 5th on the dual carriageway.

Anyway the rest went as planned.  That’s if you can plan bumping into most of Holmer Green in a cancer centre of excellence in Oxford.  Liz (we regularly play cancer and surgeon top trumps) was in for her 3 monthly CT scan and my next door neighbour was having a spot of radiotherapy.

Now, if you have kindly read this far, I can reward you with some pretty amazing news.

The cancer, on its return visit, is definitely confined to my liver.  And, as far as my oncologist would commit himself, just in the right lobe.  Ok he won’t say for sure it’s NOT in the left lobe.  But no one can see anything yet.  Apparently once you have had cancer, you don’t hear phrases like “It’s not there” or “it’s all gone” only “We can’t see anything” or “there is no evidence”… Still it’s the best sentence I have heard for the last 14 days!

And this means, I can go and visit my liver surgeon again next week on Tuesday to discuss how he is going to get the little squatters out of my liver.  And pretty soon I hope.  So no chemo for me, thank you very much.  At least not before surgery.  We still have to discuss the validity of mopping up again afterwards.

As ever, I have been overwhelmed with all your endless kindness and good wishes.  My poor long suffering family and friends have gone through every step with me and continue to remind me why I love them so much and how lucky and blessed I am.

I will be sure to bring you more news from the liver factory next week.  In the meantime, amuse yourself with my holiday snaps! Much love x

Arriving safely!

Arriving safely!

Weapon of mass destruction

Weapon of mass destruction

Wouldn't want that job!

Wouldn’t want that job!

Lois being ball girl at The Boodles last week!

Lois being ball girl at The Boodles last week! (with her friend’s half a face!)

A wonderfully distracting lunch at Di's!

A wonderfully distracting lunch at Di’s!

This is the one post I have been dreading writing

I’ve been obsessing over it coming across as either self pitying or sentimental.  So instead I am aiming for the written equivalent of a big man hug; a sort of “I love you, but don’t go thinking I am going soft, so I am just going to give you a couple of firm pats on your back”.

I should also apologise for turning up in your inbox or twitter feed unannounced just when you were no doubt expecting the usual light hearted drivel you have come to expect from me recently on twitter and facebook.  Or in person.

So having gone round the houses enough now to make even Kirsty Allsop dizzy, here it is;

The cancer is back.  The pain in my bum didn’t turn out to be cancer.  We are still not sure what that is (no wisecracks please).  But the dull ache in my right hand side and my shoulders is.  No, the sly old fox didn’t naff off as it had promised.  It hid or waited until my life was getting pretty near perfect again and it came back.  This time, again in my Liver.

I have rehearsed this day enough times to reduce the shock impact, but I wasn’t ready for the huge sense of disappointment of having done everything I could do (with my Dad’s constant supplies of pills, wheatgrass, juice, vitamin D, acupuncture and exercise)  to stop this and yet,  here we are again facing more chemotherapy and operations.  We are back to the joy of CTs, MRIs and PET scans, endless needles, re-insertion of USB ports (portacath), and conversations with men who spend their daylight hours cutting bits out of your body.  I shudder to think what they get up to during the night…

Meanwhile life goes on.  Although right now as I am pretty sure none of my Zumba teacher’s problems and mine actually overlap, I want to avoid getting all angsty with you.. so I have taken the liberty of suggesting a few simple pointers on how we are going to deal with all this;

  • Lots of calm practical help and plenty of belly laughs please
  • No floppy necks or looks of panic, or stories of friends who had xyz flavour of cancer and died
  • No claims of obscure American yak urine cures please (but plenty of good new research is always welcome)
  • Offers of very small treats to tempt me out of my chemo cloud during the week I will come back to life
  • And most importantly of all, loads and loads of love and patience for my children, family and friends

And as I am in marketing and every marketer knows that you can only really load people with 3 messages at a time, if you take nothing else out from this post please remember this:

  1. I have complete faith this can be beaten again
  2. Hurt my children and I will hunt you down
  3. And now these three remain;  faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love

I am ridiculously lucky to have so much love, but I know that however nasty this treatment will be, I would still much rather go through this myself than watch the one I love suffer, so spread out your lovely arms wider than me please.

In amongst the lows, I have had and will continue to have the most incredible highs.  I have a new man, John.  He turned up totally unexpected a short while ago and is the kindest, strongest and most loving man I have ever had the pleasure of going out with.  Somehow he has taken each and every knock I have thrown his way these past couple of months, culminating with this humdinger with the best grace, humour and fortitude. And despite me warning him that my hair will go grey and possibly fall out, my normal bubbly personality will ‘go off’ 2 weeks out of every 3, our social life will be limited to days when my white blood cells look lively enough, and the steroids will kindly add some nice extra padding again…he is digging in for the duration.  I reckon we are going to do just fine.

Now I am betting you are now chomping at the bit for a plan and those of you who know me well, know this isn’t my strong point, but I will fill you in once I have more answers from my medical menagerie.

In the meantime, have a nice strong cuppa, talk about me if you like, but in normal voices please and what-ever you do, don’t panic!  I appreciate ALL your lovely messages of support, but may not be able to reply to all whilst I get my head around the deluge of information.

Much love as ever x