Today is C-1 - countdown to chemo. It's round two - and the boxing gloves are on, because this time, I'm ready to fight!
Tomorrow will be four calendar months since the last chemo session of my first round of chemo. Just four months! I was so positive on 5 December 2016, convinced that I had done my chemo time and would be released back into civvy non-chemo world, to continue life as I had pre-diagnosis.
In reality, my body took a real beating for the last six months of 2016, with a full hysterectomy followed by 18 weeks of weekly chemotherapy infusions. I totally underestimated what my poor body had been through. I had no choice but to listen to it, because when it told me it couldn't continue with an activity, I had to stop, at that very moment, to catch my breath and rest my weary limbs.
In January, I would still have daily daytime naps. I embarked on the CouchTo5K training programme and followed the SIRT diet, to build up my fitness and strength and try and lose some of the weight which I had stacked on during the chemo months.
By February, I only needed to nap every 3-4 days and I started working again, just three days a week. I was able to run 10 minutes without stopping and resumed pilates twice a week, at my friend Julia's Studio Vie.
Then in March, just three months after being declared NED, I received the disappointing news that my CA125 level was slightly raised and a tiny sliver of cancer cells showed on a scan. I had three options - like a set menu - but this is cancer NOT a five-star restaurant so no oysters or caviar for me; the choices were:
- watch and wait (not an option when I know there's an alien body inside my own body)
- surgery (again, not a tasty option when it's only nine months since I had major surgery)
So I opted for chemo. It's a different cocktail to the last time. My ears pricked up at the mere mention of cocktail, but alas no mojitos or cosmos for me. This is another toxic combo, more Carboplatin (platinum, obv) with a new drug, Gemcitabine, Gem for short.
So platinum and gem, maybe this is a regime fit for a princess after all.
And a targeted therapy, Avastin, which sounds like Avast, the computer anti-virus software - I guess in a way, it does a similar job!
First time round, I was sanguine and philsophical; chemo was something I had to do to mop up any pesky microscopic lurkers following surgery. It was a process I had to go through, a precaution to ensure everything nasty was well and truly zapped. I was upbeat and positive, as I embarked on the chemo journey cancer free. I didn't see it as a fight, just a situation I needed to manage.
This time round, I am not cancer free. I am still positive but now it's a fight and I am preparing for battle. I am donning my armour (Prada, natch), recruiting my army and formulating my strategy.
My life is different from this point onwards. I have to accept I am now a cancer warrior but I am determined to fight it with finesse, stand up to it with sass and style and kick cancer's butt with my Manolo Blahniks!