Tuesday, 3 March 2009

the 5 year clock - and a thank you

Monday, 02 March 2009

Today is the day that I had 'The Surgery' last year. The beginning of the most peculiar, difficult and enlightening year of my entire life. As it says at the beginning of the blog; "I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer, stage 3b in February 2008 at age of 46. I've completed 6 cycles of chemotherapy and had a total hysterectomy and oopherectomy. It wasn't very funny, but I'm still laughing!"

The total hysterectomy and oopherectomy would have been today at 12.30pm - I still remember how relieved I felt to be going under the knife. Madness. But I'd feel the same today. The relief was immense.

And I was relieved to have the chemo too, even with all it's horrific side effects and unpleasantness. It was a relief. Just to know that IF there was any cancer left, it was being killed. Nuked to death. Yeah!! Go chemo, go. Bloody cancer - I hate it. I really hate it.

The date has made me remember some funny things and some awful things. They are all mixed up together and in a strange order. I thinks that’s down to a mixture of the anaesthetic and just chemo brain.

I remember...My dear friends Penny and Rhonwen in South Africa, texting me cheery messages in the hospital [I shudder to think what it cost them!]. Mum arriving with a big bag I got her full of lots of M&S grapes – looking rather fraught but trying to be really chirpy [and succeeding!]. Getting into the lift with the nurse to go to surgery and watching Aj disappear from view between the closing doors, then crying and trying not to, as I felt like I might never see him again. Laughing when the nurse and I arrived at the operating theatre and no-one was there – it was tea break! I had no slippers on. We had to linger in the hall like miscreants. The nurse was very cross. I was feeling stoned. Crying as the anaesthetic took hold. Being told my blood was amazingly oxygenated. Coming round into anaesthetic shock, but realising there were no tubes in my nose, and that the surgery had only taken about an hour and a half [good news]. Being frightened that Aj would see me like that and have a fit. Trying to walk by hanging onto Aj’s back pockets – just so I could get the horrid catheter out. My blood pressure dropping to idiotically low levels. Being hideously thirsty. The epidural not working but the pain nurse being like Superwoman and sorting it all out in no time [and she was cross too, not with me but with the anaesthesiologist]. Wondering what the great big chop mark was going to look like. Worrying that my identification bracelets [I had two] would fall off, as they were so big. Being SO grateful that I had my own room and my own bathroom. Having a shower and almost screaming with frustration, as I could barely move my arms, and I didn’t want to get the dressing wet. Andrew’s face when he was trying to help me shower, and I was crying and being a compete bitch. My sweet friends in Portugal texting and calling me. Being well enough to get my breakfast in the cafeteria for patients with Mum. Stealing the miniature heart shaped Marmite pots for Patty. Because she absolutely HATES Marmite. Not feeling like a cigarette at all. The relief of knowing I could go home. The trip home in the car, wondering why the roads were suddenly so bumpy.

So many things – I am sure there are more, but my brain won’t compute them right now.

And now I am looking at my five year clock – we have decided [me and the other OC girls] that the clock starts after the last chemo. Mine was on the 22 July, 2008. So I am in a 7 month remission so far. So far. So good. So good, so scary.

But, scary or not, I say this from the heart – thank you so much, all of you who have been there for me this last year. You have no idea how much it has meant to me [and still means to me]. You can’t have any idea unless you have had cancer – it’s the most aggravating thing! But on the other hand, it has shown me a lot – I know my priorities, and they are different now. And I know my friends – they are different now too. And I know my family are great!!

But of everyone that had to put up with me, bear with me and accept me as I was, my husband has to be the one person in a million. He had to put up with my ‘every single day’ dramas. He had to look after me. He was worried. And still is. He has no-one to tell how he felt, no one to say ‘don’t worry, I will take care there’ while he did something else. He was alone in this, as I was. But he was there. Every minute, every hour, every day. And he’s still here now – I am so lucky. And I love him so much.


  1. It's amazing what you have gone through in 1 year; I too was amazed! We are amazing beings going through all of this. Did you get staples or stitched? Anyway, irrelevant but in all what a trooper and what a hero!) I wish you all the best and many, many years of remission and a cure!)

  2. It so crazy, when you're first diagnosed, you have no idea how you're going to get past that moment...I will never forget, but sometimes those moments seem so far away, I beleive they will eventually become a distant memory, somewhat like a distant relative:)

    Congrats to you!!


  3. hello,
    i've just found your blog and really appreciate your outlook and writing style. i was diagnosed last summer (at age 42) with stage IV ovarian cancer with metastases to both lungs. after 4 surgeries (i'm now recovering from a hysterectomy) and a course of chemo, i'm currently cancer free. thanks so much for your blog. i've laughed and cried with recognition.
    best of health to you,

  4. Hi there
    I've just found your blog by chance. I finished chemo for Stage 1 OC this time last year. I too wrote a blog because it was so difficult to find and personal information from people who had been through ovarian cancer. So far I'm one of the lucky ones - my cancer was found by chance and noone is expecting it to come back.

    Do drop in at my blog - the more we can make links between sites like these, the easier it will be for newly diagnosed people to find the stories.

    And here's hoping your remission is full!



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