Needless to say the following three weeks have been tough, physically and mentally for me, Mark and my family. The treatment did exactly what I thought it would do, made me sick, weak and helpless. I was in what I can only describe as despair, it was worse than last time, because this time it had come back and I was lacking the strength to fight. I weeped and Mark weeped as he watched me be sick, he had to help me walk, try to make me eat and all I could think is what will happen to him if anything happens to me; at times thought to myself this cancer was actually going to beat me.
Over the course of three weeks all I could think about was what if this wins, what if the meds don't work this time and the cancer has become resistant. 10 days in and the side effects were at their worst, constant sickness, chills, horrific aching all over my body and I was finally given permission to drop from 8 oral tablets to 6, which I knew I could cope with like before. I gradually got my strength back and with that some of my positivity. Quite often it isn't the first signs of cancer or a reoccurrence that make you sick, it's the treatment, which is why it's so hard to stay upbeat as your body takes such a battering. I couldn't even look at Mark or a family member without wanting to breakdown and cry, I felt so scared and I couldn't tell them the things that were going through my mind as I was also trying to protect them; I could not stop thinking the worst was going to happen, to the point I found myself having to shout at myself out loud to stop these thoughts.
It's a Thursday and scans came around, they were all standard, MRI of my back and brain and CT of my body. Mark is due to go on holiday the following Monday and I just pray the results don't come back before he leaves, I needed him to go away and enjoy himself and I needed a break from having to look brave. I could feel myself visualising ways he could carry on without me, thinking about his friends and family, my family, anyone and everyone that could look after him; it was the most horrific feeling. What's worse is I know he's thinking the same thing, and he has no control over what happens to me; he should not have to deal with this.
Sure enough (reluctantly at first) Mark left for Croatia that Thursday morning and I head into work. I am now working part time 3 days a week, enough to keep me in a job but not too much that I exhaust myself. I enjoy my job, I enjoy driving to work and being around Tom and Emma, it's like an escape to focus on something other that myself and cancer, it keeps me motivated; too much time off is not a good thing for me. Its 1pm and everyone else has gone to get lunch, I'm eating mine in the garden and watching an airplane cross the sky, as I look down to see my phone ringing. It says withheld number, which usually means it's my nurse. It rings and rings and I freeze. This is it, it's my results, just when I don't want them, Mark's away, what do I do?
I watch the phone ring a few more times and I push to answer, it's Stephen, he's got the scan results. I can't breathe, everything around me froze.
"Sweetie I have your results" he says calmly.
"Do you want them?"
Arghhh... shit, Yes, no... Wait, yes ok, I quiver.
"Well your brain scan is fine, all clear, spine is showing the same inflammation we still aren't sure what's going on there, it could be something else not related; but your CT says complete response, NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE!"
I sob down the phone and say thank you, Stephen asks to see me in a few days, tells me well done and with that, he's gone.
I put down the phone and let out a scream. It's worked, it's working, it's gone! I can feel myself pulling back every second of the last three weeks that has been spent worrying, every cry, every thought, every panic. I've got another chance to beat this and I don't have to leave anyone behind.
I text Mark who's abroad, and call my family to tell then we are back in control.
The despair subsided and for that very moment, once again I am cancer-free.