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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Cancer - My journey as the partner

Some of you are aware that my partner has a brain tumour.

Diagnosed in August 2012, operated on in September, radiotherapy and chemotherapy in October, November and December 2012. And currently on a course of chemotherapy.

We've come a long way since then!

Chemotherapy ended in December and we managed to get a few days down in Weston super Mare to visit my Dad. His wife has cancer also so it was good to share some time together. The weather was dark and dreary, their heating was on full blast, we laughed, we drunk too much but it was good for all of us. 

I had decided to close my recruitment agency of 13 years. I felt that I needed to give Suzy more attention and I couldn't do this along with working full-time. Suzy's new regime of chemotherapy was due to start in January and we didn't know what to expect besides I hadn't really worked since July so the last couple of months had not been kind to us financially. That is until the state benefits kicked in (more about that another time)

So, after a difficult, stingy, grey Christmas and New Year, we entered 2013 **fanfare**.

Suzy's first appointment was at the beginning of January 2013. The MRI Scan results from December came back showing that the initial course of treatment had reduced the tumour by nearly half! Woohoo!! :) 
She went onto a program on taking temozolmide in pill format for one week and then having the next 3 weeks to recover. This would initially be a 6 month program, taking us to June 2013. 
She took the pills and after maybe two weeks she became poorly. Sleeping too much, very nauseous, feeling weak, looking really washed out (sorry Suze)  We contacted the hospital and were asked to go to the ominous WARD 3. I thought "Oh my God! This was the place I had been dreading,  The Poorly Ward" 
Still, when we got there the medical staff were excellent. They gave her more anti-sickness pills and she seemed to perk up after a couple of hours (plus she hates hospitals so a good motivator also!). 
We went back home thinking, "this can't be the way forward for us" 

Some friends had organised a birthday do for me at a local pub around this time. They had arranged for a band to play and food and stuff. We got there with my kids but only managed to stay for 1/2 hour. It's hard to plan stuff! 

At the beginning of February she had a blood test and we went to see the Oncologist. He told us that Suzy's #SomethingSomething blood count had gone down to around 23. We weren't to know but having a #SomethingSomething blood count of 23 was almost bone marrow transplant time! 
No wonder she had been feeling like shit! 
He had to adjust the dosage and extended the time scale to one week of chemo pills followed by 5 weeks to recover. He said that that was not the normal way of doing things but he was willing to experiment. What had we to loose? 

I'm thankful to say that by adjusting the dose and frequency, we have had no more similar scares. Suzy's #SomethingSomething blood count has now stabilised at around the 200 mark.

We seem to have adjusted to the six weekly pattern. Having tried it for a couple of months we have been able to think a little about the future. We were going to go to our local music festival Bearded Theory in Derby in May but because of the timings we knew it wouldn't be feasible. We have planned a holiday to Cornwall in July, so hopefully we'll be able to enjoy it.

We went to see the Oncologist at the end of June. He told us that the tumour had decreased in size again but only slightly. He also suggested that the chemo continue for an another 6 month period, taking us to February 2014 or until he saw two successive scans where the tumour had stabilised. 

On the downside we are really worried about the continued chemo side effects and the fact that she's going to be taking them for an other 6 months. 

On the upside the tumour has shrunk! **YAY** Her hair is growing back! **YAY** She is getting better albeit slowly! **YAY** She has even enrolled herself and couple of friends into Race for Life! *YAY** A race / walk for 5km for Cancer Research UK. It's due to take place in Darley Abbey, Derby, UK in July 2013.

5km may not sound a lot to you and me. But this will be the most she has walked for sometime. This will need a great deal of courage for Suzy to complete. 

So if you are in the mood to give a little to charity, Cancer Research UK, by way of her page please do so here

I would like to send out my love to all people who have come into contact with Cancer in form or another. xxx