In my last treatment update post, I told of the two mysterious appointments in early January. Mysterious indeed. I turned up for the first one and discovered that both of them had been booked by mistake!
Keen for the trip to Bart's not to have been a waste of time, I managed to come away armed with more test results, some pamphlets, a 3-month sick note and an invitation to a free massage whenever I want one. Result.
Reading one of the pamphlets - on food and drink during cancer treatment - I discovered that I have not been consuming enough alcohol. As an obedient and sensible patient, I resolve to address this shortcoming.
The tiredness, dizziness and headaches that began a week after starting Tamoxifen continued unabated. I ended up phoning the cancer nurses, who got back to me saying that the doctors want me to have a brain scan. I await the appointment. But of course, no sooner had I phoned up moaning about my side effects than said side effects abated!
The aforementioned test result showed that I am pre-menopausal. The reason I didn't know this already is that I don't have periods because I have a Mirena coil fitted. I've had heavy and painful (to put it mildly) periods all my life, and the coil put a stop to them. But my blessed relief was soon to come to an end. As my cancer is hormone-driven, and the Tamoxifen tablets I am taking to stop the cancer returning are hormonal, then I can't continue having a hormone-based device.
So a few days later, I was off to the sexual health clinic that fitted the coil to have it removed. It was a pretty straightforward procedure, rather like having a cervical smear test: not painful, but a bit uncomfortable, and if you are embarrassed by this sort of thing (which I'm not), a bit embarrassing. Annoyingly, while removing the coil, the nurse saw something a bit dodgy-looking, and so I will have to see a gynaecologist, and to do that, I have to go to my GP and get a referral. Sometimes it feels like it is one thing after another.
I was back at Bart's on 23 January for an appointment to set up my radiotherapy. After the explanation and the faintly-concerning list of possible side effects, I signed the consent forms. The oncologist told me that, starting on a date I will be told shortly, but likely to be around 6 February, I will attend the hospital every weekday for four weeks to be zapped. The pamphlet said three weeks, I said - why is it four for me? "Because you are young", he said. Bless. Having cancer at 50 makes me young. :-)
I called in at the hospital again today to pick up my Tamoxifen procedure, on a particularly freezingly cold day. I used to get nasty pain in both my nipples during cold weather. Following breast cancer surgery, I now get it in only one of them. Silver lining, eh? Or, perhaps, a 42J cup half full.