Ah, Friday. Finally a day with no hospital visits.
Yesterday was the toughest day yet. After my blasé beginning, I think it’s finally sunk in what having cancer means. It’s the rest of your life. I don’t mean for a second that I’m going to condemn the rest of my life to cancer, but I do mean – and I know from friends who’ve had it – that even when it’s been gone for 10 years, you will always have a little fear at the back of your mind that it will return.
Yesterday I learnt what Secondary Breast Cancer is. Secondary breast cancer is when the cancer cells from the long-gone original tumour spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to another part of your body – say the liver, lungs or sometimes the brain. There is no cure for secondary breast cancer, which is also known as metastases, advanced breast cancer or stage 4 cancer. It can be controlled for several years with different drugs but the cells eventually become resistant to those drugs.
I didn’t know about secondary breast cancer until yesterday, and finally I realised why it is so important that my cancer never, ever comes back. And so for that reason I have decided probably not to go through with the fertility treatment, as my cancer was caused by oestrogen, so taking drugs to produce more oestrogen doesn’t seem a good idea. I had a long consultation with another specialist at the Christie Clinic yesterday and although she was knowledgeable and helpful, she couldn’t give me a definitive answer. Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough research about the risks of undergoing this fertility treatment, and so I feel that if there is any risk at all, it is probably not worth me going through with it. There is something like a 90% chance that my cancer will never come back after all the chemo and radiotherapy they are about to put me through, and also a very high chance that, because of my age, I will still be fertile after all the treatment. So I think I will put it down to fate and hope for the best. After all, what is the point in me being able to have kids if there is a chance I might not live to see them grow up?
I still have until Monday to decide, so if anyone has any knowledge or strong opinions on the topic, please feel free to send me a message or give me a call over the weekend. It would be a relief not to have to inject myself for 2 weeks and to be able to bring forward the chemo treatment.
I am glad that my parents are back from Dublin as I had a particularly stressful week trying to get myself to various places in Manchester and back to the deepest darkest depths of rainy West Yorkshire. One of the more salient memories is that of waiting for a taxi at 6pm yesterday in pouring rain outside the Christie Clinic. I wasn’t 100% sure whether reception had definitely ordered me a taxi and the receptionist had gone home already, so after 15 minutes of waiting, I went into the main entrance of the Christie hospital and ordered another taxi. About five minutes later, right on cue, both taxis turned up at exactly the same moment and proceeded to have a slanging match in Hindi/Bengali/Gujarati (please forgive my ignorance) right in front of me. (All I understood from this conversation was Shouty Shouty Shouty Shouty Shouty Laura Price Shouty Shouty Shouty Shouty Shouty Laura Price, so I was quite confident these were indeed the two taxis I ordered). It reminded me a little of the time Bloomberg News sent me to Paris for a conference one summer and when the taxi dropped me off at my hotel, he pulled out from the curb without looking, narrowly missed slamming into another taxi, practically caused a pile up and got out of the car to engage in a physical fight with the other driver. I was able to check into my lovely boutique hotel and get up to my fifth-floor room to watch the scene from the balcony, where they were still fighting in the middle of the road, Parisian-style.
Yesterday was a particularly dark day, as you might imagine, but today I’m back to my normal self, feeling optimistic and happy again and have managed to do a full day’s work, which has taken my mind off things.
I have also started reading Fifty Shades of Grey, in the vain and utterly misguided hope that reading so-called mummy porn will give my fertility a natural boost for the next 6 months. That said, there wasn’t even a vague hint of any sex until page 100, so I am a bit skeptical. (I will be happy to get involved in a discussion about this most ridiculously hilarious book).
Meanwhile, my amazing and wonderful team at Facebook sent me this care package of reading material, a cookery book, a voucher for my favourite restaurant in Dublin (777, which also does spicy jalapeño cocktails that I am certain would kill off any remaining cancer cells in my body), a scarf for Oops the llama and some lavender wrist balm, which is going to come in very handy since I am currently experiencing unprecedented stress levels, due to being faced with the biggest decision of my life.
Here is a photo of Oops the llama modeling his new scarf. (For those not familiar with Oops, the globetrotting Peruvian llama, please go to Facebook, type in Oops the Llama and give his page a big old ‘Like’.)
Overheard on the streets of Manchester yesterday:
[20ish female with her 20ish mate]: “If she was in a horror film, she’d be the first to die, she’s that much of a slut… Just sayin’… Not that I want her to die… Well, sort of…”