Result

I’m back. Finally, for the first time in months I feel much more like me.

The trouble with chemo is that it takes such a long time to recover from. It doesn’t help that by the time I finished, my magnesium levels were almost non-existent. Slowly I’m getting better. I wish that just having the toxic drugs automatically annihilated tumours but it’s not that easy. You could go through all this and it still have no effect.

One of the hardest parts of having cancer is waiting for important test results. It’s like having a really evil lottery ticket. You get automatic entry into the draw. With the right set of numbers, your life could be transformed. You get to have more years on the clock, a renewed sense of hope for the future and a holiday from the chemo.

Before you find out the result it seems that anything is possible. You run though all the lovely things that the good news would bring. It seems so real. Despite the odds, which for this advanced stage of ovarian cancer are bleak, you always dream of winning the jackpot.

What makes this cancer lottery such a nasty game is that being given the wrong set of numbers can only mean more pain, suffering and worse. When it’s bad news, it feels like you were almost within touching distance of something great and it’s been snatched away. When the reality is that you weren’t even close.

So several weeks after finishing chemo I was back at the hospital to find out my magic numbers. It’s at times like this that you’ll find me next to the fish tank. Sitting in a high backed chair with hard wooden arms. The chair is a nasty shade of pink. It’s a colour that is probably supposed to be welcoming to cancery people. When to me all it says is bulk buy and wipe clean.

I am solid block of nerves. Not the excited, adrenalin infused buzz that I get when I’m about to do something scary or go live on TV. But there is a crushing lump of anxiety which fills my body. It makes my breathing short and my brain run slowly.

You wait and wonder about the numbers.

My coat is off and laying across my lap and my bag is by my side. I am more than ready to spring out of my seat when my name is called. The fish tank seat is nearest to the consultants’ rooms.

No news is good news. For those few moments or even hours you are not being told something horrible, which is why I don’t mind the waiting part.

It’s the wondering that I find stressful. It’s as if every cell in my body is on standby. Ready for flight or fight but all you can do is sit. I’m almost frozen with fear. I don’t really want to talk, I can’t eat or drink, I can’t move. The tips of my fingers tingle with nervous energy. Or maybe it’s the chemicals.

You try to think positive but after getting so much bad news you know that hope alone won’t change a thing. You prepare for the worst. My brain is jittery.

Yes or no? Good or bad? Life or death? My consultants don’t mess around. We’ve been through this so many times before. They know that I want the cold, hard facts straight away. It only takes a second to find out. The combination of chemo and clinical trial drugs are working. It’s the right result.

Yes. Good. Life.

All I feel is relief. Not happiness or joy. This pure relief is similar to the sensation you get from quickly drinking a glass of something strong and full of ice, it seems to flood through my body. I relax.

The enormity of the news is only now starting to sink in as I start to feel more like myself. It means I get to live longer. Hopefully years longer. This is amazing!

My cancer is not cured but the disease is dormant once again. No one knows how long it will stay this way. Right now I’m just trying to focus on being the current holder of a winning ticket.

50 thoughts on “Result

  1. When we don’t hear from you for a while we begin to wonder, we don’t see you on the tv…we begin to wonder…it’s nothing like your waiting room sojourn but we still are flooded with relief when you pop into our inboxes with news….and breathe! Still rootin’ for you girl! X

  2. This is just the best news ever!
    I sat in a similar pink chair by a similar fish tank in another hospital years ago. The feeling of anticipation, of waiting for results never leaves us. Spring is here, life is good. My best wishes go with you.
    Elaine xx

  3. Helen I’ve been following your story and i know that from previous blogs you had an ambition to fly in a private jet over London. I fly private jets for a living and this is something i may be able to arrange for you at some point this year. With kindest wishes Andrew Collicott

  4. Such fantastic news. I could feel the tension as you wrote, so pleased for you.

  5. What lovely news- congratulations- get stronger and make the best of each new day.

  6. So much love for this post! Well done darling girl. You are so clever. Here’s to many more cocktails of the mojito & Bloody Mary variety for you and not the chemo kind!! Big hugs & lots of love xxx
    PS: I’m wired up to chemo 2 of 6 as I type. Bloody secondary breast cancer keeps coming back for me. When will the stupid cancer realise it’s picking on the wrong girls? You and I are far too strong and far to clever to get beaten by this stupid disease! xxx

  7. Fantastic news Helen! Spring and summer are just around the corner, and now you can enjoy yourself to the full :) All the best, Karen

  8. Oh Helen what a lovely e mail to receive, I am soooooooooo soooooooooo pleased for you and hope I will be down to see you all soon. Keep it up! Jeannie Marshall

  9. That is tremendous news, Helen. I’ve got leaky eyes with happiness for you! You are so brave to share your journey and so inspirational. Hugs. Nicola x

  10. Huge relief to get your update Helen – been thinking about you and sending you positive vibes. So glad your numbers came up. Stay strong! xxx

  11. Bloody brilliant! Helen, you’re an unsinkable ship of fortitude. Sail on!

  12. Yes, so good. I am so happy for you with those results. It is a crazy mind wrenching experience to wait in that room. So, I am plain glad the results look good. Yes! ~Catherine

  13. FANTASTIC NEWS!!!!!!! Everything crossed that your cancer remains dormant forever and that you live a long, happy and healthy life!!!!!

  14. Wonderful news!! From across the pond–you have made my day!!!Wishing you many, many good news days!!!!

  15. Wonderful news and, wonderfully written. I am wishing lots more days of living for you Helen and hope that you can tick off lots more things from your list. All the very best. xxx

  16. That is wonderful news! Beautifully written too. I felt the relief even from here! Looking forward to the next instalment from adventures on your list for living.

  17. Such an e mail, so well written, plenty of pathos. My wife and I have been through this fourteen years ago. Yes sometimes the winning ticket arrives. Heartily wish the same for you and all the friends who share this path.

  18. Wow! Really pleased, so good to have this positive news. Hurrah Helen! The trapeze awaits xxx

  19. Oh Helen, so pleased for you sweetheart! Keep on keeping on and inspiring many! I think of you often. You deserved to win that lottery! Lots of love xxxxx

  20. Great news Helen. I know that feeling waiting for results. It must be one of the worst that anybody can go through. My testicular cancer is in remission at the mo but you always wonder.

  21. This is the best news, Helen. Seeing and listening to the everchanging situation in Kiev has meant you’ve been on my mind – a lot – recently. Here’s to many more posts. x

  22. Hello Helen, Denise here I am so pleased that you like me have winning ticket. keep your chin up and enjoy your winnings.

    On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 10:49 AM, helenfawkes

  23. Dearest, lovely Helen, this is great news and I hope that you are now heading for a long, sunny spell of good living after all you’ve been through. xxx

  24. Hey, Helen – excellent news indeed!
    When I finished my chemo, I was told it could take up to 6 months to get back up to par. One year on, I still felt exhausted just heaving my body up out of a chair. Some bloods were taken and I learned that I had a thyroid problem: hypothyroidism which slows everything down to a standstill. Once the correct dosage of Thyroxine had been established I began to feel normal again though somewhat deflated and still lethargic.

    Back at work, by chance, I got talking to a lady who runs a dance school. I said that I used to love ballet class but had not been since I was 9, some 45 years previously. I bemoaned the fact that ballet classes only catered for youngsters and she told me come to her school on Tuesday at 6.30 pm. From that moment on, my life changed. Standing at the barre doing pliés with women aged from 19 to 70 made me feel fantastic. Sure I ached the following day, but I went back every Tuesday and within a year I appeared, with every other member of the school, on the stage of our city’s largest theatre performing ballet to members of my family and thousands of other paying customers. My grandson was there, my partner, my daughter who had flown into the UK just to see me perform.

    You cannot imagine the excitement, the adrenaline rush, the tingling nerves I felt just staring out from the wings, at the assembled hordes before going out onto that stage.

    It is a very treasured memory and one which I have, luckily, on DVD.

    Now that you have come through this horror, take time out to ensure you create magnificent memories with this time.

    Now, at age 62, I am the happiest person on this planet. I may not have very much in material terms, but I know of no-one on this earth who has more than I do of what really matters.

    With my very best wishes to you

    Jude

    >

  25. Fantastic!!!! What brilliant news Helen?!? Your blog is amazing – just like you!! x

  26. I am so happy for you. You wrote so eloquently about waiting for the results.I wonder if a fish tank is standard in cancer centers . Mine has one too and have spent lots of time watching the fish.

  27. Wheyheeeeyyyyyy. Truly wonderful news. Amazing writing as well – I was with you in the horrid chair waiting!!!! But all is well so enjoy life now as only you can xxx

  28. So happy for you ! I had exactly the same as you and still here 6 years on. Its hard knowing that it can come back at any time but thanks to fantastic support at the Christie hospital in Manchester I have hopes to live to my allotted time and not before ! X

  29. Good news Helen. In a few weeks hopefully the taste in your mouth of drugs and hospital will clear – that was when I felt much, much better. I’m in a similar position, not counting my chickens, just getting on with that little thing called life.

  30. Yaay! Good news from the battle front. Delighted to hear you have swung a stinging blow and knocked it senseless. We are all around the ring, yelling and cheering like crazy. We would all get into the ring to help you clobber it if we could. Keep on boxing!

  31. Could hear my own heart beating as I read your blog. I have been there holding my husband’s hand as he waited for news. 7 years later and still partying. Excellent news. Couldn’t be happier for you. Long may it continue.xx.

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