My last chemo. Ever.

Whooo hoooooo! Finally it’s over. Yesterday I completed all my cancer treatment.

The day started well. On the ward you usually have to share a room with three or four others but I got to turn left instead of right as I was given my own side room. In the world of cancer having the superbug MRSA gets you an automatic upgrade.

My friend Tamsin came with me to the hospital. She may not be having chemo but as a surprise and to show her solidarity Tamsin wore a vivid purple wig. Normally part of a fancy dress witch outfit, it was almost like Halloween had come early! Seeing her fake almost florescent hair certainly helped to ease my anxiety.

As it was such a big day I wore my Candice wig for the first time. She’s reserved for special occasions and it was certainly one of those.

I’m still getting used to wearing a wig again. They’re quite hot and itchy even when you wear a wig liner over your head. My wig liner looks like a foot has been cut off a pair of American tan tights. It has a snug fit. Pull it down over your face and you look like you’re ready to do a bank job. After a couple of hours I had enough of the wig and ditched it in favour of a headscarf.

My friend Chantal, the flower girl spent the afternoon with me. She didn’t bring a wig instead she borrowed Candice. Seeing it on someone else was quite surreal. It’s such a massive WAG wig – I’m really glad I picked it!

I was so excited that after six months of treatment this was my last ever chemo. The hours seemed to speed past in a blur of coffee, cake and thinking about James Bond. It was his final tour of duty for me. Maybe one day I’ll be able to thank Daniel Craig for doing such a great job. Every chemo I have imagined that a whole battalion of Bonds were shooting the tiny but deadly cancer cells inside me.

As always I had several bags of cold clear liquid slowly dripping intravenously into my veins. Then at about 4pm it was all over. No more evil chemo cocktails. We punched the air with delight. I finally got to flick the V sign at cancer. I said goodbye and farewell plus other choice words beginning with F.

Now I had officially beaten this killer disease.

But I couldn’t go yet. The chemo is so dangerous that it doesn’t discriminate between the good and bad stuff in your body. It’s now destroyed my magnesium levels. To stop side effects like numbness and tingling in my hands I had one last bag of liquid to give me a magnesium boost.

By the time it finished it was past the opening hours of the ward. Some of the nurses had already changed out of their uniforms ready to go home. They didn’t look like medical professionals anymore. As I walked out I realised that they would no longer see me in the same way either. I had stopped being a cancer patient.

Outside the fresh evening air somehow seemed much more wonderful than normal. It was an incredible feeling to leave that chemo unit and know that I wouldn’t be coming back again to have my veins filled with poison.

Dad and I headed for the car park. We went past a small square of grass surrounded by wooden benches. This is where you go for a quiet cry. It’s what me and my cancer fighter friends call the garden of tears.

But at that moment I was full of joy. The days of needing this hidden green space felt like a lifetime away.

As we drove us back to the countryside, the sun was starting to set on what had been a brilliant day. The dazzling weather on the motorway home matched my mood. The sky was ablaze with dusky pinks and gold that stretched all across the horizon. Enjoying the view it suddenly struck me – now I’m really going to live.

21 thoughts on “My last chemo. Ever.

  1. Fantastic Helen. I’m so pleased for you that it’s all over. I have been thinking of you lots.
    And you look fantastic in your headscarf.

  2. Congratulations Helen! You have been incredible. What an extraordinary strength you have. Good riddance cancer, you messed with the wrong woman.

    • Oh Sophie you are so right – it certainly picked on the wrong woman! Thanks for your lovely words. I don’t think it will be too long before I see you! x

  3. Hels, this is simply the best news ever! With you in spirit to celebrate this happy day!

  4. Helen, So, sooo glad that you’ve finished with the chemo and now the only way is up. I suppose everyone has to fight this battle in their own way but you have travelled this horrible path with spirit, fire and great panache. I realise you still have to recover from this last chemo but it won’t be long before you are back out in the world living your dreams again. I shall eat cake today in your honour. XXX

  5. Looking good girl. Well done and a massive congratulations Helen, you are one of the strongest people I have the pleasure of knowing. YOU ROCK!!!!

  6. Hi there – I came across your blog by accident and have just finished spending day 8 of my first chemo cycle reading it . I love the way you acknowledge but don’t dwell on the negatives- and your sense of humour and personality shine through. Well done on getting through this. X. My own battle is with the dreaded lung cancer, I’ve had surgery and now am on 4 cycles of the nasty cisplatin and etopiside chemo – 3 days of chemo then 18 days off. Xx

    • Hi Alex,
      I really apperciate your comments, thanks so much :) Glad you’re enjoying my blog. Sorry that you’ve got your own battle going on. Cancer is so evil. I had cisplatin last time, it really is nasty stuff. Ice cream helped me through! Three days of chemo at a time – that sounds very tough. It’s hard being at the start of chemo but I’d say that while time didn’t exactly fly, it didn’t seem to drag as much as I feared it would. Hope that the rest of your chemo isn’t too horrendous. xx

  7. My kids sometimes say “Woot!” whenever they want to express general joy at something they’ve achieved or which has gone well; they tell me it’s a computer-gaming, dungeons-and-dragons word, and I’m far too old to use it. But who cares? Woot!!! You’ve battled your demons and you’ve come through without your strength being reduced to zero, or having to respawn. Here’s to your immune system, which must be fairly wedge to have got you where you are, innit?

  8. That’s wonderful news – I’m so very pleased for you. You are a true inspiration. Take good care of yourself xx

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