A perfect ten

Dolphins. How I dread those hospital dolphins.

They swim along the corridor on the way to the chemotherapy unit. Even the ceiling has been painted to make it seem as if you’re under the sea. It may look tranquil but just seeing the dolphins made me feel completely drained.

There might as well be a neon sign that says CANCER? COME THIS WAY….

As if that wasn’t bad enough, towards the end of the corridor it starts to slope upwards. It takes every last bit of your energy to walk the last part of it. Mum had come with me. My arm was through hers as we slowly made our way up the corridor.

It’s been a month since my chemo ended. I was there for a final check-up to find out for sure that the toxic treatment had been successful.

This is where I was told I had cancer. More than six months later I was back in the same room and in the same chair. Mum was next to me, also in the same seat as before. I felt so sick that I thought I might have to run out of the room.

However I was so focused on what we were about to be told that I felt compelled to stay. As far as big moments go, this was pretty massive.

If I got the all clear, then I’d be done with the disease, the doctors and the dolphins.

But if I didn’t, then it would mean that those evil chemo cocktails hadn’t worked. We’d have to try again. Jump through more hoops. Worse still, it could suggest that the cancer was terminal and that putting any amount of poison into my veins wouldn’t kill it.

At the hospital there’s a team of people involved in my care. For this appointment I was seeing a consultant who I’ve known for years, ever since the first cancer. She’s never had to break any bad news to me. She is the Good Doctor. Surely this must be a positive sign?

I know that the treatment has already gone really well. All the tumours have been removed and my blood test results are back to normal. But you don’t know what could happen next.

The blood test is known as a CA 125. Basically I needed to get a low number. Anything higher than thirty could mean the cancer had come back.

After chatting for a few minutes it was down to business. My consultant looked at my notes, at my records on the computer screen and then back at me as she said the magic number.

I’d scored a ten. A perfect ten.

The Good Doctor quickly revealed that there was also nothing nasty on my scan. It was a stunning set of results. She brought up a different screen on the computer.

“See, your organs look lovely, don’t they?” I had to take her word for it. All I could make out was a moving black and white image of my insides.

She pointed out various bits and pieces. It was a cross section of a healthy body. My healthy body.

“Hooray! It’s all gone!” The Good Doctor threw her arms in the air. We all grinned and punched the air. My sickness went; it was replaced with pure relief.

That’s it. Finally it’s all over.

The treatment has officially been successful. I won’t have another check-up for months.

After lunch in the hospital canteen, oh yes my celebrations are not always Kylie and cocktails, we got a lift home from the flower girl.

It ended where it all began, outside my house with my friend, Chantal in her big flower van. This is how I started out on my cancer journey when she took me to hospital for what turned out to be a life saving operation.

Back then I had no idea just how hard it would all be or whether I’d even be able to defeat the disease. That’s why I originally called this blog – beating cancer, again, hopefully.

I never realised quite how important the blog would become to me. I’ve been blown away by the love and support that I’ve received. I’ve appreciated every comment even though I may not have been able to reply to all of them.

So, thank you.

I’m now cancer free and there will be no more horrendous treatment but I’m still going to continue with this blog.

I’ve been given another second chance at life. Or maybe that makes it a third chance? Whatever it is, I hope that you’ll be joining me as I blog about life after cancer.

24 thoughts on “A perfect ten

  1. Ten times YIPPEE – all the arms lifted in the air are making a HUGE Mexican wave for you. X

  2. Wooo hooooo that is such fantastic news Helen, I couldn’t possibly imagine the feelings you must be having, all good ones I hope! This calls for chocolate! xxx

  3. Absolutely delighted for you Helen. This blog has been inspiring to read and I know for a fact that it’s helped others in similar situations. Thank you for your honesty and for sharing this journey with us. I look forward to the next chapters! X

  4. Helen,

    that’s fantastic news! I am really happy for you and wish you all the best for your continued good health. Natalie

  5. fabulous news beautifully written, really felt that trudge past the hospital dolphins and so glad there was good news at the end of it :)

  6. that’s brilliant Helen, i know exactly how you felt in the waiting room, I was so happy i burst into tears and hugged the lady Consultant. I wish you well for the future, like you i will carry on bloging about my second chance with life..Your Blog was well written and i look forward to more episodes of your new beginnings. Jane. :-)

  7. Excellent news Helen – just what everyone had been hoping for of course!

    Enjoy life now with that enormous weight lifted

    All the very best


  8. I’ve been following you since the beginning of the year. It has been an amazement to accompany your odyssey, since the Toast Op. I thank you for your life, your struggles and your texts. It has been nice to meet you.

  9. ура! прими наши поздравления из москвы! так держать )))

  10. Fantastic news Helen. Rest, recover and eat plenty of cake and then we look forward to you being back where you belong. A x

  11. Wonderful news Helen, I am so pleased for you. It is a hard ride, but you kept going and you won. God bless

  12. So proud of you Helen! You refused to be passive, be dictated to by a disease. Sure, it brought you as low as you can go, but you decided you were bigger than it, went through what amounted to an ordeal by drugs, and you’re still standing, so hurrah to that! I can only speak for myself, but I needed a blog like yours, a straight-from-the-shoulder account, to sober me up about an illness that’s taken people from me, but which I’ve usually reacted to with that old mixture, fear and ignorance. I feel less ignorant now; not in a I’ve-Googled-it way, in a much more human way. I’m glad you’re going to tell us more stories; I’m sitting, entirely metaphorically, at your feet.

  13. That is such great news. Your honesty & strength are awe inspiring!
    Just brilliant x

  14. Wow, wow and wow! That is fantastic news. Wonderful, marvellous. Yipeeeeee! I’ve loved reading your blog and I’m thrilled you’re going to carry on. fnwl♥

  15. Woooooohoooooooo! Bravo, Helen! Congratulations! You have been a huge inspiration to many, many people (fighting cancer or not). You courage, spirit, strength, humor, your excellent writing, your openness and fight are amazing! Thank you for writing this blog. I look forward to your new adventures. Anything on the list yet? Love!

  16. I agree with Olga! (at least I think I would if I knew what it meant!).
    Of all the blogs, this was the one I wanted to see, a happy conclusion.
    Will ofcourse continue to read. So happy for you.

  17. Helen what incredible news, words rather fail me, but let’s just say I am delighted and ever so relieved for you. How astonishingly brave and philosophical you have been – a true marvel. I wish you great mountains joy in your new healthy life x

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