Hello chemo, again

Oh chemo, how I haven’t missed you. It’s only been 21 weeks since we were last hooked up. I didn’t think you’d have me back so soon.

It’s been a strange few days as I’ve been preparing to start this toxic treatment again. You may have read about this blog in some of the newspapers following my post on Friday. Wow, what a response. It’s been incredible. Thanks for all the messages. Sorry that I can’t reply to each and every one, it’s just been overwhelming. But they really do help to lift my spirits.

Seeing the facts in black and white somehow made them seem even more shocking. It was as if they were talking about someone else. How can something so terrible be happening to me when I feel so full of life? The headlines were about my ‘months to live’. Yes, that’s a possibility but my focus is firmly on the ‘years to live’.

I’m sure it was difficult too for those close to me. Although some of my friends found it amusing that the papers had used an unflattering photo of me. They knew I wouldn’t like it and they were right. I think it’s great that my friends can still make fun of me. This is lovely, if slightly embarrasing, normality.

Anyway, just to redress the balance, here’s one of my favourite pictures of me. Here I’m reporting for BBC Breakfast. If there are any more stories about me then I hope they use something like this rather than a screen grab from the TV!

Many people have offered to help me with my List for Living. This is fantastic. I’m still working on that list; it’s getting longer and longer. Plenty of people have selflessly offered to help me find unsuitable men. Thanks also to all the unsuitable men who have put themselves forward!

So, it’s chemo #1. As this is the third round of the treatment I’m not especially worried. I’ve had this chemo drug before and I know the drill.

When I was here before I hoped I’d never need any more evil chemo cocktails, now I know this is part of my life forever. The best way to cope with this is not to see it as a big deal. I’m going to think of chemo in the same way as I used to think about the gym. It’s something I have to do every week. I don’t really want to go but I know that once I’m there it won’t be too bad; it’ll help keep me healthy and only take an hour or two. Chemo is my cancer-kicking workout.

Just like before, it will be a chance to catch up with friends. I know I shouldn’t admit this but last time I had so much fun with my friends during our chemo coffee sessions. I actually quite enjoyed being at hospital.

Mind you, there’s going to be one significant change. There will be no cake. Last year I ate lots of it so that cake would be forever associated with chemo and I wouldn’t fancy it anymore. We called it chemo-cake-therapy. Well, it seems to have worked. I just don’t want to eat cake anymore.

As usual I spent the night before chemo thinking about James Bond. Of course this is Daniel Craig as 007. I visualise him killing the cancer. This time it’s a whole lot more violent. James Bond has the biggest baddest machine gun. I picture him pumping the tiny tumour full of bullets. Obliterating it.

As regular readers of my blog will know I have a thing for Bond. I even managed to go to the premiere of Skyfall last year.

It was in October, slap bang in the middle of a glorious few months when I was recovering from treatment and cancer free. I’d give anything to be able to go back to that time.

But I have to think about the future.

I’ve been really inspired by the messages that I’ve had from fellow cancer fighters. The people who’re still alive and defying the odds. One lady in her sixties told me how she’s been beating ovarian cancer for almost fifty years. Others have described how they’re living well despite having a looming best before date.

These are people who’re not just surviving but thriving. I’m having this chemo so I can become one of them.

13 thoughts on “Hello chemo, again

  1. That’s what I like to hear! Positive thought & forward thinking, silver linings and all that stuff. Shame about the cake though, now that IS scary! Hand in hand with your Bond confront the cancer with your weapons of destruction! X

  2. Those pictures are so much better than the Daily Mail. I am sure you will find many unsuitable men with those shots. Hope you date at the chemo Cocktail bar goes OK.

  3. Best of luck Helen, your positivity and approach to your treatment is such an inspiration.

  4. I love the idea that James Bond aka Daniel Craig obliterates your cancer perhaps once you’ve completed your cancer kicking workout he’d consider taking you out on a date in one of them bond cars… who could resist you looking as hot as you do at the Skyfall premiere? Keep positive Helen you clearly are very strong willed to have beaten this twice already!! x

  5. You are a special lady Helen, stay positive and live life for today. Do as many of those things that you have always wanted to do, we are behind you Helen. Your life is an inspiration to us all. X

  6. hiys, just read your latest update and it made me giggle….the part where you imagine james bond killing the cancer baddies, it is just what i did…8 years aho, 2 months after giving birth ti ny gorgeous boy, i started chemo, one if the concoctions what called ‘ mabthera’ or dimething like that, i named it ‘mad vera’ and imagined vera duckworth running around my veins killing if the cancer with a rolling pin…its funny what we think of to make it all make some sort of sense. keep positive and strong. nicky x

  7. I have met people who fought cancer a few times, then went off to various warzones and kept working. You sound like you are cut from the same formidable cloth.

  8. hello again petal, hope all went well today and you’re going to get some rest. I do love the pic of you in front of the Bond car. Shame you couldn’t get in it!
    See you very soon. Lots of love xxx

  9. Thinking of you. X So cut off these days I have only just found out and I’m devastated. But your blog is wonderful and I’m looking forward to reading about those brilliant things you still will do and the years left to do them.

  10. My husband had cancer of the tongue and finished treatment 7 years ago. A different type of cancer to yours, I know, but his diagnosis was anything but good. One comment made to him at the time by an acquantance was “remain steadfast”! We giggled and thought what an old fashioned thing to say. It turned out to be the best advice ever. In Northern Ireland last year there were 184 cases of mouth cancer. Of these three quarters are dead! So Helen, remain steadfast and we send you positive vibes.

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