Don’t mind the gap year

There’s something missing. It’s winter, Christmas isn’t far away and I’m feeling really well. But there is a huge chemo shaped hole in my life.

I’m not complaining. It’s just so strange. I associate chilly weather with chemotherapy. Of having to wrap up warm to make the regular journeys to hospital. Coming home in the cold, feeling dazed and drugged up. It’s hard to remember a time when I wasn’t having treatment at this time of the year. When I started the last lot of chemo I was given wallet sized medical cards. I was told to have them with me at all times in case of a medical emergency. I no longer need to carry these. 

I thought I would have a chemo-holiday over the summer, then just like the past couple of years, I would be back on a toxic drip by the autumn. But I’m still on holiday! 

I reckon that the very earliest I will have more chemo will be January. It will mean that I have had a WHOLE YEAR without any treatment. This has now become my chemo gap year.

My cancer is considered to be stable. The disease hasn’t disappeared but it’s not doing much at the moment. Imagine this…. when I was first diagnosed my cancer was like a sports car. It had the ability to spread fast with little warning. Conventional treatment managed to stop it for a while but the engine was still revving away. Then last year I went on a clinical trial. This chemo has traded in my cancer. It’s gone from the sports car to a second hand banger. So thanks once again to these wonderful people.

As this has been my longest period without chemo cocktails I feel amazing. Yes I still get tired and somedays I have to cancel plans just to lie on the sofa. Occasionally I can’t stop being sick. My magnesium levels remain shockingly low. But then I’ve have more than 50 sessions of chemo over the years plus plenty of surgery. You’d expect there to be some problems connected with all the gruelling things which have been done to keep me alive. However it’s nothing at all compared to how horrifically ill I’ve been.

Most of the time I feel really really great. If you’ve never had a serious illness, you’ll find it hard to understand quite how incredible it is to just feel well. Right now I’m lucky enough to have a pretty normal life. More than that, some amazing things have happened during my gap year. I cherish this time and the special people that I’m sharing it with.