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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-32917141

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.

20 thoughts on “Don’t mind the gap year

  1. Happy Holiday Darling
    May you had many other gap years
    And may life continue to always be the kindest it can be to you
    Xxxxxxxxx

  2. Wonderful news Helen, I’m just sooooooo pleased for you and your family. Loved the photos. Jeannie Marshall

  3. Fantastic news! Best Christmas present that anybody who knows you could have. Stay strong and well and enjoy the Christmas and New Year festivities. ps- do you know that Janice and Dave Moore (Br Embassy) are in the Caribbean now? you should go for a visit – great place for recuperation!!!! xxxxx

  4. Fantastic, we can have no idea what you have been through but you are an inspiration, how dare I moan if I have a few aches and pains xue to advancing years.
    i hope your Christmas will be a joyous one with those you love. God bless and keep you in gis care.

  5. Glad so glad that you have this break from treatment. Have a lovely Christmas with your loved ones and a chemo free year. Xxx

  6. Reading this made my day. Pleased for you, Helen. Enjoy Christmas.

    Sent from my Sony Xperia™ smartphone

  7. What a wonderful Christmas present and what great potential for this drug for other patients too!…. I work in oncology clinical trials and so grateful for everyone who participated in them as you help find future treatments – have a wonderful chemo free Christmas xx

  8. So good to hear this Helen. May you and your family have the most wonderful Christmas and an even happier new year! xxxxx

  9. You are such an inspiration Helen. So positive and hopeful! It’s wonderful! Wishing you and your family a very Happy Christmas xx

  10. Amazing that you ate feeling so well. I have a dear friend who, after
    Having tears of debilitating illnessi is coming over to Scotland in May to see the puffins off of North Berwick – would love you to join our jolly crowd x

  11. It was really good to read your news- hope you have a lovely time over the festive period and you get a bit more of “your gap year”. All the best for the New Year.

  12. Merry Christmas, Helen! So happy to read that you now have a second hand old banger – long may it stall. x

  13. So glad to hear how great u r doing! Wish u continued felling well!! This is such good news!! From across the pond, will be cheering u on! Merry Xmas and Happy New Year. Maybe I will Meet up its u when I come to UK next year!!!

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