The chemical-free countdown: Five

If all goes to plan this week (shamrock, black cat, chimney sweep and crickets at the ready) I’m just five days away from TH3.  On Friday I’ll be able to say goodbye to  FEC-TH or at least the FEC-T part of it because 18th January is the date for my final chemo in this regime.  Hip hip hooray!


FEC-TH started on 25th September last year.  Putting an end to these drugs is something I’m exceptionally happy about.  Although Herceptin will continue for several months more,  being free of chemo chemicals and steroids is a major milestone.  I’ve never been a big drug taker, the odd headache pill now and then or a course of antibiotics for a bad chest infection but no regular drugs and nothing to excess.

Chemo has been a regular drug habit and I’m glad to be breaking free of it.  Whilst I haven’t been violently ill the regime has interfered with my life by disrupting almost every system of my body.  Some will recover, some won’t.  I am weaker, less able to repair myself and more tired than I used to be.  Of course there was really no alternative and the combination of drugs I’ve received thanks to Dr C. is thought to be the best we have at our disposal today.  It was the only way to combat the unwelcome stranger that decided to take up residence last year.

Looking along the trail I can see the summit ahead of me now.  The sun is glinting on the snow and I’m armed with a flag.  I’m going to plant it at the highest point when I get there on Friday.  The flag says “You can do this” and it’s a message for anyone else who has to follow in my footsteps. Sadly there will be many, too many, but I want them to know that it is possible to come through this, to get out the other side of treatment and to enjoy life again.

I was told this experience would change me, that I’d be a totally different person by the end of it.  The people who insisted I’d be different weren’t medical experts, they haven’t been through this regime and they didn’t know me very well.  I am different – physically I look like Elmer Fudd but get past the rather strange exterior (which I hope is temporary) and I’m still the same person.  I enjoy the same things and hold the same values.  I value my life and all it encompasses more than I did before but that hasn’t made me a different person, just a slightly wiser one.