Such a long time

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written. Not just here at FEC-THis but anywhere really (except reports for work).

Maybe its because life has been busy and recovering after cancer takes a lot of energy. Maybe it because between living and working there isn’t much energy left for anything else. Or maybe it’s just that dwelling on what’s gone before and fretting over what might lay ahead just isn’t my thing (it really isn’t). I don’t want to remember much about what having cancer did to me though it’s all still too vivid to blank out completely. I guess it takes time.

So here I am almost 5 years on. Still alive, still well – with a few non life-threatening health issues to live with – still working, still being a wife, Mom and daughter and still grateful for all the extra days I’ve had even if the cancer treatment itself was far from idyllic.

Aside from ongoing check-ups I thought I’d put long hospital visits well behind me. But life has a funny way of throwing up issues just when you think it’s approaching what might be called normal. Our latest exploits include spending most the last fortnight in an isolation ward, including a 36 hour stint with no sleep, because my son J contracted meningitis.

Cancer is a really crappy disease and now I know meningitis is really crappy too. Within a few hours J went from being a healthy, active, fit young man to completely bed-ridden, very unwell and mainly unconscious. He didn’t move for almost 48 hours. Fortunately the out of hours GP we saw decided J needed to be admitted to hospital and once admitted, they started IV antibiotics, antivirals and fluids almost immediately. Within about 7 days there was a marked improvement and after about 12 days J was almost his usual self.

Once again we’ve been lucky. Lucky we didn’t ignore the symptoms (earlier the same day we’d been told it might be migraine or sinusitis – he’s never suffered with either), lucky we went to a very seasoned out of hours doctor, lucky we got the treatment needed before any long term damage was caused.

Like cancer, this isn’t an experience I’d want to go through again. Diseases that strike kids and young people seem particularly cruel. As a parent you want to keep your children safe but there are some things you just can’t protect them from. For me, this was one of them and it’s worth knowing that meningitis symptoms don’t always involve a rash.

Lots has happened since the last time I wrote here and most of it has been good / normal / uneventful. But life is unpredictable and I guess there’ll always be a few hiccups along the way. It’s a miracle any of us stay sane!

 

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Leaving hospital… and looking a trillion times better than when we went in πŸ™‚

 

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14 thoughts on “Such a long time

  1. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

    • Yes, a real rollercoaster. I’m not sure I’ve completely sorted myself out yet but suppose that’s to be expected. I hope you’re doing well.

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  2. I cannot imagine how scary that must have been! So pleased to hear that you are both ok – I was actually a little concerned that you might have taken ill again yourself as it is such a long time since you last posted anything. Not that I am one to talk…my own blog is sadly neglected these days. Hiccups aside – glad that life is going well for you and yours. πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you for thinking of me πŸ™‚ Its hard to keep on top of writing/blogging when there’s so much else happening isn’t up. The meningitis was a horrible experience, definitely not the kind of thing I’d want anyone to go through. Another illness we need to conquer… Hope you’re doing well and manager to get a little time to blog again πŸ™‚

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  3. I am sorry your J had to go through that. And you as well. Good health is such a fragile thing, that’s for darn sure. Glad he’s doing better.

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    • Thank you Nancy. Not nice at all fir anyone. Just living and being healthy can be a real challenge sometimes as you know all too well from your own experiences. I hope you’re keeping well.

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  4. So sorry to hear about J, I’ve been there too,
    my son was suffering from groin pain one day which he put down to a rugby injury. That night it was so bad he went to A & E and was sent home with a crutch and some paracetamol. The next day he was admitted with full blown septicemia. He blew up like the Michelin man and was critical for a few days, too ill to move into intensive care so he was given a full-time intensive care nurse. It was a nightmare, so I know something of what you have been through. I too suffer from the fall out of Fec T , it 2 1/2 years now. Guess it is to be expected as I when I was 69 when I had that concoction but nobody told me about the lasting effects. Only at my 6 infusion did the consultant tell me that it was one of the most aggressive chemo combinations and that many don’t make the 6 cycles and also that it was probably doing me more harm than good. He offered that I skip the final cycle but we agreed on a 2/3 dose.

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    • Gosh you’ve had a rough time too, I’m sorry because no one really deserves any of this and we just have to muddle through as best we can. Seeing my son in trouble as he was proved far more difficult than dealing with my own illness. Fec T is a harsh chemo regime. I did a lot if research when first diagnosed because the cancer was very aggressive and my family history doesn’t bode well. It seems to be the treatment of all treatments and as a patient, it certainly feels like that. I’m glad you stuck with it and went ahead with the 2/3rds final dose. It’s difficult and takes a lot to get over even without the scarcely mentioned life-long side effects for people like us. My Oncologist said the biggest priority is to get people through a full course of treatment to give them the best chance, but if they told us every risk, potential issue, maybes and might bes we’d probably all say no. So instead they talk generally about most people’s experience and then work with “outliers” like us to adjust dosage or find ways to contain/minimise any longer term effects. After lots of thinking I drew the conclusion that Fec T was still better than the most likely alternative I’d be facing, having been through that with my Aunt and Mom. (Neither were offered chemo at first and by the time their symptoms returned things had become far too advanced to be curable). I think you’re a very positive role model, doing Fec T at 69 and coming out the other side shows determination and resilience can see us through.

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