Week 17/18: My last chemo?
08 Aug 2011
Picture: my final moments of chemotherapy at Kingston Hospital
I had my 6th and and last chemotherapy treatment today. I hope it will prove to be my last ever. It was an enormous sense of relief to say thank you and goodbye to the nurses. I'm sure they understood when I said I hoped I wouldn't be seeing them again.
You can see from the picture that 7 hours in the unit leaves you feeling pretty tired but I was looked after with kindness, good humour and efficiency. Thank you to the William Rous Unit: www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/consultants-teams-wards/treatment-areas/other/sir-william-rous-unit
I will now have a further CT scan in a few weeks time and then a review with the consultant in mid-September. He told me today I would only have to have further chemo - or possibly be entered for a clinical trial of a new drug - if the cancer flares up again. So an awful lot depends on the results of the next scan. But I do actually feel better and the cough is also reduced. So I am feeling quite positive about it.
I'm sure the cancer hasn't yet gone altogether but I feel it has, at the very least, stabilised. I just have to get through the next week as the chemo effects kick-in. Although I was also warned that it will take a couple of months for all the chemo drugs to work their way out of my system.
My white cell blood count was up quite sharply from the last cycle which suggest something (the homoeopathy, herbal remedies, treatments) is working really well to counter the effects of the chemo drugs. Until this time it had been steadily declining, but fortunately always remaining above the level that would have required a blood transplant.
I think the exercise I've been taking may also have helped - several bike rides last week and even a swim in the (briskly chilly but invigorating) sea at Budleigh Salterton. Also plenty of great walks in the fields and woodlands around the Blackdown Hills and a wonderful garden visit to the glorious gem that is Cothay Manor, near Wellington, Somerset.
I heartily agree with the Macmillan cancer Support research out today, which recommends exercise during cancer treatment. None of the doctors have ever raised it as a suggestion but I found it just feels right, providing I don't exhaust myself. See the BBC News report on the story here: www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14417084
This 'month in the country' is really working. I've also signed up for my first woodworking lesson. I'll let you know how it goes. we start with 'how to sharpen your tools' which seems a good place to begin. I visited the workshop last week and was enthused, not least because it is virtually in the hamlet of Dommett, Somerset which is where my ancestors come from and where my great-grandfather was living when he learnt his trade as a boot & shoe-maker. His son (my grandfather) was a cabinet-maker so I can only hope some of their craftsmen's skills are in my genes. The master furniture-maker, Tom Kealy, also seemed like a really great teacher. www.tomkealy.com/
A few days ago, I received a healing session from our good and generous friend Chris, which I greatly appreciated. It was a unique and novel experience for me and there was some powerful effects. He clearly has amazing empathy and healing skills.