Week 27: 6 months up & I'm back working
13 Oct 2011
This week I passed the six month anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. If you remember, I started out by counting the first 100 days and now I'm counting in weeks...and, although I'm well short of my target of a century of weeks, this feels like a landmark worth noting.
Generally I have been feeling extremely well and my old energy levels are returning. It feels rather miraculous, especially as I have now allowed myself to read the statistics of life expectancy for those diagnosed with lung cancer (I won't give them here as I have never accepted that averages have much meaning for any individual case, but I can tell you they are shocking and very scary).
I also recognise just how lucky I have been, a point underlined by the recent sad and early death from cancer of a friend and neighbour. My thoughts are with his family.
Back to work
It's been wonderful to be feeling well enough to get back fully into the swing of work again. I hadn't completely stopped but had certainly cut down my commitments. Today I was chairing a lively couple of panel debates at an Ofqual conference on A-Level exam standards. There was a decent story in the speech from the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, and it felt good to be back joining my old journalistic colleagues in filing the story. I have also just written my monthly column for the Education Guardian, which appears next Tuesday.
So life feels as if it is returning to where I was before being so rudely interrupted by my cancer diagnosis 6 months ago.
Lingering side effects
I do still have a few lingering side-effects from the chemotherapy, mainly numbness (or neuropathy, to be technical) in my hands and feet. I also know I must not fall back in to the old habits of working too hard, getting tired and stressed and failing to enjoy the simple - but fundamental - things in life. I have had a major scare and, although I feel so much better, I know it's not all over.
It's impossible to say with absolute certainty what it is that has worked to arrest the growth of the tumour. That's because I have been trying so many treatments and therapies. But instinctively my feeling is that it has been a combination of several things, including: homoeopathy, herbalism, Reiki and reflexology,and healing plus a good diet, plenty of rest, outdoor exercise and - not to be underestimated - meditation, having fun, and thinking positively.
My next consultant's appointment is in about three weeks but - providing there's been no flare up of the tumours - I have been told there will be no further chemotherapy, which is an enormous relief. I am, however, planning to agree to go on a medical trial of a new drug should further treatment be necessary. The only problem with the trial is that I could be in the control group, which means I would not (initially) get the new drug but would get chemotherapy instead. I remain positive, though, that this won't be necessary as I have told my tumours that they are free to leave whenever they are ready....as there is no future for them in my body!
My heartfelt thanks again to everyone for the wonderful support and messages - please forgive me for being unable to repy personally to you all.