OK, so there’s been yet another big gap between posts. Sorry about that. When I last posted, things were really looking good. I had four job opportunities in the pipeline and I thought I’d finally figured out what path I wanted to take. Things were progressing and I was excited about it all!
Obviously the Universe had other ideas for me though. At the beginning of July I was completely side-swiped by a diagnosis of breast cancer. Oh, and not just breast cancer (which would have been bad enough), but metastatic breast cancer which had already seeded tumours in my liver. So yeah, that was a shock. It’s not nice being told that you probably won’t live to see your daughter go to secondary school (she’s only 2 this coming Boxing Day, to put that into some kind of perspective).
I probably should have been blogging throughout the experience, but to be honest, just getting through things a day at a time was hard enough. After 18 weeks of chemotherapy, and about to start my first batch of radiotherapy next week, I finally feel up to putting some words down. Words are powerful things y’know. Telling my family was heartbreaking and it broke me. When I was having to email people at work to let them know what was going on, it broke me. The words just made it all seem so horribly real. It’s still horribly real, but we’re learning to cope with it. We’re breathing in the amazing and trying not to dwell on the awful.
There have been some good points along the way, and you certainly learn to grab on to anything vaguely good. The tumours have responded to the chemotherapy, and although they’re still there, they’re smaller than they were, and small enough to allow them to attempt radiotherapy as well (which wasn’t the case at the start). My lymph nodes are now clear, at least for now. The spot on the original CT scan that was reported as a lung tumour, they now don’t think is a tumour at all. There’s a trial in Nottingham which is about to start looking at radiotherapy for liver metastases and apparently I’m a prime candidate to be enrolled on that. I found out (through losing most of it) that having short hair kinda suits me (after 38 years of growing it). I’ll probably keep it short once it grows back. These are all Good Things.
So yeah. I’m still in the same job (but they’ve been great about everything). Moving at the moment just isn’t an option. I need something stable to hold on to. Suddenly work doesn’t seem so much of a priority though, so apologies to anyone I was meant to be collaborating with for suddenly dropping off the radar.
Interestingly, it has changed my opinion on genome sequencing which I touched on in my previous post. Now I want to know what’s locked away in my genome. Sadly I don’t meet the NHS criteria for genetic screening for breast cancer, and I figured I’d get into trouble if I did it in the lab myself (not that I wasn’t tempted, mind you….) If anyone wants a volunteer for genome sequencing, just give me a call.
Bring on the fight (and the science!). I’m not willing to give up on life just yet – it’s too breathtakingly beautiful to do that.