Breast cancer lesson 127: If you can take on chemo, you can take on life. Take that chemo and take that cancer!

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I did it! By which I mean, successfully carried a really heavy sugar pill-covered cake through the city crowds to the cancer day unit, presented it to the team before presenting high blood pressure (due to the fact the cuff was on my leg), took one last dose of Docetaxel, ate a lolly, drank some tea and, most importantly, had my PICC line out and was disconnected from the saline flush for the last time.

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In many ways, although brilliant, it is a strange sort of day. I am celebrating because the poisoning is over, but I still have a good three weeks of side effects (probably even longer) to go before I can start reclaiming my body. I can’t really drink alcohol and am pretty exhausted from a sleepless night due to heat, hot flushes, thunder and lightning and general excitement. I am happy, but I’m not exactly ready to paint the town red. 

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The cake and the ‘last chemo’ sign brought with it a celebratory atmosphere. The nurse started showing all the staff (including the chief nurse), my PICC flush lady popped in for a visit, and I even got to see my complementary therapist for a good chat. Everyone wanted a picture of the 450 pills – and I just wanted them to enjoy it before the buttercream seeped through the fondant icing. It had already started to resemble a boob in shape rather than a straight-sided cake! Apt you might say.

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The highlight for me wasn’t hearing the chemo pump beep for the last time, however, but watching the PICC line wiggle its way out of my arm leaving me with nothing but a hole and a lot of dry skin. Here’s the PICC removal in action (just to show you how long it actually is). I was surprised it was a) so quick and painless and b) didn’t involve me lying down on some sort of couch. It was just whipped out in front of everyone in the bay!

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How do you celebrate the unofficial, please-don’t-drink yet, end of the chemo you ask? Well, with a walk along the river and a lovely lunch at my favourite pub, The Cutty Sark. Fishcakes and lemon posset later, and we’re now hiding from the searing heat drinking tea in the living room. I may even treat myself to a little rest.

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There is just one last three-week cycle, eight more immunity-boosting injections, 12 more steroids, two more Emend tablets, 20 Domperidone pills, 21 Fluconazole tablets, 32 Co-codamol pills and ad hoc Omeprazole to go before radiotherapy. I just hope the side effects are kind – especially now I don’t have easy access to my veins.

Chemo, you have taken a pretty huge chunk out of 2014. It’s time for me to take control.

Might just have a little sleep first…

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