It's 8 months since my last chemotherapy session, just over a year since I had surgery and what seems like forever ago that we were told the news "You have Ovarian Cancer".
8 months - WOW .. there were times when I didn't think I would make 8 weeks from diagnosis, but I'm still here and still moving forward.
8 months of people saying "that's great, you are all better, now you can get back to normal".... 8 months of learning how hard the journey back to normal is.
"No Evidence of Disease" - It's over then - oh no, it's not over, it is far from over, the journey and the struggle is only just beginning. Whilst you are in the middle of some life changing treatment, there is only one thing to think about and that is getting through day to day. I have documented earlier in the blog how hard I found the chemotherapy. Thinking about getting to the next session, getting to surgery - always another goal, and then all of a sudden you are in free fall. The very tangible thing that was holding you fast is gone, and you mind needs something to fill the void.
So my treatment continues for now, I am taking a small daily dose of chemo which is called a PARP Inhibitor and basically helps to keep any more nasty cancer cells at bay. It means monthly blood tests and catch ups with my oncology team and I will continue taking this for as long as I can, as long as the side effects remain manageable or I have a relapse. All things that your mind can use to fill the void.
And fill it, it does.
I am lucky - I am still here to tell my story and hopefully help just one other person navigate theirs, but there are those close to me who either didn't survive, have lost a loved one or have relapsed - and to all those that I have met that have been so deeply touched by this dreadful disease I send you all my love.
They call it Survivors Guilt, I didn't know this was a thing, but my nurses did. It is exactly what it says on the tin - and there isn't a day that goes by when it doesn't pop up and whack you in the face. Now as I sit writing this blog, I feel guilty that I have something to write about, should I write about it, guilty that I am here to write it, do I sound like i'm moaning, do I sound ungrateful, and am I making mountains out of molehills, do I, do I, do I .. and on and on and on.
It is apparently normal, but that doesn't make it any easier to live with, you have to find a space in your brain amongst the myriad of other "boxes" and tuck it away for a rainy day.
For me, the dogs, the photography, my friends, family
and Andrew help keep most of the demons at bay. They build me up, give me my self confidence back, make me plan and look forward to the future.
Along with the fall out from the Chemo, the operation, pushed me into the menopause.... and that, is a whole different story.