Remember that scene in the film “Bridget Jones’s Diary” when she is taken away on a romantic mini-break to a big country house hotel? That’s me at this very moment – sort of. I haven’t been whisked away (I organised it) and, unlike in the film, it’s not turning out to be a series of comic misadventures, but there are definitely some similarities. No kids. Big hotel. Green open spaces. Nice china. Posh middle aged couples. And us.
But most importantly, it’s a change of scene. That’s why we came. That’s why it feels so nice. We have had a really hard time these past few months. Normally I’m not one for splashing out, but in the current circumstances I’m prepared to break that rule. I’m not going to say it’s because I don’t know how much time I’ll have left for these sorts of jaunts (although I’d lying if I said that didn’t figure in the equation at all) but I will say that my predicament has made me realise that life is for living and enjoying, and a nice mini-break away with the hub should be decadent, not penny pinching.
Being away gives me time and space to breathe and relax and get my head cleared for the next steps in tackling Genghis. (Well, sort of. Totally typically, work has gone a bit crazy and I have been fielding all sorts of new bits and bobs from my iPad since leaving the office. But I love my job and I get excited by new work so I’m not complaining. Or not that much.) Being in a different environment is certainly good for my mental health. And while I miss the kids, I am able to relax properly, knowing they are in safe hands.
I’m also able to reflect on recent developments. Having found out at the start of the week that I am a candidate for SIRT, a couple of days later I found out that more treatment options are open to me, as the full results of the liver biopsy showed that my liver mets are oestrogen positive. This means they have changed from the lumps in my boob, which are triple negative (I explained what this meant in an earlier blog post). Oestrogen positive tumours are less scary than triple negative ones as they are (in theory at least) treatable with hormone therapies that block the production of the oestrogen that feeds the growth of the tumours. Apparently only 10% of breast cancers morph when they metastasise. Hooray – once again I’m in the minority but this time that’s a good thing. My chemo nurse clearly thinks so as she told me to crack open the champagne.
It was really nice to have some “good” news, but once again I feel a little underwhelmed. I still have cancer. It has still spread. It still isn’t curable. It is still likely to be life-limiting. I’m still going to have to have ongoing treatment to keep me alive. And – whoop whoop – that treatment is now likely to send me into early menopause. I really want people to understand how and why I am feeling this way. Reactions to my news have been universally positive and excited. Sadly this has tended to make me feel a bit impatient – I need my family and friends to understand the context, to “get” why it’s good but not to over-react. I’m not better. I never will be.
I don’t know why I’m dwelling on the negative. Ultimately the news may well mean I’m around for longer. And in the end that’s what this is all about. But I can’t help feeling that it means more horrid side effects, more drugs, more hospital visits and so on. Yes, I’m pleased and relieved. But those feelings are most definitely qualified. I’m taking it as a win, but it’s only one battle. The big fight still rages on.
And with that at the back of my mind, I’m off to be Bridget and enjoy my mini-break. Toodle pip!