Upon completion of my last chemo I gave all my nurses a little personalised gratitude present, as scary as it sounded the chemo ward was actually the safest, friendliest place for me throughout my treatment and where I felt the most comfortable.
I made it.
8 rounds of primary chemo done and dusted.
Not one to do anything by halves I continued the celebrations upon returning home. Firstly one of my besties turned up with a present for me and to my delight gifted me with a pair of Christian Loboutins- as a self confessed shoeaholic- that made my day for obvious reasons, secondly my other bestie got me a beautiful breast cancer shaped personalised red velvet cake with the writing “WINNER” engraved on it, thirdly I was gifted with a beautiful box of goodies and treats with everything from love hearts to personalised name sakes from my friend in Yorkshire then lastly to top it off I ended the day with a toast to my chemo completion with a few glasses of non alcoholic Slur before I passed out from that days treatment.
From here there was no time to waste though, I lierally went straight from one chapter to another- operation prep- but physically things were not great- I had put two stone on, my face had blown up twice it’s size from the various drugs and steroids and my body was weak from not only the treatment but the fact that I hadn’t exercised for 9 months- I had dizzy spells, achy and painful joints and was constantly tired and grumpy, things got so bad I was diagnosed with extreme anaemia and was told they couldn’t operate until my iron levels increased. The thought was scary but i was thankful for the quick diagnosis of why I felt so bad. Thankfully after 2 iron transfusions I was back to best almost immediately and deemed fit for the op which was taking place in two days time.
For as long as I live I will never hear another person say a bad word about the NHS again. They saved my life and day to day the nurses and doctors work round the clock in the busiest, under- equipped, unpleasant and inconvenient environments to save others lives too. I am a person who has travelled quite a lot and i have always said upon my many returns to the UK we are lucky to have the NHS and we are! I could not in a million years afford all the treatment I have had- I can’t even do the math of what the figures may have been. Nor would I have had access to the options of care i received, in most countries. My care team from start to finish we’re amazing- this includes everyone from the surgeons and consultants, specifically at the hospital where I had my operation- ST Thomas’s hospital.
As soon as i went in for admission I was treated like a first class patient. The staff were so efficient, professional, clean and throughough. My mum and my older sister accompanied me- they seemed more worried than I was- I was just keen for it to all be over. I was told I would be staying for anything up to 5 days- I was also told I would have to wear fluid drains from each of my breasts for anything up to 7 days after the operation- I remember saying “7 days? I have VIP meet and greet tickets to see my favourite author/ motivational speaker Iyanla Vanzant in exactly 7 days and I ain’t missing it for the world”. Everyone frowned at that thought of course- including the doctors. Once I signed the declaration I was all good to go down to theatre, I waved my mum and sister off and made my way with the admissions team. I wish I could tell you more but the rest was history- I woke up terribly high off morphine- in a beautiful private room facing the Houses of Parliament and the river Thames. I had a wonderful 4 days there- I was well looked after, had some wonderful visitors- and my new boobs, although Nipple- less, looked amazing. I was happy with them and they looked great in a bra- I had always wanted a breast reduction when growing up- I was one those late bloomers who didn’t actually reach my full adult breast size until I was around 20 and take it from me they made everything difficult- especially my job which included dancing and exercise! On the 4th day when the consultants discharged me my drains were still filling up quite a bit- I was given a short tutorial with how to manage them day to day and when the right time will be to call the nurse to come and take them out in the comfort of my home. I decided to stay around my mums house whilst I recovered and was immobile. Whilst one drain actually fell out whilst I slept a few days later, the other drain kept filling up- it was the day before my VIP meet and greet. It was a Friday and I called the nurse- she made it clear I had to keep it in till at least Monday, so that meant I would be going to the meet and greet with my drain. Not ideal but as I said before I would not be missing this for the world. I went, had an amazing time and when I did finally meet her she asked my what I was carrying in my bag and I explained- she was amazing and was worth every inch of getting out my recovery bed for.
The following week I had started to feel stronger which was great as I had my after surgery meeting with my consultant and I decided to go to this alone.
It was a different feeling being in the room where I had waited out for the dreaded news I had received 9 months before. I sat and looked around at the faces in the waiting room, some were nervous, some were sombre, it was a Thursday and we all knew what a Thursday was at kings in this clinic- results day, so most people in the waiting room were getting the results of their biopsies. I said a silent prayer to myself- for myself and all those in the waiting room- my consultant called me in. It was time.
“Hi Leanne” Dr Pryce smiled, with another colleague of his over shadowing him- “How you feeling after the op?” He asked and after me explaining all went well and he was happy with the way my post surgery boobs where healing- he mentioned he sent my removed breast tissue off for examination and the results were back. I sat nervously- whilst he continued. He told me that they actually couldn’t find any trace of the tumor left in the breast, only damaged scar tissue caused by the chemo. So not only was i cancer free from the full removal of my effected breast (mastectomy) I was also cancer free from a total radiological response from the chemo.
I DONE IT.
I had to ask him if what he was telling me was true. I had to be sure. So I said “Soo does this mean I can tell people I’ve been given the all clear?” To which he laughed and said “YES!” I couldn’t stop thanking him, I cried some more and I left the hospital with the most triumphant and proud feeling I’ve ever felt.
June 29th 2017 has marked itself in my history forever as the best day of my life.
Featured Pic: Top left: Me and mum at my last chemo Top right: Me explaining to Iyanla Vanzant what’s in my bag Bottom left: My winner cake Bottom right: My Christian Louboutins and glass of Slur