Sunday, 28 March 2010

It ain’t over until ...

Bridget Jones: I read that you should never go out with someone if you can think of three reasons why you shouldn't.

Mark Darcy: And can you think of three?

Bridget Jones: Yes.

Mark Darcy: Which are?

Bridget Jones: First off, I embarrass you. I can't ski, I can't ride, I can't speak Latin , my legs only come up to here and yes I will always be just a little bit fat.

There is no doubt about it ... Wednesday was a pretty momentous day. The morning started with my new obsession ... lash adoration. Now, I have always really liked my long dark eyelashes ... almost as much as my boobs ... and absolutely hated it when they fell out. They and my brows were the last things to go ... and unfortunately this coincided with those truly horrid side effects from Killer Chemo. This meant I not only felt awful but I looked pretty ill and grotty too. 

OK ... they are not quite as lengthy and luscious as they were before, but they are getting there, and will a little help with some ‘scara they are looking pretty darn good. On top of that, I have spent the last couple of weeks looking as if someone has gone to poke two fingers in my eyes ... and missed ‘cos my little legs make me so short ... and they have ended up jabbing me just above the sockets instead, leaving two dark bruises. This is because my brow hairs have been nestling just under the skin waiting to push through... like little tadpoles beneath the surface of the water waiting to burst out of their captivity ... which they have finally succeeded in doing and are now sprouting nicely.

As I stared into the mirror I contemplated the afternoon ahead. I had called Dr Jordan’s secretary as he had told me to. “Hi Tania. Dr Jordan said I should call you to make sure my pathology results were available and that my case was going to team meet this morning?” “I’ll check and call you back”. Which she did. “Yes, your case went to MDT so you can come over this afternoon.” “Good” I replied, nervously. “By the way, it is not Dr Jordan this afternoon, it is Dr Price.” Oh ....

Now I have met Dr Price. Just the once. He came along with Dr Jordan to my pre-op meeting. That was where Dr Jordan merrily doodled all over my torso with a black marker pen whilst telling Dr Price what he was planning to do during surgery. After which Dr Jordan took a photo of me so that I could join his infamous photo gallery of patients he has performed surgery on. “Make sure you don’t get my head in this pic” I demanded. “No, of course not” he promised me. “Well, I am not bothered about the boobs ... it feels like everybody has copped a look at those ... I just don’t want anyone to see me in this rather fetching outfit ... NOT!”  Well ... the hideous surgery gown, matched with the revolting white DVT surgery stockings and my fluffy slippers were so not a good look ... though my friend Bubbles did say she couldn’t believe I will still colour co-ordinated ...

Now ... Dr Price seemed like a jolly nice chap ... but if there was going to be negative news ... they hadn’t got clear margins and that I would have to return to the hospital in the next week or so for further surgery ... this time for a full mastectomy ... then I would rather hear this from Dr Jordan. After all these months he knows what I am like ... that I will need lots of comforting and reassurance. Surely, he wouldn’t let me lose on the poor innocent Dr Price?!  Then my heart skipped a beat. Perhaps that was it?  Maybe that is why I had to ring in prior to my appointment...‘cos if it was bad news then Dr Jordan would postpone my visit for a week ... so that he would be the one to advise on the bad news ... but it is not bad news ... which is why I am meeting Dr Price ... or is all that wishful thinking ...

My first appointment of the afternoon was to have the drain removed. Now, for those of you who have never seen one I will explain. The drain was put in during surgery and is a tube about a foot long with a clear see through bag at the end. Blood and other bodily fluids flow down the tube to the bag, which needed changing each day. I hated it. It looked horrid ... it was cumbersome and uncomfortable ... and I was worried that I would pull it out ... particularly during my sleep. It was a bit apprehensive the removal was going to hurt but it was fine, probably helped by the fact I was still on the painkiller combo. However, I was pretty shocked when Nurse C said she had removed it and then pointed out that the spaghetti like tube inside my body was about 9 inches long ... urrgh! As a consolation she let me keep the funky little linen bag that I carried the drain about in ... I am thinking I might dye it and hang on to it as a little keep sake ... along with them fetching DVT stockings which came home too ... mmm ...

Well we have some good news” said Dr Price cheerfully, “All went well and I am going to refer you back to Dr Oh-so-luv-ver-ly so he can discuss radiotherapy with you". “It was clear margins?” I stammered nervously and held my breath. “Oh yes” he smiled broadly, “excellent margins ... this type of surgery is renowned for being successful. Do you mind if I take a look ... and can I bring my student?” Oh ... some things are don’t change, I smirked to myself.

I’ve waited seven months to hear that news”, I confessed in hushed tones to Nurse J as she helped me undress behind the curtain. “I know” she said reassuringly. “You can cry now.” I looked at her and chuckled knowingly. Then I paused and wondered ... have these guys got so used to my delicate emotional state that they have set a sweepstake on how far into my appointment the tissues come out!  If so I must have disappointed on this occasion ‘cos most surprisingly ... probably for the first appointment ever ... I didn’t cry.  That is the honest truth ... really ... and I haven’t since ... though I am not sure why ... it is almost as if I can’t quite believe that Yukky Lump has finally gone ... that the light at the end of this breast cancer tunnel hell is getting bigger and brighter every day ...

You know that saying ... that really famous one ... yeah ... it ain’t over until the always-just-a-little-bit fat lady sings ... well you’d better brace yourselves ...

"Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every highway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need,
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life,
For as long as you live.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
Till you find your dream ..."


  1. Very few people you meet each day leave lasting impressions like you have. This isn't about bravery or courage this is all about postive mental attitude & determination :) :)

  2. Awesome Paula. Beci xxx

  3. Lovely blog! When I first had my definitive diagnosis I was ushered into this room for a chat with the nurses - it was chocker-block with boxes of tissues. Very reassuring - not!


  4. What fantastic writing wish I could be as succint when writing my blog. Hope all continues to go well.

    All best wishes. V xx

  5. Fantastic news! I'm over the moon that yukky lump has bit the dust! Can't wait to see you back in the office.

    Loads of love and hugs

  6. Congratulations on clean margins! Excellent news. I hear you on the eyelash/brow thing. I'm at the end of chemo and I have a few huge gaps in my lashes,, and my brows look exactly as you describe. I'm getting Latisse to help them grow in full.

    You rock!

  7. That's such great news Paula, Faye xxx

  8. Oh glorious day! Rock on...........Betty

  9. just to say ... i enjoyed reading your blog, keep them comming

    l xx

  10. Love your blog!!! M xx

  11. Paula! I'm so happy for you. Eyebrows and new perky boobs and eyelashes and clear! Great news all around.

  12. Well you may not have cried....but I did! Every time I read your latest update, I end up with a mixture of tears and laughter, and you did it again! So chuffed for you and looking forward to having you back singing in the office again soon (well, maybe we should have a word about the singing!)
    Love Debbie L

  13. Wow Paula - that is such great news. I'm so pleased that all has gone so well and you can start to breathe easily and enjoy those little things again.


  14. Oh yey! I'm so happy for you, Paula! What great news!
    Congratulations, woman! :) -Hugs muchly-

    Love, Hollie xxx

  15. HiPaula
    Just been catching up on the factastic news ... so pleased for you! That trip to Cape Cod will soon be a reality. Meet up soon?
    Jacqui xx

  16. Hi Paula
    I'm so pleased and you brought tears to my eyes instead!
    Catch you soon,

  17. Hi Paula

    Thanks for your lovely comment on my site over at

    I love your site - keep on keeping on - it gets better, I promise !

    Marjory x


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