I’m off to see something beautiful.

We’re going on a holiday to New Zealand’s South Island. We arrive in Christchurch, pick up a camper van, then make our way south on two weeks of day walking and basking in the beauty of fjords and mountains. Back on the ether waves after December 8th. I can taste and enjoy food again – my old mouth has returned.

P.s re-found a favourite hot chocolate sauce topping – care of my stepmother.

Stepmother’s brew:

  • Equal parts (as much or as little as you want) butter, golden syrup and cocoa. It goes sticky/hardish when it touches the ice-cream. Delicious!

I turned my ovaries off today like a tap.

The nurse did something clever when she gave my Zoladex injection. First, she injected a local anaesthetic just under the skin to form a small bump (bit of a sting). Then, she got the biro sized Zoladex needle ‘don’t look’ she said, but I did; and injected a pellet sized deposit of chemical into the bump so it wouldn’t hurt, which it didn’t. Ten points for hand control I say. The pellet takes four weeks to disperse, then I get another hit. I’ll do this every month until … well … forever it seems. Until I’m naturally post-menopausal.

Three weeks on

Finished chemo three-and-a-half weeks ago. The cumulative effect of the cytotoxic concoction made the side effects get worse – and – worse. I practically spent a week in bed looking at my hips protruding from my fifty-two kilo frame. My gut didn’t work brilliantly, so there was quite a bit of pain in there. But, when it all got too much I watched episode one of the The West Wing (damn fine – I miss Josh Lyman and CJ).

Three weeks on and my hair’s growing back. I no longer experience nausea or food aversion. The metallic twang appears to be fading from my mouth. The residual effect of Taxotere is muscle fatigue, anemia and tiredness. These beauties are just peachy for now. I’m happy the dreaded chemo times are over and the next phase is in full swing. Herceptin (the drug I’ve been taking alongside chemo) continues every three weeks for another eight months. Herceptin is delivered via my portacath, so I’m in the oncology unit for half-a-day.

In two weeks I’ll get my ovaries turned off with Tamoxifen and Zoladex. Tamoxifen is a daily pill – sort of the opposite of the contraceptive pill. Zoladex is a monthly injection that sends me into a chemical menopause (also used to chemically castrate men).