Chemo, Fingerprints & F**kups
WORDS: Corrine Barraclough PHOTOGRAPHY Corrine Barraclough
CB’s BC Journal
I nearly threw my mobile into the ocean the other day. Ok, not quite, but I was so frustrated it wasn’t recognising my fingerprint to log into anything.
I turned to one of my trusty breast cancer support groups and found out that a side effect of chemo can be change in your fingerprints.
Of all the side effects I’d read up about, this did not turn up!
I’ve experienced months of nausea, fatigue and weight gain, but I was not expecting to be locked out of all my digital devices.
“I guess this is the perfect time to commit a crime,” joked one of my breast care nurses. I kid you not.
It raised a smile at least in what’s been a stressful couple of weeks.
The results of my ultrasound were, shall we say, perplexing.
The first ultrasound, which was part of my initial diagnosis, was measured in 3D. The second, that I had a few weeks ago, came back with 2D measurements, and they were bigger than the first.
So, I was not convinced when the specialists were telling me my cancer tumours were marked as having a “partial response” to the chemo.
“That’s not what the data you’re showing me says,” I was repeating until we got to see my oncology surgeon again, who confirmed with the senior sonographer that the second ultrasound does indeed show an improvement with regards to density and vascularity of the tumours.
To say it’s been a stressful mix up is a massive understatement. I can’t tell you how hard it is to show up to chemo every week unless you know that it’s working. I keep wanting to swear, but I’m trying to restrain myself!
I left home at 8:30 this morning to go to one hospital and arrived back home from the second at 3pm. No matter what time your appointment is at hospital, you should always block out the whole day. It’s unpredictable, exhausting and frustrating.
This Friday I want to start the countdown to the end of my chemo treatments. It will be round 9, with 8 more to go. So we countdown from 8… to 3…2…1.
I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel with all of this.
I’m over it.
I’m seeing new wrinkles on my skin every day when I look in the mirror now. I’m gaining weight every week and I’m desperate to get to the end.
I need to visualise the finish line and picture myself running through it.
I know I need to hang in there.
See you next week!
Corrine was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, which has spread to her lymph nodes. Her medical oncologists are pursuing a “cure”, which will begin with a six-month course of chemotherapy at Gold Coast University Hospital, followed by surgery at Robina Hospital and then likely further treatment.
Corrine will be writing a weekly blog journaling her personal journey for Ocean Road Magazine throughout her breast cancer.