Number of days until I go back to work: 6
Number of days until my MRI scan: 6
Number of days until I find out whether or not the cancer has come back: 15
Well it’s been about 5 & 1/2 months since I had my final chemo treatment, and finally I am preparing to go back to work. After being off for a whole year, this time next week I will have returned to the ranks of normal working people. It is hard to believe that it’s been a whole year since I finished work to have surgery to remove my recurrent ovarian tumour, and even harder to believe that yet another year of my life has been so easily swallowed up by hospitals and cancer. While I was having chemotherapy time seemed to go really slowly, and yet looking back the last year as a whole has slipped away with no clear definining moments other than illness really. It sounds pretty depressing when you write it down and put it like that, but I don’t feel depressed about it, just determined to put it all behind me as quickly as possible.
Of course, being able to put the last few years behind me is really going to be dependent on what happens with my repeat MRI scan and subsequent appointment with my oncologist. Unbelievably my scan date has come through for the same day that I’m going back to work, but luckily for late in the afternoon so it doesn’t affect anything. So, on Wed 25th June I will be both returning to some normality by going back to work, and heading off to the hospital for an MRI scan that could potentially show I’ve still got some nasty cancer lurking on my bowel. It’s pretty hard to make things seem normal when that’s going on!
I did get a good phone call from the hospital the other day though: I was due to be seeing my oncologist on 11th July, but he is now going to be away so my appointment has been brought forward to 4th July at a different hospital. A whole week less to wait is great - a week less of being in limbo! I have to admit the last couple of months of waiting have been pretty torturous: not wanting to convince myself it’s going to be bad news, but also not daring to trust it’s going to be good. Just thinking about walking into that appointment on 4th July makes my stomach flip and my pulse start to race, but whatever the outcome is there’s absolutely nothing I can do to influence it. The cancer is either lurking inside of me or it isn’t, I can’t stop or change it either way.
Going back to work next week should help to distract me from thinking about it too much. I’m planning to go back to work on a phased return, so I’ll start by working a couple of mornings a week, and then build up from there until I’m back working full-time. When I went back to work after my first course of chemotherapy it took me 6 months until I was capably managing 5 mornings a week, so I’m not expecting to be back doing full working week anytime soon! The difficult thing at the moment is: a) not knowing how tired going back to work is going to make me, and therefore how much I’ll be capable of working; and b) not knowing whether I’m going to have to go off for more treatment almost as soon as I do go back. If my oncologist tells me when I see him that the MRI scan has definitely showed up something, then I’m going to end up going off for surgery not too long afterwards. It makes it quite hard to plan a return to work with that possibility looming over me. Still, I’ve only got 2 more weeks of waiting until I know one way or the other. Until then I’m going to head back to work next week and try to enjoy having a semblance of normality in my life, for the time being at least.