Information folder has been a godsend
Fiona Welsh on her battle against breast cancer
The day I was diagnosed, I was given a blue A5 folder from the hospital. This contained all the details and information sheets about the type of breast cancer I had and what treatment options I was faced with.
It has been very useful, as on that day all I heard the consultant say was cancer, nothing else.
She did say lots more, but I wasn’t listening. I even took a notebook along, but its pages stayed empty.
Thankfully Ian was listening, and became my PA in explaining to others what we were faced with.
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This little folder gave all the information and advice to be able to get my head around the situation and be able to read it in my own time.
I didn’t read it cover to cover; I didn’t really want to know everything at once, and still haven’t read it all. Yet I have carried this folder around with me each and every day since. Then when I started chemotherapy I had extra information sheets added into it.
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- 10 'I will miss her enormously' - husband's tribute to NHS hero Carol
I use this as my cancer guide, to help me understand my cancer and treatment.
I also have other reasons to carry it with me. In the front is a little pocket designed for appointment cards. But I use mine not just for appointment cards, but to file words of support I have been given by my family and friends.
It includes a letter from my aunt in America, saying I have the family gene of stubboness and will get to the end goal. There are a verse about sharing worries with friends, prayers and bible verses too and a lovely poem written for me about being brave and making no fuss about whatever life throws at me.
I see these every time I open my folder; they come with me to every appointment and every treatment. I will treasure these cards and letters long after the information in the folder is needed.
I have had my fourth chemotherapy now and so far, I have felt the best I ever have directly afterwards. I was so worried this would not be the case, had tears before the appointment and thought I would not be well enough to enjoy Christmas.
But I have underestimated my body this time totally.
I find out soon if that was my last treatment. Four is the minimum; six is the total. However, I am running out of good veins they can use.
I now have two painfully inflamed veins in my right arm, showing the potency of the drugs used. It wouldn’t be the total end of my treatment though; I will need a few years of tablets too.
However, I would love to go into 2013 recovering, not still being treated by the chemo.
If they agree, fantastic, I can look forward to my hair returning sooner than expected.
If not I will still embrace two more treatments, carry on wearing the wigs and guess I will just have to wait that little bit longer to recover.
As long as I am getting there, I really do not mind how long it takes.