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.

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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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.