Wednesday, 7 July 2010


When my beautiful Tara was first diagnosed with epilepsy, I had to make the (instant) decision of whether to medicate her, thereby reducing the risk of seizures killing her and putting her on medication for the rest of her life, thereby increasing her risk of liver/kidney failure. Not having children, this was the first time I had been faced with such a decision and, on top of all that, it was for an animal who would never be able to tell me how the medication made her feel and if I had made the right choice in her eyes.

Just over three years later, my other beautiful girl Tache, also starting having seizures and I was again faced with the same choice.

When an animal has a seizure it's terrifying - as when a human has one (I've only witnessed one human seizure and it was truly frightening). When that animal's yours and you know how you can help it becomes a no-brainer; you (well, certainly me) make the decision that allows you to spend the most time with your pet.

I arrived at the Clinic this morning, all cheerful with the mildest suntan I've ever had the good fortune to sport. Just enough time walking around French markets, covered in SPF 20 or in the shade has given me a healthy glow; inside and out so I was gutted to learn my neutrophils are so low (0.8) I couldn't have chemotherapy.

Occasionally someone will say 'how can you enjoy chemo' or 'do you really look forward to chemo' and the answer is 'Yes!' even though it makes my hair fall out and my fingernails drop off (I know, urgh!). I've got advanced cancer, so anything that stops it I'll enjoy, or look forward to. It's beyond tolerating, it's a positive 'get it into me' feeling so imagine how I felt today, when my oncologist, Dr G told me (with a smile) that at the end of this 'regime' of chemotherapy, I will just be on Herceptin and the bone strengthening infusion.

The Absent Bloke (still en france and therefore, still Absent) thinks this is good. The chemotherapy has done what it's meant to and now I can look forward to having Herceptin and Zolydronic aceeeeed - no side effects, just what is says on the packet (Herceptin stops the growth of cancer, Zolystuff strengthens my bones). I, on the other hand, feel like I'm about to be pushed off a cliff without a safety harness.

I spoke to the Oncology Sister about it and she explained that it can be a trade off. The risk of infection is high (I keep getting infections which is why my neutrophils are so low as what little immune system I have keeps fighting off colds and sore throats). When I'm no longer on chemotherapy, my immune system will return and I'll be able to fight minor infections. Like with Tache and Tara, it's about quality of life, not quantity.

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