I’m writing this from the car somewhere on the M4 as we drive back to Wales for Christmas.  With hindsight, travelling 200 miles with a toddler is not a great plan 3 days after chemo just as you’re hitting the post-steroid crash! The mental focus required to think about what to pack for Steve, Me, Freddie and Bodie as well as remember to bring all the presents almost finished me off. And that’s before we even tried fitting it all in the car.

Chemo Christmas

Chemo dates didn’t fall all that well as I was booked in for the 21st – meaning Christmas Day will be one of my low ones.  It feels similar to morning sickness in that I feel a bit nauseous, and would like to eat but nothing actually tastes good.  This is a worrying state of affairs seeing as Mum seems to have stocked the house with enough food for a large army.  I’m not sure I can do it the justice it deserves – of my usual festive cramming in everything I can get my hands on.  Also, I don’t feel much like alcohol (those who know me well will be picking themselves up off the floor in shock at this) so hopes of the strains and stresses of your average Christmas Day being eased in a prosecco-fuelled haze which starts with the bucks fizz breakfast are also likely to be dashed.

However, Christmas Day with a husband that does the ‘cheffing’ is the perfect excuse for sitting around in a lazy chemo slump watching rubbish Christmas TV and waiting for people to bring me stuff.  In fact that actually sounds fairly standard…  And of course I’m most looking forward to Freddie opening all the Fireman Sam goodies that Father Christmas will be dropping off tonight!

A plan

Things are looking a bit more positive since my last post and there is now a plan in place.  As ever there’s a bit of disagreement, I mean it wouldn’t feel right if EVERYTHING was nailed down.  I was told by one side of my medical team that the MRI on that spot of uptake the PET-CT scan showed on my hip came back clear.  But after it was reviewed by the radiology team at the Christie it was declared to be ‘indeterminate’ and requiring monitoring with another scan in 3 months or so.  No one seems to be too worried though so I’m not going to get my knickers in a twist about it either!  The mid-chemo CT-Scan showed the nodes under my arm to be stable, with one possibly a little smaller.  The chemo IS working, in that they’re not growing, but it’s not smashing them so we’ve decided to finish at 4 rounds and go to surgery. Annoyingly though they’re discounting the first round I had with the different drug combination (the one that tried to give me a heart attack) so it means there’s still 1 more round to go.  Just in time for my 40th

But it feels good to have a plan.  I kind of want to rush through Christmas and get into January because after a little more chemo, I could be having my surgery by the start of February and finally feel I’m ridding myself of the last cells of this crappy cancer.  The sooner the surgery is done, the sooner I can get on with my plans for the new year of getting back on the ski slopes (I’ve even got a fancy new ski jacket from Steve for Christmas as a placeholder) and hopefully running (mostly walking!!) the London Marathon for Macmillan in April.

Another classic for the Bland family album!

Merry Christmas

I started my chemo on 28th December last year and guess where I’ll be exactly one year on? Yep, back on the chemo ward having my day 8 infusion of Gemcitabine!  It’s been a pretty horrendous year but by no means all bad.  I’ve made some brilliant new friends, started and grown my blog and even spoken at a Parliamentary reception.  Now we have a plan again I have a new sense of purpose to get through the next few months of treatment.  I have some exciting plans in the pipeline for 2018 to bring you too I hope. So, here’s to a Merry Christmas for all of us and a brighter and less cancery new year!




  1. December 24, 2017 / 5:27 pm

    Hear hear to a brighter and less cancery New Year!

  2. Jane Munro
    December 24, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    Hope you have a very happy christmas & a cancer free 2018 xx

  3. Wallace
    December 24, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Wishing you absoutely everything good that you deserve to come your way in 2018

  4. susanne
    December 24, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    I too have had a similar year but love reading your blog and I do hope you all have a great Christmas and a much calmer cancer free 2018

  5. December 24, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Rachael. My mum was diagnosed with double breast cancer, as well as ovarian and peritoneal cancer, a few years back and went on Letrozole which shrank all the tumours beyond recognition. She is doing incredibly well now. I’m sure you’re familiar with all the drugs but thought I’d mention it! Lucy, Oxford.

  6. Delyth underwood
    December 25, 2017 / 10:44 pm

    Here’s to many many less cancery years starting with 2018. All the best. You’re amazing xx

  7. Pauline Green
    December 26, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    Good Luck for 2018 keep up your spirits

  8. Helen
    December 27, 2017 / 8:37 pm

    Sending you strength and hugs Rachael x Thinking of you and admire you when I hear you reading the news in the long dark hours. Headspace meditation helps me, they do a pack on cancer and the guy who speaks on it has had cancer. Helen xx

  9. Geoff Fulford
    December 27, 2017 / 11:20 pm

    I know nothing about you, Rachael and very little about cancer and chemotherapy. I came across this by accident. You are an amazing woman and I wish you all the best.

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