Christmas with Cancer

Actually, I’m spending Christmas with my family. Cancer, the uninvited guest, has been banished, and the new year will begin with essential building work to stop it coming back.

For most of December, I’ve been going to the hospital twice a week to have my surgical wound checked and dressings changed. Iodine gauzes, big comfy dressings, antibiotics and supportive bras have between them seen off the wound infection. It is pretty much over now, and once this latest set of dressings has done its thing, no more will be needed. There are some irritating patches of sore skin, as the adhesive on the dressing is very sticky and tends to take a layer of skin with it every time the dressing is removed. So each new dressing is put on in a slightly different position to the previous one.

The rest of the wound has healed very well, the swelling has reduced, and I am beginning to get a feel (phnar phnar) of what my breast will be like post-cancer.

Christmas dinner number one was yesterday (Christmas Eve Eve), cooked most expertly by my youngest son, 12-year-old Harrison, with a little help from his dad. Christmas dinner number two will be on the day itself, at my parents’ house, with John’s parents joining us for the day. The internet, together with a local bookshop and gallery, have made present-buying fairly straightforward despite limited mobility.

Huge seasonal solidarity to those having a rougher time with cancer than I am this Christmas, and to the NHS staff who have been looking after me. I’d usually be working at this time of year (though no the big day itself), so have some idea of what it’s like to serve the revellers rather than being one of them. Luckily, the clinic nurses don’t have to work over Christmas itself, but they will be back at it a couple of days later. 

And I’ll be back at the blog the other side of Yule too – probably on Thursday, when I see the oncologist to find out whether I’ll be spending January being poisoned with chemotherapy or microwaved with radiotherapy.

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