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  • Emily Macpherson

Black Friday – Day One of Chemo

Since my last blog I have done a lot of waiting – but today was the day my chemotherapy treatment started (so please forgive me if what I am writing is nonsensical!).

I last wrote after a sample of my tumour had been sent off to America for Oncotype dx testing, or so I thought. When I attended my results appointment on the 23rd October I was expecting to find out what lay in store for me over the next 6 months – we had delegated the school runs and dispatched the children, battled the rush hour traffic and (just about) made it to Taunton for my 9am appointment. Progressing through the various waiting rooms, and finally in to the meeting room, we had built ourselves up to receive the long awaited news. The breast care nurse and the oncologist entered the room without meeting my gaze….. “we are really sorry” they said, “The sample hasn’t been sent yet.”

At the time, I had thought that the worst thing they could tell me was that I needed chemo, but actually, finding out I had to wait another three weeks to find out was worse! Apparently I should have been asked to sign a form because of the new data protection rules. The team weren’t aware of the change in the rules so didn’t ask me to sign anything. I am not sure why this wasn’t picked up a lot sooner (i.e. three weeks previously when they were supposed to send off the sample and realised they couldn’t) but it was pointless getting frustrated so I just had to suck it up, sign the form and make the trip home back up the M5.

Just under three weeks later, after bugging the oncology department by chasing them to double check that the sample had finally been sent, and then checking again before the appointment that the result had been received, we finally received the results. My Oncotype dx score was 29, meaning the chance of recurrence is relatively high and the benefits of having chemo will outweigh the side effects. The oncologist booked my treatment to start two weeks later.

The process of getting a pic line fitted on Thursday was quite interesting and not too painful. Having the drugs today wasn’t too bad and I felt okay immediately afterwards, but the nausea has just started to kick in now so we will see what the next few hours bring.

I started writing about my experience to try and get people thinking about how they would cope in the event that they were diagnosed with a serious illness, and what action they might be able to take now to protect themselves and their families financially. I am conscious that what I am writing now is more about my personal experience than about financial planning, but I have had so many kind messages of support and requests for updates that I wanted to put an update out for anyone that is interested in my story.

I did a quick transaction search on my mobile banking app (see image below) to see how much I have spent in the hospital car park over the last few months, £114.30 and counting. I intend to create a spreadsheet including all the less obvious costs I have encountered since my diagnosis, but that will have to wait until another day.

Hospital car parking costs

Day one of cycle one is almost over, each cycle lasts three weeks and I will have six of them in total, so the whole process will take around four and a half months. The end is in sight – I have just got to keep my eye on the prize!!

Although I am laying low for a while, Find Peace of Mind is very much open for business so if you would like to discuss your protection arrangements, or any other financial planning matters please contact any member of our team.

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