Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fecking Fec Fec

At the risk of sounding like Father Jack off Father Ted, I've just found out that I will be undergoing a course of FEC.

That is the name of my chemo cocktail. Or Fluorouracil Epirubicin Cyclophosphamide by its full name.

But I shall call it FEC. With a certain Irish emphasis...

My first treatment is taking place on the 1st May.

The visit to meet my oncologist and see the centre today was strangely scary and reassuring all the same time.

Reassuring because they seem to be lovely people and its nice surroundings. And they give you massages and reflexology while you are being treated. Don't you just love private medicine?

Scary because it was full of patients coming in for treatment and I could see tangible evidence of what I could look like in a few weeks time. And I found myself looking at patients who'd suffered hair loss with more than the sympathy I used to view them with before I had BC. BC BC if you like.

Now I look at them with a mixture of sympathy and another emotion. I think it's probably best described as respect.


Marie said...

I'm really glad you don't have to go through all the early menopause stuff. I do think 39 is pushing it for fertility (says the 40-year-old who really knows). I know there are lots of treatments and so on, but you'll have had quite enough of treatments by then.

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

Thanks. I felt similarly relieved. I mean, my mum had my littlest brother when she was pushing 47 so anything is possible but we all know the fact she started with me at the age of 22 probably helped ensure she could continue 'popping them out' until her more mature years. And I've had loads of friends who've successfully had babies in their early 40s, but most of them have had to resort to IVF. So you and I both understand the odds!
But my odds have improved. Apparently FEC is a reasonably light chemo treatment (still in the ballpark of feccing hideous but its all relative and I'm relieved to be having the better of the options available) and having it three weekly instead of fortnightly has brought the odds of losing fertility down from the initial estimate of 15-20% to less than 10%. Odds I am happy to take my chances with given the women in my family are meant to be as fertile as a prize brood mare...
Incidentally, your blog yesterday brought me news of NJ's floods before I saw it in the paper this morning. You made me feel spectacularly well informed and ahead of the game! And I love the way you talk about Henry. I have a v similar sounding relationship with my old banger - a nameless Peugeot, also from 1990... x

Anonymous said...

Hey Anne-Marie,

Just wanted to say I'm following your blog, and keep up your good spirits. Chemo sounds scarier than it is - I learned that through Steve's chemo. I accompanied him sometimes (not all, since I had some sort of allergic reaction to the chemicals even though I wasn't being treated, go figure). People that work in those places are total angels and I know you will be in good hands. And these days, they can do so much to counter any side effects.

About the hair - smooth is good too! I bet you will look awesome with a bald head. Steve looked fab. The best thing was that none of the New Yorkers offered their subway seats to him - typical.

Fertility: we took a risk by not storing any sperm (TMI, I know). But, hey, neither of us are super keen to have kids just now. Que sera sera.

Thinking of you -

Anne-Marie Weeden said...

Hey Jude! (That sounds like a song). Thanks for reading. As Steve said when he heard my news, Stage 1? Pah! I do feel like a rank amateur when I compare the experience you guys have been through!

Congrats on becoming a doctor recently. (You see I read other people's blogs too!)

You're right about the head thing. The more I think about it, the more I don't see the point in wearing stuffy wigs. A friend bought me a hat yesterday, and I picked up a couple of scarves this morning on the way into work, but hell, I'm just going to lose my hair. Deal with it people!

But there is still a teensy bit of me which is worried about suddenly discovering I've got a weird shaped head underneath all this hair. Or strange head bumps. Who knows what's under there?!

Like you guys, we were not racing to start a family. We were not even sure we would ever do so. So I'm happy to take my chance on fertility. There are more ways than natural childbirth to bring up children anyway.

Hopefully one of the good things to come out of this will be that we'll be out to NYC sometime in the next year now that we aren't moving to Uganda so we can catch up properly.

Big dutch love from London town x

Marie said...

I am generally quite ignorant of hats but I had to take an out-of-town friend to a hat store yesterday (as he has lost his hair and his head was cold), and there were some lovely, lovely hats for women too. I just looked at hats.com (but of course) and it does look like fun.