Well, that was a turn up for the books...
Consultant was running late. Very late... an hour late. But that's not a bad thing, I like to think that he spends as much time with people as they need, and I don't mind waiting for that.
We eventually got in there, and talked a bit about side-effects and so on. The clot-busting drug I stick in myself hurts and leaves bruises - but he's adamant that he doesn't want to stop it as there is a risk of thrombosis with the chemo. As dear husband says, a bit of a sting and some bruises is better than the alternative, which would be the likelihood that the PICC line would get blocked again and have to come out. The PICC line means that I don't have a cannula every treatment, and a needle stuck in every time I need blood taken - so I will do whatever I need to do to keep that line in and working. The stuff to improve the white-cell count might be implicated in the crippling pain I experienced on Thursday, but so might dehydration which would affect my kidneys badly. The anti-sick pills didn't seem to have done the trick, so they would add something else to try and improve that for the next cycle.
So then he wanted to look at the lump. It's somehow worrying when a bloke gazes at your boobs while brandishing a pair of calipers... but he grabbed the offending article, tightened the thing up and announced that it was much reduced! After measuring in different directions he pronounced that it was down from about 4cm to about 2cm - so had reduced to half its previous size!
That has to be good news by any standards. He had seemed confident that it would be shrinking last time I had seen him, but I hadn't expected anything like this. For some reason - superstition, perhaps? I hadn't actually felt the lump for a few days, as if I might interfere with things somehow, so I had not realised it was changing - but when I did I could not deny that it is now much smaller than it was.
He didn't seem terribly enthused by suggestions that things would or even could be influenced by anything as prosaic as diet - just a balanced diet please. No objection to vitamin supplements though, although I should lose the extra Vit C if I am taking a multivitamin as well. It seems that part of the effect of the chemo is to release free radicals into the blood which attack the cancer cells, and high doses of Vit C will "gobble up" the free radicals before they get to do what they are suppoesd to do. He suggested that I leave the Vit C until after the chemo is finished. I don't see any reason not to remove dairy from my diet, so I will continue on that route, and try and get rid of pre-processed food where I can. We don't eat much in the way of processed stuff, although I have to admit to ready-made pasta sauces sometimes... but there are plenty of tomatoes out there right now.
As we were driving home I remarked that I had forgotten to ask (duh) about the rumour of an affected lymph node. The surgeon hadn't mentioned this, and it was only when one of the docs in the hospital mentioned it that I grabbed my notes and looked - it seems something on the MRI had looked like a dodgy looking lymph node. "Oh, he said that's gone" came the response from the driving seat. "WHAT?!?!?!"
As he'd walked back into his office after examining me, while I was dressing, the Great Man smiled and announced not only that the lump was half its previous size, but there was no sign of a problem in the lymph nodes and that he was very pleased indeed - but of course I didn't hear the second bit! It just goes to show that it's best to have a second set of ears listening at such times.
So all in all, that wasn't a bad meeting. I have been trying to keep positive, and accept what the care team tell me, which is that this is routine, everyday and treatable, and that in six months it will be largely over... but now I have hard evidence that things are not just being done, but they are working. In between the positive attitude, the Reiki, the prayers and healing rituals, and the kick-ass drugs, things are moving in the right direction.