So I’ve now had three rounds of chemotherapy. The third one was tougher. I suffered peripheral neuropathy (painful prickling in my fingers and toes, and mild spasms of my lips) when exposed to the cold. I know I’ve not had it as badly as some do, but it’s a pretty unpleasant side effect of the oxilaplatin. I was also very tired this round, although I put that partly down to the time of year; who isn’t tired in the run up to Christmas?!  Anyway, I’m having Christmas week off chemo, starting again on 2nd Jan and I am looking forward to an enjoyable week of festive fun but plenty of relaxing too.  Then it’s three more rounds of chemo before the scan to check whether it is working.

I’ve not sent Christmas cards this year, mainly because I can’t write thanks to my hands, but also, sending bland cards saying Merry Christmas just wouldn’t have felt quite right this year. So instead I’ve written a little letter to you all. Please don’t think it’s in any way goodbye(!), but just thank you for everything so far. I didn’t fully realise how many wonderful people I had in my life until my diagnosis. I always thought of myself as someone with only a few friends, but it turns out that over the years I’ve accumulated a lot of you! I am so incredibly grateful for all the love and support you are giving me at the moment. I didn’t know how much I was loved, and it fills me with so much happiness to see how much you all care. I am truly blessed to have my team around me, so thank you so much for everything, and Merry Christmas!

****

To all the special people in my life

Thank you. For the good times we’ve had together. For the times we’ve laughed, or cried, or worked or danced together. I am 34, far too young to be faced with a terminal illness, yet I feel like I’ve packed so much into my life already, and that’s in huge part thanks to all of you. And that makes me grateful and happy and in some small way, helps me make peace with what I’m facing. 

To my family and family in law, you are incredible and I am so grateful to have you all. Whatever happens in the future, I get so much comfort knowing that Brian and Oscar have you all in their lives. 

To those I’ve known since childhood, thank you for staying friends and supporting me as I grew up. From a pony loving little girl, to angsty teen, through my career obsessed 20s burning the candle at both ends, to a happy and balanced wife and mum in my 30s. I’ve grown and changed and discovered, and you’ve been there along the way. 

To friends from school and university, we’ve had a lot of laughs! My Trent girls; it’s a huge testament to all of us that we are still close. From giggles in Martin, to meet ups with our growing gaggle of babies. I feel stronger knowing you lot have got my back. Uni friends- college, rowing and miscellaneous others(!), we drank and danced and survived all night essay writing. Some of you have become my closest friends; friends I truly could not imagine my life without. Friends who offer a shoulder to cry on, words of wisdom, a good gossip or just quiet company when I need it. 

To all those colleagues who’ve crossed that line into friendship, thank you for helping me achieve success in my career, for being there when it got too stressful at times, and for both challenging and supporting me. Whilst I’ve left behind my City days, I’m proud of how much I achieved and how hard I worked, and so grateful for all the amazing people I met and worked with along the way. 

And to everyone who doesn’t fit into the above; house mates I’ve shared so much with, friends of friends, who, over the years have become firmly MY friends too, friends of Brian who’ve welcomed me with open arms, my new mum friends who kept me sane last summer and I feel like I’ve known for far longer than I have, and my wonderfully caring college friends who share my passion for health and helping others. Thank you all for being a part of my life, for bringing joy and fun and love and support. 

I hope this Christmas is wonderful for you, and 2019 brings much happiness. I hope that I will be seeing lots of you next year and for many years to come, but whatever the future brings, know that I am grateful for my past, and that you’ve been part of it. 

With the biggest hug and all my love

Caroline xxx