Monday, June 27, 2011

End of Chemo Cake

I finished chemo last Monday.

When the nurses pointed this out to me, I frowned and said, yes but it is not my last intravenous infusion, because I will be turning up here every 3 weeks for 9 months to have Herceptin.

It was then I realised that my practical side was overwhelming the side of me that should have been saying HOORAY and THANK GOD that I have, six months to the day since my surgery, finished this nightmare experience.  Of course I realise that it is never really over.   But 'active treatment' as they call it, is now at an end.

In the last half year I have:
  • gained a new and deep respect for the medical professionals in Melbourne.
  • thought a lot about life and death.
  • lost all my hair, most of my eyebrows and some of my eyelashes and gained my freckles back.
  • read 43 books.
  • confronted head on my very worst fear: getting cancer young. 
  • spent a lot of time watching the children play and realised how much I still have to teach them. 
  • continued to work at about half capacity which has been frustrating but well worth it. 
  • felt so much gratitude for the support and wishes of family, friends, strangers, blog friends, acquaintances, the guy in the coffee shop, the stray business person I meet with who remarks on my 'lovely haircut', the mail man, the lovely girl in our local toyshop, the woman at Mecca Cosmetica, people in the oncology suite, the carpark man, the friend I haven't seen for 7 years who lives in Hong Kong who sent me the sweetest email last week and on it goes. 
So this weekend I:

* Baked a cake to celebrate:

Recipe from Delicious, a magazine which has really grown on me. So much more down to earth than Gourmet Traveller or Donna Hay.    It has cornflour in it and so is very very light and fluffy.

* Bought this book online (really cannot believe how cheap Book Depository is):

I wrote about Nigel Slater's memoir here. I have a small crush on this man.  I would love to cook for him.

* Made a 6 point plan for the next 6 months (more on that soon).

* Bought a painting. Yes it's dark and moody and that is why I love it.  By the Tasmanian Turner.   (It is of Bass Strait). 

* Picked some of these for floating in vases.  It really annoys me the way camellias don't survive in vases on their own.  We don't have as many picking flowers in our garden as I would like.

This to me looks very like the Chanel camellia...

* Ate some macaroons which I buy at La Belle Miette 

In case you were wondering these flavours are strawberry and vanilla and violet and blueberry.  He also does an amazing Pimms and pomegranate version.

Isn't life fantastic?  So much to enjoy.  


Just Martha said...

Wow - what an interesting journey you have had for the last 6 months. Very impressed with that cake. Life is fantastic - I agree

BabyMac said...

Congrats Jane! That IS A milestone - so much achieved. I hope the next 6 months bring more healing and health back to you x

brismod said...

Well said Jane. There is so much in life to enjoy.

43 books in 6 months is a lot of books! And aren't your camellias something? Just beautiful. xx

Miss Prudence said...

What an amazing post, and thank you for helping me put things into perspective this week. I have this week off and knowing i am really out of whack I planned to make and implement some changes in my lifestyle - you have really given me some great reasons....thank you and cheers to the next six months with your ongoing living xxxx

24 Corners said...

Jane...has it been six months already? My goodness...that's wonderful, you did it! Another major hurdle accomplished, smartly and graciously I might happy for you and the best reason if I ever heard one for baking a cake!
Thank you for inroducing me to Nigel, how have I not heard of him before?! His website is lovely and now I'm on a mission to read his books...more additions to the 'library', that's what we like!
Congratulations...and big hugs!!!
xo J~

Makeminemidcentury said...

I'm sitting in the QUT law library about to review my notes for my last law exam.

And, having read your beautiful post, I now have tears running down my face and now my nose is running and I'm unattractively stifling sniffs.

If I were half the mother, woman, lawyer you are Jane, I'd be content.

You are so dignifed and intelligent.

How breast cancer ever thought it could rattle you, is beyond me.


Jane said...

Anita - 43 books would only be impressive if they were all Dickens and Dosteyevsky but there is a lot of 'Popular Fiction' in there.

Carmel and Dear Prudence - you are way too kind with your words

Jessica - you will love Nigel and if you grow vegetables buy Tender Vol 1 which has recipes from his veggie garden in London

Sarah B said...

You really have achieved so much. I agree your camellia is like having a piece of Chanel in your garden, how fancy!
I just loved Carmel's comment :)
Take care x

Jenny said...

Yay for you Jane, I am so happy for you. Here's to looking forward to a bright happy and healthy future! ;-)

Karen said...

Dear Jane
Look forward that's the way. Yes it's never really over but life is good and the journey so worth it.
Kind regards

First House on the Right said...

Congrats to you for getting through the chemo part of your treatment and hoorah for it being over! Good on you for baking a cake (that looks d-d-d-delicious!) to celebrate the occasion. I loved this post. Hope you have a marvelous Monday! Nicolex

Rebecca said...

That is one mean looking cake! But then, one would need a kick-ass cake to celebrate a milestone like finishing chemo.

Now, how/where does one buy beautiful original art these days? (Bear in mind I'm in not-so-hip Brisbane...). I've often fancied a nice piece for my house but always thought it would be a) too hard to find, and b)too expensive. I would love your thoughts!!

Jane said...

Bec - I would try a US site called 20x200 which sells original lithographs, prints, photos etc in different sizes very good value you have to frame yourself but the art can be very interesting xo

Raina Cox said...

YAY for your milestone and YAY for cake!

kit and nancy. said...

you.are.incredible. that had to be said first. your cake looks delicious! you are so inspiring and i do also believe that life is are freckles! have a wonderful week. xx

Cindy Rescigno said...


I always look forward to your posts to hear about your progress. This is such a milestone...finishing chemo, and you're right...It's never really over in one way, but you looked cancer in the eye and kicked its butt. Know that we all admire you and wish for many more good days in the future. Now, do something completely extravagant for yourself. You deserve it. Cindy

JOE. D said...

Well done Jane .. you did it. You made it through the toughest 6 months any woman could face .. and came out with a cake to celebrate. Funny you mentioned the Delicious mag .. I too bought it on weekend and saw that cake (what about the mash potatoe cake - freaky!!!) and whilst I wasn't in cake mood (no amazing end-of-chemo milestone for me) I did make the Lamb Curry which was a HUGE hit.

Take care as I'm sure there will be other hurdles in the next 6 months too - but hopefully none as traumatic and tiring as what you have been through.

All the best (-:

ally said...

busy week!!
I love Nigel Slater - and that gorgeous soft pink camellia
And that Bass Strait painting is very powerful
Good luck with the rest of your journey

Natalie said...

HI Jane, I have read your blog since day 1 but have never commented before. Congratulations finishing your chemo. I wish for you only the best of health from here on end. Wow, 43 books- - I am impressed. I love reading what books people are reading. Maybe when you have time you could write a list of the books you read and pop them on your blog. I would love that. That Cake!! Yummy - Where's my piece JANE!!!. Enjoy your time with your kids - they are so precious. I look forward to reading many more of your blogs and all the best to you and your family. Love Natalie.

count it all joy said...

Oh Happy Day!! Congrats Jane...tick that 'active treatment' sucker off the list. Can't wait to see what's on your six point plan. I love a bit of bullet pointing action.

43 Books...can you share the list? So pleased to know that it's not full of Dickens {far too depressing} and Russian philosophers {far too intimidating}.

I'm sure that cake was one of the sweetest you've ever tasted:) Delicious has been my foodie mag of choice for a while. Donna's spaghetti twirling ways are just too much sometimes:)

Big hugs, Meredy xo

Amanda (Small Acorns) said...

So much to celebrate Jane! Have an extra slice of cake for me. You're such an inspiration to us all. xx

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Oh Jane,
Has it really been 6 months ?!! I suspect it seems a lifetime to you but, one step over and something to celebrate in a massive way I think !! I'm so pleased for you that this part of your treatment has finished.
......and, 43 books....WOW.....and, I'm pleased to see that you have been readng some light hearted stuff as well. I'm off to my sisters for a couple of weeks and have packed a Joanna Trollope and a Maeve Binchy !! Nice easy reading and a bit of escapism.
.....also Love Nigel Slater. He is on tele a lot here and I LOVE his London house and garden as well as his cooking skills. It's not big but I think it's perfect.....also, his film 'Toast' about his life from mid-childhood to mid adolescence is wonderful. Have you seen it ? If not you will love it.
Wishing you well Jane and much love. XXXX

Southhamsdarling said...

As you say Jane, so much out there for you to enjoy. Those macaroons looks crumptious! Hope all the family enjoyed that lovely cake, and I'm so pleased that you have finished your chemo. Onwards and upwards my friend!

Jane said...

Oh, Jane! I'm *so* delighted to hear this. I can't believe it's been 6 months either. It doesn't seem that long ago that Martha was encouraging us to look up at the moon for you.

You are a singularly impressive person. I thought that before the 'big C' but now think it even more. Bravo, my friend. Wishing you only the best for this next stage of 'the recovery'. J x

Mise said...

I hope it gets easier now. I'm joining in your tentative hurrah, and see, as ever, your pragmatic and mindful self rising above it all. We think we couldn't admire you more but our respect inches upwards with every post.

Vicki said...

Hi Jane,
What can I say? You are every way. Absolutely loving your blog for your candor, wit, such informative posts, things that inspire me....thank heavens I found you!
Have a lovely week,

Maxabella said...

I can't believe that you made it through aaaaallll of that and you still have your wonderful sense of joy in tact. You are amazing, officially. x

jacquelyn | lark + linen said...

I only just now stumbled upon your blog, and I'm not sure of your story yet but I want to say that you are an incredible brave woman! Congratulations on this milestone. I'm off to peruse through the rest of your lovely corner here. xx

Lucy said...

Can I add to your list - inspired a lot of people. I wish you lots of luck with the next phase of your recovery.

In a complete aside, I think you should write a book because I love the way you write, and the way that writing so well is your response to things says to me - you are a writer, a 'writer'! I don't know whether you are drawn to fiction or non or whatever, but I hope you will.

The Distressed Mother said...

Congratulations! You're truly inspiring. Look forward to seeing what you get up to next.

TDM xx

Paula said...

Hi Jane
I recently found your blog and love it. I have not read blogs before, and, obviously, not written comments either, so I'm not sure what I am doing. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I hope that the next 6 months will be filled with only good things for you and your family - you deserve it.
Paula xxx
PS, 43 books in 6 months is very impressive. How do you find the time?

lesley said...

That is a huge step Jane on the ladder back to tip top health and this does happen. Progress is always slow but look what you have achieved. Well done.
Blessings. Lesley

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Life truly is wonderful and the fact that you express that and all that you appreciate, after all you've been through, just reaffirms to me the amazing person you are Jane. 6 months must of felt long on the bad days and way too short on most? I cannot not think of a better way to celebrate than that of chocolate cake with your loved ones? I've never appreciated good health as I do over these last few years. Never to be taken for granted again.
Sending well wishes, much love and gratitude for people like you in my life even though it's just through a computer screen.

xx Deb

jules @ The Diversion Project said...

onwards and upwards and enjoying the special moments along the way...totally the way to go darl. you inspire me. and here's to the end of chemo and to scrummy looking cake. more strength and power to you! xxxx

The House That A-M Built said...

Oh Jane, you made it. You champion. You are the hero in your story... how great is that! A-M xx

Elsa May said...

Life is indeed fantastic. CONGRATULATIONS on the end of chemo - thank you for sharing your last half year with us. I've enjoyed looking through your 43 books - an impressive achievement in itself! Take care, Annie x ps: your comment re Eckhart Tolle's book made me laugh :)

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