This morning I phoned my GP practice to order a prescription - something I always do at least a week ahead of time. For the first time since I began having to do this, I didn't order Tamoxifen, and it felt weird! I have eleven more days to go (not that I am counting or anything) and then that's it.
Some people feel strangely liberated to reach the end of their 'hormone therapy', especially if the side effects have been significant (and mine certainly have).
Some people feel anxious, as if a safety net has been snatched away (at the moment I certainly do not)
Some people stop taking the drug early, for all sorts of reasons, and a very small number take it for life. Most take it for five years (low risk) or ten years (high risk). I am grateful to my consultant whose advice and guidance have informed my decision to stick with it, despite multiple and complex side effects.
It has been a bit of a love-hate relationship, but common sense has always prevailed, and as I often say, 'I am here to moan about it.'
I am hoping that in a few weeks the side effects will wear off, and am reassured by the science that suggests the benefit of the drug should last another five years or so.
In other times, tomorrow would have been my final visit to the breast clinic, but in these times, that appointment was cancelled six months ago. Looking back over the ten and a half years since my diagnosis, I know just how fortunate I am - in recent weeks, a friend has had a second primary diagnosis, someone I supported a few years back has had a secondary diagnosis, and another friend has news of further progression of her stage 4 disease.
Yes, it's the final countdown for Tamoxifen, but the vigilence and residual 0.1% niggle will remain for the rest of my life.
So, if you are offered screening, please take it; if you have worrying symptoms, please report them. Cancer caught early is almost always treatable and sometimes curable... 122 boxes of Tamoxifen later, I am proof that long term remission, and a fulfilled life, are possible and achievable.