When I started this blog I imagined that everyday there would be something new and scary to share, but the truth is, there hasn't been. For the most part Lauriel is doing well. There has been no vomitting, no days spent in bed unable to do anything, no hair has fallen out (not that it was expected to). I guess what I am saying is that this cancer journey is nothing like you see on TV.

Lauriel did wind up in ED last Wednesday night though. On Monday night it began burning when she peed, and by Wednesday morning it was like 'hellfire'. We'd spoken to the radiation specialist at our appointment on Tuesday and he said it was likely a result of the radiation - but he couldn't do a pee test because Lauriel had her period. The blood test from that morning was all normal and she didn't have a fever, so there didn't seem to be any sign of infection. By Wednesday night it sounded like Lauriel was in labour whenever she went to the toilet. I put my foot down and told her we needed to get in touch with our oncology nurse, or get to ED.

Neither oncology nurse replied so she rang Healthline, who told her to be seen within six hours. Up to ED we went. They couldn't give us a conclusive answer - due to the whole period issue, but all signs pointed to a UTI so, at 1am, we were sent on our way with a prescription for antibiotics.

The antibiotics have helped but not entirely - which is what we expected. Because of where the tumour is, the general pelvic region, including the bladder, is getting hit with radiation during treatment.

Honestly, the joys.

I'm now gonna talk about vagina stuff again, so if you want to skip, now is your chance.

About a week into treatment, the nurse brought up the concept of vaginal dilators. Turns out, when the vagina gets radiation, it begins to go all tacky and sticky and... well, gross. The tacky, sticky situation then causes the walls of the vagina to stick together and causes adhesions, which isn't great for overall pelvic health. Internal examinations become very painful, even impossible. And then, of course, there is sex. No one wants sex to be painful for themselves, let alone their partner.

Enter (ha! literally...) the vaginal dilator. I am going to share a photo because omg, these things made me laugh when the nurse introduced us to them. My immediate thoughts is that they are the Tupperware version of a dildo - a Tupperware Babushka doll version of a dildo, with different sizes which all stack together in a neat little Tupperware-esque design. Basically, for 15 minutes a day a certain number of times a week, you lie there with this 'dilator' all up in there. The idea is that the dilator breaks down the scar tissue before it becomes tough, helping to keep things... stretchy... down there.

Okay. That's it for vaginal talk... y'all are safe to come back.

In a week today Lauriel will be receiving her final radiation and chemotherapy treatment. That doesn't mean things are over, not by a long shot. There will be imaging done to determine how the treatment has impacted the tumour. Ideally, it will be gone, no sign of it. Outta here. Done. Chances of that happening are 15%, so while we remain positive, it is not the outcome we are expecting.

If it doesn't work?

She will probably need surgery to remove the tumour - and because of how low it is, that also means removing the sphincter, the result being the cancer will be gone, but she will need a colostomy bag for the rest of her life. If that is the case, it is something we'll get used to. Just like we've gotten used to the fact she has cancer. Just like we've gotten used to her having treatment 5 days a week.

And now I need to go because we are being picked up soon, to go to treatment.

Thank you all for your love and support over the last two months. It has been a crazy ride, one I wish we didn't have to partake, but here we are... and we're surviving.