Saturday, 16 November 2013

What a roller coaster......

Following Wednesday's hard hitting news, I found myself in rather a glum mood on Thursday and Friday, which wasn't too surprising really. My Onc Doctor rang on the Thursday and expressed his concern about my results, advising me that he was going to speak to my cardiologist but had cancelled my treatment......

I had an appointment for work in Southwold on Friday morning and, I will freely admit, I sobbed most of the way there. 

I picked up an answer phone message when I arrived at the property I was visiting, which was from my oncology consultant. Apparently there was a "big" inter-departmental meeting about me on Friday morning and lots of people have reviewed my echocardiogram. What it is to be popular.

The result of that meeting is that they have decided that while my EF has dropped, it doesn't seem to be as bad as they first thought, and is above 50% at least, so I can continue with treatment. 

I am of course delighted, but terrified in almost equal measure as things still need to improve heart wise. At least after next Thursday's session I will be half way through it. 

Talk about stress though. It would be so nice just to have a quiet week, with nothing more to worry about than whether we can get the children to school and nursery on time or not. 

So, I shall start again next week, hopefully on a more positive note and try to keep my terror under wraps. 

Thank you all for the positive vibes and kind messages. They are hugely appreciated.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

First hair cut, but also some more serious news....

It isn't that slow a news day, (sadly I have more to tell you) but I thought I would give you the exciting news that finally, my hair has grown enough that it was worth getting it cut and coloured. I now look far less like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards, and look far more respectable. I have had lots of people tell me how much it suits me, but I am not convinced! For now, it will do and the fact that it is all growing back nicely and that I even have some eyebrows and eyelashes is enough.

Sadly, a seriously amazing lady that I met last year and who has inspired me throughout my treatment died last week, at the age of 30. I am still in shock actually. Last time I saw her she was eventing, despite being in immense pain. It seems to have been so quick. The funeral is next Friday, 22nd and fortunately I have been able to rearrange cover for my auction in order that I can go. Whilst I didn't know Alex that well, her attitude and ability to be positive was just astounding, and I will strive to be more like that.

However, after having an extremely long day today I am really struggling with that positive mental attitude. 

I had a good session with my plastic surgeon and have, potentially, booked my reconstruction surgery for the end of May next year. This should coincide with the end of Herceptin, so my portacath can be removed at the same time.

Unfortunately, I got some news this morning which has made me feel less excited about the surgery, and more well, downhearted. 

I had an echocardiogram to check my ejection fraction, as I have had several times before, only this time, we found that it has dropped to below 50%. Well, in fact it is 48%. 

I don't yet know what the full ramifications are yet, but it is extremely unlikely that I will be allowed my next treatment which is scheduled for next week. I sure that I will skip one and had a six week gap but I am not sure and won't know until I see my oncologist next Wednesday. I should have seen him today after the echo, but put him back to I could see the plastic surgeon. Whoops. 

I am trying not to panic. I have had 8 Herceptin drips, which is virtually half, but I am not sure how much this will alter my prognosis. I am not the first person this has happened to, nor will I be the last but I had so hoped it wouldn't happen. 

Frankly it is bloody scary.

So, until I have seen my consultant next week I shall remain active, but possibly slow down the power walking a bit which is annoying as it had been going really well..... Priorities though. There's plenty of time for training later......

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Going full circle

I should probably apologise for the lack of recent blog posts, but you're used to how sporadic I am by now, I hope!

Yesterday was a weird weird day. I had a check up with my lovely surgical consultant which was, shock horror, the first of my annual checks. 



How it can be a year since I started chemo I've no idea, which seems to be a recurring theme. Not only do I have no idea in general (or so it feels sometimes) but time marches on regardless, which is a bloody good and very timely reminder that I shouldn't just be a passenger on this journey, I should make sure I make the most of every opportunity.

Anyway, I digress.

My surgical consultant is still fab, and his sense of humour is undiminished which is a very good thing. He is happy that there are no new lumps on my remaining side and is delighted at how good my scars are, and that the use of my arm has not been affected by the lymph node removal.

We had a good long chat about the fact that my ovaries are working again (dammit) and what to do about it. We had both hoped that I would go into early menopause which would rule out the need to think about ovary removal....

Further to a chat with my oncologist recently, we decided to go down the route of genetic testing to ascertain whether I carry the BRACA hereditary cancer gene. If I do, then ovary removal/suppression would possibly be a good idea.

It was quite interesting to compare that chat with the oncologist to the one with the surgeon yesterday, as the latter was far more positive about ovary removal than the former. Perhaps it's the typical surgical approach? I don't know, but removal if the BRACA gene is present seems like a sensible option to me.

We also discussed reconstruction and secondary mastectomy, and I have been referred to the Plastic Surgery department, and to the surgeon in particular that I wanted to see, so that is good, and a positive step forward.

Whilst I am still in several minds about reconstruction I definitely want to consider all the options so we are heading in the right direction for sure. 

Things have been going okay recently, but it is fair to say that my husband and I are in dire need of a holiday. The stresses of the last year are starting to come out and it is fair to say that neither of us have ever been so tired.

I have been struggling with work recently. I have very little tolerance for stupidity and annoyances, which is not always ideal when dealing with staff and the general public! So, at the moment my time in the office is flexible, which has helped a lot this week and I am starting to feel less strung out, and my attention span is also better. Still, I think a proper break away is going to be the only thing that really has a chance of helping us. Quite how to go about it I do not know. Taking my oldest child out of school will be much frowned upon, so we will have to see what can be arranged.

All in all,methinks are okay. My hair is growing well and I have hopes that my ears might be covered by Christmas!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Seriously, where does time go?

Life in the fast lane makes time go faster I suppose! We certainly have been extremely busy over the last few weeks.

I had the privilege of going to Claire's funeral, which was horribly sad, but one of the most touching and uplifting services I have ever been to. It was standing room only at the crematorium and a fitting tribute to such a wonderful woman.

I survived my second Herceptin, which went fine despite the queries and debates over time needed to give the infusion! Hopefully by the time I have my third one, which is Thursday this week, all the departments of the hospital that have a say in my care will have decided how long it will take. I wasn't too worried about having to sit down for 3 hrs last time as I had just sent two days at our county show with my daughter and her pony, so I really needed the rest! 

We have also been on holiday to France for two weeks, which was lovely if rather hot! The children had a lovely time and things went quite smoothly on the whole, apart from the trip back. We crossed France with very few issues, but on returning to England were met with the chaos that is the M25 and it took 6 hours to get back from Portsmouth to Norwich.... still, a change is as good as a rest, and we have stocked up the wine rack somewhat!

Rather incredibly, I note from my diary that I am approaching an anniversary of sorts. A year ago I went to the doctor for what I hoped would be a reassuring chat, and on 1st August I found out that I would have to have a mastectomy, although whether I had "proper" cancer was still unknown.

It is truly scary how much life has changed over the last 12 months. In some ways it has changed for the better, but on the whole I feel that I am nearly unrecognisable, and not just physically!

I'm not sure how I feel about this anniversary, and not sure how I'm meant to feel about it either. Happy to be alive obviously, but I am still so confused as to how to live life to try to avoid this happening again that sometimes I feel totally swamped. Tired. I certainly feel tired and drained by it all.

Anyway, now we're back from holiday I'm going to throw myself into organising the charity auction which, no doubt you'll hear all about in due course! 

For now though, I really think I ought to go to bed. It has taken me forever to write this rather short and probably boring post, and I think I ought to at least attempt some sleep before my youngest decides it is time for a "great big cuddle", which is one of his favorite phrases at the moment! Just as well he is so cute.....

Sunday, 9 June 2013

So, Herceptin

Didn't kill me. Well, not the first session anyway.

Sorry, black humour kicking in.

Other than taking ages (2.5 hrs versus the 1hr for most patients - to make sure it didn't upset my heart), and making my blood pressure drop a bit, it was okay.

Much relief. As you all know, I was as nervous as an extremely nervous thing, and shed a few tears before I was plugged in, but it was okay.

Whilst sitting there, I realised that yet another person I know is having chemo - the lovely lady who runs our local flower shop. The real bastard is that her husband died only 18mths ago. Effing hell. How can one person deserve all that?

I'll add it to the list of complaints.

On the whole, we've had a lovely weekend catching up with friends, and doing lots of pony riding. We've got a big show coming up with our newest acquisition so goodness knows, we need the practice!

Keeping positive has been hard this week but we keep plugging onwards. Dark thoughts in a box. In a cupboard. Under the stairs.

To quote a wonderful woman, Fuck fucking cancer.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Rest in peace Claire

Today the world lost an amazing person and the heavens gained another star.

Claire, you have been so brave and strong, and showed amazing grace throughout your journey which, in itself was far far to short. 

Thank you for everything. I will never forget you.

R xx

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

So who's in charge of the universe, anyway?

I'd like to know, as I have a complaint I'd like to make. Well, actually, several complaints.

I got the awful news yesterday that a friend of mine, Claire, who has been fighting bowel cancer for the 2nd time is losing her fight and is slipping away. She has been incredibly kind to me over the last 9 months, offering help and support despite her own battles and I know that she has done the same for others too. 

It's such a stupid thing to say, but life is just so so cruel and unfair, and I'm really beginning to get angry about it. I know it's pointless, but still, I'm fuming inside.

Yesterday was also the day that a very good friend's friend started his treatment for cancer. They have a son who is a similar age to my youngest, and again, I just can't get get my head around the unfairness of it all.

Cancer shouldn't happen to nice people, but it does, and I hate it. I hate feeling powerless and out of control, I hate not knowing what minute choices in my life might make me more or less likely to get it again, I hate the fear that I feel for myself and my friends, my children, and my family.

God and I haven't spoken for a while, not properly, and whilst I have never been a hugely religious person I have always felt some comfort from going to church and all that entails. I've even said a few prayers at home, but at the moment, the words won't come. Everywhere I look, bad things seem to be happening to nice people and I'm struggling with it.

It doesn't help that I'm starting Herceptin tomorrow and I'm bloody scared. There's a huge long list of side effects, but the two I'm really worried about are heart issues and joint pain. Actually, I can handle pain. It's my heart I'm most worried about.

I know that they wouldn't let me have the drug if they thought the chances of me having a problem were high, but I wasn't allowed into a clinical trial in case my ejection fraction drops too low (which effectively means that they only let the healthiest people in) - if that had happened they would have had to have taken me off it and I wouldn't have been allowed any more, so better to stay out of the trial and have the drug for as long as I can and hope nothing goes wrong.

I really hope I'm worrying about nothing. I only know two people who have had Herceptin. One is fine, and the other had heart issues and had to stop after 9 sessions, and she had no prior heart issues.

It's incredibly selfish I know, bearing in mind that Claire is lying in her hospital bed knowing that she can do no more, but still, I'm scared.

I have to get a grip, because I need to be brave not just for myself, but everyone else, so I'm trying to think about what Claire would say or do. I'm pretty sure that she'd be thinking "Fuck Cancer" and put a big smile on her face regardless.

Fingers crossed I can do just that.


Saturday, 18 May 2013

So, one of the most annoying things about cancer....

or, having had cancer, is that there is almost precisely zero chance of me working out what I did "wrong" to make me get it. The only reason I say almost is because some crazy part of me wants to be able to work it out, solve the puzzle, the riddle, whatever you want to call it. In a way it's my rubix cube, but one I am never likely to be able to complete. I also want to know when it started to develop, but there's sod all chance of being able to work that out either.

I've been wondering today what came first - mastitis or cancer? I didn't have mastitis at all when breastfeeding Isobel and she was born nearly 5 years ago. I bf'd her for 14 months which takes us up to November 2009 with no incidences of mastitis, or any noticeable lumps (that I can remember, but bear in mind I never really checked myself properly until last July). I got pregnant with Jack in Jan/Feb 2010 and he was born 21st October that year, and (from memory) I had mastitis when he was quite little, so probably before that Christmas, certainly before the February as I seem to remember it being v dark and cold at the same time - I thought it was flu to start with. He was certainly under 6mths old let's put it that way. 

So, assuming that there is a link between the cancer and the mastitis, I could well have had it growing inside me for about 2 yrs, which I find quite scary.

Why do I think there might be a link? Well, for no other reason than the lump and the mastitis were in exactly the same place, which makes me extremely cross that I never worked out that there was a lump there back in 2010/early 2011. (Assuming that it was there......) Lots of assumptions tonight, aren't there?

Having googled fairly extensively there doesn't seem to be a link between mastitis and cancer, i.e. mastitis doesn't seem to cause it, although it can be a symptom of the rare "inflammatory breast cancer", which, fortunately for me, isn't what I have/had. 

So, did my cancer cause the mastitis, and if so, does it really matter anyway? Well no, it doesn't really matter, other than perhaps if I'd had a scan at the time of having mastitis (as is very common in America) we might have known about it sooner..... it "might" also have remained within the ducts rather than breaking out and spreading, growing, getting into my lymphatic system......

It's amazing how one's brain rattles on when it is spurred on by fear. And Prosecco.

The fear? Well, I don't want it back. Ever, which is why I've been trying to figure out what caused it in the first place - diet, lifestyle, mastitis........dumb luck.

There's so much research to look through regarding diet I feel swamped. Everything seems to contradict itself too, which is really annoying. Perhaps I'm focusing too much on avoiding foods that might contain oestrogen? 

I've no idea whether seeing a dietician will help, but it might be a conversation worth having with my oncologist next time I see him. If any of you reading this have any thoughts I'd be grateful to hear them. 

The only option I suppose is to get as much as I can removed isn't it? 

And pray. A lot. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

So, the Moon Walk!

I did it!! 26.2 miles in 6hrs 45mins, which I am over the moon with. Literally.

I know that the time isn't important in the grand scheme of things but you know me by now - I'm competitive, and beating the time of 7hrs 30mins that I set myself to do the walk in has given me a huge boost. I think that marathons might be addictive actually, as I am considering signing up for the Edinburgh Moon Walk in a few weeks as they have some spaces left. Totally crazy? Only time will tell.....

In honesty, I think that the real stars of the night were the volunteers - it was soooo freezing cold I was glad to be walking at speed. How they managed to stand in one spot, cheering us on for hours on end I don't know. Amazing.

I also set myself the target of getting back to Norfolk for a Christening on Sunday, which gave me just over 2 hrs from finishing the walk to catch a train from Liverpool Street back to Diss, and I'm relieved to say I managed that too, and even had time for breakfast. 

The baptism service was beautiful and very life affirming. I feel rather lost at the moment, and the chance to sit down in church and think about God and all that religion offers was much needed, which is one of the main reasons for trying so hard to get back in time. That, and, of course, not wanting to let friends down.

I don't know how I feel about God at the moment, in honesty. Much of me hasn't gotten over the anger at being diagnosed with cancer in the first place. I'm not saying I'm perfect, but I'm not a bad person. I don't understand though how or why really nasty people (sex offenders, murderers etc) are allowed to walk around and not suffer with illness, when some of us have to go endure a cancer diagnosis and all that entails.

I suppose that, at the moment, the thing that I am really searching for is hope, and perhaps it is religion as well as science that can offer it to me? Who knows. All I know is that Sunday's service has soothed my soul a little for now.

I also met with my consultant on Monday to discuss Herceptin. Everything looks to be going ahead as planned. I had a blood test last week which has come back with normal cell counts etc, and the heart scan I had on the same day has shown that my ejection fraction is slightly lower than it was at 57%, but much better than before I started chemo, so the Ace Inhibitors are doing their stuff quite nicely.

We went through the list of side effects which was fun. I think that my biggest worries are regarding my heart, and the possibility of joint pain - having managed to get over the Taxotere hangover quite quickly, I don't want to be as sore as I was in March - well, not if I can possibly help it anyway.

So, I should get my start date through in the next week, and it's likely that I'll start the Herceptin in May/June and probably get two sessions in before we go to France in July.

Tonight I went to a Keeping Abreast meeting which was very interesting, and also got to see results of breast reconstruction, which was fascinating. The results are amazing, but I'm still in so many many minds about whether it is what I want to do it feels like I'm in a whirlpool. 

I definitely want another mastectomy, and I'm almost 100% sure I'd like my ovaries out too, but whether I can find the time (which probably sounds daft) to have such a major operation(s) I don't know. 

All in all I'm okay. Just a bit over wrought at times, and stressed about starting the new treatment.

The Moon Walk was such a thrilling and exhilerating thing to do - I can highly, highly, highly recommend it. We have raised £1,767 so far - I think there's a bit more that has been pledged but not yet donated, and judging by the number of times I got my name in the paper/was interviewed on the radio, we have raised a lot of awareness too.

Angelina Jolie made the headlines this week by announcing that she has had a double mastectomy and reconstruction in order to reduce her risk of having breast cancer, which has raised the profile of the disease significantly, and hopefully, will encourage people to check themselves more often, and go to their GP, even if they think they are too embarassed to talke about their breasts.

After all, no one has ever actually died from embarassment, right?

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

So many updates....

..... that I hardly know where to start.

Since I last blogged (and, apologies for the even longer absence than last time), I've been very down in the dumps for various reasons, but finally, with the emergence of the sunshine (better late than never), I seem to be coming out the other side.

I've no idea what set me off really. Probably a combination of being Neutropenic again after my last chemo, and waiting to start Radiotherapy, as well as waiting for MRI results.... too much to think about really.

The CT scan pre-RT was awful. For some reason it hadn't occurred to me that I'd have to lie half naked with scars etc on show in order for people to manoeuvre me into the precise position needed for the RT sessions themselves. Despite the extremely professional and wonderful staff, I felt extremely exposed and vulnerable, which stressed me out completely. My back also went into spasm after the CT scan which really didn't help... Hey ho.

We managed to get away to see my parents before starting RT which was lovely. It was great to be "home" again, visiting old walks and haunts, but it also made me extremely sad. So much has changed since I was last at home and I'm really not the same person any more.

What didn't help was just as we arrived at my parents, my Breast Care Nurse rang to tell me that there were some "changes" on the MRI that needed to be checked out, which of course sent me into completely panic mode. I won't keep you in suspense - a week later, I had an ultrasound which showed some milk ducts blocked with "debris" but nothing that needed to be biopsied, so an all clear for my remaining side which was an enormous relief. It didn't stop me panicking for 10 days or so though.

What it has made me realise is that I really do want another mastectomy, regardless of whether I have reconstruction or not. I am not prepared to accept the liability of keeping my left breast. Stupid really isn't it? We're born with two breasts whether we want them or not. The fact that they might cause such problems never enters our heads until the shit hits the fan. Enough is enough for me - I'm going to take back a bit of control and get rid whilst the choice is still mine.

What else has been happening? Too much to mention really, other than the fact that I've survived the RT intact and so far without too many burns. Apparently the skin and my body in general will keep reacting to the dose of RT for another two weeks, so I can look forward to my skin getting pinker and being more tired for a little while to come, but I'm hoping it won't get too much worse.

I hated going to the RT at first and in honesty, I've never got used to having to lie on a table half naked with people prodding me into position. This is usually done in the semi-dark so they can line you up with lasers for the RT, and when the lights are turned back on it felt, to me like I'd been abducted by aliens! You know those "classic" alien abducting scenes with the victim on a table, lots of bright lights, white ceiling....... just like that.

After the first couple of doses I started asking for the lights to be left off which helped a lot and reduced the feeling of being exposed. All of the teams work differently, and occasionally I was semi-covered up while they were giving me the dose on my neck, which was a relief. My back managed to cope with being on the table too - there's nothing like having to be helped up to dent the ego, but by the end I didn't get any muscle spasms at all.

All in all, RT was "better" than chemo, but it did feel relentless. Most of my appointments were in the evening - about 7pm, so the whole travel process is tiring. It's another milestone over and done with though, and I can't say I'm not relieved.

So, what's next? Well, I have an appointment to discuss my start of Herceptin on 13th May, two days after doing the Moonwalk, so I might be walking wounded! It'll be before the end of May though I think, so I'll have nearly 4 weeks off actual treatment which is much needed, from a mental point of view if nothing else. 

More than anything at the moment, I feel mentally shattered, and very brittle. It wouldn't take much for me to break but hopefully we will have calmer seas to travel for a little while.

I have finally started taking the Tamoxifen, and so far so good. I have already been having hot flushes and for a few days they eased off which coincided with starting the pills, but judging by the lack of sleep last night the hot flushes are here to stay for a while. No leg swelling yet, but I am keeping extremely active (training for the Moonwalk helps) so hoping to keep it at bay.

Should you wish to sponsor me, this is the link for my Moonwalk:

I'm hoping to do it in less than 8 hrs, but we'll see!


Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Is no news good news?

I had an appointment with my Oncologist today to discuss the next lot of treatments, which went well, and rather surprisingly, started on time! It was a huge relief to be sitting in the waiting area of what is effectly, the chemo ward, and not be waiting for someone to call my name to take me through for more poison....

Still no MRI results though, which is frustrating as I was desperately hoping for some good news by now. Apparently it's the surgical team (and my lovely surgical consultant) that have to contact me, so perhaps I'll get a letter with an appointment booked by the weekend.....

A couple of ups and downs today - the up being that I can start Tamoxifen "when I like" but of course, within reason - sometime in the next couple of weeks. This doesn't sound like much of an "up" but my joint pain has been much worse today, not to mention my cold/cough (thank you children), so any excuse to delay taking more pills quite frankly, is a good thing.

For the downs - apparently I didn't pay much attention when we discussed Herceptin. I had assumed that it would be every 4 weeks for a year, i.e. 12 doses. Not so - it is 17 doses, so one every 3 weeks for a year. Bugger. Oh yes, and I should expect some joint pain as well.... Bugger.

However, I keep telling myself: "at least I'm going to be given it at all". It isn't offered to everyone, and particularly bearing in mind my "heart issue", I'm lucky that they'll give it to me at all. I will do anything to myself stop cancer coming back, so I'll just have to get on with it, scary or not.

I am slightly proud of myself this week though, even though it's a small thing.

I've been having injections in my tummy to increase the white blood cells by encouraging the bone marrow to generate more. Well, I had to do the injection myself yesterday, and despite a bit of whinging and moping about it to start with, I did it. Without fainting. Or being sick. I even did it again today.

This is a huge result, not only for me but for my poor long suffering husband who has had to pin me down the last few times.......

Small steps, but I feel pleased with myself nonetheless.

I'm back up to the hospital for a CT scan tomorrow to help plan my RT, and will report back in due course. Thank goodness for free parking is all I can say!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Chemo - Done.

Said in the typical style of Ched Gordon Ramsey.

I feel like hell (and am suddenly very sympathetic to the biggest child who has been complaining of a sore throat all week (ahem, ooops), but I am also very relived.

Phase 1 over. Now to chase up my Tamoxifen and Herceptin start dates. Whooppee.......

Well, maybe after I've had a sleep.

Everything aches, and my heart is racing, so it really is time to sign off for a few days and take it easy. I've got a feeling this chemo is going to go out like a lion, not a lamb. Very unseasonal....

So, not that you'll notice the difference as I've been so sporadic in my posting really, but "night night" and see you in a few days!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

MRI's are LOUD!

I was expecting it to be loud, but had no idea it would be like a jackhammer going off next to me. Hey ho. Earplugs were provided, and I was v grateful to have them!

Other than being a wuss as I didn't realise I'd have to have a jab/infusion with a reactor during the MRI it went well. I cannot get over how amazing these machines are. Am very grateful for the money the NHS is spending on me. 

I won't get the results for 7-10 days, possibly two weeks, so will be keeping my fingers crossed. I do wish it had been a whole body MRI - would be nice to be entirely sure that there is nothing else going on.

I also survived my last "routine" blood test - apparently they aren't needed before Herceptin infusions, so that is a big plus Just got to survive the actual infusions!

For some reason I got really upset before and during the blood test again. Totally stupid, but the chemo ward was full of really v sick people yesterday (to my uneducated mind) so I guess it all got to me a bit. I reallly really really don't want to end up back in there having more chemo. Ever. What will be will be I suppose, but I'd give anything to stay cancer free.

Bargaining - does that mean I'm still in denial?

In other news, the biggest has what sounds like croup, so I'll need to talk about that with my team tomorrow. The smallest has also started coughing up phlegm, but isn't croupy, so all in all if I have to catch something I think I'd prefer his bug. 

Can I go and stay in a spa for a month please?

Will report back after tomorrow's chemo. Remembered to start taking steroids today, and I am so pleased I won't be having them any more. 

Trying to keep my chin up, but I have so many mixed feelings about tomorrow it's hard to describe let alone explain. 

Stiff upper lip. I will be fine, and all that jazz.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Tiredness and Low Blood Pressure

Is it possible for one to cause the other, regardless of which way round?

Chemo 5 has been average, other than the tiredness and dizziness - my husband and I both fell asleep during the session again, and I'm sure that the nurses have a bet on as to whether we'll doze through the Taxotere 3 times in a row.

The joint pain wasn't as bad this time round, which was a relief - it also possibly shows that I was far more run down before my last session that anyone realised. I am ridiculously week though, and my muscles ache at the slightest hint of "hard work".

I'm sure that this ridiculous weather doesn't help either - it has been so very very cold. The horses started to moult, then changed their minds, and the children have made an amazing amount of use of their ski suits - they have at least allowed me to get out and have some fresh air! They are possibly a bit too fit though, as I was so cold and tired the other day after 3 hours outside I had to beg them and bribe them to go indoors again.....

I know that it's meant to be the start of Spring, but is it too late for me to start hibernating? I could sleep for a month.

I met the Radiotherapy consultant last week - he's lovely, very friendly, and very positive, which was nice. He wasn't going to use RT on my neck (where there are lots and lots and lots of remaining lymph nods), and I'm just under the "cut off" point - usually, 4 postive lymph nodes would automatically mean that the neck would be included in the "zapping", but 3 of course is just under. So, I've begged, and if when I have the planning scan, which is in a CT scanner, they are confident that they can give my Neck RT as well as chest wall, without catching too much lung (risk of lung scarring) then my neck can be done too.

Hopefully the consultant didn't think I was mad for asking for it to be done, but just in case I can't have all my doses of Herceptin I need to know that we have covered as many bases as possible.

So, chemo number 6 next week. Gulp. 

I'm torn between wanting to celebrate and just wanting to curl up in a ball and hide. I certainly don't think I'm going to do much after Wednesday (which is chemo day) other than curl up in bed and watch old episodes of Lovejoy.

I honestly think I am relieved - certainly when I talk to others who are just about to start their chemo journey I'm bloody glad I am where I am. I guess I just need to concentrate on the next part of the process, focus on getting through that, then ditto with the next treatment.....

In the meantime, perhaps I'll just sleep...............

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

And we're off.

Just about to leave for Chemo number 5. I'm sure I should be happier than this, but all I feel this morning is emotional and tearful. 

Tears of joy to be near the end? Those would make sense. I'm not sure that's what I'm feeling though.

More fear, actually, I think. I've just started to get used to this horrific cycle and soon it's going to change to Radiotherapy, then after 3 weeks of daily "tanning"  it will change again to Herceptin, and I don't ming telling you I'm terrified of starting that.

I suppose for now I'll just have to get on with it - stiff upper lip and all that, but boy oh boy the pressure is starting to mount. 

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

I've just lost 4 days!

Well, what a busy few days I have had. Well, I say busy - I haven't accomplished anything, but I seem to have lost 4 days somewhere....

I felt rather delicate last week post chemo, which was expected, and by the time Thursday came round was nearly back to normal. More tired than I hoped to be, but bearable. I went to work for a few hours on Thursday, in preparation for an auction of toys on Friday. Managed to get to work by 8am on Friday morning, and again, other than feeling a bit lethargic was fine.

I didn't feel much enthusiasm to start the auction at 10.30 so I asked a colleague to take the rostrum until I felt I could take over, which worked well and I did the last hour or so, which did wonders for my sense of self worth (chocolate teapot syndrome).

After the auction I will admit I wasn't much use, and by the time it got to 3.30 I was starting to get a bit shivery so went home. Things started to go downhill after that, and my temperature start to rise for the first time since I started chemo. I managed to feed the smallest his supper - fortunately, my daughter was at a sleepover so I didn't have both of them to look after. My husband came in at 6 and whisked J off to bed and made sure I ate some soup. 

I wasn't improving much and was still freezing, so decided to go to bed and cuddle my electric blanket. Fortunately we checked my temperature before I disappeared and it read 38.2. Not ridiculous, but the advise is to ring the acute oncology team if it goes higher than 37.5 which we did, and they asked me to go in to be checked out. Bother.

By the time we got in it was 9pm. My temperature was re-checked and found to be 38.9 so slightly more serious than I thought. We needed to have blood taken, and fortunately they were able to get a paediatric nurse to come and take blood from my port and leave the needle in for antibiotics etc, otherwise they would have had to have fitted a cannula which I wasn't too keen on, having gone to the hassle of having the port put in in the first place. 

It felt like it was taking ages for the bloodwork to come back, and as I clearly wouldn't be allowed to leave I sent my poor husband home to get some supper and some sleep.

Anyhow, the first thing they check is to see whether your neutrophil count is low. Neutrophils are, so I have learned, the most abundant white blood cells found in humans, therefore if your neutrophil count is low, it indicates that the immune system may be struggling to fight an infection, be it viral, or from a specific site such as my port.

We eventually got the blood results back and my neutrophil count was much lower than expected (0.1 I believe rather than between 2.5 - 7.5) and within two minutes I was whisked into a side room so I wasn't put at risk of catching more germs from any of my other inmates. 

I was extremely relieved to be moved, as it was quite distressing having to watch the very elderly lady in the bed opposite try and understand where she was, why she was ill, and why she couldn't go home.

I spent the rest of the night barely sleeping between doses of antibiotics and two hourly obs. I think that I was about 2am by the time I had a chest X-ray and was put back to bed, and I was up at six.

Saturday was largely uneventful other than a visit from the on duty oncologist who laughed and said I must be joking when I asked to go home!. To be honest, I was feeling pretty lethargic and shattered so the prospect of lying round in bed wasn't that unappealing. Bed at home, with my own creature comforts would of course be much better, but I was so tired that I was just relieved someone else would be making the decisions for me. A definite sign, for those that know me, that I wasn't well. Monday would be my release date, all going well.

I was prescribed a series of injections by the oncologist, to encourage my bone marrow to produce white blood cells more quickly. Extremely clever drugs. The only downside is that the jab has to go into my stomach, but it wasn't as bad as I feared.

I slept on and off most of the day - I was woken lots of times for obs and new drips of ab's etc, and the odd bit of food, which wasn't as bad as I feared it might be, except for the cardboard cornflakes at breakfast time.

My husband visited between 2 and 4, which was lovely - I definitely needed a hug. He was shattered too so whilst he would happily have come back again in the evening, we decided that he would be far far better to get some rest and come back again with the children on Sunday. I started to go downhill and get the shivers just before he left, and when my temperature was taken it was just under 40 degrees. Not good. So, a good dose of paracetamol, and I sat/lay with windows open, using cold flannels and a bowl of cold water to put my feet in to try and get my temperature down.

I think that it eventually broke around midnight, but I was back on very regular obs, not least because my blood pressure had dropped quite considerably. One of the nurses told me it took her about 2 minutes to wake me up which worried her a little, but I'm pretty sure that it was just because I was so so tired. I think the lowest it went down to was 75 over something or other - I'm normally around the 120 mark..... hey ho.

Sunday was fairly unremarkable. It started with a rise in temperature and the shivers first thing, but improved rather drastically after that as I was allowed out for a walk!! Admitedly I didn't go far as it was freezing outside, but I felt rather less like an inmate afterwards. My blood pressure went up a bit after this, which made everyone a bit more relaxed about me too!

I had a lovely visit from my husband and children just after lunch. I think the kids coped really really well. They only lasted about an hour, but in fairness other than play with the electric bed and look at the garden out of the window (which, to my great annoyance you can't actually get to), there was very little to do. There were no tears on leaving, which was a relief - I think that the promise of going to a playground on the way home helped considerably. I love the fact that my children are so easy to please!

Another boon to Sunday was the discovery of the free hospital wifi! My husband kindly brought my iPad up to the hospital, so I was finally able to make contact with the outside world which cheered me up no end.

Slighly annoyingly, the shivers that I'd had for a couple of hours started to get worse - not helped by the fact that it took nearly 3.5 hrs to get 2 paracetamol from the nurses....I know that they are very busy, and visiting times make it worse because family members often want updates on their loved ones, but still, it was a bit annoying... I eventually got dosed up, and my temperature went back down without too much hassle.

I had another visit from my husband in the evening which was really really nice. It isn't often that we get 2 hours to actually sit down and talk without interruptions! We went for a walk round the hospital as well, which helped to stretch my back out somewhat. I seem to have one of those bodies that complains if it doesn't do very much..... I usually walk between 2 and 4 miles a day, so having been in hospital for 2 days I was really starting to seize up.

After my husband left I got the predictable shivers etc so had another dose of paracetamol and got ready for bed, determined to get some sleep. 

I was woken for anti-biotics at 10pm by a lovely nurse that I hadn't met before. She was far more knowledgeable about the use of portacaths than the other nurses, and confirmed that I had been right to keep asking about a Heparin flush for the port -  this is used to stop the blood clotting and blocking it up. She confirmed that she would order a dose, which she would give at my next set of obs, so around midnight.

Midnight duly arrived, and not only did I get the Heparin, but I was also told that I was going to be moved to another ward, which is all side rooms and often used for private patients! I'm not sure who I had been nice to to get this treatment, but on the basis I didn't know how much longer I would have to stay in, as I was still Neutropenic, it sounded great to me. 

I think that I was moved down by about 2am, quickly settled in, had a dose of paracetamol, and was advised I'd be left alone until 6am. Bliss! 

It was a huge relief to have been moved - for the silence if nothing else. No dementia patients screaming, and far less noise from the almost constant sound of the nurses being bleeped. I think I slept quite well, other than having to sweat through yet another fever..... I was fine by morning and felt much more human having finally had a decent period of unbroken sleep. 

You know you've got kids when the prospect of 4 hrs unbroken sleep sounds like bliss!!!

After the normal obs, shower, breakfast there wasn't a lot to do other than wait for someone to tell me whether I would be free to go or not! I actually ended up with a visit from not only the duty oncologist, but my own oncologist who was really rather jolly and had clearly just popped in for a chat! Bearing in mind how stand-offish he was to start with, I was particularly surprised to get a hug and a kiss! Everyone, I'm pleased to say, confirmed that my Neutrophil levels were now at an acceptable level so I would be allowed home once I'd collected all my drugs. What a fab result!!

I had a great visit from two friends in the morning too, which was lovely. I also managed a walk around the outside of the entire hospital which was wonderful in bright sunshine, albeit with a bracing wind.

My husband arrived at about 2.30 and we sat and played scrabble whilst waiting for my drug delivery and for my port fitting to be removed. Rather annoyingly and I suppose, predictably, my temperature started to go up and the shivers returned just as we were thinking about packing up, so I had to go down the whole obs and paracetamol route again whilst waiting for the on call doctor. Fortunately, he decided that I was capable of reacting to whatever my body decides to throw at me and agreed that I could go home anyway, on the promise that I would ring for advice if needed and return if required. Phew! A lucky escape.

We quickly packed up and headed off to pick two very excited children up from nursery. My eldest had been heard complaining to her brother that "it isn't fair, I want mummy to come home now", and on Monday morning, the youngest was wandering around asking "where's mummy?". Very gratifying - it's always nice to be missed!

All in all, despite ranging from being colder than a penguin in the Antarctic and hotter than Hades, my hospital stay wasn't that bad, though I expect that I shall sleep for most of the week. I am incredibly pleased with my port. It made life extremely bearable. I have had a cannula in before, and trying to get dressed, shower etc with those attached to you is much harder than with a needle/fitting and tube in the port. It also meant that every time I had to have blood taken there was no hassle - just a quick job with a syringe.

I have to say that I felt a fraud at times for being in there - it has been a short sharp reminder that however poorly I think I might be, there are so many others who are a lot worse off than me. I've been counting my blessings again, and there are so very many of them I feel extremely blessed. 

No doubt I'll be here whinging about how tough it is at some point, but for the moment, I shall enjoy the bliss of being at home with my family, where I belong.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

So near but yet so far....

What are we, day 4 post chemo? Something like that.

I really thought I had managed to avoid the side effects this time, but it is fair to say that I have well and truly learnt otherwise.

Thursday, felt dicey and wobbly, but not sick. Heart racing a bit and very tired but put that down to anti-emetics. Dragged myself out for a small walk but otherwise did very very little. 

Friday, had to do more due to planned weekend activities, but managed to push myself and go for a longer walk (but fortunately not unaccompanied - not even I am that stupid at the minute), didn't feel too awful other than tiredness. Managed to get food preparation done and a cake cooked, but not really hard work - not like I'm used to.

Saturday, we were shooting, and I felt okay, so I did manage to stay outside all day as one friend kindly had the biggest child, and the smallest was ably looked after by a combination of all the guns (who pushed the pushchair in the snow) and another wonderful friend in the afternoon. Lots of dizzy spells, but all in all not too awful or so I thought.

Saturday evening was lovely - the benefit of having a houseful is that everyone pitches in, helps, and I think that a fun time was had by all. Certainly, I did and it really perked me up having everyone there. 

Saturday night/early Sunday morning, and all of today though has been agony. Joint pain, mouth and throat pain (ulcers forming, I think/just generally the lining of my mouth and throat seems to be on fire) - I can genuinely say that I'm in as much pain as I was when someone drove into my car last year. Not entertained.

I've even been back to bed. Twice.  And I haven't been for a walk at all, which is rather unusual for me to say the least.

I am ridiculously disappointed, which I know is ridiculous, as I achieved so much yesterday, but it has totally set me back and to be honest, scared me a bit. 

Sorry, I know I'm wallowing, but it even hurts to blink.

My poor husband has really had to struggle to get anything done work wise today - fortunately the children have been able to go out and help to do pigs as the snow has gone, but he's going to have a long week next week. [Sigh]. 

I know it isn't forever, but I am rather a drain on resources today.....

Thursday, 24 January 2013

4 down, 2 to go!!

And so far, I don't feel like utter tripe, which is both a huge relief and very scary! Daft, I know, but I am so used to feeling rubbish so soon it's making me a bit nervous - when is it going to "get me", and how?

For now, I'm going to make the most of it and try and get outside for a walk today as it isn't yet snowing or freezing again yet. Then I might catch a nap before the children come home, and get another early night.

I fell asleep during chemo yesterday, in full view of the nurses desk which was, apparently, most entertaining! I'm sure I can blame it on copious amounts of sedatives.

Yesterday's session was okay - hectic, but okay. It did make me a bit on edge that I had to be stationed right in front of the nurses station this time - apparently this is because it is quite a nasty drug and as it's only one, via drip (as opposed to 3 drugs injected into the drip) no one stays with you the whole time, so you need to be visible and more easily accessible for a stretcher if needed......(Frick!)

Hey ho. Pillows, not stretcher needed, and we were in and out in a little over 4.5hrs. As soon as I got home I went to bed (5.30) and woke at 4.30 briefly, then about 6 I think and was up for the day.

The steroids (Dexamethosone) are behaving so far (phew) but as instructed by my GP I'm on as few calories as possible to try and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Frankly, I don't feel like eating much, but I think it is more of a case of trying desperately to ignore the carb cravings.....

Not much else is happening. My husband is, as always, being AMAZING and I have no idea how he is doing it, with everything else (work, children etc) that he has to cope with. I know he signed up for the whole "in sickness and in health" deal when we got married, but it's quite one thing saying it, and quite another having to deal with a loved one who is going through this tripe. I sure as hell don't know how he sits there watching me being pumped full of chemo in such a calm fashion, along with dealing with the sickness, stroppiness (which I really do try to keep a lid on but sometimes the stress does get to me), tiredness, and of course, he's having to pick up a lot of the housework pieces and childcare. 

Darling, if you are reading this, words can never really completely properly and utterly explain how grateful I am, and what an inspiration you and the children are to me. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it all up to you when all of this is over. Don't forget, that trip to Vegas and surrounds for our joint 40th is in the diary.

All my love, to my wonderful husband, parents, children and everyone else I haven't mentioned (there are very many),

Rebecca x

Monday, 21 January 2013

Bloody snow, heart scans, ECG's and patheticness....

Today did not start well with the arrival of yet more snow. Ridiculous. Even the children are fed up with it now.

We weren't quite up on time either as it is sooooo cold I didn't want to get up so I managed to persuade the youngest to stay in bed with a few cuddles. He does give possibly the best full on body hugs in the world, ever.

I just about got the children dressed, hair brushed and eating breakfast before I realised I wasn't at all organised, the car was still cold and not packed with nursery things, and I hadn't yet had a shower. Hey ho. Plenty of time to drop the children off at nursery, go to the GP at 9.40 then get to the hospital for 11am. All was moderately calm until I was packing my notes and realised that I had mis-read the time on my appointment letter and I actually had to be at the hospital at 9.50am. Botheration. With bells on.

Fortunately, someone must have been looking out for me, as I managed to get the children to nursery without getting stuck in snow (no mean feat with our country lanes, trust me), and myself to the hospital, with about 90 seconds to spare. Phew. Time for a sit down.

Amazingly, the amazing hospital staff seemed to be running everything completely under control and certainly, all seemed to have managed to get to work despite the awful roads - something many many many people in Norfolk really ought to learn how to do. My appointment was pretty much on time and I was taken through for an ECG which was quick and painless, then I was called to wait whilst my consultant looked through what appears to be an extremely thick file which apparently, belongs to me!

So, apparently my consultant is extremely tall, for a lady! She is however, lovely and doesn't beat around the bush at all. I decided that we'd get on well when I saw a pair of Le Chameau wellington boots just inside the door.....similar interests and all that.

Having had a look at the ECG, echocardiagram results and listening to my heart, taking blood pressure etc it would seem that my heart is improving with the drugs, despite the chemo, therefore we've decided that the lower EF is what is "normal for me" as other than a few odd feelings here and there, the heart function seems to be okay, and there is no leaking from the valve.

So, celebration time in many ways, as not only am I allowed to "exert myself" i.e. exercise normally, get on a horse, that sort of thing, but my cardiologist is also going to advise that I can try Herceptin, which is fantastic news. 

Much relief.

The only other chore to get done whilst at the hospital is a blood test via the Chemo ward, so I popped round and was seen fairly promptly. I forgot to put Emla (numbing cream) on before going to the hospital which was annoying, as I do find the big needle that goes into the port quite sore, but it will serve as a reminder for Wednesday.

Rather annoyingly I seem to have developed a physical reaction to being in the Chemo ward, which is nausea - as if I didn't already have enough of this going on already. I've spent the rest of the day feeling on the verge of being sick, so I'm going to have to develop a coping mechanism rather quickly. Very pathetic. Quite what I'm going to be like on Chemo day I don't know. Hopefully the sedatives will have kicked in by that point, as I've got to start taking them and the steroids tomorrow.......either that or I'll have to dunk my head in the snow.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Cancer is a bastard

No, not me. I'm fine.

Furious and upset, but "fine".

I've just heard that a friend who has been battling cancer for a while (understatement) has had to have an emergency operation this afternoon, and I am just so furious on her behalf that she is having to go through such a shit shit time.

So, if you have any positive vibes spare, please send them my friend's way, and tell cancer and it's side effects to go and take a flying F***.

MM, I'm thinking of you and sending much love to you and your family.

Take care lovely.

R xx

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

I am a bad blogger.....

...... so before I begin, many apologies for the lack of regularity in my blogging. I hope you're all well and not snowed in or frozen.

We've had a busy couple of weeks - I've been to work a few times, I've got a few things done for my husband, I've actually felt well enough to play with my young horse Bunny.... and so it goes.

Scarily, we're 7 days away from Chemo No 4 and, rather annoyingly, I'm starting to get nervous again. 

I'm changing drugs next time, to Docetaxol (Taxotere) from FEC. Hopefully, this drug won't make me as sick as I was on the FEC, but I shall certainly be asking/begging for the same anti sickness drug as I had last time in order to make sure!

The downside is that I've got to take the steroids this time, to try and avoid too much fluid retention, and I am dreading this. It's only for 3 days each time, but I can't get my brain round it. I am not ready to balloon, I really don't think my confidence, or lack thereof, can cope with it.

As it is, we went to a party on Saturday night and I ended up so unsure of what to wear I asked my wonderful Twitterati for help!

What doesn't help is that I've got a socking great mouth ulcer at the back of my mouth, and a horribly sore throat, so I'm definitely under the weather. I'm still planning to run my auction and sell on Friday, but I might not have a voice by the end of it.

Lack of body confidence in so many ways - totally daft, but I really don't know whether I should push myself as much as I normally do, or whether I should be "saving my strength" for chemo. 

This is so not me, at all, and I'm finding it very frustrating. Normally, I wouldn't even consider going to the Doctors for a sore throat, sore ears etc, but "normal" doesn't live here anymore.

So, what's on the cards next week? I FINALLY get to see the cardiologist, which I am "looking forward" to, as this will hopefully give me a few answers as to how I can live my life, whether I can take up running, and properly exert myself like I used to. Well, within reason at the moment anyway.

Trying to be positive all the time is tiring, but I seem to be pulling it off, which is a relief. I was even complimented on my hairstyle on Saturday night, which was rather nice.

I keep reminding myself that I'm halfway - perhaps I should start putting post it notes up round the house with affirmations and positive statements on? It would vertainly entertain the children anyway.....

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Half way there!

What a relief. 3 FEC down, and 3 Taxotere to go.

And there was no vomit this time. Quite an achievement when comparing it to last time's hourly trips to the bathroom.

I may even kiss Dr Evil next time I see him. Well, that might be over stretching the mark, but he'll certainly get a hug.

I was seen fairly close to 9am, and despite forgetting to put numbing cream on the port it didn't hurt too much to get hooked up. Actually, the chemo session didn't take too long but I waited for the whole bag of saline to go through which seemed to take forever, but eventually we got home at about 12pm.

As well as the new expensive anti-emetic (Emend), I took all of the other ones as well so must have rattled fairly, but from memory, I slept the rest of the day, and possibly night, cat napping on the sofa.

The only problems I've had this time are low blood pressure, racing heart (possibly caused by the Emend) and dizziness, which is annoying, but a reasonable exchange for not being sick. So, I've had to take it fairly steady but did manage a 2 mile walk yesterday (Saturday) and a shorter walk as well as a trip to get my blood pressure checked on the Friday, so all in all a better week.

It's a bit of a non-update really isn't it? Suvived chemo, and it wasn't awful! Admittedly, I'm still having problems eating, drinking, and swallowing my own saliva (WTVF?) but all in all it hasn't been a bad week.

I've even managed to get the Christmas decorations down on time, and without the smallest people noticing their absence, which is a miracle in itself.....


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Cover me, I'm going in

So, it's chemo day again tomorrow and I am rather dreading it. I had a blood test at the chemo ward on Monday which was bad enough and left me feeling sick by the time I left, so the thought of tomorrow is not good. 

I have prepared the children by telling them that tomorrow is medicine days so I might not be very well afterwards, and certainly the eldest seems to understand and has said that she will look after me, which is very sweet. 

I have new anti emetics to try too, on top of everything else so fingers crossed it works. I have put most of the weight back on over Christmas but I would rather lose some through hard work and exercise rather than through not eating and drinking for two days.....

So, despite not hearing from me for a couple of weeks, don't be surprised if it is another few days before you hear from me again! I'm going in, but at least this time when I come out I will be half way there. That is something to really look forward to.

A belated Merry Christmas

and Happy New Year!

I hope that yours went well. Ours did, surprisingly, or not so surprisingly bearing in mind how many wonderful people went to so much effort to make ours so wonderful.

My parents, sister, and her husband visited and stayed in a holiday cottage just down the road from us, so we had company every day, yet we were also all able to retain some privacy and space - not something to be taken for granted.

The children had a wonderful time, were utterly spoilt, and also got taken to the beach on the Sunday before Christmas, which was fab - it was one of the best days weather wise over the festive period, and my parents introduced their dogs to the sea for the first time, which was quite entertaining. At least they seem to be able to swim!

I have been spoilt rotten by by wonderful husband, which is lovely. I also received the most amazing Christmas present as well in the form of a ring.

 I'm feeling extremely guilty actually as although I've done a lot of running around doing cooking and Christmassy things, I don't necessarily feel like I've done a lot of looking after my husband and on occasion, the children. Hopefully I'll be able to make it up to them in the following months.

New Years Eve was very relaxed and we went to the beach again today, which was extremely cold, but well worth the trip. My son was rather scared of the sea though, which was odd but he was enjoying himself by the end of the afternoon and didn't really want to come home. 

We had a fab picture taken of us as a family, which is rare, and I'm not even embarrassed about my headscarf.

I haven't mentioned it before now for some reason, but I cannot tell you how wonderful the children have been about the whole hair loss, wig, mummy being useless thing. They have been amazing and seem to have taken it all in their stride. They also like to have an input as to whether mummy wears her "new hair" (copyright to the smallest child) or one of her hats - whatever works, but I can't tell you what a relief it is that they aren't embarrassed about it.

Anyway, enough waffle. Here's the photo of us at the beach today, and during the next few days it's going to be a fabulous reminder of why I'm putting myself through the hell that is chemotherapy.


Oh yes, my hair....

...... or lack thereof.....

My hair hung on pretty well actually. It started to fall out at around 17 days after my first chemo, then far more started to come out after the second one and I kept finding piles of it here there and everywhere. When I was taking the children for a walk on one particular day I'm pretty sure that I saw a clump fly past as well....

So, galvanised by the prospect of actually going bald, I booked another appointment for a wig fitting and was rather delighted to come away with not one, but two wigs, and a rather short haircut.

With chemo 3 fast approaching, I have very very very little hair left on my head, and what I have is downy soft and very light in colour. The hair on my legs is still growing, albeit very slowly - typical that I can't get out of that chore!

I don't think that I'll ever get used to looking in the mirror and seeing myself bald. I'll certainly never underestimate the thermal insulating qualities of hair again. 

On the plus side, I still have my eyebrows and my eye lashes, so I don't look too hideous when I just have a hat on.

The wigs are okay - I prefer one to the other, which is natural, so I might be a seller on ebay at some point soon. The only problem is the itchiness after a few hours, and the occasional headache which I am sure is caused by the "grippers" just above the ears. 

Anyway, I musn't complain as all in all (ridiculous sickness last time notwithstanding), things aren't too bad at the moment.

On the final plus side, I've had the traditional "headlice email" from nursery so I've got to do the children's heads again. This time, I shall miss out on the treatment as there is nowhere for the little blighters to hide on me!!