Monday, 25 August 2014

Am I still in denial?

On the basis that I'm coming up to the 2 yr "anniversary" of my mastectomy, it seems rather odd to think that I might still be in denial, but I'll describe the circumstances that are making me wonder whether it might be the case, and let you decide.

I've been having some pain in my neck and shoulders for some time and finally got time to go and see my chiropractor last week. I ended up having acupuncture* and some strapping put on to help stretch the muscles (very attractive), and left feeling much better.

*Acupuncture???? Wow - chemo is good for something - I used to be terrified of needles!!

Anyhoo, I got home in time for supper and naturally both children were curious as to why I had black strapping on my neck and shoulders - visible even with clothes on!

The words "So mummy. What do you have, exactly?" from the eldest completely flummoxed me. All I could think about was bloody cancer, although I hope to high heaven I don't have it any more. 

I'm so pathetic - I welled up and couldn't answer the question!

Fortunately, my husband was there to give the obvious answer "sore muscles which have given mummy a bad back", to question number one, and also handled the follow up from the smallest child which was "what are your pills for?". Painkillers, on this occasion, but I do occasionally get quizzed on why I'm still taking pills. (Tamoxifen and Perindopril).

Ridiculous. Given that I should be far stronger than this by now, I'm a bit ashamed of myself. 

I have no idea whether I'm still in denial, or was just having a bad day, the fact that at some point I might have to tell my children that I have had cancer absolutely terrifies me. 

Cancer is still a very scary word and some days, living under the threat of it returning is just too much to take.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


When I say "frozen", I am of course not referring to the film. If you have escaped watching the latest creation from Disney, then I shall assume you haven't got children. Not that it is a bad film. In fact [whispers] it's actually quite good, but the songs just produce ear worm after ear worm.

What I mean by "frozen" in this instance, is my inability to blog for the last few months.

I have written this in my head several times, but for some reason never managed to get to the iPad and get it down on paper, so to speak.

Since January, we have been okay, all in all, but, and I can say this now I think I am coming t the other side of it, but I have been very down in the dumps, to the extent that I have probably been heading towards depression, and I don't say that lightly.

I have continued with the gynae investigations, which so far have shown that everything is okay, however the issues that I have been having haven't gone away completely, therefore my consultant is quite keen to try and get things properly sorted out, which I am very grateful for. Apparently Mr Morris doesn't like mysteries any more than I do. So, long story short, I have another procedure coming up in the next few weeks to have a better look, shall we say, and hopefully I shall have some answers after that.

So, that has been a bit stressful.

I have also had some genetic testing done to establish whether or not I have a BRACA 1 or 2 defect. The testing started with a probability analysis, which was higher than I thought it would be, as I thought we had a fairly weak family history, with just my grandmother having had breast cancer. As it turns out, prostate cancer can be the sign of a BRACA carrier in me, and as my uncle had prostate cancer that increased our risk as a family.

So, I have had the blood test and I am delighted to say that at present time, they can find no BRACA default, therefore we might be clear from that worry. Unless it is another genetic factor that hasn't been discovered yet..... Best not to worry about it now right?

What else? Oh yes, the small matter of having completed all of my remaining Herceptin drips, all 17 in total, which I have been amazed at. With my heart issues I never expected to manage it, but I guess the Perindopril must have done something right!

I was very emotional at my last one, I must say. What was particularly poignant to me was the fact that one of my chemo nurses got married and became pregnant whilst I was there, and when I left, she was nearly full term. It was a very vivid indicator of the effluxion of time, and a good reminder that life goes on regardless.

I do miss the fabulous nurses, but not the trips up to hospital. I really hope to never have to set foot in the chemo ward again.

I have also been considering reconstruction over the last few months, and had an initial meeting with my plastic surgeon, which went well and we even had a date booked, but I chickened out a little bit, and was waiting for the genetic testing results before finally committing to the operation, so everything was put on hold. I do have another meeting booked for 10th September, so be prepared for some venting of thoughts on my blog in due course. Seriously, I can talk myself in and out of the procedure on a daily basis, such is the state of my confusion and indecision.

On another positive note (isn't it lovely that there are so many?) I managed to complete the Paris marathon in April in 5hrs 50minutes for Walk the Walk, and the Moonwalk in London, during the wettest weekend in May I have ever seen, in a slightly slower time (due to queues on bridges and bad conditions) in 7 hours. My lovely husband joined me for the Moonwalk, and it was fantastic to complete such a challenge with him. He may slightly regret saying to me that he would be curious to see how fast he could run a marathon, as I have applied for places for us both for the London Marathon next year!

I must say, that both challenges were just that, challenging, but I am very proud of the fact that I did them both within a month of each other.

Family wise, everyone is very well. My daughter finished her first year of school and, mostly, had fun, and my son is still as boisterous and full of energy as ever!

My lovely husband is still just that, despite having a tough year coping with me and hours of marathon training, and his brother having marriage issues that have resulted in his mother going to lice in Australia on and off for the next 2.5 years to help look after one of her grand children. I will extrapolate at a later date.

So. All in all, lots of positives. I have been exhausted over these last few months which is normal apparently, but also possibly down to being slightly anemic too which my GP diagnosed a couple of weeks ago. I'm waiting for the tablets to kick in and looking forward to having more energy and a bit of my old bounce back!

I think I'll leave it here for today, otherwise I'll still be writing in an hour's time.

Besides which. I need more coffee. 

Have a fab Bank Holiday weekend, and I promise I will write again soon.

I shall leave you with a photo which will hopefully make you smile!!

My children and I, and me with some hair, the day before I did the Paris marathon!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Wow. That came around quickly, didn't it?

I'm still here, plugging away.

I've been rather down though, as it happens. I am told it is normal and to be expected, but constantly being on edge, not sleeping and being weepy at the drop of a hat is a little annoying.

Lots has been happening, which explains my absence I hope.

Alex's funeral was heartbreaking, much like Claire's earlier in the year. Another full house I am pleased to say. An uplifting ceremony in the church that she was christened in only 30 yrs ago. Dammit, it isn't long enough.

So, I said that lots has been happening. 

Well, we all survived Christmas.  The children were lovely, most of the time, and it was great to see my parents.

I have had one or two things of a gynae nature checked out which appear to be side effects of the tamoxifen. I had been hoping that it was early menopause (never thought I would say that!) but apparently not. Hey ho. One more simple procedure, and hopefully things will start righting themselves. The only plus side of the whole thing is meeting another lovely consultant, who is mad keen on antiques, which meant that he and I had lots to chat about.

I have survived my last two herceptin drips, which means I have five left. The end is nearly in sight. I have an echocardiogram booked for 10th February so some positive vibes on that date would be much appreciated!

I had a couple of issues with my port last time which is worrying me in advance of next weeks drip. It was really hard to get blood out of the port which was scary. Everything seemed to go in okay, but although the nurse was trying to play it down, there will be ramifications if things don't improve next time,

I seem to have loads of appointments booked at the minute. Genetics tests, cardiology appts, treatment, updates with my consultants, and a session with a psychologist to boot.

Long story short I am a little stressed, and I really can't make up my mind about reconstruction so it's time to seek help. My poor brain has had enough and I am fed up of living in fear, so I need to come up with some coping strategies and work out a plan for 2014.

I have signed up for the Paris marathon in April (walking), and the Moonwalk in May so the training for both of these will keep me occupied. 

Putting one foot in front of the other seems to be about all I can cope with just now.