Thursday, 30 April 2009
I chose this picture today because I love trees, trees signify life. Life lives on them and through them, ever changing through the seasons.
I had my 3rd session of Epi-Reubison today. I decided to wear a red turban to match the colour of the evil drug! They had trouble getting a vein last time so I had a hot bath before going then put on some gloves to keep my hands warm. They were pleased with the information leaflets I gave them on SUBURBAN TURBAN the company I bought my turbans off. Everyone keeps saying how pretty I look in them and how glowing I am, its nice to let other cancer fighters have the opportunity to look good too.
I was really nervous about today because my veins are still sore. My arm feels as though I have done 100 bicep curls with a 5kg weight!
My blood count was down again so I had to have the count confirmed before they could go ahead with the chemo and that delayed things. Anyway, it had come up sufficiently to continue treatment. My nurse today was Natalie, only a young girl, very pretty and bubbly, I liked her and although she chose the vein on my wrist which blew last time she was confident and did the job ok.
When the poisen first entered my blood stream I felt nausious but I combatted that by talking to Natalie and smiling, it helps. She kept checking that the poisen was going in correctly which helped my peace of mind. I also noticed a tingling effect in my mouth which was a bit like eating "moon dust" - does anyone remember that? Then my asthma kicked in slightly but not enough to take ventolin just yet.
The lady next to me was 2 years younger than me and had had a mastectomy, I remember seeing her in clinic post op when I was going for a wig fitting. It was her first chemo session and when Natalie put the canula in and explained the treatment, she burst into tears. I wanted to go over there and give her a hug, I wanted to tell her that it wasnt so bad but couldnt because she seemed so self concious. I am lucky that I am facing my fight with such a positive attitude, this situation showed me today how positive I am and didnt realise it.
Joe has made a little plaster caste of his hamsters paw, I helped him to do it after school. Spangles is now neatly contained in a small cardboard box together with some hamster food, a mint tic tac and some bedding. RIP Spangles. His friends at school made him a card and all signed it.......and he says he has no friends..........
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Let me first start by saying how today was the first day I have woken up feeling "normal" with "normal" energy levels and guess what? Yes, more chemo tomorrow!!!!! Ah well such is life.
Lots of people are telling me how well I look and how glowing I am. Do they expect me to look as though I am on my last legs?! Actually, I am one of those rare people who look well when they feel ill, also, I am a great believer in putting on a show. My makeup goes on, along with my perfume then the second I leave the house.... its SHOW TIME! Thats why I found losing my hair so tough, because I couldn't hide anymore.
Today is sad for our family because we lost two of our family members.
The first was one of our guineapigs called Mouse. He was 4 years old, brindle brown smooth and had a gentle personality. He was a hit with the neighbours kids! I got him from Pets at Home when he was young. He had escapted from his pen and broken his front paw so they couldn't sell him so they wanted to find him a loving home and he got me. I knew he hadn't been well for a while. He lost weight rapidly which lead to me bringing him into the house a month ago and feeding him on a special diet, extra vitamins and food. His weight went back up to normal but things weren't right so I took him to the vet. Turns out that little Mouse was a cancer fighter too but his tumour was internal and was causing him pain. No chemo for guineapigs so I decided that it was time to say goodbye.
Spangles was a Syrian Hamster belonging to my oldest son Joe. Spangles lived in his bedroom and he took great care of her. He struggles with friends at school and he told me today how she was his only friend. She was 16 months old and had a womb infection. We took her to the vets on Monday and tried antibiotics but by this morning she had deteriated. I explained to Joe how it wasn't fair to let her suffer if she was dieing. After school, I found Joe holding Spangles with tears rolling down his cheeks and he told me that he thought it was time for Spangles to go. I took them both to the vets and it was all over peacefully.
We have decided to bury Spangles and Mouse together and we will buy a plant to put over their grave.
What a tough day......
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
I am not looking forward to chemo on Thursday because my veins are so sore. I thought they would have got better by now but they haven't. I go for my blood tests tomorrow.... I can't imagine what it will be like.
I was asked what my favourite songs were yesterday and why. There are two which you may want to look up if you are a cancer fighter like me. The first is "Without a Fight" by The Alarm and the second is "Love, Hope and Strength" by The Alarm. I have been big fans of theirs for 24 years, look at my earlier blog for what Mike Peters is doing and information on the Love, Hope Strength Foundation. The words sum up how I feel on this journey, and they should too because he has fought cancer twice so he knows the score!
I am looking forward to posting my first SPIRIT JUMP off tomorrow, the package is ready, I just need to get down to the post office then I will imagine in my head, the pleasure it will bring and when I imagine that... I will feel a warm glow in my heart which will get me through my chemo on Thursday.
Monday, 27 April 2009
Saturday was brilliant, I was tired but my mother in law came over and that gave my husband and I time to "escape" and have some time together. She brought me a beautiful Pandora bead for my bracelet so now I have the breast cancer bead, Love Hope Faith and this ball of hearts. I have promised myself a bead at every vital stage of my treatment, something to keep me going hey? Thank you to my dear friend Jan who gave me the bracelet and first bead to start with!
Sunday wasn't so good. I was tired and all the kids from the neighbourhood came over to play with my guineapigs. I don't mind at all because I love the children and its nice to see them enjoying my lovely animals but after 5 hours, and my youngest son Harry being in a devil of a mood, I had enough. One of the kids even let herself into the garden and house while I was in bed and managed to break my dog garden ornament!! I was not happy at all.
I don't know what was wrong with H. He finds it hard to understand the world and deal with people and occasionally he hits "melt down" and that is when he becomes frustrated and starts to behave inappropriately. Other parents think he is naughty, and it does look that way but it is his way of dealing with autism in an non-autistic world.
Today was better. Took Wilbur dog training and had a wonderful session. I managed to take time out to admire a Woodpecker, a Robin and a host of Swallows flying close to the ground in a field full of horses. Nature is truly amazing.
My sons hamster, Spangles is not well. She has a womb infection and her chances of survival don't look good. She has had antibiotics and I have helped him to clean her up and now only time will tell....
The reason why I called this post "Pinch Me" is because that is how I feel. I have to keep pinching myself to realise that this is actually happening to me, I am fighting cancer. I find it truly unbelievable.
My Running World magazine came today and I felt a pang of loss. Also hearing my friends talk about the Race For Life in aid of cancer research and hearing Cazza telling us about her 10K in Balmoral, Scotland. I do feel envy because I should have done my first 10K on St Davids Day (Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant) 1st march and I should be doing the BUPA Manchester 10K this weekend followed by the Race for Life in June..... its not fair is it? However, I focus on the end of treatment and then I can start again....
I am sending my first SPIRIT JUMP out tomorrow! Got my email today and there is something theraputic about thinking of other people and not yourself. This is for a little one year old girl and I have bought her a little rag doll, hope she likes it.......
Saturday, 25 April 2009
However, my little boy paid us our nightly visit AGAIN! I thought that we had got him out of the habit of coming to our bed but since he has been back at school after the Easter break, he has gone back to his old habits, complaining of nightmares. This doesn't help me at all because I then can't sleep and end up in his bed which is a mid sleeper and incredibly difficult for me to get in and out of. What do we do?..... I have decided that I deliver an ultimatum to all of the boys! If Harry continues to visit my bed then I am having his bedroom for the duration of my treatment. I will remove his bed and replace it with one I am comfortable with! What do you think?
My veins are still really sore and so are my gums and my nose. Mind you, if it means this cancer doesn't return then I don't mind so much. I just can't wait to get back to normal, to start running again and being active.
My friend is doing the RACE FOR LIFE in my name, I am honoured! I did it last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, what an experience, its amazing. I will be doing it in 2010! In the meantime; Sharon, I am putting a race package together for you!! Go girl!!
My brain is chemo today and I can't seem to think of the words I want to say so I will end my blog on that note.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
However, I received an email from a friend asking for a web site to receive more hits. They are falling below their quota to be able to give free mammograms to under privileged women.
I have hit the site today and will try to on a daily basis if I can but if you could also do the same, a woman's life could be saved.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
One of the positives of being a Cancer Fighter, is the amount of time I have to read these days. I was invited to join the Amazon Vine programme. I am given a newsletter once a month then I get to choose up to four items, usually books. I took delivery of "Wildthorn" by Jane Eagland a couple of days ago and I couldn't put it down, what a good read! Set in England in 1870, it examines the social constraints for women and mental institutions.
I also managed to get to my support group "Talk 4 Talk" a local group aimed at helping parents / carers of children with speech, language and communication difficulties. The minister for Education in the Welsh Assembly, Jane Hutt paid us a visit to hear our views and things are moving for us! I am especially proud of this meeting because it is something I set in motion when I had a meeting with our local MP Ian Lucas to try to get more help for my little boy, Harry. Things may not have improved in time for me and mine but at least I can help to make sure that other children don't go through what Harry and Joe have.
The group is amazing but sadly does not fall into any of the categories to enable funding. After today, I hope the Welsh Assembly will find funding for a unique and much needed group.
I got to collect the kids from school for the first time in ages. Needless to say all the mums came over to say hi and comment on my turban! It was a little over whelming. I followed up on my promise to take the boys to the park and I enjoyed a couple of hours chatting to another mum and watching the boys have fun. How tiring the whole afternoon was though.
I am just focusing on September/October when my treatment will be over and I can get back into the saddle of my life that was. Can't wait to start training again (running) and swimming. Mmmm, will have to think of which races I will run......
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
I had lots of compliments about my turban though and the chemo unit have asked for the information leaflet for other patients so I will take that in with me. Thank you Suburban Turban!
Really lovely day outside, sun shining, sky is blue. Have just cleaned out my guineapigs and I love to see them exploring the new shavings, hay, chatting to themselves.... it gives me such a sense of well being.
Mouse is still poorly. He eats like crazy and his weight has doubled but he is still not as chubby as he should be. (He is a guineapig). I think it may be one of two things. He either has diabetes or he has an internal tumour. I have put him on the lawn this afternoon and he has enjoyed chomping at the grass.
I am having a little rest now before I tackle my rabbits.....
Sunday, 19 April 2009
These words have featured alot in Mike Peters (The Alarm) lyrics over the years and since he is a Cancer Fighter, he can sum up what us other Cancer Fighters are going through.
"Give me love, give me love hope and strength, give me love hope and strength to carry on"
What an amazing guy he is too! He comes from North Wales (Like me) and I have been following him for almost 30 years! I am looking forward to The Gathering 2010, my tickets are booked and by then I will have finished the most radical part of my treatment.
Mike has rocked the Empire State Building, Mount Snowdon twice (third time on 4th July 2009), Mount Everrest and this October he is going to rock Mount Kilamanjaro. I have sponsored a prayer flag so Mike and his team will be carrying my name to the summitt but by then I will be finished chemo!
Mike is the co-founder of the "Love, Hope, Strength Foundation" a charity which aims to put a cancer resource centre in every country. He has raised thousands for cancer units in North Wales and indeed all over the world. A truly amazing guy.
Please check out his site and if you are able, support this charity
I am surrounded by LOVE; the love of my family and friends
I live with HOPE: that later this year my life will be back to normal and will be cancer free forever
I have STRENGTH: because I will not give in to cancer or any other negative force which confronts me.
The vein in which the chemo was given this second time is hurting. My friend says that is is nerve damage so I will ge myself checked out first thing Monday.
I saw the lympodemia nurse and physiotherapist on Friday and I have my full range of movement back in my arm. It was really interesting to learn about the lymphatic system and how to care for my affected side.
I have been really tired over the last few days. We had a BBQ last night with my best friend Jan and my lovely neighbour Jo but sadly, my inconsiderate neighbour who is attached to my house had a massive party and the noise was dreadful. My children couldn't sleep and Harry ended up in my bed. I have been blessed with such kindness and thoughtfulness and yet this family who has children the same age as ours, whose mother had cancer - did not have the care and sensitivity to think of me, going through chemo. I have reached the conclusion after 42 years of life that some people are angels, kindness itself and others are devils and should not be given air space when life is so precious.
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
I feel much brighter today. The sun wasn't shining in Rossett, we had a storm and it has been cool but I feel good. My dear friend Jan went out and bought me the most beautiful scarves, one of which I am wearing now. It is silk and feels so warm and soft on my head. I didn't realise just how cold my head could get. I lay in the bath yesterday and my head had a jolt when I rested it back against the bath side. It did the same again today when I laid my head on my cotton pillow. All these new experiences.
I do think about cancer coming back but as my friend revealed today, if I had had this type of cancer diagnosis 5 years ago, I would be in a bad situation but the fact that my cancer is HER2 pos and receptive to Herceptin means that the tables have turned full swing and I am in the best possible situation.
My pandora bead came the other day and it symbolises "Love, Faith and Hope" which is what I live by, a great partner for my lovely breast cancer bead.
My dogs are looking good but need a bath so tomorrow I think I may just take the plunge and bath them. Oh, they get conditioning treatments too followed by a blow dry, tidy up and Eau De Toilette... they get the works. I have decided that seeing as how I have this year off work as a mobile dog groomer, I am going to concentrate on my two dogs. Pickles is five years old and a complete joy, she stays close too me and apart from demanding endless cups of tea, she is an easy dog. Wilbur on the other hand is just over 1 year old and he is naughty! He barks like a wild thing when I take him on walks and it is stopping me from taking them out at certain times of the day. I am going to invest some serious time into training him now and turning him into the dog that Pickles is!
Watch this space!!!!!
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Sunday, 12 April 2009
We spent yesterday at Llanbedrog Beach where I promptly fell asleep for almost 2 hours. Joe made me a special sand chair and Harry was blowing up sand castles. Got a chill so went to the Bistro for a takeout coffee but they were short staffed and in the middle of a rush so had stopped that service but the manager took pity on me in my red woolly hat and made me a coffee anyway, how kind was that?
I thought I had come to terms with the lack of hair but the thing I hate about it the most is THE FEELING. Nobody prepares you for that, all the advice and literature I have read tells you about accepting your looks but for me, it is the feeling. Touching my head, feeling stubble, feeling bare scalp, the sensation, the touch, it turns my stomach. I know I will have to get used to this because it will be this way for the next 3 months and I will, I know I will but it is really hard and hard because I didnt expect it!
I ended up sleeping with Joe last night because we left Harry in our bed but then he took all the bed clothes and I got cold so went to sleep with Joe. I was hoping for a lie in and I got one. It was worth giving up my bed so that Harry slept in some more, he has been tired these last few days and needed some catch up.
Not sure what we are up to today. All I know is that it is Easter Sunday, the day of Resurrection and today we should be happy and thankful.
Saturday, 11 April 2009
Thursday, 9 April 2009
Never mind, I will dedicate a blog to these pictures when I get my phone back at the end of the weekend. Good news on the caravan front, the van is free next week so we can stay as long as we like..... no returning on Saturday as was orignally planned, possibly Sunday or Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday..... will have to check it out with my mum first because she has been wonderfull looking after my Rossett Zoo and doing jobs around the house. Of course it also depends how I feel as well and how I can settle into chemo week one away from home.
I am so glad to hear that friends and family are checking my blog because it takes the pressure off Jason and I, makes life alot easier and keeps f&f up to date and part of the horrible journey that is cancer.
I phoned my hairdresser Sue at Hair by James and she fitted me in. She really didnt want to shave my hair off, Bless her so we compromised and she did a grade 4 on the back and a grade 5 on the top. It looked ................ you will see the photo when I get my phone back! Scarf on and off we go!
My best friend Jan was all set for taking mum and I for my chemo session today which was so kind of her. She brought my pandora bracelet with the breast cancer pandora bead for me to wear during the session. I also took with my my Nains turquoise ring, my crystal heart from Harry, my turquoise necklace from Joe, my Pawly Bear from Jan and Chloe - all good charms to keep me filled with positive energy. Uncil Phil took us.
The same nurse, Gwen did my chemo for me today as last time. I was glad because she is such a lovely, smiley, warm person. The department was extra busy because they were fitting in Friday and Thursday appointments together due to the Easter break. It didn't help that one of my white blood counts was not as it should have been so I had to wait for another blood test and get clearance from the doctor. Once that was done, poor Gwen had alot of trouble finding a vein. The first attempt was on the side of my hand which was so painful then that was no good because the vein blew. The second attempt at the top of my hand was better but I will get quite a bruise on that.
I felt the chemo going in again, it seemed colder this time but maybe that was because my veins were hiding. I didn't get the funny sensation that I got the first time but it did set my asthma off again so I took some ventolin and that was fine.
Gwen went through all of my side effects with me and she prescribed some corsodil for my sore mouth and some satchets of "stuff" for my constipation. She advised me not to use the suppositories that the doctor prescribed because of the invasive factor and hence risk of infection. She told me to half the amount of steroids I take over the next few days because that may help with my sleep. It is all trial and error.
The journey back to the caravan was ok, quite a bit of traffic in Porthmadog which slowed us down and loads of rain! It wouldn't be Wales without rain!
The welcome I got from the boys was wonderful, can't describe the joy really! Harry rushed in and before he took his coat and shoes off, demanded to see my hair! He said he liked it, Joe didn't like the bald bits and Jason said I looked like the evil lady in Blakes 7!!!!!
I got some unexpected gifts from my boys: Joe brought me a tiny bead red heart and a gorgeous blue and brown bead necklace, Harry bought me a huge love heart made from sewn beads in cream. It is designed for wall decoration but Harry told me that it was a necklace so I had to wear it - you should have seen me!!! I will take a photo and put it on the blog when I get my phone back.
So chemo session 2 and I don't feel quite as bad as last time. My head is buzzing, I have a ringing in my head as before but no funny feeling, no sickness.... just really, really tired. Don't feel up to talking so the computer is a great medium for giving out information without having to talk!
Wednesday, 8 April 2009
The night I couldn't sleep, I saw a vibrant blue butterfly appear before me in the dark and as I looked, it changed into a flame which then disappeared.
I decided to go on Face Book and ask one of my WW NCU friends who is a medium what it meant and she told me that BLUE was a healing colour and a BUTTERFLY meant that it was sent to me with love. The funny part is that she hadn't been able to sleep that night either and had been sending me and others reiki healing. 3.30 is the time she went to bed which is when I saw my butterfly.
So, they came to collect me this morning and took me to hospital for my blood test which took all of ten minutes then home to spend the rest of the day and evening with my mum.
I have mixed emotions really. I didn't want to break up my holiday and I am sad because I seem to be missing out on so much with this cancer thing. However, its got to be done and it will be worth it if it prevents the cancer from returning, I may not be so lucky second time around!
The kids have had such fun so far. Yesterday they went to the swimming pool at the camp site. At first, I decided to stay in the caravan and read my book but then I thought that why should I miss out on all the fun so I went to watch them. I can't use public swimming baths while I am on chemo due to the risk of infection but I enjoyed watching the boys play. Their faces were beaming with joy and it made my heart feel good to watch them having fun.
Later we went to Llanbedrog beach and while the boys played in the sand I managed to have forty winks lieing in the sun. The National Trust were putting the beach huts back onto the beach and the boys really had fun making sand castles in the tractor tracks then watching the tractors come and squash them!
So.... I have had my blood test today, she bruised me a little then mum and I have enjoyed watching the guineapigs play together and then I went to Gresford Chip Shop for fish and chips.
My hair is coming out thick and fast, Harry told me to wash my pillow this morning because it was covered with hair. Although it looks ok-ish it is really starting to get on my nerves. My head itches as though I have nits, and occasionally my scalp feels tender. The hair that falls out is irritating my skin. I was going to have a go at shaving my head myself, then I thought about taking the clippers back to the caravan so that the boys could help as per my original plan but I don't think I can last that long plus once I have had my second session of chemo, I may feel even more irritated. So..... I texted my wonderful hairdresser, Sue and she is going to try to do it for me tomorrow morning at the salon "Hair by James" in Gresford
I am trying to relax now before the second lot of chemo which will take place tomorrow at 11am. Mum is coming with me along with Uncle Phil and probably my Auntie Heather. It will be good therapy for mum to see what actually happens during the session because sometimes it is worse leaving things to the imagination, especially where your children are concerned.
Fingers crossed I will be well enough to return to Pwllheli tomorrow!
Monday, 6 April 2009
My hair has thinned considerably over the last couple of days and its getting on my nerves now. I just want to take the clippers to it and get rid of it so that is one less thing to frett about. I don't like the way my head feels. My hair follicles itch, its as though as each one is dieing, I can feel it. When I scratch or rub my head to relieve the feeling, hair comes away and it's horrible. The positive in this is that I didn't realise just how dark my hair is, almost black and I like it - lets hope it doesn't come back a different colour!
I am also feeling fat and bloated. I have started to binge and comfort eat again and I have even had to block the desire to empty my stomach so that I didn't feel guilty. I need to get back in control of my life, I think that is what is bugging me!
I am fed up because we are having to cut our week at the caravan short because of the chemo. I have to return home on Wednesday for a blood test then session 2 of chemo on Thursday. I did try to delay it but the hospital didn't like that idea at all! I am dreading the session too. This time around I know exactly what to expect but I also remember the feeling and I am worried about that.
So, lets think constructively here. What can I do to regain control of my life and get my positive karma back, lets come up with a plan!
1. Get back on the wagon and re-start my weight watchers programme
2. Start a daily programme of walking each day 1/2 an hour following chemo then on weeks 2 &
3, lets aim for an hour.
3. When I get home from the caravan, get the clippers out and get rid of the hair
4. Adopt a new mantra and use it "I will be thin again once the cancer is gone, I will beat this it
won't beat me"
So, on this positive note, I will finish my blog for now.
It is my TOTM, my hair is falling out, my asthma is bad, my nose is inflamed and incredibly sore, I can't run (well I can but it drains me) and I can't swim; aaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!
Rant over! I feel better for sharing all of that with you on my blog!
I am incredibly lucky because I have a lovely husband, two gorgeous sons, my lovely miniature schnauzer dogs, my animals, some brilliant friends and I am cancer free. The chemo and radiotherapy are just mop up jobs to make sure this thing doesn't come back!
What will today bring then? We are at the caravan, the sky is grey but it is a beautiful place and I am looking forward to walking along Llanbedrog beach today and maybe visiting the Oriel Gallery.
I have just been covered in kisses by my little boy......... How lucky am I?
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Friday, 3 April 2009
Me and one of my dogs, Wilbur wearing my pink bandana. I did this photo because I needed to upload one onto the Facebook group I started called "The Bandana Brigade". The photos on the group are fab, especially the ones of the dogs! It is great having the support of online friends, some of whom I have never met in person but who are great friends none the less. I log onto the Weight Watchers NCU site regularly and am kept entertained by all the regulars: SpookyAnne, BryBry, JediBinx, MissLaura to name but a few.
This week has seen me "overdoing" it big style. Me... the fitness freak who walks the kids back and to school, swims, runs, clips dogs and walks my own dogs all in a normal day, reduced to being worn out by a run and a dog walk in a day! Demoralising, but I keep telling myself that it is only for a short space of time and I will be back to normal soon.
I had to cancel my plans to meet with one of my friends and customers yesterday because I was so tired, and I was disappointed because I was looking forward to the get together. After a mornings rest I came down refreshed and decided to clip the dogs outside as the weather was so nice. Both dogs plus friends dog are looking very posh now and ready for the summer! However, it whacked me out AGAIN and I spent the rest of the day in bed.
I was supposed to go to the PTA Pamper Evening but decided to visit briefly then return home. It would have been a lovely evening at the Grosvenor Hotel with some nice stalls and luxury treatments on offer. However, just chatting to people tires me out these days so I picked up some business cards and made a mental note to hold a bra party sometime soon. There was also a local chocalateer who impressed me, links to both are listed below.
My digestive system is almost back to normal so that is something positive this week. I went looking for an outfit to wear to my friends daughters naming ceremony at the weekend and decided that I looked fat and awful in every dress I fancied. However, I treated myself to a gorgeous sky blue mac from Bravissimo, which I will wear with linen black trousers and a loose fitting white shoes.
My son Harry made me laugh yesterday. My husband took the boys around Broughton Park shopping centre and H spotted a maniquin in a shop window which was dressed but had no hair. He said that the maniquin was how I would look when and if I lose my hair.
So back to hair loss...... I picked up my NHS wig on Wednesday and what a laught that has proved to be. So far everyone has worn it including the dog and it is AWFUL! I will not be wearing the wig unless I desperately need to but it may start to appear on memorable statues around the vicinity.... watch this space!
So, my first session of Chemo and week 2. Not as bad as week one but still so tired. I will get through this though and come out of it a better person.