Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Rings

Not very good pictures, I know but these are my most treasured posessions; my engagement ring, my wedding ring and my eternity ring.
Each ring tells its own story. Each ring marks a stage in my life.
The reason they are not on my fingers, is because my fingers have swelled and they are too tight now. My mother recently had to have her 22 carrot (really thick) ring cut off because of her arthritus and she was gutted at having to damage such a precious thing so I decided to remove mine just in case.
The engagement ring is a cluster of little diamonds, shaped into a flower. A few years ago I paid £100 to have it repaired because the claws had become worn over the ten years I had worn it. The jeweller was happy because, "Its lovely to see jewellry being worn and not kept away".
My wedding ring..... well, I don't have to explain why that is precious do I? 15 years of marriage and 16 years together. We each wear the same style and inside mine there are my husbands initials and the date we were married and inside his are my initials and the date we were married. I remember our honeymoon in Spain were this ring got its first scratch!
The eternity ring was a birthday gift from my husband to me the birthday which followed the birth of our first son Joseff. Joe was about 10 weeks old at the time, my husband misdirected my gaze and as he did so, he put the ring into Joe's lap and there it was in its little packaged box.
The only time I have not been able to wear these rings was when our second son Harry was born. I swelled up so much I just couldn't wear them for the last 6 weeks.
My mum keeps telling me to treat this chemotherapy as a pregnancy, remember what it was like she tells me, there were things you couldn't do then as well. Only at the end of this chemo, I dont get to hold a perfect little baby, I get my life!
Has anyone else had problems with swelling? I dont know if I am just fat or it is indeed the steroids. However, my ring and little fingers on my left hand are near to the veins that were damaged after my second round of Epi-R and I get pains down the fingers too.
Ah well, next time I will tell you the story of how my husband and I got together, thats a good one!


Monday, 29 June 2009

Things that make me Smile

Lots of things make me smile, more so these days as a result of my breast cancer. Gone is the stressed mum running a mobile dog grooming business. I am now able to sit and write my blog, chat with friends on face book and appreciate the life I have been given.

Life doesn't seem that great these days with all I have given up but as each day passes I am getting more and more excited at the prospect of finishing chemotherapy.

So what does make me smile?

My blogging community never fails to make me smile especially Beth, Sue in Italy and dear Barry! I love hearing your stories and how you are dealing with this beast.

My other online friends make me smile too. Pictured above is Lisa and below Beccie who have run the Race for Life this year. I mentioned Cas in a previous blog who ran in my honour.

Last night, I lay in bed and listened to a fox barking. Oh how I have missed those foxes, they haven't been around for a year or so, I used to be able to hear the mother call the baby. All the building work done in our village is slowly eroding the wild life and that, my friends DOES NOT MAKE ME SMILE!

I love the thunderstorm and last night as I battled to rescue my 8 guineapigs from the torrential down pour, I laughed and giggled as the rain soaked my tee shirt and filled my crocs. It would have been nice to have got wet hair too but that would be quite difficult as I have none.

My eyebrows and eyelashes are growing back and THAT makes me smile like you can't believe.

My dogs make me smile.... moody little Poppy (the dog I dog sit), grumpy little Pickles and silly, clumbsy Wilbur.

Playing mischievious tricks makes me smile too and winding my husband up (I do that quite a bit) it makes life far more interesting.

I like to stand in the shower and let the cool water splash down on my bald bonce, now that makes me smile.

And writing this blog..... I am wearing the biggest smile ever!

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Seaside Sunshine

My aunt and uncle have a caravan in Pwllheli and we were lucky enough to utilise it this weekend. Schools in Wrexham had a training day on Friday so we headed off on Thursday night and returned today, Sunday. The picture above is of Harry and Joe on Llanbedrog beach, our favourite place in the world. We didn't pitch up that day because it started to rain. It was nice, sitting on the beach with the rain falling, it was only when it became a down pour that we decided to vacate!
Joe loves to pose in funny ways for camaras! You can just see the fishermens cottages behind him and above that is a mountain which we climbed one year to the Iron Man statue. Beautiful views from that point and well worth the long hike up.
Harry loves to be buried in the sand and Jason was more than happy to oblige! They also enjoyed making Sand Angels on the beach and there is a 15 second video of them below.



video


We had a lovely weekend away. Saturday was so hot and Jason took the boys out on their dingy. They were gone for hours just splashing around and having fun. I sat in our little tent to shade from the sun and watched and read a little bit too. I love going to the caravan, it is a complete break away from the home and the reality of treatment.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The V-E-T !!!!!!!!!

Today was the day that Pickles went for her annual booster injection, not something I relish, not because of the cost but because she is such a fearful dog it is a trauma for her and I hate seeing animals distressed. I have tried every trick in the book and nothing worked, until that is, I found Howard Davies at Rhyd Broughton Vet Clinic.

My original vet retired and left me wondering just who I could trust with my precious little family. I tried a local vet but they botched Pickles speying and she ended up with an infection, something I have never experienced with a bitch before. Since then I have heard similar stories with this particular vet plus my friends dog Edna, died while being speyed!!! I tried another local practice but the vets were young women and seemed to be scared of Pickles. I therefore concluded that she needed a male vet.

I was amazed when Howard was able to inject AND examine Pickles, all without a muzzle although I did offer! Today he did the same then said, "I noticed that Wilbur is micro chipped and not Pickles..." so I told him that it was because no vet was willing to do that injection for her. He told me he would try and I said that I didnt want him to get bitten..... End result, one micro-chipped dog.

Not only that..... we ended the session with Pickles actually liking him! Amazing! What a fantastic vet!

I got to the practice about 10 minutes early so that Pickles could relieve herself and chill before facing the beast. I saw a wonderful sight which fed my soul; a wheat field with strewn with Poppies. How wonderful.

Sadly, I saw an old customer of mine coming out of the vet called Jenny and she has cushions disease, so sad because Tim and Sue totally idolise her! He was sorry to hear my news too but he didnt go all soppy on me or ask in depth questions. I appreciate that because once people know you have cancer they cant stop talking about it.

I stopped at Sainsburys and bought a nice bunch of Roses, Gypsophila and Carnations for my sons dinner lady, I bought some Heroes chocolates too so that they could share them amongst themselves. I appreciated the care that she took of my son yesterday with the missed lunch box, apparently she made some chips (fries) especially for him and a tuna sandwich without mayo. He was quite upset by all accounts but she calmed him down and I appreciate that so much. In all the years my children have been in school I have never forgotten to give them lunches, snacks and they have never been late for school. Since this cancer thing its happened but I think my kids are growing stronger because of it.

I read the riot act last night and Joe ended up making his own sandwiches and putting his lunch box together and H-Bomb didn't do a bombing raid last night. Result???? They had a happy and affectionate mum this morning!

On that note, I will end my blog because my guineapigs need cleaning and I need to pack for a weekend at the caravan....... Llanbedrog here I come!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Lifes Little Pleasures

My 6 female guineapigs, L-R: Betty, Jessica, Snowdrop, Jilly, Elsa & Polly


I didn't get much sleep last night because a certain Mr "H" decided to join us (again) and managed to bump my lumpectomy scar a couple of times. Sleep was distrupted so I ended up watching two episodes of Ghost Whisperer back to back with my dogs.

When it was time for normal people to get up, I went to my bed instructing everyone to get sandwiches, snacks, breakfast etc for themselves. Turned out, they didnt and Joe didnt have any lunch. School tried to phone (I ignored it because I was whacked) and so he had to have a school lunch which he doesnt like because he is so fussy with food and hygiene! Aaaaarrrrrggghhhh!!!!

I have read the riot act!

No more H-Bombs in my bed because if there is a lock is going to be fitted.

Joe must make his own sandwiches the night before school and make sure they are packed in his rucksack, mum and dad cannot be expected to do this anymore.

We had a minor revolt from Joe until he realised that he had the power to pack his lunch box with food of his choice (sanctioned of course).



Apart from being totally wiped out due to lack of sleep and the side effects of chemo which still continue to haunt me, I did actually manage some of lifes little pleasures! The mum's at school clubbed up and gave me some vouchers for Karma Spa so because I was exhausted I booked a pedicure there and had a wonderful morning. The picture above is of the end result. My toes have never looked so pretty. The session was completed with a Strawberry & Pineapple Smoothie and I sat watching a little bird who had flown into the resting area and was eating crumbs off the floor.

It was 24 degrees today, so hot and lovely. I tried to sleep but couldn't. In the end I decided to potter around in the garden with my guineapigs. I actually lay next to them on the grass listening to their squeaks and grunts, they really are funny creatures! I have added a video of Elsa and Jessica below taken yesterday following Elsa's much needed bath. One of the guineapigs keeps "cutting" her hair so its not as long as it should be.

Ralph and Bramble enjoyed the guineapig free freedom of the shed while Duffy stayed at home making her nest!

I really do enjoy my animals, they give me simple pleasure but are helping me to cope with the tiredness and discomfort of chemo. Now, with that in mind, it is time to put my guineapigs back into their inside homes to keep them safe from foxes, cats and the damp!

video

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Walk to the Doctors

Wilbur in my garden


I was so shocked! I phoned the doctors surgery this morning, only to be told that I could have an appointment this morning! I stressed that this was not the "usual" emergency but they confirmed that, yes indeed, I could be seen this very morning.

I decided to walk the mile or so into the village because t
he sun was shining and its a lovely walk. Houses on one side, fields on the other and the trees, including "the Bottom Tree" (another story). I am glad I did walk because I was able to appreciate lots of the little things in life. Fallen pink blossom the shape of hearts, squabbling sparrows, wild flowers in the hedgrow.... it was a lovely walk.




I also saw lots of people, had lots of waves from cars and my friend stopped me for a brief chat.

The doctor was fine, matter of fact, got my prescriptions and I met my friend who has had a masectomy and a second operation to remove all her lymph nodes. She starts chemo on 1st July. She waited for me and we had a really pleasurable walk back up Station Road and then into the grounds of Christ Church where we took a seat
amongst the grave stones, long grass and butterflies.

I often used to sit there in my lunch hour when I worked in the village. There is so much wild life there and wild flowers and so peaceful.

When Harry was 6 years old, and we attended a memorial service for the war dead there, Harry didn't put his poppy on the cenotaph.... he placed his on the grave of the unknown soldier and saluted.

So many memories in this church and so many happy times.

We chatted for ages, then the sun moved on us and it was too hot to remain. Next stop was the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions then the Village Store (Gwens) because I needed tea bags and my friend fancied an ice cream.

We walked through the park called "The Green" and as far as Lavister which is home for me. My friend got onto her bus and we parted ways.

What a surprise day I had. I hadn't bargained for a doctors appointment today or such a wonderful walk into the village and to top it all, such a lovely hour or so chatting with a friend.

I am so glad to be out and about, so glad I have eyes to see, ears to hear and legs to walk.

Happy days.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Photos

This photo is of my very best and dearest friend Jan and myself at her sisters 40th birthday party last December 2008.
Same party but this picture is of my other dear friend Clare and my husband Jason
Again, same party and another dear friend Rachel (Rachel is really beautiful inside & out)
Christmas 2008, Flight Commander Harry Llewelyn with Pickles
Halloween 2008 - Harry and Joe



I found my camara and decided to download the contents. Oh what happy memories came back so I thought I would share them with you, enjoy!

I am going to try to download a video off the camara which is of my lovely Miniature Schnauzer Pickles who LOVES tea. There is no sound on the footage but what I am saying to her is "would you like a cup of tea?" she replies then I say "oh dear, too hot" and she replies. Her quest for a cup of tea is quite funny!

video

Sunday, 21 June 2009

I Won Something!

A couple of blogs ago you will have read my story called "The Summer of Social Good". This was a competition I entered via Mashable and it was about how the social media has helped me and otheres. Anyway, I just wanted everyone to know that I won it!!!!!!

I am amazed that I won because I don't feel that my story is particularly inspirational but obviously, Mashable did and I am still quite shocked!

The Wrexham Race For Life event was today. I should have been running it. Never mind, my thoughts were with everyone running a Race for Life this weekend. Particularly my online friend Beccie who shared her photos on face book today. Well done GIRLS!!!!! I don't feel too sad, I looked at my medal from last year and I will get one again next year!

I did go to the school summer fete and I wish I hadn't. Everyone from school hadn't seen me for a while so I got swamped by well wishers and people wanting to know how I was getting on. I didn't get up to mischief as I mentioned I might because I was a little overwhelmed to say the least!

Kareoke, pizza and tapas followed the fete which was fun. However, I have paid a high price today because I drank some wine and it had a bad effect on me. A long, cold shower later and lots of feeling ill, I am up and about wishing I hadn't been so silly!


Friday, 19 June 2009

Post Chemo Melt Down

After Chemo yesterday, Jason and I treated ourselves to a lovely lunch at the Alyn Pub. I had collected loyalty points and so we both had a two course lunch for £6.95 ($4.34). Jason had deep fried black pudding with a chilli sauces on a bed of salad followed by lamb kofta, naan bread, chips (thats fries to you Americans - but these are 1/2" thick), salad and cucumber dip. I had the mushroom soup with fresh roll and breaded skate, with chips (fries) and peas. I passed the roll and half the fish to Jason but enjoyed what I had. I knew I was going to be feeling ill later so it was nice to have "us" time while I was relatively OK.

I did reach burn out by evening though and ended up in floods of tears. My legs and arms became weak, my head buzzed and my whole body felt possessed - weird, I didn't like the sensation and where ever I went I couldn't get comfy. I settled at the dining room table, head on table looking out onto the garden - lovely!

Crying did me so much good though. I went for years without being able to cry but now I can, it is such a healing thing to do. I was crying for feeling useless, ill, feeble - hey - I don't have to spell it out but most of all I just wanted to get out of my body. I didn't want to die, I NEVER want to die, I just wanted to get out of my body....... Has anyone else felt like that?

I didn't get any sleep really. I cuddled with my dogs on the sofa, wrapped up in my blanket and watched a dreadful horror movie which was funny in itself! At about 5am I went back to bed and slept until 7am.

Now.... despite lack of sleep..... despite my digestive discomfort.... I feel good. I think a walk with the dogs to the woods is the order of the day!

The worst part about feeling ill (any illness really) is letting my kids down. Last night, Joe had a kiddie problem with something he had purchase with his pocket money. Jason tried to sort it out for him in a daddy way..... totally different to a mummy way...... and it really spoilt Joe's karma. He ended up crying but I pulled myself together, we talked and I sorted it out for him.

The other day, I don't know if I blogged this or not but Jason was taking Joe out for a bike ride and I had a medical crisis so it had to be cancelled while I either got into see my GP or to hospital. Luckily it was the former and after a very embarressing examination, I was releived to find out that a haemorroid had burst and it wasn't bowel cancer...... its so easy to get paranoid! Joe just couldn't understand the situation and said "but you haven't had chemo today!". Either he doesn't understand the situation or I am doing a stirling job of shielding my kids......is that a good or bad thing?

I really feel as though I have the devil in me at the moment. The mischievious side of me is breaking out and I am itching to have some fun, like the other day at the Grosvenor. Hey, I confessed this to my mum a few weeks ago and we giggled together like children, she said "so you do that too" and I confessed my sins and she said "I thought it was only me, so the Jones' spirit lives on...." I can confirm too that it has gone onto a 3rd generation with Harry, my youngest.

So what devilment can I get up to..... I have had a little bit of fun on Facebook but....... shall I pretend to be depressed at the school fete on Saturday and report back on the reaction????? I will keep you all informed....

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Session 6/12: Chemo over for 2 weeks

I woke up this morning like a bear with a sore head. I could feel the tension in every part of my body and I was being completely encompasse in depression.

Parking was a nightmare at Wrexham Hosptial. Again, I said to my husband "they should have designated parking for chemo patients...." He dropped me off while he located a space. He ended up squeezing our little Noddy Mobile into a space which was tiny because somebody had decided to take two spaces for his car!!!!!!!!

As I walked into the hospital I felt so irritated by everything..... the parking, hospital, the rotating bloody doors... everything! As I walked I muttered "I hate this place, I hate smiling, I will not smile, I will not be positive cos I dont want to be". By the time I got to the Shooting Star Unit, my temper was quiet and I was on the road to positivity again.....

Hubbie joined me and made me a lovely cup of tea and then the ordeal began.......

Luckily I was surrounded by positive souls who wanted to chat and smile, the last few times have been awful. The nurse who put my canula in was new to the ward. All the nurses target the vein on the side of my wrist, it is still marked by the last two canulas and I was glad really because the veins on the top of my hand are still sore and bruised from two months ago.

Poor nurse, that vein was "wobbly". "Is that normal?" I asked suddenly starting to envisage my arm turning into a state of jelly. "oh yes, its fine" then the pain....... oh I clutched that comfie chair so hard I swear I left nail holes (well I would have done if my nails hadnt split and had to be cut off). She was so sweet, the vein had wobbled and she couldnt get the line in so lovely Natasha, so gentle, was called and yep, she inserted the canula with a minimal amount of pain and ...... oh ...... thank you Natasha!!!!!!

The rest of the treatment went on just like the previous week...... prickly bottom (like sitting on a hedgehog), heady lightheaded feeling, cold arm, then the pepper up my nose and on my brain!!!!!!!!

However, when I left the hospital I felt chilled, relaxed and back to positive old me again. All done for two weeks, yippeeeeeeee!


I must tell you this story...... The other day, I went out and got all hot and bothered under this scarf of mine so I took it off and the reaction........well........ being the actress that I am, I went along with my new role. I shuffled, looked sad and tired, stumbled a bit and sighed. The response???? It was soooooo funny (am I sick?) I got caring stares and smiles, people were more polite and sympathetic. Me? Oh what jolly good fun I had!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Tired and Naggy

I don't always blog twice on the same day but I am about to go and sit with my dogs and watch some awful telly!

I am feeling really naggy, short tempered and tired. I have that nasty taste in my mouth and I have had enough for today.

I felt really good today, the best since I started chemo..... guess what I did? Yes, I over did things! Also my lumpectomy scar is aching like crazy, another sign I have done too much.

Oh.... and I almost forgot...... more chemo tomorrow - thats why I am getting naggy!

A History of Wales (My country)

Many people don't understand about my county of Wales! We are a seperate country from England! Great Britain comprises of England, Scotland, N.Ireland and Wales.

We are a country in our own right with our own language and culture. Even facebook categorises me as living in England!!!!!!

We are descended from the original inhabitants of this island called Celts. Celts were pushed into the hillsides and outer areas of the country and can be found in Cornwall, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and France. Our language is reputedly the oldest language in Europe.

Within living history, my family have received punishments for speaking in their mother tongue. Indeed, my older brother was attending a welsh medium school and was discriminated against because our dad was a non speaker. Needless to say my mother pulled him out of the school and me with it. This is quite amusing because on my fathers side, he can be traced back to a wealthy family within the Wrexham area over hundreds of years. Also, our family can be traced back to Irish lords. Can't get more celt than that even if he doesn't speak the lingo!

The welsh have been discriminated against for decades so you can understand why I have a low patience thresh hold with other newer minority groups who claim discrimination!

The welsh were made up of principalities, each with their own Prince or tribal leader. In the 16th century, the bards were tricked by the English into signing the Act of Unification, which is why we are not perceived as being a seperate country and why our flag is not reflected in the Union Jack.

The bards told the English King that they would only bow down to a Prince born on Welsh soil and who did not speak a word of English - how arrogant!!!! So the King sent his pregnant wife to Caernarvon Castle and his son was born. The King presented the child to the bards; born on wels soil and not able to speak a word of English, and so the unification was agreed. This is why to this day we have the Prince of Wales and why the ceremony is carried out in Caernarvon Castle (North Wales).

Our history can also be linked to the London Tower. You have heard of the crows who must never leave the tower? Well, that myth or legend comes from the Welsh. There was a welsh King called Bran (meaning crow) and he was defeated in battle. He told his men to bury his head looking out to see on the site of the London Tower and Britain would never fall to the enemy. Reputedly, his head was removed and Britain was conquered by the Normans. It was reinstated and peace has remained on our island. King Bran - Crow, that is why the Crows should never leabe the tower.

Incidentally, the castle of King Bran is in Llangollen, about 10 miles from me and is a wonderful walk out. It is called Castell Dinas Bran but in English the slang name for it is Crow Castle.

So, my potted history of Wales.

Now my fellow bloggers.... never refer to Wales as in England and remember dwyn gwraig cymraeg, peidio dechrau ddraig goch!!!!! It means "I am a welsh woman, dont wake the red dragon"


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Summer of Social Good




In a previous life my career was as a Buyer. I remember those days when we had telex machines, typewriters and one computer between ten! Indeed, my first job was working for a small company which produced modems and multiplexers, allowing computers to "talk" to each other.

My job involved taking the cost out of the product. A very exciting job, very stressful and one which meant I had to use all available tools, I was therefore, up to date with computers!

My children came along ten years ago and my life changed dramatically. I decided that a change in career was in order and set up my own business as a mobile dog groomer which meant that I could work the hours I wanted and around the children who were and are my primary concern.

My business was so successful that I didn't have to advertise, indeed, I began to turn business away. So, having a successful part time business to run, two children one of whom has special needs meant that my life became a bit of a roller coaster to say the least. This meant that I didn't have the time or the patience to keep up to date with computer technology and I officially classed myself as a "Technophobe" - strange when you consider the industries I have worked in!

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on 4th February 2009, stage 3, HER2 Positive and hormone receptive, in short AGGRESSIVE! On that day, my whole life changed in a way it never has before. It was life shattering. Suddenly my business had to be put on hold due to risk of infection, my plans for my first 10K running race on 1st March were ruined. I had planned to do the Race for Life again this year, the BUPA Manchester 10K in aid of the National Autistic Society, followed by a half marathon in preperation for the Snowdonia marathon in 2010 which I was going to run in aid of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, a cancer charity. I was no longer able to swim, take saunas, the treatment leaves me tired so I can't walk the dogs as I used to. I had to relinquish control over my sons special needs.... I felt as though my life was over.

Then, I was given a present by my friend which has changed my life and current situation for the positive. She gave me a laptop.

Suddenly a whole new world opened up for me. During my recovery from my operation and through chemotherapy I was and am able to take my laptop to bed and communicate with the world via Facebook and my own Blogger (blogger.com). I have become adapt at downloading videos, music and pictures! So, when I am too tired to talk, I can communicate online.

I have made so many friends via Facebook, Weight Watchers NCU site and my blog. I have friends who are running the Race for Life in my name, I have received care packages from friends I have never met and who live in America, I receive messages every day. I always find something on facebook or the blogs I follow which make me laugh or smile. Anyone who has battled with cancer knows that laughing and smiling are the strongest weapons.

My blog has been theraputic for me because I am able to share my experience with others. I have posted pictures of my scar and of my balding head in the hope that those starting out on the War with Cancer will be reassured by them. I have raised awareness of the Love Hope Strength Foundation, established by rock musician Mike Peters of The Alarm whose vision is to have a cancer resource centre in each country. I have shared his music with my online friends and we have all gained strength from it.

My online friend in America works for Relay for Life, something I had never heard of before and because of her, I am taking part in an event on 12th September 2009 as a SURVIVOR two days after my final round of chemotherapy. I am also signed up to a newly established charity which can be found on facebook called SPIRIT JUMP. The aim of the charity is to lift peoples spirits during their cancer fight. I am lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends, neighbours and famliy and so I don't feel the need to get a "Spirit Jump" myself but I am signed up as a "jumper" and as such, I send out cards and small gifts to those in need. It helps to think of others rather than yourself.

So......... Summer of Social MEDIA Good............ At a time in my life when everything I lived for was taken away from me by CANCER........ I found the social media and it found me. As a result, I am doing good, I continue to help others, I still have a purpose and I am winning my fight against Breast Cancer. As my blog says "Cancer Ain't Gonna Beat Me"




Monday, 15 June 2009

Acceptance

I think that one of the things you have to master when you are fighting cancer is acceptance. You can't beat yourself up anymore about not getting things done, you just have to accept that this is you for now and get on with it.

I have been feeling pretty ill with chemo this week and I have more scheduled for Thursday. Can my veins take it?

I have plans for the rest of the year. I am hoping to go on a young womens course about Breast Cancer and the treatments. I will do the Relay for Life in September as well and I am looking forward to organising a party to celebrate the end of my radical treatment and to raise money for my chosen cancer charities.

I am enjoying getting to know my computer and learning lots of new skills, its quite fun!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Inspirational for Cancer Fighters

I know that I go on about Mike Peters and The Alarm but he really is an inspiration to all Cancer Fighters. This you tube video is of him, fellow cancer fighters, medics and musicians performing on Everest in aid of the Love Hope Strength Foundation - fighting cancer. I actually met him just before he went on this trek in a Wrexham coffee bar and he lifted my spirits on a very bad day. Now he continues to keep me fighting....

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sess: 5/12 - CMF new chemo regime

One thing I found out from the lecture yesterday was that chemotherapy drugs came about after the second world war when they were trying to find a cure for leukemia which is caused by an overproduction of white blood cells. They realised that during the first world war, when mustard gas was used, the vicitims of the gas attacks had reduced white blood cell counts. They then tried a diluted version of the mustard gas and hey presto.... the start of chemo. This proves my POLLYANNA theory on life..... some good always comes from bad you just have to look for it!
Anyway, back to my original post. I started my new drug regime today of CMF which is a combination of chemo drugs rather than just one. I opted for intravenus anti-sickness again which despite the hedghog syndrome is much better than the pill form.
The drugs are administered in the same way. Hands in hot water, good veing located, canula inserted (owch) then the drugs are syringed into the line one by one. Two are clear and one, small one is bright yellow (good colour for my pandora bracelet!).
I felt quite woozy and my nose felt as though pepper had been blown up it then finally my chest felt as though someone was sitting on it but that was my fault really because I didn't take my ventolin before hand.
I am feeling quite rough at the moment but I can't make out if its the steroids or the chemo. I will take some sleeping pills tonight along with movicol!!!!! and see what tomorrow brings......

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Sess 4/12 Information is Power!

I went to a good lecture this afternoon on drugs used in breast cancer and the lecturer was a retired oncologist from Wolverhampton hospital.
It was a small group and was funded by Breast Cancer Care held at Nightingale House in Wrexham. The lecture over ran by half an hour, an indication of just how good it was with questions and answers darting around the place.
Most of the women there were through the menopause, myself and two others being the youngest there. The lady to my right had been through the process two years previously, it was so nice to be told that CMF wouldn't be as bad as Epi-Rubicen from somebody who has had it. I also noticed that her veins were badly scarred and paled mine in comparison. War scars! The other lady had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and had yet to find out her type and what type of treatment lay ahead of her.
The other great thing I got from this session was an introduction to a local support group which meets once a month at nightingale house. I will definately be going on 7th July because they seemed like a lovely bunch of ladies.
I was able to learn all about cancer cells and why all of this treatment is thrown at us. It was encouraging to know that with each round of treatment be it chemotherapy, radiotherapy, herceptin and hormonal treatment, the chances of re-occurance are reduced significantly I am a bit fed up though that having a life time of being a slave to my hormones I will continue to be so for a number of years yet. Diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in my 20's, fertility treatment so that I could have my children, using the pill to control my raging hormones and give me a quality of life and now this....
However; I am a SURVIVOR, I have HAD cancer and now it is gone (or if it isn't it soon will be with all the poisen I am having pumped into my body).
I almost didn't go to this lecture but am so glad I did. My advice to anyone reading this blog is that if you ever get the offer of events which lead to enlightenment then GO. Not only will you learn things, you will get to meet interesting people and make a difference!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sess 4/12 Race for Life



Last year I did the Race for Life and helped raise money for cancer. Little did I know that less than a year later, I would be a cancer fighter.


At the start of the year when the dates were released I started the process of entering again but something kept holding me back. I did the same for the NAS 10K in Manchester, got the forms but just held back on sending them off. I then found out that I had breast cancer and decided that I would take a year out of running.


I was so disappointed because the Race for Life is such a wonderful event. An all woman race with women of all ages either running or walking to raise money for cancer. I am so proud of the medal I got last year.


BC (Before cancer) I was also doing Weight Watchers because I had 2 stone to lose. I had put this weight on as a result of a hormone imbalance caused by the meriner coil! (another story). I am part of a fantastic group led by Dawn who meet at Gresford Methodist Church every Friday morning and also, I had built up a fab friendship base with weight watchers who use the New Community User page. Most of these friends are my face book friends and we keep in touch regularly.


Anyway, some of the WW NCU's are doing the Race for Life and some of them are/have done it in honour of me! the first one was Caroline in Scotland who took part in the biggest ever Race for Life. She is pictured at the top of my blog. Thank you Caroline, you are a star!


Sunday, 7 June 2009

Sess 4/12: Getting Good at This!

My little Harry dressed as a Knight on holiday in Cornwall, Aug 2009


I am getting good at this blogging business... to think that I was scared of computers! Now, if I had never got breast cancer, I would not have learnt how to do this. I woke up today thinking how much I was missing swimming and running but I will do that again, in October and for now I am reading, blogging and having fun in different ways.



My philosophy on life is that no matter how bad things get, no matter what bad things happen to you, there is always something positive. I call it "my PollyAnna Syndrome" - always look for the good in the bad.



I have made so many friends whilst blogging, people who I have never met in person but who brighten my life and make me smile and giggle. I am going to list all the things I am doing which I wouldn't be doing if I hadn't got cancer


1. Dog training with Wilbur: Its such fun and has changed the dynamics of our "pack"


2. Included my hubbie in dealing with my childrens disabilities. Its great not being a lone crusader!


3. Reading: have read so many good books, its great. I will try to put some on this blog


4. Blogging: I was too scared to do this before but now it is so much fun and theraputic


5. I have made great friends who are a tremendous support


6. I actually stop these days and take time to watch the birds and the bees (forget the pun)


7. Have the Gathering 2010 planned and I wouldn't have bought tickets if I hadnt got cancer


8. Reviewing books which is great fun and I am part of the Amazon Vine programme


9. I am learning to ask for help when I need it and not do everything myself


10. I am thoroughly enjoying my rabbits and guineapigs, they are such good fun


11. I am signed up to the Shrewsbury Relay for Life as a Survivor on 12th Sept 2009



Keep watching this blog, I may yet add to the list of things I am doing that I wouldn't have done if I hadn't got breast cancer!


Its a cold day here in North Wales but at least the rain has stopped. My dogs are worrying about the bread I have just put on the bird table, they watch it like hawkes, willing the birds to drop their bounty. Its quite funny really because they work as a team, Pickles at one side of the bird table and Wilbur at the other! I am so lucky to live where I do because we are surrounded by trees and birds. Some times I clamber into Harrys bed which is raised up high and watch the trees sway in the wind, it is very theraputic.


So, my chemo symptoms are none existant for the moment except for the tiredness. More chemo on Thursday though but its a different type, fingers crossed the CMF spares my digestive system!

Oh, and I know I have shared my pandora bracelet with you all before, well, I wanted to show you my latest bead which my mother in law Margaret bought me yesterday to mark the start of the new type of chemo...... its a cute ikkle rabbit!








Saturday, 6 June 2009

Sess 4/12: I love my head!

When I first lost my hair, I was repulsed at the thought of touching my bare skull. The thought of washing it, touching it, looking at it...... urgh!

Now, I find myself playing with my scalp, especially at the base of my skull where the skin isn't taut but soft and pliable, like baby skin. I constantly touch my stubble which feels like sand paper. Is it growing yet? I don't know but I live in hope (die in Caegwrle - sorry guys, a Wrexham joke).

What adaptable creatures we humans are!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Sess 4/12: Clipped the Dogs Today

Wilbur, Poppy & a blurred Pickles in Darland Woods


I had forgotten just how much I love my job.



My two miniature Schnauzers (Pickles & Wilbur) were looking rather like teddy bears and suffering because of the heat. Actually, with Pickles fantastic beard, she looked more like a mountain goat!!!



I decided that today was the day I was going to get them sorted out. So I got out my old tools and set about tidying them up!




Wilbur is a darling. He adores the attention and just stands on my table patiently waiting for me to finish. Pickles however is another story, she is a proper little madam. I decided to leave her ears until last because she always gives the performance of a life time and today was no exception.




However, feeling better than I have in weeks, remembering just how much I love my chosen career, I had the patience of job as I set about making them pretty.




Wilbur stood below my table, catching Pickles hair as it fell then spitting it out, yuk!




Lastly came my friends Cairn Terrier, Poppy. She is a naggy little pooch and snaps all the time. However, I managed to groom and trim her without any major jaw snaps.




So now I have three very cool, very smart dogs and I feel great because I have made an achievement today!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Sess 4/12: Love a "Normal" Day

I was so tired after last nights lack of sleep. I returned to my bed only to find my little visitor in residence! However, I did manage to get a little sleep but had some rather vivid and scarey dreams. I dreamt that I suddenly had a lovely little baby girl and I had to go and buy her nappies, bibs and bottles but in the mean time, I lost Harry. I looked for him everywhere and somebody had taken him away. I woke up feeling the terror and grief, it truly was horrible.
Anyway, I spent a day lounging around reading until mid day when it is time for my support group, Talk 4 Talk. I returned my books to the library and took some new ones out, it is so handy that our group meets in the rooms there! I saw a beautiful bead butterfly keyring which made me think of these blogs and brought a big smile to my face. It was so lovely to meet up with mums and talk about something other than me and cancer. It was also nice to talk to mums who understand the problems we experience with our special children. I left the group with up lifted spirits and feeling like a normal person again! hurray!
My symptoms have been better today so I took a chance and stopped taking the medication for heartburn and constipation. Fingers crossed all will continue to be well until chemo a week on Thursday.
Anyway, I conclude this blog by telling you what a lovely day I have had because I have my family, my boys (nobody has stolen Harry) and I had a normal day :0)
PS: so sorry to go on but I have just nominated Mike Peters as one of the most outstanding North Walians - lets hope he wins!

This is Mike Peters with his wife Jules and his two little boys - what a great family!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Sess 4/12: Can't Sleep

It is the middle of the night and I can't sleep.


No Harry in bed tonight so I can't use him as an excuse!


I have exercised today, thought that may help however, I just think that the chemo has played havoc with my system.


Tomorrow: I will take a sleeping tablet!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Sess 4/12 - Music

A HUGE thank you to Daria who told me how to upload a video from YouTube, I have been trying to do it for a long time with no success and now, thanks to her instructions I have done it!!!

You are probably sick of hearing about Mike Peters and The Alarm but they are a band important to me for lots of reasons. I have followed them since my teens and the band are from North Wales so are local to us.

The important part of The Alarm is the music, Mike Peters is a poet and a musician. As I follow his albums from Declaration and Strength to the latest Guerilla Tactics his music has followed his life, his voice growing richer with each passing year.

As a punk goth in my earlier years I could identify with "Father to Son", as I married my husband my thoughts were with "Walk Forever By My Side" and "Breathe". As I battled depression in recent years my anthem became "Without a Fight" and now I share the battle with cancer I live with "Love, Hope and Strength" and "Fight Back".

If you ever get the time to listen to the lyrics of these songs, they tell a story in themselves and you will know exactly why I share this connection with Mike.

Music is an important part of my life. I thank God for my hearing that I can hear it, my feet so that I can dance to it and my heart for music being able to stir my emotions.