Hold onto your hats, it's going to be a bumpy ride! Thank you for stopping by and joining me for a while. I've recently been juggling (as all mums do) more balls than I am comfy with, and just when I felt like a professional juggler - BAM!! I get hit with this - BREAST CANCER!! I'm hoping that writing this blog will serve as some sort of therapy for me, to get me through this 'rough patch' ahead.... if it's interesting, entertaining, thought provoking or helpful to anyone else out there then that's an added bonus. If you like what you read, please visit again or click the "join" button below, and feel free to spread the word.

Monday, 30 April 2012

The A&E dash

I was going to write about my Chemo Brain - its worse than 'baby brain'!  But then last night I was taken ill, and have spent all morning today at A&E so thought I'd tell you about this little adventure first!
I have no idea whether I picked up a tummy bug or got food poisoning from eating a rotiserie chicken (not very wise on my part, but oh SO tempting!), but at about 2 a.m this morning I was woken with a start, made a quick dash to the loo and was violently 'ill' from both ends - sorry too much info I know.  But this is the front line people!    As today is my 12th day since my 3rd dose of chemo, I am on neutropenia alert.  My Fast Pass (which rushes us chemo patients through the A&E waiting room) states you must attend A&E if you have diarrohea.  Or if you have a fever, which I did.   Before we rushed off up the hospital, I did phone the Helpline number and an Oncologist rang me back.  He said to take my anti-sickness medicine and see how I went.   So I did that and wasn't sick again, but then my temperature spiked up to 37.9c.  In these situations its really hard to know what to do for the best.  If you go to A&E you know you can expect to be there, waiting, for the best part of 4 hours, they might even admit you in which case you are there for 3 days or more, and no one wants that do they!! But if you stay home, hoping to ride it out, it's quite scary, as you don't really know how your immune system is coping with whatever you've got and in the middle of the night, I have on a few occasions been too scared to sleep in case I don't wake up!   So really, if I have any of the symptoms mentioned on my Fast Pass I know that doing the right thing and getting to A&E a.s.a.p has to be done - it's just such a pain in the arse!!  I am very lucky to have some fabulous friends locally to me, who I know will help with looking after the kids when me and DH make a mad dash for the hospital.  This is such a relief.   Good friends and family (of course) are worth their weight in gold.   Without wishing anything bad to happen to my nearest and dearest, I hope to one day, be able to repay the love and support I have received from them.

One last thing - I think Nurses are amazing!!! There was this male nurse at A&E who was just so cheerful, courteous and GOOD at his job, that I couldn't fail to be in awe of him.   When you think of what he has to deal with on a daily basis, it's amazing that he can maintain such a positive, happy attitude.  It must be a very rewarding job, not in monetary terms of course, but rewarding to the soul.   I came away thinking maybe I should retrain to become a nurse, but truth is, I definitely don't have the stomach for it!!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

My new look - skinhead.

Despite my last post, I took the decision to get my head shaved one more time - take it all off!   Since before my 3rd dose, my hair loss has been significant each day, especially when washing it - it made such a mess in the shower.  Trying to stop the plug hole from getting blocked was tricky and then cleaning out the shower tray afterwards, rather depressing and time consuming.
So this morning my DH carefully shaved my head for the second time.  It's as short as you can get it with clippers, the next step will be the razor for that smooth, shiny look, but it may not be necessary.
I did struggle with making the decision to do this, but I'm glad that I have.  I feel like the balance of power is back with me.

So what d'ya reckon?!  shall I get myself some more piercings and 'tatts' to complete the look?!

My kids are not very happy with the new look, my daughter is more curious and vocal about it than my son.   "You look funny Mummy" was one of her comments, fair enough, I guess I do and I'm not looking at myself all the time am I!  Its everyone else that has to put up with my appearance.  I am not that keen on wearing a wig, I just think it looks so fake and the ones that I have got are not quite good enough! So I am going to look into getting a better one.

I've got a new book (Anti-Cancer) to read and after only a few pages in, its spurring me on to fight this fight properly.  Take responsibility for my future.    Everyone should read this book, I'll happily lend it out once I'm done with.  If there is a way for me to stop this thing coming back, I am going to do what I can.  I've got a lot of life to live, people and places to see, seeing my children get married and holding their babies - it's all ahead of me.   I just cant wait to put this behind me and get on with the rest of my life! xx

Thursday, 19 April 2012


3 DOWN – 3 TO GO!!!

I had my third dose of FEC chemo today, at my local hospital which will be my last visit there.  The next 3 doses are a different drug called Tax, which is stronger and there’s a greater risk of side effects as they give it to you, so I have to go to a different specialist Cancer Unit for that.  I felt emotional about leaving the safe, familiarity of my local chemo unit – I am wondering how the next 3 doses will go and whether the staff will be as friendly, helpful and reassuring as those I have already experienced – let’s hope so!

This dose went well, the only slight hiccup was the veins in my hand are bruised from a previous blood test, so for a while the nurse wasn’t sure where she could administer the drugs, but she found a small vein and with the help of lots of heat pads, the drugs went in smoothly and relatively pain free.    I’m learning something new all the time – must make sure all future blood tests are taken from my arm, well away from my hand.  Sounds obvious now but it’s easy to just assume all the nurses know exactly what you are going through and would think of these things, but they don’t.
My top tips for receiving your poison, as comfortably as possible are:

·      Drink plenty of water the day before and that morning;

·      Wear warm layers of clothing – your veins respond better if you are warm and hydrated;

·      Make sure you do a last minute wee just before the drugs go in – it can take a while for them all to be administered;

·      Suck on an ice pop or similar, it should help to minimize any sore mouth problems after;

·      Try the cold cap for your first session – even if you only wear it once, as I did, you can say you gave it a go.  I’m not bald yet and I am sure that wearing it that one time has enabled me to hang on to my hair for longer.

Talking about the hair – everyone is different but if you are going to try the cold cap, I would highly recommend getting yours cut into a short elfin style BEFORE you start treatment.  I say this because I experienced considerable hair thinning just before my 2nd dose, which lead to me getting it shaved.  My hair was in a chin length bob before and as it thinned it gave the impression of losing LOTS of hair, however since shaving my hair and stopping with the cold cap, the hair loss has slowed down, so maybe I was a bit hasty.  If you get your hair cut short in the first place, this will help the cold cap do its job better,  make your hair easier to look after and any thinning you do get will not look quite as dramatic if its shorter.   Thus avoiding any knee jerk reactions like shaving your head!

I am happy with my new look but in hindsight I think doing the above would have worked better for me.

Heard some excellent news today!! I don’t read the papers but I hear there has been a major breakthrough in Breast Cancer research.  The future looks brighter for people like me – read here for more info.

Also on another really positive note, so far my Race for Life Team have raised an enormous £2,095!!! I am so delighted, it means so much to do something worth while.    I really do need to get out there and start training.   Walking every day, at a good pace is my aim – just wish the bloody weather would dry up.

I am well aware that the single most important thing I can do to help myself beat this thing – is exercise!  The chemo side effects keep putting me off, but I think I’m just gonna have to kick them into touch by getting on with it!