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.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

We Did It!!!

Team Oh Marvellous!
Every woman should take part in Race for Life, at some point.   Last night was a wonderful, empowering, emotional but fun experience.    I walked the 5k route with a group of nutty yet supportive friends.  It was a glorious summery evening, we could not have asked for better weather.   My children played with their friends in the park, with their Dads 'on-duty' watching over them.   The evening got off to a great start - I had arranged to meet my team outside the park's pub/restaurant, so it was only a matter of time before someone suggested a beer and then it miraculously appeared!   We guzzled down cold lager from ice cold glasses - a very refreshing treat on such hot day.  Before the race started we took part in a mass warm up taken by 2 aerobic instructors who were also joined by 3 semi naked men dancing about to "I'm Sexy and I Know It", this certainly made for a fun atmosphere even though every woman taking part had their own sobering reasons for being in the race.   

Me with my Mum and lovely nephew
Before we stepped the pace up

Onwards March!

It's very emotional when women come together in this kind of way.  We are excellent at supporting each other and expressing our sadness and joy.  Reading all the messages people put on their backs is a stark reminder of just how many people are affected by cancer.  These days it seems that everyone you know has been touched by it in some way.  I'm holding onto the thought that research and development in drugs etc seems to be improving in leaps and bounds, so I reckon in another 10 years time the picture will have changed and their certainly will be fewer cancer related deaths.  But the research could not take place without funding and events such as Race for Life are vital.  

That's why I am so proud to say that our team has raised in excess of £3,000!!!  And, just to be cheeky, its not too late to sponsor me and the Team - just click here to go to my JustGiving page.

The Race itself took a route through a park I have been visiting since I was baby.  It holds many special memories for me and is a very beautiful place, especially the forest at the back.  So peaceful and calm, I shall definitely be exploring the pathways again with my own children.   If it weren't for my friends walking with me, I could easily have dawdled the route and ended up right at the back, but thanks to a friend being a very good pace-maker I pushed myself, especially up the hills and felt all the better for it.  And we made certain we didn't come through the finish line last!  Some of my Team, including my 10 year old nephew, actually ran the whole thing - very impressive!  Maybe that is what I should aim for next year?

We all received a medal for our efforts along with a goodie bag and some water.  We ended this memorable evening by popping some corks on some bubbly and raising a glass to each other for me being SO MARVELLOUS!!   I am truly grateful to everyone who supported me either my joining my team or sponsoring us.   Now, I need to go have a snooze and then soak these aching muscles! xx

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

In the pink

Just another day in my marvellous life! I've been rushing around Asda buying pink bubbly for a VERY pink occasion - Race for Life tomorrow night, followed by dashing in to the hospital for an ultra sound appointment. Not the cutesy and very exciting ultra sound scan you have when expecting a baby. No. The other kind, that detects unwanted lumps and bumps. It's OK though! Do not worry.  This time I knew exactly what they would find and what they would do about it.   I had a fluid filled lump in my armpit, a by product of the breast operation I had back in February. So all the nice doctor did was locate it using the ultra sound scanner thingy and then stick a needle in it and drain it off. I was relieved to see the thing on the screen, confirmation that I wasn't imagining the lump and discomfort, and even more relieved to see it disappear in front of my very eyes!   Unfortunately it will probably come back, my body just keeps producing too much fluid, trying to repair itself following the op, but its nothing to worry about. 

So, on a lighter note I'm all ready for the Race tomorrow! I am equipped with bright pink wig, pink nails, pink jogging bottoms, pink feather boa, and of course pink race number, and more importantly 14 other equally pink friends and family to back me up - well, make sure I actually finish the 5k route, one way or another!  Physically, I'm not at my peek of fitness, as you can imagine. But luckily the side effects from my 4th dose of chemo have subsided, and apart from a mouth as dry as Ghandi's flip flop with a chemical taste thrown in, I'm doing well and tomorrow night's little walk will not phase me. I've been really touched by the fact that 14 ladies have signed up to do the race along side me, they are all in my team and very much 'in my corner' for the battle I've been going through. Even my dear Mum has joined the team. 30 years my senior and fit and active (for her age), she'll probably walk the race faster than me! It must have been horrendous for her processing the news that I had breast cancer, a mother's worse nightmare, but she remains strong and positive for me - I hope I will be able to do the same if I ever find myself in a similar situation.  Which brings me to talk about my Darling Son.  During one stressful tea-time last week when all three us (me and the kids) completely lost the plot and ended up in tears, he made it known that he wasn't happy about his mum being 'a baldy'.  I was giving him a big hug and asking him what was the matter with him, trying to find the root cause of the tea-time tears when he said "I don't like it when people have bald heads".   My poor boy, I had taken off my head scarf as I was getting hot from cooking and hadn't given it a thought.   He has seen me au naturel many times, and I really thought he was getting used to it, but obviously not.   Actually, even I, when I catch my reflection in the bedroom mirror get a bit of a shock!  I try to wear my wig out and about as much as possible, but I still feel very self conscious with it on and am convinced that, truthfully, it just looks ridiculous!  Especially once the wind has gotten to it.   On the other hand I have noticed many quizzical looks from other children in the school playground when I'm wearing my headscarf.   One little boy even asked his mum why I am dressing 'like a pirate'.  It's a fair question and perfectly understandable for these little ones to be a bit confused, I just hope I haven't caused too many awkward questions for the other mums.  Let's face it, none of us really want our kids knowing about the big C at such a young age.  My husband says I need to wear whatever is most comfortable for me, and he's right but when you are around young children a lot it's just not that simple.  So, roll on 'my new hair'.   Apparently your hair starts growing  back straight after your last treatment.  This has to be to be an exaggeration, as how can it know it's your last treatment?!  So, it's bound to take another 4 weeks or so before the cells dare to start getting busy again.

Anyhow, tomorrow night I'm going to have crazy pink hair just like Stephanie from Lazy Town.   And I'm going to walk the Race for Life as quickly as I can without passing out!   Photos and a post to follow tomorrow night or Thursday morning, depending on what state I am in!!
Thank you again to everyone who has sponsored me and the Team.  We've nearly reached our target of £3,000 which is totally amazing!  This money will be spent on life changing research and support for people like me.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Blurred vision!

So I had my 4th dose of chemo on Friday, it was a new drug to me, called Docetaxel or Tax for short. I was really dreading it, but actually the administering of it went well and I felt really good up until the evening. Then I just felt tired so went to bed early, but I find it so hard to switch off properly. My body seems to be on high alert and twitching a lot!! Then yesterday I noticed my eye sight is really blurry. I had to drive to town and made it there and back but didn't enjoy the experience! I've read up on it and it seems to be a fairly common side effect but I must tell my Oncologist ASAP, so will ring him tomorrow. Despite all this, I've managed to have a little ride on my new bike today, do some washing up, ironing and even painted my nails! Although please don't look too closely at them! I collected the Race for Life t-shirts from the printers. They look cool, I kept it simple, but I'm a bit concerned that the sizes are all a bit tight!! So we'll all be looking bootiful and busty on the night!! Lol! I can't believe the race for life is getting so close. There's every chance I will be Neutropenic at the time, but I'm sure I will cope. Just a nice leisurely walk for me! I'm really looking forward to immersing myself in the atmosphere, it will be truly inspiring and empowering I am sure.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Chemo Brain

Chemo Brain is worse than ‘baby brain’.  Anyone who has ever been pregnant will back me up here, right from the moment that little embryo starts growing and developing your mind power isn’t quite what it was before, and this is magnified once your dear little one arrives and you don’t have a decent nights sleep (in some cases, ever again!).  You start doing silly things like loading the washing machine but not turning it on, putting the car keys in the fridge, leaving your car unlocked even though you checked it twice by pressing the key fob button or driving off with your purse on the roof!   Well in my experience having chemotherapy treatment is very similar.    Yesterday I put a dishwasher tablet in the washing machine drawer! I frequently forget people’s names, including my own children’s. And anything can happen when I'm required to concentrate fully on a task, like cooking a dinner!!    

My BF likened the whole of my breast cancer treatment to a bad pregnancy, and I can see she was right.  It is about 9 months of feeling nauseous, tired, bloated, gaining weight, having a bad taste in your mouth, broken sleep and suffering aches and pains.    You get stuck with needles every few weeks, tested for this that and the other and told not to eat certain foods (when neutropenic you should avoid ALL uncooked food).   Of course the main difference is what you get at the end of those hellish 9 months.   But are they so different?  On the one hand you get a beautiful baby, a new life.  A reason to celebrate.  Something to love and cherish, nurture and watch grow.  On the other, I will get… a new life, my own.  Hopefully and if I do the job right, I will feel healthier than I have ever before.  A fresh start, something to celebrate, love, cherish, nurture and watch grow.  Looking at it like that, its worth the shitty 9 months and is actually quite exciting!

I owe a lot to my BF for putting me in this positive mindset – thank you Mrs A, I Do Love You! x