28 Jan 2013

Delays, day trips and dreams..

Hello strangers. I haven't written in a while because everything I had to write about involved me moaning. I will try and keep the moaning to a minimum for now but there is one event I cannot admit from the line up....

I was supposed to have my next round of the toxic nasties on Friday however after waking at 6.30am and travelling for an hour and a half in stressful traffic and arriving at the hospital I went up to the desk, gave my name and was met by quizzical looks. I was told that my name was not on the list. I told them I was asked to arrive an hour early because the doctor wanted to change my meds. The nurses desperately searched and I was told to go and wait in the Macmillan centre and have a cup of tea whilst they tried to sort everything out. An hour and a half later and the head of the ward came to talk to me and Madre. She said she was really sorry but my notes had been misplaced and I had been missed off the list. What?!!?!! (*cue mental breakdown) 

Now I appreciate it wasn't this poor nurse's fault but honestly I fell apart. It takes so much mental strength to psych yourself up to go to chemo. I had barely slept the night before because I was so anxious and had then woken up super early to travel the great distance to the hospital. Needless to say when I was told it wasn't happening I was pretty distraught. Especially when I then found out that this meant all my treatment was going to have to last a week longer than planned. This might not sound like much time. But trust me when you spend on average 2 weeks a month feeling poorly, every little counts. An extra week seems like a lifetime. The nurse said they could reschedule to Tuesday but then when she was speaking to me about rearranging the next ones she didn't even know what treatment I was having. My confidence in the level of care I am receiving plummeted. I began to wonder if that meant that my head scan request had gotten lost as well as I haven't heard from the MRI people either. Almost every time I turn up to the oncology centre they have forgotten I'm coming and have to squeeze me in. Before my last meeting with doctor K I didn't even get an appointment time until the afternoon before! Sometimes I just want to scream at them 'you are supposed to be saving my life please take it a bit more seriously'. Anyway rant over for now. 

In other news I have been on some lovely trips recently. I've been to see 'Les Miserables' at the cinema, been to Dartmouth for fish and chips (yummy) and had a lovely mother daughter day out on Sunday. 

I am sorry to bring up hair again. I know what you are all thinking.  She had it all shaved off so what an earth does she want to say now?!  Well you see I still have stubbly bits. These stubbly bits are fairly problematic. They get caught in my pillow case meaning that the side I sleep on is almost completely bald but the other side of my head remains fairly hairy. They also come out from behind my ears and the top of my head where my hats rub. The overall effect is that my head looks extraordinarily like a globe. With the patches of hair representing land masses and the bald patches the water. I can assure you that this is an extremely fetching look! (*cough). 

I may not be writing for a little while because the toxic nasties tend to make me feel very poorly for about a week. But as soon as I begin to feel well enough rest assured I will be boring you all with updates on my progress. In case you hadn't already guessed it will probably include walking, eating, television and movie watching, online shopping and hat wearing. But who knows I could surprise you all and take up a new hobby. I've always wanted to be a world champion tiddlywinks player. Oh and a figure skater (I do believe I posses all the necessary physical traits to succeed in this dream and now I have no hair I will be more aerodynamic too) !!

Big love. X

24 Jan 2013

My big BALD adventure...

Today has been a BIG day. My hair loss became so extreme over the last couple of days I decided enough was enough and so today I took control and went on a little trip to the hairdressers. 

It’s difficult to find the words sometimes and so I will show you all what happened in a series of pictures. But before I do I have to give out some love. I have to give a MASSIVE thank you to Sarah (my super fab hairdresser) who was absolutely amazing with me today. We had fun, we laughed and we made the most out of what is essentially a horrendous situation. The biggest thank you of the day goes to a superstar called Lucy. Without her today could have gone a very different way. She made me laugh, she was strong for me and when I finally cried as I was leaving the hairdressers (minus my hair) she cried too.

Now for the photos...

This is me before I left the house for the hair cut.

Me and Lucy messing around with hats.

Me with the weapon of choice.

Me and the lovely Sarah.

Who likes my moustache??

Ok so here is where the fun began...

I wanted to shave the last bit off..

All done!! Here is me and Honor with matching hair styles.

Thank you Sarah!

So there you have it. The hair is GONE. I think it could take some getting used to but I love a challenge! As I sit here typing, wearing my bobble hat to keep my newly shaven head warm, I can't help but think how lucky I am. I have an amazing family, their love and support keeps me sane. I have the best group of friends any girl could wish for and when Kenneth finally leaves me I know I will be the able to conquer anything life throws at me!

Love you long time. X

Owls, hair and despair.

Sorry for my lack of blogging this week. I have been a busy lady. I bet you all want to know how filming went... Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not saying anything. You will have to watch it when it comes out and see for yourselves. I've got no idea when this will be yet but I promise to let you know! Kris from Coppafeel, who I did the filming with, is a legend and the most inspirational person I have ever been lucky enough to meet. I have a massive amount of love for her. 

Today I've woken up with a naughty cold. Slightly worried it may delay my next chemo but fingers crossed I will be ok. A friend from Uni has been staying with me for a couple of nights this week. We have had rubbish weather but ALOT of laughs. I've mainly been laughing at his obsession with owls and the film Love Actually. One evening he made me watch owl videos on you tube for half an hour. I think he truly believes he was an owl in a past life. Weirdo. Anyway it was GREAT to see him and I was sad when he left. 

The big issue of my week so far has been HAIR. 

Hair. Hair. Hair. 

I find hair everywhere. 

In my food, on my pillow, on my clothes, on the floor, on the sofa and today I even found some in the fridge! I am starting to get a bit bored of this. I think it may be time to let go and have it cut off. BIG decision. And scary stuff. If I am being completely honest I thought I was cool with it. But frankly gathering the bottle to sit in a chair while someone shaves off inches of beautiful hair is proving difficult. I have always loved my hair. I reckon it was my best feature. Losing it is turning out to be more difficult than I imagined. It's tricky because no one knows what to say to me. They all tell me it'll be fine and I will rock the look and make it work. They don't actually know this. They have no proof. Under my hair could lie the ugliest shaped head in the world. I could be hiding horns or all manners of lumps and bumps. I was never told that I was dropped on my head as a child but Madre and Snoop Doggy Rob might wanna fess up soon before all the hair is gone!! 

Sorry it's a short blog today, I will try and write a better one soon but right now I'm feeling poorly and need my sleep. 

Love you long time. X

20 Jan 2013

A ruler, a nurse and a couple of furry animals.

My oncologist was running so late on Friday that Madre had to physically restrain me from hopping on the examining couch, drawing the blue paper curtain and having a nap! When Doctor K eventually arrived we had a chat and talked about changing some of my meds, then he whipped out his favourite and, might I add, highly technical bit of medical equipment in order to check on Kenneth. A 30cm ruler! He never fails to make me laugh especially when he pops behind the blue paper curtain brandishing said ruler with gusto. I am to be handed over to his very capable registrar next time as Doctor K is away and I can't help but wonder if he also will come equipped with  ruler or if he will have a different method of assessing Kenneth's size. 

As well as an MRI to see how Kenneth is reacting to chemo, Doctor K also wants me to have an MRI of my head as I've been having some headaches of late. I like to think I am fairly brave. I've had pretty much every scan going. My bone scan on Christmas Eve involved a radioactive injection, being wrapped up like a mummy in a blue blanket to stop me moving and having my feet tied together whilst being sandwiched between two massive metal plates. Easy. CT scan, drink a drink and have an injection that gives the sensation of wetting yourself whilst being told to breathe at different times by an automated American man. Walk in the park. But I need to talk about MRI's. I HATE THEM!!  So to have two in close succession fills me with dread. My hatred stems from the first time I had one, let me tell you how it went down...

I arrived at the scanner and had to wait 45 minutes because two men were changing a light bulb. Yes, it took two men a full 45 minutes to change one lightbulb. Once the lightbulb was safely fitted I was made to change into a beautiful hospital gown. Dressed in my sexy new outfit and armed with my Olly Murs CD I entered the scanner room. I was greeted by my nurse and my heart started racing, she must have been pushing 80 years old. However she seemed nice and so was I lured into a false sense of security. I should have trusted my instinct. She told me I needed a cannula fitted because I had to have some sort of dye injected mid scan. She failed to mention that she was almost blind. 'I can't actually see the vein dear but I can feel it so lets give it a go'. Attempt one and she failed miserably in finding the vein but she did manage to inflict mild to moderate pain by using me as a pin cushion. It took her three attempts to make contact with a vein. I breathed a sigh of relief. However 2 minutes later she decided she wasn't happy so removed the needle and tried again. By this stage I was anything but relaxed. 

I was then made to lie on my front, gown open, boobs hanging through two appropriately placed holes. Dignity out the window. It only got worse. The old dear then began to send me into the tunnel. She caught my hair, pulled out a chunk and whacked my elbow so hard I yelped. The scan then commenced. I was not warned that the scanner would turn into a wind tunnel. The strategically placed window on the other side of the scanner meant that anyone who was stood behind it got a perfect view up my gown (thank God I was wearing nice pants!). Whilst being deafened by the horrendous screeching and clanging noises made by the scanner (because the poor old dear forgot to turn on my Olly CD) another disaster struck. My left eye started watering. Normally not a problem. It is however a huge issue when it washes a big clump of mascara into your right eye and you aren't allowed to move to remove it. By now I was convinced I was going to emerge from the scanner and be returned to Madre deaf, blind in one eye and mute because I was so traumatised. Once the scan was over the old dear pulled me back out. I sat up unstuck my face from the pillow, adjusted my gown, got rid of the mascara clump and waited for the nurse to remove the needle from my arm, almost as well as she had so expertly inserted it. My arm bled everywhere 'so sorry dear it obviously wasn't quite where it was meant to be'. Great. Don't worry about it, it's cool. As soon as she was finished I pretty much sprinted out of the room. 

Am I looking forward to my next scans? No. But watch this space. I could surprise you all and emerge from the scanner with a smile on my face. (I'm planning on taking a heavy metal CD with me next time and seeing how the old dear likes listening to that for 45 mins. Ha). 

As well as plotting my revenge on the nurse I've also been dealing with my online shopping addiction (did I mention i'm going on the telly and so therefore I NEED to have a new outfit) and wrestling with my hair. It wants to leave. I want it to stay. At the moment I am winning. For how long I don't know. It is falling out so quickly I need only touch it to come away with a handful. It almost stopped me going for a walk, because I was so scared if the wind blew the wrong way it would all leave me at once. But I donned one of my bobble hats and set off anyway. Removing the hat turned out to be ok too. I managed not to lose my entire head of hair with it! Result. 

A mention needs to go a couple of friends of mine who accompanied me on this walk. One fell over and covered herself in mud, the other proved to have absolutely no control over his dogs *so macho (standard Rory). I truly believe they have some mental issues. (They will never admit to this). But I put it to you to make the decision for yourselves. Is it normal to spend a Friday night at home casually dressed as a gorilla and a rabbit? I think not, but perhaps that's just me. 

Love you long time x

18 Jan 2013

Hair, presents and a very BIG little secret...

Over the last few days, in between practicing my ever improving Dappy impression and trying to convince Snoop Doggy Rob that pigs really can fly because my new necklace says so, I've been hoping, praying and willing my little hair follicles to hold on tight. You see, I have some very exciting news (the very BIG little secret *shhh don't say it was me that told you). I am to be filmed next week. Now, I really don't want to begin my (probably short lived but nevertheless highly important) television career as a baldy. The film crew (ha I sound so important *cue smug smile) are due to arrive on Monday. That gives me 4 days to try and ensure as many of my hairs stay put as possible. However, a matter of hours ago quite a few of the little rascals started their bid to escape from the toxic nasties. Alas, I'm beginning to think that they may not make it to Monday. After Monday passes by, I couldn't care less if every single one of my hairs decides to up and leave in protest to the toxic nasties all at once. Just 4 days that's all I'm asking!

I've agreed to take part in a BBC3 documentary that is aiming to raise awareness of breast cancer (BC) in women aged 13-30. Yes that's right you just read age 13.  It wasn't a typo. We do live in a cruel world sometimes *sigh. 

Anyway, it's not easy for me to tell my story to anyone, let alone be quizzed in front of a camera and so initially I was reluctant to take part. It didn't take long for me to realise I was being ridiculous. I only found Kenneth because of something I saw on a TV programme. If by taking myself out of my comfort zone I prompt someone else to check themselves and they too find a naughty lump earlier than if they hadn't seen my ugly mutt on the box, then it will all have been worth it. Even if I am bald in my television debut! And if I can help/touch even one life of someone with BC I would be on the television every day. I would be singing and shouting from rooftops and I would probably also be causing a rise in the number of patient's arriving at GP surgeries with hearing complaints! However, if I am lucky enough that my story inspires others to jump on the band wagon and start preaching about the importance of knowing your boobs, then WOW I really will have achieved something special. Don't worry I won't subject you all to my singing just yet, but be warned if I have to I WILL!!!! Needs must and all that. 

In other news I have received some AMAZINGGG gifts recently that need a mention...

1) some 'let's kick Kenneth's ass' shoes.

Thank you please, these shoes nearly made me weep with joy!

The person who gave me these shoes also let me hang out with their pretty cool baby...

2) a massive box full of Hotel Chocolat goodies.
Now I know I was banging on about being all healthy on you last post and I still really am plugging the whole healthy lifestyle vibe BUT there has got to be something said about the healing power of chocolate. Especially REALLY good chocolate! 

3) an envelope full of family photos. 
The one of Snoop Doggy Rob carving the Chrimbo turkey is a classic! 

4) people's time.
No amount of money is going to buy me the feeling I have when I read a handwritten letter of support from a friend/member of family who has taken time out of their day to write to me. Or the smile I have when someone actively and publicly embarrasses themselves by openly posting a humiliating photo on Facebook all in a bid to get me to laugh. Or the comfort I feel when someone decides to give up part of their day to have a cup of tea with me and check that I'm alright, or even accompany me on a walk. These people know who they are and each of these acts of kindness are in their own unique way gifts to me. And so I just wanted to say thank you. (But please keep the presents coming too...I LOVE them ALOT and they also do wonders to cheer a girl up. I could really do with some diamonds, maybe a designer handbag and I wouldn't say no to more shoes! *cough cough  hint hint splulutter) 

The positive reaction I have had in response to my blog has quite literally astounded me. You are all lovely and wonderful people. It is so important to me raise awareness of breast cancer in younger women. We CAN and DO get the naughty disease too. In fact unfortunately we often get it worse. Our cancer feeds off our hormones and is usually more aggressive and because we don't look for it and doctors don't take us seriously, because they don't expect to find it, it is often found in the more progressed stages. What I am trying to say is please share my story. Tell your friends/daughters/granddaughters, because maybe together, we can save a life.

To finish, here are some photos from a really great walk I went on this week (notice the bobble hat)...

Love you long time. X

15 Jan 2013


I need to start this post by introducing you all to someone. This someone is Kenneth. Kenneth, is the name my friend Lucy coined for my lump. It made me laugh ALOT and so it has kind of stuck with me. I don't like Kenneth very much. I would really like it if he could leave my body and never return. At the moment I am still living with Kenneth. I'm sure I will be talking about my fights with Kenneth a lot over the next few months and so I thought it important you all became acquainted.

Anyway back to the main reason for this post. Apparently between days 10-14 after each chemo treatment, my immune system effectively disappears. For this reason I am currently on house arrest. This means no coffees at The Winking Prawn, no trips to the cinema and no lunch dates with friends. It also means severe BOREDOM. So, what have I been doing with my time you might ask. Well, let me enlighten you...

I have gone on some lovely walks. I really, truly believe that walking is good, not only for fitness and health reasons, but also good for the soul. It gives me time to think. It allows me to take in the beautiful scenery that I am lucky enough to be surrounded by and most importantly it lets me ESCAPE FROM THE HOUSE!!!

Before my diagnosis I must admit I was not a regular walker. In fact, it is probably fair to say I avoided walking at all costs. If you have the big C and are reading this blog, I urge you to go for a walk. In fact, even if you don't have it please get up from the sofa and use your legs! You won't regret it! The first week after chemo all I could manage was a stroll somewhere flat for a maximum of half an hour. However, today I went for a full on fast-paced hilly walk for an hour and I've got to be honest I feel GREAT now. So go on, please, grab your iPod, put on some beats and go take a stroll. I also highly recommend splashing in puddles (although Madre didn't take to this idea as well as I did - it turns out she doesn't like to be splashed as much as I LOVED splashing her)!!!

Along with walking I've also been indulging in some serious movie and TV watching. I find films the best because they allow me to escape from my own story for a couple of hours and dive into someone else's. My top picks this week are Taken, which was a great film, and Miranda (tv show) which never fails to make me laugh. Also if you can find a way to watch something whilst in the bath then do it. Having a bath makes everything better, even TV watching. You feel really spoilt, sat in a luxurious bubble bath watching your favourite TV programme. I personally, like to balance my laptop on top of the laundry basket and watch an episode of The Vampire Diaries each night before bed, but you could chose anything you like. I once watched The Little Mermaid whilst in the bath, and pretended to be Ariel whilst singing into my hairbrush when Madre was out, but please don't tell anyone because that would be embarrassing!!

I've also been lucky enough to have been visited by a couple of friends this week. It's amazing how much difference laughing has made to my general mood. Seriously! Doctors should start prescribing it. *Friends take note and start working on some jokes please!!* Even just talking and finding out some of the gossip I've been missing has really helped me remain to feel 'normal'. Friends also make yummy food...

I've eaten ALOT of soup. I mean ridiculous amounts. One of my Mum's friends was kind enough to provide me with a week's worth of amazing homemade soups. They are unbelievably delicious and full of healthy goodness, which I swear I can actually feel making me stronger in preparation for my next dose of the toxic nasties.

Online shopping. I feel this could be a big problem for me over the coming months. I reason all my purchases with one of the following excuses. 'Kenneth may rob me of my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and boobs but he will not take away my love of shopping'. 'Kenneth may rob me of my hair, eyelashes, eyebrows and boobs but I will make sure I do everything I can to stop him ruining my skin'. 'Kenneth is going to steal my hair so I really need lots of hats'. 'Kenneth has made me sad and so I really need this *insert appropriate item here* to make me feel better'. You sense a theme developing I am sure.

Enough of my ramblings for now. I will leave you all with the mental image of me trying on all (*ahem) FOUR of my new bobble hats, trying to decide which one will look best when I'm bald. I even found myself wondering if I will end up looking like Dappy from N-dubz once my hair leaves me?? I do have dark eyebrows and if they stay with me for a little while I fear the resemblance could be quite frightening. Photo to follow I promise.

In the words of the man himself 'no point in crying over yesterday, ay. No regrets, no regrets'. Yes, that's right I just quoted Dappy. And what?!

Love you long time. X

Testing. Testing. 1 2 3....

Well hello everyone.

I'm kind of new to this whole blogging thing so you'll have to bear with me for a little while whilst I get used to it!

I decided to start this blog for a number of reasons...

1) I hope by sharing my experiences I could provide some help to other people in a similar situation or at the very least provide them with a laugh at my expense... I will soon be bald you know, and that alone is bound to bring with it some funny stories!

2) Madre (my mother hen) has been nagging me to do it for ages and quite frankly anything that stops her nagging me is an absolute must (mummy if you are reading this then I'm sorry)! Even Papa C (aka Snoop Doggy Rob, his slightly less preferred nickname but my nickname of choice) has suggested I keep 'one of those online diaries'.

3) I have so many wonderful people enquiring about my progress but not always enough time to respond to them all. This way they can all read about it for themselves (it is definitely not because I really am just too lazy and this blog will save me time. No no. It is definitely because I am a super great but forgetful person. Chemo brain much?).

4) I love talking and blogging is sort of a bit like talking! Although I guess one benefit is that people don't actually have to listen to me (Naomi and Caitlin if you are reading this stop sniggering!). They can stop reading when required. It provides me with a space to vent/ramble and discuss anything at all that I want to really. People seem to think that this may help me and my battle with cancer and I'm up for trying anything that does that so let's give it a go!