30 Apr 2013

Stage one of Kenneth busting... DONE!

Hello hello.

Just a short post today I'm afraid, but I thought I'd just check in with you all to let you know how I am doing! No more toxic nasties. I can't believe it. WOOOOHOOOOO!!!
The last round, unfortunately didn't go without a little stay in hospital. 2 nights with a chest infection. I am now safely home, with antibiotics to take for the best part of two weeks, and starting to feel better. It also helped that I received two bunches of beautiful flowers.

It feels so good knowing I've made it through stage one of Kenneth busting treatment! Now that I am finally on the mend from the rubbishness of the toxic nasties I have been thinking a lot about the future. My future to be more specific. I think it is natural when anyone has a run in with the big C to think about what the future holds. Meeting Kenneth has forced me to think about what I really want out of life, places I want to go and things I want to achieve. The trouble I am having is that I really am terrible at making decisions and I am not sure that I even know what I really want, but at least I'm thinking about it! (***I do know that I really want a Chanel handbag so if anyone wants to buy me one I wouldn't complain).

The weather down here has been amazing and I have been so frustrated that I am not allowed to spend time outside. Stupid antibiotics (*no direct sunlight)! I made the mistake of ignoring this guidance once when I was traveling with my friend Izzy, I spent about 10 minutes in the sun whilst waiting for a ferry and when we arrived at our destination my face was covered in an unsightly rash. I was not happy!
In an attempt to amuse myself (its feels wrong to be sat on the sofa watching TV when the sun is streaming in) I have been attempting to make some yummy food, now that I finally have enough energy to care about cooking. It helps that when I got out of hospital I found this box of healthy goodness waiting for me..


You may wonder why I wrote attempting and not just making. (**cough, future husband look away now please). Well let me just say that my tomato, red pepper, mushroom and spinach omelet didn't look quite as it was supposed to. Oh alright I might as well confess. It looked more like scrambled egg with veg than an omelet. Whoops! BUT at least I tried! I did however do better with dinner...

I have this pesky bruise on my stomach that is causing me a fair bit of strife. It seems to be growing and is in such an awkward place! I had it checked by the doc and it's fine but could apparently take a MONTH to heal. Great. Yet another perk of the hospital, it was them that injected me causing this bruise in the first place. It seems chemo might haunt me for a little while longer!

I have had a little trouble sleeping recently. The other night I was wondering how I might look with a pixie crop and was looking through photos. I found this (taken less than 6 months ago)...

Hoping I will rock the crop! I think the thing I miss most from seeing this picture is actually not the hair but the eyelashes! Mine are very short and patchy now and I have no bottom lashes. I'm hoping it won't take too long for them to regrow. I would really like some in time for my birthday in June. So if everyone could please start praying for fast hair growth that would be great!

Love you long time. X

19 Apr 2013

Session 6/6 of the toxic nasties

After a minor set back yesterday, when I wasn't sure if I would be allowed chemo because I got some blood test results back that perhaps indicated that the reason I had been so poorly last time was because the infection may have been in my blood, my standard bloods were OK and so today I was allowed to go ahead. On 19th April 2013 I had chemotherapy session 6/6. I can’t say that it has been an easy journey and I know the next couple of weeks will not be fun, but I also know that it has all been worth it. Kenneth has shrunk, I couldn’t ask for more (*not entirely true, I am also praying for no neutropenic sepsis and an infection free last session). If I don’t write for a little while, I am sure you all know by now that, it is not because I don’t want to, it is because I don’t feel well enough too. I also had my Herceptin treatment today too, so I am not sure whether this will make this session better or worse.

I want to thank all the amazing nurses/staff in the Derriford Hospital Oncology department. They were all so lovely and made my treatment as easy as it could be. They answered any questions I had and always, always greeted me with a smile. I especially want to thank Trish on reception, Jenny, Mary and Bernadette (from Chemotherapy), Denise (from Brent ward) and Laura (from Birch ward).

I am currently preparing a couple of posts with my chemotherapy tips and I am also writing a special beauty related one too.

For now I wish you all a happy weekend.

Love you long time. X

17 Apr 2013

Decisions, mystery gifts and eyebrow/lash hints

Hello hello.

I have had a crazy few days. After my good news on Thursday I had a lovely weekend with my Auntie Janet and sister Naomi, who came to stay with me and Madre. We laughed, we shopped, we ate yummy things and we spent lots of quality time together!

Cream tea, YUM.

On Monday night I had a girls night in with some friends I used to work with. We laughed too much, ate yummy ice cream, watched some TV and painted our nails.

Chloe, me and Harrie

My summery choice of colours

Tuesday arrived with a bang. I had a hospital appointment to discuss my surgery options. I have a date for surgery now, Monday May 20th. It is almost impossible for me to make the decision about what surgery to have. I am terrible at making my own decisions. I struggle to chose what breakfast cereal to eat in the mornings, choosing what A Levels to take caused me many a problem at school. How am I supposed to make a decision about what surgery to have? I don't want to make the decision. What if I make the wrong choice, it could change my life forever. I wish the doctors would just tell me what to do. There are pros and cons associated with all the options and it's up to me to weigh them up and make a decision. Lose the lump, lose the boob, lose both boobs or lose the lump and then both boobs a bit later on? In an ideal world I wouldn't need surgery at all. Of all the things I knew I was going to have to face when Kenneth came along, it has always been surgery that scared me the most. I don't know why. Surgery removes Kenneth which is great but it also removes things that I want to keep. I have only known my boobs for a few years and I'm just not sure that I am ready to say goodbye to them in just a months time.

I've been wearing my new favourite slippers a lot in order to try and help me make a decision and to reassure myself that it will all be OK in the end. It has to be.

I am currently obsessed with the ITV drama Broadchurch, if you haven't seen it you need to get on ITV player now. TV wise I have also been watching the new series of Made in Chelsea and Game of Thrones and I am loving both of them! My film recommendations for this week are Argo (which I loved, even though the ending was intensely stressful) and Pitch Perfect (I genuinely laughed out loud, plus anything with Rebel Wilson in is great).

An amazing present arrived for me in the post today, but it didn't come with a gift card so I have no idea who I am supposed to be thanking?! Please come forward whoever you are. I love it and really want to say thank you!

LOVE this present thank you!

In other news, I have been experimenting with ways to disguise my thinning eyelashes/brows. I bought some individual fake eyelashes and got to work. What do you think?

Before and after.

My tool kit consisted of:

I used the angled brush and the shadow in the Benefit set to fill in the gaps in my brows. Then I used the embark MAC shadow to make hair like flicks in the more patchy areas at the front of my brows. My eyelashes are currently quite short and patchy, I tried a full set of false lashes and they struggled to stay put as they were not supported enough by my own lashes. This time I opted for the lighter individual lashes which I carefully placed along my lash line using tweezers. It took much longer than I thought to apply them but I think the result was worth all of the fiddly handy work. Once the glue had dried I used the Dior liquid liner on my upper lid to disguise any glue marks and give more definition to my eye. A cotton bud dipped in eye make up remover helped to correct any mistakes. I then used the MAC brow brush and the scene shadow to lightly define my lower lid as I do not have enough lashes to use mascara. Normally I would also use a gold eye shadow in the inner corners of my eyes to open them up but my lack of eyelashes means stray bits of glitter etc often end up irritating my eyes so I have had to skip this step.

The end result!

Removing the lashes was quite simple. Soak a cotton pad in eye make up remover press on to lids for a good 30 seconds and the lashes simply come away with the cotton pad.

I am currently in the process of writing my first feature for a magazine. I am beyond excited to be given this opportunity and I will of course let you all know when it is due to come out so you can all run out and grab a copy! I might also be doing a few columns for another magazine shortly afterwards which I am keeping all my finger and toes crossed for. I have now designated a specific bobble hat to be my 'writing hat'. I really am becoming such a loser. Never mind, it makes me happy. I am seriously beginning to dream that writing/journalism could be a serious career option for me. Who knows what the future holds I don't but I do know that nothing will stop me chasing my dreams now.

Love you long time. X

12 Apr 2013

Updates, updates and more updates

Hello strangers! Firstly I am so sorry for my lack of blogging but I have had a very busy couple of weeks! I also apologise for the length of this blog post but I have much to say. As most of you will know I had round five of the toxic nasties just over two weeks ago. Maundy Thursday was spent in the hospital being pumped full of the toxic nasties, having previously spent the day before ruining Madre's Birthday having a Herceptin loading dose. I spent the next 6 days in bed recovering and being very demanding (i'm blaming the steroids). I did get some beautiful flowers on Easter Sunday which made me feel much brighter...
By Tuesday I was starting to feel a bit better.
At 6 am on Wednesday I awoke in agony with a serious case of back pain and a temperature and was taken to hospital in an ambulance. It also just so happened to be my younger sisters 21st birthday. (I'm so sorry if I ruined your day Noo Nai). The second birthday I, sorry I mean Kenneth, ruined in one week.

Neutropenic sepsis.

The two words I had dreaded hearing since beginning chemotherapy back on the 4th of January. When I knew that I needed to have chemo I made a promise to myself that I would do everything I could to avoid spending a night in hospital. You see I spent enough time in hospital last year and I go so often for appointments and things that quite frankly I really like to spend as little time there as possible. If I am honest I truly believed I was invincible and that I wouldn't break this promise. This turned out not to be the case. I am not actually super-woman *dreams shattered.
I also genuinely thought that I wouldn't ever be neutropenic (when you don't have enough white blood cells) because I have a magical injection 24 hrs post chemo which is supposed to raise my blood counts and stop the dreaded neutopenia setting in. After LOTS of blood tests, Xrays and some emergency IV antibiotics I was told by doctors that as well as being neutropenic I also had a suspected kidney infection.

Here I am after being admitted in isolation
I would just like to say that even when i'm mega poorly I still manage a good pout!
My Grandma and Snoop Doggy Rob came to visit me which did help me to feel better. Snoop Doggy Rob also bought me some pretty cool presents...
This is supposed to be a lucky charm. (It also looks weirdly like my sister which made me smile, especially as it was her birthday and so she couldn't be there, she looks ready to fight any naughty infections!)
I didn't know whether to be offended by his choice of book?!?

They eventually let me out on Friday night with some antibiotics and a whole lot of other drugs to take home. I then went straight to Snoop Doggy Rob's house to see him and celebrate (allbeit belatedly) Naomi's birthday! On Saturday night she had a couple of friends over and we had what would have been a lovely birthday meal (complete with an amazing chocolate birthday cake cooked by Jane). I say what would have been, because towards the end of the meal I had a nose bleed and coughed up the world's biggest blood clot. Lovely. I telephoned Brent ward back in Plymouth and asked what to do and they told me to go to A and E. So poor Snoop Doggy Rob had to take me at 11.30 pm. A and E on a Saturday night in Yeovil is not fun. They took some bloods and discovered I had another temperature. Great. Just as Snoop Doggy Rob was about to fall off his little chair because he was so tired the doctor came in. He said my bloods showed that I still had an infection (now I had too many white cells) and so he changed my antibiotics and I got to go home.

Sunday afternoon and my temperature spiked at 38.5 again and so by 6pm I was back in Plymouth hospital. They kept me in for 2 more nights (3 days) whilst they searched to find where my infection was and put me back on IV antibiotics, fluids etc. They told me I had contracted a secondary infection and suspected it was a lower respiratory infection, but couldn't be sure. The infection could also be in my spine.

Whilst I was in hospital my lovely friends Rhiannon and Caitlin came to visit..

They were forced to wear these sexy outfits! But I also want to add that they didn't complain.
I spent some time doing a lot of these..

AND one of my wonderful friends Mummy's (Heidi, who happens to work at the hospital) bought me possibly the best pick me up present ever..

The latest edition of Vogue always makes me happy (as does chocolate).

Photo messages like these also cheered me up...

This is one of my best friends Izzy and her amazing mummy
Some of my favourite carers Lucy and Jane
My friends Alex and Kathy B who sent me this photo all the way from Australia

So after 7 days of visiting the hospital I am pleased to announce that I am now at home still on antibiotics but beginning to feel better. I was looked after by some wonderful nurses and met some lovely other patients. On my last night in hospital I went out with a bang. *warning gore alert I was finally diconnected from my drip (which I named Terrance) and so went for a shower. Whilst in the shower I got a pretty nasty nosebleed and had to call for help. In desperation I grabbed the nearest thing to me to try and stop the flow. I stupidly grabbed my towel. Not my hand towel, my actual bath towel. This left me with just my tiny hand towel to try and cover my modesty. When a male nurse answered my buzzer I nearly died. He opened the door to find a semi naked Laura with blood all over her face, hands and chest, covered only at the front with a hand towel held up with a forearm, holding a blood soaked towel to her face. Credit where credit is due he didn't even flinch! When I eventually got back to my bed, the other patients in my bay must of been petrified of me (the weird blood covered girl who came back from her shower more dirty than ever). I scared them even more when I had to have my cannula replaced and that bled everywhere too. Yuck! Anyway I am out now and I arrived home to more lovely presents.

I have worn my onesie (present from Alex) and pyjamas a lot of the time over the last 2 weeks.

But when I did finally get dressed, this is what I wore...

Since being out of hospital I can't say I have been up to my usual tricks. I have still been pretty tired (I now know the real meaning of fatigue). Visiting my lovely friends the Palmers whilst they are in Salcombe on holiday has possibly been the highlight of my week so far. Their little girl Daisy suffers from CIPs and at just nine years old, is one of the bravest people I know. To find out more please click here.
This is Bella and Daisy doing some colouring
My attempt
I will end this post with some GREAT news. After seeing my oncologist yesterday (who made me realise how much I prefer him to the other doctors that have been covering him whilst he has been off sick) I can report that Kenneth is shrinking so much he could barely find him. WOOOHOOO! Please feel free to do one of the following
  • a happy dance
  • a very loud woop woop
  • a fist pump
  • smile
Love you long time. X