26 May 2013

A little update..

Hello my beauties. I have been very naughty and neglected my blogging duties. Once again I have been having too much fun (which by the way, is way better than being too poorly to type and makes a nice change). This is just a short post for now, but I hope I can write some more this week! I may be having surgery as soon as 4 June! If it isn't on the 4th it will be on the 18th. I will of course keep you all updated!

I have been having a ball. I saw friends in London. I went to PARIS. I did normal activities such as shopping and dancing and laughing. I have done a lot of laughing. Never underestimate the power of a good laugh.

London funtimes

Paris with the beautiful Madre

Did I mention I went shopping?
...and bought these beautiful things!

I have really enjoyed pretending to be normal for a couple of weeks. The only trouble is that I think I have been lying to myself. I know it is impossible to forget that I have cancer but I am becoming ever more gifted at not facing up to reality. By keeping myself busy, I start to worry about normal problems like running late or what shoes to wear, and I manage to avoid thinking about my upcoming surgery. Because you see the truth is, that although I do my best to pretend that I am fine, I really am very scared and I don't like to admit this to myself. I am scared about having a 10 hour operation. I am scared about waking up and not liking the result of the surgery. I am scared that when they take Kenneth out and can do proper tests on him the stage of cancer I am diagnosed at will rise. All of you, if given the opportunity will look for the positives. Tell me that at least Kenneth will be gone. That the surgeons and anesthetists will know what they are doing and that I will be fine. I know all these things are true, but that doesn't stop me from worrying. I have always been a worrier. Always. I worry about lots of things, in fact I spend my whole life worrying. And now I actually have proper reasons to worry. My problems are now way bigger than what shoes to wear! And sometimes I am just not very good at realising this. I make everything into a joke. But really having cancer isn't a joke. There are I admit funny parts to it and I do like to look at the best side of things in life, but sometimes, just sometimes I think I have to take this whole cancer thing a little more seriously.

Love you long time. X

14 May 2013

Post-chemo fun times....

Hello hello,

I know it's been a long time since I've written, but for once the reason is not hospital related!! The truth is, I have been having such a nice time making the most of my freedom, that I'm sorry to say I neglected my blogging duties! But here I am, back with a bang and with lots of news for you all.

Since I last wrote my surgery plans have changed quite drastically. I won't bore you all with the details but I am no longer having surgery on the 20th May. I am also no longer having radiotherapy. I am instead having a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction probably around July time. I know what you will all be thinking... WOAH, big change. The decision was made jointly by me and my surgeons and although recovering from a major operation is not how I dreamt I would be spending my summer, it does mean I am doing everything I can to prevent Kenneth returning! Oh and did I mention that reconstruction means I'll also have a super flat tummy at the end too? That sunshine holiday I've been dreaming of may be a little delayed but by the time I get there I'll hopefully be rocking a brand new bikini bod!

Last week I had a photo shoot to get some piccies for the top secret article I mentioned I have written. I had so much fun and the photographer and make up artist were amazing. Wanna sneak peek at my make up?? Oh go on then....

And then after a day of looking silly trying to smile for the camera I got the best surprise ever. Two of my best friends Phoebe and Alex had come on a surprise visit to see me (planned and kept secret from me with the lovely Lucy). Alex was back from Australia and Phoebe came down from London. It was so so so nice to see them, we laughed and 'danced' a whole bunch and I'm not sure I have smiled so much in a long time.

Once they had left me I then got to spend the weeked with my little sister Naomi!! And again most of the weekend was spent laughing and dancing especially on Saturday night when we were joined by Jess and Caitlin for a girlie night out.

I seem to be rocking the pink hair quite a lot recently. I even wore it whilst hanging out with little Bella. Notice that I'm colouring in again, I seem to have developed a little new found love for arts and crafts.

Tomorrow I am off to London and then on to Paris for the weekend and I can't wait to tell you all about it when I return. But for now I shall leave you with a picture of my new favourite brekkie...
blueberry, banana, raspberry and coconut milk yoghurt smoothie! YUM

Love you long time. X


4 May 2013

Coping with Chemotherapy. Advice from a hair obsessed chemotherapy graduate. Part one- general.

Hello everyone,
I have been threatening to write this for a while and now that I am a fully qualified chemotherapy graduate I have decided that now is the time.

I had six treatments of chemo, the first three were FEC and the second three were Taxotere. The most important thing I can tell you, is that every single person deals with chemotherapy differently. Everyone experiences side effects in different ways. Some people are absolutely fine and even manage to work (how they do this I will never know, huge amount of jealousy and respect from me), other people have a slightly harder time. I was one of these people. Panic not, if I can make it to the end, anyone can. It may not feel like it at the time but eventually it will all be over and you will feel like a human again.

The purpose of this blog post is to list everything that I found helpful during my chemotherapy in the hope it can help some of you too. I am not claiming to know everything and can only offer advice based on my own experiences but I do hope it helps. Please feel free to comment if you have any other tips.

  •          WATER

Drink it. Lots of it. This is particularly important to do the day before, the day of and the day after each treatment. I tried to drink at least 2 litres, ideally 2 and a half. Believe me it makes a big difference to how you feel.

  •          Keep your arm as warm as possible after chemo

I cut the end off of a fluffy sock and wore that on my arm. I suffered with phlebitis and keeping your arm warm really helps.

  •          Try to keep active

I know this is harder than it sounds, even just going for some gentle walks can really help. 

  •          Listen to your body

It tells you what you need. If you are tired, rest. If you are hungry, eat. If you crave a particular food, have it. Don’t try to push yourself too hard too soon, it won’t help.

  •          Moisturise

I found that my skin got really dry during both treatments, particularly my hands and face, so invest in some good moisturiser and keep hydrated. You don’t want wrinkles on top of everything else!

  •          Invest in an ear thermometer

They give a more accurate measure and are easy to use. You will learn to love it. Checking my temperature became part of my daily routine!

  •          Hair loss 

This is a biggie for most people. In my case, I knew it was inevitable, but some people on different chemotherapy drugs keep their hair. I waited until it became too distressing to watch it fall out any longer and took myself off to the hair dresser, chosing to have it shaved into various different hairstyles for a laugh before shaving the last bit off myself. You can see how I dealt with it here

  •          Have a bag packed ready for any unexpected hospital trips

In this bag you need; pyjamas, socks, slippers, a jumper or cardigan that opens at the front, toiletries, a towel, a book/puzzle book, spare underwear, a change of comfy clothes or at least clean t-shirts and leggings, iPod/iPad (optional), phone charger. Having some home comforts makes any hospital stay that little bit better.

  •          Plan fun things for the ‘good’ week of your treatment cycle

It gives you things to look forward to and something to aim towards when you are feeling rubbish. I tried to see Snoop Doggy Rob, or go for lunch with friends and as I’m sure you all know I did the odd bit of online shopping too. Hey, it made me feel better so I thought why not?

  •          Make the most of this time in bed/on the sofa

Read the books you always meant to and watch the films and TV series that you never had time to.

  •          Taste change

This can be horrible. I often found cold foods tasted better and drinks worked best with a straw.

  •          Bonjela

I got mouth ulcers but found bonjela worked a treat. The doc can also give you mouth wash which also helps.

  •          Be organised

Keep all of your hospital letters/leaflets in an easy to find folder, that way if you or anyone else need to find anything quickly you know where it is.

  •          Let people look after you

I struggled with this one. I always felt like a burden, but the truth is your family and friends want to help you. They want to do anything they can to make you feel a bit better. If you push them away you are not helping anyone, especially not yourself.

  •          Don’t be too hard on yourself

There will be times when you want to scream, cry, shout and laugh. Do it, you need to do whatever you can to make yourself better. Bottling up your emotions won’t help. I learnt this the hard way, don’t make the same mistake. 

  •          Be honest

With other people and with yourself. If someone asks how you feel, the natural response is to say you feel fine. If this isn’t true people can tell. Your face/eyes give everything away. Madre told me this early on and so I learnt albeit reluctantly to tell her the truth about how I was feeling. If you don’t feel well call your hospital ward, they will try their best to help. Don’t pretend you are fine, when you aren’t. Spotting and dealing with symptoms early is the key to staying well, again I learnt this the hard way.  

I hope that this helps at least some of you. The thing to remember is that it will all be worth it once you have finished!

Love you long time. X