Monday, 19 October 2015

Last Chemo Tomorrow!

My last Chemo is tomorrow!  

What a momentous occasion!  I am so excited, not because any lingering cancer cells will have been killed off by the end of this treatment, nope, I am excited because I won't have to go through side effects again and a bit of normality will return.  Oh my good God what a relief that will be. To counter my unbounding joy at this, I have got a year of Herceptin injections ahead and we don't know yet what the side effects of that will be as the two injections I've had, have been at the same time as Chemo. 

But I am choosing to ignore that, I've decided that it won't affect me at all. So back to the positive stuff.

I can't wait to feel normal again (what is normal? My normal!).  No more feeling yuckety yuck.  Plus plus plus....My hair will start to grow.  I can't wait to have hair again.  I will never diss my thin lacklustre locks again! I want hair!!  Any will do.  It will be whatever colour comes through, mouse with grey I think.  I've not seen my own colour since I was 14 when me and Karen Harris started splashing lightening setting lotion on our heads!  No such thing as home highlight kits then!!  So mouse grey will do.  It may also grow back curly, so grey afro here we come!  They say it may come back thicker which would be amazing, but I'm not greedy, thin and scraggy will do!!!!  Eyelashes too!  I've missed my eyelashes!  How daft is that? When I rub my eyes it just feels wrong.  I miss putting on mascara.  I've got false lashes but it's really hard to put them on without an existing line of lashes to guide you.  My eyebrows were never thick, a youth spent overplucking to blame for that,  but to have a complete line would be lovely.  As for hairy annoying legs, armpits, moustache, chin, nose, lady bits, well you can keep all that! That's been the one and only good thing!!!!  I should have been listing all the yuck stuff that happens and saying I'm so glad this is the last time for all of that, but just take that as read.  I'm just excited about hair!!!  Am I shallow?  I think I must be.  But who cares?!!  Just give me hair!!  My nails are another matter, I think they may take longer.  They are currently starting to show signs of distress and it may take a good few months for it to grow out, so I'm ignoring them for now.

Apart from the shallow stuff above, I also can't wait to go out. Out anywhere!  Because my immune system drops down to nothing on this second drug regime, I took the decision (mine not Docs) not to risk mixing with people and picking up infections.  I have injections for 8 days after the Chemo to help boost my count back up, so why would I want to undo all the good I've done?  So apart from the hospital, I have been nowhere.  After this next lot of side effects are done, in three or four weeks time or so, I'm going shopping!  I'm going to stand in the city centre and see more people than I have done for God knows how long and I'm going out for a meal and I'm going into the office.  Freedom!!!!

Just slowly and gently, I'm not going to go crazy, I need to build my body back up. I feel like a gorilla born in captivity that they slowly reintroduce to the wild!!!

So it's hair, shops, meals, work (yes sadly).

I can not wait.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Doing Daft Things for Cancer Research

Oh my! My rather gorgeous nephew Samuel Wilson is doing some fundraising. He is doing mad stuff and you can watch it online (don't ask me how, I'm over 35). He is doing this in memory of his Grandad and to support me!! Am rather overwhelmed by this. So good people, please support and donate if you wish. It's for Cancer Research!

Sunday, 11 October 2015


I never understood why people described cancer sufferers as being brave.  I just didn't get it.  Surely being brave is jumping in a river to save a drowning soul, or defending your military position against certain death, or standing up to bullies in the face of actual pain and humiliation.  That's bravery surely?

Yet cancer sufferers are paraded across our TV screens and newspapers like gods we should worship.  With all the accompanying wordy waffle of the feats of their bravery.  I couldn't understand what bravery had to do with it.  If you've got to have some medicine to fix you, that decision isn't brave, it's just foolhardy to refuse!

Apart from kids.  A photo of a bald headed little kid with a tube up its nose and an IV drip and trolley being dragged along, would of course elicit only sympathetic words like "Brave little thing" from me.  I don't know why I discriminated between children and adults.  Perhaps I saw the children as innocent and maybe viewed the adults had caused their own downfall in some way? (A discussion for another day).

Now that I have a Breast Cancer diagnosis I do feel a little differently about the "Brave" word.  I still don't think it's a good fit.  I think "Coping well" or "Handling it" or "Getting on with it" are better descriptors.  But I do admit to feeling that I may be a little bit brave at some points.  This is usually just before a Chemotherapy session.  I really, really don't want to do it.  My body has just started to heal after the last poisoning session and I am fully aware of what is about to happen to my body all over again and I quite simply do not want to do it.  Yet to me it is more of a question of survival than bravery.  Survival comes top of this particular decision making criteria.  (Anti chemotherapy souls may dispute my survival theory here).

But with all this unsolicited experience to my name, I am, whether I want to or not, expanding my comprehension of bravery.  I get it now that those dealing with illness face challenges which are met head on with stoicism, pluckiness and fearlessness.  That is their brave decision.  They could decide to deal with it by complaining, moaning, making a fuss, blaming medical staff for pain and turning against their loved ones.  Yet to remain resolutely defiant that you will not be brought down by this mass of unfair circumstances is most definitely a brave decision.

So I take it all back, my easy dismissal of yet another brave cancer victim.  Anyone who can sit and watch that chemotherapy liquid infusing into their body with the full knowledge of what will follow, is most definitely brave beyond words.

So there, I'm brave.  So are many ladies including Juliet, Marion, Karen and Tracy. Here's to us. (Plus all those before and those that will follow, too many).

I also have to include a mention for the Kidney people out there, both dialysis and donor. Jackie, David, Ruthie and Gaz. Wow.

Brave people xx

One favour, please do not comment saying I'm brave, my detractors will say I have only written this to get "brave" comments. It's not been done for that reason, it's a simple discussion on what "brave" means to me. So no brave comments!!!! Thank you x

Thursday, 8 October 2015

A Welcome Side Effect Would Be....

I've never been a skinny shape
When 7 stone there was no gape
Around my thighs jeans stretched tight
Against the wobble there was always a fight
I yearned to have long lean pins
Managed only half decent short shins
The trauma and worry of a big fat bum
For a seventies teenager was no real fun
Not conforming to a skinny size
My bum and hips I tried to disguise
My one saving grace
Was my tiny young waist
But straight up and down I did not go
Curves in those days a big no no
A tendency to spread was the norm
Child bearing hips always the form
If only Kardashians were popular back then
On the Bo Derek scale I would have been Ten
But that's how it is, just the same for us all
The more we want skinny, the fatter we fall
Age increases size, weight keeps track
But it's not so bad just look at my rack!
My bosom happily detracts the eye
With a whimper and sometimes a sigh
From looking at my rolling spare tyre
I can't deceive, my belt's not a liar
There is no excuse, I'm aware of that
I could eat less, do more and not get fat
But wait what's this? At last there's a chance!
A bad ass illness could just be the lance
To burst fat's hold on my wobbling bits
And lighten the load on my so heavy tits
My boobs big and bouncy have attracted a fight
The way I see it with a glimmer of light
It's bad, mad and wrong to look with such glee
At what side effects might just do for me
But if I go through a real rough time
At least the scales could come under nine?
I really am looking at this in a positive way
Onwards and upwards to a skinnier day.
The treatment is tough and there's no guarantee
I may win, I may lose, we sit wait and see
But my fingers are crossed I might get thin
With everything else surely this I can win?

What? Wait, I'm not sure I hear what you're saying?
I'm going to have to start seriously praying?
No don't bring me down it can't be true
The opposite can happen? Who can I sue?
You're telling me I will soon start to crave
Foods full of comfort, they'll all be my fave
Too tired to chew?
Pop a sweetie or two
No energy to crunch?
Have a soft carb lunch
Tummy won't do digestion?
Sugary drink's a suggestion
Taste buds receded?
Bread freshly so kneaded
A mouth so dry you can't swallow?
Fresh sorbet with ice cream to follow
Those meds and steroids are messing my brain
My reason and logic is starting to drain
They definitely told me some people lose weight
So why is Humpty Dumpty my inevitable fate?

From all the side effects, one may just have been
A nice new look, trim slim and so lean
But it's not going to happen, I will have to agree
Easy popping carbs offer comfort for me
A quick energy fix is first and foremost
So vital to help the counting cells boast
I simply can't worry about things expanding
There's time ahead to be more demanding
Day by day I'll eat what is right for me
And adjust my clothes to easy and free
But honestly, really, why couldn't it be?
That Chemo slimmed down podgy old me?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Going Public

We are a strange lot us human beings. Thankfully we are programmed quite strongly to help each other with survival. However underneath that we have multi faceted layers of complicated feelings, worries and anxieties. So many what if's, I'm not sure’s and what will they think’s? We are all going to react to major circumstances in our lives in many varied ways. These reactions may serve us well or they may result in more devastating problems. We just don't know. All we can do is go with the reaction that feels right for us. Only time will give us the clarity of hindsight. During my current progress through the web of illness recovery, I have discovered that we are all a little fond, myself included, of a subtle criticism of the way people deal with their illness. I understand this is a basic human response, as we want to validate our own choice of action as being the right one. The problem I have found with this, is that while it helps to strengthen your own resolve, it fairly well decimates the person you are criticising. I have chosen to go all out and tell everyone everything. Others tell no one but their closest loved ones. There is a whole range of individual and unique reactions, from those who go over the top and leap on the "Illness" train, with a need for attention that makes you cringe, to those that stay so quiet, sheltered and reserved that they become resentful that no one understands what they are going through, because no one knows. It is such a difficult balance between dignity and ignominy. That balance will only be chosen by the person viewing you. You have no control over the way they see you. We may feel so passionately that someone is making such a wrong choice in their life and feel there is nothing ahead for them but impending doom. We may have tried to explain this to them, yet they dismiss our concerns and assure us they know what they are doing. Hopefully what we do is sit by, watch and be ready to pick up any pieces should the worse happen, without ever saying those awful words "told you so". But if we end up wrong and everything goes right, can we say "I'm sorry, I was wrong". I'm not sure we can! Everyone has valid good reasons for behaving how they do, even if they can't elucidate why, it just feels the right thing to do. When I was first diagnosed, I took some time to decide how to deal with it. There is so much to consider apart from all the medical facts and the practical problems, but the biggest worry is other people. It is so easy to upset them. I know that sounds mad and should be the last thing you worry about, but for me it was one of the first things. I had to somehow balance my feelings and needs with theirs. I've always been happy in my own company but I do love knowing I have the support of my family and friends, without that I'd feel very isolated. I don't want to be mobbed by people, that would drive me nuts, but I am very very fortunate in knowing I could turn to any of them and say "help". That means the world to me. So my decision to go public about my breast cancer was, of course, multi faceted. Firstly laziness came into it. Trying to keep everyone updated was going to be much easier done all in one place! Secondly, I hate awkwardness, I dreaded meeting someone and having one of those conversations where we dart around the subject that no one will broach, yuck. I'm much happier when someone says "how are you?" and I reply "shit" and we move on. Love it. My next reason was one I am very passionate about and it's now become a clich├ęd word "Awareness". I feel compelled to tell people to check their boobs. Following on from that is my need to help others, whether they are diagnosed or are supporting loved ones. To me knowledge and understanding are so important. Sharing a recovery journey is one of the most important coping mechanisms for me. Hearing that someone has a similar side effect, reduces your anxiety levels. Comfort in numbers. Lastly I love writing, always have done. I have that need to be creative and lying in bed tapping my keyboard gives me such a wonderful release. I did try crochet (which I love) but it was too much physical effort! In truth I would be stifled without this wordy therapy.

I'm aware that I sound like I'm justifying my actions and that's not what I want this to be about. I want us all to be aware that other people's choices are just that, other people's choices. We must try hard not to take slight or be hurt by them. We must put our feelings second to those of our friend or loved one and do our best to support them through their choice. It's a big ask I know. Because underneath it all, we just love to be a little bit bitchy, don't we?!!

So read it, don't read it, criticise me, praise me, share my words, delete my words, understand me, ignore me. It's your choice and I respect it. I'm just happy doing my thing and very much hope that by doing that no one feels I am criticising them!

Complicated darn world!!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Thank you

Just one more Chemo to go
It's made my life a little slow
Apart from those around me
Whose lives whizz by so quickly
They spend their time helping
By washing cooking cleaning
Being a taxi and supporting
Wiping tears and understanding
Injecting, pill counting, supplying drink
Smoothies, fruit teas, ice to clink
How would I get through this
Without a loved one's kiss
I can be strong and determined to win
I can be weak and want to give in
I cry and get so frustrated
Yet always I am surrounded
By those who luckily
Seem to keep on loving me

And distance is no barrier
Hi-tech an instance carrier
A loving word here and there
The years and miles disappear
No one afraid to say hello
It makes my heart all a glow
Please never underestimate
The power and the fate
Of human beings connecting
It truly is amazing
The joy that can be brought
By just a simple quick thought
Never doubt that it's a good thing
To make someone else's heart sing

I'd like to say thank you all
Whether distance big or small
Whether years are many or few
I will always be grateful to you
My journey is not yet complete
But you've made it less of a feat
From people for who it's all a mystery
To those who have a big full history
From people who have a quick read
To those attending my every need
Thank you so much for helping me along
A tough journey but you've made me strong

Thank you.