An open letter to Lynda Bellingham

While looking at BBC news this morning I came across this article about Lynda Bellingham. Lynda was diagnosed with colon cancer in July 2013 which has now spread to her lungs and liver. She has now made the decision to stop treatment in November.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-29400261

I think this is a very courageous decision, as I for one am only too aware of the, sometimes, horrendous side effects treatment can have on you. Although my diagnosis is nowhere near as bad as Lynda’s, I can completely empathise with her situation. Why would anyone want to live out their last days being subjected to treatment that weakens you so much?

Although I have only had chemotherapy for a short period of time (6 sessions over 4 months) I suffered terribly and was admitted into hospital 3 times. I also feel I missed so much time with my husband and 2 young children.

I have vague memories of Lynda in the Oxo adverts but remember how much I enjoyed watching her on loose women. Lynda is such an inspirational and brave woman. As I said before, her decision is very courageous and it could not have been an easy one. However, I wish her all the best and I hope that she will be able to enjoy her last days with her family and at least be able to put this awful illness to the back of her mind.

Halfway point

Hi everyone

Fear not, I haven’t forgotten you all. Been so busy lately & the radiotherapy is starting to tire me out.

Radiotherapy is going relatively well. I’ve reached the halfway mark and my skin is fairing well. Only problem is that the radiotherapy has caused me to have a very sore throat. I’ve been given so medication & some special mouthwash that should help.

On a brighter note, I’ve started using a special shampoo & conditioner called FAST. It’s supposed to stimulate the hair to grow quicker. I must admit I was slightly sceptical of it but after reading numerous reviews (all of which were good) I thought I’d give it a go.

I’ve probably been using it for a week & so far there has been some improvement. So I have decided to post a couple photos of hair as it is today & then I post another set in around 4 weeks time so you can help me to decide whether it is working.

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The start of something new

Well I’ve got a couple more things to report today.

On Saturday I completed the 10k Midnight Walk for Katharine House Hospice. My friend Kate & I dressed up as cowgirls to take part. It was amazing to take part & walk that far. However the next day I was really feeling it. Obviously my hips & pelvis are already weak & most of Sunday afternoon they were aching so badly I was finding it hard to walk without support.

I’m feeling a lot better today though & ready for my first radiotherapy on my chest. As I’ve said before, it’s ever so glamorous but it’s helping to fight the little b*****d so it’s worth it. I have to go to New Cross Monday to Friday for the next 4 weeks which is a bit of pain (it’s a 45min drive each way & I’m only there for about 10mins) but it will hopefully fly by.

So I’d better head off but I’ll leave you with a photo from Saturday night

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Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, this life

I had a discussion with a couple of the girls on the workshop yesterday about how being diagnosed is bittersweet.

On the one hand you are dealt with something you wouldn’t wish on even your worse enemy and on the other, it makes you take stock of your life and makes you want to make the most out of it.

If I had been told I would do even half the stuff I have done in the past 8 months, this time last year, I probably would have just laughed it off. However, since my diagnosis I have done so much,

  • I met my favourite boyband
  • I have made some incredible new friends and reconnected with others
  • I shaved my hair off for charity
  • I completed the Race for Life and even ran a little bit of it
  • I have been able to manage running home, caring for my children, endured surgery, chemotherapy and the shock of having cancer and continued studying towards my degree
  • I’ve held a Strawberry Tea for Breast Cancer Care
  • This weekend I am going to be completing the Midnight Walk for Katharine House Hospice
  • I went on a Look Good Feel Better workshop and to Hoar Cross Hall
  • I went on my first study visit to Liverpool (something I was very nervous about doing)
  • I am booked to go on another study visit to Brighton next month but this time I will be going for the whole weekend
  • With my family I have been to Nottingham, Bath and London all in between my treatment
  • and countless other things

But the best thing is, it’s only September so there are plenty other things I could do! If I’m honest, I have no idea what will happen before the end of the year but I’m excited to find out.

Like I said before, having cancer is bittersweet, it is only now that I am really enjoying life and having the guts to do all the things I want to. So my advise to all of you reading this is if there is something you want to do, just do it! Don’t be afraid, don’t think you are being selfish, just get on with it! The only person you are letting down is yourself and if like me, you’ll be excited about what it will lead to next.

So until next time, I’m off to plan another adventure x

 

Looking Good

Hi everyone

Can’t believe how long it has been since I last updated you all.

I’ve spent today at Hoar Cross Hall, attending a Look Good, Feel Better workshop. This was provided the a charity of the same name which aims to provide practicial and free services to women and teenagers who suffer from the visable side effects from cancer treatments. They do this with a 12 step programme which they go through with you in the workshop and you are given a bag with all the products in to use and take home (I’ll just add here that they are all full sized products not just testers).

About 13 of us came to the workshop, all at various stages of treatment, and it was lovely to meet some new people with whom you have a lot in common with. From what we were told, this was the first one in the area and I honestly hope there are a lot more in the future. We were all able to have a giggle and learn something new. It was lovely to be able to get a bit glammed up and be able to do it at home too. As an extra treat Hoar Cross Hall also allowed us to have lunch and use of the facilities at a reduced rate.

I took full advantage and enjoyed the pool and various aqua spa facilities. There are times when you feel really low and have no confidence in the way you look (especially after putting on weight and being ill). This day really helped me to feel better about myself and made me realise that I can still pamper myself, ok maybe not in the same way I use to but this has shown me a new way.

I must admit, although I have to go through so much rubbish with my cancer, I am enjoying the perks too.

So here’s to looking good and feeling better!

My goody bag

  My goody bag

12 Step programme

12 Step programme