When you usually see cancer, it is in adverts or leaflets. It is censored and made to look comfortable for its viewers. The article below is about a series of images that depict real people living with very real cancer. So are funny and some aren’t but this is the reality. I’ve even included one of my old photos to this post
So as I am sure you are all aware, I have recently had a mammogram, CT scan & an echocardiogram.
I received my letter in the post the other week regarding my mammogram & was happy to see the magical words “your recent mammogram shows no worrying features”. Honestly, I felt like framing it! It is one less thing to worry about & it is complete for another year. This is not to say I won’t still be checking myself but it does offer reassurance.
Secondly, yesterday I had my CT scan & echocardiogram results. The echo scan has come back normal which means I can continue with the Herceptin for another 3 months when I will need another scan. My CT scan has also come back ok, there is some debate over a vertebrae but my oncologist thinks it could possibly be scar tissue & isn’t majorly concerned.
So with my scans out of the way for a little while, today is was back to my regular treatment of Herceptin & Perjeta (can you believe it’s been 3 weeks since the last one!). Fortunately, all went well & I will just be feeling a little tired for the next couple of days
Well, Wednesday is drawing to a close. I’ve completed 4 of my 6 appointments for the week and my cold is finally starting to clear off.
So here is a round up of the week so far
Monday- Nurse- taking bloods ready for treatment on Wednesday
Breast Consultant- beginning to look at reconstruction or some sort of surgery but this is dependant on the oncologist
Tuesday- Day off
Wednesday- Oncology Nurse- Check up and arrange CT scan and Echocardiogram, she has also ok’d surgery but has to double check with the oncologist and we discussed me taking Flaxseed (apparently it can help suppress cancer cells if you take 1-2tsp a day so I’ve ordered some to be delivered tomorrow)
Nurse- Herceptin and Perjeta- 3 weekly top up, this usually takes around 3 hours (including observation period)
Can’t believe it’s been so long since I last posted an update.
So much has gone on since last time. My new drugs appear to be working and I am now showing some signs of the menopause (mainly hot flushes) and the cancer marker in my blood is reducing. I have had to give up my job due to being too tired (working as a cleaner probably wasn’t the best idea). Although I do still get tired, I am able to rest more and do some more things to help me relax, such as scrap-booking and some trips out.
This past weekend has also marked 2 years since my diagnosis!
Yes, you read that right 2 YEARS!!!!
I honestly never believed that I would still be here 2 years later and feeling quite well for it. Last week in the lead up it was tough, but I have tried my best to stay positive, thinking about how far I’ve come and how well I am considering all of this. I am still very much alive and kicking (cancer’s butt). You will also be happy to hear that I (well my hubby and mother in law) are still using the “C” card. The most significant one was at the weekend when my hubby had arranged a shopping trip with a personal shopper, I got a free makeover, my nails done and an arm massage for free. My mum in law and me had an amazing time, am already saving up to do it again!
Only real complaint I have at the moment is this cold weather we are having. I know, I sound like an old woman but I really do feel the cold and it really makes my joints ache, especially my hip. But every morning when I leave the house, I am reminded that spring is on it’s way with the lovely daffodils and hopefully some tulips soon.
Well that’s enough of my ramblings, I promise to keep you up to date more often.
This morning I went into the hospital to see my oncologist & get the results of my bone scan.
The results were good & there is no significant growth in any of my bones. There is a dot on my spine which will need a further MRI scan to identify exactly what it is but that is all. In light of the changes in my blood (an elevated cancer marker), the oncologist has decided to change my medication from Tamoxifen to Letrozole & Zoladex. This combination should suppress some of the hormones which my cancer feeds on. I have included some links below if anyone is interested in learning a little more about them.
Occasionally, I have thoughts about my cancer that I find hard to understand or communicate, even after all I have been through, I m starting to feel like it isn’t real anymore. So much happened last year and there was so much to take in but now my appointments are quite spaced apart, it feels strange to say “I have cancer”.
I guess I have been thinking more like this after starting back at work. They are still unaware of my illness (my line of defence, they haven’t asked). How do you explain to someone that you have cancer which is incurable, but you don’t feel or look ill? How do you reassure people that you are perfectly fine to carry out your job even though the big ‘C’ looms over you?
When people hear cancer (and I’ll admit I felt the same), you think of someone being very ill and they either go into remission or die (sorry if that seems a bit of a harsh word). No one really talks about or knows about how many people are out there living with it and could be living with it for 10, 20 or many more years. There is plenty of advice out there about how to cope after cancer and how to ‘live’ with it (i.e. diet, fatigue etc) but nothing out there that talks about day to day life, how to actually live with it or how to look to the future. I love planning things to do, places to go etc, however sometimes I worry about how far in advance I can plan. I am hoping by 2018/2019 to finish my degree and graduate but is this planning too far ahead? Is it worth it? I guess if it were to happen within 5 years of diagnosis, they would have at the very least hinted at the possibility. However when I was first diagnosed I was told it could be 5, 10, even 20 years and that was before the chemo worked better then expected. Or was that my hint?
Anyway I’m disgressing slightly, the point of this post was to talk about how I feel a fraud when I tell people I have cancer. I have no visable signs of illness, I’m not in any pain and I have no side effects from my medication (yes, I know I should and I do feel incredibly lucky). However, this is what makes me feel like a fraud, there are so many people out there (too many in my opinion) who are suffering terribly and I am sat here feeling nothing. I feel how I did when I started this horrible journey, when I was first diagnosed I couldn’t bring myself to say I had cancer because it didn’t feel real, like they had made a mistake. This is exactly how I feel now.
I feel like I am stuck in limbo at the moment, trying to find out what the new me is like and how I fit into this new world.
And so this isn’t a completely depressing post, I thought I would end on a positive. My blood tests have all come back fine today so tomorrow I will be having Herceptin, Perjeta and Demosumab! (I am about 10 weeks overdue my demosumab)
Sorry it has been so long since I lasted updated you all.
To be honest there isn’t much to say. I’m ticking along just nicely and have even applied for a couple of jobs.
I had my 3 weekly Herceptin and Perjeta yesterday and after a few problems with the calcium levels in blood, I’m having my demosumab (bone strenghtener) injection tomorrow. I am supposed to have it every 4 weeks but it has been 6 weeks since my last one.
In less then 2 weeks I will be taking part in my second Race for Life and unlike last year, I have been doing a little bit of training towards it. I am hoping to get a better time then I did last year (managed it in 45mins). Here is a link to my JustGiving page for anyone who would like to sponsor me https://www.justgiving.com/Kimberley-Unsworth3/
Well that’s me caught up for now and I promise not to leave it too long next time