Food for Thought

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

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-36461223

Catch up

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.

x

 

 

 

First day of school

Well Tuesday marks a day, when I was diagnosed I thought I would never see, my little girl’s first day at school.

It is going to be a very emotional day, my baby girl is growing up and at the same time, I am so proud of her. She is definitely ready for school and I think once she gets settled she will blossom even more then she already has done. She is such an amazing little girl and there has been so much going on in her short life but I am determined to stick around for as long as I possibly can to support her, encourage her, care for her and most importantly love her.

She will always be my baby, nothing will change that, but Tuesday is her time to start becoming more independant and to learn more about the world around her. She is so ambitious and creative and I can’t wait to see how far she goes.

I know that she will never probably see this but I want her to know how much I love her, how proud I am of her and how she is my little hero.

Here is a photo of her in her school uniform (thought I’d get the photos in early in case we are too busy on Tuesday morning)

DSC_1167

Support Networks

I have seen this article floating around Facebook today and it really made me think

http://www.babble.com/parenting/to-the-mom-without-a-village/

It talks about how it takes a ‘village’ to raise a child i.e. the support networks we have around us to help us bring up our children. These networks can be family, friends, education providers, healthcare etc. These networks also provide a variety of support from guiding children to providing support for the parents.

However this can easily be transferred to illness and in my case, cancer.

Over the past year or so, support networks have been a big thing for me, from my family helping out with my little monkeys (& in the case of my dad, providing us all with more meals than I can remember) to my newly found friends (both old friends who have become closer than ever to all the women on the cancer support groups on Facebook) & my wonderful hubby, who in the nearly 5 years we have been married has had to deal with more than some people who have been married for 20 years. There are also the goodness knows how many nurses, volunteers, doctors and Macmillan workers (to name but a few) who have had to listen to me pour my heart out when all they have really asked was how I am.

People often ask how I am able to cope? How am I able to stay up beat and keep on fighting? The truth is, without these people, I really don’t know.

Having cancer at 31 is an incredibly hard thing to get your head around. I assumed when I turned 30, my biggest problem would be how to cope with a hangover now I’m that tiny bit older and the best way to cover up a mum tum. Sounds silly I know but some days it would be nice to have just these problems.

The other week, some friends arranged a trip out with our children but I had to decline as I was having treatment (& after some messing around from the hospital I ended up having to postpone it until the next day). I felt really rubbish about it because nowadays I have to plan my life around my illness, it’s not like re-arranging a hair appointment. If I miss treatment it’s…. well it’s not possible. I wish I could have more time for friends but it isn’t always easy. With so much going on in my life, it is easy to forget to get in touch with people and make arrangements to see people. The reason I am so close to my best friend is because we constantly text, message and meet up. I can be feeling really crappy as I’ve had a bad day but just one message, even if it is something completely random, can make me feel so much better.

I know I’ve probably rambled on but the point in this post is really to thank everyone in my support network and try to show you all how much you all mean to me.

x

Feeling like a fraud….

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)

On the job hunt

I’m back!

And I have so much to tell you.

Firstly, I have been applying for jobs! I have already had two interviews and completed my first of two working interviews today. The job isn’t the most exciting one in the world but it’s a job. I was a little nervous to start with as i haven’t worked for 4 years and not had an interview for 5 years.

I was also nervous (& still am) about how to discuss my illness to them. I feel really good in myself & feel more then capable to work. However, I didn’t realise how nervous I was about it until I dreamt about arriving for my working interview and being asked to fill in some forms where I had to devulge my medical history. I did so and handed them back, the manager looked them over and started screaming at me to get out! She said that because of my illness they wouldn’t employ me and I shouldn’t even be looking for work. I woke up more nervous then ever, was I doing the right thing? Will they turn me down because of my illness? What if I wasn’t up to the job?

I decided to give it a go anyway. I guess the only way I can have all my questions answered is by giving it a go. If it doesn’t work out, I don’t think the world will collapse or hell will freeze over, I guess I will just have to look for something else.

Got my second working interview tomorrow and should find out by the end of the week whether or not I’ve got a job

I also promise to come back more regularly and keep you up to date.

Hello!

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

Kimberley x