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
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)
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)
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.
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
As I’m sure you can imagine I have lots of different appointments to keep up with & when explaining to other people it can become a little complicated. So I thought I’d begin by going through the various appointments I have & then go into detail each week about what I’m having or attending.
- Every 3 weeks I have Herceptin (by injection given over 5 minutes) & Perjeta (given intravenously over an hour). The nurse comes out to me for these & usually spends about 3hrs with me as they have to also monitor me once they have given me the drugs. They also come out to me the day before to take bloods to make sure I am well enough for the treatment.
- Every 4 weeks I have denosumab (by injection) which is a bone strengthened. The nurse, again, comes out to me but is only usually with me for about half an hour. With this treatment the nurse also comes to me the day to take blood
- Every 8 weeks I go to see my oncologist to discuss how I am, give me any results & make sure I am aware of what is happening next
- Every 3 months I have a CT scan to check my head, chest & abdomen to see if there has been any further spread.
- Every 3 months I also have an echocardiogram to check for any heart irregularities which are a potential side effect from my Herceptin.
- Every 6 months I visit my breast care consultant for a check up.
- Every 12 months I have a mammogram & ultrasound scan to monitor for any tumours or irregularities
Over the past week I have been feeling a little down, maybe it’s just the time of year, however after Boxing Day I have started to feel a lot better.
I am now looking forward to the new year and planning plenty of things to do with family and friends. At the start of 2014, I thought this was the year that things were going to happen i.e. I was going to build up my business, I wanted to do a lot of things with my family and all this was put on hold when I was diagnosed. Back then I felt so lost and had no idea what the future held for me. Nearly a year on, I’m still a little unsure but I’m going to get on regardless.
Although 2014 was pretty rubbish (my diagnosis has put a bit of a black cloud over things) there has been so many great things have happened too, such as
- Meeting the Backstreet Boys (Sorry I’m going to keep going on about that for some time still)
- reconnecting with old friends and made lots more
- completed the Race for Life and the Midnight Walk for Katharine House Hospice
- I’ve completed 2 modules towards my degree
- been on some lovely trips away with my family
- Raised lots of money for charity
- had a few interesting adventures