Round up of the week

So in the vain of wanting to update my blog more, I thought I would share with you what I have been up to this week & its been a busy one!

It’s been half term for Evie so firstly there has been the task of entertaining her (fortunately Connor still goes to nursery but its a bit more flexible in the holidays)

So the week started off with an impromptu BBQ at my dad’s house (taking full advantage of the glorious sunshine on the bank holiday). Tuesday my mum in law had the children for the day (bliss but it means I have to play catch up with food shopping & coursework) & I had the nurse out to take bloods ready for treatment on Thursday. The bloods were taken without any problem & the nurse even told me that he had bumped into my old oncologist, who had been asking how I was. It really struck a chord with me to think that even a year after she stopped working at the hospital she still thinks of her old patients (see, the NHS isn’t all bad).

Wednesday was the mummy/daughter day I had planned over 6 weeks ago. I took Evie to Emma Bridgewater in Stoke to see how it’s all made and to paint some things for us as souvenirs. I found it absolutely fascinating to see the whole process of how its made (& now understand why it isn’t cheap!). I think Evie’s favourite part was the painting as she couldn’t wait to get started once she had chosen a plate.

I even painted some mugs myself (why should Evie have all the fun?)

Thursday was our busiest day though. After dropping Connor off at nursery, it was off to take some photos for my coursework and a little bit of shopping so Tom could do some more work in the hall and landing (he’s nearly finished decorating then it’s time for me to do the finishing touches). At 11:30am the nurse arrived and it was time to get hooked up and jabbed (yep it was all four treatments-lucky me). Although I should enjoy the nurse coming & having the opportunity to sit and just watch tv, I had other things on my mind. Firstly, packing! Yes Tom & I were going away for the evening and the monkeys were having a sleepover at my dad’s house. When I originally booked it, I wasn’t due treatment this week however since I was ill last week it had to be postponed. So once treatment was over, we were off!

For Christmas, my dad had given us a gift experience of a nights stay at Ruthin Castle. It was a beautiful castle with so much history (including Tudor- my favourite). We had a lovely 3 course meal last night & a good nosey around (it was funny sneaking around and we found the mediaeval banqueting hall!). This morning after breakfast we took a lovely stroll around the grounds before heading home. It was a lovely end to the week.

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So it’s back to work on my assignment this weekend. I’m hoping to finish it all this week, ready to start the next module.

x

Times are changing…

Some of you may notice a couple of little changes to my blog.

After a lot of thought (& a little status on Facebook), I’ve decided to change my blog. I haven’t been updating you all on the cancer stuff as, to be honest, there isn’t anything new to update you all on. The are positives and negatives to this. The positive being, I am fighting the cancer and there have been no developments or progression. The negative is that I haven’t been able to write on my blog.

It’s funny really, I started this blog with the local radio station & I was really nervous about writing as I thought I would be rubbish at it & wouldn’t know what to write. However, I love it!

Therefore, I will now be blogging about my life (it can seem pretty crazy at times). I’ll update you on things I have been up to, adventures, funny anecdotes (hopefully I’ll have some), a bit of cancer stuff & anything else I think you might like to hear about. This way I can write a bit more & share with you the everyday goings on of someone with cancer.

So here goes!

Hopefully you will all enjoy seeing where this goes

x

The results are in! 

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. 

http://m.macmillan.org.uk/article/name/cancerinformation-cancertreatment-treatmenttypes-hormonaltherapies-individualhormonaltherapies-letrozole
http://m.macmillan.org.uk/article/name/cancerinformation-cancertreatment-treatmenttypes-hormonaltherapies-individualhormonaltherapies-goserelinbreast

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)

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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

Chemo- A year on

I can’t believe I finished my chemo a year ago! 

Last summer seems a complete blur of hospital trips and admissions and feeling the awful side effects from all my medication but fortunately things are a lot better now. Although I have an uncertain future ahead of me, I am trying my best to get on with things and try to find something that resembles normal (if such thing exists). There are some things I am still adjusting to but hopefully that will come in time. 

Thought I’d also share a hair update. Although I’m particularly keen on it at the moment, it is growing back quite nicely 

  

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)