Hair and Race for Life!

So yesterday was a fairly busy day.

Firstly I had a hair appointment, which I was very excited about as I could actually choose the style (what I had been going for before or a bob cut). It is lovely to be able to have the option, usually I just have it styled to help grow it out so I opted for a bob cut. It’s still a little short in place but as soon as the hairdresser put in the fringe, it looked perfect and I am so happy with it. I also captured some photos to show you all.

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Secondly, I completed my 3rd Race for Life with my friend Kate and her daughter Megan. To say I was nervous, was an understatement, I was petrified! My idea to train and prepare myself went out of the window so I was really unprepared. However, we managed to get round in 49 minutes (Megan in 35 mins) and 24 hours later, I’m still here. My legs are really aching though and I was so tired I had to have a nap. So here is a photo of us just before we started (there is a photo as we crossed the finish line but it is not glamorous)
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Well, that’s all to update at the moment. I’m off to get my 5th assignment ready to send off (hopefully this evening)

x

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

New Starts

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

A nice kinda lunch

Today was kind of a day off the treatment as the machine was having a service so I thought I’d plan a catch up lunch with a friend and a few other bits and bobs.

To start the day off I thought I’d wear a new dress I’d been looking forward to wearing. All was going well until I looked in the window and saw I looked like Sinead O’Connor (I’ve got nothing against her but I don’t think the look suits me). That was a little upsetting, I just wish I had my long hair back. It doesn’t help either when you are feeling exhausted and poorly.

I dropped my children off at nursery and headed home to spend some time with my dog before heading into town to buy Lynda Bellingham’s new book and have lunch. When I met my friend, as usual it took us ages to look at the menu as we were too busy talking. I had my usual a nice healthy salad with a lemon meringue to balance it out (hehe). We had some brilliant conversations and giggles, most of it was the kind of “had to be there” to get it but I had a great time. It was nice to be able to forget everything I’m feeling at the moment and just let loose. The only problem was it never seems long enough.

After that it was back to it, sadly being a mum as well as a cancer patient means life never stops. You never have time to wallow in self-pity or sleep for hours on end. But I guess it has helped me to stay so positive, watching my two children (even though they can be little tinkers at times) makes me want to fight so I can carry on watching them for as long as I can. Nothing can brighten your day like your child giving you a cuddle or telling you they love you. Things have been difficult for both of them, my little girl especially, as they are both too young to understand what is happening to Mummy.

Well this evening my plan is to do a little bit of coursework, settle down with some chocolate and start my new book.

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

 

The end is near

Well, tomorrow I am having my last chemo session. I can’t believe how quickly the last 16 weeks have gone. It seems like only yesterday I was preparing myself for my first session and worried about how it would affect me. Well after 2 admissions to hospital, so many trips to a&e that I’ve lost count and a blood tranfusion, I can honestly say it has been a pretty tough journey. I have had some highs and lows over the past few months but I feel I have learnt a lot about myself and grown as a person. 

Some of my highs included

  • completing Race for Life
  • deciding to get a puppy
  • had my first experience of radiotherapy and it wasn’t being too bad
  • reconnecting with old friends
  • realising who my real friends were
  • meeting some incredible new people through the chemo unit and on Facecbook
  • being able to get back into my coursework
  • seeing all the incredible support I have received from family and my Facebook friends (including Breast Cancer Buddies UK and UK Breast Cancer Support Page)
  • realising I am a lot stronger then I thought I was
  • being dress ready for the whole of summer (and I can honestly say I am not looking forward to having to start buying razors again)

Some of my lows included

  • feeling so ill and tired and wondering why I was doing this to myself
  • finally losing my hair
  • feeling incredibly lonely at times and being ignored by some friends
  • the seemingly endless trips to a&e and the hospital admissions
  • Cannulas and blood tests! I could make up a dot to dot with my arm