The view from up here is becoming more beautiful! 

I have been living in a bubble for nearly 7 months! An ill bubble, a sad bubble, an unconfident bubble, a whole sphere of being and feeling sorry to my family and friends for the situation, as well as being angry that my life had been stolen by a huge monster of an illness. Thankfully this experience has taught me so much about myself and I generally feel like this was given to me to change my way of thinking and to make me appreciate what I do have opposed to what I don’t have. 

Since posting last there has been more change.. surprise surprise. My hair is falling out massively and will continue to fall for six week (so the nurse says), I could quite possibly be bald in that time. If there is anyone that has been through treatment and knows more about how to treat the hair growth process and how long it takes to stop falling out, please do contact me and let me know I would be grateful. 

More importantly I have begun holding the plank morning and night to begin strengthening my weaker muscles and to correct my poor typical ‘ill’ posture I have adopted (slumped/rounded kyphotic shoulders and upper back). This in itself is a massive positive for me, it means my body is in recovery and mending well and I can get myself in the gym very soon.

Last week I experienced extreme stomach cramps (six days after treatment) the pains were inbetween my diaphragm and belly button. It felt like a mixture of wind cramps and burning. I took Lansoprosol when I felt the feeling appear and I drank lots of honey and water… I swear by minouka honey now! I knew I wasn’t constipated because I had been to the toilet, however I read that this was normal after having ABVD. The on call doctor recommended I took cocodamol and buscopan together. Even though the cocodomal made me feel drowsy the two medicines did ease the pain. Eventually the pain went after two whole days.

I wanted to mention this as my reading and research lead me to believe a lot of people that undergo ABVD experience stomach discomfort and therefore, I wanted to explain what procedure I took to get rid of it. It’s important to mention that I also drank a lot of fluids, not many fizzy drinks, but diluted juices as water doesn’t taste good after treatment…STAY HYDRATED! 

So, right now I am currently on an 8 week break from treatment. I have already been back to the hospital as I found a few lumps in my groin and neck, but my doctor is not concerned and asked me to keep an eye of the size of them. I felt a little bit like a hypochondriac going to the doctor, but for my own peace of mind I needed to know that it was ok and that I didn’t need to worry. I hear that many people become so anxious about getting cancer back again after getting the all clear. I hope I find a way of avoiding anxiety over my health.  I get my results from the pet scan on the 15th September – fingers and toes crossed I get the ALL CLEAR! 

I have just started to feel ‘me’ again. Last night I went out with friends for the first time for cocktails and it’s safe to say I still have that groove on the dance floor!! I am also loving the wig at the moment. My natural hair is so fine that seeing my bald head is not very glam for a night out. I am also going back to work next week for a few hours a day and I think I will make an appearance in the gym too. 

It just goes to show when you think you CANT you DO and there is ALWAYS light at the end of a DARK tunnel. I’m nearly at the top of the mountain and wow the view up here is looking beautiful!!! 

Potentially the last

don’t really know how to start this blog today…I think I’ll just dive in.

The recovery after session 1 of cycle 3 wasn’t so good. I began experiencing terrible pains in the arm I had the chemo in. I tried icing my arm, warming it and massaging, but after suffering for three days I went to A&E. It was this visit that made me realise how much I had learnt about my cancer and the symptoms I suffer. I had an ultra sound scan to rule out a blood clot and I was sent home with 0ramorph (a liquid form of morphine).The pain went after about 4 days, but I’m sure I’ll have it back in a few days.

So Saturday, well where do I start with this one? The whole week I had been building myself up for what could potentially be the last chemo session – fingers crossed! Lots of people sent me messages prior to Saturday saying things like “last one wahoo” and “keep strong just one more to go.” But I couldn’t see it like that. I knew what I was in for. The day before chemo a nurse always calls to check you are coming for the chemo and makes sure I have no coughs, difficulty with breathing or a temperature. As soon as I put the phone down on the nurse my eyes filled up and I was crying like a baby. My stomach felt weak and all the symptoms I get after chemo were already happening…this was obviously psychological. I called my nurse at Barts and she suggested I did things to distract me and to relate the hospital to a positive time, of course this sounded like a great solution, however the mind is more powerful than we think and this was going to take practise.

Saturday morning I told myself I would take complete control over the situation. I had breakfast (as I knew I may not be eating for the rest of the day) and myself and Darren left for the hospital. This time round I took a face mask to wear for the hospital. I was trying to eliminate everything that makes me feel nauseas. From the moment I sat in the seat I went into a complete different zone. I was aware of everything, but I didn’t want to look around the unit nor did I want to speak to anyone. Myself and Darren didn’t speak throughout the day he checked I was ok and I nodded, I didn’t want anything or anyone to distract me.

I took my nurses advise and I decided to use imagery to get me through. I imaged that the chemo came from a sun flower and I pictured myself on a sunbed around a pool in Mexico. Mexico was one of the best holidays me and Darren went on… Thank the lord it helped me get through. I woke up yesterday with swollen fingers and a swollen face, my eyelashes have fallen out which could be making my eyes look a little puffy. My taste buds and smell are all over the place at the moment, but I am eating and drinking like normal. My cousin asked me the other day if I am sticking to my usual healthy diet. The answer to that is no. When you are unwell and losing weight the idea is to eat! I think. I like to drink a lot of fluids to keep my toilet game strong haha! For those that may experience constipation I find that manuka honey and boiled water (hot as you can) really helps, but I must add I do use Lactulose if I have to. However I try to use it as little as possible as it can irritate the bowel and that is painful.

So, to conclude todays blog, I am only on day two and we know that its around day 4 that my health deteriorates, I just hope its not too harsh.

xXx

Have you ever stopped still and watched the speed of life, the individuality of others choices and the repetitiveness of a daily routine?… This is me at the moment. I feel totally static yet their are a million things going on around me.

I haven’t blogged for a while because I haven’t had the motivation to explain, but today I feel like I want to. As I mentioned at the beginning of this journey the idea of this blog is not to pull on your heart strings, but to inform, update and help. I do not explain my story to make you feel sorry for me and to make out that I am the only one going through this. I use my own experiences to help you understand what this life is and for others like me to relate and share for awareness. So many unfortunate people are affected in some way and instead of hiding away like victims we should try to be big and bold and support one another.

Enough of me being informative, now I’ll explain what life has been since the last lot of chemo (2nd July 2016).

Wow, the weeks are flying by!

The last lot of chemo was emotional straining, without support from Darren and the nurse on the day unit I’m not sure I would have gone ahead with it. That same morning I was jumping around my bedroom showing Darren how to do the bogle, screaming out to my mum in the garden (not sure what I was screaming about) and generally just being me. As soon as we arrived at the hospital I began feeling sick. We walked into the lift and I covered my nose with my jumper because I couldn’t take the smell of the hospital. Chemo enhances your smell and taste – awful. I got into the day unit and I was in tears…I was scared! Up until then I had been so brave, open to all treatment and tests but for some reason I couldn’t stay calm. All of a sudden I had become resistant and angry. Whilst hysterically crying I told Darren I didn’t want to go ahead with the treatment and asked him numerous times to take me home, of course he said no! I explained to him that it was not his body going through this it was mine and I was done with it all. I hadn’t even had any chemo at that point and I was vomiting lots. All mentally provoked. Darren expressed that evening how much of a struggle it was for him to persuade me to stay. He said it was awful being hard on me, however he knew that I would have thanked him in the log run – and I did!

You can imagine how long that day was for me, we arrived at 12:30 and didn’t leave until 19:00. Like every chemo days I got into bed as soon as I arrived home. The nurse said I needed to go for a blood test the following Monday to get my neutrophil count checked. I did and I found that my neutrophils were very low again (0.4). Luckily I had a GCSF injection in the fridge at home, so I took that one and Barts had some more delivered to me the same day.

It feels like its getting harder, I have just one session left before I have an 8 week break prior to the PET scan. I cant see past it. I keep telling people that having this dark cloud in my life has stripped me from everything. Firstly, my hair is  falling out lots more..  although I still try to make jokes about it. I wore the wig for the majority of Monday, despite the compliments I got from people I didn’t feel very confident wearing it. Can you imagine if it fell off? haha.  Secondly, tiredness and fatigue gets me everyday. Within an hour of being awake I’m tired again. Thirdly, aches and pains. Currently I’m experiencing los of pain in my right arm (chemo arm). I refuse to take pain killers until the pain is unbearable. I have learnt during treatment that painkillers give me stomach pain after long and it slows recovery down…call me Dr Dunne haha. Lastly the daily routine I spoke about at the beginning of this blog. It will be so nice to get back to what I love: being active, going to the gym and socialising with no worry of getting tired. One thing I have noticed since I’ve been having treatment is that I forget the most simple things like peoples names, the next word in my sentence whilst getting tongue tide a lot. Is this normal?

To conclude, although I’m ill, I am ok. This health change has made me thankful for life, my family , friends and for the continued support I get daily.  I hope this has a positive impact on your day as this is reality. I am a firm believer of trying to turn the struggles of life into positives and not to be so hung up on things for too long.

We are stronger than we really know.