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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion” – Muhammad Ali 

I will soon be a champ! 

Blogging today as there has been a change with my health over the last five days. Even though the chemo didn’t seem to effect me like it usually does, which maybe because it’s not as strong as day one of the cycle (according to the doc), I have been suffering with aches and pains and a sore stomach. 

It began on Wednesday evening, my lower back ached and I had little twinges all over my body. The majority of the pain was in my lower back, although I suffered little twinges in the back of my arms and legs. I knew I was in for a treat as it was day 4 post treatment. The docs tell me not to take paracetamol for pain as it masks a fever, but I checked my tempreture and opted for the paracetamol. I had been prescribed Tremadol for severe pain, but I just didn’t like the idea of taking it. I had taken it before and I know it can make you feel drowsy and a little away with the fairies. In the end the pain got worse and I took the Tremadol. It made me feel so weird. By Friday I was going crazy, I was short tempered, crying lots and generally didn’t feel myself. 

On Friday I decided to leave the Tremadol alone, it wasn’t good for me. My stomach was killing and I felt agitated. I called my GP and asked him to prescribe me Lansoprosol to help line my stomach. I thought taking all the meds could be the problem..It didn’t help. During Saturday I kept drinking warm water and applied heat to soothe the discomfort (heat always helps for me). I had been awake all hours of Friday night and I was so tired. So I got as much sleep as I could and plus ANTHONY JOSHUA was boxing that night too, I had to stay awake to watch. Haha 

Well long story short I couldn’t sit up and watch AJ, but Darren managed to stream it on his phone for me, so I woke up to watch and then went back to sleep. 

I thought I had the “toilet” issues under control by taking lactulose since Saturday (the day I had treatment), but this Saturday proved wrong. I had like a burning sensation in my tummy. I couldn’t stand up straight. I tried drinking warm water and manouka honey, which actually seemed to help, but after dealing with it for a few days I called the on call doctor for some professional advice. He explained that although the lactulose helps with bowel movement it can cause stomach cramps… This was obviously what I was experiencing derrrrr! Haha. Doc told me to take Buscopan three times a day. I did and It has helped.

Yesterday I dragged myself out the house, I’ve noticed that my energy levels have dropped loads and it annoys me that I can’t stand for too long either. However my instructing skills are getting good. “Darren could you get the black jeans out, actually not them ones the blue ones” haha. 

So, they are all the physical symptoms  I’ve experienced. Mentally I’m ok, I think. I mean being in doors can get you down , but I can’t afford to pick up any infections. Thursday I’m due to see my consultant and Saturday will be day one of cycle three. Can I mention that although my hair is very thin it’s doing pretty well. It is still falling out lots but I do still have hair on my head. Saying this its important to mention that when you are so focused on getting better having hair is not a main concern!

Tomorrow I’m booked into a Look Good, Feel Better workshop. Apparently there will be a lot of people my age or similar there, I find this daunting to meet others going through the same thing, as I’m not sure how I will respond or deal with it. I’m strong for me, but not for others… Strange! 

In the words of our late champion: 

“Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” 

-Muhammed Ali 

Second cycle done 

Just wanted to post a little blog. It has been 4 days since the end of my second cycle. This time round I had a lot more sickness no vomiting, but just the feeling.I haven’t had any problems until today. I’ve started having quite annoying aches in my muscles and nervy like pains in my back. I have taken Tremadol to help with the pain and luckily it hasn’t made me feel drowsy – I hate that feeling! 

I have been taking lactulose since Saturday evening and I have managed to avoid the constipation – fingers crossed it continues. I’ve noticed I have been having little mood swings and I am suffering with fatigue, for example, I wake up have breakfast and rest then I bath. After I have to sit on the edge of the bed, then maybe lay down for half hour. I then do my make up and then rest again, so basically everything I do I have to rest inbetween… don’t invite me out because I can guarantee I’ll be late haha. 

Lost a lot more hair recently mum was very honest with me, which I like. So today I decided to let the wig make an appearance.


I have had lots of positive and supportive feedback – thanks everyone. I wore it for half the day, but after feeling unwel I whipped it off and had a sleep… Taking selfies can be tiring haha. 

Going to finish watching big brother I’ll maybe check in with you all in the next few days. 

Thanks everyone 

❤️

A little more descriptive

When I originally began writing this blog I wanted it to reach as many people as possible, friends, family, family friends, sufferers and survivors. It also seemed like a good way to keep people in the loop about my treatment, writing the same text message over and over again was pretty tedious haha. Ultimately I intended to spread the word and relate to those that have been through it or are going through it, and to inform those that had no idea of what living with Hodgkins Lymphoma is all about.

I have noticed that this blog has formed into a daily diary, I tend to write when I’m feeling well, so you, as the reader hear the stories from a well, up beat and more positive Hannah. Today I wanted to write more about what I have been facing lately; the changes and struggles. A lot has changed mentally and physically, the obvious things like my new hair style is just a very small element of this emotional journey.

As you are all aware I spent the whole of last week in a side room in hospital, only to find at the end of the stay that I was suffering with Neutropenia Sepsis. As you can imagine I had a lot of alone time (a lot of visitors too) where I could think about what my life is currently. I focused a lot on getting myself well. Everybody that walked through the door to see me I appreciated, I thanked them a million times and I generally was so grateful of their time spent keeping me company. Now, I’m not saying that before I was diagnosed I wasn’t appreciative of people, but now I appreciate people and their time that little bit more. I have become a lot more sensitive too, I cry lots! Does that mean I’m weak? I don’t think so. Wednesday evening I cried from 7pm and carried on crying over my Weetabix on Thursday…my eyes were very sore haha. I have just got my head around that its ok to have down days, and its ok to sometimes be weak. I recently spoke to a friend about how I felt guilty for being ill, my life is well and truly on hold at the moment, but I feel so sad that the people around me are suffering too. I don’t like my family and close friends seeing my like this.

I have recently been referred to a psychiatrist by my nurse at Barts. I think this will be good as I feel I need to let out all my emotions in order to come back fighting with a strong mind. I’ve heard a number of people say that having cancer is a lonely place, I guess it is. Even though I have tons of people reaching out and being supportive nobody knows what it really is, and I pray nobody ever does. So to sum my point up, although I am strong and positive most of the time, when I’m having a down day it really is a down day.

An effect of the chemotherapy is that my taste buds have changed too (and my sense of smell) I don’t eat because I have a appetite but because I have to. Myself and Darren went to eat at Wagamamas just the other day. Number 44: Ginger Chicken Udon is my fav and yet it tasted so bland and boring; I added lots of soy sauce. Weight loss is something I am contending with currently, so when I’m well I tend to eat everything and anything, which is hard for Darren because he cant eat anything and everything haha.

One last thing I would like to share with you all, something that some may say is a phase, but others may disagree. Being ill last week made me think about who actually dealt me my cards and who is actually watching over me. I became so happy that I pulled through last week that I wanted to celebrate and thank whoever it was looking over me. So, the point I’m trying to make is that for the first time ever in my life, I felt like I wanted to practice a faith. I felt some sort of presence around me whilst I was unwell, but I’m unsure of exactly what it was. Some people that know me will struggle to believe I’m thinking like this. It sure is something I need to figure out for myself. Maybe it is a little phase or maybe its the start of a new journey but a more positive one? I’m still to find the courage to step into a church and to find the best place to go.

Saturday I am due for the other half of my 2nd cycle. It can be difficult to write when feeling sick and unwell, but I’ll do my best even if it is a small update. I know this is a very long post, and I hope I haven’t bored you, but I really wanted to write something a little more descriptive.

Thank you for reading, have a fabulous day!

 

A little shorter 

How nice it was to sleep in my own bed last night!! The doctors discharged me yesterday afternoon roughly 4pm. Mum came to rescue me haha. I put my shades on and left my little room behind, I was happy really. 

The doctors and Nurses had been great, although at first I became worried that what they had planned to make me better wasn’t working, it obviously was and did get me better. I had some real caring nurses that went out their way to make my stay at the Newham hotel comfortable haha. The doctors revealed that I had been suffering with Neutropenia Sepsis, so quite serious. My lesson will be to never leave anything again! If I feel ill I must go to the hospital and get checked over… Just incase. 

Today, my lovely hairdresser came back to take the do a little shorter. Once again Sophie makes it look lovely, even though it’s not my preferred style, it looks ok. But, I only like it when I have my face (makeup) on. When I don’t have makeup on I feel like ‘Ill Hannah’. Taking my hair through stages has helped me lots. If I was to have taken it short right away it would have been tough, I would recommend to take take it shorter gradually to anyone that may go through it. I planned to go shopping today, however my body feels tired still and the antibiotics seem to make me feel a little strange; tired too. I need to listen to my body and give myself time.

Short and sweet today! ❤️


I got through it!! 

I have taken medication this evening that is a form of Morphine, sorry for anything that doesn’t quite make sense…

This evening I told myself this blog had to be done. I don’t want it to be a chore, because it’s not that at all, I’m loving logging all the fun and games of this experience, but when you are ill it can be difficult to find the time to concentrate for a few moments… here goes..

Apologies to all you beautiful supporters for not keeping you updated, I’ll try not  to waffle, but be prepared it could be a long one haha. After the last time I wrote I developed flu symptoms: aching back, runny nose, cold then hot, sore throat/mouth and a temperature of 37.5. I called the hotline and they advised me to go to Barts the next morning.Now this may sound selfish but I just didn’t want to go, I wanted to curl up and for this to miraculously disappear. After thinking I could fight it in gave in and the next day I had to go. Darren came home from work and we went straight there. The nurse put me in a side room incase I had an infection. I waited quite a while before a doctor came and I was frustrated, uncomfortable and tired. The doctor said they couldn’t detect an infection as I had taken paracetamol and he sent me home with antibiotics. He told me to take my GCSF injection I had left over in the fridge (to boost my white blood cells) …back home we went. 
I got home and got straight into bed, I put a wooly  hat on, I took my antibiotics, GCSF and stayed in bed for the rest of the night. During this time I hadn’t really eaten because my throat hurt and I hadn’t had any bowel movement AGAIN! My body was just not cooperating at all. The next day I told my self “enough is enough” I made myself porridge with a big dollop of Jam and ran a bath. That morning my back was killing, I couldn’t stand straight. This time I didn’t know if it was muscular or connected with not be able to go to the toilet. I had a bath and got back into bed. As the days went on I got worse by the time we reached Saturday I was in a mess. Mentally and physically  it was taking over my body, I couldn’t eat because the pain in my chest felt like I was being stabbed and I was so agitated because I had no bowel movement still. I kept whispering “go away, please go away” and/or “someone take this away from me, I can’t do this no more”. Thinking back to it, this must have been awful for my family to watch. I was just so drained the pains and the lack of energy was taking all my energy, positivity and focus. Darren kept reminding me that I could get through this, as I already had done before, but I couldn’t see that eventually I would get through. After many sleepless nights of tossing and turning, getting up to the toilet and sitting up because every time I laid flat I felt like I was going to be sick; I finally went to the hospital on the Monday. Mum took my purse to get the hotline number and they advised her to take me to the nearest hospital to get some fluids put into my body. 

I arrived at my local hospital at 1430 on Monday 6th June. I slumped myself on the couch in the room, at this point I had no energy to fight this any more my whole body was in pain, my eyes were virtually closed and I was done! The nurse came in pretty much immediately to take my obs. I knew there was something up when she said to her colleague who was standing by her side “oh right” after taking my tempreture. My tempreture was 38.6, which suggested I had a fever. I saw a few doctors back to back and they explained they thought there was an infection in the body some where. My neutrophil count (white blood cells) was 0.1, virtually having no immune system and an infection they connected me to a drip and began the IV fluids, antibiotics and paracetamol. The doctors told me I would have to stay the night in hospital in order for them to keep me under regular observations and that from now on I or anyone I am around would need to wear a mask.

2am Tueaday morning I was given my own room on a ward and that’s where I have been ever since. The last few days have been crazy to say the least. I have had to put up a fight to get my body better…it has been so hard. Even when I had a little appetite I couldn’t eat because it really wasn’t worth the pain in my chest. Drifting off to sleep felt great until I woke up in pools of sweat or by the nurse checking my tempreture. Having my family and friends come to see me has made it easier, but having to say goodnight at 20:30 and crying for an hour made sleeping a lot harder. This was all so new to me, the hospital thing I mean. Last night I cried so hard, I wanted this to be over now, I want to get back to life. I also hate knowing that my family are suffering watching me go through this. 

Today however, I still cried over my weetabix haha, but my neutrophil count is 5.6…yes 5.6!!! My cousin Danielle came to see me today and she was very happy when the doctor said she could take her face mask off haha. Finally I had some sort of immunity!!!! Danielle asked the doctor if she could take me out the hospital for a few hours and the doctor agreed. Going home to a chicken sheesh was perfect…Coming back wasn’t so perfect. 

Tomorrow I should be discharged and I can go home. Chemo will be delayed for one week to give my body a rest. 

There are no words worthy to describe how grateful I am for those that have been to visit me and to those that have sent me get well messages. And the biggest apology to those that had no idea I was even here. 

Thank you ❤️

•Facetime with my beauty Steph•

The BigC

I tried to blog last night after I watched the programme on ITV1 – The BigC and Me. Unfortunately, like I predicted, I started to feel unwell. My nose kept running, I had a sore neck and my back was throbbing. On top of that my scalp is so sore, every time I rest my head on the back of the sofa, on my pillow or even my hoody I feel a prickly sensation. I think it’s my hair falling out. I slept alright but I woke every so often to use the toilet (wee)  and go back to bed. Trying to get comfortable was a nightmare. Laying on my left arm restricted my breathing so I laid on my left but had to rest my right arm because it ached so much. 

Any way back to the programme I watched last night. Did you watch it? How did it make you feel? 

My uncle mentioned it to me even though I was a little reluctant to watching it, as I didn’t want to cry infront of my family. But, infact, it made me realise how immune I have become to the word Cancer. I say I didn’t tear up, I did, at the point when one of the ladies who put up such a fight sadly past away. I was upset for her family and young children that had watched her fight it for ten whole years. One of the men on there (who had terminal cancer) said that when he was diagnosed he felt he had “died and been reborn again.”

Actually that’s exactly how it feels. The life you had is no more, as much as you try to keep it “normal” you can not steer from this awful dark cloud above your head. For example, I put my face on (make up)  everyday to make myself feel good, but as soon as I take it off I’m Hannah with cancer again. I try not to waste time on being negative, but days like yesterday and today I really get angry and frustrated. 

My friends and family are being great and I honestly could not do this with out them but, nobody unless you have experienced it, which I hope they never ever do will understand how it feels. 

Today I’m constipated AGAIN, I don’t have an appetite and I’m a little worried to eat. I called the hotline yesterday and they suggested I went to the nearest A&E or pop into Barts today. I know it’s my health and this sounds selfish but I’m going to monitor how I feel. Barts is so far away and I don’t feel well enough to go. I planned to go for a meal with some friends today – annoying! Things may change for my health through out the day. 

This blog seems so depressing, but it’s important I share genuine feelings and symptoms for those that may have experienced it or may do in the future. 

Once again, thanks for reading & have a lovely day ❤️