I’m back!

I’m back!!!!

Oh blog, I have missed thee, but it’s been nice to have some “space” from you. I absolutely love writing each day but sometimes it’s bloody hard fitting everything in!

back

Well it’s a week since chemo and here is the update from the official Gem chemo 2 report!

Side effects update 

Well been pretty much the same as the first cycle so I really can’t complain. I had a couple of low energy days once I came off the steroids but nothing that a cat nap didn’t sort along with an early night!

I have been really good with drinking loads of fluids.  I just want this fricking poison out of me so fast and have been filling my tummy with “good” stuff along with using my oils – oh yes plenty of the 3 wise men pressies for gemsy! but I did make an exception for cake at the end of week! I actually hadn’t craved sweet stuff until yesterday which is a first for me as I have a very sweet tooth!

Bank balance update 

Omg it has taken a battering.  Retail therapy never felt so gooooooood! I am surprised hubby has not put a “block” on the internet access! How  did we cope without online shopping?

I decided to “treat” myself this week to a new red coat. Did I “need” it? …..Er no but did I want it? oh yes!!

In my defence I do not own a red coat and I felt like I needed a bit of colour in my life other than pink! It did have 20% off too and I wore it for the school run this morning and it gave me a huge boost! I have also made a big start on the Christmas shopping.  Food is all ordered from good old m&s and I’ve been busy planning! …..Omg I just love to plan and even more so knowing in 5 weeks time this chemo shit will be all over!

Wobbles update 

In all honesty I have only had one wobble in the past week and that was only a “micro” wobble on the wobble-o-meter.

My hair has continued to shed each day and last week I started to “think”……. I hope hubby still loves me, I hope he won’t go find someone else as I am too ugly right now …….

Sill,y I know,  but sometimes you just can’t help it 😦

Honesty is the best policy so I did “fess up” to hubby about my “bad” thoughts… he gave me a big cuddle. He actually said that not many people would look as good as me with no hair.

He made my night 🙂

He’s not a man of many words but when he does say things I know he means it 🙂

My little man has been absolutely brilliant too.  Don’t get me wrong he has had his moments, but he has been so loving, wanting to cuddle and kiss me and feel my “prickly” head. He’s made me feel like the most loved mummy in the world 🙂

So that is the round up of  chemo cycle 2 (week 1) – pretty boring but hey sometimes boring is good.  Bloody good in fact! I will take boring right now!

No drama please Lenny, you stay put in your jar!

 

 

Chemo #2

Hi-ho, hi-ho

It’s off to chemo I go,

In a few hours time,

I’ll be 50% to the finishing line!

Hi ho, hi ho!

Talking of Snow White and the 7 dwarfs, I used to resemble Snow White with my very dark hair and pasty white skin….. can’t say I could pull off that look right now!

I’d say I am a cross between Dopey and Sleepy today.  Yesterday Hubby found the packet of cream crackers in the fridge! Yes I’m guilty! Wtf?!

Last night I didn’t sleep great, but obviously I am feeling a little nervous about the chemo.  Although I had a really good first cycle, I am very aware this could be a different ball game.

My first mission today is to not have a severe reaction. When I had my chat with the nurse last time she said it’s usually the 2nd one that you would react to.  She described it a bit like a bee sting, where usually the first bee sting you are fine but it’s the 2nd one that can cause the reaction.

Today we are leaving a little bit later as my son is at holiday club, I am hoping that the half term traffic will be kind and that there won’t be bloody temporary roadworks on route!

Thankfully we arrive 10 mins before “opening” and we are first to arrive… again! Means we can have a private room… woohoo!

This time the “Mary Poppins” bag has had a few substitutions.  The scanner has been replaced by my wig!

Although I’ve come in my woolly beanie, I know the Prof has a thing about hair given the amount of times he has asked if I want to cold cap…so I decide to bring the wig to wear for him. I know it probably sounds silly, but I need to keep my superhero happy!

It is bloody cold in here and it isn’t just me, even hubby is cold.  Someone’s left the bloody air conditioning on!  Luckily there are individual settings a bit like climate control so I can whack it up to sub tropical temperatures to keep those veins warm!  I’ve been wearing my right hand glove and had my warm wheat beanie bag on all the way here and I am not undoing all my good work!

I unpack my essentials and get the laptop fired up. I’ve brought some work to do with me. It’s just geeky spreadsheet stuff, nothing strenuous on the brain but I can’t face Lorraine this morning. I need distraction as today we have an added “step” to the process. I will be having my bloods done first and if I “pass” then chemo will happen. Failure is not an option, there is no way I am going into 2018 with this chemo crap, Lenny the lump is well and truly getting left in this year!

I get my bloods taken and thankfully after the 2nd attempt I “play ball”. Next is my BP….. it’s low but that’s pretty normal for me and as I found out when I had my boy, a lot better than high BP

Right back to my spreadsheets!

Soon the nurse is here, it’s a different one to last time but I do recognise her from one of my appointments with the Prof.  We go through how I have been and there are a lot of ticks in the “green” boxes, I wonder if I will get a sticker like my son does!

I tell her about my 3 wise men oils and her face begins lights up. She’s a big believer in essential oils too and doesn’t think I am a weirdo hippie 😉  Let’s just hope they have continued to work their magic.

30 mins later, she returns…….

“Results are back” she says

” I guess the heat pad you are carrying is a good sign” I reply with a grin on my facer

“Yep all good to go”

I had asked the nurse to go through my bloods and what they all mean in terms of metrics for having the chemo.

I have purposely not googled them as I wanted the professional to tell me. See, I am being a good girl lately, must be those “chillaxing” oils 😉

So first there is you hemoglobin (red cells /iron). Mine have dropped, as expected, but still all in a good range.  Apparently if they drop a certain level, you can still probably have chemo but you most likely need  iron supplements. I have been eating my greens 🙂

Then is your white blood count. Again mine has dropped but still in the good range, the tummy injection to stimulate white blood cell has done it’s thing!

Next platelets – how well your blood clots, apparently it can’t be too low or too high.  Mine has gone up but still in a very healthy range!

Next comes the Neutrophils, these are the foot soldiers sent in to tackle any infection. Again mine have dropped but still at an ok level. These are the really important ones for chemo. They are basically a measure of your immune system.  If it’s less than 1 it’s really a “no go” for chemo and the computer will be saying “no” as it is too risky.

As an Analyst I needed to know this stuff and you know what it will no doubt get put in chart along with my running diary!

It’s time to get wired up. I am getting used to the ritual now.

This time I will have the tax first and then the “C” chemo which I can’t remember it’s name. What I do remember is last time it made my head and sinuses feel s bit funny which is completely normal and the same happens this time.

Why does nature call when I am in the middle of Tax! Unfortunately I really can’t wait.

I maneuver my iv stand, it’s not that far to walk but already I’ve set the alarm off. Ffs!

Nurse to he rescue.

I’m sat on the loo when the alarm starts sounding again.

Bollo£ks….I can see a little bit of blood coming back out.  I finish off but I can’t get this shitty zip done on my jeans! Why did I not wear my chemo leggings that I especially bought???

There is no time to waste, I’ve still got my hands to wash, my mum will never forgive me if I skip that!

I go run to the nurse station, trying to not bash this stand anymore but at the same time trying to avoid my jeans from falling to my bloody ankles.

I can just picture it now…. jeans down and the Prof walking round the corner getting the shock of his life! I haven’t even put this wig on yet!

Luckily all is fine, she resets the machine and walks me back accompanied! Thank goodness hubby is there.

“Help, can you do up my jeans, there gonna fall down any minute” I shout to hubby

Phew! Glad that panic is over!  What am I like???! Oh well you have to have a giggle at this!

So whilst we are finishing up I show the nurse my blog and some of the doodles….

“Let me show you the Prof that  my friend drew”

She loves it

“you will have to show him, he’ll think it is great”

So after I am done we make a decision to keep my woolly beanie on and not faff with the wig, I’ll distract him with the super hero prof picture and win him over that way.

The plan worked he loved the picture although he did ask “how old is your son’s friend”

Rosie –  I think he thought you were a little bit younger than you are 😉 take it as a compliment!

He’s so impressed he wants me to send him a link, it’s made my day him seeing the site.  He also makes a compliment about my woolly beanie and I  fill him in on “brave the shave” and by £2,200 plus gift aid amount!

He’s proud, very proud!

At 3:30 we are on the way, I’ll see him again in 3 weeks time.  We head back to get the little man, he’s so pleased to see me.  He’s returned with a homemade broom, wand and potion and says he is going to turn me into a frog! I will take that as a compliment!

As we’ve got home earlier it means we can all have dinner together and we even have time for a spot of Halloween crafts!

I’m feeling tired, my legs are feeling heavy and my head is hurting but I don’t care.

I am 50% done.  6 more weeks as my dad worked out.  Only 6 more weeks and then it will be me ringing that bell!

I’ve decided to take the Prof’s advice and take it easy next few days which means a break from the blog writing so don’t worry if I’m quiet.

Signing off for now.

But as Arnie says… “I’ll be back”

halfway

 

Early Halloween

Well it’s been a damn good weekend!

I was a little bit apprehensive as we had my step daughter this weekend and I wasn’t sure how she was going to be with my Sinead o’ Connor look but she seemed absolutely fine with it.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with family.  It was so lovely spending quality time together as the little man and his cousins are not all together very often.  It was also great to have a good catch up and chat with my sister in law.

After we got back I decided to have a soak in the bath.  It’s the third week in a row I’ve had a Saturday night soak….candles, relaxation music – it really was heaven!

I’ve been consciously trying to have moments of “mindfulness” and I am really enjoying just thinking of nothing.  I honestly could have fallen asleep in there!

It must have worked as I managed to sleep until 7am which is 2 hours more than I have been!

This morning I decided to fit in another run before chemo starts tomorrow, so at 8am I headed into my shed.

It was a bit of an emotional run, I decided to play the Robbie song that I quoted yesterday in my blog.

I could feel myself filling up as I ran, I was literally singing my heart out. Over the years Robbie’s songs are filled with memories. “Angels” reminds me so much of our first year at Uni when we dressed as angels for our hall ball. I say dressed, we were wearing very little, wouldn’t dream of wearing anything so short these days!

Then there was Millenium! Brings back memories of being in Bermuda drinking dark and stormy!

And now “I love my life”, this has to be the most iconic song for me now. I know there will be good and bad days throughout this journey but nothing is going to stop me loving my life. Yeah cancer is fu&kibg shit (sorry for swearing, Mum) but I have so many good things in my life and so many reasons to wake up to in the morning.

Fired up, I get showered and ready for “fat club.”

One thing I feel so strongly about is not putting the weight back on that I have worked so hard to lose.

It’s so bloody windy outside that I decide to wear my woolly beanie. It’s the safer option, I am not sure I can cope with another wig malfunction!

My theory is that the woolly beanie weighs the same as my wig so when I do weigh in with a wig I don’t get a gain! The things you do for a weigh in!

It’s a family trip there and it’s a double loss for me and hubby…. get in! I’ve only got 3.5lb to get to goal, and this week I saw my weight start with a 9 on their scales!!

After fat club, we head home and have a cooked brunch. Yes before you tut, it is allowed! It’s all been “counted” for!

Then it’s time for the highlight of my weekend….. Halloween at the Davie’s.

Unfortunately we don’t have our step daughter next weekend and Halloween has become a memory maker in this house so we decide to celebrate early.  I love Halloween, I think part of it is that we never really did Halloween as a kid. So I am making up for lost years!

First we carve pumpkins, then decorate the room and decorate gingerbread pumpkins. I am such a kid at heart!

pumpkin

I sit in the armchair and watch the kids.  They are absolutely loving today.  Their faces are full of smiles.  Just watching them being so content gives me goosebumps.

I love them both so much.

This afternoon we have lovely family meal. It’s a perfect ending to a perfect day.

It’s time for my step daughter to head home.  Her and little man have a goodbye hug. They hate saying goodbye and tonight both of them look so sad. Little man is clinging onto her. I am so thankful they get on so well. There is something so special about sibling love. The way I love my bro 🙂

Well tomorrow it’s chemo 2, it’s come around so fast. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling a little bit anxious (yes, I’m human) but I will have my coin in my pocket and my “rock” will be there by my side.

 

Oops, I lost my wig!

It’s 48 hours since I “braved the shave” and wait for this, drum roll please………. I’ve raised over £2,000 and people are still donating!  Never in a million years would I have thought I’d have raised this much money!

I originally set my target at £500 until Rosie text me after 15 mins of setting up the JustGiving page saying “you better raise that target Gem, cos you are gonna smash it!!”

In fact the target had to go up twice and when it got to £1,250 Rosie was on my back again to raise it.

Well Rosie, you were right! I did smash it and I could not have done it without the help of my family, friends and colleagues.

People have been so generous, I’ve had donations from people I don’t even know and, for anyone reading this blog who has donated, I am sending you the biggest virtual hug.  Thank you from a very proud Yorkshire girl.

It has made this process so much easier to digest and it has made days like today more bearable.  Let me explain …..

After my run, I jumped in the shower. It took me a while as I was so excited about my achievement and had been texting my news, I also messaged hubby so he knew I was still in one piece!

I was washing my grade 3 hair.  Bloody hell that sounds like a cancer diagnosis, why does Lenny get into every conversation? … pi$$ off you lump, I know you have been on your hols to America for your onco dx test but you can go get back in your jar now!!!

Ok back to washing my hair.  I noticed my hands were covered in little hairs.  Shit, bollo$ks, the shedding has taken on a whole new level!

As I got dry I noticed my top half was covered in hair.  Don’t get me wrong, I still had a lot of hair on my head but I was beginning to look like a brown and pink patchwork quilt.

Right it’s time to get it even shorter! We had originally gone for grade 3 as I am really sensitive to shaving.  In fact when I shave my legs I can end up covered black and blue from “scratching” in my sleep and as chemo can make your skin even more sensitive, I didn’t want to try adding bruised head to my list!

However  I can’t go on like this.  Although only “little” hairs are getting everywhere, I don’t want a constant reminder.  Emergency call to the hair dressers, thankfully they can slot me on…… thank fu$k for that!!

Hmmmm, so this afternoon I have an appointment for my toes to be painted.  Do I go with my really shaved head that is now patchy, or wig????

Let’s take the wig on its first outing, question now is which wig? I have 3!!!

I grab something quick for lunch and catch up on a snippet of loose women. Michaela Strachan was on yesterday. Another breast cancer survivor and she’s talking about it being “wear it pink” day.

Bloody hell, how did I only just know this? I must have known telepathically as today I had put on my pink hoodie and beanie hat…. I wonder if the hairdresser’s have remembered.  Well, I’ll take emergency pink supplies with me!

I get to the hairdressers and I’m met by my lovely hairdresser.

“It’s wear it pink day, guess what I got for you……pink glitter cowboy hats” I say.

My hairdresser’s face lights up.

“I’m taking off my wig for this” she says

You see my hairdresser makes her own wigs.  She has hair, but she loves wigs. I can’t tell you how amazing they are.  This girl is so talented, she’s one of a kind and she’s made me my own human hair one!

This time there are no tears.  We decide to take it down to grade 1 and see how I get on.  I’ll still have a  tiny bit of hair to help the itching!

Next we try on my “work in progress” wig.  Although I’ve tried it on before, we’ve waited until my hair was gone so we could get the look right.

As it’s human hair it means I can make it curly, straighten it, pretty much treat it just like my own “old” hair. It does also mean when it gets wet in the rain it goes like my frizz monkey hair 😉

I feel like a model.  The other hairdressers take photos.  They all make me feel so special and loved 🙂

Due to the weather conditions (omg I sound a weather forecaster!!!) I decide to put on my synthetic bob wig. I don’t want to risk the rain giving me a “bad wig day”, given it’s my first wig outing, I need to feel confident as I know it’s a big thing!

I pop into “the asda” as us donny folks call it…… my hubby always asks me “why do you lot put a “the” in front of it?” …….I don’t bloody know, we just do!!!

I do feel self conscious, can people tell it’s a wig? what if it has moved?

Oh well, it looks better than half the people’s hair in here and mine is only a temporary measure!

After “the” Asda, I walk over to the “nail shop” as my son calls it.  I’ve booked in with one of the ladies I’ve known a long time.  I wouldn’t normally care who I see but I don’t want to deal with “small talk” today and “Where you going on your holidays?”

It’s warm in here so I decide to take my jumper off.

What I was not expecting was my wig to follow suit! It’s in my sodding hoodie!!!

“Oh bollo$ks” I shout…. thank goodness the nail lady knows me well and there is a mirror to hand!

I start laughing.  It’s the only way of coping with this situation!

I come out of the shop with fabulous pink toe nails.  Well, I’ve got to keep up the pinkness for a couple more weeks!

I really miss having my fingernails done, but it is a small price to pay for chemo and at least they are all in tact for now!

I’ve decided to take off the wig to pick up little man and wear my pink woolly beanie. I don’t want to upset him as he wasn’t expecting the wig today.

Instead I have a chat with him on the way home and explain that mummy has got her hair cut a bit shorter so I can wear my wig tomorrow. He’s fine with that…phew! It’s amazing how if you tell him what’s happening next, he is just fine with it.

When we get home I show him my new shorter hair and he asks to feel it.

“It’s a bit prickly now……Can I watch Netflix, mummy?”

wigdropWe should all take a leaf out of his “carefree” book!

 

Ready…Steady…Run!

It’s Friday morning and I’m feeling a little nervous.  Today I’ve decided I am going to do my first run after being signed off by the physio!  It’s over 3 months since I last got out the running shoes!!!

I’ve already downloaded the Couch to 5k app, there is no way I am going to risk getting myself injured and having a set back. I know I need to take baby steps but I’ve been here before.  I know it won’t be long before I’m back at  my local Parkrun.

But first I need to try on my kit. I really hope it still fits.  I know my shape has changed since I stopped running and my legs are not quite as toned.

Whilst I’ve been having treatment we’ve had all new bedroom furniture and, as a consequence, I’ve had to rearrange all my clothes.

Some of my clothes have ended up in the spare room but I was determined that my running kit drawer would get a “premium” slot in my bedroom wardrobe. I knew it wouldn’t be long till it was in regular use again!

As a result of my lumpectomy, my boobs have changed shape and reduced slightly so I have had to get new bras. A couple of months back I treat myself to some new sports bras. My first ever Nike sports bras and no prizes for guessing what colour they are!

I get the rest of my kit out. I may only be running on the treadmill today but I am going to be all matching!

As I pull up my running bottoms I can’t help but smile when I realise they are going on easier than I ever imagined! They fit.  They bloody fit!! I am in shock, total shock!

I am so excited that take a selfie and send it to hubby!

Right best get a move on.  It’s time to take little man to school. Sod it I am going in my running gear. I grab my pink hoodie and pink beanie! Who cares what I look like!

After I get back, I head into my “she shed.”  It’s main purpose is my office but it does also contain our treadmill.  Although I prefer outdoor running I know the treadmill is the safer option to begin with in case I don’t feel well.

Now for music….. it can only be one thing….Steps! 5, 6,7,8……

Ready, steady…….run!!!!

run

30 mins later I am done and I am still in 1 piece! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.  I could have pushed my body further but I really don’t want to over do it.

I feel amazing.  This is a HUGE achievement today, a massive tick in the box.

Oh running how I have missed thee!!

Another victory to me Lenny!

 

A little piece missing

So I have a confession.  I have made a promise all through this journey to talk about the ups and the downs of this rollercoaster.

Ok here goes….After Rosie left last night, I had a few sad moments. We’d had such a fun afternoon and, after she’d gone, I felt like a little piece of me was missing 😦

missing

 

I had a few “darker” thoughts… what if I’m not around in a 5 years time? I bloody hate this 5 year prognosis that you all seem to be measured against at times.  Don’t get me wrong, my prognosis is really good but it doesn’t half mess with your head at times!

I’m not very good at hiding emotions and my subduedness (if that is such a word) is quickly picked up by hubby.

We have a little chat and we put things into perspective….

I have to remember all the good “facts” about my cancer versus a lot of the bad cancers people are diagnosed with.

It’s at times like this I think back to all those people, innocent people, who have lost their lives. The Manchester Arena attack, those poor kids, there are some days it still feels so raw. It was only back in January that I was there watching Strictly!  Then there are all those people who lose their life’s driving there cars on journeys, none of us really know what is around the corner.

They say traumatic events in your life put things into perspective. Change you priorities, I am finding that to be so true.

I’ve never been a “stressy” person in fact feedback at work I have been told that I bring a “calming influence” to situations but I did used to “over think” and “over analyse” situations. More so at home than at work which is ironic given my job is to analyse numbers!

But these days, the over thinking has really reduced. Hubby is definitely a positive influence, he often says “what is the point of worrying about something you can’t control?”  To a large extent this is so true.

I have started reading a book that a close colleague bought me. It’s called “how to heal your life.”  One thing it has taught me so far is about how thoughts turn into feelings and then can turn into reality.

So if you think something negative, you “feel” that something, and you feel it so much it ends up happening.

Ok sounds a bit extreme but over the last 4 months since diagnosis I have caught myself thinking the worst.  There haven’t been many of those moments, but when I have thought them, I have definitely “felt” them.

Now I am just more aware of bad “thoughts” and I try my best not to move them to a “feelings”.

It sounds crazy but I am just really enjoying each day at the moment, I know next week it’s back to chemo and inevitably I am gonna feel shit but Lenny is not spoiling my good days.

As Robbie Williams recently sang

“I love my life” ………I bloody do!

and  “I feel powerful” …… (I am kicking your ass Lenny)

“I am beautiful” (with a bit, ok maybe a LOT, of makeup on!)

and “I am free” ……yes now you have slung your hook Lenny!!!

Confession over.  Happy Gem is back!

 

The Great Pink Bake

Today Rosie “Poppins” is coming to see me and I am so excited!

We have decided we are going to do some Christmas baking! Yes I know it’s barely October but I need to get organised, ULTRA organised this year.

Although I have had a good first cycle, my immune system is going to take a battering and the last thing I want, is to end up being ill and nothing sorted for Christmas.

I usually make all homemade gifts so as I am having a good week, I am gonna make a start.   But this is not going to be any normal baking session, on no this is gonna be the great pink bake!

Yes, I’m wearing pink again and yesterday I decided that Rosie and I need a pink wig!  I’ve found a fancy dress shop in town so I am going to pop there this morning before she arrives.

Unfortunately we have a John Lewis delivery due, well I am sorry John Lewis but I have more important things to do than wait in for you so I decide to leave them a note with my number. I’ll just have blame the chemo brain!

I get to the fancy dress shop and they only have 1 pink wig 😦 there is no way only one of us is having one. We are a team!  I explain my very important situation to the lady and we manage to find 2 pink glitter cowboy hats…sorted!

Thankfully John Lewis don’t deliver whilst I am out otherwise I would have been in the dog house with the hubby!  They actually come just before Rosie arrives which means we can go to my favourite tearooms for lunch before the great bake starts!

We walk in wearing our matching breast cancer care pink hoodies. Pink and proud! I really don’t give a Shit if people stare!

Lunch is delicious, the company is even better. We could have stayed there all afternoon but baking takes priority today!

We put on our pink hats… “ready set… bake”

bake

Wow, they look bloody good if I do say for myself, I just hope they keep until Christmas, they should do the amount of booze I put in! They should also taste good seeing as though I used the rest of Hubby’s posh brandy……oops!

After the bake off I “de-pink” as tonight it’s little man’s parent’s evening.   He’s very excited as it means “Aunty Rosie Train” gets to pick him up from after school club.

 

He gets a “glowing report”, thank goodness for that as he is a little sod at home!   Part of me worries how all of this is effecting him but his teachers say he is doing amazing.

Apparently on Wednesday he was telling them about my haircut…..

“My mummy is going to have her hair cut very short today”

Then one of the children said ….

“Mummy’s don’t have short hair”

To which he replied…..

“Well my mummy is going to have short hair AND she is going to look beautiful!”

That is my boy!

I am the proudest mummy in the world!