Oh I wish it could be Christmas everyday!

Wow, is it really 11 days since I wrote my last blog post?…..Well they do say time flies when you are having fun!

It’s certainly been a busy couple of weeks in the Davie house! There have been 3 birthdays for a start and we still have one to come!

Mine was first followed by the little man’s and then  my step daughter’s.  The Rock’s is in a couple of days!  It gets so busy here that we have to have a rota system on displaying the birthday cards!

Never mind slotting in Christmas plays, church services and finalising all the prep that goes into Christmas … plus Christmas itself!

At times it’s been exhausting and yes I mean by 7pm I’ve literally been falling asleep sat up in the chair, but it’s been worth every minute!

Nothing was gonna stop our family having amazing birthdays and Christmas this year and I mean NOTHING.

I was talking on fb with an other Breast cancer survivor a couple of week’s go…… a “younger” lady like me…. yep I can still say that, despite a birthday I am just about clinging onto those 30s!!!

…..We were saying how we were both so glad that we had finished treatment and gone full on into Christmas mode.

On a serious note, it has meant that I have been able to focus on Christmas and try to put any worries behind me for now. I am also fully aware that the worries are still gonna be there but this strong cookie will deal with them later, sorry worries but you can “f$&k right off” for the next couple of weeks because this house is buzzing with Christmas spirit right now.

Even the constant hot flushes and night sweats have not got me down. My hubby may think his wife has been swapped with “Sweaty Betty” but at the minute I am not letting them get on top of me and dampen my mood!

I am still playing Christmas tunes 24×7, the new neighbours must love me -NOT!

xmas

Everyday has been so special, I was well and truly spoilt on my birthday despite eating my own body weight in cake at Betty’s tearooms.

I even managed to attend my son’s Christingle church service on the last day of term. I can’t begin to tell you how much it meant as I have had to miss out on so many things due to he chemo. I couldn’t help but cuddle and kiss the little man as he sat holding his orange with his lit candle, singing his heart out to carols.

He even knew all the words the the Lord’s Prayer – I was so bloody proud!!!

Although I wasn’t proud of his 45 minute meltdown, yep you heard me 45 bloody minutes and in front of his best friend and Mum who came back to ours!!!

Thankfully she knows me well and from talking to other parents it appears it is that time of year when kids are exhausted from their first term at school and all the events and build up to Christmas.

As my friend said to me the other day, they are only 5 years old! At times I forget that and I do tend to be self critical on my parenting and worry I am not in control.

But then I have to remember, I have just finished chemo too and although to the world with my wig on and a bit of slap on I look “normal”, my body has taking a fricking battering over the last 6 months and in particularly the last 12 weeks from this bloody poison going around my body.

But that bit is over, no more poison and hopefully the side effects I am still dealing with will start to fade.

I’ve actually now started taking my vitamins and food supplements as I was advised not to take anything during chemo so they can monitor the true effect of the chemo so I am hoping they “kick” in soon and that my energy levels start to come back.

It can’t be much fun for hubby having a wife who’s in bed for 8pm and there’s only so many times I can get away with playing the old chemo Card 😉

However despite the chemo, I have actually been able to do all the things I normally do over Christmas. I will probably collapse in a heap today but I don’t care, I really don’t.

I managed to make my little man a birthday cake.  It almost killed me trying to get the bastard icing on the cake, my arm strength is not the greatest with this stupid mild lymphedema and dealing with my sons meltdown didn’t do it any good…… but the cake was a success and it met the little man’s strict criteria!

I felt like I had won the bake off when he gave me his approval although he did correct my grammar. “Mummy, it should say “is 5 today” not just “5 today” ffs!!!!

I decided to refrain from screaming back at him with “do you know how long this bloody cake took me to make?” and instead I to took in the proud moment that at 5 year old he was correcting my grammar!!!

Little monkey is definitely his father’s son with his perfection!!

On Christmas Eve I even managed to go ice skating for my step daughter’s birthday, yep we have Davie birthdays 23, 24 and then it’s xmas day! – if I had a £1 for the amount of times I have been told “bad planning”, I’d be well on my way to a millionaire…. well ok slight exaggeration but you get the gist!!!

I told you it’s full on in this house!

We all loved the ice-skating, well hubby watched from the side lines as it’s not his thing whilst the 3 of us had so much fun!

But the highlight of the week was Christmas Eve and then Christmas Day.

The little man was so excited about Santa coming …….

“Mummy can you get everyone to come to bed now so Santa can come” he shouted down at 8pm!

Actually I managed to stay up that night until 11:30! Think it was a combination of pure excitement and perhaps the potent Christmas Martini that hubby made for me!!

Christmas Day was then the icing on top of the cake.

It’s the day I have been focusing on for weeks, ever since I found out I would be done for Christmas. I love Christmas so much but I can’t tell you how special it felt watching the kids open their stockings with such excitement to sitting around our table with my family.

I even did a little impromptu speech, oil lady will be proud as I had a sniff of my spearmint oil before hand which is supposed to be good for public speaking and confidence…. I did come back in the room smelling of Wrigleys chewing gum factory which actually wasn’t to everyone’s tastes.

It must have worked as my Nanny Noble then said a few emotional words….. for her to stand up was a huge massive thing as it’s been a bloody hard year for this lady. Super proud daughter moment!!!

It was a perfect end to a perfect day and to top it off my hair is starting to grow back!

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s been a bloody good one at the Davie’s!!!

 

Life after the Bell… what next?

Well active treatment is over now so what happens next?

So many of you reading this blog are probably asking the same question? Does the blog end now you have finished treatment? Now it’s all over?

The answer is no bloody way, absolutely NOT!

In fact I know this blog is going to help play such a big part in me coping with the next part of my journey and I know it will help so many others through theirs, as well as helping family and friends of others going through this.

Active treatment aka Surgery, Radiotherapy (aka Rads) and Chemo are only part of this bloody roller coaster

I am told the toughest bit starts here……

Well Lenny if you can hear me from your jar, then you best get ready cos this Yorkshire lass is stronger and tougher than ever before!!!!

“Oh yes I am”

“Oh no you’re not”

“Oh yes I am”

Sorry had to get a bit of Christmas panto in there!!!

So why is this is this next bit tougher?

Well let’s start with what’s happened the last six months.

As I’ve said previously it’s been a whirlwind of treatments, appointments, life changing decisions and all this time I’ve had my medical team by my side, particularly my superhero the Prof. After you finish that your “comfort blanket” is taken away and your pretty much on your own with the exception of the odd review.

Shit bollo£ks what happens now? Panic can start to kick in!

The fact is the person who started this journey isn’t the person who stands here today and the outside world can feel like a scary place.

I know I am not alone with my worries and anxieties going into the next bit, even the strongest and most positive of us have apprehensions……

How will I cope with the side effects of the 10 year tamoxifen?

Will I turn into full on little miss mood swings?

Will I drive my “Rock” away?

Will I ever get over this fatigue?

When will my hair grow back?

How will I cope going back to work full time?

Will I ever be “great” at my job again?

Will I ever be able to run 10k again?

And last but not least

What IF the big C returns?

Pretty scary list right?

The truth is I know for a fact I am a much stronger person coming out of this. Over the past few months I’ve done everything I could to give me the best possible chance of coming through this journey in the best physical and mental state in preparation for this next phase.

Yep planning and preparing is what I do best!

It’s the main reason that I saw two important people this week, my gp and my clinical psychologist.

They won’t ever be my comfort blanket in the same way as the Prof but I know how much I am gonna need them over the weeks, months and potential years to come.

For me it’s all about being proactive with this, at the moment I feel on top of the world, ready to tackle anything but there are little voices that came inside my head at times, yep we call them “wobbles” and I want as many tools and tricks to help ensure those wobbles keep low on that bloody wobble-o-meter.

Right – time to finish writing those christmas cards!!!

 

lifeafter

 

 

15 sleeps till Santa!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and only 15 sleeps till Santa!

15sleeps

It’s Sunday morning, day 7 since my last chemo and there is snow on the ground, it’s a perfect scene from a Christmas card.

I feel like I have been waiting for his weekend to happen for so long, having our little family all together again and decorating the house ready for Christmas.

When I first began Chemo we didn’t know if I’d be done for Christmas and we were waiting on my Onco Dx test. But here we are, it’s the 10th December and all though the side effects are still looming, as Yazz said in the 80s “the only way is up”

To be honest, it’s been a bit of an emotional week, I still feel like I’ve got a lot of “release” to get out.  I am not ashamed to admit there have been a few tears, I’m finding it’s a bit like a grieving process although I can tell you for sure, I have not grieved Lenny the bloody lump for 1 minute!!

The last few months have been a whirlwind, there has literally been no time to “think”, to “digest” to live.  I’ve been on auto pilot for months and now I think reality is just catching up with me and I’m now actually starting to process in my chemo head what has happened.

The Chemo drugs obviously play a part on your emotions and at the start of the week I had the “high” from finishing Chemo combined with my steroid mates!

Actually, the insomnia hasn’t been so bad this time and I really believe it’s the essential oils I’ve been using. I’ve been taking a natural herbal complex 30 mins before bed and it has worked wonders!

On Thursday, I took my last ever steroid……I hope no one was listening to me “talking to myself”, I was in fact saying goodbye to those little basta$ds who have tried to mess with my body and mind for weeks!

Truth is I had a little leaving speech for the steroids, not that they deserved something so grand but it was all about “closure”!

On Friday the steroid slumps began, Yep it’s that day I feel like I am drunk without the booze!

Thank the lord that Super Nanny and Super Papa came to the rescue and took the little man to his Christmas fayre!

Originally I had planned to take him to both, I was gutted as I’d been so involved in organising the fayre but I knew I could not put myself amongst 100 little people’s germs this close to Christmas.

I will make up for it next year, little man, I promise!

Bless – He brought me back loads of goodies and Papa made me a video of his visit to Santa! – It really melted my heart and it was the next best thing to being there!

Saturday was when the full on steroid slumps took effect and to be absolutely frank I was such a horrible moody cow in the morning.

It hasn’t helped that this chemo cycle I’ve been having constant and I mean constant hot flushes and night sweats that have got me down and worn me out   I also know this could be my life for the next 10 years. Sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming but hopefully they will get better and on the grand scheme of things it’s a small price to pay for being here!

I was so grumpy thought that so I was “advised” to go to bed before I did damage, that Rock of mine has taken some crap off me over the last 24 hours!

The little man has been an absolute pain in the arSe and I have zero patience from the drugs. I can’t help but feel guilty, but I know it’s my worst weekend and strong gem will start to return in a few days!  As I actually write this blog it is like deja-vous of the last cycle and I struggled the same on exactly the same part of the cycle.

But this time, there won’t be another cycle and omg that feels sooooooo good!

So as me and little man sit snuggled up having cuddles at 6am, waiting for the other half of our little family to get up, I look up to the snowy sky and feel so blessed to be here with my beautiful little family.

Ring that Bell, I’m a Chemo Graduate!!!

 

Christmas jumper – check

Reindeer antlers – check

Huge cheesy smile on face – check

Cancer Survivor book -check

Yes someone is a bit “de mob” happy that it is my last Chemo today!!!  Just gotta pass these final bloods today.

I’ve written my list for Prof too, top of it “Can I have a letter so I can have spa treatments again?”

Yep, getting my priorities sorted! No more questions about these lumps, it’s about moving forwards and we desperately in need a little spa break next year!  I’ve missed them so much and Spa’s don’t seem to touch you with a barge pole when you are labelled with the big “C – yes it does pi$$ you off at times but hey, soon I will have that magic “Yes I CAN  have a treatment” letter – take that to cover your ar$es!!

Amazing how cancer makes you less tolerant to Shit, I am still a nice person….honest!!!

We are the first as always to arrive at the Chemo ward and I am literally skipping down the ward with my Christmas jumper, reindeer scarf and antlers.  Hubby says people will think I am a weirdo but quite frankly I don’t give a monkeys!!! No one is taking the smile off my face today!

I unpack my bag, and get my bell out ready.  There is a story behind the bell, my Dad got it Hubby as a wedding present so he could “ring me for attention”!!!! Yes my Dad likes to wind me up but thankfully Hubby has never rung it, he knows better!!! It may be small but boy is it loud!!!! Bit like me really 😉

Well an hour later and bloods are back and we are all set to go!  Being an “analyst” I have asked to see them, oh you can’t take the numbers geek out of me.  You know to say I am on my final chemo by bloods are still pretty damn good! Must be those oils!! – what a bit a frankincense does for your system!

Nurse does my assessment, we have a laugh about this month’s side effects and my calls to the chemo line, oh you really do have to laugh it off!

Then the Prof makes an appearance, he’s early today, good job I am prepared!!!

“It’s my superhero the Prof” I shout!!!

And no Rosie I didn’t not ask if he was wearing his super hero pink pants although I did opt for pink pants today – it had to be done in celebration!

A few months ago I would never had made the “Superhero” comments but Prof knows me and I know the Prof.  Feel so thankfully that to Prof and the team I am certainly a name and not a number!

I thank him for arranging the CT scan and for calling me so promptly with the news, it has helped me more than I can ever imagine!

Then I ask him whether he will sign my cancer survivor practical handbook – he isn’t the author it but I feel it right that he signs it for me.  I don’t look what he has written, I will save that for later!

We agree I will start Tamoxifen early in the new year and I need to make an appointment to see my GP – good job I am so organised and have arranged it already!

I will see him again in Feb, wow seems like a long time, a tad daunting in fact but I’ve prepared for the brief goodbye.

Time only for one last thing – a team photo.

 

Team “we kicked Lenny’s butt photo”. Prof, Me and the 2 amazing nurses! It’s a keeper to cherish!

His smile is almost as big as mine today and then we say goodbye ☹

The chemo bit passes quick, at the end of the first lot, the nurse tells me I am not having the second lot today – Prof has taken it off, probably due the to CT scan results and I have read that actually 3 cycles of the same drug are typically the most effective.  I am so pleased as the second drug always does weird things to my head and sinuses when it goes in!

In no time at all I am packing up, given my thank you cards and gifts to the Nurse’s

Time for the grand finale……. RINGING THAT BELL!!!!!

I rang it hard, hopefully you all heard!!!

I pack up the bell and get out my book…. I turn to Prof’s writing….

“It has been a pleasure looking after you”

That comment really did mean so much….

Thank you Super Prof, love your very proud and happy Chemo graduate!!

ringthebell.png

 

 

I’m a survivor!

Well it’s been a roller-coaster week but I can now officially say I have kicked Cancer’s butt!

I’ve had one of the most nerve racking weeks of my life even though I have “played the nerves down” at times!

On Monday, I went to see my superhero the Prof about the bloody lumps on my neck.  Yep I am now known as “Alice the camel”.

I told him how I just could not move forward without knowing what these lumps were, it was supposed to be my last chemo on Monday, I should be ringing the bell proud but at the back of my mind was a niggle about these 2 lumps.

He still believed the lumps were reactive in my neck but he also got how worried I was and so he suggested I had a full body CT scan so we could rule out any unwanted “guests”, guest meaning Secondaries which would mean my cancer could no long be cured. It is the last thing any cancer patient wants to hear.  I knew it would be then a waiting game just like when I was waiting to hear about Lenny.

During the week I’d been trying to forget about it as I thought it would be Monday when I got the results, but on Wednesday I got a call from hubby reminding me that the Radiographer would be reviewing my scan today and asked if I had chased for the results.

I knew that meant indirectly he was anxious, of course he was anxious, I know all my poor family have been on the edge of their seats.  Part of me wanted to go away and hide but the other part of me wanting to face the truth whatever it was.

So I called the Prof’s secretary who is an absolute legend herself.  She always pushes for results and when she says she will do something I know she will.  Its all about Trust, life is all about Trust.  I trust her and I trust the Prof.

It’s 4:30pm and she says the results are usually reported after 5pm, Prof was in consultations until 6:30 pm and then she would get him to call me.

6:30 came and went, yes I am so impatient but I know he is always running late, not because he is inefficient but cos he genuinely cares about his patients.

I talked myself out of him calling.

“Maybe it’s bad news” I thought…… “he doesn’t want to give me that kind of news over the phone” said the little voice inside my head……… Yes even Little Miss Positive has negative thoughts, I’m human after all….

Then at 7:15 the phone rang, unknown number, I ran as fast as I coulc, it could only be the Prof!

“Your CT scan is clear”

It took a few seconds for it to sink in what he said – not sure if it was chemo brain or I was in shock!

“The lumps are showing on the scan but they are normal lumps” he continued

“Thank you so much for calling me, it means sooooooooo much and now I know I can now move forward”

Apparently, there is some inflammation on my left lung but that is from the Radiotherapy and is nothing to worry about.

The superhero Prof saves to day again!

The timing could not be better, my mum and sister-in-law were here.

“It’s clear”, I shout, my mum came running up and gave me the biggest hug then we both burst into floods of tears!

“Team Kicking Lenny’s butt” has declared victory!!!!

I am now officially a Cancer Survivor!

Bring the last chemo on!

survivor