The M word

Why is it that every time I pick up a magazine, watch an advert, turn on a tv chat show, it’s always about the bloody M word, M as in Menopause?!

M Word

It’s a bit like when you buy a new car and you start noticing cars like yours everywhere!  Maybe they’ve always been there? but I guess at 39 I wasn’t always looking out for Menopausal articles, I thought I’d have another 15 years before I had to deal with all that crap!

I used to feel the cold so much, I know I know I am a bloody Northener, I should be used to the cold but I always felt like my thermostat was 10c below everyone else’s.  Now it’s more like 4 bloody seasons in a day, I’m worse than the british weather for my ups and downs in temperature!  One minute I’ll be in my jumper, coat, hat – the next I’m stripping off to my knickers!!! – thank goodness I work from home!!

Don’t get me wrong I am very thankful to have hormone therapy in order to help reduce the risk of Lenny or any of his mates returning but some days I just wish the hot flushes / night sweats would pi$$ right off!

Take this weekend, girlie spa day, all relaxed having my back massaged when guess who turns up, uninvited!!!!!!! Yep, Harry the fricking hot flush!!

Thankfully I had already explained to the therapist that Harry could make an appearance, she ended up spending half the massage taking off the blanket, back on, back off, back on!!!!

Oh well it didn’t spoil the weekend!

I’ve also had to change my wardrobe too, I know any excuse to shop but on a serious note, I have to really think about what I wear especially on an evening out when the hot flushes seem to go on overdrive.  Sleeveless is usually the option, just need to get rid of these bingo wings!!

Apparently there are 34 side effects of Menopause, Hot flushes and night sweats being top of the list.

Apart from the hot flushes, my side effects so far on the tamoxifen have been minimal.  I guess I was expecting my “mood” to be worse, I do find my mood can change but my magic oils seem to be really helping there, don’t know how I would cope without them!!

Oh and guess whose had their eyebrows waxed last week? yep that will be me! Another tick on the hair growth box!

The hair is also continuing to grow, had to order myself some more magic Rosemary oil and I am so excited that I’ve had to order some conditioner! I’ve not had to use conditioner for months!!!

It won’t be long and I will be having to get the cobwebs off the hairdryer! Although not quite sure how hot flushes and hairdryer will mix, I’ll probably need another bloody shower after drying it!

But It’s these little things that mean so much to us Cancer Survivors!






Short, back and sides

Well Friday was a big milestone… drum roll please….. I had my first haircut!!!

Yep short back and sides for Gemsy!

Well ok, not quite the first haircut of my life but my first one since that bloody poison robbed me of it!

The thought of losing my hair was the first thing that came into my head when I was told that Chemo was “recommended” as part of my treatment plan.

I remember that day well, I still remember the car journey home and asking hubby “will you still love me with no hair?”

“Braving the shave” definitely helped me to cope with the trauma of losing it by “taking control of the situation” and for anyone reading my blog who is about to start chemo I would definitely seriously consider shaving it off before the large clumps of hair come or in your hand.

On the plus side my wigs have been amazing and I’ve had a lot of fun with them but I am not going to lie, I’ve had my moments of grieving for my long locks back.

One thing I never really thought about though was the “growing back” bit.  Every week I’ve been taking a “Saturday selfie” of my hair growth since I finished chemo.   As each week has passed something “new” has happened to my hair, from a few sprouts to to looking like a little chick with my fuzzy stuck up hair.

It really is an amazing transformation when I look back at the selfies. There is a bit more grey than before but I’ll choose grey hair over being a baldy any day -sorry Dad 😉

The magic “Rosemary” oil I have been using has definitely helped!

Well only 3 more months and I can slap on some hair dye, apparently you shouldn’t dye your hair for 6 months.

I might have to celebrate with a gin, I definitely think first haircut is classed as a “special” occasion on my “only drinking” on special occasions!!hairgrowth


It is probably the longest I have gone between blog posts. If I’m honest I think I’ve had writers block!! My head has been a bit over the bloody place the last week or so.

Let’s start with the good stuff first….

Our spa stay was bloody amazing, I can’t tell you how good it felt to do “normal” stuff again like getting a massage! On the 2nd day of the break we even had the entire spa to ourselves, it was heaven!!

I think I did freak the hotel staff out with my constantly changing hairstyles and hair lengths! I decided to wear my wig for what I hope is the last time ever!!

They probably thought hubby had 2 wives, a day and night one!

I even treat myself to a couple of glasses of wine although I did pay for it in bloody night sweats! Apparently Prof reckons it’s due to the wine increasing your circulation!

Ok so life ain’t always rosy and the last few days have been mentally tough…….

So a couple of weeks ago I started with a “niggle” on my right hand side near my ribs.

One thing I have learnt recently from my sessions with my psychologist is about the “Superscanner”



So the theory is that when events happen in our life, they result in making us very sensitive to situations. I remember before I had my little man I could sleep through anything but as soon as I had him it was like a “super hearing” sensor had been switched on and any little noises at night would wake me up as I thought it was him crying.  I would always be the one who woke up first to his crying although on a few occasions I did pretend to be asleep and let hubby go deal with him 😉

Well the same principle applies when you have had the big C.

Your brain ends up being wired to “superscan” your body. So you end up noticing every single bast4rd thing wrong with you. Every single bloody ache, pain, niggle on that bloody body of yours especially in areas you are concerned about.

So for me that’s my boobs (obviously), liver, ovaries, bones and brain. They are my “sensitive” areas because they are usually the secondary areas for breast cancer.

Any niggle on these areas, my brain is “querying” has the cancer spread?, whether I like it or not!!!

Thankfully physiologist has given me some tools and tricks to deal with the “Superscanner”.

I won’t go into them now but I have been using them and so for the last couple of weeks I have been monitoring my “niggle” as opposed to freaking out on day 1.

It did coincide with me starting some core strength physio and running but despite cutting those ou,t the “niggle” was still there!

Then I started with abdominal discomforts and the “liver secondaries” dvd started to play on my bloody head!!  For a few days I thought the niggle had gone off but after the weekend it had returned!

Looking back I had been “preoccupied” at the weekend with fun at the gin festival but being alone working from home that fricking dvd was playing again and again and even the bloody mindfulness was not able to stop it being on auto play!!!! grrrrr

By Tuesday, I decided enough was enough and the only piece of mind I was going to get was to visit the Prof. He is the only person who completely puts my mind at ease!

So on Wednesday afternoon we took ourselves to the hospital, thank fu$k we have a 4 x 4 with the “beast from the east”!!!  He certainly hasn’t helped my anxiety this week!

I managed to bump into all my friends aka receptionists / nurses, I felt at home as soon as I walked in the door!!

I even saw Prof’s secretary, that lady is a legend, getting me in with 24 hours notice meant the  world to me!!

I was soooo relieved to see the Prof although I nearly died of embarrassment when I got undressed and realised I hadn’t shaved my pits, ffs third world problems in the consulting room!!! –

Prof put my mind at ease, I’ve torn a ligament in my abs, near the rib. Too localised to be anything related to the breast cancer.

The chemo is also to blame for the stomach discomfort. It can take a good year to get all that bloody poison out your body and Prof explained your body can feel for a long time like it isn’t your own!


Omg if it wasn’t for the snow I would have skipped out of the hospital car park!!

Normal service resumed! Life is all good again 🙂

Now pi$$ off playing “negative” dvds brain cos little miss “feel like gemsy” is back in town!!! and Superscanner you can go take a flying jump too!!

Help I’ve been Hedgehogged!

So after giving myself a good talking to last week, I decided to make sure I took it easy this week and not be mad dashing all over the bloody place.  It did mean that I didn’t go to my Auntie’s birthday bash and I did feel bad about that but I know she would understand.  It wasn’t so much actually going, but it’s a good hour’s drive each way and I knew I just needed to “be kind to myself”.

Well in terms of milestones, it’s been another good week.  I got my ar$e into gear and got back on the treadmill.  Not sure if I mentioned it but 2 weeks ago I nearly put myself in hospital tripping over my laptop charger to run to get the door.  I really hope no one was looking through the windows as it was not a pretty sight.  I could just see the headlines now…..

“Woman survives  big C but is killed by a laptop charger”!!!!!

It hurt so much that I had a little cry to myself, proper needed a “Mummy cuddle” and a “Magic Kiss” to make it better!!!  At the time it was my nail that hurt the most.  The ba$tard chemo has left my nails looking like something from a horror movie and a couple have come loose.  Bending one back to stop me from falling over was probably not the best decision I have made!!!

Anyways after an hour, the nail throbbing subsided but then I realised that my toe was getting worse and worse.  I took off my sock and it was bright red.  It was so bloody sore, there was no way I could do any running on it.  Then it turned a lovely blue colour and was like it a few days.  The old “Superwoman” would have tried to run on it but this new sensible version of Superwoman decided to rest!  I even put my “Deep Blue” magic oil on to take down the inflammation!

So on Tuesday I decided it was time to get back on the treadmill.  I’d set a goal for Febrary to get back to running a full 5k and I was determined to do it!  So I stuck on my tunes and took myself to my “She Shed” that also doubles up as the “Gem’s Gym”

My PB since Lenny was 30 minutes although it was 3 weeks since I had done that!  I remember when I did Couch to 5k that they say once you get over about the 12 minutes its “mind over matter”, well I had a lot of bloody mind to get to 30 mins!

With the help of my mate Chris Martin singing his tunes to me, I only went and ran 36 mins and a full 5k!!!! OMG I felt bloody brilliant.  I was back on my new running journey, kicking the Big C’s Butt – only another 3 x 5ks and I will be at the Great North Run distance!!!! Easy peasey…NOT!!! But it is baby steps as I keep getting told!

I felt so bloody great from the run that I decided to sign up for a 4.5 mile run with my GNR mate in April.  I do need to have some mini goals to get me to the half marathon distance!

On Thursday I decided to get “hedgehogged”, well before you all think I have lost the plot, it is “Our Rosie’s” name for having Acupuncture.  As I have said before, I will try bloody anything to get rid of these fu$king hot flushes and night sweats.  I’d never been Hedgehogged before, I’d been told it wasn’t painful and to be honest the pain was the least of my worries.  The night before I had convinced myself I was gonna get Hepatitis from a dirty needle!!! – Sounds so bloody ridiculous now but in the middle of the night, post nightsweat – anything is possible!!!


Thankfully as soon as I got to the hedgehog lady I realised that the “prickles” were disposable …phew!!! – I am a muppet at times!!!

The whole experience was sooooo interesting…..people were right, it didn’t hurt.  The prickles went mental in my ear when the probe went over “hormones” and “temperature” No shit Sherlock!!!

In a strange way, I found it relaxing and I’m booked in for another session this week!

It must have given me some energy though as yesterday I decided I was gonna go for my first outdoor “proper” run for 7 months.  Running to the next village felt pretty good but running back was a killer with those bloody hills.  I was proper tired when I got home but guess what…… I had run 5k!!!!!!! Which means this “hedgehog” is going back to ParkRun!!!!!!

Now to finish packing for our well earned Spa Break!!! Gym gear not included!


Ok, Confession time, cards on the table…….

  1. I’m shattered
  2. I’m grumpy
  3. I’ve over done it!

Why do I seem to forget I am not Superwoman???


It took me until Friday to realise how much the week had taken out of me…… Yep  5 days into the week, that will be the chemo brain “delayed” reaction!

This week was always gonna be a busy one. It was the week I was seeing my Superhero the “Prof” for my first review since the end of my treatment and also to have a boob check with the man in charge of the sewing aka the Surgeon.

What I didn’t plan for was that our budgeting deadlines would get pushed into this week which meant I was having to deal with the most stressful week of the year at work and fit in all the appointments whilst trying to still deal with a “phased” return to work and deal with a stroppy 5 year old……. hmmmm interesting combo!!!

The good news is the hospital appointments went really well! In fact it was so lovely to see the team led by “Super Prof” who have looked after me like royalty over the last 6 months.

As I’ve said before, it’s a scary world when active treatment finishes and you often feel like you are on your own trying to steer your boat back to the shore (aka normal life).

Seeing Prof and having the reassurance that all my bloods are good, my body is recovering well really does help settle those nerves and tick another milestone box.

As usual I had a page full of questions for him as I have been resisting the temptation of devil called Goo$le!

You would have been proud, I went to all my appointments  wig free!.  The Prof was very impressed with my hair growth,…..

“That will be the Rosemary Oil, Prof” I told him very proudly!

Oh I still love my Oils! and my “no nasties” Tropic skincare. ****Commercial Plug***** but hey, there are only so many times people can keep saying “OMG, Your skin looks amazing” and you not realise it’s the lovely stuff you have been putting on your skin to combat Chemo wrinkles for the last 3 months!

Ok, Commerical over and back to the Prof……..I was honest with him about the fact that my hot flushes and night sweats have got worse but I told him it was “dooable” and I didn’t want to “mess” with the tamoxifen by taking more drugs to deal with the menopausal side effects.

I know the jury is out on the use of Anti-depressants for the severe menopausal side effects and their effectiveness on the Tamoxifen…… but for me, I do not want to give the Tamoxifen any excuse not to work!

I tell you since I had chemo, I’ve become slightly obsessed with what gets put in my body especially drugs and their bloody side effects.

Tamoxifen has also given me a rash under my skin, it’s like invisible goosebumps. It doesn’t bother me and on the scale of side effects it could be so much worse.  I just feel like I’ve forgotten to scrub off my exfoliator!

I know it still is early days and Prof did say the side effects should reduce once my body gets used to being “slam dunked” into Menopause.

Instead I am gonna try acupuncture, I’ll give anything a go these days! If sticking some needles in my face gets rid of these night sweats then it’s bloody worth it!!

I also got a glowing report from the surgeon. I did have a “post surgery photo shoot” and laughed that the last time he took a photo I was covered in “Sharpie” pen.  He did show me a photo of the “pre” surgery boobs……Omg I had forgotten how “droopy” they were, every cloud has a silver lining though and I got a better pair even if the Lenny invaded one does feel like it has been beaten up at the minute, especially after being poked and prodded!

Unfortunately, the fatigue started to hit on Thursday.   I’d also had a late night going to see Strictly. It was a fab girlie evening but OMG my body is not used to late nights! I’m normally having me mug of cocoa at 8pm!

The fatigue then turned into me being a moody cow with a very short fuse and then the tears just came flooding out.

“I can’t do my job anymore” I cried out to hubby. It had just got all too much and exhaustion had kicked in.

There and then I had a full on meltdown!!!! but boy did I need it!!!! Sometimes you just need a good cry and a “vent”!!!

Thankfully after some sleep I felt a lot better, funny how things seem so much better in a morning!??

The good thing is I do recognise I have done too much. It has been a wake up call and I have to remember I am not superwoman!

I am a Cancer Survivor, surely that deserves it’s own Superhero status?!  I can’t remember reading about Superwoman dealing with losing her locks, nightsweats and returning to work!!

In all seriousness, we all know Superwoman does not exist and as for the other women that we think are Superwomen, honestly they are most likely struggling themselves.

This is the real world so instead of trying to be Superwoman and get on 4 loads of washing before 7am on a Sunday.  I am gonna go and give those boys of mine a cuddle.

It’s that stuff that matters, the bloody washing pile can wait!!!!

A messy home is a happy home right??

But let’s get one thing straight……Super Prof…. now he is most definitely real!

“Hot Flush, Mummy?”

Wow, is it really 9 days since I wrote my last blog, well they do say time flies when you are having fun!

Seriously, I can’t believe how fast last week went. It only seems to be 5 minutes ago I was setting off in the snow for my drive down to work.

Where has the time gone?

Last week was a brilliant week, shattering but a bloody good one and you know what… I had NO wobbles!!!! To be fair, I don’t think there was time to have one!!!

It was soooooo good to see everyone at work again, I don’t think I have ever had so many hugs!

Although work was intense, being around people and back to “normality” did me the world of good!  I even managed to fit in a run in the hotel gym, bit rude though as I had to queue for a bloody treadmill!!! Wtf – January “new gym” goers!!!

I was super proud of myself though as I managed to run for a whole 30 minutes and with just my Sinead O’Connor look! I think I have gone past caring at the stares!

The oils came with me into the office as did the fan! Thank fu$k for the fan! Those ba$tard hot flushes kept making an appearance, I’m so glad I’d warned everyone and also worn layers!

Jumper  on, jumper off, jumper on, jumper off was the theme of the day!

A few months back I would never have dreamt of wearing sleeveless tops and dresses in winter but not when “Harry” the hot flush can make a bloody appearance!

Anyways…..Saturday was another milestone for me,  I went along to little man’s swimming lesson.

Yep for the first time in months I also went along to the pool,  it’s somewhere I have avoided during chemo as we all know that those changing rooms are germ zones!

I was so excited about seeing the little man swim that I forgot to put the wig on!  Instead I had my pink woolly beanie on, which was fine outside in the freezing cold but I didn’t quite think through to the temperature in the changing rooms!

I got as far as the obligatory toilet stop before his lesson when I could feel the bloody furnace heating up in my chest.

Shit! Bollo$ks! I thought!

I needed to get the fricking hoody and beanie off …. fast!!!!

“What you doing, Mummy?”

“Mummy’s hot” I replied

“Hot flush, Mummy?”


Jeeeeezzzzz for a split second I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry!

Kids really don’t miss a trick do they???

Well there was no bloody way I was putting that hoody or woolly hat back on…. sod the “stares”…. I don’t give a shi£ that morning”, nothing was gonna get in my fun of watching my little nemo swim!

Now, where is a fridge to sit in when you need one????



It’s Sunday morning and I have just finished writing my “check list” for today.  Later, I am travelling down to work for my first visit to the office in over 6 months!!

I admit I am full of mixed emotions, I am so excited to be seeing work colleagues again, I’ve not seen them since before Lenny and I am sure there is going to be a whole lot of hugging happening!

But at the same time I am apprehensive for a few reasons…..

  1. Forgetting the important things!

Yes, I am more anxious than normal about forgetting stuff, especially the stuff I can’t live without for the next few days!

I am not talking the laptop either although this is fairly high on the list!

I am talking about tamoxifen for a start! I am so paranoid about leaving it behind, it is the first thing on the list! There is no way I am missing one of those little pills and although I know missing a couple probably won’t cause issues, I am not taking risks in that department. In all the risk mitigation actions, this is the bloody important one!

Secondly my oils, OMG I need them in my life. With mixed emotions comes my  set of emotions oil! Oh yes I have one for bloody every emotional in life!

“Cheer” for positively, energy and potentially any wobble moments!

“Balance” to calm me down and reduce the anxiety and stress that 3 days of budgeting may bring!

“Motivate” for getting shit done

“Spearmint” for confidence and not taking any shit!

I am also taking about enough supplements to keep Holland and Barrett in business for about 3 years plus some magic “On Guard” to keep germs away!

I’ve been so lucky to not really get anything during chemo but the reality is my immune system is still low and I ain’t got time for being ill! I know how many germs are around that bloody office too, I don’t care if people think I have “OCD issues”, my boss will have issues if I end up off sick again!!

So that’s just a few things on the “list”!!

2. Being Alone

It’s also been a long time since I have been on my own and I mean without family and friends for months and months. Before Lenny I was frequently away with work and being on my own never bothered me. But I am conscious that for me being alone, especially at nigh,t can be when a wobble starts.

I am so glad that I have been seeing my psychologist though as already I feel like I have some “tools” in my little wobble suitcase for coping with the feelings.

Even seeing her for 3 weeks as really helped me to be more aware of my thoughts and how to deal with them. At some point I will fill you in more…..

3. Leaving the boys

I’m also nervous about leaving the boys. Again, never something that has bothered me. My “Rock” is an amazing dad and when I’m away I just leave him to it. I don’t like calling them lots as I don’t want him to think I am checking up on him and I think it is important for them to have “boy” time.

The nerves are more about worrying about the Rock, worrying about me.

This isn’t easy for partners, they try and hold back their feelings, being “strong” for us but they are human as well

My psychologist called it “adjustment disorder” . That’s the official term. The good thing is that me and the Rock are talking open and honestly about how this is affecting him too. It might have taken him a while to open up but he’s getting there.

The thing I am learning through all this is to have an “open mind”, I will try anything to get my family as “healthy” and as “happy” as we can be.

I’ve even given the Rock a lesson in applying little man’s daily oil. Oh yes little man is also oiled with”On Guard”, I don’t want any bloody germs coming back home in this house!!

4. Hot Flushes

Yep, they are happening several times a day and nightsweats are still a frequent occurrenceworkchecklist throughout the night.  I can deal with them at home but the thought of them happening in the middle of presenting a budget to the big cheeses does fill me with some anxiety!!!  Who’d have thought that in the middle of winter I’d be taking a fr$cking fan with me!!!

Oh well, best get back to the packing, oh and did I mention I have a new red work bag? – needs must!!!