Just checking in…

Crikey! It’s been a while hasn’t it? If I’m honest, I sort of lost the will to blog for a while because it felt like I was repeating myself after each chemo session and I didn’t want to bore you. I’m now recovering from chemo round five and have decided to pop back and fill you in – My special treat to you… Aren’t I kind?!

I’m not going to lie; things are pretty tough at the moment. At chemo round four, I managed to get a cold and was in bed for ten whole days. I shall never complain about the common cold again once all of this is over, that’s for sure (I will). I’ve now had my fifth round and am being treated with a drug called Docetaxel. It has different side-effects to previous medication I was on, and boy are they painful. My bones are aching terribly, I’m getting numbness in my fingers and toes, and I have constant stomach pains. As well as all that, my poor old taste buds (used to delightful gourmet treats cooked up by Alex) appear to have done a runner. I’m finding it pretty hard to eat anything at the moment, what with my furry mouth, but am persisting because I know that it’s the nutrients that will help me recover quickly. I told you I was here to give you a treat didn’t I? It’s all so glam in my hood.

As a special surprise to me the other day, the hospital sent me home with a box of eight syringes full of G-CSF, which I’ve been told to inject myself with. Should have been easy enough… unless, of course you have a problem with needles! Anyway, we got there in the end and after a few days of Alex and I struggling to do it (think along the lines of the Chuckle Brothers), he has taken full control. Today was the day that I had meant to do it myself, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I do feel a bit useless, but I’m not going to stress myself out, because quite frankly I’ve got enough on my plate.

Some lovely home accessories provided by the hospital for my used needles… eek!

G-CSF Bins

Hmm, what else can I tell you about. Oh yes, I’m off to Paris next week. Hurrah! A very stern oncologist asked me what I was going to do if I get ill when I’m there. I responded with “um, go to the nearest hospital?” (obvs). There’s no way I’m missing this trip after having cancelled our holiday to LA a few months ago. I’ve got my special chemo alert card; I’ve got my EU health card thingymabob, and I’ve noted all the nearest hospitals… It’ll all be fine. We really need this holiday, and Betsy the Chihuahua certainly doesn’t want to miss her annual trip to the pet-sitter. She’s been cooped up far too much lately, as she never leaves my side when I’m ill in bed.

Aside from all the chemo action, I have managed to drag my sorry butt out to do some lovely things over the past month. I’ve also seen so many of my amazing friends – most of whom live in countries as far away as Australia and Berlin – who luckily for me, had UK trips planned in my hour of need. Everyone has been amazing, and I’ve constantly been receiving get-well gifts that have made me a very happy girl indeed!

The thing I miss the most at the moment is having the freedom to do what I want, when I want, and as it’s Summer, that mostly means travelling. Seeing those good friends in London really gave me a boost, and I hope that it won’t be long before it’s me that can get on a plane to visit them, wherever they may be. I’m also really missing my eyebrows, as it’s a struggle to draw them on when you are in a rush. I am however, getting them cosmetically tattooed on during our trip away, so fingers crossed that will be one less thing to worry about. I shall report back soon.

As you can see – some days the eyebrows just don’t match!

Chemo 5

FUCancer. I’m not letting you win, even if you are giving me a battering right now.

Five rounds done. Just three more to go.

Until next time x

Oh, and I’m still waiting for my MRI results, which will tell us more about how things are progressing… I’ll keep you posted.

Just checking in

I Get Knocked Down (But I Get Up Again) – Chemo 3

I went into chemo round three with much smugness on Friday 29th May. Having been prescribed the ‘wonder drug’ for sickness (Emend) that I’d been told would make the world of difference, I thought this one would be a breeze. How wrong I was! On the previous two occasions, chemo knocked me sideways, from about two hours after the treatment, until three days later. This time round, I was feeling ropey before I even got up from my chair. Say what?! Gah, this was not the plan, Stan… This was not the plan.

Nausea had hit me before I got out of the ward, so the nurse sent me on my way with some of those lovely-looking cardboard sick bowls… Who says you don’t get anything free gifts from the NHS, eh? They’re still sitting on my bathroom floor right now. Fancy!

The tablets did in fact work because I didn’t actually vomit, but that evening, I had such severe stomach cramps Alex had to call the chemo ward. We were talking a nine out of ten on the pain scale people. I wasn’t just whingeing for the sake of it. I was in real agony. When I heard the word A&E being bounced around, during Alex’s phone call, I was in a mad panic about how I was actually going to be able to drag my sorry butt out of the bed and into the car. Thankfully, the trip was avoided because I didn’t have that all important fever that I’m meant to be watching out for, and at some point I must have just passed out for the night. Phew.

Anyway, eight days of recovery time for this one, so it goes down as the worst yet, but I’m over it now and am really looking forward to my two weeks of better health. It’s quite an odd thing to get excited about really, but those two weeks out of every three are such a highlight that I find myself enjoying a lot more than I ever usually would. I’m particularly happy that my birthday falls tomorrow when I hope to be feeling in tip-top condition.

The really good news is that my boob lump has shrunk, so the treatment is working. It’s a regular occurrence for tumours to shrink to nothing early in the treatment process, but alas, you must still plough on with the chemo and see through all of the sessions before your operation. I’m not sure if I have previously mentioned that I’m having a lumpectomy, rather than a mastectomy – I’m happy not to be losing my boob right away, but if the margins aren’t good after the lumpectomy, I may need the full chop. Then, the question is, do I go for one or two? Jeez, what a thing to have to think about!

I’m actually quite surprised by how many people opt to have mastectomies instead of a lumpectomy for ‘peace of mind’, but each to their own, I guess. From the research I have done, lumpectomies and mastectomies have similar results with regards to the cancer returning, but a lot of women believe that the latter is a safer option. Obviously each case is different. Anyway, I’m going to take my chances and keep what’s rightly mine for as long as I can. Even if my left boob is a traitor, I’m not one to hold a grudge!

I hope to do something or have something other to talk about other than my illness before I blog next time. I do hate to bore you with all the same details, but until next time let me leave you with the gifts that chemo has given me for my 30 (something) birthday…

Things that chemo did to me this/last month.
Stomach cramps.
Tired, oh, so tired.
Horrible taste in my mouth – mainly in the evenings.
Tiny bumps on my tongue, that went away quickly.
Twitchy boob – Which is a good sign, but weird.
I have a hardened vein in my arm – from my first chemo session before the PICC line. It hurts. Ouch.
My eyelashes are slowly falling out, which is a nightmare with hay fever, let me tell you.
Watery eyes – separate from the hay fever watery eyes. Thanks for that.
I have no nose hairs left. How can I tell? Drip. Drip.
My eyebrows are thinning dramatically. – Nooooo! This is the one I have been dreading… How will people know when I am cross?! I have a plan though and will let you know about it soon.
Some of my hair tufts are slowly growing – I’ll need to shave it again, but I quite like knowing it’s there.
I’m cold ALL of the time – the hottest day of the year and I had a jumper on. I’m sitting with a hot water bottle right this second when it’s 20 degrees. Brrr.
It has given me the munchies – I’m grazing all day long, but luckily I’m not gaining any weight… Yet.
I’m craving chips and crisps ALL of the time – I’m not meant to eat potatoes, so this has been a tricky one.

And that’s all really…  I’ve heard worse ;)

In other news…

You need to get your chops around these Vietnamese spring rolls with crispy tofu with a side of
Stir-fried Chinese Cabbage

Vietnamese spring rolls with crispy tofu

We popped into Ms Cupcake in Brixton to grab some vegan/gluten free treats last weekend. A little market research as I bought the cookbook the other week. Our cupcakes were tad bit on the dry side, but they still tasted pretty good for vegan alternatives. They really need to make more of the store though. Definitely due a spruce up!

Ms Cupcake

Just reminded me of the old days…

 

Until next time x