Thursday, 30 December 2010

A good positive thought for the day.

Lying in bed this morning thought of another positive to all this.  At least I won't have to have any more mammograms!

I am trying to sort out practical arrangements.  When I get out, my lovely neighbours Sarah and Debb's are going to take turns to help wash me.  I can empty the drains and record the volume.
What is proving difficult is care for Holly when I'm in hospital as Holly doesn't seem to want to discuss her options.  Have now told her she has till Friday to make a decision or I'll make it for her.
The  other issue I have is that on Monday 10th I have to have injections and scans (I'll explain in another post) for most of the day before my op on Tuesday 11th where I have to be on the ward for 7:30am. Now it makes sense to me due to the distance I live from the hospital (1 hours plus drive ) and the time I have to be there the next day, to have a bed from Monday night but have been told this morning that I don't qualify and to look at other alternatives.

I really don't fancy going up to Bristol 2 days on the trot and the 2nd trip being silly o'clock in the morning but currently that's looking like my plan B.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Remembering Absent Friends and Family

A spray of roses just for you, Sprinkled with teardrops instead of dew, And in the middle a Forget-me-not, to let you know we have not Forgot ♥ xxxxx ♥ xxxxx ♥

A mulled cider in the Plough with my sister Rachel yesterday and we toasted Col Dave Nige Keith and Mum.  A white feather descended on the table from nowhere.  A year now passed since Colin left us with the Angels. 

Feeling more positive about next year. Rachel pointed out that she copes with this by thinking my recently found tumour (Must get this christened)  is only 13mm and Cruella was 29mm so has been found earlier!!!  I cope as I know exactly what to expect :-( 
My niece wrote the following poem in memory of Colin

In memory, of an amazing man. 

by Laura Tai Davies on Friday, 26 November 2010 at 22:07
A smile and a grin, you never had a frown
Your love for us all was something so special
That you can make me smile with just simple words
The cleverest idiot, in my universe.

Many people loved and knew you,
Nothing like how close you were to my heart
I just wish that I could turn back the time
And say the words that were you in your life.

Always look on the bright side of life
Was the thing that you lived by
You never faltered and never failed
You somehow always prevailed.

Your infectious laughter and the cheeky grin
The bushy moustache, hanging on your lips
The crap jokes you always did or told
The grin never faltering, even when you went bald.

I loved you from the beginning
Right till the very end,
You were my light and shining star
I now know you’re never afar.

I just wish I had the chance to say
‘I love you’ once more.
The fact you kept on laughing till the end
It made me thankful that you were Gods send.

I miss you and I love you
Never ever forget that.
Give everyone a hug from me,
And send a kiss to David please.

To someone who changed my life for the better~
I miss you Colin

Merry Christmas and Happy new year to our friends and family where ever you all are xxx

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Bouncing back

Despite my brother Kevin and his fiance Amanda being here for the weekend, feelings of anticipation won't go away.  I know what to expect, so why feel anxious ? I know why.  This is horrible.
I went through a box that I keep all the cards and letters I received last year and this made me smile for a bit at least.

May you always have an angel by your side 
Watching out for you in all the things you do
Reminding you to keep believing in brighter days
Finding ways for your wishes and dreams to take you to beautiful places
Giving you hope that is as certain as the Sun
Giving you the strength of serenity as your guide
May you always have love and comfort and courage

Back to work tomorrow that should keep my mind occupied.


Thursday, 16 December 2010

What a bummer

Went for my post op assessment yesterday in Bristol.  Looking forward to my having my dressings removed so I can have a shower and wash my own hair.  Holly soaked me when she did it for me.
After a chat with one of the ladies I was in hospital with last week, got called in after a 10 minute wait and along with my surgeon and breast care nurse a 3rd person was in as well whom I just thought was a medical student.  Mr Rater started talking about the processes the breast tissue goes through once it's removed and I nodded yes I'd expect it to be tested, then he hit with "we have found cancer in the tissue"
In summary the Histology report for the breast tissues shows Multifocal Lobular Cancer despite being on Tamoxifen with the largest focus being 13mm and identified as G2 Lobular Breast Cancer.  There are other lumps that has been confirmed as Lobular Carcinoma in situ (LCIS ) which increase the risk of developing into breast cancer later on. Unsure yet but it is likely to be a new Primary cancer rather then a recurrance of Cruella.
Treatment Plan - Mastectomy with an immediate reconstruction booked for the 11 January 2011.  They have discussed the technical aspects because this breast now has wounds and due the the amazing way they have healed he is confident with the options he has that he can still do another brilliant job. 
I have said I do not want to go through Chemo again and I got  "We will cross that bridge when we get to it" Well they are going to have to really sell the benefits of that one to me!
Holly took it on the chin not sure it's sunk in yet.
I'm ok had a good cry and back to making the practical arrangements required for me to spend a week in hospital.
Have asked them to supply me with a sick bowl as I come out of recovery this time though :-) 

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Well that's that bit over with

and I am over the trauma which I will summarise for you .
Last on list so didn't get taken down till 4:30pm.  I was allowed a glass of water around 10:30am. Once in the theatre couldn't get a vein to put in the cannula.  3 attempts on my my left hand after reminding them not to use my right hand due to the risk of Lymphodema  4th attempt on my foot and it was looking like my op may not be happening then after some beating, the 5th attempt in my leg and I'm asleep.

I woke up in recovery feeling very thirsty and sipped chilled water whilst coming round and got took back up to the ward around 9pm.  Sipped a coffee and nibbled 2 biscuits.  When  I started to feel sick I realised I hadn't been give the buzzer control and I was attached to the bed by my drain. A confused nurse came in as with 2 of us calling and a 3rd buzzing wasn't sure who to help first but it was all for me and I confirmed I felt sick.  By the time the nurse returned the projectile vomiting had started missing the bowl.  She and I was covered and the bed.  The lady opposite me ducked as it flew across the room stopping just short of her bed.  During the episode I lost my control of my bladder so all in all I was in a very unpleasant mess which as  my nurse was on her own was left in for far too long.  After cleaning the floor my nurse got a bowl of hot water and cloths so I could wash myself down. A second nurse appeared telling me they were going to give me some anti sickness drugs and where was my cannular? All I could remember was that it was in my foot. Whoops nothing there.  You are not sticking another one in can I just have tablets and she explained that she would be able to inject me and it would just take a bit longer to get to work. Eventually I was clean and dry but not too warm in a pretty pink gown. so thankful I took my dressing gown. When I got off the bed ooh look canular in my leg !!

Come morning after another very small sickness episode, I was told they would need to see if my breakfast would stay down and my surgeon agreed I could go home with the drain,  I had to manage going home with 2 last year and by 10:30 I got thumbs up and put in motion my plan for coming home and thanks to Alex I was home for 2pm.

1 week later, wound healing well with drain removed Saturday. I am going back to Bristol to have my dressing removed today :-)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Boob Op pt 2

Well, Sue was feeling a bit fractious this morning, but got to the hospital and booked in all ok.

She texted me to let me know she was last on the list, so she wouldn’t be in surgery till late afternoon. So very happy we had such a lovely dinner last night courtesy of The Bebbs.

Texts received throughout the day were full of the usual really interesting comments, such as, just been drawn on, bored, hungry, bored, thirsty, bored, ooh and the anaesthetist is moving to Taunton next year! 

Anyway, she’s out of surgery and back on the ward now, hopefully, all things being well, should be home some time tomorrow.

Rachel xx

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Twas the night before my 2nd op

and a fabulous last supper was had curtesy of the Bebbingtons.  Thank you guys !!  
Plan A to get to the hospital was no longer an option this evening but before I could contact Plan B (Alex)  Nige Bebbington , who was never on my plan list,  told me he is taking me on the way to Street.  Ok a little detour but all organised now and Alex gets a lie in.

Feeling a tad nervous but the roast pork dinner has made me feel a bit sleepy.  Got an early start tomorrow and Rach will update blog in the afternoon   hopefully...
Night all


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Operation Date Postponed

I came home yesterday to find yet another letter from the Hospital.  I opened it with excitement thinking this was my pre op  assessment appointment come through.  Sadly it was a letter confirming that my operation date has been postponed to the 6th December citing other emergencies as a possible reason.

Gutted as I am, I know that the reason for this is probably a lady who is at the stage I was at, this time last year. However on the plus side, I have 8 weeks to loose at least half a stone, which I know a can achieve if I put my mind to it. It's just the practical arrangements I have to re arrange now and  I think I should sort out plan B.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

2nd Operation date confirmed

I have been on Tamoxifen for just over a week and and so far so good.  Getting more hot flushes.  So far, knees are holding up as well.  All is good. 

Opened up my  post today. Holly puts it in various places around the house and doesn't tell me.  I found a letter confirming my date for my next operation as Monday 8th November.  This is to reduce the size of my other breast to match the one that was reconstructed last year.
Just got to make all the practical arrangements now.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Test results confirmed

I'm defininatly pre menopausal so it's back on Tamoxifen.
I have not taken them since 12th July and I feel really great.  I have had a lovely summer.  I know,  it wouldn't take much compared to last year! I have had 2 lovely holidays and apart from feeling tired occasionally, due to waking up at 2am on a regular basis,  I have no complaints.  I feel more in control then I have done for a long time. 

My only concern about going back on Tamoxifen is the pain in my knees.  Currently this is nowhere near as bad as it was and it's only recently improved.  I swim every week and I'm going to start some cycling.  I know I also need to start losing weight. 
I spoke to a Breast Care nurse from Bristol today.  I am on the 18 week wait list there for my 2nd op and wanted to find out if I should be on them when I have my operation.  The nurse confirmed that I will be asked to come off them and as a general rule it is usually 2 weeks before the operation date.
I asked her if she had any useful hint's to minimise the pain that could return to my knees and seemed surprised that I am putting this down to Tamoxifen as this is a more severe side effect of Arimidex.  I know that there are ladies suffering joint pain with Tamoxifen.  However she asked me what chemotherapy I had and she advised that the side effects of Docetaxel - joint and limb pain, could take a while to get out of my system and that could have been the cause of my pain.  However I will be grateful for any useful suggestions (chopping off legs not an option!)
So I'm really cheered up by that thought.  To mentally prepare myself for the onslaught of side effects,  I know I am a much healthier person then I was a year ago - Chemo - oh so last year,  no major operations, no radiotherapy to contend with and no more family funerals! (I insist if anyone is listening!) There will be minimal side effects !!
Watch this space....

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Test results through

The bad news is the blood test result was inconclusive (so I'm not definitely post menopausal)
The good news is I can stop taking Tamoxifen for 6 weeks so I can be retested.
The better news is , stopping these drugs from next Tuesday makes my 6th week when I get back from a relaxing holiday in Rhodes.
I am cheered up by this news it has to be said :-)

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Oncology Appt 15th June 2010

I was geared up with my own reasons for coming off Tamoxifen when I went for my appointment.  It was like visiting old friends when I arrived and felt warm and welcome.
The Breast care nurse was waiting for me when I got called in so I was already talking to her about what I was doing to minimise the side effects that I am experiencing from taking Tamoxifen.  When the Onc Consultant came in even he was impressed with what I am doing.  When I get a night sweat, I take a Dioralyte the next day (replenishes lost salts and water usually prescribed for Diarrhoea) and so far so good -  I have not had a nocturnal leg cramp since !!
He was going to suggest that due to the type of tumour (hormone positive) and my age (wise) I change hormone prohibitors to Raloxifene (I think - it began with an R).  They took bloods to be absolutely certain I am post menopausal as most certainly the Chemo last year (that sounds good) would have brought all that on. There will be a cheer when I get that result :-)
He was pleased with my how my new breast has recovered from radiotherapy  despite there being a bit of fluid.  He also said I would only be called in for annual Mammograms and doesn't feel it necessary for any other scans to take place unless I have symptoms that I am concerned about.  The risk of recurrence is there but until it materialises, there isn't much they can do and feel that I shouldn't go through the process of scans and worrying about the results.  I'm still not sure about this bit but then I do need to focus on getting fitter and reducing my BMI.  Without sounding arrogant, the impact Chemo had on Cruella, which was 2.9 cm, any particles from her that were so minute not to be to picked up by the scans I had last year, would be non existent.  
So I have come away feeling still nervous about what the future holds with reference to cancer although positive over the next steps.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Another first and Positive Thinking Rocks !

I swam 30 lengths of our local swimming pool in an hour the other week - (25 lengths is half a mile).   Going to try and go weekly. Another first for me was mowing the lawn and doing some weeding the other night. I still ache but pleased with my efforts.

Last week a leaflet drop man had fallen over in our road after being chased by a neighbours dog.  I didn't see the incident,  I just thought how lovely the community spirit was with the neighbour making this chap a cup of tea.  I commented on this to them and the fact that should he need physiotherapy to get a referral now as I currently have to wait over 4 weeks to have my hand seen.  Any way to cut a long story short, it transpired that this chap stopped working for the local NHS after his mother became ill with Cancer.  He couldn't cope with the environment he was working in.  I gave the more social summary of my experience over the last 2 years whilst working for the NHS -  loosing 2 brothers to cancer and my own cancer journey.  
His response of "You must be depressed then" really had me questioning whether my friends and family considered me depressed and if not should I be. I replied I'd had a few moments where I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself, but on the whole I just got on with it and deal with what I had been dealt with. 

Yes I'm angry at what myself and family are going through but disagree with this chap as I am not depressed.  And thanks to people I have spoken to that agree with me (yes I had to check to make sure)  This has made me realised how great my positive attitude has been to my well being.  Some of the thoughts that have regularly passed through my brain over the last 15 months are "Life doesn't chuck at you anything you cannot deal with" and " A woman is like a tea bag, you can not tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water".  

Almost a week later, with man's statement  till going round my head,  I feel really really lucky.  I am angry and it hasn't been great but this could have been so much worse..

Sunday, 2 May 2010

More Firsts

I did it.  I booked and had a hair cut.  It seems to be straightening out a bit more now.  We always feel good after a hair cut and this was no different.  I know it was just a trim and with short hair we were limited but I had it spiked up and this lasted until the next wash.  I don't feel right about using product on my hair with it being so new but I know it won't be long before I change that view.

Another first - Went for a swim on Friday night with Ali and Harry.  My new costume made me feel very comfortable.  My back scar is visible but it looks great and it didn't bother me.  Nobody would notice my big boob little boob look.
We were the only ones in the pool when we got there and with Holly and our friends already in I realised there was no way I was going to jump in.  I carefully went down the steps and then it was pure bliss. I am slow but we chatted and swam lengths. It was fab.  I even retrieved a hoop from the pool floor.  I came up laughing.  It was well weird not having any hair that floated around my face in the water.  We had a lovely time and  I am definitely going to start going regularly to help increase my agility.  Might even get my bike out...

Friday, 9 April 2010

Anniversaries and Firsts !

My skin is healing well from my radiotherapy.  My arm is feeling as it was before it started which is good. Have been busy getting on with things and time is flying by. 
I have made time for reflection - 12 months on from my first chemotherapy session- I smiled when I thought about that day, laughing at Rachel missing the train rather then cringing about hyperventilating over the drugs and needles. Shows what time can do....
To celebrate Easter I shaved my legs for the first time in 12 months and underneath my left arm !! Yes I had to share these firsts with you !! I'm even thinking about getting a hair cut to have a short cut look !!

I did have a pint of Scrumpy Jack for what would have been Colin's birthday on Monday and I remembered Dave and Mum's anniversaries on Thursday with a glass of red wine.  I know time is a healer but it still feels wrong......

Friday, 26 February 2010

One year on.....

This has been an emotional week.   Monday we travelled down to Croydon for my Uncle's funeral.  The upside was the family reunion with our relatives on mum's side.  A lot of lovely childhood memories were rekindled.  Contact details swapped and looking forward to a reunion for the right reasons!!!
Came back Wednesday and continued with my R.T. treatment.  My underarm is now very sore and restricting movement in my right arm.  The rest of the target areas are ok including under the breast where they would expect to see some damage. On today's visit I had the end of treatment chat with the Radiographer, where they confirmed that my skin will get worse after my last treatment (on Monday) and it will be between 10 and 20 days  before my skin starts to get better. Oh well .....
Today, 2 of my old team came into my work base, including Kath who was with me when I was given the news that I had Cancer.  I'm glad we had some time together, (yes it was the pub lunch time) so much has changed all round in the last year.
I am now thoroughly getting excited about our trip to Edinbrough. Flying out a week today for Freds' 40th and Barbara's 50th birthday celebrations.  15 of us in total and we are going to have a whale of a time.  The C word is banned unless it's C for Champagne !!!!
Have a fab weekend everyone!!!

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Radiotherapy - 4 Weeks down 1 week left

I mentioned to the radiographers about feeling nauseous on Friday and they said that it would not have been anything to do with my treatment but to keep them informed.   I haven't felt as rough as I did on Friday and as I started to feel bunged up beginning of the week, I think I was just starting to come down with a cold.  I am sleeping much better this week as well so I'm feeling pretty good at the moment.  The senior Radiologist examined me yesterday and I have to treat my underarm as if there is an open wound and has given me Aquaform Hydrogel wound dressing to apply twice a day.  Thankfully I still have limited feeling there so it is not as bad as it could be. 
I met with the Breast Surgeon at Taunton on Thursday and went through my options for making me look symmetrical and showed me what the operation would involve.  I am going to keep my Bristol appointment and see what they have to say as well to help me make decisions.
We have been off out everyday after RT.  Cheddar, Taunton, Weston Super Mare and Camelford.  It has been a relaxing and entertaining week and only a couple of times towards the end of the day I have had to hold off going to bed as I didn't want to go before the kids!
This weekend I am just getting organised for next week.  Monday I am going to have an early treatment appointment as catching the Paddington train early evening to attend another family funeral in Croydon on Tuesday.  I am getting back Wednesday mid afternoon so can make my usual time and now having my last treatment on Monday 1st March. 
So just chilling and conserving my energy for a weekend in Edinborough for Fred's 40th and Barbara's 50th birthday celebrations on the 5th March.  Getting really excited.... He he he

Friday, 12 February 2010

Radiotherapy - 3 Weeks down 2 to go

All the radiographers are pleased with how I am responding to this treatment. My skin is bearing up really well. They have assured me that they are treating me!!

I am being quite religious in my routine of applying Aloe Vera gel to the target areas and I'm in no doubt that this is key to the current state of my skin. I have no peeling it just looks a bit tanned. I am starting to get uncomfortable underneath the breast but undo my bra rather then use the pads given to me.

Wednesday was the half way marker and today I felt more tired then usual. Whether it is because I am so tired I don't know but felt nauseous around lunch time and felt I wouldn't last the rest of the day at work. I started to feel a bit better after a bottle of Coke, food and sugary sweets and surprised myself as I was gearing up for coming home and going to bed.

I'm on annual leave next week as it's half term. Sandra and Kieran have come down to stay. At least if this is the onset of the fatigue that you are told accompanies this treatment, I can stay in bed whilst Sandra amuses the kids!!! Then there will be only one week left of treatment before recovery period starts!! Whey hey bring it on!!!

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Radiotherapy - 1 Week down 4 to go

I feel a sense of achievement and relief. I am still anxious about how I am going to feel after week 5 but week 1 has been a breeze. Friday, my 5th treatment, I was out of work for about an hour which included a 15 minute wait at the Beacon Centre where I have my treatment. The girls at work are taking it in turns to moisturise the target area on my back - THANK YOU !! - Holly does this for me at home and I do my front. It feels just like you have sat in the sun without your sun cream but I have been warned the skin will get hard over the duration of my treatment. I am using Aqueous cream and Aloe Vera gel, 3 sometimes 4 times a day.

I turn up for my treatment, get booked in by the receptionist and wait to be taken to the locker room where I take off my top clothes. I can either wear a hospital gown or my own clothes. I have chosen to wear a vest top. I get released from my changing room by the nurse and walk round a couple of bends to where the Radiotherapy machine is. I remove my top and lie on the bed and the radiographers do all the work.

My hands are placed out the way in the rests so that they are the same level as my head. They then move and juggle me to the right position using laser beams to measure up the 3 dot tattoo's on my chest and working to the mm. Once they are happy I am in the right position I have to stay as still as I can. The machine delivering the beams moves around me. The delivery of the beams takes up about 10 minutes in total which includes the radiographers popping in to check and reset it. They are watching all the time from cameras in the room.

I have had the pleasure of listening to the best of Lionel Ritchie twice this week so have took in my own CD of Well being music that I use when I am trying to relax or mediate- Thank you Leina !!

The team are brilliant there. I feel relaxed and confident with them. I am meeting other RT patients in the waiting room as well including a couple of familiar faces, a lady from my Chemo days and another lady from my GP practice. Hark at me "My Chemo Days"

Have a good weekend everyone and bring on Week 2!!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Day one of Radiotherapy Treatment has arrived!

Feeling quite anxious all day. I knew the administration of it was going to be painless but it was the unknown. It was uncomfortable more then anything and I have tingling like sunburn as I write this 2 hours later. I had to lie still for over half an hour with my arms resting above my head on arm rests. I managed to stifle a sneeze and was desperate to clear my throat after a while. Lionel Ritchie the best of was playing on the CD throughout the duration. The bed was still and the machine moved around me, left, right and right back clicking during intervals. Tomorrow's session should not be as long but also not as quick as they hope it will be until they get comfortable with all the measurements. I have to go Monday to Friday for 5 weeks. By the end of it I should be in and out in half an hour not the hour and half it took today!

Last Tuesday I went to the Force Cancer Centre in Exeter for a Look Good Feel Better workshop.Take a look at for more details. I arrived in the town centre early as I was meeting my friend Cathy for lunch and did a bit of a shop. The workshop was brilliant, going through our bag of goodies and using them on for the 12 steps make up programme. Again it was so good mixing with other ladies at different stages of their treatment and some not even Breast Cancer. Glad I was able to make the trip as I had cancelled my first appointment last year as had so many appointments in the same week.

Got to remember to put on loads of Aqueous cream day and night now. Will also invest in some pure Aloe Vera gel and keep it in the fridge !!!

On another note my sister in law has posted some of the tributes we received for Colin which I also read out at the service. For those who knew him and might like to have a read.

Here's hoping I get another good night sleep....

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Happy New Year - Radiotherapy here I come!

Happy new year everyone! Hope ours is a bit better then last year. Can't even describe the mixture of emotions going through my head at the moment...
Back at work today and went to my first Radiotherapy appointment. The Radiographer was lovely once I got seen after waiting for 45 minutes. Had a chat, going over the forms before lying down on the scanner. The Radiographer explained to me the process and she was a bit evasive over the use of the needle word. I butted in and said your using needles and she nodded. I rolled my eyes, here we go again I thought but at least it will only be once she says hoping.
Both the Oncologist Dr's then came in to mark the spots. I laughed as it was like a mini reunion as I hadn't seen one of them since September. I got taped, scanned and needled. It wasn't too bad. I can't feel anything on my right hand side any way!
After getting dressed they had to take my photo. This was weird as I had to hold up a big strip of paper confirming my patient number, bit like someone who has had to go to prison and then it was all over. I know I am over the worst of my treatment but not looking forward to the fatigue that is going to accompany the Radiotherapy. Just starting to feel closest to normal then I have for a long time. My treament plan has also been confirmed with 25 appointments starting on the 25th January. All of them are at 4:15pm or later apart from 2 which are at 2:45pm. Also don't have to fret as Colin's funeral is before this treatment starts. It feels weird as we had been sharing our treatment trauma's he didn't get to tell me how he felt when he had his radiotherapy. Hey Ho.....