Tax time…no, not HMRC, #Chemotherapy has Tax too!

Thepiccline XmasChemo chemosupport NYE

I’ve not written since my last chemo which was my first Docetaxel (Tax) part of the last 3 sessions. Boy oh boy, was given this on Christmas eve and stayed in bed until NYE! The Side Effects (SE) are completely different to the the FEC which was the first 3 chemo sessions. As I have cording (severe vein damage AND A FAT ARM, which can take up to 1 year to heal), as painful at the PICC line looks in the picture, it is heavenly having your chemo and blood tests through this – if ever you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to decide this, GO FOR IT!

Tax hits you DAY 3. Day 2 started with stomach cramps, Day 3, from waist down, really painful back, legs and feet..this lasted for DAYS! I could barely swing my legs off the bed to go to the bathroom and I NEEDED to get to the bathroom because the delights of THIS cycle, was unlike the constipation of the previous one…….

I also have the Lenograstim injections in my tummy Day 3-5 and I get my husband to do this. I had to do it once myself and I vowed to never again! (damn you football fixtures!)

As you can see from the photo’s, I managed to get out NYE, had lovely evening and then stayed in bed for another 3 days! My 7yo son is my #1 headband supporter 😉

Feeling WIPED OUT is NOT something I am used to. I have given in though, you can’t fight it and you shouldn’t…just ride with it.

I have a strategy for tomorrow’s session – let’s see if it is any better. I have started with painkillers today, even though it all kicks in Day 3 and I am going to try and walk outside everyday – something I could not do for the last cycle.

I still have hair as I am using the cold cap, very thin, patchy hair but I have a strategy for that too as you can see! Eyebrows thin and don’t have many eyelashes left but am using a wonderful 3D Fiber lash mascara from my friend Debbie O’Connor.

I have had my second round of the expander inflated – soon won’t need to wear a prosthesis! Found out that once I am clear of radiotherapy – up to a year, will have fat removed from tummy (thank you volunteers, I have enough of my own fat to sort myself out some double G’s!) to get a natural reconstruction – this is an 8 hour surgical procedure but can’t worry about that right now.

I guess it is to be expected that I am feeling weaker now towards the end of it….just 1 more cycle to go after tomorrow, really cannot wait!

Being diagnosed and going through what I am going through, has opened my eyes to a whole new meaning of LIFE…the people I want in my life and the people I want to surround myself with.

Chemo brain is a real thing! This is why I am very specific and to the point very quickly into the conversation – if ever you find yourself talking to me! Chemo brain apparently doesn’t go away straight away either…it hangs around….

I joined a FABULOUS ‘secret’ Breast cancer group on Facebook for ladies under 45 years old – you will be amazed at how many new members unfortunately find themselves joining, daily – but I can say this, it is a FANTASTIC group with LOTS of support, sharing and tips – a really good laugh too 🙂

I’m in a really weird place right now and only those who are going through his themselves or are supporting people through it will understand. I will resume to some form of normality in the near future, I promise!

PS : You can bet that I WON’T be doing DRY JANUARY either 😛

Thank you for the lovely messages of support!

X

Nic

Third time…yucky

It’s all sinking in … quite literally! This cycle saw me in bed for 6 days….6 days! Could not even try and fight it, I now understand FATIGUE!

The cycle itself was SEVERELY painful due to the cording (vein damage), so much so that they had to stop and start chemo as I was in tears – pure pain and SPASMS through the hand and arm. To this day, it is very, very sore…

It has been decided that for my next cycle, I will be fitted with a PICC line, which will be threaded to sit on top of the heart. I will receive chemo this way for the last 3 cycles. I am being fitted with this on 22/12, then will have an Xray done to ensure that it is in the correct position.

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I was completely WIPED out by this last cycle…..my body has recognised the chemo now and trying to deal with it. I feel a lot weaker and out of breath now, so need to do things at a different pace than I am used it. Yesterday I was clearing some paperwork, just tearing the paper was painful for my arm and I was so tired. *I got Gingko Biloba for the fatigue, should have had it from day one but at least I have it ready for the next cycle.

Oh, I also forgot to take the laxatives for the first 2 days, OMG…NEVER will I EVER forget that. I won’t go into detail about that….just know that I have been eating LOTS and LOTS of prunes!

My dog is very confused – one minute, I am taking her for 2 hour daily walks, 1hr in the morning and 1 hr in the evening, then my cycle happens and BOOM….she has to pace the floor to get anyone’s attention that she needs to go out!

I had 50ml fluid inserted into my inflatable yesterday.Consultant said that she has never seen a reaction to the breast in her career like mine has had since I had the infection a few weeks ago. She was hoping that the mastectomy would just be a smooth shape and the fluid would be gradually inserted to give me the clevage and symmetry that I am used to. She is still unsure if we will keep the inflatable in but will review again on the 9/01. Having woke up this morning after the 50ml from yesterday, everything seems *ok*.

I need to get back on track with my juicing. I have now bought http://www.crazysexydiet.com produced by a cancer survivor, so that is my mission for the next week, getting back on track!

My next chemo is on 24/12…..<insert cries here!>…though, I am looking at it this way, it’s my Christmas present to be one step closer to finishing!

I continue to meet the most amazing people through this journey, going through similar, if not WORSE. These women are so inspiring, makes me feel humbled and grateful for my life and this chance I have of getting through this.

Right, I have a parents Christmas event to attend tonight, Winter Wonderland theme….perfect timing as I am in the ‘good zone’ and I have one hand that works, one hand is all you need to hold a glass of delicious bubbly! 😉

*mwahs* to you all reading this….I appreciate it!

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Nic

How I’m teaching my daughter to check her breasts.

I know that there are sights out there informing you how to check your breasts. For me, in September 2013, my GP checked my breasts and nothing was apparent, roll on 10 months later, I now have Grade 2 breast cancer and am am having a mastectomy. *I had checked a few months AFTER the appointment myself as well!

I had been to the GP for personal reasons, (combination of feeling overwhelmed and stressed about a few things, which resulted in a rather acidic feeling tummy) and then said,  ‘by the way, I can also feel something tingling here’ – 10 months later, that is the affected area. The doctor made me raise my arm and felt, checking both breasts. She couldn’t feel anything and said that usually, feeling something tingling, is something else as with breast lumps, you can feel the lump instead of the sensation.

It was during these 10 months, the lump slowly grew and in addition to some weight loss, BOOM, there it was! I’m not going to focus too much on the weight loss as it was not as if I was next up for Britain’s biggest loser or anything like that but I do know that it’s easier identified (and possibly sooner?) if you are a healthy size. *My size will always be curvaceous, realistic and storage shall be kept for great food and wine appreciation, let’s get that clear!

*The lump that I have right now, would have been very obvious if it were this size back in September, so think it was a combination of time passing which allowed it to grow and some weight loss.

This is how I am teaching my 14 year old daughter to check :

  • Once in the running shower, lather up the soap/shower gel 
  • Step AWAY from the running water with good amounts of the soapy/lathery stuff cupped in one hand 
  • Raise your arm over, so that your elbow is as close to your head as possible and start walking your fingers down your spine – hold that position
  • Once in a comfortable-ish position, use your opposite hand that is filled with the soapy stuff, to rub over and under your breast and feel around
  • Take your time to move your hand around the breast in a circular motion, then work your way around the breast, letting your fingers walk over it, moving the tissue around 
  • With your arm still raised, slowly bring it down BUT keep at a right angle, then feel around the breast again
  • Repeat on the opposite side

I’m not a professional and do not hold any medical qualifications, I just know that I have a cancerous lump, I am the woman you know personally and this is how mine was discovered.

Much love,

Nic

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