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

Things are moving quickly…..

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So, it was my birthday on Sunday, my last night in Barcelona. One of the most relaxed and happy evenings I have had in a month, not to mention, my first home cooked meal since the 10th of August (yes, in addition to my diagnosis, we are the middle of doing our kitchen…well, the kitchen WAS planned, not the lump!)

I was genuinely happy and relaxed but right now, it’s 2:40am and I am restless. Mainly because I had a ‘nap’ at 8pm I suppose. I have now informed the children’s schools of the imminent changes at home. Just so that the school can monitor any unusual change in behaviour/school work over the next 6 months – shouldn’t be a problem but maybe it is more forgiving in the future if I send them in school uniform on a mufti day? Apparently, forgetfulness is a side effect…

I had my pre op assessment today (well, yesterday, Thursday). I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was basically like an MOT….just procedure to check if you are in working order. I filled out the forms over coffee at 6am and got to the question : ‘Do you have any concerns about the anaestehtic/procedure?’ – Well, I hadn’t really, up until that point! I wrote that I would just like to come out alive….odds are good that I will, the nurse confirmed.

I learnt 2 things today:

1) By swabbing up your nose and on either side of your groin, MRSA can be detected – as my op is in a few days, they send it away and speed up the growth to detect if I have it. Apparently, people are walking around with MRSA without knowing it.

2) The anaestehtist is going to be seated by my head throughout the 3 hour op. He/She is likely to be at consultant level so will be in very experienced hands.

I had my blood pressure taken, 3 tubes of blood drawn, an ECG, MRSA swab and my airwaves were checked as anaesthetist’s job is easier if it can be easily seen – the nurse commented that my results are all textbook, which made her happy with no concerns. So, I am all good….except for this cancer shit.

We spoke through what is happening next week. Monday I go back for MAPPING. They will mark the affected boob – I am guessing with a sharpie of sorts, all ready for Tuesday. On Tuesday, I am to take minimal things, in a plastic bag – I couldn’t help of thinking of a prison scene.

I will be attached to a few drips and dye injected in me. It may be a blue or green dye – green is my favourite colour, let’s see. Then again, blue could be good luck as Jose Mourinho is BACK!

I am going to turn the colour of the dye and when I need a wee or cry, the liquids produced will be colourful – I bet my son would love me to go to Show and Tell!

A corset type thing is going to be attached to me and I will probably be very sore, groggy and tired afterwards. Oh and I also learnt that they do not start the next patient’s operation until I am fully ok and no complications…comforting to know…I think? If all goes well, I will stay just one night. Nurses will visit me to do the drainage etc…*barf*

Again, the NHS has exceeded my expectations. I was not rushed, all my questions answered, lovely experienced nurse carried out  my assessment…nothing could have made my experience better. If you have lived in another country, you will maybe appreciate a little more, just how wonderful the NHS is.

 

 

The Costa Brava doesn’t cure Cancer….

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But it has SPECTACULAR views and has helped to clear my head!

The children’s passports arrived 2 days before we left! Our first road trip to mainland Europe and it’s been AMAZING!

Rural France then a week in the Jewel of the Mediterranean, El Port de la Selva. Breathtaking views and a desireable pace of life, I was conscious to even breathe slower, take it all in and JUST BE!

I slipped in and out of moments of parking my diagnosis, right at the back of my head and enjoyed climbing the rocks, swimming in the clear water and purposefully setting my alarm so as not to miss the most perfect sunrise -afterall, this is where Dali himself lived, worked and was inspired!

Am now in Barcelona, enjoying the history and beauty (La Sagrada Familia OMW-the most beautiful building in the world!)

I’ve slowly started to think of what lies ahead when we return home. I go from being mechanical to being sad and angry, asking myself how and why did this happen but more so, how did I not notice it? I ask myself, if I had not been so rushed in my life, would I have taken the time to check more regularly? Would I have discovered the lump at a much smaller size? Could I then have had a lumpectomy instead of being faced with a mastectomy?

I’m putting it down to nerves. Thinking rationally, I’ve discovered many women who been through a mastectomy, even double mastectomy by choice, as they were carrying the gene. My breast cancer is not gene related, it’s sporadic growth. You qualify for gene testing if you are under 40 and have an immediate relative who has had it – mother, not aunt in my case.

My consultant called me before my holiday as I had queried gene testing AND it had occurred to me, 11pm the night before, sat straight up in bed, ‘would I be better off having a double mastectomy than having a single? Would I be bothered knowing that one is different, even though, over time, I’m opting for the natural reconstruction, using tissue from other body parts?’.

She explained that removing a completely healthy breast can cause complications. Women who do this, would also be sent for a psychiatric assessment as it’s removing a perfectly normal body part. She explained that most woman who have tissue reconstruction, are generally very pleased with the results. *I’ve seen the pictures at the hospital of before and afters…AMAZING!

Thinking about it, I don’t know many women over 40 who are thrilled with their boobies and have not considered a lift of sorts….

My diagnosis came as a shock to many of my friends and family, especially as a few months before, I had embarked on a #fitby40 mission! (It’s my birthday on Sunday and I will be 39). Physical changes had already started becoming apparent through my bootcamp sessions using weights. I joined the gym a few minutes walk from me two weeks before I found the lump. I’m an early riser and was looking for an option to exercise first thing.

Here’s the thing, people who I’ve personally come across who have been diagnosed with either a type of cancer or breast cancer, are some of the fittest people I know! Yoga teachers, marathon runners and fitness fanatics…also, there has been an ex gymnast with a high public profile, who’s just recently gone through a double mastectomy after finding a pea sized lump after doing her normal post yoga stretching….

I’ve mentioned to a friend that it’s now an #aliveby40 mission….she wasn’t impressed, so I’ve given this more thought and there is no reason why I cannot continue my #fitby40 mission, I just need to adapt it! One of the things I am going to miss is the kettlebell…if anyone knows a trainer who has worked with a woman who has a mastectomy, please do let me know as I need to know what upper body exercises are appropriate!

Might be the Spanish sun or the Sangria but it’s inspired me to learn Spanish, perfect use of my chemo time I *think*? It’s a no brainer as I can use it in my work as well! (I run an au pair agency).

Adios y hasta la proxima!

Nic