Thursday 6th August 2015

It’s just so busy being sick! But finally today is a normal day – no hospital appointments or needles!!!! Yay!

We were in the paper! Thank you everyone again so much x

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The last 3 weeks have actually gone pretty quick with the radiotherapy. My skin has held up well so far which is great. The radiologists said for 3 weeks in my skin was quite amazing! I’ve been using my aloe vera straight from my plants so I’m sure this has helped but I’m trying not to get too excited because the after effects continue for another 14 days – like a delayed reaction so I think it could still get worse before it gets better. So still no swimming for me as the chemicals in the pool could aggravate my skin more! I have posted some photos of the area I’ve been zapped under the Medical Pictures – there are some good angles of radiation tanning.

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This week has been quite busy with other appointments too. I had to have my bloods taken on Monday which was fine except my veins aren’t so good now and my nurse had to give the needle a wiggle around, but I’m used to it now so didn’t hurt much. I am sure I could actually take my own blood if needed now! I have to have my bloods taken just before each Herceptin. Although the Herceptin doesn’t hit my white cells and immune system as much as the FEC chemo, it still hits it so they have to check. But all good there. I think the spinach every day is helping!

I had Physio again too – my arm movement is improving really well – Amy is really pleased. This means I can go to every 3 weeks for physio now too. My arm still aches a lot and is numb but the cording is getting better – I find driving for any considerable distance quite agony now – I hope this improves. The whole of my right arm, shoulder and chest area still feels weird – I think this is all due to the nerves repairing from the operation. I am sure time will help with it – or I’ll just get used to it. It’s just an arm I suppose!! I’m still here and that’s what counts and I still feel so lucky to be alive.

On Tuesday I had to have a heart muga scan too. One of the main side effects of having Herceptin is damage to the heart. Luckily it is something that can mostly repair as soon as the herceptin is stopped but because of this I have to be scanned every 3 months. The scan checks the muscle of the left ventricle of my heart – which is the side that does the pumping! It needs to be above 50% for me to have the Herceptin – mine was 65% (which is about average) – let’s hope this continues! It entails having another canula fitted so they can inject the nuclear radioactive stuff – this helps to make the scan clearer. I lay on a bed for about 20 minutes and they scan my heart working. It’s a bit uncomfortable as I have to lay with my arms under my back. It’s really cold too but they put a blanket on me – plus it’s one scan I don’t have to take my clothes off for! Believe me, I’m getting used to stripping off my top half! They just put sticky tabs around my body and attach wires. The machine comes really close but doesn’t quite touch me – it’s snug! This time it went really quick as the radiologists were really chatty! Radiologists seem to be very happy people and happy in their jobs – it’s all very interesting too. So when that was done I had to go back to Radiotherapy unit to have my skin checked by a nurse and give me the final ok and goodbye information – got given some hydrocortisone cream and some healing gel and plasters incase my skin splits and all done. All good!

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Then Wednesday was my final radiotherapy session! Bit sad to say goodbye to everyone. But very happy too as this is another lot of treatment done and out the way! Along with stray cancer cells zapped away from my chest and neck! Oh I hope it’s worked.

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And by 9am I was done and off we went to get my 3rd dose of Herceptin. Today Phil couldn’t stay with me as it’s the holidays and we couldn’t leave the children for so long. But my friend Jane came to keep me company – which was great as we had lots of catching up to do. So as usual I had to have my antihistamine and paracetamol – this time I took orally. Then waited half an hour. And instead of iv I was able to have Herceptin as an injection today! Excellent! This is just done slowly into the skin of my thigh with a tiny needle. The drug is a big stingy – bit like a wasp sting, but fine. Felt better than into my vein! Takes about 5 minutes. Then I just have to wait and be monitored for 2 hours afterwards. So much easier.

3 down, 15 to go!

I feel quite achy all over after herceptin, but it’s bearable – I just paracetamol up.  I still have to be really careful in the sun too – generally keep out of it and cover up!  Otherwise, I am nearly normal! It feels so good. So herceptin every 3 weeks for a year, meetings in September to discuss further ops, checkups etc, and wait for gene test results. Doesn’t sound too bad now does it?

So today we celebrated my first day of freedom by going rowing on the river at Flatford.  Great fun with the family and Clover.  My next task is to book a holiday to give us something to look forward to – and a much needed family rest and recovery!

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A lot of people ask how the kids are coping with everything.  It’s been the hardest year of their lives and they’ve had to deal with some really tough stuff.  I think the most difficult for them was when I was extremely sick in hospital – when I really couldn’t move or do anything – scary. Nathan has also had some GCSEs to contend with which has been hard as I wasn’t able to offer him any help.  But I have been honest with them straight from the start of all this and answered every question they’ve had as honestly and to the best I can.  It has bought us closer as a family and I am so grateful every day to have their support.  We also live life in the moment day by day and so thankful for the time we have together because no one knows how long they have in this beautiful world.  Cancer just reminds you of that so I feel lucky every day.  I think they do too.

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6 thoughts on “Thursday 6th August 2015

  1. You are a very brave inspirational lady. I hope the rest of your treatment goes well .wishing you lots of love and luck for the future xx

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  2. Really touching and honest update on your past few weeks Trace. So very proud of you. You have reached another huge leap dealing with killing this cancer and I feel your positivity. Things are going in the right direction. There’s a plan and it’s working! I’m so relieved that radiotherapy has gone well and so is the herceptin. Onwards and upwards xx
    I had to laugh at the photo of you…..looked like you were crammed into a huge photocopier and you were hiding ….ha ha peekaboo!
    Glad you are having some well earned and needed family time. The sun is shining and you have some schools holidays to enjoy your kids and Phil. Now time to booked that holiday! How exciting as you never thought this would happen this year. Well done sis.
    Big hugs….see you Saturday. Have missed you xxx

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  3. Hi Tracey, I’ve been following your story from New Zealand, I think i’m a friend of a friend 🙂 Originally from Manningtree but have lived here for 22 years. Your story is frightening and uplifting at the same time. You have a gift with words and are very brave to share your journey. I hope that your health continues to improve as it seems to be doing at the moment. Lucy.

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    1. Dear Lucy, thank you so much for your lovely message and your good wishes. My niece, adeline lives in Nz with her family and my sister in law and hubbie have just moved too. Adeline set the blog up for me! I really hope we can all visit one day. Thank you for following my blog, it means so much to me that it is helping others.

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