Saturday 19th September 2015

What a week of back to reality!

Firstly I have returned to work at college. They have been amazing to me and I have some lovely classes and students. I am so lucky to have such lovely, caring colleagues – it’s the friendliest job I’ve ever had. I’m helping in Fashion and Textiles on a Monday, Art, Design and Photography on a Tuesday and Thursday and GCSE Maths on a Friday morning (not sure if my brain will cope with this though – may need my boys help!) I love being back but I am absolutely exhausted! I have gone back to help show my children we can get back to some sort of normal, for myself and to take my mind off of being ‘sick’! but most of all because we need the money! unfortunately no one pays you for being off sick if you work part time! We have fallen into a financial loophole where Phil earns that bit too much and I haven’t earnt enough to pay NI which has given us extra worry.  It’s hard.

One brilliant thing to happen was that one of the students from last year that had seen me around college, but I wasn’t in her class, thought that I’d had my hair cut! This made me so happy as this was the first time that I actually didn’t LOOK like a cancer victim! Also the students have some really nice short hair cuts so I think they’re going to be useful for inspiration when the time comes for me to be able to have a hair style again! If I left it completely up to them I could end up with some interesting colouring too! and some more piercings!

I have to have my bloods taken before each treatment to check I am well enough to have the Herceptin – this is becoming a tricky business – they have to wiggle the needle around a lot now to get a vein. Not so good. Lucky I am good with needles and so long as I watch what they’re doing I’m ok.

So on Wednesday I went for my 5th Herceptin – just 13 more to go if all goes well and it doesn’t get delayed – I will continue to have regular muga scans to monitor this – unfortunately it’s out of my hands so I just need to try and keep as fit and healthy as I can. So I just have an injection now and then observation afterwards for a bit. It hurts but it’s fine – I will persevere! As for the tamoxifen, I think this is actually causing a lot of the body aches too which just magnifies the Herceptin side effects. I know it’s just something I’m going to have to grin and bear to keep the cancer away.

A most unfortunate side effect I seem to be left with is that I’m always cold. I actually had to get my fur boots out, gloves and my goose feather coat this week! I am a little worried as to how on earth I’m going to survive the winter as when I’m cold I hurt so much more. Not good.

Lewis was 13 on Wednesday too! We have another teenager in the house! Unfortunately I didn’t feel well enough to go out and celebrate but I did manage to bake him a chocolate cake. Nathan has been off school unwell and he helped me. I think he had a good day. My mum and sis popped over for tea and cake which was lovely. Family are so important.

Friday we met with my consultant – Dr Chakravorty. My mind was elsewhere unfortunately and I was a bit fed up to say the least. Still lovely to see him though. All this treatment and what I’m going through is so much to deal with – it’s really tiring, draining, stressful and painful. It’s really difficult for anyone to go through this and puts such strain on family life. But I think people forget that we still have to deal with normal everyday family stuff too. I should have been concentrating on my appointment and meeting my consultant, but instead I had my mind on something else that really shouldn’t have happened. Sometimes people try to help but actually they don’t realise the damage they have done instead and it’s just an added stress for me at a time that I really could do without it. How much can we have thrown at us as a family? Really? I have to go back to my motos that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and ‘it could always be worse’. It’s the only thing that keeps me going. Luckily I have a strong mind to cope but it’s so difficult to be strong enough for everyone. Sometimes I actually think it would be nice to live somewhere remote in cornwall and not have to deal with other people!

Anyway, back to my appointment – Dr Chakravorty was very pleased indeed with my healing. He said my skin was amazing after the radiotherapy, one of the best he’s ever seen – down to the aloe vera I think! I also think that the salt water from swimming in the sea on holiday has helped to heal, and I’ve been moisturising with oil recently (coconut for general body and rosehip for the scars – both cold pressed to keep the goodness in). On top of that I have made sure I’m eating lots of fruit and veg to help the skin – carrots/sweet potatoes for betacarotene, spinach/kale/spirulina, also high in vitamin C fruits like blackcurrants, blueberries, strawberries – they all help to strengthen the skin. I am sure that eating well has helped.

So just a general appointment to discuss how I’m doing. We are still waiting for my gene results which was a clinical trial so takes 6 months – these will determine the outcome of the other boob. We’ll meet again in a few months when I have the results through.

But there is no rush as nothing can be done while I’m still having Herceptin – otherwise I’d have to stop and start which we want to try not to have to do. So we’re looking at this time next year for an op. In a way it’s good as I’ll be fit and well and my body will be in a better place to cope with an operation. But on the other hand it just prolongs everything. At the moment I’m longing for everything to get back to normal. But I suppose it never will. It’ll be a different normal. This has affected us all so much forever.

So not such a great week but we need to stay strong and carry on! Oh I wish we had another holiday to look forward to as we will definitely need one next year after all this. I could sure do with a big win on the lottery – it would really help!

So remember people – no matter how bad it seems – there is always someone going through worse – we can do this!

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