Friday 16th October 2015

Ouch Ouch Ouch!

Just had my first Zoladex (goserelin) implant injection.  The needle was so FAT! Luckily, the lovely nurse Fiona was amazing and was superfast and efficient.  I even got numbing cold spray before!  I think this is one needle I would find hard to administer myself!  Didn’t hurt much at the time – she just pinched some tummy fat and wham – but now, a few hours later, really hurts.  So lucky I get free pain killers! When you get cancer you get lots of freebee drugs! It’s like christmas in a pharmacy! I knew my job in the pharmacy would be useful as I learnt so much – everything happens for a reason!

Got to have this implant every 28 days and the implant will slowly release into my bloodstream and send my body into early menopause by stopping my ovaries from producing oestrogen – it’s sometimes called a medical ovarian shutdown.  Sounds like something from the future doesn’t it?  I know it sounds awful, but this is a good thing – the side effects may be awful – hot/cold sweats and general menopause symptoms all at once but worth it.  It will make my medication to stop the cancer returning much more effective.  Women who are older and have been through menopause have more options of preventative cancer drugs.  I really feel for the young girls who haven’t had their children yet – at least I’ve had my babies so I don’t need my ovaries anymore!

zoladexZoladex needle!

So bit more info today as lots of people ask me what Herceptin is and what it’s doing? It only works if you have HER2 positive cancer, which they test you for at the beginning of diagnosis. Unfortunately being HER2+ means the type of protein present gives the cancer a super charge which makes it spread quicker. This is why I had to try chemotheraphy first before an op as we needed to see if the cancer would respond and shrink/slow. If I’d had the cancer cut out first we would have had no way of testing whether the drugs would work or not to control the cancer. Unfortunately for me I had to stop the chemo after just 2 sessions as it was too much for my body and probably would have killed me if I’d gone to number 3 but the good thing is the cancer did respond to just 2 FEC so at least we know it’s worth a try again if it does return.

I’ve taken this from the NHS website as it explains it well:

“HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) is a type of protein. HER2 is present in all human cells, but in certain types of cancer the levels are unusually high.
High levels of HER2 are found in some types of breast and stomach cancer. These are known as HER2 positive cancers. About one in five cases of breast cancer and stomach cancer are HER2 positive.
Herceptin can be used to help control the growth of cancerous cells that contain high amounts of HER2. It works by blocking the effects of the protein and encourages the immune system (the body’s natural defence system) to attack the abnormal cells.
Herceptin can’t cure metastatic breast and stomach cancers, but it can slow their growth and increase survival time.”

Herceptin is the injection I have every 3 weeks for a year.  I’ve just had number 6.  I find that I feel pretty bad for about 7-10 days afterwards and then I pick up a bit after that. Don’t think this is the usual pattern but it seems to be with me.  So now I’m on the ‘picking up a bit’ stage! Yay!

I get asked a lot how I know Claire from Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.  There is a story here……

At the beginning of my diagnosis my lovely friend, Hannah, cooked a meal for us.  We were very impressed with her cooking skills and she shared her secret of Claire’s book.  Then when I was in hospital (in a pretty bad state), Hannah came to visit and to take my mind off the pain and what was being done she told me all about Claire’s Facebook page.  So I requested to add her and to get a copy of her book and the rest is history.  We just clicked, I love her book – definitely recommend a purchase (only £10 plus postage) – just message her! Plus her website is amazing – full of fabulous recipes – check it out http://www.easypeasy-lemonsqueezy.co.uk.

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I use her book all the time.  I must admit that I adapt a lot of the recipes to suit my family but it is the best and easiest cook book ever.  With wipe clean covers too! even better! I have ruined so many cook books over the years. Please keep your books wipe clean Claire!

So, we had never met.  We were internet friends! That sounds really cool doesn’t it? Until last weekend when we finally arranged to meet for lunch.  Thank you Claire for treating us.  Hannah came too and I bought Freya along.  We had a wonderful catch up – it was as if we’d all known each other forever.  Some people just cross your path when you need them the most don’t they?

On top of a lovely lunch at the Essex, Claire also totally spoilt us by bringing gifts! Christmas come early!

Lots of goodies, but included the best homemade carrot cake and lemon drizzle cake ever! – check out Claire’s book for the recipe!

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Needless to say there is not much left already! Perfect gift.  I have never been given so many nice things as since I’ve been ill – so many kind and generous people.  I’ve quite enjoyed being spoilt.  I’d forgotten how nice it is to receive presents too! Although I think I still prefer giving presents more.

What a wonderful lady I can now call my friend. Thank you Hannah for connecting us.

A few of you have asked for an update of how young love is going.  Nathan is going to hate me for this but him and Paige are very cute together. She’s been over every Sunday for the day and she’s like part of the family already – they are really good for each other.

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As for how I’m feeling? I still ache a lot and am extremely exhausted all the time! Poor Phil, it’s like being married to someone double his age!  But I try to keep busy and I think if my mind is in a good place then it will help my body to keep up.  Work is good for my mind, not so great for the body but I am lucky to work with such caring people who are all my friends and they are looking after me. One positive is I actually managed to roll over in bed this week without excruciating pain to the new boob! It doesn’t seem to hurt so much! Still feels bruised, still numb, but I think it’s improving.

I hope this continues as I am desperate to decorate the new boob with a tattoo.  I think this will really help me to move on and not be constantly reminded of the cancer every time I see myself in the mirror. If I have some beautiful artwork on my body it will turn something ugly (sorry Dr Chakravorty, your work is perfect from a surgical point of view!) into something beautiful! I am working on a design but I’m thinking of 5 butterflies to represent my family and of new beginnings (second chances).  We’re going to go to the East Coast Tattoo Convention – this is a family design project – Let’s decorate mum! ha ha! Will keep you updated!

I may have to get some sponsorship to pay for it though! So any ideas anyone? I am willing to have photographs taken or be filmed. I did write in to Tattoo Fixers series 2 to apply but I think it’s a bit of a sensitive subject and I haven’t heard anything back.

 

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