Thursday 31st December 2015

Christmas 2015 has been perfect – quiet and wonderful time with family and friends – just how it should be.

Freya and I were poorly before – we spent nearly a week in bed watching Christmas Movies 24 – a lot! But we are better now.

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We managed to help Santa around the village. We do this every year – must admit I wasn’t very organised this year and couldn’t help much. We help our dear friend Bruce, who dresses up as santa, and his wife, Carol who collects gifts all year so Santa can give them out (with help from his little elves of course – Freya and friends!) – he goes to the learning disability care homes in the village – it is so wonderful to see their faces when santa comes! They are a wonderful, kind, generous couple – really represent the spirit of Christmas. Phil tows the sleigh that Bruce made himself – I had to sit in the car this year as too poorly to walk alongside but it was still lovely. Really lifts the village and gets everyone feeling christmassy. We aren’t allowed to collect money for charity as we’d need all sorts of permissions and documentation but we asked everyone who wanted to donate to give to the school fund for Lenny – I hope they helped raise some more money for his op.

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We went to see the new Star Wars on Christmas Eve……

Awesome! really enjoyed it and would love to see it again – love movies!

Nice and calm and low key, just us.

I would have liked to have gone to church too but the family didn’t really want to and to be honest I didn’t really feel up to going anyway.

Our Christmas day was perfect……

The kids don’t get up early anymore so we all had a lay-in, breakfast, presents and chill.  Then we went to our friends, Jane and Andy’s for christmas dinner.  It was the best gift as Jane is a brilliant cook and it was so restful for me! Thank you both so much x

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Freya loved her quilt! – She snuggles with it all the time and so does Clover! Project for the new year is to make the boys one each!

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Boxing day, all my family came up – bearing food of course like lots of wise men! Another perfect day.  Look at all the cousins together! It really meant so much to spend time with the people that mean so much to me this year – more so than other years.

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The rest of the time I’ve really tried to rest and relax.  Been swimming.  Done a bit of sewing.  Just chilled. Been a bit boring really but I know I have to rest to be able to carry on working and to cope with my ongoing treatment.

Had Herceptin number 10 on Wednesday! Double figures now! It’s a bit like pregnancy all this counting! Just don’t get the cute baby at the end.  May get a puppy though! Me and Freya are hoping for one of these…..

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A Pomsky – think Clover could get jealous though! So maybe not.

Had a really sore leg as usual – the Herceptin injections sting so much that it takes my breath away.

I probably did a bit too much – I should have come straight home and rested but we went to sainsbury’s, came home and did some bits and bobs, then as a celebration for the Number 10 we decided to go out and eat.  Kids chose to go to a Hungry Horse pub.  Wouldn’t usually be our choice but they wanted a burger and it’s cheap.  To be honest, I don’t actually know how I managed it.  I felt awful – really nauseous, extremely dizzy that I thought I was going to faint, headache, fuzzy eyes, shakes, ached all over – never feel this bad.  It scared me as I haven’t felt like this since my FEC chemo.  Anyway, managed to hold it together – think Phil may have enjoyed my lack of chatter for a  change – but he knew I wasn’t right.  I thought food may actually help but didn’t.  I called the hospital but they didn’t think it was anything to be concerned about so that was reassuring.  So I drank loads of water, some paracetamol and slept!

Hope this isn’t a sign of things to come for the next 8. Annoying as most people feel fine on Herceptin – looks like I’m a bit of an exception again!

Here are some pics of the family and burgers! I don’t think I look as bad as I felt!

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Still feel pretty bad today.  Got up early and went for a swim and it helped a bit.  So I’m de-christmassing the house and resting – very quiet new year but we don’t usually do much anyway.

I think the super hot flushes are actually heating my bones from the inside and helping to ease the body pain. But still have serious lack of sleep! Side effects, grrrrr!

The boob is still very sore but not getting any worse so that’s good – so long as I am careful and don’t do too much, so all is as good as can be, I think!  I really want to get back to doing some yoga or a fitness class but worried I may pull a muscle or pull the attachments – will probably just stick to the swimming for the moment still – just so frustrating! It’s so hard getting used to my new normal.

Didn’t actually get to see Dr Chakravorty before Christmas – we went but he had a 2 hour delay so we decided to reschedule.  He must have had a really bad day – or someone else did. We’ll catch up next Wednesday.

I’ve been reading a new blog by a lady who is a breast surgeon with breast cancer – liz.oriordon.co.uk – well worth a read – so good to read from her side, very interesting and an amazing woman and doctor!

And my lovely friend Clare has just written a new year post for EasyPeasy-LemonSqueezy.co.uk – looking forward to lots of new recipes in the new year! I don’t know what I’d do without her cookbook now – it’s the first one I look at all the time! Gave one each to my family too so she’ll have a few more fans now.

So I’ve actually made it to 2016! It’s a wonderful feeling – must be a bit like winning a marathon – in more ways than one as its been an exhausting year too!  Clare, I think I’d give it a 5/10 score – five alive!!! yay! would give it less due to the cancer but so much good has happened so it deserves a 5!

This time of year I tend to look back on the year but also look forward to the year ahead.

It is difficult as everyone keeps saying next year will be better, but I already know that it’s doing to be a difficult year as my treatment continues.  I just have to hope my drugs continue to work and not cause drastic side effects and any operations go smoothly and get through the year the best way I can one day at a time.

I am sure positive thinking helps – I am lucky that this comes naturally to me most of the time – I can’t begin to imagine how people cope if they suffer depression or a mental illness already.

When you’re first diagnosed with cancer – no matter what type – you actually think “omg I’m going to die!” But then you realise with a bit of research that amazing stuff is happening in the world of medicine and there are some special people out there to help you get through this – if you are lucky and have the ‘right’ cancer!

It’s still scary and I still have a lot of treatment ahead but I feel more positive each day.  It’s all about keeping the cancer under control now and the treatment I’m on should stop the cancer spreading again – I really hope so.

Many people say “keep fighting” – I know what they mean but I think it really depends on the type of cancer and how much it has spread.  Unfortunately we have known many people to ‘fight’ but some battles just can’t be won and this Christmas we have especially been thinking of Helen and Alex – without Rob (husband and dad) for another Christmas, Jeanette and boys too, and my cousins – Gemma and Kirsty and families, and my uncle Peter spending their first Christmas without my lovely auntie June, and of course Ricky and kids without their gorgeous Emma. Unfortunately the list goes on.

There is a question that really niggles me though:“why are so many people getting cancer?” I just don’t get it.  It puzzles me as there are so many younger women (and men) getting diagnosed. I met a young guy in a waiting room that had a lump that had been there a year! I hope it wasn’t anything serious. I know that medical treatment helps with early diagnosis but it really feels a bit like the plague! So many of us!  I think often whether there is a reason or correlation but the only thing that seems to match is that most of the people I’ve met are hard working and multi tasking, have usually gone through some tough times emotionally and stressful – we all seem to be worriers and organisers too.  Maybe it’s the reflexologist in me but I think it has to come out somehow – and I am sure it must be something environmental too. A combination of things maybe? But most of us seem to not drink/smoke, we eat generally healthy, not over weight, have breast fed our children etc – just doesn’t make sense.

I often get asked what I think – I don’t know, but I wish I did and I hope someone figures it out soon!

When I asked my oncologist how long she thought the cancer had been growing in me she said about 1 to 1 1/2 years! It had started as one type and then mutated into another and then spread fast.  Something had triggered it to grow and mutate. But what?

I thought back to what had happened in this time – I had been juggling a few jobs to fit around the children which was difficult, then some of you may remember I bumped my head really badly in nov/dec 2013, I then changed jobs March 2014 to the pharmacy which was stressful – still juggling but even more hours! Then I broke my foot really badly but continued to work! Stupid I know. I think at this point the universe was really trying to tell me to slow down – so I listened – I finally changed jobs again in September 2014 to working at the college which I love and was brilliant as took the pressure off and fitted around family life better.  So I was the happiest I’d been in ages – plus I was actually starting to get some ‘me’ time – going to the gym, sewing, actually spending time with my husband!  And then in January the miracle cyst appeared and you all know the rest. I still feel someone or something was looking out for me!

So maybe it was stress? Something made my cells mutate. I definitely think it’s something to do with our make up – maybe in the genes.  Although I haven’t tested positive to the BRCA genes, they said it could still well be a gene related cancer that they don’t recognise yet. I really shouldn’t think so much but it’s annoying not to know!

One of the most important things about writing this blog is that it’s helped others be aware of breast cancer. Knowing that I am helping others, has helped me cope so much better – it really helps! Remember, I had no normal symptoms you see advertised and I was already checking for extra lumps and bumps because of my mum having breast cancer.  Just the huge cyst that came up so quickly last January.  So please everyone keep checking – men too! My consultant told me that if a lump doesn’t go down after 4 weeks (our monthly hormone cycle) then get it checked out! On the nhs you just go to your doctors and they refer you within 2 weeks.  If there is anything suspicious they will investigate straight away – the waiting for results is the worst!

We have just got great results that my sister in law has the all clear from the  lump she found.  But now my sister has found a lump – she has her appointment for a mammogram next Thursday.  I know my mum would understand this – I would go through this year all over again to stop my sister having to go through breast cancer. I am praying it’s just a simple cyst or blocked milk duct or whatever but please not cancer! Will keep you all updated – fingers crossed. p.s. Shell – hope you don’t mind the world knowing!

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So I’m trying not to plan ahead but I have filled out my 2016 calendar with some important dates.  Hope to meet up with the wonderful March Marvels – a group of amazing brave ladies all going through breast cancer and treatment that I’ve met – that’s if I can get to Coventry!  I’ve also provisionally booked for the family to get away in our caravan to Norfolk broads in April and to Cornwall in August.  It’s easy as we can change or cancel if needed.  Wish we could get away somewhere abroad again for some warm weather but just can’t plan with my treatment/ops, phil’s work, school, my work, Nathan’s GCSEs, etc etc.  So will be saving up for 2017 as Phil will be 50 and we hope to get back to Florida! Let’s hope eh but as we know plans can get changed so one day at a time for now.

As for new year resolutions? Not making any as I know that things change that stop you doing all the stuff you plan.  So I still hope to do new things and go new places but I’m not promising myself – just going to go with it!

So I wish you all a happy and healthy new year 2016 and thank you so much for all your support and love to me and my family – this year would have been even tougher without you all – love to you all xxx

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2 thoughts on “Thursday 31st December 2015

  1. Dear Tracey

    I just wanted to comment on your “stress theory ” . I was diagnosed in march 2014. I had masectomy , 6 rounds chemo and 15 rad sessions. I agree colchester hosp are amazing.

    Prior to my diagnosis things were selling down after what had been a stressful 18 minths. House move, my father–in law dieing and juggling loads of stuff. I really believe that this is what triggered mine. I’m 41 with no family history of cancer let alone breast cancer.

    So part of my healing is to cut out the stress – easier said than done but along with the tamoxifen in hoping the cancer will stay away.

    I wish you lots of fun times in 2016 as fir both of us last year was a bit if a write off (as much as we tried to keep things ‘normal’ )

    Hope rest of your injections go ok

    Regards
    Tracey horsburgh

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting. Yes, easier said than done to cut down on stress and busy lifestyles. I swim a lot and sew and make much more me time. Although still feel a bit guilty!suppose it’s hard to change! Really wish you a better year too – lots of heal and happiness xxxx

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