Sunday 24th July 2016

So much has gone on this last month or so. Life is so busy – I can understand how people don’t have time to work!

My moto this month has been “Even when it’s bad it’s good!”

My reason for this is because we’ve had lots of little stuff go wrong – one thing after another – just life stuff that is worse when it all happens together but nothing serious – nothing much seems serious once you’ve had cancer.  Nearly everything can be sorted! I have a magic wand you know!

I’ve been addicted to watching ‘Undercover Boss UK and USA’.  I love it.  Boss gets into disguise and works with his workers to find out what really happens – it’s great!  The american one is the best as they usually give out cars and holidays etc to show how much their staff are appreciated.  But what stood out to me is that even when they find a ‘bad’ worker they don’t sack them or tell them off – instead they invest in better training and guide them on how to be better.  Got to watch it! Better than Movies 24 with the happy endings!

But back to the Britten’s run of life stuff:

Firstly we had poor Lewis off school with his hand op.  Really bad and painful – he was so brave.  But good news is we got to spend lots of time together, he’s all better, didn’t miss anything too important at school – so all ok.  Plus he has a great scar to show his friends now!

Then I got hit up the rear in my little car – bad is that I jarred all my neck/back/shoulder which has set back my healing in general and the car was written off! Good news is it wasn’t my fault as I was stationery and I am getting physio for the next few months until I get better. The boys didn’t like the Nissan Micra ‘bubble’ car anyway – and we bought an old red fiesta that they prefer for learning to drive in.  I don’t really care what I drive so long as it goes!

Freya’s Archie bunny keeled over one day and died – bad news is that he’s dead – positive is it was quick, Freya took it well (she’s a tough cookie!) and he’s off to be stuffed and made into a piece of art! He was far too beautiful to be buried in the ground and Freya liked the idea he was being recycled.

Then the water filter leaked and flooded the kitchen – just annoying – but good news is with the hot weather it’s all dried out, it made me clean and sort out under the sink, and it can be mended.

The caravan had a service and has damp because of such a wet winter – more hassle to sort out – good news is repairs are covered under warranty and it won’t stop us going on holiday.

Also I had booked our holiday to Cornwall different weeks to what Phil had booked off work! Don’t ask my how we managed this – my fault as I’m crazy and Phil had totally blocked his ears to my excitement of going the second week in August and not the first!  I was really upset, but after the initial panic, I calmed down and got it sorted. Good news is we are going a week earlier than I thought now and there was a cancellation.  So off to Cornwall we go next week – so excited! I’ve booked coasteering for the family already – the guy said I should be fine to do! Yay! We can eat Cornish pasties and Cornish ice cream! mmmm!

I had a bit of a ‘mole’ scare – as in an independent doctor (from car insurance) told me to get them checked out immediately.  Another thing I need to be aware of but luckily got to see Dr Cochrane straight away and he looked at every single mole (I have a few) under his magnifying glass and said they were all fine.  Phew!

Anyway, then Clover got a grass seed in her ear – poor Clover – bad news is it cost more money – another £100! – good news is nothing serious and she is fine and hey, it’s only money!

I’m sure you get the general idea.  But that’s what life is like for everyone.  It just makes it a bit tougher on top of battling cancer and ongoing hospital stuff.

So to the hospital ‘stuff’!

I finally got my shoulder scan and luckily it wasn’t anything serious – just tissue damage that can apparently randomly happen.  Unfortunately it looks like it could be a recurring problem but it’s not cancer so that’s do-able! I’ve been advised to keep it moving – so swimming, yoga and walking perfect! Car accident has set this back a bit but I have lots of meds so I can do this – just a blip!

So people have asked how I’m managing to keep exercising.  Think of it like a hugely overweight person who’s been told they need to eat healthier and exercise or they’re going to die of a massive heart attack! You have two choices don’t you – do nothing and die or give your body the best chance to fight and keep going.  I’m doing the same and making myself give my body the best chance possible of keeping cancer away.  Needs must! It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. I’m getting really good at blocking the pain out now!

I’ve seen my oncologist, Dr Vivien Loo, and she’s signed me off onto 6 monthly reviews! Great! I have to have a bone density scan at some point soon but that’s it for tests at the moment.  Such a relief.

I went for psychological counselling at Broomfield hospital for my risk reducing mastectomy.  This was basically to check that this is what I want and to make sure I’ve thought about such major surgery.  I’ve had a year to ‘think’ about it and I know exactly what is involved.  I told the lady that for me to actually request to have surgery that I already know will leave me in a lot of pain and uncomfort may help her understand that I have not decided this lightly! It was a bit annoying having to go over everything yet again with someone new but I’m getting used to this now. It’s still got to be discussed in-depth at their board meetings but there isn’t a rush for this surgery so I have time as my ovaries are priority.  The unfortunate thing is that it hasn’t been agreed yet – which I had been given the impression it was up to me – I just hope they don’t give me a battle as my energy is draining for battles! Will keep you all updated as I’m trying not to think or worry about it too much.

I’ve also got a date for my surgery to remove my ovaries and tubes! Yay! Monday 26th September! There are some horrible risks involved – like permanent menopausal symptoms – my body thermostat feels broken already.  And then there’s the bladder problems -weeing myself forever!  But it will be worth the risk to help stop the cancer from returning in the future – breast and ovarian cancer are closely related as they are similar tissue.  Also not to have to endure the huge Zoladex injections every month for years!

I am getting there slowly – I’m starting to feel much more positive about the future.

So I’ve been on rest and recovery and I am starting to feel the difference since finishing Herceptin.  You don’t realise until you stop something how much it’s been affecting you.  I don’t feel like I’m ‘coming down’ with a cold all the time, the body aches have eased.  My nose isn’t as sore or dripping either.  And I don’t feel as tired.  This may be because I’m not working too but it’s still good.

Unfortunately my bones and joints seem to be getting worse but again, mind over matter.  So long as I don’t sit down for long and I keep moving it’s not too bad.  So again exercise helps.

My hair is growing like mental! Look at this picture of me and my mum in the 80/90s – we have the same hair but mine doesn’t need a perm – apparently ‘big hair’ is making a comeback! I’m not so sure, but I’m persevering with the ‘broccoli head look’ and embracing the scarfs and headbands when needed.

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This month has been a wonderful reminder of how important friend2016-07-01 16.35.09s and family are.  We have been so busy……

Nathan, my eldest son, had his Year 11 Prom.  OMG he was so handsome, I was the proudest mum ever!

 

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Even better that Phil took them in the Triumph Stag!2016-07-01 19.18.14

 

 

They had a great night.  Freya and I loved watching everyone arrive – lots of gorgeous boys and girls! We especially loved the girls dresses!

Freya’s been busy too – she went on her Year 6 school trip to Mersea for a few days……bye Freya and Lily…..

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….they all had a great time!

She’s had her school play, where she actually had quite a few lines which she did perfectly – another proud mum moment.  My kids are growing up so fast but the best thing is I’m still here and seeing it and appreciating every single moment of it!

Freya’s had a few Year 6 discos – so grown up already….so beautiful!

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We’ve had lots of picnics – with my family, but also with Freya’s friends to celebrate leaving primary school.

13691040_10206973605073877_2307687243944342896_oIt’s great because so many of them are going on to Honywood together that it’s not really goodbye.  Plus living in a village they’ll still all see each other. Great day with their Leaver’s assembly too. Well done Year 6’s!

Lucky for Lewis he’s had a quiet time to properly recover from his hand.

We’ve had our last ‘Come Dine’ of the year – and guess what? It was French night! Amazing night again with our friends – lots of laughing and I actually managed to stay later (with an afternoon rest!) and had a little to drink! Great food and great company!

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But best of all has been this weekend.  All started with a little text from my friend, Ulrike.  Asking me if I would like to go for a quick fly in her husband, Steve’s, little plane! I was so excited! I was beyond excited.

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2016-07-22 17.47.34 2016-07-22 17.23.18I was grinning so much! I looked like Wallace (from Wallace and Gromit!) – So glad Steve couldn’t see me! I had to use all my self control not to squeal with excitement for the whole flight.  It was totally amazing – we were up for over an hour and flew right out to the coast (Walton) – the sea is not always brown – I could even see our old beach hut.  I took loads of pics and movies and even managed to get a picture of my 2016-07-22 17.02.44mum’s new house build from the sky – really looking forward to having her nearby.

I felt like a bird! Everything was so beautiful and looks so different from the sky.  Makes you appreciate what a lovely part of the country we live in even more. Can’t thank you enough Steve and Ulrike – one of my best days ever!

And as if m13769628_10154324007613665_8584807674323692665_ny weekend couldn’t get any better.  On Saturday it was my mum’s 71st birthday. We had planned (so I thought!) a girly lunch with my mum, sis, Amora, Freya and I.  So off me and Freya went to meet them.

2016-07-23 12.03.10Phil and the boys had left to hunt Pokemon (which I must say I am loving at the moment too!) but I thought it was a bit strange that Phil so eagerly took the boys off in the car – but me being me didn’t think much more of it.

So we arrived at the Compasses pub and suddenly out came all my 13715963_10154324007443665_2285995544032324848_nclose family! What a wonderful surprise! This was a very emotional moment! They had been planning this for ages, in secret! I don’t usually like secret surprises on me but this was wonderful and I had no idea at all – not an inkling!  So we had double celebrations – for my end of this stage of my treatment and for my mum’s 71st birthday.2016-07-23 12.17.41

Really special and memorable
day…… Thank you Phil and Michelle and everyone else for being the ‘A Team’ and making a plan come together! I loved it! And I loved my beautiful gifts too – thank you thank you thank you x love my family so much
13731528_10154324009498665_7148003161271172370_nAnd to top if off I made my sister, Michelle, open her birthday present early – I’ve been making a quilt and cushion for Amora’s new bedroom. She loved it!

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So, even when a month starts off bad, and when you feel there’s been a lot of ‘bad’ stuff you’ve had to deal with. Keep it all in perspective and remember there is always something wonderful about to happen to help you along the way!

One week to Cornwall! I am in constant excitedness at the moment! I need to swim to keep calm! ha ha.  We have a bit of a busy week with organising stuff with the caravan to get it sorted.  But no hospital appointments which makes a lovely change. I so need this holiday to get some rest!

Have a wonderful summer everyone, keep positive and keep smiling no matter what! You can find the good even when it’s bad!

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