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Friday, 27 January 2012

Friday 27th Jan 2012

I had a good day at the Hospice Day Centre yesterday.
I had a go at painting! (pictures, no the walls!)
I did two.
One on paper and one on a canvas.
They are both....erm, child like and naive.....Lol!
Both of them are explosions of beautiful colour, the subjects, how ever, are erm, how can I best put this, well, the word 'pathetic' comes to mind! Lol!
I did really enjoy splashing the paints about though!
If I remember, I will take a pic next week for you to see!

My hair started to come out again a couple of days ago, and as it is 'shaved' any way, my head looks remarkably like a map of the world.....a Globe, in fact!
I was going to shave it again, but if I do that, I will have to shave the little patches that I have left short enough to 'velcro' my head to the pillow at night, not nice.......I did that last time!

I am off for my murder mystery tomorrow....I am really excited!
Today, I will make the 'head gear' to make it look 'glitzy' and of the 1920's.
(My interpretation of it anyway!)

I will take pics and post.
So, until Sunday evening/Monday morning, I bid you all a great week end and hope that you will be 'whooping it up', as I intend to!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

24th January 2012

Well, I did go out for a while on 21st.
I went 'Boundary Mills'.
I managed to look around half of the store, (it is massive), and then I was tired, so I came home.
Another p.j day on Sunday!

I took Mum to have her bloods done, then I had to go to the Hospice for the after noon. 1:1 chat with the lovely Barbara and some therapy!

Last chemo, (5th Jan).
As I explained, I had nausea and fatigue, along with some flu/cold like symptoms.
Now that we are nearing the next session, (originally 26th, now 31st), my hair is falling out in huge clumps, and some areas of my body are tender when touched, even by the bed coverings. Mainly shoulders and back.
I have 'raging headaches and 'visual disruption'.
The visual disruption may be caused by the lump on my brain or by the medication that I have to take, (side effect), or as a side effect of this body seems to know!

I really don't care about my hair falling out, I love my head gear and hats...........
The rest of it has been, is, and probably will continue to be debilitating at times.

Today, I have to take my Mum to the Cardio Unit at the Hospital, and get some groceries.
Claire, my friend is coming to see me after work, so something to look forward to.

Oh, something that I forgot to mention...the chemo has pretty much 'knackered' my already poor memory! I have to write everything down!
I put my phones on silent some time last week, and on top of that, I can't remember where they are!
I apologise for not getting back to any one who has phoned or texted me over the past few days, I am hoping to re-discover them today, as there is only one place left to fingers crossed!

Generally speaking, I feel very well, as if I can take on the World............(Until I try it of course, and then I turn in to a Sloth needing sleep!)
A bloody 'cute' one though!

I am at the Hospice again all day on Thursday, packing on Friday, and the 'Murder Mystery' on Saturday and Sunday!

Take care, blessings and hugs  x x x x x

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Saturday, 21st January

You may have read the earlier post about the unpleasant experience that I had with the Oncologist.....well, I just wanted to share that sadly, this is not an unusual occurrence for people with cancer, my friend Carole, 
had a similar experience. So sad, and her condition is more painful than mine.

Now that I have that off of my chest.......phew!
Another friend has had some great news!

Well I had a busy few days, very enjoyable, and I wouldn't change it in anyway, but yesterday I had to have a 'jama day, to rest and re-coup! Lol!

I still had visitors though, so all is well.
(Still need to spend a great deal of time in the garden to cool off, I feel so hot and sweaty most of the time).

I felt quite unwell really, but a bit better today!

Today, I think that I will try and get up, dressed and go out for a while.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

19th January....Oncologist Yesterday

For the first time since I was diagnosed with cancer....I felt like an 'inconvenience' yesterday.

The Doctor didn't look at me...he had his nose pressed up against the computer screen.
I was asked to get on the couch, and he did examine me......but there were people walking in and out like a bloody station!

He didn't appear to be listening to anything that I had said.
He was running about 1 and a half hours late, so I am sure that he wanted to make up time, but I feel that it is a lame excuse.

Anyway....................How this happened, I have no idea....but i have agreed to another session of Chemo, and it will be after the 'Murder Mystery' week end, so as not to spoil it. Then there will be a scan, followed by a discussion and a decision the the next step.

Yesterday was the worst that I have felt all the way through this. I hope that it was on 'off' day for the Doctor......we will see!

Today, I went to the Compton Hospice Day Centre, it was good, I met so many lovely people, Staff, volunteers, Social workers, patients...............all were great!

Keith and Roxanne have been over the past 3 days, so it has been busy but very enjoyable.

Over the Christmas period, I was going on and on about this fabulous film that I really enjoyed a few years ago...........................
Anyway, Roxanne bought it for me!
It is called 'All of Me', starring Steve Martin.
I remember laughing my socks off all of the way through it last time that I saw it.

We decided that we would have a family 'film' evening together, sadly Keith couldn't make it.

There was Richard, Roxanne, Derek, Mum and me.
Richard cooked, we ate.
Derek bought popcorn and malteasers.
Roxanne 'popped' the corn.
Film on.......
Well, I was still laughing, and the rest of them were looking a bit bemused and glancing at one another as if i had lost the plot or something!!!!!!!!
OK, it wasn't quiet as funny as I remember it it, but it WAS still funny, no matter what the rest on them thought!!!!!! Lol!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

14th January 2012

I went to the Hospice yesterday fro a 'therapy'.
It was great, chatting 1:1..........'getting everything off of my chest, and a wonderful foot massage.

I told you that I was referred to the McMillan Day Centre too.
Well, they spoke to me about that yesterday as well.

So, I will be attending the Hospice twice a week for at least 6 weeks.
One visit for for the 1:1 therapy.
The pother day is to attend the Day Centre.
There will be a 'multi-disciplinary ' team there, so I will be assessed, and then any assistance that I, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Social work input, pain relief.........................
This is fantastic, the opportunities for help are amazing!

You know.........................sitting here, writing this confirms my belief that everything happens for a reason.......................OK, so far, I have no idea what the reason is, but, I do know that cancer connects you to so many amazing, caring and wonderful people...........................................................

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Friday, 13th January 2012

Good morning!

Well, yesterday, Jean, a friend of mine took me to see a friend that I hadn't seen in about 5 years. we had a pleasant afternoon in Starbucks drinking coffee, chatting and I had an apple and cinnamon muffin......yummy.

I lounged around in my pj's until, 12.00noon, showered and Jean came at 1.30.
Got back home at 6.00pm, and I was shattered!

I noticed that yesterday I had to rest after every activity.....daily tasks are getting very difficult....................
Make up, jewellery, rest.
If I wasn't actually experiencing it, I wouldn't believe it!

I tire easily and am sleeping more.

Never mind........pain is controlled, and I am going to see a therapist at the hospice today.

The good news is...........................
When awake and just pottering around, I am still pretty 'sharp', and up for a bit of fun!
No unbearable pain because   it is pretty well controlled.

Still getting feelings of nausea, tinnitus, phlebitis in left arm (chemo arm), bearable pain to the left of my whole torso, but that well be sorted next visit to McMillan nurse.

So all in all, I am a happy egg!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

12th January 2012

Had a pyjama day for most of it yesterday.....then sorted myself out about 2pm.
Oh, what decadence!!!
Claire, my friend, came about 5.00pm is, we chatted and then went to the Wing Wah!!!!
Had a great evening, just giggling about nothing really.
By 8.00pm, I was tiring and feeling ready for bed.
Claire could see this, (bless), and packed me off home.

I have been referred to a McMillan therapist, I have to go on Friday.
I have been referred to McMillan Day Centre, I should get an appointment for that soon.

I have an appointment with the Oncologist on, I am resting as much as I can to ensure I have the energy.....but I WONT give up fun stuff!!!!

I am seeing another friend today, Jean...and she is driving me to yet another friend. Jean will bring me back as soon as I get tired.
There may be a bit of competition there though, because, sadly, Jean has 'Huntingdon's'.
Such a lovely lady, she does not deserve this! Well, the pair of us will be off for an hour or two this afternoon. Jean will be driving. She has one of those 'Smart' cars.....never been in one  before....................

Jean's is black, but this is more 'up my street, maybe I would have it a little more 'Scooby's Van'! LOL!

A bit more Pazaz needed, I think......... more colour, more flowers..........

11th January - 7th day of CAV chemo and Spa!

Hi all!
Well, I went to Hoar Cross Hall yesterday for a Spa Day.
This was bought for me by my friends and colleagues at work. Thank you all again, it was beautiful!

I had a very relaxing day, my intention was to use the 'wet' area all morning....pool, sauna, jacuzzi, therapy pool..............
Sadly, I was unable to do this because one of the symptoms of the big C reared its ugly head.
This symptom makes me feel very hot, sweaty and dizzy....(despite not actually raising my body temp!?) This is  a symptom I am getting more and more frequently now.
This stopped me using the pools, because of fear of fainting and the pools were very hot too...compounding the situation.

No matter though, I spent loads of time on the massage chairs, these were quite savage, but very effective. I felt as light as a feather when I got off.
I went into the snoozelen, this was very sensory and relaxing....bean bags to sit on, soft music, coloured lights skipping around the room....... Ahhhhhhhh....

Lunch was wonderful!
3 courses....and a choice of 3 different things for each course.

I had:-

  • Parsnip, honey and apple soup........beautiful
  • Belly pork with roast root vegetables, mashed potato, roast potato, red cabbage, (my favourite), and green and white cabbage. The sauce was wonderful.
  • Home made banoffee pie. The 'ban' was yummy, the 'offee' was great, the 'pie' tasted fabulous, but a bit hard. I broke into it, and it shot off of my plate. So I decided to eat only the inside in fear of blinding another visitor on the other side of the room!

After the fab feast, (having over done it), I sat in the coffee lounge with a cup of herbal tea and a book.

I had a treatment then. 'Tere et Mare'.........don't ask.... I have no idea.
This was the only full body that I was able to have due to 'IT'.

It was fabulous, my therapist was gentle, considerate and so good at what she was doing.......(Hi Hannah!).

I hour of pure relaxation and gentle massage, from the tip of my toes, to the top of my head!
(We did have a bit of a giggle....expecting clumps of my hair to come out in her hands due to the last chemo! Lol!)
It didn't though, that wont happen for another 3 days or so....but the idea amused us!

Well, then I went and had a make up session.......(I have been wearing my make up in the same way since 1974 lol!) Keep trying changes, but always end up with the 'same  'ol, same 'ol! 
Well, when my make up artist had finished, (Hi Michelle). I looked quiet nice, if I say so myself!
I had to buy the products that she used, didn't I!?
Let's just hope that I use it and don't put it in a drawer and forget about it, as usual!

I know, I know! But I can dream..............

Today, I feel very tired, not in a 'I am off to bed'.....but a 'Sit me on a cloud and let me orchestrate the rest of today's events' kind of tired!

Do you know what I mean?

Monday, 9 January 2012

10th January - 5th day of 1st CAV chemo

Good Morning!
Feeling so much better today!

Well, as you know, I had the chemo on 5th.
Since then, I have  felt bloody awful!
Nausea, tummy cramps, hiccoughs, gallopping wind, tired, raging headache, dizzyness, dry mouth, everything tastes weird................

I have had the phlebitis back, not fun, the neuropathy, that I thought had gone has returned, and the tinnitus is getting worse.

I have been in bed by 20.00hrs, and rarely up in the morning before 08.00hrs.

Anyway, I am feeling so much better today, so much so, I am going to see if I can have my wonderful 'spa day' at Hoar Cross Hall today......keep your fingers crossed for me!
With luck, after that I will be back to my normal self!

I will be seeing my McMillan Nurse, and a McMillan therapist on Friday.
I see my Oncologist again on 18th. Roxanne will be coming with me.

In all seriousness, I have been thinking that to continue with chemo may not be the best thing for me.
After I have had it, I feel really rotten.
So, 3 sessions equals 3 rotten weeks, out of a potential 3-4 months, making it 2-3 months.
It is is successful in reducing the tumours, then that is 6 session, making 6 weeks of yuk, with the potential of living 11 months, one and a half feeling rotten is 9 1/2 months.

I do appreciate that I am going to feel rotten towards the end any way, but that will be with or with out chemo.
So,  my thinking is, get everything that I want to do in before the end of February/March, and all will work out!
Although I would love it if I managed to see another whole summer!

And you never  know.... miracles Do happen!!!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

7th Jan 2012 - day 3 chemo

Well, feeling a little better today, not so nauseous, (so far).

Still have a savage headache, and these bloody persistent hiccoughs.
I have been having them occasional for a few weeks, mainly at night when I turn over in bed, now it is most of the time after any movement.
(I was told that this was possibly due to the liver cancer, as the liver expands, it pushes the diaphragm and results in hiccoughs).

Read my friend, Carole's blog, and sadly her prognosis is similar to mine.
Thinking of you Carole!

I don't know if you recall, but I had a super gift from work, a day at Hoar Cross Hall, for a Spa Day.
Well I am going to try and book it for Tues or Wed next week, or Thurs or Friday the week after.

It is getting very important to me to get this all done before the end of February, when I should have another scan after 3 chemo sessions to see if it is making any difference.
I still want to do a 'girlie' spa two day/one nighter too.
The muder mystery week end is on 28th/29th Jan, all paid for and ready to go.

Lol! We have to dress up as super hero's Lol......supergran springs to mind!!!!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Friday 6th Jan - After first chemo this year,

The chemo that I had yesterday is called CAV. generally for the use in lung cancer.
(You may recall that mine has spread to the lungs, liver, lymph nodes and bones).

These chemo sessions should take 1-2  hours, instead of the 8 hours that they took last year.

The drugs are called:
Doxorubicin (which was originally called Adriamycin)

All adminstered by drip, one by bag, and the other two by 4 or 5 syringes.

Whole process should take 1 -2 hours.

The first thing is anti-sickness drugs,  are infused whilst we wait for an appropriate time lapse before continueing with the chemo stuff.

All was going well, when the machine that I was attached to developed a leak!
Well, managed to complete one of the chemo drugs....packinf the machine with swabs and stuff just to ensure that it woudn't drip every where.

Well, you know me, I am trying to be helpful......

"Ooooooooo!" I said, can see where it is coming from, and promptly stuck my finger in it.

The response was,
'Ah! Don't touch it, Don't touch it!
Well, it was too late!

I ask why, and he said it is very dangerous, this is why we all where gloves!

I then thought....hang on a  mo, too dangerous to touch, but I can oodles of it pumped around my body!!!!!!

Anyhow, we had to change the machine mid 'flow', when we were certain that all of the chemo was administered.
The machine had to be disconnected from  my cannula.
Well, blood everywhere!
New tubes attached and the rest of the chemo was administered by had.

Ultimately, the chemo session that was 1-2 hours long took 4 1\2 hours!

I could feel one of the drugs coursing around my chest area, no pain, not even discomfort, just a sensation.

I was able to drive back after wards, which I wasn't able to do last time, so that is good.

This morning I have a raging headache, feeling very nauseous, and walking around the house, I feel like a pin ball in one of those machines.....bashing in to wall on the left, on the right, and hoping that I will eventually be propelled in to the room I am aiming at! lol!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

3rd January 2012

Well, today was probably my last day of work.
Driving to work, I felt saddened, knowing that it would most likely be my last day.
I went to finish a document that I believe is important to who ever may take over.
AND, I DID IT!    

It didn't take me long to learn that sitting and completing a document was one thing, jumping up and down, greeting people, visiting tenants, other necessary wandering around and trying to solve tenants problems, was another kettle of fish altogether!
I found that part of the job so difficult today.

I said my 'farewells' with a promise to visit when and if I was able.
Oh, my, that was so hard to do too!

My brother Phil, was in Birmingham, picking his daughter, Faye, up from the station.
The weather was so bad 'up North', that the trains had been cancelled.
He had travelled from Coventry, so he popped in to work to see me just as I was leaving.
He brought me a huge bouquet of flowers in yellows, oranges and reds. Fabulous!
Thanks Phil!

They looked a lot better than this, but the colours are similar....use your imaginations!

One of the Doctors from one of the local surgeries where many of the tenants are registered, phoned to discuss an issue that was 'work related'.
I explained that today was my last day.
She is aware of my cancer, and the prognosis, but was unaware that this was my last day.
She seemed genuinely concerned.......she said such touching things.
She said that she could not promise a longer life, but she believed that I should go to 'Paradise', and in order to do that, it may be useful for me to read the Qur'an.
She 'massaged' my ego, by saying what a great job I had done, and how hard it would be to replace me. I really did feel appreciated!

Well, about half an hour later, she arrived at my place of work, with a brand new copy of an English translation of the Qur'an!
That is the only reason that she came,  to be sure that I had a copy, to be sure that I went to 'Paradise!'
She gave me loads of  hugs!!!!
It was quite overwhelming!

It was wonderful, and I felt very touched......'touched' doesn't really express  how I brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.
The generosity and caring of people will never cease to amaze me.

Just writing this is making me 'well up', so I am off for a coffee, and get into my jimjams!

Got to be up bright and early tomorrow.........Bloods to be done.........yuk!

Monday, 2 January 2012

2nd January 2012

Here we are, the end of the festivities...the return of 'normal' life.
Back to work tomorrow.
As I have no idea how the chemo will affect me this time around, I can't commit to any more work, until I do know.
Then thing that worries me, is that this chemo has what is called 'radio recall'.
My understanding of this, is that the pain and discomfort of the radio therapy is very likely to return.
I am not looking forward to this at all!!!!!!!

OK....How I feel physically:-
Hiccoughs...I get these a lot, especially at night when I change positions in bed.
Discomfort to the upper right side of my abdomen...not often though.
Occasional pain to my chest area.....short lived and not often.
Tinnitus....still there.
Neuropathy...seems to be gone!
Pain to my lower back and left hip/groin area.
Head aches.
Nausea, a lot of nausea.
Sudden heat surges, I need to go in the garden to cool down, this is getting more and more frequent.
Not much appetite...will eat a bit if it is put in front of me, but don't get the urge to eat, certainly not enough to go and fetch it or prepare it. I do it though, because I know that Mum MUST eat. Derek is the main meal maker at the moment though.
I did all the cooking over the holidays, but again, that was for my family.
Pain and discomfort to both shoulders and the left side of my neck, ear, idea what that is all about!!!!!

The pain killers and the medication regime are working really well, so no real issues.

I feel weak.....can't even open a jar!!!!!!
I feel tired, and I am sleeping for longer and longer as time goes by.

I used to be up at 05.30, and go to bed at 22.00.
Now, I wake at about 07.30, and I need to go to bed by 21.00, and some times at 20.00.
No big deal, still gives me all day to enjoy!

How I feel emotionally/mentally:-
Anti-social a lot of the time. Enjoying my own company. If I have prepared, and am aware, that is OK, but 'surprise visits'....I have to really try very hard to appear gracious.
Short tempered...........sort of............I get cross when some one expresses something in a paragraph, when 2 or 3 words would do!!!!!  You know what I mean....Oh, for goodness sake, get on with it!!!!!
I spend a lot of time day dreaming, and enjoying it!

I am worried about what is to come.............will there be pain? Will it be sudden? Will it take days/weeks? Will I remain concious? Will I still be able to recognise friends and family? Will I need help to wash, dress, shower, use the toilet?

Will I be financial 'sound' when I am unable to work?

I will answer these questions as time goes on, I feel that the answers will be so important to others going through a similar situation.

All in all...feeling pretty good, and I can get on with most aspects of daily living.
Just so bloody tired!!!!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

1st January 2012 - Happy New Year!

First things first............

I wish you and yours a Happy New Year, filled with everything that you would wish for yourselves!

I spoke with my brother Philip yesterday. He has a nasty cough and cold with every thing that comes with it. He sounds very poorly and clearly feels very unwell.
Hope that you feel better soon Phil! x

I am really lucky, I don't get coughs and colds, in fact, I can't remember that last one that I had, I think that I was about 13 years old!!!!!! Lol!

I am still feeling surprisingly well under the circumstances. I have the odd day when I just don't feel able to do much, as I am so tired. I also get days when I don't want to see or speak to anyone. (That is a bit worrying, because that is so unlike me).
Well I believe that your body tells you what you need/don't need, so I try to comply when it tells me to be still and alone.

Mum has been quite unwell over the festive season....a chest infection. She seems so much better now, although she slept for most of the day yesterday, I kept creeping into her room to make that she was still breathing Lol!
(Looks like I am on the road to neurosis!!!).

I am at work on Tuesday 3rd, then I have to have my blood levels checked on Wednesday, and my first 'dose' of palliative chemo on Thursday.
Last time I was on chemo, it was impossible for me to drive that day, I am not sure if the same applies on Thursday, I will have to check it out.

My MacMillan Nurse has contacted me twice over the holidays to see how I am doing, which is great. I think that is a bit surprised that I am going to work on Tuesday.
I feel that I need to, there is one document that I want to ensure is up to date, so that who ever takes over from me in the future will have a better idea of how things work.......nothing worse than starting a job, being on your own, and not knowing anything at all............

Well, the beginning of a New Year....What will be, will be!