Aches & Pains & A Fluffy Face

I am growing a bloody beard! For months I have been a smooth alien looking woman and now, now, I have mutton chops!

Ok, I might be going slightly overboard right now but geez, my face certainly is a lot fluffier than it ever was. I hope I wont be needing to borrow Dr Hands’ razor!

Seriously though, it is from one extreme to another. I am thinking I really might have to wax it or use depilatory cream or something. It is very fine and very blonde but it gets blown around in the wind! I can feel it moving. I think I can almost run my fingers through my new beard!

I’ll let you know how I get on. On a better note, my hair is looking amazing. It is still short but is growing very thick. I am using Nioxin Shampoo and Conditioner and my amazing friend Nicole bought this awesome product called Activance for me.

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I use 20 sprays per day and I am sure that is what is thickening my hair. Maybe some of it has dripped onto my cheeks and caused my mutton chops to grow??

Onto the Aches and Pains. Well, they’re still there.

The theracucumin doesn’t seem to have worked. Neither has the nurofen plus, nurofen, tramadol, panadene forte (although this did assist with some awful headaches I had experienced) or panadol. I am now taking fish oil capsules and have all of my hopes on these massive things. Have you seen the size of a fish oil capsule before? Well, the damn thing almost takes up my whole mouth!

And another thing. It says on the pack that there is no added gluten. What the hell is that supposed to mean. Is there or is there not gluten? All of the brands said the same thing except for one very cheap and nasty home brand looking thing. I ask the chemist lady and she advised that it was in fact gluten free. Well, why doesn’t it just say this?? It is so frustrating being a coeliac that I have to determine what ‘no added gluten’ means.

So, I chose Blackmores brand and I’ll let you know how I go.

Oh, I best tell you about the aches and pains hey? Well, I spoke to Dr Sid about it yesterday and explained it is mainly in my shoulders and neck but I sometimes feel the discomfort in my toes and hips. He said it is very unusual to suffer these pains which confused me because all of my research suggests that it is quite common.

The best way to explain it is that I feel like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I feel like I need a good oiling in my joints to get me moving again.

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OMG I sound like I am 100 years old!!

I’m not. I just turned 44 only five days ago. Happy Birthday Toooooooo Me 🙂

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Fingers crossed that the next time I talk to you, I’ll be complaining of my Rapunzel length head hair, bragging about my smooth bald face and enjoying loose and pain free joints.

Peace Out!

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The Price of Supporting Local Business

I am taking a risk with this blog because I know many people will not be happy with me but I am a little angry right now.

Small business is a big thing. Many of us do try to support small business as much as possible but it is the cost of some small businesses that see us ‘giving up’ and having to use the big companies.

My local bottle shop will tell you that I am a huge supporter of small business hehe. I do also use the local shop and barn for items quite regularly. Petrol is often bought locally but even they are testing my patience at times. Recently, they have had their price of petrol sitting at $1.14 a liter but I travel ‘down the hill’ and it is $1.03 everywhere else.

Anyhoo, here is my point.

As we all know, I will be on Tamoxifen for 10 years. And we all know I visit Dr George often and then I see his wife (who runs the chemist) afterward for my prescriptions and I really like both of these people. I knew the medication was roughly $9.00 dearer to buy from this chemist but, especially through my chemo days, I had no other option.

Well, I bought my Tamoxifen from them recently and it had to be ordered in. I was quoted $25.00 for 60 tablets. So, I thought, oh, that’s ok, $12.50 per month isn’t too bad I guess. When the medication arrived the next day, I was then told it was not $25.00 but was $38.30.

Whoa! That is quite the price difference.

When I purchased my 2nd packet of Tamoxifen (no, I haven’t been on it for two months but was near a chemist in town the other day and just handed all of my scripts in and Tamoxifen was one of those scripts) and blow me down with a feather but the price was soooo much different. It was $16.99!

Here is my proof. Also take note, the more expensive local product is the ‘generic brand’ which is supposed to be cheaper!

So let us work this out.

If I support local business and buy from my local chemist, I will spend

$229.80 each year as opposed to $101.94.

Over the 10 years of taking this medication I would pay

$2,298.00 instead of $1,019.10. It would cost me $1,278.90 to shop locally.

No one in their right mind would do this if they had a choice. The chemist which is not local to me is almost next door to where I work so there is no extra travel costs to get to another chemist for me because I’ll already be there.

I understand that local businesses don’t have the buying power of the big business and I accept the prices will be slightly higher but more than double? No, I can’t accept that. I can not support a local business that is going to cost me over $1,200 more than shopping at a chemist near work.

Right, now I have that off my chest…. I’ll leave you with some happy photos

My New Head

This is a photo of me on December 31 2015, as previously posted on ‘The Year That Was’

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Here is my photo today, 18th of January 2016.

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CHECK OUT MY HAIR AND EYEBROWS!! They came back woot woot.

Now, just waiting for my eyelashes to come through nice and long and luxurious (dreaming here but a girl can hope).

Bits of Information

  • The chickens all have names – Steffie Forrester, Caroline and Brooke
  • Brady has been depressed because of Steffie Forrester, Caroline and Brooke because I go into the coop without him and he is jealous
  • It has been 18 days since I have consumed alcohol
  • There are only six days until I will be enjoying a glass or two of bubbles with my girlfriends for our Annual Australia Day catch up which is being held on the 24th of January this year
  • I am still waking up around 6am each morning (not by choice, my eyes just open and body is ready to get moving)
  • I had to pluck my eyebrows two days ago because the little hairs are growing back
  • My cow lick came back with my hair! grrrr
  • I purchased Theracucumin as recommended to help ease the bone and joint pain associated with my new medication Tamoxifen and it is working!

 

Tamoxifen

Lets talk about this new drug that I started taking 8 days ago.

Tamoxifen.

This drug is designed to blog the hormone, estrogen, which is what caused the breast cancer in the first place apparently.

I’ll start with the conversation with my amazing (and a little bit spunky) Dr Sid Selva.

He started the discussion with the fact that I’ll be taking it for ten years. Then he bored me with the details of what it does and how it may prevent further cancer blah blah blah. Then, he got to the side effects.

Now, anyone who has persisted in reading my blogs will know that I don’t use the term ‘side effects’ and instead call them feelings. Well, these are side effects.

When he started listing these side effects, I thought to myself…

“If this was a game show, I’d be the bloody champion because I already have all of these side effects without even taking the drug…. go me!!”

So, I started telling Dr Selva what I already had, and that I was way ahead of the Tamoxifen side effects. Here are the ones I have already….

  •  Weight Gain
  •  Irritability
  •  Reduced Sex Drive
  •  Hot flashes
  •  Anxiety
  •  Confusion
  •  Sweating
  •  Absent Periods (Yippeeeeeee)
  • Hair Loss or Thinning Hair
  • Inability to keep or get an erection (I put this in because it was on the fact sheet LOL

So, as you can see, I have quite the list already and I hadn’t even started the drug yet.

Now, for the interesting thing he said…

  •  Dry Vagina

What?

I said to the doctor (because when I think things they often shoot out of my mouth without any filter),

“is my vagina supposed to be like a dogs nose?”

Dr Selva, who I have never seen flustered or lost for words just sat there and looked at me with the biggest eyeballs I had ever seen. Ooops, wrong question perhaps?

I was getting worried internally thinking, OMG, I have had a problem with my vagina since forever because it is never ‘damp’ or ‘wet’ constantly. Maybe that is what those little panty liner things are for that I keep seeing advertised and never understood. Why has no one ever told me I should have a wet vagina?

Thankfully, Dr Selva explained the term ‘dry vagina’ refers to not being able to moisten during intercourse. OMG, how embarrassing! I could feel my entire face and body turning a lovely shade of beetroot!

We moved on pretty quickly after this topic.

Right, next we will look at what happened when I actually purchased my tamoxifen.

There is a lovely young fellow at the local pharmacy who covers for Mary on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was him that I saw to get this medication and he asked if it was my first time using it. I stated it was and that I would be on it for ten years and he says….

“Did the doctor discuss pregnancy and tamoxifen with you?”

Oh man, this happens to me waaaay to often, I really need to lose weight so I said, that isn’t an issue as there will be no more pregnancies for me. I stated I was too old for that. Usually I let the person know that I am just fat and not pregnant but I didn’t want to fluster my already flustered pharmacist so I left it at that.

So, I have now been on this medication for eight days and OMG, the side effects are INCREDIBLE. Well, there are a couple that aren’t but seriously, the main side effects are awesome.

I have always been a sleeper. I could easily sleep 12 to 16 hours if I wanted and often, I did want! Now, I am awake before 6am and I mean, really awake. I am ready to roll.

The energy I have is also incredible. Yesterday, I was up at 5:50am, had some coffees, played some computer games and out of no where, I decided to take Brady to the beach. I live in the Adelaide Hills so it isn’t a five minute drive to the beach but off we went. I forgot to put a bra on, lost a shoe at the beach (it is still there at Aldinga Beach South Australia somewhere. I left it’s partner on the picnic bench so if someone finds one shoe, they can go on a hunt for the other hehe) but, Brady and I had the best time. We walked and walked and he chased the tennis ball in and out of the water.

I am also feeling incredibly happy and social so I popped into the future in laws house on the way home, had a cuppa, chat, play with the dogs and off I went again.

Once home, I had my breakfast, vacuumed the floors, mopped the floors, cleaned the main bathroom and toilet, cleaned kitchen, roasted tomatoes in preparation to make passata (tomato sauce for pasta) and also cooked dinner!

  1.  I don’t wash floors (Sam does it)
  2.  Rarely do I cook dinner (Sam usually does it)
  3.  Once in over a year have I cleaned the main bathroom (Sam does it)
  4.  I have never made a home made tomato sauce
  5.  I am usually exhausted after only one of the above activities

So, all week I have risen from bed on or before 6am naturally except on Wednesday. I did wake before 6am but that was due to a horrible headache. Yes, this is another side effect from the Tamoxifen as well as incredible joint and bone pain. I am taking panadol for this but a lady on the Adelaide Breast Cancer Friendship Group site recommended I take Theracucumin with a pinch of black pepper for the pain. I will be hunting this down today because I do not fancy taking panadol every four hours for the next ten years.

Boy, that was quite a long post! Sorry if I have bored you but this is how much energy I have. Even my fingers are going crazy with energy that I just keep typing LOL.

I shall leave you now with another acklompishment for the week. Managing to get both dogs to sleep on their beds at the same time in the same room. They usually sleep on the sofa (before being found out and shooed off) or the carpet. Finally, they are on their beds.

Who Am I?

Well, I have given Sams head a break today and have not taken a bite out of it like I did yesterday. We ended our day with a gorgeous walk with the dogs and both of us felt much better for it.

Then, I had another night where I struggled to find tiredness. I read an entire book on Chickens that had been given to me by a lovely lady by the name of Sally. She is my mums friend and neighbour and has been absolutely lovely sending up bubbles, treats and books. Once I had finished the chicken book, I read a few chapters of a novel called “Odd Socks” which, thankfully, makes me sleepy.

I turned off my bedside light at 12:3oam!

Even though it took me a while to get sleepy, I did sleep well through the night until 7am. Then, my little peepers opened and I was wide awake!

I am never wide awake at that time. In fact, I am never wide awake at 10am! I got up and even Brady didn’t get up thinking I was going to go to the toilet and head back to bed.

Once he realised I was heading for the bedroom door to exit instead of heading to the ensuite, it looked as though he raised his eyebrows, he got up to head out with me.

Sam slept for a further half an hour which, is unheard of. So, when he got up and saw me at my computer desk, drinking my coffee, he was very surprised. Add to that, I was out in the street with my gorgeous Brady for a walk by 9:30am. Again, another unheard off…….

Today is day 9 without alcohol. Am I counting? Yep. It is a very difficult thing to give up for a stretch of time let alone during summer in Adelaide. There is nothing nicer than sitting out under the pergola with a nice cold glass of bubbles watching the sun set.

I am doing it though.

So, it seems this new alcohol free, reduced sugar intake, exercising person I have become now likes to wake up at the crack of dawn (7am is the crack of dawn for me) and get moving.

I have changed maaaaaaan.

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About my girls.

So, they have been with us for more than 24 hours now and they are doing well.

I was worried if they were drinking water because it is quite warm in Adelaide at the moment. When I popped into see them when I had gotten home from my future mother in laws house, there they were, all three girls drinking. 🙂 This made me very happy.

Have you ever seen a chicken vomit? Well, I have. Today, after their big drink, Steffie Forrester ‘leaked’ out a heap of water from her beak. It wasn’t like a chunky vomit, just a heap of water but I think she might have drunk a little bit too much. Steffie and I have quite a bit in common.

She doesn’t stop eating and obviously, when given a drink, guzzles it too quick hehe.

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Before I leave, with my new healthy lifestyle, I have put on a kilo!!! ARGH!

New Friends and Half a Head

So, poor Sam only has half a head at the moment. Why? Because I bit the other half off.

I am one crazed and psycho maniac right now. I am not sure why but boy am I angry. I can’t even blame the Tamoxifan because today is only day two but boy, something is making me angry.

Sam  never bites back but today, he said my name gruffly. I stopped in my tracks and all I could hear was my crazy ass bitch comment and irrational arguing. That would explain Sams lovely words recently and the quiet drive to Mt Barker today. The poor guy has been walking on egg shells.

After my last bite of his head, he wrapped his arms around me and just held me until I shut up and realised I was being a nut case. How Lucky Am I?

Is this what menopause like? Is it my early onset of menopause making me a lunatic? Sam even asked if he has death cover just in case. Eeeek.

I had better calm the eff down I tell you. I can hear myself now and I do not sound lovely at all.

Onto something a bit more exciting….. my early birthday presents arrived today and they look like this.

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How pretty are my girls? They are 18 weeks old and absolutely gorgeous. I spent a good half hour just sitting in with them while they pecked around and enjoyed the sunshine and grass. They have fluffy little bums, individual personalities and are so relaxing to be with. I could have sat there all afternoon but I needed to come in for something to eat and to tell you all about my girls (and Sam having half a head).

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My girls are a gift from Half a Head Sam and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. Just sitting in with them calmed me straight away. I will need to keep my eyeballs out for a nice bench seat to put in with the girls so I can send myself in there when I feel my cranky ass surfacing.

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The one at the very back is called Steffie Forrester. I am still thinking of names for the other two. One (the one closest to the camera) I am thinking of calling Ugly Betty but I am worried she will get a complex. The one in front of Steffie Forrester might get the name Ivy Forrester but I will think about it for a while. In any case, I love them all and I love the calmness they bring to me.

Considering I have a huge and massive and insane fear of birds, I am very proud of myself being able to sit and chatter away to these lovely three girls.

……. peace out …… breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…. breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

 

The New Normal

Seven days since I have had an alcoholic drink and seven days since I have had a decent sleep. Are they related??

Today I had a herceptin appointment so I spoke with my oncologist about this and he said it is quite normal, once you have finished with chemotherapy and radiotherapy to be stressed and unable to sleep. Apparently, the reality of it all can hit you when the hard stuff is finished.

What??!!

This just didn’t make sense to me and he said that people like me, who handle ‘breast cancer’ stuff really well, go through the surgery and chemo and radio with little stress or sadness tend to suffer once it has finished. I did remind him that I am not quite finished yet as I still have about 9 more sessions of hercepton and require further surgery later in the year. He reminded me that I am not the person I was last year. I am a different person who has been through quite an ordeal and whilst I ‘apparently’ feel that I have gone through it and come out the other side quite well, he begs to differ.

He discussed counseling or group therapy both of which I shook my head. Geez, all I want is a decent night sleep and he wants me out there talking to strangers. It then occurred to me, YOU GUYS are the ones who often keep me sane and well balanced. Yes, I have the amazing Sam and my wonderful family and friends but often, I don’t even know what I am feeling until I sit down with my keyboard and computer.

My doctor was right about one thing though, I expected to feel amazing and jumping for joy once the chemotherapy had finished. Then it was when the radiation had finished. It didn’t happen either of these times.

There is no magic feeling that comes along and wipes the previous year away.

Each step that is taken, each hurdle achieved does not make it all go away.

The fact still remains, it was a tough journey. I am a different person. My body is different and now, I am expected (mainly by myself) to get my life back to normal.

There is a new kind of normal.

This new me now has to take her body seriously. Look after it and treat it better than I ever have before.

My medication has increased to a new tablet each day for the next ten years.

I must find time to get a new boob at some stage. This can’t happen until after May 2016 and after I have lost a great deal of weight (says my surgeon).

The great news from today is, I can return to work! My oncologist filled in my forms stating my return to work date is 17/2/2016. I hope my manager(s) are as excited as I am.

This gives me five weeks to learn to become more energetic, sleep at decent times, maintain concentration and energy for a whole working day, learn organisation skills again (eg: making lunch, arranging clothes etc) and more than anything, learn to live my life without thinking of cancer.

I am looking forward to my ‘new life’. I am looking forward to the new normal to start.

If you thought you were going to get rid of me now that my new normal starts soon, you thought wrong. I have always got something to say and will still need ‘you’ to help me through.

I still want to be here to help and support or to just listen to others who are having a hard time. I have met some wonderful people through this blog and I don’t want to let them go, so I wont.

Stay tuned. I think this is going to be a fun and exciting year. 🙂

I shall leave you with a before and after photo of my gorgeous Groodle… Brady. Yesterday, he had his summer cut done and boy, is he happy about this 🙂