Another Lump….

One thing many cancer survivors mention is the fear of it coming back. That ache or pain or lump or bump could be ‘it’ again.

Well, I have a lump. This time, it is in my other breast. Well, I shouldn’t really say other because I only have one left now so it is in my breast. I assumed that I was being a hypochondriac prior to seeing my doctor last Saturday and that he would brush it off, tell me I was being silly and send me on my way.

That didn’t happen.

He is concerned. Shit shit shit.

Tomorrow afternoon I am off to have a mammogram and ultra sound.

The way I figure it, NOTHING could have survived the recent chemotherapy blast that lasted six months. Surely!!??

It is a decent size lump too. Not a little one but a biggin. I don’t really want to be the 1 in 20 to get it again (these are the amazing odds my doctor gave me of getting cancer again, 1 in 20!). I have barely even recovered from my last bought of cancer.

The only thing that keeps me calm is the fact that I have been there and done that and can do it again if I have too but naturally, I really don’t want too.

I am still tired from the last cancer. I am still having herceptin and heart scans and tamoxifen and massage from the last cancer. Why can’t cancer be a one time only illness?

And another thing…. My hair is looking amazing! I can’t be losing it again so soon!

On a brighter note, I am absolutely loving being back at work. I love walking the floor and riding the elevators. I love that I say hello to people and have a sense of purpose each and every day.

One of the greatest things I took from my cancer ordeal was that life is too short to give a shit about things that are not important. If someone doesn’t like me, who cares? If I go to lunch a little late, it really doesn’t matter. The bus is late? Early? Too hot? Too Cold? It doesn’t bother me. I am happier today than I have ever been and I plan on staying this happy. No body can bring me doooooooown.

The best news of all from the last week is …. we have a wedding date!! It isn’t forever but we have the date. Do you see a problem with getting married on Remembrance Day? I would be really interested to know of peoples thoughts but I am loving the idea of being married 11/11/17. How lovely does that date look? I have looked at catering companies for my relaxed home reception, I have sent a message to Carol (the lady who owns the tree property) to ask if I can be married there on the date 11/11/17. I have even looked at pretty dresses for my gorgeous daughter to wear. Now, all I need to do is lose 20 kilos, grow some more hair, save save save and get married 🙂

Now, I’ll let you in on something.

Just before I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer in April 2015, I fell in love with a song that has such beautiful words but ends so sadly. This song really hit home with me and I even talked about it with Sam. Then, driving home after my cancer diagnosis after the mammogram last year, this song played on the radio and I cried and I cried. I do not want to be a part of this song. Here are the lyrics. If you get a chance, listen to it because as sad as it is, it really is beautiful.

JAMIE LAWSON LYRICS

“Wasn’t Expecting That”

It was only a smile
But my heart it went wild
I wasn’t expecting that
Just a delicate kiss
Anyone could’ve missed
I wasn’t expecting that

Did I misread the sign?
Your hand slipped into mine
I wasn’t expecting that
You spent the night in my bed
You woke up and you said
“Well, I wasn’t expecting that!”

I thought love wasn’t meant to last
I thought you were just passing through
If I ever get the nerve to ask
What did I get right to deserve somebody like you?
I wasn’t expecting that

It was only a word
It was almost misheard
I wasn’t expecting that
But it came without fear
A month turned into a year
I wasn’t expecting that

I thought love wasn’t meant to last
Honey, I thought you were just passing through
If I ever get the nerve to ask
What did I get right to deserve somebody like you?
I wasn’t expecting that

Oh and isn’t it strange
How a life can be changed
In the flicker of the sweetest smile
We were married in spring
You know I wouldn’t change a thing
Without that innocent kiss
What a life I’d have missed

If you’d not took a chance
On a little romance
When I wasn’t expecting that
Time doesn’t take long
Three kids up and gone
I wasn’t expecting that

When the nurses they came
Said, “It’s come back again”
I wasn’t expecting that
Then you closed your eyes
You took my heart by surprise
I wasn’t expecting that

Shut Up!

At the risk of being unpopular, sounding like an ungrateful person, this is something that is really starting to piss me off. I need to talk about it and just put it out there. I do not wish to offend any person and I am not dismissive of the awful times people go through with losing someone so close to them through cancer. My heart and love goes out to everyone who has been touched by this awful disease.

Having said that, I am still strong on my opinion of asking to please, consider your topic before discussing it.

I am a pretty easy going person. I don’t care what a persons view is on religion or politics, I really don’t care where you live or who you live with, black, white, gay, straight, man or woman, dog or cat……. I can pretty much talk to you about anything without getting offended or feeling out of place. And yes, I will even talk to dogs and cats.

Talking about anything and everything is pretty interesting to me because I love hearing about things that I don’t know about. Oh, unless it is about retaining walls and storm water flow. Those topics generally bore the shit out of me.

Recently, I finally found another topic that many people want to tell me about that I have no interest in talking about.

Death from Cancer.

Now, it seems, so many people want to tell me about a family member, friend or someone who died from cancer.

Shut. Up.

Do I look like I want to hear your story? No, I don’t want to hear your story. Although I am terribly sorry you have had to go through such a loss, I wonder why you think I want to hear about it.

Sometimes I really feel like saying, oohh, do you have another story just like that to tell me because that one made me feel marvelous! Please please tell me another story about someone else who had breast cancer or another type of cancer and died.

You are telling me about someone who had the same or similar illness as myself and then letting me know (as if I don’t think about it a hundred times a day already) that it kills people.

Shut. Up.

I know people die from cancer. We all know people die from it. What we cancer survivors do not want to hear about is how it can kill them.  Cancer survivors are not free of cancer. We have fought for our lives but it doesn’t mean we wont have to do it again. We hope we never have to fight like we did for our lives but most of us have it in the back of our minds. Is the cancer still in our bodies?

You do not tell a new mother about the awful death of a baby you know about.

You do not tell a parent sitting by their sons hospital bed following a car accident that you know three people who have died in car accidents this year.

You. Shut. Up.

Why do people feel so comfortable talking to a cancer survivor about the death of other people from the same horrible disease?

Do they think we feel ‘lucky’ to have had cancer and still be standing here today?

It is not up to you to ‘make us feel better’ with these stories.

Please, stop talking to us about deaths caused by cancer. It is not a conversation I wish to be a part off. That may change at some stage but today, no, I do not want to hear it.

Shut. Up.

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Thank you Samantha for these beautiful flowers that are all starting to open. xx

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.

tinman

OMG I sound like I am 100 years old!!

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

hbamanda

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!

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.

Photo on 18-01-2016 at 9.20 am

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!