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. πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

 

 

Thinking of the year that was….

I started 2015 with a smile on my face. I was so happy and fortunate and loved.

Thankfully, I am ending this year with a smile on my face because I am happy, fortunate and loved.

Ok, there was a bump on the way.

We got over the bump.

20151231_173047Β  20151231_173051

I have been made aware of so many things this year. The first thing being that Sam is there for me, through sickness and in health. He was there for me each and every day to ensure I was loved, fed, clean, medicated and positive. Sam made me laugh, took in all of the medical information, made learning about breast cancer his project and even sang silly songs to me. He drove me to each and every chemotherapy appointment, surgeon appointment, many of the radiation appointments and the endless trips to the chemist.

I have made new friends, been reunited with old friends, lost a couple of friends, felt the love of so many wonderful people. I have seen amazing and selfless sides of many people as well.

Naturally, I can’t name each and every person who has touched my heart this year but please know, you probably are one of them.

I started the year with two boobs, a head of long hair, a little lighter but I am ending this year with more knowledge, empathy, understanding and patience than I had at the beginning. I now know the amazing lengths people go to too help someone facing a very frightening illness. I have been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing group of people surrounding me.

I didn’t get cancer this year. I was diagnosed this year. According to my surgeon, the cancer had been in my body for a couple of years. I will not see 2015 as ‘the year I got cancer’ but it will be the year that Sam and I fought the disease in my body as far as I am concerned, we won.

The biggest standout of the year is pretty obvious to me. It was being told I had breast cancer. Everything that followed those words happened so fast and there was always something going on weather it was surgery, drains, those bloody dreadful and shitty hemorrhoids, nausea, fatigue, chemotherapy, baldness, radiation therapy, burns, blisters, but it was my ultra sound and mammogram appointment that I’ll never forget.

Do you make New Year Resolutions? I am a bit wishy washy when it comes to them but this year I have a long list of health related changes for my new year. Be warned, I am giving up alcohol. Blogs may actually start to make sense hehe.

There will be less processed foods, goodbye to sugar, hello to daily activity (I have the neighbours exersize bike in my lounge room ready and waiting), and I am going to smile a lot! I will continue with my positive attitude, growing salads and vegetables, drinking a lot of water and helping anyone who needs it.

This New Years Eve will be spent with our lovely neighbours at what I am hoping, will be the 1st of many street/neighbourhood parties.

My thoughts this year will be with health of my amazing family and friends, feeling proud of the amazing daughter I have, loving that amazing man of mine, drinking my last drink for a while and enjoying the fact I am here to celebrate another New Year.

Thank you to everyone for being with me this year either in person or in writing and your thoughts.

I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

Much love………

20151231_173216

 

8th and Final Chemo Today!!

You’d think I’d be excited wouldn’t you but nope, I feel nothing. I think it is because it isn’t over but I know, in about two or three weeks when the poison has gone from my body that I’ll be feeling amazing.

So, in preparation for today’s chemo I have put my make up on minus the eye make up because there are no lashes there, I spiked up my hair (with sorbeline cream), and put on the same lipstick I wore for my first chemo. I perked me up somewhat.

Today’s session shouldn’t take that long either which is good because I think I made a bit of a boo boo last night. I had my pre chemo medication after dinner last night and they usually keep me up for a little longer than usual because they are steroid based but last night, instead of taking three Valium to go with the steroids, I think I grabbed three of the steroids.

That would explain a totally and completely sleepless night. I finally fell asleep at 7am to be woken about 8:30am by Dr Hands with my breakfast and more pre chemo meds and said that I was three short. So that confirms my suspicions.

Now, I have to ask my oncologist not only for more endone, which is another drug I hate but also three dexis. He is sure to think I am a drug addict of sorts but what he wont know is that I hate both drugs. Endone stops my poop, as the world now knows, and doesn’t let me sleep. The steroids make me grumpy and stop me sleeping. So, once I am finished taking those, I will be over the moon.

So, thats my story for today.

IMG_0004

No dog piccies today, its all about the 8th and final chemo session. Shame you can’t see my gorgeous platinum white blonde spiky hair in this pic but trust me, its there. And I think I have two hairs coming through on my eye brows!

23 Things I Love About My Life

http://luckyottershaven.com/2015/07/21/20-things-i-hate-about-my-life/

This is the post that made me make this post. I love Lucky Otters Haven’s blog. I love it. In any case, theirs was a 23 Things I hate About My Life, I want to do the opposite…

Here are my 23 things I love about my life

1. I am Loved. Of course by my mother, family, daughter, Dr Hands, In Laws, Brady (Big White Dog), Kelly (staffy x) friends I knew I had and friends I never knew I had, neighbours and so forth

IMG_0216 2

Uniden Digital Camera
Me and Dr Hands (Sam)

2. My Home. It is newly built. 19th of December, Dr Hands and I were handed the keys to our newly built home and on that date I was also proposed too by Dr Hands.

IMG_0014

3. My Daughter. She is a Hoot. She is different, loving, colourful, cuddly and everything else. I never thought I was a great mum but boy, I look at this daughter of mine and know, somewhere, somehow, her father, her grandparents, and myself, must have done A OK. She is great.

DocImage50 IMG_0119 4

4. Inlaws. Never have I felt the love of an outside family as I have with my Dr Hands Family. His mother hugs me so tight, so lovingly and I never want to let go. My FFIL (future father in Law) always has a kiss and cuddle for me as well as jokes and payouts. My gorgeous and fit and healthy SIL (future Sister In Law) is amazing and always has a cuddle, kind words, mimco umbrellas and amazing nieces and nephews for me. She Rocks. This is the kind of family one would want to marry into.

IMG_1950IMG_0972IMG_0998

5. I didn’t really want to put them down to number five but my Brady Bailey-Wilkinson and Kelly-Bear are so loving and amazing to me. They really dont give a shit if I am sick but they love me all the same. I would really love to add one more fur baby to my brood being a french bull dog but ‘apparently’ now is not the time (they are Dr Hands Words)

Uniden Digital Camera
Brady and Kelly

6. Bubbles. Yep, sparkling wine, champagne, what ever you want to call it I love it. It helps me sleep (oh come to me people who want to tell me drugs and alcohol are not the answer but shit, Cancer Honey!! give me bubbles, I kinda deserve it’

7. The Real Housewives of Meadows. I think they should be happy they living here in a beautiful town in the Adelaide Hills but noooo, One is in Bali and the other is constantly working but when they aren’t ….. they are amazing. I can call or text and they are there for me. They can pass on a bottle of bubbles, a cup of coffee, a chat etc. These woman, when they are around, are great people

8. Work. Yes, you read it right, work. I liked my job before my ‘promotion’ but wow, my new job is amazing and in all honesty, I can’t wait to get back to it. Not long now. Like, what, 10 months or so ….

9. BFF. Tracey. I remember as a kid, I think I was like about 11 and I walked down to the local shop in Summertown in South Australia and asked the lady behind the counter (who was the mother) if I could play with her daughter. Over thirty years later, we are still friends πŸ™‚

Uniden Digital Camera
We are not 11 years old here

10. My Mum. She was soooo annoying when I was younger but boy dont mum’s change when you grow up. She has been amazing. I worry for her though having to go through ‘my cancer’ on her own but she seems to be doing ok. Totally love this lady. Wish I could be more like her xx

Uniden Digital Camera
Me and My Mama

11. King Crab Claws. Anything crab gives me great love. Love love love crab. Give me no other food but crab.

IMG_0049 7

12. My Bed. Seriously, I bloody love my bed. I may complain or whinge about sleeping so much but in all honesty, if there is any ‘side effect’ from chemo, sleep is the best. I have Elisian sheets, Canningvale quilt cover, freedom furniture king size bed, yes, I am very bed and linen obsessed.

IMG_0001

13. Books, any book. Give it to me. Give me Give me Give me books!

9780006479895

14. Internet. Love it. I can email friends, family, anyone. I can blog all kinds of ‘crap’ but the internet will forward it to someone who might want to read it πŸ™‚ Love it

15. My Past. Everyone always bitches and complains and are all embarrassed about their past but why? It made you who you are today…. I understand some people had really shitty crappy childhoods and they have every right to complain but mine was A OK.

16. Doctors and Medicine. Yep, they have saved my life. I am one boob down, have a kick arse scar but it is all to save my life. Chemotherapy to follow boobemectomy to ensure this cancer bitch doesn’t return…. I love modern research.

17. The Bold and the Beautiful. Yep, love it. I have taped it for years and have saved every Sunday to spend the day watching episode upon episode. Funny thing is, since I have been given 12 months off to recover from breast cancer, The Bold and the Beautiful has given me the shits. I’ll still continue to watch it but not record it πŸ™‚

18. Foxtel. Ok,Β  I have taken a while to get used to it and the only channel I really understood was the music channel but now I am getting to know more of the channels, I am learning there is more to like and appreciate. When you are on leave for a year or so, you will want to find something to entertain you the moment you are awake…

19. My Cousins. These amazing people who dont get together as often as we should, got together and organised a cleaner for Dr Hands and I. Dr Hands, he works full time, is a full time carer for me and looks after the house and food. The moment I learnt that my cousins got together and those who could contribute, organised a cleaner for us each fortnight for three months was beyond words. It is this kind of thought that really makes you feel loved. Knowing that people know that something as simple as housework is a lot for anyone going through this was amazing.

IMG_0216 2

20. Modern Day. Remember the old days when pregnant women would wear ‘sacks’ due to society and now they can wear crop tops and skinny pants? Well, cancer people can now get around with no hats or scarfs or ‘hair’ Now, preggos and cancer peeps can get around without the cover ups. I love this a lot.

20150605_153433

21. Cancer. Weird that would come in to the 23 things I love right but, now I know what cancer is, what it is like, how to deal with it. People ‘think’ they know cancer and how they would deal with it but until you have it, you know nothing. With my job, I will be more informed and educated it what my ‘client’ is going through. I will beat this bitch and get through it and be stronger for it.

22. My Family. I have a huge family and not all get along but when cancer comes along, we all get along. My huge family, well, they have come through thick and fast. I have an Auntie who knitted not only a square but a whole blanket that I constantly snuggle into on my bean bag. My cousins (and others) who have organised a cleaner for us for three months. Emails daily from a cousin to ensure I am A OK and doing alright. My family are amazing.

IMG_0014

23. Dr Hands. Sam Wilkinson. My Fiance. My Lover. My Everything. He is the one who can look at my face and know, know that I am well or not so well. He knows when I need to eat, drink, need medication, a hug, a kiss etc. I do not know how my man does it all but he does. He can look at me and know what I need, I can scream at him, cry with him, cuddle and beg and he still knows what I need. Without Dr Hands, I am sure I’d be ok but not as good as I am now and yesterday and tomorrow. He knows my needs, my wants and my requirements. I get angry at him and say some really shitty words but he brushes them by and gets on with life. Where would I be without Dr Hands?

IMG_0331 IMG_0040 5 IMG_0014

Uniden Digital Camera
Sailing our hire house boat and loving it πŸ™‚

Uniden Digital Camera
My Love, My Everything xx

I’m Bald and I’m OK

After the shower – This is what I combed out

20150605_124247

After drying and styling my hair

20150605_130011

This is halfway through my ‘session’ – Sam is loving pretending to be my french hair stylist

20150605_145629

This is the end result

20150605_153433

So, I thought I would have been waiting longer before the big shave but OMG, when the locks start falling, they fall in a big way. Yesterday i ran my hands through my itchy head and pulled out a reasonable sized lock of hair. I waited. I looked. Nope, no tears. I cried looking at another bloggers photos of her holding her hair in her hand but it didn’t happen when I held mine.

Sam came home from work and you know how sometimes when you have to tell someone something and you think you are going to be ok but as soon as you start speaking, you start blubbering and crying and stuff? Well, I thought this would happen to me but nope, I showed him my locks of hair I’d pulled out and he wanted to have a go. He ran his hands through my hair and nope, he got nothing so it really was a non event. He was even a bit disappointed to have not managed to get a handful of my hair can you believe!?

Today, whole new story. I did the whole ‘tug’ on my hair when I woke and nothing happened so I thought, oh, that must have just been a one off and a coincidence because yesterday was day 14 after the spa therapy (chemo) and the spa nurses said hair loss would occur at day 14. Well blow me down with a feather – where they not spot on or what?

Anyhoo, I was having my loving morning cuppa and a few, shall we say, tendrils of hair, fell onto my keyboard. Shit. This was not going to work for me. Then there was the odd hair on my arm and I am not one for feeling tickly spider web feelings on my body so I managed my way to the shower expecting all of my hair to fill the drain but again, hardly a hair came out. I thought I was imagining the hair loss. Maybe I was going to be one of those people who only had mild hair loss.

I had seen on other blogs and read other stories where the shower is when it all happens. Like in the olden days, remember the movie ‘psycho’? The fear on her face? Backed up against the tiled wall. That is how I expected I would be. Ok fine, she was about to be stabbed to death from memory and all I was about to face was hair loss but my shower experience was more like a scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was singing away and having quite a lovely time until it was time to get out.

Drying off and sorbelining myself was all well and good until it was time to comb the hair and goodness me, there was an absolute mountain of hair! LIke seriously, the hair loss was incredible. I looked at my head expecting to see big bald spots but nope, no bald spots but a big mountain of hair was there, on the vanity unit looking at me.

So now, I am balding my way through life and whilst it is chilly, at least I can put my hair dryer, dry shampoo, hair straightener, hairspray, straightening serum, Nioxin Shampoo and Conditioner, Hair Treatments and Hair ties all away and make for a clean and tidy vanity unit.

I hope my naked head doesn’t frighten or scare anyone. I hope I dont create any nightmares or fears for anyone. I have had so many lovely messages, emails and texts saying I am inspiring and even making people less frightened of the ol’ mammogram and ultrasounds etc. Dont let the bald head change all that. It will grow back and I will be wishing for beautiful thick lovely curly locks this time instead of the thin drab hair I had previously.

Here is the final photo… what I like to call, the crime scene

20150605_152532

I’m Alive

Just a quick post to let you know I am still alive and moving.

I am not going to go into great detail just yet because I am ready to go back to bed for a while but lets just say the internal spa treatmenet I had yesterday (commonly known as chemo) was a breeze. Seriously, it was fine. Lots of pretty coloured liquid squirted into me, pretty orange wee wee to follow and I was outta there.

It was a two hour session but with all that goes on and having Sam and Accalia there with me, it was out of there in no time.

Sam and I even decided to have a quick lunch at the pub on the way home and then I hit the sack. I was in bed at 3:30pm when we got home, work at 5:30pm for my daily mum call, woken at 8:30pm by Dr Hands (Sam) to take my temperature and demand I drink water and administer some panadol and that was that.

The excellent and amazing this about this chemo, and I hope it continues, are the dreams! They are better than any movie or book I have read. Lots of drama and excitement and yes, a wee bit of hanky panky.

I can’t say I am feeling all perky and lovely today but that alright, I can feel a bit pooey.

I am waiting for this particular drug the nurses called ‘dexis’ to kick in because apparently I am going to feel amazing and wonderful and everything will seem perfect. Apparently I’ll be on these dexis for two days ‘woop wooop’ party at my place and then I’ll go through withdrawals for two days, party is over on Sunday peeps.

The only thing I am really suffering from besides tireness is a slight headache.

I’ll tell you more later because now I have been fed and watered, I am going back to bed.

Thank you to everyone for the amazing and wonderful good wishes.

PS: I think I am going to have poop problems because there was a lot of talk about constipation and binding (that is a crap word hehe) but thanks to my night nurse, I have sachets to help that happen. I do NOT like NOT pooping.

Me and Dr hands πŸ™‚

Back to bed for me xx

xxIMG_0013

Breast Cancer V’s Anxiety

I have suffered anxiety for a few years now but has been maintained by medication and in all honesty, I haven’t really thought about it. My medication, great positive mindset, positive outlook, wonderful family, daughter, partner has seen me though.

My stage three breast cancer was diagnosed and confirmed 8th of April, 2015 and in all honesty, I don’t feel that it has affected me since I found it hadn’t spread further than my lymph nodes. The worst part of this experience beside finding out I had breast cancer was the agonising wait to see how far this cancer had spread. We (Sam and I) knew it had spread to the lymph nodes but there was a good chance it had spread to my lungs, my brain, kidneys etc. Unless you have been through this part of the cancer wait, you will have no idea how excruciating the wait can be to find out exactly where the cancer is.

It has since occurred to me that my anxiety has increased in the last week. So, today it is the 7th of May and that marks a month since I have known I had breast cancer. Everything had been a whirlwind since diagnosis.

There were surgeon appointments, body scan appointments, surgery booked, boobectimy and lymph node surgery, a week in hospital, recovery etc. There hasn’t been a moment to even think about what has gone on.

Today it occurred to me that the anxiety I have suffered for years is back with a vengeance. Where is Bruce Willis when I need him? Well, I don’t actually need him because I have my own superhero called Sam Wilkinson. My future husband. The man who has saved my life by detecting the breast cancer. The man who hasn’t left my side since diagnosis. The man who was there by my side in hospital every moment available.

What Sam can’t fix is the anxiety that is creeping through my veins. The anxiety that makes me snap at him and the dogs and even my gorgeous little Summer who comes to visit. Thankfully I can tell it is there, it is coming out and I can stop it but it doesn’t stop how I feel. I feel unsettled. I feel agitated and, of course, anxious. I have, like I said, my superhero Sam and my ever patient Summer to forgive my grumpiness and short temper.

I forgot to mention the other day that Summer asked where my ‘skipping rope’ had gone. This is the long tube that sucked the disgusting fluid from my wound through a tube (that is the skipping rope) into the bottle. I explained to Summer that my blood was now lovely and healthy again and she went onto explain that her blood was also nice and healthy and she didn’t need the skipping rope and bottle either.

My new doctor at the local GP clinic had asked me last Saturday about seeing a shrink about dealing with the breast cancer and boobectimy and I was shocked. I looked from Sam to Doctor and advised I didn’t need a shrink for this, I am coping A OK. I was doing great. No shrink needed thanks. I even had a giggle at the thought that the doctor thought I even needed this.

Well, it seems as though I do need this.

I can deal with the boob being cut off and thrown away. I can deal with my friend Summers version of my little boob (the nipple) being cut off and thrown away too. My surgeon is certain he has gotten all of the cancer out of my body. So what on earth am I anxious about?

My doctor today confirmed I am HER2 positive and whilst I don’t know much about it, I do know that anything on top of breast cancer and lymph node cancer, having HER2 positive can’t be good but I brushed it off. I said, oh dear Mr K, thats not cool hey? He replied with, a few years ago, having the HER2 diagnosis wouldn’t have been good but today, you are looking at a long and healthy life.

So, why am I suffering increased anxiety?

I am taking the anxiety medication that I have taken for years. It is the highest dosage I can have so what happens next? I dont want to be snappy because it comes across as ungrateful. I am not ungrateful and do not want to be seen as ungrateful. Is it not enough to deal with stage 3 breast cancer, lymph node cancer, HER2 positive, being overweight, about to lose all my hair and add to that increased anxiety?

Why can’t champagne be the medication to beat all of this? Why can’t I go to the chemo centre and they put a few bottles of Moet or Mumm or Trilogy in front of me, served by a topless and buff man with a cheese, caviar, crab meat, picked squid and a gluten free cracker platter? I am almost certain this would cure my anxiety issues.

In any case.Β  I think I’ll see my new local GP and ask again about this ‘care plan’ to have a shrink. A care plan is something the government offers that costs tax payers (others would say free but yes, I do know where these so called ‘free’ services come from) and get onto the shrink option and see how I can deal with this increased anxiety.

It kinda also seems trivial to complain about anxiety through this. Like saying, oh wow, I have a headache … sounds absolutely pathetic and not worth discussing seeing as though I have breast cancer and am fighting the fight of my life. Why bring up a headache, a tooth ache, it all seems quite trivial doesn’t it?

What I am happy about today are as follows…

*Β  lots of hugs and kind words from the wonderful people at my work who really meant what they said

*Β  my wonderful man who accepts the anxiety as a part of the journey of breast cancer and doesn’t dismiss it

*Β  organising a huge get together of my mum and mother in law , daughter and her partner to celebrate mothers day

*Β  having the mountains of fluid syringed from my body to prevent infection

*Β  comfortably admitting anxiety is coming on strong and ready to take it on and do something about it

*Β  to have a beautiful and comfortable home to recuperate in through my chemo adventure

Oh Shit! Just went over 1K words for this blog, there is no chance my lovely men Sam and Ian W will read this through…. way too long for them xx