Plodding Along

The title says it all. I honestly feel like I am just plodding along through life and I feel lost. Each day (during the week) feels the same. Poor Dr Hands is really struggling to cheer me up and I want to cheer up but I can’t. I just feel down. I feel nothing. I don’t feel happiness.

I thought I would feel this through the recovering from surgery phase. I didn’t.

I thought I would feel it through chemotherapy. I didn’t.

Yes, there were times that I struggled here and there through each of the above but the feelings were so far and few between.

Recovering from surgery was ok because I was inundated with such lovely visitors, love, flowers, gifts, medication etc.

Chemotherapy I had Sam feeding, drugging and watering me. People (my mum) visiting and the neighbours caring for me. Medication to make me feel better and there seemed like a kind of purpose to it all.

Now, I am having radiotherapy and I am all twisted in the head. Is it possible that radiation brings you down? I have struggled with anxiety disorder for many years and I wonder if the radiotherapy has cancelled my medication out?

Or, is it the drive to and from the city each day, sitting in a waiting room that is depressing and full of very old people that brings me down?

Maybe it is the Radiotherapy clinic I attend that brings me down.

The oncology unit I went to for chemo was always upbeat and all of the staff knew me and smiled and hello’d me. Some would ask me about my blog and if Sam wasn’t with me they would ask about him by name.

The radiotherapy unit is different. The receptionists (except one) are grumpy and not at all friendly. The patients in the waiting room are all elderly and so frail looking. I want to feed these people and make them smile but they wont look at me let alone talk to me.

There is a big difference between oncology and radiation.

And another thing. Have I told you that I have lymphodema? Well, I had my first lymphodema massage two weeks ago and oh wow, it was amazing. I loved it. One hour of left arm and left side massage was incredible.

Well, I had another of these appointments today and it was shit. There was no lovely massage but it was some kind of laser therapy. I dont want that. This laser thing just flashed and beeped for an hour as the lady ran from room to room changing all the laser thingies on each of us but it sucked. I wanted my massage. Where was my massage?

The massage/laser lady said that there had been a slight improvement in my elbow crease but the rest of my arm had remained the same. All of my own personal massage and squeezing of the memory foam thingy had done nothing. I want my massage back.

This laser therapy was so much like having my car tuned. I pay a fortune but can’t see or feel any difference.

Then, I had my radiation appointment which was 2 hours and 20 minutes after my crap laser therapy so I took myself out for lunch which was amazing. I went to a city cafe and they made me a gorgeous, gluten free and tender chicken tenderloin salad with a hint of sweet chili and balsamic salad. Amazing!

I had been told that the whole of South Terrace (where my clinic for radiotherapy is) would be closed off today so I made sure I had at least an hour and a half to find some where to park (imagining a two block walk) only to find that the entire of South Terrace was not blocked off at all. The work men had resurfaced the road on the weekend instead so, I ended up parking right in front of my clinic in a two hour spot and at my appointment one hour and twenty minutes early! FFS.

Blow me down with a feather but they had a free spot that someone had cancelled (it was hot today so the patient couldn’t come in) and I went in and was zapped in no time. Quick hello to Professor Borg (he is monitoring my treatment and wont let me lose any weight until after radiotherapy) and I was on my way.

Driving home I said to me,

“Me, I think you should have an alcohol free day today”

I was home for 10 minutes before getting back into the car to drive to the local bottle shop to get some bubbles. No, I do not think I am an alcoholic. Yes, I love the bubbles fizzing on my tongue hehe. AND it is nice on my sore radiation infected throat. It is medicinal!!!

As anyone knows, I do not like the words side effects but use the word ‘feelings’ when it comes to something that has occurred during treatment.

Here are my feelings with radiotherapy.

  1. Burnt throat. It feels like tonsillitis. When I eat or drink it hurts and feels like the liquid or food has to go through a big lump in my throat to get down. The Professor has recommended taking two pandadol before each meal. This is silly because apparently you are only supposed to take a maximum of 8 panadol a day. Has he seen the size of me? Obviously I eat more than three times a day!! Not anymore.
  2. Redness on my shoulder, front and back. So, I am being zapped not only on the ‘bomb site’ but also my collar bone and shoulder because of being HER2 positive and the cancer being known to pop into these areas. The bomb site, where my lovely leftie boobie was taken from, is slightly itchy but nothing too bad.
  3. Depression. I’ll work out why that is occurring and will get back to you.

As usual, Dr Hands is on call for cuddles, kisses and love. He is worried about me, I can see this and I am trying so very hard to make this easier for him but it is hard. He has known me too long and can see straight through me.

If you are new to this blog, Dr Hands is my fiancee Sam and he doesn’t read this blog (Phew).

The recent highlights are

  1. My gorgeous and amazing daughter, Accalia-Jayne, came with me to my herceptin appointment and radiotherapy appointment last Thursday. We had coffee between appointments and after appointments. This girl of mine (22 years old) is an amazing person and can make me laugh, can hold a conversation and has amazing social skills and manners.
  2. My team from work’s Christmas Lunch. I haven’t seen these people since April 7 2015. I love that I was invited to the Christmas Lunch and they all had a hug for me, made me laugh and feel a part of the team again. AND, they want me back hehe. I’ll be back at work soon and I can’t wait!
  3. A trip to the beach with my long time friend Tracey, her son Ben and my gorgeous boy (groodle dog) Brady. We started with a drive to Willunga for lunch and then proceeded to Aldinga Beach where I watched Ben (who is aged 4 foot?? I think about 6 or 7 years old??) encourage Brady into the water with no effort at all. I have never seen Brady in the beach water or, so bloody clean after being in the water! Check out the photo below, Ben took Brady much further into the water but I like to live my life through my eyes and not a camera.
  4. A lovely and gentle visit from my Mum on Saturday. She always makes me feel calm and relaxed
  5. Sam bought me a Santa to go with the Reindeer! He is getting into the Christmas spirit (or just suffering for the cause).
  6. I made a new friend today. Leslie has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and has MY surgeon and MY hospital. She seems amazing (we are communicating via facebook) but I must remember, these early times of being told of having breast cancer are frightening and I must be sensitive. (I am quite blase about it all at the moment and do not want to be like that with a new cancer patient).
  7. I am still alive.

I shall leave you with a giggle, if you have the giggleness of my neighbour Clare who thought these two photos were hilarious!

Photo 1. Dogs plus reindeer, all happy and awake. Kelly (red staffy x) and Brady Bailey-Wilkinson (white groodle) are kissing in front of Smiley (reindeer)

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This is after all the fun and games

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Ben and Brady

Look Who Came To Visit!!

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These two wonderful ‘peeps’ are my gorgeous daughter Accalia-Jayne and her dog Buster. OMG OMG OMG how gorgeous are they both? Seriously, my daughter has always been gorgeous but her dog which she and her Grandma Lorraine share, Buster, is just amazing.

I am a dog person, that is no secret but rarely do I actually fall in love with someone elses dog until today. Buster is just beautiful. He is only about 10 months old, huge but so well behaved.

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It absolutely made my day to see my gorgeous daughter (and puppy) because this week is chemo week. I am ready to go with the second to last chemo but boy, did Buster make my week a whole lot better. AND my lovely daughter bought me some gorgeous flowers…

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My house is now full of flowers because gorgeous neighbour Clare, who I invited over to meet Buster, also bought me some flowers from her ‘iron lady’

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And just in case you get some Buster blues… here are some more piccies of that gorgeous guy….

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Talking to The Kid

So, I was chatting with Accalia yesterday and boy, I just don’t kids grow up so quick and wise these days.

I am a very proud mother to Accalia who is 22 years old and whilst we text more than we talk due to this cancer and chemo bizzo, I keep thinking of something she said to me yesterday.

Being the misery guts that I was (which I think is a bit unusual for me because I have been quite positive about all of it so far but the loss of my engagement ring may have tipped me over the edge slightly)… any whoo I was complaining to Accalia on the phone about how my four hour chemo, reaction to the dye from the heart pool test and the loss of my ring and how this was meant to be the best year of my life.

Sam and I were handed the keys to our brand new built house to our design on the 19th of December 2014, the same day my gorgeous man Sam proposed to me. I had a new ‘promotion’ job which I loved, everything was going so great and now this cancer and chemo and radiotherapy and all the other bullshit. She was very patient listening to me blubber away on the phone.

My gorgeous and very intelligent daughter responded with….

The best year is just on hold Mummy, it might well be next year.

Thank you my girl for your words of wisdom. These words of yours have kept running through my head. You know me, I am not one to dwell on much so to have a few days of blugh is a bit of a shock to me. Thanks for grounding me. Love you to bits.

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Uniden Digital Camera
Uniden Digital Camera

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Hemorrhoids and Surprises

You are so so lucky that lunch today turned out a hell of  a lot differently than I had anticipated because, this post was going to be a whole lot different. After what I thought was going to be a lovely lunch with my mum, daughter and her girlfriend I was going to come home and talk to you about hemorrhoids. BUT, the day took a turn that I was not expecting.

Accalia (daughter) had wanted to catch up for a belated birthday family lunch and me being me, and her being her, I did not find it overly strange for this request even though her birthday was in April and even though I didn’t see her on her actual birthday because she was in Perth, I have seen her since her birthday. My daughter and I can often do things a little differently and thats ok.

Anyhoo, mum was joining us so she picked me up because apparently I can’t be trusted to drive to and from a place because I can get very tired very quickly and Sam doesn’t trust me. Met Accalia at the wonderful Miss Perez and I felt a little bad that Sam didn’t join us because he, well, he is Sam and Accalias partner couldn’t make it because of work and we were sitting at a kinda big table for just the three of us.

Then there appeared two child seats to our table and I am trying to work out who on earth is joining us because I dont know many little people and suddenly my fantastic friend Nicole and her gorgeous little man Jordan arrived! Nicole is minutes away from giving birth to surprise baby number 3 and looks amazing! Then, following behind was Mia with her three gorgeous kids and I will tell you their correct names being Roarke, Juno and Olive!

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It turns out that these people have been doing a wee fundraiser for the bald girl herself (thats me!). I was so surprised and humbled. I couldn’t believe it and then to hear the people involved in the background was just beautiful! I was so surprised by it all I almost lost an eyebrow (well, what’s left of them anyway).

To know that people have been buying delish chocolates that to raise money for me to splurge on myself, to do what ever it is I want just for me, was incredible.

Inside the bag was a card from Nicole and her boys (thanks for the wonderful drawing of me in bed with flowers and butterflies from Jordan), A lovely note from Mia explaining what all this money is for, photocopies of the journey they took to collect this money and get this, the money is mostly coins! I LOVE THAT! They didn’t have time to get to a bank to get it changed into notes. There is over $420 in this jar. And this is what that looks like..

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I am still so shocked and amazed by the effort and work these wonderful people have gone through. To hear of the people who worked on this project was amazing, people I rarely or never see, people I do see but kept it all very quiet.

To those who read this you can be thankful not only that I have amazing people in my life but the fact you didn’t have to read about my new subject Hemorrhoids…….

And just when I think the day couldn’t get any better, I get a message from my good friends daughter Millie telling me they’ve left something in my letter box for me and OMG, it is from her sister Talia. She has bought me a gorgeous, woolly and the cutest beanie EVER! Can you guess where she got it from?

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In case you can’t read backwards, it says New Zealand and I love it.

Today has been absolutely amazing and I thank each and everyone of you who have been a part of all of this and please know it means so very much to me.

I can’t wait to let you know who I intend to spoil myself…….. OMG all this money just for me???!!! Thank you everyone xx

The Straw ….

I’ve got cancer. Isn’t that enough to deal with in one year?

I’ll be honest right now. I have had a wee bit to drink. My preferred beverage is sparkling wine. It used to be known as champagne until the french said no, you can’t call it champagne unless it is from France but what ever, I am having bubbly stuff because boy, what a day.

When Sam (Dr Hands) and I built our beautiful home, I didn’t think life could get much better. We have a beautiful, brand new, super polished, enormous house built for a family of five (minimum) for the two of us. I kept thinking, this can’t be real, this cant be my life. Then, the day we got our keys, he got down on one knee and showed me he wanted to keep me in his life forever with a beautiful diamond engagement ring. Wow, I have the world!

The other amazing thing to have happened when we built our house was something from my inlaws. Sams mum and dad. Dad is not Sam’s sperm donor dad but has been Sam’s step father (I totally hate the step crap) for many years now so I think of them as mum and dad. They asked us to ensure we get income insurance. Being in the secure world of banking, I couldn’t see a need to be honest. My job was great. I work for a sensational bank and had recently been promoted. Sam, well, his job isn’t as secure as mine but in any case,  Sam and I both took out income insurance.

Who’d have known ‘we’ would need it so quickly.

This isn’t the reason for this post. This is a post I am writing but am not sure I will post. I will word it without any nasty words in case at the end of my drunken rant, I do hit the ‘publish’ button. But OMG, today has totally sucked.

Remember yesterday? I became bald. Sam and I had a ceremony to shave my head because the hair was coming out thick and fast. I hated the feel of the random hair on my arm, shoulder, face etc. Seeing a strand here and there on my keyboard was not enjoyable at all. So off it all came.

When I posted the blog and pics on facebook I was totally overwhelmed by the love, compassion and surprise even, of the comments left on my page. I know teenagers count on the ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ on facebook and it becomes ‘who they are’ but for me, well, it is a way to let my family and friends know whats going on. I think I blitzed any teenagers average likes from my bald head. I totally have an amazing group of people who support me and think I look A OK with no hair xx

I am so lucky and shall I say, gifted, to have so many family and friends who generally care about me. I can’t see a lot of my family regularly because I live 45 kilometers from the city, I never know when I am going to have a good day, they work, I sleep etc. I know my family and friends care. Remember the cousins booking a cleaner to look after me each fortnight for three months? My work buddies collecting so much money that there was a bag full of helpful PJ’s, shrugs, a beautiful glass house candle, vouchers and so much more, I am speechless with the people who have come forward to ‘help’ me through this cancer bizzo.

Then a bombshell comes along. Seriously, because stage 3 breast cancer isn’t enough. Losing a boob, facing six months of chemo, six months of radiotherapy and hormone crap isn’t enough. There is more.

He decides, oh, I know her (seeing me on someone elses facebook page) she is my daughter! Well, let me tell you Mr, I am NOT your daughter. I am my mums daughter. Thats it. There is no one else I am a daughter too. I am a daughter in law to my gorgeous and amazing soon to be in laws Sharon and Michael. But I am NOT your daughter and you have no right to call me that. My name is Amanda-Jayne Bailey. No where in that name do you appear.

This is how small South Australia is. I have an amazing set of neighbours across the road. As are the ones next door but today, we will focus on Nana and Poppy. Nana’s sister knows him. He, the sperm donor, recognised me from her face book and decided, oh, I should get in touch with her.

Um, well, you know I am in my mid forties right? You have had lots and lots of years to think of this. How is it that a picture, a photo, a facebook piece of crap is what it takes for you to remember, oh yeah thats right, I had a few kids way back when.

Well guess what shit head, you do not enter my head. You are nothing to me. Do not think for a moment my breast cancer, my fight for life is going to make me want to know you. You have had forty years to pop on by and say hi. You have had forty years to recognise me and my wonderful sister as your kids.

I have breast cancer and in my opinion, that is easier to deal with that hearing from my neighbours sister that you are kinda interested in getting to know me. Well, F*ck You. How about when I was healthy? How about when I gave birth to your grandchild? And dont even think she will want to know you because she has two amazing grandmothers, a great grandma, aunts and uncles all over the place and more love that you’ll ever know.

I love that my neighbour came to me with this news. It was hard for her. I could tell. My great neighbour who, nothing fazes was totally out of her comfort zone had to give me this news. Then I spoke to her equally amazing sister to discuss this. What really makes me angry is that Adelaide is so little. So small that you still didn’t ever, in all of these years, take the time to come find me. To better yourself and be a man. Still, you have to take the easy way out and get someone else to do your dirty work.

I really hope you read this and see the person you are. The person you have always been.

Well, I have a man in my life who is 110% better than you. My soon to be father in law loves me to bits and pieces. He has loved me and seen me cry and walked me through my breast cancer,my tough times being a mum, my joy with our new home etc. He has what you will never have. He has my love.

Leave me be. Let me love my man, my family, my in laws and more than anything, dont you ever, ever try to contact my daughter. She knows you from my sister and myself what you are like. We haven’t had to exaggerate.  She has no time for the person you are. Leave her be too, to love her partner Stacey, to be a big sister to her siblings and enjoy the love from genuine people.

Let me fight my cancer. Let me aim for the sky and get healthy, married, loved, smile and live.

Let me appologise to the people you have made uncomfortable and have made come to see me and pass on your bullshit message. Leave them be. Leave it all be. You do not belong in my life.

I do not need you, just like you dont need me. Do not converse about me at your ‘local’. I am not a part of your world. Let me go. Let me be.

I am a daughter to one person only, and that is my Mum. A woman you never deserved. A woman who gave you two wonderful daughters who you didn’t care for and daughters who now, do not count you as a part of their lives apart from being a sperm donor. That is all you are to me.

Be gone.

Tonight is the last night you will ever have the power to make me cry!

You do not belong in my life.

My Regret… or is it my wish?

My life has been one of a lot of different experiences, friends, men, lovers, drugs, alcohol, parties, ideas, dreams, homes, locations, jobs, etc. I have not have had one regret until now. Even now I am not sure it is even a regret but a wish. It is something anyway that I feel important to talk about.

Rightie.

So, leftie was cut off, thrown in the bin along with the cancer who had invaded her and I was so pleased and grateful my lovely surgeon had removed her from my body, my life. But, what about rightie. Don’t tell rightie but in all honesty, I wonder why she is still here. Why was she not given the same treatment as leftie. I feel awful saying this but, I don’t want rightie here. I don’t want rightie to have to deal with what leftie went through. To have to develop an illness so horrible as cancer. I even told my Mr Kollias that I didn’t care to have rightie but everything was in such a hurry, a rush to get rid of Leftie with her disease called cancer invading her and her good neighbours and friends lymph nodes.

Why did my lovely, amazing surgeon Mr Kollias, not take rightie when he took leftie. Everything happened so fast that I didn’t even have a moment to take it all in but if I had, I would have asked, even demanded for rightie to be taken at the same time as leftie.

With all of the amazing and not so amazing things I have lived, endured, seen and experienced in my 43 three years of life, this is my only regret to date . To have not asked my surgeon to take them both. To let them rot in the bin together. I want the whole lot gone. The risk to be gone. No breasts, no lady bits (yes, my surgeon wants to do the whole hysterectomy) and I want to know why it wasn’t all done at the same time.

Thursday I will see my Mr Kollias and I will ask him but that doesn’t change the fact that it all wasn’t done during the one surgery.

I realise my last post only written a few hours ago talks of a shopping list but if I give anyone advice on breast cancer, please ask your surgeon (if you want) to take both breasts to save time. Go the hysterectomy if you are like me wanting to take all precautions available.

Thankfully I have an amazing daughter (Accalia-Jayne) and am in no need to go and have anymore children because you know what? I got it right the first time (which is great because I have some weird arse heart condition thing that doesn’t like me being pregnant) so I am more than ready to get rid of it all.  My lady bits, not my heart.

I am no Angelina Jolie but she is a great role model in showing you can get rid of both breasts and have the hysterectomy to go that bit further to save your life. I am so much like her, without the height, gorgeous hair and lips, slim and womanly body, the money and films, the fame, but other than that we are totally alike 🙂

Again, I can’t sleep. So I shall annoy you all with my thoughts, my ideas, my dreams and my wishes.

Tonight I cried again and I am not impressed. I am hoping it is just the bubbles, the lack of sleep but the song that Sam and I call our 2015 song came on. Not sure if you have heard it but it is ‘I wasn’t expecting that” by some guy who is traveling Australia supporting Ed Sheeran.  I heard it on Nova radio one day just before I got my cancer confirmation and I thought, geez, he is a wee bit repetitive but I loved the story. He met a girl, they kissed, she spent the night, they fell in love, months went into years and kids happened and moved on etc…. it really was a beautiful story. You get totally sucked into his love story but blow me down, she gets cancer. He doesn’t say it but you just know she gets it because, near the end of the song the nurses tell them, it’s come back again. Thankfully they have had a great life but shit, we all know we are going to die but we don’t plan our lives around it and this song just zeros in on that last bit. The cancer is back and she leaves him. He wasn’t expecting that. I dont want to leave my Sam. I dont want to close my eyes and leave him to go on without me. These thoughts, the song, the film clip, the bubbles I am enjoying, well, combined, I had tears. And that’s ok because I have cancer.