How to say Goodbye to Brady….

I loooooove animals. I can just ooh and aah my way through facebook for hours on end looking at all the animals in the world but, there is one animal that has captured my heart from the moment I met him and has continued to do so for his whole life.

Having said the above, I am not usually one to be absolutely smitten with a puppy. I love them, enjoy cuddling them, adore their puppy smells but, can walk away and not think of them again.

Until I met Brady.

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Baby Brady Bailey-Wilkinson (8 Weeks Old)

I had gone to Willunga to meet my new boyfriends family and they were Groodle breeders. Sam (then boyfriend, now husband) asked if I wanted to go and see the puppies and I shrugged and said ok.

There they were, lots and lots of puppies, all scrambling for my attention as well as the mum and dad of said puppies. All of these white/cream dogs, wet noses pushing through the gate hoping for a scratch or pat and then I saw him.

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Brady didn’t want to stop growing (12 weeks old)

A rolly poly fat little dopey puppy, sitting all on his own, looking around as though he couldn’t work out where everyone else went. They were all of five feet in front of him but he didn’t seem to know that so just sat there looking as gorgeous as can be.

Well, that was the end of me.

Brady And Kelly (Both 6 Months Old)

I hadn’t had a dog in years and didn’t really pine for one until Brady. Oh I thought of him day and night after that first meeting. That first cuddle when Sam handed him to me when I asked if I could hold him. His big little paws seemed to wrap themselves around me neck to have a longer, more snuggly cuddle.

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Brady trying to get his fur back (and I have my natural 2 boobs!)

That was, until the day Sam bought Brady down to my city apartment and we became a couple. Brady and I. Me and Brady. We were a team and my gosh he was one handsome fellow.

Nine years later we are the best of friends but something has changed.

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Now, it isn’t me fighting the horrid cancer but my boy Brady. Unlike me, Brady doesn’t have an action plan to get rid of it. It is deep within him and now it is up to Sam and I to keep him comfortable, provide him with all of his favourite treats and give him as many cuddles as we possibly can until the day comes.

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He is on his pain medication to keep him comfortable. He sleeps a lot.

He also knows something is wrong.

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Sometimes Brady became a little too obsessed with is toys and one day, Papa Sam took all of his toys away. Brady then found a piece of sandpaper and bought it to me to ‘throw’ for him. I almost did a little wee in my pants from laughing at his serious face. 

 

Since when is he aloud to sit on Papa Sams sofa and eat a whole packet of salt and vinegar chips with him?

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When did Mama Bailey decide I can have a bone in her office while she is working?

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The tumor is in his left hip and has created a great deal of pain in his left leg that he can put no weight on it.

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This does not stop him bringing his ball to us in the hope we’ll throw it for him to chase. I have tried to explain to Brady that running after a ball on three legs on timber floor boards is going to create all kinds of havoc.

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Brady sleeps in my home office while I work through the day (geez, I must clean those windows!)

He doesn’t quite get it.

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Unhappily medicated and cold on the morning of 14/9/2017

We have carpet runners now all through the house because he simply can’t manoeuvre his three working legs on the slippery floor boards. Thankfully we have a great community that has donated carpet to us. Thank you Kirsty Binney.

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Mr Bald Bum – Where the vet took the biopsy

The time hasn’t come yet to say our goodbyes to our boy. We don’t know how many days or weeks we have left but I can assure you, each and every day our Brady is with us, it is going to be a day to bring Brady something worth wagging his tail for.

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My Pity Party

Live kinda sucks at the moment. I know, it sucks for everyone. I also know, I am one of the lucky ones but, that does not discount my current mood with life.

My passion has gone. There is little to no energy for the day. I have started smoking cigarettes again, drinking too much alcohol, no money in the bank, very little weight loss after walking more than 5kms a day, no excitement about anything, fed up with oncology visits (only four left), seriously dull fiction book, nothing capturing my interest on TV, Foxtel or Netflix, reduction on my food intake but still not much of a weight loss, painful teeth, blocked tear ducts that the optometrist ‘sort of’ fixed but need more painful work, unfinished back garden,  Brady upsetting the neighbours with his barking, sore and bruised nose from falling on it last weekend……….. yep, I could go on and on. Oh, and the big issue, AM STILL FAT!

So, I decided a while ago that I was going to be completely healthy and refresh my body. Why on earth would I decide then to take up smoking again? Who knows. I know the dangers of smoking and cancer and chemo and death. The thing is, I dont give a shit about anything at the moment. I wish I could but I can’t.

I have no passion. There is nothing right now that excites me. I am trying to focus on my upcoming November wedding in 2017 but all I can focus on is the fact we have no money, I am fat and our back yard is totally unsuitable for my budget reception.

NO, I am not looking for sympathy but maybe blogging and letting it out might release some of this built up crap that goes on within me.

I am so sick of being so tired. Today, I couldn’t go to work simply due to a headache and tiredness. Who on earth needs to call in sick for these issues? Me! I slept until midday and even then, I could have slept even longer if I didn’t have an oncology/herceptin appointment. I love my work/job but I just couldn’t do it today. If I didn’t have that oncology appointment, I’d probably still be in bed.

Every day my bestie/cousin and I  email each other with how we are, whats going on and we list a minimum of three things we are thankful for for the day. I would be lost and even worse than what I am without that.

I think I need to find not only a passion but, I really need my energy and motivation back. I know I’ll find it eventually but wow, these negatives in my life are totally blocking all that I need and want right now. This is a time that I should be joyous, happy that I still have my life, nearing the end of my cancer treatment, a beautiful home, sensational Sam, amazing daughter and mum and sister…….. But right now, it all kinda sucks.pity

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

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.

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 🙂

 

 

My Amazing Saturday

My amazing Saturday is thanks to so many people. I am imagining myself, right now, on a pedestal (this will not surprise anyone who knows me) giving the speak on a particular day of the week that was amazing.

Lets start with Saturday morning.

Well, I lay in bed until 11am due to a kick arse hangover thanks to Brady. He didn’t know when to tell me when to stop. So I drank and drank and drank and he said nothing. He just loved me like he always does.

Here is Brady for those of you that don’t know him.

IMG_0003I am posting this photo because he is not aloud on the sofa. He only does this when I am drinking and I find it so cute and adorable and instead of telling him to get off the sofa, I take photos of him instead 🙂

So anyhoo, I finally got out of bed with said hangover, had a shower, listened to Sam talk AT me about being hungover and then I had a guest visitor by the name of Uncle Mark.

No, he is not my Uncle but is my daughters Uncle on her fathers side. Did you get that? Anyway, he has always been ‘Uncle Mark’ to me since Accalia (said daughter) was born which is 22 years now. He came to visit me 🙂 He drove all the way from the other side of town, battled the city road works (he is not a patient driver) and headed up to the country and not only did he visit but he had a gift for me too.

Oh, this is Uncle Mark and my gorgeous daughter on her 18th Birthday.

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Anyhoo, like I was saying, he also bought me a present. It was wrapped in gorgeous green wrapping paper and was kind of the shape of a box. I totally thought he had bought me a puppy but this was not to be. The only thing better than a puppy is ……….BUBBLES!

And not just one bottle of Jacobs Creek Trilogy Sparkling Wine but 6 of the amazing bottles!! SIX BOTTLES!! My eye balls nearly popped out of my head! Thank you Uncle Mark not only for coming all this way to visit Sam and I but also for the bubbles, funny stories, laughs and chats. It was great to see you and can’t wait to see you and your team on Friday 🙂 *special mention to Veronica **Aka Bez, Berry, Bezalicious** for confirming to Uncle Mark what it is that I drink gallons off xx

The Wedding!

Seriously, this was a beautiful and amazing wedding. They all are I know I know but this one was different for me.

This wedding I was going there as a bald, burnt and cancer recovering woman with pretty finger nails and amazing Fiancee. 1st stop was to book a love shack, I mean, hotel room, because this wedding was well over an hour away from where we live. Thankfully, cousin Linda and her hubby Reuben were on hand to collect us from the side of the road and take us to the wedding. Check out the Bride and Groom. Tell me she doesn’t look like Princess Mary!!?? OMG, totally gorgeous couple and totally cute baby Isabella-Rose!

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I asked bride Tania to give me a royal wave and she did. The groom is my cousin Andrew Martin and obviously, their gorgeous baby is my 2nd cousin. I could just gobble her up. Look at her walking down the aisle.

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I had received so many hugs and kisses from my amazing and supportive family that I had to remind myself that this day was NOT about me but about the gorgeous and newly married couple.

My poor suffering but loving Sam was there by my side. He not only was by my side but could tell when it was a bit too much and I needed air or a rest. He really is amazing. Sam isn’t the most social person, and would much prefer to be at home but suffers through my begging and pleading that I do every so often to join me in these events.

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Here we are, two amazing people who have had a pretty trying year and two people who are going to be looking at their health and well being in the new year. hehe

You know how at weddings, there is the bridal dance, and then the father daughter dance and then everyone dances…. well, I am used to sitting these out but blow me down but did my man hold his hand out and offer the dance to me. I almost cried. I can’t do that though because it might mess up my eye make up LOL. That is a joke because I have no eye lashes or eyemake up. Anyhoo, cousin Linda took this photo which I absolutely love!

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Ok, I might look like an Alien and I have never ever seen Sam smile in a photo (Thanks Linda for getting him at the right moment) (He was giving my cousin Linda the finger!) but I love it. He asked me to dance!

Speaking of my cousin Linda…. Well, it turns out that she stayed right until the end of the night just for me. I was having a hoot of a time, even though I got a little tired occasionally (from my amazing Beyonce dancing) and her husband (who is a truck driver and had only had 1/2 hour sleep before the wedding) was sleeping in the car, she let me have a good time. Both Linda and Sam were happy for me to enjoy my night and they didn’t end it soon as I am sure they had both wanted too.

Oh, check out this gorgeous photo of my mum and I. Thank you to Sam for taking it 🙂

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Here is my cousin Tamara (Sister of the groom) and I. Keep in mind it is the end of the night and my eyes and skin have turned a bit yellow/orange.

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At the end of the night, Cousin Linda with sleepy husband Reuben drove Sam and I back to our hotel room and Granny hitched a lift. Now, I recon Granny is about 86 years old (possibly a year or two older) and after Sam had HOISTERED her into the four wheel drive, we set off. I happened to mention an incident that occurred when I was about 6 or so.

Keep in mind that our Granny has 13 Grandchildren and I dont know how many great grandchildren. Anyway, So I say, hey Gran, remember when you smacked me for My Sister cracking her head open?

Without a beat Granny says to me, Well I told you NOT to go out the gate but you did and you went to Mr Smalls house next door. Wowza, transported back to being a kid and I almost burst into bloody tears waiting for a smack. Granny was not a bit smacker but I got a smack for this and told to wait outside while my sister, Annette, was fixed up. That woman, Granny, is absolutely bloody amazing.

This is Granny. (thank you Ali for letting me take the photo you took of her, oh, Ali, do you mind if I use this pic?)

Granny

I think it is safe to say that I had an amazing time at the wedding. I had even sent a message to the bride and groom prior to the wedding day asking if it was ok for me to be bald at their wedding. They lovingly said they didn’t care if I was bald or hairy so that made me feel a whole lot better.

Thanks to chemo, I seem to have entered early menopause and this causes a lot of hot flushes and having anything on my head is more of an irritant than anything else. Anyway, I don’t need to look at myself while attending events so it works well. I just have to be ready when I see any photos that yes, that is me looking like the alien.

Thankfully I am comfortable being bald and find it more pleasurable and comfortable than anything else. My amazing friend Kathy Tilling has sent me her wig in case I need it and I have many scarfs for head coverings. I am incredibly fortunate but for the time being, bald is best 🙂

This weekend has been incredible. I think it may take me a week to get over the dancing, drinking, laughter and happy tears but it will have all been worth it to see an amazing couple unite as one.

Thank you again Uncle Mark for your visit and very thoughtful gift.

Thank you to the ‘Royal Couple’ for having us attend such a beautiful and amazing event.

Thank you to mum for taking me out the day before for a bit of pampering.

Thank you to Linda and Roobs for the lifts to and from the event, to Linda for the laughs and chats (Sam said he is really not that quiet, he just couldn’t get a bloody word in between you and I hehe), Roobs for sleeping in the car to make sure I had a good time.

Most of all, thank you to my Sam (Dr Hands) for being there by my side, for taking some photos for me, looking out for me, piling me with bubbles, dancing with me and loving me.

 

 

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

Knuckleless

So, it wasn’t enough to be left side boobless, hairless, eyebrowless & eyelashless that I now have to be knuckleless.

I know I know, there are a few of you out there that have told me to go to the ladies who can assist with lymphedema but I just couldn’t do it through chemotherapy. I was simply too sick to make appointments and keep to them.

Now, I am paying the price with my balloon hand and no knuckles on my left hand.

Thankfully I get my ‘roster’ for the next seven radiation visits because no, they are not at the same time each day. Once I get the roster I can then make an appointment with the special people who will fix me right up.

It is really bizarre though because my hand only swelled up a day, oh no hang on, three days ago. I noticed while I was driving that there were no knuckles on my left hand. Where the bloody hell are my knuckles I was thinking and then it hit me. The lymphy thingy.

It could be a heat thing. It is almost 40 degrees in South Australia today and was really hot yesterday too. Ok fine, it isn’t the heat but it could be ok! And, can you believe, my appointment for radiation today is at 4pm. I have an hour and a half of driving there and back in 40 degree temperatures. Thank goodness for airconditioning.

On a good, or even amazing note, I am loving life right now. Yes, I have radiation each and every day except weekends but I have energy, I am happy, I am motivated (sometimes) and it is almost the Christmas season.

My house has the beautiful Christmas tree up with decorations galore, tinsel in the windows, reindeer and Santa and other figurines around the house.

Ok, thats about me for today. The dogs and I are sitting in a dark house to keep it cool and to save on electricity by not putting the air conditioner on until absolutely necessary. I will cross my fingers there are no bushfires today because yesterdays bushfire at Kuipto was a little too close for comfort.

Stay cool Adelaidians 🙂

 

My Life of Contradiction

Be Advised – This is directed at no particular person but me…

I have read so many blogs and articles where people have stopped or delayed chemo because their body just simply couldn’t cope with the pressure of chemo. I totally get this.

This Thursday will be my 8th and final (fingers crossed) chemo session and bring it on I say. I have had enough. My energy and enthusiasm has gone. Not a great deal excites me. Not a lot makes me happy but having said that, not a lot makes me sad. I just feel like a jelly fish going through the motions.

Chemo is tough. Not everyone agrees with chemo and thats ok. But I agree with it. I have read and today even heard about people who have stopped chemo half way through because it was too tough for their body and mind. I totally get this but for me,  I was never going to give up.

I have an amazing daughter who may not need me but I want to be around for her. A gorgeous and amazing fiancee and his family that I do not want to leave, then of course my amazing fur babies and all of my neighbours and friends etc. I will do everything I possibly can, regardless if people agree or not, to keep myself alive and live a long and amazing life.

The story I heard today was of a man who started chemo but found it really tough (and I totally get this because chemo really does suck) but within no time at all, had cancer again.

To those who do get cancer and decide to not go the chemo and or radiotherapy route – thats great but, let those who DO want to take this route do it and do it without guilt.

These last two weeks have been really tough on me and I wonder if I will regret this post tomorrow because my emotions are high, energy is low, tolerance is low etc.

I should be absolutely delighted that I have only 1 more chemo session left and that is this Thursday but I am not delighted. I am tired. I am exhausted. I have had enough of feeling like shit, having no energy, listening to bullshit from ‘friends and family’ about what they think are major issues in their lives that makes me want to smash my head against the wall etc.

What I am greatfull for are the family members and of course, Dr Hands, telling me it is all ok. Agreeing that some of these people are worthy of bashing my head against the wall. They love and accept me and understand that whilst my cancer diagnosis was six months ago, it is still alive and well today. Yes, it has been cut out but it doesn’t end with surgery, there is such a long journey that goes with cancer.

It isn’t a headache where I can take a tablet but complain it is still there two days later.

It isn’t a flu that has me in bed for a week.

It is effing Cancer.

On the plus side, my bum fluff on my head is starting to look like hair and even though Dr Hands swears it is totally grey, it is totally platinum blonde.

Another plus, last chemo this week means that in a few weeks, I will hopefully start to feel some energy start to come back into my body, some happiness, tolerance, positivity and everything else I used to have.

But right now, I shall wallow in my self pity because shit, I think I have earnt this. I am usually very positive and happy and looking at the brighter side of life but not only does cancer, chemo, medication, people with no idea can really bring you down. I do love that when I burst into tears for absolutely no reason that Dr Hands was on board to give me the hug I needed and just made it all that little bit better.

Nope, I am not looking for pity or anything like that, I think this post is more to remind me that even though I was pretty light hearted and positive through this cancer journey, there were some pretty crappy people and days through it.

My highlights of the past two weekends were as follows

  • Clare falling asleep/passing out on our sofa after a big night to brighten her up during her bad times
  • Mum coming up this weekend (as she has done most weekends since I have had cancer/chemo) and bringing some beautiful flowers from her garden and books from her neighbour
  • Seeing all of the lovely spring growth on all of the plants and trees in our newish garden
  • A wonderful visit from Mandy and Josie from work with a gorgeous bunch of flowers and a delish bottle of my favourite bubbles Trilogy

Sorry for the downer of a blog tonight. I feel ok but down. I feel lucky but angry. I am cold but can’t be bothered getting a jumper. This is my life hehe. Such a muddle of crap but I am grateful that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Once I get through this Thursdays chemo, I will be ‘down’ for two weeks I imagine (that is the norm, sleep for a week or more after chemo and take a lot of pain killers) and then, I get four weeks off. No medicals, no blood tests, no doctors, no nothing.

I am hoping I can have a BBQ/Get together for my amazing and wonderful cousins  to thank them for all of their assistance through my chemo crap. Remember, they hired a cleaner for me each fortnight? Oh, I haven’t told you, my Mum has now taken over the cost of the cleaner which I was very cross about but OMG it is such a helpful thing in our lives.

Um, I think thats about it for this week. I am trying to calm myself, let the anger of things that annoy me go, look at the gorgeous new growth of our garden, play with my amazing Brady and Kelly and remember, I am cancer free and after this chemo this week, I get a four or five week break before radiotherapy.

Here, I give you two beautiful photos of our Kelly Belly. Sadly, my daughters father lost his staffy Crash Bang a couple of days ago and I can’t imagine the pain and suffering they are going through with this loss.

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I can’t forget Brady, so here is an old piccie of my old boy (7 and a half year old now)

Uniden Digital Camera
8 weeks old
Uniden Digital Camera
12 weeks old

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Bad to Good – Make it Happy

I have had a really shitty crappy awful week.

Yes, a lot of it has had to do with my bum and bowels but I will give you a break with all of that information.

I have slept a lot which is not something I will ever complain about. The medication I am now on with the new chemo drugs make me quite zombie like but that is ok. Much better than the pain and discomfort that I suffered last chemo when they changed the drugs and advised I would probably only need ‘panadol’ to deal with the pain. Yeah Nah, Endone is what I needed. I don’t like endone as a general rule because it makes me nauseas and constipated and dopier than usual but it is what is needed to get me through the chemo ‘feelings’.

On some nicer news…….. The dogs got new beds recently. Brady and Kelly have both turned 7 years old and any dog trainer will tell you that is the dogs 2nd change of life. Dogs go through a ‘change’ at the ages of 2 and 7 – both Kelly and Brady are the same age. Kelly (our Staffy X) has become very sooky. Needs/wants cuddles constantly. Brady, who has always been the gently, frightened and most obedient dog has become a grumpy old man. He does NOT like it when Kelly settles in to her bed next to his. I now have to separate their beds at night time before they go to ‘real’ bed time. Kelly is a lazy b*tch who refuses to hold her poopies and weewees and has decided the hallway (carpet) is her toilet so she now sleeps in the garage. But, before  ‘real’ bedtime, the dogs are in with us in the house and run around like crazy fools, play tug of war, demand cuddles from Dr Hands and I and have sleeps before dinner and bed. Sometimes, Brady goes onto his bed first but when Kelly goes onto hers, he growls and huffs and puffs and carries on like a fool and I have to move his bed away from hers.

I did manage to get a photo before this all occur occurred though.

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Today, my wonderful mum came to visit me as she does most weekends. I haven’t posted her gorgeous square yet but I will do that a little later but look at the beautiful flowers she bought up for me. She almost always brings beautiful flowers for me to cheer me up. The thing that I really hate about her visits is that I can see she suffers looking at my bald (but almost all fluffy with new hair) head, my red and itchy eyes, runny nose, tiredness etc. How does a daughter comfort her mother who is suffering watching said daughter deal with cancer. Thankfully, we laugh a lot. Mum and I can laugh at the stupidest things…. I want to mention Sam here but that would seem rude hehe. My mum, Sam, Inlaws, Tamara, Accalia, Cousins, Neighbours, Furbabies and everyone inbetween keep it real but achievable.

Flowers from Mum

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Oh, and another thing, we harvested another Cauliflower this week, our neighbour John recons we could get about $10.00 for it because it is bloody huge. Excuse the fat bald chick holding it but it is to give you a perspective of how big this thing was

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But, I’ll have you know, I have lost 8 kilos since this cancer bizzo stuff so thats a good thing right?