Posts Tagged ‘chemotherapy

16
Feb
09

Yikes! Has it really been that long?!

OK, OK, I have been very MIA of late. Thanks very much to everyone who has sent me a message asking if everything is alright- it meant a lot to me.

Sometimes it’s hard to blog whenย  you feel like you have nothing positive to say, and it’s been partly a case of that and partly a case of having virtually no net access.

My oncologist made me take some time off work. I am VERY much hoping he will let me go back next week, but I haven’t worked yet this month, which is very frustrating. I have fun at work- the guys I work with are a constant pick-me-up through my recent illness, and not being around them is (whether they know it or not!!) not good for my health!! ๐Ÿ˜› I miss them.

I’ve had this chest infection for, I think, around six weeks or so now. It won’t go away no matter what antibiotics I take and has really dragged me down, hence the oncologist insisting that I take some time off. I feel like I have the flu most of the time and can’t stop coughing, which is a right pain in the arse.

I ended up back in hospital again about two weeks ago (feels like a YEAR!!) and they took some chest x-rays. My oncologist saw some things on the x-ray that he wasn’t happy about- apparently there were enlarged blood vessels in my lungs which could indicate cancer. Naturally, I was devastated and terrified- noone wants to get to this stage of their treatment and be told that, well, actually there’s not much they can do. The oncologist ordered a CT scan which I had last week, and thank goodness the CT scan was clear. I don’t think I have ever been so relieved about anything! I had really managed to get my knickers in a twist, especially with all the stuff in the news of late about Jade Goody…I feel so bad for her and her family. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

ANYHOW- my radiotherapy treatment is now more than half way over- woo-hoo! It’s going OK, but making me feel constantly exhausted. It’s also a massive nuisance having to go to the hospital every day for it. It isn’t the same hospital as my chemo was done, it’s at the other side of Belfast, so takes a while to get to and from each day. Still, with luck, in under two weeks my treatment will be done and I can move on. ๐Ÿ™‚

My hair is coming out again- grrrr- it must be because my last chemo session was delayed. I reckon another day or two and I will be having to wear the headscarf again. I feel frustrated by this, but it isn’t nearly as hard as it was the last time. I’ll get through it!

I hope that is enough of a pity party for you all to be going on with! Can you see now why I haven’t been blogging? ๐Ÿ˜€ Sometimes it just feels like there’s no point if you don’t have anything nice to say.

Hope everyone is well- I am still only with very limited web access and haven’t even tried to get up to speed with everyone else’s blogs. I will be doing so over the next week or two. I have really missed blogging, and feel a bit out of the way of it now, so will try to get back at itย  now! ๐Ÿ™‚

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20
Jan
09

Another no-go

Well, as suspected, they cancelled my chemo for today again. I’m disappointed but not surprised.

I had a chest x-ray which confirmed that I have a deep seated chest infection, but thankfully nothing more sinister is at work.

So- two different types of antibiotic to take simultaneously, and hopefully that might shift it!

We’ll try again next week. The dr is hopeful that my radiotherapy won’t need to be postponed, which I am delighted about. ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s all a bit frustrating!

15
Jan
09

Midweek randomness

I took yesterday off work because Ricky had to get his four year shots. I was dreading this for a variety of reasons- noone likes to think of something hurting their child no matter how much for the greater good it is! I wasn’t sure before we went whether to warn him about the fact he’d need injections, but as it happened, he asked me why we were going to the dr’s, as he wasn’t sick, and I kind of blurted it out.

He wasn’t a bit happy about it- “but Mummy, WHY will they need to put the needle in me? Why? WHY?!!” and, as always with Ricky, there was a bit of wailing and shrieking about it. I explained that it was only for a second and that it would hardly hurt, and that it was to protect him from getting sick.

The health visitor wouldn’t give him the MMR jab, because of my ongoing chemotherapy- apparently live vaccines can affect it? So, we will have the very special joy of a repeat visit in the summer so he can get that one then. He still got all the other bits and pieces he needed.

Ricky can be incredibly high maintenance, so I was expecting something of a meltdown when the health visitor gave him the injection, but actually he was perfectly fine and didn’t bat an eyelid. He was more concerned with the fact that I’d told him he could have his choice of pudding after dinner for being such a big brave boy- apparently bribery will get you everywhere with small boys! (He went for mint choc chip ice cream, in case you wanted to know! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

The health visitorย did an assessment on Ricky. He’s perfectly in proportion- just very tall and sturdy, but she had no concerns about his weight which was great to hear- as a smaller child, he got to be a bit chubby. I insisted on getting a referral to a consultant about it, and we dealt with it, but it’s still a relief to hear it’s no longer an issue. Sometimes it’s easy to look at your kids with rose tinted glasses and not see things which are clear to other people!

She wasn’t happy with his speech. He still isn’t crystal clear at times- we discussed it with the teacher at his nursery school recently and she said it was all age appropriate and that she had no concerns, but the health visitor seems to disagree. I personally thought she was being a bit hard on him- she started talking about referrals to specialists. It’s mainly that when she asked him to tell her what various images were, one of them was a spoon, and he dropped the “s” when saying it. He hasn’t done this for ages!! Typical!

It made me wonder again about the rose tinted glasses though. I said I didn’t want a referral at the moment because I felt his speech wasn’t as bad as she was making out, and his normal teacher, who deals with him on a daily basis, says it’s fine and all age appropriate. But when I think about other kids I know Ricky’s age (Leigh’s daughter Sophie, for example) and how perfectly clear their speech is, I wonder if I am doing him a huge disservice here.

Emma C- if you are reading this, what are your thoughts? You work with kids Ricky’s age every day- should I get the referral? Please be brutally honest!

I don’t want to be one of those mothers who ignores potential problems with their child’s development on the grounds that their little darling is “as bright as a button”- but on the other hand, I don’t want to make a huge song and dance over this for Ricky’s sake if it’s something which will resolve itself quickly.

The health visitor was also giving me grief about the fact that Robbie still isn’t sleeping through the night most of the time. She wanted to know what I’d tried and I told her pretty much everything except for crying it out, which I’m not going to do. Health visitors here are (in my experience) very keen on letting them cry at night, and I could see her preparing “the speech”… ๐Ÿ˜€ I just try and head them off at the pass- it’s not worth a big row with them, so I just say I’m not interested in doing it and would rather have less sleep. They think I’m insane, I feel defensive, same old, same old! **rolls eyes** Everyone is entitled to their own opinion… ๐Ÿ˜€

So, kind of an unsatisfactory appointment in all. Hmm.

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Robbie moved into the toddler room in daycare. He’s having a great time so far, but I get the impression that the girls who look after him in there don’t think he’s quite the little angel that the ladies in the baby room did.

Yesterday, Robbie, who is something of a “climber”, managed to climb onto a full-height sink unit in the corner of the toddler room, turn on both taps, and soak four other toddlers and three staff members before he could be caught and subdued…

Robbie remained bone dry during this assault. ๐Ÿ˜€

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My friend and all round Superwoman crisitunity has been giving me some tips on cooking with tofu, which have been really useful as I try and get to grips with a more meat free life. I’m cooking asian greens, shiitake mushrooms and noodles for dinner tonight, and have some tofu marinating in the fridge in a mixture of white wine, sesame oil, lime, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. If that can’t get some flavour into the stuff, I can’t think what will! I have marinated some chicken for Ian the same way, and hope I will not feel too envious when I dish up tonight.

Thanks to crisitunity for all the help- it will taste better for it, I know! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Chest infection update- still there and making me sound very husky. I think callers to my work today think they accidentally dialled an 0845 number. Maybe I could try and set up something on the side, I could use the extra money… ๐Ÿ˜€

I really hope the thing is gone by next Tuesday when I am meant to get the last chemo session. Fingers crossed!

My hair is really, really growing back! I am so excited! I reckon another month or so, and I can leave the scarves off, weather permitting.

I think that’s about it for now! If you read it all, you get the prize!! ๐Ÿ˜€

13
Jan
09

A long story about my babies

WARNING- there are some people who are very close to me who say they don’t often read my blog because it makes them cry. Whilst I am sorry my appalling writing has this effect on you, please don’t read this post. OK? ๐Ÿ™‚

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I think the chemo has put me into theย menopause. I understand from my dr that about 30-40% of people go back to normal after they stop the chemo, so this may well be the case for me, but I am surprised by how fine I will be with things if it doesn’t happen for me. I am absolutely certain that my family is complete now.

Child bearing has not been easy for me. I wanted children for a number of years before Ian was on the same page, but he was never in “that place”, so when I got to my late twenties I was starting to wonder if I’d ever get to have any. It was one of those situations where if he really hadn’t wanted any kids, I would haveย agreed not to have any, but I know I would have resented him for ever over it, and I wonder if in the long term our relationship would have survived, because I think I would have been very bitter about it.

In October 2003, Ian broke his ankle whilst playing rugby, and had to take some time off work to rest his leg. He spent a lot of time with his foot up, and had as he puts it, a lot of time to think. It came hot on the heels of him catching me crying because one of my colleagues had announced her first pregnancy, and, pathetic though it may seem, it made me feel devastated and sick with jealousy. Also I was furious with myself for having feelings that I felt were unworthy of Ian and me. He of course couldn’t really say much to comfort me, but I think it made him realise that this was a very big deal to me.

Once he was recovered somewhat, we came home from a lovely night out with some of our closest friends and Ian completely astonished me by announcing that he wanted to try to start a family. For the first time ever, he completely caught me by surprise, my jaw hit the floor, I couldn’t speak. We’d both had a few drinks, so the next day I told him that if he wanted to reconsider, now was the time to do it, because if he changed his mind later, I’d be very, very hurt and disappointed. He said he had given it a lot of thought and wasn’t going to change his mind. I was completely ecstatic.

We aren’t married and have no plans to do so for now, and I knew this would be a problem for some of my family, so I thought the kindest thing to do was to warn them before I got pregnant that we were going to try. This went down better with some of my family than with others, but I am really glad I did it, because I think it softened the blow somewhat!

I got pregnant almost immediately, and was overjoyed. I didn’t get sick, felt great and was cocooned in happiness.

Whenย  I was 13 weeks pregnant, at the end of January 2004, the reason for my lack of symptoms became clear and I started to bleed. A number of devastating trips to the hospital revealed that there was no real baby growing in there, just a clump of cells which had gone wrong at some basic level. My hormone counts were going down and I was going to lose the baby.

On 2nd February 2004, I had a miscarriage at 14 weeks. The bleeding seemed to slow fairly quickly, so I thought I was over the worst of it- Ian and I tried our best to comfort each other, we had a takeaway and a bottle of wine, and watched some tv (insane though it sounds). We even looked into taking a few days away to try and come to terms with it.

Later that evening, I haemorraged in the bathroom and passed out in a pool of blood. Ian luckily heard me hit the deck and was able to call an ambulance. Everything was dealt with quickly, I had a D&C and was able to go home the next day, but the experience left me deeply traumatised and weakened.

The next couple of months passed in a blur and I think I came very close to having a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t believe that this baby, which I had been so desparate for, and had been so happy to be expecting, had been taken from me. I didn’t know if I’d ever have children. Emotionally I was a mess, and cried for no reason and all the time. Ian must have wondered what the hell to do, but he was grieving too, just in a completely different way, he shut down and didn’t want to talk about it.

We decided to try again, on the understanding that if I had another miscarriage, we’d decide not to do it again- I didn’t think I could take the pain.

Once again, I got pregnant right away- and to my joy, I was as sick as a dog almost from day 1! ๐Ÿ˜€ We went for a scan at 12 weeks, and there was Ricky. (I think actually it took me about ten scans between the two of them not to cry every time I saw them on the ultrasound, such was my overwhelming relief that they were kicking their arms and legs, and that their little hearts were beating!) My pregnancy went well, though they told me he was quite large and I could hardly walk by the end.

Ricky was born on 17th January 2005- at 10lb 14oz. I laboured for 52 hours before having a c-section- I just don’t think my 5ft 1 frame was equipped to deal with such a big baby! ๐Ÿ˜€

I look like shit in this picture, which was taken shortly after he was born. Does he look like a newborn to you?? ๐Ÿ˜€

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I think Ricky saved me from a serious, full scale, brain-is-melting-down, I need a trip to the mental institution style breakdown. And it’s kind of a strange one, because if I hadn’t had the miscarriage, Ricky would never have been. I can’t believe that. I guess maybe things happen for a reason. He was (and is) so perfect and beautiful. Everyone on the ward wanted to hold him, he was so big that the nurses kept bearing him off to show people, he was a star! Maybe that’s where he began to develop his massive superiority complex, I don’t know! ๐Ÿ˜€

He’ll be four this Saturday. I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly, and yet it feels like he’s always been there.

With Robbie, we decided when Ricky was about 18 months to try for another baby. Once again, I was lucky to get pregnant right away (we have been SO fortunate with that). Owing to Ricky’s size, I was very closely monitored with Robbie and had scans every two weeks or so. I also kept getting really sick, and was admitted to hospital twice during the pregnancy when I couldn’t keep anything down and got really dehydrated. I had several minor bleeds, and they found that I had a low lying placenta. They were estimating that Robbie’s birth weight would be around 12lb! I did not want to try and have him naturally at that weight, so we decided to go for a planned c-section for him. Of course, when he was born, it emerged that he just had a big noggin, and was a comparatively normal 9lb even. If I’d known that, I might have tried to get him out myself! ๐Ÿ˜€

Here’s another one of me looking like shit with no makeup on, just after my section. Robbie looks MUCH smaller than Ricky!!

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I had very big bleeds after both sections, with Ricky I lost 1 litre of blood, and with Robbie nearly 1300mls. They told me after Robbie to really think long and hard before I tried for another baby. I was done anyway- unfortunately I am not one of those people who loves pregnancy and finds it easy to hulk a baby around- so it was a no brainer.

So, to sum up, it’s all Ian’s fault for playing a dangerous sport like rugby. ๐Ÿ˜€ I am so, so grateful for my beautiful children, and am very relieved I had them when I did- if I’d left it any later, who knows? Breast cancer makes you think about these things too much!

Sorry for the slightly depressing, but I hope ultimately uplifting story! I know this isn’t something I have discussed on my blog before. I was just thinking about it all too much last night- between my chemo ending today (or not as it turned out), Ricky’s birthday on Saturday and the end of my first pregnancy anniversary creeping up, I guess it weighs heavily on me at this time of year.

I look at my two golden, shining sons and realise how sweet life is, and how short it is, and how it sometimes isn’t that easy to come by or maintain, and I realise that if you can’t see hope and happiness in that, it’s not a life worth living. I am very fortunate.

13
Jan
09

Didn’t get my chemo :(

I’ve had a bit of a chest infection, and they decided that the risk of me getting pneumonia was too great, so they delayed my last chemo to next week so I can take a course of antibiotics.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement- I really hoped that I’d have finished my treatment today, but I guess it’s only a week. I will try to be philosphical!

Never mind, huh!

29
Dec
08

Ding dong, the PICC line’s GONE!!!!

OH I am SO HAPPY!!!

When I went to get my picc line dressings changed earlier, they found it had moved yet again, by a distance of 3cm (HOW! The bloody thing was taped down!) and they were going to have to change it- yet again.

However they have decided to simply find a vein for my last treatment, so they took it out! You have no idea the relief!

I had bought a bottle of Moet & Chandon to celebrate the New Year, but instead, I will be having a bath for the first time in months (don’t worry I have been showering with cling wrap over the dressings!) and plan to crack open that bad boy and enjoy my newly-freed arm! ๐Ÿ˜€

That bloody thing has been the bane of my life since it went in. I will NOT lament its departure!!!

I feel like my treatment is suddenly much closer to being done now. YAY!!!!!

23
Dec
08

Bone scan results

Just a quick message to let you all know that my bone scan results came back clear for cancer! YAY!!!! There is some degeneration in the bones of my pelvis, which can apparently be attributed to me hulking around Ricky and Robbie, who were both big at birth, Ricky exceptionally so (10lb 14oz), but I will deal with any arthritis later!

I am SO relieved. Hopefully this means that in three week’s time I will have my last chemo treatment. The best Christmas present I could have had this year!

The chemo went well today and I am glad to be home. Now I have to try and get organised for Christmas!

Thanks so much for all of your support. It means so much to me!




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