breast cancer

Quick update of an exciting nature

The oncology appointment this morning resulted in clear results for cancer. Another huge relief! Now to kill off all the little suckers which are smaller than pea size and don’t show up on the tests. .. if in fact there are any! Chemo should knock them off and the 25 bouts of radiotherapy will knock off the localised areas from 20% risk to 5% risk of spread.

Hooray! I can have chemo tomorrow (!). Thanks to all the prayer warriors out there xx

Given that October is breast cancer awareness month, here’s my quirky new tshirt design…

My breast cancer awareness design for breast cancer month.

My breast cancer awareness design for breast cancer month.

Q: When is a tube like a straw?

A: When it breaks the camels back

Drainage tube assessory

Drainage tube accessory

If you want to hear me grumble now is the time. Perhaps I should get Sophie to do the blog from now on so you can hear happy things!

I’ve had 6 months of chemo (so far) and been fine with it, and the mastectomy surgery was a piece of cake. But…. I CAN’T STAND BEING TRAPPED TO THESE STUPID DRAINAGE TUBES! Grumble grumble grumble.

For 10 days now I’ve had freaky tubes coming out of my waist (literally) which drain ‘fluid’ from my underarm and from where my left breast was. The surgeons sew them into your body to stay in place, their job being to keep body fluid flowing out of the area/s to avoid swelling, infection and from dislodging the expander. They are doing their job, so the longer they are in the better, if there is still fluid to drain. Apparently the fluid needs to get down to 30ml per drain in 24 hours for them to be removed. They were still at 120ml (per tube) yesterday. Most people take this lying down happily. I’m trying… I really am.

You might wonder why this is getting to me. I’m a tough old cookie and I can take pain pretty well but I hate being trapped.

For one thing, the nurse comes every day to drain it. Don’t get me wrong, the nurses are lovely and do a wonderful job but I have no idea when they are coming. So I can’t plan anything (at all) on any day. I have to be at home from morning to night until they come. For example, on the MOTH’s birthday we were going to go out for lunch and to the movies but we ended up waiting until 3pm for the nurse.  I can’t even go for a walk! Boo hoo. It’s a pity party.
Screenshot 21:09:2014 10:45 amSecondly, the tubes are just plain annoying.

  • They hurt both at the site from where they exit the body and at the site they are draining from. My armpit is very swollen so it hurts to put my arm down
  • They tangle about me when I’m trying to sleep. I can only sleep on my back or my ‘non preferred side’. It’s like being trapped in a spider web.
  • They catch on things and I yank at them by accident. My best trick is to hook them up to the shower tap and then forget to unhook them before I get out. EW!!
  • They are cumbersome. I hide them in the glam bag (see photo above), but I need to wear a coat over the top or you can see the tubes. This looks kinda odd.
  • Yesterday they started leaking from the wound and I had to call a nurse to come and patch it all up. 2 nurse visits in one day!

That’s enough grizzling for today. Now that I’ve depressed you all with my complaining…


aspendale 3aI had a wonderful day with my sisters yesterday doing arty crafty things. They came to ‘The Wood Hood’  (arriving at the same time as the nurse) and plonked on the kitchen table for 4-5 hours. We ate lunch amongst our mess and chatted non-stop, as you can only imagine 4 sisters can do. The MOTH flew the coup very quickly and came home just in time for my ‘leaking wound’ experience and the arrival of the second nurse for the day.

I’m so grateful to have such wonderful baby sisters who make me laugh and inspire me so much. I always wanted a brother but seriously, would he want to sit and do craft or art while eating diet food and barely leaving a silence in the conversation for 5 hours straight? Could anyone ramble mindlessly like us and understand what is going on? No. I doubt it.

Medical info

I have appointments with the plastic surgeon and breast clinic this week but on the 30th of Sep I discover my plight with the chemo and radiotherapy. I don’t have any preferences. If I don’t have any more treatment it could leave the cancer cells ‘untreated’. If I do… well of course, that’s no fun. With my type of breast cancer it’s important to make sure all cells have been killed off. So even though I’ve had a mastectomy, there are potential cells lingering either in the blood, or on site. I’ll be guided by the experts so prayer and smart doctors are the order of the week. As the breast nurse said to Col this week ‘We’re not out of the woods yet’. Given our name I don’t think it was a pun.

I’m so glad I’ve had the 6 months chemo to shrink the tumour and to stop the spread into other parts of the body. Otherwise I’d be sitting here like a time bomb waiting for the surgery to heal. Well… perhaps that’s a bit dramatic but it does feel like it sometimes.

In December I have a bone scan and a PET scan to check if there is any cancer into other body parts. The doctors don’t believe it is so, but it’s a good ‘peace of mind’. How wonderful to live in times where these tests are available. It takes the guess work out of things.

In the meantime… I’ll macrame my drainage tubes and do a happy dance when they are gone. The small things make me happy! They also make me grumble.

It’s just a flesh wound

My guest blogger seems to have upstaged me so I’m taking over again! Thanks Sophie for your lovely contribution I love you heaps.

Today is ‘verdict day’ so it’s an odd day to update the blog but it’s a good time to share my past week and clear my mind in doing so.

T10636229_10152421456294506_7077982170405306639_nhis beast of a cancer is determined to make a fashion model out of me. Now that I am hairless, one breasted and having to carry two drainage tubes around in a floral bag the picture is perfect.  I had a few additions in hospital such as the long white socks and the bandage over the cannula. Apparently it’s all for the good.

If I could be so vain as to say my best attributes have gone, I would say it but perhaps it’s that my vices have been stripped from me and that can be a good thing. It forces me to live life for the right reasons. Besides, who needs a breast when it’s trying to kill you? Who needs hair when you have to keep washing it and cutting it. Apparently it will grow back. I already have stumpy little eye lashes and eyebrows growing.

images-1The surgery wasn’t so bad. I took panadol and off I went, showering myself the morning after surgery and feeling pretty good overall. My underarm is giving me the most grief as it has a strange crater in it. I seem to have a lot of weird sensations, including pain, under there but I guess it will subside.  I also have numbness, intermittent coldness and a feeling that a mouse is running up the inside of my arm. Maybe I should remove the cheese from my armpit (mouse… cheese… never mind).

I’m so pleased that I kept up my exercise as I am still feeling so very fit and have very little fatigue. I can’t do any for 4 weeks now so that’s disappointing but at least I have a good starting point.

They put 100 ml of saline into the expander, which isn’t anything to write home about but in 2 weeks time they will add more and keep doing that until I am ‘balanced’.  Sorry… no photos. I draw the line there and I’m sure you’re pleased about that. Sophie couldn’t wait to see the war zone but not everyone has her warped curiosity.

I had a huge room of my own in the hospital for 5 nights and the nurses were calling me the queen. Given that my arm exercises include a ‘Queen like wave’ I showed them just how right they were. Although they were all lovely and I was very well treated (apart from the food!!!) I am very happy to be at home. There’s no place like home.

I would have been home after 2 days but the drainage from the wounds was (and still is) flowing a little too much. Hopefully the drainage tubes will come out soon as I am not fond of dragging them around with me. Yesterday was my dear MOTH’s birthday and after waiting all day for the district nurse to arrive we went to the movies and out to dinner. I had my drainage tubes in a bag under my coat, my wig and makeup back on and off we went. A tiring but fun day to celebrate  his birthday and the ignorance which could be called bliss. Today is ‘verdict day’.

 Verdict day

The surgeons and doctors had a forum to discuss my ‘special case’ yesterday. They have told me on a regular basis that I am ‘unusual’. Given that the 1st tumour shrunk with the first chemo (Paclitaxol ) but the 2nd tumour grew on it. If, in fact, it WAS a tumour. Both tumours grew on the 2nd chemo (AC). I’ve no idea when the lymph glands became malignant or how many (yet). I don’t know if there is any spread or if I need more chemo and radiotherapy. Surely 6 months of chemo is enough but if it’s necessary I’ll be guided by them. I’ve no idea how they will decide which type of chemo to give me.

So today is the day the doctors will decide how to continue with treatment, given the limited options of Triple Negative Breast cancer and this will be discussed with Colin and I this afternoon. I don’t know if I should hope for chemo and radiotherapy or not. Part of me just wants to get on with my life and the other part says ‘give me what I need to get rid of this thing’. I have faith in the surgeons, although mine is away this week so I will see a registrar.

Watch this space…

Last but not least

A big thank you to everyone for your prayers, well wishes, cards, flowers etc. We both feel really blessed to have such wonderful friends and family surrounding us with love and support. I know I haven’t personally thanked people for the cards etc but I really have appreciated your sentiments. It boosts me no end. I personally want to give a big hug to the MOTH and my 3 kids for being such troupers. Shan has been in NY but has been phoning and messaging me daily. I can’t wait to see him!


Falling down with the roller coaster

Things have just taken a bit of a dive bomb this week unfortunately. This is a quick update to fill you in. I’m sorry to those I didn’t contact personally yesterday. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to be on the phone (especially when you have a hearing impairment like me!!!) making individual calls. Just be assured that it’s not that it’s not my preference. I have hundreds of relatives (literally) and that’s without friends. I LOVE YOU ALL xxxx So I hope you’re OK with reading my update here. If not… well… erm… too bad to sad? I’m harsh but you know it’s my humour.


Last week when I went to have chemo and saw the oncologist she could feel and measure the breast lump. This seemed a little odd given that it hadn’t been ‘felt’ for 2 months by either of us. If it wasn’t for the ultrasound we could have decided it had disappeared.

Over the course of the next week it became sore like it used to be and by Tuesday this week I could grasp it in two fingers. To add to it, I can feel two more sore lumps nearby. So I phoned the clinic expecting the usual ‘it’s just normal don’t worry’. They made an appointment to see the surgeon for the next day (yesterday). I taught year 10 at Luther College as part of my Artist in Residence role in the morning which distracted me very nicely!

The surgeon felt the lump and very quickly said ‘yes it’s growing back’. She thinks one of the other lumps is a cyst but is a bit dubious about the other. I don’t have all the answers… because I forgot to ask the questions but hopefully I can fill in the gaps over the next few days. Here is what I know right now (for those who like bullet points ha ha).

  • The tumour isn’t responding to the current chemo and because it’s a very aggressive cancer type it is growing back as rapidly as it shrunk
  • I MAY stop the chemo (oh please!!!) but I don’t know for sure until the surgeon speaks to my oncologist
  • I will have a biopsy on the 4th of Sept of the other two lumps
  • If the other 2 lumps have cancer cells I will need to have a mastectomy
  • I am booked in for a lumpectomy on the 10th of Sep and if the biopsy is positive they will do a mastectomy instead (with full breast reconstruction at the same time)
  • I will find out if it’s a lumpectomy or a mastectomy on the 8th when the biopsy results are analysed and my doctors have had a meeting about it
  • I will have all lymph nodes removed because some are swollen (need to query this today when I phone them)
  • I need to see a plastic surgeon about the reconstruction at some point but I can’t imagine how that will fit in between the 8th and the 10th
  • I don’t know what this means for the clinical trial. Perhaps I’ll be kicked off it. Not the first time I’ve been kicked out of something.

So that’s about as much as I can tell you right now except that I’m feeling OK and not daunted at all. I’m always happy when there is action. It’s when I get patted on the head and told not to worry that I worry.

In reflection

You may feel (like many do) that perhaps I should have had it removed in the first place. This is a total fallacy, especially for my type of breast cancer (triple negative breast cancer) and given that it is so aggressive. Remembering that I had a CLEAR breast scan in October 2013 and 3 months later I had a golf ball sized cancer growth. If I had had it removed prior to chemo, I would have had chemo delayed for a couple of months while I recovered. In the meantime, any floating cancer cells in my system could have established themselves in my body. Once that happens it is incurable (with breast cancer, secondary cancer can’t be cured). AINT NOBODY GOT TIME FOR DAT!!!! Chemo killed all those little suckers and now I’m just left with the tumour to deal with.

But now… let’s get that sucker outta there!!!

I’ll update you when I get the next saga of news so watch this space. As always I appreciate your prayers and interest very much.


Don’t you love the roller coaster?

Have you ever felt like you’re on a roller coaster? This 3 weekly chemo sure feels like it. I seem to have one week at the bottom and two weeks climbing back up to the top. It reminds me of one of my favourite movie scenes. Watch the clip it’s only short. 

Would I prefer to be on a roundabout? Would I appreciate my ‘good days’ if I was? Probably not… but it’s tempting to say STOP I WANT TO GET OFF! 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. Last week I was a LOT better than the episode before. I still had stabbing pains in the stomach from the legendary ‘chemo irritated stomach ulcer’, nausea and brain fog galore. The dexamethasone keeps me awake all night so I’m tired all day. I can’t remember anything from the day before (serious!!!!). BUT this is a whole lot better than the last dose and by the weekend I was pretty good. So I’ve now got the knack of juggling the drugs and keeping my week free of appointments. I also know not to attempt to drive the car. That leaves me 2 weeks of party time. Well… in my own little ‘foggy party girl’ way. Back to running on the treadmill tomorrow:)

Splinter fella

If you think I tease my husband too much… then you don’t know him or the MFB. They don’t know the meaning of ‘enough’. The MOTH had 2 weeks off with his splinter injury and was dreading going back to work because he knew what would happen. Those guys are the masters of teasing. Not that the MOTH doesn’t love every minute of it of course. Attention is attention after all!

He arrived at the Firestation, with his little black plastic finger cover that the hand specialist told him he had to wear over his finger. Prior to that day he wore that cover for about 4 hours total so this was all a show for the guys at the #15 Firestation.

He walked in the door and discovered all the walls and windows in the station covered in signs such as these (below). His chair had a ‘splinter free zone’ sign on it. He arrived in the mess room for breakfast to find that all of the firemen were wearing black tape over their middle finger in sympathy.10609127_10152376518354506_1913811945_n

THEN… the ‘peer support’ team from headquarters called him to ask if he needed any support for his splinter. Obviously ‘somebody’ put them up to it. His mate Graham was limping and explained that he had a splinter in his foot. So on and so forth… all day… all week… until…

Will he ever hear the end of it? I think not. Meanwhile… he keeps giving everyone ‘The bird’ and thinks he can get away with it if he says ‘I’ve got a splinter’ at the same time.

What about MY finger?

My finger nails are doing weird things. I have a massive dent in one fingernail and a lump where the nail is buckling under my skin. Any sympathy out there? No. My doctor said it was normal and my nail will probably fall off. OK. I’ll just deal with it. After all, it isn’t a splinter is it?


In all fairness… Col has been such a honey during my time of illness I don’t know what I would do without him. He is a tower of strength and support and our relationship has grown so much closer through the storm. I can’t thank him enough and wish that everybody had a best buddy to be married to like I have.  It’s times like this that I really appreciate him. Love you honey!

Just so you know, sometimes I’m pretty grumpy too. I know that’s hard to imagine ha ha.

Chemo information

I received an email from this week asking me if I would put a link to their chemo information and the 19 common side effects.  So there it is! I’m doing my thing for Healthline (whoever they are). They believe that people need to be aware. Hmm. I am in two minds. I think it’s pretty scary to read but I also like it’s honesty. So much of the information for patients is sugar coated. I’ll let you decide.

Wow I’m glad I didn’t read that before I started. I have almost all of those side effects but it seems worse when you read them than when you have them. Strange but true.

‘Maroond-in-dah’ hospital

Here’s a little update for those who aren’t on Facebook…

On Friday, after 3 days being flat out on the bed/couch with nausea and stabbing pain in the stomach I relented and went to casualty at Maroondah where I was ‘marooned’ for the day. The staff were really helpful in casualty and sent me straight to a room of my own so I didn’t have to sit in the waiting room or lie in a cubicle for which I’m glad of.

After many uncomfortable procedures, xrays and a plethora of drugs and fluid through the IV they sent me home 7 hours later. Those little anti-nausea wafer tablets which cost $8 each are AMAZING!! I had two so that was an expensive dose he he. As for the stabbing pains… they think I have an ulcer. I had xrays to see if there was a perforation (which there wasn’t) but they didn’t want to put a camera down there since my stomach lining is very frail right now. So I’m taking double Somac which isn’t taking the pain away entirely but it’s manageable. I cant manage anything remotely hot (temperature) and nothing spicy… except the MOTH:) There’s no bleeding so that’s gotta be a good thing!

The nausea is manageable with Maxolon now, although it makes me drowsy unfortunately, but it’s all part of the balancing act. I’m making myself stand upright so I don’t become a couch potato but once I’m off the Maxolon it will be easier. They have taken me off Voltaren which I take for arthritis as it irritates my stomach. Sigh. Now I’m going to have to find another drug of preference. I am beginning to look like a drug addicted person right now since I’ve had 5 cannula insertions into my wrists this week which all have huge bruises.

If this is what I am to expect for the week after this chemo I’m ready for it next time with all my wafers and drugs!! So if you want to rob me of the most valuable thing in the house right now it’s wafer tablets. $50 for 6 of the little buddies. I only have 6 so don’t get too excited but my friend who just finished chemo is going to slip me some later in the week. YAY! I’m like a little squirrel.

Three more doses of chemo to go (one every 3 weeks). Roll on October!!! The days seem to float past me in my world of fog. I have no doubt I will barely remember most of this. So glad it’s all here on the blog to refresh my memory. Not!

Eyelash count= 3

Hair washing day at the Wood Hood

Hair washing day at the Wood Hood

Just call me Dream Boat.

Screenshot 16:07:2014 5:06 pmLet’s begin with ‘how I am’ because my friends and relatives always check my blog for ‘medical details’ so here tis…

I’m grateful to be having a 3 week break between chemo drugs. I finished the 4 months of Paclitaxel and on July 29th I begin the AC chemo. The Paclitaxel drug has 2 pages of ‘possible side effects’ which mostly I’ve escaped unscathed. I’m  more tired than usual but my blood counts are all normal and I have no numbness or tingling in arms or legs which is common on this drug.

So goodbye to Paclitaxel and hello to AC.

The name AC comes from the initials of the drugs used:

In comparison, AC only has half a page of ‘possible side effects’ but they are more likely to bump the blood counts down. So it’s more likely to compromise my immunity and energy levels and give me nausea. I have my fingers in my ears saying ‘la la la’ to that. Praying for it to fly by effortlessly and to keep my energy and sharp wit going!

I’m still running 5km 3 times a week and trying to do ‘Body Balance’ twice weekly but I have had a very nasty stabbing pain in my upper abdomen for 4 days of this week (and a bit the previous weekend too). I’ve been off my food and not sleeping well because of it. I see my GP tomorrow about it as it’s most likely tied up with the drugs I take for my arthritis. Ho hum. Nanna naps are becoming a little common now but most of the time I don’t actually sleep. I just rest for 30 minutes or so.

10555161_10152298070909506_2005442233_nI saw the surgeon at the breast clinic today and she is booking me in to get the breast lump (if they can find it!!!!) ‘tagged’ next week. A bit annoying given that we have been asking them about it for 3 months now. The tumour can no longer be felt, so in a way I hope there is something found in the ultrasound so that when they do surgery that don’t have to guess where it was. If they find something they will ‘tag’ it so that they can remove the area during surgery. Surgey will be in October sometime.

You can read more about tumour tagging here.

Perhaps they are really microchipping me so I can’t run away from surgery. They know how fast I can run:) Anyhow… that is going to rudely interrupt my ‘Arty’ week away where I was going to eat apples and paint pictures in my pjs next week.  Luckily we can drive back for the surgery and return to Rosebud the same day and it won’t interfere too much!

Here’s a little story from todays visit to the doctors.  The MALE surgeon said to me ‘We need to pop up on the bed so we can look at your breast’. I almost got the giggles but stopped myself. WE???? Really. That would be kind of odd. So glad he didn’t pop up on the bed with me as it’s only 50cm wide.

Dream boat

Here is the truth about my sharp wit. My brain is so scarily foggy that I spend my time worrying I’ve forgotten things. I’ve always had a ridiculously good memory. This week I forgot a lunch date with a friend. ARGHH! If you have any dates with me please remind me the day before. It’s not that I don’t love you dearly, it’s just that I’m so lacking in grey matter right now. That’s why I can’t work. I don’t even remember what my job used to be let alone how to do it ha ha. Just call me Dream Boat.

Gratitude amongst the hard times

I’m grateful for many things.

  • The bonding of relationships with my husband, my family and my friends
  • My artistic gifting
  • The strengthening of my faith
  • My dog
  • Wigs
  • Eyebrow pencils
  • Bed
  • Humour
  • Bra stuffing (for the future)

Most of all I’m grateful for having the following story to share with you.

As you know, a friend named Josie died from Breast Cancer a week ago. Her husband, Kevin, popped in to pick up some artwork from me and stopped for a coffee. Kevin watched his wife struggle for 13 years with secondary breast cancer and shared with us many stories (mostly funny ones). This one really got me thinking though…

13 years ago, Kevin was seriously stressed about his job. He had both medical and emotional conditions which were stress related. He worried continually and had difficulty sleeping etc. When Josie was diagnosed with cancer the stress stopped instantly. He said that almost overnight it completely went away as he focused on what was important to him and prioritised his life. He spent the next 13 years enjoying his marriage and focussing on each other. They focussed on the things in life and what really mattered.

Imagine if we all lived our lives that way. If relationships were the most important things in life and not money. Why do we need these nasty reality checks to know what is important? Divorce rates, work related stress, estranged families and suicides would all decrease. People would take better care of their health. If we stopped prioritising the material things.

Simplistic I know, but it did get me thinking and thinking is pretty hard for me right now so that’s a miracle!



Caterpillar and worm eyebrow drawing adventure

It was a dark and gloomy morning and I was alone. The MOTH had flown off to work (the MOTH to the flame…or the firestation) and I was looking forward to a day of slobbing around the house with my arty farty self. However, the mild curry from the Indian restaurant the night before  confirmed the doctors wise words. Don’t eat spicy food. My stomach had given me grief all night with diarrhoea, nausea and severe burning pain along with a headache. Boo hiss… another chemo drawback.
I stumbled out of bed at 6am thinking some breakfast might help settle things but got distracted by the computer on the way. An hour later the power went out. I vaguely recollected the notice in the mail to say it would be off all day. In fact, it was off for 10 hours! So now it was cold, dark, gloomy and breakfast was not an option and neither was coffee since there was no milk in the fridge. No art for me in the dark house either as I couldn’t see! Waves of nausea and stomach pain were making me want to curl up in bed.
My pity party didn’t last long. I decided to go out and get a coffee and breakfast down at Croydon but glancing first in the mirror I was confronted by a scary sight. Erm. White face, bald head. No eyebrows or eye lashes, dark rings under the eyes and a kind if squirmish look on my face.  Oh… and blood shot eyes. So I went to work remedying it in the darkness of my ensuite mirror.

Self portrait

Self portrait

The day before I had forgotten to draw my eyebrows on twice. Once to go running and out to breakfast and once to go watch my son do a flying trapeze stunt.  Who leaves home without their eyebrows? So I did my best to draw them in the darkness and put on my other makeup and left home. At the traffic light I glanced in the mirror and discovered a horrible sight. One eyebrow was fat like a caterpillar with a surprised arch. The other one was pale and thin like a sick worm. My eyeliner was looping like it belonged on one of my art pieces. The rest was just as odd and disturbing.
I’m doing my best. Two nights previous, my daughter tried using eyebrow stencils (purchased on ebay) which resulted in much hysterics. Groucho Marx looked good in comparison.
Eyebrows. Who needs em?

Farewell to a fellow breast cancer sufferer

Josie passed away peacefully with her loving family surrounding her on Saturday. It was such a joy to know her and to watch her family fill her life with love and support.

My role in the flexible learning team at Swinburne gave me the opportunity to meet most staff across the Tafe at all campuses and Josies interest in elearning meant I got to know her quite well.  She was also one of my students in the Diploma of VET which I taught.

I wish her family all the best in the future and for this difficult week coming up. After 13 years of loving and supporting her through her battle I can’t imagine how they must feel.

Last week her husband asked me to draw a unicorn with her name on it. Knowing that she was in palliative care I went straight to work on it. I got it finished the night before she died but of course she didn’t get to see it (in the flesh). I created a little tag around his neck with her name on it.



Some of the art I’ve produced in the past 4 months have a huge emotional connection for me and this is one of them.

Those of us from Swinburne who have breast cancer right now can take the baton for Josie and run with it. Now go!

Progress photos of the unicorn drawing can be seen on my Facebook art page

Goodbye grumpy pants

Grumpy pants from the last post has left the building. Today is ‘feel good Thursday’ so I’m writing this before the chemo kicks in again tomorrow he he. Then you won’t have to listen to the whinging again.

Chemo, coffee and carousel horses

Chemo, coffee and carousel horses

I spent the last chemo session having a chat to my beautiful sister. She got to share my world with the lovely nurses and other BC patients in the ward and time sure went quickly having her to chat to.

Hooray! I still have normal blood!! My white blood cells were 5.2 and red 5 but my sister and I were both a bit vague about the exact number. The nurse said they were all within normal ranges though so that is a good thing after almost 4 months of having it attacked by the DRUG. Thanks so much for all your prayers… it’s working… of course!

I suspect I had a bug last week and that is why I felt so ghastly. Next week I will be half way through the chemo and will begin the ‘big bad AC drug’ in 2 weeks. From my calculations I have my last chemo ON MY BIRTHDAY. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not but what a way to celebrate! The surgery will be 2 or 3 weeks afterwards and then 6 weeks of radiotherapy. I suspect there will be a gap after surgery to heal the wound before radiotherapy so I think we will be up to Feb/March before finish time. Now I can start counting the days down to chemo finishes.

On a more sobering note…

It’s all very well for me to be upbeat and enthusiastic after 4 months of treatment but it’s very sobering when you discover your work colleague from Swinburne (one of 12 with BC) is now in palliative care. Josie has had breast cancer for 13 years now and that is a long time for her to keep that spring in her step and gorgeous twinkle in her eye. She is such a sweety and has blessed all who know her. Big hugs to her and her family xxxooo




My head says ‘who cares’?

10412182_10152212273964506_649321099_oI totally understand why people stare at unusual things. Our brains just wants to make sense of things that aren’t the ‘norm’. I manage to go under the radar and blend with the crowd in my wig and my creative eyebrow drawings but I find going to gym is sometimes quite uncomfortable. I usually wear a baseball cap and a little makeup to take the shock away. At any given session I am stared at by 30+ people for that 3 seconds longer than politeness allows. Even my friends stare until the flicker of recognition kicks in. I always respond with a big smile. So far NOBODY (apart from friends) has smiled back. I go to gym 3+ times a week so that’s pretty bad. It’s not the staring that bothers me it’s that NOBODY responds when I smile at them.  I know I look like an alien but aliens can be friendly too.

If I said I was going to shave my head to raise funds for cancer I imagine they would all be cheering and giving me a hearty pat on the back.

Perhaps I need to get over my bad self. Let me just say… if you see someone who looks ‘different’, give them a smile regardless. It may well make their day.



Chemo news

If I had the choice I would not choose Tuesdays to have chemo. It takes 3-4 days for the side effects to kick in which means I am feeling yuk by the weekend. Monday to Friday I feel pretty great. Then the weekend I am tired and ‘weird’ feeling. It doesn’t stop me running 5k on the athletics track and socialising my little heart out but I have to force myself and take naps. This weekend I had ‘flu like symptoms’ that are common with Paclitaxol. Aching joints and tiredness.

Apparently it’s ‘have a whinge day’ at the Wood Hood. Ha ha

Two more sessions of Paclitaxel to go and then 4 cycles of AC. I’m almost half way through the chemo woo hoo!!