Frida Kahlo eat your heart out

Gee I thought losing my hair would be bad but it hasn’t worried me as much as I thought. However, now that my eyebrows and eyelashes are disappearing I frighten myself in the mirror each morning. I’m not sure if I have a fear of aliens or if it’s the ‘classic chemo patient’ look that shocks me.

Screenshot 20:06:2014 6:58 pmTo top it off I can’t seem to do anything to fix it. You would think that being an artist I would be able to draw my own eyebrows on but according to my beauty consultant (daughter) I’m hopeless. Somedays one eyebrow looks surprised and the other one looks angry. Other days I look like Frida Kahlo’s doppelganger.  Maybe I’ll start wearing a balaclava or a disguise from the $2 shop.

 A week off chemo

I had last week off chemo so the MOTH and I went to the Peninsula for the week. We had a lovely time together and also a lovely time apart. Unlike most married couples we actually spend a lot of time together so time apart gives us something to talk about over the BBQ dinner. I completed multiple art works while the MOTH managed 45 million holes of golf. The golf course was attached to the timeshare resort so that was handy… and free!

As well as that, we had my two sons and their wife/girlfriend for one day, Sophie for another and 4 of my lovely friends came down for a day and we went shopping, ate lunch and then soaked in the hot springs. The other days were spent in wineries, cheese factories, restaurants and running (with Screenshot 20:06:2014 7:04 pmthe MOTH) from Safety Beach to the Dromana pier and back along the beach (twice).

At least producing all this artwork has given me an income now that I’m not working and it’s soooo relaxing! Most times I sell the work before it’s finished thanks to Facebook and Instagram. If it doesn’t sell it doesn’t matter diddly squat. I just love creating it. I have 2 exhibitions coming up so there’s art everywhere at the Wood Hood!

The fault in our stars

I know some of you will be surprised but I read ‘The fault in our stars’ while I was away and when I was half way through it I went to see the movie with the MOTH at Rosebud. I recommend that you read the book if you haven’t, regardless of whether you have seen the movie. It adds more layers to the story and fills gaps that the movie leaves.

I am always a sook at that type of movie (so is the MOTH… shhhhh), but I had a strange desire to watch it. The focus is on a condition which was known to be terminal and the patient was only 17 years old, so I didn’t identify with many of her feelings.  Aside from the many thought provoking aspects of the book/movie it attempts to remove the stereotype attached to chronic illness and Hazel struggles not to be brutally honest about her feelings to those around her. The need to protect others from her harsh reality is something I identified with.

Anyhow, I won’t say we didn’t shed a tear but I cried much worse when I watched ‘My sisters keeper’, ‘Beaches’ and a few others. Perhaps the fear of cancer is worse when you haven’t experienced it? OR maybe I’ve just turned to ice and nothing moves me. Ice Queen?

Back to the turban factory

My running gear for Winter in Dromana!

My Eskimo running gear for Winter in Dromana!


I’m back this week for my fourth cycle of chemo having had a couple of days with less energy last week. I wondered if my blood counts had (finally) dropped but I seem to be fine again this week so I’m roaring to go back to the turban factory for more drugs… erm… not.

My running distance has dropped off a bit because I’m getting breathless. This is to be expected as I push through the cycles but the nurse thinks it’s to do with the cold air in my lungs. I’ll go back to the treadmill this week and see if being in warm air helps. Running 4k along the beach in the winter was pretty brisk! Brrrr.

No other symptoms other than eyebrows dropping like autumn leaves, wonky sinuses and looking like an alien. I’m good… but then I explained what ‘good’ meant in a previous post:)


The story of the shrinking egg

Watch this space

Last week I told the doctor the tumour is shrinking and she said ‘it won’t be shrinking yet it’s too early’. Well watch this space doctor!! I can now lay on my stomach for the first time in months (the lump was very large and uncomfortable before) and the tumour is now back to golf ball size from the previous egg size.  It’s the benefit of breast cancer over some other types of cancer that I can SEE the tumour and watch it shrink.

Whether you believe it’s prayer, diet (cutting out sugar and carbs etc), chemo or a combination of everything… I’m claiming it!! So yes. Watch this space.

Taking advise from others

It’s always good to have helpful advise from people and I appreciate it very much but it’s also important that I research my game plan and feel positive about it. My health plan isn’t ‘random’, it’s been discussed with my doctors, clinical trial specialists and I’ve read many medical journals, books and discussed options with health experts.

Whether my choices are the best in other peoples eyes can’t be a focus for me. In order to feel ‘positive’ I need to be confident that it will work and it gives me a way to contribute to my health, along with prayer and support from friends.

So please don’t think I don’t appreciate what you suggest as a lot of it has been very helpful and I know it is well intended.

As for exercise. No, I’m not over doing it and yes it is the best thing to do when you are on chemo, according to research. I’m under no illusions as to how long I have to keep it up and how my white blood cells vanishing will make me tired. By nature I’m a fighter. I’m not going to sit on the couch and lose all of my energy by being inactive. Energy doesn’t ‘save’. It depletes when you don’t maintain your fitness.

Doctors used to advise people to rest as much as possible during treatment, but this has changed. We now know that too much rest results in loss of muscle strength and leaves you with low energy levels. Read more here

Here are the benefits of exercising during chemo:

-reduces side effects of the chemo
-reduces tiredness (fatigue)
-reduce stress and anxiety
-helps look after your bones
-helps look after your heart
-helps reduce your risk of getting a blood clot
-helps keep your weight healthy

If you’re on chemo and you don’t have an exercise routine, start very slowly. It’s not the time to get into hard core fitness now!It’s best to find an approach which suits you as it’s not for everyone. I’m 53 years old and had started a running routine about 5 months before I began chemo. I also go to pilates, body balance and workout in the gym. All of this I did prior to getting cancer so my body is used to it.

There are many hundreds of sites supporting exercise during fitness, both medical journals and personal cases. Of course it’s important not to over do it and to listen to your body when it needs rest.

Here is an example of someone who rode her bike to and from her chemotherapy sessions

Mothers day classic

We’ve started a Mothers day classic team called ‘The Wood Hood’ team. We’ve raised $135 so far Woo hoo! I hope I’ll feel up to it when the time comes but it’s given me a goal.

So if you can afford to support our team or join it, here is the link.