wig

Don’t call me sweety

10997206_10152768772784506_432502217_nI’ve decided to shun the wig. It was like wearing a woolly hat on those hot days and I almost drowned in my own perspiration. Maybe I’ll wear one on special occassions. So far two people (men) have said ‘Why aren’t you wearing your wig?’. The women all call me ‘sweety’ and pat me sympathetically on the hand. It’s quite funny to see the reactions of people I know. My Dad didn’t recognise me! The best of all was my friends son (who I have known since he was a child) who said ‘wow, I love the way you’ve cut your hair’. I was cheerfully dancing at that comment because he didn’t realize I had chemo hair. He may be a hippy but he made my day. Actually, I have to confess I’d always wanted to cut my hair really short (being an ex hippy myself) but I was worried that it would look bad and I would regret it and cry into my pillow for 100 years. So I’m trying to embrace it and so far so good. Just don’t call me sweety and pat me on the hand or I’ll have to show you just how sweet I am and get violent ha ha.

Mammagard

I’ve been struggling with nasty hip pain over the last 2 weeks. They tell breast cancer patients to get all new pain checked out but I have arthritis so I’d be wearing a track to the hospital if I did that. This is new hip pain is on the left side which is new, so I went to have a bone scan this week. I’m getting very little sleep from the pain. Arggh. I was all excited about bouncing around like a rabbit from here on. The problem with it is that I can’t get a massage or go to my usual chiropractor because laying on my stomach is uncomfortable with the breast tissue expander. My friend has invested in an Australian made product called ‘Mammagard‘ and I had the honour of meeting the ‘inventor’ who is an osteopath. He is selling his kits like hot cakes in the US and I feel privileged to have the use of one. I got to sleep on my stomach last night and that was awesome! So I’m hoping to get a massage and treated by my chiro/myotherapist next week. He said I can use it for my Body Balance class also but I’m not sure if I’m that co-ordinated. Soon I’ll be bouncing around like a rabbit for sure:) http://mammagard.com/

If you find laying flat uncomfortable for whatever reason (breast related) let your Physio/chiro etc know about it because they can buy a kit.

Burns

I know I’m starting to sound like a walking advertisement for products but I swear it’s just that I feel so enthusiastic when I find something great. Do you know my radiotherapy burns went from horrid, purple, infected and very very painful to remarkable healing almost overnight. I’ve been piling on the Moo Goo (also an Australian product) and it’s beginning to look better than my other skin! I told the plastic surgeon yesterday and he could hardly believe me when I said what a state I was in just 2 weeks ago. He said he would have cried if he saw it. They are very sensitive these plastic surgeons. BTW he told me I have not got enough stomach (still) to do a TRAM flap so he might have to use butt or thigh tissue. I am devastated. I’ll leave it to you to decide if I’m kidding or not.

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‘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

Good thanks!

10347187_10152183012219506_1541027296625629266_nWhen people ask me how I am I say ‘good thanks’. That’s the standard Aussie response but what I mean by ‘good’ is… ‘all things considered… I’m good’. If I wasn’t on chemo and was asked the same question maybe I’d say ‘not so good’. I don’t usually launch into details because there are people around me suffering far more from various illnesses. Besides, I am feeling good emotionally and that’s a significant thing. In 2 months time I change chemo drugs to ‘AC’ and this could reduce my blood count dramatically. I will have 12 weeks of it, so I’m preparing my body to be fit and healthy by eating right and exercising regularly! At present, my blood count is still normal and the tumour has shrunk to the size and width of a long grain of rice so thank God for that!

Here is my pity party list for those who want to know what ‘good’ means…

  • I can’t sleep due to insomnia and night sweats which are every 30 minutes. This is due to ‘THE PAUSE’ not the chemo, now that I’m off HRT. 3 months ago I slept like a log. Here I am now, writing this blog post at 4am. Boo!

 

  • My brain is really struggling with ‘chemo fog’ as well as ‘THE PAUSE’ causing brain malfunction. It exhausts me to make every day decisions. Cooking tea is a major drain on the grey matter. I’m so glad I’ve made my life uncomplicated! Being self employed means no sick leave and my job requires lots of brain power because eLearning projects have strict deadlines and can be very complex. The threat of litigation looms over my head if projects are not completed to an agreed standard. So work is out of the question. Boo!

 

  • My sinuses are picking up allergies and causing problems due to the thinning of the skin (everywhere) and the hairless nostrils. Bleeding and congestion issues have been mostly resolved by putting vitamin E inside the nostrils each night. I know that’s TMI but some of my readers have cancer and details can be helpful!

 

  • Although I have no nausea, my food tastes weird. I have to ask people if my cooking is funky because it sure tastes that way.

So overall, that’s not too bad is it? As I say… I’m good!

 Balancing acts

10377159_789271297763330_542149322412441886_nLife is fairly self indulgent right now. I have ‘rest time’ blocked in most days so that I don’t over do it. I am not putting my hand up for things which I know will create stress. What? Not doing 1000 things at once? No study, art, work and play? Usually that’s what I thrive on. SometimesI feel listless without the challenge factor, but mostly I’m happy in my little foggy world. I’m so glad I have my art and it’s been selling quite well so that helps pay for materials. My social calendar keeps me pretty busy and I don’t have to use my brain too much for that:)

I’m managing to keep myself healthy and to maintain my fitness level. On Sunday I’m off to run the MS 5k fun run with my dear friend who has had MS for 21 years.

I’m not being a hero, I am a fighter by nature. I am also contrary, independent and stubborn, which is the flip side of being a fighter. The MOTH will verify this without thinking about it for more than 3.5 seconds.  I know that all cancer patients deal with their illness differently, there are 100s of different chemotherapy drugs which have various side effects and also different types of cancer and different types of breast cancer as well. I would hate to think people felt inadequate or compared themselves to my story. My story is my own and I recognize that we all tick differently and our bodys respond differently. My first response to anything is to fight. Not necessarily the right response!

To begin with, I was already physically fit (for a 53yo female) and ate a healthy diet. I don’t drink alcohol very often and I don’t smoke. I also boosted myself up with supplements prior to beginning chemo. So my starting point was high therefore I’ve managed to maintain good health up to now. If my starting point was low, no doubt I would be struggling a bit more than I am. I’ve found it important to know my limits and listen to my body!

Loving my 3 sisters

The sisters

Last weekend I escaped to Sorrento with my 3 sisters for our first time away together ever. It was an amazing weekend and I loved having time to just chat, laugh, soak in the hot springs, eat and shop with them.   Getting there was a challenge. Firstly one sister had an abscess which resulted in surgery to have a molar removed the day before we went away. With a mouth full of stitches and in pain, she soldiered on!  One of my other sisters had a chest cold but wasn’t infectious. As well as that, I broke a molar off on the Wednesday and had it filled the day after, which is a bit of a big deal when you’re on chemo. Hooray for them and the tough genes! It was a miracle we made it but it was definitely worth it.

Embracing the bald

Day 1 of my bald badness

Day 1 of my bald badness

I’m taking a photo a day of  my lovely bald head in different hats, wigs and so forth, of which I seem to have in abundance. Many of them are costumes I’ve scavenged from around the house. I might make a fast paced movie at some stage. Why? Because I want people to know that losing your ‘vices’ isn’t so bad. Hair loss is a fear a lot of women have and I was not looking forward it at all but it can be quite liberating or even amusing. Sometimes it can be just plain weird.

Day 2 embracing the bald

Breast cancer post #6- One week to chemo!

Screenshot 18:03:14 2:11 PMYou don’t know what to say to me. I don’t know what to say to you. Check mate.  It’s all rather awkward. I’m so blessed to have a sense of humour which I put into action at those silent moments when people struggle to find their words. If they don’t think I’m funny at least I amuse myself.

Yesterday I had the ultimate awkward experience. A guy, who I have met only twice (briefly) totally lost it. I thought he knew I had cancer but soon realised he didn’t. When I told him he became overwrought and took me in his arms and began sobbing into my hair.

It was then I got a whiff of alcohol on his breath.

I attempted to remove him from my personal space but it just didn’t work. My daughter, daughter in law and son’s girlfriend all skulked away (laughing). I was left rubbing his back and telling him it was ok. ‘Have you had a bad experience with cancer?’ I asked? ‘It’s not about ME, it’s about YOU’ he wailed.

OK… so it went on for 5 minutes and I managed to peel myself off him and say ‘it’s time for me to go now’. I walked briskly, with him slung around my shoulders, to where the girls were. The guy was saying ‘You’re poor daughter she must be so upset’ and then hugging and wailing again. I looked up to see  Sophie trying to hide her laughter behind her wallet. The ‘very upset daughter’ and the other 2 girls escaped up the street laughing and left me there. Yeesh. You know who your friends are.

Eventually he told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek and I bolted up the street like lightening and jumped into the car. It caused hysterical laughter all the way home so it was all worth it… almost.

SO… now I’m equipped to handle any reaction. Bring it on!

Medical news

I had all my tests today and the results will all be analysed and sent to central base. Then my name will be sent to Italy and I will be ‘randomised’ into a group. Then I will be totally random. Yay!

So all going well… I begin chemo next Tuesday, April 1st. Yes April fools day. I’m more than ready for it as it feels like nothing much is happening right now. I’m still feeling calm and positive but have a need to take action as well.

IMG_1513I’ve begun a diet as well as taking supplements which were suggested to me by a pharmacist who went to a conference where the author of ‘Five to thrive’ was speaking. My friend works at the pharmacy and the pharmacist knew about me so she wrote a list especially for me.

So as well as the cancer killing diet, I’m all plumped up with these little babies! It makes me feel like I’m doing something active, other than drinking coffee with friends.

Hairy head

I ‘ve started making hats with matching scarfs out of stretch fabric. I can get a hat and scarf out of 50cm of fabric. Today I cut up an old poncho and made a hat and scarf from it. This will catch on in Paris for sure. My life has been reduced to domestic bliss and hat happiness. I can cook up a mean broccoli sprout in the thermomix.

I’m so blessed to have the chemo in Winter where wearing beanies etc is OK and my head won’t get too hot wearing a wig. I also have some clever family doing some knitting and I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

This morning I went armed with Sophie to the wig shop in Ringwood and bought two synthetic ones from the Rachel Welsh range. The MOTH always fancied Rachel so that might add some spark to the marriage! The wigs are surprisingly realistic and I’m almost looking forward to the low maintenance hairdo.

My art expo

SInce Paul has been so lovely and extended my exhibition dates, please go and check out his new business. Have a lovely coffee and lunch at Forest Edge Stone in Kallista, they have extended my art exhibition until May 1st.  Ignore the ‘April the 10th’ end date on the website: http://www.forestedgestone.com.au/