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An unwelcome visitor

my last blog post was about my last stage of active treatment, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders and that ‘light’ everyone talks about at the end of the tunnel has been switched on. My worries have finally left me and we can move forward with our lives.

Except we can’t.

My shitty cancer has come back. I don’t even want to say ‘My’ as I don’t really want to own it. It can’t be mine anymore can it?

I finished chemo 7 weeks ago and radiotherapy around 10 days ago, this can’t be happening right?!

My story unfolds when a couple of weekends back I had some chest pain, all chest pains go to A&E, they’ve got to, to rule out any heart problems. All my heart tests came back normal but a blood test to see if you could potentially have a blood clot in the lung came back raised. An overnight stay in hospital and a CT scan of my chest revealed there was no clot. However they found an enlarged node in my lung and under my left armpit. The opposite side to my original breast cancer. We were obviously very concerned and the doctors in the medical unit didn’t want it to be left and not looked at, so I was referred back to my breast surgeon.

I had an ultrasound and mammogram of my good boob and that came back normal, however the radiologist felt 2 of my lymph nodes under my arm were large enough to take a biopsy, I got the results today.

They found grade 3 breast cancer in these nodes, we are still waiting for the hormone status to come back and to see if it’s the same cancer as I had before – or if it’s a brand new breast cancer in my good boob.

I’ve got to have an MRI of my left breast and a CT staging scan again. So my treatment plan is not quite clear cut as I would have liked.

I am totally gutted, my poor kids and family have to go through this all again. I’m scared this cancer is going to take my life and scared of what the future holds.

The scary thing is, this wouldn’t have been picked up if I didn’t have that original chest pain. For now we are going to try and carrying on as normal, I even arranged to go back to work yesterday – my start date was October 3rd!

Just gutted – totally gutted

#6 Chemo

Never thought I would say this but I’ve had my last chemo!! Such a weird old feeling, high one minute and unfortunately down the next.

So when I started this journey I always said to myself il take chemo in my stride. I’ve got a few chemo buddies I regularly talk to and like most women we compare notes. Trouble is their notes seemed so much better than mine! I found chemo very hard, probably because I have two youngsters to look after too (although my parents and sister have been angels caring for them day in day out when needed) I found the slog of chemo absolutely draining. So when I had my last dose I was on a complete high!

I almost skipped out of that day unit, feeling good and positive and although it is your last one, you’ve got this perception that it’s all done. I mean I’ve got radiotherapy and endocrine treatment for the next  5 years to contend with, possibly early menopause and all the other side effects of Tamoxifen. But you kind of feel done. Of course you still have to go through the motions of the side effects of chemo. For example your blood count dropping, Fatigue like no other and so this puts another 10 days at least of the ‘not being done yet’.  You feel quite confused…

So the day after chemo, the side effects slither their way in. I knew it was coming but your on such a high from the day before – the crashing is magnified more than ever. I felt down in the dumps because my body just wasn’t ready to party yet. That moet chilling in the fridge isn’t ready to be popped yet. It was all a bit depressing.

But now I am day 7 post chemo number 6, this day on the tax has always hit me hard. The fatigue is like a truck hitting you. Your mind is saying yes and your body is saying absolutely NO! Trips to Asda or physically doing the school run are still a no no, but if my body follows suit from the last rounds I should start seeing through the clouds by about Wednesday or Thursday this week.

Next week everything is changing. John is back to work, he’s had the whole chemo time off looking after me. It’s bought us so close together, he really is an angel in disguise. I think also it’s made him appreciate me more too, we both used to work full time before, because I worked shifts and would often do lates or weekends, it would seem my days off/ time off would fall when kids were at school and john was at work, so housework etc would naturally fall on me. He’s always been Good around the house, occasionally emptying the dishwasher, hoovering etc, but I don’t think he has ever cleaned the bathroom or skirting boards for example. This time off he has taken the domestic God to another level and because I haven’t been able to do it, john naturally took it on. So we’ve kind of got this silent appreciation of each other, it’s such a lovely feeling. He even purchased a dishwasher and washing machine cleaner the other day and was proud as punch about using it!!

anyway my loves, I’m clocking off for now. Going to try and get over this last hog and start smashing radiotherapy.

Enjoy the sun,

much love

Michelle x

 

My Spiritual self

A few family members have commented that I have become very spiritual since my diagnosis. The truth is I have always been very spiritual since a little girl, but never really expressed my feelings or shown others my interests, because it was just my little hobby. Once the kids came along I didn’t really have much time to continue my hobby and explore different aspects of spiritualism and healing and working full time and being a mummy was tough. The only time I had off was annual leave and if we wasn’t going away on holiday I used to spend it when the children were on holiday from school, so my day would be jam packed of kids activities. No time to get the tarot cards out.

So I just wanted to explain a bit about my spiritual journey. Some people reading this may be completely shocked and didn’t know that side existed in my life, others will know me very well and appreciate the passion I have exploring this fascinating world and realise it has always been a part of me.

I remember as a very young child, probably around 7 or 8. I watched a film or a TV show that showed people moving objects with their minds. This absolutely fascinated me and I remember sitting at my desk in my bedroom trying to move a coin on the desk with my mind. I remember focusing on door handles and trying to make them move or paper stacks. But actually nothing ever happened. Yet it still got my attention. I also remember as a child watching a programme called ‘strange but true’ I used to really look forward to this, it never scared me, but In my young teenage years ‘most haunted’ was around and this did scare me. Not at the time watching it, but once I went to bed I would overthink about ghosts – thinking they were in my room about to jump out!

All of these things as a child grabbed my attention. I would be the child that would buy a dream catcher at the car boot sale, I would have journals at the side of my bed, eagerly awaiting the previous nights dreams to be documented then interpreted. I owned about 4 dream dictionaries at the age of 10. Everything I believed happened for a reason, including dreams. I still remember 2 very prominent dreams I had as a child, they stillI alter some of the ways I do things today. One very strange thing occurred as a child, Me and my sister shared bedrooms and one night we had exactly the same nightmare about our mum, the storyline and everything was the same. Now, you may think as children our imaginations were running wild and one could copy the other, but we still very much remember this and it’s quite scary looking back the detail we both remember about that particular dream.

Moving into my teenage years I found a little passion for astrology. I was probably around 12 at the time, I would buy books and magazines and spend my weekends soaking up as much information as possible. The World Wide Web didn’t really come into context in our house until I was about 14, so books were my major source of information.

The Astrology side of things kind  of faded out, at the age of 13 you kind of grow a new interest and that’s boys! I spent the next few years just being a teenager, partying and having a good time. I still kept a dream diary though.

When I was around 16 I started earning a proper wage. I would work in the school/college holidays at a local factory and money coming in was pretty good for a 16 year old, I purchased my first ever crystal. A rose Quartz. I still have this same crystal on my side in my bedroom. I clean it every few months under cold running water and give it an energy charge when I remember under a full moon (just sat on the windowsill) I also purchased my first set of tarot cards and these are the set that I have today. Some people suggest wrapping your tarot cards in silk, but mine are in the same box I purchased them in, this is how I like it.

I met my husband John when I was 18. We were friends for a year before we starting dating. As my friend, he was a bit of a Guinea pig for tarot card readings. He still thinks even to this day that it’s a whole lot of tosh. He doesn’t believe it in at all. To be honest the tarot side of things I haven’t pursued. It’s just a bit of fun, however they are still sat in my lounge taking pride of place on my bookcase. This blog has given me the urge to get them out once again and learn the trade properly.

At 17, when at college doing beauty therapy, I signed up for a crystal healing course. It was an evening run course and because I was under 19 I got to enrol for free. I stayed for around 4 weeks and left. The students were all very much 40+ and a young 17 year old like me, just didn’t fit in. Don’t get me wrong I tend to get on with most people, but I just didn’t click in this group. Im really gutted I left. I would love to be able to understand more of crystals and their healing properties. I’ve since gone onto purchase an amethyst and a clear Quartz, both beautiful chunks of crystals.

So my story moves on into a more dramatic, mediumship kind of interest. Unfortunately I am not a medium. I would absolutely love to be , but just can’t engage with spirit. Not that I have ever tried in a development sense, but just haven’t got ‘the gift’ as most mediums talk about.

My older brother Mike died when I was 21. It was a very sudden death and as you can imagine for my parents and younger brother and sister, it was a horrendous time. The first year of his death was extraordinary for me and my spiritual interest. I found I was having dreams with Mike in that were so real. I felt very close to him and felt these dreams were a huge comfort. I could feel him near me and could smell him occasionally. I knew he must be around, so I visited my first Clairvoyant. To be honest around 60% (a rough guess) of mediums I have seen have been rubbish. I’ve payed between £15-£40 to see someone, usually lasting an hour. It became a bit of an obsession in the first three years that he died. It was like I was seeking someone to talk to him for me and give me all the answers on a plate. Clearly that’s never going to happen, but what did happen was I met the most incredible medium, who has the most precious gift. Her name was Louise and she was around my age. She lived locally and didn’t charge the earth. Even to this day she doesn’t work as a medium, she’s just concentrating on raising her young family. Her reading meant so much to me and after this encounter I felt like I wasn’t chasing something that wasn’t there anymore. I now pay to see mediums as I enjoy seeing them work, it fascinates me how they work, what they say and do. Some are still on the weaker edge I must admit, actually that’s unfair of me to say that, because I am just comparing every time to louise. Some are more gifted than others, but I have definetly seen some ‘mediums’ play on people’s emotions and give over information that is on such a wide wave length that it could be taken in any context. When your grieving that’s what you do, you fit the information given as your so desperate to hear from your loved ones.

Ive also attended some group seances and explored haunted houses. These are very much up my street and is something I plan to do a lot of with my best buddy Donna. We both love the thrill and the unknown of what’s about to happen.

ive also been very lucky to have been invited along to a Student demonstration for them to practice on me, it was just after I had my son Freddie, so around 5ish years ago. The host wanted someone in particularly that had lost a loved one to a trauma. I’m not sure if this is because deaths with trauma involved have a stronger spirit presence or not, or if it was just an area they were covering, but I went along. I sat on my own, the Students were sat around me in a semi circle, there were probably around 15 students. They would focus in and out of meditation and try and pick up spirit around me. They were actually very good. One particular guy stood out for me, he said “for some reason I can’t pick up spirit, but I am laying in a bed with equipment on my face and you are looking over me.” He said he couldn’t feel his body and felt paralysed, but could see me looking over him, at the time I was working in Accident and Emergency as a nurse and told him this. He felt really shaken as he realised it was a hospital bed he was in and the equipment on his face was life support. It clearly shook him up as he believed it was a premenition of something that was about to happen. Luckily for him and me I have never nursed him in the years gone by, but clearly it was a scary moment for him!

So moving forward into my late twenties and to now, I have embraced all the little interests I’ve had since a young girl. I’ve got a bit of time on my hands when I’m feeling well as not back to work until the Autumn. I would like to take this opportunity to explore more about crystal healing, learn about my chakras and balancing my energy and possibly attend a spiritual development course to see if I have anything there. I would love to hear your stories…….

much love,

Michelle xx

 

#5 Chemo

Number 5! Whoa…… The end is in sight.

I remember before I even started chemotherapy, reading other people’s blogs having chemo and some of them documenting number 5 with just one more to go and thinking that will be me in the summer. Well here it is! I’ve actually done 5 chemos!!

So this one, pretty similar to the last, pain was not as bad as number 4, I just find with the docataxel that the side effects seem to last longer. I’m now day 10 and still feel really fatigued, where as on the FEC I felt right as rain by now. One side effect I’ve had with this one is nose bleeds. My platelets must be on the low side, luckily they’ve not lasted very long, so no intervention… Just annoying more than anything.

so number 6 is on its way. I’m not sure wether to crack the Moët open after chemo or after I’ve finished radiotherapy? My parents and aunties and uncles are away on my official last day of radio and really wanted them to raise a glass with me, oh sod it we will do both!

Well as you can probably tell I am very upbeat about the whole thing. I think chemo number 4 is the worst for feeling low, emotional and generally rubbish, number 5 is much much better I promise!

For now I’m going to be shopping thank you cards for everyone at the chemo unit, I may even put together a large fruit hamper for them as a little thank you for looking after me!

Chowe for now,

xx

#4 chemo

It’s only 5 days until I recieve chemo number 5! So I apologise for taking so long with the number 4 update.

So number 4 was a new chemo, it’s always been scheduled to be given on number 4,5 and 6 but it’s a totally different chemo to my previous ones. This one is called Docataxel. The side effects I was told was bone and joint pain, fatigue, hair loss and possibly loose stools. I can totally relate to the first two!!

My chemo is a Wednesday, I was given the treatment in the morning and was sick before I could even leave the hospital grounds, getting john to pull over in a busy stream of hospital traffic was not the best move – but it had to be done! When I got home I felt fine for the rest of the day and pretty much the next day. I never had the chemo ‘fog’ that I’ve had with previous chemos – my mind felt clear and well.

By Friday of that week the side effects started kicking in, I had horrendous pain in my hips and downwards, it was a deep bone pain and regular painkillers wouldn’t shift it, I then had bad pins and needles in my feet especially after a bath, which seemed to be worse at night time. This was unbearable. I had to start the GCSF injections 2 days earlier with this chemo too so the bone pain from them also added to the list! My tongue was so sore and my gums felt like they were going to break out in ulcers at anytime. I kept up a really good oral hygiene regime, cleaning my teeth three times a day, using difflam mouthwash 4 times a day and chlorhexadine mouthwash twice a day (this one leaves a funny reside in your mouth) For pain wise, I had regular paracetamol and ibuprofen and added in codeine when I needed it. I’ve been given Gabapentin for the nerve pain in my feet for next time, but will hold off on that for as long as possible as I HATE taking medications full stop.

So this chemo was pretty horrendous… I had a hospital admission too for an infection (mild, so lucky) I’m back on the chemo train next week, but counting my lucky stars that I have only two more to go!!

in the meantime I’ve met my radiotherapy consultant, he’s explained everything about the radiotherapy treatment. I’ve got my planning appointment the day before my last chemo!

for now I’m going to enjoy the rest of the half term, my little Freddie has had a bad virus since Monday so it’s been up and down with him all week to the GP. Hopefully he is on the mend soon!

Michelle x

P.S my hair is kind of growing back! I’ve got this weird peach fuzz all over my scalp. It may fall out again, but il keep you updated

#3 Chemo

Sorry I’ve taken so long with the 3rd chemo update, I’ve kind of lost myself in my own garden. I’ve taken up gardening as a new hobby, it’s so therapeutic and seeing the little seedlings grow into beautiful plants makes my day. Yes I am probably talking like I am in my 60’s, I know, but maybe it’s because I’ve got some time on my hands – just like someone of retirement age does? Well I’m not 60, I had a birthday this chemo, I am 31 now. I kind of wished that I could of had my 31st birthday after all this interruption had passed, so I can write 30 off, but it’s not panned out that way. At least when I hit 32 it can be a fresh milestone.

So talking of birthdays, my birthday happened 2 days after chemo was given. Now usually I am fine for the first 3 or 4 days but this time round it hit me like a ton of bricks on day 1! Just my luck…… So I had family and friends dropping my pressies off either to my hubby or they would come up and say hello. Quite depressing really. But what goes down must come up right? (I know it’s the other way round 😂) I started feeling better by about day 5, but the weariness and fatigued lingered this time round, even now on day 16 I still don’t feel 100% right.

So this weekend is my ‘good’ weekend, we’ve planned a little trip to Weymouth bay with some family, I love doing things like this as it gives me a little something to look forward too. The kids are mega excited too…..

so amongst the midst of things, the end is in sight, I am over halfway through now. This chemo (number 4) will make me two thirds of the way through. I am slightly nervous about this one though as it’s totally different to my FEC. This is Docataxel. However I found FEC very hard to cope with, so hopefully this one is a breeze! Another thing to add, is I have my first radiotherapy appointment on Monday, it’s probably just a generalised chat with my new consultant, it’s a weird feeling as I am slightly excited about this! I think it’s because that grey cloud is finally starting to break and I can see a glimmer of sunshine finally starting to burn through. Roll on the end of August when I should be (touch wood) competed with both. I can then focus my energies on rebuilding myself and try and get back to normality.

Im off now to enjoy the sunshine,

much love

Michelle xx

Love your body

(Picture taken from Google 2016)

For those that have been following my blog and journey since diagnosis would have caught on by now that I usually do all my blogging laying in bed, I usually describe the weather and what the day will bring and most of the time I ‘feel’ a blog post coming on.

This morning, yes I am laying in bed but not at home, I’m in hospital with an infection. The chemo army only know to well that this can be quite common, quite frankly it’s a pain in the butt, but I don’t want to dwell on the negatives.

The thing that spured me on this morning to blog about loving your body and I mean really loving your body, is a clip I see on Lorraine this morning. A lady with a young daughter had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and at one point was completely riddled with it, her thinking about death made her body start dying. She decided to love her body and take her cancer by the hand and walk with it. She has had treatment now and has just one small tumour in her lung, everywhere else is clear. Her motto is that she is not battling with cancer, she is not fighting the disease. Yes eventually she will die, but she doesn’t want to be branded with ‘lost her battle’. It’s not a fight. It’s merely cells that have mutated and all the other technical stuff. I truly believe your fate is destined and to fight your way along your journey and battle cancer will be truly exhausting!

I want people to embrace their bodies, regardless of diagnosis. Take cancer by the hand and walk with it. Yes it’s bloody scary, terrifying infact. Yes you will think about death probably 100 times a day. But don’t battle with it, accept it and try to learn from it.

My life has changed now forever, my husband and children’s lives have changed forever. But I am not going to let it change us for the worse. We are going to use this experience and embrace life, really live for the day.

My body has changed forever. Yes I will get reconstruction and my hair will grow back, but it will never be the same. Why would I want to dwell on that? Why make sad days even sadder? I will use these scars I have as a reminder of how strong I am and how proud I am of my family. I will never use the term battle scars as I don’t want to fight…..

Since diagnosis the air feels fresher, the grass seems greener, the sky bluer. I look at my children that extra minute longer when they are sleeping and smile that little bit more. My vision is more clearer.

My life before was tainted with things that didn’t really matter. Now it is injected with pure love and hope.

Love your bodies, it’s your shell to protect your souls.

Much love

Michelle xx

#1 Chemo

So the second part of our journey begins. I say ‘our’ as it is truly effecting every single member of my family.

24th Feb I had a Picc line inserted into my left arm. To be honest I was dreading it, I thought of pain, anxiety and generally didn’t want to go there. But actually the nurses were so reassuring and it wasn’t as bad as first thought. They give you a little injection to numb the area and then move on with the procedure, a quick X-ray to see if it’s in place and done!

25th Feb was my fist chemo treatment. Most of you know I wanted to try the cold cap, it makes me feel sick just writing about it now as I was so determined to use it but just couldn’t. My whole morning was soaked up thinking about how successful I would be using a scalp cooler and I really got my hopes up. I’m not going to descriptively mention how I felt as I truly do not want to put anybody off using the cooler, let’s just say it wasn’t for me. So yes I will be loosing my hair 😦

When the nurses started administering the first lot of chemo I expected to feel different. Like turn bright pink or something, maybe feel a bit sick? Maybe feel hot? I don’t know, but something. I didn’t. I felt totally normal. The only immediate side effect I had was the last chemo drug going through made my sinuses feel a bit blocked for a few minutes, but the nurses warned me about this before hand.

I finished the chemo and headed off to the car, after quite a walk I realized I left my phone on the unit, so back I go, luckily it’s still there. Then overnight I left my phone in full view of the car by the gear stick, this is not like me at all, hubby reckons chemo brain is setting in? Surely not within the hour?

So, the next couple of days I wait around to feel ill, I feel normal except I have this nagging feeling of like a jet lag type symptom or when you do night shifts and your on your last one and only have a few hours sleep in the morning because you want to sleep that night. I’m not tired, just feel a bit lagged. I’ve taken all the anti sickness and steroids (oh how they make you eat!) and touch wood so far I have only had a bit of nausea but nothing gut wrenching. Very very mild.

So I am now day 11 at time of writing. I have a really tough week. Day 4-7 was the worst for me, I was admitted to hospital as they thought I had a blood clot around pic line, luckily it wasn’t and just generally feeling completely bazoobooled (is that even a word?) with the chemo side effects. I would say day 8-9 I started feeling better, but then of course your neutropenic and so I didn’t want to go out in the crowds and potentially pick up an infection. I’ve had cabin fever bad. Then there’s Freddie, he’s had a really heavy cold, so he slept at my parents/sisters house for 3 nights, but to him it was like a fun sleepover every time so I didn’t feel too guilty, but it was tough going. My blog title really comes into fruition now. I am truly a woman interupted. Actually not just a woman, a mummy and a wife. It sucks it really does suck.

usually (and feedback suggests) I am a very positive, upbeat person, but this week really swiped me off my feet. I have never been jealous of people, more so that if someone does well for themselves or have become really lucky I am so thrilled for them, I never feel bitterness towards them or wishing I had what they have, But this week for the first time In my life I have felt jealous, silly things like women walking past my lounge window pushing their babies in their buggies. I mean I don’t know what their lives entail or if they are having it rough, but to me for a split second they looked like me last year, just carrying on with their everyday lives. Raising their children and getting on with life. I felt jealous that it wasn’t me anymore and wished I could be them. Horrible horrible feeling. Not nice at all. I keep thinking to myself that by June this will all be done with. Yes I will be broken and bald but it’s done with.

So it’s Mother’s Day today. I’ve had a wonderful day and been spoilt as usual by my kids and John. Most would like breakfast in bed and a roast dinner cooked for them, but for me it was the opposite. I’ve felt so well today that I got up and cooked scrambled eggs on toast and then went onto cook a roast lamb. It’s the simple things in life and today was one of them days as I managed it without a fuss and it felt good!

Next chemo is in 10 days, hopefully I will ping out a post in between times. Something a bit more upbeat!

Michelle X

Chemo must haves

Not really a thing you want to be doing in your lifetime,  shopping for chemotherapy side effects. Ever. But for some of us Chemotherapy will try and take over our lives for a short while. I have tried to make this journey as comfortable as possible and will try and preserve my hair as much as I can, so here is a breakdown of products that have already been tried and tested in a roundabout way and products that I will be trying throughout this journey and telling you all how I get on! I will start with hair bits and bobs first:-

Haircut Wether you are going to cold cap or not, I would suggest getting a haircut if your used to long hair. This is only if your chemotherapy will cause hair loss though. My hair is pass my shoulders, I will be getting it cut into a bob before the big day. I’ve been told by my consultant that the part at the back of your head that dips in (sorry don’t know proper word) is the part which is more than likely to shed hair, because the cold cap can’t quite reach the hair due to the dip. So keep your hair long at the back, like one length, don’t layer it up high.

Hair brushing  I Have been advised not to use a regular hair brush if cold capping, I have purchased a wide tooth comb from GHD, try not to tug on the roots of your hair when combing.

Hair washing/Styling Some people say wash your hair normally, I’m going to take advice from a lady that has successfully cold capped. She washed her hair every 10 days, sounds gross, but apparently the chemo drys out your hair, so I won’t be sporting the chip pan look (hopefully!) Never use any heat on your hair, just let it dry naturally. Use a loose scrunchie to keep it back (make sure your Bob is long enough to tie back) Use a shampoo and conditioner that is completely natural. Baby shampoo is a no go. It’s too alkaline. I have purchased A-KIN shampoo and conditioner, it’s quite pricey, But totally natural. I have tried this out already and have already found it quite drying. I will see how I get on, but may shop around for a paraben, silicone free shampoo, all singing and dancing.

Cold cap The nurses on the day unit will set all the cold cap machine up for you. You will have to spend longer having your chemo if using cold cap, this is to freeze the hair follicles prior to the infusion starting. I have been told that I will have the cap on 30 minutes before hand and 90 minutes after, successful stories say that make sure the cap is fitted well with a clearance gap of 2cm below the hairline on your forehead. If it starts to slip or you can’t feel the same amount of coldness around your scalp, then tell the nurse immediately. I will be using the Paxman scalp cooler their website is fab and has loads of hints and tips! Apparently you will loose 30-50% off your hair using the cold cap but should be OK to carry on with hair as it hopefully won’t make too much of a difference. I have pretty thick hair anyway, so hopefully I will cope with it. I have purchased a spray water bottle, to use with 50% water and 50% conditioner, try and buy a nice smelling conditioner as an extra treat. This will need to be sprayed on before the cold cap goes on, it helps take the cap off easier after its all been administered. I have also purchased a plain black towel hat type thing, my daughter has one for after swimming lessons. You just pop it on and button up at the back. The last thing you want to be doing is walking around the hospital with wet hair. Luckily for us, there are doors leading out on to the side of the hospital we can use, so I will wait there while hubby gets the car, just so I don’t bump into anyone with my towel in situ!

Comforts  so using the cold cap, it’s going to be very cold. People suggest wearing layers of clothing, rather than just a thick jumper, even in the summer. I have purchased a lovely soft grey fleece blanket, it’s silky smooth, to wrap up in whilst having the chemo. Take any hot drinks being offered and try to wear warm footwear. I have also purchased a 100% silk pillow case from Amazon for £19.99. When cold capping you need to protect your hair and at night time when your dreaming away this can be difficult. A silk pillowcase can minimise the bed head look and hopefully the knotting in the morning. I opted for the cotton backed case so it doesn’t slip from the sheet.

Nails  Acyrilics and Gel nails are a no go, this is because they already ruin your top layer of nails and chemo apparently does affect your nail bed. I have been advised to wear dark nail polish to minimise the sunlight going through to the nail. Heat doesn’t wear well when the nail beds are damaged. I have purchased some lovely nail polish in the O.P.I range called infinite shine 2. It looks like gels and goes on beautifully. I have also purchased some nail oil from beauty despite cancer. It’s a totally natural product and feels delicious. 

Deodorant/shower gel/soap Again, purchase things totally natural. You don’t want any scents in these products, nausea is a big issue when on chemo. I have purchased a roll on aloe Vera deodorant from green people.co.uk, it’s made without alcohol and pore clogging aluminium. It’s pretty expensive at nearly £10 but it will last approx 2 months. I’ve been using this since the mastectomy and give it a huge thumbs up! It’s the type of thing you can buy your teenagers as they first start using deodorant, because it’s so natural you can trust it won’t harm their skin. Shower gel you can buy from any store, I opt for the sanex 0% one, been using this since operation too, love sanex products anyway, so this one will always be in our bathroom.

Skin I used to always use any body butter or moisturising cream generally, but scent and natural products is key when having chemotherapy. Your skin will dry out and may become more sensitive. I have purchased My trusty sunflower cream from My trusty. This cream is A-Mazing! It can be used on all ages including babies over 8 weeks. It is free from parabens. It was developed by Salisbury NHS trust for patients recovering from burns and plastic surgery. It contains 5% sunflower oil and comes in unscented or lavender. I have purchased the lavender, it is £11.99 for a 250ml dispenser, it literally melts into your skin. You can use it on your face too! For my lips I have purchased a natural lip balm from Beauty Despite Cancer for £5. It’s a must have for pre chemo and beyond….

Everything else  Buy yourself Them shoes, or that bag. If it makes you feel better do it! I have purchased a wig from the NHS, I will splash out more on a wig if I do loose my hair, this is just an interim back up. I’m yet to purchase scarfs and hats as haven’t found any I particularly like and the fact I’m determined to keep my hair, so I may go down that road if needed. I would recommend some books or a kindle. I will certainly be taking mine.

For all those just starting out on the chemo train like me, good luck and Stay positive!

For those that have conquered that mission, if you have any more hints or tips please leave comment below.

**these items are not sponsored, all opinions are my own**

much love

Michelle X

 

 

Chemotherapy fears and worries

The time comes when you hear them words “Chemotherapy”. You usually think about it straight away after you’ve been told you have cancer and if like me, ask the question almost instantly after hearing them words ‘cancer’ “Will I need Chemo?”

For most patients with breast cancer, chemotherapy is part of the treatment process. I have been told my chemo is to mop up any stray cancer cells that have slipped through the net. Back in December I had a full body CT scan and thankfully for me this was normal, so my tumour has gone. It’s been cut out. But i have a high risk of it coming back, chemotherapy will hopefully minimize this risk. I am having 6 sessions of chemo, 1 every 3 weeks. My regime is FEC-T.

Most ladies (and men) I imagine think about hair loss mostly. I certainly did. At first I was like ‘I won’t wear a wig’ ‘I don’t really mind that my hair will fall out’ ‘I’m going to embrace the look’ you know the drift, but as the time is drawing near, I’m actually terrified about hair loss.

My daughter (9) has said she feels really anxious that her school friends will take the Micky out of my bald head and the fact that I will be wearing scarfs and wigs, this made me really sad as it doesn’t seem that long ago that I was in the same boat as her at school, I only left school in 2001, so I really know how she feels. With this in mind I have really looked into scalp cooling or cold capping to preserve my hair.

I know this doesn’t work for everyone and patients with hematology cancers aren’t allowed to try, but I am going to give it ago. If it fails it fails, but at least I tried.

You get given many leaflets from the oncology clinic and Macmillan about hair loss which is great, but I’ve also done my own research about cold capping and how effective it is. Some real success stories have been really inspiring to read, they have used products and techniques to try and minimize their own hair loss. I am writing another blog with all these products and a bit about them and eagerly waiting to try them out to see if it works!!

Ive been told I will know wether cold capping has been successful by the third treatment. Normal hair loss usually occurs at a very quick rate by about day 21, but again, everyone is different.

In regards to the other side effects of treatment, I don’t want to scare people out there just starting on their journey. In a nutshell, it’s nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite and generally feeling very hungover (my own consultant used these words) however I have been told if you stick to your medication such as anti sickness meds, steroids etc, then you should be ok. I will blog about each chemo session I have and give an honest account of how I feel.

This is just a snippet of worries and fears of having chemo, with hair loss being my main one I thought I’d touch upon this the most, please check out my next post ‘Chemo Must haves’ where I will be exploring all the products I have been advised to have whilst on the chemo train.

My first session of chemotherapy is on the 25th of Feb, Picc line being inserted on the 24th Feb, it will soon be here?!?!

Much love,

Michelle x