Sore armpit, sore bottom what ever next!

It was a long day today, more than normal. It seem to take ages to get seen by the radiotherapy unit girls after arriving at 9am lady B and I did not actually get zapped till after 11am! My poor coccyx which hasn’t been right since I had my son was screaming at me as those blue chairs aren’t exactly made for comfort but convenience!  Then I get upstairs only to find out that my bus left. Well its not MY bus but it was the early bus that I always get on.  So lady B and I and master W who stuck around just to wait for lady B waited at the clinic for a further 2 hours on the built for convenience blue chairs, thus I did not get home until nearly 4pm today. So my arse spent a total of 8 hours either sat on a hard chair or being jolted on the bus..

I saw the lady radiotherapist today, she is very sweet.  She has prescribed me some Bepanthol cream which is a type of moisturiser I think and movithiol cream which is a cortisone to help with the pain that and some paracetamol.  Unfortunately as time has passed I am getting increasingly more red and more sore.  Medicine is all given free at the oncology center which I think is very kind indeed.

I was talking to one of the chaps I share the bus with today, he has had prostate cancer and is having radiotherapy like me. Many more zaps than me too.  We were saying how we have to take off our tops and how we are red raw and he said he has to drop his bottoms each time.  I was embarassed that I had to show my boobs every day to a bunch of people I didn’t know and he has to show his crown jewels everyday to them instead!  I asked him “does this mean you have to get your knackers out everyday?!”  haha I’m such a classy lady aren’t I?! Thankfully he found my question amusing, well at least I hope you did if you are reading this! 🙂   So everyone, just when you think its embarrassing to see the doctor over anything think of all the men out there who have to drop their pants every day cause of prostate cancer. And chaps; do get yourselves checked, as with everything prevention is the key.  Having your crown jewels on show every day is not the worst thing that can happen to you but prostate cancer can be.

So I am hoping the cream will start working soon and I will start to feel less pain however the stiffness in my arm and wrist I will have to tackle with exercise..by lifting a glass of wine..  🙂  haha

Keep smiling.

Alethea x

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13 down 7 to go!

Well here I am with 7 days of treatment to go.  My armpit is getting more sore with each passing day now and so is my wrist. I think that’s a sign of lympoedema however I am being careful with it and doing the gentle rubbings to get fluid out of my arm and it to my remaining lymph nodes in my back.  My fingers are all the same size though thankfully.  I get a pins and needles feeling in my arm sometimes and the tape has left some not so attractive red marks which are now turning black from the radiozaps! But its a small price to pay to be rid of melanoma.

A girl a barely knew died last Saturday.  I met her via a melanoma forum and she added me on facebook too but we only chatted a few times. But I am sad as she was only 37.  Melanoma is a very cruel killer and puts up such a fight sometimes that even the strongest most optimistic person can loose. At least now JH can rest in peace.

I spent my weekend with my family, I did a bit of shopping and bought a tent and portable DVD player.  I have to say during my travels during and back the DVD player has been fab! Now I share it with another passenger and she is hooked too! If we aren’t causing a riot in the bus and being too noisy… haha

The other bus driver (from another support society) apparently doesn’t like me although we’ve met very few times in the clinic.  You see he is very bossy and can be quite rude to the cancer patients which is totally wrong.  So I stood up for them and kind of put him in his place so now he doesn’t like me. I think he believes women should be seen and not heard.. and well everyone who knows me knows I’m not like that.  You hear me before you see me..haha

In a strange way I will miss my friends from the bus as its not a place i’d rather be! We all pretty much finish in August and its been really nice as we have all laughed and joked as if we are all going on a summer holiday.  It should be called George’s fun bus.. as its not a sad place to be.  We have all been quite lucky to meet each other I think.   To every cloud there is a silver lining two of my bus friends have said to me at separate times! I plan to throw a party when I’m done for them and of course some of my good friends who have supported me throughout my journey.

I think when something terrible happens to you its life’s way of saying “wake up” you are doing something wrong.  And believe me when I say I am more awake now than I ever was.

I have received conflicting stories from two different secretaries. One saying I don’t need chemo and another saying I only need chemo of my melanoma is metastatic..  well as I have been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma I am confused now.  I am seeing the doctor on the 4th of August, last day of treatment and he is a melanoma and chemotherapy specialist so I am hoping he will shed some light on my condition as unfortunately so far apart from the excellent treatment at the clinic I’ve struggled to speak to a doctor about my issues.

Have a nice week all and remember to treasure life and all that comes with it.

Great News

So yesterday it was a long day as we all finished radiotherapy by 1030. However we all go for various things and one of the new girls had to have a special mask made up so in the end we didn’t leave till nearly 1230, by the time I got home and picked up my son I had a sore arse and was shattered.

My armpit scar and drain exit and my back are beginning to look rather red and my right boob is sore. But other than that all is ok.

A rather angry looking armpit..

My right shoulder.. looks like sunburn.. but its not!

I was hassling my Drs secretary as I want to know how i’m to plan my upcoming months.  So she finally called yesterday and told me that I will not be requiring ANY CHEMO! YAY.. no chemo, no hair loss, no infusions.   I don’t know why yet.  But I am due to see the melanoma specialist as I have a few questions to ask about skin care and what not.

So one big fat party to be had at the end of my treatment. And all of you who have been supporting me and been there for me are invited.

Much love and thanks to all of you.

Alethea 🙂

Here are some photos of the people who I share my daily journey with.

Entrance of the BOC oncology clinic

Waiting area with reception

The door I go through when my number appears on the top!

My two new friends

New Friends

On the bus

9 down 11 to go

I am still side effect free. Yay! My armpit can be rather tender though especially where the scar is and I find lying on my right side more painful since the treatment. I am more stiff too.  But its a small price to pay for the work radiotherapy is doing.

I am positive about what lies ahead even if I need chemo and loose all my hair.  Because everything that they are doing to me is for me and to make me better and increase my chances of a long life so I can watch my son grow up, hopefully with another sibling and hopefully without any recurrence.

Not a day goes by that I don’t worry that this could come back and kill me. I wonder if I will live to see my son get married, I wonder if I will be able to have more children.  I wonder if one day it will come back in a place where I cant see or feel it until its too late.

Every day life for me is different now.  I focus on things that make me happy like writing this blog, updating my Parenting website and spending time with my family.     I have found support where I least expected it and had none where I thought I would.  Cancer has tought me a valuable lesson. To respect my body and take nothing for granted and appreciate life more.

Each day I get on the bus to me is step closer to being better.  We all talk about how and were we’ve been prodded each day, we joke about who gets to go first and generally laugh at me generally being the last one in and keeping everyone else waiting to go home.   Each day the study me so closely as I’m a difficult case. Trust me to be difficult eh!  They are so very precise and each time some poor girl has to squish my boobs together literally we laugh and then I thank them for the treatment they give me.   Everyone is so nice and friendly, my bus friends are quite funny and lady F and I generally make lots of noise which makes other people stare at us with disapproving eyes as perhaps they expect everyone to be gloomy and sad.

I have been gloomy devastated even when I first got the news. But after that I made sure that I didn’t let it control me and that what I have isn’t me, its just apart of me and although my life now revolves around being treated for melanoma they will come a time when all this will be behind me..

One day at a time, one bus ride at a time one zapping at a time.  I go to bed early most evenings so I’m never knackered in the mornings although it takes me time to actually oil my my facial muscles to smile first thing.  So poor hubby gets grumparse Alethea whilst everyone on the bus gets to see me awake and chirpy Alethea. By the time I get back its time to get my son from day care.  He is such a happy baby (gets it from me lol) I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself.  Time is passing quickly thank god.

This is something I wrote. Sorry if its cheesy. I write cheesy love poems too.. haha, but whatever floats my boat eh lol

I am strong, I am not weak
You will not beat me, I will not admit defeat
Surgeries and drains and whatever comes after
I will get through that with love faith and laughter
Tiredness and soreness you don’t scare me,
I am so much stronger than you, cant you see
You make me travel and go out of my way
I will travel the world to fight you any day
I do not underestimate you, nor take you for granted
But my life’s course you have merely slanted
So you have thrown at me a taste of what you’ve got
But I’m not taking it lying down I am facing you standing up
I have many on my side, who offer me support
and teams of doctors and its you they will deport
No matter what you throw at me and if I loose my hair
It will soon grow back, you will be gone, so there.
So stick em up cancer, I’m ready for the the fight
Here I am standing tall with my fists clenched tight
I am strong, I am not weak
You will not beat me, I will not admit defeat

Someone yelled at me today..

I know, big deal..but it was to me. I had just got off the bus and went to get my car. People on the road where the support office is are a bit difficult when it comes to parking and already I was asked to move my car once. So each day I am careful about where I put it, not outside a front gate, not outside a garage or a garden etc etc. However it was outside someones wall and part of a window. My car is low, and did not block the window’s lovely view of the house opposite.   As I approached the car and old man yelled at me through the window and said “Mrs, do you have a house? Do you have a window? Do you like it when people park their car outside your window”?  I was so tired, my blood just boiled and I yelled back saying “Mr, I’ve just got off the bus from treatment for cancer in Nicosia, people have more important things to worry about then your window”. I saw him flinch when I said that. And I got into my car, slammed the door shut and drove off.   I’ve never really asked someone to give me a break over cancer, cause I don’t have it anymore as such, the radiotherapy is seeing to that.  Had he asked me nicely, I’d have apologised and not put it there again but he was so rude to me. I was upset as there are more important things in life like getting on the bloody bus every day so I can have radiotherapy treatment without having someone yell at me about where I park my stupid car.

What is the matter with people? We have all forgotten about real life and real problems.   Every thing you do effects someone else.  For example pulling out on someone and driving slow, could cause them to go slow, get late to work and perhaps get yelled at by their boss or even get fired!  Or you could laugh at someone and say they are stupid, and then they will go home and kill themselves because that was just once too many.   For every action there is  a reaction.   So next time you feel like yelling at someone, think first, because they may be having a really tough time and don’t always think rationally.

There, rant over. 🙂

haha.. now this would work!

Time

I realised that by the end of my radiotherapy treatment I would have traveled 3,888 kilometers, to receive a total of 1,400 seconds or 23 minutes of 6,000 monitor units of radiotherapy.   And it will take me a total of 80 hours on the bus out of a total of 120 hours give or take an hour from start to finish over a period of 20 days!  Talk about a lot of time for just 23 minutes of treatment.. lol of course if I received 23 minutes of treatment in 23 minutes I’d be toast.. literally.

However, things could be a lot worse. I have seen people so sick they are brought down in their hospital beds. I have seen people who are drinking that horrid CT scan water waiting for their CT scan. I’ve seen people with no hair, little hair, ones that can barely talk from throat cancer, ones that are in constant pain. New people, old people, young people. Or with one common goal, to beat cancer.   So no matter how bad my day is, there is always someone who has it worse. All I have to do is look around and thank god I am well enough to laugh and joke and pray for those who aren’t.

If you think you’re having a bad day
think of the man whose wife just passed away
50 years they’ve been together
Now she’s gone for ever.
If you think you’re having a bad day
think of  a soldiers wife,
looking after the kids alone
wondering if her husband is ever coming home.
Think of the hungry, the sick and the poor
or the ones that give up and just cant take anymore.
Think of the thousands around the world
who’ve been diagnosed with cancer
will we live long? will they find a cure?
who can give us the answer?
Throughout your life remember;
each day is a gift worth living
Be grateful for what is right now
And for what you are receiving
There’s always someone out there
who’s day is worse than yours
so be happy you are able to do your daily chores
Tell the ones you love I love you,
always kiss your kids goodnight
to thank your parents don’t forget
and live your life without regret.

Dignity? What dignity?

As the world at the moment seems to revolve around my boobs and armpit I have put my dignity to one side.. so far away aside that I’m hoping I’ll still be able to find it when I’m done with radiotherapy.   The poor radiotherapy nurse was so embarrassed as she literally has to grab by wobbly from breastfeeding boobs them push them as close together as possible whilst the other nurse tapes them together..  I make them laugh so it makes things easier on all of us.

I’ve made some new friends on the bus, I wont give their full names just in case they don’t want me too.  Lady B a 77 year old lady who has had breast cancer. Its the second time she’s had it. 22 years ago she had last time.  She said that the two cases are different and this is a brand new case. How crap is that! She is having radiotherapy after having chemo.  She is a funny lady who forgets peoples names but she blames it on age.. I have no excuse she says! Which is very true indeed. She makes cookies and shares them so anyone who shares food is a friend of mine!!

Lady H another lady who has had breast cancer, and has had chemotherapy and lost all her hair but wears a lovely wig so you cant actually tell, and is having radiotherapy too.  She has a catheter in her upper right chest for the chemo as all her veins collapsed.  She had no side effects from chemo other than things tasting bad, and some of her nails fell out. She needs to have an infusion when she finishes radiotherapy of chemo every three weeks. She has been very helpful with sharing all her experience.

Sir W a big old English man with a good sense of humour. He has had prostate cancer, twice. Each morning we go to the clinic he has to drink 4 glasses of water, hold it in for half an hour then he goes for radiotherapy. He has to go a total of 36 times.  He always sits with lady B on the bus and I have helped them learn a a new Greek word panikos.. 🙂

Sir D has just finished radiotherapy. He had prostate cancer too. He’s a lovely old chap who was very friendly and talked very fast.

Lady R is a 64 year old woman who has had cervical cancer. No surgery required mind but chemotherapy that made her loose all her hair which is now growing back, but no other side effects apart from bad taste,  and also has a catheter in her right upper chest for infusions.  She has only just started radiotherapy and has 25 sessions.  I find her very nice and also helpful with regards to story sharing.

Lady C is a Cypriot lady who has had chemo, lost all her hair and was very sick with it too she said. She is undergoing radiotherapy. She wears a wig now too.

Then there is Lady L, breast cancer who has lost her hair after chemo and has had a full mastectomy, Lady F, breast cancer who doesn’t need chemo, Lady J breast cancer who lost all her hair who has now finished treatment and a few other locals that I am yet to meet.

I was told that I have 150 monitor units or radiotherapy a day, front and then back but I haven’t worked out if that’s a high does or not..

Everyone on the buss is very social when they aren’t dozing off but thankfully no one sings cumbaya. (can you imagine that?) its amazing to see how upbeat everyone is.  The bus driver is highly amusing and and most of the time everyone is laughing at him taking the piss out of me, or me taking the piss out of him!  I’m trouble where ever I go!  He said he is going to hire me to work as a bus hostess to offer drinks and help him with the translations of English to Greek and so on haha  Must be my cheeky manner.

I am lucky to have met such lovely people under awful circumstances who are all fighting the same disease as me and in good spirits too.  It really does put life in to perspective.  Its amazing how things don’t bother me anymore. Not everything though.  Bad drivers and a messy house still pisses me off..    I’m working very hard on not being a stress head though.

Here’s to me not being a stress head and getting my dignity back preferably with a full head of hair and no melanoma!

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