The begining of a very very long journey

On my second day back from treatment, bearing in mind that all of us had to wait 4 hours for one of our companions to get chemo therapy I was over tired, over drained and over being optimistic!

I was like a zombie! I’ve never been so tired in my life. Not even my newborn baby made me THAT tired.I had gone to bed early the previous night and rested too.  I felt sick and extremely emotional. I’m not sure if the nausea is a side effect of the treatment or a side effect from being so tired!

So this weekend I tried to rest as much as possible.  Its now Sunday and I’m still not feeling 100%  and the thought of a whole week of 6:15am wake ups and bus rides and zapping really leaves me in a drained and cant be arsedness mood.

The nurse I actually saw after my first diagnosis last year at the hospital when I was having blood tests and all clear CT scans was there Friday morning. We both couldnt figure out were we knew each other from until she said she’s actually the nurse from the oncology department and remembered me when I first started going.  She said that now she has to take the bus too, due to a recent breast cancer diagnosis. How crap is that. Being on the other side of the fence must be even harder. But we laughed and joked and exchanged notes on how to cope with the treatment and exercises to avoid a stiff arm after lymph node removal.

Cancer is not sexist, ageist or anything. It doesn’t care if you are just born, just married or a just new parent.  Doesn’t care if you are happy or you are sad, if you are rich or you are poor if you are famous or the girl next door, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, children, adults.  You could be anyone.

Live life, enjoy life but respect your surroundings and your body.  Its the only one you’ve got. And should you get anything as serious as this, that may slow you down, don’t give up, keep fighting, remove yourself from negativity and focus on you.

I am trying to focus on me, not care about the hurts and disappointments that have tried to join me in my journey.  My life is more important than anything else. My son, my family. Everything else doesnt really matter does it! Not the new Ipod, the new hairdo, the new car.. just you.

Speaking of me, last week a total of 7 people touched, taped  or drew on my breasts! SEVEN people in 3 days! I’ve never had that much action in a year! haha  Not mentioning the other god knows how many who have seen them.  I wonder if I will ever just lie there and not be embarrassed. (Lie there and think of England comes to mind)  I wish they’d warm up their hands though.. They have prescribed a baby powder for my right armpit where I’m having the treatment. Its called Proderm but I can’t find it online as its actually called Zwitsal baby products Sara Lee products.  The active incredients are: Talc, Zinc Oxide, Hydrated Silica, Paraffinum Liquidum, Parfum.  When I asked if I could use any other powder they said no.  This however may not be something your doctor would prescribe so check with them before using anything for your skin.

Bye for now.. xx

“Time is the coin of your life, It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let others spend it for you” ~ Carl Sandburgh

1 down 19 to go!

I’m shattered. Its only my first day and I’m shattered. That’s partly my own fault as I didn’t get to bed till near enough midnight last night even though I knew I had to get up at 6:15am this morning! Note to self.. go to bed early tonight. lol

When I got to the pick up point it was really odd. Everyone was looking rather gloomy. But it was early and well we all have or have had cancer recently. Our mini bus driver must be an ex formula 1 driver! I’ve never seen a mini bus go so fast in my life! We set off at 710am. I was the youngest person on the bus. It wasn’t an unpleasant journey apart from the bounciness as I sat right at the back where the wheel was!

We arrived at the Oncology Clinic in Nicosia at around 910am as we had to do a pickup in Limassol first and they delayed us around 20 min.  My session was at 11:10 (I watched eastenders ombnibus on a portable care of hubby’s collegue) and when it was finally my turn the machine I was going to use broke.  A slight delay. I waited till about 11:30 and they squeezed me in another one 🙂

They gave me this massive blue gown thingy to keep and to change into for my top half as you aren’t allowed to wear any clothes where treatment is and explained some details.  The radiotherapy room is a big dark room with a huge machine in it. Off came the top and there I lied whilst they all studied where I had to lie as they have to be precise right down to the last cm! My poor boobs were pulled and pushed and taped to my chin practically so they don’t get zapped. Then they did the whole thing again! Imagine tape being put on and taken of your boobs and nipples more than once by someone else.. cringe worthy!  By 12pm they told me that they couldn’t zap me and had to get my doctor.  So off came the tape again and on went the clothes lol

I had to run upstairs to ask the bus driver to wait for me as they can only wait until 1pm.  Found my doctor in the lift and he wondered why I wasn’t on the table waiting!  So down I went again, off came the top on went the tape after yet more boob squishing by my doctor this time and within 15 mins I was done.  All in all about 4 female nurses and my doctor had their hands on me today and I had for lots of tape go on and off my poor sensitive bits.  So much for modesty eh! They must be so used to it, but I still get so embarrassed and I hate that they don’t really recognize that.

I didn’t feel a thing and I’ve had no side effects. I didn’t get back home till 230 though and from 645 from when I left is quite a long day!

They said tomorrow will run more smoothly and will take less time.  I wont update this every day.. cause it will be the same thing every day! Not really an interesting blog then is it!

More on Radiotherapy..Treatment of cancer with high-energy radiation. Radiation therapy may be used to reduce the size of a cancer before surgery, or to destroy any remaining cancer cells after surgery. Radiotherapy can be helpful in shrinking recurrent cancers to relieve symptoms. ..Radiotherapy uses X-rays for treatment. You must have had a chest X-ray taken one or more times. The X-rays used in radiotherapy are just the same, except that they are of much higher energy.

Thanks for reading. Stay positive and keep smiling. 🙂

Radiotherapy machine that rotates around your body

Getting measured up for radiotherapy

Got up far too early this morning.  Both hubby and I are knackered cause our little son isn’t very well at the moment. He has lots of teeth coming through and a cough and a temperature.  So he woke up plenty of times last night just to remind us bless him.

We left Paphos at around 7am and got to Nicosia for about 9 at the actual clinic. Traffic is manic up there.  Upon arrival I registered and went downstairs and signed in.   There was an elderly Cypriot woman wailing rather loudly saying she was in pain. I wasn’t ready for that.    I sat down and looked around and you could see that most people there were sick or recovering.  No hair, short hair, fluffy hair.. all different stages of treatment.  I wondered if that will be me anytime soon..

I got taken into a large room that had a large machine in the middle of it.  The nurses or assistants radiotherapists were very nice.  I had to strip off from the waist up and was grateful for a while as I was allowed to keep on my bra.. but low and behold that soon was off too.  They did cover me with a piece of this large blue medical tissue type thing.  Then I lied there whilst they went off to the room with the glass window safe from the xray machine and came out and said “we have to tape your breasts together” lol  this was to stop them from falling to the side and also to protect my right nipple from any side effects. Do your tits hang low comes to mind…  So the proceeded to duct tape my boobs together two nurses and my male doctor.   Then I lied there again with duct tape boobs. (I will have to have my boobs strapped in like that every time!) I was wondering how many more people will see my boobs before the year is out and how many more people will have to move them, tape them up or draw all over them.

Meanwhile I was drawn on and my arms got tucked in, got told off for wriggling, listened to them talking about numbers and centimeters and all doctors stuff, got told off for wriggling again, felt myself start to shiver as the aircon is on pretty high due to machine, got drawn on some more by another doctor all over my right boob and yes he was another man doctor..  After that I had 5 very small permanent tattoos.  This is to mark something important!l but its painful as its done with some kind of needle type thing.  I have one on my right shoulder, right armpit, right arm and right side and one on my left side.  Considering I have two tattoos on my body I don’t remember them being that painful. lol  I also have four drawings on my right boob covered with waterproof sticker thingies.  These have to stay on at all times.  They advised I cover up during treatment.  Its not like I’ll be going out in an evening dress with blue marker pen all over me now is it.. but of course they mean from the sun.. You should not let the treated area in view of the sun apparently. FYI all.

The whole process took quite a while and I was quite low by the end of it. Then when I went for a pee that Cypriot lady was crying in the toilets.  I tried to console her, but she told me she’s suffering and she has a child. I said don’t worry, in here we all have a fight to fight and I also have a child who is only 15 months old!  Poor woman.  Its a shame to see how hard people find it and are inconsolable. 😦

I’m still hanging in there and brave.  I can shower but I cant swim and I cant use soap. I get more instructions next visit which I will of course add here. So far its 20 shots a day till the 4th of August..with a side effect of pain, tiredness and some skin flaking..  nice.. oh well at least I’ll keep the bed mites fed.. ha

My healing scar and my three out of 4 drawings..

The importance of having fun

When you are diagnosed with cancer of any kind you see life differently.  Perhaps things that used to annoy you before, don’t now and perhaps things that didn’t do. You appreciate you friendships more and make more of an effort to stay in touch, you appreciate your family more because without them and their support you wouldn’t be here and you appreciate life more.

Its important to stay calm, and be as stress free as possible.  You cant fight a battle if you are surrounded by negativity and negative people.  Life is too short anyway, but when you have cancer you don’t quite know for sure how short it could be.  Many live through cancer and have a very long life. Sadly many don’t too.  I often wonder which side of the fence I will fall on.  Am I going to die? Will I live a long life and tell the story of how I beat cancer?  Am I always supposed to be afraid of the sun now? Because I am. Especially when driving and especially in Cyprus. The place where everyone runs to party, get laid and get suntan.  Yes I did say get laid.. as in legovered.. lol I see people all the time now with sunburn from mild to quite severe and I want to ask them if they know what they could potentially be doing to themselves.  A friend of mine said she used baby oil recently. I said I used to use that. Look at me now. She promised she wouldn’t do it again. I hope she doesn’t.   You see until this happens to you, you take many things for granted too, like our skin. We pay little or no care to what we subject it to when we spend hours in the sun just to get a tan and laugh and joke about our silly tan lines and our white bottoms afterwards.  I have to say I dont miss the white bottom but I do miss being sun kissed. Now I feel like I’m being sun bashed. lol  You cant get a skin transplant. Once you get melanoma you cant un-get it!

Recently I have tried to make the most of my time enjoyable. Extra extra cuddles with my son, having a laugh and staying in touch with people I lost touch with.  When you get married and have kids that takes over your life. You don’t realise how much time you spend in your own world till something terrible happens unfortunately and I dont want to be the person who one day says I wish I’d called so n so or I wish I went out that night instead of be lazy in my comfy clothes on the couch!  Although the comfy nights in are good but not on a permanent basis, so get of your arse and get yourself out!

So on Saturday I made myself get ready and glammed up and I went out! And I drank and I danced and I sang karaoke and I laughed so hard on stage I almost wet myself.  My version of She Wolf by Shakira sounded like a she dog with rabies.. never mind saucy wolf lol. Thankfully I quickly redeemed myself with another song. lol For those of you who don’t know me I used to sing in the evenings with a band and or guitarists at various hotels in Paphos! I love music and singing is a great way to lift the heart. But Karaoke is a whole different ball game lol  It was my first girls only night out in ages and we had fab fab time.

I have to say the morning after the night before isn’t as pleasant but it was very much worth it. I made an effort to go out because of my upcoming treatment I will be too knackered from the traveling every day and I have no idea how radiotherapy will effect me so I don’t know when the next opportunity to party is.   Plus I need to focus more on the healthy side of living now as opposed to the liver bashing I did on Saturday lol

I will start my treatment with a clear head, memories of a fab night out, with as little stress as possible and with as much of an I don’t give a shit attitude as possible.

Alethea 🙂

The wait is over.. well for now!

Yesterday I got a call from the Radiologist. I’ve been waiting for that call for ages and yet when it finally came I was really nervous, and I was at work.

I am to go up on Monday at 930am which means I have to get up at oh my god its early again and they are going to look at the area and mark my body or size me up so to speak so treatment can start on the 8th.  He said it will be every single day.

After I got off the phone I had to really compose myself, my heart was racing, my hands where shaking and the whole time I kept saying in my head, I’m ok, its ok, don’t cry.   Some deep breathing fixed the issue and I composed myself.   You see work isn’t the place to breakdown now is it.

So there you have it, I’m ready to start treatment and look forward to not having to shave under my right armpit ever again. Which suits me fine as the scar has made that a little difficult..

Check back on Monday for more news, but till then happy thoughts if you are effected by it, and try to be there for those who are if you aren’t.

🙂

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