Disappointed

So much for being back to “normal”..   I went to Nicosia today to have my ultra sound scan on my boobs and they checked my scar and showed me a new lump.  They said it could be scar tissue, a left in stitch or a lymph node or recurrence.  He called for my radiologist Dr who had a good poke and feel and said rather than wait it out I should have an MRI as he found something dodgy around my rib cage. He said that that could be caused from the radiotherapy.

So at 330 I went for an MRI. They are scary. I didn’t take anyone with me as I thought it was just going to be a simple scan.   The chap though was very friendly and kind and I had to put on one of those robes that does not close on the back again. Darn things.  He put me through the tube and I panicked but after some deep breaths I was OK.  They are the noisiest things ever. Various stages of various noises for nearly half an hour and then an injection of fluid to make my vitals show up.     After what felt like ages I was allowed to leave.

Now I have to wait to hear the results which could come on Friday or Monday.  If they tell me over the phone then its good news. If they ask me to go see them, then its not as no one gives bad news over the telephone. Not doctors anyway.

So here I am hoping for good news, its nothing, its just a stitch, its scar tissue everything is normal. God please let it be normal..

MRI unit. A bed you lie on that goes completely into a tube with just your feet sticking out. Feels like an indian drum party around your head!!

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Back to “normal”!

Well I am pretty much back to normal now. My armpit well and truly on the mend and pain is very minimal. I guess that’s to remind me I’m still alive! 🙂  I could have been lying in a hospital bed now with a drip in my arm instead feeling rather crap.

I’m going for a right boob scan this morning. I am hoping its all clear. But as I’ve found nothing myself I’m pretty sure all is well.

It has been a very strange time these past few months.  Being “normal” is strange for me. I go back to work tomorrow and I feel like I’ve been gone ages rather than just a couple of months.  So my first day back will be like starting a new job all over again until I get back into the routine. I’ve been there four years mind so it shouldn’t take me long to get the hang of it!  Although change isn’t my favourite thing I easily adapt to new environments. I wouldn’t have a baby if I didn’t!!

My son is the light of my life. Throughout this he has helped me the most.  Picking up from nursery after radiotherapy stopped me from ever feeling sad and recovering from my burns he kept me busy and took his first steps too! I love watching him walk now. Although tiring Its such an amazing accomplishment when your little ones start walking.  He’s getting very much like me.  Quite the tantrum if he doesn’t get what he wants haha

Did you know that whilst driving in your car you can get sunburned too! Just cause you think you are shaded in the car,  doesn’t mean you are safe.  My husband realised that. He will be more careful now.  I try to wear long skirts and protect myself on long drives.

I am hoping to organise a singathon or something along those lines to help spread awareness of malignant melanoma and raise money for PASYCAF who have helped me throughout all this.  So for those of you who live near by I will let you know so you can come and watch if you like.  I am also planning a night out to celebrate too! Whoop whoop!

Well, that’s it for me for now. Plus my latest and last armpit photo. Finally better. Yay for being better! 🙂

I will post again when I get results from scan.

Thank you for following my news! 🙂

Taken 30/08/10

I went for a swim

I went to the beach recently. My doctor said the salt water will do my wounds the world of good, so armed with factor 50, our umbrella which is UVP proof, some cold water and a whole other bunch of stuff you need when you have kids off we went.

I got into the water for a total of 5 minutes just to cool off and to salt my armpit up which of course stung as swimming was out of the question as my arm is out of practice and the muscles are still sore. I didn’t expect that.  I am not allowed in the sun my doctor said so I was quick to get out and sit under the brollie.  Everyone else was in the water and I watched alone from the side wishing it was me in the sea with my son, not being able to be in the sun isn’t the end of the world, but its the end of the world as I know it. I hate that I cant play in the water with my son but my melanoma is so high risk that I cant risk ever being in the sun again. How sucky is that!  However, its a small price to pay when I get to live a long and happy life.

I had plenty of time to watch everyone on the beach.  Quite a few had already burned and are in the peeling process, not many under umbrellas and I wondered if they all knew about what they could potentially being doing to themselves.  Some stared at my armpit and my back back and I wondered if I should tell them why I looked the way I did.

I didn’t of course, people on holiday don’t want to know about my fight with skin cancer or anyone elses for that matter. They are on holiday, in Cyprus to get a tan, that’s the whole reason they are here in the first place (well amongst other things of course).

I wish there was something we could do to make people realise how dangerous it is. But the magazines put models that are airbrushed with beautiful tans.  We all think being tanned is beautiful.  We have forgotten to love ourselves as god made us.

We watch arabsat and there are adverts on there for a cream called Fair and Lovely and its for people with dark and blemished skin to look white and pure.   Theres even one when someone turns a model away cause her skin was too dark but it turned out the window was dirty, cause she uses fair and lovely so she gets hired in the end!   I think thats quite racist to be honest, but there they are trying to look fair, and here  we are trying to look brown!

Going on holiday just to fry yourself in baby oil cause thats what you are doing if you use that isn’t the way to do it.  Don’t burn, always use a minimum of 30 in hot countries especially when its 38 degrees out there! You only have one skin. You cant get a skin transplant and once you have skin cancer you have it for life.  Many are lucky to live in remission, many die.

My emotions are still running high. I can be anywhere and start crying because I am so grateful to be alive, to be in remission. Adverts on TV with happy endings make me cry. I’m a blubbering mess… everything makes me emotional at the moment.

All in all I spent about 30 mins on the beach.  Days out on the beach or by the beach are now a thing of the past for me.  Lucky for me though, I do have a very well shaded pool in my garden which I plan to spend time in once my arm is healed as I cant swim in chlorine yet.

I will need follow up visits every three months at the Oncology Clinic for the next 3 years, then every 6 months to year 5 then every year till year 10. After that I don’t know.  But I plan to find out.. cant wait to moan about it when I’m 45! I’m going for another boob scan next week! Just my right one.. I wonder if my left one will feel left out.. ha mind you its rather difficult to keep one in in such circumstances.. lol

Live love and be happy. You only get one life so make the best of it. 🙂

My armpit and its progress!

Taken 22.08

All my new skin coming through.. all my old skin fried off! lol

To interferon or not to interferon, that is the question

Yesterday I had another doctors visit in Nicosia oncology center.  First I visited the radiotherapist doctor and showed her my burns.. she was shocked. Both her and the nurse felt for me bless them and couldn’t believe the state of me.  They quickly said I had to be monitored closely from now on till I am healed properly. I have to say that if you suffer from them that the only thing that works are melolin patches from UK. They don’t stick to your skin.  Unfortunately they don’t have them in Cyprus and what they gave me ripped my skin off today.

Then I had a meeting with the oncologist, he went on to tell me all about interferon and what I would need to do.   I would have to be admitted into hospital for the first week and have it intravenously, then for three weeks I would need to travel up by bus again every day and have it intravenously. So that would be September out of the window.  Then I would have to have injections 3 times a week for a whole year.  Side effects include, flu like symptoms fever, chills, headache, muscle ache, nausea, vomiting that can last about 1 to 12 hours after receiving a dose. So that would be a whole year out the window.  This is for a drug that does boost your immune system to help slow down the recurrence of melanoma but does not stop it from recurrence.

He said I am at high risk. Chances are it will come back. Because thats what statistics say.  So I said OK, I’ll do it.    Then I spent all night thinking about it and researching it and talking with family about whether or not I should do it.   I can boost my own immune system myself, by eating properly, treating my body better by joining an exercise class and not filling it  up with toxins.

So today I called the doctor and said I do not wish to have the interferon.

This means I get to have my life back. This means I can return to work in September and start being part of society again.

All I hope is that my melanoma doesn’t come back.  That I am able to keep it at bay by having a brand new lifestyle. Away from stress, bad things and bad people.  Fill my life with real friends, my family and my gorgeous son.

Here is the progress of my armpit, I have to say its getting much better and all my new pink skin is coming through quite nicely 🙂

Taken 17/08

Taken 19/08

The healing process

So, the healing process is also a long one. I leave wet patches where I lie, and skin bits too. I’m all in all a walking gross person.  My corn flake armpit as my husband calls it, needs constant attention, has been leaking all over my sheets and tops and really is quite painful. I’m in a strop most of the time then laughing at the state of me the next. I think I’ve lost my mind.

My poor son wonders what on earth he has done wrong when he reaches to grab me and shoves his hand in my armpit. Bless him.   Poor hubby may as well be sleeping in another room as he has to be so careful at night.. we have an invisible layer of eggs down the middle haha

I think I am starting to heal. Its spreading away from my armpit towards my back and my new skin is starting to come through. Its pinker than a newborns bottom so I’m going to be multicoloured and multi skinned when I am finished.

I am seeing the doctor on the 18th. He wants to give me an ultrasound scan and discuss the possibility of me having interferon.  I’ve decided that if any drug or trial is offered to me, I will not turn it down.  After all this is my life we are talking about and its worth everything I’ve got and haven’t got. So I will do what ever it takes to save it. Wouldn’t you?  Id hate to wake up in 2 years with another melanoma wondering what if I’d tried what they offered in the first place!

Apart from not doing much at all recently I’ve done a little of nothing too. Such an exciting life I lead. It makes a change though. I’d much rather choose a nice quiet life over bus rides and flakey snake-skin any day..

Here are the latest photos. Warning as they are not pretty.

Taken 13/08

Taken 14/08

Burn baby burn..

If only I was dancing to that song rather than singing it to myself.  I cannot believe how bad my armpit seems to be getting.  I wonder how long it will be before I have skin there again.. Gosh I had no idea that was going to happen.

Im still so very tired, and the pain killers are making me drowsy. I’m going to see a doctor today for a second opinion. I will ask him about my burns too. Perhaps he has a better suggestion.

I hope all you who are fighting out there are being strong.  When fighting for your life it makes everything else seem less important.  But with something like this you have to make sure you keep fighting and take more care of yourself. The all clear means a second chance at life, which means a fresh start a new way of living, better than the last one. So be sure to make the most of it and never give up. Life is too precious.

Well this is a short one as brain is a little fuzzy..

Worse before it gets better

When I started my treatment I said as soon as its finished I was going return to work, to have a massive party, go out in town and dance the night away and celebrate and have some normality in my life.

Today I woke up feeling the worst I ever have, my armpit feels like its been rubbed down with a cheese grater and the exhaustion is bringing me to tears.   I’ve been so brave for so long and I’m so relieved that I can now relax that everything has kind of hit me like a steam roller.

I suppose its cause I’ve hardly cried throughout the whole treatment really.  Brave faced and strong willed has always been the way I’ve faced things but now that its all over I cant believe what has just recently happened to me and I’m quite upset about it really!

So although my physical battle is over, my battle to recover has just begun. I didn’t really get a chance to do that, after two surgeries straight into radiotherapy which has left me with more war wounds so to speak.. I guess as a cancer survivor which is one thing I most certainly thought id never be characterizing myself with, it takes much longer than a few days and weeks to really be able to feel normal again.

I’m going to see a doctor tomorrow to see about my armpit issue.

Taken today - Don't enlarge if squeamish

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