Friday Rambles

So, I went to get my dressings changed this morning.   Getting quite used to the whole process.  I’ve not worn a bra for a week now and I’m sure my boobs are facing the floor with each passing day..

Dr Lucas said I am recovering well but I can’t have my stitches out or my drain out yet.   On Tuesday when I get my results hopefully I can have my stitches out, but the drain has to stay in for as long as I have fluid coming out.   I wonder how long that is then? I wonder if I can do something to hasten it like pee?  Probably not.   I had to go to the shop on the way back, so I tucked BOB (aka drain) under my long skirt and in I trotted with my sunhat on and looking like there was nothing wrong with me.   Cause no one asked what was wrong with me for a change! lol

I just wanted to say, that during this blog, you may find I may recommend a book or an article but this is just something that worked for me so don’t feel upset or any differently because it doesnt work for you.  Do what ever you feel is right for you and follow your own instincts.  As long as you are also following some of your doctors too! lol

My arm is still very sore and stiff to use.  I still tire easily but its been less than a week really so what on earth am I worried about.   My sister’s birthday is coming up and she wants to go clubbing.  So do I but there’s not much chance of that happening as long as I’ve got Bob with me.   Although I could take Bob to dinner..

In the meantime I have become a couch potato.  Once my stitches are out, and Bob has gone I will start to do some exercise.  A healthy body and all that is good to fight off anything really.  And I’ve never really been one for exercise.  Sure I can dance all night and I never sit down when I’m out having a few drinks.  But ask me to go jogging, or do some exercises dvd at home?  I just cant do it.    Problem is I cant afford the gym and thats the only thing that will get me exercising.    So instead I will go walking with a friend of mine with the prams.  I plan on using my sons big pram for weight pushing! haha

I contacted a cancer support group yesterday.  It was really hard not getting emotional on the phone to a total stranger whilst trying to explain my situation. You see I can keep a brave face to those who know me, but I feel differently towards strangers.   Do you? Anyway, one of the nurses will come and see me soon.  They will help teach me more about how to deal with lymphedema and it be nice to talk to someone too.  Once I find out the coffee mornings I may go along with Bob and have a chat.   Perhaps you could try and do the same. Its hard keeping up appearances and remaining strong for the ones you love, so perhaps letting it all out will do you good!

Well have a wonderful weekend.  Try not to be to down on yourself!

Alethea & Bob.  lol 🙂

Knackered

Yesterday I got up feeling glad it was Saturday.

I had to go do some card shopping for birthdays and some pressie shopping for a christening and baby shower.   I normally do that shopping in Debs in town.  A friend of mine works there, her son is in the same class as mine. We’ve chatted on and off since before we were both pregnant and always have a good natter since my son joined hers in school.  She knew I was going for surgery so she asked how it all went.  I told her the truth that I have cancer and she went all quiet and her eyes filled up! I said “don’t be sad, I’m not gonna die” then I tried to cheer her up by wearing funny sun glasses.    I felt awful after for telling her.  You see this is the kind of thing people aren’t really ready to hear when they ask how you are, which is why my sons school teachers don’t know and other people who know me but aren’t on facebook and don’t see me regularly enough to know my health situation don’t know either.  Its not the kind of news you share.   Why am I writing a blog you might ask then? Cause I am not actually looking at you as you are reading this. So neither of us have to cope with each others reaction.  Writing stuff down is a great way of getting things off your chest and perhaps help others who could be in the same position understand that they are not alone.

We later went to a baby shower of a dear friend of mine and her little girl was so cute it made me broody!  Then there was a pregnant girl there too, glowing and looking far to fab for a 8 month pregnant girl, and that made me broody too! Funny how you always want what you cant have lol

Hubby and I had arranged for my mum to come round last night to babysit so we could go out for a nice meal.  But by 6 o’clock I was so knackered I canceled and just collapsed on the couch again. Crap.

Today, we had to get up and ready very early as I had a family Christening to go to in Limassol.  My dad’s side of the family were there. All Cypriot.   They all know!  So when I arrived I got that extra hug, and that extra arm squeeze, the look of concern in their eyes and then I was able to sit down to eat.   They were all really supportive so I didn’t feel too out of place. When it was time to go, the same thing happened, that extra long hug, the arm stroke this time and lots of words of strength and support too.   They asked more about the whole process and told me not to worry and that everything was going to be alright providing I stay strong, which I am.  People really do look at you differently when they know you have cancer. Its nice to know I am so loved! 🙂 (ok so that was cheesy sorry!)

By the time we got home I was shattered once again. I actually went to bed for an afternoon sleep! I never do afternoon sleeps! NEVER, not even when Christian wasn’t sleeping properly.  I’ve got ants in my pants and I’m afraid I might miss something. That hasn’t changed since I was a little girl!

Anyway, I here are some visual effects for those of you who are curious! The first picture was taken 6 days after surgery, and the second 17 days after the surgery..the scar is shrinking cause the doctors did a really good job. Dr Phylactis and Dr Lucas from the Royal Medical Clinic in Paphos.

Friday at last

I woke up today thinking at last its Friday! The weekend approaches, I can get some rest.  I feel like I have been going none stop in fear that if I do stop I may not start again!     As I walked into my son’s room I was hit by a wave of a seriously bad smell.. and as I approached his cot, my fears were verified. He was caked in poop.  Not only was he caked in poop, his legs were caked in dried poop, the WHITE sheets had poop on it, his milk bottle had poop on it and the best part… he was fast asleep in poop.   hahaha I mean really, little boys truly are disgusting! Or is it just mine?   So it was a mad rush for me, to get his bath running then put him in his bath, take his sheets off, dress him, put him downstairs, give him a bottle, put sheets in bath to soak and all before 8 o clock!  lol Before I had my son it took a fire drill to get me out of bed before 8.30! Funny how now I am wide awake and at work ten minutes early..

I have to say I struggled at work today.  I was really tired, I think the past two weeks finally caught up with me and although I did all my work I couldn’t wait to come home.   My collegues and boss have all been really supportive about the whole thing so I didn’t feel too guilty! (thanks) Although announcing I was knackered after only two days of work perhaps wasn’t the bestest idea I’ve ever had.

I picked up Christian from nursery and his afternoon teacher asked how I was; I said I need more surgery next week so my mum will be coming again to pick him up.  She did ask me why, I just said its going to take a little longer for me to get better.    What can I say in these situations..?! I cant just keep telling people I have cancer as its scares them more than me! And I am the one who’s got it!

For the rest of the evening I just collapsed on the couch whilst hubby rubbed my feet. He’s always done that for me bless him every since we met. Aren’t I lucky.

By bedtime I felt a little less optimistic even though I am strong because all day I’ve heard “that’s excellent news” about my results.  But if you really think about it, its not really excellent news, how can having cancer be excellent news.  Its the kind of thing that makes a doctor say: Do you want the good news, or the bad news?  Cause thats exactly how you can discribe my case, the good news is that the cancer hasn’t spread, the bad news is I’ve still got it.

Still, by next week, they will take it ALL out and then I will be cancer free..  and lymph node free too apparently.  Its not the best surgery.  My arm still hurts, I cant raise it like I used to, it hurts to hang the washing out and to lift clothes up over my head to get undressed which I struggle with. From my elbow to my armpit I have no feeling on the outside so you can put a fag out on me… But I can reach to scratch my arse, so thats a plus.. I cant really ask a stranger to do that now can I!

I’ll leave you with that thought. 🙂

Results

This day started like all the rest, I woke up and wished I could just roll over and go back to sleep, but as soon as my eyes closed they shot wide open as I realized today’s the day I get my results.  I got my darling son ready in a haze with help from my mum who arrived shortly afterward for moral support.

I drove to the hospital feeling more and more nervous by the minute.  I thought I’m not going to look at the results, I will wait till after I have dropped off my son in case I have a breakdown in the car and then cant face the nursery!   The CT scan man a funny Cypriot named George that doesn’t like tattoos or nose studs (whoops) walked me to collect them.  An old friend asked how I was on the way. I said I was fine.  George looked at me and I said, I am fine.. am I fine? They all wished me luck.

As I walked to the car my mum gets out and runs off to the loo and instructs me not to look at them till she returned!  I don’t.  But when she gets back I said Ill look at the nursery.   I don’t.   You know I was terrified of what was in the envelope.    However as we were driving up to get petrol I decided to look.  Here is what it said:  Brain normal, (ok so I am a little crazy) neck normal, (a little long perhaps) abdomen normal (a bit on the fatty side), armpit not normal. Well that was in my language.  I was immediately so relieved. I mean its very strange how I can be relieved knowing I still have cancer. But cancer is an evil evil thing so the less you have of it the easier it is to beat.  My mum and I were just like whoop whoop.  I think people in the petrol station must have thought we were a little over joyed over petrol.. lol

For those of you who are reading cause you are doing your own research on Melanoma her is what the CT scan results stated:

Neck: No lymph nodes, all soft tissue structure appears normal, no changes in comparison with scan in October 09

Brain: Without pathology, normal postcontrast enhancement

Right Axilla (aka armpit): hyperdense solid tissue and oval lymph nodes (diameter about 1.00cm) appear. No presence in previous CT scan in Oct 09. Image is very suspicious from metastatic involvement.

Abdomen & Pelvis:  No lymph nodes, no secondary’s. All organs appear normal

C: Right axillery area lymphadenopathy is very suspicious from recurrence of disease.

After we got to the Limassol hospital and went through the massive maze that that place is, found the oncologist, then went and got a ticket to sign in (366!), then came back to the oncologist, my hubby joined us from work.   Dr Malas,  gave me the once over again which involved taking off my garments and staying in my undergarments whilst he has a close look at all my moles and rubs my neck and shoulders (I love that part).  (note to self everyone wear nice undergarments lol).  He then said that I do indeed have cancer in my lymph nodes and that I will need surgery as soon as possible to have them all removed.  This is no easy procedure and requires an excellent surgeon!  He also said I will require some therapy called interferon three times a week which is an immune therapy drug.  This wont result in any hair loss or boob loss as I asked him and I also asked about fertility to which he laughed and said “how many kids do you want!”  (I only have one!)

So on Monday I have to call him at 11:00am and he will study my file until then, speak to a few surgeons and suggest a few things.  After that its my decision who I have to do the surgery and where, and once I have had the surgery he will then decide on what therapy to give me.. (chocolate and vodka therapy please) meanwhile shopping therapy helped a lot as my lovely hubby says here’s my card, go treat yourself.. so I did.. its amazing how much better you can feel after a few dresses.. (Limassol Mall ladies.. go check it out; great for in between hospital visits and after hospital visits I found)

So all in all if you can get good bad news this is it. Bad news that’s good news cause I have treatable cancer.  I can fight this and I can beat this and I will get my happy ever after.

Back to work

I went back to work today! Whats the point of sitting at home.  My arm still hurts but the stitches are out and I took of the gauze today! My hairy armpit resembles an over grown cage fighters but I plan to shave and wash it tonight! Happy birthday to my armpit.  I guess I should take advantage of the situation as god knows what the doctor is going to say tomorrow!

Which brings me to my next topic.. I am terrified. I mean there are two case scenarios really, the doctor is going to say, all the melanoma has gone but you still need chemo, your hair is going to fall out and your fertility will be lost, or he could say your melanoma is still in your armpit you need surgery and chemo and your hair is going to fall out and your fertility is going to be lost.  There are many side effects to chemo. Depending on which you have. The one major benefit is getting rid of any cancer. Everything else is against you really, its bad for all your major organs, you loose ALL your hair, you can gain weight, you are sick, totally knackered and your fertility goes. Which means unless you have 6 kids and you are really sure you don’t want anymore then that’s ok, but not an issue is it?!    I have one son and I have always wanted two perhaps even three, and now I’m thinking what if I cant, or what if I have to harvest my eggs and then I need to have sex with a needle after and end up with triplets. Then what if I cant get pregnant because I have to have regular check ups, or what if I am pregnant and the cancer comes back and I have to choose my life over my unborn baby’s life?

Seriously, I am 35! All I want to worry about is what I am having for dinner, whether my arse looks big in anything I wear and whether I can afford to pay the bills this month.   Huge massive choices aren’t really something I want to make and I dont take kindly to change. Ask anyone!

Saying that though I have changed my diet.  Still on the healthy salads and hubby made me a soya kebab sweet and sour dish with steamed rice.  Wasn’t too bad actually, the kebabs have the texture of wild mushrooms, which is great, if you like wild mushrooms which I do.   I tried soya milk in tea.  BIG FAT YUK to that.  Gotta have my cows milk I’m afraid.. it tastes a bit like oily fatty tea.  Not my cup of tea for sure lol Baby steps with regards to change then!

Leaving the office today, I was asking everyone to keep the fingers crossed and as I shut the door behind me and as I stood at the lift I was shaking from head to toe knowing that time was flying by before I find out the truth.    Then I picked up my son from nursery and cuddled him so tight and tried really hard not to cry because soon I am going to find out the truth.   Then driving home I tried to hold it together but struggled cause soon I am going to find out the truth.

The news could be great, but the truth is, the doctor is not going to tell me “hey Alethea, its a miracle, you are fine go home no further treatment or visits required” and we all lived happily every after. The End.

I am preparing myself for every case scenario.  When I pick up my CT scan results tomorrow at 730am, do I look at them straight away, do I wait to see the doctor?  What would you do in my shoes?  I don’t think I am going to wait.  I cant wait anymore.   I need to know what lies ahead so I can ready myself and kick this stupid disease out my life out of my body and out of my fairytale so I can live happily ever after, with my son, my husband and preferably some more children too!

Here’s praying for a happy ending!

An eye opener

So today I woke up feeling really low.   I tried watching cartoons to take my mind of whats really happening but I couldn’t shake the blues so even Barney songs made me cry a little.  I try really hard not to cry at random times as I don’t want to upset those around me as they are as worried as I am!

As the day progressed though we had a family lunch at my parents house which was lovely.  BBQ chicken and pork, black eyed peas and healthy salad.  I skipped the pork cause they say red meat is a food to avoid if you have cancer.  I did have a few glasses of wine though.   My son had a quick splash in my parents pool and I watched from the side as it was too cold for me plus I can only really go up to my waist line as still have my one big stitch in from my operation! Cant wait to have that out on Monday!!

Having the stitch in my arm has made it rather difficult to actually have a full on shower so my hair by now was really starting to get greasy and disgusting and my right armpit was starting to leave a bad scent trail behind me, you know like the kind in cartoons only not good! lol   So you can imagine how happy I was when I found some waterproof gauze thingies from when I had my mole removed last year in my drawers!  I had a full on long shower! Amazing it was.  After that I changed my gauze and shaved my right armpit hair that was starting to resemble wild grass growing in a field!!   So now I have a partially shaved right armpit that smells a lot better! yay!

I went out in the evening. I decided that as I am having all these tests next week, at the end of it I will need treatment either way and perhaps even surgery, so my nights out will be limited as well as my drinking which I planned to totally give up anyway until I’ve gotten rid of this stupid illness.  So my sister and I went to town and a few of my good friends joined me.

I was having a good time but every time I looked around I could see smiling faces and it felt strange and I was wondering when I would be smiling next and really mean it you know the kind that comes from inside smile.  People asked how I was and I always replied great thanks! I mean what do you say to people, well actually I’m shit, I have cancer? Thats not really what you tell everyone who asks how you are.   But there are people out there who have it worse. Last night a friend told me his 6 year old sister was being tested for Cystic Fibrosis. How awful is that at that age.

The drinks were flowing fast and furious as our friends kept buying us drinks and then my stupid water proof gauze came unstuck.  I had a complete meltdown in the toilets! Cause it finally hit home. I’m out trying to have fun but I have cancer. Its hard to have fun when you know that. Life just isn’t the same anymore.  You look at it differently and people who know look at you differently too.

My friends and sister where very supportive of me however and so at every sign of my tears they distracted me by either taking me to the dance floor, buying me yet another drink and I even got bought a flower.  🙂

I didn’t get in till nearly 4am! I can’t believe I was out that late. But I just couldn’t face coming home any sooner and just wanted to forget.  My hubby woke up and then I had verbal diarrhea for about half an hour before I finally shut up and went to sleep!

An eye opener of a day.

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