I hope the weather has been glorious where you are. Here in Dublin the sun has shone and the skies have been predominantly blue over the past week. A real summer when we can go outside in shorts and a t-shirt and not freeze!
I’m still looking at the world from my hospital bed but I’m fine with that because things are on the up!
I’m having daily radiotherapy so I am transferred by ambulance to St Vincent’s where I get zapped and then they bring be back to my bed afterwards!
This has afforded me the opportunity to get to know a whole new section of incredible people. Without exception, the men and women of the ambulance service I’ve met over the past couple of weeks have been wonderful. They’re caring, helpful, dedicated and have a bank of stories to tell! I wish I could ask them to drive us the pretty route, perhaps via Belfast for two or three hours so we’d have more time to talk.
They see it all, from the tragic to the terrific and do it with such apparent ease.
The road we travel between the two hospitals is busy 24/7. It’s a main commuter road for the city centre and it’s never quiet. But during rush hour, first thing in the morning or around 5.30/6.00? Forget it. A fifteen-minute journey could literally take an hour.
But because we’re in an ambulance we can use the bus lanes. It’s so exciting!
Last Thursday and Friday we hit the worst of the traffic just after 5.30pm. You know that exact time when the entire city seems to tip southwards as a mass exodus occurs? We sailed past the stagnant cars and pulled up right outside the hospital entrance in minutes. Minutes! Not hours!
I’m still smiling at the thrill of it! I did profess my guilt at how easy it was. We passed so many hot bothered looking people who were clearly longing to be home and able to switch off an relax. They had a bit of a wait ahead… But the crew were quick to remind me that this was one of my little perks after the radiotherapy. That I was given a guilt free exemption as a trade off for the cancer fighting. I guess there have to be some perks to this cancer lark right?
Speaking of the cancer. It’s on its way out folks! Yesterday the machine had to be adjusted because the huge choky nasty git at the front of my throat has reduced so much! Radiotherapy is a cumulative treatment as well. So once I finish my fractions it takes a further ten days to peak in my system. So its work is only beginning and it’s zapping already!
I’ve my last treatment tomorrow and the chemotherapy is pumping away into my port non-stop. There’s nowhere for this sorry bugger to hide this time but I cannot believe it’s going away. Relief doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.
I’m off the pain pump now too, so I only need to take one bottle into the shower – not two… Now where have I heard that before?
Suffice it to say that things have shifted massively in the right direction. I am climbing upwards!
I’m still very weak physically. I went for brunch with hubby and the teenagers on Sunday – out into the real world where people wear clothing instead of pyjamas and dressing gowns!
I wore clothes too. And shoes. And makeup. I was like a real person for a couple of hours.
I was like a wet rag afterwards and crawled gratefully into bed, but I enjoyed every second of being there with them and doing something normal.
The new treatments have afforded me that time. I’m being zapped on a machine that uses intensity modulated radiotherapy treatment (IMRT). Basically it’s a swanky new machine that allows for even more precise and pointed treatment.
It’s a miracle worker.
It has enabled me to snatch my life back and I can tell you I am holding on with both hands and never letting go.
I need each of you to know that your prayers, thoughts, candles, fairy talks, goblin garbling, angel callings and outpouring of kindness have helped me so much. I could literally feel the power of positivity seeping into the darkness and lifting me after my cry for help in my last blog. I probably sound like a total stick-waving crazy lady, but hey, I can live with that!
I now know there’s light at the end of this dark tunnel I’ve been forced into by my cancer over the past eighteen months to two years. I now feel as if I’m on top of it again as opposed to the other way around. I will always fight back and I will always try to win, but now I am bringing my battle to the table with such force and confidence that this cancer has to go.
Tumours, your time is up!
My skin is burning. I look as if I’ve been in the midday sun with no SPF cream on for a month. But I’ve my pots of E45 cream and a whole host of other cooling stuff to soothe and ease it back to it’s former slightly Smurfy shade of blue. Let the radiotherapy fry me like a bag of chips but as long as it’s killing those hideous cancer cells I’m happy.
My throat is swollen and burnt so I’ve made friends with soft foods. Rice pudding is my current fav. I’ve always loved it and hadn’t had it for yonks. Cool yoghurts and warm porridge in the morning are up there too. Custard and soft fruits like raspberries and strawberries are kind and easy to eat and are in season so they’re delicious. For a sugar rush and a bit of naughtiness I’ve fallen for cocoanut snowballs again. I’ve got a feeling I’m going to detest all of the above when I’m done and dusted with this current bout. But for now we are bezzy mates and I am bowing at their brilliance.
I bought a wig on Saturday. That was another little escape! Mum and I went back to my favourite place. It’s in Donnybrook in Dublin and it’s called ‘The Hair Club.’ I love this shop because it’s bright and airy and most of the wigs are on display. So you can go over and help yourself and pick one and try it on. If you don’t like it you put it back and move onto another one, just like regular shopping. They also do most of the wigs in a variety of shades. So there could be a short one on display in blonde but it’ll also come in dark brown, paler brown etc. If they don’t have it in stock, they’ll order it in.
There are private consultation rooms out the back should you want that too. They have real hair or synthetic and come in a large range of prices. But what I love the most is that they’re trendy. I find so many places offer styles suited to older ladies. But as we all know, cancer isn’t choosy so young women need wigs too. This place is a bit more edgy – not a sniff of road kill styles in sight. (www.hairclub.ie)
I got mine there and then. It’s a short one in an ash blonde shade and it has slightly darker roots to make it look even more real! I found it a bit hard to judge which one looked well on me, so it was vital that mum was there. She knows what I look like in general so she was able to tell me instantly if I looked like “me.” So if possible bring someone with you so they can do the same.
When my new book ‘All To Live For’ comes out next month I’m hoping to be back on TV a bit and getting back into living my life. I still have a spattering of hair but it’s really thin so I’m delighted to have the backup of the wig.
Wearing a wig or headscarf is a really personal choice, I know. Some women don’t want to wear one or find it too uncomfortable and not worth the hassle. I’ve always worn a wig when my hair goes. It gives me confidence and makes me feel better. But each to her own!
I’ve also had to buy some new clothes (oh dear!). I’ll be carrying this chemotherapy pump for the foreseeable future so two-piece ensembles are where it’s at. That’s easy I hear you cry, just wear your normal jeans?
Well, my tummy has been stabbed and prodded from the pain pump and regular injections so I’m swollen and sore and the thought of rough denim rubbing my skin makes me want to bend double and moan. So I went in search of comfy trousers or skirts with flowy tops. I literally fell into “Fat Face”. I think it’s the most awful name for a shop, but maybe I’m missing a point here that someone can help with?
Anyway, awful names aside, they have a whole nest of these slightly hippy elasticated waisted trousers with soft cotton shirts. It was as if this brand was fabricated by the angels just when I needed it! I’m not usually a hippy styled chic and never have been. I’d prefer a biker jacket and killer heels to a straw hat and Birkenstocks, but right now this relaxed and easy look is exactly what I need. So I treated myself to a couple of pairs of trousers and tops. Oh they have scarves with butterflies embroidered on them, so I had to buy a couple of those too. It would’ve been rude not to as they matched the outfits perfectly.
I’ll stop warbling now!
Really the point I wanted to make – I know I did it in an extremely long-winded way – is that it’s possible to be rock bottom and rise again.
Where there’s life, there’s hope. Just because the news you receive today isn’t great doesn’t mean that things can’t swing like a huge revolving pendulum and start afresh.
This time two weeks ago I was scared out of my wits. I was so sick and sore and didn’t know what was going to happen next.
Today I feel as if I can take on the world. It might have to happen a bit slowly and from my hospital bed, but I’m having a go!
If I can do it, so can you. If fact, we’ll do it together. I insist.
So wigs on, stretchy trousers ahoy and we’ll sail into the sunset down a river of rice pudding in a comfy bed with cocoanut snowballs to keep us company.
Thanks again for the amazing support everybody.
I’m taking each day as it comes, but right now the future is looking so much brighter. I’ll take that.
Love and light