Has it really been three months since I’ve posted here? I’ve been better at doing snippets of stuff on Facebook, but I shouldn’t neglect my website!
Seeing as it’s October I suppose I’d better acknowledge breast cancer awareness month. Although I don’t need any reminding or awareness about this hideous disease, I guess it’s good to talk about it and get as much information out there as we can. I’ve had a couple of pieces printed and I’ll attach the links to them at the end.
I’ve finished my chemotherapy. I had eight sessions in total and I am well and truly wrecked. There’s still one tumour remaining in my neck but I’ll need a PET scan next month to determine whether or not it’s still active. I’m hoping against hope that it’s some sort of scar tissue or a clump of cells that aren’t alive with thriving cancer.
I’d be a lot happier if all the lumps and bumps were gone. Especially considering the sickness and horror I’ve endured. It seems unfair that I don’t feel like skipping up the road clicking my heels together. But just for now, I am so tired and feeling so ill that I don’t have much euphoria to report.
I know I’ll get better. I’ve been here before and felt as crap as this. So I understand that time will help me heal and I’ll crawl back out of the pit of doom and feel more like myself again.
I’m frustrated right now though. That’s the polite way of putting it. It seems I’m taking one step forward and two steps back. I go for a walk and end up in bed for three hours. I can do one outing a day and I’m exhausted. Menial chores like shopping for groceries and cooking dinners take a lot out of me. I get my shopping on line most of the time and I try to cook dinner in the morning when I’ve more energy. But suffice it to say, I’m sick of being sick.
I still feel nauseous most of the time. Food tastes weird, my hearing has been affected so I’m like a deaf old post most of the time. I’m sincerely hoping it comes back soon. It’s seriously isolating not being able to hear properly. I have a new sense of empathy for people who are hard of hearing. It makes everything difficult. I often have to ask people to repeat what they’re saying. But once you’ve asked twice and still haven’t a breeze, the tendency is to wing it and pretend you know what’s going on… I’ll have a mad stab in the dark and give an answer that I hope might make sense. As a result I’ve had some really odd conversations with people. Some of them are hilarious because my answer has absolutely nothing to do with what they said… So if I get a totally startled look, I usually go for “I have an ear infection so I can’t hear you” it’s easier than saying I’ve just had chemotherapy and I’m temporarily deaf… That’s kind of a conversation stopper.
My weight is still an issue. I’m still pumped up like a balloon and retaining water like a camel. But I’m attempting to drink more water (apparently this helps to “flush” my system rather than adding to the problem) and take as much exercise as I can. I’m hoping the current state of bloated bullfrogness passes. It’s particularly unfair seeing as I’m barely eating. If I was having chocolate cake for breakfast and pork pies dipped in lard for lunch, with ten packets of crisps as a snack followed by burgers and chips I’d deserve to be like a bowling ball. But I have very little appetite and yet I’m still expanding. Grrrr. I’ve lost most of my hair too. All that remains are random wisps with plenty of patches of scalp in between. But I’m delighted to have found dry shampoo with blonde colouring incorporated into it. What an amazing invention! I spray that on, add some clip on hair and a hair band and off I go. The last couple of times I lost my hair it grew back like wildfire. So I’m hoping the same thing will happen now.
On the up side, it’s a relief to be finished with the blood transfusions, antibiotics and magnesium infusions. The magnesium infusions were the worst by far… The Cisplatin chemotherapy depletes the magnesium in my blood and apparently I need some of that. So I’ve had several sleepovers where I get large bags of this stuff. Normal people don’t react to magnesium but guess what? I do! It gives me blinding headaches – as in so bad that I honestly thought my brain was trying to climb out my ear. Sick stomach and even worse nausea come free with this too. I had umpteen blood transfusions to boot. I cannot thank the doners enough. You people all deserve to win the lottery…
My teenagers have been astonishingly fabulous. Although I’m still essentially very annoying and haven’t a clue about anything (as most parents don’t in their kids eyes) they have stuck by me and helped and minded me so brilliantly.
I feel horrendous guilt that they’ve had to watch me going through cancer treatment yet again. But I try to rationalise it by acknowledging the fact that I am one of the lucky ones. At least there is a treatment available that can help me – even if it has made me sick. I intend on getting stronger and making sure I am able to be fun-mum again – even if they find me a total embarrassment. Sure, that’s my job isn’t it?
The messages of support from so many people have kept me going. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly kind people can be. I am so very thankful for that.
I hope the next time I post up here I’ll be feeling a lot better. I hope I’ll have more hair on my head, less wobble on my belly and less of the double chin thing going on. I hope I’ll have more energy and that I’ll be back zooming around juggling far too many things.
My next novel is almost ready to go. It’s called ‘The Wedding Promise’ and it’s due out in Ireland in February! Thankfully I’ve still been able to write. It really is the best job. I can do it while looking like a blown up baldy, green-faced ogre. So there’s lots of excitement ahead.
Halloween is approaching too. I’m not a massive fan, but it does guarantee one fabulous thing – Christmas is fast approaching!! As you may know I am obsessed with all things glittery and sparkly, so I cannot wait for all of that.
There’s light at the end of the tunnel folks. Those lights are going to be twinkly and fairy like attached to many trees. Hurray!
In the image above #BreastCancerIreland are urging women to post a picture of them with a loved one and donate €4. If you can join in, I'd be ever so grateful. My picture is with my friend Elaine Crowley. I'll post it at the end of this blog. She's a wonderful friend who never ceases to be kind and thoughtful. I'm so glad I have her in my life.
I hope you’re all doing okay and that you’re planning your winter wardrobes. Don’t you just love chunky sweaters and boots and cosy coats?
Chat to you soon and thank you all for the support over the past few months. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Love and light
p.s. here are my articles on supporting a loved one through their cancer journey and also, a few tips on coping with a cancer diagnosis.
As I've said many times, there's no right or wrong way of dealing with cancer, but I hope my experiences might help at least one person.