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A little bit cringe but thought I’d try something new 🙈
A little bit cringe but thought I’d try something new 🙈
Its been a while since my last post. It’s all starting to take its toll and it’s hard for me to find the energy from within to concentrate on posts. So I’ve finally had my last chemo. It was delayed by a week due to my blood count being too low and dropping. I’ve had that the last few sessions but the bloods always rose when they tested it again. This time the chemo has finally shown its affects. I had a feeling this was going to happen.
After chemo 5 it took me much longer than normal to recover. I suffered quite badly with sickness and picked up a stomach bug (not the pooping kind, 😂 the awful cramps and can’t keep food down kind) from somewhere too. Scared my dad half to death by passing out and just generally felt like death warmed up for longer than necessary.
Chemo 6 has pretty much been the same. With a good 3 hours of last night throwing up 10/11 times hurling nothing but bile and generally wishing it would stop I’ve reached my limit. I mean… Not my limit limit as in treatment… Just my limit with chemo. I fucking hate it. I hate the incapacity I seem to have as a human being. For crying out loud who cries because they put their t-shirt on the wrong way this morning? I am emotionally and physically exhausted.
The one amazing thing I have to be thankful for to is to the nurses up at the Churchill hospital for being so accommodating to me. As chemo was meant to finish by the end of November it meant I had the whole of December free of treatment… Well technically I have a scan on the 28th but I’m not counting that. Being delayed an extra week they pacified me with my request and set me up for the 30th instead of the 1st 😇 it may seem silly to you because I still feel rubbish for the first part of December but these days there’s not a lot to look forward to so let me have my silly moment 😂
So the strong, independent, feminist finds this tough to admit.
But sometimes I find this lonely.
And not in the sense that cancer is a lonely battlefield that you’re fighting by yourself. I mean it’s just me.
I have my family and friends that I’m forever grateful for but they’re not there when it’s dark. They all go home at the end of the day.
Now, I’ve always been an independent woman and I’ve never found myself co-dependant on anyone and the thought of myself becoming like that terrifies me. I’d hate to be that girl.
But there are a lot of things I have noticed in this past year that if I was healthy, I would give a good “fuck you” to but I guess as it’s a sensitive spot, cancer and me, I feel like if I ever said anything it would look like an overreaction 🙄 because I have cancer.
Let’s look back on a year ago. Just over a year ago, I had a pretty healthy dating life. I’m not gonna go into the details because that’s unnecessary and I’m very aware there’s family that reads this.
I was still talking to some of these guys when I was first diagnosed back in January. Every single one of them I told the truth and gave them an “out”. All of them said the usual “I’m sorry”, “that’s shit”, blah blah blah… To be fair, they all were pretty curious and it helped me, I guess, deal with it by talking about it. But they all said they wouldn’t just drop me. I mean what kind of guy would that make them?!
Now before you go off on one, this doesn’t make me a whore. None of it was a relationship. It was dating. Going on dates, chatting, usual 20s dating crap.
Me, being very cynical, didn’t believe any of them. I mean if it was flipped would I want to be involved with all that… Probably not. I know… How superficial and arrogant of me.
And now? I don’t hear from a single one of them. Even guys who I knew were interested in me but it never went anywhere don’t talk to me anymore. And I don’t mean this in an arrogant way where I had hundreds of guys chasing me because that’s not the way, but any interest has now completely dropped. I don’t even get a “hey, how are you going?” I’m not doing this post to be self centred saying that everything should be about me and everyone should ask me how I’m getting on with treatment or whatever, I’m just explaining how hard it can be adjusting to my new life and knowing that this will be it… I’m not being all woe me, please pity me. It’s just highlighting how different my life is now. This is the reality of cancer.
To be fair, I don’t blame them. I mean who wants to deal with this. But what I do have a problem with is the lies. I gave you all an out. But none of you took it.
So here I say fuck you.
Here I say look at me and how far I’ve come. On my own.
I may always be on my own… And I find that hard to say. I may not. But let’s be realistic it takes a special kind of person to take cancer on and let’s be real… If I couldn’t find that guy before when I was healthy, what’s the chance now! 😂 Especially in this new superficial, narcissistic world of swiping left or right!
I know I wouldn’t want it… If I had the choice that is.
I haven’t quite lost all my eyebrows and eyelashes but they’ve massively dropped out. When I’m without make up, I’m fairly featureless. So without hair and pretty much no eyelashes and eyebrows, I thought I’d give a few easy products a go!
Before all this cancer drama, I would say I filled in my eyebrows fairly heavily… Even though I probably didn’t need to. So to find a product that makes my life so much easier without going into the dramatic side of permanent make up makes me scream with delight.
Maybelline’s tattoo brow is a gel like brow product that tints your brows and the surrounding skin.
You apply the gel and leave it on for 20 minutes for an all day wear. Now the best bit that makes my simple easy life all the more better is that if you leave the product on for 2-3 hours it can last up to 3 days!! 🤗
I find as my skin care routine is pretty shocking these days and you’re lucky if you catch me on a day that I shower, I find that the gel tattoo can last me up to 5 days.
Thankfully being a beauty therapist, getting the brow shape matching doesn’t take too much time. However if you’re new to any kind of brow product or don’t feel too confident it’s probably best to practice with a normal brow powder or pencil first. The gel is pretty forgiving in removal if it’s wet and you remove it straight away but if you leave it to set, then it will stain the skin beneath and you’ll be left with that error unless you scrub a fair bit.
I tried the new fad of magnetic eyelashes too. They’re an “easier” alternative to strip lashes that use glue. With my eyelashes quite sparse and thin I thought strip lashes would preserve those that I have left as I won’t be aggravating the area like I would if I used mascara and the whole removal process with it. I’m shit with the normal glue strip lashes so the magnetic lashes sounded right up my street!
Well… That one wasn’t such a great one. They ended up making me look like a toy doll. And not in a good way. They stuck on pretty well but they were too straight and unnatural against the lash line and I looked like a twat.
So I’ll keep with my new fave product for brows but that’ll probably be as far as I’ll go.
In other news… Last last week was a pretty rough week! From having shingles, then chemo, I got a cold straight on top of it all. I have to say it is the absolute WORST I have ever felt during all of this. It is the first time I can say that I actually didn’t want to get out of bed. I pride myself on the the fact that I’ve never moped about and always kept somewhat of a routine. The only reason I did actually get out if bed was because I had a doctors appointment to see how my shingles was going 🙄
Thankfully after some strong pills and a lot of rest and relaxation I’m almost back to normal.
I’ve had a little help in my recovery this week too…
I should be happy, right?
And I’m pleased. I am. But I can’t exactly say I’m over the moon, bouncing from room to room, can’t stop smiling happy. And why you ask?
Because this isn’t the end.
Yes, it’s a good result. But how long for?
I told you last time, after the devastating results from my 3 month post treatment scan it’ll shit on any other happy news in the future. And it really has.
I’m pleased. I am. And I’m happy for my family and friends that they’re finally hearing something good… But it is definitely shadowed by the fact that this isn’t it. Even if it clears up after all of the chemotherapy and whatever treatment follows after, it won’t be the end.
It will most likely come back. It might not be straight away. It could be 5 months, a year, 5 years, 10 years or more but it will at some point return.
Until they figure out a way to completely eradicate it from my lymph or blood… Wherever it is travelling from, its not over.
I’m OK with this. I’d rather it wasn’t this way but I’ve accepted my fate in life. I’m still positive about my diagnosis. Don’t misconceive what I am saying. Just because the news before shat on every other bit of goodness now or in the future, I am still positive about my treatment. I feel good in myself and I won’t let that stop me from living how I want to live.
Its just… I don’t know… The big fat elephant in the room that’s staring me in the face is still there. So I’m happy but I feel like I can’t truly be 100% happy because before I know it the rug will be pulled from beneath my feet again and I’ll be back to square one. And it’ll crush me.
But worst of all, it’ll crush the people I love.
I hate that this now makes me look at the other side of life. The more pessimistic side… That’s not me. But I have no choice. I have to be realistic.
So this week I am happy. But probably not as happy as I would have been this time last year had I received good news. Because although I am happy, any big fat sunny happiness I have now gets shadowed by the dark and ugly side of cancer. And forever will be no matter how small it may become in the future years… It’ll always be there in the background waiting to pop back up and ruin everything all over again.
On another note, apparently I have shingles! 🙄 I’m an anomaly again as I don’t have the “normal” symptoms. Just a rash on my back, other than that I feel pretty normal… Considering.
It shouldn’t interfere with my chemo on Friday thank goodness but bloody hell… Can’t catch a break at the minute! 😂
So there is a thing called chemo brain. And I guess that is what I’m suffering with at the end of the day but that’s not really what I thought it would be called. Chemo brain sounds like you’re forgetful or it affects your mental ability… And I guess in a way it does. But my experience is nothing to what I imagined.
So the day of chemo my reactions are all pretty immediate. I generally get a huge dose of antihistamines, which is basically a syringe full of Pirton. This is to help my body cope with the chemo paclitaxel… You know, first time anaphylaxis. This prevents any reactions occurring but it also makes me very very drowsy. So pretty much for the day of chemo I’m in and out of sleep. It’s a great way of killing an 8 hour day but it still drags… And my poor mum still has to suffer through it along with me.
One of the first things to change with chemo is my taste. This doesn’t normally last. Just for 4-5 days. I’m not sure how I can explain it, it’s like I’ve got wax in my mouth or my mouth is all cotton wool like, I can’t taste flavours as well, and things aren’t as appealing. I struggle to eat meat at this point coz the texture of it can be very off putting.
Followed closely from the tastelessness is the nausea. This is probably a big factor to the chemo reactions. As I suffer with nausea this means that my appetite reduces. It’s tough to find what I fancy to eat and I try so hard to eat what’s good for me. I have 4/5 different types of anti-nausea pills which help combat any actual sickness but it makes my mouth even more woolly and changes tastes even more.
Chemo affects you mentally too. I go very spaced out for a few days. I find it better on these days when people don’t talk to me. It sounds so silly but I find it so hard to concentrate on texts and function on what I should be saying. It sounds so crazy, right! It’s like there’s a massive fog over my brain that prevents me from focusing properly on what I should be doing. I zone out easily. I literally become some sort of chemo zombie. I don’t just think it’s in my head though. It weirdly affects my eye sight. Not in an awful way and it only lasts for about 3/4 days after and then I’m fine I just get this ring of haze around my sight and this makes focusing difficult. It’s like my brain just gives up trying to focus on what I should be doing.
I become a ghost to any social media and friends seem to know they won’t get a lot out of me on those days.
It all sounds so awful what I have to deal with when you say it out loud but you just have to deal with it. This is my life. If I want to be better then I have to deal with these after effects.
I have to apologise in advance for this post too. I’m still very foggy headed this morning so this post has taken me longer than usual to write and I’m sorry if it drags off in weird directions or doesn’t make much sense! It’s a real life struggle for me this zombie brain thing but it’s easier to explain when you’re actually mulling yourself through it then if I write it in a few days time when it’s a distant memory.
There’s just contentment. Weird I know in the state my life is in right now. I don’t know how I can explain it… Cancer is very much still in the forefront of my mind 24/7 but I’m not letting it rule my life. I mean obviously it does, but I guess I’m less bothered about it? Oh gosh, this is hard to write… I mean I’m bothered by the status of which direction it’s taking me in my life but I’m dealing with it.
I guess there is no word that exists for how I feel. Because any positive word detracts from what is going on and I’m still very much involved with it all. Positive words make it seem OK and makes it minor but this cancer isn’t minor. It’s a huge, horrible thing going on. It’s up all in my life saying “look at me!”.
Negative words make it all sad and worse than it is. I mean it’s bad… The worst it could be, but if I let that rule my life then I wouldn’t be the person that I am.
It seems strange, but I think my turning point was when I lost my hair. There was something very liberating about it. I really couldn’t give two shits about what people think when they see me. If you knew me a couple of years ago, you would have known I wouldn’t have gone to the supermarket without even doing my make up! 🙈 I look back on that now and think how shallow?! But then I think it was a time where my biggest dilemma in life was deciding what my plans were for the weekend… Oh how nice it would be to be back there. Narcissism and all.
When I’m out and about I’m very much aware on how people look at me. And to be fair their reactions surprised me. Most people didn’t care. They didn’t do a double take. They didn’t stare. They just went about their normal business.
To be honest though, I only go out when I’m well so they may look at me like I’ve just decided to shave my head. It seems to be a popular thing at the moment.
I say most people because I have seen people stare at me. And weirdly enough it’s the older generation and they’re in no way subtle about it. They literally stop dead still, stand and stare. And they don’t even look away when I catch them doing it! 😂 I don’t let them get away with it (that’s the best bit about having cancer, you really don’t give a shit) I’m not sure why the older generation are so obvious. Because those who know me, know subtly is lost on me so they really could get away with it if they’re discreet. I’m not sure what they’re seeing… Maybe I’ll ask next time I catch them staring. A walking time bomb… Cancer… Or just a fashion statement? I’m just not sure.
Now the weather is getting colder I’ve had to buy a hat so I blend in better with everyone else. I don’t care about blending in, but it’s freaking cold when you have no hair!! I’ve also gotta be sensible about these things. I can’t risk getting a cold for how I look for the sake of being defiantly different.
I’m playing the big fun game of waiting again. I don’t really know what’s going on until I’ve had my 3rd round of chemotherapy and they can scan me again to see what the cancer is doing. I’m not so bothered that I’m playing the waiting game this time round. Last time it was torture. The not knowing. But this time… I’m in this blissful place of oblivion. I guess you could say it’s a form of denial. But lately after every waiting game I play I seem to get bad news. So yes, maybe it’s a form of self preservation but I feel good in myself and how I feel, so this waiting game at the moment I am fine with. And I can play it a lot longer if it means I don’t have to find out the outcome. But that will never happen. I will find out my fate eventually no matter how much I mentally scream and cover my ears.
So I lost all my hair. I told you it was happening but I bet you didn’t think it would all happen in one go. Haha. So I had a really good week where I was busy out visiting friends and this was the week where my head hurt. So by that weekend if I really tried I could have pulled it all out. But I wanted to keep it in for the weekend as I was out with friends and I didn’t wanna look like “that” person. So I just hairsprayed the shit out of it all. I figured if hairspray can normally keep a style in place it can keep my hair from falling out too, right? Haha. Well believe me… There was no disaster! It worked! So by the time bank holiday Monday came round I didn’t think I could push it for any longer. So I went outside and just started pulling… And pulling… And pulling. It didn’t hurt. By this point I think it was just sitting in the hair follicle. By the end of it all it looked liked I’d just brushed a big fluffy dog but unfortunately there was no dog to cuddle at the end of it 😂
I was OK about it all, I mean it took me a while to get used to looking at myself in the mirror every time I came across one and I have major tan line issues going on but I’m OK with it. This is just another factor of cancer I have to deal with. It just annoys me that I now look like the cancer victim. Before I could hide it pretty well and pretend to be normal but there’s no denying what I’m going through now. I’m still not doing the wig route. I don’t see the point. It’s obvious what they are and they’re never nicely made. And the whole head scarf look is worse! That’s just highlighting the fact of what you’re going through. So I may be a beacon of light with my pastey white head but at least I’m still being me.
I haven’t lost my eyebrows or eyelashes yet. I expect I will and I’m gutted that I probably will. Because that is the epitome of “cancer victim” and you lose all your features so you look sick no matter what… But ah well… As with everything else we’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!
Its funny, I look at myself in the mirror and when it’s like now, a good day, I think this doesn’t look like a face of cancer. Unless you know me and what I’m going through you wouldn’t know what I’m battling. I guess it’s a good thing because I have a respite from having cancer dominate my life. I mean on my good days it’s still there lingering in the background. It’s the first thing people ask if I haven’t seen them in a while and I still have to take my daily dose if medication that I never had to do before. But I’m not that sickly person where it’s obvious what’s going on.
Nobody sees me on my bad days. And I mean nobody. The only people who have seen how horrendous my bad days are are my mum, dad and sister. You might think it strange because don’t get me wrong, I have a huge support network that would be there for me at a drop of a hat if I asked them to sit with me, but I just couldn’t do that. I’m not sure if it’s to protect them or me. There’s a sort of vulnerability being that exposed to someone. They’ll be seeing me at my absolute worst. Maybe I’m being completely selfish by doing this but I just don’t think I could handle it if they treated me differently. I don’t think my absolute closest people would intentionally do that but I don’t want to be treated like I’m fragile. And I don’t want them to carry around that burden of seeing me like that. It’s tough. It’s not pretty. And when it’s bad it’s bad but on the upside when it’s good it’s really good.
I’ve had a lot of conversations recently on the next stages of my treatment and how I’ll be going about it. I think I’ve got a better perspective of it all this time round. Last time I was in pain and I just wanted treatment to get started. I couldn’t tell you what I was thinking or what I was going through coz I can’t remember. I was taking a lot of pain meds and slept 80% of the time.
But this time, I’m aware of quite a lot. Like for example, my head hurts. And I don’t mean I have headaches but I can actually feel that my hair is going to fall out. It’s strange I didn’t know that you could feel it. I’ve never heard any stories of this before so am I the only one that can feel it? Or is it just not talked about? I didn’t feel it happening last time but that could be because I was in pain last time so did the pain of the cancer numb out the pain in my head? The only way I can explain it is it’s a bit like when you have a really bad cold where it’s bordering on flu and your hair hurts. To move it, to brush it, to touch it. Or maybe if you have a really tight ponytail and you take it down at the end of a day and you get that relief but it’s a little sore. It’s kinda like that. I can’t help but imagine these little bugs under my skin munching away on my hair follicles. Haha. I knew what was happening but it’s only on my head I can feel it. I can’t feel it on my arms or legs where other hair is. So maybe my head is just super sensitive at the minute. You might just think I’m being paranoid and a little sensitive to the fact that I know I’m going to lose my hair. I’m not. I can pull my hair out. It’s not normal to tug your hair and be able to see 10+ strands of hair in your hand. Go on, give it a go. I bet you won’t pull any out, maybe just 1 but not a lot. I got mum to clipper my hair the other week when I finished chemo. I didn’t see the point in the 80s bouffant if it was all gonna drop out. I don’t mind it clippered. I’ve been told I can pull it off. Haha.
Little things have become a little uncomfortable to me now that my head is so sore. Showering my hair takes a lot of courage to do. Just the shampooing motion through my hair hurts. It becomes a little less sensitive after about 5 minutes under the water but it doesn’t completely go away. Even pulling on a jumper over my head hurts. That was a discovery I found out this morning when I got dressed. 🙄 it’s even worse when I forget and I go and scratch an itch!
But other than the head, things are all really good! I’m out seeing a lot of friends this week. Gotta make the most of it whilst I can!! I bought a skateboard too! 😂 maybe I’m being a bit ambitious with that one but I thought it was a good idea! It’s giving me something to do and I can get about on my bad days. Because when it is a bad day I can’t walk very far so I figured on a skateboard I can go further! I don’t think my mum and dad think it’s a very smart idea but hey, it’s getting me out so they’re not gonna say anymore. In time, I guess we will see! Haha
Things couldn’t be further from that now even if I tried. The few hours of work I was doing I’ve had to give up. It’s too risky being around people when I’m having chemotherapy. I’m more susceptible to infections and no offence… But people are the worst when it comes to making sure they don’t miss their appointments “oh, I’m sorry! I was on my deathbed but I just had to come in for my nail appointment” or “I feel absolutely awful but I made it… Please give me a medal and let me infect you with my gammy germs” I joke… But you don’t realise how gross people can be… Until you work with them. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but it’s just way too risky for me. I love it but not at the risk of my health… Even more!
So I had chemotherapy last Wednesday. Yep… Very long and boring day. I’ll be getting 2 types of chemo, paclitaxel and carboplatin. They’re both chemos I’ve had before. Back in February just after I was first diagnosed they put me on an emergency chemo program to get treatment started. Treatment didn’t go well… My first session I went into an anaphylactic shock. It was awful. Basically my body shut down because of the drugs. It’s pretty common apparently when administering paclitaxel, it’s a 50-50 on if your body will accept the drug or reject it. After a massive dose of adrenaline they counteracted the reaction and I was back to normal. They decided, for that day, not to give me paclitaxel and just gave me carboplatin. The following week I had both again just this time the paclitaxel was administered slowly so my body could adjust to it. Hence why chemo is an all day event.
So Wednesday I was up bright and early to be ready to start treatment at 9am. I’m having chemo every 21 days this time round. At the start of the year it was an emergency program to get things started and chemo was weekly with the drugs being weaker. I was actually one of the lucky few before when chemo actually made me feel better. I would have a couple of days after where I could go out and see people.
I don’t think I’ll be so lucky this time round.
Chemo made me pretty tired afterwards. Even though I slept a majority of the day I was up there for over 8 hours. I can’t keep my attention to anything so reading, watching TV, colouring in books or whatever doesn’t help. All I seem to do is sleep.
The days after made me extremely nauseous. I have anti sickness pills that stop me from actually being sick but the queasiness is always there. When you’re queasy you just don’t want to eat… Which is the worst when you’ve got the biggest battle of your life on your hands ahead. Anything I do manage to eat goes straight through me… Sorry for being so graphic 😂 but this is the reality of it. So with the weekend of feeling grotty, not eating much and not keeping much in its obvious that I’m gonna drop weight.
So this week I’m trying my hardest to eat more meals a day and snack hard. But it’s not easy… My tastes have already changed. Things I liked before I can’t touch. Flavours aren’t the same and it’s difficult to figure out what I actually fancy.
People have been really sweet before and given me advice of diets I should try to help bring my body back into balance which has been incredibly thoughtful and I’ve been so grateful but I kid you not… If anyone suggested things this week I probably would have snapped 🙈 I feel awful for saying that because I know they’re only trying to help but honestly if there was a way, I’m pretty sure I would have tried it. And to be quite frank, I couldn’t give a fuck anymore! I know! I’m sorry!! But for 29 years I have eaten so healthily. Probably better than you! Home grown veg, the right balance of protein, carbs and greens. I’ve been good! And look where it fucking got me! So screw it. I’m eating what I damn well please.
You’re probably thinking I’m sat here eating gateaux and sundaes with ridiculous amounts of saturated fats, refined sugars and numerous E numbers… I wish. Nope, just good old Jacobs crackers and a can of coke. My good old go to buddies that seem to be my safety net foods.
I expect, as I go further into the program it’ll get worse. But let’s look on the positive side for once. That’s one treatment down. Just another 5 to go… 💪🏻👊🏻
chemo session 1 of 6 ✌🏻