The happy pessimist

I got some good news for once this week. Chemo is working! My scan from last week has shown an excellent response. The chemo has reduced the size of the tumors and one is barely visible. With this news it will mean that I will continue with the rest of my planned chemotherapy treatments.

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! πŸ™„ 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! πŸ˜‚

When you become a real life zombie

I think this one will be about how chemo makes me feel. It’s a difficult one to explain but also it might be something that not everyone feels when they have chemo. This is my reaction to the drug. And it’s difficult to explain when the effects have worn off because I try my hardest to remember how it makes me feel but at the time that’s all I feel but when I’m better I forget. Sounds crazy, right! But everything is so easily forgotten when you feel better.

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.

When narcissism is replaced with blissful oblivion

I’m in a really good place right now. I’m not sure what made me turn this corner and see things differently and I can’t tell you the secret on how I did it. It’s just something I’ve noticed in myself in the last few weeks. It’s probably my I-don’t-give-a-fuck-attitude but I don’t think it’s all that.

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! πŸ™ˆ 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! πŸ˜‚ 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.

When in doubt just add hairspray!

I’m trying to keep these posts with a bit of variety coz I don’t want to be that boring cancer story. But really how interesting can you keep this topic?

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 πŸ˜‚

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πŸ‘†πŸ»Yep, all my own! No dogs involved!

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!

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I may blend into the wall in the background but it’s not that bad πŸ˜‚

Hair today, gone tomorrow

It’s been a good week this week. I mean a really good week. This is what I was hoping for going through chemo. I’d have my bad days but I’d also have my really good days where I feel normal again.

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, Β 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, Β 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.

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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. πŸ™„ it’s even worse when I forget and I go and scratch an itch!

But other than the head, Β 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! πŸ˜‚ 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

A life of crackers and coke

Well what a week it has been… It seems a bit unreal that everything has happened in the last eight days. It has been one of the longest and saddest weeks of my life.
Exactly eight days ago I felt healthy. I thought I was in recovery, I was slowly getting my life back and adjusting to my new way of life. I was back seeing friends, working a few hours, easing myself back into the working world.

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, Β 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 πŸ˜‚ 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 πŸ™ˆ 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… πŸ’ͺπŸ»πŸ‘ŠπŸ»

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chemo session 1 of 6 ✌🏻

Devastation

​OK… So this will probably be my hardest post to write yet.
Devastation. Such a menial word to some. Great destruction or damage. Severe overwhelming shock or grief.
Yep, that pretty much sums everything up…

So yesterday was results day. As you can already predict it wasn’t great. Yes, my “fluffy”, suspicious area on my lung is cancer. I expected that. It has now doubled in size. Shit, that’s not good. It has now spread to my other lung. Fuck… I didn’t expect that.

They used the word “aggressive”. It’s aggressive. For it to double in size and spread in 4 weeks isn’t great.

Its funny, although it’s now spread to my lungs it’s not lung cancer. Well they don’t call it lung cancer. It’s still classed as vaginal cancer even though the original cancer site is clear of cancer. So really I have vaginal cancer but in my lung. Confused? Yeah… It’s weird.

So what’s the plan? More chemotherapy. I start treatment tomorrow. I know, so quick! Well as it’s pretty aggressive they need to start things quickly.

Its looking like I’ll be having 6 rounds of chemotherapy again spaced 21 days apart. That’ll take me right up to Christmas. As always, they can’t really predict what will happen so my treatment plan may change. I’m waiting on a call from my consultant today as there was a big talk about me last night (I’m a pretty big deal you know πŸ˜‚)

They’re having a big conference about me with all the gynae oncologists. As it was rare for me to get vaginal cancer to start with, as I was so young, I get the impression they don’t really know what will happen. Yes, they’ve seen the cancer spread to the lung before but it’s been in patients over the age of 60. So previous treatment has deteriorated their health so they haven’t been able to take treatment further. I’m an anomaly.

I still think they will throw everything at me to combat this but they can’t guarantee that it’ll work. They just don’t know. It will get to a point where chemotherapy on the body will become too much. It is a poison at the end of the day.

Operating isn’t an option. It’s to unpredictable and it could cause it to spread more. Radiotherapy isn’t an option. There’s too many spots. So chemotherapy it is. At the moment they’re looking to contain and control the cancer. Then they can see what other options are available.

I will lose my hair again. That’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.

I’m still keeping positive though.

Although they tell you all the bad things that will happen, coz they have to, I feel fine! I’ve put weight on. I look good, I exercise, I don’t feel wheezy or breathless. I think that’s why it feels so devastating. If I was in pain or having trouble with everyday tasks then you can get to grips with it.

Its such a punch in the face for me, my family and friends.

Its upsetting everyone all over again.

Feeling Fake

I’ve debated quite a lot about whether I should post this. I don’t like to worry people and I don’t want people to treat me differently by treading on eggshells. If it’s anything like the last few posts then I expect I’ll get a lot of messages… Or not. Haha. You may not care! πŸ˜‚

But I want to be true to myself and I said when I started this that I would give the honest truth to everything. It may be hard to hear at times and it may be stuff that people don’t want to hear about but it’s my life. The good the bad and the ugly. This. Is. Me.

I feel fake.

Everything I seem to do at the minute is forced. My smiles don’t come so easily and my positive vibes are lacking.

When I knew what was going on I could deal with it. There was progress. I may have felt shit day in and day out but I knew treatment was working. I was one step closer to getting my life back.

I don’t know what’s coming. I’m lost. I’m sad. I’m feeling fake.

I’m not depressed. I think that word gets thrown about too much. I’m just sad. I’ll get over this eventually… Probably in about 2 weeks.

I found out last month that I can’t donate blood anymore. That’s just another thing that makes me sad. After having 10 units of blood back in January it means I can never donate again after the whole blood fiasco in the 80s. It’s another piece of my old life I can’t do anymore.

I feel like I’m kind of short changing you guys at the minute. This was meant to be the stories of a happy smiling cancer girl πŸ˜‚ and it’s been lacking in the happy and smiling aspects of late! I promise, I’ll buck up my ideas and get back on track soon.

I’m in a funk but I’ll deal with it… Like everything else! This won’t last.

19 Days and counting…

It’s strange, I don’t really have anything interesting going on this week. Mum’s gone back to work now that I can function better and actually look after myself. Haha. It’s great, because it means our life is returning to some sort of semblance… but it’s not quite there yet.

I’m still waiting. That dreaded awful waiting. I can’t really do anything until I know what will happen. It’s like the big fat elephant in the room. I’m trying to give my life a bit more of a routine so I won’t end up a lazy slob addicted to daytime TV. I’m trying to exercise in the day and give myself a bit of a better diet. I don’t eat bad as it is but the last load of antibiotics they put me on has really knocked me for six and I need to find my balance within myself again. The trouble is as soon as I’ve distracted myself with some sort of task that elephant is back there staring me in the face. It’s funny, looking at me now you could pass me in the street and you wouldn’t even know anything is wrong. I’ve done a complete 180 and I would say I’ve returned to health like before all this happened. I try to look back and find where it all went wrong… December was definitely a write off and November was a bit icky but I wouldn’t have said I was bad then. I guess it all started to go wrong in October… Or well obviously go wrong looking at it now.

I’ve never been much of a complainer when it comes to life. I always try to see the positive things and I’m pretty sure in my whole working career, from the age of 16, I’ve only ever taken one sick day… I know right, one! And even then I remember phoning up work worrying that I didn’t sound sick enough. I guess on that side of things I’m a bit of a goody two shoes. There has been many a time where I’ve gone out the night before a shift, partied hard but still rocked up to work wearing last nights make up, having only had 3 hours sleep, if that, hanging out of my arse bitching about why I didn’t pull a sickie. But I always managed to get myself to work and… semi function. Even if I felt rough as hell I saw it as my own fault. I did this to myself so I have to carry on. Now, my hardcore party days are pretty much behind me, they’re few and far between so I’d say I’m probably more of an all-day-catch-up-with-friends-drinker now than a go-wild-until-the-sun-comes-up-party-animal.

I don’t want to live my life stuck in a rut. Finding that I’m working to live and never going anywhere. I said when I was going through treatment that I’m gonna make the most of this summer. If I want to go to the coast. I’d go. I’ll see friends up north, down south, wherever they are I’m going, and I’ll do what I want without the restrictions. But in reality, is that even possible? I have to work if I want to go and do these things. I want what everyone says they want, full-time pay with part-time hours. Its just never enough. You want more and more and more. But I’m gonna try. I’m gonna try and not let my life become too predictable. I’m gonna try and go and do all the things I want. I’m gonna try and find that job that has a full-time wage with part-time hours. Haha.

Me and my sister have made this plan to travel a bit next year. For years we’ve kept saying we’re gonna go here, we’re gonna go there and life just got in the way and we never organised it. So when all this cancer crap kicked off that’s the first thing we said. We’re gonna do it. If cancer isn’t a good enough opportunity then when is?! So when I was going daily to my bloody radiotherapy appointments that’s what I focused on. “This time next year I’ll be here…” “This time next year I’ll be there…” It started to become a bit of a mantra for me. Because life was moving on for everyone around me and you try not to resent it but it’s hard.

We’re gonna try and get flights out of the country for the end of the year. That’s when the shit hit the fan and life really flipped on its axis. So we thought it would be quite fitting to be going out and around a different country a year to the day since my diagnosis, a year to the day that chemo started, a year to the day radiotherapy started and so on. Trouble is, this whole waiting again has put this on hold. I can’t book my flights yet. What if I end up having treatment again?

Ergh… This is just so annoying now.

I hate this.

I hate it.

Its driving me crazy that I am semi normal again but I can’t do anything! I’m fidgeting. Which is a good thing when you think about it because it must mean I’m recovering well. When I was poorly it was hard to keep focus on anything. I’d just sleep the majority of the time but now I’m bored! I can’t direct my life back on track if I don’t know what is ahead of me.

People keep saying to me that they think these latest results is just an infection. Which is really sweet and I’m grateful for their positive thinking and kind wishes but I can’t think like that. I think its cancer. At least that way I can’t be disappointed if they tell me it is. I’d have already prepared myself. If I start thinking it’s an infection now then it will kill me to know Β  Β  (…Can I say that? “Kill me to know”? Screw it I’m gonna say it) that I’ve still got cancer.

13 days until my next scan

19 day until I know what my next step in life will be

Sometimes superheroes need support too

I’m a bit more rational this week. Last week was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster from finding out the status of my cancer and joining a support group, I felt like I’d been dragged through the ringer emotionally by the end of it.

So yes, last week I bit the bullet and joined a cancer support group. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty reluctant to begin with. Most people will probably wonder why because surely it’s a natural part of life to ask for help and support at difficult times. But for me, I can’t really say I saw it that way. I saw it as something weak and even more isolating by just highlighting everything about you and that it’s for people with cancer. I don’t want it to be anymore obvious in my life! I don’t know why I care about what people think or their judgement towards it, because I don’t normally give a hoot what people think of me… I guess cancer, for me, is a bit of a sore spot. Yes, it makes me different but I don’t want to be seen weaker for it. People say “you’re so strong it’s amazing what you’re going through!” and it’s true, I am! Haha. But cancer does make you weaker. You’re tired more. Your bones ache. You’ve got a long list of medications that you can’t say the names but you know that they help you function. You have to have your “emergency” pack of stuff wherever you go;

  • Sick bag: βœ”οΈ check
  • Anti-sickness pills: βœ”οΈ check
  • Anti-poop pills: βœ”οΈ check
  • Tissues: βœ”οΈ check
  • Wet wipes: βœ”οΈ check
  • mints: βœ”οΈ check

And believe me, these emergency pack supplies are not just random items! They’re items I wish I had on me at some point. Driving down the A34 at night, throwing up on yourself because there’s nowhere to pull in and you have nothing in your bag to use, you’re not gonna chunder in your amazing new hat you’ve just bought, you’ll just wish you had that sick bag! The anti-poop pills are probably a bit if over caution because I don’t have any juicy story where I actually shit myself! I have managed to maintain that small, and only bit of dignity. I guess that is my constant fear of being that person though… Because at the hospital I’ve seen it happen to other people… And it’s not fucking funny then.

So the support group, I did see it as another form of weakness, judge me all you like for thinking that way because that’s what I thought. I like to be independent and strong and only need the basics. When my mum first suggested the group to me I wanted to cry. I wasn’t a depressive about this, was I? I’ve been doing OK! Why do I need to go to a group and chat about my feelings? The self preservation side of me doesn’t want to make new cancer friends… What happens in a few years time if I’m still going to the groups and I find I’m going to funeral after funeral?

So I sat on it for a few months and just thought about it. I kept going backwards and forwards driving myself crazy just thinking about it.

Because with all of the negative sides, I kept thinking what if I could help someone else? Just because I’m doing so well in my self mentally, doesn’t mean someone else is. That was a strong factor for me. It kind of counteracted all the negative points for me.

So on Saturday, I thought screw it, I’m gonna go. So I did. I went to a cancer support group called Shine. They help cancer sufferers and survivors in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They meet each month doing different activities on a casual basis. So this month we met in a pub and just sat chatting and drinking all afternoon. There was none of this ponce of “Hi, I’m Amanda and I have cancer…” sort of crap. I mean, yeah, being the newbie they wanna know your story, but you get a story back in return so you’re not the only one on show! And my god… I tell you, some other people’s stories are just so heartbreaking… Man alive, does it put life into perspective. It’s in no way all doom and gloom. It’s a support network. These people are there for each other in ways that friends and family just can’t… They can relate.

I really wish it wasn’t called a support group though… Because still, in my mind, it sounds weak. But these people aren’t weak. They’re superheroes… So this week, I went to a cancer superhero group.

See! Sounds much better, right?