September – A New year

I think a lot of parents of school age children see September as the start of a new year. I usually buy an academic diary and start afresh in September rather than January.imagesSo 1 September 2015 I first met my oncologist. He talked me through the treatment path. 8 sessions of chemo to try and shrink the tumour then radiotherapy then a single mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.

Me, being me, I was back at work the next day. Some people I have met since stopped work on the day they were diagnosed. Whilst that might have been good for them I don’t think that would have worked for me. I needed my normal routine. I didn’t feel ill so why not go to work.

A week later and I was feeling frustrated waiting for a date to start the chemo.

Waiting again at the moment – this time to see whether my eldest will be returning to uni after doing a resit. Whilst the youngest is happily buying stuff for her first year he is in limbo not knowing what is going on. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

On a sad note one of the friends I met through a breast cancer forum has been diagnosed with secondary breast cancer and another is waiting for results following biopsies after an annual mammogram. We have already lost two friends from our group of 27 due to secondary cancer. Secondary breast cancer kills 1,000 women a month. Secondary breast cancer is not curable. Secondary breast cancer does not receive the research funding it should. DmJrpBoXgAMrsCIThanks to Jo Taylor of abcdiagnosis for this fantastic info sheet

Holiday Time (after 4 more medical appointments)

So on the Monday I had a doctors appointment. On the Tuesday I had an MRI – amazingly dozed off in the machine, must have been very tired! On the Wednesday I met my boss for coffee and phoned the ferry company to see if we could come home early. On the Thursday I had the results of the MRI. A lump in my right breast and a “dark area” in the left but still somewhat inconclusive so another appointment for the Friday.

Friday morning and yet again at the hospital. Had 5 biopsies – ouch! When I got home the kids had done the jobs I had left them, they helped to pack the car for our holiday and we left for France. My breast nurse phoned when we were travelling with an appointment for my results. We had changed our ferry and were coming home a few days earlier than originally planned.

Slept like a log on the ferry after the anaesthetics, pain killers and a Guinness!

Arrived in France on my daughters birthday and drove to our gite. We had a bit of a hair obsession going on this holiday as we knew the likelihood was that mine would be going. At the time it didn’t worry me – after all it is just hair. However I unexpectedly came across a photo of myself the other day  with long hair that I had not seen before and promptly burst into tears!

2015 08 01_Liz_1821  2015 09 01_Liz_1203

Yesterday she was 18! Cannot believe where that time has gone. We have planned a special holiday this year and are going to Seattle. It may be our last summer holiday together (due to the kids ages I hasten to add) so we thought we would do something special. As I type this nothing has yet been packed although I have a few things planned to do when we get there nothing is set in stone apart from the kids going to a gig.

Raising Awareness

Some people wonder why I talk about my cancer experience so much. The simple reason is that it saves lives.

Back in June 2015 I contacted a friend of mine to see if she could teach my 17 year old to drive. I had met Donna earlier that year at a brass band contest (yes brass bands again) and I told her I would be in touch later in the year.

Anyway when I phoned she told me that she was no longer teaching and in fact was about to undergo a double mastectomy. Rather than going into the details she then directed me to her blog – Just Get Rid

Of course I knew people, usually friends of friends, who had had breast cancer. Indeed I remember speaking to a colleague at work not long before this about a funeral she was going to for a friend who sadly died of breast cancer. These things always happed to someone else right?

Donna’s blog struck a chord with me though and something in the back of my mind started to nag. Then of course you wonder whether you are being a hypochondriac. The lump on my head was just some sort of cyst. Maybe the flu I had earlier in the year was a different strain to the one I had a vaccine for. My itchy mole on my left breast was a figment of my imagination.  The weird lumps in my armpit were just weird lumps – yes I was aware of them then.

iuWKVI4TS3These things whizzed round in my head – and I did nothing about it – I was an ostrich

This last week I have had headaches and dizziness. Again you get the “I’m just being a hypochondriac”  thoughts – recovering from my late night last week, too much sun, etc

Is my new normal to worry about every little thing. How do you know which little thing to worry about and which to ignore? Do you go to the doctors to be dismissed and then possible not return when there really is an issue. Do you go to the doctors and go through the worry of tests and results or do you bury you head in the sand and wait to see how you feel next week? (and I am feeling fine now!)

I am being an ostrich for the time being.