Thank Crunchie it’s Friday

Do you remember that advert? Sadly again due to my age you will only get it if you were born of a certain decade. Well it’s Friday and the weekend is almost upon us but first back to last night.

So my tummy pain started at midday and raged on and on and on, I even took pain killers and didn’t walk Molly so you know I’m not good. I only had an omelette for tea and I keep showing Steve my ‘bouncy castle’ tummy as when it swells up I look like one or just 7 months pregnant. I think it’s wind as wind can be painful and that’s what I thought the cancer was back on that very 1st night of pain just 6 months ago on 26th January.

Steve tries to get me to take more pain killers so I agree to take them before bedtime. Now prior to chemo and cancer in general I liked a beer at night. Steve would always be the sensible one and me I’d sometimes have one too many if it wasn’t a work night. Whilst on chemo I struggle to finish even one beer some days and we only buy the very small bottles now too. It’s curfew time and Rebecca has chosen to play the music quiz tonight, now Steve always wins at this and that’s fine. Rebecca and her nan team up and I wobble into the front room. I ask Steve to make me a lemonade and lime, he suggests a shot of vodka goes in it, okay I said. The game played and of course Steve won and I drank my drink.

Steve and I go into the kitchen and Steve pours me another. Now he has been very heavy handed with the vodka as he hopes that it will help with the pain and it has. I drink another one and the relaxing of the pain is lovely. I have though become so tired and it’s only 12.30, I have to go to bed but worried I’ll be awake at 3 am. For weeks pre and post operation I had to sleep like pregnant women do with a pillow to support their tummy and that’s me again last night spooning with Steve with a pillow to support my bouncy castle.

Well it worked, forget medication go and get vodka I say. I wake up and it’s 5.48 :-) that’s a good night’s sleep for me. The tummy ache has gone and I would be still asleep but I’m woken by the pain of the tumour/swelling in my groin. FFS! with if it’s not one thing it’s another, I get so sick of being sick.

Cat fed, no sign of Molly for breakfast as usual, coffee, 1/2 biscuit and a fag later and I’m okay. It’s Friday :-) it’s pay day, it’s Richard coming home day, it’s the last day of chemo tablets on this cycle and it’s almost the start of a fun weekend with Lauren coming down too. I just hope I’m well enough. But it’s also meeting Dr Weaver day at 2.20 pm!

Thank you all so much for your messages of support and love, for sharing your own stories with me and for sharing my blog. 33 people shared it yesterday a record number so far and when I check my stats the world map lights up of all the countries across the world where my blog has been accessed from. Russia is back on the map, are you on holiday again Evrim or maybe Putin’s reading this after all, well I have plugged vodka for him as a substitute for pain relief.

So today we have a plan. I’m going to work from home, do the food shopping with Steve prior to him starting work at 12 and then it’s emergency housework with nan and Rebecca until our appointment at 2.20.

IMG_4051Steve and I manage the food shopping so we are all set for the weekend of fun. I return home and the postman has been. I have a lovely card from Denise and the North West team of the BHS family, how lovely is that! I’m feeling the love from so many of the wider BHS family and that’s so special.

 

 

IMG_4050Plus a lovely photo of the beautiful Sophie with a special invitation to her 5th Birthday party in September.

Now it’s a funny world small world isn’t it? Today I got a message from Kirsty who was placed in Kingston as a Graduate trainee. She was so lovely to have in our store, the best we have ever had. She was enthusiastic, passionate but too bloody soft and cried most day’s bless her. Anyway she is friends with Richard’s very close friend Craig Parker’s wife Jade, they went to school together. Parker is the one who helped me get Richard back from Canada, he is also godfather to Parker’s little boy, Jack. I will never forget having to make that call to Richard in Canada, he just shouted “get Parker, get in touch with Parker” I was so grateful of his help that day as Richard knew he would look after me. You have a lovely husband Jade and I’ve seen video and photo’s of Jack and he is adorable too. My Love to you all.

IMG_4052At 2 pm Steve and I head for the hospital, typed list and pen ready. As always I’m the youngest one there. I am called through to be weighed, now after my operation I was 61 kg and two weeks ago I was 71 kg but that was with a hoodie on and my Vans, this time I’m back at 61 kg so more cake and chocolate I think is needed lol. I did see Frankie who takes chemo with me and here she is, another stage 4 lady but they can’t operate on her.

I return to the waiting room and we wait, and wait and wait. Now Steve has taken his lunch break for this appointment and we are getting concerned about him getting back to work. At round 3.20 we are called through. Dr Weaver is on holiday and we are seen by a lovely lady who is an Oncologist and part of Dr Weavers team.

Now everything I am about to report for you is guess work only as none of the statistics are me, I am not a statistic. We have to wait until the results of the CT scan which they are going to call me for in 2 weeks time and we will have an appointment to discuss the results in 3 weeks so again everything I now report is a general view.

My facts first – So there are several tumours in my lymph nodes in my abdomen  as well as the ones we know about in my neck and groin. She said not to worry about the perennial wall. The metastasis in me is classed the same as it being in many organs as it’s just a matter of time before that happens. There is no chance of a cure but remission or holding it at bay is possible if my cancer responds to the treatment. Other treatments will not be considered until we have the results of the CT scan in 3 weeks time. Other treatment they may use may not work for as many people as the chemo I’m on. She offered to turn the dosage down but I said no as if I can cope and it’s my best chance then that’s what I have to take. She examined my groin and said that on the next CT scan they will include that area too. I have agree to start taking painkillers after a good old talking to from the Oncologist and Steve.

General Facts – People with cancer presenting as mine is have a prognosis of 18 months to 2 years, this is reduced if the cancer doesn’t respond to treatment and extended if it does. It all depends on the results of my next CT scan.

We return home to tell my mom and Rebecca, Richard is on his way home so this post will be late up due to waiting for him, sorry and poor Steve has to go straight back to work.

IMG_4053Now tomorrow Karen’s story will be my post as I’m having family time and I’m really looking forward to it, so I’ll leave you until Sunday with what my mom has made for me courtesy of my lovely Aunty Shelia who gave me the transfer and we brought a piece of wall art, painted it the same colour as the dinning room and I think it works well. Thank you Aunty Shelia and mom.

And finally as ever this is not about me it’s about the people I love family and close friends so if you know any of them please give them your love and support as they need it more than me. I’m okay, I’ll keep fighting and I recall Jo’s message to me last night that said they gave her mom 6 months to live and she survived 6 years! So it will be alright in the end and if it’s not alright then it’s not the end.

Catch you all on Sunday xx

 

It’s my cancer and I’ll cry if I want too

Do you remember that song? It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want too? If you are young then you won’t remember it or have even heard of the song at all. I didn’t even really like it myself but I thought it would be a good title for a post.

The title is apt as through the blog I’m not getting people reading or I should say responding to it that have cancer and I know why. It’s because their cancer and their feelings and journey is theirs and mine is mine. I had a message this morning from the Beating Bowel Cancer charity to say hello and to encourage me to make contact with other sufferers of bowel cancer. So why haven’t I done this? These are the people I want to reach, this doesn’t make sense does it?

The problem is that I am trying to still juggle lots of things. The illness and it’s effects on my body with the tumours that are visibly growing, the side effects of the chemo, the worry of my loved ones and their well being, completing my daily posts so that I can talk to all of you and of course I have work to do too. I don’t want to talk to people who feel sorry for themselves and listen to their woes if they can’t be positive or laugh at parts of the whole shitting thing. Gosh I think this sounds harsh as I’m judging how they will feel and that’s not fair. Putting this on here might even put people off contacting me, I hope not :-(

I wake every morning regardless of what time I go to bed at about 5.30. I actually like it as I use the early morning to work on my project work so that whatever happens in the day I know that I have done some work, I’ve contributed in my own small way. It’s so important to me but I also need to be in contact with store life and people in their everyday lives that are normal, with normal problems and normal joys of life that they share with me. I could have phoned Mr Vines yesterday and talked the project through over the phone but nothing beats an excuse to get into a store. I was however regretting this when I was stuck on the M25 car park at 4.30 yesterday, not moving at all and I don’t miss my sometimes on a bad day 5 hours stuck in traffic commuting to Kingston. Some of my team who have visited me have said how they don’t know how I could have done that journey for 4 years but I did it as as soon as I walked into the store I was happy and the trauma of the journey forgotten. Just to physically cope with yesterday’s meeting I had a sleep before I went and when I came back as my energy levels are just not the same at all.

As it’s Thursday and I only have tomorrow to go and then it’s a week off tablets for me, I can’t wait to not have to take the tablets and then deal with their side effects on my body. The foul taste in my mouth, not tasting food, the constant lump in my throat which makes me want to gag, the tiredness, the lack of sleep, and the constant runs to the loo. Oh no hold on a minute that’s part of everyday life lol so apart from that I should be feeling more normal for a week. However then I have to face cycle number 4. Steve talked to me last night about a chemo depression, that it’s a recognised as a real problem. The mental strength needed to go into hospital and make yourself ill for at least one week. I’m not going to think about chemo, it’s too depressing.

So mom is travelling down today ahead of the big meeting with Dr Weaver tomorrow. Now unlike the last meeting we are going to take it seriously and I have my questions all typed out and ready. I don’t think he will be able to talk about prognosis until we have the results of the CT scan after cycle 4 but I have to ask anyway. Are we better off knowing? I’m not sure but he should be able to give me some idea, I can’t be the only one who’s bowel cancer has behaved in this way, however I can’t find anything on the internet so maybe I’m just special lol.

Here are my questions:

  1. Where are the metastases in my body, and can you draw me a picture to help me understand what this looks like?
  2. How many tumours are in my gut and how large are they?
  3.  Can you explain the cancer in my perennial wall
  4.  How fast is my cancer spreading considering pre surgery there was no evidence of cancer in any other lymph nodes, only 4 months ago?
  5.  Discuss the tumour in my groin?
  6.  Other cases of same metastases, prognosis?
  7.  Is there any chance of remission?
  8.  CEA levels
  9.  Do I need a MRI to check my liver?
  10.  Can we remove the tumours?
  11.  Has my KRAS status been checked?
  12.  If I have the wild type KRAS gene, when would you recommend that cetuximab be used in my treatment pathway?
  13.  Is the treatment I am being offered at this hospital the only option available to me as an NHS patient? If not, do I need to go private?
  14. Is HIPEC an option?
  15. Would I be eligible for a clinical trial?
  16. How will I know if the treatment has worked, when will I be called for my CT scan after cycle number 4
  17. What happens if I decide not to have treatment?

I think he will see a very different couple tomorrow. I won’t ask him if it’s safe to have oral sex whilst on chemo as we have 50 shades of chemo to get through first lol

Rebecca and I head into town to met up with Mary and mom also joins us. Stomach pains started before we left the house. After two hours out of the house I need to relax my tummy, the whole of it is cramping like wind. It was lovely to see Mary as I haven’t see her for a week and bless her she is going to get the ground floor office sorted out for me so that I don’t have to manage the stairs in the Wycombe store as there is 3 flights of them. I’m asleep as soon as I get home but wake again still in pain. Rebecca makes me have painkillers and it’s starting to ease off.

So chief editor returns and so you shouldn’t find any mistakes. We have planned a fun weekend as Lauren and Richard will be here. Lauren loves Nandos so I’m treating everyone on Saturday night :-)

IMG_4046 IMG_4047

Stud Muffin Pete and I have been talking all day and here is a picture of his scar, now the naughty man has been telling the girlies that his is a war hero and my suggestion was that he had been attacked by sharks. Either way he has been told that us girls love a good scar, so maybe this has to be number 51 in 50 shades of chemo! Haha. Just for us Rita a kiss from the stud himself, back home and safe :-) I’ll let you off the beard for now Pete as you haven’t been well but it has to go 😉

 

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Hey Rita we have another denomination covered off, the Greek Orthodox church. Dena in Cyprus was passing a church the other day and she stopped to light a candle for Pete and I. The lighter provided by the church was broken but that still counts doesn’t it :-)

 

Fainting, Friends and Food

So I left you yesterday guessing who my special guest was and both Rita and Leanne guessed it of course, it was the lovely Julie Murphy, my ex ex ex boss as sadly in our region, like birthdays you get a new one every year whether you like it or not.

Now it’s been 2 1/2 years since Julie left the BHS family but she is loving her job. So the plan was to walk Molly, home by 4, sleep until 5 pm, food prep and tea in for just after five, shower and ready for my friend. All going to plan and freshly out of the shower and dressed I head downstairs. The door bell goes and I panic as I’m not fully ready and could Julie be early? It wasn’t Julie but our neighbour who popped in last Friday to say thank you for the gift we sent her when she had her baby girl a few weeks ago. So we stood outside talking and then she comes over all faint and looks like she is about to pass out. I’ve got one hand on her and one hand on the pram, I call for Steve to help. Steve watchs the baby in her pram whilst I get her inside to cool her down. So I’m in the front room trying to cool her down and not let her pass out. I call for Rebecca to relieve Steve from baby duty, the baby starts crying, Steve and I are waving cushions at her to give her some air, a glass of water later and we manage to keep her from passing out. It turns out that she had taken the baby into town for a health check and to be weighed, she had pushed the loaded down pram there and back just 3 weeks after having a C section! Now High Wycombe is not called High because we live in a flat area. No wonder she felt faint but she thought she could do it on her own. We over estimate our bodies’ ability sometimes and all take health for granted.

Anyway crisis over and 1/2 hour later Julie arrives, Julie Murphy is in my house, wow. I had warned her to only bring herself and if I see anything remotely flower shaped that I will kill her and bless her she did as instructed but I did get a lovely bag of No7 goodies. Now I’m not saying her car is big but she had to do a 6 point turn in order to just turn it round when she left us. It’s a BWM 5 Series. Now my son would be impressed with that, it’s got leather everything and I believe it also makes tea! The neighbours will be impressed or think royalty has arrived.

We catch up a little before tea, in fact we chat too much as I can cook rice no problem but it’s a fine line between fluffy and a solid lump of starch and whoops I’ve been talking for too long and I have ‘rice fail’ but sometimes you just have to laugh it off and accept that rice like life isn’t always perfect. We all enjoyed tea which was beef madras, failed rice, and chicken tikka (just in case the beef madras was a fail) we all have seconds and Julie said she liked it :-) I explained that my desire to cook comes from my love for people. We can all order a takeaway but if well enough I love to cook, it’s my way of showing people that I love them.

IMG_4026We retire to the chemo gazebo but although the weather forecast said no rain it’s belting it down so we give up and go into the front room for what turned into hours of fun, laughter, catching up and of course my journey with cancer. Here is the famous ‘chemo gazebo’ photo for you all. Now Julie just looks stunning so I’ve used the best photo of her and I’m the old one on the left lol. Now when Julie arrived she did say that she thought I looked really well (an old favourite of mine) and I do but if she had seen me last week she would not have been of the same view. Now you may or may not notice that Julie is wearing a policeman’s helmet (it appeals to her authoritative side) and I’m wearing a pair of bunny ears! I’m not giving anything away but I will slightly tease you in that I am working on a special surprise for you all which I hope you won’t have to wait too long for, maybe 10 days. Anyway Julie is a great sport and as she knows my love of fun and laughter she agrees to wear the hat.

Julie is completely content with her life, her happiness can’t be hidden and her smile goes from ear to ear. It’s so lovely to chat up, share old memories and of course she wanted to hear my Simon Le Bon story but I don’t like to talk about that so I only gave her the briefest outline to the story lol. She stayed late which I didn’t expect as live lives in central London but I was so glad of the hours we had together, cheers Julie and see you soon.

So after a quick chat up on line I am so tired and go to bed just after 1 am. Now on my current shit sleeping pattern I’m secretly thinking that I may wake up at 4 am but I slept until 5.30, wow 4 1/2 hours of peace.

Wednesday 29th July

I have asked my chemo bud Karen to write a guest post for my blog about her journey through cancer as it may just help others to hear about someone else’s story. Last night I received her story via an email. I was so pleased that she had done this for me, for you and for anyone out there that it may help. Now this Saturday is going to be a manic family day as Richard will be home, Lauren is also coming to spend the weekend with us and my mom will also have returned plus a car full of BHS Kingston staff are also planned to visit. So I will post her story up for you on Saturday so that I can just enjoy precious family time. Plus it’s the start of my rest week so no chemo tablets for me and I should be fit enough to really enjoy it and I will trust me, nothing makes me happier than to share precious time with the people I love.

Me, Mr Vines and Mother Hen
Me, Mr Vines and Mother Hen

Today I spent the day in Staines doing my project work. Mother Hen had agreed to meet me for lunch too so why not mix business with a bit of pleasure :-) I head off in my car and memories of the last time I went into Staines came flooding back. I cried all the way there that day knowing that Mary Poppins was telling the Kingston team I was now stage 4, I had to tell Leanne over lunch and to the rest of the team in Staines had to smile and not say anything, that was a tough day for me emotionally.

Mr Vines has his stocktake today and therefore I really appreciated the hours he spent with me going through my project work as his will be the next one I do. Mother Hen also loved the stuff I’ve been working on and wants me to do one for Bromley too. I’m happy to do this for her as she has done enough for me over the years. We all enjoyed lunch together, reliving old memories of the years we have worked together.

BFF hard at work
BFF hard at work

Now Mr Moore you will never guess who turned up to work in Staines today too, what luck hey my BFF following an earlier meeting needed to pop into Staines this afternoon. Now I can report she did work and was not distracted by me being there at all, and here’s the photo to prove it :-)

 

 

 

IMG_4042I dropped Mother Hen at the train station and she slipped a present into my car for me and as she reads my blog and laughs at the funny names I give people. Now these are personality chocolates and blow me they have a Juddy one lol so Teresa and Ian Judd here is your chocolate named after you. Countess Judd, no less haha.

 

 

On a final note I have just checked my stats. We have broken through 20 thousand views today, actually it’s 20, 586, I’m delighted and I can’t thank you all enough. The daily shares that you all do for me, are reaching across the globe and hi to our new friend Beverley in Michigan too.

 

 

 

Curfew Time

If you are a regular reader of my daily ramblings then you will know that between 9 – 11 pm every day it’s curfew time in our house. If you have just joined me on this journey then ‘welcome’ and I will explain our curfew time.

After tea and chemo tablets which is usually between 7-8 pm we all have until 9 pm to go online, make phone calls, go on Facebook or whatever it is we want to do and then that’s it. No contact with the outside world for two hours. The only exception is our kids as apart from Rebecca, Richard, Lauren and Chris don’t live with us. Poor Richard interrupted the start of curfew time last night. As you know he is in Bavaria with the Army and I had texted him earlier about my day and mentioned going to the hospice. He replied, asking what a hospice was but I didn’t see it and poor Richard spent 4 hours waiting for me to explain what was going on. Without a response from me he googled the word ‘hospice’ and thought I’d popped in to plan my last days with them, he said it nearly gave him a heart attack, bless him.

I remember the first day we did curfew time, and it did feel odd but what a blessing it has been for us as a family. We have played games together, all kinds both traditional and modern, watched films or jut sat and talked. Rebecca before curfew time would normally be in her bedroom, alone and now it’s a daily plan for us all about how we feel we all want to spend these quality 2 hours. Steve says that all families should have a curfew time which leads me nicely onto a ‘rant’ I want to have ……

SOAPS!!!! Now before I started going out with Steve I would watch Eastenders and Coronation Street, without fail. I watched Brookside too for a short while but I never got into Emmerdale. I watched the very first episode of Eastenders, the one where Reg died. If I was going out I would record them and holidays would be an odd time without them as there was no ‘On demand’ back in the day! Now I sound old again, they appealed to my nosey nature LOL and also provided a talking point with colleagues at work the next day too. Story lines would be interesting as they tackled issues due to soaps being new and fresh. All groups of a multi cultural society could be represented and you got an insight and understanding other cultures and their family lives.

They provided 1/2 an hour a day of escapism from my world and I do think that for some, especially for those who live alone, soaps provide a sense of being part of another bigger family and it’s also just something to watch whilst you eat your tea.  So I haven’t watched any of the soaps for 15 years and I don’t miss them at all. I look back and realise that whilst I was spending my life watching others act out a fake life I was missing out on my own. If you only watch two out of all the soaps available each week then that’s at least 2 – 3 hours lost when you could be enjoying your life. Stop it! I don’t want to seem too judgmental I just wish I could have all the hours back now of wasted time over the years.

When I was young there was a programme on a Saturday morning called ‘Why Don’t You’ anyone of my age (47) will know that this stood for ‘why don’t you just switch off your television and go and do something else less boring instead’ how right they were! Try doing something else with that time, anything at all, you could always run down your road naked waving your knickers in the air! It’s less boring, good exercise and would give your neighbours something really interesting to talk about LOL. One final thought on this is all over Britain when the football is on, the men think ‘great allowed footy time on the TV’ and all soap fans moan that soaps shouldn’t be cancelled due to a bloody stupid game of football. However you soap addicts out there you have to find something else to do don’t you? Unless you just watch another channel, if that’s the case I give up lol.

Anyway back to curfew time and last night Rebecca went out so Steve and I were alone, precious time. Not that we don’t love being with others but real alone time is so good. Now I don’t know about you but we are working our way through ’50 Shades of Chemo’ haha purely from a research point of view you understand. I can’t be a hypocrite and tell you to try stuff if I haven’t tried and tested it first hey :-)  that would be irresponsible!

So tired and completely happy I went to bed early last night, around 1 am. The problem with that is that I’m up again at 5 am. Chemo and long periods of sleep don’t go together. So I’m writing this post and it’s not even 6 am! but I have to post this up early today as I’m having a very special visitor in for tea tonight and I’m very excited as I haven’t seen her for about 18 months, no actually it’s nearly two years, oh how quickly time goes by hey? Anyway I’ll give you a few clues and some of you may be able to guess and some wont have a clue even when tomorrow I post up the famous ‘Chemo Gazebo’ photo. Now don’t get too excited it’s not Kylie Minogue or any other A list celebrity but just someone who I miss due to her moving on and leaving the BHS family, that’s clue number one. Other clues are that she is Irish, totally wonderful to work for, she once broke her back and understands the pain and suffering of illness. That’s all I’m giving away at this stage.

I was worried about Karen as I contact her last night but no reply. This morning she finally replied and she is okay  – the MC Quinn prayers are working :-)

IMG_4021And finally in a few hours the wonderful ‘stud muffin’ Uncle Peter will be leaving hospital after two weeks of antibiotics following infection after his brain surgery. As a way of celebration I have included a photo of me with the man himself ‘picking daisies’ on one of many family holidays in Cyprus. Welcome home Pete, sending you lots of love and thanks MC Quinn for the prayers as look what our love traveling to Australia accomplished, Pete is coming home at last :-)

 

 

 

It’s a Gas

Sunday 26th July

It’s near to curfew time and Rebecca has returned from Josh’s. She enjoys the warmed up Sunday dinner I had saved for her. We normally plan curfew time entertainment and tonight after hours of peace and quiet, we all decide that a funny film is a good idea. Light hearted fun to end the day with. Rebecca browses Netflix and comes across a film with David Tennant in it. Now my daughter would watch paint dry if he was in it and I’m not joking. The film is called “What we did on our summer holiday”, we watched the trailer and it had great reviews plus some good actors, Billy Connolly amongst many and it was a BBC film so what could go wrong hey.  So countdown to family film time starts.

Steve clears away the dinner and full of food and chemo tablets I send my daily text to Richard who is still in Bavaria. My text as normal is ‘how are you? what you up to? Miss and love you.’ His reply is sad as they have been to a concentration camp and he has been so moved by what he learnt and the images he saw. Now this camp was called Dachua and it was the first concentration camp opened by Himmler. Run by the SS as a torture and death camp over 200,000 people died there. Like most things in life you may have heard about this camps or seen films about them but to see them, to feel the sadness there is indescribable. Steve and I visited Auschwitz and it’s somewhere that I think everyone should go to. Not to everyone’s taste I get that but so moving to actually see it. So after a brief text exchange it’s agreed that I finally do have something for my ‘bucket list’ and that is to go with Richard and Rebecca to Auschwitz. When we hear or read about racism I always think about what I saw at Auschwitz as that’s extreme racism for you granted but to not accept people for who they are regardless of creed, race, colour or religion is just not acceptable to me. Also we should never forget the freedoms we have today are due to the sacrifices of those in WWII. As a small child my grandad always used to say to me “if it wasn’t for me and men like me you would all to speaking German!” I never really understood what he was talking about but I did sadly in later life.

I’m also on messenger to Karen who has had a day on the loo, our messages are funny as we discuss how sore her bum is and that maybe she should move the telly into her loo as she can’t move off it for very long. I say that I’ll ask Mother Theresa for an extra prayer for her bum. Karen asks if she can pray for it to be more pert too or is this an abuse of prayer power? I message MT Rita with Karen’s requests for a non-sore but pert bum prayer and sadly MT Rita confirms that this would be an abuse of prayer power so it’s exercise for Karen if you want that pert bum, if you can ever gets off the loo. I’m going to use MT Rita from now on for Rita as typing Mother Theresa every time is just too long.

So film on and we settle down with chocolates and a nice glass of red wine. Within the first few minutes I realise that this film is actually about the grandfather of the family is dying with terminal cancer! Oh no I thought this is not going to be good but actually it was a great film and we all enjoyed it.

Monday 27th July

I wake up at 6 am in pain. The swelling/tumour in my groin that has decided to become swollen enough that you can see and feel it. It feels so hot like it’s burning inside. The lovely Sunday dinner where I foolishly included asparagus, cauliflower cheese and leeks was causing stomach cramps too. See healthy food is not good for you and you finally have maybe twigged hidden meaning of the title post link too. Teeth cleaned I head downstairs for my usual 1/2 biscuit, fag and coffee once the animals are fed. But I then start to gag, and gag and gag and gag, now as my stomach is empty I have nothing to bring up but the retching won’t stop. Cramps continue until I can make it to the loo. Early mornings are never pleasant and I’m glad to be on my own to cope with it. Gagging finally stops and I manage to feed the cat, chemo and cat food in the mornings are just not funny.

Other of the lovely side effects that have started are the peeling of the skin on my hands. I have thumb print recognition on my iPhone to unlock it and this is becoming a problem and I may even have to change the security settings as now even my phone doesn’t recognise me sometimes. I have a sore in the corner of my mouth and my nails are just shockingly brittle but at least I have still got my hair as Karen is experiencing it thinning as it falls out.

I work on my project work but I have to keep closing my eyes as to concentrate for about 50 minutes is all I can manage without stopping. In the afternoon Rebecca goes to attend her therapy session and I head off to the Hospice.

I have no idea what to expect apart from maybe the smell of cabbage and bleach with the distant noise of bingo being played in the background. I was very wrong indeed. I arrived on time and I did see two very elderly people being manuevred out to the waiting mini bus, loved ones and nurses to assist. Everyone said hello and was very welcoming. I didn’t see the Irish lady until I was about to be shown into see Sharon. I couldn’t resist telling her that I knew the meaning to the phrase ‘for the love of a lamb’ or whatever it was due to MT Rita and her now saint like thread throughout my blog, we had a quick laugh and then I was taken to Sharon.

The hospice offers support for me on my own or any of us as a family. We talked through my short journey with cancer and on the advice of Jo this morning via a text I did tell Sharon about my blog and I have given her the website details. She now knows all about 50 shades of chemo and loved the analogy of the ‘all you can eat buffet of life being reduced down to making your own sandwiches’. I was shocked that I spent an hour there as time flew by. The offer of support is open for me to use and it’s confidential unless I say that I feel like killing myself or the kids, understandable I think that anyone would have to notify the authorities if this were the case.

So on balance I think I will go again, don’t know if Steve will ever want to go but sometimes you don’t realise what it is you need until you stumble upon it. Anyway so that’s my day in the wonderful world of cancer.

It’s Monday and all you lucky people have been busy at work, moaning about it being another Monday and discussing your weekend of fun. I miss sharing all that stuff with my BHS team but I know that we will catch up soon during precious moments.

 

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Oh Rita! “For the love of the Lamb!”

I tried to cook Irish Stew and my pot exploded on me, mines broken! Oh well you can’t say I didn’t try to embrace the Irish theme but for fecks sake Rita I then spent the next 10 minutes picking crockery out of my lamb steaks!

 

 

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

Where on earth do I begin? Okay so where I left off yesterday is a good start hey.

Saturday 25th July

Our afternoon and evening had a plan to it. Girly chats and general catch up, dinner, old photos, karaoke and more girly chats with maybe a beer. Now a great plan hey but it all depends on how well I feel. It was lovely seeing Jiffy, Ish and Bee, it’s lovely seeing everyone who comes and sees me. I always try to be the best I can be if anyone visits as I don’t want anyone to worry. I hide pain as much as I can and any feeling of being tired. I would always say to my loved ones if they said for example “have you got a cold coming?” I would reply “no, I’m strong like ox.” Well I used to pre cancer and I can usually draw on that same inner strength to convince them and me that I am strong and perfectly fine.

Within an hour of it just being Nicky, Beth, Rebecca, Steve and I the tiredness starts again. I want to walk Molly as I haven’t taken her out for 8 days now, Rebecca or my mom have taken her (don’t phone the RSCPA yet she gets a daily walk). I miss watching her run in the sunshine after her beloved ball, I miss watching her swim in the lake and the freedom of being outside, walking and talking with my loved ones who normally come along too. So Nicky, Rebecca and Beth have to take Molly for me. I stay in the chemo gazebo and settle down to rest, sad that yet again I haven’t been well enough to go. Steve joins me. Today I can see the worry lines in his face, funny how our faces can say so much. He misses the old me, it’s been such a hard week on us all. He leaves me to rest and sleep.

I wake and I feel so much better, like I have really slept, refreshed for a change. The feeling is so good. So a couple of coffees and more fags than I should have I’m suddenly full of energy. Now I’m really looking to our evening to come. Steve and I manage to have a quick chat alone in the garden before I start cooking with the team and it’s a sobering one. When anyone is ill they may have an operation and the recovery process maybe slow but everyday it usually gets better. Chemo is the reverse, you take a well person and make them ill. Now although you are told you have a serious illness you look at your loved one and think that you can never imagine them dying or being so ill that they are close to death but for the first time Steve can see that in me, what end of days suffering could be like. My poor loved ones see so much sadness from the disease that I don’t want others to see, but that brings real sadness to their faces and I can clearly see that reflected in my hubby’s face today.

So forget the serious stuff, as James Brown would say ‘I feel good’ and I’m not wasting a moment. We all cook together, Rebecca and Beth are in charge of sauces, I’m doing the Mediterranean chicken and Nicky is on vegetables, oh and steve is the MC himself and in charge of music. My kitchen becomes alive again with laughter and just beautiful moment sharing. We ate and all enjoyed the meal which everyone made. Coffee, fag, chemo tablets and a slice of chocolate cake we then enjoy old photos and a trip down memory lane with our daughters of the fun life we have shared together since the age of 17. Steve however played MarioKart, bless him as my house is full of estrogen only but at least he doesn’t have to talk about fishing with Keith lol.

Now I’m still feeling good so it’s on to karaoke and for the first time since Christmas 2014 I am on my feet singing and dancing with my daughter and it feels good. Just to do silly stuff with them all. I can’t sing and do you know what? I don’t care. Life is not about being great or even good at doing something it the just doing it cos you can laugh at yourself or make others laugh that counts. We sang and danced for over an hour, I even had a cold beer, now life is really feeling good.

Fun and all sang out we return to girlie chats and now Nicky and I can talk forever and even the strongest willed of people would give up on us at some point. Steve retires first, followed by Rebecca and then the beautiful Beth. Nicky and I continue chatting until 4 o’clock. I don’t want the night to end as I haven’t felt this well for so long but eventually we go to bed.

As a specialScan treat here is a photo of Nicky and I at her Wedding to Keith 25 years ago, where does all the time go hey.

 

 

 

 

Sunday 26th July

I’m really hoping after 4 small beers I will sleep until at least 9 o’clock but no it’s 7.30 and I am awake again but I still feel good and I’m embracing that feeling for every second that I can now and for the next 12 days until chemo cycle 4 starts :-(.

During our girlie chat Nicky says that she can’t believe how busy my life is. She now gets why the curfew time is needed so much. She said that she reads my blog daily and feels exhausted reading it sometimes but being here and seeing the visitors, phone calls, message answering, writing and editing my blog, then responding to daily contact emails etc then trying to cook, clean and rest is a daily constant mix of highs and lows. You can rarely finish a conversation in our house as someones comes in or the phone goes and so on. She sees how little time Steve and I have together alone. I also then remind her that I have to work too but work is always a pleasure for me as are the other things listed. I never knew what my blog would become and how it would change my life but I don’t regret starting it for one second. I have never felt so loved and so connected with people like I do now. Friendships old and new inspire me to continue to write daily. I enjoy sharing the highs and it’s hard but the lows have to go in too. Warts and all it all has to go in my daily post. My need to help people is satisfied through each post. Every time someone contacts me to share their pain of loss or experience of cancer I feel so blessed that they have taken a moment to share it with me. Each comment on the blog that is left will always be there forever for anyone to read and I really love that. So sincere thanks to you all for giving me the encouragement to carry on with my daily ramblings.

It’s 8.30 now and the house is starting to wake up. My kitchen is like I’ve had 100 people in it for a wild party and I can’t clear up yet as I don’t want to wake anyone up, they need their rest. A more relaxing day is planned of a full English breakfast and more girly time. I hope I can walk Molly today and then it’s a Sunday roast :-)

Good news everyone the plan worked :-) breakfast was followed my more memory lane giggles and then all too soon Nicky and Beth had to go. Steve took Rebecca to Josh’s at the same time as Nicky and Beth left so all at once the house was still and quiet. I was knackered and lay on the settee exhausted, I close my eyes and drink in the silence, my head is swimming and rest is needed. Steve returns and leaves me to sleep.

Steve and I walked Molly, an hour together without interruption, being able to finish a conversation is wonderful. I haven’t walked Molly for 9 days and I’ve missed it so much. I’m at the hospice tomorrow and we have to plan for Friday’s meeting with Dr Weaver. Once home I agree to take pain killers and although it’s raining it feels good to be safe and warm at home with a Sunday dinner to look forward too.

Final thanks to Rita, Guy and all at the Methodist church in Kingswinford for your prayers and in fact all of you out there who send me your best wishes as this constant flow of love gives me so much strength.

 

Rain, pain and sunshine

Friday 24th July

I hope you all enjoyed ’50 Shades of Chemo’ that it made you smile, giggle or simply say to yourself ‘that’s true’ Whatever it did or didn’t do for you when posting it up I did wonder to myself if we could possibly cause a mini baby boom?? Probably not hey lol. So whilst I hoped you would all be enjoying it I’ve had a really shitty day, oh the irony of life! I post about sex and feel as sexy as a wet fish flipping about on the trawler boat of life waiting for market day!

Rebecca has an appointment at 3 pm at Stoke Manderville Hospital. Of course I need to go with her but it’s not been a great week for me, I haven’t driven for over a week but I’m determined to be there for my little girl. The plan is set, rest in the morning, McDonalds for lunch and leave by 2.10 pm at the latest, sorted. Back home by 4 ish. Post up 50 Shades of Chemo and enjoy the evening. Oh how life or plans can just go so wrong hey! The plan was working so far apart from the terrible stomach cramps that I’m getting, walking upright is so hard, just getting into the car is a struggle but it’s for my baby and I have to be with her. Heated seats switched on to help with the pain we set off in the driving rain which is never ending today.  The journey was fun listening to music Rebecca selected. Car dancing whilst not safe (Health & Safety covered again) is something that Rebecca and I enjoy (as long as no one can see or hear us, hey Rebecca) but also a sad one today. As Rebecca played ‘Wind beneath my wings’ by Celion Dion, I couldn’t hold back the tears. I used to play this song a lot and it reminds me of my Dad, my hero and my sister.

We arrive at the hospital in time but the parking is a nightmare. We have to park on the Asda car park and walk. I can hardly walk due to the various pains throughout my body, the new stomach cramps and it’s still bloody raining. We arrive, check in at the reception desk and wet through we sit, and sit and wait and wait. We chatted to the various patients that came and went but we were never called. The hard chairs remind me of the ‘waiting room of doom’ on Ward 15 and I’m now getting annoyed. Rebecca is getting upset cos she can see how much pain I’m in and feels bad. I announce that they have until 4 pm and then they are going to get some ‘Wendy feedback’ Now Rebecca is worried. 4 pm comes and so does my feedback to them!

I hobble to the reception desk. I apologise for disturbing them but I have been sat for one hour on a hard chair with my Daughter for an arranged 3 pm appointment. It’s now 4 pm, I have stage 4 cancer, I’m in terrible pain, I’m on chemo and shouldn’t even be around sick people, my car parking ticket is about to run out and none of this really matters as I love the NHS but not one person has spoken to us, or told us what’s going on at all! Rant over! The receptionist could see my pain and quickly apologised and said she would help. Within 3 minutes Rebecca was called through. Now great you think but by 1/2 way through the appointment I have to leave to move the car. It will take me at least 10 minutes to walk to the car and I don’t want a £100 fine. So I have to leave Rebecca and start walking in the driving rain, in pain. I get to the car but the rain on my face suddenly turns my face into a pain spasm which I just can’t describe. I’m sat in the car holding onto my face hoping the pain will pass, I’m wet through, my whole body is in terrible pain and I’ve had to leave Rebecca at the crucial part of the appointment. I eventually am able to move and drive again. I’m so low I can’t even explain it and I’m now just getting so tired of feeling unwell.

I manage to meet up with Rebecca and we head home through the rain. Once home I just have to sit for 2 hours and not move. I post up the blog and 50 shades of chemo and actually I’m glad we did it for everyone out there. I’m hoping for loads of hits, shares and comments but the next few hours are very quiet due to everyone reading it and I’m sure it’s causing some thought provoking moments amongst the 792 people that do read it between 6 pm – midnight.

Tea done and chemo tablets taken have to endure the weekly shopping trip of hell at Sainsburys. You get sex advice and I get a shopping trolly! Steve would go on his own and often has for me but I need to do normal things with him and feel part of life. The tumour in my neck due to the driving earlier is so painful, I lose the feeling in my hands and feet, each step I take sends pains through my feet, stomach cramps return and Steve and I walk round Sainsburys selecting food for the week as quickly as possible. I can’t touch anything, poor Steve has to do everything, my job is crossing off the list the items found whilst the staff look at us in a weird way, no normal couple shop like we do. My head due to the pain of the tumour has to lean to the right, the lymph nodes in my groin have swollen and now shooting pains go down my right leg. We eventually return home and I have to just sit unable to help put anything away cos I’m just so weak.

I try to pull myself together, I don’t want Rebecca to see me so ill. I start to help and as I pick up a cup I instantly drop it smashing it on the floor. That’s the 4th mug I’ve dropped and smashed in 2 days and it was one of my favourites too. Poor Rebecca has to clean it up for me. My poor family, what a complete wreck I have turned into.

At 12.30 I decide I’ve had enough and need to go to bed, Steve has finally managed to persuade me to take pain killers. I have to try to sleep, I crave an escape from how low I feel. Steve joins me and cuddles me, this makes me feel loved and safe. So whilst you lot are enjoying the buffet of life I’m safe, warm but scared and I drift off in the arms of my Mr Wonderful.

Saturday 25th July

5 am and I’m awake, it’s not raining and I feel better. My best mate Nicky and my goddaughter Beth are coming to stay the night tonight and we are all looking forward to them being here again. I get a message from Jiffy, that he is coming to see me and so I’m full of hope for an excellent weekend. Sharing moments, the meaning of my life.

The postman delivered a lovely card all the way from Australia from the ‘Stud Muffin’ himself, now this really touches me as he has been so poorly following his operation and still takes time to send me his love, thank you Uncle Pete.

The famous chemo gazebo shot with Nicky, Beth, Jiffy, Ish and Bee
The famous chemo gazebo shot with Nicky, Beth, Jiffy, Ish and Bee

I rest all morning waiting for visitors to arrive, Rebecca helps me tidy up. Jiffy, Ish and Bee arrive first, OMG I have them in my home, I’m so pleased to see them, part of my BHS Family. Then Nicky and Beth arrive. I’m feeling really well this afternoon and I’m blessed that my home is full of fun, laughter and friendship again. We share precious moments together but they have to go all too soon. Good luck Jiffy when you return to Sri Lanka and I hope you have a life full of love and happiness. Bee has told me she is returning next Saturday with my Troy Boy! OMG now that will be a good day indeed.

So it’s now late afternoon and so I’m off to enjoy the company of Nicky and Beth with Rebecca and Steve. We have Karaoke planned for this evening so it should be great fun. I hope you all have a great evening too especially if you have read ’50 Shades of Chemo’ wink wink 😉

Oh before I forget Rita, on tomorrows prayer list we need Karen, Uncle ‘stud muffin’ Pete, my loved ones, Guy’s son and Carolyn’s father in law and anyone out there who suffers from illness, disability or depression. They all need some love this Sunday, Cheers Rita (Mother Theresa)

Prayers answered for baby Jacob who is safely home from hospital and Mr Grey’s Uncle.

Edited by Nicky Jones, any mistakes please feel free the leave her a comment, she loves feedback LOL

The Ta-Dah moment

So you are all saying “Where is it”? Why isn’t today’s post called ’50 Shades of Chemo’ Some of you may have seen where it is on my site and will not even bother reading this but for the rest of you I will tell you where it is at the end of this post so that you are forced to read about my daily ramblings, cruel aren’t I or maybe I’ve become dominant LOL

So why is today’s post called the ta-dah moment? Because I’m a bloody idiot sometimes, that’s why! I like to think as we all do that we understand the technology at out finger tips but sometimes the simple things pass us by. Many of you have said that you don’t get to see by blog until Steve shares it. Now I thought that it was you lot either missing my shares or you didn’t bother reading it, which is also fine. Leanne BFF, tonight pointed out that I don’t actually ever share my own blog! It appears on my timeline but not on yours, so for the past 6 weeks now I haven’t even been sharing it with you all, now don’t I feel a right tit? I thank everyone who shares it everyday, and still do but to all of my friends on Facebook unless you were connected with Steve would never have known that my blog was there. I am sorry and slightly embarrassed. This has also caused Leanne to have another reason to take the piss out of me, forever OMG!

The other ‘ta-dah’ moment should have been when I gave the store managers today an actual hard copy of the project work I’ve been working on throughout the past few weeks. I wasn’t nervous at all about presenting it or their feedback as it’s a good tool that will be provided for them for peak trade set up and delivery. I know the subject matter, I can answer any questions so what could possibly go wrong??? Well you know what I’m like FFS! I left the copies of the main all important documents that I’d printed at home and Guy had to rescue me using old copies that we had previously worked on together, What a right tit again! I blame ‘chemo brain,’ oh the shame of it. Once home I had to email Guy with the up to date version so that the team had even the first clue of what I’m going to produce for them :-(

Leanne BFF asked how everyone was with me, a good question that I didn’t know how to answer actually. The meeting was planned around my chemo free week but had to be moved. I struggled to walk, stand and talking for long periods, trying to be the old jolly me was so hard. So how does that make people feel towards me when they only ever saw me as a tall, loud, overbearing woman who walks at the speed of Zola Bud turn into someone more like Mrs Overall? I have no idea. I do look well I know that and I still have my hair, that helps I think. Do people still feel uneasy as to what to say to me, I don’t know. Everyone in the BHS family has been wonderful. I know the genuine hugs of love from the ‘oh shit I never liked her but she is ill so I’ll be nice’ ones and that’s okay too as at least they are also genuine in there own sweet way. I left the meeting before it ended so that I could get home to relax before the excitement of doing ’50 Shades of Chemo’ for you. I was so glad to be back home, relaxed and safe. Glad I’d done it but embarrassed about my pack and worried about Guy and Carolyn as family health worries are written in the laughter of their faces (you can’t kid a kidder) I can see their pain too.

Doing ’50 Shades of Chemo’ was also a ‘ta-dah’ moment/evening for us all. I thought that this would cause great laughter and at times there certainly was laughter at what should and shouldn’t go into it. However both Mr Grey and my BFF finally understood the serious side of the problem that couples face during chemo and also the bigger picture of long term illness or disability. Whilst sexual in nature the conversation was more about emotions, dealing with guilt, anxiety or stress long term and still having a basic functional sexual need.

The 4 of us composed ’50 Shades of Chemo’ and of course a Chinese was ordered (no crispy duck, lol) as it’s hard work all this writing stuff, it was a treat we all enjoyed. I’d been into High Wycombe from 1 pm and therefore by about 10 pm I was struggling with my energy. Steve, Leanne and Rebecca played Mario Kart whilst I slept in the chemo gazebo. Now there’s a friend for you who just accepts that an evening with you will include, sex, food and games but your mate will fall asleep too, sorry Leanne. Once awoken by Steve after an hour Leanne and I stayed up until the wee hours just talking, girlie chats, sharing moments. Mr Grey had to leave us by 8 pm but I did get this photo of him stroking my pussy in the chemo gazebo before he left! Now Mr Vines and Mr Grump Bum will be jealous LOL.

Mr Grey stroking my pussy!
Mr Grey stroking my pussy!

We all really do hope that you enjoy ’50 Shades of Chemo’ It is not meant to offend anyone at all. So if you don’t want to read it then that’s fine. Also if you are under 16 you can’t read it (Healthy and Safety covered again) To our mom’s we are sorry if you realise that we even knew of such things detailed in the information but it was produced only due to the lack of any practical advice from the professionals because it’s stuff that we don’t talk about. If this blog is ever going to help anyone it has to be ‘wart’s and all’ always was and always will be.

For those of you still able to enjoy the full buffet of life then enjoy yourselves and if you do read ’50 Shades of Chemo’ it may just stop you and make you think again of all the starters you could be enjoying again rather than just stuffing yourself on crispy duck :-)

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50 Shades of Chemo‘ can be found on the side menu bar listed as a ‘page’ above ‘About me’ ENJOY

 

 

Under Construction

Now today is going to be a challenging and long day for me. I have to present at a business meeting, this will be a pleasure as it will be with my BHS family peer group and unlike our last meeting I hope that some may have read my blog. I’m hoping they now I’m stage 4 now and therefore I wont get the comments I did before of ‘oh you will be fine, your young, you can beat this’. So I’m glad that the pressure will be off. I just hope that I can make it through it without fatigue kicking in and if it does then I’ll just have to leave them to it with the notes I’ve prepared and hope for the best. I’m not planning a ‘Death by Powerpoint’ session as I know that’s what there morning may have been like.

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So then after the meeting it is back home with Mr Grey and Leanne BFF to construct ’50 shades of chemo’! OMG what have I done! I hope that this will be posted up for you on Friday at some point and then we can just all wish you a happy weekend :-) and endure the faith of our Mothers!!!

 

 

Now for today’s ramblings I thought about sharing a true story with you about my first experience of potentially having cancer, so here goes…..

I was working for Debenhams in Telford at the time. I had been for my routine smear test and as previously never thought about it after I’d left the room as they always came back normal. Out of the blue I received a telephone call from the doctors at work to say that I need to see my Doctor urgently about my results.

I had no idea what this all meant and was scared. Appointment made I was told that smear tests were graded 1-3, these show potentially pre cancerous cells. That mine had gone from normal, normal, normal straight to grade 3! An appointment was made for me to have my pre cancerous cells burnt off, lovey I thought.

At Wordsley hospital I was taken into a room wearing the ‘gown of shame’ I was placed into a chair and my legs flopped into stirrups. The room was quiet dark and full of nurses and a man who from memory looked like a welder! The chair was lifted for him to get maximum sight into what he was about to burn off. I just remember feeling so undignified by it all. This man who I didn’t know had a blow torch and a light so bright that Blackpool High Street would be envious. I tried to lie there to be still and be good, not to make a fuss. They had to do what they were doing to me and I just had to cope with it.

There was a nurse talking to me to try and keep me calm. The burning smell of what was happening filled the room and with the smell of burning flesh came the feelings of sickness and wanting to pass out. It was at this low moment when the nurse desperately trying to keep me conscience asked me the most stupid question ever, I couldn’t believe it when she said “are you going anywhere nice on your holidays this year’ Unbelievable hey! Now in the hairdressers a normal question but whilst having your fanny burnt was not the time for comparing all inclusive deals! Her attempt to keep me from fainting failed and I was placed on the ward to recover from the ordeal.

After laughing at this story with the Juddys on Sunday I did think that one day I would share with you the story of the burning fanny and as 50 shades of chemo is under construction I thought today maybe the right day for it.

The point is that although unpleasant an experience it was we do at least have smear tests. They are not pleasant at all girls but when called for a smear test always go, don’t put it off, don’t think it’s not important or that you don’t need one as it may just have saved my life back then. There is no screening for bowel cancer and until there is then more will continue to die from not being diagnosed early enough.

We all moan about elements of our NHS but really! In comparison we are so lucky compared to the rest of the world where you either have to pay for treatments and check up’s or you just cant get medical help. I have always had clear smear tests since then. So that’s my tit’s, fanny and feet that are actually okay :-) the list is growing! I have another cancer encounter to share with you but I’ll save that for another day’s post.

Last night I received a text from Karen that her treatment went okay. She is feeling sick and all the usual side effects of chemo but she is at home and okay for now. I’ll keep you posted on her progress.  With you all the way chemo bud xx

Had a call from Karen this morning. We had a lovely chat and she is doing well on this chemo. Long may it continue. Planning to meet up maybe next week so that I can pass on Rita’s prayer card. Rita wants to turn us both into nuns over the next 12 months. Good luck with that Rita LOL.

Before I leave you for my meeting and fun evening I wanted to share this with you all. Most days our friends and family put messages and poems up on Facebook to inspire us, make us think about life or challenge our behaviors. I was given this poem years ago and I laminated it so that I could keep it safe.

If you have seen it before then I’m sorry but if you haven’t then just enjoy it and take it’s meaning to heart, as life can be too short.

 

If I Had My Life Over – I’d Pick More Daisies

If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.

By Nadine Stair

 

Family and The Birds and the Bees

Wow I’m coming back. It’s 7.06 and I feel okay, so okay and feeling loved that I feel compelled to start today’s post. However let me just rewind for a few hours/days so that you can understand how happy I am this morning.

They say that the 2nd or 3rd wave of chemo is the worst, well mine has been this one, the 3rd. It’s so hard to articulate how shit chemo makes you feel. You become the living shell of a person you know is in there but you can’t find them. It’s like being mega pissed, without having any fun. Thought processes, feelings, the ability to speak sometimes is hard, no taste to anything, energy all gone. No energy and devoid of life. Family have to just wait until you return, as the long hours turn into days.

At midnight last night I received some lovely messages but reading them is so hard, concentrating on the words and being able to respond. I fear not being able to sleep so I stay up alone but drift in and out of a none sleep like state. At 2.30 I decide I have to try to sleep in my own bed. I slept until 6.30 WOW. This was broken sleep but at least I slept. I dreamt of Dr Weaver telling me I only had a year to live, I think the stories of some peoples journey through cancer is starting to play on my mind. How long have I got? How long have any of us got left? Yesterday it was so hard to take the tablets, not because I struggle to swallow them but because if I didn’t take them I would feel okay. I long to feel well again but I know I wouldn’t survive. So I keep taking them but I really do understand why people (40%) give up on taking chemo. The tumour in my neck worries me as I can feel it growing and pushing on maybe nerves all the time and I have no idea about what is going on with the other tumours in my belly.  All these questions I hope will be answered at our meeting on 31st July.

I wake and feel a little better, brushing my teeth I start to gag! Oh shit – NO I don’t want to be sick. I make it downstairs but the gagging continues. There are 3 bits of potato left in the sink from tea last night and these buggers are not helping. I try water on my face and holding the gagging in. I make it, I am not sick, thankfully. I feed the cat as usual and go for the 1/2 biscuit, coffee and fag, that will make me feel better I hope.

I log onto Facebook to see who is awake. I get a lovely message from Simon who works for BHS. We have sat next to each other at meals at BHS conferences and attended a few meetings together but that’s it. He shared my blog and sent a message with it to say:

“Any support you need your BHS Family are here”

Wow! this and other messages from the bigger BHS family out there really touch me. It really made a difference to me this morning. To think that people, a team can think about me whilst their own lives are so busy, I just find so incredibly  touching. I have also been contacted by a member of staff who is going back to his home in Sri Lanka for good. He wants to see me before he goes, wow. I try to tell him not to and that the journey wouldn’t be worth it for him but his messages are just full of love, I need to say yes to seeing Jiffy and Ish. I just hope that I can do this and I’m waiting for him to reply on flight details.

Now my own family have to put up with me, they have little choice in coping and seeing me so ill. That’s so sad. I haven’t walked Molly for days and everyone knows I’m bad if I can’t do this. Mom wakes up and notes that I look better, not difficult as at least my eyes are open LOL. it’s a good start. My mom has given up the last two weeks to cook, clean, walk the dog and iron. Anything to help us all and it’s appreciated so much. But she has to have a break and a life so she is returning to the Midlands for a few days from tomorrow. Elsie part of the Scilly Six from ‘buffer face island’ has had an operation and my mom needs to give her our love too.

Another family I have here in Wycombe is a political one. Steve and I have been involved in politics locally for years. This blog is not political so I won’t go into how I believe in freedom and a fair society unlike the Tories who just want to appeal to middle Britain, sod the lower classes, the poor and disadvantaged, oh and let the fat cats of business make their own rules on taxation! Whoops sorry and back to the point. I very very rarely ask for help apart from Steve with my screams of ‘mines broken’ but this morning I sent an email asking for help from someone who I know via politics. Now all I’m going to say is that  those of you who know Phil Alexander will have an idea of what I’m planning. I’m hoping in a week or two to share it with you all but I’m secretly very excited. Those who know me know that I love a good laugh and I’m hoping that my latest mad idea will be just this, with Phil’s and a few friends help it should be a great hoot!

I texted Mr Grey last night about his uncle. He has some great news. He had 22 lymph nodes removed, none cancerous and he won’t need chemo. WOW I’m so pleased for Mr Grey’s family, they have been through so much worry but at stage 1 cancer he should be back on his feet soon and his bag can be reversed in 6 months.

Karen starts her chemo today so I texted her last night too. Cycle 3 for her too and I’m just praying with Rita that she can take this 3rd attempt at being able to tolerate the drugs. With you all the way chemo bud! xx

I’m so glad that I wrote most of this post between 6 – 8 pm as it’s now 3.15 and I have hardly been awake for more than 1/2 hour at a time. I can’t believe this fatigue, it’s not just a feeling of being tired but a complete exhaustion like I have never experienced before. I’m worried about the planned meeting tomorrow and my 50 Shades of chemo evening turning into 50 shades of snoring. I have to try and pull myself together. To try to smile, talk, walk and look as normal as possible.

At one point I wake to receive these two lovely video messages from old colleagues at M&S Oxford Street, sent via Lorraine. Oh how they made me smile to see old familiar faces saying hello.  It’s been a very long time since Lorraine and i worked together at M&S at Marble Arch, I think it’s been 13 years ago. WOW, where do all the years go hey. Thank you all so much for your messages.

Baby Jacob comes home :-)
Baby Jacob comes home :-)

Today I received a text to say that baby Jacob Guy who was born 9 weeks premature is finally going home to be with Andrew, Fiona and the beautiful Sophie. So pleased for you all.

And finally before we move onto the ‘Birds and the Bees’ section I just wanted to thank you all again for your support in sharing my blog. This morning I was so stunned as when I checked my stats we were in 25 different countries! Now you are either all on holiday or we are reaching out across the globe. I have only been writing this blog for one month and it has been seen by 16, 374 people! I think that is amazing and I can’t thank you all enough for helping me. I did laugh at one message yesterday that said that a daily reader reads my blog in the bath! Now that’s a new one on me and made me smile.

A screen shot of countries
A screen shot of countries

 

Birds and the Bees

So the birds and the bees – now I am looking forward to doing 50 shades of chemo for you all. I worry I might offend people by writing about intimate stuff, is this blog the right place to do it I wonder?

Steve compared me to the ‘all you can eat buffet’ to making your own sandwiches analagy which always makes me laugh. I have tried to explain to my mom why we are doing 50 shades of chemo for everyone in the style of the ‘all you can eat buffet’ so here goes.

If you go out for a meal and it’s the all you can eat style. You look at all the options available. If you love sweet and sour or the crispy duck then you are eyeing that up, is there enough? Is it fresh? Is there going to be enough for you? You look at the starters available and whilst they are nice you want to keep some room for the main event. There is also pudding available, what a dilemma? So seated you maybe have a drink or two and this is nice but it just fuels the need for the crispy duck. The starters are a distant memory or maybe you have a few nibbles but it’s full on for the main course. You overfill your plate and tuck in! Finally crispy duck, the sweet taste of all the aromas coming together, your palate satisfied, finally. You may drink some more and then go for seconds but the first mouthfuls of that crispy duck was so delicious.

Now I hope you get my point. That how often do we due to living with our children and families miss out on the starters and go for the crispy duck in silence! Fear that you maybe waking someone up? Fear that your loved ones may find out that you like a good Chinese meal occasionally? We all put on this facade that we don’t do it like it’s naughty, we are decent upstanding people of our family unit. Or maybe it’s just that we are not as liberated as our European neighbours.

The project of 50 shades of chemo I hope will provide two things to you. Firstly if you are going through chemo it can offer some real alternatives to what you can and can’t do safely. That if you are suffering with any illness that prevents you from having a normal sex life for any length of time it gives you tips and ideas that you may not have thought about doing for a while. Just because you are ill it doesn’t mean that you stop being loving and passionate.

Secondly if you have been in a relationship for a while and you have been stuck on the main course for two long with little starters to wet your appetite you can choose from our selection of starters from the buffet of life.