Friday, 11 June 2010

Thursday, 6 May 2010

May 2010 - Final photographs.

Joseph's Birthday get-together 19/04/10

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sun. 25th April 2010 'Journeys End'

I have to confess that I'm finding it really difficult to contemplate bringing this blog to a conclusion. It feels like an invisible friend, a place where I can offload my thoughts and feelings and try to make sense of everything that has happened over the last eighteen months. I think the other reason, if I'm honest, is that I don't think of finishing the Herceptin as an end, more of a beginning, a beginning down the road to the 'all clear' at five years post treatment. Don't get me wrong, I am really happy to have finished with needles and nurses, but it doesn't stop the nagging fear of recurrence.

So how do I bring this to a close? Well, firstly I would have to remember where this all began in October 2008 and how thankful I am for my instincts, which took me to the Doctors and subsequently to the 'One Stop Breast Screening Clinic' at York Hospital. That moment when Mr MJ and the cancer support nurse came into the room will stay with me for the rest of my life and those devastating words 'you have cancer' still make my heart beat fast. Every moment of that day is crystal clear in my memory. I think that telling our children, close family and friends was probably the worst time of the whole experience. Everything else, the surgery, the chemotherapy etc, was dreadful, but I knew I just had to get on with it.

Whenever I think back over 'my journey' I begin to see the faces of everyone who put time and effort into supporting me through the ups and downs. Hopefully all of these have at some time
been mentioned in my blog but I honestly don't have the words to adequately express my thanks for the cards, gifts, flowers, e-mails, visits and love that came my way (they still do).

Graham, ah yes, my wonderful husband. How I wish he hadn't had to go through this. I know it's been hell for him too because we are so close. I know that at times he's felt completely useless and unable to help, especially through the chemotherapy treatment when I felt so ill. However, I wouldn't have wanted anyone else and I hope we can get on with life again and look forward to growing old together.

I have been back at work now almost ten months. It hasn't been easy and I still have some very acute ups and downs. Most days however, it's the minor, but very frustrating residual problems which I still have to manage. I hate the unpredictable bowel problems, though I have to say the Merbentyl has worked wonders. I also get annoyed with my reconstruction some days, as it itches inside and the muscle down my back (or lack of muscle) makes it feel very tight and occasionally lumpy. Overall though, when I look in the mirror, I am always thrilled and grateful at the result.

So what happens now? I will still have regular check-ups and mammograms, but I suspect that any worrying changes are more likely to be picked up by self checking and trust me, I will be checking!

So goodbye to my blog and it's faithful followers. Good luck to anyone fighting this dreadful disease and fingers crossed for the coming months and years. Good luck to everyone raising money to support the various cancer support groups - where would we be without them.

The journey continues.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Thurs. 22nd Mar. 2010 'Herceptin - the end'

Finally, the last Herceptin today - hurrah! Unfortunately I didn't feel on top form this morning. I woke up with a headache and as the morning went on felt distinctly grotty. I did say to Graham last night that I felt strange. I was trying to make a chocolate cake last night and couldn't seem to get my act together at all. That feeling continued this morning and the cake nearly ended up being thrown at the window, instead of being filled with jam and cream.

On the bright side, it's a beautiful day. Patty & Mike came bearing gifts and at the same time a fabulous bunch of flowers & some chocolates arrived from Roo. I've also had two or three texts from family and friends wishing me well for this 'milestone'. My Son Joseph came over too, so it felt like a real party when Andrew (my nurse) arrived. I managed to make some lunch for us all as a bit of a celebration, finished off with the cake & cream.

I told Andrew that I was feeling a little unwell and for one awful moment I thought he was going to say we couldn't do the treatment. Fortunately my temperature was normal, so away we went - cannulation was successful first time too.

So that's it, all done, hard to believe it's been nearly a year since I started the Herceptin and it will be a year on Monday since I had my mastectomy & reconstruction. All we can do now is keep fingers crossed and hope for the best. 'Cookie Monster' pictured here, will also be one year old next week - Louis & Colleen brought him to the hospital - I wonder if that's a record for a gas filled balloon?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Frid. 9th April 2010 ' The Finish Line'

Two weeks away from the 'finish line' for treatment and counting the days. I'm under no illusion that it changes nothing in relation to the bigger picture, but it's another step forward and one less thing to get anxious about.

Also heading for the finish line (three actually) - my daughter Roo. Running three 10k marathons this year in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. What can I say.... she's a star and we'll be there to cheer her on where possible. The Ilkley Gazette ran a small feature on Ruth's efforts.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Thurs. 1st April 2010 'Herceptin No.15'

Had some great news today - we discovered that I only have one Herceptin left, so my next one will be the last - hurraaaaaay! The two hospital loading doses are counted in the total number, so I was really surprised when my nurse told me the good news. I can't wait to finally finish, however it also means of course that I will finish updating my blog, but I will add a final chapter.

I've felt a little better this week, apart from a painful throat which has finally settled. I did have a really strange experience a few days ago. I developed an intense itch in my blank boob, which of course I coudn't scratch because there's no feeling there. It was really annoying and stayed there all day. It felt as though it was deep inside and even a good 'slap' couldn't get rid of it. Pleased to say my phantom itch has gone now!

Picture of me and Roo on the London Eye (Mother's Day)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Thurs. 25th Mar. 2010 'Hopes & Fears'

I have been thinking lately that in a couple of months I will have come full circle from the beginning of treatment. This time last year I had my last chemotherapy and with only a very short break, prepared myself for mastectomy & reconstruction. I started the Herceptin just before we travelled to Skye for a well earned break and I am excited to think that this time I will be having my very last Herceptin before heading up to my favorite Island, where I will be completely free of cancer treatment.

Of course this means that I will also finish my blog, which will be quite sad in a way. However, I'm looking forward to putting it on paper and finally reading it from start to finish. I know that it will be extremely interesting to look back at the ups and downs, many of which seem so far behind me now.

Despite this I still do have worries now and then, but having spoken to other breast cancer victims I know this is normal. It's hard to know what is a normal pain and what should prompt a call to the breast care nurses, or my GP. For instance, I haven't felt very well for the last few weeks. Nothing I can actually put my finger on, slight nausea, recurrent sore throat, dry eyes and just generally feeling naff. It could just be the after effects of a rather chesty cold a few weeks ago, but it does make me worry.

I also worry about any lumpy changes around the reconstruction as I don't really know if these are fatty/muscle changes or something I should report. I'm inclined to feel they are nothing, but I do get paranoid sometimes. Anyway, I will see how I feel in a day or so and if things don't improve I will have to pester my very nice GP for advice.

One good thing is that the Merbentyl are proving beneficial and even though I still get bowel problems, the griping pains are now just stomach ache. I managed a work trip to Derby the other day without too many problems, despite the usual anxiety.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Frid.19th Mar.2010 'My Mega Mum's Day Trip'

I'm dedicating this entry to recording the most wonderful surprise 'Mother's Day' trip last weekend. Organised by my daughter Roo and husband Gordon because in her words the last 18mths have been 'pooh', to put it politely.

First class tickets to meet Roo at London Kings Cross kicked off the magical weekend. A few stops on the tube and into Covent Garden, which I really liked, not unlike York, with smaller streets and really interesting shops. Roo showed off her amazing map reading talents (with a little help from google maps on the iPhone). We walked through 'Neils Yard' and into The Covent Garden Hotel.

Now I've stayed in some nice Hotels, but this was something else. I can't begin to describe how fantastic it was, but if you look on line, you will see what I mean. I don't think the bed would have fitted in our bedroom and the bathroom had a flat screen in the wall at the foot end of the bath and a telephone.

The evening was a short tube trip to Piccadilly and into The Wolesley. Oh my goodness, what a superb meal. I had Pollock for my main meal and a whisky marmalade sponge pudding for afters - it was just wonderful. Just before we left, Roo spotted Timothy Spall with some friends or family, so a super night all round. We walked back past the Ritz and spent the evening relaxing in our room.

The following morning after a stunning breakfast I was handed over to the beauty therapist for a 'facial' before we headed off into Covent Garden for a look around the market. To cut a long story short, we ended up walking along the river bank next the the London Eye, where with 'fast track' tickets and had a wonderful, if a little scary, experience. The weather was superb and we could see for miles. More walking and map reading found us outside 'The Lion King' theatre and I crumbled when we turned to go in. What a fantastic show, words cannot describe how magical it was.

We ate in the Hotel that night and again it was a top notch meal. Roo gave me my Mother's Day card, which in itself was beautiful, but she followed that with a silver necklace from Tiffany's, a small key with their signature jewel in the top corner.

Well what can I say, I could go on forever about the whole experience and I will never forget it. We did so much in such a short time that it felt like a dream. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, we also had lunch at 'Fifteen' Jamie's original restaurant where he gives budding young cooks a chance to make something of themselves (see what I mean).

Am I lucky or what?

Friday, 12 March 2010

Thurs. 11th Mar. 2010 'Herceptin No15'

Yes Mr know-it-all Oncologist, I am going to the finish line, so stick that in your budget!

It's been just over a week since I started the meds for my bowels and I swear I'm already feeling the benefit. Despite the fact that I've had a really 'snotty' cold, I have felt very focused and even had some glimmers of enthusiasm in relation to planning work. I am under no illusion that the pills are the only factor and like other conditions such as, anxiety/depression and ME, it requires work from me to overcome the confidence problem and focus on the positive (damn, there's that word again).

The Herceptin went very smoothly today and now there's only three, yes three, to go!!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Frid.5th March 2010 'Spring at last'

At long last, some sunshine and a hint of Spring. I picked up my IBS medication yesterday and I'm hoping that will signal a new start too. The prospect of daily medication doesn't thrill me, but if it works it will make such a difference. Also, I feel sure that with time everything will settle down and eventually I won't need them.

I had a reply from the CT radiography unit today too. They offered an apology and said they were grateful for my suggestions. The only thing I found annoying was the statement that 'normally post chemotherapy patients attend the cancer unit for cannulation, but as I wasn't referred by the NHS this didn't happen'. So basically I was given a second class service because I'd been privately referred. They have assured me that this won't happen in future.

On a bright note, it's a year this month since I finished chemotherapy and I'm being treated to a special weekend in London for Mother's Day, courtesy of my Daughter Roo. I'm really excited and I will report back on the experience.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Fri. 26th Feb. 2010 'Back on line'

Haven't been able to blog since last Saturday evening when a 'nice young man' parked his Nova in a neighbour's hedge back and demolished the telegraph pole. Not only did it knock out the land line and Internet, it also affected my iPhone, such a pain.

Anyway, to update, I went to the Nuffield for the results of my CT scan on Tuesday and everything looks normal. It would appear that my suspicions have been right all along and my bowel problems are due to spasm or IBS, exacerbated by anxiety. One source of anxiety is travelling to a site with poor toilet facilities. So, I've been prescribed Loperamide to take the night before I have to travel and I'll take Merbentyl 3 times daily. It's hoped that with the medication, things will gradually settle back to normal.

Interestingly the Consultant did not think I should stop having the Herceptin and still maintains the view that it is not responsible for my bowel problem.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Thurs. 18th Feb. 2009 'Herceptin No.14'

Busy day today - had a routine Oncology appt. at York District this morning. After the last one I wasn't expecting much, and I wasn't disappointed. It was the same Oncologist as I saw in October, but he did have a nurse observing, which in my experience always makes them raise their game a little. He was quite obviously aware that I'd chosen to see my own Oncologist privately and dismissed my recent tests with a smugness.

Once again he suggested that I could stop the Herceptin treatment and I think I caught him off guard when I asked how this would affect my prognosis, as my understanding is that the full 18 infusions should be completed. He said there is research available to suggest that only 9 treatments could be beneficial? Could be, might be.... well, the problem is Herceptin is still in it's infancy and not much is really known regarding it's effectiveness, or it's side effects yet.

He asked me if I had any other problems - ha, that's a laugh. I said "yes, numerous, but nothing I feel I can discuss here as these appointments are obviously time limited". So basically a waste of a morning, his only concession being that he'll see me again in four months.

On the way home I decided I might just finish the Herceptin, but I think that was because I was cross and just wanted to finish treatment and get on with life. However, I discussed it with the nurse who came to do my Herceptin, and she confirmed what I was already thinking and advised me to finish the course.

It took four attempts to find a decent vein today, but it still wasn't as traumatic as my CT experience. Speaking of which, I mailed a letter to the Patient Liaison Services yesterday and received an acknowledgement within two hours, so it does work.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Fri. 12th Feb. 2010 'CT Scan of horror'

I've been so moved by all the prayers and good wishes as a result of my recent blog entries - they were all passed on and I thank everyone on behalf of Lisa, James & of course baby Isaac who was laid to rest this morning.

CT Scan - YDH. Drank 1000mls of "Klean Prep' which tastes like a mixture of ice-cream that's gone off, mixed with paint thinner (not that I've tried paint thinner). Once on the scanner table I was subjected to several very distressing attempts to site a cannula. The last attempt, which was carried out by the 'unit Doctor', was frankly the most incompetent, ham fisted, painful attempt I have had to go through since this whole damn thing started. I think I nearly broke the nurses fingers and felt like planting my knee in this so called Doctors private bits.

Why are they so poor at this, they must have to do it quite often and I'm definitely not the first person with post chemotherapy invisible vein syndrome! Anyway, the upshot was that they gave up, so I had a 'lesser' scan than I should have, which won't be quite as effective at picking up any problems. Well tough, 'cos I ain't going back for another!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Frid 5th Feb. 2010 'Rest in Peace baby Isaac'

This entry is purely in memory of baby Isaac Hodge, who's life has been too brief. Brave James and Lisa agreed on the basis of medical advice to removing his life support this afternoon and spending a few short but special hours with him at home before he slipped peacefully away. It is impossible for us to even imagine what they have been through and how heartbreaking it must have been to say goodbye.

God Bless baby Isaac, it was so good to meet you. X

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Thurs. 4th Feb. 2010 'Prayer for Baby Isaac'

This blog has always been a diary of my journey through the nightmare of cancer diagnosis, treatment and, fingers crossed, full recovery. From time to time however, there are moments or events which impact greatly on life in general and result in quiet contemplation.

The birth of little Isaac on Monday 1st was one such moment. Isaac is the first Grandchild on Graham's side of the family and we were all really excited. Sadly he needed to be ventilated from birth due to an oxygen/metabolic problem and he remains very poorly.

We went to see him today, tiny helpless, sedated and hooked up to various tubes and wires. Mum and Dad (James & Lisa) are devastated, but doing their best to be strong. They have now discovered that he has an AVM (anterior venous malformation I think), which in simple terms means he has an enlarged vein in his brain. It felt so unfair and there's little you can say to make it better for anyone. I did however avoid telling them to 'stay positive'!

Hang on in there little man!

As for me, I've received my appointment for a CT scan - next Friday 12th.

Tues. 2nd Feb. 2010 'Here we go again'

Had a lovely weekend with family and friends, ate well and felt good. This morning was just about to set off for Middlesbrough when oh oh, the familiar aching. I had people to see at the site, so I did eventually get going having taken a peppermint capsule. I got about two thirds of the way when the gripes came back and I struggled for the rest of the journey.

Middlesbrough, unlike alot of my sites, has a reasonable toilet facility, but just my luck the bloody thing wouldn't flush, so I had to discreetly use a mop bucket to clear it. I then sat through a consultation, which frankly would have been worthy of an Oscar on my part. I was in agony and felt that any moment I would have to run out, but I managed to get through it. I did the necessary paperwork and then left for home, desperate to curl up with a warm drink.

I'm due at the Brinsworth site tomorrow, so hopefully I'll feel rested.

Friday, 29 January 2010

Frid. 29th Jan. 2010 'Gastro Man'

Slept well last night, apart from a slight headache, no Herceptin after effects. I was also very relaxed as we had friends to stay and a really lovely evening sharing memories of South Africa. I experimented with my slow cooker and the 'Persian Lamb' was great, not to mention 'Eton Mess' for afters, yummy!

This morning I went to The Nuffield Hospital in York for a consultation with the Consultant Gastroenterologist. My Colonoscopy was clear, which is a relief, but still doesn't explain the occasional bouts of griping cramp. Both he and my Oncologist still don't feel it is the Herceptin, but even if it is, it's not worth stopping it now.

He has given me the option of two medications which he says will not stop the problem, but will take the edge off an attack. One is Mebeverine (Colofac), which I know of. The other is Peppermint Oil Capsules (colpermin), which I like the sound of, although they're both fairly gentle medications.

As the Colonoscopy only looks at the large bowel, he has suggested that I should have a CT or MRI Scan, just to be absolutely sure that there isn't a problem with the small bowel, or anything in the vicinity. I'm sure there isn't, but it's nice to know I'm being taken seriously. If all is clear when I go back for my results, I will get the pills and wait with interest to see if the symptoms go away when I finish Herceptin.

Frid. 28th Jan. 2010 'Herceptin No 13'

I was up early and logged on so that I could keep work e-mails to a minimum and keep things ticking over while I waited for the nurse to arrive. I still get really nervous about the treatment, or should I say the actual cannulation. I'm sure I've developed a real aversion to needles, which is probably not surprising really.

Anyway, the good news is this is my thirteenth treatment, which means I have only five left (we think), so fifteen weeks more. I'm hoping the last one will be just before our trip to Skye as that would be a great way to celebrate.

Andrew seems to be my regular nurse and I've grown to like him. I think his cannulation skills have definitely improved and having really warmed up my arm and hand to encourage a suitable vein, he hit the target first time. I only had to curl my toes slightly! We laughed because he secured the cannula with a paediatric dressing - so cute!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Wed. 27th Jan. 2009

It's been more than a week since my last entry and that's largely because I've been too tired to be bothered by evening. I've been trying to increase my work activities, in the hope that confidence will come back too. I do feel I have made some advances, but it still seems like 'two forward and one back'.

Last weekend I had a bit of a set back. I felt that my bowel symptoms had been a little better and resigned myself to the fact that 'anxiety' was probably a major culprit. However, Friday evening, about an hour after Graham left for work, I was reading quietly when I was suddenly aware of the all too familiar stomach ache, which very quickly built into griping pain and a need to visit the loo. It continued in waves for two or three hours and I even took my mobile into the loo with me just in case I needed help.

It did eventually pass, along with my energy and I crawled gratefully into bed. I lay there trying to find something to blame the episode on, but failed to identify a culprit.

This week I have again pushed myself and made my first long car journey to Chester-le-Street, at the request of a Manager. It took me two and a half hours to get there only to find that the Manager had forgotten I was going, so there was no one for me to see. Ok, I could cope with that and I took the opportunity to update him on the 'absence procedure' and Health Surveillance requirements.

Unfortunately, coupled with my increased travel and work, I have also experienced some momentary 'vertigo' symptoms, which I find very worrying. The first was on Tuesday evening sitting in bed - everything suddenly went sideways. This happened again when I was in CLS, plus I'm aware that my head doesn't feel right and seems unconnected to my eyes. Every time this happens I worry, is it a completely separate issue, or is it connected. I have mentioned it before, but it's been waved away. I'm afraid to consult my GP for fear of being labelled 'over anxious', so I'll just keep the prochlorperazine with me and hope it goes away.

Lastly, the long journey has really upset my reconstruction. My shoulder has been aching and my underarm and back feel bulky and uncomfortable. I can only attribute this to driving and hope it settles soon.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tues. 19th Jan. 2010 'Friends indeed'

Managed finally to get together with some very good friends this week who have supported me with their love, understanding and gifts over the past eighteen months. Sadly Max couldn't make it, but Jean, Jane, Viv, Jackie & I had soup, sandwiches and yummy cakes together(courtesy of Jean). Of course we never stopped talking, laughing and generally catching up - it was exhausting!

I listened to another R4 programme yesterday. Jenni Murray (the presenter) has herself had breast cancer and she went into theatre to watch a mastectomy & reconstruction, which turned out to be exactly the same operation as mine, same technique etc. I found it quite emotional at times as she described what was happening because I could put myself on the table and had never thought about it in such detail before.

Jenni talked to the surgeons and asked how they felt prior to making such life changing surgery. It was interesting to hear the words 'ruthless but wonderful' used to describe what they do. I have nothing but admiration for my breast surgeon, he has the balance just right - professional, empathic, funny, direct. Also the end result is fantastic and as I said to my friends after a private viewing, I'm getting a reputation for 'flashing my tits' what the heck!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sat.16th Jan. 2010 'Interesting stuff'

It's been a little while since my last entry, which is usually a good sign that all is well. I want however, to continue with some thoughts regarding breast cancer as I've recently listened to a couple of radio 4 programmes which were not only very interesting, but confirmed some of my feelings and experiences as a victim of this dreaded disease.

The first programme was an interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, author of 'Smile or Die' a book I now have on order. Barbara is the lady whose article I linked on my previous blog. She too had breast cancer and writes about her experience in relation to the 'be positive or die' culture which seems to exist and I get the impression it's worse in America.

As I said to my friend Joan today, it's not that we don't really appreciate the comfort and support, or that we're not positive. It's being able to be open too about the insecurities and very real fears which also exist, and not being made to feel as though we have to hide any negative feelings, because God forbid, we should not be one of the 'lucky' ones and people might say "well, if she'd been more positive she may have survived". Much research has been carried out into the latter theory, and it has been categorically proved that it bears no relation to survival rates.

Anyway I intend to read the book, so maybe more on this later. The other programme was on 'Woman's Hour' and featured MacMillan's recent research into victims of breast cancer, specifically what happens when treatment has finished and the many irritating/frustrating residual side effects, which so far have not been documented or even acknowledged.

All I could do was nod in agreement with the lady they questioned. The void which suddenly exists when you finish chemotherapy and/or surgery is hard to describe. The words "see you in six months" ring around your head as you drive away. I remember it so well, even though I have to have Herceptin every three weeks, it was like being 'cast adrift'. For a while I felt really lost and down. It wasn't until I initiated contact with my 'support nurse' that this began to improve.

As for annoying side effects, well, don't get me started. I would be a really good candidate for any research I'm sure. I have suffered pretty extreme stomach problems since I finished treatment, but not only that, I have been left with other strange phenomena, for which I have my own theory, not that anyone has been interested in it.

As the interviewee said, most of the strange problems feel too trivial to bother the Doctor with, but they affect daily life and cumulatively can be very depressing. All of mine I believe relate
to the epithelial cells, cells which regenerate constantly and line such places as the nose, the mouth, the gut, stomach, bowels and private bits!

I have a constantly drippy nose, which streams when I eat. I have also not been completely free of a sore nose, which bleeds on a morning and sometimes feels like someone has driven a bus up there. I still get mouth ulcers easily. I now have what I believe is 'irritable bowel syndrome' which seriously affects my working capability at times. Also I am constantly itchy and sore down below and lastly, I don't heal as well as I used to, small grazes, blisters or bruises take ages to heal. Apart from that I'm fine ! :-)

Anyway, I will be watching for further news on this front, but in the meantime will remain ever 'positive' ha ha!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Thurs 7th Jan 2009 'Herceptin No12'

It's been a really snowy day again and even if it wasn't my treatment day I would have worked from home. Pat & Mike came across and I made us some thick, winter soup. My nurse came at 12.30p.m. and he was grateful for a bowl of soup too.

The treatment itself went ok, but siting the cannula seems to get more painful. First attempt was especially bad and I had to ask him to stop. I suppose the fact that bruising has only just gone from my recent surgery didn't help. The only other complaint would be the temperature of the fluids, it was freezing and I found that it made my thumb joint and wrist really ache, apart from making me feel generally cold. I put on an extra jumper and used a heated wheat bag to counteract this. Obviously they would be better given at room temp, but there isn't enough time to let them warm up.

My Cancer Support Nurse rang today too and I updated her on what's been happening. During the course of the conversation I mentioned that I was still waiting for a follow up appt. to check my surgery sites. She checked and said it was this morning, but I haven't received the letter! That doesn't surprised me, there seems to be a distinct lack of communication between departments.

I think the two scar lines are healing ok, but I'm keeping an eye on the nipple flap as it's still got a build up of old blood on one side and doesn't seem to be healing as quickly as it should. That could have been checked if I'd received the appt., now I'll have to monitor it myself and see my GP if it looks infected.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Tues 5th Jan 2010

Back to work yesterday, but it wasn't the success I had been hoping for. I had a bout of stomach cramps and the usual urgent rush for the loo on Sunday evening. Monday morning the weather wasn't too bad, but very very cold and I set off for Rotherham. It was a horrendous journey as once I hit the motorway I realised my screen washers were frozen, so my screen got gradually worse.

It wasn't until I turned off for Rotherham that they started to work. At the same time, I felt the cramps coming back and when I reached work, my first stop was the toilet. They settled for an hour and then came back with avengence. By 11a.m. I was completely washed out and people began to notice how pale I looked.

Annoyingly, the employee I went in to see didn't turn up, although in retrospect it was probably just as well. I decided to call it a day, packed up and came home to finish answering my e-mails.

Today it started to snow around 7.45a.m. and by 9a.m. we had around 15 - 20cm. I won't be going far this week as I have my Herceptin due on Thursday, that's if they can get here!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Sun 3rd Jan. 2010 'Happy Birthday Graham'

I didn't sleep very well last night, a lot of pain and discomfort. Nothing I couldn't cope with, but annoying. I think the bruising closest to my armpit is coming out and it's really tender.

Graham's Birthday today, and three years since my Mum died, yes, that's one way of marking a Birthday.

I've had an interesting response to my blog re: 'not wanting to sound as though I'm complaining'. I'm most grateful, especially to my daughter Roo, who not only gave me some sound comments, but also sent me an article which I think everyone with breast cancer should read - or indeed any cancer.

So many times I've wrestled with the phrasing or content of the blog, in case it should appear 'negative' or invoke a flurry of comments from concerned friends. But I've suddenly realised that it's ok to feel angry, it's ok to feel negative and it's ok to say 'Yes, I do fear the future'. Of course I don't walk around with an aura of 'doom and gloom', but I think it's time to be true to myself and to those I love.

Being positive all the time is hard work, plus it's not real and I'm sorry, but I actually don't really think it has any bearing on the final outcome. I know that's going to be quite a shocking statement to some people, but I'm willing to bet that most ladies I know who have been through the breast cancer experience, would probably agree, if only in private, that the whole 'positive, pink 'chin up' persona' is actually more exhausting than it is beneficial. Anyway, here's the link to the article for anyone who's interested.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Frid. 1st Jan 2010 'A Happy New Year'

Hard to believe it's New Year again and I can't help thinking of how I was this time 2009. We went to the Ate O'clock party last night and it was impossible not to remember how ill, bald and low I was feeling last year. At the 2008 party I went dressed as Ripley from the Aliens film (it suited the hair style). I think there's a picture on my blog for that time. Graham went as a very convincing Sean Connery.

This year Kenny had a 'Cowboy & Indian' themed evening so we made an appearance as Wyatt Earp and Calamity Jane. It was a brilliant evening, made even better because our good friend Allan came with us - Stetson and all! We had such a laugh, enjoyed really good 'Western' food and left after the champagne & Big Ben chimes.

The evening was topped off by a long overdue chat with Patti & Dave (Indiana USA). Such a good line, they could have been in the other room - if only!

So I'm grateful to be feeling so much better and hoping for a healthy, interesting, positive year ahead for everyone.