Saturday, 30 August 2008

what happens after the last work work...

Saturday 30th August

SO!! Major Event! I can see my eyebrows!! Tiny little hairs growing in now, so that makes me feel a bit better about eyelashes [oh, and hair] - hideous having none! A month is not too bad to wait though. The girls have told me that’s about how long it takes. So! Hope mine grow back that quick.

whaaa! Tomorrow I have to go to Portugal now for work - usually I wouldn’t think twice about this – I’ve always gone approximately every two or three weeks for a fortnights work. But this time is different - oh, obviously! [one thing being this is the MINIMUM time from when I had the last chemo, to when I should travel] I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Either way – I have to go. So! Letters for passport control in both English and Portuguese, explaining why I don’t look at all like my passport photo – I hope they believe them!! Or I will be trundling home again...goodbye small terrorist!

The whole travelling thing is doing my head in a bit- passport control being the least of it really. I think you find a 'comfort zone' when you are ill like this – and leaving that zone is quite scary. For instance, here I can start work at 5.30am. BUT... I am in my pajamas, and don’t get out of them until lunch time, when I need to sleep – can’t exactly tootle off to work like that in Portugal can I? Agh – bah and humbug.

BUT saying that – my friends there are going to take care of me, so, so what eh? We will see how it goes

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

what happens after the last one...crunches?? OMG!!!

Wednesday 20th August

yikes! since the last post lots has happened and I have been too busy with work to catch up on here. So first to say thanks to everyone for STILL calling me, sending me cards and generally be good to me, even when I appear to disappear!

Firstly, I saw the ‘Personal Trainer’ yesterday. Henceforth known as Julie. Went through a routine of arm, leg and abdominal exercises [OMG!!], which took about 40 minutes. I felt great afterwards, even though I was totally exhausted and shaking; my brain must’ve liked it, as it was jumping around everywhere!

Julie has had exactly what I’ve had, except that so far, hers has been worse, so I am in good hands. If she can do all these crunches and things, well, so can I...but this morning I was in agony [a good sort – all my muscles having had the shock of their lives] and trying to repeat the same routine today was very hard. Too much abdominal pain – BUT saying that, I managed to do 20 of each of the exercises Julie set, if slowly. Better slowly than going mad and ‘doing myself a mischief’ as my Gran would’ve put it.

So now I will try to make this a daily routine. If I can get my flat belly back, there are two good reasons for the effort: A: I will feel better! B: I will be able to notice any small anomaly that occurs and race off to the GP to have it looked at. Another reason why I need to lose all this weight happily banged on by the steroids – I need to be able to notice any small bump or lump straight away. It’s easier if you are slimmer...aaargh. Fight, fight all the way it seems, but I will get there in the end – sooner rather than later would be good. Both for my confidence, and my health. Being fitter gives you a better chance of non recurrence as well.

I have a new and interesting habit of checking my tummy every morning for anything unusual – I am still trying to get used to the new terrain there, and also trying to ‘de-sensitise’ the scar. This involves massaging oil into it every time I have a bath/shower, and also using an exfoliating scrub on it to try to encourage healing. Hmm. We shall see. According to Dr Hong [you might want to skip this bit!] any recurrence is more than likely to appear on the stomach, and will have the same tedious symptoms. How I’d know I can’t imagine, as I am shattered half the time anyway! But a swollen belly I would notice immediately, so that’s good to know. NOT that it’s going to happen, but as the cubs say [do they?]: ‘Be Prepared’.

Secondly [and horribly!], I have to go to Portugal for an 8 day stint for work at the end of the month. This is something I have been dreading, but I knew it was coming. It would have been kinder to me to wait a while longer, as the stress is going to completely exhaust me. I know this, so I am trying to plan accordingly.

I have had to get a letter from my oncologist to say that I am fit to travel, plus another letter for passport control to explain why I don’t remotely resemble my passport photo. To other people it doesn’t seem that frightful to think about having no hair. After all, there are loads of bald people running around. But no eyelashes or eyebrows really affect ones appearance [and confidence] – I would really not enjoy it if I were stopped at the gate for looking like someone else [who?? heh heh]. Which I do! My brother said that he thinks it will be less stressful than I imagine – personally, I think it will likely be more stressful. The anxiety of queuing and waiting to see if there are any problems at the gate, the worry of catching something revolting from someone on the plane, the additional worry [and probably more realistic] about being so tired that I can’t cope when I am there...merde! It’s all a bit much really.

But saying that, I am lucky, as Aj is going to drive me up to the airport [4.00 am!! eek!] and collect me when I come back. So at least I don’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel. Plus my Clara offered to come and fetch me in Porto instead of letting the customary taxi driver fellow pick me up – another choice if I want it. Although I think I will just go with the taxi chap, then sleep for half the day on arrival! Also I have my friends there whom I know will look after me. And I have warned everyone about the possibility of me falling asleep on my desk...should be entertaining if nothing else!

So, blah blah as usual I have waffled on for an age – off to hang the washing out now – we are off to Cornwall for the weekend, I can’t wait! The first proper break we will have this year – hopefully the weather will have a miraculous change and we may have some sun. Otherwise Jenny and I will be spending the weekend in the sauna, spa and having nails and massages. Aj has booked us a room with a balcony which has a view over the sea – blissful. If the weather is crap, I shall dig in there with my book, my duvet and my wine – no problem!

what happens on the last one...on and on...

Saturday 16th August

well. I’m sorry to leave it so long between blogs. For you, the reader, perhaps not too good. For me, the writer, quite good! The longer I am between posts, that means the better I am feeling and the less dramas are going on. I sort of use the blog as my therapy so if I disappear, that’s good for me.

But anyway, since the last blog I haven’t achieved much - I still have a big hole in my tooth [bits keep falling off! gross...], which I am terrified to get sorted for a number of reasons - one being I am terrified of dentists full stop. Two being I am concerned about the immune system, as Dr Hong said to go 4 weeks minimum [!] after the 3rd week after the last chemo cycle. So, avoiding the dentist, and eating on one side for now. Hmm - interesting, as I keep imagining the entire tooth collapsing. Quite possible.

My friend is stressing my head slightly, as she is so worried about everything [she had OC plus lots of additional BS]. I worry a lot about her. Not because I don’t think she can’t cope [although she doesn’t think she can - that’s nonsense, as she CAN] but I wonder to myself - how much does a positive attitude count? For me, it’s the Be All and End All. Is this a good thing? Or not? Can you really beat something you can’t see with the strength of your personality? I tell you what – if you can, I will beat it.

Monday, 11 August 2008

what happens on the last one...hahahaha!! HAIR!!

Monday 11th August

So, remember that I shaved my head last Friday? Well, I have stubble all ready!! Even Aj can feel it, so it’s real!! Hair growing!! Fantastic. So it’s growing on my head at any rate – before this cancer/chemo stuff [back in the 'Land of Normality' - or is this normality?? who knows...] my hair used to grow at about a 1½ centimetres a month - cost me a fortune in hairdressers bills...NOW I am hoping it does the same thing again, and "hello hairdresser...gimme a tab!!" ...I have always hated going to the hairdressers. A bit like the dentists - torture. Now, I can’t wait to go - hopefully it’ll be in Portugal, where my favourite hairdressers is, Romy, she is the best, plus she does the best job! Hmm - hopefully she can deal with hair that’s 1cm long [short?] heh heh

Today; midday I went to lunch with Aj and shopping for shoes – always good therapy! Shoes...aaah, they are fantastic. Bought some Patent Leather wedgies in the sales - excellent. Started the day at 5.30am...technical data - aaargh! Then chopped half the garden down and then got sorted [i.e.; bath blah - no make-up as no eyebrows or lashes, makes things tad complicated] and collapsed in the afternoon exhausted. But a great day!! Can't wait for this exhausted thing to go away...

Saturday, 9 August 2008

and here's me with Clara at Widdecombe

here's Jones doing a mad thing on Hay Tor with Clara

what happens on the last one...other stuff

Saturday 9th August

I forgot to mention some odd things - one being that every time I even bump myself slightly I get a wound or a bruise - the wounds, no matter how small, take an age to heal and bleed all the time and I am like Michael Jackson, plasters all over my fingers! I have a spray can of iodine which seems a good plan - all I need is an infection anywhere. And a good thing is I am helping to keep the Elastoplast company solvent.

Another being that my skin is SO dry - amazing. So I am also helping Nivea out [it’s the greasiest cream I can find that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg]. Maybe I should go into advertising? "YES!! Nivea is very good for chemo skin! And Elastoplast is fabulous with your Jimmy Choo shoes and Prada bag - such coordinating colours!!"...heh heh

I now have NO eyebrows, and about 2 eyelashes. I am hoping they start to grow next week [having a big mental about this - as in; thinking of them growing and they might grow faster?]. Booked myself in at Force for an Indian Head massage too - I reckon the old hair needs a bit of help, and that should be good - get the circulation going in my scalp anyway. Never had one, so it’ll be an experience! Unfortunately you can’t make an appointment, so I will have to try and sort Andrew a slot while I am there - working 6 days a week makes it very awkward for him to do anything and I think it’d be really good for his little head. Next one is reflexology! Although I can’t imagine anyone wanting to touch my horrid feet.

I am starting to feel much better all round - still odd pains etc but maybe I would have had them anyway? Next week I am seeing the Personal Trainer [ee - ogre?] OMG!! I will have to MOVE! Eek! Exercise...NOT my favourite thing, but needs must, as I have no stamina, one stone extra on my butt and anyway, it will help to be sure the cancer doesn’t return. Exercise and ginger tea! Here we go here we go....

The tiredness hasn’t stopped, but I think because I am feeling generally better in myself, it’s easier to 'manage'. Probably doesn’t help that I never sleep more than 2 hours straight at night. I think that’d make anyone tired. Waiting to see how the hot flashes go over the next 3 months, then if I am still having this 'awake all night' thing, I shall ask Dr Hong about some kind of DRUG [yeah! drugs...fab] to help it. I am hoping that once the chemo is out of my system things may chill out a bit [oo - bad pun. sorry!]. Plus it may help if I can get a bit fitter. I shall let you know about that.

what happens on the last one...oops..and TGIF!!

Friday 8th August

So. Sorry about the last post being sent a zillion times - it seems there was a spam problem at Blogger that turned in a general problem I think. Anyway, never mind, as I am sure you all have a delete button...and deleted me forty times! Aaargh - from Sandhy - delete delete...

The last post [when I look back on it, which I seldom do] seems a rather self pitying and pathetic post. I don’t mean to be like that [a whinging Pom! eek], but some days...well, what can I say? You just feel sorry for yourself.Thinking about dying rather soon is not a very cheery thing. Not very nice I know, [in fact, pretty revolting] but there’s nothing you can do. And I refuse to make this blog into a ‘pretend’ blog - some days you’ll just have to put up with my BS – and I know you all do, so I am not worried. Oh, I know what...Thanks!

Problem is, all my friends are on holiday. I am jealous - that’s a fact. Plus I miss them. Since December all the ‘holiday’ I have had has been for surgery or chemo...I really need a break at this point, and because of my timing, I have been refused until the end of September. I have to take my one little week then. OMG!! I can’t WAIT! Seems that catalogues are more important than LIFE sometimes...hmmm. NOT in my life any more. But saying that, I love my job [mostly because of the people I work with], so I can manage this wait. Just about. Shriek - gibber...

And today I shaved my head! What fun - not...but at least now I know whatever hair grows out is new and not 'chemo hair' - I have a serious problem with that, so I refuse to have it on my head. This week the last 5 eyebrows fell out [what? idiot things!] and all the rest of my hair , so now I am really as bald as a coot! I reckon that at least having eyebrows and lashes will be really cheering - at least then I can wear make-up! Seems that usually they grow back first so here’s hoping.

Oh, and hello Billy! Thanks for all your thoughts/wishes passed on by Mum - feel free to comment on the blog - your comments could be helpful for other people to see what you think. Actually I can’t imagine what you’re going through - makes my experience seem like a walk in the park.

Anyhoo - today I am feeling a lot better - still get the idiotic tired spells but I force myself to work through them now - I don’t sleep at night so why sleep in the day?? Andrew brought me a fan - it’s quite useful every now and then - but am still having BIG problems with beastly hot flashes. They wake you up! Grrr. Five times a night??? Not normal!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

yesterdays post!

sorry about the multiple postings from yesterday! It seems the blog or pc has gone mad and repeats itself a bit...ignore, delete delete etc

[hope this one doesn't do it too!]

Portugal in my kitchen!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

what happens on the last one...more effects

Tuesday 5th August

So. Clara has gone and left a big hole where she was. It was so good to have her here, reminding me again of how lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends. How many people can say that their friends cross the Sea, bringing wine, food, cigarettes and good cheer? Cook dinner and listen for hours to a load of old waffle? Honestly, Pat, Clara and Jacket have been my mainstays here, and the Bamster and the Rhonster [whaahahaha - yes, yes, yes - vampires!] have been my daily chatter – I swear not a day goes by without some little message from them, news about their kids, dogs,’s brilliant. And of course there’s Em. And Mum. And Shell. What more could I ask for?

Bad things:
I am [quite strangely] still feeling sick rather a lot, and tired as a very tired thing. [what is the most tired thing eh?] And very miserable. As I have 6 billion ton of work, this is not a scenario I can cope with. Trying not to be tired or go for a kip, and trying to get on with things as much as possible. Deadlines looming, so I really can’t afford to take any time out. This is difficult, but manageable. So far. I just keep thinking it’ll go away soon. I hope so! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel exhausted – roll on that day!

Today was one of those days where I just felt like crying at every little thing – who knows why? It’s hard to pin point a reason. Is there one? Who knows. And does it make any difference? Not really – you feel like crying, then you should just cry. Makes your eyes look like road maps, and your face feel like a big fire. Lovely. Doesn’t help that everyone I work with is on holiday right now. Holiday?? God, I would so love to be on holiday – all my holiday this year has been spent on ‘surgery’ and ‘chemo’. Great. NOT. Not that I begrudge my friends their holidays – of course not – it’s just that I feel like I have worked myself into a frenzy here and maybe no-one has noticed how hard it has been for me to do this. Maybe only Em can understand this – having been through the same thing. If this doesn’t happen to you, you cannot understand how hard it is – then again, who would wish it on another? Not me.

Good things:
The joint pains are GONE. Hoorah! Still have very swollen hands and feet, but it’s not too painful, so I can manage no problemo! My hands just feel ‘fat’? Oh well, not too long now eh? And it seems I may have veins again at last too. And we are guzzling the Planalto merrily, and why not? Now to wait for the hair to grow in - the end of this week I am definitely shaving off the horrible ‘chemo’ hair. Yuck! Grow new stuff is the plan. Blah – I am off to guzzle more wine and feel sorry for myself - why not? Heh heh

Friday, 1 August 2008

what happens on the last one...and a DAY OFF at last!

Friday 1st August

Amazing! It’s already August!! I can’t believe it really - all this year has seemed to be divided up into 3 week sections - go for chemo, spend 2 weeks wondering what new and interesting stupid thing my body will do in revolt, spend one week feeling better, then off to be nuked again! So now it’s s little bit weird, as I am just waiting to feel better - quite odd. Suddenly the year seems to have sped by at a rate of knots and I am now able to get my head around other people saying ‘well, that was quick’. It seems it now. But it didn’t before that’s for sure. So this is a good thing, as less people are at risk of being slapped round the ear for making facile remarks quite without realising the effect it has on me. Violence has been avoided! Hoorah!

Next division of time is the 3 month version, and as I am pretty much an air head at the moment [I do think I’ll colour my new hair blonde heh heh...ok, girls, just a joke!] I shall probably forget that it’s THREE whole months away anyway. Some days I wonder if my head wasn’t actually joined on I’d have left it somewhere. Quite likely. But hopefully the chemo brain effect wears off sooner rather than later [this can take months? oops] – I have more lists of things than a Mad List Collector. It will be nice to be able to have just ONE.

Bad things:
Still have joint pain - when will this go away? I mean really, it’s getting a bit tedious now.
Exhausted still - even after sleeping last night for the ENTIRE night!! OMG! A miracle...woke at 5.00 am and was amazed. So, hope on the horizon for being able to sleep again - might be Clara’s good influence, as she is rather like a dormouse, and slept all day yesterday while I got some work done. Great - it appears to be rubbing off on me!

Good things:
I have Clara here - the rain has finally stopped for the day and the BEST THING: I have a DAY OFF!!! I am quite confused as to what to do with an entire day to myself – a day off? well I never. Three days in a row, all to myself, to do what I like. Brilliant [priceless??]