Tuesday, 27 February 2007


I'm feeling a bit pathetic, and sorry for myself today.

I feel grotty and achey again.
I say again, but I feel achey permanently now. I feel like my bones, joints, and muscles belong an old woman, rather than a 30 year old, who felt great just a few months ago.
I just seem to shuffle everywhere now. And whenever I do walk anywhere.. even if it's only a short walk, my feet get sore.
I'm now sporting a very sore and swollen little toe, from making the very short walk into town, from the hotel we were staying in at the weekend. I even had my very comfy 'sneakers' on.

But grotty. It's difficult to describe this grotty feeling.
I have hardly any energy. I have a cold again, for the second time in about four weeks. I've had a cough for the past four weeks too, which is refusing to leave.
It isn't a bad cough. It's just annoying. And I'd be lying if I said it wasn't worrying me a bit.
I also have constantly watery eyes, which makes everything blurry. Not ideal for driving, really!

I spent yesterday morning looking into 'green' funerals.
It turns out there a green burial ground quite local to us, which looks nice from the photos.
I was going to pop over there today, to have a look at it, but the grottiness and blurry eyes have decided I'm not to go anywhere today. So it'll have to be another day.

I know it sounds morbid, to be planning your own funeral. But it didn't feel morbid, while I was reading about it. It felt like I was taking some control.

And I know it might sound silly, to those who have no cause to be thinking about their own funeral, but I'd like to have some control over where I'm going to be 'laid to rest'. I'd like to know where I'm going to end up.

What I absolutely don't want, is a church funeral, a christian ceremony, and to be buried in a cemetery.
I'd like to be buried somewhere natural and beautiful, in the Derbyshire countryside, because that's where I love to be.

Tomorrow, I'll be having a MUGA heart scan, to check if my heart's still functioning well enough to keep having Herceptin.
I don't know why they're bothering, to be honest, as I only have another two doses of Herceptin to go, then they're stopping it.
I can't say I'm looking forward to it.
I have to have two injections for the scan. The muppets in the nuclear medicine department can never find a vein, and I always end up covered in bruises.
The man who was attempting to do it last time, even managed to completely miss the big vein in my foot (yep, we ran out of veins in my arm), and bent the needle.

I'm still covered in bruises from the last chemo, and I have chemo again next week. I really could do without more bruises!

Thursday, 22 February 2007

A Shot to the Head

I had a dream last night..

I don't remember all of the dream, but the parts I do remember were very vivid. And it culminated in me being shot in the head.

The first thing I remember is being in a classroom, at some kind of lecture.
Everyone was sitting at desks, which had individual glass screens attached. These glass screens were instead of a big board at the front.
Writing and images were projected onto the glass screens, which we were taking notes from.
The bracket on my screen broke, and the person who fixed seemed a bit 'odd'.

At the end of the day, myself and a couple of other people seemed to be locked in this classroom. We couldn't get out, but other people could get in, it seemed.
It wasn't really a classroom at this point.. more of a lounge, with sofas and whatnot.

Strange things kept happening. I can't remember all of them, but I do remember someone bringing in a cheetah, which turned into a black tiger, and tried to 'get' us.
Then there was a gorilla.
These animals came out of a cupboard within the room we were in.
I think one of my uncles, who I haven't seen or spoken to for around twelve years (he's a bit of a dodgy sort, and my family disowned him), made an appearance too.

The general feeling about what was going on, was a bad feeling. Someone was out to get me.

Then I was at home..
Sitting in the lounge with my mum and my uncle (not the aforementioned uncle. This one's a nice uncle), when my uncle suddenly got up, put the hood on his hoodie up, and ran to the bathroom.
I knew there was something odd about this behaviour, so I got up to go over to my mum, and tell her there was something strange going on.
My uncle obviously saw me get up, and left the bathroom door open a bit, looking through it.

My auntie was in the kitchen, and I suspected she had something to do with all this oddness too. So my mum and me went to her.
We all sat down.. I was really upset, and I told her I knew something was going on, and I knew her and my uncle had something to do with it.
It transpired that my auntie and uncle were some kind of gangsters (incidentally, they aren't really.. they're lovely people!).

The next thing I knew, a big burly man walked around the edge of the door, pointing a gun at me.. It seemed I knew too much.

I had my left hand resting on the left side of my face. He put the gun on my hand, next to my temple.
I could actually feel the metal on my skin, and heard the trigger creak, as he went to pull it.
My auntie and my mum were sitting there, seemingly not at all surprised or bothered by the fact I was about to be shot.

I said "Tell James I love him." And the man pulled the trigger.
I felt it, but it didn't hurt. And I seemed to feel quite calm about it all.

Then I woke up, heart beating a bit faster than normal, and breathing a bit more heavily than normal.
I was genuinely surprised to still be alive.
I honestly thought I was a gonner.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Tonight, I Cried..

Not through sadness, but relief, I think.

I still can't get excited about the good news I had on Tuesday, but I think some kind of relief's starting to sink in.

Relief that I have the chance to spend a bit more time with the people I love.

The sheer terror at the thought of leaving the people I care about, has overwhelmed me. It still does.
But now, hopefully, I've been blessed with a little bit more time with them.

Clean Car & Red tape

Today, I woke up early, and got up at 8:30am..

After breakfast and a nice bath, I decided a bit of car cleaning was in order.
My poor little MGF was well overdue for some TLC.. she hasn't been cleaned in months, because I just haven't had the energy.
But today, she got a wash, dry, alloy wheels scrubbed, and plastic rear screen polished.
I'd have liked to have given her a bit of a wax too, but decided that was enough from one day.

Then I gave the inside of 'Project Barn' (see http://www.funkybanana.net and click on 'Funky Banana Property Developments', for more info on that one) another lick of paint.

Not bad for the day after chemo, really!
Although I suspect the steroids are keeping me going at this point.
I take them for three days, every chemo cycle.. starting the day before chemo, then the day of chemo, and the day after chemo.
Judging by how the first three chemos went, it'll be downhill from tomorrow, for about a week. Then getting better after that.
I then tend to get a decent few days/week, before it all starts again.

After my first two Taxotere cycles, I was blessed with infections, from having a collapsed immune system, and a white blood cell count of 0.
After Taxotere number 3, my onc was gracious enough to prescribe Neupogen injections, to boost my white blood cell count, and hopefully keep my immune system somewhere close to normal.
I have to give these injections to myself, starting on day four or five after chemo.
I have to have them every day, for seven days.
Injecting yourself isn't much fun really, but it's better than the infections, and it's certainly nowhere near as bad as having chemo!

My oncologist called this morning, wondering why no-one had told him I'd been talking about going to see the liver specialist, in London.
I said I didn't know why.. he said he was going to slap the registrar I saw on Tuesday, for not letting him know.

The registrar seemed to want to put me off the idea of seeing a liver specialist/having surgery, saying that it was a waste of money, and there's no evidence to support it giving any better outcome, than chemo alone.
Today, my oncologist said liver surgery in such cases, wasn't the 'usual' route.

Well, incase anyone hasn't gathered by now, I don't seem to be a 'usual' patient. Or even a 'usual' person.
Secondary breast cancer certainly isn't 'usual' in someone my age. It's pretty unusual.
And as for the wasting money.. well, my unwasted money isn't going to do me much good if I'm dead, is it!
I'd rather waste some and take a chance, than just not bother doing anything.

My oncologist also informed me, that to get hold of the liver scan films (that are needed by the liver specialist in London, before he can see me), I'll need to ask my GP to write to the radiology department of my hospital, to request them. Then I may well have to pay a fee for them.
What is it with all this red tape? I can't see why the oncologist couldn't have just requested them!

I often wonder if these medical people actually realise it's a real persons life they're dealing with.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Taxotere 4

Today, I had my 4th lot of poison, alongside my 14th lot of Herceptin.

My appointment at the chemo suite, was 12 noon. It was all pretty timely, and I got in at 12:15.
Half an hour, and four attempts later, they found a vein.
Four attempts isn't bad going for me. I think my record's eight.
But todays attempts really seemed to hurt. I thoiught I might feint at one point, as they were poking around with a canula, on the inside of my wrist. They gave up on that vein, eventually.

I've been asked today, if I think knowing the Taxotere's "saving my life", will make the side effects of chemo more bearable.
First, I feel the need to say that it's not technically saving my life. Hopefully what it is doing, is prolonging it.
Secondly, I don't know if this will make the side-effects more bearable. I'll let you know when I'm feeling awful, over the next couple of weeks!

I'm not meaning to sound ungrateful..
I'm grateful for having access to these treatments. But in all honesty, I'm really not all that grateful for any of what's happened to me over the past 20 months.

I'm feeling really tired at the minute, and fully expect to start feeling rubbish over the next couple of days.
This will be the time I struggle to lift my head off the pillow. It's a great achievment, just to be able to get out of bed and get dressed!

I just hope this stuff keeps the cancer at bay, for longer than I've been having chemo.
One of the reasons I'm struggling to get excited about it, is that if it comes back soon, I'll have spent longer feeling like rubbish on chemo, than the chemo's kept it away for.
It's a quality of life thing, I suppose.

So bear with me if I'm not around for a couple of weeks..

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Cancer's Gone on Holiday

Today I found out that my cancer's taking a holiday.. it's gone away for a while!
I've had what they call a 'complete response' to chemo, and in the words of my doctor "It seems to have gone away for a while"!

I didn't see my onc today, but saw his registrar instead (lovely chap, who was happy to chat).
He made it very clear that this isn't cured, and it will come back at some point. I just have to hope it's in a few years, rather than a few months!

Where the 10cm tumour was (which I know now was in the right lower lobe of my liver), there's now a 6cm area of calcification, which is likely to be, but not necessarily, cancerous.
Also where the smaller tumour was, there's an area of calcification.
So it's not all completely clear, but it's the best news I could've hoped for, under the circumstances.. and it's certainly better than it having got worse!

But in the registrars words "It seems to be gone for now"!

I spoke to the Dr briefly, about liver surgery. He poo-pood it somewhat, saying there was no evidence it improved outcome.
Well, we'll see what the liver guy has to say about it.
I had a phone call from the liver specialists secretary today, saying the liver guy (Dr Satya Bhattacharya) would be happy to see me. But before he can, they need a referral letter from my GP (I saw my GP about this yesterday, so this should hopefully be sorted out asap). And they need me to get hold of the liver scan films, so the liver doc can look at them.

I'll be carrying on with my remaining 3 lots of chemo & herceptin.After that, I'll most likely be stopping herceptin, seeing as it didn't seem to do much on its own. And I wont have to have anymore chemo until the cancer returns.

Now, please don't get me wrong.. I don't want to put a damper on this good news. Because it really is good news. But james asked me earler, why I don't seem to be very excited about it..
And no, I'm not actually excited about it..

Maybe I can't get excited, because I know there's a good chance the liver crap could come back as soon as chemo's finished.
It hasn't got a good track record for staying away for long periods, has it?
I really am grateful for the good results, and I really do hope it stays away for a long time.
Maybe I can't get excited about it, because I don't want to set myself up for a fall, when it does come back.
Maybe I'm just trying to keep myself on an even keel, rather than extremes of highs and lows.
Maybe, as a friend suggested, I'm just being quietly, cautiously optimistic.

I feel like I need to whisper about it, rather than shout it from the rooftops, for fear the cancer will hear me, and come back to spoil my fun.
A bit like parents coming back early and spoiling your fun, when you throw a teenage houseparty!

I often still feel like I'm in a film, and this isn't really my life. Maybe that's my coping mechanism? Then every now and then, it hits me that it is really my life.
Maybe this good news will hit me in the next few days, and I'll be able to be more excited about it.

I'll be having Taxotere number 4 and Herceptin number 14, tomorrow.
In all honesty, I've been dreading it. The side-effects have been pretty bad, so far, and have completely knocked me off my feet. I fully expect to feel awful for at least one week.. quite possibly two.
But maybe it'll be a bit more bearable, now I know it's actually doing something.

Today, I caught sight of a reflection of myself, in a window. For the first time in a long time, I didn't think I looked ugly and fat.
I'm not saying I thought I looked stunning, because I'd be lying. But I felt better about how I look, than I have for quite a while now.

Blog Archive - 2006 & 2007.. & Hello!

The following blog entries are old posts, from 2005, 2006 and 2007, that I've copied across from my old blog site.
I didn't want to lose these entries, so I thought I'd put them here for safe keeping.

I started writing a blog, not long after I was diagnosed with early stage Breast Cancer, in July 2005, when I was 29.
My blog follows my breast cancer journey, and the rest of my life.
My previous blog can be found at:

I apologise for the 'chunks of text' they're all in. I don't write like this! It's just that's how they copied accross, and I'm afraid I just don't have the inclination to go through them all, and sort them into paragraphs.

If you've read my blog before, I hope you'll keep visiting now I've moved :o)
If you haven't read my blog before, I would like to invite you to join me on my journey..

06 de January, 2007
Taxotere 2
Taxotere number 2 (and Herceptin number 12) was on Thursday.No particularly bad effects so far, apart from feeling spaced out and just not with it. But then they didn't start until a few days afterwards last time, sowe shall see!
I'm not really feeling 'with it' at the minute, so please excuse my randomness and gibbering. But I thought I'd better type a few words, as people have been asking after me, an asking how I'm doing.They've been saying how brave they think I am, and what an inspiration I am.Am I brave? No.Am I strong? No.And I certainly don't feel very inspirational.
I keep going because I have to. I have no choice. It isn't because I'm brave or strong. Just because I can't do anything else.And do I sometimes wish it was just all over, so I wouldn't have to face this anymore? Of course I do. Often. That's not brave, strong, or inspirational. It's just selfish. I know that.Some days are better than others. The days I feel well, I'm happy to carry on. But the time after chemo, I'd happily curl up and die, at times.
The bone scan I had before christmas, showed abnormailites (hot spots) on my right shoulder. This could indicate that the cancer had spread to my bones too, so I had to have my shoulder x-rayed.The x-ray showed no abnormalities, so hopefully it isn't bone metastasies.The chest x-ray I had also appears to be clear. So at least there was a bit of decent news, at last!
James and me went to Edinburgh over new years.It was nice to get away, even though the Hogmanay street party we had tickets for, was cancelled due to bad weather!We managed to have a nice time though.. visited the zoo, wandered around Edinburgh, and went to The Secret Garden, at The Witchery restaurant, for a meal.I have to admit that on new years eve, while we were sitting in a pub (due to the street party being cancelled), surrounded by strangers, I really struggled to fight back the tears, on several occasions, wondering if this would be my last new years eve. Who knows.
Just outside the koala enclosure, at Edinburgh zoo, was a quote on a sign. I thought it was quite touching.It said:"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through.Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home."
I also went wig shopping on Wednesday, due to the latest departure of my hair, thanks to chemo. I decided on a blonde number, called 'Teri'. It's really miles away from what I expected to come home with (after having short dark red hair, for the past year!). But I quite like her..

Posted by Dee at 15:12 Permanent Link Comments (4)

16 de December, 2006
Give Me Immunity!

I've been feeling more and more ill since the first cycle of my new chemo, last Wednesday.One of the expected side-effects is a sore mouth, so I wasn't too surprised when my mouth got sore. I wasn't surprised I didn't feel great. I felt fluey and achey. Again, that's to be expected (this stuff is destroying my cells, after all).But it started to get too much. My mouth was in agony. I could hardly open it, I couldn't speak properly, and all I could 'eat' was cold milk.
Yesterday, I had to go the the hospital for a bone scan, so I called in at the chemo dept while I was there.They took my blood, and informed me that my white blood cell count was 0. Yes, zero. I had absolutely no immune system.I also have tonsilitis, which has spread all over my mouth, hence the incredible mouth pain.Obviously, having no immune system, my body couldn't fight this, so it was just getting worse.Fortunately, my temperature was normal, so they sent me home with antibiotics, anti-bacterial mouthwash, and pain killers.If my temperature had been high, that would have been a sign the infection had got into my blood sytem, causing blood poisoning, so I'd have been stuck in hospital, on IV antibiotics.I'm just grateful I'm at home!
Before the chemo, I felt absolutely fine, even though I had a 10cm alien growing in my liver. Now I feel like I'm falling to bits!
The doctor made sure to tell me that the course of antibiotics will have ended in time for christmas day, so I'll be able to have a couple of glasses of wine!I REALLY hope my mouth's better by then (I hope it's better long before then). I don't fancy liquidised christmas dinner. All I can eat at the minute, is liquidised bland food. I can't even manage fruit smoothies, because the acid sends me through the roof!
So for now, I have to stay home. Not allowed to go out, incase I manage to find myself some more infections, and not allowed to see anyone who has colds, or anything else.It's been a fun week in Deeland!

Posted by Dee at 21:08 Permanent Link Comments (3)

11 de December, 2006
You hear about people dying all the time. You say "sorry" to their family, and get on with your life.
So what happens when it's you who's dying? What do you say to your family? "Sorry" doesn't really seem to cut it.What do you say to yourself? How are you suppose to feel and act? How are you supposed to get your head around your own death?
I'm not scared of dying. But I am scared of leaving behind the people I love. I'm scared to death (excuse the pun) of leaving James.I've had my share of 'mild' depression in my time. Sometimes I wouldn't have much cared if I'd died. So why now I like my life. In fact, I love my life. Why not when I hated my life? Why did whatever/whoever decides who's going to live, and who's going to die, decide they were going to drop this on me now?What kind of a screwed up world is this?
I hear people talking about their problems. How they hate Monday mornings. They hate their job. They don't get paid enough. Boyfriend troubles. Girlfriend troubles. Car troubles. Blocked toilets.And while I know everyone has their own problems to worry about, I wish they'd see the good things in their lives. I'd trade them for any or all of those troubles.
Posted by Dee at 14:54 Permanent Link Comments (2)

01 de December, 2006
It's Back
The cancer's back.
I found out on 22nd November that it's spread to my liver. I now have secondary/metatstatic breast cancer. There were two tumours they could see on the ultrasound scan. One's 'small', the other's 10cm.On Tuesday, I'll start 3-weekly Taxotere chemo, in the hope of shrinking and controling it. With the larger tumour, there's not going to be much room for error.
I feel like my world's fallen apart. Just when things seemed to be going so well. Nice holiday, just gone back to work, and then this.I'd be lying if I said I thought I was coping well.. I'm not. I'm scared. I don't want to die. And I'm sick of crying. Sick of waking up every morning with sore, puffy eyes, from crying. Sick of feeling sorry for myself. And sick of keep putting my friends and family through this rubbish.
The cancer's not curable now. I'm just hoping and praying that it can be controlled for a while. There's so much I still want to do with my life. I met the most amazing man in the world in January, and I'm not ready to leave him.

Posted by Dee at 01:13 Permanent Link Comments (3)

26 de October, 2006
Sunshine and Holidays
I wrote about St Agata yesterday, but neglected to talk about the holiday James and I have just returned from.. A Mediterranean cruise, to be precise.
Boat was nice, as were the places we visited (Palma.. Italy; Sardinia, Maddelena Island, Civitavecchia, Rome, La Spezia and Pisa. France; Nice and Sete). The weather was gorgeous, and the food was lovely.
The album containing our holiday photos, can be seen Here
Since then, I've come home to hospital appointments, doctors appointments, and Herceptin number 9, yesterday.
Two weeks today, I'll be back at work (allbeit a different job to the one I used to do and love. Same emplyer, completely different job). Just two days a weekto start with, until I get back into it, and see how it goes. In all honesty, I don't know how I'm going to be able to drive the 2o miles there, work all day, and drive 20 miles home, without falling asleep. I've slept a hell of alot since the whole cancer thing kicked off, and I don't often manage a day full of activity.. I seem to get tired so easily.

Posted by Dee at 13:21 Permanent Link Comments (0)

25 de October, 2006
Upon reading a blog which I often visit, I came across a paragraph about martyred virgin Agata (which, I believe, roughly translates to 'Agatha' in English), "who refused the attentions of Quintino and paid by having her breasts torn off."Agata had come down through history holding her severed breasts on a platter. Women who feared for their own breasts, it was said, invoked her. She's also the patron saint of bell makers.
After a little 'google' research, I find that apparently there's a painting of Agata, with her breasts on a platter (there's a ditty there, somewhere), in Rossellino's cathedral.. and quite possibly in many other places. And apparently her breasts look somewhat like fried eggs. Although I've never seen it, so can't comment!
According to Wikipedia.com, Saint Agata (died 251) is a Christian saint. Her memorial day is February 5. Agata was born at Catania and she was martyred in approximately 250. She is the patron saint of Catania.According to variations of her legend, having rejected the amorous advances of a Roman prefect, she was persecuted by him for her Christian faith. Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. She is therefore often depicted iconographically carrying her excised breasts on a platter.The shape of her amputated breasts gave rise to her attribute as patron saint of bell-founders. More recently she is venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

Posted by Dee at 22:57 Permanent Link Comments (0)

25 de September, 2006
I Fell from the Sky & Played in the Clouds!

Oh my god, what an absolutely amazing experience!
The feeling of complete freedom, as I was freefalling through the sky, above the clouds, was like nothing I've ever experienced before.It's things like that make me acutely aware that I am indeed alive and kicking!
We dived out of the plane, at 13,500 feet.. head first, into nothingness. When we levelled off, it was like swimming through the sky.. The wind pressing on my face.The parachute opened, at around 5000 feet. It was so quiet and peaceful. As we spiralled through the clouds, in the sunshine, people on the ground became more visible.. my family and friends, who had come along to lend their support.
My fear of heights and of flying were left behind somewhere on the ground, I think.At no time was there a feeling of falling. It was more a feeling of just being.. Being alive, doing something I never in my wildest dreams, thought I'd be able to do.
The whole experience is something I really can't put into words. But I hope it's one I'll get the chance to re-live one day.
When I left the airfield, they gave me a magazine. There's a quote in this magazine, by Richard Bach, that says.."What are we doing here?Overcoming the fear of death, of course.Why are we in the air?We are practising, you might say, what it is to be alive"

The videos of my jump can be seen Here (the 'official' video.. you need to fill the details in, including the 'optional' ones, to be able to view it). And Here (a video kindly taken by a friend).

Posted by Dee at 19:21 Permanent Link Comments (1)

22 de September, 2006
Almost Skydive Time!

Weeeell, it's Friday 22nd September, and tomorrow, I'll be doing a 10,000 foot skydive/parachute jump at Langar Airfield, near Nottingham, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign!The fact I'm terrified of heights, and not very keen on flying, is neither here nor there.. I'm very determined on this, and while I'm getting nervous about it, I'm really looking forward to it too!
I'm praying for good weather.. it's raining here at the minute, and I keep checking the BBC weather website every five minutes. So far, it's saying it's going to be cloudy, but no rain. Poor visibility though, which I wouldn't imagine is ideal for throwing oneself out of a plane!Please wish some good weather for me!
I've recently set up a 'justgiving' page, which makes it super-easy for people to sponsor me online. It's at.. http://www.justgiving.com/deesjump You can also see how much people have donated, and how things are going on my justgiving page. Photos of the jump will also be posted there!
For now, I'd best be off.. I have to go into town to pay some sponsor money into the bank, and to get some chocolate and coke.. I've been told I'll need them, for the shock afterwards!

Posted by Dee at 13:39 Permanent Link Comments (0)

04 de September, 2006
The Sea is Calm..

It's been a while since I last posted in my blog. I'm so lazy with these things.. and I suppose I've been trying to get on with life too!
In the past couple of weeks, I've had a 'one year post-diagnosis' mammogram, ultrasound, and MRI scan of my boobs. All came back 'normal', which was a huge relief!These scans were only of the boob area, so I'm well aware it's no indication of what's going on in the rest of my body. I just have to keep my fingers crossed that there's nothing bad going on in the rest of my body.
I'm still on the Herceptin journey. I've had six doses now (one IV infusion, every three weeks), and will be having number seven next week.They've all been relatively uneventful (thankfully). The main drawbacks are waiting hours to see the oncologist, and the chemo nurses playing 'hunt the vein'.I've had a few MUGA heart scans now, to keep a check on how my heart's coping with Herceptin, as it an cause heart damage and heart failure in some people. But I was pleased to hear that my heart function doesn't seem to have decreased.
Love life..James and me have been together just over six months now.We're having a good time (at least I am.. I hope he is too!), and are hoping to be going on a cruise in October. We should be booking it within the next few days, so I'm looking forward to that!
So, it's been a pretty good few weeks/months, all in all.. Long may it continue!

Posted by Dee at 18:02 Permanent Link Comments (0)

12 de July, 2006
Edinburgh, Baby!

The weekend just gone, James and me went away for a few days in Edinburgh..
The day before we went, I dug out my little suitcase on wheels.Evidently, the last time I used it, was when I went to New York, at new year 2004/2005.. it still had the luggage labels on.That made me feel a bit sad. Partly because I'd like to go back, but mostly because it reminded me of my life when it was 'normal'.I try not to think too much, about my life before bc. I struggle when I think about things that happened in my previous life, because I know I'll never have that kind of peace of mind again.
While we were in Edinburgh, we..Went on an open top bus tour.Went on a Ghost Walk.. an underground tour of the South Bridge vaultsWent to the Museum of Scotland and the Royal MuseumWent on a tour of Mary Kings CloseWent to the Edinburgh Dungeon. I got accused of being a Pagan Witch, and James got his tongue ripped out, as a method of torture.Went to Edinburgh Zoo.. had a great time.. and I got a fluffy toy Koala. I soooo want a Koala!!Went to Rosslyn Chapel, which is just beautifulWent to The Witchery restaurant, for din dins on Sunday evening, which was a perfect end to a perfect weekend.
I really didn't want to come home, and back to reality.I actually thought, on the Sunday night, whilst lying in bed.. if I died that night, I'd have died a very happy person.
8th July was my '1 year since diagnosis' anniversary, and I can honestly say I only thought about it once, the whole day.. that was when I was having a shower, at night.I'm so glad we went away for the weekend.That day last year, was the worst day of my life. But the same day this year, was one of the best :)
I was a bit sad that I had to come back to hospital appointments this week.I saw the oncologist yesterday, who told me the heart scan I had last week was fine, and had treament today.No more hospital for 3 whole weeks now!

Posted by Dee at 18:01 Permanent Link Comments (4)

14 de June, 2006
Serious Doubts

In 6 days, it'll be a year since I found a lump in my left boob. The lump that turned out to be cancerous.. the lump that changed my whole life.
I often wish SO much that my nice new relationship with James, wasn't tainted by this stupid cancer thing. I imagine wha it would be like, to not have to worry about that, and to just be able to have a 'normal' relationship, with 'normal' worries.
On 19th July 2005, I had this lump surgically removed, using what some call a Wide Local Excision.. others call a Lumpectomy, and yet more others call Breast conserving surgery.Either way, this means they removed the lump and a 'margin' of tissue around it, whilst still leaving me with the rest of my boob intact.
At this time, I was advised by my surgeon to consider having a mastectomy (entire boob removal), due to the aggressivness of the cancer, and the fact that some rogue cancer cells had managed to escape into my blood stream.However, two oncologists (cancer doctors.. one being one of the leading guys in the country) seemed to think that this approach was a little extreme, and said the lumpectomy should be adequate.So I stayed as I was, with my boob still intact.
Since then, I found out that I was HER2 positive. This generally gives a worse prognosis than being HER2 negative.Fortunately, I'm now being treated with Herceptin, to try and improve my chances.
I'm now having serious doubts about the lumpectomy vs mastectomy thing.I can't stop thinking that I should have opted for a mastectomy, which could decrease the chances of the cancer coming back in my boobs (seeing as there'd be virtually no breast tissue left).
I'm in a complete quandry about it now, and I have no idea what to do for the best.
But on a more positive note..I'm Dee, and in 6 days time, I'll be a 1 year breast cancer survivor :o)

Posted by Dee at 15:15 Permanent Link Comments (3)

06 de June, 2006
The hair cut's been and gone, as has the Bon Jovi gig.
I like my new hair, though I still look back at photos of when it was long, and wonder if I'll get the chance to grow it that long again.I used to love my long hair. I took great care with it, and great pride in it. I suppose it's sods law that it should all fall out. Not much I can do about it though!
The Bon Jovi gig was good. It took us an hour and a half, to get back to a hotel that was only 15 minutes away, afterwards though!The drive back from Manchester, yesterday, was nice, even though I now have a sunburned nose! James drove.. it was sunny and we had the roof down.. bliss!
I went to see Lisas kittens last night.Her cat, Piu, has three week old babies. A boy (Mylo) and a girl (Myrtle). They're so cute, and funny.
It's sunny again today. But I think I'll keep out of it.. my nose can't stand any more!Dillon's been 'hanging out' around the back of the shed, with two other cats, for the past half an hour. God knows what they're up to.. no good, I expect!
James went home an hour ago. But he'll be back again on Friday evening.I'm sure he's all that keeps me going through the week. Especially the weeks I'm having treatment, seeing doctors, or having tests.Everything'd be alot more daunting, if I didn't have the weekends to look forward to.
He made me so proud yesterday (though he doesn't know it.. don't want to make his head swell!).Lisa asked him about something. I wasn't sure how he'd reply.. whether he'd tell the truth about it, or blag his way around it. But he told the truth, and that struck something. He kept commenting that I was all snuggly and lovey after that. And he doesn't know that was the reason, but I felt so proud to be with someone who isn't ashamed of who they are, or what they've done.He is who he is, and I love him for that.
In the midst of all this cancer crap, the best thing that's ever happened in my life, has come about.. Amazing.

Posted by Dee at 13:34 Permanent Link Comments (3)

13 de April, 2006
30 Years!
I've just had a new comment on my blog, and a few people have Emailed me, to see how I am.. so I thought I'd better write something before everyone thinks I've fallen from the face of the earth!
It's been a hectic couple of months in some ways, but very quiet in others..
Radiotherapy ended about four weeks ago. I had 30 sessions (daily, for 6 weeks), which burned me quite badly, but everything's nicely healed now, and I can wear my normal underwear again.. yay!
On Tuesday, I found out I should be starting Herceptin soon. That'll mean a treatment every 3 weeks for either a year or two years.. they don't really know which works best yet. I have to have another heart scan first, to make sure my heart can cope with the drugs, as one of the possible side-effects of Herceptin, is heart failure. So it's good to make sure everything's tickety boo before it starts!
I now have enough hair to go without any kind of head covering, so I've been wandering around with my new short, funky, spikey hair do, for the past few weeks!
Yesterday, I found out I have no job to go back to.I've been off work for the past nine months, but have kept going in to visit my workmate and boss. Now my boss has let the shop go, so I'm out of a job. And with at least a years worth of treatment ahead of me, I'm not pinning any hopes on finding a new one very easily.Still, for the first time in my life, I'm recieving benefits, and should continue to do so while treatment's still going, so there's no desperate hurry to find a job straight away.. I'm just a bit strapped for cash!
What else?Oh yes, I've met a lovely chap!I actually first spoke to him in December and met him in January (he's one of the great bunch of folks, I went up to Scotland with). But it took until February for us to get our act together, and we're at that lovey dovey stage, which is good!Amidst all the crap of the past year, he's my 'good'. I'm not sure he realises just how much 'good' he's been.In the absence of the job I loved, and things to look forward to, he's been my focus.. He's given me something to live for, I suppose.
On 3rd April, I celebrated my 30th birthday.I spent the weekend with friends, family and James. It was a lovely weekend.Last year, I didn't know if I'd even get to 30, but I did. I'm feeling well, and I'm happy. So here's to another 30 happy, healthy years!

Posted by Dee at 19:21 Permanent Link Comments (2)

01 de February, 2006
Tired but Happy
I'm tired today, but feeling relatively good.I don't know if it's the effects of radiotherapy making me tired, some of the ridiculously late nights I've been having, or a mixture of both.The late night are probably not helping, but the people I talk to on these late nights, are what's helping me to stay feeling relatively good.. it's a trade-off.
My 4th radiotherapy session was today. It should have been the sixth session, but two were cancelled, due to the machine breaking down. I now have to go on Saturday this week (because of the machine arsing up), so I only get Sunday off.
Sitting in the waiting room today, with my dad, we had a little chat about birthdays. It's my mums soon, then my dad's 60 in March, and I'm 30 in April. We mentioned that I'm half my dads age this year, and it took all I'd got to stop myself snivveling in front of all the people in the waiting room.I focused firmly on the tv, which was showing Fern and Philip, or someone similar, talking about handbags, or something similar. I stared at that screen and forced the tears back to whence they came.
My dads feelings in all this, are still the most difficult thing for me to deal with. From when I first had to tell him I had cancer, up until now, having to put my dad through this is the most difficult thing I've ever done.He mentioned the lump I'd found near my wrist, a few days ago. I tried to play it down, saying I'm sure it's nothing sinister. I hope it isn't but I can't help worrying. This is another of those things I'd have never thought twice about before the whole cancer thing, now it's something I'm paranoid about.
My car needs cleaning. It looks like a pile of mud, rather than the sexy blue convertible that it is. I'm a disgrace to my MG!I knew I should've cleaned it yesterday, when it was cold, but the sun was out. It's just freezing out there now, and I'm so tired, I'd probably fall asleep whilst lathering up the bonnet!
Still, spring's on it's way.. the seasons keep on changing, regardless of what's happening in my life, and they'll carry on doing so, no matter what happens. The hard top will be coming off my car soon, and it'll be returned to it's wonderous convertible glory! I'm looking forward to driving around in the sun, with the roof down and music playing.. but it really does need cleaning!
Posted by Dee at 16:04 Permanent Link Comments (2)

30 de January, 2006
I'm Posh
This morning, so far, has consisted of phonecalls..
Whilst attempting to eat breakfast, a nice chap from The Royal Marsden London hospital called, to talk to me about the POSH study (The Prospective study of Outcome in Sporadic versus Hereditary Cancer) I've agreed to take part in. Hopefully it'll be able to be done through the hospital I go to (Derby), rather than trawling all the way down to London.
Then, whilst still attempting to eat breakfast, my breast care nurse called, to see how I'm doing and to ask if I'd heard anything else on the Herceptin front.
Anyway, I've finally managed to eat brekkie, and was just about to get ready to go to the hospital for my zapping session, when I realised my appointment's half an hour later than I thought it was.
I received my 'Sniff Petrol' calendar this morning.. it's great! The folks over at http://www.mg-rover.org/ made a 'charity calendar' for me (to either help fund my Herceptin treatment, or to go to a chariry, should the PCT fund my treatment). The calendar can be seen/ordered here.. http://www.mg-rover.org/sniff_petrol/
Right, I'd better be off to get myself sorted out for this radiotherapy thang.. It looks cold out there again, this morning
Posted by Dee at 11:13 Permanent Link Comments (0)

26 de January, 2006
Roasting & Toasting
Two radiotherapy sessions down, 28 to go!
Yesterday, as I was sat waiting for the lady before me to be cooked, I saw the 'Radiation on' sign light up, and had to stop myself running out of the place.I was dreading radiotherapy, more than I ever dreaded chemo. I don't know why.I know both chemo and RT can do horrible things to you, and it seems bizarre logic to me, to treat cancer with things that can cause cancer. I'm sure they'll find out one day, that we've been making a terrible mistake by doing this.
I didn't make a run for it anyway.. I went in, got zapped, came out and felt like bursting into tears for a few hours afterwards.Todays was ok. I didn't feel like doing a runner, and I didn't feel like bursting into tears.
Posted by Dee at 14:00 Permanent Link Comments (0)

24 de January, 2006
Still Here!
Wow, I've been so lazy with this blog. People have been emailing me to see if I'm ok, and I am.. I have no excuse, other than laziness!
Well, what's happened since my last blog entry.. lets' see..
I had my final chemo (hopefully forever) on 21st December. Had a nice christmas, and some wonderful christmas gifts. My convertible car, which I love to bits, is now fully paid for, thanks to my family.
I had a fantastic new years eve, with my friends. We got drunk, laughed, cried and fell over!
I've had a good few relatively 'normal' weeks since my lasy chemo, and my hair's growing back.. now radiotherapy's about to start (tomorrow), so here endeth my life for the next six weeks!
I managed to escape reality for the weekend though, when I went up to Scotland with a bunch of people I'd never met before, to go to someone's party, who I'd never met before!
We all got on really well.. got very drunk, fell over, and had an absolutely fantastic time. I think I laughed more this weekend, than I have for the whole of the last year.. and I have my friends to thank for that. I think I may have made a bit of an arse of myself, but I really don't care, because I had such a great weekend!
I'm planning on throwing myself out of a plane for charity, hopefully this summer, with the folks I went up to Scotland with!

Posted by Dee at 15:28 Permanent Link Comments (2)

Blog Archive - 2005

03 de December, 2005
I woke up this morning, after a dream that the cancer had spread to my liver. What a wonderful thought to wake up to!
I treasure the few moments, first thing in the morning, when I wake up and think nothing. Just for a few seconds, my mind's blank. There's no cancer. No baldness. No feeling of dread. No fear. But some mornings, and this morning was one of them, BAM! it's there straight away.
I've spent the evening in a chemo haze. Chemo was Wednesday, and I've felt relatively normal up until tonight. I spent the whole of yesterday in my jim jams and fluffy dressing gown, but today, I managed to go into town. My head's been all over the place since I got back though. Back home. Back to reality. back to yet more bad news from someone I've come to know, through this damned awful disease.
My gaze has just been drawn up to the glass Calico ball, hanging in my window. I bought it when I went to Herne Bay, earlier this year. I'd had what I thought was a pretty awful time, and I went down there, to stay with Andy for a couple of days. I was completely oblivious to the cancer thing then. I can close my eyes now, and feel the sea breeze on my face.
Not long after that, I went to North Wales, in my newly aquired convertible car. Roof down, sun shining. It was one of the most perfect days I can remember. It was just a week or two after that, my life changed forever. The day that promises of a new life, a new relationship and a new future, came crashing around my feet, was the day I found 'the lump'.
How I wish I could go back to the weeks and months before then. But I can't.

29 de November, 2005
Dragged Backwards
There I was, happily (?!?) scouring the net for information on the timing of Herceptin, after chemo..Considering the capacity of my brain, and my ability to focus has all but disappeared, I think I was doing quite well, making some sense off all the medical jargon I was ploughing through.Then it happened..A song came on tv. A song that 's on a CD, which I used to play all the time in my car, on my journeys to North Wales, a few years ago.These were the journeys to see my now ex.. the 'love of my life'.. the person I thought I'd spend forever with. This was the relationship that stupidity arsed up, and that I've regretted it arsing up, ever since.So that's that.. any focus I had on my Herceptin search, is now gone.Gone, in favour of romantic memories of days gone by.Gone, in favour of wondering what could've been.Gone, in favour of wondering, yet again, if I should try and get in touch with him. This is a thought that pops into my mind at least once a day. Should I just leave things be? Should I try and contact him, because of this nagging feeling that keeps telling me to? Should I do it now, before it's too late? When will 'too late' be? Maybe it's already too late.. I don't know
Posted by Dee at 00:03 Permanent Link Comments (2)

28 de November, 2005
Today, I ordered a pair of purple Converse 'sneakers'. It just doesn't seem right that someone young enough to be wearing footwear like that, to have/had breast cancer. It doesn't seem right that anyone should have it. The wonderful women I've come to know, through this crappy disease.. they definitely shouldn't have it either.
Well, I went to the Faithless gig that I'd been looking forward to so much. It didn't let me down. Infact, it exceeded all my expectations. Myself and Lisa were on the guest list.. we got in for free, had fantastic seats (though we obviosly didn't sit!),and met the band afterwards.
Aubrey (the bass guitarist) was the one who put me on the guest list, so he was the person I wanted to speak to most, to thank him. And I did speak to him.. what a lovely bloke. They're all really nice, down to earth 'normal' people. It was a fabulous night.. one I'll never forget. And if I start to forget, I have my fully autographed ticket, to remind me!
That was my third Faithless gig in a year. Now I have to wait another couple of years, before they'll be touring again! The first thing that came into my head, when Aubrey said it'd be another couple of years, was "but I might not be alive then!" Fortunately, that stayed in my head and I didn't speak it out loud.
I've had back ache, at the bottom of my back, for the past week or so, and a bit of a stiff neck, for the past few weeks. these are things I'd have never thought twice about, before breast cancer reared its ugly head in my life. Now I'm paranoid about every ache and pain. I've never really suffered from back ache before, so there's alsorts going through my head, even though I know it's most likely nothing to worry about.
On Wednesday, I'll be having my 5th chemo. One more to go after this, to be followed by being fried by radiotherapy. It's scary to think that these methods they use, to hopefully get rid of our cancer, can actually cause cancer. Is it really a good idea to be fighting fire with fire? Should I have had chemotherapy? Did I really think that poisoning my body was the best thing to do? Do I now think that irradiating bits of my body is the best thing to do? After this, should 'hopefully' come Herceptin, which comes with its own risks of heart failure. Is it really right, that I'm beating up my body so much? Does anyone really have the answers?

Posted by Dee at 18:19 Permanent Link Comments (0)

20 de November, 2005
Last night, while I was nodding off to sleep, I had a realisation..
I realised that it wasn't the fact that I have/had/am being treated for breast cancer that I needed to accept. I've had no choice but to accept that.It's the fact that it could come back at any time.. it could spread.. I could ultimately die from it, that I needed to accept.I needed to accept that, at some time.. maybe sooner than I'd hoped, that I'm going to die.
Being diagnosed with breast cancer made me feel incredibly mortal. Dying isn't something I've thought much about before. You don't think you need to, before you even hit 30!
Have I accepted that I MAY die much sooner than I thought I would? I think I'm getting there, and as a result, I think I'm feeling much better about my life now.Or maybe that's just today, and I'll feel terrible again in no time!!

Posted by Dee at 23:23 Permanent Link Comments (1)

19 de November, 2005
I seem to be neglecting this blog of mine, lately. That must be a good thing, right? It must mean I have far better things to do! It must mean I actually have a life!.. Well actually no, not really.
Everything's still pretty much the same sameness. I had my 4th chemo last Wednesday, which made me feel like a zombie again, and I just couldn't focus on typing anything intelligible.
I spoke to my doctor yesterday, to find out if she'd heard anything back from the PCT, about funding Herceptin for me. She'd had a letter from them to say they were 'considering it', which is the standard response. So I still don't know whether or not I'm going to have to try and find £40,000 from somewhere, to pay for it myself. Chances are that's what's going to happen.
I just feel it's so wrong, when the country seems to be wasting millions of pounds on building 'structures' as tourist attractions, yet they wont pay for what could be life-saving drugs, for many people, when we've paid into 'the system' for years. It makes me angry. I could very easily get on my soap box about this, but instead, I'll have a glass of wine!
So, what else has been happening? Not much really
Yesterday, I ordered the CD single of "We Laughed", by Maxine Edington and Billy Bragg. Maxine wrote this for her daughter, when she was told she only had six months to live, because she was dying of secondary breast cancer. The money from these CDs is going to charity.. please go buy it. I'm sure I'll have a bit of a snivvel when i listen to it.
I've done all my christmas shopping.. in November. It's un-heard of! But it's not like I have anything better to do, to be honest, so I thought I may aswell get it over and done with.
I wrapped some of the pressies, the other night. And cried while I was doing it, wondering if I'll still be here next christmas, to do the same. The ones that aren't wrapped, have little post-it notes on, saying who they're for.. just incase anything happens between now and then. I always thought wrapping christmas presents was supposed to be a happy time!
Paranoia's set in a bit, the past couple of weeks. I've had a stiff neck for a couple of weeks, so of course, I start wondering if it's bone secondaries in my neck. Then I developed a bit of a sniffle and a cough. So of course, I was a little worried that I'd developed lung mets. the stiff neck's still there, but the cough's gone, so I don't think I'm dying from secondary lung cancer yet!
My hair seems to have started growing a bit, so I have a few millimetres in some places, but my eyebrows and eyelashes appear to be vacating the premises now. Not noticably yet. I'm hoping I'll manage to hang onto them really.
To end on a positive note.. a week tomorrow, I'm off to the Faithless show. Myself and my 'plus one', are on the guest list, so really looking forward to that!

Posted by Dee at 00:21 Permanent Link Comments (0)

08 de November, 2005
Four Months Ago Today
Tomorrow is my fourth chemo.Four months ago today, was the day I was diagnosed.. a third of a year. 8th July.In some ways, it seems like much longer than that, but in others, it seems like yesterday. I remember every single detail of that day.I remember waking up that morning and thinking, well, it's results day. They haven't called me in earlier, so maybe, just maybe, I'll get away with it not being cancer. Even though I knew deep down that it was.I got ready and walked out of the house. It was a nice sunny day, and I was going into Nottingham before I went to the hospital. My appointment wasn't until 3:20pm.I walked to the car, and saw my dad outside. He asked what I was up to today, and I replied that I was going to Nottingham, taking my dongle back (bluetooth dongle that I'd bought for my phone/pc, that didn't work) and maybe do a bit of shopping.I got to Nottingham, took the dongle back to the shop, and met my friend, who was coming to the hospital with me.I'd parked in the park & ride, so had to get the tram back to the car.We got to the tram stop, to the announcement that all trams had stopped running, until further notice. Cue panic!We hung around the tram stop for 10 minutes, with me getting myself more worked up and panicky by the minute, because I knew I had to get to the hospital on time.We ended up getting a taxi back to the park & ride.Drove to the hospital, with friend in tow.. with shakes and clammy hands.Got to hospital.. got out of car.. cried.Got into hospital, sat in waiting room, and said to my friend "why does everyone else look so calm, and I feel like I'm going to throw up?".After a 40 minute wait for my delayed appointment, they called me in.. friend in tow.I walked into the room and thought there were more faces there, than should've been, if they were just going to tell me I was ok.I sat down, and the consultant said "blah blah blah blah I'm sorry to say it's cancerous blah blah blah" (the middle bit are the only words I can remember). I cried for about 30 seconds. Then she talked about surgery, and booked me in.I had to put the horrible gown thing on again, to have a mammogram (I'd only had ultrasound on my first visit), to see if they could tell if there were any more suspicious areas. They couldn't.They then took me (friend in tow), to the nice little room, with the comfy sofas, pretty tea cups, and the chunk of amethyst on the table, next to the box of tissues, and told me everything again.I was glad when we escaped out of there, into the fresh air and sunshine.. I cried a bit more.I left my friend at the hospital. He said he'd get a taxi home, because it was the opposite direction I had to go, to get home.So I drove home, alone, in a blur of tears and wondering what the hell I was going to say to my parents, who knew nothing about what was going on.I remember the music that was playing in the car. I can't listen to that CD now.Just before I reached home, I pulled over at the side of the road, and phoned Jan, my workmate and friend.She knew I'd been for tests, and she knew I was getting results.. I'd taken the day off work especially.I blurted out to her, that it was cancer.. and cried some more. I could tell she was really trying to keep it together, but her voice was shaking.Then I got home, planing to sit my mum and dad down, and tell them together.My mum hardly ever goes out, but she'd gone out.. to her aunties house.My dad was sitting on the bench, at the front of the house, in the sun.I got out of the car and asked where my mum was. My dad said she was visiting her auntie.I asked my dad to come inside, but by the time I'd got to the door, and got my key in it, I was a mess.My dad asked me what was wrong, and I just blurted out that I'd got cancer.He cried, he hugged me, he went to get the car keys to fetch my mum, looking like he'd just been punched in the stomach.While he was gone, I phoned Lisa, and told her the news.Then my mum and dad got back. Then my auntie and uncle turned up and everyone cried.I spent the rest of the evening feeling like I'd just had my whole future, and my life, taken away from me.It was a horrible day. The worst day of my life.I'm quite impressed that I've managed to type all that out, and didn't have tears in my eyes, until I wrote about having to tell my dad. I always knew that telling my dad would bethe hardest thing I'd have to do.I knew that, when a couple of weeks before, I was sitting in my room, looking out the window onto the back garden, seeing my dad sitting in the sun, and wondering how the hell I was going to tell him I had cancer.He had testicular cancer 17 years ago, and I knew it'd hit him like a ton of bricks.So there ya go.. it feels like yesterday, but I've managed to survive a third of a year, so far.In 30 years time, I hope I'll still be here to tell that tale!

Posted by Dee at 22:50 Permanent Link Comments (7)

04 de November, 2005
My Advice?
First off, Dillon kitten seems to have perked up today. he's been back to the vets, who said his temperature's down, from being very high yesterday. He's got a course of antibiotics, so we've got to wait and see how he is after that. Hopefully, it was just a bug.. fingers crossed.
I know a woman (she's very young), through a web forum, who's found a lump in her breast. She's spent the day at the hospital today, having various checks, and has to go back for scans, etc. She asked me how I reacted when I found out I had cancer, and I blurted all the following out. I'm thinking this is what I'd say to anyone, so I may aswell put it in here, just incase it might be of some help to someone who's playing the waiting game..
When I found my lump, I panicked, shot out of bed and was on the phone to the doctors within minutes.I knew what it was, as soon as I found it, and no amount of people telling me it'd be nothing 'because of my age' made me feel any different.I had to wait a week for an appointment at the docs, another week for an appointment at the breast clinic, then four days after that for the results.Before I'd been to the breast clinic, I remember sitting at the pc, looking out of the window onto the back garden, and seeing my dad sitting in the sun. I burst into tears, wondering how the hell I was going to tell my dad I had cancer (he'd had testicular cancer 17 years ago).I told a couple of close friends that I'd found a lump and was having tests. One of them came with me for tests, and for my results.I never mentioned any of it to any of my family, until I'd had the diagnosis. I suppose I didn't want to worry them.When I'd had all the tests, and went for the results, and they told me it was cancerous, I wasn't surprised, but I was still shocked, if that makes any sense.I cried a bit, then it was like I was in a daze for a while, until it really sunk in.They tell me it sinks in even more, when all treatment's finished, and that most people have their worst days then.. so that's something to look forward to!I can't even explain the range of emotions I've gone through, from then up to now.People describe it as an emotional rollercoaster. Some days I think it'll never come back, other days I'm convinced it's going to kill me. I've considered beating it to it, and doing the job myself. I've had huge moodswings since I was diagnosed. It certainly hasn't been an easy ride.It'll be 4 months on Tuesday, since I got the test results, and most of the time now, things don't seem as bleak as they did in the first few weeks.The week after chemo, I tend to feel pretty terrible, but the other two weeks aren't bad.I know this'll change my life forever. I know I'll never have the 'normal' I had before. And I know I have to learn to live with the fear of it coming back.I'm not saying any of this to scare you. I don't want to scare you, and chances are yours'll be nothing.. but when I was waiting for my results, I found it helped that people were honest with me, about what they'd been through.I wanted to know what to expect, if it turned out the way it did. I couldn't stick my head in the sand.People telling me to be positive and keep my chin up didn't help.. it made me angry.. it still does. I know they mean well, but the people who say things like that, are usually the ones who have no idea how you feel.You're bound to worry about it. It's not something you can just forget about.It's natural to be scared about all this uncertainty. The waiting's the worst part.I really hope I haven't scared you, and here's hoping you'll be able to come on here and say "guess what folks.. I was worrying over nothing!".
Posted by Dee at 23:16 Permanent Link Comments (2)

03 de November, 2005
Time something good happened?!!
After spending the best part of the last two weeks, attempting to drag myself out of the depths of despair I'd sunken into, I started to feel brighter, a few days ago.. more like 'me' again. So I intended to make the most of it, because I know I'll go back to feeling like an alien, after my fourth chemo, next week.
Someone out there seems to not want me to feel ok.
Obviously my dad having cancer, 17 years ago wasn't enough..I had to get cancer too.Now apparently that's not enough.My baby Dillon kitten's been a bit poorly over the past couple of days, so we took him to the vets this morning. She took his temperature, which was 'very high'. So she gave him an antibiotic injection and an anti-inflammatory injection.But he's got to go back again tomorrow for blood tests, because the vet thinks he may have Leukaemia.Now I feel bad, cos I've brought this poor kitten into a household that seems to be bloody jinxed!

20 de October, 2005
Angels Watching O'er You

"Go to sleep, my baby.Close your pretty eyes.Angels watching o'er you, peeping at you, darling,from the skies.Great big moon is shining, high up in the sky.Time to go to sleep, my pretty one.Go to sleep."
My mum used to sing that to me, when I was little.
She picked Dillon kitten up today, like a baby, and started singing it. It was all I could do to not burst into tears in front of all the family. So I stared at the tv, with my eyes full of tears, and bit my bottom lip, to stop it shaking.
Yep, it's been one of those days.

Posted by Dee at 22:03 Permanent Link Comments (3)
Posted by Dee at 00:21 Permanent Link Comments (2)

19 de October, 2005
Here we are again. Please excuse my random ramblings. It appears my brain's gone on vacation. I'm blaming it on the chemo.
Third chemo was today, so another three to go.
I saw the oncologist yesterday (Dr Doo, as the nurses fondly call him). Had a chat about the whole Herceptin thing, and was informed that my chances of the NHS funding it are virtually nil.
I was also brave enough to ask about my 'chances' yesterday. I was told that statistically, I have a 65% chance of surviving 10 years, without recurrence or spread (so about a 2 out of 3 chance), as it is now, with the treatment I'm having. If I was to have Herceptin, this could go up to about an 80% chance (about a 3 in 4 chance). It might not seem much of an improvement to alot of people, but it is to me.
There have been so many people, who I either hardly know, or don't know at all, giving me money to help towards paying for the Herceptin treatment. I've had quite a few online donations, and a few cheques too, over the past couple of weeks. Every time I open an envelope with a cheque in, my eyes fill up. The selflessness of these people is astounding me. It's really touching to know that there are such people out there.. and I feel very humbled by it.
Anyway, yes, third chemo has gone now. My vein's sore and I feel a bit rough, but apart from that, I'm feeling ok. I think it's likely to hit me tomorrow, when I seem to have comitted my day to other people! I'll see how I feel after I've attempted to be out for most of the day.
I have more drugs to add to my ever increasing collection. Another bottle of steroids.. that makes three, because I'm refusing to take them. I don't feel as though I need them, and I don't want to look like a German shot-putter (no offence to any German shot-putters out there.. it's just I'm not one, and have no desire to be one). And I seem to be stock-piling anti-sickness tablets, because I evidently don't take as many as I really should. But again, I haven't needed many so far (touch wood).
I have been taking the steroids they've given me before treatment (I don't want to be vomiting in the treatment room, after all!), which was earlier today. So now I'm in gibber mode, because I'm all 'roided up. Great stuff when I just want to sleep!
Over and out..
Posted by Dee at 23:28 Permanent Link Comments (0)

14 de October, 2005
War & Peace
After feeling as though I've been at war with myself, my body, and everyone around me for the past few days, I'm feeling a little more at peace. Although, if I'm honest, I think I've felt this way for quite some time, and am probably feeling no more at peace than I was before my latest 'episode'.
I can hear the chatter of the TV in the living room, where my parents and Dillon kitten are, and for a change, it isn't irritating me.. it's just chatter.
I went to see Gina, my new reflexologist (I say new.. I've never actually had a reflexologist before), this evening. She's also a Homeopath. I was in with her for a good two hours. We had a good natter and a good foot prodding session, when she said she'd like to work closely with me. I wanted to make it a regular thing anyway, so I was all ears. Our 'arrangement' is that I see her every three weeks (which fits in well with chemo sessions, at the minute), keep her updated on how I'm feeling and let her know if I'm having any chemo side-effects, so she can hopefully help me homeopathically, and in exchange, I get a pretty damn good discount on treatments.
So here we are.. my feet feel like I've been walking on clouds.. my mood's lifted.. I have a little 'pill' to take tonight, one next Thursday, one on Saturday night, and one on Sunday morning. She made it clear that nothing she gives me will interfere with my chemo treatment, and can only do good in boosting my immune system, which is exactly what I wanted. She seems to be on the same wavelength as me, and I like her.
I intended, from the very outset of finding out I had cancer, to go with complimentary therapies, aswell as conventional stuff. I did consider, at one point, disregarding a big part of the conventional stuff. In the end though, I wanted to know that I'd done everything possible, to keep it from coming back. If it comes back and I hadn't had chemo, I'd have always wondered if I could have stopped it. I'm not a huge fan of poisoning my system, which is basically what chemo is. I've always tried to avoid toxins and chemicals, so chemo was going against the grain somewhat, but there you go. When I had a potentially fatal disease thrown in my path, I was willing to do whatever it took to try and get rid of it.
Just as a note, before I forget, I've been regularly reading a couple of other ladies blogs. They're also being treated for breast cancer (I never know whether to say I've got breast cancer, or I had it.. 'being treated' for it seems like the way to go).
The first lady is Jane. Jane's postings inspire me. her blog can be found Here
Secondly is Mary, who's blog can be found Here
Much as I hate this cancer thing, I've spoken to some wonderful people, who I may never have met otherwise. People who inspire me to live, and not just exist.
My Hallowe'en dress arrived today. the dress I've been hankering after for four years. It's black and wine velvet.. very beautiful, and fits perfectly. I've even ordered a wig to match!
I have to scoot over to Olay.com now.. according to my mum, they're giving things away. When I enquired as to whether it was a cure for cancer, the reply was "no".. fancy that. I'm still going to have a look what they're offering though..

Posted by Dee at 00:46 Permanent Link Comments (0)

11 de October, 2005
I've felt very alone over the past couple of days. Not lonley as such, because I have friends who'll never let me feel lonely. But very alone. There's no-one close enough to share how I feel in the middle of the night, when I wake up and start panicking. There's no one to hug me and say "we'll beat this". If it's going to be beaten, it looks like I'll be beating it alone. And if it isn't going to be beaten, well, it looks like I'll be doing that alone too.
Being 'alone' has never bothered me all that much, until recently. Now it's become painfully obvious that I am very much alone, at a time when I really don't want to be.
I hear women with breast cancer, talking all the time about how supportive their partners are being (and yes, there are some who's partners are very unsupportive too), and I wish so much that I had that kind of support. I have support from my friends and family, which I'm really grateful for, but I'd like the support of someone who I could cry with.. laugh with, and share my scariest fears with.. in the middle of the night, which is when the scariest fears rear their head.
I found out, a couple of days ago, that me and 'plus one' are on the guest list for the Faithless gig in Nottingham, on 26th November. This means getting in for free, and access to the after show drinking session, to meet everyone. Great news! Or it was when I got it, and I know it would have been at any other time in my life. Now, whenever anyone mentions it, my heart sinks, and I don't know why.
I don't seem to have any motivation to do anything, and have had a really low couple of days. Things seem to just keep getting worse. Why can't they get better, for once?

Posted by Dee at 23:30 Permanent Link Comments (1)

08 de October, 2005
What a manic few days it's been.
A couple of days ago, I received a letter from The Royal Marsden hospital, informing me of my HER2 status, which turns out to be strongly positive. This means I need the drug Herceptin, to give me a crack at living.
Herceptin has been all over the news this week, and obviously, all this news has been very prominent to me.
The NHS are refusing to fund the vast majority of Herceptin treatments, so it will most likely cost me around £40,000 to self-fund. Money I don't exactly have in my back pocket!
There are people doing lots of fund-raising things for me, from selling their stuff on Ebay, to doing sponsored runs, to producing car stickers and rubber wristbands, in my name. There are people offering to send me their wages. There's been talk of setting a charity up. There have even been suggestions of people donating sperm, to raise money!
I'd have never believed, until now, that people who hardly know someone, would be willing to help so much. I've found it really touching, and cried so many times, just because I'm overwhelmed at peoples response to this. It's restored my faith in human nature, which I'd all but lost.
£40,000 is a hell of alot of money, and I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to manage to get it, but I have to try. My chances of still being here in 5 years time are quite low if I don't get Herceptin. With it, my chances could be doubled.
If anyone who reads this, has any ideas how I could raise some money, please get in touch with me.
I'd better go feed Dillon kitten, and take my clothes out of the washing machine now..

Posted by Dee at 18:21 Permanent Link Comments (0)

04 de October, 2005
Foot Poking
Yesterday, I went to a 'Healthy Living Day', which was organised by Breast Cancer Care. I was a bit unsure about going, because the only people there, would be women who were being treated for, or had been treated for breast cancer. I didn't want to spend a whole day being forced to think about it, whilst getting pittiful looks from the older people.
Turns out it was a lovely day. It looked like they'd tried to group us, as best they could, in to similar age groups (though I was still the youngest). We had taster sessions of Reflexology, Indian Head massage, Reiki and Aromatherapy/hand massage. Even learned how to give a hand massage.
I got a bit upset the night before, and cried myself to sleep (again). Nothing to do with the day out ahead.. just thinking about things, and remembering again that I'm very mortal and may not be around as long as I'd always assumed I would. The Healthy Living Day was probably just what I needed.
It was all lovely.. very relaxing and uplifting, but I especially enjoyed the Reflexology. It impressed me so much that I've made an appointment to see the lady who did it, next week. So looking forward to that.
Went into town today, and was bought a really nice cream angora hat. The lady in the shop commented to the person who bought it for me, that I was a 'beautiful young lady' (without sounding at all condescending, which was nice). It's pretty obvious to everyone that I have no hair. I was wearing a scarf on my head, and a hat, and it makes me feel a bit self-conscious, because people do look. But this lady's remark made me feel so much better.. bless her :o)
I think I'm going to get some pink hair dye, and colour what's left of my stubble, pink.. or dye my scalp pink. One or the other!

30 de September, 2005

I shaved my head last night.
The long, red hair that I loved, has gone. I often wonder if I'll be around long enough to grow it back to the length it was. Who knows.
I'm feeling very detached at the minute. Like I'm an onlooker to this bizarre pantomime of my life. I can be talking about the cancer to people, and almost forget I'm talking about myself. Then I suddenly realise that it is me. It is my life. And it hits me like a brick.
In the past couple of days, I've been to see the folks at work, and wandered around town with a friend. All the time feeling like I wasn't really there. It's just been a blur of days.
I forget that other people don't know what this feels like. I forget that they can't understand how I feel, and why I feel like I do. I forget that just a few months ago, I was completely ignorant to how this would have felt too. I shouldn't expect people to understand any of this, just like I wouldn't have understood, before it happened to me. I get frustrated when people blatantly don't have a clue what my life's like now. But I shouldn't feel that way. I just forget that they don't know what it's like.
Dillon kitten woke me up this morning. Not in what has become his usual way of chewing on fingers, but by snuggling into my neck and being all cute and purry. He was so warm and alive. It's little things like that, that remind me I am alive.. this is real life.. not the bad dream I keep hoping I'll wake up from. I think I'm either permanently stuck in this particular bad dream, or it is indeed real life, and I've got no hope of waking up and leaving it behind in my dream world.
My head feels weird. It's almost like having someone elses head. It feels cold, but warm, and strangely heavy. Surely it should feel lighter, with no hair on?

Posted by Dee at 23:39 Permanent Link Comments (1)

29 de September, 2005
Sitting with a mug of coffee, looking through my window, at an earlier Thursday morning, than I've seen for a while. I don't often drink coffee, but just fancied it this morning. I'm sure it'll go well with yesterdays steroids, to keep my hyped up for a while!
I've been having real trouble waking up lately, and don't see much of the 'am' side of lunchtime. I finally managed to get to sleep at about 4am, and was woken by Dillon kitten at 7, for his breakfast. I was awake then, so thought I may aswell stay up, and sleep later, when I'm tired.
My room looks out onto the back garden. I can hear the birds singing and have just seen the cheeky resident squirrel saunter across the garden. You can have a conversation with that squirrel.. If you sit outside with him and make noises, he'll talk back!
It looks like the sun's trying to come out, but it's a bit cloudy at the minute. Clouds are moving quite fast thought, so maybe the sun'll peep through in a while.

Posted by Dee at 09:19 Permanent Link Comments (0)

28 de September, 2005
Round Two.. Ding ding!
Today was round two of chemo (I'm having FEC chemo, so I'm now officially a Fec(k)er. Though it could be argued that I have been for quite some time!).
The waiting around the hospital wasn't too bad today. Only 45 minutes, as opposed to last times 3 hours. It went by uneventfully again (thankfully). I haven't been sick yet, so I'm hoping that'll follow the same pattern as last time too, and I wont be sick at all. I'll take the anti-sickness tablets tonight and tomorrow, and hope for the best.
Whilst sitting in the lovely, antiseptic scented chemo suite, I got chatting to a lady who was on the same ward as me, for her surgery, at the same time I was in. She's shaved her head, because her hair started coming out in big clumps, ten days after her first chemo treatment. She was wearing her daughters pink playboy beanie hat, but whipped it off to show me her bald head, and she looked really good!
She was talking to me and a chap who was in there, having his treatment, when she got quite emotional about it (quite understandably), which started me off. My eyes were full of tears, bursting to get out, but I managed to stop them teaming down my face. The other chap we were talking to, must've been about the same age as my dad (55/60-ish), and had been diagnosed with cancer (bowel cancer, I think, going on the drugs they were giving him) in January 2004, and given two years to live. He said it was just a matter of coming to terms with it, and that he'd got on with his life.
I didn't see Lorna today. I know she was supposed to be having her second chemo today too. maybe she was there earlier than me. Must email her to see if it went ok.
This thought's been freaking me out a bit, over the past few days.. I now personally know 4 people who're being treated for breast cancer (including myself. Not including all the people I've just said 'hello' to, in passing). Statistics suggest that 50% of people will eventually die from their breast cancer. Obviously some are more at risk from recurrence/spread than others, but on average, it's around 50%. So, statistically, 2 out of the 4 people I've had conversations with, will die of this. I could easily be one of them. That's a sobering thought.
To be told you have cancer is am earth-shattering experience. It makes you feel like your world's falling apart in front of your eyes. The first thing I thought was "Shit. I'm 29 and I'm going to die". But to be told you have cancer and that's it.. you're definitely going to die from this cancer, sooner rather than later. I can only imagine what that must feel like, and hope to god I never actually get to find out what it feels like.
I've found that when I'm sitting in the waiting room, or in the chemo suite, I get looks of sympathy from older people. It's as though they think you're far too young to have something so awful. Damn right I'm too young, but then isn't everyone too young to have something like this? But as it's proven, cancer doesn't discriminate. It's there for anyone. Come and get your cancer.. free today!
I think I'm all 'roided up now, form the steroids they gave me with chemo. They give me steroids to take at home too, which is supposed to help the anti-sickess tablets work, but I refused to take them last time, so I'm sure as damnit not taking them this time.
I've just looked to my left, to see the parchment that Sam gave me, just before I finished work to have surgery, that says.. "Dionne. Woman of Strength. Know you are strong. Know you are beautiful. Know you are loved. Know you are being sent healing constantly from all around the world. All our love, Sam and Paul". I don't know if she realised how much that would inspire me. I've got it where I see it every day, and I read it every day. When Sam first gave it me, I couldn't read it without crying, and I certainly couldn't read it out loud to anyone else, without crying. Now it's sitting there, with the crystals, shells, feather, Chalice Well water and aromatherapy oil she gave me, along with the opalite angel Barry and Nina sent me, and a small braid of my hair that I plaited and cut off last week.
I have a hand-bound leather book sitting on my shelf. It has heather stems running up the spine, which were taken from one of my favourite places, and it's begging to be used as a journal. I'd hate to leave my life without putting that book to some use. I just need the patience to sit and write in it. I can get my words out much faster when I type them, than when I write them properly.
On that note, I'm going to go sniff my book, and remind myself of happier (and sad) times..

Posted by Dee at 22:40 Permanent Link Comments (0)

27 de September, 2005
Almost 'Normal'
I saw the oncologist today, who informed me I'm normal. I certainly don't feel normal. In fact, I feel as far from normal as I think possible!
What he actually meant, was that the bone, lung and liver (which, incidentally, also covered kidneys, gallbladder, spleen and pancreas) scans that I'd had a few weeks ago, looked 'normal'. there was apparently something on my bone scan (which the oncologist seemed to bypass and not be worried about).. a "very low grade uptake (of the radioctive sunbstance they injected into me) is demonstrated the left 5th costochondral junction which would be consistent with costo-chondrosis (costochondritis?) rather than representing a metastatic deposit." So good news.. I hope. I can cope with a few stabbing pains in my chest, as long as it isn't cancer, or anything else deadly.
I'm well aware that this doesn't mean it wont come back, or spread further on down the line, but it seems to be absent for now.
My blood counts were 'normal' too, which I was quite surprised at, considering I had a mild bout of tonsilitis until a day or two ago. Glad I didn't bother going to the hospital for antibiotics now (I've always hated the damn things).
So I'm just about as normal as it's got, over the past few months. Normal and shattered. I'm absolutely shattered.
I've got my second FEC chemo tomorrow, which is always something to look forward to. Last times wasn't bad at all though, so I'm hoping number two will follow suit.
I've taken to wearing a hat when I'm out anywhere now, and a 'buff' when I'm at home. I don't have much hair left. It's really quite drafty around the old bonce when I'm outside. And when I'm inside, the buff stops it shedding all over the house.
I suppose I should feel all jovial that the scans were 'clear' (I'm being very careful not to use the word 'clear', when telling people about the scan results. They might think I mean I've got the 'all clear', which sadly, I know I can never really get. And god forbid they'd think I was 'over it'!), but there's that little niggle about this costochondritis. Is that really what it is, or is it early signs of bone mets? God, I hope not. But at least the other scans were ok, so I shouldn't be popping off anywhere in the next few months, at least!
Right, I'm tired and Hollyoaks is on, so I'm going to toddle off for now. But before I go, I must mention that I've just ordered a dress I've been drooling over for years. I decided it'd be perfect for Hallowe'en, and probably Yule too.. and any other excuse I can find to be stereotypically witchy!

Posted by Dee at 18:37 Permanent Link Comments (2)

24 de September, 2005
My Hat and I
I wore one of my hats for the first time today.
I've never been a hat-wearing person, but due to the rapid rate at which my hair's doing a runner, I went out today fully hatted up. I wore one I got from an American website (headcovers.com), that covers all my hairline.. so the hair I have left, was tucked up into the hat. The main reason I wore it, was to stop my hair shedding all over my car, but I went into Asda and the petrol station with my hat still on. I'm really proud of myself. I thought I'd feel a bit of a twit, but I didn't really, and no-one gave me odd looks.
I bought a couple of things from Asda's 'Tickled' Pink' clothing range. I know some people are really put out by this light-hearted approach to raising money for breast cancer, but at the end of the day, it is raising alot money (even if Asda are getting good publicity from it), so I'm happy to give a bit of support.
My hat and I are off to mad Lisa's later, to catch up on gossip!

Posted by Dee at 17:22 Permanent Link Comments (0)

23 de September, 2005
Hair's Leaving Home
It's been a funny old day.
I was woken up early, by Dillon kitten purring around my forehead, who'd decided breakfast time was 6:19am today. Fed Dillon and went back to bed for a couple of hours. I still got up earlier than usual (usual's been around lunchtime lately. I seem to need to sleep alot more than I did before chemo), because I was meeting a friend for lunch, so thought it would be a good idea to wash my hair.
The hair decided it was leaving home a bit more quickly today.. it came out in handfulls. Took me half an hour to get the comb through it afterwards.. and another couple of handfulls departed. I'm sure no-one except me can tell there's huge amounts of hair missing. I don't have any bald patches yet, but I can tell there's much less there, than there was yesterday. I'm thinking, at this rate, it'll probably all be gone by the end of the weekend, if I don't beat it to it with the clippers.
On my way into town, to meet the afore-mentioned friend, I felt strangely detached. I didn't feel well yesterday, and wasn't to great today, so I don't know if it was the poorlyness, or the fact that baldness is staring me in the face, that was making me feel out of it.
Apparently getting bored of cancer, I thought I'd go for a bit of tonsilitis instead!
I went through the afternoon in a bit of a blur really. Managed to buy a couple more scarves for my balding head. I'll have a good ol' scarf and hat collection by the time I've finished.
I see the Oncologist on Tuesday, and should get the results of bone, liver and lung scans, to see if there's any signs of spread. Not really looking forward to that.
I'm pretty shattered now. I don't appear to be able to get through a normal length day, without falling asleep at some stage, but I expected that really, as a side-effect of chemo. I'm told it gets worse as you go on, so there's something to look forward to!
Lisa's still in Edinburgh. Leigh's in Bath.. my playmates have buggered off! (I really do have more than two playmates, but to be quite honest, I just can't be bothered to make the effort to see anyone else. It seems like too much hard work at the mo).
I'm hungry now.. off I go to find some food..

Posted by Dee at 19:51 Permanent Link Comments (0)

22 de September, 2005
Crying into my Toothbrush
Thought I'd write a few more lines, now I've finished crying into my toothbrush!
It gets you at the strangest of times. I've managed not to cry since Saturday night, when I cried on my best friends bloke (sorry Phil!). I can use the excuse of too much alcohol for that one. Though I'm not usually prone to snivveling when I've had a drink.
I went over to my auntie and uncles today, to feed the chinchillas, while they're on holiday (my auntie and uncle, not the chinchillas). I just happened to glance at the calendar on their wall, and saw marked on it, the dates that I'd hade bone, lung and liver scans, and the date I'd started chemo.. and I had an impromtu cry at the chillas. I don't even know why. I think I'm just touched that people seem to care so much.
Now, just as I was cleaning my teeth, I started again. I couldn't quite put my finger on why, but I think I'm terrified of becoming 'needy'. I think I've always been quite an independant person. I've never relied on anyone for anything, and I've always done my own thing. More to the point, I've never really relied on anyone for emotional support.. I've always seemed to get there on my own. Now suddenly, I don't seem to be able to do it on my own.
Not wanting to upset my family anymore than they already are, I've found myself becoming more dependant on my friends for support. Much as I hate to admit it, I need people.. my friends. I can't cope without them now. I'm worried I'm going to become too needy and insecure about everything, I'm just going to drive them up the wall, and potentially away.
I know my moods have been somewhat erratic of late, and are likely to get even worse. And I know I snap at people, over things I never would have before. I don't envy the people I care about, having to put up with this. I just hope they don't get so annoyed by it, that they give up on me.
A lady brought me a bouquet of bright yellow flowers today. She told me they were from the chapel I used to go to when I was little (I still have flash-backs of the christmas pantomimes!). Apparently they've been praying for me. It seems like the world and its mother knows about what's going on. I don't mind really. The flowers were a lovely gesture, and though I'm not part of their faith, I appreciate that people are thinking about me.
The whole house is asleep now. Mum's in bed. Dad's fallen asleep on the sofa. I'm getting the impression they've fallen out about something, but I haven't asked, and I can't say I'd be surprised. They've been under so much pressure lately, something's bound to give. I can't help feeling responsible. All this stuff with me has given them stress they didn't need.
Even kitten's asleep on the back of the sofa.. hiding behind the cushions.
It's like the night before christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring...

Posted by Dee at 22:38 Permanent Link Comments (1)

Day 16 in the chemo house..
Woke up this morning feeling like boiled poo. Not ideal. My temperature was high and my right tonsil was really hurting. I should really have phoned the hospital, or doctors, for antibiotics, but I went back to bed instead, hoping that it'd sort itself out on its own, and next weeks chemo wont be delayed because of infection/low blood cell counts.
I got up again around lunch time. Temperature had gone back to normal, but still had achy tonsil. Still have achy tonsil now and haven't felt great all day, so if I feel dodgy tomorrow, I suppose I'd better speak to the doc.
I'm convinced my dodginess is something to do with the very late night/early morning, lack of sleep and vast amounts of punch, at Lisa's party at the weekend!
My hair's still leaving the building at a moderate speed. It's still not falling out in chinks, but I get a good handfull when I run my hands through my hair. Managed to freak a couple of people out so far with it!
I've just read an article about Gail Porter and her alopecia. It says she was scared she'd be judged, and was worried what people would thing.. "would they take the mickey and be horrible?" She says it was hard to go out in public.. it was scary to leave the house bald.
I've been wondering how long it'll take me to pluck up the courage to go out in public, when my hair's gone. And even how long it'll take me to pluck up courage to show my friends. I can't imagine it'll be an easy thing to do, but something I'm going to have to face sooner, rather than later.
I was dreaming last night, about my eyebrows falling out. there's something esle to look forward to! I used to have horrible nightmares about losing my hair. It always was one of my worst nightmares, but not something I thought I'd ever have to face.
Hmm.. not much else to say tonight. Think it's going to be an early one. I'm shattered.

Posted by Dee at 20:43 Permanent Link Comments (0)

21 de September, 2005
I Could Get Hit By A Bus Too
by Susan Frisius

You never know when you're going to die, after all, I could get hit by a bus."Since I've never known anyone who has been hit by a bus, I don't understand why friends and acquaintances often say this when I first tell them I have breast cancer. Do they think the possibility of their being hit by a bus equals the possibility of my dying from cancer? Besides, I could get hit by a bus too."You're lucky you have a treatable disease."Don't get me wrong. I'm thankful I wasn't told, "There's nothing we can do," but losing pieces of my body, having a radiation machine set off a nuclear war in my breast and getting my veins filled with toxic chemicals doesn't exactly make me feel lucky."You'll be fine because you have a great attitude."If attitude really matters, why did I get cancer in the first place? Or does attitude only matter after you get cancer? Right now my attitude about cancer is lousy. So what does that mean?"Don't worry, if your time's not up, it's not up."If that's true, why did I bother with the surgery? Should I cancel the rest of my treatments? Do doctors perform surgery and give chemo and radiation for no good reason? After all, "if my time's up," treatments won't help."I've read that anger and stress lead to cancer."Great! Now I caused my own cancer."You should simplify your life."It's pretty simple now, all I seem to do is go to medical appointments."I've read that people can keep cancer from coming back by changing their diet. Maybe you should try to improve yours since it didn't keep you from getting cancer. That's why I watch everything I eat."The person who tells me this knows I only eat natural foods, cookeverything from scratch, don't eat junk foods and rarely eat meat. "You eat white pasta," she says when she sees my puzzled look. Of course, she eats white pasta too, but calls the flour "semolina." Does she really think if I had eaten pasta with "semolina" on the label I wouldn't now have cancer?One person says, "If you really want to live, you will. Just never give up. When people give up, they die."If I were hit and killed by a bus would she think I died becauseI gave up?Another person tells me to visualize the cancer shrinking. She says, "If you really work at it, you can eliminate it."Most conversations end with "call if you need anything." I don't have the energy to call anyone - I can hardly feed myself and get to my medical appointments.Why do intelligent and sensitive people who care about me say suchthings? Can they really believe I'm responsible both for my cancer and the outcome of my treatments?I think these people want to believe cancers are caused by a person's poor emotional state or diet. This lets them think they won't get cancer because they think they eat properly and handle their lives and emotions well. Unfortunately, it also makes them feel uncomfortable around me because they're afraid they'll find out their attitudes and diets are no better than mine. So I hear, "How can you be so cheerful?" and "All that yogurt can't be good for you," and "Put your daughters in foster care, they're too stressful for you."I have no doubt that everyone I talked to about my cancer was concerned about me and wanted to help me keep a positive outlook. I'm sure they were sincere when they said, "I'd like to have you over for dinner sometime, but I know everything makes you sick," or "It's good to see you out grocery shopping, I was worried because I hadn't seen you for a while."I'm sure friends would have been happy to help if I had called them and asked for assistance. Most likely they thought they were being considerate when they didn't visit or call "so I could rest." I think they just didn't know what to do or say.So what would help me while I'm being treated for cancer?Drop in or call. The only way you'll know what I need is if you keep in touch. Remember, if I'm out in the community, I'm well enough to be out.It's when you don't see me that I need your support.Don't wait for me or my immediate family to ask you for help. It takes too much energy and I don't like admitting I can no longer cope with everyday living. When you want to help, don't ask what I need, just do it. Bring me a meal (white pasta is fine), wash my floors while I sleep, take my children to a movie, get the oil changed in my car, pick up a few vegetables for me at a farm stand, change a burned out light bulb, take my empty yogurt container off the coffee table and throw it out.Don't minimize the illness that scrambles my life by telling me about simple causes and self cures. Everything I've held important has been touched by it - my ability to raise my children, my work, my independence, my social life.Don't let your fear of hearing about cancer keep you away. While cancer has become a big part of my life, it's not my whole existence and I am able to converse on other subjects.Remember my immediate family. My cancer affects them emotionally as much as it does me. My kids and parents need their friends' support now more than they ever did.If I let you know your company is too much for me at the time, comeback. If I don't answer the phone, call again. I need to know I cancount on you because I'm temporarily unable to count on myself.If you're feeling helpless because someone you know has cancer, don't. Take them a meal and eat it with them. Talk to them as you wash their dishes. Play a game with their kids so they can hear laughter. Pet their cat until it purrs. Bring over a book and read it to them.Both of you will feel better when you take action.

Posted by Dee at 11:35 Permanent Link Comments (1)

20 de September, 2005
Hairy Maltesers
When I finally managed to drag myself out of bed this morning (after being up at 6:30, to feed the kitten!), I washed my hair.. let it dry.. ran my hands through it, and came away with a handfull of hair. Not huge clumps of hair, but much more than normally comes out, so it looks like it's on its way out now.
I knew it would most likely go, and I know it'll come back when my treatment's over, but it's still a bit of a shock to actually see it coming out. I thought I'd be more traumatised than I am, to see it starting to go. I'm sure I'll feel worse about it, the more that comes out. I'm reckoning it'll take 4 or 5 years to get it back to the length it is now, and I often wonder if I'll be around long enough to see it this length again.
So, it looks like the hats and scarves (and maybe the wig) will be put to use soon, anyway. At least they wont have been a waste of money, I suppose!
I popped into work today, to see Jan. Jan went on a date last week, with her ex husband of 30 years ago, and hasn't seen him since, until now. I think it's really sweet, and hope things work out well. That'd be a real happy ending story! :o)
.. then I bought some Maltesers on the way home.. lurrvely

Posted by Dee at 20:01 Permanent Link Comments (0)

19 de September, 2005
Tit Toes & Roodies
Monday evening and I'm bored.
I've shopped.. bought a couple of hats and stuff, for when my hair vacates my head (which I'd think will be fairly soon now). The thought of all this hair falling out, over a few days, is a bit daunting. I'm trying not to think about it too much, because in the whole scheme of things, it shouldn't matter that much.
This time next week, I'll have been to see the oncologist and had my blood taken, to make sure blood counts are high enough to have my second chemo next Wednesday.
Lisa's party was fab, on Saturday night. Just what I needed, I reckon. And what a friend.. planning the party at her house, instead of going into town, because she didn't want to drag me around town if I didn't feel on top form. Everyone should have a friend like that.. I might see what I can get for her on Ebay ;op (Love ya mate!).
When something like this crap happens to you, I think you start to see how lucky you are, in other parts of your life. I know I'm lucky to have a good family, and to have friends like mad Lisa (Dorothy tit toes).. and to have a friend who I'd only met two months before I was diagnosed, who could have easily buggered off. How many people would really want to hang around someone who'd just been told they had cancer, when they hardly know them? But I know one who did. He hung around.. came with me when I had the first tests, so I wouldn't have to go alone, dragged me out when I wanted to hibernate and flush my head down the loo, and cheered me up, admitted he had no idea of how I was feeling, but made the effort to find out about it, and stayed up until stupid o-clock, countless times, to listen to me whine (do you have the time, to listen to me whine? No?.. but you have!). I've sat here in tears, more times than I hope I'll remember, but have been cheered up, and been able to go to bed without snivveling into my pillow.
At this point, I'd like to thank my parents.. my friends.. my manager.. my kitten.. the guitar I'm still waiting for.. my pimp. Ok, so I don't have a pimp (nor a guitar!).. I do however have friends who are happy to pimp their spare rooms out! Bless' em all!!
Thank you and goodnight :o)
Posted by Dee at 19:29 Permanent Link Comments (1)

17 de September, 2005
Kittens & Mittens
The sun's out and the sky's blue! Though it's chillier this morning, than it has been.. almost time for mittens!
Mind, it could be chillier because I was up at the crack of dawn. I haven't been up so early in a while.. since I haven't been at work, which is two months now.
I decided it was time to have something to get out of bed for, so yesterday, Dillon came home! A beautiful tabby kitten. Seven weeks old today. He's so named, because 'Dillon' among other things (and depending on where you look), means 'hope, ray of light'.
Dillon slept snuggled up to me all night, until he decided it was breakfast time, at 6:30. He's been in schitzo kitten mode ever since.. he's so sweet!
Well, it's short and sweet, this morning. The birds are singing, I have a kitten to entertain and a birthday party to prepare myself for!

Posted by Dee at 08:53 Permanent Link Comments (1)

15 de September, 2005
I went wandering around the local countryside yesterday, and kept encountering Dragonflies.
I'm really not all that keen on Dragonflies.. they freak me out a bit, but thought I'd look up their 'spiritual' meaning..
Apparently Dragonflies signify a period of change.
May need some fresh air, in regard to something emotional, and may need to gain a new perspective, or make a change.
It may reflect that you are coming into a two-year period of transformation, or that an approximate two-year period of change, is about to reach its culmination.
Need to be adaptable.
Spending time outside, in the sun, near fresh water sources, will be beneficial for restoring and changing health conditions for the better.
"Life is never quite the way it appears, but it is always filled with light and colour. Dragonfly can help you to see through your illsuions and thus allow your own light to shine forth. Dragonfly brings the brightness of transformation and the wonder of a colourful new vision."
Info from 'Animal Speak', by Ted Andrews
Posted by Dee at 17:09 Permanent Link Comments (0)

The Start of Something Beautiful?
Well, seeing as this is my first blog (I think I started one a couple of years ago, but that's long lost by now!), I suppose I should write a bit of background, to remind myself, when I've forgotten who I am!
I'm Dee (Dionne, if you want to be picky). 29 years old. Diagnosed with breast cancer on 8th July 2005, after finding a lump on 20th June. Had surgery on 19th July and just started chemo.
My first chemo was on 6th September.. next one's on 28th September. If all goes to plan, the last one should be on 21st December (not that I'm counting!).
So, it's day nine in the chemo house..
My first chemo session didn't make me sick, thankfully, but I can't say I've felt on top form, since. I suppose I should be grateful for small mercies though! I'm waiting now, for the low blood count, and buggered immune system phase.. and for my hair to fall out.
I'm told my hair will begin to vacate my head two or three weeks after first chemo, so it should be in a week or two. I have long auburn/red hair, so not really looking forward to that prospect. I think waiting for it to go, is probably worse than it actually going. I've been considering shaving my head now, to get it over and done with, but it's my friends birthday party on Saturday, so I'd quite like to have hair for that. Whether I'll have the guts to shave it after that, and before it falls out of its own accord, I don't know.
I have a wig (which probably looks better than my real hair), and scarves and hats, in preparation, which I think I look a bit of a tit in, but I suppose it'll be better than showing my egg-head, and scaring the inmates!
I've had some shockingly bad days over the past 3 months, but today seems not too bad. It's raining and grim outside, but at least it's a good excuse to hibernate.
I haven't been at work since I had surgery, so that's two months. I miss my job and the people I work with, but I realised today, how much I've needed to sleep lately, and work would probably do me in at the minute.
Someone was telling me about a 'Gratitude Journal', where, every day, you write down things you're grateful for. So even when you're feeling hopelessly hopeless, you can still see some good in your life. Seems like a pretty good idea. There's nothing to lose from it, anyhow.
I bought a guitar the other day. I'm waiting for it to arrive, but I wish it'd hurry up.. I've never been very patient! Never played a guitar before in my life, so thought it was about time I attempted to learn, seeing as I've been contemplating it for years.
Right, that'll do for now..
See ya later!