Tuesday, 13 February 2007

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)

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