Chemo Round 6

 

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Whooo Hoo!! Last round of Chemo yesterday, and my nurse was the lovely Danielle, who was also the nurse I had on my first round at Royal Perth Hospital back in February.  So it was kind of nice to have her again for my final round.  I know the next week I will feel a bit off, but then as my white blood count starts to pick up next week,it will be a great feeling to know that I will just get better, and I will continue to get better and not have to go back for anymore Chemo rounds.  I do have Radiation Oncology next which starts in three weeks, but, I know I will be fine with that, maybe just need a nanna nap some days.

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While we were in the waiting room, I showed Allan this picture and said I may go for this look next Summer, he said I would need some work.  I thought why is it that the bulges at the top are attractive, but a big bump sticking out of the triangle at the bottom isn’t.  I guess it is the same reason that bobbly chubby little thighs on a baby are adorable, but, bobbly chubby thighs on grown women make people queasy.  I don’t think it is fair, the world has fat phobia.

maybe I should have tried a long one

maybe I should have tried a long one

I thought I would use my wig voucher from the Cancer Council, so on Thursday, the lady from Wigs on Wheels arrived pulling her suitcase behind her.  Beau asked her if she was going on a plane, which made us laugh.  Hayley and I had fun trying on her wigs, and I picked a red one for a change, although maybe I should have gone with a long one, and some makeup wouldn’t have gone a miss. Also turns out I have a petite head, which is weird, but at least I have something about me that is petite.

Meanwhile, I will be having a restful weekend, sleeping and watching You Tube.  I’m off to give myself the Philgrastim injection now.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Thank you so much for all your love and support.

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Thank goodness for Dishwashers

All I can say is thank goodness for dishwashers.  I am sorry about the environment and all, but, while I am on chemo I use my dishwasher, my dryer for all the small things, anything to make my life easier. Previously, I would rinse dishes, even give them a rub over with the brush before loading them into the machine, now I just shove everything in with stuck on food from last night when I was too tired to bother and they all come out sparkling clean. So that is good news for the future.

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My first three rounds of Chemo were fine.  I managed to ignore the whole thing as much as possible.  I had my treatment, rested up a bit, and tried to carry on like normal.  I went to everything rushed about and gave as little allowance to my body as I could.  The next half is proving to be different. Docetaxel will not be ignored, and over the last week when I have been so weak and tired I have had no option but to except the fact that I am a Chemo patient and will have to behave accordingly, resting a lot, not doing much and learning that I will just have to make the best of it.

Women tend to be the hub of the home. Even if there are only two of you.  I know a lot of men do an amazing job, but generally, Women are the nurturers, we look after our sick little ones, bring husbands chicken soup when they have the flu, and make a meal for sick friends.  We usually potter around even when we are not well ourselves and still throw a load of washing on, or a meal into the crock pot then stagger back to bed.  If Mum is laid up with a headache, the whole house is gloomy.  This is why it is so unnatural for me to lie down and give in.

I did pull myself together on Friday and made a very easy cake from Rhonda Hetzel’s blog Down to Earth

It is a Date and Walnut cake, I call it the Frizby Cake due to the events that followed. Because of my Chemo brain I had not clipped the spring form pan, so as I pulled my Golden beauty from the oven, the bottom disk complete with the cake flew across the kitchen, coming to land with two thirds of its contents in tact.  While I ran to salvage it, Poppy who couldn’t believe her good luck, ran to gobble up the other third that had scattered across the floor.  Having a dog, really saves on vacuuming.

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Place in a bowl 1 cup chopped walnuts, l cup chopped pitted dates, 1 cup brown sugar, 80 grams butter, 1 tspns bicarb soda, slirp of vanilla.  Cover with l cup boiling water.  Make sure the butter is dissolved, then mix in 1 1/2 cups S/R Flour, or all purpose flour with 1 1/2 tsp’s baking powder added.   Bake at 175c/350F till golden or when you insert a toothpick it comes out clean.  Lovely buttered with a cuppa.

embarrassing selfie

embarrassing selfie

Even though I appreciate my wig, I am missing my hair, and looking forward to seeing it grow back.  The Docetaxel doesn’t attack the hair like the first rounds, and although I have lost half an eyebrow lately, there is some regrowth of fluff on my head.  I am a little worried that it is going to be white like Allan’s.  I haven’t seen my real hair colour for years and have managed to ignore the fact that I have gotten older since I last looked. The truth may be a shock and I have to wait until I get the ok from the doctor before it gets dyed.

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Chemo ready or not

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I felt very spoilt today, Hayley came with a pre chemo present for me from her and Sarah and their guys.  Really cute, with little tags of encouragement on everything.  I feel so blessed to have the support of my family and so many friends.  I have my first Chemo therapy session tomorrow, and although I am not looking forward to it, I guess the quicker I get started, the quicker it will be over.

One of the wigs I ordered arrived this morning which was a bit of a laugh, I have named this one ‘Lucille’ for obvious red-headed reasons, and think this one will end up as my beach wig.

Hayley rocking my 'lucille' wig

Hayley rocking my ‘lucille’ wig

Chemo can have so many side effects, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, hair loss, nail loss, and mouth ulcers to name a few.   Just as three women delivering a baby may have different stories,  one may have a short labour deliver a medium-sized baby naturally with no stitches, another have a long labour, deliver a large breach baby with lots of stitches, and the third needing a caesarean after complications and a long labour.  Each person has a different experience.  Everyone’s delivery story is not the same, even if all scenarios result in a baby.  Likewise, Breast Cancers are not all the same, depending on what type of  tumour, how aggressive it is, whether it is hormone sensitive, size, what stage it is at, whether it has spread to the lymph nodes are factors determining the treatment, you will be recommended, and the cocktail of chemicals that will include.   Not everyone will get the same, and not everyone’s body will respond the same.  .  While it is very encouraging to hear that Mary’s neighbour Sue has had no ill effects from their treatment, the problem comes if you are expected to have the same result as Mary’s neighbour Sue and you can’t get off the bed after your treatment.

I won’t know what my reaction to Chemo will be until I get underway.  I would appreciate those of you who are prayers, to pray for minimal side effects, for the Chemo to do its job and for those of you who are not praying people, I still appreciate all your good wishes and encouraging comments.  Lots of Love…I will be back soon

So I can’t do a Cartwheel

Well I am certainly glad that week is over.  I could hardly get off the lounge I was so tired.  Allan dragged me to my GP who said it is just my body going into stress after the whole Cancer Diagnosis, surgery HRT withdrawal adrenaline period and so now my poor old body had crashed.  She gave me some pills to help with the HRT withdrawal and said they may make you tired, which seemed a bit of an oxy-moron since I was there because I was tired.  Anyway, I did catch up on the whole series of ‘Daring Buds Of May’ over the week, and now am feeling pretty much back to normal. Bodies are funny things like that, your mind thinks, ‘Gee, I am pretty sure I could do a cartwheel on Fremantle oval’ (true story, it was many years ago) and your body with a mind of its own says ‘I don’t think so stupid, you are too old’ and your mind was right, gravity strikes mid cartwheel and you nearly do yourself an injury.

This isn't me by the way

This isn’t me by the way

Like most people diagnosed with cancer, you can’t help wondering why your body suddenly decided to go feral and make a big tumour in your breast or wherever.  Mine had grown quite quickly, so I naturally wanted to try and change whatever situation may have contributed to it.  The cancer experts give you a list of facts they know from cancer survivors, one of which was  that low vitamin D levels may make it more likely that cancer will come back.  Years ago, I had gone to my same GP because I was tired, she had run tests and found I was low in vitamin D and so I began a course of them and felt better.  Not realising the importance of things, I didn’t bother with the follow up blood tests to see how they were going and as I was ok, stopped taking them of course.  Fast forward to this past year, where I was tired all the time to the point where I thought I had caught Chronic Fatigue Syndrome from Allan, and had only just started to think, ‘maybe I am low in Vitamin D again’ when I was diagnosed with the breast cancer.

green bag not a plastic bag

During all this exploration of facts and figures, I have discovered how at the mercy of the Food Industry we are.  We have gone from don’t eat butter to eat margarine, then margarine is bad for you, don’t eat eggs because of cholesterol to now we should have them because of the Iron and vitamin D, Don’t eat red meat, only eat organic as well as don’t drink tap water causing a huge increase in people drinking bottled water, only now they are saying plastic leaches into our food and drinks when heated (plastic bottles and containers  often sit around on hot supermarket back docks where pallets of drinks and bottled products are dropped off or heat up in hot trucks) are messing with our hormones and causing cancer.  Hence the change to BPA free, only the chemical they are using instead of BPA is a mystery which the manufacturers are not prepared to divulge.  So, now we don’t know whether or not the new ingredient is any better than the BPA.  I really latched on to the plastic thing, even though my cancer was not a hormone related cancer, and was shocked to find it almost impossible to break away from plastic.  It is used everywhere.  Our meat is wrapped in it, I cook veggies in the microwave in freeze bags, we give our kids BPA free plastic drink containers, lunch boxes, forks and plates and freeze food for reheating in plastic.  Now, it is recommended that we wrap food in foil instead, after years of being told aluminium can give you Alzheimers.  Really, what are we to do.  Maybe, we should believe the biblical view, that moderation is the best policy, and ignore whatever new food fad or wrap fact the industry is throwing at us. Anyone, got any ideas on how to break free from plastic, I think it is almost impossible in this day we are living in.  Some studies are saying plastics are safe, I would like to err on the side of caution so, am trying to minimise my use of plastic at least, and plan not to ever heat anything in it again.  What are your thoughts on the subject?

This isn't me either!

This isn’t me either!

Meanwhile, back at the Chemo lead up, I have bought some cute hats and scarves and ordered a couple of cheap wigs for fun.  I will get a good one as well, but, can always use the others as swimming caps.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

I am usually a glass half full type of person, and prefer to live my life by faith rather than fear. However, the glass half empty people have been bombarding me with depressing statistics, how many died, how many had cancers come back, as well as you may have heart problems from the chemo, lose your hair, experience tingling in the fingers, vomiting, diarrhoea etc. etc.

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Consequently I woke up this morning a bit down in the dumps, not because I could die, but because I am one of those, vanity thy name is women species and my hair may fall out.  Allan stumbled bleary eyed into the kitchen, to be greeted by a chorus of I’m going to go bald and lose my eyebrows, I will look like a boiled egg with eyes, I’ll be really ugly.  He gave me a big cuddle and said ‘how could your ever look ugly’ This gave him a big tick in his brownie point book that has seen a significant increase in entries since this cancer thing all started.  He nearly lost that point when he was helping me in with the shopping later on.  I was squeezing past the very tightly parked cars that only just fit because of the French Doors and other building paraphernalia  waiting to go into our new house, when I heard the Mission Impossible music being hummed loudly.

This is a T Shirt.  Isn't that awesome. Should have fixed the eyebrows, but they will be falling out anyway

This is a T Shirt. Isn’t that awesome. Should have fixed the eyebrows, but they will be falling out anyway

Anyway, I got onto You Tube, my favourite thing, and started watching Vlog’s on how to tie head scarves post Chemo.  There are some very innovative ladies out there, who do amazing things with old T Shirts and pant legs.  I loved Kristy Greenwood’s Video and Esther Grabow’s Video especially, so will link it for you.

Wig at The Met New York

Wig at The Met New York

When I go for treatment, I will get a voucher towards a wig.  It’s funny really that more of us don’t shave our head in this hot climate the way the Egyptians used to do.  I found this out when Homeschooling Hayley and Sarah years ago and studying Ancient Egypt.  Apparently because of the heat many of them went bald then often wore a wig the same Bob style as 60’s Pops star Sandy Shaw when they went out.  Some of the Pharaohs never let anyone paint them as fat, or they would get short shift to the dungeon.  Hence beautifully groomed perfectly proportioned Royalty on every etching.  I think some of the Social Media nuts who put up terrible pictures of celebrities they have caught troughing into pancakes when they thought no one was looking, or even pictures of their Mother or wife when she doesn’t look her best (no names mentioned) should be careful.  They may bring the dungeon rule back in especially if I have anything to do with it.