The Truth Is

I was reading another girls blog about her journey so far with first a lumpectomy and then down the track when some lumps resurfaced her having a full mastectomy. I experienced what some of you must feel as you read my blog.   She made jokes and lightheartedly told how her whole breast was taken and her subsequent follow-up Chemo then Radiation.  I thought, it isn’t funny why do we joke about something so awful.  The seriousness of her situation screamed louder at me than her funny stories.  I felt shocked as I read, and felt so sorry that she had to be going through something so tough.  The truth is that any brush with Cancer is serious, and there is also a chance that whatever we had could come back and that the result may be no laughing matter.  The opposite is also true, many people go through an ordeal and many years later are cancer free and living a full and healthy life.   It is not that we are in denial and putting on a brave face,  we can’t afford to let our mind go down the what if trail.  Dwelling on a worse case scenario that may never happen is a waste of precious time that could be used more productively.  It is what it is, there is no use saying, ‘why me’ and crying in our soup, none of us knows how long we are going to be here and while we are worrying that every twinge we feel is something life threatening we could be run over by a bus. I chose to give sickness as little of my time as possible, especially this bout with Cancer, which out of over 700 months in my life has only been a part of 10 of them.  Why should I allow the minority to rule.  Life is too short I have things to do and if I feel ok, I am going to do them. Meanwhile, some people (Poppy the dog) don’t have anything to worry about.  Lazy bones here heard a dog barking on television and couldn’t be bothered getting up so she just barked where she was lying without moving from her sleeping position on the lounge. FullSizeRender-50 The past eight months since I had my biopsy have been surreal.  A bit like I was in a cocoon, dropping out of the rat race into a world of Chemo and appointments, then Radiation and more appointments.  Sometimes I would feel quite tired and unwell, and although my brain was thinking of stuff I should be getting done, I would  have to think, well I just can’t do that right now, I am too tired.  That is a very weird feeling as I would normally if I had the slightest bit of energy, force myself to go on, so this was a valuable learning thing for me, letting go of my expectations on myself and just resting when I needed to.   Having gotten off  the merry-go-round  I am hesitant to get back on.  In a way I will miss having the time to sort lip glosses and other frivolous things one does while recuperating from illness, and I can feel life sucking me back in already, as those things I left undone while I had no energy to do them are starting to catch up with me. FullSizeRender-49 Spending time with grandchildren always makes me happy.  They are just so darling and do the cutest things.  Beau wanted to help me make our scrambled eggs for breakfast, and did a good job not touching the hot pan. FullSizeRender-54 FullSizeRender-53   Meanwhile, I woke up this morning feeling better than I have for ages, so started sorting out the pantry cupboard and got some baking going.  Pizza for lunch, some no-knead bread which I had been proofing over night, and easy muffins which I bake all the time and varying the fruit and nuts I put in.   We had muffins for brunch with Plum and Ginger jam which Hayley bought from Frans Jams at the Markets where she was selling her Sweet Esscentials candles, which are divine. FullSizeRender-52 Muffins : melt 50 grams butter, then add 1/2 cup milk (you may need a little more later), vanilla, 1 egg, and two mashed bananas, stir into dry ingredients till just combined. Dry ingredients: 2 cups flour any combination (I usually use 3/4 cup white, 3/4 cup wholemeal, 1/2 cup oats) 1 tsp baking powder, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup cranberries, 1/2 cup walnuts chopped. 2 tsp’s cinnamon.  I sprinkled mine with some pumpkin seeds. Makes 12 muffins, bake in moderate oven till golden. FullSizeRender-51   Allan and I visited his Mum today, who is in an aged care facility.  She needs to be turned every few hours and is unable to do a lot for herself.  It is so frustrating for her.  The days are very long for someone whose brain is still in top form, to sit in a chair gazing out the window, having very little interaction with other people.  Her very plain and boring room is off a storage area, and even with her hearing aid in, conversations are very hard.  It made me think we need to enjoy life while we can, if you can’t walk about and enjoy a chat and cup of tea, there is not a lot to live for. We are off to Sydney in a couple of days, so I don’t know why I am sorting the Pantry out instead of packing. Check us out on Facebook:  Breast Cancer Ready or Not

Radiation Week Five

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Even though they say your skin does not get hot during Radiation Therapy, this is what happens.  It gets quite sore and itchy at the same time, like sunburn and drives you a bit nuts.  It still isn’t as bad as Chemo Therapy though, so I shouldn’t complain, only three more days after this of the all over burn, then next week they target just the spot where the tumour was, so that should settle down the burn up near my neck.

Apparently, all those freckles are here to stay, the radiation has just darkened pale ones that were already there. The girls in radiation sent me off to the nurses yesterday, a patch of skin underneath my boob had broken down.  I had not worried about it even though it was sore as I just thought everything happening was normal.  Turns out they make a big fuss which was nice, put saline soaks on it then slippery, shiny, Dermese gel to sooth it all.  The nurse made a crop top out of some disposable knickers to hold the bandages in place and sent me off home.  You really do get well looked after by everyone at Fiona Stanley, the staff have been lovely.

I don't think she trusts me now!

I don’t think she trusts me now!

They say that Chemo does effect your brain and I am sure this is true.  I let the dog back in last night after her pre-bed toilet visit, and wondered why she didn’t follow me to the bedroom.  I couldn’t sleep so after fidgeting about for a few hours, I got back up and headed out to the family room, made a drink and sat down with a book.  It was quarter to two in the morning, and very cold outside, I suddenly heard a bark at the back door.  Sure enough Poppy, who is an inside dog and not used to the elements was still out there.  She dashed in and snuggled up next to me once rescued and no doubt tried to get warm.  I don’t know what happened she must have hesitated at the doorway, while I was looking at the stars, and I  obviously shut the door in her face and proceeded to lock up and close the curtains.  Hopefully, she has learned that she needs to hurry up, or get left out in the cold.

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At least I have a bit more energy lately, and have been baking bread  regularly. These rolls are very quick to make: I adapted the Baps recipe from Rhonda Hetzel’s Down to Earth blog.

Easy Bread Rolls: mix 2 tablespoons yeast powder with 1 1/2 cups warm water and allow that to sit for a few minutes while you get the dry ingredients together.  3 cups bread flour, l teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons milk powder.  I mixed mine in my kitchen aid with the dough hook, once the dry ingredients are combined with the wet, allow the dough to knead for 5 minutes.  I shaped the dough into a round and left it covered with a tea towel for about 45 minutes.  Bang down, and roll into a sausage, cut the sausage into 8 equal pieces, then roll into eight balls and place on a tray covered with baking paper, cover with the towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes,  then bake at 220 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes.  These are nice soft rolls, great for kids lunches.

A big hello to Julie, who finished Radiation last week.  Well done!  Time to party and throw away the scarves.

Have a great weekend everyone.

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Last Rotten Week

My New Red Wig

My New Red Wig

My new Red Wig arrived, not a great picture, it is a bit flat.  But a change is as good as a holiday.  This will hopefully be my last bad Chemo week ever.  By tomorrow I should start to pick up, mouth ulcers will disappear and I should gradually get back to my old self over the next two weeks, just in time for Radiation to start.

Well, I went to visit my friend Lyn to give her a present for her birthday which was last week, and as usual I left with a present as well.  I can see why babies get attached to their special blanket.  Lyn had bought me a gorgeous pink fluffy throw to take to Chemo, as it can get very cold during treatments, only now I am finished.  Still I came home late last night and it was cold so I slipped into my bed which I had made up with fresh sheets yesterday, and wrapped my new soft pink cloud around me and snuggled into a wonderful nights sleep.  These new fabrics are so luxurious it is hard to believe they are made out of recycled plastic products.

Hayley and I headed off to see the Matinee performance of ‘Evita’ yesterday at Kwinana, which was starring our Granddaughter Hannah’s Mum Alison.  Her and brother Paul did an amazing job, so good in fact that Alison’s little niece who had come with her Grandma and us was so upset that her Aunty Alison died on stage that she started crying and didn’t stop all the way home.  I shouldn’t really have been out in a public place like that, as my blood count is at its lowest, and felt really tired by the time I got home.  I can’t seem to say no to things, and it was the last day of the show, so it was then or never.

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I also have a very small wedding at a park just down the road this afternoon, so will pull myself together in a minute, pop on some makeup and my smile and go and perform the ceremony.

FullSizeRender-33Meanwhile, the bread baking is coming along nicely, which is terrible because we usually only eat one loaf of bread in about two weeks and now bread has become number one on our food pyramid.

Check us out on Facebook:  Breast Cancer Ready or Not

Chemo Sucks

Hi Everyone, sorry this has been a over a week coming.  This last round of Chemo hit with a-vengeance.  I had two not bad days then I started having bad bone pain which laid me up over last weekend.  I had mostly prepared everything for Sarah and Jarrad arriving with their family on Monday night, so managed to potter and do the last few things.  Dragged myself up and went to an all day professional development day for Celebrants that we have to do each year or get struck off.  Came home had a lay down, then headed to the airport to pick up the family.  That was lovely we haven’t seen them since November and all of the grandkids had grown like beans.

One happy Grandad,

One happy Grandad,

The big reunion was very exciting.  Hayley who works for Coca Cola, also appreciated the advert for Coke Life which just launched this week in the background.

The timing sucks, with the Docetaxel they gave me, your blood count drops sooner at around 4 days, so tiredness sets in as well as mouth ulcers, sore fingers and toes as your nails get attacked, and the sole of my feet are sore.  So much for holidays, I usually love cooking and spoiling everyone and I am laid out like a potato on the couch most of the time.  The other night I was in bed and could smell the delicious burritos, Sarah was making for dinner.  It was a completely foreign experience for me, but, something I just have to expect for a while to come.  The good thing about it is I can hardly eat cause my mouth is so sore, so I should lose some weight.

I felt a bit better yesterday, and Sarah and I headed off to the Breast Surgeon for my three month follow up appointment, then did a bit of shopping and met Hayley for lunch as she was working at Mandurah Forum.   The Doctor was happy with everything, but, said I will probably feel tired for months after my treatment ends, and especially during Radiation which I start on 15th June.  So Happy Days!

Meanwhile, it is lovely having the family all here in Western Australia.  Beau absolutely loves Halle and has been coming here to play most days and going home exhausted.  Troy came with his tribe on Thursday and the cousins had a wonderful time catching up.

Saturday lunch time, the family headed off to the other Nanna and Grandads and I headed off to bed, and then to the hospital with severe Neutropenia, but I will tell you all about that tomorrow.