Full Stop. New Paragraph

January 1, 2013 § 3 Comments

Well today is the first day of 2013.  Another year has come and gone  – one with lots of challenges, a few tears, lost hopes and a few more endings.

I have decided to welcome the new year simply.  Reflecting on 2012 I have been very tempted to write it off as one to forget.  But when thinking about writing this blog – a few days ago – I concluded that rather than wipe the slate clean I would simply get it into perspective.   It is tough love sometimes and I guess I would put 2012 into that category.  It wasn’t just the cancer but a range of other very difficult personal and professional challenges that together made 2012 a year I was keen to draw to a close.   However, having always subscribed to the view that whatever comes our way is what makes us the people we are, I am resolved to reflect on 2012 as one of those years that in the journey of one’s life, was simply an energy sapping detour. So to 2012 I punctuate with a decisive full stop and poise the pen for the next paragraph of 2013.

Experience has taught me that luck and opportunity are things we make for ourselves.  While I am still grappling with a fussy brain,  poor memory and no hair I feel as determined as ever to make my own luck and opportunities count this year.   I remain positive that this next phase will be a good one – as I am sure many others in the world do.

2012-12-23 12.38.21

 

 

A holiday before the holidays

December 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

I’ve just had a little holiday break after my treatment.  You don’t realize how fantastic a holiday is and how much you need it until you take it !!! Even though the last few months have not involved much hard work, the ability to just get away and change the routine is itself refreshingly therapeutic.  While of course not much happens when you are  unwell, I never felt quite comfortable  doing nothing – not being pre-occupied with something ‘meaningful’.  For some reason being on holiday gives you permission to escape from all the things you usually worry about.  If nothing else – this is why holidays are a MUST !!!!  Let’s face it, the worries will be waiting when you get back (as I have found out all too quickly).  We really need to stop being so hard on ourselves.

Anyway my list of the ten best things about holidays:

  1. Eating fresh fish and chips
  2. Being anonymous
  3. You can’t get an internet connection
  4. It doesn’t matter what the weather is – you can relax whatever happens
  5. Reading the papers – from front to back over more than one day
  6. Going out for breakfast
  7. Walking along the beach
  8. Slowing down – literally !!!!
  9. Going to bed late
  10. 10. Not having to clean the house

By the way – am still bald !!!!!


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Things haven’t been too bad this week

October 27, 2012 § 5 Comments

Well things this week haven’t been too bad.  After chemo 4 I felt pretty awful for the following couple of weeks so after chemo 5 I was expecting pretty much the same. Thankfully it hasn’t been as difficult as I anticipated. My mouth is a lot better and while I get nauseous quite a bit, it is currently manageable. I also managed to get through the week taking the dreaded steroid meds – I hate these tablets most of all and for the last couple of days have left them sitting on the bench until I built up the nerve to finally take them.  If you don’t manage to swallow them all in one go they leave a dreadful taste in your mouth – so the build up is really about making sure I can get them down in one go. Hopefully that is the penultimate dose – only one more 5 day treatments after the next chemo.

The chemo smell is pungent.  It has got to the point where I think I smell all around my house. I think it is going to be one of those smells I never get rid of.  God forbid !!!!!!

With the weather warming up my body is starting to feel a bit more energised – at last.  I went for one decent walk this week and while it was pretty sedate, felt exhausted the day after.  Needless to say I haven’t done quite so much walking for the rest of this week.  Although I did do a short one today to go to my daughter’s school fete – it was about my limit though.

I’m hoping things continue to be ok over the next week – with only one more chemo to go I can see light at the end of the tunnel.  After that I’ll get a rest from al the meds for a couple of weeks and then the tests will start again to see where things are up to.  I’m almost nervous to be too positive. I have no reason to be otherwise but given how the year has played out so far, I’m a bit cautious when it comes to thinking things will work out just as I planned. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks.

Also  –  got some more hats this week.  They really are terrific. I must take some pics and share them with everyone.

Another Chemo down . . .Thank God !!!!

October 22, 2012 § 4 Comments

Today was chemo number five.  I only (hopefully) have one more to go.  I have no reason to think I will need more but with the way things have gone this year I don’t want to assume anything !!!

So today . . . well I’m glad that’s another one out of the way – even the smell of walking into the hospital this morning started to make me feel ill.  I think it is all the smells I am starting to associate with illness and chemotherapy.  I keep thinking about this time last year  when I kept thinking about all the things I had to look forward to with work, travel, relationships etc – how wrong could I have been?  I actually do find it hard to think how wrong I could have been – makes me wonder about my own judgement sometimes.

Anyway, the chemo – feel quite sick this afternoon and very tired.  I also think I sort of ‘worked myself up’ for this one – anticipating that it would be a bit more difficult. The nurses are all so lovely and supportive and have explained that it is just the build up of the chemo in my system.  They have assured me though that it is really good for the cancer, ie it kills it !!!!  I’m hoping it has and that it won’t come back – don’t want to do this again.  The funny thing about the cancer I have is that it shows signs of both slow and fast growing cancer types so until we get through the chemo and subsequent tests I don’t think I will really know where I stand.  And then, assuming I go into remission,  the next 18 to 24 months will be important in terms of monitoring how things progress.  Hopefully it won’t ever come back !!!!!

So tomorrow the community nurse comes to give me my neulasta and then its predisolone (high dose0 for the next five days  – all hopefully for the second last time.  At least now there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m looking forward to feeling better and getting on with my life.  I am hoping that all the good things that I anticipated this time last year, present themselves again.

 

Feeling Pretty Awful . . . Chemo Saturation Point !!!!!!

October 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Over the last week I have been feeling pretty ordinary.  I feel like I have reached saturation point with the chemo and drugs – and just feel sick most of the time.  I feel sick in my stomach and in my head – this funny sicky headache thing.

When I started down this track  they warned me that the last three chemo doses are likely to  be more difficult than the first few.  And they are right.   I take the anti-nausea tablets and I guess they work for a while but I wake up each day with the same awful sick feeling.  There isn’t much I feel like eating – so that’s a struggle.  The metallic taste has come back with vengeance.  I thought that by drinking heaps and heaps of fluid that I might avoid it, but alas not.  I just end up nauseous, feel like I’m eating metal and get up all night to go to the toilet.

After dose four I am also finding that my bones are aching.  I was warned this might also happen but until the last dose of chemo I have, thankfully, managed to avoid it.

I’m also having lots of weird dreams – they seem very vivid at the time but I never seem to remember the details when I get up.

So I guess this is how things are meant to be – no point complaining.  Just get on with it !!!!

Crisis of Confidence

October 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is sort of like baring my soul.  It’s been a tough, tough year – for lots of reasons other than the cancer.  So I guess it is hardly a surprise that I find myself soul searching about what lies ahead and in fact, whether I can have any confidence at all, that my luck will change.  They say you make your own luck – well, god knows what I have done to deserve some of the bad luck that has come my way over the last 12 to 18 months.  But that’s another story and not the purpose of this blog.

It really should be no surprise to anyone that when you are not well, all the things that you confident about and in control of, seem to fall away.  That has been my experience – particularly in recent weeks, and it is scary.  While I am totally confident that I will get over this illness it is everything else in my life that I worry doubt – whether I will find work after all this is over; will I be any good at what I do; what will people do if they know I have been sick? does my illness make me unemployable; will I be able to do the things I had planned in terms of travel; where will I end up; will I be able to afford the lifestyle I have – simple but comfortable; will I be able to move location as I have planned??? Lots of questions that this time last year all seemed to have answers and if not then any doubts seemed manageable.  This year I wonder and worry about most things.  I know how resilient and strong I am – I battled things just as difficult as this in the past.  But tat this very moment I am sick of having to be resilient.  And as much as I know you make your own luck, I just wish it was all a bit easier.  Getting over the cancer is one thing.  Getting over the hurdles after it and getting my life back on track is a whole other challenge that I am yet to face.

My haematologist is pleased with my progress and I am half way through my treatment.  So for all that I am so very grateful.  But I am bald, feel like I am sucking on metal, smell like chemo, have no energy, little interest in things and just plain tired – little wonder my confidence is shot !!! Sus is right.  Sometimes you just feel like you want your life back !!!!!

Chemo Three Done and Dusted

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Had chemo dose number three yesterday – but it was such a big day (over six and a half hours) that I was totally exhausted after it.  Not sure exactly why it took so long yesterday – nothing different in terms of the the treatment just slower going through the veins. I got this weird rash on my hands and torso over the weekend but after talking to the nurses about it, seems to be some mild non-related allergy.  So the advice – just keep an eye on it.  Which is I guess, all I can really do.  It has cleared up in the meantime, although left me with tiny scabby little sore things – also on the mend.  Other than that, things are going pretty well for me.  I consider myself very lucky.

Like Sus I am also looking after my diet, but nothing too special for me – more just making sure I am eating and eating good, fresh healthy foods.  I’m not a great lover of cooking so easy meals are also big on the agenda for me – lots of fresh fruit and veg, protein etc.  Have to say though, that I always enjoy anything better when someone else cooks !!!!!!  I reckon I might pop over to Sus’s for meal – her’s sound way more interesting.  Sus – you go girl – next thing we know you will be starting a food blog !!

BTW – had to get more things for the head last week.  the hats are great but with some nice spring weather, I have decided I need to extend my range to some lighter head covers.  Needless to say, chemo hats are becoming my next big accessory!!!

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