Friday, 20 December 2013

Brighton Meet Up

Yesterday evening I met up with some of the lovely YBCN girlies who are based in the South East. We had a lovely meal at Zizzis and a few drinks in a bar afterwards. Although some of us had only ever met "virtually" the conversation (and wine!) didn't stop flowing. Such a fab evening :-)




Thursday, 5 December 2013

Check Up

Today I went to Crawley hospital for a post treatment check-up with (the elusive) Dr Houston. As usual they were running pretty late, but thanks to the CSP breathing techniques I stayed fairly calm in the waiting room.

When I was called through I saw Dr Houston's registrar (hence the elusive comment above, think I've only ever seen my oncologist twice!) and we had a chat through how I was getting on with tamoxifen. My answer was/is pretty well tbh. I get occasional hot flushes, joint aches and hormone relate mood swings but they are all perfectly tolerable. 

Then I jumped on the couch and he tapped my back a few times asked me to take some breaths in and then I lay down and he felt both my boobs, my breast bones and my armpits. He didn't say anything but then they never do!

I have my mammogram tomorrow, then I'll be seen again in January by my surgeon (or more likely a registrar!) and then these guys again in June. So I'm seen every 6 months by the team and have annual mammograms. 

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Getting Published #2

A few weeks ago I had a few interviews with 2 journalists, one lady who works for Cancer Research and another who works for a local Brighton paper "The Argus".

They both wanted to chat to my about my story, my blog and if I would support a new Cancer Research fundraising initiative called The In Thing. Of course I was happy to chat to them as it would be an opportunity to raise awareness of BC in young people and also to help with fundraising for Cancer Research.

 
I've just found out that the story has been published, it's a pretty long article so I'm really chuffed.
 
Article Here and Here
 

50,000 Page Views

 
 
Super excited that this blog has just hit 50,000 page views, thank you everyone for reading and for all your messages of love and support :)

Monday, 23 September 2013

Willow Weekend

 
Rob and I have just got back from our fantastic weekend away at Longleat Center Parcs provided by the amazing Willow Foundation and what a lovely, relaxing treat it was.

 
 
Back in April I found out that my request for a "Special Day" had been granted by Willow (you can read my blog post about it here) and over the next few months Zoe (my special day co-ordinator) kept in touch arranging our fab weekend with us. We booked it for September so that we would have something later in the year to look forward to after the summer.
 
We drove down in Beppe to Longleat on Friday (past Stonehenge - amazing in the mist!),



arriving late afternoon and checked into our perfectly located lodge complete with log fire :)
 
The whole weekend was spent having nice walks, relaxing, reading in front of our log fire, swimming, going round and round in the rapids and having some lovely food - Willow even paid for us to have a meal out (we went for Tapas!).
 
I've even discovered a new talent this weekend - I'm a demon at Crazy Golf! I kicked my husband's butt by over 20 points!

 
Thank Willow, we had a truly wonderful time :)
 
 
 
 
 
For Willow's Facebook page click here
To follow Willow on Twitter click here

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The CSP

Today (July 3rd)  I attended the first session of an 8 week course (Wednesday evenings) called The Cancer Survivorship Programme

I'm looking forward to the programme because I, like so many cancer patients felt lost when my treatment plan finished. When you have your diagnosis, your treatment, appointments, check-ups etc, although obviously it's a horrendous time; you are swept up in everything that's happening. Once all that stops, it's a case of stopping and thinking "holy crap, did that really happen to me" and that can be a pretty overwhelming thing. There is also the non-stop fear of thinking that every ache and pain (that you would have ignored or thought nothing of before) is the cancer coming back.

The CSP helps you to deal with these fears, and also teaches about nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, mental imagery and other techniques. Although I realise that I may not agree with everything that is going to be taught, I am going into it with an open mind and looking forward to what I can learn.

Week 1
Tonight's session was just an introduction to the programme, next week is when we'll properly start.


Week 2
Following on from I attended week 2 of 8 tonight. This week it was all about Stress Identification, Assessment and Management.

Week 3
Today's session was all about Mindfulness, is was really useful and I will definitely be putting some of the techniques into practise.

Wiki Link to Mindfulness description

A good phrase I got taught (from someone else not The CSP) which really captures mindfulness for me is: Don't Borrow Tomorrow's Sorrow. Sam said he was going to add that to the next lot of course slides which is fab :)

Week 4
Today's session was all about Mindfulness again. This time about Affirmations and Progressive Muscle Relaxation.


Week 5
Tonight's class was all about guided Mental Imagery and Goal Setting. Both of these are things I do in everyday life anyway so I think for me these will be fairly straightforward to get the hang of.


Week 6
Tonight's class was a continuation of last week, we looked in more depth at Guided Mental Imagery.

Week 7
Tonight we looked at "The Anti-Cancer Lifestyle". So we examined the right foods to eat, what to eliminate from our everyday life, cancer fighting foods that we should be eating in abundance and the things that are best to avoid. This was the session I was perhaps most nervous about as I didn't want to be told, if you eat this you will get cancer. It wasn't at all like that though, Sam taught us that our bodies are like a balance/scale and all we need to do is tip the balance in favour of the anti-cancer. So if we can only add one good thing and eliminate one "bad" thing then the balance is tipped in the right way.


Week 8
Tonight was a the final class. It was a continuation of last week and we also looked at the role of exercise.

If anyone would like any of the workbooks from the course, please drop me an email and I will send them to you xx

Saturday, 31 August 2013

....Gone tomorrow

Today my friend Carrie shaved her head for Little Princess Trust.
 
 
and this is her now.....
 
 
 
 
 
Carrie you rock! 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Hair Today...

Tomorrow my friend Carrie will be shaving her head to raise money for The Little Princess Trust.
 
This is what her lovely long hair looks like at the moment:
 
 
She even got a write up in the local paper (even though they got the date wrong!)
 
 
So if you can spare any pennies (or pounds) for this amazing charity, please Click Here
 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Check-Up Time

Today I had a check up at East Surrey Hospital.

It's about 6/7 months since I had my second WLE and although I was feeling very nervous about the appointment, I was able to use some of the breathing techniques that Sam had taught me at my CSP course so I was able to calm myself down.

Of course when I got to the hospital they couldn't find my notes and the appointment was 45 minutes late (despite being at 09h45 in the morning) so they were really testing my resolve!

When I did get seen it was a huge relief. They asked me a few questions about how I was coping with tamoxifen and then got my to take my top off and lie on the bed.

The doctor then felt my armpits and my right and left boobies. He said everything felt fine (and a follow up letter said that my breast felt "unremarkable- charming!)

They don't want to see me again until December when I'll have my first mammogram.

Hooray :)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Spiders & Lymphoedema

Yesterday whilst walking Fagin in the woods I got bitten on my elbow by a spider  :( Ouchy!
 
I used some antibiotic cream and took an antihistamine but when I woke up today my arm was hot, bright red and swollen. Because I had an SNB during my operation I am at risk of something called Lymphoedema. Therefore I made an emergency appointment with the GP and got prescribed a week's worth of antibiotics (they are the size of horse pills!)
 
 
Lymphoedema is something that I had never even heard of before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As soon as I did hear about it I was really scared that I would get it.
 
Let me explain a bit more.. Lymphoedema is the swelling that develops because of a build up of fluid in the body's tissues. This happens when the body's lymphatic system isn't working properly and cannot drain fluid away.
 
After treatment (surgery and/or radiotherapy) for Breast Cancer, the areas most at risk are your arm, hand and armpit (axilla). This is because during surgery you have 1 or more lymph nodes removed to test for spread. The more lymph nodes removed, the greater the risk of lymphoedema. Around 25% of people who have had BC surgery will develop it. As I had an SNB, my risk rate of developing lymphoedema is around 10%.
 
Unfortunately there is no cure for lymphoedema so the best idea is to try to reduce your risk of getting it in the first place. This is easier said than done which is why it is something that worries me so much.
 
 
Tips for Reducing Risk (taken from BCC):

·         Gentle exercise such as swimming or walking will keep your joints supple and is important for lymph drainage.

·         Look after the skin on your ‘at risk’ arm.

·         Try not to use very hot or cold water.

·         Avoid very hot saunas or steam rooms.

·         Avoid having your blood pressure or blood samples taken from your ‘at risk’ arm.

·         Avoid having deep-tissue massage to your ‘at-risk’ arm.However, there is no need to avoid massage altogether.

·         Try to avoid cuts, scratches, insect bites or stings on your ‘at risk’ arm.

·         Avoid biting your nails.

·         Avoid getting sunburnt.

·         Take care when removing unwanted hair in your armpit. Using a well maintained electric razor is the safest method. Waxing is not recommended because it can cause damage to the skin and might increase the risk of infection.

·         Avoid constriction around the arm and armpit from tight fitting bras, sleeves and clothing or heavy shoulder bags.
Ensure watches, rings and bracelets are not too tight.

·         Try not to strain with activities such as pushing or pulling, digging the garden or heavy lifting such as carrying heavy shopping bags.

·         During long journeys, gently exercise your arm as much as possible. If you are standing on a train or a bus, try not to hold on with your ‘at risk’ arm.
 

So as you can see there are loads of things to avoid! When I got bitten by the spider I started to panic a bit but got antibiotics pretty quickly so I hope I have done enough to minimise my risk. Since doing some more research though, I have learned that even if you do do any of the things above, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will get lymphoedema, just as some people who don't do any of the things above may develop it anyway. It's all down to the individual's drainage system. 

If you notice any changes to your skin, signs of swelling to your arm, hand or chest wall, redness or infection then contact your GP. They will prescribe you antibiotics or refer you to a Lymphoedema Nurse.

As I said before, there is no cure for lymphoedema but it can be managed through:

Compression Garments
These work by:
  • compressing the swollen tissues and stopping fluid from building up
  • helping to move fluid to an area that’s draining well
  • providing support, which allows the muscles to pump fluid away more effectively
  • applying more pressure in certain areas to encourage the fluid to drain.
These aren't all horrible tan colours thankfully:


Specialised Massage
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Simple Lymphatic Drainage

Limb Positioning
Info from Macmillan

Lymphoedema does sound stressful but manageable and thankfully there are some really helpful sites out there:

The Lymphoedema Support Network
The British Lymphology Society
Macmillan

Fingers crossed my antibiotics do their job!





 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 


Thursday, 11 July 2013

Modelling Debut

 
 
This evening I was a model in a Charity Gala Fashion Show, the proceeds of which went to The Olive Tree

 
The evening took place at a lovely pub called The Green Man in Partridge Green near Horsham. I arrived and sat in a lovely sparkly roofed marquee with 8 other ladies who attend the Olive Tree and waited for the stage and catwalk to be set up! About an hour later we had our make-up and hair (yay for having enough hair to do something with!) done - proper pampering - and then headed back stage to organise our outfits.
 
All the clothes for the evening came from La Vida Boutique. I had been over to the shop earlier in the week to try on different clothes for the different themes, I had 6 outfits to model. You can see them in the photo below:
 
 
We've been told that we'll be sent some photos of us actually wearing the clothes so I'll put some up here when I get them :)
 
I modelled 4 different outfits (including one mega tight body con dress!) to start with and then we had a sit down meal with the guests who attended the show. I was careful not to eat too much dinner because I knew I had a super tight white dress to wear as my final piece!
 
The whole evening was really good fun and most importantly of all (other than lots of money being raised), I didn't fall over!
 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Coughs and Sneezes

I've had a persistent cough now for about 3 weeks. Lots of people at work have it too but given everything I thought I'd go to the docs.

I went over first thing this morning at 08h15 and got given an appointment at 9am. Doc examined me and said chest seems normal (and told me that there are a lot of viral coughs going around at the moment), but given my history wanted me to have a chest x-ray anyway.

I asked when it was for and she said they could fit me in immediately at the hospital. Drove there, waited 5 minutes and had x-ray.

Now I have to wait a week for the results. I so hate the waiting game but am blimmin impressed with the NHS' efficiency this morning!


 
 
Update: Called the docs for the results of my chest x-ray. Receptionist said notes on system say "satisfactory result. No further action required" Hoooooray!

Monday, 8 July 2013

Little Princess Trust

On the 31st August my friend Carrie is shaving her head for charity. It's not just any charity either, she's hoping to raise money for and also donate her lovely long hair to The Little Princess Trust.

The Little Princess Trust provides real hair wigs (free of charge) to children who have lost their hair through illness, most often chemotherapy. This is where Carrie's hair will be going, it will be turned into a gorgeous wig for a child going through hair loss.

Having gone through the this trauma myself, I obviously know what a horrible time this can be. So providing some comfort to children though free wigs is a really great thing.

If you can spare any pennies (or pounds) to help Carrie with this fantastic charity then please do so by clicking here


Monday, 24 June 2013

Proud Photo Moment

I have been taking part in something called fmsphotoaday since the start of this year.

You can read what it's all about here.

Basically, each day you have a word which is a prompt and you submit a photo based on that prompt. You join in via Instagram (I'm jellytot1983 if you want to follow me), via the Fat Mum Slim Facebook Page and the FMS Photo a Day Facebook Page. There isn't a "point" to it as such, it's just a bit of fun, looking for inspiration in the world around you. There are 8,000 members of the FMS photo a Day page, 431,151 members of the Fat Mum Slim group and loads of likers on Instagram.

Every day Chantelle (who was the founder of fmsphotoaday), chooses a "Fab Four" (4 from her Fat Mum Slim page and 4 from Instagram) and then posts these on her site.

On Saturday the prompt was "Enjoying Life" so I thought how very apt given it was my cancerversary so uploaded my candle photo to the different pages above.

I'm proud that as of this moment, on the FMS page, my picture has 485 likes and that my photo was chosen to be in the Fab Four!!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Cancerversary

Today is my cancerversary. 

A year ago today my world crumbled when I was told the life changing words "I'm sorry to tell you that you have breast cancer". As of today I've made it through chemo, two operations and radiotherapy. 

As I blow out my single candle, I'm proud to say I've beaten BC, that I have this blog with 37,300 pageviews from 70 countries and that I've met some truly amazing people.  I will always be grateful to those of you who supported me through such a horrible time xxx

         

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Race For Life

Last year, 2 days after being diagnosed I ran Race for Life & with people's generosity & kindness I raised over £1,500. This year I have decided not to take part as I'm not emotionally ready but a good friend Hayley & a group of her friends are running. If you can spare any pennies (or pounds) to go towards this amazing charity then please click here
                  

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sexy Stockings

As part of my blog stats, I get to find out which keywords people have typed into search engines to reach my blog.

Just found that someone typed the following into a search engine:

site:blogspot.com "sexy stockings"

I wrote "Sexy Stockings" in an ironic way when I was talking about the hideous anti-DVT socks you have to wear during surgery....

Guess my blog wasn't quite what they expected to come up in the search engine!

#ComedyPervSearch

These are hot!
 

Monday, 20 May 2013

6 Weeks Check-Up

Can hardly believe it's 6 weeks since I finished radiotherapy, blimey. Anyway, 6 weeks post-rads you have an appointment with your oncologist who looks after your radiotherapy. It's basically to check you skin is okay, not inflamed or broken in any way.

Rob & I drove to East Surrey, I had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach the whole way. I knew I wasn't having any scans or anything but it was just the association with the hospital.

I went into the waiting room and as usual they were running 1/2 an hour late which did nothing to help my nerves.

Dr Zap then called us into his room and we had a chat and then he examined my skin. He said it looked really good and healthy with no signs of burning or irritation - hooray.

Silly Game: Help Dr Zap Kill The Cancer Cells

Friday, 26 April 2013

Scalp Cooling Petition

I had an email through the other day that went like this:


Hi Jo;
I've been reading your blog and am in awe! You are a true inspiration!
I am currently raising awareness of a national petition for scalp cooling to be the standard treatment for all cancer patients. Was scalp cooling mentioned to you?
Have a look at our website and see if it's something you would be interested in helping us raise awareness for :)

If you would like to sign the petition then please do via the link above.

I was lucky enough to be offered the Cold Cap (Beautiful(!) picture here) but unfortunately for me it didn't work. I hadn't realised that Cold Capping was not standard practice and just assumed that it was offered to everyone.

Cold Capping machines are very expensive and I was lucky enough that Comet Ward had a fantastic fundraiser who raised enough money to buy a machine.

Some oncologists are also not convinced by (and therefore don't offer as standard) Cold Caps as they believe they increase the risk of scalp mets. Basically Cold Caps stop the drugs working by reducing the temperature so mucho that they don't work in that area. Therefore attempting to save the hair follicles. Therefore if there are secondaries in the scalp, they would not be treated by the chemo.

I can understand that some people would prefer NHS money spent on other things but I do think that people should be given the choice whether or not they would like to use the cap.

It's a difficult debate but I think in the end, it all comes down to freedom of choice.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

I'm getting married in the morning!!

Can't believe it's finally here, bring on the next chapter of my life :)

Here's a fab poem from Colette:

Jo Cugley is a lovely girl and soon to be a Clarke
She loves nothing more than time with Rob and hearing Fagin bark
Her world was shattered when last June she was diagnosed aged 28
But she's got through her treatment and now she's looking great.

She's helped so many people with tips on her fabulous blog
From hair loss, nails and skin care to spending less time on the bog
From vugs, to spoons, to the Olive Tree, it's a fascinating read
And for those just starting treatment it's a comforting place in their hour of need.

She's also a clever cloggs and beats her friends at WWF
I must remember that's a word game and not blokes in shiny pants with a ref
She deserves some fun and happiness after all the bloody stress
So it's lovely to hear, in her wedding dress, that she feels like a princess.

We wish you and Rob a marriage filled with love, laughter and fun
And who knows with some luck maybe a daughter or son
So Jo enjoy your special day as it will be here very soon
And have a brilliant time together wherever you end up on honeymoon!

And one from the bridesmaids

Man I feel special!





Friday, 19 April 2013

Girls on Film

Today my BCN Carol & a guy from Medi -Home came to film me!

 
Basically my hospital and Medi-Home are up for an award because of the good work they do in allowing people to go home after surgery. I had Medi-Home visit me after both my WLEs and it was so nice knowing in advance of surgery that I wouldn't be staying overnight in hospital.

They wanted to film me for a video they have put together as part of their nomination for the award, so when they turned up, I thought they were going to ask me questions but I was just expected to talk! Somehow I did the spiel in one take and they were happy with what I said so that was that!

If Medi-Home & East Surrey win the award then I'll be shown as part of the video!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Willow Foundation


Through one of the forums for Younger Women with Breast Cancer that I am a member of, I found out about an organisation called The Willow Foundation.

Willow Foundation is a national charity established in 1999 by Bob Wilson and his wife as a memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged 31. The charity receives no government or lottery funding and is totally reliant on the generosity of individuals, companies and trusts to fund its work.

WF provides 'Special Days' for seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds through the provision of special day experiences. The idea behind it, is that the special day provides beneficiaries and their loved ones with a break from the realities of their diagnosis and treatment. At a time of uncertainty, spending quality time with family and friends can help restore a sense of normality, boost confidence and create precious memories for the future.

Reading the eligibility criteria on their website & talking to my BC Forum friends I realised that I was eligible to apply, so I downloaded the form from their website. Once I'd filled in my section, I had to get a medical professional to fill in another part (my BCN Carol kindly did this for me) & then posted it off.

Today I found out that my application has been accepted! Yahoooooo! Rob took the phonecall when I was at work so I don't know very many more details and I have to call them back next week to start organising my Special Day :-)


Click here for Willow's Facebook page
Click here to follow Willow on Twitter

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Rads Recap - Week 5

Only 2 sessions this week, then it's all done! Had a fab long Easter weekend, my second hen do, Cream Tea at the Hilton Green Park & then onto the Below Zero Ice Bar London

Tuesday - No session on Monday as was Easter Monday. Today they were running an hour and 15 minutes late - yawn! Still it was a boost again so over nice and quickly. I am getting a few stabbing pains around my scar now but this is apparently completely normal - just annoying!

Wednesday - The last one is done - YAAAAHHHHOOOOOOOO!!! Yes there was over an hour delay but I don't care coz I have finished active cancer treatment!!!!! :-) Today is also my fiancé's 30th birthday - what a good day!!!!


Rads Radio

So I've spoken to a few girls who have had rads already and they all mentioned I should listen out for the music played each day in the rads room. It's all down to the radiographers choice so some people have had rock and others have had elevator music.



I thought it would be like a countdown type thing if I kept a record of what is played in the rads room each day.

So here goes starting with yesterday's choice of.....
  1. You Don't Know You're Beautiful - 1D (Ironic as I felt really beautiful lying in an awkward position with my boobs out to the world #sarcasm)
  2. Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri
  3. Summer Sun - Texas (which contains the line "Here comes the Summer Sun, he burns my skin" #irony....)
  4. Beautiful Day - U2 (it was sunny yesterday, today was peeing with rain so not such a beautiful day!)
  5. Marry You - Bruno Mars
  6. I Just Called to Say I Love You - Stevie Wonder
  7. Day 7 was cancelled because of the snow! Booooo
  8. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
  9. Today there was radio silence - no music :(
  10. Cheers (Drink to That) - Rihanna
  11. No music again today!
  12. They love a bit of Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (again!)
  13. Beneath Your Beautiful - Labyrinth & Emeli Sandi (Like the song but the grammar offends me! #GrammarNazi) 
  14. Big Big World - Emilia
  15. Cleopatra's Theme - Cleopatra (old school!)
  16. Come Away With Me - Norah Jones
  17. Radio Silence today as was in a different room and being marked up for my boosts.
  18. Hot Right Now - DJ Fresh - Pretty dance inducing music seeing as you're supposed to be lying as still as possible!
  19. The Lazy Song - Bruno Mars
  20. Vertigo - U2
  21. The Final Countdown - Europe (what a tune to finish with!!)

Give Hospital Car Parking Charges the Boot

Many cancer patients face lots of unforeseen expenses as a result of their diagnosis.
 
In 2010 the government recommended that regular visitors to hospital should receive free or, at the very least, concessionary parking.
 
Despite this, cancer patients face a lottery with some hospitals providing free parking whilst others charge up to £3 an hour.
 
Macmillan are currently campaigning to make car parking charges free for cancer patients. Over 18,000 people have already backed their campaign to stop this unfair tax on illness.
 
Can I ask you all to take 2 minutes just to sign the petition by clicking here

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Mike's Marathon

My friend and work colleague Mike is running the Brighton Marathon on 14th April in aid of Macmillan.
 
 
 
 
If anyone can spare a few pennies (or pounds) to go towards this fantastic charity it would be very much appreciated.
 
Please click here to sponsor Mike - thank you very much :-) x

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Rads Recap - Week 4

Got back from my fab hen weekend, totally shattered but haven't laughed so much in ages - Thanks girls!


Monday - Anyway, back to normality of sorts today. Mid-afternoon appointment so wfh'd around it which was good as meant I could be a bit dozy! Am starting to really feel the fatigue now with lots of travelling every day. Luckily today's appointment was only 15 minutes late. It's also the last of the DIBH rads today as tomorrow I move onto the boosts.

Tuesday - Today I had my first of the boost sessions. Was an early appointment & I was actually seen earlier than my appointment time! As I don't have to do the DIBH on the boosts (the rads machine is just aimed at my scar instead of the whole breast) it was a much easier and quicker process. I got in, laid on the bed with my arms behind my head, had a few dots drawn around my scar and then the rads machine came close to my scar, made a noise for about a minute and I was done. 4 to go!!
After my appointment I had a catch up with Dr Zap's Registrar who had a look at my skin. She was very pleased with how it looked and said that as long as I keep moisturising with my Aqueous Cream(this is the cream that is recommended as a moisturiser to use during and after your treatment. It does not react with the radiotherapy. It is available to purchase from all chemists and some supermarkets - I got mine from Boots) then I should be lucky in that my skin won't break. Fingers crossed!

What the new machine I'm being treated on looks like:


Wednesday - Nice and quick today, no breath holding, just zapping the boost on my scar area. 3 to go!


Thursday - My skin is definitely more pink now & I'm super tired. It's good to have the long Easter weekend as a rest :-) Only 1/2 hour delay today. 2 to go!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Rads Recap - Week 3


So the magazines in the rads waiting area are kinda old.....

Yes that does say August 1996!!



Monday - Delayed by 50 minutes today. I've started to go a bit pink and sore now. I'm half way through though (Hooray!) so have expected this. I'm using Aqueous Cream 3 times a day so fingers crossed my skin doesn't break.

Tuesday - An hour and a bit delayed today - the waiting is SO boring because once you have the treatment, it's done within 10 minutes. Am really, really tired today as well, think it's starting to catch up with me. 

Wednesday - Massive delays again but at least I can see the end in sight! Fatigue is really catching up  with me now. So tired I had to have a nap when I got in!

Thursday - Feel more refreshed today but going to work, to radio & then home is really tiring. Rads perfectly on time today

Friday - Early one today as am off to airport in an hours' time to go on my hen weekend :-)




Saturday, 16 March 2013

Guest Blog Post

Back in February I was contacted via this blog by a man called Cameron who asked if he could write a guest post for my blog:

Hi Joanna,
Thank you so much for your response! I came across your blog and really identified with some of your writing. My name is Cameron Von St. James and my wife was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly cancer called mesothelioma. Normally when diagnosed with mesothelioma, a person has a life expectancy of about 3-12 months, but after intense treatment and recovery she is still here over 7 years later. There are many steps to take as a caregiver when dealing with any type of harmful disease. Would you allow me to write an article for your blog about my personal experience as a caregiver to my wife? We struggled through so many hardships during this tough time, but found a way to make it through. I'd love to share our story of hope with your readers who might take something away from it. This is an important message to get out there so please let me know if you would be interested in seeing it and sharing it with your readers.
Thank you for all you do in making a difference,
Cameron

I know that what he is writing about is not about Breast Cancer but as I have such a strong readership base & number of pageviews, if I can help spread his message then why the heck not!

Please see below for Cameron's post:

Being a Caregiver to My Wife Strengthened Me

I will remember November 21, 2005 for as long as I live.  This was the day that my beautiful wife Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.  This cancer shook our small family to the core when we received the news of Heather’s diagnosis.  It came at such an unexpected time because everything had been going great.  We were just celebrating the arrival of our daughter Lily three months earlier.  Whatever joy we had at the birth of our daughter was cut short by this tragic news.

At a time when we had planned to be preparing for the holidays, we were seeking out treatment options for Heather.  We could go to a local university hospital, an excellent regional hospital, or to a mesothelioma expert in Boston.  We chose the expert in Boston, Dr. David Sugarbaker, because we wanted someone who had extensive experience in treating this form of cancer.  All we could do is pray that he would be able to help Heather.

Heather was struggling with worry and I also was trying not to fall apart.  I had a few moments where I nearly gave in to panic, but I mustered up as much courage as possible and made a determined commitment to be the best caregiver for her.  By becoming her primary caregiver, I had taken on a huge responsibility, and I never could have done it without invaluable support from wonderful family members and numerous caring friends in the community.

I stayed by Heather’s side as she went through seemingly endless rounds of surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.  A few times, I just sank to the floor and cried and gave in to my worries and fears.  But somehow, we managed to make it through even the worst of all these events and Heather is now cancer-free. It has been over seven years since the mesothelioma diagnosis, and she remains happy and healthy to this day.

We are so grateful to people who so generously gave their support and time to help us make it through this terrible ordeal.  I also learned a lot about being a caregiver and about sacrificing for someone else.  My experience in being a caregiver strengthened me and gave me much more confidence about what I could do and what I could handle.

I ended up going back to school once Heather’s recovery was complete.  I studied Information Technology and I even had the privilege to give the graduation speech for my class.  I know that being a caregiver to my wife equipped me to take on other challenges in life, and I shared these lessons with my classmates in that speech.  Now, I hope that by sharing my story with others, I can help them in their own battles today.

Update: 03/07/2013:

Hi Joanna,
How have you been? I just wanted to reconnect and let you know about a project that my wife and I are involved in that I thought might interest you. Heather and I participated in a short video about her cancer experience, and I thought it would make a great follow up to the article of mine that you posted a while back. We’re hoping to use this video to continue to spread hope and awareness to those who need it. If you wouldn’t mind sharing it with your readers, Heather and I would be so grateful. Here is the link to the video: www.mesothelioma.com/heather
Thanks again for your help! I hope all is well.
Cameron