Monday, 8 December 2014
Friday, 31 October 2014
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Friday, 3 October 2014
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Thursday, 11 September 2014
Leonie had booked a couple of days of while the boys started school and on Thursday and Friday the weather was good so we spent time in the garden while the boys were in school tidying up the garden, weeding, cutting the grass and cutting back the bushes. We managed to get a lot done while the kids were in school, it's amazing what you can achieve when you don't have to pander to every whim and wish of two young children!
Doing some physical activity, although it wasn't much, took it out of me and I nap a lot in the late afternoon/early evening but at least I am managing to do something during the day. It was also pretty nice to spend some time with Leonie, just the two of us, even if it was time spent doing chores.
On Friday, Emma, Ian and Erin visited for a brew and we sat in the garden and chatted over a brew. It was good to catch up as we hadn't seen each other for a while. We also paid for our Winter Wonderland tickets. It is a night out in November in aid of Emmas two chosen charities; Rosemere Cancer Foundation and the Neonatal Unit at Royal Preston Hospital. We are looking forward to a good night out.
In the evening we got our things together for the Morcambe Cross Bay Walk on aid of Rosemere which we were due to take part in the following day. Unfortunately we got a text later on cancelling the walk due to safety reasons.
Oscar was starting in year 1 this year and Sidney was going to school for the first time and going into reception class. It was a bit manic in the morning getting them ready and although Sid was only going for the afternoon session he was excited to get his uniform on too.
We all walked to school and Oscar was getting excited to be back at school, but when we got there he started to cry as he didn't know where to go but once he was ushered in he was fine and happy to see his friends.
The three of us walked home and had a relaxing morning and lunch before Leonie and Sid went back to school with Sid. Unlike Oscar he couldn't wait to get into school and Leonie didn't even get a wave from him. I had a phone interview with Occupational Health about a phased return to work. It was a bit confusing as the women didn't want to listen to me and told me I couldn't return to work until February next year. To clear things up we went to work to talk to Karyn, my boss, and organise things between us and we argeed a phased return beginning on Monday 8th September.
We made it back to school to pick up our boys after their first day and they both really enjoyed going to school.
It seems so strange having two boys at school now, 6 years ago we hadn't planned the kids, they just happened. But I wouldn't change it for the world, I love my family and although the kids can be hard work sometimes they are great kids and this is what keeps me going through the more difficult times.
Monday, 8 September 2014
I started to feel better on Monday but still had the metallic taste for everything that I ate, although I had started to get my appetite back. It was also the last full day I would spend with the kids before their summer holiday finished. They were due back at school on Wednesday but I had an appointment with my surgeon on Tuesday.
My mum went with me to the appointment while my sister looked after Oscar and Sidney. We arrived at the hospital at 11.30 and were told there was at least an hours delay so we went for lunch in the hospital cafe, Charters. I had chips and beans and some milk as I wasn't sure if any of the meals were gluten free. After lunch we went back to the clinic and waited a bit longer. While we waited my weight was taken, 52kg, so I had lost 3kg from my original weight.
When we went in to see Mr Ball and the specialist nurse Jeanette, they were very pleased with my progress and the healing of the wound. We discussed some of my symptoms and many of them were related to the chemo treatment rather than the fact I have no stomach. They advised that I should stop taking some of the medication to help with digestion. They also mentioned that some of the symptoms would ease over time and that it would be about a year before it all settles down fully. I told them about the lack of feeeling under the scar and Mr Ball said that it should return over time but there is a possibility that it may never return.
We went back to my sisters and had a drink while the kids played before getting home for tea. It was a good day and I felt a whole load better in myself too. By the end of Tuesday even the metallic taste had disappeared too, I felt more positive from speaking with the surgeon.
Sunday, 7 September 2014
The first couple of days after chemo are really tough going this time around. It really takes it out of me and fatigue is probably the hardest to deal with, especially as I am usually quite active. I find this aspect hard to deal with and its gets me a little low. Along with this my taste buds change for about 5 days and everything tastes metallic and so it's hard to stomach (sic) food and I lose my appetite.
Luckily I have a lot of support with the boys when Leonie is at work so Thursday and Friday immediately after treatment I slept a lot trying to get over the chemo. My parents in law came over to take the kids out while I caught up on sleep on Thursday as I only manage to sleep about 4 hours at night due to the steroids.
Leonie was off on Friday so we spent time together as a family but it was a difficult day and I found myself being sick for the first time due to chemo and it wasn't very pleasant. Late on Friday afternoon our friend Lousie came over to help out too and she brought with her Rose, her daughter and her new dog Boo. We had a good evening together and we always have a laugh with Lou.
On Saturday morning I was able to sleep again as Lou looked after the kids and I only got dressed around midday. We were expecting the newlyweds Becca and Ian to visit from Reading. We went to their wedding in May and hadn't seen them since. Lou was still here when they arrived and she stayed a short while to meet Becca and Ian.
Once Lou had gone, our guests wanted to take the boys out so we grabbed a football and took them to the park. Ian and I played football with the kids but I only managed about 5 minutes before I stepped out and chatted with Becca; Ian did a sterling effort with Oscar and Sid but the boys won the game by about 10 goals, although the rules were constantly changed by Oscar throughout the game. On the way back home Becca treated the kids to some treats from the shop.
In the evening I cooked my now famous Chinese; sweet chili duck and sweet and sour prawns and followed it up with another Eton Mess. We had a few drinks and we saw the wedding photos before playing a game of monopoly; I'm not really competitive but I won quite convincingly. The following day Ian wanted to go for a run as the following week he had Maidenhead Half Marathon. I desperately wanted to run with him but settled on riding my bike. We did around 4 miles and in hindsight I am glad I went on my bike.
For lunch we took Becca and Ian to Guys and they enjoyed the food and quaintness of the hamlet, its quintessentially British. We finished off the day by teaching Oscar and Sid how to play monopoly before letting them watch the previous nights X-Factor; both the boys like Simon Cowell, not my influence.
It was a difficult couple of days but with the visitors it had been a lot of fun too. Even though it's hard to get through the first few days after chemo it makes it easier to take when you have family and friends around you. I also keep reminding myself that I am lucky that I don't have really bad symptoms when some people are really suffering, my thinking is that there is always someone worse off than yourself and I do consider myself lucky.
Monday, 1 September 2014
It seems strange but I am becoming more apprehensive about having chemo. I think this is because I know it will take a lot out of me and the illness that I feel after the treatment. After a early night we were up and ready when my mum came over to look after the boys while Leonie and I went to hospital.
We arrived and as usual were shown up to the chemo ward. The nurse, Mandy, told me that she would need another blood sample as my count from the previous day was a little low, 1.3 compared to the preferred 1.5. After taking a sample and hooking me up for hydration while we waited the results, my trails nurse, Claire and Damon, senior chemo nurse took the decision to go ahead with the chemo anyway and the treatment started.
It is such a long day and it is hard to keep upbeat for such a long period, especially when there are people in the ward who are obviously suffering from the side affects of chemo. This time we kept ourselves a little more reserved and I read a magazine and we played played cards quietly too.
In some ways the treatment is wearing me down a little and I am finding it harder to look for the positives when I feel "under the weather", but the nurses do an amazing job and keep reminding me that I only have one more session to go and then I can put all this behind me and get on. They have been great, everyone who I have met in the NHS have been so supportive and couldn't do enough for me, and for that I am thankful.
After an arduous day of chemo and a few naps throughout the day it was time to get home and see the boys. On the way I had to pick up some more prescriptions and then it was time to relax at home and prepare for the inevitable symptoms to come on.
Sunday, 31 August 2014
After going into hospital with a high temperature the next couple of days were more a case of getting back on track. The day at hospital on the IV antibiotics had really taken its toll on me and kind of knocked me for six.
I spent the following days sleeping trying to restore some energy but I found it difficult. On Friday I woke up to find I was getting another eye infection and some more cold sores, so a quick call to the doctors for some more medication and I was out to pick up some more eye drops. It looked as though I had been boxing and my eye really swelled but the infection didn't take hold like the last time, but it was still sore.
On Saturday evening we had been invited to an evening wedding reception. It was good to have plans and try to make a social occasion. I had dropped the boys off at the grandparents for the night and Leonie and I had the night off. The evening started with a few abdominal pains for me but we were soon on track for getting to Barton Grange.
We had a good night out, I didn't drink but we had fun and I even made an appearance on the dance floor. Unfortunately the food wasn't gluten free for the majority so I literally ended up with a plate of carvery meat finished off with a big bag of sweets.
The next day we were meeting the grandparents at the Ribble Steam Railway to have a look at the museum and have a ride on the train. It was a good day out and it was fun to see the boys enjoying themselves.
Monday was spent building up my energy to get ready for chemo which was to be on Wednesday. In the evening we went to Pizza Hut with the boys and when we got home we had some ice bucket challenges to complete. Leonie did hers and we had also planned that she would also do mine, especially as I had been in hospital last week and was due to have chemo. But just as I was getting ready to start filming my video, I had some severe abdominal pains again but much worse than before. After an hour of struggling with the pain it passed as quickly as it had started and Leonie was able to complete her second ice bucket challenge on my behalf, and she did a great job of both of them.
I had my oncology appointment on Tuesday to check everything was going well. I like having these meetings, as it gives me a chance to catch up with my doctor and nurses and go through any symptoms that I have as well as how I am coping with the treatment generally. Another reason I like the appointments is the fact that they all think I'm doing really well and a boost like this does wonders to helping through chemo, especially when it comes from the professionals. To finish off my day I popped into the blood clinic to provide a sample to check I am ok to have chemo the following day.
I quickly went to work where I offered to do a quick job for them as they were struggling to get it done and I went to get the boys before an early night ready for the next day in hospital.
Friday, 22 August 2014
Leonie was up and out early on Wednesday so she could have her theory test. Before she left I told her that I was cold but was happy that I had two hot water bottles next to me in bed; Oscar and Sidney.
After she left we got up and went down for breakfast. I didn't feel too good and took my temperature, it was 38.6 degrees. I took my medication and had some breakfast but I was shivering uncontrollably. Leonie called shortly afterwards to tell me she had passed her driving theory test and I told her about my temperature and shivers, she decided to rush home.
When she arrived back, I took my temperature again and it was still high so I called oncology who told me to come in as soon as possible. I arranged for my mum to drive me as I was unable to with my shivering.
When we got to Rosemere, we went up to the day unit and I was shown into a room by my nurse for the day, Liz. She took my obs and started her work; she took some blood to grow some cultures and then started me on a IV antibiotic drip.
Within about half an hour I started to feel much better. Liz continued to take my obs during the morning. I began with a heart rate of 112 and blood pressure over 130, by the time I left my obs had dropped to a heart rate of 73 (normally I'm around 50-60) and blood pressure of 115 which was more normal. My temperature also fell to around 37 degrees.
While I was having my IV a doctor came to see me and prodded and poked about my abdomen, some of the scar tissue was still sore so it hurt a little but he couldn't find any signs of infection. My bloods came back normal too. They would put the spike in temperature down to either infection or Neutropenic Sepsis; if it was the latter I would need to stay in over night so it wasn't looking good. I called Leonie to let her know.
As the day went on I got so much better and responded well to the treatment so with no signs of it being caused by infection or going Neutropenic they decided to let me go home; but not without two courses of antibiotics!
We got home about half 3 and everybody had rallied around. My mum for taking me to hospital, Leonie’s mum coming over to look after the kids, in laws were organised to look after the boys the following day to give me a break and get some rest and most importantly Leonie for looking after me and taking it all in her stride.
I had started the day in a bad way but by the end of the day I was feeling so much better, granted I was absolutely knackered but everything was under control. It was scary to go through the experience and without an explanation as to why it happened. I know that my immune system is low after chemo but I had got an infection. Perhaps it's my body saying enough is enough and giving itself a break from fighting the chemo. It actually really took a lot out of me and I was planning to rest up as much as possible over the next few days, so I won't be running this week at least.
Thursday, 21 August 2014
My mornings are pretty slow at the moment, we have some cuddles while Leonie gets ready for work. We get up when she leaves and I take some tablets. I can't eat for half an hour so we watch cartoons together; Mondays choice was Lego Ninjago. I make breakfast for the boys and then I have mine followed by more tablets. We get washed and dressed, by which time its usually past 10.
Today we decided to make lego models. We have loads of sets which are now all broken up, so while the boys played and built crazy spaceships and houses I tried to get some pieces together to build a set - this took most of my day, minus a few breaks to feed the kids and get them drinks and I still didn't get all the pieces. The kids imagination runs wild when you give them free reign with building - I love to see their weird creations. Later on Oscar wanted to play lego batman, I didn't argue so I could have a go too!
Tuesday we had planned to go out with Jacqueline, my mother in law for lunch and we went to Barton Grange garden centre. I had a nice fish pie but was still hungry so had some ice cream as well. I bought Leonie a cactus and the boys were treated to some more lego which were quickly built with excitement when we got back.
We stayed for a takeaway at the in laws, after I had picked up Leonie from work and we got off home quickly so Leonie could revise one last time before her test the next morning. She didn't feel too confident about the hazard part but her practice tests at home had been good, I had faith in her to pass.
The last couple of days I had felt good and mentioned to Leonie that I was considering running again soon. My teeth were still hurting a little but I hadn't had any other problems; I have my eating under contol, just plenty of rest. So I thought if I could try to fit in a 5k run sometime soon, I should be able to do it and get back into it slowly. I do miss running.
I called the doctor when I got up on Saturday about my painful mouth and got a prescription for some medication. I had to drive to Euxton to pick it up so combined that with a quick shopping trip to get a few bits. I treated the boys to a present of a lego plane for being so well behaved over the last couple of weeks, they really have been great and not pushed to far.
Once we were home I settled down for an afternoon of football as the Premier League started today. Everton were playing away to Leicester and I hoped we could start the season with a win, all was going well with Everton winning 2-1 until Leicester got an equaliser in the 86th minute, gutted!
Shortly afterwards Gemma, Sam, Jessica and Jack arrived and they were soon followed by Ema and Dan. We had planned to make a Chinese for everyone. I really miss Chinese takeaways. I can't eat them as they have soy sauce which I can't eat on my Coeliac diet. I had bought some GF soy sauce and duck. My sous chef, Sam, and I did a good job and we had shredded duck with sweet chilli sauce, prawns and duck with sweet and sour and all with egg fried rice, I loved it as did everyone else. This was followed up with my version of an Eton Mess, delicious.
We had a few drinks and played a few games, an angry version of pictionary - girls v boys, I think the boys won and we didn't cheat!
After a cooked breakfast Gemma and Sam left to see some family so we took Ema and Dan to Owd Nells to have lunch, my choice was a little spicy but very nice, vegetable Thai curry. We then changed a flat tyre on Ema and Dans car as a screw had found its way into the tread and then sent them on their way home as we went to get a couple more fish for our tank. This takes our fish school to 9.
Later in the afternoon we chilled out after a busy couple of days and Leonie began her revision for her driving theory test for later in the week.
My tooth was still hurting and it was painful to eat. The days are still tiring for me and sometimes its hard work looking after the kids but at least I'm on the mend, even if its a slow process, it's better than the alternative and I have to keep reminding myself of this when I have a bad day.