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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Trip to Bolton Abbey

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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Good Days to Get Things Done

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. 

Back to School

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

On The Up

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.

Looking For Witches

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Sunday, 7 September 2014

So Much Support and Visits

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

Chemo Round 5 - Almost Done

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.