I had cancer, then I didn't, now I have it again - my thoughts are my personal words that flow when I log in. They assist me in my first instance in getting my thoughts flowing and down on virtual paper - Secondly to get friends and family in the loop, not so they don't have to ask me any awkward questions just so they are informed enough to know what to say to me and pray for the right things - As a public blog, anyone can read it - hoping it will assist others through their own challenges.
I had some lovely compliments about how gorgeous I look in my new suit....Unfortunately I have had to come clean and admit to being a fraud...The picture below is one of me a few months ago when I used to ride the beast that is Miranda...Unfortunately too cold and dangerous to ride with chemo head so she is locked in the shed nice and warm for the winter! The other bloke was a chap in the catalogue where I brought my new suit from!
Diarrhoea = Pain = No sleep = hours of quiet contemplation
Seriously, it is10.30am on Friday morning and I have a planned trip to town to pick up my prescription, do a bit of shopping and post off a package...what with the nuclear fall-out I wont be doing any of it.
I did utilise some of the time awake in a more constructive way by buying a suit...When I became ill, when all the test results were in and I had lost about 5 stone, some through exercise and diet and some through the cancer, I had some really nice clothes including a dinner suit and a couple of reasonably new business suits. I was quite proud that I had given them away to a big bloke somewhere close to Matlock.
I returned to work at RR Donnelley LTD in the spring 2010 (If I recall correctly) and had to leave again a couple of months later. I'd brought another suit under false pretences.
My niece Emma's wedding is fast approaching in several weeks time....I have the enormous honour to do a reading, 1 Corinthians and thereabouts. I tried the suit on late last night and for some reason the suit has shrunk to the size of an old Norman Wisdom suit.
Luckily time is on my side so ordered a nice 3 piece suit (not a sofa and two armchairs). It also has an unusual lilac lining, which actually looks really nice. I will get you all a picture of me at the wedding - I'll bet you can't wait...LOL
Yesterday, I ventured into Matlock to do some shopping from 3 different shops at opposite ends of the High Street. Usually my walking or even driving pace would have completed the tasks in under 10 minutes. My new slow pace of life had my tasks completed in just over 90 minutes. Also due to the slow pace I bumped into Barbara D where we had a quick chat. I plodded across the road and round the corner came Barbara N who's husband John has advanced cancer so was able to give her a Tony hug and ask how she was.
I turned the corner and bumped into Grayden D who's wife Barbara D I had seen only moments before...they both invited me separately to the Peli Deli for a coffee which I unfortunately had to decline due to a pain in the arse and fatigue from the slow plodding! My final resting place was the Co-op where whilst plodding past the veggie counter I bumped into David W...as a bearer of bad news he informed me that his lovely wife Marie was again in hospital after suffering from another stroke. David and I spoke for sometime and then went our separate ways to complete our shopping.
I finally got home after plodding around Matlock Town centre and thoroughly enjoying the slower pace of my life as it is at the moment...Without the greatly reduced speed I wouldn't have met those lovely people as no doubt I would have been too busy to see them let alone stop and chat!
Some of you may be aware that my eldest daughter Catherine is planning to get married to Mark in the Dominican Republic in October, this year.
I have just called a company that someone noted on Cancer Research Chat....I spoke with Harry (http://www.insurecancer.com/) who took down a full history and I have ascertained the following details...
1) As the wedding is in October 2012, there is much that can happen between now and then. As I am just restarting my chemotherapy treatments I will have to demonstrate 'fitness to travel' nearer the time.
2) An assessment will need to be carried out by my oncologist around September 2012 after which a decision will be made whether they can give me a quote for travel insurance.
3) We have just paid a minimal deposit, however the balance of the holiday will need to be paid in July 2012.
4) Whilst not a formal quote Harry advised that I would have to prepare myself for a quote of above £1000 due to the fact I am on active treatment and at such an advanced stage.
5) Harry did say that Barcelona would be a cheaper option but not quite the same...
So, if anyone has any further advice on the above points especially the catch 22 dilemma between 2) & 3) or maybe some alternative Insurance Companies that specialise in Cancer Travel then I would be grateful.
On Saturday I went down to London a drive which took me nearly 6 hours to see my two friends from Cancer Chat Carole (Dizzie) and Lisa (Shents).
I didn't know how I would feel when I met them face 2 face for the first time but I was excited and slightly nervous. As I pulled up James (Carole's eldest Son) and Leanne were just coming down the road. I recognised him instantly from Carole's blog http://caroleandcancer.blogspot.com/ and called out to him asking where I could park....From that moment on I was not nervous at all everything seemed so natural.
When I got inside and hugged Lisa and Carole we chatted like old friends and I realised there and then that over the past 2-3 years we had all grown to be great friends.
Tom (Lisa's son) and DJ (Carole's son) were both playing the Xbox like old mates too. We all sat down with a cuppa and chatted for several hours about everything. Sarah (Carole's Sister) and her partner Manolis came round so again it was lovely to see them as we have chatted online for a while.
We all had lunch together, Carole bought us all chicken and chips from the shop round the corner which were followed by lovely doughnuts which I picked up along the way.
I think sometimes on-line friendships can turn out to be different when you meet people face 2 face but everyone was exactly as I knew them.
These two ladies have helped me enormously over the past few years and by reading their blogs I understand exactly how tough things have been for them Lisa writes amazingly well and even had her first blog http://keepyerhairon.blogspot.com/ made into a book she now has thankfully shaken breast cancers clutches and continues to be well writing lovely stories of her day 2 day life in a new blog http://www.letyerhairdown.blogspot.com/
Carole writes with honesty and straight from the heart with no frills, unfortunately her cancer of the rectum continues to have its clutches into her and she continues the fight.
Here is a quick update from my Onco's appointment yesterday...
It is recognised that I now have inoperable cancer in the following areas:
Colon - New
Single Liver Tumour
Pelvic Lymph Nodes
Para Aortic Lymph Nodes
I asked the question as to why the obvious two areas for surgery could not be operated on i.e. the Colon and Liver Tumours. The response was there were highly likely to be other cells in those areas which were just waiting for activity and lack of chemo and they would be off populating my liver and colon with multiple tumours.
In addition to this both would be relatively major operations which would require long periods of recovery and whilst in recovery I would be unable to have chemotherapy. When I had the PET scan several months ago...it was noted that the cancer hotspots particularly in my pelvis would not be able to be operated on as the operation would be too extensive.
So yes they could operate and take away the Liver Tumour however there would almost certainly be reoccurences and the requirement for further surgery.
We also discussed SIRT (Selective Internal Radiation Therapy). It was mentioned sometime ago as a possibility...This has now been ruled out as the criteria is that you have a single liver tumour and are currently post chemo. Unfortunately the multiple areas mean I do not meet the criteria.
Frankly, I am not prepared to be off chemo any longer that I have to...Even though I have been off chemo for only several months, the cancer has shown activity and has grown slightly in my Liver and Colon.
I hope that makes sense, if not ask questions.
p.s. I almost forgot...I enquired about the possibility of radiotherapy...especially on the tumour in my colon...It was refused as I had very high doses previously and I would be at serious risk of internal damage. I have originally 26 sessions but as I was allergic to capecitebine (my chemo drug) it was decided to give me an extra 3 high doses to try and compensate.
The title is a tribute to two ladies who keep me going along this path....
My latest news is....
Thurs 12Jan - Blood Test and Oncologist appointment
Mon 16Jan - Chemo (Avastin and Irinotecan) starts again for the second round
Whilst I know what's coming after 16 sessions of chemo I am quite excited to get this started....I have read in the papers about how difficult it is to get Avastin due to the cost etc so I am glad I am with a hospital that believes in it!
I went to see Mr S a couple of days ago to get the results of my MRI and CT Scans.
The tumour in my liver has increased slightly which was to be expected with the 3 months rest from chemo - There is now a tumour in my lower colon, pretty much at the original site. No immediate surgery as would be too difficult to remove so chemo and potentially radiotherapy then close monitoring and reviews will be the next steps. Mr S noted that the colon tumour may get pretty painful and if it became to difficult and painful to go to the toilet he could action a bypass to a stoma...so good to have a further option should it be needed.
My 'Inoperable' status remains as I have been told there would be little point actioning the major surgery on my liver and colon with the cancer in my para-aortic lymph nodes which due to the location cannot be treated by surgery.
I have spoken via email to my Oncologist Ms F who has put in the request to recommence chemo using the same regime as before. I know what is to come so have already started to prepare so that I am mentally and physically strong for the months ahead.
Pippa my acupuncturist gave me a good talking to as well as sticking lots of needles in me...did me the world of good.
On top of all of the above I have a bloody toothache which seems to be at the forefront of my thoughts about me. Something to take my mind of the cancer I suppose.
Love being sent to Carole, Lisa, Deb and Gabi who are all going through their challenges...................Amen!