Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Too Busy for Cancer

Hi Everyone,

I realise again that time has escaped me and it has been weeks since I wrote. I think summer is such a busy time and having my monkey at home full time really makes it near impossible to find time to write. I have never been able to just sit down with distractions all around and write something worth reading. So I am trying to write today despite the multitude of things happening around me and give you an update. I know how many of you interpret my silence as something bad so I don't want anyone to worry.

What has happened since round 4 concluded? Well I am still trying to find my "normal" and am realising what a number this chemo has done to me. Every day I wake up, it is a lottery in terms of how I will feel. Some days are better and others awful. I honestly feel my body screaming out in protest to the abuse it has been through. My stomach will never been the same again and the tiniest imbalance sets it off. It makes it hard to make plans as I dont know what the day will bring. I think my daughter is really picking up on what is happening with me as she has said to me quite often (in an exasperated tone) "Mommy - you can't lie down and rest all the time! You have to be with me!¨ Her playing has also evolved and she informed me earlier this week that the mud concoction she was making was in fact medicine to make my tummy feel better. Bless her little soul. I love her so much and she continues to make me push myself to be in the present and hoping for the future.

My doctor called me last week with the update from the CT planning session which was to determine whether I could get anymore radiation. If you remember, we tried to do this back in February but it was deemed too dangerous at the time. You know it is funny when I think back to the beginning of chapter two when we were told it was cancer again. My doctors gave me three possible treatment options and we would give me the best and safest option. But now nearly 4 months later, I somehow ended up getting all three things - surgery, chemo and now radiation - lucky me...not! Yes my doctor has found a way to give me more radiation. Perhaps it is due to time passing and more healing happening from my initial radiation or the new organic material they put in during the operation. Whatever it is - I am starting 25 sessions of radiation in a week and half. It will suck big time as my skin is still so sensitive and I will burn more easily then before. When I asked about the risks involved, he told me that the risk of not doing it outweighed the potential side effects I could get. And the side effects are potentially major but we hope I get lucky and dont end up with necrosis (this is essentially tissue death and can be very serious) or god forbid another type of cancer. He also told me to not bother googling anything about this as it was new territory and there was little to no literature on it. He knows me so well! I joked about how my case will make a great paper one day for them to publish. He laughed and said that they never saw me in that way - as in a patient and an opportunity for publicity. But I reassured him and told him I was more than happy to be a part of the future - a part of furthering research in this specific area of breast cancer treatment. I want my story to help others and make a difference somehow. What he said next surprised me so much as he has always been incredibly conservative in terms of what he has told me about my situation. He has been the harbinger of bad news for so long and I know it is impossible for him to promise something he has no guarantee on but he told me ¨I will look forward to publishing something about how I cured you.¨ I was so shocked by his words but they provided such a comfort to me and gave me hope. Hope is everything to a cancer patient and feeling that your doctor believes in you can help you get through the darker times. So I will face the next hurdle as best I can and try to imagine a time when cancer might not feel like such a big part of my life. A time when things will be different for me...a better life far far away from cancer island. Like I said - hope is everything.

Hope everyone is enjoying summer. We are seeing lots of sun in Norway. Me likey alot.

OBB xxx

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Final Frontier

I remember when I wrote about finishing the C-spa the first time nearly two years ago. I was elated, ecstatic and so overjoyed to be done with it. I ordered a cake for the nurses and my husband and I celebrated with cake and ipads. It was wonderful. Unfortunately the same elation and joy wasnt with us this week as I went in for my last visit. I think I have grown alittle too jaded with all this cancer crap. I of course want to recognise what an enormous feat it is getting through the last 3 months which were genuinely the hardest time I have ever experienced in my life. But I also want to forget Even thinking about things related around it or simply touching the backpack I took with me to the hospital brings on subtle but noticeable waves of nausea. I am traumatised. I went to hell and back and I never want to go back. I think therein lies my problem because the first time you finish with it, you think - ok this is done, go me, I am a rockstar and I will never ever have to do this again. But the second time, your initial nightmare has already been realised and you aren´t as innocent or trusting anymore. I most definitely do not want to do this again and I want to scream positivity from the rooftops but I am also a cancer veteran. I know what can be hiding in the cellar - I have known beasts from the most terrifying places who can hunt you down. So maybe that is why I am not busting out the cake quite  yet or deciding what I will buy to commemorate this milestone. And also maybe I dont want to even give another inch to cancer itself. Why celebrate anything revolving around it. I guess I could simply celebrate the fact that I am alive. Simple as that. And maybe buy some nice shoes?

I want to thank you all for being such a kick ass team through the last few months. I honestly had parcels and cards in my postbox daily and they so helped lift me up. You guys have really been here for the long haul and we have all been on this wild ride for nearly 2 and a half years now. God that is a long time to write about one thing eh? I guess that is how books are written. :)

I will write more when the brain is alittle more together as I am still far from in "perfect working order." In terms of my journey - no news for a week as to what happens next so I will enjoy the beautiful weather we are having, indulge in a Norwegian strawberry and just watch the world go by.

Love to you all,


Friday, July 5, 2013

Normal is Good

I realise it has nearly been 2 weeks since I last wrote and I wanted to ensure no one was worrying about me. Silence in the cancer blogging world can often be interpreted as trouble. However I am happy to report that I have not been able to write because I have been far too busy. My husband and daughter arrived home from holiday, my mother was staying with us and then my sister and baby arrived last week. It was a busy house to say the least and there were few moments to slow down and reflect. But today the house is quiet and the rooms empty. I made my last drive to the airport early this morning to say goodbye to the last of my family. I am always to sentimental about goodbyes and the emptiness that often follows. We did manage to have a really great time and fit lots in despite my energy challenges. I love to be with my family as I don´t get to see them very often so it was a definite treat for me. Luckily my blood values were also in high spirits as tests last week showed that I wasn´t in the danger zone which was great. And I am pleased to report that I still have hair on my head and I in no way resemble someone with a comeover or receding hairline. Yeah me! I was able to show it off to my doctor who had assured me back in May that it would all be gone. Sometimes it is nice to prove those medical peeps wrong!

Now I am a dead woman walking. Well sorta- I feel like it some ways. I am two days away from my final trip to the C Spa and dreading it. I know it is the last one but god does it feel like a mountain to get over. I think of the 7 days of sheer hell ahead and it makes me nauseous already. Maybe it will go better since I know it is the last time but I don´t know. I haven´t had any breaks so far so here is hoping.

In other news, I made a little trip to the hospital today for a CT planning session to determine whether I will do more radiation when the chemo is done. It is pretty simple and all you do is lie in the CT machine while they make drawings on the radiation fields on your skin. For the first time I got three "tattoos" which will never go away that will mark where things should be. The nurse apologised for marking me but I laughed and said that my chest area was already a mess of scars and marks so what was alittle more? Now we wait and see what happens.

I guess that is all the news from me. Bit slow on the cancer front which is actually a good thing. It means that i am actually out living my life and being distracted by normal things. I will finish with a funny little story - I was getting out of the shower a few days ago and my daughter barged in to the bathroom. She pointed at my chest where my port was sitting under my skin and exclaimed (in norwegian) "Mama - you have a little boob. Where did you get it from?" I had to laugh at her curiosity and general excitement over her mother having a tiny boob. Kids are hilarious and I am so lucky to have that ball of sunshine in my life. She keeps me going.

So I will start building up my arsenal over the weekend and drawing up a final battle plan. I need this medicine to do its job and find every last one of those bloody cells and kill them mercilessly. Kill, kill, kill - I will cry. And I will win.

Fingers crossed the week goes as okay as it can.


PS: I want to thank my legion of supporters and cheerleaders who really picked me up when I was down. I was in a dark place when I wrote the last entry and I didnt think I could keep going but you all reminded me why i am doing this and to not give up. I want to grow old with all of you.