Blimey Charlie, it’s been a busy month, and it’s only halfway through! I thought it was about time I updated this here blog, so I’ll start with today and work backwards.
Turns out today is the anniversary of my first chemotherapy session. Slightly unbelievable (Jeff)! To celebrate, I found myself back at St. Luke’s for a mammogram (oh I know how to party!) I had thought only the Boob of Doom would be checked, but it turns out they did the other one (still unnamed – Boob of Delight? Boob of Joy? Boob of Normality?) as well. As ever it was an uncomfortable (and occasionally painful) process, but needs must and all that. I should get the results within four weeks (but have been warned they’ve got a bit of a backlog) and then, all being well, I will have to have one annually for 10 years.
Earlier in the week I had my first job interview in over a year. It was quite nerve wracking and I knew as soon as I left that I hadn’t got it – which was confirmed by email today. At least it was good practice, and I’m just hoping it won’t take me too long to get back into work again. Apart from anything else, I’ve developed an unhealthy addiction to Homes Under The Hammer and Candy Crush Saga!
Last weekend saw m’lovely chum Rachel doing her Race For Life. I never in a million years thought I’d see my name on the back of someone’s RFL t-shirt, but there I was for all to see:
Must admit to a little bit of eye leakage when I saw that – I was very touched*. Thank you, Rachel. She’s already raised a fantastic £210 but I’m pretty sure it’s not too late for people to donate if they would like to to bump the total up a bit more. Just click here!
Last week I had an unexpected phone call from Nursie Mandy. She was quite apologetic about not having been in touch sooner and just wanted to check everything was ok. It was a very useful call, as it turned out, as she gave me an insight into what happens from now on. As mentioned earlier, I’ll have an annual mammogram for 10 years, then will be eligible for a (voluntary) mammogram every three years, until I’m 73. I will also have an appointment with one of the surgical team again at one year post-treatment and then again at two years. There may be a review of the Tamoxifen at the two year appointment, depending on whether they think I’m properly post-menopausal at that stage (judging from the hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats I’m already getting, I’d say that’s going to be pretty likely!)
We discussed more general things like continuing side effects, health & fitness, returning to work, etc. It seems the joint pain I’m experiencing is quite common – causes can be both chemotherapy and menopause (joy!) They’re not too bad at the mo, it’s usually just when I’ve been sitting for a long time that I get up and can’t seem to get my feet or hips to work, and spend about a minute hobbling around like an old lady (shut up!) She recommended a supplement called Glucosamine and using painkillers if the pains get too severe. Other points for discussion were managing fatigue (which she’s sent me a rather good booklet about) and returning to work. She reiterated the usual advice on trying part-time at first, but to be honest there’s not much out there at the moment, so I suspect I’ll either end up going back to temping or a full time role (if I can get one!) She also told me that she and the other MacMillan Nurses are there on the end of the phone if I have any issues or questions, no matter how long it’s been since my treatment – which is really good to know.
Finally on my little backward trek through the merry month of May, my sister and eldest niece came up from Suffolk for a flying visit and to go to Peter Kay’s Dance For Life at the Leeds Arena. Fancy dress was optional, and although loads of people did dress up in (mostly 1980’s) costumes, we couldn’t really be arsed.
No, really, that’s us in our normal Saturday night garb. (I have kept the wig, and might try it out again some time, just to see if blondes really do have more fun!)
I had been a bit concerned about my achey-breaky hips lasting out for four hours, but as it turned out it was my feet that suffered the most! With about an hour and a half to go, they felt like they’d completely broken, so I mostly tried not to move them and just stood still and wiggle danced as much as possible! It was a fabulous night of 70’s, 80’s and 90’s pop tunes, singing, dancing and comedy and a great way to celebrate my ongoing recovery and raise money for Cancer Research. I haven’t had so much fun in ages and highly recommend it to everyone if he does them again next year.
So that’s everything brought up to date. I still don’t feel like I’m properly ‘back to normal’ yet, but I know that’s going to take time. I am definitely improving, though. I suspect once I get the mammogram results I’ll feel more psychologically able to move onwards (and upwards). We shall see…
*As opposed to my usual state of ‘slightly touched’.