The chemo fog is lifting…..

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Apologies for the lack of posting over the last couple of weeks – two contrasting reasons for my silence! In the run up to my second round of chemo on February 3rd I had an amazing week, full of energy, seeing friends, lots of medical appointments (both for me and my mum) and generally feeling great. In comparison the last week has been one of complete inertia and utter exhaustion! Although I had been warned about the cumulative effects of the chemo I really didn’t expect it to happen so much after round 2. It is also particularly cruel after having such a great week to be plunged into a pit of tiredness that seems never-ending.

BUT the fog is lifting and I’m just looking forward to the coming week where I will feel ‘normal’ before round 3 on February 24th, and I’m determined to be more realistic about the tiredness next time round. My oncologist has also given me the “you have an aggressive form of cancer and we are giving you the most aggressive treatment we can so you will get VERY tired” lecture so I realise I have to accept it and just let my body do what it needs to do. On a very positive note my dodgy boob is already responding to the chemo (oncologist said this might not happen until after round 2) but even after my first chemo the blisters have healed and the rash is receding which is fantastic. Am hoping that the internal effects of the chemo on my tumours will be just as impressive 🙂

Once again my friends are proving an endless source of love and support – messages, lifts to appointments, cooking fabulous meals for us, unexpected pressies, we are truly blessed to have such amazing people in our lives and I will never be able to thank them enough for everything they are doing to help Ray and I. One friend – Becci – has made the amazing commitment to run the St Albans 10K in my name for Macmillan Cancer Support on Mothers’ Day of all days when she should be enjoying some family time with her two little boys and hubby. This is an awe-inspiring effort and if you can support it in any way I would be so, so grateful: https://www.justgiving.com/Becci-Cussens1

One thing I have become aware of since my diagnosis in late November is that barely a day goes by without a story about cancer being in the news. From supposed miracle cures, to the latest research, to devastating personal accounts of cancer battles, usually with very sad outcomes. The statistics on cancer are stark, one in three people will get cancer, and one in eight women have breast cancer.

One of the latest stories that has caused much controversy is the campaign to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer by using terminally ill patients who proclaim they wish they had breast cancer/prostate cancer/testicular cancer instead http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26064830. The adverts at first seem shocking but when you read the statistics who could blame someone with a 3% chance of surviving five years, wishing they had a form of the disease with an 85% survival rate? And who wouldn’t rather have a disease with obvious symptoms, rather than one that can be easily misdiagnosed or dismissed as ‘a bug’?

Personally I feel very lucky to have breast cancer – so much is known about it, so much money has been raised to invest in research and develop new treatments, and I am also so lucky that my GP referred me for investigations the first day she saw me. So often the prognosis is poor because of a delay in diagnosis and so if I can get one message across to people it is to push for a referral if you feel something isn’t right, and if you are a GP then PLEASE refer patients on as soon as possible. If you don’t understand or recognise something then refer it on, that’s what the experts are there for. From the day I saw my GP (a Friday at 4pm) it took just 18 days (12 working days) for me to be referred, seen at the specialist until, scanned and biopsied and to get the initial cancer diagnosis. Research shows this is not always the case http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25274287 and my consultant praised my GP’s actions – so often he sees women who have been given 6, 7 or even 8 courses of antibiotics before referral. As patients we are utterly dependent on the medical professionals to act swiftly – I am very definitely one of the lucky ones.

On a brighter note I’m off to get my second wig trimmed this morning. Razberry Ice Gia (yes, it is spelt with a Z!) finally arrived after a month, but was worth the wait (see pic above). Loads of lovely highlights in it so I can be either Cassidy or Gia when going out. As my lovely friend Mags pointed out, Chestnut Cassidy is my 70s porn star name, while Razberry Ice Gia sounds much more like a rapper so my alter egos are a porn star or rap star – what a choice!  

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10 thoughts on “The chemo fog is lifting…..

  1. You’re so right about the pancreatic cancer ad campaign. It seems shocking at first glance, but the reality is that pancreatic cancer is killing so many people. My mum died as a result of it, and lived for 18 months after diagnosis. But that was a lot longer than expected. And she was initially diagnosed as having a tummy bug – even though she had turned a strange shade of yellow.

    I hope your latest bout of chemo tiredness will soon wear off and you get back to your energetic self until the next session. Take care, Fi, xx

  2. Jayne Poppleton

    I thought I was fairly cancer-aware but I’d no idea how common pancreatic cancer was until the new campaign. Raising awareness has to be a good thing.
    Enjoy the new wig Fi! xx

  3. Sorry to hear how wiped out you’ve been feeling after second round of chemo, Fi but glad to see your smiley face in the lovely new Razberry Ice Gia grinning back at me on your blog. Positivity is defo the way to go, girl! Trust Ray got home safely today after his unexpected stopover. Wind is beginning to get up again now despite it having been a lovely sunny day. Time enough to remove broken fence panels and temporarily patch-up gaps so Marley can’t escape! Have you had to borrow a dinghy yet?! Debs xxx

  4. Abi Bradbeer

    Hi Fi,
    I love reading your blog, so uplifting after the daily grind. You tackle everything with such good humour and pragmatism! Completely agree with you about the pancreatic cancer campaign. These stats put so much into perspective but also show how far we still have to go in tackling cancer.

    Got my fingers and toes crossed the next round of chemo isn’t too rough.
    XXX Abi

    PS once you’re back at work and we get you into Surrey for a meeting / lunch, could you bring the wigs for a dressing up session 🙂

  5. Hello from me & the boys xx
    Another great write up with some good points & agree with all of them X
    Now to get serious!!
    I’m feeling sorry for Ray at this moment 😦
    here is you with your Rap-Porn alterego & he is getting left out & i feel that he needs to be a part of this so we need to think up a rap-porn name for him, only fair LOL
    Boys send huge hugs to help with the fight & as soon as this weather turns for the better they will be running up the road to give in person! Hope your ready!! Lol
    Take care love to you both & you know where we are if need X
    Gary Boo & Oz
    XxxxX

  6. Sheila & David

    Fiona you are amazing but, then I always knew there was something special about you.
    Keep on with the huge smile and with all the love you are receiving – victory will be yours.

    Lots and lots of love from Sheila & David xx

  7. olive

    Love the hair– you look so young and so well, you are amazing. Thought you might like this “thought for the day ” my daughter sent me ages ago and I think it suits you:
    Things turn out for the best for the people who make the best of how things turn out.
    sending love, Olivex

  8. Sarah

    Hi Fiona,

    I received the news that I have breast cancer last week. Less than a month after my Mum finished having chemo for the exact same thing. I am 39 with two small children who are keeping me strong and give me the most amazing incentive to fight this disease, but I am truly petrified!!! I still have further tests to determine what treatment I will need, but I have to remain confident and positive that I will beat this. You are so positive and looking fab in your wigs!!

    Stay strong!

    Sarah
    x

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