Monday, 23 March 2015

Scanxiety-maybe it is...maybe it isn't...

Oooh yes ive had an MRI/CT Scan before they're not nice bla bla bla.


It's so not the same.

Yours was most likely for something non life threatening and easily treatable and you'd most likely forgotten all about it when your results were back in, you weren't jumping everytime your phone rang, or answering with held PPI calls because you thought it was the hospital calling.

On diagnosis I had a CT and Bone Scan. Both were "standard" practice for my hospital trust,both terrifying. CT scan fine, bone scan showed a "little something" which was "non concerning" but my oncologist (the fact that at 31 I had an oncologist and a "team" is terrifying enough) wanted to get an MRI "just to rule everything out" and when I broke down he re-phrased this to using it as a "baseline" for further scans.

2 things 
1) ruling stuff out less than a month after diagnosis is not good and is quite frankly terrifying.

2) a baseline for the future reiterates that my life from now on will be one long road of scans and waiting, and waiting, and re-scanning and re-scanning and waiting.


But Cancer won't change me, im not going to let Cancer win,im going to fight this. Brilliant, try telling this to yourself whilst waiting 7 days for the MRI results, or as the medics breezily say "Erm ONLY 6-7 days", which should actually translate as being the longest 6-7 days of your entire life.

During this time you will have every symptom going, it will keep you awake each night, it will give you anxiety in the back of your throat (which you can't now have a ciggie to take it away because Yep you have Cancer and smoking is something else you've had to give up), so instead what happens is that you cry, and cry, and cry, and then when everyone has gone to sleep you cry some more and Google the symptoms that you have now convinced yourself that your having, and then Yep you guessed it,you cry some more. 

So then the big day arrives, and your at the clinic and someone casually puts up a notice saying that the clinic is delayed by 45 minutes. Obviously this is because they have seen my MRI results and it's bad news so that've called a last minute MDT (multi-displinary team) meeting. The fact that the onc,surgeon, radiographer, Breast care nurses etc all need to be present in these meetings and wouldn't be able to do this last minute doesn't enter your head. This is the only reason that the clinic is delayed, for sure. 

So you wait, and you wait, and you stare at the corridor listening to your heart pounding in your chest, the person you have brought with you is making small talk or trying to make you laugh but all you do is think that when you go into that room your world is going to be turned upside yet again.

"Aimee Fletcher" -oh shit, oh crap, oh god. Suddenly you don't want to go in that room but you have to,so you do. The doctor will most probably smile and ask how you are, you want to scream "how do you think I am?" "Fabulous" "loving life at the minute" but instead you squeek "ok." In this particular instance I was casually told "oh yes,don't be worried,it's fine,it's all clear, most likely wear and tear or a weakened bone."


And all is well for maybe the rest of the day? Week?
Ok,this scan was now 7/8days ago,what if something has changed in this time?  And so it starts. Urgh. This isn't on the Cancer adverts, no one does a 5k run to raise awareness for Scanxiety but it's real,very real and it's up there with the worst things about having Cancer.

I can say that 6 scans later (and awaiting an MRI date for my pelvis) that you some how learn to except that this is what has to happen, this is now your reality. Crying and worrying won't change the results, it's happening anyway regardless of the scan so the scan just informs us and lets our "team" get a plan together OR in MOST cases it turns out to be nothing more than a baseline to go from in future (yay).

I will remind myself of this the next time im awaiting results, I could also write about the on going you might have bone mets saga but I will save that for another time.



Tuesday, 17 March 2015

8 rounds of poison...

**Wednesday 3rd December 2014**

So yesterday was my last chemo and I said to myself that I wouldn't post a "last chemo" picture as I remember seeing other women doing it and it made me sad that I had a long way to go...however it's flown by!!..

our "journey" (I actually hate that phrase)started back in April when we lost our baby,I was then diagnosed in June & they can't be sure if the pregnancy caused my Cancer or fuelled it to grow..who knows,all I know is that I swapped pregnancy for chemo & being able to have a family for Cancer, so having had 8 lots of chemo-starting on 1st July I'm now finished & awaiting my surgery date. 

I've had ulcers/vile vile vile mouth

nausea/ vomiting -this was taken after quite a "good day"

 constipation/ diarrhoea/piles/the mother of all tooth infections(pacing up and down the street at 3am was a particularly low point as was searching for pliers at 6am to pull my own tooth out)/bone pain/trapped nerve (made "better" by Arron assisting me up from the floor pulling at only 1 of my arms)/ tonsillitis/UTI/unbelievable tiredness/roid rage/neuropathy/lost practically every hair on my entire body (bloody leg hair started growing back though after FEC-typical!!)

chemo brain (empty plates in the fridge/wondering if you come up for air on the euro tunnel/butter in the sink /being amazed by the high streets xmas lights 3 nights running having forgotten that I'd seen them the previous night)massive Tax emotional tantrums (smashed plates in the sink/crying hysterically in Asda toilets)/painful nails/ sore Runny eyes /steroid
Moon face (see below pic)

*TMI* wet the bed twice!! Thankfully there are no pictures to record that...

I've had biopsies/ ultrasounds/ mammograms/CT and bone scans/MRI's..

I spent 3 nights in hospital from Neutropenic Sepsis -neutrophils being 0.1 (which then made me tell a few white lies to my mom and dad to get them on a plane to Tenerife..) 

Still managed to pack my animal print gear though...
Also chemo brain kicked in and I accidentally ordered the "soft" food option at dinner time -yummy....

 and I've cried more tears than I care to think about BUT I've also laughed more than I ever have, 

I'm more in love with Arron more than I ever thought possible, we'd often skip out of chemo laughing as the waiting room were obviously trying to guess which one of us had Cancer....

 i've spent loads of time with my family, I've become closer to people who I haven't seen for years, I've made some fabulous new friends-here I am with Sarah & Rebecca who I met through YBCN -this is us on our Cancer Xmas Do
For Sarah's blog click here:-

For Rebecca's blog click here:-

I also met the wonderful people that are Simons Heros and got a gorgeous spa break at Hoar Cross 

 & I get to spend more time with the people I love,

 I still have a long way to go but just wanted to mark the occasion & try to reassure the women who are just starting out on the shit storm that is Breast Cancer -plus my niece (who's 18 months old & one of the little loves of my life) painted me a fabulous picture 

and wanted to share it!xx and here's to being #choppedUpIn2015


So that's 4 sessions of rads done - 11 more to go. Then what? Non Cancer  people tell me it'll all be over, but will it?

During rads you get time to think about this, whilst lying on a table in a large fairly empty room, staring at the ceiling (some of the ceiling tiles have been replaced with pictures of trees to look at- clearly designed by someone who has never been through it). There's nothing to really do except willing the rads to blast any rebel Cancer cells, think about how much the machine sounds like the Internet connection back in the 90's (that really annoying nails down a chalk board noise) and to think about life (hopefully)post Cancer. 

To be fair so far rads has been easy, well compared to chemo anything is easy. I get to wear a fetching purple top -

Most of my appointments are smack bang in the middle of the day but not being able to drive ensures that I have someone with me every day so im not completly alone with my dark thoughts.

Im also what I call a "Rads Whore" as in I keep wearing dresses and this lovely purple top just about covers my ass-

But given that the average age in the rads department is 60 I doubt Arron has much competition.

And that's it, nothing much to say about it, oh apart from why is it that your nose/eyebrow/right shin/left ear lobe decides to itch right in the middle of the treatment....

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

365 days earlier....

Wow a blog. Im all very new to this and terribly bad with words but I will give it a go.Right.Here goes...

Firstly the title is all wrong,it should in fact say 367 days ago...was the best day of my life - 12th March 2014 the day I found out I was pregnant.

I will never forget (partly because this is what I replay in my head every night before im about to sleep) my mom calling me from my doctors (she's one of those receptionists) to see if I wanted to pop in after having my scan (I'd been having awful stomach pain and so was sent for a scan -I assumed I had issues with my ovaries). I should have know by my moms squeaky high pitched voice that something amazing was about to happen but I was very much in Aimee land. When I arrived at the doctors he called me in straight away, reached out his hand and said "congratulations" to which I replied "thanks." And then I thought hang on,what for? He smiled and said.   "you're pregnant." 

Of course my immediate reaction was that im not old enough to have a baby (aged 31 1/2). Obviously.

Having managed to peel my mother off me and telling her to calm down and talk in a normal pitched voice, I called the boy. The phone line went very quiet and he said "right, are you ok?" - more silence "Erm im going into a meeting." True Arron style. I only intended on telling my sister but she told my 10month old niece and was then overheard by her boyfriend and within 20 minutes the entire family knew, ok bit dramatic but mom,dad,Hollie,Dave,Lolaah and the staff at the doctors. Having worked out my due date (5th November), I drove home. 

I will always remember that drive along the Ashby Road, the sun was setting and I had Beyonces XO blasting with THE BIGGEST smile imprinted on my face.

This happiness was short lived. 31 days to be precise. In these 31 days I walked around on cloud nine, managed to see the midwife and get my green book, received a Mother's Day card -
And had a beautiful bunch of flowers off Arron -one of which is still being pressed on my book shelf -
You may have noticed a small white feather with my Mother's Day card, this is what fell to my feet in my garden on the night our baby was gone.

 And so the rest is, well that's where the Ultimate C word comes into force, the shit storm that is Breast cancer.

On 12th March this year is will be having my first of 15 radiotheraphy treatments, I doubt very much I will be blasting Beyonces XO from the car this year....