And so, it begins…

I never imagined that at 37 years old I would be diagnosed with breast cancer. Not me! Not ever!

Thanks for joining me. I am writing this and will be updating as things happen, in the hope that all this experience will be of use to women seeking to find out how it all goes on, looking for advice on how to deal with the whole experience. I was hoping never to have to write all this but as we are here, I am happy to share it all with you.

I live in France so the whole experience will reflect the country’s own way of dealing with this. In your own country things might be different. I would love to know how it went for you at various stages. Drop me a comment on my posts and let me know.

Feel free to message me and ask anything you want. If I can give you an answer, I will, out of my own experience. If not, I will do my best to stir you into the right direction or put you in touch with people who might know more about your query. Please do not take everything I say for granted, this is my own experience. We are all different. Always seek expert advice if you aren’t certain.

 

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Never a dull moment

Why would I have any time for recovering and just resting? Far from me this thought. I have been having quite nasty pains in my liver and spleen area. Went to the gp after a night of lower tummy pains that made me feel like I gave birth again. No, I didn’t.

He sent me to have a CAT scan. I know dogs can’t but cats can! Anyway…amused myself there for a while, I had to do it. It comes out that my spleen and liver are ok buuuut they have found big cysts on my ovaries. Now, I have PCOS (tap on it for more info) for a long time and I know it so these come and go, or come and stay. This time they are big enough for them to worry and send me to have an ultrasound (which will happen in a couple of weeks). Meanwhile I am living in a constant state of period pains kind of thing. I have been given again a full bag of big names of painkillers and emergency morphine patches ‘just in case’. I have also ordered a big green light-up cross to put outside my house. One never knows…170.gif

Having spoken to my oncologist about it I am still uncertain of the origin of my spleen pains. I have started to pay a lot of attention to what I eat and after a few weeks of dandelion tea (disgusting) and pills I have moved onto the well known lemon in warm water on an empty stomach in the morning. I have to say I am feeling much better. Looks like a lot of it is caused by the chemo.

And while we are on that, I have to report that the Herceptin is still giving me pains in muscles and joints (oncologist thinks the joint pain is mainly hormonal though) and various other little annoyances here and there. I do, however feel very tired all the time and exceptionally clumsy. Might start using paper plates and plastic cups or schedule monthly trips to Ikea.

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My hair is curly, big curls, and the humidity makes me wanna start a Jackson 5 style band. Oh wait, it’s already been done. Well, I have big curls at the moment and a length of about 8-10 cm maybe.

Have you looked at my little shop yet? Tap on the word shop!

And to finish on an appropriate note…

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YOLO

Here I was driving home with my lovely lavender in my car’s vase (fresh, may I add), singing on an old Take That cd I have found in the archives, windows down (I don’t have aircon)… I felt a sting on my back. Got worse and lower down as well. I shook my t-shirt and felt something moving. I stopped the car in the middle of the road as it was getting worse and worse. Put my hazards on and got out. I couldn’t drive anymore. Bare in mind this is on a 90km/h road. I got out, got my t-shirt off and shook it. The thing was on my chair. Wasp! Dead!lavender beetle.jpg

Apologies to the people who drove past me…I wasn’t flashing my tits and non tits around, while performing a carefully choreographed dance in the middle of the road while shouting various cursing words…I was just trying to get rid of the beast. Yes, I was wearing a bra. Where is someone with a camera when you need them? Lost the opportunity to be filmed and put on youtube and make a lot of money out of non-tit flashing. I was in pain and if you have ever been stung by one of these things you know what I mean. It stings, it hurts (proper pain), it itches, all at the same time. I drove quickly to the pharmacy and asked them to look at my back. Got stung twice. By now it was looking big, swollen, red. No needle. Which is good apparently. They disinfected the stings, put cream on, gave me and antihistamine and said to keep an eye on it for the next couple of days. They confirmed it was a wasp because I kept the monster. Rule number 1 when something bites you – kill the beast, keep the beast!

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Back to the drawing board

I guess it isn’t over, or not even close. I had my first MRI yesterday after the radiotherapy, nasty chemo etc. The left side, the chopped, came out ok with the obvious lumps and bumps that we know about because of the radio. And like I said to a friend of mine…same shit, different side. The right side is not ok. Here’s the story…

A year ago when all this started the left was on ACR 6 and the right on ACR 1. Left got the chop. Now the right is on ACR 3. This is quite a jump in only one year and I have to say I am a bit puzzled about the fact that it didn’t show on the blood tests for cancer markers. And why has it not been affected by chemo? I was told by the dr who broke the news to me that I need a mammo on the right to be double sure. I am seeing my oncologist in 2 weeks’ time at my next chemo. I am calling my surgeon on Monday and planning to see my gp on Monday as well. So I guess I am covered on all grounds here. Whoever gets me the mammo prescription first, gets my vote.

I shall leave this here for now, the contrast solution for the MRI has gotten me sick and still feeling rubbish and my mood is not too cheery at the moment. I will be back with more news as and when they develop. I guess you will be reading more medical nonsense soon. I wonder if Mrs. Doubtfire is still working…she rulz when it comes to sleeping pills. Unfortunately this time around I won’t get to see that good looking surgeon I had for the very first operation, the embolisation. If my surgeon is reading this…love you as well, really!

Not what I had planned…

I was planning this update to be boring telling you about various pains and aches and that I am still going on the Herceptin. But no….never a dull day around here. I had a migraine for 2 days when I went for my chemo yesterday. They know me happy and cheery so when they saw me with the tired face and asked me what’s going on I said I have a migraine, head in the toilet all night, slept 1h, nothing amazing. The nurse straight away called the oncologist, who decided to send me for a CAT scan “just to make sure”. I said…you mean…now…in this moment? I explained that I am someone who gets migraines all the time since I was little, for me this was nothing out of the ordinary. Oh yes, they already made the appointment, sent my papers over and all it was missing was my head in the machine. 10 mins later I was being scanned and the contrast solution pumped into my vein. I kept asking the nurse if she was sure of the fact that I didn’t wee myself – this is the sensation it gives you together with burning insides. I waited for the results and found out that my head is perfectly fine on the inside! Yes, I have it on the paper! My head is fine!

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Leaving aside the fact that dogs can’t operate mri machines but cats can, and that dogs can only do lab tests, I had quite a scare. But at the end of the day I was pleased with the fact that they react seriously at the smallest thing (not that a migraine is a small thing) and do everything to reassure me and themselves. Someone told me last night…look at it this way, if there were to be anything at all anywhere else at any point, stay reassured that they will find it.

And with that thought…I have to go brush the dogs because there is a storm outside with 100km/h winds. Perfect time to brush the dogs and not have hair everywhere…it flies nicely. les chiens.JPG

1 year ago…

Today is my 1 year anniversary. 1 year since the diagnosis. 1 year since I had the dreadful news. Well, more like I discovered the news, as the radiologist didn’t think necessary to tell me. 1 year since I felt it all falling around me. So I shall spend it by putting away in a box my huge 20 cm thick folder of scans, test, etc.

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Yesterday I had the meeting with the oncologist and as you know from my previous post, I had the worry about my myelocytes. She went through my blood results fast and went “yeah, all good”. So, there I was with an amazed face saying…hang on a second, love, look at my myelocytes. They are there and they aren’t supposed to be there and we both know as clever girls that we are, what that means. She said there isn’t any reason for her to worry, giving the fact that there is chemo going, that there have been lots of antibiotics put into me and an over the top dose of steroids. And to prove me wrong and to reassure me she ordered the same tests to be done there and then. Called the lab, 10 mins later I was being stabbed in various places (injection and blood) and I was to have the results in 1h. I went away and set myself up a little office to be able to work and waited for the car to bring me back. The oncologist was to call me with the results. The car was delayed so I was there when they arrived. Nothing! Nothing at all! And all the nurses were wondering why did she order blood tests. So that’s done and dusted.

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Don’t get me wrong, far from me celebrating something that has changed my life completely and for ever. But, what I am happy for and is worth celebrating, is the fact that I am still here. The fact that I had a gut feeling to listen to “that mad guy” who ordered tests over test and mammograms when I went in mentioning slightly high blood pressure. So yeah, I think Happy 1 Year of my new chance at life!

 

The Myelocytes can do one!

Last post on here was mostly about me waiting for my blood results on cancer markers. They arrived on Friday night. Cancer markers came out ok, nice and low. Phew, you might say. However, what I didn’t realise is that I also had a test for Myelocytes. They are young cells of the granulocytic series (a type of white cells), occurring normally in bone marrow. They can be found in circulating blood when caused by certain diseases – leukaemia that is! I have a certain percentage of these in my blood. I have, of course, panicked, I have, of course, thought the worst. If you are ever curious to look these up, don’t! They are also present in cases of high inflammation, infection, etc. Now, giving the fact that I am still on chemo, this might be the answer. This also occurs as a result of anaemia or loss of blood. I have called my GP that night and saw him, he thinks it is because of the chemo but we shall see with the oncologist on Thursday.

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At the moment I cannot accept that something else has gone tits up! (tit up, sorry) I am aware of the fact that if this is serious, I will have to wait a long time to have a definite answer. Lots of tests will have to be redone and repeated and I will have to wait for chemo to be over to see the difference. I know… This however is not good for the head. So I will have to find a way to live with the incertitude for now…as I do anyway with cancer around the corner.

 

Meh! Bof!

“Most cancers that are going to come back will do so in the first 2 years or so after treatment. After 5 years, you are even less likely to get a recurrence. For some types of cancer, after 10 years your doctor may say that you are cured.”

This is what Cancer Research says anyway.

Tomorrow I am having THE blood test. I can’t remember the code for it but it is the one which detects any cancer signs in the body. I have been thinking about it for the last few days and the fact that I have not been feeling well lately, got me even more anxious. It is getting very close to my 1 year anniversary and although I still have chemo to do until October, I seem not to shake off the feeling of living with the sword over my head all the time. I have pain in my muscles and joints and after the last two Herceptins it seems to have gone longer and more intense. I know it accumulates. My toob hurts sometimes, my muscles around it hurt. I feel inflated like before periods, except that is all over the place. Yes, that is expected. I wonder if all this could be hormonal, too. My oncologist has a lot of questions to answer.

Even though most times I am able to talk myself out of it, I can’t stop having the thought of recurrence. I am exhausted all the time (except for when they put me on steroids) and getting out of bed in the morning is a challenge. In the last couple of weeks walking has been painful, moving,  even more. I have to drug myself with Tramadol so I can function if I have to go out anywhere. The down side is that the Tramadol gives me headaches and a bit “head in the clouds” feeling. I cannot trust myself to drive anywhere like this. I am seeing my oncologist next week and I do hope that she can come up with a better pain killer.

A friend who is in the same situation was saying that she sees her hair as a bird’s nest. Well that describes mine perfectly. It is short, of course, because the Herceptin slows down the growth. I have missed the opportunity for easter to have a birds’ nest on my head as decoration. A rather serious post this time as I am in no mood for p*** taking. I am scared. I am anxious and I had chocolate tonight! I know I shouldn’t worry if there isn’t anything to worry about. And I shouldn’t worry for something I cannot control. But I am a worry-er (does that word even exist?). Every ache, every pain, every twitch and every spot…is it back? is it IT?