The best way to describe the past month is an up hill slog. Its been a case of head down, blinkers on and just focusing on getting through each day. Luckily things have improved slightly as Im not sure how long I could have carried that on. I couldn’t have started the last round of chemo soon enough! The pain leading up to starting the chemo was overwhelming and I was so weak I struggled to hold my head up sometimes. Which meant travelling up to UCLH in central London was a challenge. However I am so much happier with my care being at UCLH rather than at Southampton. My new oncologist wanted a baseline scan before I started this newest course of chemo. It revealed that the cancer had grown a bit more since my last scan just 2 weeks before. This was not a surprise because I could feel it growing in me. It was a nasty combination of intense pain, increasing pressure and nausea all building up in my abdomen. Not a nice feeling to live with and it had me bent over for days before I got on top of it with medication. The oncologist said their was also a new bit jutting off my liver and this could be what was causing a really intense stabbing pain under my bottom right rib. Unfortunately thats put a stop to lying on my front and any deep breathing. In fact laughing, coughing, yawning, deep breathing and hiccuping are all no no’s if I want to avoid a stabbing pain in my side.Continue Reading
First things first I just want to thank everyone for the kind messages of support. Its very humbling and heartwarming to know I have the support of so many people. It would be mean to not update you after my last post. My folks and I visited UCLH yesterday and left feeling better about this situation than we did before. Firstly its a great hospital and the Macmillan Cancer Centre is very clean, modern and calming. Everything a hospital should be. It also provides care just for cancer patients, so its quiet. We checked into a hotel the night before and met a few mates for dinner. I then spent the evening looking up at tall buildings and shiny stuff. Annoyingly I had no appetite and felt restless so walking around was a welcome distraction. I always look forward to all the different foodie places when visiting usually.Continue Reading
The awareness of mental health has improved a lot, but it still has a long way to go. The charity Movember, which takes place during November and helps raise awareness of male cancers, has also started to raise awareness of male suicide, which is alarmingly high. Movember is a charity Ive got involved with for years but I didn’t think for one second I would ever be affected by cancer or even depression. For those that don’t know, Movember’s aim is to decrease the amount of men dying too young by raising awareness and money for male cancers and suicide by holding events and encouraging anyone who can grow a moustache to do so to help spread the word/ raise money. Im attempting to take part but growing facial hair whilst having chemo is proving difficult. Im just past the pubescent teen phase.Continue Reading
There isn’t much to update you on but its been exactly a year since I had my shoulder replaced to remove the primary tumour and its also cancer awareness month so I thought it would be a poignant time to write something. I was suppose to have another 5 day course of chemo this week but my blood cell counts have not recovered enough from the last round, so its been delayed a week. Two steps forwards and one step back…Not the end of the world but I cant help be a little annoyed with this because I want to crack on and keep hammering the cancer, however on the plus side I’ve felt good for another week. Continue Reading
Its been a while since my last post as I have been keeping busy, and I’ve also had an eventful couple of weeks….I think I start every post off with that line. I didn’t want to post anything until I had my results which I got yesterday. It definitely was not the news I wanted. The tumours on my lungs, liver and pancreas have started to grow again. I didn’t know what to say. I was so angry about it after all I have been doing and everything has been looking up. However I’m used to this by now and got over it pretty fast. Its just a minor set back. There is no point holding onto negative emotions, that won’t help, so onwards and upwards. Im starting a new course of chemo on Monday which will hopefully get rid of these little fuckers. The Dr told me it should be similar to the last type of chemo, which I tolerated pretty well. Fingers crossed my hair sticks around. Although its a lot thinner than before, it still makes such a difference having hair. The plan is still to have a check up scan after 2 rounds of chemo and keep going until its gone or we need to change the plan of attack. The two drugs I will be having are Topotecan and Cyclophosphamide and they will be administered daily for 5 days, with 2 weeks recovery in between.
I’ve been quiet on the blog front recently as there hasn’t been much to report on. I have a few health and fitness related posts I’ve started but they are waiting to be finished on a rainy day. Make hay while the sun is shining and all that. I am currently on a chemo week and I have one more course planed in 3 weeks. This consists of taking 6 tablets every morning and a short IV drip later in the day for 5 days. Ive been handling it really well but I still feel a bit groggy as it has an accumulated effect, and its been a tough slog this last 18 months. After the next round I have another scan and a decision is made on what direction to take. This is really frustrating and tough to live with. I keep moving forwards and try not to think about the future and just focus more on the present. Easier said than done of course. Continue Reading
This is just a quick update so I will keep it brief for once. I was supposed to have my scan last Thursday but due to a hospital cock up I had it yesterday and the news was worth waiting for. Everything has shrunk or remained stable! The tumour on my pancreas has shrunk so much it’s not visible on the scan anymore, the one on my liver has also shrunk and the tumours on my lungs have remained the same. I am still a little disheartened and frustrated about the lungs but at the same time I am so happy that everything I am doing is paying off and its moving in the right direction. The good news released so much pressure and I can breathe a lot easier till next time. Its satisfying and extremely relieving knowing all the energy I am putting into fighting this and everything I am doing is having a positive effect.Continue Reading
Its been a little while since my last update. In this case no news is good news. Ive been keeping myself busy between rounds and enjoying feeling somewhat myself again. Im a list person so I have finally been tackling the giant to do list thats been building up for over a year. Ive also been ticking off a few places I’ve always wanted to visit. The most recent being Rome! A great place but definitely not a relaxing weekend away with all the crowds, plus there is so much to see! Now, I’m not a religious person but I think we were the only people to ever walk through the Sistine Chapel and not realise that was it until we were at the exit and looked at the secret photos I took, due to the strict security. I don’t think I can get into trouble for admitting that here… After countless rooms with the most amazingly painted ceilings it was just another room with a painted ceiling and shoulder to shoulder crowds. St Peters and the Coliseum were definitely my favourite spots. It was a mission trying to keep to my diet as it seems all Italians somehow survive on a diet of pizza, pasta and gelato! But we found a quality little place called Ginger. Check them out if you’re ever there. They do fresh food to please everyone, plus loads of organic stuff. My mum is a Saint for putting up with me whilst I was hungry and walking miles through the hot and busy streets, following google maps on my phone looking for heathy restaurants. One of my flaws is I get seriously hangry. The Italian border control was very ‘relaxed’ and it was the first place that took my word for it that it was my shoulder setting off the alarms and not a bomb, and then just gave me the nod through the gate.
In the process of cleaning my diet up even more this past year I have come across how unhealthy some common everyday products are. So many unassuming foods contain unnecessary, toxic ingredients. My target today is your regular stock cubes/pots. Homemade stock contains a plethora of beneficial properties, whereas stock cubes and pots don’t contain anything beneficial. The only benefit they have is convenience, but its so easy to make your own stock once you know how, and its much more rewarding! Whether its chicken, pork, beef, fish or vegetable, broth is one of the most nutrient dense ingredients and it can be used as the foundation for stews, soups and even used to boil your rice and other grains. Im an advocate of reducing waste wherever possible, especially if something has been killed to be eaten, and the bones are packed full of goodness that usually goes to waste. Chances are if your reading this then your probably interested in healthy eating. If thats the case then tune in to Channel 4 tonight at 2000hrs (Monday 9th May). Its a program called Eating Well With Hemsley + Hemsley, and its where I get a lot of my foodspiration!Continue Reading
As you have probably guessed from the title of this post I had some good news after this weeks CT scan. The tumours in my lungs have not changed but the ‘abnormalities’ (as they frustratingly still call them) in my liver and pancreas have shrunk. My oncologist even struggled to find the shadow on my pancreas when I asked to see the scan. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated and concerned the tumour on my lungs hasn’t also reduced but looking at the positives, the little fucker has stopped growing and the chemo/everything I am doing has done this. After all I have been through, everything Im doing to fight this and after being knocked down to rock bottom recently, its a well needed boost for my morale. I can actually feel the pressure temporarily release when I get good news. Its another up in this rollercoaster. Lets hope it keeps on going up and stops while at the top! Its been a great week and its the first time I’ve had that Friday feeling in well over a year. Ive had a smile on my face since being told the news yesterday.