19.10.17 The Last Entry

Well today was my final blood test & herceptin injection & so the end of my treatment! Hoobloodyrah! 🎉🍾. It’s been a hell of a year but thankfully I’m clear of cancer now.

In myself I’m doing ok but have managed to pick up 3 colds in the last couple of months & this latest one has turned into a chest infection, so I’ve been signed off work & put on antibiotics.  They weren’t kidding when they said it takes a long time for your immune system to recover!

I’ve got one more echocardiogram to check the herceptin hasn’t damaged my heart & a follow up appointment with the oncologist in November but after that, all being well, it’ll just be twice yearly check ups.

In November I start a 4 week course run by Breast Cancer Care and NHS hospitals. There are expert speakers and they provide information, support and professional guidance on how to cope with and adjust to life after breast cancer treatment.

My hair is slowly growing back. It’s not curly yet but there’s definitely a wave there. My dream of straight hair has gone out of the window 😩

I don’t want to preach to everyone but please be breast aware. During the past year while I’ve been having treatment, 2 other ladies I know have also been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s now 1 in 8 women who get diagnosed, so it’s far too common.

As this is my last post I’d just like to say a huge huge thank you to everyone for all your amazing support and help through it all. You’ve made the journey so much easier.

Love & best wishes to you all. xxxxxx

7.9.17

It’s been a year today since I found my first lump. It’s been one hell of a year & journey but thankfully after all the treatment the cancer is gone. I’ve got 3 more Herceptin injections (one of which is today ironically 🙄) & then, all being well, I’ll be finished. It’ll just be check ups & yearly mammograms.

I returned to work gradually & by the time I was doing my full hours (only 19) I was finding it exhausting. Didn’t help with the fact the kids were off & I seemed to have loads going on. Thankfully my lovely work colleagues decided I was doing too much & made me reduce my hours until after my holiday. One of the things I did do, which contributed to me being tired, was organise an afternoon tea for Breast Cancer Care & we managed to raise £500! Dave also raised over £1200 for them doing Ride London.

I’m feeling more refreshed after my holiday to beautiful Lake Annecy & am gradually getting my energy back. My hair’s getting longer but despite my wish for dead straight hair there’s definitely a wave there 😩

27.6.17

I’ve ditched the wig! After a very lovely & hot holiday in Corfu, where I only wore it when I went out in the evenings, & after last week’s scorcher, when I couldn’t bear wearing it at all, I decided to ditch it for good. Probably. 😬 Everyone who’s seen me without it says I look fine & that it suits me but I can’t convince myself. I think I look too butch & GI Jane like, which just isn’t me. See for yourselves in the picture below.

I’m finished with the main treatment now, so just need to have my 3 weekly herceptin injections until October, to reduce the chance of the cancer coming back.  I also have 3 monthly echocardiograms, as herceptin can cause heart damage, regular check ups with the oncologist & blood tests to check all is well there. Then I’ll be done. Hopefully🤞

I’ve been doing a 6 week Back to Fitness course provided by Macmillan & Albion in the Community (even my beloved footy team are helping me out!). It was circuit training but on an easier scale. I also did Pilates again for the first time yesterday, which was great. It’s nice to get back to a bit of reality. Talking of which, next week I go back to work! 😳 I’m being eased in gently though, so it shouldn’t be too bad. Can’t keep being a lady of leisure & enjoying all these coffee mornings & liquid lunches!

I’m holding an afternoon tea in August & I do apologise if you haven’t been invited. As I don’t live in Buckingham Palace, despite having a royal surname, I’ve had to restrict numbers but if you’d like to make a contribution to a fantastic charity who’ve been of enormous help to us during the past few months, then please donate at http://www.justgiving.com/lisaking86.  Thank you in advance

Not sure I’ll update this for a while unless there’s any new news, so thanks to all for continuing to read & comment & for all your wonderful support. xxxxxxxxx

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30.5.17

Well today was the last day of my radiotherapy! 🎉🍾🎉🍾 No more daily trips driving down to Brighton thankfully. All has gone well & I haven’t felt too bad. More tired than normal and skin is a bit pink, itchy & a little sore but not as bad as I thought it would be. Though I have been warned it’s at its worst 7-10 days after the final treatment. Right in the middle of my Corfu holiday🙄 Oh joy. I’ll have sunburn before I even see the sun! Will need to drink more alcohol to numb the pain. Went for a meal with Dave & the boys after to celebrate the end of another stage of treatment. Enjoyed a lovely Prosecco cocktail. 🍹  I still need to have 3 weekly injections, blood tests & echocardiograms until November but the main treatment is over.  Saw the oncologist last week who is very happy with how things have gone & pretty much ordered me to have a holiday! My kind of doctor.  So on Saturday off on holiday I shall be going!

 

11.5.17

I’m nearly half way through my radiotherapy & so far all is going well. My appointments are at random times each day, the earliest being 8.54 & the latest 5.54.  The whole process is quite bizarre. You lay on a hard bed (to limit your chances of any movement during the radiotherapy) with your arms above your head in what the nurses call cups. They then line up the tattoos using lasers while shuffling you in all directions (with their always cold hands 😬) to get it exactly right. It has to be within 2mm of the tattoo. They then reel off a load of numbers to each other. I haven’t a clue what they all mean. It’s a bit like being back in a maths class at school! They then leave the room & the linear accelerator (radiotherapy machine) makes various noises & moves around over you for about 5 minutes. It seems like nothing is happening as you don’t feel anything. The nurses then come back in & it’s done!

So far my skin is only a bit pink but the area is quite tender & hard but other than that I’m not feeling too bad.

13.4.17

I had 3 tattoos yesterday! Well 3 pin prick size tattoos anyway. It was my planning appointment for my radiotherapy. I start at the Royal Sussex County Hospital Cancer Centre on 2 May for 20 sessions (each weekday) finishing on 30 May – 4 days before I go to Corfu!!  They talked it all through with me & then I had a CT scan to work out exactly where they need to do the radiotherapy. They then drew 3 marks on me and then using needles tattoo’d permanent marks on. They just look like moles really.

A few people have asked what radiotherapy is, so I’ve attached a photo below. Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays, usually x-rays and similar rays (such as electrons), to treat disease. It destroys cancer cells in the area that’s treated. Normal cells can also be damaged by radiotherapy. They can usually repair themselves, but cancer cells can’t.  Each session lasts 15 mins with about 10 mins of that being the setting up and the other 5 the actual radiotherapy itself.

I saw my GP last week & have been given my Tamoxifen to start. This will be for 10 years!  My type of breast cancer relies on the hormone oestrogen to grow. This type of breast cancer is called oestrogen receptor-positive (ER positive) breast cancer. Tamoxifen blocks oestrogen from reaching the cancer cells. This means the cancer either grows more slowly or stops growing altogether.

I had another echocardiogram on Monday & am pleased to report my heart is working brilliantly still. God knows how with all the stresses of being a Brighton fan! Though it’s looking promising 🤞😬

I’m currently in the hospital enjoying the view (see below), having just had my 3 weekly Herceptin injection & observations.  I’ve had so many needles stuck in me the past few months I feel like a colander! Though I’ve pretty much overcome my fear of needles now.

I’ve recovered well from the surgery & the scar is very neat but I do have some indentation where the tissue was removed.  So now I just wait for radiotherapy to start.

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23.3.17

Just a quick update. Saw the surgeon this morning who confirmed that the results from surgery last week show the cancer lumps have all gone. 🍾🎉 There were a few cancerous cells but they were removed during the surgery. So now I just have to wait for a date for the radiotherapy to start, which will probably be in 3-5 weeks.

Therefore came straight out of appointment & booked a week in Lake Annecy again in August!

16.3.17

Thank you to everyone for your lovely messages the last few days. They mean a lot.

Monday I had the guide wires put in,  to enable the surgeon to locate the titanium markers I had put in when they first found the lumps. I had to have 2 local anaesthetic injections into my chest wall (rather painful) and then the radiologist inserted the wires using ultrasound. Then I had mammograms to make sure the wires had gone into the right position. Yet again they had trouble getting an image of the markers as they are more on my chest wall than in my breast, so I was pushed & shoved into the machine numerous times & they still couldn’t locate one of the markers.  The radiologist said the surgeon would have to rely on the ultrasound images instead. Not ideal! He did say that from looking at the MRI images taken last week that he couldn’t see anything to be concerned about. Good news.

On Tuesday morning, after an uncomfortable night’s sleep, I picked the boys up from the airport after their skiing adventure & then in the afternoon went to the hospital for my surgery. On arrival I ordered my food for the evening & following morning, which I was really looking forward to as I hadn’t been allowed anything since breakfast (not good for a grazer like me). I was taken down to theatre at 4.30pm & don’t remember anything until I woke at 6pm. I then felt sick for the rest of the evening & had to have more anti-sickness medication & couldn’t manage any food!! Very unlike me as most of you know. Apparently the surgeon came in to see me but I don’t remember. I actually slept pretty well during the night (good old morphine) but remember the nurse popping in a few times to check up on me. She then woke me properly at 6.30am to do all my checks. The surgeon came in a bit later & said it had gone well and he had found no trace of the lumps and he’d drained the fluid left from the last op. I am due to see him again next week once the tissue that was removed  has been examined.

My chest looks like it’s had 9 rounds with Mike Tyson as I’m now just very bruised & sore & a bit swollen but don’t feel too bad. The actual cut he made doesn’t look too bad so I shouldn’t have too much scarring. Hopefully the results next week will show no cancerous cells.

9.3.17

I’m now 4 weeks on from my last chemo and not feeling too bad. Still have aching legs & get tired quite quickly but not as bad as before. My nails are breaking off halfway down my nail bed though which is painful & looks awful. I’ve lost more eyebrow hair & lashes but head hair & body hair is still growing back slowly.

I had my first 15 minute Herceptin (which is the cancer medication that interferes with the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body) injection into my thigh last week which went ok. They’ll continue that every 3 weeks now until November. My surgery is next Tuesday, so this week I’ve had my MRI scan (Superman pose lying down with boobs & head through holes – very bizarre & bloody uncomfortable!). Get the results of that before the surgery next week. I’ve also had my pre assessment which was all ok & next Monday I have to have guide wires put in using ultrasound to show the surgeon where to go to remove the markers & some tissue. That’s done under local anaesthetic which I’m not looking forward to! A week after surgery I should see the surgeon with the results from the tissue that’ll be sent away. Then I see the oncologist to discuss radiotherapy which should be 4-6 weeks after the op. It’s all go now! I have contemplated moving into the hospital as I’m back & forth to it constantly. Plus they feed me, there’s no housework to be done & its peaceful!

Meanwhile I’ve been busy going to watch the Albion twice (good & very bad there) & to a 40th birthday party where I managed some dancing but paid for it the next day. Dave has now taken the boys skiing for a few days & I’ll be going to watch Brighton win 🙏🏻, another 40th party & afternoon tea before being out of action again for a while after the surgery.

Everyone keeps saying how well I look but they only see me in wig & make-up. This is the reality before & after.

 

 

20.2.17

I’ve had my final chemo!  Woohoo!  I’m glad the last 2 weren’t my first 2 as they had real problems finding a vein they could put the cannula in.  I’m not great with needles at the best of times! I was like a pin cushion & covered in bruises.  I’ve just got to go back every 3 weeks until October to have the Herceptin injected into my thigh but that should only take about half an hour each time.  I haven’t been feeling too bad & am managing to get out & about for a while. At long last I’m hoping to get to see Brighton at the weekend. I hate not being able to go.  I get worn out quickly & my legs ache all the time but generally it’s not too bad. Just hope I stay clear of infections. My hair has started to grow back a bit and is all soft & fluffy but that started before my last chemo so it may go again.  My eyebrows have nearly gone completely now but most of my lashes are hanging on. The body hair is starting to come back a bit too. I might have to dust off my razor soon!

I’ve been given a date of 14 March for my surgery but should only have to stay in for one night.  I need to have an MRI beforehand to make sure I’m all clear.  Then radiotherapy will start approximately a month later.

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