Saturday, 31 December 2011

They're Ggggrrrreeeeaaattt! the words of a cereal advertising tiger. Frosties that is.

Yes it's that time of year when money is tight and so I love receiving the annual freezer bill for the Frosties. £300. Bargain! I guess £100 each doesn't sound as bad. But the timing truly is shite. There you are full of the festive spirit (amongst other things!) and a big fat reminder of all the crap and evilness drops onto the doormat and also hammers the bank account too. Merry bloody Christmas!

The irony of these wee chaps is that the real likelihood is that we will never get to use them. If I continue being the goody-two-shoes that I have been for the last 37 years of my life, then we listen to the Drs and wait 18-24 months after finishing chemo before we consider starting a family. That's what we did last time and after 12 months the evilness decided to ruin the party. And so here we are again. We very briefly discussed whether we pay the freezer bill as it seems like more money down the drain (let's not even mention the £6000 it cost to make the Frosties in the first place). However as Darrell said - they are hope. Simple as that. They are potentially our future albeit only about 3-4 cells each but even so. It pickles the mind some what when I think that their gender is already determined. How mad is that. It generally is too huge a concept that I can't let it enter my mind too often as inevitably what sneaks in behind it is the fact that someday we may have to make the decision to let them perish. How the fuck do you decide that about your babies; your future; your hopes and dreams?

Just when you thought the evilness couldn't take anything else away. Bastard.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas

... to everyone. I hope you are with the ones you love and that you have a lovely day xxxx

Sunday, 18 December 2011

It just gets better

I'm still reeling from the somewhat shocking, but quite frankly, fucking fabulous news that at the moment I have kicked the evilness into touch. I have had a celebratory glass of fizzy pop which went straight to my head due to me not having drunk a drop since the evilness came back. Brilliant.

Anyway, on Thursday I got a text message from one of my bestest friends, who lives in New Zealand. She has unfortunately also been battling with the evilness for the last 4 years. She has had multiple surgeries and has just finished 6 months of chemo. Ironic that we were both enduring the kick-ass drugs on opposite sides of the world. But if looking for the silver lining, at least we could support each other, and our partners also had someone to compare notes with.

Anyway, I digress. Her text was to tell me the bloody brilliant news that her latest MRI scan was clear. She too has told the evilness to piss off. I am absolutely over the moon. It has been a dreadful year for us both and it is just wonderful that we have both gone into remission at the same time. We can see in 2012 in a much better way now and kiss 2011 goodbye.

Truly the best Christmas present ever. Love you and miss you loads S xxxx

Haagen-Dazs, Leicester Square - just like old times

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Holy crap!

OH. MY. GOD. I am in shock.

So evilness Dr starts the appointment with lots of "How have you been?" niceness. Part of me wanted to carry on the chit chat to ward off the inevitable. But the other part just thought GET ON WITH IT!

Anyway my PET/CT scan was completely clear. The SOMETHING in my liver is metabolically inactive which makes it much less likely to be evilness. So 6 weeks ago I was told I have liver cancer and now it seems that is not the case. FUCK. They think it may be a fatty growth. Fine by me!

And as for the sneaky tumour in my pelvis that was left behind after my last op, and that doesn't show up on a normal CT scans, is also not there either. So at the moment I am cancer free.


I am stunned. I was fully prepared for the badest news and I get this. SHIT.

So no more horrid drugs for now and then an MRI in february and an ultrasound which can differentiate fat from nastiness. And then we see. But the good thing is that the kick ass drugs were actually kicking ass so we can use them again if it comes back.

I haven't felt like celebrating Christmas because of these results. And now we have had this amazing news. It is still really hard though because of my wonderful father in law. We found out last week that he now has evilness in his spine and so started radiotherapy today. I know how hard it is hearing that someone else has had great news whilst you are battling with shit. You are thrilled for them but insanely jealous. Man this disease is an evil bastard.

But for now i am going to just think about the fact that I have kicked it's arse for the second time. So there.


So - today is the day. Results. The day where I stop being in limbo and find out what the next step is. The day where I find out how totally crap my life may be.

It's really hard to stay positive but I have to try.

Appointment isn't until 6.30pm so long day ahead. Sigh.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


I'm still giggling.

I saw my marble polisher today and we got on to the subject of a certain so-called friend who has hurt me more than anyone in my life ever has (and hopefully ever will).

Marble polisher referred to her as The Dark Side but said that at least Darth Vader redeemed himself towards the end, but she never will.

So true. But it really made me chuckle.

The Dark Side.


Monday, 7 November 2011

The Drugs Don't Work

Just when you get your head around the new plan, it all changes. Aaahhhh.

So I saw evilness Dr last week and got the wonderful news that my liver wants in on the action. Was told to book another appointment for a week later just to make sure I was feeling better as I had been in bed all week. However he said if I was feeling ok then cancel it.
Well, I was feeling better but thought would keep the appointment anyway as we had some questions. In all the liver drama we forgot to ask what the plan was with the sneaky invisible tumour that's in my pelvis.

Anyway turns out the evilness Dr is off that but it's ok as we can see my other one - I'm greedy and have two! So he shows me the scan and I can see the liver badness - sitting right in the middle of my liver next to a massive blood vessel. Great. I mean, why couldn't it just be sat on the edge there, easy to snip off? Oh no, not me, has to be difficult.

So since I last saw evilness Dr, they have had a chat and come up with another plan. Quite when I was going to be let in on this is beyond me, as I could have cancelled the appointment! Anyway - they have decided to stop chemo. Yes, you heard me, stop chemo. Just like that. No more. Now weirdly, if you had told me that I was stopping chemo I would be bouncing off the walls. No more feeling shite. However that was actually the last thing I felt. I think because the reality is that they are stopping the kickass drugs as they might not be quite as kick ass as we thought. A tumour shouldn't grow when on the drugs. So no more chemo for now and then at the end of the month I will have a PET-CT scan to look for more evilness. If it is just in my liver then the surgeons get to have fun and chop it out. If there is other stuff elsewhere then I guess, more chemo. Who knows. It's just a bit scary knowing the evilness is inside me and we are taking away the drugs that might be keeping it at least under some sort of control.

However, I can't focus on that. I can focus on the fact that at least for the next few weeks there are no kick ass, make you feel like shite drugs in my system, and so Claire may be back for a while. I will deal with the scan and the results on December 7th and not before then!

So it's all a bit mind boggling eh? Just get your head around one plan and it's all change. It is all a bit crap really but what can I do? I just have to get on with it. I knew it was likely to pop up in my liver at some point, but didn't expect it just yet. I've been fighting the fight for over 2 years now and it's hard. Hard that every day my mortality is in my face. I mean, really, who at the age of 37 should be wondering what songs to have at their funeral? It's just so wrong but that is the reality of my life. All our hopes and dreams have gone and my only hope is to survive. To make my 40th birthday. How crazy is that? It certainly gives you a different perspective on life but also makes you insanely jealous of everyone else that takes life for granted. My life is on hold right now until December 7th. I can't make any plans as I don't know what they will tell me. Who knows what is next? All I can do in the meantime is enjoy being Claire and enjoy not having the FFH! Bizarrely I have new hair growing so I have a weird fuzzy halo! The things I have to contend with eh?!

Thursday, 27 October 2011


There are times when I struggle to stay strong in the fight and this is one of them. There are times when I need a break; to be cut some slack; some good news. It's not too much to ask is it? Well apparently it is.
So I had a routine CT scan on Monday. Pretty crap when they say to you - "you've done this before haven't you?". Yup, 6 scans later I'm familiar with the process. But no-one should have to be an expert in CT scan cancer monitoring.
Anyway, since then I've been in bed feeling shite. It's the first time in all my chemo that I've felt this bad. However the evilness dr thinks I'm just dehydrated so need to drink more. Tricky when you're asleep but hey ho.

So got the CT results last night. All clear HURRAH.

Oh apart from the something on my liver.


Which when pushed means the fucking evilness has spread to my liver despite the kick-ass drugs. Not good. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

So I am being referred to the liver team at Hammersmith. Joy. We went there for the IVF stuff and it's not the most pleasant place - I mean next to a prison! Anyway, they are going to have a meeting to discuss me and decide what to do. The most likely thing is surgery to remove it and then who knows. It is not great that the evilness is winning the war and there is only one last chemo drug left to try. And it may not be an option anyway as some tumours mutate so the drug is ineffectual. They have tested my tumour but can't find the results. Bloody brilliant. Let's hope they find them.

So that is me. Facing more surgery and a very uncertain future. In fact it feels right now that I don't have a future. It's all a bit dark. I have lots of love and support from amazing people that believe I can beat this. However the reality is that the 5 year survival rate for recurrent bowel cancer is 5%. Pretty shit eh? Hard to stay positive knowing that and given my current situation. Obviously I will just carry on fighting but at dark times like this it's hard to see what the point is. Feeling crappy most of the time for what? I hate the fact that I have to fight to stay alive - something most people just take for granted. No, not for me. It's a massive uphill battle. Why can't things be simple?


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

80's Cheese

Get me - twice in two days! However realised that forgot some good stuff!

Last week I went to see Rock of Ages with my oldest, bestest friend. It is the new 80's cheesy rock musical starring Justin Lee Collins and Shane Ward. It is, quite frankly, bloody brilliant. Shakespeare it is not. Hilarious and full of 80's soft rock it is. We laughed, sang and danced the night away. Amazing for the soul.
And I have also booked tickets for the Warner Brother Studio's Harry Potter tour. Tickets are booked for the day before my birthday next year and I can't wait.

It is a really odd but good feeling to book something for next year. Who knows what will happen after chemo finishes - I am meant to be having another op but not sure when. The plan being to have a look at the evilness - hopefully they will have to look really bloody hard as it won't be there any more! However if it is then they may be able to take more/all out. Who knows. Anyway that is the next step but trying to get an answer on when - well, blood and stone spring to mind! I think sometimes they forget that they tell me how important it is to live life normally - which involves plans etc - but how do you make plans when you don't know when things will be. Ho hum. All makes life more interesting eh? Or something!

Anyway must dash as the ginger-wonder that is Horatio is on now! (puts sunglasses on!)

Monday, 17 October 2011

Bump. Sorry.

Firstly apologies for being AWOL. I guess I kind of forget that people actually read this and that it isn't just me and my mindless ramblings. Sorry.
My excuses for being absent are firstly having an awesome holiday - more of that in a mo, and secondly being back into treatment and thus (who uses that word?!) being knackered so usually in bed by 9pm which doesn't leave much time for creative writing. Talk about back to reality.

Anyway, so the holiday. O.M.G. Absolutely amazing. We were both very much in need of the break - both emotionally and in my case, physically. When you are living with the evilness - well I say living, I mean putting it in its box, and occasionally giving it a little bit of attention, despite it wanting more; anyway, when living with it, you don't realise how much it takes its toll. So I needed some respite and New York and New England certainly provided that.

We had 2 weeks. So we started in good old NYC. Saw the sights, ate the food and oh yes, did a spot of shopping.

My kind of shopping
We were there for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I found it very emotional being there for that but there was a really positive atmosphere. Real NY positivity. Amazing.
Then off to Niagara we went - in a teeny plane that seated 50. The Falls were incredible. Hard to describe so here is the view from our hotel. I have asked for a refund!

The Falls
Then back to NYC to pick up our very eco-friendly compact car and we drove up the coast to Cape Cod.

Our mini!
A place I have always wanted to visit due to an obsession with Dawson's Creek - many a Sunday morning spent with a very good friend watching it in our PJ's! Good memories. Cape Cod brought a real "back to nature" feel to the trip - beautiful beaches and WHALE WATCHING. Those reading this that know me well, will know that me spending 3 hours on a boat in the Atlantic Ocean in order to see these magnificent creatures was a real personal achievement - helped considerably by the fact that I was dosed up to the eyeballs on a variety of anti-emetics! Totally worth it.

Three Humpback's feeding
Then finally we were off to Boston for the last few days and a real dose of American history. It was a fabulous holiday and just what we needed,

Unfortunately we had to come home! Luckily I had another week of "normality" before treatment number 7. It was lovely to feel normal. I hadn't realised how much the kick-ass drugs affect me until I felt like me again. It was great not to have to wake up every morning and wonder how I would feel, and to get to 9pm and still be awake. It was great to be Claire again - I miss her.

However whilst I may be at the top of the mountain which is great, I still have to go down the other side. And so here I am, treatment 8 was today so nearly 3/4 of the way there. And I still have hair - albeit less of it. So it seems the FFH is worth the pain. Unfortunately my post-last-chemo curls have all fallen out, but amazingly already I have new hair growth - fuzzy stuff on the top of my head. How weird is that? And for those of you that have always wondered but been too afraid to ask - chemo does indeed affect ALL your hair!!!! Thank god there isn't a FFH for that area!

Anyway, I am back and won't leave it so long next time.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Oh. MY. GOD.

Today was a good day. Today made me cry with overwhelming emotion. Today I received the most beautiful quilt made by members of the online community that I am part of. They have been making it in secret since May and I had no idea. Each square was made by someone different and made with love. I feel so touched to have been thought of in this way. It is incredible that support comes from where you least expect it. Often the places you think it should come from, are the least forthcoming - which is hard to deal with. However then something like today happens and your faith in humanity is restored. I feel very privileged to have these amazing people in my life - despite having never met any of them! Love you all internet weirdies. I shall be wrapped up in your love.
My Quilt of Love
Absolutely - my new mantra!
Couldn't agree more.
So how's things otherwise? Well, I have reached the half way mark in chemo and man I am knackered. I am constantly tired and feeling ropey for quite a large part of each two weeks. My consultant has let me have a break which I really need. So on Saturday we fly to New York baby! I can't quite believe that we are going to be there in 3 days. I feel a trip to Tiffany & Co. coming on - need more bling. We are then going to Niagra where we can catch up with Darrell's cousin which will be brilliant. Then off up the New England coast to Cape Cod and then Boston. I have always wanted to go to Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard. There will be many photos to be taken. I really can't wait for the time off chemo as I have had enough. My body needs a rest as does my soul. I don't have another treatment until October which I am hoping is going to give me a good recharge. Then it is countdown to the finish line.

So I guess this will be my last post until we get back from the US of A. It will be odd as we are in New York for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I feel quite emotional at the thought really. I feel I need to go to Ground Zero to pay my respects. I was very fortunate that I didn't know of anyone that was lost in the tragedy, but I feel that I need to go there. Odd really but there you go. Anyway - I shall think of you all whilst consuming pretzels and other NY associated food! See you in a couple of weeks.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Noo Shooz...

....of fabulousness. Courtesy of my amazingly fabulously wonderful hubby. Didn't he do well? He didn't ask me for any suggestions or anything. And he got the size right. He is brilliant!

Thursday, 25 August 2011


Apologies for the delay. Doesn't time fly when you are having fun?! So here I am nearly half way through chemo and man I am feeling it. Me and my bed are very close at the moment - it is ridiculous. I can sleep 10-11 hours a night and still need more. I was warned that this would be happen but the reality is shite. Also the good days are getting fewer. It certainly challenges your spirit this chemo lark.
I saw my oncologist last week to see how I was getting on and to decide whether I was allowed the mid-way break that they had promised at the beginning. The good news is that they are pleased with how I am tolerating the aggressive kick-ass drugs. More good news that I am allowed a break. The crap side was how matter of fact he was with talking about how I am allowed the break because ultimately we are just controlling ths disease "much like diabetes", and that the chances of cure are slim. Also how it is most likely that this is what will take my life. So all-in-all really positive - NOT. I know that is the truth and have known it all along but when you are trying to beat this bastard, you don't need those negative thoughts creeping in and eating away at you. Not surprisingly I had a melt down that evening. Part of me thinking that if my life is really just going to be on and off chemo then what kind of crap life is that? It all seems really pointless. But then I know that really it is the only chance I have. It's just not a very fun prospect. Life truly is an arse.
The best day of my life
On a positive note - me and Darrell celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on tuesday. 3 is leather and he bought me a fabulous pair of purple Irregular Choice shoes. No prompting from me or anything. He got the size right as well. He is such an amazing man. It has to be said that life has not been great since we got married. We spent our first wedding anniversary filling in IVF paperwork, and have been living with cancer for the last 2 years. Great hey?!But he has been there for me every step of the way. I hate that I am putting him through all of this and that this has meant that the chances of us getting our hopes and dreams are pretty slim. It is just not fair. Still the 23rd August 2008 was the happiest day of my life.

Classy bride me!

First dance
So - tuesday brings round 6 and the half way mark. I get an extra day of feeling normal due to the bank holiday - small mercies. Then only 2 weeks until New York and New England - hurrah! I can't wait as my body needs a break and so does my soul.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Nips and Bits

So another 2 weeks has flown by. Another 2 weeks of feeling shattered and managing side effects. My oncologists warned me that the fatigue would be hard this time and difficult to deal with. They were not lying. It is quite frankly a bitch - no magic pills make it go away. No tea sorts that out (well a skinny caramel latte does help!). The only treatment here is sleep. And sleep interferes with being "normal". Going to bed at 8pm does slightly impinge on one's social life. Bugger. However, I can't fight this one unfortunately - so sleep I must. I have to listen to my body and do as it says. Getting into bed each night is quite frankly utter bliss. It is the best bit of every day. It does get slightly disrupted when the bloody steroids get their say but still - bed is my friend!

Apart from a lot of sleeping what have I been up to? I have now resigned myself to the fact that chemo week is a right off from the point of view of life. Week 2 is where I live again - so had dinner with lots of friends this week. Great to catch up with such wonderful people. People that have stood by me through all the shite. Not always a given it must be said. Easy to assume that the people you love will stand by you and step up to the mark. It is quite a shock when you realise that not to be the case. Still - at least I know who really matters. True friends are precious and not to be taken for granted. In fact, it is easy to take life for granted and that is one thing that the evilness teaches you. Life is a very valuable thing and I think all of us are guilty for taking what we have for granted. If you are reading this then take a step back and look at the wonderfulness that you have. Give your loved ones an extra kiss and hug tonight. You are lucky.

I managed to see my Marble Polisher this week - we have had a bit of a gap what with one thing and another. For those not in the loop - as a surprise friend that has provided a lot of support, that I didn't expect, told me - "if you don't keep your marbles polished then you risk losing them". So I polish my marbles once a week (usually). She provides me with space to be able to offload, rant, ramble and cry with no agenda. And cry I do, a lot. It usually catches me by surprise every time. But at least I get it out. Important that the evilness doesn't let emotions eat away at me. So out they must come. I usually feel pretty washed out after but much better. My MP is brilliant.

Today brought the start of the photo shoots for the naked charity calendars we are making. It does mean an early start to avoid the general public being nosy and to protect the modesty of the wonderful people that have volunteered. It was really quite amusing to see Dave getting embarrassed and averting his eyes as the dressing gowns came off and everyone got into position. Mind you - he proved quite handy as a model to set up the scenes. This is him being a pregnant woman!
We have many more to do but people are being brilliant. I can't wait to photo the firemen.
Another silver lining me thinks!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


What a crazy 2 weeks! Round 3 wasn't too bad.
Decided to take advantage of feeling vaguely normal on the 2nd week of each chemo fortnight and booked a week in Rome.
View of the Vatican from Castel Sant' Angelo

Cheeky pic in the Sistine Chapel
We had a great time. Ate lots, walked lots, saw the sights and generally tried to forget the evilness and have some quality time together. It was great to be "normal" and kick back - something we have badly needed. Need to have a bit of a carb break now - bit of pasta and pizza overload! Although all the walking meant I have lost some weight - hurrah! It seems that exercise really does work. Who knew!

Went to my bestest friend's little boy's 1st birthday party the day after we got back. A real mixed emotion day. Lovely as it was his party but heartbreaking for me as they got married the week before us and so we should be in the same boat. And we couldn't be farther from it, and may never get there. Truly the hardest part of this journey it has to be said. My ovaries are still hanging in there which is amazing. They couldn't be arsed last time I had chemo. And we have 3 wee embryos frozen at Hammersmith hospital - that was another emotional rollercoaster to get them. Not forgetting the £6K we had to find. Bizarre to think we have 3 teeny babies sat there - gender already determined, that we may never need or have the opportunity to use. Kinda pickles the mind if you think too much on it. So I tend not to. It's all a bit much for me to cope with right now - so I tend to just pop it all in a box for another time.

Back to earth this week with a bump as chemo round 4 yesterday. Still - that's a third done. Baby steps and all that. Am drinking 2L of water a day as that is meant to help - I assume flushes all the crap out of my system from the kick-ass drugs and mullered evil cells (hopefully!). Still going with the FFH - it seems to be helping, although I am moulting a lot so who knows how much I will lose. I have added to my head scarf stash so am ready if baldiness comes my way - although I will be devastated.

Been a tough few days support-wise - or should I say, lack thereof. Been let down by people that are thinking of themselves and not me. I know it sounds a bit unreasonable of me to feel this way but some people in my life have an amazing capacity to make all my issues, all about them. Tremendous. Sod providing me any support if they can't cope with it. At least my amazing husband and friends are there for me. Horrible how true colours are revealed at times like this.

Anyway, I'm back now, new season of CSI Miami is back (slight closet crush on Horatio!), and have lots of dinners with friends lined up next week, for once I come through the chemo fog. More food. Joy!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

For my brother

This one is for you Rob - until next time. Love you heaps xxxxx

Every Little Helps

So as I lie here wide awake at 2.25am due to the damn steroids, I figured I may swell use mtpy time wisely!
Had treatment 3 today so am nearly a quarter of the way there. My brother came along which is great and crap as it means he is flying home to Oz tomorrow. There will be tears at Heathrow. That place always reminds me of my favourite film "Love Actually". The arrivals gate is one of the happiest places I know but conversely the departure gate is so sad. It is never good to be waving someone off there. And I'm faced with the knowledge that other than on Skype, I don't know when I will be seeing him again. Arse, I'm crying now writing this, I've got no chance tomorrow. He is the best member of my family but he lives on the other side of the world. I love my sister-in-law dearly, but man why did she have to be an Ozzie? To utilise an antipodean term - I'm gonna miss you heaps bruv.
Anyway, wiping the tears and snot away; plenty of that to be had tomorrow. The snipathon and calendar planning is going well. We have firemen volunteers for the calendar and I get to photograph them. Cancer does occasionally have it's perks! Who knew?!
I have posted the Just Giving link for those that may wish to contribute if you can't make the hair cutting marathon or are took far away for the calendar, or just want to do your bit. I have blatantly stolen the Tesco strap line but it's true! Thank you in anticipation. It all means so much. Love you all loads.

David Cubbon is fundraising for Bowel Cancer UK

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Is there anybody out there?

I just wanted to say that if you are reading this it would be lovely to read your comments. It lets me know that I'm not talking to myself and will keep me spurred on to keep writing. I feel at the moment like I'm talking to myself - which hey, isn't the end of the world, after all I can't answer back and all that! But it would be lovely to hear from you guys. Also please add yourself to my Followers list - over there on the left hand side. It's nice to see you guys too!
And by the way, Harry Potter was truly amazing. I cried , laughed and cheered and I am so sad that a fabulous era is over. I'm sure I speak for the masses when I say "Thank you so much JK for bringing us such an amazing world for us all to escape to once in a while, and find our inner child". I for one am going to miss Harry. Still, I shall just have to read all the books again. I have to admit the film did nothing for my massive crush on Snape! It's worse than ever.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

(Il)Legally Blonde

So I made it to the hair cut that I wasn't sure I would need when I booked it 8 weeks ago. When having the cold cap, oops, sorry, the FFH, you are meant to be nice to your hair. So I am avoiding hair dryers/ straightners, being gentle when brushing it, and sleeping on silk pillowcases (lovely and cool, can highly recommend, and massively reduces explodahead bed hair!). Anyway what you are also NOT meant to do is dye your hair. Now, for those that don't know this, my blondness is erm, slightly assisted with the aid of highlights. I have gradually darkened over the years and am in denial! So I should really be embracing my naturalness - but I have to draw the line somewhere. The thought of letting my roots do their thing, fills me with more dread than going bald. So I relented and we didn't use any bleach and just tints - so a little compromise. I figure, it may increase the chance of it falling out, but at least I will look fabulous in the meantime!
I have also been busy being famous! Get me. Dave, our Best Man, and one of my best friends, is raising money for Bowel Cancer UK and hoping to run the London Marathon. That in itself is quite an achievement as (he is the first to admit this), is one of the least fit people I know. Anyway, he is doing a 24h hairdressing marathon (did I mention that he is also my honarary gay best friend, who is not gay?!)and also we are doing 2 "Calendar Girls" type calendars. We have been interviewed for the local paper and also appear on its website. I will be in print tomorrow - eek.
I am really touched and really proud of him for doing this. It makes you realise who the important people are.
Oh yes, and finally, 2 sleeps to go 'til Harry Potter. Excited, much?

Friday, 8 July 2011

Round 2

The battle continues and this time hasn't been as bad as I expected (yet!). Monday chemo was quite a social affair as my brother is back from Oz for a couple of weeks. He wanted to be my chemo buddy and I think it helped him. Chemo has the image of making people bald, skinny and miserable and to see it as something different is a good thing. The oncology unit is an amazingly positive place - negativity is banned. The crazy Ghanaian sister Regina helps - her laugh is infectious.
Managed the cold cap again - it is still a FFH but I coped better this time - kept my head supported so I didn't get a really sore neck. Bizarrely I sent the boys out for a Skinny Caramel Frappucino as I had a craving. So there I am with -5C FFH on my head, slurping a frozen coffee - feeling quite comfy. I think I am officially odd! Most women with the FHH are under blankets with hot water bottles. Go figure!
The FFH before it goes on my head - yes that is ice.
The week has been a bit dull with no concerts but hey - gotta pace myself! I haven't felt as weird nor as sicky as last time - had more anti-emetics this time. They say the Avastin (my extra kick ass drug that I had this time), doesn't cause sickness as it is a monoclonal antibody. The science geeks amongst you will know that this is a more targeted treatment and hence less side effects. I suspect it is bloody expensive - looking forward to seeing the bill for this round! However - if it does what it says on the tin the cost is worth it (she says, thankful for private health care insurance!).
It has been awesome to have my brother here and I think for him it has helped him understand what I am going through and that I am just getting on with my life, whilst battling cancer as a bit of a hobby! The evilness is not allowed to become all consuming. It is an aspect of me; part of me; but it is not ALL of me. I am still Claire; blonde; vet type; wife; friend; daughter etc. I just happen to have cancer. Fighting it is something that I am doing but it is not all I am doing. I am still trying to live my life - after all my life will still be there after chemo finishes so I need to keep it going. I think people tend to forget that about me - so I get asked a lot about how I am feeling but not much about the other aspects of what I am up to. Well, actually, some people ask but others don't. After all, if you don't ask how I am feeling then I can't possibly answer with something you don't want to deal with - "Pretty shit thanks" - eek, now what do you say? Easier not to ask isn't it?! Doesn't mean that I'm not feeling shit though does it - but it makes it easier for you to live with. Just remember that no matter how crap you may be feeling about all of this - it is a lot worse for me as I am actually living it.
Oops bit of a mini rant there - sorry. Actually, no I'm not - it has to be said to help understanding. Whilst I may be pretty positive and upbeat, but it isn't always that way.
Quite brilliantly I am having my hair cut tomorrow. When I made the appointment 8 weeks ago I didn't know whether there would actually be any hair to cut. The Irinotecan (kick ass drug that causes hair loss in 30% of cases) starts to cause loss 3-4w after treatment starts so I will know any day whether the FFH is doing what it should, and whether Mrs Jack Sparrow is going to make an appearance. I guess I just have to wait and see.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Don't Stop Believin'

I find myself on the eve of round 2 of the kick ass drugs feeling good again, knowing that this time tomorrow I shall feel like crap. Bloody marvellous.
It has been a rollercoaster of a fortnight. The kick ass drugs made me feel ropey for week 1 but then on saturday the mist lifted and I was back and haven't looked back since. If it stays like this then I can cope with that. At least I get to be me for 9 days out of every 14 - the evilness doesn't get to take over my life. And that is the most important thing.
Tuesday brought a mad dash to the O2 along with my honarary gay best friend, Dave, to see Glee. A crowd of girls and gay men resulted in a lot of screeming - me very much included in that. Had a blast, singing my heart out to some great tunes. Just what the doctor ordered. They say half of the battle against the evilness is all in the mind, and the attitude. Well if that is the case then the evilness has no chance against me - although it may snigger a bit with me looking like this!
Then last night was the 3rd of the 3 concerts I have attended this week! TAKE THAT at Wembley Stadium. They were truly fan-bloody-tastic. So great to have all 5 of them back together. Live music is something that can't be beaten - singing your heart out with like-minded people. Dancing your cares away. Robbie sang "Angels" and said it was for all those people we have lost, and for those people going through hard times. "Angels" makes me cry when sung live at the best of times but this floored me. The good friend I was stood with at the point, Donna, held my hand. My 2 best friends, Mel and Nats, were also there - I turned to look at Mel, as I had been sitting with her, but had gone to have a dance with Donna on the pitch, and she was waving at me like a crazy thing, and Nats was in the posh seats (we were not!), sent me kisses in a text. I feel very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. It is so true that you find out who really matters at times like this. My true friends stepped up and have been amazing. Others simply showed their true colours and so are no longer in my life. Simples. Life is too short to deal with what can only be described as aresholes.
Anyway - another awesome night was had. I felt alive which at this time is a good way to be. As Robbie says in "Come Undone", - "I'm not scared of dying, I just don't want to". Sounds good to me.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Be Prepared

Since I seem to be shedding hair everywhere I thought I should remember my Girl Guide motto (I was an Elf, in case you were wondering!)
I found a fantastic website and ordered some great silk headscarves - just in case. I figured if I have to do the whole headscarf thing then embrace it. No boring plain cotton for me - no thank you. I shall mostly be doing the camp Jack Sparrow - I think it is fab! I may well do the whole heavy black eyeliner thing as well if I lose my eyelashes - although I draw the line at the beard!
I shall be ordering more. This summer I will mostly be accessorising my head.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Wanted Dead or Alive

Week 1 - DONE, thank god for that. What a crap week that was. I have spent the vast majority of the week feeling sick, tired, and really spaced out. It has been like the mother of all hangovers - without the good stuff. No crazy-ass table dancing to cringe about. No awesome singing. No. Just feeling like shite. Thanks very much.
My body feels like it has been run over by a bus. I guess that means the drugs are kicking some evil arse - well let's hope so anyway. I had a total meltdown about it all yesterday - bound to happen I guess. The thought of feeling this rubbish for the next 6 months just became all too much. I'm sure once I get into it then I will know when I will feel bad and it becomes more manageable. But let's be real - who the hell should ever "get into" chemo. Jesus - just so wrong.
Anyway - after yet another power nap yesterday, I managed to haul my sorry ass into London to Hyde Park to see Bon Jovi for the 12th time. That was one little battle the chemo and the evilness was not going to win. And man the struggle was worth it. Me and Melly rocked it! The boys didn't let us down. It is insane to think that the first time we saw them was 1995. We do however take things a little easier now! Gone are the days of being at the front of the queue at silly o'clock, to be at the front. Now we rejoice in having space to dance and scream! However - being at the front at the last ever concert at the original Wembley Stadium, is a memory that no-one can ever take away from me. Something to hold onto, no matter how bad it gets.
Anyway - today has been a good day - no anti-emetics - baby steps! Let's hope next week I get to be me again. Just Claire. No cancer crap to deal with.
Besides - I have Glee and Take That to fit in next week. Cheesy. Much?
Oh and in case you were wondering how the side effect bingo was coming along. Full House. Bugger!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Day 2

It's the start of the "how will I feel when I wake up" rollercoaster. Crap night's sleep due to the steroids - finally dropped off at 4am only to be woken at 6am by Harry coming through the bedroom window with a bird. Joy. So am knackered which won't be helping. Once I get further into the chemo then I should be able to predict which side effect arrives on which day.
Felt mildly nauseous all day so been popping the pills. Hair is a state - been sporting a camp Jack Sparrow headscarf look to keep the mop under control. Can't wait to wash it.
So here I am in chemo again. Sigh. Not a place I thought I would be again.How shit is that? 6 months is looming ahead of me at the moment. I think once I get into the routine of it then that will help. At the moment it is all unknown so I have no idea how many piles of shite I am going to feel. I haven't even had all the drugs yet so god knows what round 2 will bring. Let's just hope it is manageable. On the plus side my brother is flying back from Australia in 2 weeks time so he will be my chemo buddy for round 2 and 3. I miss him so much and this evilness makes the distance seem all the greater.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Defence against the Dark Arts

Sitting here on the sofa watching the genius crap that is Made in Chelsea, feeling like crap! Taken extra anti-emetics but no joy. Hopefully will feel better tomorrow.

So what a day - day 1, round 1 of aggressive chemo. I must say I have a complaint to make to the Trade Description people....Cold Cap my arse........Fucking Freezing Helmet is a better description!
This is clearly NOT a cap! Minus 5 degrees is NOT cold. Surely the appearance and the ice on my hair after sporting this look for 5 hours should indicate that all descriptive terminology is somewhat misleading. I demand a refund!
However this ordeal is in a vain (see what I did there?!) attempt to save my hair as losing it is a real possibility this time. I know it isn't the end of the world but I have spent the last 37 years covering up my sticky out ears so it's a look I am keen to avoid. And as if the freezing, sorry cold, wasn't bad enough - my hair was covered in conditioner beforehand and I can't wash it for 24 hours - I am a crusty nauseous mess! Gorgeous. Still I get to sleep on silk pillowcases now - how posh am I?
So day 1 DONE. Who knows what the next 2 weeks will offer up - we have mouth ulcers, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea to look forward to. Maybe I should play side-effect bingo! Altohugh a full house is not a good thing in this game.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Last Lost Weekend

So it all starts/ends tomorrow. What a really depressing thought. I feel great yet tomorrow and for who knows how long, I am going to feel (and probably look) like shite. Tremendous.

But we have had a fantastic weekend in Wales. Packed up the car on Friday night and off we went. Walking on the beach;rock pooling; laughing and finished off with a trip to Skomer Islamd today to see the puffins again. I don't know if I will get to see them again this season as I'm not great on boats at the best of times - let alone with a body full of chemo! All in all it was a great weekend - a good way to try a forget about what is looming tomorrow.

Mind you this would have been easier without having to do a 24 hour urine collection. I mean, seriously, do Drs invent tests to make you lose even more dignity? Who needs a bottle of wee in their fridge? Or to have to make sure they have a bottle with them all day to collect it in. On a positive note I have successfully mastered the art of the she-wee. A work of genius. If I make it to the Bon Jovi concert in Hyde Park on saturday, it will come in very handy!

Anyway enough rambling. I am shattered after all the walking today and my sunburnt face is glowing. Ironic that I look healthy considering what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Wiggly Returns

Hurrah the drugs worked and the whole event is a bit fuzzy. No total memory block but better. Run over by a bus would be a fair description of how my right chest feels. Very odd to be able to feel the tube under the skin. So that's it - Mrs Wiggly has taken up residence about an inch from my right nipple - bit too close for my liking but what ya gonna do?
Also was measured for my cold cap - I have a big head apparently. Is that a good or bad thing, I'm not sure! Doesn't sound much fun being minus 5 degrees on my head, but if it helps me save my hair then it has to be worth it. Ironic isn't it that I have spent the last year growing my hair back - I have curls that I never had before and more hair than I have ever had. So time for the evil drugs to try and take it away. Bugger. This whole episode in my life seems full of cruel blows. But hey, who knows what it might grow back like - I may end up like Ronald MacDonald. Maybe I will supersize that!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Counting Down

A week to go.

A day of procedures and preparation today. Sometimes it feels that is all my life has become - probably because it is true. Check up on how my kidney is doing - so another blood test. Then the dentist to have teeth cleaned to try and minimise problems during chemo.
I am having my central line fitted tomorrow - that really will feel like the beginning of the real crap. No getting away from it when it is staring right at you every time you look in the mirror. My right boob will have a dressing over it for the next 6 months - how to kill your libido. Stone dead. How shite is that? Mm did I share too much?
So another sedation tomorrow. Painted toenails in preparation! Can't have rubbish looking feet - priorities eh?! I will let you know tomorrow if the sedation does what it should and blocks my memory. It has failed each time so far. Bring on the drugs.

At least I have Glee and Made in Chelsea to keep me amused tonight.
Did I mention that I love crap TV?!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

I have 8 days before my chemo starts for the 2nd time. 8 days before my life changes again. 8 days to enjoy myself.
So what better way then to go to your best friend's wedding? Well, without Rupert Everett and Julia Roberts - but hey, you can't have it all! I was determined to attend my oldest friend's most special day, so refused to start chemo until afterwards. After all, we have been friends for 23 years and the evilness is not going to get in the way of that.
It was a gorgeous day and so lovely to see such love and happiness in two very special people. For a few hours I could eat, drink, dance and have fun - and forget the evilness.
It is ironic that I feel and look great at the moment - even though it is still inside me. In 8 days time that will start to change and I am likely to start feeling like shite and probably looking that way too. I have a 30% chance of losing my hair so will look like a cancer victim too. That pisses me off as I have managed so far to just be Claire; me; normal person. Arse. Still I figure hair loss gives me a chance to experiment with some new looks with the aid of wigs. Got to try and find a silver lining somewhere.
Anyway - this is post 1 of my difficult journey. I shall stop rambling now.