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.