A Trip to the Eye Hospital

Today was Pre-Op Assessment day for the removal of the Scleral Buckle in my left eye. I had my blood pressure taken from my leg for the first time, the cuff went round my calf muscle, it was a little uncomfortable, I felt like I was about to get cramp, but it was all done quickly and as I will be having local anaesthetic there was no need for blood tests. The operation will probably be in February but I have been put on the ‘Short Notice List’ so may get to have it sooner if someone else cancels. So after a remarkably short visit Ray and I set off home.

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It was a beautiful sunny morning, we were very surprised to see Daffodils blooming on one of the grass verges! It seems very early to see Daffodils in bloom, I just checked on the RHS Website and they say that the flowering season is February to early May. So they are early, it is lovely to see the first signs that Spring is on the way. I am looking forward to seeing the lambs, they are simply lovely!

Lambs

I have been thinking that I have been rather unfair to my right boobie, in a previous post, I said that my left breast was being the ‘perfect patient’, however, its halo has slipped somewhat over the last few days. It is on this side that the blistering has been causing a problem. When I changed the dressing this morning, the skin over the first blister came away with it (sorry if this is too much information), I also noticed that there is a new blister on the Areola, ah well, only a few more weeks and it should all be healing up. Even with the twice daily moisturising regime, my right breast has started to peel, I certainly wouldn’t make it through an audition as a glamour model! Just as well I have never aspired to bearing my body for profit 🙂

Fernando Botero - Girls with Fruit

After lunch Ray and I did some tidying in our sitting room, it wasn’t that much and didn’t take long but it exhausted me. I went for a lay down and slept for three hours, when Ray brought me a coffee at 6:30 I was completely disoriented. I woke thinking it was Saturday morning and noticing Ray was dressed said to him that he was having his hair cut today! Ray looked confused, I then realised that it wasn’t morning or Saturday either! Oh dear, Ray does have a haircut booked on Saturday, so at least I got one thing right! This Radiotherapy fatigue is messing with my head, well that is my excuse, and I’m sticking to it 🙂

Today seems to be a ‘hot flush’ day, I have days like this, there doesn’t seem to be any regularity to them, it is very unpredictable. I have stripped down to my vest top (not back to wearing a bra yet, and won’t be until the Radiotherapy burning heals), but my back still feels like it is burning up. I can’t find an expected time scale for these Tamoxifen induced flushes to come to an end, it appears that everyone has a different experience, I think I will be on the hunt for one of those antique style fans to keep in my handbag for when I am ‘feeling the heat’.

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Radiotherapy Burns

After a few reasonably good days, Ray and I both had a real downer on Sunday. Megan needed to go to Hemel so Ray drove and I tagged along. Ray and I crept along like a couple of snails, we didn’t feel well enough to manage our normal walking pace and came home as soon as Megan had finished her shopping. When we got back Ray went off to bed and I followed soon after, we both felt better after a snooze. It has been a while since we both needed to rest in the afternoon, we slept well overnight too so we obviously needed it.

Butterflies

I had my quarterly B12 injection in my bottom for the first time on Monday, it used to hurt when I had it in my arm but this time I didn’t feel it at all, that was a pleasant surprise! Tomorrow I have to go for the Pre-Op assessment for the operation to remove the Scleral Buckle in my left eye. That will be interesting, I expect to have to go through the whole explanation about why I can’t have blood or blood pressure taken from my arms. I wonder if I will need a cannula for the operation and if so will that have to go in my leg? The implications of having Sentinel Node Biopsies to both armpits begin to have more significance when needing medical treatment.

Ray saw his GP for a check-up, he will be off work until after seeing Dr Burn in early February, if Dr Burn is in agreement then he can go back part time to begin with. Ray and I went over to London Colney in the afternoon, I didn’t want him driving all that way on his own as he has only just started driving again. Ray dropped me off at TK Maxx and then went round to his head office. His colleagues were pleased to see him and he was able to have a chat with his Chief Exec about a return to work plan. Prior to his return, Ray will have a meeting with his Chief Exec, Heath & Safety Advisor and Occupational Health Advisor to agree the phased return plan, workload and any other issues relevant to his future working arrangements. It sounds like they have his best interests at heart which is very reassuring.

Another pleasant surprise on Monday was having my blog listed in the weekly round-up of ‘best blogs’ on the ‘Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer’ page: http://journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com/2015/01/10/weekly-round-up-94/

I was honoured to have my blog featured, I have been following the page for a while and have read some brilliant articles there, and on the weekly round-up list, so to have mine included gave me a real boost.

I have been brought quite low by events last week and am still struggling with the implications to my future happiness. I am trying to forget about it but it is not easy to keep it out of my mind, it is night time when I should be sleeping that it really plays on my mind. I can only hope that this situation will improve with time.

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But I have had my mood lifted this week by kind friends sending supportive messages to me on Facebook, and for this I am grateful, you have kept me out of the pits dear ladies, thank you!

Today, Ray and I went for Tuesday Relaxation at the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre, after the session we went round to the Radiotherapy Department so that I could ask for some advice about my nipple blister. The Radiotherapy Nurse was very helpful, she gave me some lotion to use, and a medicated dressing to try as well. She also confirmed that I should not think about going back to work until the blistering and sore skin is healing well. The skin in the area which had the intensive booster treatment last week is getting more tender and red with each day, it could continue to do so up to four weeks after finishing my treatment. It isn’t quite like sunburn as the redness begins in the area in and around each skin pore and then gradually spreads out to the surrounding skin, it is beginning to itch sporadically but it is bearable.

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But I remain optimistic, the skin and physical scars will heal soon, the emotional scars will take longer, maybe even my lifetime, I’m not sure if having Cancer has changed me, maybe it is really too soon to tell. When I am back to my ‘pre-cancer treatment’ routine I may become more aware of changes in my outlook on life. Having the outlet of this blog is wonderful, I have always found it easier to express my feelings in writing, and in posting blogs I have been better able to understand and work through what has been happening to me since being called back after routine Mammogram screening for biopsies and then receiving the diagnosis.

Many years ago, when I was a babe in arms, my Nana Rose was looking after me with Great Aunt May, my Nan was one of fourteen children (twelve surviving past infancy). Great Aunt May had put me in my nightdress, one of those with a pull in tie at the neck that they no longer make because of babies being suffocated, and had laid me in my cot to sleep. Well you can probably guess what happened, my Nan came in to check on me and I was blue and not breathing, this was before mouth to mouth was common knowledge, my Nan says she undid the nightdress, took me outside, and prayed to God to save me. She used to tell us this story often, and she said that God had saved me for a reason and that I would have a special purpose in life.

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I don’t know what she was hoping for, but I’m not sure I have achieved anything special. But maybe writing this blog, sharing my experiences of Breast Cancer to help others is it? My son and daughter each have a friend with a mother recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer, they tell me that both women have been following my blog, if my words can help, then yes, I guess that I have achieved something.

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All Done – The End of Radiotherapy.

When I woke this morning, my first thought was that today was the final day of my Radiotherapy Treatment, and this made me very happy! I know that the effects will continue to build over the next two weeks, particularly skin damage, but this should be healing well by the end of four weeks so the countdown begins. My skin has started to suffer, I have a rash, the area under my breasts being particularly red and inflamed and my nipples are both very sore – rather like when I breastfed my children and they are beginning to peel. I accidentally scratched my left nipple with a finger nail this morning and nearly hit the roof, ouch! If you see me holding my boobs it will be because my nipples are stinging, which happens a few times each day, the warmth from my hands is soothing.

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Fatigue has hit with a vengeance, I am really pleased that Ray is now able to drive again, I felt so weary and bleary this afternoon I would have been a danger to myself and other road users.

When we got home I felt awful, so Ray sent me off to bed with a herbal tea and a bowl of grapes, I felt much better after a long nap.

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Ray and I went to the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre for our first Relaxation Session on Tuesday, it was well worth the effort of getting ourselves over to Mount Vernon for the 10 am start time, and we picked up lots of useful tips to help us sleep better. We will be going again tomorrow morning and staying for my Complementary Therapy Session in the afternoon.

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