Wednesday, March 25, 2015

PICC Me!

So I turned up at the hospital this afternoon expecting to have the PICC line inserted, but it turns out it was just the Meet and Greet session. I chatted to a lovely chemo nurse who even made me a cup of coffee. I’ve decided that free coffee and biccies are very important elements of chemotherapy treatment. She was very impressed to hear about my bc Facebook group and I was very aware of trying not to say “Yes, I know about that. We’ve discussed that in our group” when she was talking about side effects, temperature taking etc. One thing, I will have to do is inject myself with a certain drug. I can scarcely watch a nurse inject me, let alone do it myself. Should make a fun video though!

She took me to the actual chemo ward where I’ll get the treatment. Eight bays in all with nice comfy chairs and more monitoring equipment than N.A.S.A. There were about 3 people there undergoing chemo. Nice and bright and airy, no trace of ‘let’s hold hands and contact the living’.

mission control

I’ve got my wig voucher now, so I’ll be off to have a hairy time of it at the studio. Soooo tempted to become a redhead. I was also given a bottle of Scrub wash to slather all over myself pre PICC insertion and permission to drink red wine during the 18 weeks of chemotherapy. Am happy with that - didn't want to push my luck with single malt whiskey.

Whiskey-Barrel

I've also agreed to take part in a clinical trial run by the University of Dundee. You get a gadget on which you get to press a load of buttons about symptoms etc. One thing it does - if you are not feeling too good you can answer a set of questions and if they are answered in a certain way it will send a red alert to the chemo nurses who will call you straight away. Nifty. 

No reason for picture below, I just like looking at it Winking smile

Poldark

 

Slainte

 

 

Linda xx

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Small Wins

When I joined my FB breast cancer group there were 12 of us and now in a few short weeks we are up to 25. I swear I sometimes think bc is becoming like an epidemic.

paper doll chains

Echocardiogram last week. Another machine they wouldn’t let me play with. I was given the results in a sealed envelope for the hospital.  I promptly opened it when I got home, scanned it and resealed it. I think it was OK, kept seeing loads of “normals” and all my figures seemed to fall within the correct parameters. Something called a PICC line gets inserted in my vein next week, the precursor to the chemo treatment. So I am warning you that there will probably be a lot of in depth posts on the technique of how to throw up and miss your shoes. Also watch out for the Spring Special coming soon – “100 creative things to do with the hairy clumps you find on your pillow every morning”

 

Now isn’t this a cute little sewing machine?

 

Maddy Machine_small

She’s a Frister+Rossmann Cub 3. Her original guarantee is dated June 1971. My friend has had her in his spare room for yonks and decided to rehome her with me a couple of weeks ago. I got her home, threaded her up and after the second press on the pedal she whirred into life – a quick adjustment on the tension and she is well nigh perfect. I’ve named her Maddy after Maddy Prior from Steeleye Span because she was big in the 70s too!

More socks have been knitted! You know that saying “Cancer Sucks”? I think in my case I might have misread it as “Cancer Socks”

Sockywocks-small

 

 

Slainte

 

 

Linda

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

New Friends & Nicknames

My first new friend is named Fezzy and comes round to visit twice a day. Sadly not for my scintillating wit and conversation but rather for the handfuls of wild bird seed I throw out for him. Yes, Fezzy is a boy Pheasant and a very handsome one at that. Even the cats are impressed by his good looks. Here’s a short video of him strutting his stuff outside my back door

Fezzy the Pheasant

Isn’t he adorable? I was watching how the light was bouncing off his feathers which made them go from midnight blue to purple to russet. Nothing to beat Mother Nature’s palette. As with most male pheasants he is particularly vocal especially when he sees that I haven’t put down any seed in a while. I’m half expecting him to come through the cat flap to remind me.

 

I have decided that if I lose my hair through chemo I will most certainly wear a wig with a little bit of scarf tying on the side. My wig will be named and after a deliberation lasting 2 seconds I settled on the name ‘Hedwig’. I just have one teeny reservation which is that she won’t live up to her onscreen namesake and fly off! 

 

Hedwig

 

I know the internet comes in for a battering every so often for the violence and taunts and trolls but there is a lot of good going on as well. I’ve joined a Facebook group for ladies who are about to undergo chemo for the first time this month. There are 18 of us so far from all over the UK and it really is one of the most supportive groups ever. We swap info on our ops/medication/effects of chemo/nerves at the first one/cyber hand holding and of course jokes. Every single lady on it is a superstar and I count myself so fortunate to have been invited to join it. I think we are going to be cyber friends for a very long time and there will definitely be a few fact to face meetings in the future.

 

One of the lovely ladies gave me an idea when she posted a picture of a PICC Line cover that you could buy. It’s basically an armband that covers the bits of line that stand proud of your arm. So I got out my embroidery machine and a piece of fleece and came up with this!

 

PiccLine cover-small

 

It’s not sewn at the seams yet as I need to fit it once the line is inserted (next week – gulp!), but I’m pretty pleased as to how the design turned out. In fact I might just celebrate with a small Irish whiskey this evening (yes my whiskey taste buds have come back post op!).

 

Slainte

 

 

Linda xxx

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Dem Bones, Dem Bones!

 

The Thinker Skeleton

I had a letter on Wednesday asking me to call and make an appointment for a Bone Scan (item 3 on The List) at the hospital. I called and was lucky enough to get a cancellation appt for the next day. I got there for 12.45pm when they gave me a mild (I hope!) radioactive injection. Then I was told to go away and drink 2 pints of liquid before coming back in 3 hours for the actual scan. I joked about downing 2 pints of Guinness expecting a tut tut, but apparently they don’t care what the liquid is as long as you don’t turn up again inebriated! I did have a bottle of water in the car and I downed it along with a very healthy lunch.

After acquainting myself with all the charity shops in Chichester, visiting all the public loos in the city, indulging in a coffee and a prayer at Chichester Cathedral I ambled back to St Richards. When I saw the notice in reception that one of the cameras had broken down I thought that the session would be cancelled but apparently it meant that the bed they lie you down on was out of action and I would have to be scanned in instalments – 5 to be accurate. I had head, chest, hips, legs and arms and got into some pretty amazing positions which would have put a Yoga instructor to shame. After the head one was taken I happened to glance up and saw a glowing skeleton of my head and shoulders on the monitor! Totally fascinating! The Radiographer was laughing as I pointed at it twittering “That’s me up there, not in the flesh”. I guess it’s not a sight most of us ever see, I found it intriguing especially as she told me I was emitting Gamma rays.

Beam me up Scottie!

Although it took more time it was in the end more beneficial to me as each section of my body was scanned at a higher resolution than it would have been with one all over image.

Actually trying to get out of the car park at rush hour took longer than the appointment.

CT scan already arranged for next week – yippee!

I couldn’t help it, this lovely Arthur Wood Teapot meowed at me from the top shelf of a charity shop!

Cat Teapot_small

 

Cat Teapot_small_bottom

 

I don’t really need another teapot, but it just makes me smile and when the hilarious image of my glowing skeleton has faded from my memory this little chap will keep me laughing.

 

Slainte

 

 

Linda xxx

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Happy Feet!

 

Socks are finished and here they are being modelled by my elegant size 5s. I reckon this pink colour is so bright that my tootsies would even be visible during a total eclipse of the sun.

 

Happy Feet pink socks_9

Being knit in double knit (Stylecraft DK Fiesta) thickness they are very warm and comfy to wear.

Happy Socks_0004

Fluorescent pink is one of the colours that digital cameras doesn’t do very well as is a lot of the red end of the spectrum. A true blue red is hard to reproduce both on my little Fuji Film or my big Canon 5D. Weird.

I’m currently reading the very interesting and well researched book  Stuffocation – Living More with Less by James Wallman.    

Brief synopsis - “In this groundbreaking book, trend forecaster James Wallman finds that a rising number of people are turning their backs on all-you-can-get consumption, from the telecoms exec who's sold almost everything he owns, to the well-off family who have moved into a remote mountain cabin.

Wallman's solution to our clutter crisis is less extreme, but equally fundamental. We have to transform what we value. We have to focus less on possessions and more on experiences. Rather than a new watch or another pair of shoes, we should invest in shared experiences like holidays and time with friends.”

I totally agree, it’s experiences that matter in the end and they will endure far longer than a pair of Jimmy Choos……………but if you are getting rid of a pair, bagsy I get first refusal Winking smile

 

Slainte

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linda xx

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Everything but the Kitchen Sink!

 

Dressings have been removed and a bit more fluid released in to the world. My surgeon is very pleased at how the healing has been progressing. She had 2 nurses with her who helped with prising off the dressing (which was painless btw). In my head I kept imagining that it would be like the dentist with his knee in your chest trying to grapple with a feisty tooth.

 

They seemed to want to make sure I was OK emotionally seeing my scar for the first time which was lovely of them, but I was fine. I initially came to the conclusion that it looked like something from a scene in Silent Witness  (BBC producers – if you want to film it please email me, rates negotiable). It is actually a curvy scar almost like a big smile. It might be quite fun to get the marker pen out and draw in 2 eyes and a nose.

 

Apparently I had a high lymph node involvement, 10 out of 24 nodes removed tested positive so the future treatment will be more aggressive. Ready for the list?

 

Echocardiogram

CT Scan

Bone Scan

Chemotherapy

Radiotherapy

Tablets for 5 – 10 years

Kitchen Sink Smile with tongue out

 

I am exhausted just reading this list. I’ve already checked up on my Oncologist and I’m pleased to see that in addition to his Chemo expertise he has written and published 6 papers on c cells. He’ll do!

 

Can’t think of any pics to put up but I do have a recent video of my clever Daisy taking her antibiotic tablet without me having to resort to restraining her in the big nasty towel. She is the only cat I’ve ever had that will take her pills willingly. It’s only a few seconds long but enjoy!

 

Slainte

 

 

Linda xx

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Free Bird

I’ve been removed from my dreaded drain and have managed to get my consultant’s OK to go on half medication now. Yippee!  Apparently I was supposed to have been given a spare bag for when the first one filled up. I did wonder about that as it was starting to get heavy and I had visions of having to wheel it around to avoid developing a leaning to the left.

 

As I was making my way to the hospital exit after being given my freedom I bumped into the lady who was in the bed next to me in the ward. So lovely to see her up and about and looking so well. Big hugs were exchanged. We are hoping that we get to be chemo chums as well, you never know.

 

I’ve been doing some walking and I’ve even been to the hairdresser to get a new hairstyle! I had a nice pic of a Helen Mirren hairstyle on my Kindle, so I plonked it up against the mirror and my wonderful stylist cut it for me.

 

mirren hair2

I’m driving now as well, just short hops to the supermarket and my favourite wool shop and cafe, oh and the library as I had a stack of books I’d reserved awaiting collection. I’ve even managed to knit half of a shocking pink woolly sock over the last few evenings as well. Will post a pic of them when finished. Next appointment is next Friday to have the dressing changed. I’m not looking forward to that as it does appear to be welded on and totally bomb proof! Surgical instruments may be required.

 

The cats have settled down now, except for Daisy my Tortie who seems to be running around playing tag with an invisible cat friend. At 14 she is the oldest but she is also the slimmest, cleverest and the most energetic of my cats (I’m covering the screen, so the others won’t get jealous at what I’ve written).

 

Now as I hijacked Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic for my blog title it’s only right to add a link to the original Free Bird.

This is Free Bird being performed on The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1975.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXVa3ibi6i8

 

Slainte

 

 

 

Linda xxx

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