Cycle #4

Today is 10:15am of the last day of two thousand and ten.

I am currently in the Ivy Suite at SJOG hospital for my 4th cycle of chemotherapy. My appointment was for 8am but it is so hectic in here today that I have only just got started with my drugs. It is really busy because of all the breaks around xmas and not new years that everyones been jammed in with  bookings together! I am writing todays update a little bit awkwardly as I didn’t bring my laptop today and I am typing on my iPhone – I hate spell corrector! Argh! I will have to update it at home from the computer or I will have a zillion mistakes…

Adam took me in this morning as he always does. He has been so patient, happy and loving towards me at all times. He stayed from start to finish (1pm finish today), along with mum who came to see me about an hour into treatment. I was given a secluded room with a bed today which was pretty nice! Adam ordered one of the wonderful ham and cheese toasties which we always get, and a diet lemonade each. When we went for a walk to the bathroom we saw a little staff room with a huge pink slushy machine inside! We will have to ask about those next time, they looked amazing. (Not that I can have one, due to high sugar, just a taste.) Ad was really tired and slept on my tummy for about 2 hours which was really cute.

Ad napping on my tummy

So much love & always making boring parts of life fun. Forever.

It was a bit of a surprise when I came in this morning as my friend, Cat, who I studied with for the last three years, works at SJOG hospital and was in the Ivy Suite when I came in! It was great to see her and made me feel comfortable about being the only other person in the busy room that was under the age of about 60 years of age (except Adam!). Cat had a really thoughtful present for me – Her kind mum and herself had sewn ‘Rachel’ in colourful threads onto a calico bag for me and wrapped three different 10 packs of herbal teas plus a box of polaroid film. Such a great, useful gift!

Skye, the lovely girl who looks after me through clinical trials, took note of my recent side effects and gave me a urine sample to do before the drugs as usual, although I have specifically asked the nurses to check my urine/blood today to ensure I have not fallen pregnant. It is a possibility, but then it is impossible for me to keep the child. I want to have my mind at peace and be 110% sure that its the menopause causing absent periods. Skye said my Haemoglobin levels were low. This is in relation to my Iron levels. They are sitting at 100 g/L and should be between 120 – 150 g/L. If they are to drop again on my next FBC (full blood count), we will be looking into maybe doing a blood transfusion…

(Blood transfusion is the process of transferring blood or blood-based products from one person into the circulatory system of another. Blood transfusions can be life-saving in some situations, such as massive blood loss due to trauma, or can be used to replace blood lost during surgery. Blood transfusions may also be used to treat a severe anaemia or thrombocytopenia caused by a blood disease. People suffering from hemophilia or sickle-cell disease may require frequent blood transfusions. Early transfusions used whole blood, but modern medical practice commonly uses only components of the blood.)

I had my review appointment with my oncologist yesterday and got back my heart scan results back from christmas eve day. The results stated that I still fall within the ‘normal range’ and I have only had one previous scan a few weeks before, but the results are in need of being repeated soon because there was a 12% decrease of output pressure of blood from my heart. I started at 75%, now I am 63%. We do not want it to drop to 55 or under as that is low. I was still a bit confused by these results and the meaning of it all so I asked Cat. She knows a lot about heart issues as she herself, is in hospital a lot with heart problems. She understood all the symptoms I was talking about and had some really good advice! On a good note, I got to see pictures of my heart and thought that was pretty cool..

As I am at cycle 4, I have two more to go which is exciting, yet nerve racking. My oncologist informed me that the cycle 5 & 6 will be rough because the body starts to give up and hate being thrown out of wack. Greaaaat!

We also discussed my breast reconstruction. As I have booked my 1st consultation with my surgeon for Valentine’s Day ’11, I haven’t spoken to him in too much detail yet. He did mention that he can start surgery 3 months after chemotherapy and that the fact I would still have my IV port and Herceptin in my chest till October would not be an issue. He does recon’s regularly on people with IV ports still in. Although, the oncologist says I have to wait till the Herceptin doses are complete in October ’11. That is a long way away but I guess it is just something to look forward to and the last step to recovery. I talked about how I will be having my right breast also removed and immediately reconstructed whilst under surgery for the left side. There is no way I want to have a relapse of breast cancer in my life time, ever. In the mean while, I will go visit the ladies at the Breast Cancer Foundation and get a prosthetic breast made to fit me – all claimed back on Medicare! In saying that, because I have lost weight I have an even smaller breast that usual. I would say a small A-cup. Meaning I have not bothered wearing bras at all and being completely and easily supported by simply just the singlet/shirt I wear, even if its skin tight you can’t tell I have a breast missing.

I have been meaning to post about my friend Cam. He has been trying to catch up with me for ages now but the times were always clashing and I could never meet him when he was available. He made me a really awesome tie-dye tshirt which I got from him on Monday night at our friends birthday celebration. He asked me months ago what colours I would like, and all I remember saying is ‘ummmmmmm argh I can’t decide! something with lime green?’ He knows me well and did pastel colours… he did them so well that it looks like a rainbow paddle pop and the front of the shirt has a big pink heart. Awww, thanks Cam!

You can see Brooklyn approving of my shirt below to the right.

Oh yeah, you may have noticed that I got way too bored of having black nail polish on and even black nail polish with multicoloured glitter got boring. I know I was told to wear it to ‘block any sunlight from my nail beds’.. But I think any nail colour would block most sunlight? Anyway I am taking a chance and changed to turquoise – the exact colour of Tiffany’s to match my T&Co rings. For all those who know me, I have worked with make-up, beauty and hair for years and change my colours very quickly!

I have been relaxing myself a lot lately with the incenses, tea candles, marijuana and herbal teas. I came across some lovely CD’s Miss Amy K made for me months back which really excited me! There is lots of calm music she has put together for me. Thanks Amy ❤

  • Amiina :                                       Puzzle
  • Massive Attack :                        Heligoland
  • Jose Gonzalez :                          In Our Nature
  • Brian Eno :                                  Music for Airports – Bang on a Can
  • Wildbirds & Peacedrums :     Rivers

I have been listening to lots of Further Seems Forever this week, one of my ‘ol time favorites, especially the album ‘ How To Start A Fire’. Yet somehow today I have songs from The Lion King soundtrack in my head.

HAKUNA MATATA!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE & LETS ALL HOPE THAT TWO THOUSAND & ELEVEN BRINGS US ALL AMAZING, HAPPY TIMES, SOLIDICATES GREAT MEMORIES AND LOTS OF GOOD LUCK.

KEEP THINKING POSITIVE!

xo

Cycle #4

Christmas break

The last week has been pretty hectic, hence not posting for a few days..

When I say hectic, I don’t even mean myself really. This year we kept the festive season pretty chilled out. I think this is how it should be every year? People are so crazy when it comes to this time of the year. The times I did go out in the car to run errands, everything was just manic. Why do people get so selfish, stressed, purchase so many gifts and act like pigs? Its a holiday about family, celebrations and being merry. I don’t ever see much of that, christmas is just a big drama and I think we should all chill out and make it more about having a good time. All I really want is to be normal. Presents are so overrated.

Friday morning I was off to the hospital for a heart scan. As usual I had my cannula put in and nuclear medicines injected through my tube. I had a 20 minute waiting period for the fluids to get through my body so I went outside for fresh air. Normally the radiologists wrap the tube on my arm up with a bandage because apparently the public don’t react too well with seeing the tubes in patients arms or the lil bit of blood pulled back into the top of the cannula, so I was a bit cautious walking around incase someone fainted from looking at my arm.

I didn’t get much feed back on how the scan actually went, a doctor came out and introduced himself and asked me several odd questions, like..

‘Has your heart been acting normal lately?’ and ‘have you noticed any swelling in you’re legs?’

I’ve had some odd palpitations so I mentioned that but he didn’t give me any results. So I hope everything is okay.

Friday evening I went out and spent some time with my two lovely ladies Emma and Lynz. We had a good time as usual. Stayed out pretty late and I kinda paid for that the next day – being Christmas day. I woke up and felt soooo nauseas. I got up early and popped a couple of anti-nausea tablets and went back to sleep hoping to wake up feeling better, but that didn’t happen. We ran late for Adams family’s brunch but it was expected that if I didn’t feel well that it was fine to go a bit later. The heat was so intense and up at 41 degrees or so. That didn’t help the way I was feeling. Adam drove us there and I was nervously waiting for myself to randomly throw up in the car, yet we made it there before that could happen. We didn’t need to be at my cousins house till around 4pm so we came back home and I had a big nap and woke up feeling heaps better. It was nice to see my side of the family because I hadn’t really seen any of them either at all since I became ill, or since I was in hospital for my mastectomy. It was great to catch up with everyone and as I said this year was really cruisy for us and we had a good time. Everyone was blown away by my bald head when I took off my wig later in the evening (due to heat rash and a really itchy scalp!) Many lovely comments were directed towards me which made me feel great, including ‘you look a bit like natalie portman’ – hello? um wow?!

Boxing day we didn’t do heaps. Went to see my mums amazing, new penthouse apartment in south beach. It has quite the view (refer to photos below). Mum hosted a small party so we popped in for an hour or so then came home for a rest in our fantastic aircon at home.

We stayed in and watched Scott Pilgrim vs the World (Michael Cera movie <3) whilst smoking a bit of marijuana. Its actually the first time I have had any since I have had cancer and gee I wish I started sooner. I felt so amazing. All my aches and pains which are always there, had subsided. It was like an outter body experience. Panadol doesn’t do much for me and Codeine blocks me up and makes me nauseas anyway. So thats about all I am allowed to have for pain. I intend on visiting my GP within the next week or so and asking for medicinal again.

Our friend James came over with his Boston Terrier puppy – Huxley to have a little play date with Brooklyn tonight too. It was really cute seeing them play together especially because they are the same size.

Monday I went to the gym. Ohhhh dear, this was a silly idea. The gym I go to is open on from 8am – midday till the 4th of January, so as you can imagine… All members who usually have the option of going somewhere between 6am – 9pm, were all working out in the same space of time. It was so packed. I despised being there as I was the freak of the room with no hair and it was a nice chance for people to stare at me. I didn’t really care too much until I got home and had a cry when I was unchanging to shower. Although my mastectomy scar is fading and the chunky fold of skin under my armpit is getting smaller, I felt really ugly. I just want to be a normal girl again and have nice breasts. Adam was there for me and made me feel great again with his wise choice of words and sweet hugs and kisses.

Later in the afternoon we went round to our friends place at Bondi St. A good friend of ours, Nick had birthday celebrations that we all went to around 6:30pm. I had a couple of drinks and got to socialise with lotsssss of old friends that some I had not seen for years. It was such a good night and so good to catch up with so many good people. I went out with no wig or scarf. Just a cap. Most people are aware now with whats going on so I feel like I don’t need to hide so much or feel like I am exposing myself too much to people. I got a few weird random comments from random people in the beer garden but I didn’t really care.

I will be meeting up with my Oncologist on Thursday afternoon for review and blood checks and then back in on Friday – New Years Eve – for chemo cycle #4. The countdown is ON!

Christmas break

Memories

As most of us know, Menopause is a term used to describe the permanent cessation of the primary functions of the human ovaries. It occurs in women in midlife, during their late 40s or early 50s, and signals the end of the fertile phase of a woman’s life (Obviously there are exceptions like women with my condition).

Normally, I wake up in night sweats most nights. I always have and I don’t really know why. My sister also does so it must be just a Cribbon thing? But now that I am experiencing pre-menopause side effects this has become worse. I wake up every night several times reaaally hot and throw the covers off then wake up cold and pull them back on, probably once or twice and hour. My dreams are still even more real and vivd than ever, most dreams being nightmares beyond psychotic.

Lunch was spent with the lovely Lynz today, short but sweet. I felt like I needed lots of company today, feeling a little bit needy. I spent the rest of the afternoon with Adam being a passenger in the car whilst he ran several errands. Being home alone didn’t feel right.

When we got home, I spent about 2 hours doing some actual work. Adam assigned me a job to work on some images for a photography project he has been working on. I successfully finished them and felt great doing something to contribute to helping him with his workload. It was really relaxing as I was listening to some Jimmy Eat World and Jonsi & Alex whilst smelling the aromas of some lovely Camomile incense burning. It was really therapeutic for me, so I hope he has some more work to pass on to me! P.s If you are into relaxing, soothing music, I really recommend Jonsi & Alex. It’s not your typical ocean, dolphins and whales. Or your raindrops on forest trees kinda music, its much deeper than that. Its a really beautiful instrumental album played solely on acoustic instruments in Iceland. Go buy their album by the name of ‘Riceboy Sleeps’. You will be very impressed, its quite moving and I listen to it a lot at night time.

Tonight I had dinner with four lovely girls, Erin, Whitney, Kim and Courtney. I had such a great time and I had not seen these girls since I had become unwell. I need to dedicate more time to them because they are so amazing. Erin and I got stuck into strawberry daiquiris and without realizing until I got into my car to drive home, I was drunk!

I’ve been spending little parts of my day uploading old photos of good memories to my Tumblr blog today and tonight. Not long ago I came to a halt and had a cry. Time slips away from you so fast and before you know it you are older than you think. I have such amazing memories with many, many, many friends. Its sad to think that I’ve grown up to be who I am today and be unwell. I would of never expected in my life to be diagnosed with cancer. I guess life has its own way of choosing its paths to each and every person.

Heres a few pics I just found of Jess and I when we were in NYC in 2008. One of the best memories I will ever keep. We had the time of our lives. ❤

Santos Party House – NYC

Jess, Me & mum – NYC cab

Jess & I – The Hamptons

Diet Root Beer!

Soho Grand – NYC

Hamptons wedding reception – Spanish salsa!

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.

I miss you Jess. Please come home soon!!!!!

Memories