Cancer and me – the story goes on

Milly's Scribblings

I had cancer when I was 15. I had surgery and chemotherapy, and after 5 years I was declared all clear.

I thought that was the end of my cancer story. But what I didn’t realise is, once cancer is part of your life, it is always part of it.

At first I resented it. I didn’t like to refer to myself as a ‘cancer-survivor’. I resented cancer being part of what identified me. I remember once when my mother was researching our family tree. The further back she went, the less she would know of each ancestor, until eventually they would be described by a single sentence – this lady, she died of pneumonia; this guy, he was a farm labororer; this man, he was arrested for neglecting his wife; and so it went. And as I read through her research, I felt pretty glum, because I thought in…

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Look good feel better

I went to Look Good Feel Better today, at the hospital. This is a free service for women with cancer. It’s a workshop where experts teach you how to cleanse, tone, moisturise and do your own make-up.

The teachers were all professional make-up artists, and one offered to give us a Casualty (medical drama) makeover if we wanted. No one took her up on the offer. I am not a big make-up wearer – usually just wearing some foundation and lipgloss, but I enjoyed the class. You get to do something fun for once, and with people who are in the same boat as you. I actually ended up at the same table as another lady from church. Neither of us knew that the other would be there.

The teachers were enthusiastic and encouraging and helped you when you were struggling with a tricky bit. I admitted that I could never get eyeliner right, and so didn’t bother with it. One of the teachers came and did one of my eyes and then I had a go at the other. I did a pretty good job, even if I say so myself. She then came over to my table a few times and said that if I only do one item of make-up from now on, it needed to be eyeliner as it made my eyes look fabulous. I used to get complimented on my eyes all the time when I was younger, but that was before I got glasses. It was nice to feel attractive again.

The teachers took us through 12 steps – starting at  cleansing, toning and moisturising, through to foundation(s), blush, eyes and finally lips. There is no way that I’ll be doing the whole routine every day, but it’s nice to know how to do it properly if I want to. And even though I have a ton of product on, I don’t look like a clown! Amazing.

Wearing lots of product and not looking like a circus extra – epic.
Make up stash
Look at all the expensive stuff!

We got a big bag of stash to take home too- all donated by the cosmetics companies. I have never splashed out on Elizabeth Arden or Valentino products, and it’s so nice to be treated.

Thanks so much to the Look Good Feel Better team. 🙂

It’s been a bad week please don’t take a picture.

It’s not been a good week.

I always have my chemo on a Thursday morning. Every three weeks. So at lunch time I checked to see what time my appointment will  be tomorrow. I couldn’t find the letter. Then I remembered that they always give me a letter for the next chemo appt at my previous one. But they didn’t last time. I thought that it would arrive in the post so wasn’t worried. Then I forgot that it never arrived.

I phoned the day therapy centre at 12 and was told that my chemo is at 14:30 today. I was surprised but said I could make it. Then I realised that they only did my pre-chemo blood test at 10 this morning. The results probably wouldn’t get through in time. I phoned them back and had to leave a message. I phoned my breast cancer nurse and got cut off. I phoned my Picc nurses and left a message. I saw I had a message from my bc nurse- they would mark my bloods as urgent. Good. I could still have chemo today. I got a call from the day therapy (where I have the chemo). They wouldn’t get the bloods in time, I had to come in and have a new blood test at the hospital. But I had to get there asap. We dropped the kids at my parents’ house with 10 minutes notice and left

Thankfully they were able to take my bloods right away so I could still have chemo today. There was a bit of a wait to get the results, but I didn’t mind. Now I am sitting in my chemo chair waiting to have the steroids and then the saline before chemo.

It’s a new regime so I don’t know how my body will react. I have done very well so far, but saw an oncologist last week who warned me that I might lose my nails, get very flaky skin and get bad flu-like pain that ibuprofen won’t touch. Needless to say that I don’t fancy any of these side-effects, thanks. If you pray, please pray with me against these.

On Sunday night, Bethany (2) woke up at 1:00 and was sick all over me. If you don’t know, when you start chemo you are warned that due to it killing white blood cells, you need to be very careful not to be around sick people as you could get much more ill than normal if you pick up a bug. Anyway, not a great start to the week. Mike then got up with her and cleaned her up every 10 minutes through the night when she was ill. She started to pick up at about 8:00 and soon went off to the grandparents so that we could sleep.

I was sick once and worried that I would get worse, but got better quickly. Bethany was fine in the day and mostly slept. Mike had a migraine on Tuesday and Bep and I were home. I realised that she had done a poo so got on my gloves as if I woke Mike he would just throw up everywhere and take longer to get better. I took off her trousers and noticed she had some poo on her sock. On dear. Then I looked at myself: there was poo on my shirt, belt and jeans. I started to freak out. Then I saw the poo all over her trousers, legs and back. I took our clothes off and put them straight in the wash and wiped her down before giving her a quiet-as-possible bath. She was good and as soon as we were both clean and dressed I calmed down. It’s the thought of having to go into hospital that I don’t like.

Anyway, Connor woke up at 2:00 last night and was sick, and then again at 3:30. The good thing about 9 year olds is that they use the toilet to be sick in, rather than their  Mums. We all went back to bed at last.

Bethany woke up at 5:30. I went downstairs with her, she had some milk and we both fell asleep. At about 6:30 she coughed and then threw up all over me. I put on my gloves, changed her and myself, and went back to bed. The day shift took over.

They are both very sleepy today. On the plus side, we have some VIP visitors visiting us from tomorrow. 🙂 Also we have had a couple of lovely and generous food parcels recently, which has cheered me up.

Anyone who said “Stay away from germs.” While knowing that I have a toddler has a sick sense of humour.