Sunday, 11 December 2016

We were ready to say goodbye to the year from hell.. and then...

It's amazing how quickly the last few months have passed. and what an incredible few months they have been. We have enjoyed getting back to normal, the boys have settled really well into their new school. They have gone from strength to strength, Jake has recently worked hard with his running and clocked up 2 PB's, currently stands at 24:18 for Luton parkrun.

In September we found ourselves settling into a new routine moving swimming and piano lessons to fit everything into our week. and during September and October until we went on our holiday I clocked up a 50 day run streak. It was liberating to get out running everyday even if just for a mile, but when we went away I had had a cough for a few weeks so decided to take a break and just enjoy our holiday.

We all took part in the Willow race on the 2nd October. Jake and Luke did the 1k race,
Adam did the 5k and I was escorted around the 10k with Pete and Sam to tell me off for going off to fast, pacing myself went completely out the window, I was pleased to have finished the race but for 20 pesky seconds... if only I hadn't taken quite so many walk breaks to get my breath back! I completed in 1hour and 19 Seconds.

As a team the amazing purple parkrunners raised over £1500 for Willow, so thank you all for donating to such a fabulous charity.

I also completed a tough 5 mile race in the pouring rain before we went away, and was chuffed with my time of under 50 minutes. Adam was on photography duty to capture everyone's pleasure and pain!

We went to Majorca for 10 days in half term, enjoyed all that all inclusive had to offer, the weather could have been a touch warmer but it was amazing and just what we needed to really relax and put our feet up. The boys enjoyed lots of swimming; Jake learnt to dive, Luke set himself a daily challenge to see how many trips to the ice cream machine he could manage by lunchtime!
November has passed in a blur, so much so, other than fire works night and catching up with some family I really don't know what there is to report from November.

And so here we are in December!!! How did that happen already?

It's already shaped up to be a busy month, with speaking at the Willow foundation Carol Concert on Tuesday night, a late night leaving the boys very tired! But such a beautiful evening tinged with emotion, from the last year and for what is to come
Willow Carol Concert 

I've made a donation to Willow instead of spending hours writing Christmas cards this year... all our friends near and far are in our thoughts at this time of year as always.

This weekend has been busy as ever, volunteering at Gadebridge Parkrun, catching up with friends and today as a family we completed the Keech Santa run at Wardown Park. A nice stroll round just under 5k with Luke while Jake zoomed off into the distance!

However the final part of this update sees the year finishing off as it started.. Cancer really is the gift that keeps giving. Just as we had found our new normal Adam and I discovered on the 2nd December that I will need to restart treatment before Christmas.

The last week has been lots of tests and appointments to establish the whole story again and what happens when. Last year they were able to give me a clearly defined treatment plan where as this time it's a bit different and we're still waiting on results.

The bat signal has already been used and we are already feeling the love and support from those we have already shared the news with. Challenges ahead again..

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

5 weeks after Active Treatment

It's been just over a month since I finished Radiotherapy now gang, and it feels a bit odd, as I've not had a big magical sparkly moment where I'm declared "cancer free" where everyone bursts into song with the backing track that's euphoric and uplifting like when they get all yes' on X factor or Britains Got Talent!

So in essence I've just been doing what I do best and plodding on in the meantime. There is no end of treatment scan, but I did see my oncologist this week and the surgeon for review the week after. They will be checking and making sure Cilla (my silicon implant) is still happy after Radiotherapy and that any reaction is as they expect etc. I am waiting for a referral to the Lympadema nurse as there seems to be a bit of swelling and without lymph nodes under my arm my body can't deal with draining excess fluid as it should. Something I will always have to be cautious of now. 

So what's been occurring in the last 5 weeks where I've been appointment free..?

In September I pledged to run at least a mile a day each day, partly for a personal challenge not based on times and speed, but at the moment my Mojo is still a little awol, probably because every run is still making me a completely sweaty mess and feels hard. I am looking forward to the time when a 10k is my standard twice a week run and I don't feel like it's been a complete effort! Just a couple of days to go in this challenge.. Followed swiftly by the Willow 10k at Hatfield house where I'll be joined by lots of friends including some who hadn't classed themselves as a runner but have raisen to the challenge for me! Well done Heather! Adam is also doing the 5k and the boys are taking part in the 1k race so we're all supporting.

The link to the purple parkrun team is Here if anyone still wants to sponsor us, and thanks to all of you who already have! 

We raised £228 on purple parkrun day and I admit I got overwhelmed seeing that many people supporting Willow for me! 

Our Special day and promotion of  Willow has also been in the local paper.. Let's hope it inspires a few more people to run for this fab charity. 

I've also taken back control of a parkrun and stepped back up for a go at run directing as well as clocking up a sub 30 minute 5km.. It'll be a while before I will ring the PB bell, but I'll get there eventually! 

The boys and I took a train adventure to Stafford at the end of the school holidays for a belated birthday trip to Cadbury world with Nana and Pops. It was a great day out, but I confess I may have stolen some of the boys chocolate that is still in the fridge calling my name every time I go in there!

The boys are settling in well to their new school which is huge relief! We've rejigged after school activities and have now found our new routine, and we're all looking forward to our holiday in half term. 

The last few weeks have confirmed yet again how nasty cancer is and it's having an impact on several friends and their families at the moment with some tough times in the coming months.. I promise to work my socks off to run a half marathon before the end of the year to stick two fingers up to this year for us all! 

To show how much the hair is growing (and I had a little trim in August!) Here's a little collage!

My nails are also now looking more healthy (and less like something from one of Adam's zombie programs!), so I have booked an appointment to get them looking pretty for our Holiday. 

So with a birthday at the weekend, our big race, parents evening and a holiday on the horizon as usual there is a lot to look forward to over the next few weeks so time to get organised! 

Bye for now

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Phase 3 - DONE!

That's it folks! 'Active treatment' is over! They have thrown all the normal resources at my Cancer and I'm still here to tell the tale! 

So how do I feel?! 

Relieved, knackered, excited to move on and start putting all this behind me but apprehensive for my future health, and a little bit lost..

Having spent the last 248 days being bombarded with appointments.. Always knowing what is next on my treatment plan it feels a bit off odd to be at the end! Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted to be at the end of my treatment.. But I really have a 'what now'?! feeling.. Life HAS changed through this, and coming back out the other side I do still have some appointments to go to, I will see the oncologist again in about a month I think, and the surgeon in 6 weeks to see what reactions have been to radiotherapy and how 'Cilla' is after being zapped by radiation!

There is the possibility that I may need more surgery down the line to get a better result for 'Cilla' but at least this is all surgery I have more of a say in, and I would have more control over when that happens rather than being on an escalator of treatment that I just have to get to the end of, I am at least back in control over if I have the surgery and when.

As I was self employed I don't have a job and a salary to walk back into, and due to changes through the treatment we have decided that the childminding is no longer appropriate so it's time for a rethink, and while I do that I will enjoy a bit of time getting back to doing the things I love and should have been able to do this year. 

I now need the fuel my body again and get back into shape, rather than letting my 'sod it, I've been through a lot recently, I want cake/ice cream/chocolate' attitude continue, as we have a holiday to finally look forward to! Adam, the boys and I are off to Majorca for October half term for some sun, swimming, and relaxation as a family, so there is the matter of being able to get into swimwear and not getting harpooned when I am mistaken for a whale!

In the last 3 weeks I've travelled over 750 miles to and from treatment, normally getting home by about 10am. 

For the next couple of weeks the radiotherapy continues to work, my skin can continue getting more sore but at the moment it's not too bad! 

I dread to think how much money we've spent in hospital car parking and how many appointments I have attended..

I have certainly learnt not to take things for granted and to live life for now a bit more! In July and August I've been lucky enough to have some precious catch ups with my lovely friends I just quite frankly don't get to see enough of due the the distance.. Hayley and I enjoyed a child free dinner while she was in London doing some training.. Jo, mum and I celebrated Jo's birthday at the theatre and Jojo and I popped into town this week to catch up for lunch after my treatment.. We enjoyed getting together for the 1st time in 9.5 years where no one has needed a drink, escorting to the loo, moaned about whatever the others are doing.. We had a lovely glass of wine chatting and enjoying Covent Garden and a mooch around the shops before deciding to see if there were tickets to a show as we walked past a ticket booth! 

It felt very naughty going off to a show without the husbands and children, and even more odd not having to rush home as the house was empty.  

Aladdin was fab, colourful, vibrant and blingy and we both left the theatre wishing the Genie could sort a magical portal to just transport us home without the trog back! 

With the boys packed off to the Inlaws for traditional the camping in the garden sleepover (which I think they will spend the weekend recovering from๐Ÿ˜‚)  I booked onto an evening Pilates class, I met a few new people down the gym.. One lady commented 'Wow, I thought my hair was short but yours is even shorter than mine!' 
I felt a bit bad for what happened next.. 
Poor lady didn't know where to look when I explained this wasn't my choice of hairstyle and that I'd been having treatment..๐Ÿ˜‚

So with 2 of my most trusting drinking pals Gina and Ruth away on holidays drinking celebrations will need to wait for now! Instead tonight the hairdresser is coming and going to tidy up my hair (as well as sorting out the boys!) It marks the end of treatment quite nicely. 

So now to enjoy the last 2 weeks of the summer holidays hospital free๐Ÿ˜Ž 
A trip to Cadbury world with nana and pops next week.. And just not having to rush out of the house in the mornings will be lovely for the rest of the holidays! 

I'm so blessed to have had great support through all this, but particularly Jo who has hugged me, held my hand, shaved my head, taken me to see Dr Matt late at night and most importantly made me laugh along the way.. I couldn't have done it without you! ๐Ÿ’—

Monday, 8 August 2016

Birthday meets Phase 3!

So the summer holidays are underway and started with a bang..

DRR Friendship mile with cake (and a cheeky couple of ciders) and laughter on a sunny Friday evening.

The next day Adam got the chance of last minute tickets to the anniversary games, Mo Farah and Jess Ennis-Hills were competing, an absolutely fantastic day, made all the more memorable by meeting up with DRR buddies which filled the day with giggles! 

A slightly calmer week followed as we prepared for my birthday and our Willow Special day, which was amazing.. More about that in a moment. 

For my birthday I had arranged an afternoon tea which I baked for and my In Laws hosted in their lovely garden, friends, family, Pimms on the lawn and plenty of cake on a wonderful sunny afternoon was just fantastic!

Just before the holidays I started taking Gina out for some runs and am enjoying making her work hard whilst rebuilding my own fitness, I've also started my return to parkrun and am looking forward to building my distance again over the coming weeks ready for the Willow 10k in October. 

So with talk of parkrun and Willow we are having a parkrun purple team for the Willow race which you can enter here, there is also a purple parkrun at Wardown Park, Luton on 10th September with cakes afterwards to raise money for a fantastic local charity who gave us as  a family a wonderful special day at the end of July. 

For our special day we decided on a theatre trip to see the Lion King with the boys as it's something we hadn't done before, and the boys (5 and 9) are at an age where we could all enjoy the show, followed by dinner at the rainforest cafe. Our tickets arrived and our excitement started to grow! 

Once the day arrived and we caught the train into London early to visit Hamleys before the show. We visited the queen and ate sticky buns listening to buskers in the sunshine in Leicester Square. We enjoyed a little walk along the Ride London route to the theatre. 

The show was magical and the children were spellbound during the opening as the animals made their way onto the stage. I'll never forget the looks on the boys faces as they really didn't know where to look first! 

Afterwards we went to The Rainforest Cafe for a lovely meal, with the gorillas and tropical storms. 

The whole day superb and one we will certainly treasure, it's helped put a spring in my step ready to face my radiotherapy, and marks a turning point in the year where we are able to start planning things. We've had to be so patient regarding booking a much needed holiday and we now have that to look forward to in October half term. 

So I've done a week of radiotherapy now, and thankfully my Inlaws have come to my aid with helping with the boys, my early appointments have meant that the traffic and parking getting to Mount Vernon each day so far hasn't been too bad, and I've been able to get back and still had time to enjoy the day. I'm nearly half way through stage 3 of my treatment.. The end is in sight๐Ÿพ๐Ÿพ 

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Stage 2 - done.. Onwards

Ok, so almost 6 weeks post surgery I still have to be aware of the danger zone but healing has gone well. 

The danger zone is so important as a fiercely independent person who doesn't like asking for help.. But I don't want to undo all that being good has done so I must be good.. For me things in the danger zone are lifting heavy things, emptying the kitchen bin (it's always heavier than I think!) and pushing a heavy shopping trolley. 

However since my drains have come out 4 weeks ago I've managed to get to Pilates twice a week, and started to get back to the gym. And last week after a new sports bra investment I had my 1st little run back. Not far, or fast but I did it! And it's the aim to keep doing it again now.. Although I have no idea how my skin will be once radiotherapy begins, so I do still have to play it by ear a little and not get too frustrated if I have to pause while that part of my treatment is done. 

My hair continues to grow, (even the bits I was enjoying not having ๐Ÿ˜‚). 

So on to Radiotherapy - I need to have 3 weeks worth, at Mount Vernon every day Monday-Friday.. At the moment I still, don't have a start date for it but should find that out tomorrow when I have my planning appointment where they do the CT imaging to 'design' my treatment. From what I understand the planning involves a CT scan and some tiny tattoos and a template being created of where they are going to zap me... Then when I arrive for my daily zapping I guess I get my kit off, get in position, they plug in my details and the computer knows all the settings for each zapping! 

In the meantime though I've been busy catching up with people and generally enjoying all the social stuff.. Take That were amazing!

A birthday treat for Jo with my mum yesterday which has been great, into London to see the musical Beautiful. So many awesome tunes and a lovely grown up day out. 
I also got into London for grown up catch up time with my Hayley.. I think the first time in 9 years we've  got together without the kids.. So super precious time that wasn't full of interruptions of "Can I have a Drink?" "I need a wee!" "I'm hungry" etc we had a lovely meal and a perfect summer evening. We love all 5 of the kids dearly but it really was a special evening and knowing we had seen all 5 kids together 5 weeks earlier helped us feel guilt free about being together without them. 

We've also had several impromptu summer gatherings starting with someone saying 'We're at the pub with the kids..' Just relaxed and what the summer is made for! 

The fun continues over the next few weeks as we've got leavers assembly on Friday pm at school.. emotions will be high for that one I'm sure as it really sums up with a bonkers school year it has been for my family.. And I never imagined my boys would be leaving the school this year.. But a fresh start for September is exciting.

Friday pm - after school picnic followed by DRR friendship mile.. A bit of running, then post run chat and cake with the family all for charity!

Saturday Anniversary games at the Olympic Park. 

Then the following Saturday is our family Willow Special day at the Lion King.. Our tickets are being sent out tomorrow. Followed by birthday celebrations on the Sunday with lots of my most special people! 

And on the subject of Willow.. I have just booked the Willow 10k for the 2nd October if anyone wants to join me it would be great to get a few people running either 5k or 10k for a great charity. You can find more info

In the meantime, bring on the summer holidays.. We're ready now! 

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Rounding up stage 2

Well, the surgery phase is nearly complete.. And I'm still feeling better than I expected to and taking it all in my stride! 

Surgery was 3 weeks ago and in that time I've ticked off lots of milestones in stage 2 recovery process. 

✅ had mastectomy on my left hand side with immediate reconstruction
✅ got to know 'Cilla' my Silicon/saline combo boob.
✅ celebrated the freedom of having my drains removed.. 
✅ celebrated freedom from waiting for Doris 
✅ Got back driving again after 2.5 weeks
✅ got back to Pilates after 2 weeks 
✅Hitting the gym again within 3 weeks
✅ avoided (and keep avoiding) the danger zone.. Those jobs that are a bit tricky, involving stretching too far or lifting too heavy! 

The last parts of phase 2 recovery are getting some Saline into 'Cilla' which all being well will happen on Wednesday, I then just need to have the port that they use to pump her up removed and surgery phase will be complete. 

Next week I meet my Oncologist regarding Phase 3 of recovery which is Radiotherapy. Each stage has brought it's own frustrations and worries.. But I'm glad this one should mark the end of my treatment. 

When I received my lab results they showed all the lymph nodes were clear which was fantastic and a big relief.

Obviously I continue with the Physio to ensure I get the full range of movement back in my arm but at the moment that is improving daily.

As a family we enjoyed Adam's work summer weekend last week. It was great seeing the boys involved in the activities and enjoying Pimms on the lawn.. And it was only on reflection that I realised how nice it was to have a coating of hair to meet new people. And see a couple that I hadn't seen since the day I was diagnosed! 
One of the ladies asked me about my running and how I had done through my treatment. I said that since it began it's been disheartening seeing where I was and where I have got to pick up from but that the return is hopefully now sniffing distance away.. One of the biggest smiles though was when she told me that after we spoke at the Christmas do I had inspired her to get out and run.. And that this week she was tackling a 10k route for the 1st time. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป 

I'm loving getting back to some excercise, slowly but surely I'll make progress back to doing what I was enjoying so much before all this kicked off! 

So at the moment during July I'm looking forward to
* seeing take that next weekend
* trip to see Beautiful the musical with Jo for her birthday.
* catching up with Hayley in London
* the boys end of term activities
* the start of the summer holidays
* Our family trip to see the Lion King thanks to the Willow foundation. 
* My birthday!!

As usual it's going to be a busy few weeks.. Bring it on!!

Saturday, 4 June 2016

50th Parkrun and surgery looms!

So last Saturday I completed my 50th parkrun, and my last for a little while as surgery looms tomorrow, a great morning with plenty of parkrun cake afterwards. It took some coordination to have Jake, Ash and I all do our 50th on the same day, but well worth it!

I claimed hugs and well wishes a plenty of lots of friends, and it was lovely to catch up with an old work friend from before I had the boys who came down from Northampton for a special run in the park. The boys and I looked great in our personalised tops from Kate and all in all it was a fantastic morning.

Half term also saw Luke turn 5, my baby boy is getting 'lines' not he's old.. Bless his heart! As daddy was away for the day it's self we celebrated with a birthday cinema trip on bank holiday Monday, and then the boys and I headed to visit family and celebrate in Stafford with Nana and Pops. 

Then with the boys back at school on Monday I set about doing the final prep for surgery. The house is as sorted as possible, the fridge is stocked and I'm ready to face the next big bit of the process. 

So I head to the hospital for 11 tomorrow morning ready for surgery In the afternoon. I'm having a mastectomy and Lymph node clearance on my left hand side, with implant reconstruction, and should be in for between 1-3 days.. Obviously I'm hoping to be out and recovering at home with my boys as soon as possible but will just have to wait and see. 

That's to all of you who have messaged and offered help with the boys. I'm sure Adam will post an update when he can, and will take up some of your kind offers as and when we need to, as I'm sure over the next few weeks there will be appointments where we need to be in 2 places at once.. Or just a little rest time. As always your support is fantastic and has been a huge help in seeing the through the next bit! 

So anyway, as I have to be up at stupid o'clock if I want some breakfast in the morning I really should get to sleep! 

Monday, 9 May 2016


So Chemo is done, the picc line came out... (Eventually after a trip to Hillingdon!) 

I realised yesterday while talking to a friend about all that has happened since Chemo started makes it all seem like a lifetime ago already, where as it was actually just two weeks since the last one and 4 months ago chemo began! 

-In that time we've had the fireplace knocked out 
-Decorated the living room
-Had new carpets and sofa
-Visited my bestie in Scotland (Jake went to Eurodisney) 
-Bestie's baby has arrived! (As has another friends baby this week) 
-Lost hair, eyebrows and eye lashes.. But they are starting to come back now. 
-Discovered what amazing friends I have with me through thick and thin, especially Jo, who has wiped my tears, shaved my head and sat with me on the chemo unit ๐Ÿ’— and my drinking buddies who obligingly down tools to drink wine whenever needed. 
-Enjoyed play dates with my mum which has despite the naff situation forced us to embrace the miles on the motorway and the train and spend lots of great time together, (even if we are a bad influence on each other๐Ÿ˜˜)

So chapter 2 is nearly ready to start and the seeds have started to be sown. Last week I had my mammogram and ultrasound, along with a meeting with the surgeon to discuss my options on Friday.

Sadly although the images looked good and show a marked improvement on the size on my lump they advised that they could operate and try to conserve my own boob but if it's not successful I will have to go back in for a full mastectomy with implant reconstruction. This news really just left me with 2 choices regarding the type of reconstruction I have as I want to get from where I am now to being fixed in the quickest possible route.. I don't want to mess about trying this and ending up with multiple surgeries and more time in hospital away from my lovely boys. 

So I have now made the decision to have a mastectomy with implant reconstruction on the 9th June. 

This is a few weeks later than the dates I had mapped out in my head sadly, so I now will definitely still be having treatment when it's my birthday and also having radiotherapy at Mount Vernon through the summer holidays which I was hoping to avoid. 

I've seen pictures of how my new boob could look, talked through what my surgery will entail and how long I am likely to be in, and take to recover etc.. So really just want to crack on with it again now, but am back in limbo until I go in now. Aside from some complementary therapy sessions and my pre op assessment I now have the next month without having to have treatment. So my focus is about trying to get a little bit stronger again before surgery, and hopefully enjoying higher energy levels and the start of the summer weather, today however we have rain.. But at least I don't look like a drowned rat!

Last week it was lovely to enjoy a picnic tea at the downs, parkrun volunteering in the sun, the first BBQ of the year, and a lovely day at shuttleworth airshow.. Over the next month I'll certainly drink tea anywhere that isn't my house as I'll be seeing lots of those walls (or hopefully the garden)  during the time I can't drive ๐Ÿ˜‚

Surgery will be on the 9th June. Just want to get there now and get done so I'll be a step nearer to being fixed! 

Saturday, 30 April 2016

The charity links!

I hadn't planned to blog again after the Picc line saga until the end of this week when I'll know more about what surgery will be etc and time frames, however once more I'm inspired and blown away by support again. 

It was a tough week finishing Chemo, but not being able to get the picc line out, after 4 days and 2 hospitals with 3 different friends at my side.. The line finally came out on Thursday meaning I didn't have to go to hospital on Friday ๐Ÿ˜Š

By Thursday evening we were able to pop to the village pub for tea to celebrate phase 1 of treatment finally being over! Now I just have 3 more injections to give myself to boost my immunity, and then I'm  medicine free until surgery๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

The things I have to look forward to over the next few weeks are regaining my taste buds (looking forward to that wine ladies!), less nose bleeds, loosing the bruised feeling inside my mouth, getting past the aches I've had each cycle and getting phase 2 of treatment mapped out along with booking our willow special family day! 

As I'm under 40 having a life changing illness I applied to Willow for a special day.. They are a lovely (local charity) and specialise in giving people in my situation a day/weekend to really look forward to! I decided as a family it would be great to do a London show and dinner with the boys, a treat I had always wanted them to be old enough to enjoy, and something they've not done before!  

Willow also host a 10k race in October in Welwyn Garden City so if anyone fancies the challenge it'd be great to see you there. Once the rest of my treatment plan is confirmed I am hoping to enter and get my boys involved in the event too. 

Yesterday we were up and out of the house ready for parkrun where I was tail running,  a way of getting me one step closer to my 50th parkrun without feeling the pressure of times ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป.
Running during Chemo has been tough because my heart rate rockets up just walking up stairs at the moment, and with so many out of control side effects it makes it hard to know where to stop pushing yourself and listen to your body. 

It was also the plan to be there for Nikki's headshave and cake sale raising money for Macmillan 
Nikki asked me about 6 weeks ago if I would mind her shaving her head at parkrun.. 'Why would I? great idea, when are we doing it!?' I think was my response.. We got out heads together and looked at dates and knowing my last Chemo was on Monday said how fitting it would be to do it the Saturday after that.. Magically the dates all worked out and Ben the 401 marathon challenge guy was also with us at parkrun and took the honour of doing the shave, made even more special it's a cause close to Ben's heart too

And what an lovely and awesome chap he is, completing 401 marathons raising money and just as importantly awareness for anti bullying charities. 
The Langford gang were invited to join the lunch stop curtesy of Amanda and Malcolm, and we're delighted to take up the invite as we had no plans for the day๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
Amanda also convinced me to join the gang for the 1st Mile of post lunch running... 
We had a blast yesterday, and most of the day cropped up completely unexpected! 

Tomorrow Adam and I are looking forward to marshalling at MK MARATHON,  cheering friends around the course once more, and I will be entering the ballot for that little race in London next spring! 

So that's me done until surgery plans have been made! 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Mission chemo nearly complete... ish!

So this morning I set off after the school run to get a balloon to celebrate my last chemo, collected my last chemo rainbow cake I had made for the unit, and headed off with Jo for my 11 am session. 

Chemo went quickly and smoothly and I was chatting to two new ladies who were having their 1st session today, telling them that aside from my 1st chemo it had all gone pretty smoothly.. Luckily they had both gone home by the time my picc line removal saga began! 

So Jo and I completed our chemo selfies (with Jo swapping sides for the last one!)

So the picc line, was put in on the 11th January at the start of my chemo, it's been used to delivery my chemo drugs, take bloods, and has required a weekly dressing change, I was so looking forward to getting rid of it as it's not the most fashionable accessory.. But has been a useful one for the last few months. 

So this morning I was delighted thinking I could get in the shower without having to use the special cover to make keep the picc line dry. 

Taking the picc line out is meant to be quick and easy, lie on the bed, undo the orange clip thing and pull out the 45cm of thin tube, however after getting most of it out.. The last 5cm and clips did not want to budge, another nurse was called.. Local anethestic, and more tugging, and the vascular specialist nurses where called.. 2 of them! More local anethestic and tugging got the clip things out but the rest of the tube was not moving.. Hot pads kept being applied to try to make the vein more agreeable.. Google was even consulted for ideas.. So after 1h 45 mins they sent me home with a knot in the tube still attached so it can't go anywhere.. And got to go back tomorrow morning to try again๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ

I'm delighted to be over the chemo, but frustrated to not be rid of the line! 

Yesterday though was a fantastic day celebrating achievement of friends at London Marathon.. Seeing the boost that the cheering delivered was great. Absolutely awesome and the kick up the backside I need to start getting my fitness back on track, and actually can't wait to get control of my body back again! 

Roll on the end of next week when surgery decisions are made and dates set for phase 2 to get under way. 

Monday, 18 April 2016

Blood, sweat and tears..

I knew and everyone around me knew that last weekend was going to be tough for me.. It was going to be my first marathon which I booked a year ago! I was gutted when I was diagnosed that my big plan and achievement for this year was being taken away from me.. 

I won't lie I am jealous of all the wonderful achievements my running friends did in Brighton, the medals and the times.. But I have coped better than I expected.. I had some tears Thursday night and Friday morning, but feeling more in control again on Saturday we went to Brighton for Jake to do his mini mile which he smashed!! He must have been running for me as he stormed round the course in 7:15 knocking 44 seconds off his time from last year. When both Adam and I saw him he was struggling to pass other boys so with a bit more confidence to start further up the front he could have been quicker i'm sure! 

So anyway, moving onto the positive news, I had my last blood test this morning for Chemo on Monday and my PICC line will be removed, so no more having to consider what I wear on treatment and nurse days, no more dressing changes, and no more having to cover my arm when I get in the shower!  I also saw the oncologist today and my lump wasn't measured as it is now less than 1cm so has had a great response to treatment. 

I also now have my next big dates confirmed for the next stage of treatment which will be my ultrasound and mammogram on 5th May, and meeting with my surgeon on 6th May to confirm my date for surgery and what exactly that is likely to be! 

London marathon is this Sunday  and we're looking forward to cheering on friends on tower bridge. This is the weekend that became my revised target when I was told my marathon was off for this year.. It was my hope that if I could stay well and have a smooth ride through Chemo that I would tie in finishing Chemo with VLM,  so after much blood (pre chemo tests), sweat (terrible night sweats!) and tears we're here and want to just get over that line to finish stage 1 of treatment. 

Oh yeah.. And I must remember to keep applying the sun cream to my folically challenged head๐Ÿ˜š

Thursday, 7 April 2016

6 Months since diagnosis!

So the day all this started will of course be etched into mine and Adam's mind forever.. Less so for my new next door neighbour who was there at the time doing my biopsy it seems๐Ÿ˜ณ
15th December 15, we were off to Adam's work Christmas do, as he was new to the company I wanted to look the part so arranged to get hair cut, coloured and pinned up for the event.. When I got asked to go for my referral to the hospital on the same day some quick rearranging meant I was still able to glam up for the evening.. It just meant having my hair done at 9:30 in the morning. The hospital staff must have wondered what kind of Diva had just walked in when I didn't want to put my head flat on the bed during my tests for fear of ruining my hair for the do they probably assumed we would no longer go to! 

We did still go to the oxo tower for the do, the boys were all set and being taken care of, what was the point in staying in wasting having childcare and hair dos! We still had a good (if not slightly surreal) night! 

So since then I've completed my 6 sets of Chemo, lost my hair, eyebrows, nose hair, eyelashes.. (Who knew they were all as useful as they are!) for several months I dare not leave the house without a packet of tissues for eyes and nose just running constantly.. The amount of clothes that got rewashed due to rogue tissues was not even funny!  My hair is growing back now, and starting to thicken up almost in front of my eyes! (Thank goodness) and my eyelashes are also starting to come through. 

Surgery was 6 days ago now. I was the last one into theatre so it seemed a very long day waiting around, and getting back up to the ward so late did mean all my checks had to be done all through the night.. In the end I gave up on sleep and watched a film I had loaded onto my iPad! 

I was signed off to go home on Friday and spent another 5 hours waiting for the drugs to come up from the pharmacy before I could go. I made a hasty escape but my the time I got down to the pick up bit to meet the boys I was in a fair bit of pain, but assumed at was just where I was due another dose of tablets. 

By the time my amazing friend Jo came round to visit I was in serious pain and she grabbed the phone and started trying to get me some support, the outcome was going back to A&E where I was sent back up to the surgical wards for re-admission. After very painful examination (by dishy Doctor Matt๐Ÿ˜˜) he prescribed some anti spasm drugs, but none of the wards seemed to have them available so I was just given more morphine which wasn't doing anything for the pain. Another night with not too much sleep followed. At 7am when they did the drugs round they spotted that my drain wasn't working and needed changing, they gave me my tablets and went off to find a new drain. Once they came back with the new bottle and fitted it with in 10 minutes the pain had completely disappeared.. It was such a relief.. By 9:15 I was declared fit to leave again and was out of there in record speed! 

So far the rest of the week of recovery has been uneventful thankfully! I've been doing what I'm told.. (mostly๐Ÿ˜˜), I've spent lots of time waiting for the nurse to come and see me each day, but have also managed to do the school run each day too. I've been taking it easy and have be enjoying visits from lots of special people. Including my cuddles with 10 week old baby Noah๐Ÿ’—
Seeing our biggest and littlest boys together was such a special moment.. And definitely made me realise how grown up Jake is getting! 
Our special (crazy) day of visitors from Scotland, Stafford and over the road was only possible because I knew everyone would pitch in and do their bit. So thanks to Pops for feeding us all and all so I wasn't stressing about anything! As Pops always says "If you love them, feed them!" And he sure did ๐Ÿ’—

Also thanks to Urvi and Anna who have helped keeping us all fed this week! 
As always Jo has been my superstar, taking me back to the hospital and helping me wash the sticky bits and pen off the shoulder where I had no hope of reaching! 

Yesterday It was lovely to catch up with an old friend who we had lost touch with. It was great to reconnect, despite the naff circumstances, and certainly didn't feel like so much time had passed.

Today was a step forward with one of my drains being removed. The other drain isn't ready to be removed yet, but it's all steps in the right direction. I see the consultant again on Friday to check on my progress, but on the whole I feel ok, and I'm being careful not to over do it.. Even if that does result in major boredom๐Ÿ™ƒ

Round 5 - Done!

So in just 10 days I should have been running my 1st marathon.. And yes I know my time will come but it still doesn't take away the bitter taste of disappointment of not being able to do something I was working so hard towards! 

The other bitter taste is possibly all the drugs making everything tastes nasty! I can't believe after a last minute call to arms to console a friend last night with drinks resulted in me drinking 1/3 of a fruit cider, half a mug of hot chocolate, and a cup of tea!! Go me! Such a party animal but nothing tasted right.. My gaviscon chaser before bed sorted me right out and at least I could sleep๐Ÿ™ƒ

So anyway, where am I at now? Round 5 of chemo is currently swarming round my system doing it's thing... Feeling tired this week but as ever could be worse!  

Jo was of course at my side for round 5.. We're nearly done with Chemo selfies! 

The boys are on Easter holidays and have been little super stars, it will however be good to get them back to school next week into routine and normality. 

When I saw the oncologist last time there seems to be more shrinking of POLAB (name given to my lump by my 4 year old!). Which is great news. I'll next see her the Friday before my last Chemo to review. (22nd April) then new images will be taken after Chemo to decide on my surgery plan. Obviously I can't wait to get to that point.. It really will feel like a big step forward and another milestone achieved.

Round 4 Docetaxel was definitely harder than FEC, I was tired, a bit grumpy and I ached and at times just felt 'odd'.. But for the 1st time in this I did allow myself some time out and accepted a bit more help.. It was great getting away to spend time with family for Easter and being looked after.. Pops fed us well and we enjoyed some good old fashioned games.. Even if the 9 year old beat us๐Ÿ˜‚ 

The Easter holidays have also seen us enjoy Jake's birthday treat to Shrek's Adventure which he really enjoyed.. Although Luke was not quite so blown away 

So for now I'll have another cup of tea, and try not to do too much! 

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Round 4.. Back to the unknown!

I think one of the toughest things about round 4 has been that with the new 'cocktail' of Drugs it's like starting over again with knowing what to expect. I had found a little pattern in the 1st set of Chemos, and although I can't say I liked it, at least I knew what was coming and when.. I have been expecting to be hit like a train and this week that seems to have been more the case, possibly because I've had sniffles, and sore throat on top of aches and pains and nothing tastings as I expect it to!

So anyway, I'm now nearly at the end of my middle week in the cycle so expecting to have turned the corner a bit now and keep improving until my next cycle of Chemo on 4th April. 

This week I have got better at accepting help.. (A real battle for me, Mrs independent๐Ÿ˜˜) and have been grateful for my mum and mother in law tackling ironing, and jobs around the house for me. 

Once again I've had amazing support during this cycle and I've manage to keep busy, meals made for us, taken out for treats... (Mmmm I timed my trip to the Waffle House just right before my taste buds went on strike ๐Ÿ˜˜), I've fed people lots of cake! Celebrated birthdays, including Sparky's fab surprise do.. 

 Jake's birthday (more celebrations for that over Easter Holidays) 

been to the Olympic swim centre for sport relief,
 ran the sport relief mile with Luke (4) and the 2 bigger Langford boys did 3 miles. 
Jake had everyone singing happy birthday to him at the track which made me laugh.. I'm not sure where he gets this shy, retiring streak from ๐Ÿ˜‚

It's s good gob I don't need to check my hair in 'The Mirror of Motivation' where I've been putting my cards and notes since my treatment began as I'm running low on space! ๐Ÿ’—

So it's been 100 days since I was told I had breast cancer, and although I've been poked and prodded, scanned and examined in that time, my eye brows and eye lashes have thinned, hair has gone, hot flushes have started, and everyday my frustration grows at not being able to do the things I want to do, and at the pace I want to do them๐Ÿ˜˜ I'll happily admit I'm not a very patient person, and knowing how long it will be before I can do what I want again is playing on my mind at the moment. All being well I will finish Chemo in 1 months time, (2 treatments), however I still have surgery and Radioteraphy ahead. But I will get back to it, I just have to keep finding other ways to keep myself busy in the meantime. 

So for now we are heading up to visit family for the Easter weekend, being looked after and enjoying the break. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Hmm wine o'clock!

What a day! 

Said goodbye to hubby at 7am for his few days in Nottingham, took the boys to school and popped into town, got caught off guard as my eyes had been watery, in the car Robbie Williams 'She's the one' came on the radio.. And that made my eyes water that little bit more and a lump come in my throat just thinking about my boys and all the 'What if' scenarios... Something I rarely think about to be honest.. 

So anyway in town I met a new friend who has just been declared 'Cancer free' days after her 40th birthday which is fantastic news and really brightened my day. Great to meet another young woman just ahead of me in treatment and now coming out the other side still smiling and joking in the same kind of way I've been handling this!

So anyway this afternoon brought an appointment with my oncologist which showed significant change in size of my lump now, which is fantastic news. Before the end of my next cycle I will be having a staple put into the lump so that it can still be tracked as the lump continues to shrink. 

I do need to get my eyes tested, but that is long overdue anyway! At times I've been noticing my vision is more blurry than normal so just to double check everything I will book in with an optican. 

Just as I was about to put the boys to bed I got a phone call from the Genetics Dr who confirmed I do not have the faulty BRCA 1 or 2 gene so there does not seem to be a genetic reason got my cancer! 
Again more good news especially coupled with the shrinkage in the lump.. Hopefully will mean better surgery and recovery options. 

I know the next cycle on Monday is back to the drawing board in so many ways, Although this receipe of drugs is different and should be quicker to go deliver. I know it's a train due to hit me very soon and really wipe me out.. If I can plan for that then I can only be pleasantly surprised if it's not as bad as I'm bracing myself for๐Ÿ˜˜ but after positive news today I am feeling ready to drink some wine with my friends and face the next part of my treatment and kick it's backside!!!

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Round 3

So the Chemo I've been having is FEC-T, so far it's been the same cocktail of drugs for the first three rounds (FEC), next time I get the T (and hopefully more tea than on Monday! I sent my friend in search of the kettle at the unit!) although to be fair, my treatment went in so quickly this time, we nearly got caught off guard and forgot to take the must do photos!
Not so much change in Jo's hair as mine over the last 9 weeks๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜‚

So what has round 3 delivered so far?

Tiredness, and heartburn๐Ÿ˜ณ oh and runny eyes and nose! The wind really makes my eyes run now so on windy days remind me to wear my sunglasses, they seem to help! ๐Ÿ˜Ž
My hair has thinned a lot again too. 

Bang on queue the heartburn arrived when I expected it to based on the previous 2 cycles so no massive surprises, just annoying really!!  It's nearly 3am and I've been awake for nearly an hour and a half after a curry I REALLY fancied and enjoyed to celebrate my mother in laws birthday yesterday! Bless her, even the cat has come downstairs to keep me company and is snuggled right into me!

Managed a little run yesterday which felt very liberating but am a bit sore from that too, guess my body is going through so much at the moment and it doesn't know what to deal with first!

I've started getting hot sweats in the night, which I assume is part of my hormones going a bit mental, all not unexpected but you just don't know when and how different parts of the treatment will effect you and exactly when.

With round 3 now under my belt! I'm thinking ahead to the next set of Chemo will might bring, I understand it could be muscle and bone ache, so wonder how the different side affects will take their toll. There is now 59 days till VLM. I plan to be on tower bridge watching friends run then the following day (if all has stayed on track) I should  be getting my last Chemo! It seems mental thinking so far ahead but we all have to keep little milestones in mind and gives me focus to stay out there running as and when I can.

So after 3 hours up, I might try getting back to sleep now! Fingers crossed ๐Ÿ’ค๐Ÿ’ค