Becoming Public Property

Friday 29th January

Friday was a bit confusing I arrived at the wrong hospital for an oncology appointment. Not the end of the world but I hate getting things wrong. I’m starting to feel a bit hormonal (just the time of the month) so I guess I was a bit flat. Karen the oncologist explained that the scans were completely clear other than a small cyst on my liver which she said could have been there from birth nothing to fret about. I asked her what a cyst is and she explained that it’s just a sack of fluid – I asked if it was full of wine. She laughed and said it was highly unlikely. So all good. I don’t think I’d displayed quite the right reaction. I know it’s great news and that I’m all clear and it’s not anywhere else but shit this is becoming REAL. Each day, each result, each appointment I’m getting one step closer to the bloody chemo, the nasty stuff, the real-life bits, the stuff that’s going to make me feel ill. Yes, it will fix me but I’m going to feel shit and for someone who’s always so healthy this is a mental battle. The side effects are beyond hideous. I had a couple of tears as I left, not a lot, just enough to register how I’m feeling, but it’s just part of the journey. I left the hospital drove to meet Catherine for dinner in Lincoln.

Saturday 30th January

On Saturday 30th, I met a friend at Rutland water for our 26, yes, 26-mile walk. I’d already committed to doing the Belvoir challenge at the end of February but I needed to know that my body was capable of doing it, I’ve never walked this far before. So that IF I can’t complete it I at least know it’s because of the chemo not that I can’t do it. The day was great and it took us just under 7 hours. Got home and was asleep by 8.30 and I ached…but not as much as my friend did, which offers me hours of piss-take. I’m the cancer victim, he’s a fit 40-year old that got me into this endurance walking and HE struggled… or maybe he’s just saying it to make me feel good.

Reading stuff about me on Facebook makes me feel like Mother Teresa…

So I’ve posted lots of stuff on Facebook about the charity head shave in the last week or so and have bullied my clients into parting with their cash and so far I’ve raised about £7500 for two very well deserving charities; Peterborough City Hospital and ‘Something to look forward to’. I’m sooooo pleased and it makes this poorly shit so worthwhile. People have been extremely kind and said some really lovely and encouraging things with their donations which is so kind, but I’m struggling a bit. I’m not really one to dwell on nice things that people say and in truth, there’s a collection of other things that aren’t so lovely about me, which quite honestly balances out the loveliness. Trust me, I’ve struggled quite a bit with this to be truthful. I’m just like everyone else; I get cross, I shout at my kids, I get moody from time to time. Reading stuff about me on Facebook makes me feel like Mother Teresa…it’s important to stay real, I think. I LOVE the positivity and kindness. It’s been great and there are one or two ‘sad/sympathy’ statuses to contend with, but they’ve been minimal.

Now I have to confess that the thought of doing this head shave is beyond distressing. I seriously do NOT really want to be bald, I don’t really want all the garbage that goes with this bloody long arduous journey of chemical warfare I’m about to endure, where my body is not my own anymore. Nothing is sacred now. I’ve had my tits out more in the last 6 weeks than I have in the last 6 years!!! PLUS I’m struggling with being ‘public property’. I’m not a fan of everyone knowing my business, it makes me feel vulnerable, but I do need to feel like I’m in control of this cancer thing so by doing this and not having the horror of big clumps falling out in bed or in the bath. As I said, it’s the best option for me to be able to cope.

I was mortified. Comments appeared like wildfire.

For a gobby bird, I’m actually quite private and do not like to share my innermost feelings with the world (you’re now wondering why I wrote this. Yes, I know – me too, but I’ve done it for you). So you can perhaps imagine how traumatised I was when one of my friends took it upon herself to post something on my Facebook wall for everyone to see. I’ll give her the benefit of doubt and say it was with the best intention. As we explained to people on my behalf that the fundraising wasn’t a publicity stunt, she explained how distressing I would find it and virtually started a petition to stop me from doing it saying that I didn’t HAVE to do it. I was absolutely livid, not because she hadn’t told the truth but because I felt like she’d exposed my innermost feelings and thoughts. Facebook for me is about the fun stuff, the nonsense of life, and I simply DO NOT share my real thoughts and feelings with the bloody world. I win by fronting this cancer thing out and stay emotionally detached from what I’m doing. I was mortified. Comments appeared like wildfire, all very lovely but discussing me, making decisions for me, suggestions about what I should or shouldn’t do. I know people mean well but I honestly did feel like my life was not my own. And because I hadn’t worded the post I wasn’t able to control what they were saying in their response.

I am unsure about shaving my head. Christ, who wouldn’t be.

All my posts had been VERY carefully worded to encourage a happy positive comment not some droany negative shit and my wording did not create an open forum. I TOLD them what was happening. I had no idea how to take this new post down – I’m not overly technical and I didn’t want to upset her either. I felt a bit stuck. I did totally overreact, but I couldn’t stop the flooding; I cried a lot and couldn’t work out what to do for the best. It’s weird how much I feel like I need to control this and what people see. I don’t mind my innermost feelings being shared with my close friends but not Facebookers – they are all people I know but they’re people I’ve worked with, met on nights out, etc., not all proper full-on friends. I guess we all know that. I am unsure about shaving my head. Christ, who wouldn’t be. Yet I know it’s better for me than the other option of it falling out. I need their money for the charities, not their sympathy or opinions about what I should do for the best…ggggrrrr.

Hair Loss and a 26-Mile Walk

I’ve had a fantastic week. I feel great being back at work but I’m not doing full days – I’m surprised about how tired I’ve been. Walked for three hours on Saturday and went to an 18th birthday – it was a great night. I decided to wear Bob AND I fitted into a dress I’ve not worn in years, which I’m really chuffed about.

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I expected to gain weight during the chemo – naturally, I’d asked the oncologist, and I wasn’t thrilled with her response as she explained that most people do put weight on during treatment. Great. Bald AND fat – I can’t wait! Weirdly, I’ve eaten more but lost weight. It’s simply down to the fact that I’m not drinking wine, which at a guess I probably managed to consume about six bottles a week. Wine makes me order pizzas at 11 o’clock at night and makes me eat crisps and dip by the bucket load. It also makes me swear a lot so I’m thinking wine’s pretty much the enemy to be fair.

Sunday 21st February

Today was Sunday 21st February and I feel a bit gutted today, to be honest. My inch long hair has started to fall out. I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I KNEW it would go but I had kind of hoped I’d keep it till next week when I do the Belvoir Challenge – the 26-mile walk. I’m going look a right twat in my hat and I feel embarrassed and bald and all the things I thought I’d feel and more. This is humiliating.

Sunday 28th February

Sorry, I fear I have neglected you. It’s already 28th February, but I’ve had such a great couple of days just doing my thing, seeing friends, and it feels great. NORMALITY. It’s been fabulous, so much so I’ve just not had anything significant to tell you. It’s like there’s nothing wrong with me. My friends would argue differently hahaha. Anyway, I’m proud to share that on Saturday I completed the Belvoir Challenge and the casual 26-mile walk. I walked it with two chaps from the same building as me. OMG, it was great. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough going and the terrain is something we hadn’t really prepared for – up hills and very muddy – just like your classic cross country at school.

she’d said, “You know you don’t have to do it.” But in my head I did.

By the first checkpoint, I could honestly have given up. I felt a bit rough but I reckon the bottle of wine I drank on Friday night wouldn’t necessarily have helped me. I know, I know wine is the enemy lol. So once I’d walked that out my system I have to tell you it was great. It was fab. We made sure we all crossed the line together. One of the hardest things about endurance walking is walking at a faster or slower pace than your companions. I seem to walk quite quickly – in fact they called me a robot. I was so lucky I only got a teeny tiny blister but nothing much else to whinge about. I ache a bit today but nothing much. I’m now looking forward to a 46-mile walk in June.

The oncologist wasn’t thrilled about me doing the walk initially when we discussed it. It had been at the very first appointment and she’d said, “You know you don’t have to do it.” But in my head I did. I had committed to doing it and do it I shall. She wasn’t too chuffed about the fact I’d moved the chemo date to suit the walk. I know, I know, not quite the attitude BUT I need something to look forward to and to feel I have achieved something. I’m pleased I did it and we had a really good laugh in the process.

Monday 29th February

Monday 29th February sees my second dose of chemo. It really should have been Friday but as I mentioned I’d asked them to put it back to today so that I was able to do the walk without any hiccups, which is great, although I’ve now realised my next few will clash with some social things I have planned so I’ll see if we can change it back. I’m not trying to be difficult, but I honestly don’t want this cancer drama to take over my whole world and I seriously think it should fit in around me. I can’t stay at home moaning about how ill I feel. I want to out enjoying life and doing all the things I love.

So I had a batch load of Puriton this time which has made me very tired, got some anti-sickness patches too so fingers crossed I won’t feel so bad this time. The nurses are just great, they can’t do enough to make sure it’s as OK as it can be. So let’s see what this week brings.

After hibernating through the last batch of chemo because I didn’t know how I would feel, the days were so very long so I’ve decided to ask for visitors this time. I figure the more time I can be entertained, the quicker the days will go and quicker I get back to being me.

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Tuesday 1st March

It’s Tuesday. I feel OK, a bit rough but nothing too much to moan about. Had a couple of visitors today which was lovely but exhausting. My hair although very short is very thin now… it’s weird, you expect it all to go in one fell swoop but it’s just not the case. All my hair just seems to be thinning.

Janice the nurse came today which was great. She just came to check up on me, and to stab me with an immune drug to boost my system. She told me that she’s told the oncologist that I’m always so positive and smiley and upbeat, like a light bulb, she said. How cute. Little does she know I’d passed out for 90 minutes when she’d gone. I’ve got some big beast nausea tablets, some small ones and patch and yet I still feel sick. My boob has changed shape it’s quite weird… it looks like it has tucks on it now. Weird.

I’ve had a tot up of the donations and I’m astonished at just how much we’ve raised – I’m seriously touched so I thought a BIG thank you was in order.

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(HTs – hormone twins – the affectionate name I gave to my kids)