Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Race for Life

This year, Mum, Verity and my Aunt Jill did the Race for Life again! Jill's 4th year of doing it and Mum's 3rd year. We went to watch them run/walk the race in Bedford. I had never been to a Race for Life event before but it was surprisingly emotional, everyone is there really, just for one reason because they have been affected by cancer, either personally or through someone they know. I loved reading all the pink notes on peoples' backs.

Before, after and during shots!

They all did extremely well, Mum and Verity beating Mum's previous years time, coming in at 28.03 minutes and Jill power walked around coming in a little after. People of all ages, fitness levels and for different reasons came over that finish line but hopefully next year I won't be stood watching I will be trying to beat 28.03! We finished the evening off with a BBQ although due to English Summertime had to eat it inside because of the rain, typical!

Monday we went to Cambridge for a bit of retail therapy and I had to get some stuff for my summer holiday before they whipped all the summer stuff out of the shops and put the Autumn stuff in. It was quite a successful trip, managed to get quite a lot of stuff. Had to have an hours sleep in the afternoon though, after only 3 hours of shopping it is not very good.

Tuesday was chemo day - ABVD Cycle 7, Day 1. They had to redo my bloods when I got there because my neutrophills were really low. With chemotherapy it destroys lymphoma cells by preventing all cells from growing and dividing. Your blood count can become temporarily low during treatment because chemotherapy is unable to distinguish between growing cancer cells or normal cells.

It is a particular concern when white bloods cells are low, neutrophills are a type of these. There are several different types of white cells, all of which function in various ways to protect the body from infection. Neutrophils, for example, protect the body by eating microbes and other potentially risky particles. They produce pus and help to alert you to the fact that an infection may be present, by causing pain, swelling and redness. White blood cells are important as they provide the body’s main protection against infection. When the number of white cells, specifically neutrophils, is low, this is known as neutropenia.

With my bloods being redone I had to wait over an hour before the start of treatment. They had a few issues with my port, at the beginning it wasn't behaving, the nurse said that sometimes it can become pressed against the vein wall, because it is such a big vein it is in with a huge blood flow and can become stuck against the wall, so she had to fire it off the vein wall with saline solution! Started chemotherapy before lunchtime, had my 2 injections and then 2 drips. While the drips were going through I watched Broke back Mountain, was a bit bored to be honest!

Because my neutrophills were so low, I had to take a PEG (Neulasta to give it its full name) injection with me to have down at the surgery tomorrow. This should engourage my bone marrow to produce more white blood cells helping me fight infection and hopefully make me feel less tired.

Felt very tired by the end of the day and icky - ABVD Cylce 7, Day 1 - DONE!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Tired, Tired, Tired

Saw my consultant today as he was going on holiday Saturday so I wouldn't be able to see him at chemo on Tuesday. He said my heart echo was all clear, as he expected, he said it in a load of medical jargon but basically my heart is still beating away ok!

Told him about my extreme tiredness. The last couple of weeks I haven't really done a lot at all because I have felt so tired and lethargic (bloody missing a night out tonight because of it, hope you have fun people!). The other afternoon I ended up sleeping for 2 hours in the middle of the afternoon. He said he didn't think it was the lymphoma coming back because I had none of the other symptoms ie. lumps, sweats or itchy skin. He suggested it might be an a cumulative effect of the chemotherapy as I have had my fair dose now, 6 cycles, 12 treatments...only 4 more to go! He said he would take a rain check on it in a couple of weeks.

We ended up being back home by 10.00am as our appointment had been at 8.20am, haven't got up that early for a long time! On the way there we were ahead of the commuters!

Made some fudge, white chocolate and oat biscuits to occupy myself for the rest of the morning. The recipe made a load but they are gorgeous so I am sure we will manage to get through them! Also rang around a few insurance companies about travel insurance, managed to find insure cancer who will hopefully insure me but it wont be cheap and they can only do the paperwork 4 weeks before you travel.

With the travel insurance kind of sorted I booked the holiday. So from the 3rd October to 10th October, Leanne and I will be here...

...sipping cocktails by the pool!

It is a place called Kalkan in Turkey -

'Nestled between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean, Kalkan harbour is a sophisticated town combining all your holiday needs – history, culture, entertainment, rest and relaxation. The town boasts an array of sophisticated restaurants, boutique hotels and elegant rooftop bars in the evening, while in the day visitors can choose from a range of nearby beach clubs or vast stretches of white beaches in nearby Patara' - Tapestry Collection Website.

10 weeks Saturday and counting!

Thursday, 23 July 2009

First Post :0)

Well this is my first post...

Have decided to start a blog after reading several inspirational blogs on the internet, and finding them helpful. It's something to entertain me as well, while I while away the days until my last chemo session...8th September!

To set the scene I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma back in February of this year and since then my life has changed dramatically. I had just returned from a years travelling back in November (photo - me and travelling bubs, taken last October on Whitehaven Beach, East Coast of Australia) and life couldn't have been better, it had been one big party since I had been back, going out every weekend and catching up with friends and family.

They do say cancer is a life changing experience and it definitely makes you see life differently. Funnily enough 'Look at Life Differently' is the title of the lymphoma associations photography competition this year.

What a good lead in, to allow me to tell you that I will be littering these blogs with 'pretty' pictures as since my diagnosis I have invested in an SLR camera and have been happily snapping away ever since!

This blog is designed a) as a way to keep those around me informed of my progress and b) provide an insight into living with lymphoma, to help those who have been diagnosed or for people who simply want to find out more.

If this blog just helps one person, it will be worth it. Happy reading :0)

Monday, 20 July 2009

Heart Echo

Monday was the day of my heart echo, apparently routine if you have more than six cycles of ABVD. Initially alarm bells started ringing when my consultant said he wanted to do one, but he reassured me that it was usual and he suspected everything would be fine.

Went out for a walk amongst the countryside in the morning with Mum and Harvey (my dog!) and as it was a nice sunny morning, took some photos! Ended up with Mum lying in the corn to get a photo of a poppy, dedication for you!

An echocaridiogram, to give it its full name, is a scan of the heart, really similar to an ultrasound. Essentially to check the heart is there, still alive and kicking! It was my kind of scan because I didn't have to fast for 12 hours before, of have any radiation which normally makes me puke!

Had to wear the compulsory hospital gown! The echo all in all took about half an hour. It was a painless test although a little uncomfortable at times, when the Dr was probing to get a picture of the bottom of the heart. The worst bit is getting covered in the gunky gel! At times the doctor turned the sound on, and all I could hear was, swish, swish, of what I guess is the blood flowing through my veins. I couldn't see the monitor because I had my back to it so it would have been nice if the doctor had described what he was seeing and doing but he didn't! It has been the same with all the other scans I have had, they don't like to tell you anything at the time, it is down to the consultant to give you the results. Should get the results on Friday when I see my consultant.

Another procedure to add to my list and home for lunch, bonus!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Four more to go...

ABVD cycle 6, day 15 - DONE! Four treatments to go, still 8 weeks though, blah!

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Girlies Run the 10k

Ascot yesterday and London today. Dad and I went up to watch Leanne, Lucie, Becka, Helen and Nicola ran the London 10km run for the Lymphoma Association. All in all they raised over £1800, an awesome amount. They came in just over an hour, which was really good, made me very proud. They all did really well. It was a lovely day, nice and sunny and I enjoyed walking around London as well as watching the race.

The weekend ended on an adrenaline high. At about 8 ish the phone rang, it was our neighbour saying the field was on fire. Went outside and it was, the sound was immense. The fire brigade had been called and arrived pretty promptly, in fact it wasn't just one fire engine that arrived...three did! The fire wasn't that big but the firemen said if the field hadn't been set aside the whole thing would have gone up - scary. What a way to end the weekend!

Friday, 10 July 2009

A Day's Outing to Ascot

Saturday we had a day at Ascot, which was wicked. I have never been to Ascot and the stands were amazing. We had a box for the day which we shared with some of Dad's work colleagues and their families. The only down fall of the day was the weather. Master Mylo ran in the forth race. He did really well seeing as it was probably a race above his class. Of course I captured the day on film! Managed to get some interesting shots from the balcony of the box. Roll on Ladies Day next year!

Family shot before we left.

Master Mylo - pre parade ring.

Master Mylo after the race.

Cooling off after the race!

And some other shots of the day...

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Sun, sun, sun :0)

Tuesday was the start of cycle six...could have been the start of the last cycle but that is not to be so still two more cycles to go. Chemotherapy went without a hitch.

Felt Ok after chemotherapy. Actually went out for the few days after, on Wednesday I met with Charlene and she was looking after Freddy and Thursday I met with Jen and baby RoRo.

The good times ended on Friday though when I woke up with another cold. Managed to drag myself to Rhythms of the World on Saturday which was a lovely sunny day, much like the rest of the week has been. Had to have a chill out day on Sunday though because it had worn me out.