Thanks for taking the time to visit my website. I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. I'm a wife and mother of 3 young children, Matthew 13, Ellie 10 and Freddie 6. I was first diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2001 at the age of 36. Following Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, I was in remission until a chance MRI scan in Feb 2005 for an unrelated problem, detected that the Cancer had returned. I was then diagnosed with Secondary Breast Cancer. The likely prognosis given in February was 18 months to 5 years. I then had to undergo aggressive Chemotherapy, but following the results of a recent bone scan, it was found that the Cancer is still spreading.
The treatment in Germany will cost thousands of pounds and for most people like myself, the opportunity for this is a dream. Many of my Family and Friends want to make this dream a reality and are making tremendous fund raising efforts, because without them, I would not be able to seek the treatment that I so obviously need and which is not being offered in this country.
I've been visiting the Lymphoedema nurse for the last two weeks and have been receiving manual lymph massage to my arm (MLD) to help the lymph nodes drain the fluid correctly. Whilst attending the lymph clinic the nurse has also been showing me lymph massage to be completed at home and probably for the rest of my life. Don't know how I'm going to fit this in with everything else that I have to do in the day! I could be looking at an hour spent exercising and massaging. Has it made a difference? Well, I think so, my arm has been swollen from February onwards and my hand very puffy. It has since reduced in size but is still larger than my opposite arm. At least I now have the knowledge and training to keep control of the swelling.
The last two weeks have been quite a stressful period attending the lymph clinic, trying to work and sorting childcare for the kids during the holiday period as well as the day to day running of the house. It's a real strain coping with all the normal day to day activities plus the hassle of attending clinic appointments and having treatment. Having cancer and all the side effects that go with it doesn't mean that the rest of my life has to stop. You could regard this as a positive aspect although at the moment I'm looking at it as a negative side because I'm knackered!!!
I've been suffering with a headache on my leftside on and off for a few weeks now, so when I went to clinic today for my monthly appointment and Pamidronate, I asked the Onc if this was anything to worry about. I know that I have a tumour in my neck on the left handside and wondered if that was connected or worse that I was getting a brain tumour!!! Anyway the Onc put my mind at rest that this was bone pain causing the headaches. It's hard not to worry when you get different aches and pains especially when they leave it up to you to report anything unusual. I had also heard recently that brain mets can come from breast cancer.
Treatment went okay although new port was still playing up but will have to see what happens in another 4 weeks.
Line put in my Port
The "Port" nurse came today to put a line in my new port ready for treatment tomorrow. This is the first time it had been accessed but unfortunately it didn't go as well as we had hoped. Although she was able to access the port and put fluids in, she was unable to draw any blood which was a pain. Luckily I escaped having to go to the hospital because the District Nurse had popped in to see how things were going. She was able to draw the blood necessary for the blood tests before tomorrow. Anyway, my right arm is all bandaged up like I've burnt myself and now my left arm has a cover over the line. I feel great! NOT!!!
I went to see a new Lymphoedema Nurse in Windsor today in the hope of relieving the problems I have been having with my swollen arm and hand and possibly fluid retention in other parts of the body. Well I think I wished I hadn't bothered! My right hand has been totally bandaged up which makes it very difficult to wash, shower, clean, wash the dishes etc. Then I have to wear an arm sleeve which really constricts my arm and follow a 20 minute exercise session. I look a right whalley and the arm sleeve which also goes over my hand was so tight, my thumb was going numb! I also need to visit the Lymphoedema Nurse for 8 sessions over the next 2 weeks which is a bit of a nightmare considering the children are on school holidays and I still need to attend work. All this is adding to my already high stress levels and I think if this doesn't make too much of a significant difference, then, I'm just going to have to accept the situation because I can't live my life with a bandaged hand and trussed up arm.
I was hoping that 3 days into my holiday I would be able to swim but when I removed the dressings, one of the wounds was still weeping so I did not feel comfortable swimming. All the plaster covers that were given to me to put over the wounds irritated my skin and I was told not to get the wounds wet. 5 days into the holiday I was finally able to swim but I used the spray plaster rather than the plaster covers. I was really disappointed and felt that it spoilt the start of my holiday. By the end of the holiday I was able to swim normally without having to keep my arm out of the water and I even went in the sea on the last day because it was beautiful and I thought it was so unfair to come all this way and not enjoy the holiday to the full!