Saturday, 15 June 2013

Chocks Away!

As this is my inaugural post on this blog, I will tell you a little about myself and why I'm "here".

Blogging is a good habit for writers - I will have to think of something interesting to say every day or so, so it will get me into a good regular writing habit.  Besides, it is harder to plead "writers block" when all I have to do is write a minimum of a para or two, but hopefully more if the muse strikes me (mixed metaphor I know).

I have found some other people's blogs useful and helpful.  Some are informative while others have resonated with me at particular times.  Some people blog about their illnesses - such as cancer or recovering from joint replacement.  When I experienced these, I found it useful to follow other's experiences, and benchmark myself against them.  You are not supposed to do this - "Everyone is different and we all recover at our rate."  Perhaps.  But I need comparisons to see how I'm really doing.

My knee replacement was two years ago - I have an Oxford partial knee replacement and I love my new knee.  Recovery wasn't that big a deal.  Not much pain and I could get around quite soon, but still took a long time to fully recover.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October last year.  I've completed the chemotherapy - 3 cycles of FEC and then 3 cycles of Taxotere - in mid March this year.  This combination is called FEC-T.

FEC is horrible stuff - a combination of 3 drugs: 5 Fluorouracil, Epirubicin and Cyclophosphamide.  Two of these drugs (5 Fluorouracil and Cyclophosphamide) date back to the early days of chemotherapy (1950s) and produce the classic severe nausea and vomiting (as well as hair loss) commonly associated with chemotherapy.  Urghh!  Taxotere can produce a wider range of side effects, some of which can be long lasting, but at least you skip the nausea and vomiting!

Surgery was in April, and I start 5 weeks of radiotherapy on Monday.  I will still be on Herceptin until Feb next year.  I know this won't make much sense to you unless you've had a cancer or supported someone who has.  Don't worry - my blog will be covering a total mixture of my experiences and reflections, so just skip anything that doesn't seem interesting or relevant to you.

My hair is regrowing slowly but surely.  I love my new hair - I really missed it.  It is now three months from my last chemo session. My eyelashes and eyebrows are almost back to normal.  My head hair is uber-short and feels very silky and fine, but at least my head now has a (virtually) full covering.  I am getting my husband to photograph my hair every week or so, so I have a record of it regrowing.

Funnily enough I still have no forearm or underarm hair, but I'm sure it will come eventually (and I'm not going to tell you about hair in some other places...)

We came back from a short holiday a week ago - we were in Devon for just over a week, staying in Torquay and Paignton.  Torquay is nice, but I liked Paignton best.  There is a regular steam train from Paignton to near Dartmouth, and I liked waving to people on the train - steam trains bring out the best in people - everyone seems to be in a good mood.

Update:  A couple of our photos of the Paignton and Dartmouth steam railway

1 comment:

  1. Hello - am checking into your blog. It looks awesome and I love the background pic, all very serene. You're quite the dark horse having cancer diagnosis and treatment going on without saying anything ... though I can see how it would be difficult to drop into the 'conversation'. Here is this month's post and by the way ...

    You seem to be managing the treatment and repercussions really well (and still crit-ing and posting, amazing), which is brilliant. My hat off to you!