The Clinical Trial

Hello my lovelies. I hope you’re all happy and well? I wanted to give you an update from my last blog and my stay in hospital. After MANY tests, 4 pretty terrible days in hospital and a visit to a … Continue reading

The hospital update

Hi everyone, I’ve decided to do a video blog today as my eye sight isn’t great and I’m having a lot of difficulties with focusing etc.

I apologise in advance for how terrible I look. A couple of days in hospital with a fever will do that!

After many, many hours of waiting

I love the smell of nebulizer in the morning

Oxygen saturation plummets but this helped a lot

Thanks for sticking with me on this one. It was tricky to do with my rubbish vision.

Much love

Xxx

The day before the results

I get CT scans approximately every 12 – 16 weeks to check on my areas with metastatic breast cancer (and to check on any new areas of concern).

We in the cancer ‘community’ refer to wait between having the scans and getting the results as ‘scanxiety’ and I have it. Bad!

This has been a truly dreadful month. So many of my YBCN sisters have passed away, I have had almost constant fatigue, a few niggles that have turned to dread (sometimes your thoughts can be your worst enemy), my work stopped paying me sick pay without any notification whatsoever so I’m now officially poor.

And, absolutely worst of all, my cousin passed away completely unexpectedly last week leaving our entire family utterly devastated.

My Dad, Charlie, Me, Steph, Craig & Irana

Charlie in his element

Charlie and I on our way to Benidorm earlier this year

Charlie was the kind of guy who could walk into a room of people he’d never met and within the hour, be best friends with every one of them. He lit up the room made everyone feel included and was insanely generous to the people he loved. I still can’t believe he is gone. He deserved to live a long, happy life. I just don’t understand it. I’m so sad, angry, confused…

I love him and will miss him so much.

This combination shit storm has had quite an effect on my health. I’ve had a few migraines, I constantly feel as though I have a pain in my back, I’m struggling to swallow….. all signs that my immune system has taken a nose dive. It’s no surprise really, there’s only so much suffering one person (and her family) can take before an implosion begins.

So, if you’re the praying kind of person, please have a word for me for my results appointment tomorrow. My strength reserves are unbelievably depleted.

Sending all my love to you, my gorgeous readers. I thank you for staying by my side during the good times and the really, truly awful. I love you all.

The family wedding

I could not have been prouder nor held any more love in my heart for my whole family as I did right then. It was truly wonderful. Continue reading

The hot trot plot

A quick update before I move on to the real purpose of this post. I’m now coming towards the end of my 2nd cycle of Capecitabine and I must admit, I’m managing it better than I had anticipated. I mean, … Continue reading

The bad news

Since my first diagnosis, I’ve had to both receive and share a lot of bad news. I’m honestly not sure which one is worse. Seeing the look of fear, sadness and shock on the faces of people you love as you tell them life altering news is soul destroying.

A few weeks ago I had to report more bad news.

The lesion on my liver has grown from 1.7cm to 5cm in the past 16 weeks. This means my treatment has stopped working. It means I need to start chemo again.

At that time, my oncologist told me I’d be starting chemo immediately as the tumour in my liver is growing extremely fast. At the Multi Disciplinary Meeting, it was suggested that a liver biopsy be done to find out if my cancer type has changed at all (which may explain the speed of the growth). However, after my scans had been viewed by various liver specialists, it was decided to be too risky a surgery as the tumour is very deep and extremely close to a blood vessel. The risk of internal bleeding was too high.
We spoke about a few different types of chemotherapy options open to me and have settled on a pill form called Capecitabine. The benefits of this is no weekly cannulas and, hopefully, very minimal hair loss. However, it is still chemo and will have a list of side effects as long as my arm. This is a link to MacMillan’s info sheet if you’d like to find any info: https://www.macmillan.org.uk/information-and-support/treating/chemotherapy/drugs-and-combination-regimens/individual-drugs/capecitabine.html

As usual, none of my appointments are plain sailing. After waiting weeks for the liver biopsy decision to be made, I was assured that my 1st chemo, along with my bone strengthening injection would be yesterday. I just had to sit by my phone and a nurse would call me with my appointment time. Well, I waited until 10am before my anxiety got the better of me and I called the hospital and asked to talk to a chemo nurse. When I was put through and told them my name, the incredibly hostile nurse told my appointment had been on Tuesday and I’d missed it. *sigh*…..
On the Tuesday I’d actually been in a separate hospital having an ECG, having pre chemo bloods taken and signing all the consent forms for this new type of treatment. I explained this to her and was told in no uncertain terms that she ‘couldn’t’ (wouldn’t?) help me. Whatever happened to a bit of sympathy and general human kindness?
So, my next step was to phone the Queen Margaret and try to track down my oncologist. Eventually I managed to speak to her secretary who also ‘couldn’t’ help me. Her reason? She was finishing at 12pm (it was only around 10:30am at this point). As if I’d be placated by that excuse, she began to say goodbye but I refused to be fobbed off. I reminded her that, as with most of her boss’s patients, I have cancer. I’ve been waiting nearly 3 weeks to begin treatment and I will not allow myself to be forgotten by those whose job it is to ensure I get the treatment and care I deserve.
She seemed a little shocked at this which is dreadful. Everyone deserves to be listened to and cared for, particularly where your health is concerned. She offered to email my oncologist for me to try to find out what was happening. I told her I’d leave it in her capable hands to do whatever was necessary to ensure my message reached her. Today.
Luckily, stomping my feet worked and within an hour, the chemo ward called me back, apologised for the ‘confusion’ and arranged my appointment for tomorrow (well, today now since I’m writing this at 2:30am).

So, if you can, send a wee positive thought our way at 2pm. I’m really nervous and anxious about going through this again, but most of all, I pray that it works! Please extend those good vibes towards Steph too. It’s easy to forget the husband/wives of the patients but they go through every emotion and more. Steph deals with so much and I’m actually starting to suspect that he’s a real life super hero. Who else could go through all of this but still make me smile and laugh every day?! (Particular when he performs his made up on the spot silly songs and dances). I couldn’t do this without him by my side.

During the time between being told the news about my liver and now, I’ve managed to catch up with a lot of my family. My Dad flew over almost immediately to offer his support and, coincidentally, my cousin and his family were over visiting from Australia. It was a very welcome distraction from the anxiety I was feeling a really lovely to spend time with everyone.

Charlie Jr, William, Duncan (my Dad) and his brother Charlie Sr

The McLauchlan’s out for tapas

Dog walkies (in between days of fatigue) with Dad and Steph

The McLauchlan’s at my aunt and uncle’s house

We all went for a curry and the ‘young ones’ went out to sample the delights of Dunfermline….

During all of this time, our poor dog Dexter had become mega overdue for a haircut. He finally got done today and looks like a new (half the size) dog. The groomed went a little bit overboard grooming Obi and now he looks a bit poodle-esque. Oh well, he’s still cuter than cute!

Curly wurly, dense haired Dexter

Trying out the new ‘skinhead’ style 😂

And lastly, I want to give a little mention to one of my very best friends, Jodi. Jodi has had a really tough time lately. That’s actually a huge understatement. However, she has been bloody brilliant to me. She came with me the day I got my recent bad news. She was strong, composed and made sure she understood everything the oncologist told her so I didn’t have to. She also never let go of my hand. I feel very lucky to have her in my life! Jodi, this blog is dedicated to you.

Jodi knows to feed me cake when I’m sad!