ovarian cancer

Chemo 5 – In a Mermaid Tail

On Thursday I had my fifth dose of chemo – also my first chemo post surgery which, on numerous occasions, I’d be warned would be ‘rough’.

I’ve gotten myself into quite a nice routine with my chemotherapy now. I get my bag packed the night before with everything I might need – from books and my iPad to a wide range of snacks! I also try to get the house as organised as possible, knowing that over the next few days I’ll not be up to doing much. I have to stay up until midnight to take ten steroids the night before chemo (and then ten more at 7am!) so that usually gives us plenty of time for running around the house getting things in place before my husband and I settle on the sofa to watch something together until I need to take my meds.

This chemo was different though. My husband was going to London with work for two days (just one overnight) and my sister was coming to stay to look after me. This meant that he also had to pack and we had to get the house ready for a guest. We got everything done but it felt less relaxed and organised than usual. I also felt sad at my husband going away. Of course I was happy he was having a well deserved  change of scene – goodness knows he deserves it! – but chemo can be unpredictable and I’ve become so used to his amazing support.


The morning routine was different too. My husband was collected by taxi first thing and my parents picked me up to take me to the hospital. Ordinarily my husband would just take me on his way to work. It felt strange going with them but again it was also nice that they were able to see a little part of my journey.

I’m a bit funny about chemo, I like to do it alone. I don’t mind visitors, but I also really like to spend the time chatting with other people getting chemo and getting to know the nurses. So my parents left after 15 minutes and the nurses began their routine of putting a venflon in my arm and giving me my many anti-sickness drugs.

I’d been worried about getting a venflon. A PICC line had been discussed and I was so desperately hoping that some miracle would happen and my veins would be easily accessible for once. As it happened I was in luck. My chemo having been delayed by a day meant that a nurse who I swear has X-ray eyes was on shift. She manged to get a venflon in my vein on the first attempt with no pain! That’s never happened! I’m also pleased to say that now all my treatments will happen on a Thursday so she’ll always be working – here’s hoping this means I can put off that PICC line a little longer, if not forever. No pressure!

Receiving my chemo was pretty straightforward as always. It’s just a case of sitting there for 8 hours whilst the nurses change the bags of fluid running into my veins. We start with IVs of antihistamines and antisickness before moving on to two different types of chemo and then finally a bag of avastin – the maintenance drug that helps prevent my cancer growing new blood vessels. Sadly this drug is not available to everyone with ovarian cancer so I always feel very blessed when receiving this.

To keep my spirits high and because why the hell not, I decided to wear my mermaid tail blanket during chemo this time. It gave me a smile and proved a hit with the other patients too. It’s always important to maintain a sense of yourself during treatment – goodness knows chemo takes enough of you away!

I foresee these becoming a future hit in chemo wards. Haha!

Ordinarily in the three days after chemo I’d rest at home before venturing back to my usual routine. Unfortunately my blood tests that morning had shown that my magnesium levels were still low and so I was told I’d have to come in the next day to receive another magnesium infusion over five hours. Partly this was a relief as it meant that for the majority of the time my sister was watching me while my husband was away I’d actually be in hospital and she wouldn’t need to worry. However it was also a pain as I really like just lying in the bath the day after chemo to stop my bones aching and now this wouldn’t be able to happen.

However, the chemo nurses were very supportive of my concerns about my husband being away during this dose of chemo and of my sister caring for me in his absence – my husband has had months getting used to side affects and hospital admissions, I didn’t want my sister suddenly put on a fast track course! So they gave me extra anti-sickness drugs and pain relief and, thankfully, these did the job. I went home feeling relatively normal aside from being tired and a little grumoy – which I’m sure my sister would concure! We even managed to have dinner together before I napped on the sofa!

I maintained feeling well the next day during my magnesium infusion too. This was some kind of record…I’d thought this chemo was meant to be tough?…little did I know this was the calm before the storm. Two days later I was admitted to hospital in a similar style to my previous visit. I was in pain. I was weak. I was scared (more on this in a future post when I regain my strength).

Love and light, Fi xxx

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Did you know smear tests DO NOT screen for Ovarian Cancer?

ovarian cancer

“Fight Song”

I’m sitting in the chemo room (in my mermaid tail!)
in tears as I watch this video.
An incredible 16 year old woman who has survived stage three ovarian cancer…if you watch only one thing today let it be this…even if, like me, you are not a reality tv fan…it is so worth it!

I cry because I live her journey every day through my own ovarian cancer journey – the laughter, the love, the fear and the pain a late stage ovarian cancer diagnosis brings.

I cry because she is a much needed inspiration to me and to other warriors.

I cry because I saw her story on the Ellen Degeneres Show and know she was diagnosed at only 15 years old and, like me, she doesn’t have a genetic mutation.

But most importantly I cry with hope and joy.

Maybe, just maybe, this young, gorgeous, talented and inspirational woman will become a role model for other young women.

Maybe she will help raise awareness so that one day more women will be diagnosed early and able to survive this disease.
Maybe this incredible woman will save lives.

I cry with happiness for a better tomorrow.

I cry with love for a fellow warrior who, like me, sees the sunshine in the rain.

Let’s just all take a minute and think how wonderful and inspiring this woman really is.

Love and light, Fi xxx

Please remember a smear test CANNOT detect ovarian cancer! There is NO known screaming!
Diagnosis relies only on women being aware of the symptoms and being persistent with their gps.

ovarian cancer

Home is where the fur babies are…(video)

Well I got home late Thursday afternoon and it’s just been amazing!

I am feeling much better that I did the last time I was discharged from hospital. This, of course, is helped by the lovely greeting I got from our fur babies who I had missed so much!


I’m still by no means recovered but I’m definitely in a better place both emotionally and physically than I was two weeks ago.

It was so lovely to see our animals and sit in our garden with my husband and just relax. I realised that for the past five weeks I’ve not been alone. I’ve had constant monitoring and tests, day and night. This meant that just simply sitting in the garden alone with our rescue dog was an incredibly magical moment. I’m thankful once again for being reminded to enjoy the little things in life and not take them for granted.


I’m not going to lie, there has of course been tough moments. Moments where I was too tired to move and just went for naps on the floor because it was the only place that felt comfortable. But, even having the option to do that, rather than being confined to a hospital bed, made these tough moments bearable. I know that may sound crazy but after five weeks of being directed in where I could go and what I could do, just wanting to rest on the floor and then actually being able to do so is strangely empowering.


I’ve still got a long way to go in my recovery but I’ve made great progress so far so I’m hopeful for the next few weeks. I restart chemo in just 10 days so, in preparation, I need to gain as much weight and strength as possible – after loosing two stone in hospital along with a lot of muscle wastage too. So that’s where my focus is – cooking organic meals, eating little and often and resting as much as I can while also trying to regain strength through gentle walking in the garden.

The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter every day.

Love and light, Fi xxx 

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Emotionally preparing for surgery: Chemo 4 – Day 21

Well I did it – I blogged every day for a complete chemo cycle. 21 days of insight into my life with cancer. Tomorrow I should be going for my pre-assessments for chemo 5 but as I’m heading for surgery soon I’m not able to have another chemo at this stage (until after I’ve recovered from surgery) because it will weaken my immune system too much. Instead I am walking into the unknown…

I’m not sure what the next two weeks will feel like without chemo and many questions and, also, many doubts are running through my head…

  • Will I feel my ‘cancer’ symptoms return because I’m not receiving chemo?
  • Will I continue to feel tired?
  • Will my pain return?
  • Will my abdominal fluid return?
  • Is surgery the best, or indeed only, option?
  • Do my questions come from a place of fear or a place of knowledge..from extensive (and also often contradictory) research?…

The list goes on and I’m sure it’s normal to have these questions but I can’t help but think that they should have been addressed. I know that the answer to these questions are obvious to the people providing my healthcare…but they are not obvious to me. Instead they only serve to cause unnecessary fear and stress – both of which are known factors for creating a cancer thriving environment. Ironic…

I wish I’d asked these questions when I last saw my oncologist.

I also wish the answers were just given to me, without the need to ask.

Or that the answers were easily accessible…

This reminds me of the need to take more of an active role in my healthcare plan and, as a result, I am doing my research and putting together an extensive list of questions to ask my surgeon. This, I feel, will allow me to take back some control in a journey which is often hard to navigate but one which I hope to do so as a valued member of a collaborative team.

Love and light, Fi xx

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Embracing Hair Loss: Chemo 4 – Day 14

When I was diagnosed with cancer in January I had blonde hair that, up until then I’d always kept long. I was one of those people who gets terrified when their hairdresser says they need to cut an inch off…so the prospect of chemo taking my hair was a bit of a shock… 

  

However I decided to embrace it wholeheartedly and, in my usual ‘when life gives you lemons…’ approach, decided very quickly that I was going to donate my hair to the little princesses trust so that children with cancer could benefit from it. I then, with some ‘gentle persuasion’ from a friendly local hairdresser dyed it hot pink and purple in a bid to raise money for Macmillan nurses…(the gentle persuasion was over the colour choice not the charity!)

And you know what?!…I loved my hair short and brightly coloured! Like seriously LOVED it more than I ever did my long blonde hair!…

  

But that was all before I started my chemo treatment. After my first dose my hair was still in tact!…hurray!…however after my second dose it started to fall out in clumps! Especially when I was in the shower or bath!

I thought that I would find this much more destressing than I actually did. Honestly though it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be! It may be that by the time your hair starts falling out you have dealt with so much that it pales in comparison but it didn’t really bother me at all. This was surprising…I’d always considered myself to be very vain! It’s actually quite fascinating pulling your own hair out in clumps…

After a couple of weeks it quickly got to the stage that there was no denying that my hair was not going to stop falling out and so I took the plunge and asked my husband to give me a buzz cut. Watching my hair fall to the ground in clumps all around me felt so liberating. I was taking back control! I was making the decision to lose my hair…not cancer or chemo!

When I finally looked in the mirror I felt like a warrior. Who was this strong woman looking back at me?! It was so empowering. I think that day I felt the strongest I’ve ever felt – like I could do anything. Like even cancer didn’t stand a chance.

I didn’t ever leave the house with my buzz cut on show though – something I regret now looking back. Instead I tried a wig for one day. I hated it! It wasn’t just that it didn’t suit me (which it really didn’t!) but more that I felt I was trying to hide the fact that I had cancer, like it was something to be ashamed of. I hated the way that thought made me feel.

  

So instead I started to play around with head scarfs and head bands. I spent an absolute fortune trying different conbinations! I now know that I favour wearing a cheap, plain cotton neck scarf  to cover my head and then a patterned sea salt handyband over the top to give some bulk and interest. These are the best because they stay in place but are loose enough to not cause headaches – which many other kinds did because they were too tight.

 

The best part about wearing headscarfs is you have a whole new accessory to coordinate with your outfits! I love when outfits are based around a colour and so I actually find this a fun process of getting ready in the morning. Having hair is so boring by comparison!

 Following my fourth dose of chemo, however, my hair has started to fall out much more drastically. Overnight I felt like I’d gone from a warrior to gollum! Not so liberating when you have to greet that look in the mirror in the morning!  

So today I once again embraced a new hairdo and clean shaved my head! I then took it one step further and, having regretted not going out with my buzz cut, went out with my bald head on show for all the world to see. And do you know what happened?… Nothing! No one gave a f&@k! Turns out that strangers don’t really care what other strangers look like – even if they have no hair! Who’d have thought it…

  So in just 13 weeks I’ve had five radically different hairstyles ranging from blonde hair to a clean head shave and I’ve learnt that none of it matters. It’s just hair. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t change you.

Cancer treatment may take your hair but as long as it doesn’t take your smile then you’ll still be as beautiful as you always were.

And as an added benefit…you need a lot less time to get ready in the morning and save a fortune on hair products!…although you are sure to use up that cost saving on headscarfs, hats and accessories!

So, my advice, if you are loosing your hair due to chemo, embrace it! When else do you get to do something so radical with your look without judgment?!

Love, light and humour, Fi xx

ovarian cancer

Megginch Castle: Chemo 4 – Day 7

Today I woke feeling much as I had over the past few days since receiving my fourth chemo dose, only now with the added side affect of ‘roid rage’ – this is caused by the steroids I need to take in the days before and following a chemo dose now leaving my system. This manifests suddenly with me becoming unreasonably emotional and angry. It’s not pleasant and it’s not pretty – but it does pass! Also it’s easier to deal with now I know what causes it – the first couple of doses of chemo I felt like I was loosing my mind!
Although still feeling ill I decided to combat these emotions this  round by having a day out with my husband and parents. First stop was an awesome lunch at my favourite cafe who specialise in accommodating food allergies – making my life a lot easier! It’s amazing how much more human I can feel after a bowl of hot soup! I also find that being out and about and around people helps me to feel better – as long as I don’t try to over do it or stay out too long. 

Megginch Castle – which isn’t too far away – were having their annual open garden day today where they allow members of the public to explore the beautiful grounds with the aim of raising funds for Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre. This provided our next stop and a great opportunity to take advantage of the lovely spring weather and, or course, an ever welcome opportunity to spend some healing time in nature. I’m very grateful for their chosen beneficiary. Maggie’s have provided such valuable support and care for me and my family during my diagnosis and treatment and it’s always lovely to see people realising this value and helping support them!

  
The family at Megginch Castle provided a warm and friendly welcome and the gardens were absolutely stunning! I felt so relaxed and comfortable strolling around their beautiful walled gardens and then resting for a cup of tea on the lawn with the other visitors. I only wish they were open to the public more often!  

  There really is something wonderful about spending time in nature. It’s so calming and I truly believe it is healing too. Simply being outside, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the scenery encourages a slower, medatative pace that allows me to enjoy the moment and – for at least a while – disconnect from being a ‘cancer patient’.

  In nature I feel relaxed and calm and, dare I say it, healthy. Such a priceless feeling and one we often take for granted. Instead we are often guilty of rushing around always ‘doing’ and never just ‘being’ – well I was anyway until my diagnosis! Time in nature, however, forces us to enjoy the moment; to look at the trees; to enjoy wondering down the shaded pathways; to loose our thoughts watching a bumble bee choose a flower – it’s beautiful and nothing quite compares.

I hope those reading this are taking some precious time to enjoy nature too.

Fi xx 
 

ovarian cancer

A necessary evil: Chemo 4 – Day 5…

I’m often asked what chemo side affects feel like…I mean how bad can they be?…well they are awful!…but at the same time (for me) they are managable and a necessary evil…

There is a long list of potential side affects and I’m pleased to say that I don’t get hit with them all!…and I really hope no one does! But the ones I do get feel like a mixture of your worst hang over, meeting flu, meeting the pain the day after an insane workout.
Chemotherapy attacks the fastest dividing cells in your body – whilst this enables it to attack cancer cells it also attacks your immune system, skin cells, hair folicules, nails, reproductive organs and the lining of your nose, throat, stomach and digestive track…hence the long list of potential side affects.

 
Following a chemo dose you are given a card of possible symptoms and asked to rate each symptom on a scale of 0-3 each day until your next dose. If any symptoms reach 2 or 3 (i.e. moderate or severe) then you can call a specialist cancer care line for medication to help.

I try to avoid this as it involves a trip to the hospital and more tests and waiting for results and ultimately feeling more like a vulnerable patient (I speak from experience) which is an emotion I try to limit to the day I receive chemo…although in the same breath this care line has been invaluable in reducing my concerns during my early chemo days when I had no idea what to expect and I’d have been lost without them! It’s just the hospital visits I try to avoid rather than the care line, thanks to which I’ve managed to get my post-chemo sickness under control due to some wonderful medication tweaking the oncologist department did after my first chemo – imagine severe food poisoning for five days!…

As a result my side-affects at this stage in the cycle (2 days post-chemo) include extreme fatigue, bone and jaw ache and nose bleeds. I find the bone and jaw ache the hardest but I’m comforted by the fact that it has passed within 5 days in my previous cycles – hopefully it will be the same this time! The bone ache is caused by the chemo attaching your bone marrow…I usually feel it in my legs, ribs and back. This can be distressing as I have cancer cells on my right lung and the pain in my back and ribs act as an unpleasant reminder of this fact.

The fatigue makes me crave sugar – and today I caved and had some gluten free cake I found hidden in our freezer. It was delicious!…although I’m not sure yet if it was worth it!

Today I’m trying to manage my side affects with plenty of fluids, healthy eating, sleep and long baths. Unfortunately another side affect of chemo is that is a depressive and in the first few days following a dose I really feel my mood taking a hit. Again this will pass but can be challenging when I am really needing my usually positivity to get through the worst side affects.

So today I am grumpy and sore but, as I always say, if cancer is taking the same hit as my physical and emotional state then it’s totally worth it.

Hoping tomorrow brings some relief.

Love and light, Fi xx

ovarian cancer

The Beginning of Side Affects: Chemo 4 – Day 4…

I made a commitment to blog each day of my fourth chemo so as to give people some sort of an insight into what a chemo cycle feels like but man did I forget how hard it is to get my brain to work in the days following a chemo dose so I’ll have to keep this brief…

 
…today started early with four steroid tablets, an anti sickness tablet, my usual morning omeprazol (to prevent the chemo damaging my stomach) and my new magnesium supplements I started yesterday.

Following this I commenced the important activity of drinking 3litres of water today to flush out the toxins that chemo is causing my body to remove. Do not underestimate the importance of this activity – I’ve proven to myself in previous chemo cycles that the less I drink in the two days that follow chemo the crappier and sicker I feel!

I also had a 2.5 hour long bath this morning. Although to be fair the last hour I was just trying to build the strength to make myself get out of the bath!…and instead I just kept running the tap to reheat it…there is something so mesmerising about the sound of running water when your brain has been numbed by chemo.

Water is like nirvana to me in the first two weeks following chemo. My whole body aches and my brain is numb and I’m fatigued beyond words but running water offers euphoric relief. I would happily sit under a running shower all day just to be distracted by the sound and the comfort it offers my aching bones and mind.

However I did prize myself away from the bathroom and into the kitchen for a breakfast of poached eggs, veg and fruit before crashing on the sofa to watch ‘Pitch Perfect 2’…man do I love song and music based films! And this was no exception! Awesome!

At this stage the chemo and steroids start their battle of making me want to eat everything and nothing all at the same time…of craving sugar on a scary level but knowing I should avoid it…of making me tired and emotional and grumpy (not my usual upbeat self at all). It’s a process I know will pass about 5 days after my chemo dose but it is horrible nevertheless and truly feels like your personality has been possessed!

I’m slowly learning to ignore the sugar cravings in these first few days following chemo (I failed miserably last cycle and ate sugar like it was Christmas and Easter and my birthday mixed together) and managed a healthy gluten, dairy and sugar free organic buckwheat salad that I’d prepared earlier in the week for lunch before napping for a few hours on the sofa. Food prep is so important the week of chemo – without having the right food prepped and ready to eat it’s far too easy to binge on the food I’m craving – sugar and dairy – and when I do it makes me so much more ill with stomach pains and sickness.

The rest of the day was spent napping although I did manage to embrace the notion that fresh air and exercise help combat the side affects of chemo and take my lovely rescue dog for a short walk. If nothing else it certainly made me feel happier and more alive breathing some good country air into my lungs…although also more knackered too!

  This evening I’ve planned a similarly healthy meal of home made chickpea falafels, sweet potato and salad before hopefully an uneventful night – so far chemo sickness hasn’t hit me and it appears that the side affects of this dose are to be fatigue, brain fuzz and bone ache. All of which I handle much better than sickness which I find awful as I am unable to eat and subsequently loose more weight – something I am desperately trying to avoid!

Before I finish this blog post I just want to write a brief piece on gratitude. Today I am grateful for the lovely messages of love and support I’ve received. And especially for videos I’ve received from dear friends of their precious children sending me ‘I love you FiFi’ messages. These fill my heart with love, joy and laughter – all emotions I strongly value whilst on my healing journey. It doesn’t cost anything to tell someone you love them but the effects are priceless.

 
  I’m also grateful for my dear husband who does everything he can to make my journey as comfortable and joyful as possible and for my ever loving and supportive family and friends, without whom I would be lost.

Love and light, Fi xx

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Cancer Induced Infertility & Loss

After hearing the words “you have late stage cancer” you don’t think there is much worse news your Drs could drop on you. Sadly there is.

The day following my diagnosis I was destined to hear a number of unsavoury statements:

“The chemo will likely make you infertile”

“Your cancer is too late stage and aggressive to preserve your eggs”

“Chemo will likely put you through an early Menapause”

“You have ovarian cancer so you won’t be able to take HRT”

“Even if chemo doesn’t make you infertile, if you are approved for surgery we will conduct a complete hysterectomy”

In short…you will never have children.

Now as a childless, married woman in her 30s who had lost a child the year before this was, in all honesty, harder to hear than my cancer diagnosis.

Infertility wasn’t the hardest part though. I’d always been open and welcome to the idea of adoption and it was something my husband and I had previously discussed. In my nieivity I still thought this was a viable option. I remember confidently responding to all these statements saying it was ok, I was ok, I could adopt. I remember the consultant and nurse’s faces as they exchanged looks. A look that acknowledged my nieivity. A look of pity. A look that said it all in the silence – which one of us is going to tell her?…

It turns out that you can’t adopt once you have stage four cancer. You are too ‘high a risk’. Your mortality too visible to be considered a loving parent.

This was salt in an already aching wound. I began to process the facts:

  • I can’t conceive because of chemo making me infertile.
  • I can’t use an egg donor in future because of surgery.
  • I can’t adopt.

Wow – do you ever think you are getting a clear message from the universe?! Mine – you.will.never.have.children. EVER.

This took a while for me to come to terms with. I was already grieving the loss of a child and, with it, the loss of a future that was entirely different from the one I was destined to face. Now my future was changing once more.

With the help of an incredible friend [ST -I love you to the moon and back], I have healed these wounds. I have ‘come to terms’ with the news and I have now reached the point where I can write about this in the hope of helping others to understand what it feels like, and supporting those who are walking the same journey.

Reflecting on my emotions during this time I now offer you some Dos and Don’ts for supporting someone who has lost a child or found out they are infertile.

Don’t:

  1. Say you know how they feel. Even if you have gone through similar you don’t know how they feel. You know how you felt. Let them tell you how they feel and share how you felt.
  2. Complain about pregnancy or labour. Whatever your symptoms. However bad they get. Your friend would trade places with you in a heartbeat. Talk about how you are feeling of course(!) but never complain. You get to hold your baby at the end of it. Always remember that.
  3. Ignore their loss. If a friend has shared that they have experienced a loss or infertility don’t ignore it, instead see the ‘do’ section below.
  4. Feel you can’t share your pregnancy/baby joy with them. Everyone may be different but I love hearing my loved ones are pregnant or when their baby arrives. It provides joy and hope and love. Don’t ever presume someone who can’t have children (or has lost a child) won’t want to be part of your happiness – by ‘protecting’ them from this you will only make them feel more sad and isolated.

Do:

  1. Tell your friend you love them and are there for them. Then actually make sure you are. Ask what you can do to help. Be their shoulder to cry on.
  2. Acknowledge your friend was pregnant. Only two friends ever asked me how I’d found pregnancy. Was I sick? Tired? Excited? Scared? This acknowledgment made a massive difference to me. 
  3. Share your personal stories. Whilst you shouldn’t say ‘I know how you feel’…your friend may find comfort in hearing that you have similar experiences. I certainly appreciated when friends felt they were able to share their personal stories and let me know how they had felt without assuming I felt the same. This has built valued friendships and support.
  4. Remember pregnancy loss and infertility affects men too.

With love, Fi xxx

ovarian cancer

Mixed Emotions: Chemo 4 – Day 2…

Today is the day before chemo four and, as always before a chemo dose, I had a mixture of emotions ranging from excitement that my cancer would be receiving another hit to dread at the prospect of the onslaught of the subsequent side affects – I’ve just begun to start feeling like a normal human being again over the last couple of days how can it be time for another dose?!

As a result of the mixed emotions I also became terrified of my phone ringing today…let me explain…when they take my blood tests on day one there is always the possibility that my blood count will not be high enough for another dose of chemotherapy. If this is the case then the chemotherapy ward will call me to let me know. Normally they would call on day one, however yesterday was a holiday and so they would have been calling today. So, whilst I am dreading another dose of chemo it turns out that I was dreading not receiving it even more – crazy I know!

I class the day before chemo as my ‘last day of freedom’. It’s usually the day I feel my best as my white blood count should be at its highest point in the cycle. Although still suffering from fatigue and in pain from where my tumours are I wanted to do something nice for my couple of hours of exertion today and so had lunch with the most special little lady in my life – my four year old niece! We had a lovely time filled with giggles, play dough and stickers! Exactly what was needed to take my mind off of things. My favourite point was when out of the blue she said: “you are beautiful Fifi…but you do have no hair”. I love her!

After returning her home I was absolutely knackered! Unfortunately, however, the day before chemo also involves a late night as I am required to take 10…yes 10!…steroids at midnight. This is to help prevent me having a reaction to the chemotherapy tomorrow (I also have to take 10 more at 7am!). Thank goodness I have no issues swallowing tablets!

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Tonight also involves getting my ‘chemo survival kit’ together. My chemotherapy is administered over 7-8 hours and during this time I am sitting in an armchair unable to leave the ward so it’s good to have a range of activities to hand! This time I am taking a couple of books I am reading just now about cancer, a fiction novel, an adult colouring book (because they are amazing and sooo relaxing!) and a portable dvd player. I’ve learnt that sometimes receiving chemo can make me really tired meaning that I only have the energy to watch a rom com, whilst other times I am able to read quite easily…so now I take a range of things to cover all eventualities.

Having already had three treatments I now also appreciate the importance of feeling comfortable so I always bring slippers and a blanket too!

On a practical note I take gloves to wear on the way to the hospital – this is to help make my hands warm and subsequently help to make my veins come to the surface so that it’s easier for the nurses to get a cannula in. I also take anti-bacteria gel and tissues. Finally I take a notebook and my diary because I am likely to be given a lot of information and dates that my chemo brain will never remember!

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I also take some food with me. This is for two reasons…firstly hospital food is disgusting(!) and secondly as I have a gluten allergy and now also limit my dairy and sugar intake it is much easier to control what I am eating if I make it myself. This time I am taking a homemade buckwheat salad (yes buckwheat is gluten free – news to me too!), some seeds and some fruit.

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So for the next 90 minutes I will be fighting sleep and tiredness until I can take my steroids and go to bed. In the past this dose of steroids causes me to wake me up about 2am with a burst of energy and I am then unable to sleep the rest of the night – we will see what happens tonight…

Love and light, Fi xxx