Uncategorized

Going home…

well after what feels like a million years I am finally getting to go home…

I’ve had biopsies and blood tests, another abdominal drain – this time removing 4.5 litres of fluid over two days…where the hell does it all come from?! But I am finally getting to go home and spend time with my fur babies!!…two cats and two chickens!

946154_10208037479833098_298845831990080764_n

I can tell looking at this picture that I have lost a lot of weight since my diagnosis only a couple of weeks ago but I’m still smiling! ūüôā

love and light, Fi xx

Uncategorized

When life gives you lemons…

So I’m always of the opinion that “when life gives¬†you lemons, make lemonade” and I wasn’t going to let something silly like a cancer diagnosis change my opinion on this so, when I got diagnosed I made the decision that I wanted as much positivity to come from my journey as possible.

when-life-gives-you-lemons-224454_w1000As well as sharing my story on social media I also set up a ‘Justgiving page’ to raise money for Macmillan Nurses and invited friends and family to¬†donate to this wonderful charity that, in just a short while, had made our journey so much smoother already. Amazingly in just 24 hours they had donated nearly ¬£15000!!! Isn’t that mind blowingly¬†awesome! I can honestly say that the love I felt¬†from every one of those donations and the lovely comments people left will give me the strength I need to make it through my journey!

I will continue to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support throughout my journey and always so that together we can help them to continue in their pledge to ensure that no one faces cancer alone.

I have also made my own pledge to cut all of my hair off before I start my chemo so that it can be donated to be made into a wig by the Little Princess Trust for a young child facing cancer and to dye my remaining hair pink until it falls out as a result of chemo. I invited others to do this too and was amazed to receive messages from people that they would be donating their hair to this amazing cause. My heart honestly sings for people like this!

Other people also offered to dye their hair pink too Рincluding my mum and dad! Support like this is priceless and I feel like the luckiest person alive knowing I have so many awesome, positive people cheering me on from the sidelines.

I also have friends and family signing up for the race for life and the overrun ovarian cancer run and I plan to join them all Рwalking, or crawling, if I have to!

I cannot put into words how grateful I am or how loved I feel but want everyone to know that I have never felt so blessed. Thank you.

love and light, Fi xx

Uncategorized

Stage Three Ovarian Cancer*

The next morning my parents arrived and it was wonderful! They had been in Spain when I had to tell them the news and had spent over 24 hours driving back (with little to no sleep acquired only in service station car parks) since my diagnosis and I have never been more happy to see them!

I may be 30 years old but let me tell you, when you hear you have cancer you are instantly a 6 year old wanting a cuddle from your parents…I don’t care how old you are!

The nurses kindly let us sit in a side room together and we talked for a couple of hours about my diagnosis and the questions they had. I am in awe of their strength for me as I can only imagine what was going through their heads but, as ever, they respected my positive outlook and stayed optimistic and strong throughout our chat.

Again, I repeat that the hardest part of a cancer diagnosis is telling the people that you love that for some unknown reason this devastating illness has now selected you.

After my parents left my husband and I were met by an oncologist and macmillan nurse to receive my full diagnosis.

They explained that my cancer had spread to stage three. This meant that it had spread out with my pelvis and was now in both of my ovaries, my womb, my peritoneum (the membrane that surrounds and keeps my organs in place) and my omentum (the¬†fatty membrane that covers the front of my¬†bowel). I’ve included a very helpful image from Macmillan Cancer support’s “Understanding Cancer of the Ovary” booklet (pg. 13) incase, like me, you hadn’t taken all this in during biology at school!

12637260_10208013751039893_441820548_o

They explained that this diagnosis meant that I would need to have a full hysterectomy as well as having my peritoneum and omentum removed and that this would involve a team of up to 6 specialist surgeons in one operation. They also explained that I would need chemotherapy and because of the aggressive nature of my cancer (feisty like me!) they would be starting with chemotherapy before surgery and repeating the CT scan after three rounds of chemo. Yay more dye in my wrist – note sarcasm!

They went on to explain that the CT scan had also shown a small collection of fluid in my right lung and that this would need to be drained to be tested for cancer cells. If this did contain cancer cells then I would be diagnosed as stage 4 because the cancer would have spread to organs out with my abdomen. It goes without saying that this was a lot of information to take in but I can honestly say that the clarity that it was explained in by the oncologist and the support of my Macmillan Nurse made it all the more easier to take in.

**warning the following may be graphic for some**

I was told that I would need to have the fluid drained from my lung and that this would need to be done straight away. This was to be done in the respiratory ward of the hospital where a Dr used an ultrasound on my back to locate the fluid and then inserted a needle into my lung through my rib cage and extracted the fluid using¬†a syringe. Remember I said the dye going into my wrist for the CT scan was painful? Yeah that ain’t got nothing on a needle in your lung with no pain relief! Wow is cancer a painful process!

After the fluid was collected the Dr put it in three vials¬†for me to take back to the ward for the lab to screen. I took these on my lap as I was being wheeled in a chair between wards. Now I’m going to be gross but they were warm and that was just weird! Yeah I know that the fluid¬†had come from my body but oddly I just didn’t expect them to be body temperature- although it sounds kinda obvious as I type it!

**graphic description over**

After¬†that ‘experience’ I was free to go home with my suitcase of drugs! A crazy concoction of pain relief and anti-sickness medication. Something none tells you when you get cancer….you need a huge handbag(!!) for all the notebooks, leaflets, medication, books etc you will need to carry with you at all times! Oh but you won’t have the strength to carry it so you will also need someone to do that! Haha. So my poor¬†husband is on official pink/yellow/orange handbag carrying duty!

When I got home my awesome hubby wrote a motivational quote on our kitchen blackboard that will be my mantra as I get through this:

I have cancer. Cancer doesn’t have me.

That night it was pure nirvana just to be in my own home and own bed and able to get a good night sleep. The little things in life (that we are all often guilty of taking¬†for granted) are really all that matter in the grand scheme of things…

love and light, Fi xx

* I was diagnosed with stage four cancer two weeks after my initial diagnosis of stage three.

Uncategorized

CT Scan…finding the cancer

Following the news I had cancer my consultant asked me to come to hospital the next day and be admitted as an inpatient. This was so I could get a CT scan, some medication to manage the pain and sickness and a drip to manage my dehydration.

I was told to arrive at 10am and, because I didn’t¬†know how long I’d be in for and because I love an excuse for some nature time, I went for an early morning walk with my husband. Isn’t there something magical about the cold winter air when you are feeling down and crapy?!

12596908_10208013533434453_276415624_o

It was a beautiful day and really helped to give us some perspective, and time away from our constantly buzzing phones(!), to just be alone together and talk about what was going to be happening over the next year.

When we¬†arrived at the hospital I was put on a drip as planned – cue a million attempts at getting a cannula in my hand!…hard to believe I used to be a blood donor with the hopeless veins I know have!

I was told I’d been booked in for my CT scan at 2pm so in the meantime I sat and chatted¬†with my husband and two sisters playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’ – if you’ve not played it before I can only warn¬†you that it is not for the faint hearted(!!) and probably sums up my dry sense of humour entirely! It is a great laugh!

There was almost a sense of relief in going for my CT scan – it may sound crazy but I knew it was taking me one step closer to my recovery and although I knew it was likely to uncover news I didn’t want to hear, it was all part of the necessary process. However, once¬†I was in the CT room I had what we will call my first ‘moment’. They had to put dye in the cannula in my hand and it was so painful! I am pretty good on the old pain threshold side of things but wow was that a sore one! I cried and think I may of actually screamed at one point as the poor nurse injected the dye and rubbed my hand for comfort. ¬†On reflection, this was the first time I had been alone since my diagnosis and I think what actually caused this reaction wasn’t the pain but the reality of a long journey in which often only medical staff would be able to hold my hand.

The CT scan only lasted about 10 minutes and then I was able to go back to my bed on the ward. I was exhausted – it is amazing how much cancer (and not being able to eat because of cancer) exhausts you!

—-

That evening¬†my husband and I met with two oncologists and were told the early results of the CT scan. They explained that they review the suspected primary sites first (in my case my ovaries) and then your vital organs (head, liver and lungs) and then the rest. Whilst we knew we would get the full results the following day following their multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting they wanted to let us know that it had been confirmed that I had cancer in my ovaries and that my head and liver were clear – well thank f%&k for that…some monumental¬†good news in a sea of crazy!

—-

That night I didn’t sleep well – a result of having a bed next to the nurses station and the anxiety of waiting for the full results the next day.

love and light, Fi xx

Uncategorized

“we’ve found cancer cells”

I’d like to say Monday 18th January started like any other day…but it didn’t. It followed another weekend of pain, bloating and throwing up…and sadly not because of overdoing it in the pub! I’d been in the hospital the week before having 4.5ltrs of fluid drained from my abdomen and although that had briefly relived the pain I still felt crap!

That morning I was having an MRI to try and find out what was making me so unwell. Drs had told me that they expected to find some infection or scar tissue from surgery I’d had last summer but, as I’d told them and others, my gut instinct was screaming that it was something more….and more specifically that it was ovarian cancer…however my concerns were silenced for months despite my CA125 blood levels rising and ultrasounds showing masses on both my ovaries that were increasing in size.

The MRI was pretty straight forward, just lying down and listening to some Katy Perry for 45 minutes while the machine did all the work. They put some dye in my arm, but other than it making my cheeks a wee bit rosy I can’t say I really noticed.

A friend’s wee girl had sent me a ‘buzzy bee’ to keep me strong – isn’t that the cutest! – and so I snapped a cheeky wee pic afterwards to keep me smiling (he’ll be making quite a few appearances on this blog I’m sure).

12494674_10207965607276329_1035900304357881800_n.jpg

Following the MRI I went to the ward to see my consultant about my sickness. He suggested some more(!) blood tests which, as a result of my dehydration and the fact I have crap veins anyway, took 12 attempts involving three nurses and a dr! Although feeling like a pin cushion, I was still able to have a laugh with the lovely staff and really enjoyed taking to the nurses and Drs about their day.

Before I left my consultant explained that the fluid they had taken the previous week had shown no signs of infection and they were waiting on one more test result and he would call me with the results as soon as he received them.

I left the ward set on going home for a rest but that’s when things started to change…10 minutes after leaving the ward I received a call from my consultant. I’ll always remember I was sitting in a supermarket¬†car park about to buy some GF bread. Random I know but it will stick with me forever. He didn’t say much but I knew then what was coming. He told me to meet him on the ward at 3pm and to bring my husband because they had some test results. I’d been speaking to this consultant nearly every day for two weeks and he always told me everything over the phone – although he didn’t confirm anything on the phone I knew things were no longer looking good and that my instincts had been correct.

I cried all the way home.

Two hours later my husband and I were on the ward where we were shown to a private room to wait for my consultant. When he arrived he explained that they had found cancer cells in the fluid that they had drained from my abdomen. Cancer. Such a small word. Such a huge impact. I knew then that nothing would ever be the same again.

I looked to my husband, his face just a picture of stunned disbelief. We’d just celebrated our two year wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, how could this be happening?

The consultant started to explain the next steps but I’m not sure I heard any of it. How would I tell my parents, my sisters, my friends, my work – I was due to start my dream job in a matter of days? So many questions running through my head.

The consultant left us and a nurse brought us cups of tea.

I don’t know how long we sat there but I know that I wanted out as soon as possible. I had to tell people, I wanted it out, I wanted to scream it from the roof tops. Like that was going to make it any less real?! any¬†less painful?!?

The hardest part of having cancer isn’t the diagnosis, it’s having to tell the people¬†you love. Having to hear them muffle tears as they try to stay strong for you. Having to break so many hearts. That’s where the pain comes from.

My family and friends rallied round as always that night and I felt an overwhelming sense of support and love. I spent the evening phoning and texting close friends and sitting with my sisters before coming home and lying on the sofa crying with my husband – even I can’t be strong all the time…

My parents were in Spain and I had to tell them over the phone. That was the hardest call…knowing they were so far away and not being able to tell them face to face. How do you tell two loving¬†parents that their youngest has cancer?…

love and light, Fi xx