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    If you have popped over here from my facebook page could you please add comments in the blog rather than on the link on facebook itself. I dont want to worry YD unnecessarily Thanks. You can now use your facebook log in so you dont need to enter extra details if you like
  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

Teeth and telemarketers

Strange title for my blog post I know but thats two of the topics I’m writing about today. 

Teeth: I broke my front tooth the night before last – it’s a tooth that already had a root canal in so it’s not hurting but its frustrating because at this time in my chemo cycle with my blood counts going down i can’t get it fixed at all, and even in a couple of weeks time they can’t do anything too invasive to fix it because of the risk of infection.  If I am in remission next year I plan to get a lot of work done on my teeth – hopefully they will be able to fix my tooth temporarily til then.

Telemarketers:  being at home more, unfortunately means I receive more of these stupid calls but what I wanted to share with you is my reaction to one yesterday.  When this telemarketer rung she introduced herself and who she was representing and then went into that fake involving you in the conversation thing that they do -“How are you, are you having a nice day?” My reply was “fine and we are not interested, thanks. Bye” and hung up.

But after I hung up I thought about my overwhelming urge when she asked how I was to actually say “Well, actually I’m feeling really crap from the side effects of chemotherapy for this aggressive form of cancer I have got.  But thats enough about me, hows your day?” 

OH is most disappointed I didn’t actually say it and OD has dared me to say it next time.  I have the same pet peeve with sales assistants and check out operators.  Do not ask me how my day is going when you really dont want to know the answer. Just a smile and a courteous manner is all I require.

OD has been sick with a virus this week and off work.  We have had to studiously avoid each other so she doesn’t infect me.  Unfortunately that has meant she has been stuck in her room most of the time. She is glad that we have got wireless internet broadband so that she can keep busy.

MD has been spring cleaning our spare room under my supervision.  Too many things were starting to pile up in there and YD would not have been able to use it to stay the night.  We have been quite ruthless in chucking out stuff.  We are hoarders by nature and don’t realise how much crap we have got.

“Blah” days

Just reread my post from yesterday and it was obvious I was in a very “blah” mood when I wrote it.  It surprises me a few truly “blah” days I have.  Today I am still suffering some of the chemo side-effects but my legs aren’t aching quite so much.  Tuesday after chemo seems to be the worst time for my bone-marrow to be effected by the chemo, and seeing largest concentration of that is in my femurs (upper legs/thighs) its not surprising they get achy.  I am also having some numbness/tingling in my hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy in med-speak) – this is to do with the taxotere effect on nerves. 

 Still managing to type though LOL

My mood is greatly lifted from yesterday too although it is hard not to worry about the CT scan I am having on Monday.  I feel much more energetic today whereas yesterday all I wanted to do was curl up and doze.  I am even doing a couple of loads of washing. Shock/horror!!!! LOL.  I have also written a newsletter for one of the organisations I am involved in.

Anyway better go and put that other load of washing on

Side effects

Usual chemo side-effects are having more effect on me today.  I am mainly feeling tired but the usual achy legs from my bone marrow are really sore today.  They say to have panadol but it isn’t having much of an effect.  I have been dozing off and on all day.  I have got a CT scan of my abdomen scheduled for next Monday.  This is just precautionary to check for anything developing since I first got diagnosed – we are hopeful that it will come back all clear.

Its funny how fast time is going at the moment, each chemo cycle seems to go faster and I cant believe it’s so close to December already. I should have appointments with the surgeons before Christmas and know what is happening there.  I am hopeful that they will do a bilateral masectomy  but will not know for certain until the pre-surgery consult.

Big Week – Big News!!

Chemo today but the side-effects don’t seem to have kicked in as early as they usually so feeling surprisingly good for after chemo Friday night.

Make sure you read til end of this post – I’ve saved the best for last

Apologies for lack of updates this week but as you know I went to the beach for the weekend and decided to stay til Tuesday night. No internet access so no update.  Wednesday morning I had my usual pre-chemo assessment. 

It was really informative as I am still on track for surgery then radiation and found out more about the time frames about that.  Surgery will be approximately 4 weeks after my last chemo but the Christmas break may put that back slightly, then radiation will follow about 4 weeks after that all going according to plan. 

We also talked about the levels of my blood counts and also my cancer markers which are being tested again this week.  He is a bit worried about how neutorpenic I get mid-chemo cycle but trust me that I am keeping a very good eye on my health during this time and being pro-active about checking everything out with them when I am concerned that things are not quite normal.

We did talk a bit about what is going to happen after surgery and radiation, with the autopsy of my breast and lymph nodes and my cancer marker levels and another CT scan they will be able to give me some sort of prognosis.  But he did remind me that only about 25% of people do not have some sort of metastases.  Cross your fingers for remission people!!

The rest of Wednesday and Thursday were taken up doing more Christmas present organisation.  I am really on top of it so that I can finish it off on my next good pre-chemo week.

Which bring me to this morning – chemo morning.  Usually When I arrive at my chemo appointment at 10 am I have to wait for about 1/2 an hour or so for one of the nurses to be free to hook me up.  This morning I only had to wait in the waiting room for less than 10 minutes.

At 11am I got a phone call on my cell phone.  I had entered a competition that was running for Breast cancer awareness month in one of our national womans weekly mags.  They wanted stories about breast cancer.  They were ringing to say

I WON!!!

They will do a story on me and I get a trip to Queensland!

I don’t know all the details – They are ringing me and telling more beginning of next week but I am pretty ecstatic.

Rest and Relaxation

Things are looking good for me so this weekend OH and I are going away to his sister’s bach at Pauanui.  I would like to spend more time near the beach but until now weather and chemo side effects haven’t been very helpful in me achieving that.  I’ll have to remember to wear my sun hats all the time  though.  I am really looking forward to this weekend away. It’s been a bit hard to plan them as I dont know until midway through my second week of my chemo cycle whether or not I am going to be ok enough to go away.  I am rapt that we are managing to get away this time.

Feeling Good?

The main concern this cycle has been tiredness – the more distasteful side effects have been kept at bay by judidious use of medications.  I also find I am not needing as many painkillers to keep the pain from Gertrude under control.   I can see a difference in Gertrude now – my right breast still doest look normal but it is definitely not so congested in the texture of the skin and not getting as red and swollen with exercise.

I am coming out of the low point of my chemo cycle and have managed this time not to have to go to the hospital even for a day visit.  I am hopeful to get to the end of this week without incident.  I am looking forward to about Friday when I start feeling pretty normal again and having a week where I can get out and do things more.

I have been debating a lot whether or not to do the Look Good, Feel Better workshop.  Those that know me know I am not a big cosmetics user and I am feeling surprisingly comfortable in my own skin.  I have bought a good cleanser and moisturiser that I am using every day.  And I am happy with my hats as far as covering up my semi-bald head.  It’s not that I dont care what I look like its just that:

a) I am happy in my own skin

b) the most important thing to me is coming out of this alive – everything else is secondary

I have created a little poll  just to get your feedback on this – I’ll still make up my own mind but am just interested in what people think

over halfway there

I am more than halfway through my chemo cycles yay!!!

I am seemingly handling this cycle better than last time – not quite so much nausea or diarrhoea.  The cumulative tiredness is stopping me do too much but I feel like I am achieving more this week than some other weeks.

One of the things that we have achieved this week is buying MD a new car.  As OH has been busy with work it was left to me to do most of the checking it out and negotiating.  We pick it up today.  we are paying for some of it as part of her 21st birthday present.  We are paying for it and she is repaying us the balance.

I know my blood cell counts are dropping so I wont go out as much for the next few days.

I am going to pick up “mamma mia” on dvd today – i have been waiting for it to come out ever since I saw it at the movies.  YD will probably come around for a visit on Sunday so i thought I would have a dvd viewing with her (with popcorn ) and it wont matter if I am feeling a bit tired or whatever.

Hopefully the rest of this cycle will go as good as it is at the moment.