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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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  • SUSAN’S ARMY

    No Princess Alone button

Head Games

Subtitled: S.A.D., L.A.C.A.D., Life and laughter.  I am a definite believer and think I’m a sufferer of S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) I’ve had a very bad case of the winter ‘Blahs’.  The weather is starting to improve now with a few more sunny days so I’m hoping that my mood will lift along with the weather.  I also hope to stop the cravings for starchy carbohydrates and sugar.

Coupled with this I have also been dealing with L.A.C.A.D. (Life after cancer affective disorder) a self made up term for the phychological minefield you are left to navigate after dealing with cancer.  In my first post about our cat Gemma’s near-death experience I mentioned my own hip and head pain.  I was awaiting a CT scan on my hip to rule out bone metastases.  And I also mentioned a headache that I had that I was reluctant to tell the drs about because I knew they would do a head scan as well.  After having two dizzy spells on the train (while sitting down) and having continued pressure to the left of the back of my skull I reluctantly told them at my last herceptin appointment (19th August). After talking to the nurse and them talking to the Drs – I got told to report to ‘Acute Oncology’  – those of you that have read my blog from the beginning will know that I have had several visit to ‘acute oncology’ most of them ending up with me being admitted to hospital.  Thankfully this was not one of these times –  after testing my reflexes and getting me to do some finger tracking and balance tests – I got told that I could go home but they were definitely going to book me in for a head scan. 

 I have just had my CT scan for my hip yesterday and an MRI on my head today.  I get the results at my next oncology assessment next Tuesday 7th September.  Here’s hoping for the all clear. 

This is where the L.A.C.A.D comes in – having pain and lack of sleep because of pain gives you a lot of time to dwell on the ‘what ifs’ and also as I mentioned in my Post-Gertrude paranoia post it is hard to let go of your worries when your oncologist are more paranoid than you are.  I know they have to check every unexplained pain but I hate …Hate …HATE living my life with the possibility of Gertrude coming back hanging over me.  I have found it really hard to concentrate on my uni studies outside of actual lecture times and have neglected my study at home.  Its hard to motivate yourself to read dry academic wordy articles when you are tired and headachy.   I did manage to write a 1000 word essay in Tongan for an assignment due last week though.

And then of course two weeks ago I tripped and sprained my left wrist  so more pain ensues.  This when I had been proactive and convinced my Uni friends we should walk round the block on Wednesdays between lectures to get some exercise  – wouldn’t you know it?

I am on Uni semester break now and I am still trying to get the motivation to start studying I have decided I would give myself until tomorrow to rest and then get into it.  Tomorrow we are meeting at uni in  a group to work on taping ourselves  – for individual assignments and I am hoping once that is done I will feel more like concentrating at the job at hand.  I have one essay assignment due on the 13th of September and then two bigger report type assignments due at the beginning of October (- while that seems to be a fair amount of time away I know I cant afford to not get started on them during this semester break.)

Life hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the last month though.  OH and I have made the effort to go out more regularly.  We had always thought when YD left home that we would go out more but with treatment for Gertrude often intruding we haven’t made use of weekends etc for having ‘datenights’.  We found (thanks to OD and her R) that a restaurant in our town which is under new management now serves food of fine dining standard with a wine list to match.  If you are wanting a nice night out I can definitely recommend Element Restaurant and I also found a new favourite wine  there.  Last week I felt even more spoilt as I had three nights out – two dinners (both OH work related) one here and the other here and a trip to the movies to see ‘Inception’.

I’m trying to not feel guilty for not seeing YD some weekends,  After my primary role being her mother/caregiver for 18 years I am still not used to putting myself first.

I also have been finding joy in things along the way – a niece’s engagement, SB’s achievements, to name a couple of things that have made me happy in the last month.  One of the contrary things about this last month is at the same time I have been feeling down a lot I have also laughed a lot.  I have had two Uni friends on completely seperate occasions say they can find me by my laugh (across the cafe or in a classroom down a hall)  that’s not saying that I have a loud or a weird laugh, which I was a bit selfconscious of when they told me, but that they can recognise it.  I talked to OH about it and we came to the conclusion I laugh more and and less selfconsciously than I used to.  I guess I find more joy and laughter in the ordinary things of life than I used to and that I laugh possibly more freely than someone who hasnt had the same life-altering experience.

Oh well – roll on next Tuesday where hopefully I will get the results of all these scans – although if they are negative for metastases I may still need to see other doctors about the headaches and hipaches. I will keep you posted.

Even when I don’t write a post for a while you can keep an eye on the twitter feed at the top of the page for things that happen in between posts

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