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  • 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.
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    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

Life and chemo

You may have noticed a gap in my usual blogging timetable.  I try to write at least once a week so you dont end up with long boring diary-like entries ‘and then….and then….’

Last week has been both busy and unhealthy.  Just when I had an assignment due 2500-3000 words on an aspect of health social work and ODs official engagement party, I also got sick with a bad cold virus.  I went to bed last Wednesday to try and shake it off which did work long enough to let me get my assignment finished for Uni on Friday, and do some work on organising the ‘Australasian IBC Network’ but the late night for OD’s engagement party on Saturday night has put me back several paces and I have spent most of Sunday and Monday in bed again.  I am feeling better today, not coughing as much and head feeling clearer.

The biggest news other than this last week is that I have discussed with my oncologists, at my appointment last Tuesday, whether or not I can have a chemo vacation for a couple of months over summer.   I had got quite depressed after the last oncologist appointment when they had said they wanted to keep me on xeloda til it stopped working.  The thought of the side-effects – the fatigue, the sore feet, the diarrhea being ongoing for more than a year and then me having to switch almost immediately to another chemo got me down.  So I have asked for a chemo-cation over summer.  I want to be able to walk along the beach without worrying about my xeloda-affected feet.  I want to be able to get out and about without constantly battling fatigue.  I want my life to be just a little more ‘normal’ than it is now.  My life and cancer and sideffects are manageable now but I wouldn’t say it is giving me a ‘normal’ quality of life.

And that is the thing with metastatic cancer when you know the chemo is just prolonging your life, controlling but not curing the cancer – you need to think how you want to live that life.  For me that means I want the chance to have at least one more ‘normal’ summer.

They will do more scans towards the end of the year and if it continues to show good shrinkage of the tumours they will give me the go ahead to have a couple of cycles at least off.  Here’s hoping that what happens.



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  1. Sis M

     /  September 19, 2011

    Heres hoping for a chemo free summer – I will walk on the beach with you

  2. Katharine

     /  September 19, 2011

    I also hope that you get to walk along many, many beaches and perhaps enjoy some beautiful sunsets too.

  3. Jenny

     /  September 19, 2011

    Way to go, Jenny

    Enjoy life as much as you can

  4. Oh I know this one! After 5+ years of daily treatment I fully understand your need for a break!! I hope they allow you to take one. I’m going to ask for 3 days so I can walk the 1/2 marathon. Keeping my fingers crossed! Hang in there my friend ❤


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