Well it’s finally here its December – I love this month and gonna bling the whole house and front garden this year. Yep that’s right gonna light up Christmas and make it as cheerful as possible. Usually go to Sweden for Christmas but this year will be spending it at home due to bastard Cancer but must say I do love spending Christmas at home as I spent so many years away its great just “being home” and do the yearly trip to Church and the Christmas Dinner. Have never had to make Christmas dinner and I don’t intend to start this year.
Had lovely start to the week met the beautiful Kilmacud Ladies as I call them. Met up in the Lep Inn for a few drinkie poos on Monday night they all took time out to come out and meet me which I was well impressed with – Monday not the best night of the week for people to get off the couch and make an effort. These days I would get off the couch to go to the opening of an envelope I will never again say to myself “ah no too tired too much effort” so watch out if you’re inviting me to something and you think I wont go to I will Had a great laugh as always with the girls these are the girls that did the Run in the Park for me recently and they did a fund-raiser which I was absolutely delighted with. All the girlies on the vino however I went for a big cold pint of Carlsberg and it tasted just gorgeous been a couple of months since I had a pint. Had three of them and they were tasting nicer and nicer by the minute.
My friend Brigid who was there that night was due in hospital next day for a double mastectomy (elective surgery) as she has the BRCA gene her sister, mother and other family members all had breast cancer its like when a female of that family hit 40 they get cancer so even though “just” forty Brigid is making sure the bastard cancer is not going to get her. We were having a laugh as the next time we meet she will have a new pair of boobs and I might only have one or you never know might have my new one. We decided that it would be a great idea to flash both of our new pairs up on this blog (however there was a few Carlsberg and a few Vinos taken at that stage and it sounded like a great idea at the time).
Wednesday time for Round 3 of the Chemo. Had the house to myself so decided I should try get there earlier than usual and maybe get a good seat and get seen to quicker. Of course this did not happen as ran out the door a little later than expected - I mean even after cutting down on the shower with washing and shaving and no hair-dryer needed still manage to run at the end. Blame a lot of it on my lovely snooze button that got hit 3 times at 9 minutes each time I actually set the clock earlier to allow for that. Three extra dreams as well – woohooo. Of course forgot brekkie so had a bacon buttie on the run it was pretty tasteless and my bloody cappucino was freezing. Appointment at 9.30 made it in my 9.33 not bad.
Went into the Cancer Waiting Room as depressing as ever and as always no-one saying a word – hate that room. Got called soon enough to get my bloods done so things were looking up. Go into the Chemo room which was packed to the rafters – armchair to armchair and old style straight back chairs on the other side (look like old people’s chairs that used to have a potty under them). Up I go on my dentist like chair to get the bloods done (each time I go in have to get bloods done first which then go off to get tested to ensure that my blood cell count isn’t too low to take the chemo). Hunt the vein game was on again don’t mind needles but finding this part a real pain in the arse. First vein no luck, second vein no luck and the nurse was “wiggling” the needles around to try get some and swear to Jesus she hit something not sure what a nerve or something and I got an electric shock and jumped. The nurse jumped to as she got a fright actually felt sorry for her she was upset that I was in pain. I think in there its two strikes and your out – if you don’t get the vein you call someone else. Next nurse came over and after slapping the hand off me which was becoming quite sore actually and was just about to say to maybe take it easy and I see it she drew blood – whoopeee. Now I was allowed to go for an hour so went down to grab a coffee.
Noticed this phone on the way down for coffee. Was just thinking firstly that I hadn’t seen a public phone in years and secondly thinking how the hell would I last without my phone living with cancer would be so much more boring without it. One of the main worries I have on chemo days is making sure I have somewhere to charge my iPhone. Its fully charged when leaving the house and by the time I have had bloods and finished coffee its down to half again. I love getting all the well wishes it makes me emotional and happy to have so many people rooting for me There are some days though that you don’t feel like talking on the phone and it keeps ringing and ringing. People ring the landline and no answer (even though they know you are home) then they ring the mobile as you didn’t answer the landline – argggghhhhh.
Back to my to the cancer waiting room got called quick enough to go take a seat in the chemo room. As usual no seat or armchair for me so up on the dentist chair. Got my first pack of goodies the anti-sickness pack that took around thirty minutes and the lovely machine beeped for ages to say it was finished. It was extremely busy in that room on Wednesday and they seemed to be a little short-staffed. Finally I was turned off and they went to find my cocktail. However they couldn’t find my file so had to wait around 30 minutes for the cocktail maker to get my ingredients from a back-up sort of place. Anyhow all systems go and I got my Barney fix as I call it my lovely purple bag. The chemo room as I mentioned was jammed however there was a great buzz in the room. We had the usual two Dublin women at the back of the room entertaining each other and the rest of us that weren’t involved in the conversation but were smiling at it as they were so funny. One lady at one stage started singing Red Red Wine – the other one said what you singing you singing that for – she replied I am gonna have loads of that stuff soon as this is my last chemo. Even the men in the room were chatting that day and there was chat going from the row of armchairs across the two foot aisle to the potty seats
A lady hopped up beside me she was an AJH (Ah Jaysus Howaya) she was saying that this was her last day. I said jokingly “bet you’re gonna miss all this” she said “you know wha I am I have met such brilliant people here and we have the craic as well as being sick, she said my phonebook was tiny when I started here, now I have loads of fecking numbers in me book and have made so many great friends. I’ll really miss coming here sure it was great”. Knocked great craic out of her with her banter. My Mam was there at that stage she is great she brought me in coffee and was able to stay and have a chat it’s always nice to know that someone is around even if they are only there for a few minutes with you.
Doctor came and visited no room for cubicle so it was curtain around the dentist chair. Doc checked out my boob and she reckoned the tumour had got softer but she said it was a very stubborn tumour and hadn’t gone down as much as they hoped. The main thing is she said that it is progressing that they can feel it softening so it’s all systems go and progress is being made. When the doc is there as she is really busy you are trying to think of all the questions you have for her and blurt them out as soon as possible. I had a few, firstly because I seem to be coping okay on chemo and not too sick does this mean that maybe they are not getting nuked as well as expected she said no I was just lucky and obviously have a high tolerance level so that was good. Asked about the gene test I need to get done she said an appointment from Tallaght could take months. Asked her about my ovaries (as one does in casual conversation) as my cancer is oestrogen driven should I not get them whipped out as well? She told me one step at a time and that will all be checked. I asked how do I know if I am making progress last time I got the marker test and it was down 5% and this time it was down 10% asked her about this – she says we don’t go by those tests as they can fluctuate up and down and give patients false hope. For me with my statistical head I was glad to know it was down 10% so in my mind my tumour is now 15% smaller Doc said between chemo 6 and 7 I will get all the scans done again, MRI, Ultrasound, CT etc.etc. so they can see exactly how I am doing. Anyhow all in all I was quite happy with what she said.
The AJH had gone when curtains opened and a lovely lady was sitting there with blonde curly hair. We got chatting she was in to help out on some clinical trials that Vincents are doing and she had already been through chemo and was in remission. She asked me if it was always this busy and I said yes usually she got her chemo in Vincents Private. I was asking her all about it she was saying its way different from this place. You always have an armchair to yourself a reclining one and the next patient was a good few feet away from you there was also tv that you could watch. Menus came around at lunchtime she said to see what you wanted!!!! She was saying the public was way busier and way noisier the private was more relaxing and people snoozed etc. BTW the reason I mentioned she had blonde curly hair she was telling me that she had dead straight hair when she lost it and it grew back in small tight curls she was going mad with it – she said when it started to grow back she was just delighted that it was growing back now she said she looked like someone from back in the 80′s I sort of had to agree with her as she looked like someone off the set of Dallas. Very good-looking and nice woman she was and great of her to help out in the trials hopefully our paths will cross again.
I was then wondering to myself if I had health insurance (which I have had for the last twenty odd years through different jobs I have had however would never pay the premium myself I reckon if you get sick you will always get looked after which I am being at the moment). Would I like to be in the private section – the answer is defo NO I would miss out on all the banter in the public and I much prefer decent Dubs to other sort of Dubs. The people in public are all like myself and on the same wave length we all have a cancer and we can all chat about it and make the time in chemo go a bit faster with a bit of fun. In private I would be eating a three course lunch and watching TV don’t think that’s for me. Even when I was in hospital before this in Naas ther was a woman in a tiny room across from our ward with a tv on wall she always looked lonely while the six of us in our ward always had a bit of a laugh and great chats.
Sorry this is turning into a very long blog!!! Am a bit wired at the moment been up since 6am and yesterday morning it was 4am so hoping to snooze after this. Comfortably Numb as Jim suggested describes me appropriately Pink Floyd had me in mind for it.
Anyhow that was my Round 3 of Kicking the Shite out of Cancer – headed home after Vincents usually stay in my folks but my Dad had a chest infection so best for me not to stay there. Can’t be around sick people (ha ha that sounds strange with me having cancer) but if I got a chest infection I would be hospitalised so have to take it really handy. Got safely home had house to myself lit the fire and had a very cozy and very lazy night and watched Mad Men which my brother and sis-in-law had donated to me – loving every minute of it. Woke as usual at 4.30 on the first night after chemo its amazing always between 4.22 and 4.30 I am wide awake at least then I was able to get the steroids into me early. This morning it was later was 6.20am normally I would just roll over and go straight back to sleep but on the steroids when you are awake you are awake. Hopefully later will have a snooze while Reenagh kindly finishes painting my room
Good things that have happened
- Finally paid my TV licence and for some reason I got an extra 10 months and I didn’t even play the cancer card
- Got a lovely surprise from my good friend Eilish these beautiful flowers they cheered me up no end – thanks so so much
- Mary Ball came over with her Magic Mop and a Spag Bol with Garlic Bread for me thanks Mary xx
- Reenagh my hot neighbour coming over today to finish the painting
- People have been keeping an eye on me (but not overly so thank God) when home alone so have had just about the right amount of company. Thanks Mary, Eva, Shane and Reenagh
- The lady who “I thought” ignored me in O’Briens met her last week smiled over at her and she sat down beside me and was really really nice to me – maybe I was imaging the first time!
- The lovely Galway Princess Lily-Mae has had surgery and doing well please download her song Tiny Dancer on iTunes Lily-Mae is a beautful four year old girl suffering a very severe form of cancer she is a true Tiny Dancer - read more about our little heroine
- Friends and family rock thanks for all the support, texts, calls and FB messages it really really really helps me A LOT
Thats if folks – Jesus sorry it’s so long if you made it to the end – medal time for you! Have a brilliant weekend and if you got invited to something tonight and your himming and hawing as you don’t know whether your up to going. Get your ass in gear and go for it that’s an order!!!!
Hi Dee great read as always & not too long at all, this may be a mad thing to say but I really enjoy reading your blog, it is awe inspiring the way you put it all together, makes me happy & sad & mad, all at the one time. Happy you are doing so well, sad that so many beautiful people are having to go through cancer, its treatment, surgery & sickness & MAD AS HELL at whoever (God/higher power/the devil) thought it would be a great life tester. I too have been through “my cancer” as I call it, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in May of this year, just regular smear tests that kept coming back with abnormal cells & a vigilant GP who sent me on for Colposcopy, now Dee you might think doc having a good grope of your boobs is not the most comfortable, well have a gynecologist (in my case a lovely German guy) staring up your nether regions with a magnifying camera & him not six inches from your nose, well that’s something else, I still laugh when I think back, but the good news for me is I had my surgery in August (had to fight a bit to get it done here in Castlebar as its not the “Center of Excellence” in this area & its up to Oncologist when he comes here to “do” us, I’m getting off the point of my message sorry!!!) anyways I had the lot whipped out, womb, ovaries, cervix, lymphnodes the lot, don’t need it anymore (I’m at the Granny stage) I met the loveliest staff at MGH & the fabulous thing is I DID NOT NEED ANY TREATMENT after, I am so grateful for this as it means it was got in time, now I just need to “keep an eye on things ha ha, I wonder some days “what things” as they took them all ha ha
So Dee, from the bottom of my heart I send you 1) wellness through your chemo, 2) speedy recovery from surgery when that time comes 3) (this is the most important one) love & support from you family & friends & all your new-found followers here on your blog, Just a little note at the end of this loooonnnnngggg (little message) its funny that now its “all over” for me some days I feel more “down” now than I did during the “mad months” as I call them, I shake myself & tell myself to Cop-on & they don’t happen too often thanks to great family & friends & the support of Rock Rose House (our cancer support center) but as one lady in RRH said to me one day “you can never go back to being someone who never had cancer & its so true, so being good yourself after its all done & dusted. Sorry if that sounds morbid its not meant to be at all as I am a fairly happy soul & don’t do the stress thing too much, well not about the rubbish stuff anyways. Sorry again Dee that this went on a bit (ha ha a lot) I just want to wish you the Happiest of Christmas’ ever with your family. You really are an inspiration x x
Hi Marion – I love long posts like that – thanks a million!! So glad to hear you are through it and was laughing at the image of your gyne Its funny what you say so many people I have spoken to that have come through it the other side say it very strange – people say great all finished all over but the person (like yourself) feels still a little strange and maybe I dont know the word as not there yet isolated or wow did that just happen to me!!! I am gonna push to get my ovaries whipped out defo dont need them anymore dont want to have any chance of getting this again. We have a local support group here in my tiny village must pop down some day keep meaning to and check it out. A few people have said the same sort of thing apologising or saying its mad that they read my blog – not at all its GREAT that people enjoy it means the crap I am writing is entertaining someone Hope you too have a wonderful Christmas and no doubt I will be blogging a bit more before then. Take care xx
Gosh, this really is a long post but I read it right through to the end and can just hear your voice saying it all out loud, if you know what I mean, even though we’ve never spoken!
Congratulations on your 3rd chemo and your positive attitude throughout all this. I’m glad I read it through because I chuckled about the public ward and the AJH lady and the craic! I am being treated on a private ward in Manchester and it is TOTALLY different. I’m not posh or anything, I just have private health insurance from my employer in Dublin but as all my family are here in the UK, I chose to come back here for treatment. The private chemo there is just as the Vincents trial woman described – you get your own room or semi-private room with TV and amazing facilities and the nice Polish lad comes around with the lunch menu. You still have to wait around, but not in a big packed waiting room and the people come to you. It’s great in many ways but I can see how the craic would make up for it!
Remind me if you are having radiotherapy after your chemo? I am due to go for radiotherapy at St. Luke’s in Dublin in January now and i’m not going privately, so it’s going to be as you have described the chemo, and you’ve kinda made me look forward to it now! I’ll be regaling you with all the craic stories then…
I totally sympathise with the human pin cushion thing – at the Christie hospital it’s one strike and you’re out, one of the nurses told me. They have a go at your vein and if they can’t get it in, they go and get the next nurse up. And then the next. I hate it. I’ve had some really painful ones, including a 4am hospital sesh where it took 4 times to get someone to even get blood from me. And then they say to you “Are you difficult to cannulate?” as if you’re an object. I hate the word “cannula” so much!
Fortunately I’ve just had my last chemo and I swear the effects are easier every time, I’m not feeling too bad, and I don’t think it means the chemo isn’t working, so def don’t panic about that – you’re just a strong woman and coping well!
I’m sure I had more to say but have to go now, so just wanted to say keep at it, enjoy your weekend and take care! Laura xx
Hi Laura – great to hear from you as always. Yep unfortunately I have to have Radio as well but wont be for long time wont finish chemo til April then month break then Op then Rads…..oooh sounds like ages when I put it like that. When your over in January give me a shout and I can go and meet you that would be great! You know they have a live in section in Lukes? I heard some people say they stayed there as they had to travel from other parts of Ireland to there so maybe that would suit you or maybe you are staying with friends. Loved your last post blog I try to comment loads of times but find it difficult it boots me into old wordpress sites I developed (I am a web designer) and never know if my replies get through to you. You were dead right to go home and be with family for your treatment thats when you really need them! So good luck girl and keep in touch and hoefully we will meet you next year (ha ha only a month away)
Hi Deirdre i’m Michela i follow gour blog you are a force of nature…maybe you already know this article or maybe you think it’s just a pile of crap but when i raed it i tought about you and that maybe it could help you..I don’t know..stay strong and keep it up because girl you rock!!!!!
Hi Michela sorry for some reason only seeing this now – just read the article its very interesting a lot of people are talking about the dairy diet. Maybe I should give it a go for a few weeks and see – just trying to think how hard it would be – not a milk drinker only in cereals and stuff – thanks a million for that muchappreciated xxx
Hi Dee love this blog.Can actually see a gang of ye sitting on your potty chairs..AJH ‘s sure what would you do without them.Can raise a laugh or a smile or a titter in a confession box. Love the old Dub humour of them.Good to hear you doing well..Got my letter on Friday to go for my Xray as they call it in the Breast screening unit in Eccles Street ., Routine every 2 years so anyone out there who gets their Apt GO!! Only takes 10 mins ..Take care and keep smiling! <3 Breda
Good stuff Breda with the routine checks! Glad you enjoy the blog – means a lot to me that people actually enjoy it – ah the Dubs sure you cant beat us – as you say get a bit of craic in any situation – take care x
Hi Dee, sorry I haven’t been in touch….Alan’s birthday seemed to go on for days…..oh wait it did go on for days! We had a great time and the party went with a swing…..the birthday boy did a 20 minute set with his band (from uni days) Caitlin christened them The Stereoplonkers….they finished their set with teenage kicks which brought the house down. We had Caitlin’s friend Grace with us all the way from Oz. I showed them your blog…and they thought you were amazing….they are going to get all there friends to read it….so you’re going global girl!!!! Alan sends his love and good wishes….he is in bed with a hangover…some things never change! lots of love Jackiexx
Oops didn’t mean to be anon.