Through My Eyes

Some people say I talk too much, that I always have a story to tell. I don't know what's round the corner so my blog is about life through my eyes and making every day count.

Archive for the tag “Cancer”

Results are back….

So the 3 month wait for my genetic  test result is over….

Got the letter the other day to say I don’t have the gene that means I’m more prone to getting cancer back. Obviously I’m more at risk anyway but I’m not going to worry about that, the fact it’s not genetic is a huge weight off my shoulders and reduces the chances of it returning so happy days!! 

It’s a good job really because I start a new job Monday and at my interview I told them I’m perfectly fine now. Of course that’s not a lie and i was as honest as I could be but imagine if the genetic test had come back positive and I had to have more preventive operations, that would have been rubbish for both me and my new employer so I’m so glad it’s one less thing to worry about when I start my new job Monday!! 

When my results came in I was so pleased but it did leave me thinking about the people who were opening letters to say Otis genetic for them, it brings a whole new worry in itself and must be so hard to have to deal with that and the revisions that come with it. It’s life changing for so many reasons, some people may be forced to have operations they didn’t expect to ever have, other ladies may want children or more children and genetic cancer can really effect decisions like that. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about that for the time bein but really sympathising with the people that do. 

I’m The start of a new normal!

Defining the word normal is not easy, what is normal to one person is strange to another.

When I got told I had to have a mastectomy I was not upset at all, I was more annoyed at the inconvenience that and in my mind the sooner I had it done the sooner I could get back to normal. You get assigned a Macmillan nurse when you get cancer, someone who is there at any time to answer any questions you have or just for general support. My
nurse said to me that after my operation I need to find a new normal. At the time I thought what a strange comment but it’s only now I fully understand what she meant.

Nights out for me didn’t happen very often but when they did I would be known for wearing the shortest dress and biggest heels! I love clothes so getting dressed up was a real treat!
So New year this year I decided I was well enough for a night out…..2 hours later after trying on 10 dresses I chucked on a pair of jeans and some heels and was ready.
There’s nothing better than putting on a little dress, looking in the mirror at a great figure and feeling a million dollars, going out knowing you will turn heads. Sounds a bit arrogant but give a girl the right outfit and right pair of shoes and they can conquer the world!
Unfortunately that’s not the case for me, I put on a dress now, look in the mirror and just see a deformed overweight frumpy looking horror! When I tell people that’s how I see myself they just humour me and say don’t be silly but it’s not exactly like they are going to agree! The thing is that I know all it takes is a bit of exercise and my confidence will come back but I’m in no state to exercise as I’m still sore from the operation and get a lot of pain so not sure what the solution is yet.
So new year I wore jeans out but I couldn’t wear jeans last night when we attended a racing awards dinner with a dress code.
The dress I ended up wearing was one I never thought I would wear. I bought it online from an expensive boutique but when it arrived I hated it, it looked far too long and I didn’t like the material. I forgot to send it back but who would have thought a year later I would be so glad I had it.
When I put it on I couldn’t believe how long it was, it was knee length, the longest dress I have ever worn! That aside it was the most flattering out of all my dresses and I felt classy and smart all night.
This is where the new normal comes in, a year ago I would never be seen in a knee length dress, all mine were mini dresses some even backless or low cut showing lots of flesh! I can’t imagine ever being confident enough to dress like that again so now I need to adjust to a different look even if it’s not what I normally go for. I need to Make these changes my new normal
So when I get dressed up to go out I still feel a million dollars but don’t have to worry about my scars and war wounds as such being on show!
It’s going to be difficult but hopefully in time this new change will become my normal and my confidence will build back up. Even now when I go shopping I need to get into the habit of looking at different clothes and different styles! I’m not going to be one of those overweight people that wear clothes that look too small for them or show off far more flesh that anyone wants to see!
Its funny because I now realise that it’s not just a case of having an operation then back to normal like I hoped. So much had changed for me. I refuse to let cancer win and take over my life so rather than continue trying to get it s
How it was I need to concentrate on finding my new normal!

Thundersport motorcycle racing awards dinner and the frumpy black dress I didn’t like!!

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Tick Tock… Tick Tock…

TICK….TOCK….TICK….TOCK

So Life is good at the moment, well all things considered!

We have been living in the house a year now and it is going great, slowly adding our own personal touch to it and making it wonderful!

Megan’s karting is great and we love our race weekends away racing as well as our weekends at home in the garden. I have a lovely family that make me very happy and all is blissfully good!!

So the scene was this…. It was one sunny afternoon, sat in the garden with a cold cider with the BBQ on and the sun on my face, Megan was playing on the trampoline and my Husband Gardening! I suddenly thought how nice it would be to have more children running round the garden! It had never occurred to me before that I might want more children but now that I have almost everything I could want, a family, the perfect house etc I thought actually it could be something to think about. A little brother or sister for Megan, what would she think to that!!

Following the thoughts of cute baby grows and family bbq’s, my mind strayed to my health and my age, Whilst I am only 32 I am on Tamoxifen for 10 years and I would have to come off that in order to have more children. This would not be an easy decision to make. For a start I was advised I need to be on it for at least 3 years! Currently I am at 2 years and 7 months so got a while to go yet before I could even consider it, then I would have to be off it for a while before trying and then there’s the risk involved.

Coming off Tamoxifen would mean I am at an increased risk of the cancer returning. The consultant couldn’t give me any exact figures but just said the risk would be increased. Now I am never one known for playing it safe, If I want something I am normally happy to take a risk to get it however when the risk is my health I can’t rush into anything. I just keep thinking in my head that if I had another baby and then in a years’ time something happened and I got the cancer back then I couldn’t live with myself knowing I had played a part in that by coming off the tamoxifen.

I know it sounds a bit extreme but imagine if it got really bad and got worse and then I left my family all for another baby. I am maybe over thinking it but these are all the things going through my head. Should I concentrate on the family I have got and not be selfish or should I run the risk of it coming back to extend my family further.

These are all things I have been thinking about then to add to it all my consultant says that due to some new guidelines or something I now fall into the category of genetic testing to see if my cancer was caused by a faulty gene! I will write another blog post on this as it’s a whole new drama in itself but it gives me even more to think about as could seriously affect decisions over having children. I am currently waiting for some genetic test results to come back but trying not to think about that at the moment!

In an ideal world I wouldn’t even be having this dilemma now and would just go with the flow and see what happens but in the back of my mind all I can hear is Tick Tock Tick Tock which is the timer running down as I get older and my window for having more children gets smaller! I am only 32 so maybe need to calm down a bit as I have a few years yet but time seems to go so fast. I Didn’t worry about age till I hit 30 but now I’m looking ahead to 40!

I did put some posts on a forum to speak to anyone that has been in this situation and come off Tamoxifen to have children but not a lot came back. I have spoken to some people at work who are a little older than me and they say they wouldn’t even risk it for more children and that’s it! Bearing in mind they all have more than 1 child and wouldn’t have any more anyway irrelevant of any health risks! They have very little understanding of how I feel. I always imaged I would have 3 children and whilst I am very happy with the family I have I do feel that maybe there’s an option for more?

So the saga goes on, In 5 years’ time I might look back at this smiling with a baby or I might be in a totally different situation. I have learnt over the past years not to plan too far ahead and just to go with the flow and take every day as it comes!! Or at least that’s what I try to do!

 

Always in the back of my mind….

I think no matter how fit and well you are, or how wonderful life is once you have had a cancer scare it’s always in the back of your mind. The happier live gets the scarier it is that it could all be taken away. 

Obviously mine was more than a scare, I survived it and an here to tell the tale but I always wonder what if. So many people are cancer free for ages then it comes back with avengence! 

I watched a film called missing you already the other day about 2 friends one of which gets Breast Cancer. Other than the chemo side of it I could relate to her story. What I couldn’t get my head Round is when her cancer came back and she knew she was going to die. I was sat wondering if I elms prefer to know I was going to die and be able to say good bye or if not knowing would be better do people don’t have to deal with the run up to it knowing what’s going to happen. You hear about people having a bucket list which I understand and totally get however my bucket list would just say cherish every moment with my family. I don’t need to go jump of a bridge to tick a box on a list. To me I would just spend every second of the day I could telling my family I love them. 

The films was so sad and has me in tears as normal. I think because it’s quite close to home anyway but it starts Making you think about life and making the most if it, cherishing every day and most of all telling your loved ones that they are loved every day.

 3 simple words, I LOVE YOU could make all the difference to someone’s day. 

The little reminders!

So after the whole Cancer episode I thought I would just forget about it and move on, I was back at work after a few weeks and didn’t have to have chemo so in my mind once I had got the operations out the way everything would go back to normal! Turns out that’s not the case!!
It is a bit strange because at the time I was having all the tests, surgery etc I didn’t once freak out or get upset. Yet over a year later I find myself getting stressed and upset for stupid reasons! The first thing is the paranoia, I get the slightest headache and I think it’s a brain tumour, I have a tiny new mole at the moment that I’m convincing myself is cancer! It’s not a healthy way to live but after the shock that I had breast cancer I now start looking for something wrong with me and am constantly paranoid! 

The next thing is my back, when I had my surgery they removed the muscle from my back to do a breast reconstruction. This must have caused some nerve damage that the surgeons say could be permanent. If anyone hugs me or taps my back I get shooting pains resembling electric shocks! I never say anything when this happens as I don’t like to make a fuss but it’s really painful! I was on the treadmill the other day and only walking at a slow pace and my back felt so strange, it like tightened up and was really painful! I am hoping this will go over time but it’s been over a year and it hasn’t! 

I have booked us a holiday to Oludeniz in Turkey for July. I am so excited! It’s our first holiday abroad since my operation and will be my first time wearing swimwear! This has turned out to be another massive drama, it must sound like I’m being a proper moaning Minnie but all these little trivial things never used to be an issue but suddenly are! So far unless I wear a wetsuit I can’t find one bikini that flatters my over inflated wonky boobs! My husband keeps saying there will be way worse looking people on holiday so stop stressing but every girl wants to look good in a bikini and for me it’s not actually happening at the moment!  Either way it will be a fantastic family holiday wonky boobs or not! The hotel looks great and the sea is bright blue and really clear. It’s really exciting! 

Anyway enough winging from me, I always tell myself there are far more people out there worse off than me so smile and get on with it as it always could be worse! 

Post without a subject!

I have not blogged anything for a while, I don’t even have any hot topic to blog about today, I just feel a post is well overdue so am typing away but not sure what the subject actually is!

So what’s happened since my last post….. Erm……
Well I have been training 3 times a week at the gym for the 2 race for life’s that I am doing. Despite this training I have not lost any weight and don’t feel remotely fitter! I think I need to work a lot harder if I’m going to actually make it over the finish line! Not only that but I have a duty to my sponsors now! People have been so generous, I have raised nearly £600 so far and so am over half way to my target of £1000 for cancer research.
www.justgiving.com/stephenson25

In other news an aeroplane has mysteriously dropped out the sky and nobody has a clue where it is! If that’s not the biggest government cover up ever then I don’t know what is! In this day and age we can put men on the moon yet a plane full of people vanish off the face of the earth and nobody can find it! There’s so wreckage, no debris, no radar yet the relatives get told its in the sea and everyone is dead! Based on what information? It’s all very strange I think but that’s just my opinion!!

And last but not least social networking has amazed me again, this time with the no make up selfie for cancer research! So my Facebook was full of people without make up and of I am honest some were not a pretty sight! Others though were truly beautiful though and the people looked better than with make up on! My reaction to this was not good. I put a status saying there was no way I was going to put a no make up selfie on Facebook! My confidence is low anyway since my mastectomy and I don’t need to put a picture of me looking rough to prove I do my bit for charity……. Famous last words!
It was then on the news that 2 million pounds had been raised by people putting a no make up selfie on then donating £3 to cancer research! How can I slate something like that that has raised that much money, again showing the power of social networking! So I did it, I put my
No make up selfie on and jumped on the bandwagon! Wasn’t my proudest picture but when it helps raise awareness and money for charity then why not! And here it is!! Anyway until next time, ciao for now!!

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Fundraising for cancer research

Race for life 2014, – sponsor me!

I have only gone and signed up today, but not for just one event but for 2!
I always quite fancied having a go at the 10k race, a couple of years ago we did the 5k and even though we didn’t manage to run the whole thing and did walk some we finished in a respectable time and enjoyed it. So this left me thinking if we could push ourselves a bit more and do the 10k. After all nobody is going to sponsor us if it’s not a challenge!
So today I went on the website to sign up, only when I did I saw another even advertised, the 5k pretty muddy run! This looked interesting, a 5k assault course involving a lot of physical activity and a lot of mud!
It may only be 5k but looks twice as much work trying to tackle the obstacles and mud!
That was me sold and I signed up! The only problem was that the minimum age for this event is 13 years old! That means my 10 year old daughter couldn’t take part.
When I broke the news to her she was really upset which surprised me and to cut a long story short she ended up persuading me to sign up to another 5k event but not a pretty muddy one this time, just a run. So I’m still doing the 10k as initially planned but in 2 stages!

I have set up a just giving page which is http://www.justgiving.com/Stephenson25

I now need to start getting fit! A bit difficult when I can do any major exercise just yet and still get back pains and aches!
If it wasn’t for Cancer Research I may not have been diagnosed as early as I was and the cancer may have spread all over by the time they found it. Cancer research has enabled doctors to have the technology and expertise in place to diagnose earlier and earlier diagnoses have a much better outlook.

Hopefully lots of people will donate even if it’s just £1 and in the meantime I need to think about some exercise!!

Laura’s Just Giving Page

My Bucket List

I started writing a bucket list last around 2 years ago, not because I thought I was going to get cancer but more because I was 28 at the time bad wanted to do a few things before I reached 30! Then this year I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer and the bucket list got put on hold! Now that the end of 2013 is not far away and my cancer battle is nearing an end I want to revisit the bucket list and see if any of them are achievable! Drive a race car was on the list and I have done that even if it is just a mini in a field so that’s one ticked off!
Some of them below may seem a bit strange but it’s funny the things you realise you want to do when you sit and write a list!

1) Learn to weld
2) Meet Valentino Rossi
3) Go to the Italian Moto GP
4) learn to pole dance (fitness reasons only)
5) Swim with dolphins but in the sea not in a swimming pool!
6) run a full marathon
7) Climb Ben Nevis
8) Cook a Christmas dinner (successfully)
8) learn circus skills, the trapeze in particular!
9) be a passenger in a RAF fighter jet
10) visit Australia and go diving!

The above are just a few of my goals when in actual fact there are many more things I want to do in my life.

One point I want to make is that me making a bucket list is in no way any sort of negative message suggesting I think I am going to die! That’s not the case at all. The term “bucket list” does come from the term kick the bucket which is a phrase linked to dying but that’s not why I have a bucket list.
The reason for me is more a case of I don’t feel that young anymore and it’s suddenly dawning on me that next year I will turn 30 having not done very many of the things I want to do! I would like to think I am 70 years away from the end of my life but you just never know so I feel it’s time to start ticking some things off my list!!
I am aware some are more realistic than others, to be honest I have more chance of flying a fighter jet than I do cooking a decent and edible Christmas dinner!!
Either way if I can just get a few ticked off that would be fantastic.
I also want to raise a lot more month fur charity and volunteer more for charitable causes. I didn’t write it on the list above as running a marathon and climbing a mountain would be for charity.
I do think there should be a law that for 1 day every year people have to give up their time to help people less fortunate than themselves, if everyone did that then the world would be a much better place.

Life isn’t getting back to normal as quick as I’d like!!

So it’s been a week or so since my last appointment at hospital, this was the appointment where I was pretty much told the worst is over and just to get better now, I was also prescribed the drug tamoxifen for 10 years which I have since started taking. So to me things were looking up, no chemo needed, no radiotherapy, just a tablet a day along with my painkillers and I will soon Be better!
They say you shouldn’t wish your life away but I really want to get back to normal and put this whole cancer thing behind me. That’s the attitude I have had throughout. Rather than feel upset or devastated I have remained positive throughout, in fact I have not shed 1 single tear over it. Everyone says it’s life changing having cancer but I didn’t see it as a life changing thing, to me it was a complete inconvenience that was interrupting my life and the sooner it was sorted the sooner I could carry on as normal!
My life was so great before this happened, we were away racing motorbikes or cars every weekend, I have a job I loved and had just been offered a promotion and we were starting to decorate our little house to get a bigger house next year and then after that maybe look at having more children!

The funny thing is that I have done everything in my power to not let cancer drag me down, even when i
felt so rubbish after the operation I still managed a smile, yet now after all that I am on the road to recovery and feeling lower than I have throughout the whole thing! Really I should be happy now!

I think reality is setting in that recovery is not an overnight process and my life isn’t going to be back to normal as soon as I would like. I have developed a thing called a Seroma where I have fluid on my back under the skin am sloshing around like a hot water bottle! I was hoping this would go over time but it seems to have got worse so I am going to have to go to the hospital and get it drained!
The Tamoxifen has started to have side effects now, I feel quite moody (more than normal) and get these awful hot flushes that are horrible! I get so bloated as well oh and I’m quite tired yet can’t sleep and feel a bit sick on them.
I tried a trip out to the metro centre yesterday for a bit of Christmas shopping and after half an hour was so hot that I felt sick then my back started throbbing and I had to sit down then go home!
It’s been 4 weeks since the operation and I hear about so many women who are getting back to normal and I feel I should be doing more now but instead I just can’t get out of bed on a morning and have no motivation to do anything! I feel I should be looking to go back to work soon or doing something productive every day but I just feel stuck in a rut!

I am such an active positive happy person so for me to feel like this and want to stay in bed a day in unusual and I hope I snap out of it soon! Maybe once I have my back drained that will help the pain and then I hope my body gets used to the tamoxifen so the side effects ease and then maybe I will start feeling more positive!

Treatment…..And moving on!

So the all anticipated appointment has been and gone. The good news is I don’t have to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Reason being is that the cancer they found was only small and whilst it still was invasive breast cancer it isn’t enough to warrant any aggressive treatment. The other thing is that it is highly hormone receptive meaning it reacts to hormones and hormones make it grow so to control that I have been given the drug Tamoxifen for 10 years!
I couldn’t Believe it when he said 1″ years, it seems like forever! He says it is because I am young and something to do with hormones so I need to be taking it for 10 years. It’s a hormone blocker so quite a big deal but still the best possible outcome for me.
The downside is that if I decide I want any more children I can’t take the drug while trying to get pregnant or being pregnant. It’s not the end of the world but does mean coming off it for that period of time therefore increasing the risk of the cancer returning. Luckily it isn’t a huge risk but still a decision to be made nearer the time!!
I also had my dressings checked while at the clinic and the consultant noticed I have developed fluid on my back. I hadn’t noticed this at first and it wasn’t really bothering me but since he mentioned it I am really aware of it! I feel like I am a walking hot water bottle sloshing away when I walk which I know is a bit gross! I can go back to clinic and get it drained if I have to but I don’t like the thought of that either so will try bad out up with it for now!
So I am 2 days into my tamoxifen which is nothing when I am on it for ten years!!
So far no side effects but common side effects are hot flushes, weight gain, moodiness! I have all this to look forward to.
So as far as I am concerned now the future is all about healing and getting my life back to normal! Of course this isn’t totally over, I have the tablets for ten years along with side effects, I may need further surgery on my boobs but mainly for cosmetic reasons, then I have the yearly mammograms and worry of the cancer coming back in the future!
So really life is never going to be normal as I know it and suddenly I have gone from reading about cancer in magazines or on tv to experiencing it first hand and all the hassle that comes along with it!!
The other thing this means now is I am going to have to find other things to blog about!
To be honest this won’t be hard as I have so much going on in my life besides cancer but whether it will be of interest to anyone I don’t know!!
I am looking forward to what the future holds and am proud to say I am not a cancer sufferer but a cancer survivor!

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