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 It is 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!!

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

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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The NHS… Our wonderful health system

Warning…. This is a long post, i have a lot to say!!!
So, it’s been a while before I have posted anything, I have been in hospital having a mastectomy with immediate reconstruction.
I will talk about this in more detail later I think but for know I want to mention yet again the NHS.
The reason I talk so much about the NHS is because this is the first big operation i have had, the first time in my life iv had a health problem and after paying my taxes all my life I expected a little more from them!
So I go into the operation, 6 hours later wake up in immense pain which the morphine soon sorted out!
So 2 days in I haven’t left my bed, am still in immense pain but controlling it with morphine which although makes me feel drunk helps a lot.
2 nurses come into my room and tell me I need to be up and walking now. I explain that not only is the pain awful but the morphine makes me feel very sick and dizzy. They told me that they have to have patients up and about by now and sat me up in bed telling me to sit up!
I asked what the rush is and they said its routine! Well I didn’t want to be part of this just because it’s policy and routine when my body was telling me I wasn’t ready.
At this point I felt like a number not a person. I stood up in awful pain and was so dizzy I asked to sit down but they wouldn’t let me, they got that cross at me I ended up in tears so they let me lie down again. As a patient having just had an awful operation this is not what I expected at all.
The next day the surgeon visited me to check everything and I asked him if I need to be walking around, he said no, only when I feel I can as i have had a big operation so no need to rush anything! So why did the nurses feel the need to push this? Is it to tick a box saying they have had me out of bed walking!
3 days in I felt I could get out of bed into a chair which I did to enable the nurses to help me have a wash, I can’t say how good it felt to be clean again! Unless I pressed the buzzer I was just left on my own for hours do just slept.
Another 2 days went by and I asked for a wash again, the nurses said ok and then never came back, I fell asleep and didn’t get woken for a wash and before I knew it was the next day. I asked again that afternoon and the nurse said no problem and we would have a wash before bed time as such. It got to about 9.pm and I called the nurse for my wash who said she couldn’t do it but she could get me a bowl of water! Given I had 4 drains attached and wires and my movement was limited I really needed help!
I said I would wait until the next day and suprise suprise nobody came to help me wash!
I was due to be discharged the day after so when that day arrived if given up asking for a wash so just waited till I got home, I’d gone 4 days without a wash so was pretty annoyed!
On my day of discharge it got to dinner time, I was sleeping when they came in and said that someone needed my bed so could I pack my stuff and go wait in the waiting room! I wasn’t due to leave the hospital till tea time so I had to clarify, did they actually expect me to sit in the waiting room for hours after major surgery and yes they did!
Yes I had a mastectomy but I also had a reconstruction which involved taking muscle from my back so as you can imagine not only my front but my back was very painful, not only that but having not washed me they expected me to go sit in a tiny room with random people/visitors/outpatients when I was in my pyjamas not smelling so fresh!
I was so upset that eventually they found me a bed in the corner of a ward but I still got chucked out my room!
While sat on the ward a little old lady realised she had cut her finger and asked for a plaster, 20 min later she still hadn’t got a plaster! The nurses were running about like there was a crisis but in actual fact that was just normal and they were really understaffed!
I heard an alarm going off indicating someone needed something, it may have just been a drink and not urgent but then may have been that someone was stuck in the bathroom or had fallen for example. Either way it went on for 15 min before it was responded to!
Anyway I think my whole experience sums up the state of our health service. Understaffed wards,overworked nurses, patients not getting what they need. I’m not sure what the answer is really other than someone else in charge of the government!!
All in all I was glad to be home!

Start of my blog!

So here we are! I have never written a blog before but I am going to have a go! May be of no interest to anyone but think I will enjoy doing it and so thought I would make a start!!

so I’m sat wondering where to start… My life is very hectic and always has been but that’s how I like it! so a basic rundown of the last 5 years I have gone from a super skinny grid girl/brolly dolly in the British superbikes where appearance is everything to a not so skinny autograss racer getting covered in mud every weekend!! Besides starting Autograss racing i have spent years supporting my husband in his bike racing and now spend my weekends taking my 9 year old daughter Kart racing so the love for racing has passed down the generations! Along with that I work full-time, study a diploma at home online and try and raise money for various charities close to my heart.

I am very much a person that does not like change, I get in a routine and like it. Take me out my comfort zone and I worry a lot, stress myself out and am not happy! With this is mind it was a big shock and a worry to be diagnosed with a condition called DCIS this year, this is a non invasive form of Breast cancer meaning it can’t spread (yet) but needs to be removed. Since then the Diagnosis changed to grade 1 invasive Breast Cancer so a lot to deal with.
I will go into that at a later date I think but as you can imagine this took me right out my comfort zone and to a certain degree brought my fantastic hectic life to an abrupt standstill!

i think that’s enough for my first post before I get carried away but will end by saying To be cont…

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