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 “Health”

And so it goes on 

So out of hospital a week, The bronchoscopy was last Thursday and that went well. It was the first time M had a general anaesthetic and she was so poorly afterwards, she had a fever and was quite sick but luckily it only lasted a night. 

Then there was the bank holiday, really good weekend, sunny weather and lazy days in the garden. Then came the bank holiday Monday and M’s chest got bad again, starting with the cough then the shortness of breaths and at 5.35 we packed a bag and headed Back to hospital. 

1 night in intensive care later we are back on the normal ward and showing no sign of going home soon. Great half term this is going to be for M. 

So 3 nights in I’m lay in bed yet again without M at home and it’s so difficult knowing she is at hospital on her own.  We have been doing this for 5 months now and it doesn’t get any easier. Financially it takes its toll with all the time off work, the fuel and extra money spent. It’s also mentally draining, all the worry and stress and then trying to be focused at work as well. It’s so hard, I just want my girl home without the worry of her going back to hospital again. 

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Progress

Wednesday the 17th May 2017…. 

Picked M up from hospital to take her to another hospital for a CT scan, the long awaited CT scan than was going to solve all the doctors problems! Following the CT scan we had an appointment at Newcastle RVI. It was a referral I had requested to try and get some answers. On arrival we parked in the multi storey and were wowed by the size of the hospital. Very modern and  good facilities. We went to outpatients and again were very impressed by the clinic and it’s organisation, everything colour coded and running to time. 

We had been to referred to see a top consultant and learnt more about asthma in the hour we were there than we had in 5 months of trying to find answers. He brought up other things that hadn’t been mentioned before such as anxiety and worry, something to think about as life as a teenager is never straight forward! 

He booked M straight in for a bronchoscopy for a week later and so put a plan in place going forward. For the first time in 5 months I feel M might be making progress. It’s the best feeling in the world!

Just shows what a different opinion and different hospital can do! I know everyone at a consultant level is at a high standard and expert in their area but sometimes a second set of eyes on the situation can make all the difference. Hopefully now we will get some answers and be able to move forwards! 

More NHS let downs 

In previous posts I have talked about many experiences with the NHS good and bad, I have referred back to experiences I have had when dealing with Breast Cancer but also experiences I have regularly with my daughters asthma problems. 
So here we are again, being g in hospital is not unusual for M. As mentioned in previous posts we have regular trips to the hospital with wheezing and chest issues. This year it has escalated to a new level and a lot more serious. When things get more serious and more life threatening it means I rely on the experts more to help me and M and get her the best treatment in the fastest time possible. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened this time and I feel due to massive NHS failures we have ended up back in ICU in a very serious condition. 

Without going into detail of each individual situation I have witnessed so many floors in the system that I wonder why I pay my national insurance. I have witnessed A&E doctors yawning throughout examining patients and complain of being tired. I have witnessed doctors looking at X-rays and missing the fact there’s a huge infection on a lung. 6 hour waiting times in A&E with a girl having an asthma attack left untreated. The list goes on. Its worrying when it takes 10 minutes or less for a child to die of asthma. It’s so worrying and the reality is that it’s not Getting any better, I read on the news weekly about various cuts being made to funding, hospitals being closed, services cut. Staff work all ours for very little pay and then are so tired they are putting people’s lives at risk, I pay my taxes yet it seems the more we pay the less we get. Don’t get me wrong the NHS do some amazing things and it’s not all bad, I give credit to the staff that work all hours and save lives and do wonderful things. Unfortunately I can’t say I have experienced anything positive lately and it really makes me concerned about the future of our health service 

A bad week

Any parent knows that one of the worst things in the world is when your child is poorly. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child in pain or not feeling well and knowing there’s not s huge amount you can do about it. 

M is now 11 years old and suffers from Asthma on a severe level. It started when she was just a baby and developed a cough that turned into breathing difficulties and a hospital visit. This was repeated twice a year until she was 5 and Asthma was diagnosed. Since then we have at least 2 hospital visits a year some which result in a week in intensive care on machines recovering. 

The thing about M’s Asthma Is that when she is well she is as healthy as the average child. M is very sporty and plays on the school Football team, Netball team, plays cricket and rugby and is on the Athletics and cross country team. Not to mention karting! I am so proud of M, at any point she could have a serious Asthma attack but doesn’t let that stop her doing anything. 

The thing with Asthma is that an attack can happen at any time, and last week out the blue it did. Tuesday morning M woke up and couldn’t breath. An hour later we were in hospital on nebulisers which then turned into spending the week there as her lung function was that low she couldn’t go without oxygen and constant nebulisers. The doctors told me if she didn’t improve we would be going round to the HDU to try and get her lungs working better. 

As a mum it’s the scariest thing in the world to know that your child’s lungs aren’t working of functioning very well. It’s hearbreaking to see her there struggling to breath and relying on the oxygen and trying not to panic as she struggles for breath! 

So a week in hospital then home to recover, not the best week ever but something we are quite used to. I sometimes sit and think what if… What If we are not there next time, what if school don’t recognise the signs, what if there’s nobody to help her next time, what if it’s worse next time? I have to put it to the back of my mind because I will just sit and worry and get in a right state over the reality of it. 

M has told me no matter how bad her asthma gets she won’t let it stop her doing her sports. Most kids these days are sat in front of the TV eating junk food so I’m so proud of M’s attitude xx

   

Diets – a huge money making con

Since my health issues I decided I am going to lose a bit of weight and live a healthier lifestyle. I wanted to do it in the best way possible so joined the local boot camp and started researching the best ways to lose weight and get fit!
Try putting in any of the key words in google, weight loss, diets etc and straight away you get billions of websites all saying different things!
I have spent hours researching weight loss, and the more I read the more I get annoyed with companies such as weight watchers and slimming world.
To me they are taking advantage of overweight people who are desperate to get thin!
Take weight watchers for example, they work on a points basis so you can only have a certain amount of points every day. They then have their own range of food showing the amount of points on, a clever marketing tool.
So the weight watcher dieters go shopping and buy all the weight watchers range of foods, funding this billion dollar industry!
While in the supermarket the other week I had a quick look at the weight watchers variety of foods available and was surprised at my findings. I found weight watchers cakes, biscuits, crisps, ready meals, sausages, bread, cookies and packed sandwiches all at a higher price than the non weight watchers normal foods.
How many people when getting these products look at the salt level, the additives or chemicals in the ingredients?
All these foods have been produced in a factory with god knows what chemicals and additives yet according to weight watchers are the way to lose weight?!
It’s not just weight watchers though, there are many diet company’s like this that you sign up for, follow their diet, get weighed and lose weight! So if the person is losing weight then what’s the problem I hear you asking?! Well it’s all good and well losing weight, but what happens when you get to your goal? Do you stop dieting and go back to normal, therefore putting the weight back on and starting the diet again, or do you carry on paying for the rest of your life which isn’t realistic and will never last?!

So my point is that diets are actually pointless and just a short term fix. These diet companies know people don’t diet forever and that is how they make their money!!

When you think about it the word diet is a really negative word. you automatically think of the word diet as cutting out the foods we love, no treats, no takeaways etc. And we all know that when we are told we can’t have something we want it even more!!

So how do we lose weight in a positive way and make the weight stay off? Forget the word diet for a start, forget the local clubs and schemes people pay into to get thin. Pick a day but not a day to start a diet but a day to change your life!
What works is a lifestyle change not a diet!
Healthy eating and regular exercise is all it takes and you don’t need to pay someone to tell you that!
When people say exercise it can be quite daunting but there’s so much you can do that fits in with every day life without being too scary! (I will do another post on exercise because I have loads to say on exercise!!) And as far as Food goes, it’s simple…. Anything that was on the earth before us! So meats, fish vegetables, fruit and try to avoid anything processed like crisps, ready meals, frozen foods like burgers and nuggets etc.
That’s not to say don’t have treats, my favourite food us Chinese and I love crisps but rather than eat them all the time I eat them as a treat in a weekend and seeming as I’m exercising it balances it out so it doesn’t cause me to put on loads of weight!
Often people think skipping meals will make you lose weight which is a complete myth! People need calories and energy to get through the day so skipping meals will just make you unwell and slow down your metabolism which won’t help with weight loss. By eating breakfast then regular meals it sets your metabolism going, gives you energy and burns more calories as the day goes on!!

So yes I may have written the longest blog post ever but it’s taken ten min to read it and hasn’t cost anyone anything! But the billion pound diet industry will go on for as long as people want to lose weight! What will it be next week? A new celeb fitness diet, the baby food diet, the no carb diet, the juice diet?
I’m not suddenly a nutritionist but i know enough to know they are all a load of rubbish and the only safe and effective way to lose weight long term is to have a lifestyle change, eat healthy age exercise!! Simples!!!

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

Summary of 2013

Happy New Year!

Looking at social networking sites it seems 2013 hasn’t been the best for a lot of people! Everybody has something to moan about on Facebook!
For me I will remember 2013 as the year I got breast cancer and had a huge operation which changed my life forever. Despite this i am not one for moaning, I just get on with it, there’s always worse off people and I have so much to be grateful for in my life so I’m not going to let silly illnesses get me down!
Cancer aside though what else do I think of when I think of 2013?
Autograss racing was big for me in 2013. A lot of people say they are going to do something and then don’t do it, well I like to try and make things happen and so a mini was bought, painted, covered in stickers and raced all year! Brilliant and the highlight of my year. I even raced (and won a trophy) 2 days after an operation! My surgeon would have gone mad if I told him but I’m not one to let a small thing like cancer stop me living my life! The funniest thing was that I was worried about hurting myself so stuffed bubble wrap down my race suit to add padding in case I crashed! It wasn’t the most comfortable racing but still managed to come away with a trophy and nobody knew I had been wrapped in bubble wrap!!

So what else in 2013….. Well we had an amazing holiday, it was just after another operation so was a much needed break and I loved every second, I even managed to swim in the sea and has a go at snorkelling which is something I have always been a bit scared to do!
I also got a promotion at work
Which was quite significant. I was a receptionist but have now been promoted to customer services and HR. Makes me feel a little smug which I know is silly but when I left my previous job my boss basically told me I was stupid and making a huge mistake leaving a good job for a temp receptionist role! Well it just shows that life is what you make it and if you work hard you can achieve anything.

So, 2014 what do I hope it brings? One of the big things is to try get used to the new me! Gone was the skinny confident girl who spent a fortune on compulsive online shopping and wouldn’t go on a night out without a camera for selfies!
Instead the new me is not so skinny due to being unable to exercise for long time and the new me avoids cameras at all costs! Not only that but the new me can’t buy random clothes online knowing they will look good because I need to try everything on now as nothing seems to look
Good!
That aside though I’m still the same person and I’m sure 2014 will bring more of the same fab things I fill my life with, more racing, more family time and maybe even a new house and a new car at some point!!
I Also plan to run the 10k race for life for cancer research. I can’t run yet as it’s too soon after surgery but hoping to start training soon as I need to get for for that!! I also want to plan an event to raise money for the Benjamin Gautrey foundation so have that to
Think about as well!

Whatever happens in 2014 good or bad I know that with my family by my side I can deal with it and I look forward to the challenges and fun times ahead!

All the best for 2014

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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More results and news!

So I got a letter through the post with an appointment for the 3rd Dec. I didn’t understand this at all, surely I couldn’t be expected to wait till the 3rd Dec for results?!
I rang my point of contact (the breast care nurse) straight away and just got voicemail. I then spent the rest of the day ringing her, the ward, the clinic and every number I had but nobody picked up. It was 6.30 pm when I finally got hold of her. She didn’t know anything about the appointment but said she could look on the computer for my results.
So here we are, the results!
She started reading them out and it was all medical terms I had never heard of, I was trying to write them down to google when I got off the phone! The main part of the results is that they have found a small area where the cancer cells are not in the ducts anymore so now classed as invasive. The good news is that the areas were very small and only grade 1.

It was quite difficult being told this over the phone because as much as I wanted to know, it was the nurse telling me so not the consultants so she couldn’t answer a lot of my questions. I will have an appointment next week to find out what treatment I have to have following this new discovery.

Whenever I tell anyone the new results they are all so positive which is good to be but sometimes I don’t think they actually understand or have a clue what a big deal this is!

The funny this is though that I am actually struggling to say the C word out loud! Is that normal?! I mean before these results I was telling everyone I had DCIS, so when people asked me I explained I had DCIS and did not even mention the word cancer! Now it’s invasive I need to face the fact that it is breast cancer and try telling people this. Someone asked the other day and I started talking about DCIS and invasive and Allsorts and they looked so confused! I am sure if I just said Breast Cancer then I would have made more sense but couldn’t say it!

One way I have found some support is in the way of a Facebook group aimed at younger women with breast cancer. I joined this group but didn’t expect much as I have joined forums before and not has many answers to my questions and posts. The first thing I liked was everyone saying welcome to me, I thought this was so nice. I then started looking at the people in the group and the people replying to me, as strange as it sounds the people were like me, they were young and pretty (not saying I’m pretty) and spoke like me like on the same wavelength!
When I was in hospital everyone on the ward was at least 50 years old, now I’m saying it is any easier getting the diagnosis as am older woman as it isn’t but I felt like I was the odd one out and on the wrong ward!
So I start posting in the group and I got so many replies. I have only been in the group 2 days and feel like I’m part of something, like I’m not alone and; these women are so easy to speak to and so nice. I am really glad I found this group.
So the wait goes on, only till next week though to find out what treatment I am having.
Despite this bad news I still feel ok, I don’t feel like crying or being negative, yes it’s worse than the DCIS but it’s only grade 1 cancer so perfectly treatable. Yes it’s not great but there’s a lot of people that I have met throughout this journey that are a lot worse and so I’m not going to get down about this and make a big deal out of it!

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