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 “life”

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 

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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!!

Being a karting mum 

I think people get sick of me talking about karting, it’s all I ever talk about. I have to try and remember that just because something is interesting to me doesn’t mean it’s interesting to anyone else!

It’s hard being in the paddock sometimes as a karting mum. Everyone thinks their kids are the fastest and the best and can do no wrong. Everyone (or most people) are proud of their kids. A child doesn’t have to be sporty, have a fantastic talent or achieve much to make their parents proud. For me it isn’t the karting that makes me proud, (let’s face it M isn’t exactly winning British championships!!) but the attitude and ambition of someone so young. Most kids at 12 don’t have a care in the world and if they are not out causing trouble at the weekend they are say bored at home. M’s wishing the next year away so she can turn 13 to get a paper round to help pay for karting! And in her spare time if we are not racing she is sat watching you tube videos of the circuits she will be racing at this year. 

I am a realistic karting mum, I don’t think M is going to be the next F1 driver or get anywhere near that point! What we go karting for isn’t to start M’s motor racing career but more to give her as many opportunities in life as we can and to show her that you can achieve anything if you work hard enough at it but nothing comes easily and if you want results you have to work for them. I think it’s also important to show young people there are more choices out there and you can do something good if you want, obviously at 12 a lot of influence and opportunity comes from the parents but I think kids in sports are good role models for other kids. 

I have very little use on race weekends, I tried to put the tyres on her kart once and put the back ones on the front!! Oooops! I think my main purpose is just to support M and cheer her on, even if she isn’t doing that well. Being away every weekend as a family doing something we love is the best thing in the world and we need to make the most of it while she’s young!

So now we have started something with karting that we can’t just switch off, we have got the racing bug again and every time we go out it gets more expensive! Always planning the next race meeting or next test weekend not to mention the ongoing need for kart parts and tyres! 

So this year it’s no shoes and clothes allowance, no summer holiday and a lot of overtime!! Realistically we can’t do this forever but you only get once chance at life if we can give M a few years of her living the dream then it’s money well spent!! 

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

Paul Walker – Died doing what he loved

I woke up Sunday morning to the news that Movie star Paul Walker had been killed in a high speed crash as as passenger in a Porsche GT. Then I looked at the articles on the Internet I was faced with horrific pictures of a crash scene and a mangled car completely burnt out. Very shocking scenes.
One of the first things I thought was a great feel of sadness followed by the irony that Paul was Famous for the Fast and Furious films performing dangerous driving stunts and driving at speed and then this is how he came to the end of his life. My second thought was that I hoped the impact killed him instantly as being trapped in a car on fire doesn’t bear thinking about at all.
It’s quite strange how the mind, and people think, and work. People die every day in car accidents and 9 people died the night before when a police helicopter crashed into a pub but Social networking sites were full of tributes to Paul Walker. He wasn’t actually the only one in the car either, Racing car Driver Roger Rodas was the driver yet his name doesn’t really get a mention either. I am not criticising this really as if I am honest all I could think about was sadness for Paul Walker but I think it’s interesting how because he was a well known celebrity it’s almost like we knew him and mourn for him more than any of the just as tragic deaths over the past few days.
That aside though it is very sad to be taken so suddenly at just 40 years old leaving all his friends and a 15 year old daughter behind. It makes you really think about life when something unexpected like that happens. He was a healthy man living life to the full and then out the blue suddenly he has gone.
Nobody knows what’s round the corner and I don’t think people should assume they will live till their old as you just don’t know.
Obviously I don’t mean walk around thinking your a ticking time bomb but at the same time if you have a dream, an ambition or a plan then don’t leave it, if you have family or friends you don’t speak to or people you don’t see as
Much as you would like then now is the time to do it, you just never know when it’s going to be too late.
I saw a statement online that Paul Walker said once – “If one day the speed kills me then do not cry as I was smiling”

Rip Paul Walker and Roger Rodas

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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!

Reflecting on the new me… And what i have lost

So now the operation has been done… I am at home recovering.
The past few weeks have been a nightmare that I spent most of the time sleeping through where I could dream about nicer things and pretend it was not happening. Then I would wake up and feel the pain and realise that the nightmare is real life and I am living it.
There were 2 things that got me through the last few weeks, the first one being my amazing family and the second being the fact I kept telling myself that there are people in the world going through worse times than me, suffering more pain, and in actual fact I am lucky that a few months of pain should hopefully get rid of the cancer for good and that’s got to be a good thing! Always trying to find the positive!

So now I am home, the pain is much better, its manageable with pain killers and I am up and about a lot more. I had my first hospital appointment yesterday since the operation, I had all the drains removed and the dressings taken off. Up until this point I had not looked at my appearance and tried to forget the fact I have a new boob, bruises scars and swelling! So when all the dressings came off at the hospital and I got asked if I would like to look in the mirror I didn’t know what to say. It is almost like by looking in the mirror I had to accept the fact my body is no longer what it used to be, my appearance has dramatically changed and I need to realise that!
So I looked in the mirror…. the first thing I looked at was my back first, not sure why, I just turned and looked at the scars first before looking at the results! The Scar was pretty big, bruised and unattractive but despite that scars have never really bothered me so the look of that wasn’t an issue! Then I turned to the front and slowly removed my hands from my chest to see the work.
I wasn’t as shocked as I expected to be but it was a shock all the same, In replace of my previous boob was a large football like object that was bruised, swollen and not very attractive! The nurse insisted that it is still very swollen and the bruises and swelling will reduce so not to worry too much! All the same I couldn’t see it as part of me, I just felt like it was something stuck on the front of my body that didn’t belong to me! It didn’t feel part of my body at all and was quite scary to look at! I know this is something I am going to have to get used to and hopefully as time goes by I will start to feel like a part of my body.

Before all this happened and I had this operation I was quite a confident person, I mean you have to be quite confident to be able to be a brolly girl put a lycra outfit on and walk around a motorcycle paddock smiling for strangers to take pictures! That aside though as that was years ago I have always had self confidence. Don’t get me wrong I know I have major floors, I would like to lose a bit of weight, don’t like my teeth, hate my nose, and could do with toning up but overall I manage to put my make up on, get dressed up and feel confident about myself!
As this process has unravelled my confidence has slowly gone down hill, Despite wanting to lose a few pounds and not being amazingly stunning I have always had my boobs going for me and so without them my confidence has plummeted a bit. not only that but when your in hospital a lot then at home all day you stop wearing the nice outfits and end up slobbing in Pyjamas without any makeup so its not exactly like you feel great about yourself!
I have attached a few pictures to this blog to remind myself what I used to look like and I hope to get that confidence back in time. Every girl no matter what they look like should be confident in their body and feel happy but at the moment it’s not happening! if anyone came near me with a camera at the moment I would run a mile so fast so I am hoping that as I start to recover I will get my confidence back.

Being confident does not mean that I love myself or have a big ego, To me being confident is accepting what I look like, accepting who and what I am and being happy with that, Being able to walk in a room and silently thinking look this is me, rather than shying away hoping nobody notices me and notices all my floors and what I hate about myself! Hopefully soon I will come to terms with by new shape and wear my scars proudly. I may have lost a Part of my body and a lot of confidence but it’s a small price to pay to get rid of the nasty disease that is cancer. There’s no point being devastated about this when it’s potentially saved my life and that’s not a bad thing!

 

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