I know I haven’t written for a while now, so apologies for that, I have been meaning to write and keep this blog up to date but it gets harder to do the longer I leave it and when I did decide to start blogging again, I couldn’t remember my password to blog from my phone. Now that I have access to my laptop, the autosave password has let me back in again!
Well as you can probably tell from the title of this blog, the cancer has come back. Not exactly the kind of news I wanted to hear or to pass on really, but as I have always said, this blog is about passing on the real life events of someone going through cancer treatment and I had hoped that I would be writing to say it was all good news and things like this needn’t hold you back or mean doom and gloom, and in a lot of cases that is true and I am glad that is the case.
Nowadays so many people can have a brush with cancer and never have to suffer with it again, but sadly there are some of us that have to go through it more than once and that appears to be me now.
So where do I start with this…. well lets go back to October 2013… as this is when it all started again for me…
In October 2013, I started developing some chest pain and went to the doctor about it, initially they said it was likely to be costachrondritus as a result from the radiotherapy as I had significant swelling and scar tissue as a result, this did not ease so I went back a few more times, then I started developing pain in the breast and was told it could be a lymphoedema, in December I was still suffering and seeing various Drs who just advised to take anti inflammatory pills and pain relief. On December 24th I was advised to go to A&E for a chest x-ray as they were worried I might have a pulmonary embolism, so had the x-ray but it came back clear but my blood results showed possible clotting so was advised to come back on the 25th for a CT scan. I took the CT scan the next day and was told there was no sign of clotting but they could see small nodules in my lungs that may need looking into, so they advised I come back for another appointment in a few weeks.
I took that appointment and was told that they would need to leave it a few months to see if the nodules changed.
During February I saw my surgeon Ms Fowler at Gloucester Royal Hospital and she quickly determined it as a lymphoedema, and said she would refer me to a lymphoedema clinic but I was told this would take several weeks to see anyone. By this time the pain was really quite bad and I hadn’t been sleeping for several months and was having to sleep sat up on my sofa, because lying down was impossible, so I rang the lymphoedema clinic to get an earlier appointment and luckily they managed to see me within a week.
During the appointment they assessed me and thought it was a lymphoedema so advised me to take pain killers and a compression bra but also advised I see the palliative care team about the pain, so was referred to the Gloucester team. During my appointment, my breathing was so bad they instantly referred me for a chest x ray which revealed my left lung lining was almost full of fluid, so was instantly detained as a in-patient. I had to have a chest drain inserted and they drained several litres over the next few days. During this time, the Drs told me it was highly likely that the cancer had returned and was in the lung lining and was excreting the fluid, hence the build up. I was then asked to have another CT scan, which then showed that the cancer had returned and there is a 5cm tumour behind the chest wall that has gone onto the left ribs and has caused hardening of the left lung and heart. I have been advised to start chemo asap so that they can start trying to shrink the tumour, this will hopefully ease the pain that I am getting and make it easier for my lungs to function properly as well.
Because of the issues I have with bad veins in my right arm, they decided to try and put a PIC line in, which is a semi permanent line into the artery of the arm so that they could feed the chemo and anything needing to be fed in via IV that way. Sadly my veins were too knackered for this as none were big enough to handle the tubes, so I was then told I would have a central line put in, which is when they go in at the large artery by the neck and push it down into the main artery near your heart. So this was done under local anaesthetic and although it didn’t hurt, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience as I could feel them tugging and pushing into my chest and I am pretty bruised still from the procedure, even though it was done a couple of weeks ago.
But the good side of this, is that they can take bloods and put the chemo etc straight into me without any hassles at all. Gone is all the stressing and tears that I used to face eachtime it was a chemo appointment, now its simple as bish, bash bosh lol. So I am extremely grateful for that, as it was a huge part of the chemo treatment that upset me and made me worry each time.
So I have now had two treatments of chemo and was meant to have the 3rd one tomorrow, but at my check up yesterday they said my blood platelet level was too low (by a long way) so I would have to wait a week. Obviously I was disappointed as the sooner I get the treatments the sooner this bloody tumour shrinks. And in turn it should mean less pain for me. But it happened last time, albeit different drugs and reasons for delays, so I just have to grin and bear it.
Well this has got me up to speed on the basics of what has happened, I will be blogging more frequently from now on, as it is therapeutic to write all of this down, I don’t know who reads it or not, but its there if someone does read it and the overall aim was to try and help someone else going through a similar process to find a “home made” schedule of events, written by a person for a person. You get so much literature to read from the drs and hospitals, I know I wanted to hear personal experiences of what it was like, so that is why I started this….
Anyway… I am waffling…… ta-ra for now xx