Tis Only Me!

I thought I had better do an update on how the fundraising went for the End of Treatment Celebration Auction and Party…. well… it went REALLY WELL!!  I should get it to over £1000 once everyone has paid which is fantastic!  I am so proud of my friends and family for all that they have done and their support!

The party raised £333 roughly on the night and the auction raised £611 (I think) and since then I have had a few more donations which is awesome.

The party went really well, I had a good turnout of friends and family and as far as I know most people had a good time, I have to admit the party was a bit of a blur as the first section I was running round like a headless chicken trying to get stuff sorted (I should learn to delegate more!) and then once all the official business was done I hit the shots hard and the rest of the night was a different kind of blur ha ha!

But I enjoyed myself….  I let my hair down (yes its growing and I have a nice fine covering of very grey hair now lol)

I did a little speech and made myself cry, I tried thanking my Mum for coming to pretty much every chemo treatment I had and waiting for hours and hours with me and I broke down and couldnt get my words out.

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I then presented her with some flowers and made everyone in the room cry too lol!

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Once I had done all the thank you’s (although I am sure I had forgotten a few)  I played this video and made people laugh and cry ha ha!

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After this we got dancing and threw some crazy moves 🙂

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ha ha Ruth will kill me 🙂

I was so grateful for all the love and support that my friends and family have given me over the past 11 months, its nearly a year since it all began and I really feel that the whole experience has taught me a massive life lesson.  I want to do something with my life and not regret living one single second.

I have another adventure up my sleeve that I will be revealing soon, I just need to work out some details first 🙂

This weekend I am taking part in Race for Life so will upload some photos from that if I get a chance as I am planning to “horse around” ha ha xx

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I’m fundraising…. twice

I know that some people would consider me one of those annoying people who is constantly fundraising and yes I have to put my hands up and admit to being one of them but the way I look at it, is that even if I raise £1 that’s £1 that my chosen charity wouldn’t have had before.

So I have decided to combine the celebration of my “End of Treatment” party on the 1st June with a fundraising opportunity. So on the actual night I will be holding a raffle and will be collecting donations but my biggest fundraising tool is an online auction that I am running currently.  I have been asking friends, relatives, local and national companies for help with donating items that can be sold online.  I have been astounded by their generosity and have managed to get some fantastic items which can be found at: http://www.tiggertots.co.uk/auction

Information on the whole event and reasons why can be found here: http://www.tiggertots.co.uk

 

Ok my second fundraising event is a bit more regular!  I am taking part in Race for Life at Gloucester Park in Gloucester on Sunday 23rd June 2013.   I was lucky to be asked by Cancer Research if I would be willing to use my story to feature in an article about Race for Life so last week I was in the local papers!

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Anyone wishing to sponsor me please do 🙂 – http://www.justgiving.com/Amanda-Westlake1

Please help me in anyway that you can, it will mean such a lot 🙂 xx

 

Catch Up

I know I havent written anything for quite some time on here so I apologise for that, I have found the last few weeks have gone so fast it has been a blur and to be honest I dont really know if I am coming or going!

I am now three weeks clear of all of my treatments!  Wahoo!  <<does a little dance>> I finished my Radiotherapy on the 24th of April.  I have to say that I found the Radiotherapy to be a piece of cake compared to the chemo.  Yes its inconvenient going in every day especially at middle day, but the appointments were quick and on time.  No more waiting for hours in the depressing Oncology Waiting Room.  The staff and nurses were lovely, it felt like there was more interaction with them than before, but I think that was more to do with how I was feeling, I was more relaxed and didnt get nervous before the treatments like I did for my chemo.

Each session took around 10 mins, with the exception of the first couple which took longer as they were setting up and preparing me and describing what is going to happen.   I didnt find any of the Radiotherapy process scary, in fact I was almost captivated by the machines and the way they move around you and the technology is amazing!

I found myself quite often escaping to another place in my head and would actually almost doze off at times, even the nurses commented on how relaxed I was.  There is no point in getting worked up, there is nothing to worry about and it just makes it uncomfortable if you are tense as the position you have to lie in isnt the most natural feeling in the world 🙂

I found walking out of the hospital on my last day quite emotional, I had been told that quite often people find it scary when you finish as there is no structure with appointments and being around health professionals so much.  I must admit I poo pooed this, but have to admit it is real.. I walked out of there thinking…. what do I do now…..  For a brief moment I felt quite lost.

Luckily I am a positive thinker and also keep myself busy with lots of things, such as getting back to work, organising a fundraising “End of Celebration” Party, being part of the committee for Gloucestershire Pride and so on….. I think sometimes I take on too much, but other times I just love it!

I have found I have good days and bad days emotionally, mostly good but when I get tired I get quite down as I feel frustrated at not doing what I want to do. I have returned to work now, my first week was a 4 dayer and I did mornings only and that was ok.  I felt ok during the week but the weekend, wow I was hit for six!   I was as much use as a chocolate tea pot!  I had all these plans of tidying the flat so that I can get an estate agent round to get it valued.  I am really keen to move now, I am desperate for a place with a garden and have seen a place I fell for so am itching to get things into place but tidying my flat is my nemesis!

This is my second week back at work and I did my first full day yesterday and boy oh boy did I feel tired afterwards!  I had to man up and get my tired butt to choir, as I have joined a choir in Cheltenham that is part of the Everyman Theatre.  I am the only “true” newbie this term as everyone else has been going for some time now so clever me joins when they have a massive concert happening in July!  All 8 everyvoice choirs are joining on the main stage to perform songs and guess which choir pretty much sings every song…. yup mine!  So I have shit loads to learn and I am struggling so any tips from my actor chums on how to learn lyrics would be most gratefully received!

Links to the show: http://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/m-shows/ev-one-voice-everyvoice-concert/

Well that’s it for now I am going to write a post about my End of Celebration Fundraiser.  🙂  Ta ra xx

A date with a Linear Accelerator

Well my radiotherapy treatment has started, so far I have had two sessions. I started on Thursday 4th April and it went well. There was only a 10 minute delay from my appointment time, which was a HUGE bonus compared to waiting for chemo. Mum came with me which was nice as I hadn’t asked anyone to come with me as I was told it was a lot quicker and easier than chemo and as it happens every day Mon-Fri I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

I was called through and taken to Room 11. As I walked in, I saw this massive machine that just looked like a massive Kenwood mixer! I said that to the nurse and he laughed and said it gets called a lot of things and not all of them are polite 🙂

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He talked me through the process that I would go through, so it was basically strip to the waist, lie on the bed, position my arms above my head into the holders, they would then draw marks on my body where they put the small tattoo dots. Then they would line me up with the laser markers, the nurses would do this and I had to try not to help them, and once this was done then I had to stay as still as possible until the end of treatment.

He advised that I should buy some aqueous cream and to keep moisturising the area as I may end up with some form of burns/sore patches. He said people who use the cream regularly tend to heal much quicker. He said they used to give it to patients but with cut back they couldn’t do that anymore.

So it was time to get going, so I had to strip off and lie on the bed. They then raise the bed right up to about 5ft off the ground. Putting my arms up into the holders felt a bit weird but I settled quickly, they then drew on me and lined me up against the laser markers. A bit of prodding and pushing and I was lined up correctly. They advised me that I would have some photos done first then the treatment would start. They showed me which part of the machine was the photography unit and which part did the treatment and they advised when the radiotherapy was being given I would hear a buzzing.

They then left the room and as they leave they hit a button which starts the machine.

Next the machine moves and various parts move above and around you, I recognised them as the camera so was trying not to move but also see what’s going on at the same time 🙂

Next the main round part of the machine moved above me and its hard to explain but there are all these moving parts inside it that move about to form a hole the shape of the area it needs to target the it buzzes and then the shape changes, it buzzes and it keeps moving and changing shape. I found it fascinating to be honest.

I couldn’t feel a thing, which felt bait strange especially as my boobs were covered by a piece of paper towel and I kept thinking how does it not burn the paper lol.

After a while I started to get a cramp in my right shoulder blade, it was hard not to move as it got quite uncomfortable.

After about 15-20 minutes (I think) they finished and basically it’s get up and go!

I felt fine, I was relieved that it was a stressors treatment, no pain or needles as I have to admit I’m pretty scared of having needles stuck into me at the moment.

I had to go back on Friday and although I had a 40 minute wait to get treatment it still felt like a diddle compared to chemo. The treatment took a bit longer as this time they had to keep coming in and putting these marker things on me between each does. This was fine but I got an itch on my nose and it was driving me crazy but I couldn’t move 🙂

After a while it was over and I had a good rub of my face and made the nurses laugh as they’d noticed me twitching my nose 🙂

So that was my first two treatments… 13 more to go and so far it’s been pain free. I seem to have a big dip a few hours after treatment and get really really tired, they warned me about this and they say it will get worse the more treatments I have.

Well that’s it for now xx

Chemo is no more!

Well at long last I can say my chemo treatments are over! Whoopie doooo!! If I wasn’t feeling a bit sick from the treatment, I would be doing jumps and dances around my flat! But I am having a bit of a yucky day and have hardly left the sofa all day!

So to clarify I had my last treatment on Friday, it didn’t go to badly, they had a lot of problems getting the bloods, my veins would disappear as soon as the needles came out, so after various poking and pricking and 3 nurses having a go, they finally got there and luckily decided to put a cannula in so that I didn’t have to go through it all again when I went for treatment. That was such a relief I can tell you!

I guess because I was so worried that they would say my white cell count wasn’t high enough, I was pretty wound up and had a headache and was nervous so when I finally got called in for treatment I was feeling pretty nauseous and as soon as the anti sickness drug was being put in, I was instantly sick. It didn’t help that they had forgotten to give me the big anti sickness drug an hour before treatment so they had given it to me as I came in, so of course I lost that too.

Once I had calmed down, the treatment continued without a hitch and I could go. I felt quite emotional leaving, I thanked the nurses and legged it as felt like crying!

Well all I could think if was whooopie no more cannulas etc…… Hmmmm how wrong was I lol!

(Sorry it’s taken me a while to write this as just writing about my treatment made me feel very sick so I kept having to stop as I started writing this on the Monday after treatment)

So that’s the last of my chemo 🙂 wahoo!!!

Fec’d Right Off

So today was meant to be my last chemo session, but as I said in my last two posts I was worried that my white cell count wouldn’t be high enough and I was right to be worried. They were not high enough and they wouldn’t let me have treatment.

So I have to wait till next week now and that also means my radiotherapy dates will go back too.

I have had a little cry and was pretty pissed off but am calming down now, I can’t do anything about it, just have to hope I am ok for next week.

So no special celebratory sandwiches for next week, I made special sandwiches for mum and I to mark the occasion as mum has been to every chemo treatment I have had. I wanted this one to be special so packed a monster lunch with a monster sandwich with ham, cheese, turkey, mayo, tomato, cheese and pulled ham spread etc I was going for one of those American style mega sandwiches lol. Oh well it can be a special sandwich for International Women’s Day now lol xx

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chemo No 5

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chemo No 5

One, two , three four, five
everybody in the car so come on let’s ride
To the hospital around the corner,
the boys say they want some gin and juice
but I really don’t wanna
Chemobrain like I had last week
I must stay deep ’cause talk is a cheap
I’d like to get this over and be much neater
and as I continue you know they’re gettin’ sweeter
so what can I do I really beg you my Lord
to me fighting this it’s just like a sport
anything fly it’s all good let me dump it
please set in the trumpet

Sorry I couldn’t resist this! Today is my fifth chemo and after this I have one more chemo session and I am dreading today, I feel sick just thinking about it but I’m so close to the end, that I have to just grit my teeth and fight it.

So lets hope today isn’t going to be a long draggy day! Xx