Saturday, 26 January 2013

A smack of realism - and a dose of tears.

The last week or so has been up and down in so many ways. The weekend was full of friends and laughter but I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open. However I muddled through and cooked dinner for 7 of us on Sunday. On Sunday night I ached so much and my PICC line was giving me problems, I kept taking my temperature - as instructed, and hoped it wouldn't go over 37.5. (Apparently that's when I have to go straight to AAU)  In the end after Hubby nagging I phoned the Primrose unit and was told to go in. If you remember the snow outside was thick and continuous. I weighed up the odds, and against better judgement decided that I would go to bed, take some pain killers and take my temperature every 4 hours. Next morning the hospital rang and told me I had to go in. I made light of it to Hubby who whizzed me in straight to the Primrose unit. My lovely Chemo nurse Helen, took one look at my arm cleaned me up, flushed it through and took some blood - just in case. She then told us we would have to wait an hour for the results - and if positive which she very much doubted I would have to have a scan for Deep Vein Thrombosis this was at 10.30. After a hour the result wasn't in so we waited another 20 minutes before deciding that we would go home as we were sure the result would be fine. Thirty minutes later we were on our way back to the hospital where Andrew dropped me off as the result was positive. I was asked to make my way to the day ward as a scan had been arranged to check where the clot was in my line.  At 5.40 after being told that a scan could not been arranged for that day I was given some Tinzaparin ( blood clotting injections that had to be self administered into my stomach) and discharged.  Andrew picked me back up and on the way home I began to cry and this continued for a couple of hours. I cried on the kids, I cried on the cat, I cried whilst cooking dinner and I cried through eating it. In fact I cried so much I had forgotten what I started crying about in the first place. I couldn't pull myself together, I felt rubbish and if anyone else pulled me about, stabbed me with a needle, or put me through any more pain. I was going to tell them - rather unpleasantly - to leave me alone.  I ached all over, my throat was sore and I was angry, and I couldn't pull myself together. Then on Tuesday I couldn't even be bothered to get out of the bed or answer the phone. Friends text me to see if I was okay, I couldn't be bothered to get off the sofa and reply. In the end after a morning of feeling sorry for myself I managed to get myself in the bath - obviously with my arm wrapped in cling film. Get dressed and do a few things around the house. Kicking myself up the backside was such a major issue, as I just had no energy, ached all over and couldn't even be bothered to eat. Then that afternoon a call came through to say that my CT scan for my chest and abdominal, and my bone and vital organ scan results had come back. They were all normal,  the cancer hadn't spread, in fact as I write this - Drum roll please -  I am cancer free. This time I didn't cry alone hubby cried with me, with relief, with happiness and with the belief that we had a future together and that future was beautiful and bright.

Yet that night when hubby lined all my tablets up and told me I had to inject myself again with the Tinzaparin, I began to cry again. I had bruises on my stomach from the one I had administered the night before and it really hurt. I'd turned into a small child and begged Andrew to do it quick and not hurt me. My God what had become of me!
That night in bed I had to change my pyjamas twice as I woke up soaking wet from sweat. However, the next morning, I got up and felt more normal. I took myself back to the hospital and had a ultrasound scan for the DVT. Now not wanting to sound like a miserable old cow, even the prod of the scanner hurt as the radiologist scanned the PICC line, my armpit, and above my heart. He then proceeded to do my right ride, as you know this is the side that I had the mastectomy on. So prodding and poking under my arm made me cry - again. The nurse that was cleaning the gel off my body, helped me off the bed and gave me a cuddle.   She sent me to the day ward again, where I spoke to a very nice Doctor, who cheered me up immensely - I was okay, there was no DVT the results were good.  I just needed to get my dressing changed again and more importantly I didn't need to administer any more of the Tinzaparin.
Back at the Primrose ward one of the nurses changed my dressing and another nurse came up and asked me how I was getting on, I told her about the tears and  how pants I felt in general, how I had tried to stay strong and couldn't. They both laughed and told me it was perfectly normal and not to be so hard on myself  as I had been through a long process.
The nurse that was changing my dressing, knelt down and congratulated me on coping so well!!! I then learnt that she had been diagnosed as terminal with some little known condition. I asked her to tell me all about it. She confessed that she  had not spoken to anyone regardless of the fact that she was diagnosed two weeks previous. She was 36 years old, had two children aged 6 and 8 and was a single parent. We talked for a while and I was quite frank. I told her about Andrew's Dad and how he had come through 2 lots of different cancer in one year, I then told her about Andrew's uncle who was given 12 months to live 6 months ago, yet in the middle of his chemo his doctor was telling him that he could now book his holiday for next year. Most of all I told her about hope. How so much was being done these days to prolong peoples lives. How she needed to talk to people become armed with all the facts and results then decide what she wanted to do. Lastly I told her how she needed to give herself a pat on the back for coping so well.
 Later that morning I left the Primrose unit with fresh lipstick applied and a different mind set - with not a tear in sight and I haven't cried since. That afternoon I kept an appointment at a venue ( that I nearly cancelled) to be told I had won a contract to head up all their Wedding Fayres . Even though I still didn't feel 100% the next day I went back to work.

Since Wednesday, I have felt good, as a bonus I haven't had to shave my legs or my armpits, as no more hair is growing and even though my eyebrows and eyelashes are beginning to thin already, I remain positive. Next week when it is my sister's 50th birthday party I will probably have to wear one of my wigs - but that' s next week. This week I survived. There is nothing like a great big dose of realism smacking you in the face to make you put your lipstick on, put your shoulders back and get right back on with living.

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