Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FEC #4 and a rant

Had my 4th and final FEC today. As I said yesterday, my bloods were a bit low, so I arrived at 9am for another blood test and had to hang around for the results of that. The neutrophil count hadn't changed (still 0.9) but my overall white cell count had, so the oncologist approved me getting my chemo. This is good - we don't want any more delays that we have to!! But then he had to prescribe it and wait for the pharmacy to prepare and deliver it, so I didn't get my treatment delivered until 1pm, so 4 hours of hanging about. I was feeling tired before chemo, nodding off in the waiting room, probably because I've had a few early mornings and late nights!!

But all done within the hour. The nurse tried and failed once with the canula in the back of the hand so I have a small bruise in the main vein, but she got in on the vein just above the knuckle of the forefinger, so that was OK. Arm doesn't seem to hurt too much, so lets hope I don't get any ache. Also had a chat with another lady in the clinic, who was having her 16th (out of 18) Herceptin. It is delivered via a drip, every 3 weeks, so I will be visiting this clinic for another year yet for that! I have always shied away from talking to other patients - can't really explain why - but it was actually nice to have short chat with her and know that you don't have to explain everything. She knows. She said she has a CT scan to do due to some hip problems (once diagnosed, you become aware of every ache and pain and can't help but wonder if it is a secondary cancer - most hospitals will take this seriously and give you scans to get things checked out, so it isn't just paranoia), and reconstruction, so even though her Herceptin is nearly done, it isn't over for her yet, by a long shot. Couldn't help look at her boobs (obviously, clothed!!) and thought her prosthesis was excellent. I couldn't tell if she'd had a full mastectomy or a lumpectomy!

I slept a bit this afternoon - probably had 1.5 hours with Mary Poppins on the telly, until Greg came home from work - and have felt mildly nauseous and headachy, but nothing a couple of paracetamol doesn't sort out. Certainly well enough for us to take a jaunt to the 24 hour Tesco in Chepstow to buy some beer to take to tomorrow night's party!! (not for me to drink, I hasten to add!). It was something to do on a bad TV night!!

So, tomorrows task is to sort out our fancy dress outfits, and to wait for the District Nurse who will come sometime after 2pm and give me the Neulasta injection.


Various additional things to add this time, that I forgot to mention yesterday:

#1: You may remember I mentioned another lady, and her 'mastectomy was a doddle' post that caused a bit of a furore on one of the online forums I chat on? This lady is 35, has had chemo (to reduce size of tumour) and then a mastectomy and has inflammatory breast cancer. She started getting migraines after her surgery. It turns out she has brain metastasis and has been given a prognosis of 1-5 years. She is having radiotherapy to try to help. I am so, so, so sad. I generally stay away from discussions about further cancers, as I don't want to scare myself (one step at a time, eh?), but she was someone I identified with. Please don't think her diagnosis has frightened me - it hasn't. She has a different kind of cancer to mine (mine is invasive ductal, not inflammatory - inflammatory is worse), I am just so sad for her. She is going to fight and to enjoy every day she has, so she won't be giving up just yet!! Good for her!

#2: Also referring back to the 'In denial' thread, the lady who particularly got my back up is still doing it, although none of it is aimed directly at me. Her general posts annoy me (I don't reply, it's not worth the argument and I don't want to upset her further). Firstly, I really do feel for her, as she is in a dark place right now, but I do not understand her. Here is one of her posts:

"I still wish I'd never had treatment and if I had to do it all again I would ignore the symptoms and meet death earlier rather than this awful, protracted waiting for the axe to fall. Life is not the same - I thought I'd get through it all and back to normal but it isnt so at all.

I would never encourage anyone to get treatment. This gets worse the longer I live with it. I wish I had never got treatment. They should warn you, I feel it's better to be scared and make informed choices about treatment rather than pushed into living because your family want to see you live at any price, even if you are not or never can feel like yourself.

My apologies to anyone who feels differently - for me it just gets worse."

I don't believe she has secondaries or a recurrence, but she is living in fear that she will get them. I am very sad that she feels that way, and I know she is not the only one. But I also know there are plenty of people out there who do not feel like this.

The thing she posts that annoy me, is stuff like the following:

"This may sound odd though and I hope it doesn't but I've noticed that those women who are really upset in the beginning seem to do better in the long run."

She has the view that those of us not upset about everything early on will come crashing down harder, later - because she did. That we are pretending to be strong, like she pretended. That we're not facing up to things soon enough and asking for support when it is there, like she wished she had. I just don't like that she is posting that kind of stuff to those who have been newly diagnosed. Be supportive where they are scared, but this feels like the wrong kind of support to me. I am leaving well alone, and having my rant here instead!!

And seriously, I am not all that upset to have lost a boob (I accept others are/would be), I am dealing with that fine. I am not upset to lose my hair, it will grow back. I am not upset about the chemo, I have been lucky and stayed well and it is just an inconvenience (so far, I know it may get harder). I do worry about the future and I am sad that this has happened, I do cry, but I do not obsess about it or think the worst. I have faith (and am more grateful than I can express) that we are doing everything we can about this, that I have amazing support from the hospital and my family and friends, and what will be will be. In the meantime, life goes on.

#3: A friend noted in a Christmas card (and I don't know if you are reading, hello if you are!!), that they had another baby last year but hadn't wanted to say. I do want to say again, that hearing of other people having babies, being pregnant, anything baby related - does not need to be hidden from me. I am happy for you and your babies, truly, truly thrilled. I WANT to share in your joy. Not jealous or upset or anything negative.

I can also cope with the news of other people with cancer (or other illnesses) and empathise and understand, without feeling scared for me. They are them, they are not me. It's shit, but it is shit for them, and my shit is shit for me. Its not the same experience, even if the word cancer is a commonality. Does that make sense???

I want you to be able to share stuff with me just the same as you always would. I can still listen. This blog may be all about me, me, me, but the rest of my life isn't!! :-)

Rant over. xxx

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From Christmas to New Year

Well, Christmas is done, and thank you so much to everyone who sent me cards, notes and of course, lovely gifts.

I've been a very lucky girl and had a nice briefcase/laptop case and a new iPhone case from Greg, lots of alcohol, some DVDs, a lovely handbag and lots of other bits and pieces. Thank you all.

Christmas itself was quite relaxed. G's parents shared it with us, so we got up leisurely, had bacon sandwiches for brekkie, a visit from Luke - and a huge thanks to his mum for making me another chocolate roulade - opened presents, a salad lunch, and later, our venison dinner. G was a bit stressed about the cooking as he wasn't feeling 100%, but it was still lovely, even without the red wine reduction or any alternative gravy!!

On Boxing Day we took advantage of the quiet roads and went for a drive. Just a small one... (see here for the route: Google MyMaps)!!

Today, I had my pre-chemo clinic and was surprised to find my bloods are low!!! 0.9 on the scale, and I need to be a 1 at least. I am really shocked as I feel fine, not low or tired at all (in fact, have been awake since 5.20am this morning!). So, I have to be re-tested tomorrow to see if they have gone up, and if not, no chemo for another week. I really don't want to prolong this any longer than necessary, so keep it all crossed for me, eh?

If I do get my chemo tomorrow (or next week), they have decided to give me an injection of neulasta, which boosts your white cells. This is given 24 hours after the chemo, by the district nurse, so I may be getting it on new years eve! The side effects can be flu-like aches and pains. Brilliant!!! Not. Let's hope I don't get them!!!

We are off to H&P's New Year's Eve party on Thursday, and I had already decided I wouldn't be drinking, and needing an extra jab means I definitely won't!! But I AM still going to the party, no stopping me there!! There will be too many lovely people I know there, and I would like to see them all.

And the snow came down here a short while ago, but doesn't seem to be lasting. G will be most disappointed. But I want to get to the hospital tomorrow and get this next session done and dusted. Halfway through the chemo then....

PS. Got my car back shortly after my previous blog entry!! They didn't bother cleaning it as the power washer froze up!!! Ha ha ha! I love my car, did I mention??? xxxx

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Busy Birthday week

Had a hectic few days last week, but it is starting to feel calmer now...

Thursday (day 14) - worked until 6.15pm, then G wanted to go to Cribbs Causeway, which we did. Due to having separate cars and needing them both in Monmouth next day, ended up going from Gloucester to Bristol, to Frampton (for some dinner in favourite pub), to Gloucester, to MOnmouth, so a longish day! Was slightly hyper and chatty, so didn't mind. Didn't feel tired/go to sleep until 1am, woke at 4.45am, not tired.

Friday (day 15) - went to Cardiff to do Xmas shopping - 5 hours, 3 trips to and from the car, 2 food & drink pit stops and £550 later, most of it is done. Not managed to get everything though. Car still not ready from the garage, should be monday or tuesday at the latest... Spent the evening wrapping presents. TBH, started to feel a bit tired/wobbly at about 3pm, but not enough to need to stop. Went to bed when G got back from his office Xmas party, about midnight.

Saturday (day 16) - had a list of things that need doing before sunday, but always knew they wouldn't get done... Woke at 8.15am by postman, back to bed for a short while, then up again to meet the Adams family in the Forest at 10am for Penny's day of birthday treats - ice skating, Santa's Grotto at Clearwell Caves and lunch at the pub.

It was worth it, as we had a really lovely day catching up with the Adams' and the Wilson-Hardinges! Feeling quite tired today, but well enough to watch the kids, play with Theo (who is a cutie) and Chloe (who has very rosy cheeks this week!) and, of course, Penny. Left at 5.30pm thinking i'd have a snooze, but haven't needed to so far.

Don't feel 100%, but it is tiredness, hungry and being stuffed (I know, contrary!), thirsty and not, woozyish without being sleepy... Very hard to describe. OK, but not.

Sunday - aged 37!! It sounds so old!!! (I know, everyone says that on their birthday!) - the Derbyshire contingent arrived at 11am as planned, and after a cuppa, we dragged them out for a walk at the RSPB place near Newport. Some miscommunication had happened in that Mat & Claire hadn't been told I'd booked a table at 4pm, and I hadn't been told that Claire needed to be back in Derby as she was going out at 7.30pm that night, but some hastily rearranged bookings and a bit of rushing about sorted that out, and a walk, mini picnic and dinner at Pizza Express ensued. It was great to see everyone, even if I was left feeling a bit rushed! I think part of it was just that I like to know how a day is going to pan out, and this one was chaotic. A bath and a glass of wine later and all was calm again.

And for the rest of this week - house is cleaned, bedding changed, cooking preparation has started, so everything is now under control. I am being a bit moody, so G is getting the brunt of that, poor love.

G's dad arrives today (Wednesday) and his mum tomorrow for a few days.

My car is STILL not ready for collection. I was told yesterday that the body work had been done, but it is now in queue to be cleaned... with 25 cars ahead of it! No guarantee that we will get it back before Christmas.

I told them that wasn't good enough as we are going out on Boxing Day with 5 adults (a small white lie, we are probably going out for a drive around the Brecons/Wales on Boxing Day or Sunday, with 4 adults, but I wanted to make a point!).

It has been added to the 'urgent' list, as I am sure there are lots of people wanting to travel in their own car for Christmas and not in rubbish Toyota Yaris's or Fiestas!!! They are having a meeting today and I'll apparently get a call back about progress, but I don't hold out much hope and am seriously pee'd off about it. They've clearly booked in more work than they have the people to work on it, so it is poor planning on their part.

Weather Report: just in case you wondered, we had a very light smattering of snow here on Sunday night, which then froze over, so it is icy/slippery but nothing is impassable, and all the main roads are clear. Not stranded like other parts of the country, or like we were here last February! I WANT MY CAR BACK BEFORE IT GETS WORSE!!!! GGGrrrr.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No MRI after all

Wednesday (day 6 of this chemo session) - a fraught day.

Ran out of fuel this morning on the way to work - I entirely blame the Yaris courtesy car as it does not make any noise when the fuel is low, it just randomly flashes the last block of digital colour in the fuel guage light. There is no dial, just a crappy digital display, so you don't really have any clue whether it just started flashing, or had been flashing for ages without you noticing. It's crap. I hate the car.

Luckily, G rescued me and I made it work on time, just, for the training we were having. Had training (all good), brief check of emails and nothing that needs doing, so that's good, then had to cut and run to get to the hospital for the MRI scan. Got there just in time, so finally found time to take a deep breath and start to relax. Was reading my book as I waited for my turn (the sign said they were running 30 mins late), when I heard my breast cancer nurse (Michelle)'s voice. Said hello, and took the opportunity to ask if she could find out WHAT they were going to scan and WHY. Adrenal glands, apparently... why? They are linked to oestrogen production... However, she was also a bit unsure about it, so bless her, called the oncologist to ask for more information. And he changed his mind! So he doesn't want an MRI scan at all, is happy that we have clear bone and CT scans, and just wants to continue with the treatment as it is!!

She apologised profusely for having wasted my time and any anxiety I may have had running up to this, as she is well aware many people on chemo feel so tired so all this haring about isn't helpful! I am fine, so just feel like I got a couple of hours back from a fraught day, so it could have been worse!

I think we have to take from this that Dr Iqbal was not fully up to speed on me or what he needed for my case when he initially ordered the scan, and has since decided he has enough information for now. I don't think it is a bad thing, and I'd rather save the NHS's money if it isn't going to add anything new.

As for side effects this week, I have felt normal again. Not too tired, still OK to drive (although I cannot wait to get rid of this poxy Yaris and get my proper car back. Friday, I am told. It better bluddy had be!!!!!).

Off to the doctors now to get my Zoladex injection. Does it ever stop?

PS. I still haven't bought hardly any Christmas presents, but if you're getting a card, you'll have it by now (close family excepted!)!!! lol xxxx

Saturday, December 12, 2009

FEC #3

Treatment yesterday went well. Nurse seemed a bit 'tentative' when inserting the needle, but she tried one on the side of my wrist instead of the back of my hand, which probably gave my 'usual' vein a bit of a rest. I mentioned that my arm had hurt (like a bruise, a bit tender) after last time, so she flushed with the saline drip more than last time and it seems OK so far.

Had a little snooze in the afternoon while watching a DVD of Love Actually - I do love a nice sentimental film every now and then!!

Tis now Saturday afternoon - woke at 7.15am (courtesy of Olive looking for cuddles), and read/surfed for a few hours, then got up and tidied and did my nails. Am now waiting for G to get in the shower and we're planning on popping down to Exeter to see his dad before Christmas.

So far feel absolutely fine, as usual, so although I am prepared for tiredness (do I take steroids for more than 3 days, I wonder?) I should be OK otherwise. Will update this thread with any further symptoms, as I like to keep a log or i'll forget.

Asked for the result of my MUGA heart scan, and the result was apparently 60%. This is a measure of the blood going through the left ventricle, I believe, and was told that is slap bang in the middle of the 'normal' range. Hopefully, that means I can have my 4th FEC and my herceptin, so all should be fine.

Got another letter yesterday regarding my appointment for an MRI scan - it has been moved to Abergavenny (Nevil Hall) on the same date and time, and this time they remembered to include the checklist on the back (it was missing on the first appointment letter!).

And had my swine flu jab on Thursday - I have to have two, as an immuno-suppressed person, so the first one is done (just feels like a sore arm/bruise on my shoulder) and the second will be done just before my next chemo.

Monday (day 4) - bad constipation again! Didn't take the lactulose over the weekend and paid the price this morning. Ouch. Next time, small doses on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Otherwise, was awake by 5am and apart from a little doze while my tummy was aching, I have been on the go all day. House is decorated, a few more Christmas presents bought (the rest get done on Friday and next Monday), and I have made enquiries at Severn & Wye Smokery to see if we can get some venison for Christmas dinner. I am expecting a call to confirm tomorrow....

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Occupational Health meeting

Today, I had a meeting with my employers Occupational Health nurse. She was very nice, and just wanted to have a chat about what was happening with me, what treatments I would be getting, and try to assess what time off I should have and what work I should do.

She has advised that I take the Monday off after each Friday chemo, and possibly the Tuesday as well if I need it, plus hospital appointments and this is more or less what I was planning on doing anyway. My team have already arranged my work to keep me away from germ-ridden students as much as possible, and taken me off all rotas so that they don't have to rely on me!! I don't do any heavy lifting, and anyway, my arm is back and fully fit again (although numb under the arm, so I do have to be careful not to damage it and not notice cos I don't feel it!).

She also warned me that my hair may fall out while undergoing chemotherapy... !!!! I honestly think she wasn't just humouring me, as she genuinely looked shocked and slightly embarrassed when I told her it was already gone!!! She didn't realise it happened so quickly. I am wearing my wig today, so it can't be too bad, can it, what with J's daughter offering to curl it for me last week too!!!!

On the less positive side, I did go into work this morning looking like a puffy-eyed monster. I had a moment last night where I felt very sad, down and angry at everything, particularly the having to wait until I am probably 40 to even start to see if I can get pregnant again. Had a bit of a cry just after I went up to bed, and I went downstairs again to get cuddles from G and we had a cry together. It's just crap. I am telling this here, so you see that I am not impossibly strong at every moment, I do cry, I am sad, I am angry and frustrated. I do ask for help (cuddles, particularly) when I need them. But at the same time, I know that I just have to press on and hope for the best, and try to maintain a level of normality.

I think the week running up to chemo is always going to be the worst for me. It reminds you of what you are going through and there is always a level of dread of what the effect of the treatment will be like this week. Saying that, I still know and am ever, ever thankful that I have had so very few side effects, but part of me wonders whether 'this time' will be when it hits me, so I never take it for granted that I will stay so well throughout.

I won't even tell you about having forgotten to take my purse with me today, getting the courtesy car clamped (my fault, double yellows on campus), and nearly running out of fuel....

Just wish me luck for my swine flu jab in just over an hour's time!! xxx

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

My 'Year' just got a bit longer

Hmmm, it seems my hopes of the title of this blog being an over-estimation may not come true.

Saw the oncologist today for my usual pre-chemo checks. Bloods are all good, as expected and my cough is more or less over, so those things are great.

However, he has now had a proper good look at my records and is recommending that I have 4 sessions of FEC and 4 sessions of Taxotere. So that's another 2 sessions and 6 weeks added to my treatments. Bummer. I am pissed off, but accepting that we have to do everything we can to try and kick the arse of this cancer. I have to admit that the fact he thinks it needs it, does scare me too. I don't think I have fully realised quite how aggressive this cancer really is and it is just starting to sink in. The reasons he gave are that his recommendation is largely based on how many lymph nodes had cancerous cells in them: 20 out of the 23 removed, including the one furthest away.

Earlier this week, I also received an appointment for an MRI scan on 16th December. I wasn't expecting it, so I asked why that had been ordered. Frustratingly, he couldn't recall why he had but it was on the system under his name but without the notes he says he usually puts on them. He said he does usually order them 'as a caution' and 'to clear any doubt' - presumably doubt about this being the right course of treatment.

I also could not get the results of my MUGA heart scan as the online system crashed again while I was there. This happened last time too!!! Is it me??? He wasn't quite so distracted by it this time, though! He said to ask again on Friday, when hopefully the system will be back up again. I think I said before, I am not too worried about that, as I think my heart is fine. Apparently, if it is on the weaker side, he will stick with only 3 sessions of FEC as FEC is more likely to have an effect on the heart - but either way, it will still be 4 x Taxotere. On the plus side, if I have 4 x FEC, at least I know how I am likely to feel on New Year's Eve and that I'll be OK going to H&P's party!!! Otherwise, I was due to have Tax on the 30th Dec, and that could have given me a bad effect and ruined my partying!!! ha ha ha!

I also asked about why have I been recommended for 10 years of Tamoxifen, as it seems uncommon. He said that he has prescribed it for 18 years before, but that was by the by!! He actually thinks I should stay on the Zoladex to suppress the hormones and that will give me options on what other drugs to have instead of Tamoxifen - but that we would discuss all of that at a later time. One step at a time.

We also got into a discussion about when/if I might be able to consider trying to get pregnant again. I completely accept that isn't going to happen for the whole of 2010, but would just like to have an idea of how far ahead we are really looking. I didn't ask about this, but the conversation went there anyway. He thinks I should wait for 2-3 years from diagnosis before trying, as the chances of recurrence are at their highest during this time. I have read this elsewhere, so I am not surprised - BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE 40 BEFORE I TRY AGAIN!!!! This is the thing I was most afraid of at the start. . He absolutely assured me that he is 100% behind trying to retain my fertility and give me every chance, but it is not a straightforward path. He said decisions in this matter would be taken in conjunction with all the relevant specialists, and that he had already fought my corner on this (before I met him) in discussions about treatments. He was as reassuring as he could be, but I am still not happy. Gggrrrrrr...

And I also asked about when I might be able to consider a reconstruction - after herceptin, apparently, which I worked out today will take just over a year to be delivered (18 injections at 3 weekly intervals). That starts when Taxotere starts, which obviously has now been put back by 3 weeks, to the end of January 2010.

Student Sophie was with me again, so we sat and chatted after I had my bloods taken and before seeing Dr Iqbal, and she sat in with my appointment with him. He was very happy that she was there, so obviously feels that this way of training med students is a worthwhile one. He gave her full access to my records - Sophie, if you see anything I don't know and ought to, send me a text!!!! I want to know!! The project they are doing means they have to keep a diary of their time with their patient, and then choose an aspect of the experience to focus an essay on. She said she is going to do her final report on the fertility aspects, which sounds sensible to me.

Finally, Mr Iqbal said to let him know if my periods don't stop because he needs them to stop. I guess, needs me to stop producing oestrogen. I thought a 2nd period had started a few days ago, but it appears just to be spotting, so it does look like things are drying up in that department....

So, A Year in my Life? It will be more than a year of treatments, and it is something I am always going to be looking over my shoulder for. I have to learn to live with this now, and wouldn't want to 'forget' in any case. Hhmmmm, feels all a bit shit this evening.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Finally got around to uploading the photos that G took of my extreme hair cut. Click on the link below to see them in a slideshow:

Extreme Haircut Slideshow

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas starts here!!

It is saturday morning and this week Christmas has officially begun.

Last night was our work team's Christmas meal. We went to Zizzi's in Cheltenham, which is housed in an old church and has been very sympathetically converted. It was a nice meal - more about the company and spirit than the food (after all, pizza is pizza is pizza!). Thanks to J for asking me to her house to get ready first, and to her 15 year old daughter for wondering if I wanted my hair curled and saying I was cute!!! I left most of the team after the meal to go on for further drinks, but was glad I left when I did simply as I was feeling a bit tired and it was an hour's drive home in the dark and rain, with strange drivers ahead who put their indicators on every time they tried to put their full beam on or off!! But I was impressed with myself when I had managed to parallel park my huge car while it was full of people, first time, perfectly!!! G reckons that will only happen when it is damaged and psychologically I am not so worried. As soon as it is fixed, I will become incapable again!!!!

On Thursday, I started with a few bits of Christmas shopping and met up with my old AC (workplace) pals for lunch (helloooo C, C & E!!), and today we are off to get the Christmas tree from the reindeer farm up the road (near Llanishen) - last year they were giving away mulled wine and sausages on sticks while you bought your tree, and you could pet the deer. This year we're hoping to buy some venison for Christmas day dinner!!! I will also get the decorations out and dress the house up. It may be too soon, but I am unlikely to feel like doing it next weekend!

I have been further debating the denial thing on an online forum (I continued the debate on a non-cancer forum as I didn't further want to stoke any fires amongst those suffering), and another matter has arisen... I am being seen as unique/brave/different and an 'inspiration' because of how I am coping with this disease.

Can I make it clear (again) that I am not being brave, I am not 'flying a flag' for cancer sufferers or doing anything to keep up appearances in any way. Just because I am going through stuff does not diminish anyone elses stresses or worries or life events, and please don't ever think it does. I am starting to feel a little uncomfortable with feeling responsible for other people thinking they should be coping with their stuff 'better' just because of how I am right now. Each problem is still a problem, still something hard for each person concerned, still valid to be upset about and deal with in your own way. I am just a certain type of personality that 'gets on with' stuff, that's me. It may not be you. Don't feel you have to be me and are any less of a person because you are not. I love YOU for exactly who YOU are, so don't change!!!!

I still occasionally cry about everything that has happened, I have my moments which I may sometimes forget to mention on here, I am not fearless. I just cope by not focussing as much on the down times, and getting on with the good stuff as much as I can.

And on that note, I am off to watch some catch up TV on iPlayer while G snores beside me, bless him. xxxx

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In Denial?

Tuesday (Day 12) - G took another day off to fully recover from his cold/flu, though he is looking better today than yesterday.

My cough is still there. I sound husky (40 a day smoker kinda sound), and have done for a few days. My team at work and G were a bit worried so I thought I would call the chemo centre to see if I should be worried, and they asked me to go to the hospital to have my bloods and chest checked. Skipped out of work to do so (nothing urgent needed doing, so it was a 'good' day for it!!) and my bloods were ok: found out that they check your neutrophil (white cell) count and mine was 1.9. Between 2 and 7 is 'normal', under 1 is a cause for concern, so seeing as I am only half way through chemo #2, 1.9 isn't too bad. Doc has given me another course of antibiotics to try and shake it off - amoxycillin this time.

Today, I have been debating on an online forum about positivity - some people see it as denial, which will hit us sooner or later. Some are offended by posts about positive experiences. I see my positive posts not as insults to those who haven't been so fortunate, but as hope to those starting this journey that it might not all be horrific. Maybe I will get some bad reaction, particularly when the Taxotere starts, but maybe I won't. We will wait and see and take nothing for granted. Be grateful for small mercies.

This lady started the debate off by posting that her mastectomy had been a 'doddle' (possibly not the word I would have used, but she was essentially saying it was a lot less painful than she thought it would be): - a lot of her posts remind me of me!! But it does make me think that Taxotere (docetaxel) is going to be a lot tougher... that starts on 30th December.