Gamma Knife an option?

Friday morning Bear and I went to London to see the consultant regarding gamma knife. I’ve been there before and in typical St Bart’s style my MRI images had not been received. We did however see the consultant who I really like. He, much like the rest of the medical profession, seemed to be in a rush and we were ushered out within five minutes after waiting for nearly two hours and travelling two hours to get there!?

Luckily I had the written summary of my brain scans on my phone. He seemed happy that there had been substantial reduction and that there had not been any further tumours pop up and that I was no longer on steroids and didn’t show any symptoms. He said ‘they’ would discuss me at their next MDT then if I were to have gamma knife then it would be an early start, like I care?!

I got home and looked up emails I had been sent and noticed one from the secretary at the gamma knife centre. She had said there is an MDT on the first and third Monday of every month. That’s today! I hope they have sorted all my images out now and that was discussed today. I really want to have those tumours blasted! I am not loving the process involved, but then who does? Pete sent me the details of how it all works. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. Knowing exactly how they do it doesn’t fill me with joy!

I had an email this morning to say I will be informed when the consultant has made a decision. Okay……
Whilst in London we wandered down to St Paul’s cathedral to be met with road closures and many people on the side of the road… and the Queens car! Then we spotted her going into the cathedral! Eek! I saw the Queen! Haha…
This weekend we headed to the coast to visit my mum. We spoiled her rotten for Mothering Sunday. We took a long walk on the beach, spent time laughing and breathing in the fresh sea air. We made mum an afternoon tea en par with the Ritz, if not better!

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I had cupcakes made with MUM on them and a bag full of presents that I had made for her including a photo album of our memories in the past seven years. Sunday, we went for a lovely breakfast at a beach restaurant and then sadly had to say good bye. It’s never long enough….

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Back to the week ahead and there’s not much going on except the usual routine and exercise and more household clear outs. I am loving clearing out the house, although it still feels like every cupboard is bursting at the seams! We have way too much …stuff.

Mum helped me cast on yesterday so I am on my way to knitting another something special for someone special, although without my mum’s help, it could take a long while!
There’s a lot to look forward to in the next few months and time is flying. I am feeling good and hope it continues. My hair still looks odd with a bald patch but that’s the least of my worries. As is the red, itchy rash like thing on my chin and round my nose.

My blood results arrived today and it seems that my haemoglobin, platelets, red cells, and white cells, well almost everything, is low. Prof Harris says it isn’t anything diet, tablets or any treatment can change right now and it’s not bad enough for a transfusion to be required. I have sent a copy to Nesselhut for him to tell me what he thinks. Well if it’s all low I am not feeling out of breath or light headed, so that’s good.

Here’s hoping I hear from St Barts tomorrow about the gamma knife treatment. Fingers crossed….

Four days left…

I’ve had a lovely morning so far… I’ve done my morning rituals best I can whilst being away from home. Coffee enema, nebuliser, taken all meds and supps and more.

I am feeling pretty good. I am still avoiding green juices however the last few days I had an epiphany. In the place of juice I had been having bicarbonate of soda, lemon and olive oil water. Then one evening in St Tropez I felt overcome with nausea. Not very classy running to the toilets and throwing up!

Then I realised I bought a bottle of apple cider vinegar with me and had barely used it. Knowing the amazing benefits of Apple cider vinegar I have been having that with my meds and supps instead. So far so good. I don’t feel nauseas and I don’t have stomach upset… Maybe that’s what I needed. Apple cider vinegar is very alkalising and calming on the digestion.

I have continued however to have migraines. Now the neurotic part of me thinks, Oh God, could this be something more sinister. Then I think of all the triggers that could be setting them off and the list is extensive, caffeine, red wine, heat, sunshine, eye tiredness, stiff neck, lack of sleep, dairy products and more.. I can tick off all of those as possible factors to my head aches. So telling the neurotic me to back down then once I get home and realign my life then we shall see.

I made another batch of GcMAF yoghurt yesterday. Because of the heat here it’s process is complete much sooner than at home. This morning it looked like set yoghurt and smelt amazing. I am really loving this stuff. It’s in the fridge now and I will test it later with some berries.

Yesterday Pete and I decided to try something I had always wanted to do.. Paddle boarding. I was really nervous.. Lets face it I’m nervous about anything new. I wasn’t given any tips or assistance by the French guy renting out the boards and was pushed on my knees off into the sea.. Argh! It wasn’t great because he said be careful not to fall onto the rocks below! With that fact and the very wavy sea I was a bag of nerves. I whined and moaned as I tried to control the paddle board with my oar. Being panicky I failed to listen to Pete’s instructions and whilst drifting into a moored boat decided I would go back to shore. Poor old Pete was trying to help but I just didn’t get it. I watched a while from the shore then Pete came and got me. I had another go and this time I actually got up onto my feet and… Paddle boarded! Yay! However I wouldn’t say I was entirely happy. I really wanted to be able to jump off and on the board but because of the rocks was petrified…. Not ideal. I need a lake with no waves, tides or current. I need a shallow pool to jump off into….Where will I find that? I’m pleased I tried but now really want to master it.

This morning I had a message from a friend who has asked me to speak on a night her friend is hosting. She will be launching a calendar ‘inspirational women’ and wondered if I would like to say a few words. I will be announced as one of the inspiration speakers.. The calendar has been promoted on the Lorraine Kelly TV programme and Anne Diamond’s radio show. Gulp….. I know I should but I am such a wreck at speaking in front of anyone! I have been assured that it isn’t a big affair and my friend said I have a story to share…..

Thoughts have started to go back to home. I am already thinking about packing and the journey ahead of us. I have to say I am going to miss this place…it has been the longest three weeks of my life! It feels like so much has happened. When mum left on Tuesday it felt so quiet here. She was such a great support. I know I couldn’t have driven that beast of a car without her. She helped me clean, do washing and organise lots. (Yes I did cleaning and washing because I had friends arriving- a girl has to have standards you know!) it’s the first time I have spent two weeks away with her. It was lovely.

I am so pleased we invited many of our friends and family to stay. It would’ve been too big with just us here. It’s been so lovely having such happiness, laughter and joy surrounding us. There have been times when I felt frustrated and a bit lost but then spending all your time with people can be suffocating.. But how quickly that changes when they are gone.

So what now? I am going to really enjoy the next four days with my man. Next week is all planned and I aim to transition smoothly into my rituals back home. I hope to feel back to normal soon. I have a life coaching session booked for me to get focused and find my mojo again and in three weeks I will be a fully qualified health coach. Boy that year has flown by! My main aim is that I want to help other people have a better life…

I am looking forward to the autumn and the rest of the year ahead.

How is it looking for you?

Xx

What to report from my floating lilo?

It feel like it has been ages since I last blogged. I’m not ignoring everyone I am just simply having too much fun living and relaxing and being away from home and out of routine. I’m into my second week away and it already feels like I have been here an eternity. Friends have left and more friends and family have joined me.

Sadly Pete has gone home for five days. He has to work. I am so lucky to be able to be on holiday but it feels so weird that Pete is not here.

What is there to report?

I have been battling with my meds and supplements still. But think I am conquering my nausea by eating something with them. I have had a few days break from green juice.

Sleep is still really hard. The other night it was very very windy and it felt and sounded like the house was going to fall down. The heat is crazy here but I am soooo not complaining. It is now September and the sun is still shining and the heat is immense.

I wish I could sleep better but at least I do not have to anything much during the day. To be honest I could sleep all day if I wanted!

I am not writing this to make everyone jealous. This is a once in a life time for me. I have never stayed in one place for this long and it feels great. I will want to go home though. Just not yet.

I would like to feel healthier. I don’t like having stomach aches, head aches, nausea and more. A lot of how I feel is down to anxiety too I think. What have I got to. BE anxious about? Nothing really but old habits die hard.

Whilst here I am still doing my weekly module of the health coaching course. Funnily enough it has been focussing on the importance of sleep. Oh sleep… How I miss you. I miss cuddles with my Bear and I am counting down the days till he returns.

I have been getting really brave driving here and yesterday had the wing mirror replaced. For a short moment there it looked like it wasn’t going to happen but thankfully the lovely French mechanic sorted it for me. Phew. So now the car is as good as new but our credit card balance has been hit hard. Boo.

Today I am going to try and eat well, stay well hydrated and rest. I have been doing lengths of our little pool here. Although not as many as my friend. She did 140 lengths this morning!

Last night I had copies of letters emailed to me by Pete. They were letters from my oncologists sending update letters to my GP. It was quite nice to read that they think things could be going in the right direction but that my next scan in October will be one to confirm that.

Prof Harris also wrote to say that he couldn’t give me mebendazole but gives his consent for me to proceed and have that treatment if I can get it. He also said he doesn’t believe a PET scan will be any better than a CT scan but if that is what Professor Dalgliesh would like then he will happily organise that for me.

It seems that the oncologists are all very agreeable at the moment! I like it!

Lying here getting browner by the day ( I do love a tan) has given me time to think about the forthcoming months. There is a lot to look forward to. Social events, trips away, treatments and more. I am even going to a spa at a London hotel with my old school friend when I get back. Not that I need pampering.. But any excuse for a good old catch up and gossip.

I have emailed Professor Vogl informing him of my current status and asked his advice. He is also so quick to reply and his emails do make me laugh. They are so short but to the point. He is very keen to get me to go there and have a scan and then if I want and need have TACE immediately.

I am not sure about this as I am in Duderstadt the week after I return from France. I may try to tie in after my scan around October time if we can make time for it. I’m obviously hoping I don’t need to go there but I have to say I am quite intrigued about meeting the man himself.

So my iPad just overheated whilst I typed this outside. I have now taken my iPad out of the fridge to finish off!

I feel so grateful and so very lucky to have this life in every way. I am so very grateful that despite my annoying niggles of nausea, diarrhoea etc, that I actually do not have any canSer symptoms. I look up to the sky from the lilo I am floating on at the deep blue sky and think to myself, don’t ever let this end. This feeling of calm, happiness and serenity. Give me back my Bear and then I will be complete.

Xx

Side effects of il2.. where’s the paracetamol?

It was the first day of the injection yesterday. I collected my il2 injections as usual from St George’s. This time it was different. The lady that was giving them to me happened to ask a research nurse for some alcoholic wipes for me. The nurse objected to the lady giving me the injections as they had to be handed over by a qualified nurse. That led us to trekking across the hospital to the oncology ward to an unsuspecting nurse there that had no idea what to do. I asserted myself and said all you need to do is ensure I am that person stating on the package. Luckily I blagged it and get out of the sharpish. I am sure the research nurse meant well but come on… I have done it five times already!

I did the injection earlier than normal and started to feel the effects at about 8pm. I tanked up on paracetamol and then hoped I would sleep. I awoke about midnight and felt a bit iffy and waited a while before taking more paracetamol. I slept quite well and woke surrounded by fur; the cat and teddy bears that Pete had put in his place. It was lovely.

I dragged myself from bed and got on with my day as usual. I have a busy one today as we leave on Friday for a little road trip. We will be away a while on vacation in France. I am sort of looking forward to it but I find preparing everything a strain on my brain! And I am starting to worry about leaving the kitty behind.

I read up again on the side effects of il2 and why I feel like I do. It says that whilst taking it I could have lower blood cells than normal making me susceptible to infection. The ailments I feel such as aching, fever and generally crappy, are all perfectly normal. I also had a racing heart and on reading, notice that is also a side effect. I think like everything it is accumulating and the side effects come quicker and last longer. Prof D did say that I could reduce the dose myself but part of me thinks it must be working so stick with it.

What I would really like to do over the next few days is…nothing. I want to lie down and watch TV and then read some magazines. I know I will be able to do that soon but I don’t want to spend my holiday lying down the whole time. I like to be active and sight see.

I have been using the nebuliser today again with a combination of distilled water and bicarbonate of soda. It kind of tastes odd and sometimes takes my breath away but I want to keep going with it. In fact I am going to have another hit of it now to finish of today’s dose.

After Thursday I won’t be having any further injections for about a month, due to being away and timings. I feel a bit apprehensive but hope that some time away with family and friends will be enough medicine for me.

As we are driving I am taking everything that will benefit me such as my juicer, nebuliser, yoga mat and more. I hope it all fits in the car!

I can’t wait to spend time with my Bear… Happy thoughts. X

Results!!!

It’s been a few days and I didn’t mean to keep everyone in suspense. I attended my clinic appointment on Tuesday fully expecting to get my scan results from the scans I had done last week.

Pete met me there and we didn’t really get time to talk or be nervous as we were called in straight away-thankfully. Sadly Prof Harris wasn’t there so we saw Nicky Levitt, whom in the past wasn’t my favourite consultant. She seems very airy fairy and sometimes a bit aloof which isn’t helpful when asking questions. But I have seen her recently and actually quite like her. I get the feeling they are starting to understand me and she said things like, ‘Someone like you knows their body, so you know whether something is right or not.’ This surprised me.

Anyway back to getting the results. As per usual she wasn’t prepared; the computer wasn’t on and she had to wait, then search for my results then get the printer working… It wasn’t a biggy so I just sat patiently.

The news was fast and simple really.

The MRI of the brain showed further improvements in the tumours and no new ones. Woohoo! This is a relief. It’s hard to know if I am getting symptoms sometimes with the little flashing light I get in my eye but this really did fill me with hope.

The CT scan showed further reductions in the tumour in my hilar lymph region and all other lymph nodes are now under a centimetre in size! Yes!

All lung metastases have remained stable or reduced in size in fact several lower lobe lesions have resolved completely. The rest of the lungs good with no effusions or pleural thickening.
The adnexal lesion, which they said could have been cancer in my ovary, is no longer there! Boom!
The T8 and T9 lesions are still sclerotic therefore non responsive.

Overall; a bloody good outcome. Of course I never seem overly excited or astounded. I am and was, thrilled with the news but I always hope for more and wish if only it was a bit better. What is making it work? Can I make it work better?

I knew there had been a good response and some reductions in my lungs because Prof Vogl had already told me but I desperately want those gone in my lungs. Now I know I can hear Pete crying out, ‘Some of them have gone completely!’ and yes I am chuffed to bits but what about the lymph nodes and those few big ones! I want them gone. If I could get rid of the lymph node tumours then I could have laser surgery by Prof Dr Rolle in Germany. With them in my lymph the doctor refuses to do the surgery.

My immediate thought was that I must also go back to Frankfurt and have more TACE with Prof Vogl. It clearly works. I am still reticent to go and have more infusions with Dr Seibenhuner but never say never.
So my next move in this game is that Peter and I are back to Germany next week. I am going to see Dr Nesselhut for my usual NDV, Dc therapy and hyperthermia with IL2, but this time he is going to be adding another drug to it and I have asked all my doctors and they all say go for it. Dr Nesselhut said not to have any chemo in the meant time. It’s a leap of faith as I believe in combining treatments but in order for this to have a chance then I will listen to the Doctors advice. I am filled with excitement and fear as I don’t want things to go in reverse but I have a good feeling.

We said to Nicky, that we had been told by the doctor at St Barts when we were there in October, that when things looked stable and as long as there were no new ones that I could have gamma knife treatment on the tumours in my brain. Quite out of character, Nicky picked up the phone and requested my scans be sent digitally to St Barts. She said she would get a letter sent to them too and make a request for me to have gamma knife ASAP. Pete and I were quite taken aback. I am not sure how quick a response we will get, if any. But I will keep on the case with the secretaries and make sure I get seen. It would be amazing if I could get those brain mets gone!

We discussed the fact I had postponed/cancelled Eribulin. She said she had a hunch that it would be accepted by NICE in a few months as it’s too good to let go of. This would be good if I ever need it.
So that’s that… another result and another push forward to making things even better.

This week has gone really quickly and it’s sad that Mum goes home on Saturday. We have had fun shopping and today we had our nails done. She has also been teaching me to knit too. I think I am getting there although reading patterns is like reading a foreign language. But I already have a repetitive strain injury! Haha! My forearm is huge and swollen and I am in a lot of pain. Can you believe it? Hilarious….

Just a quickie!

Just a quick note to say I’m a bit behind! Loads happened yesterday – good and bad and today I’ve got more exciting things happening but it’s going to take a good long sit down typing session to get it all down!

Bear with me (literally!) it will be worth the wait….

For now I just want to thank all my wonderful friends, family and supporters for your kind words and unconditional love.

Be back soon! X

The Simple Things

For me life has always been confusing. Even more so when faced with a life and death situation. Day in day out one’s head and thoughts can drive you crazy. One minute being up and the next down. A constant emotional rollercoaster. In the last two months what I have noticed the most that makes me happy to be alive and for every minute I get to live on Gods’ great Earth are the ‘simple things’. Money, possesions and all the stuff we worry bout and long for daily are all irrelevant. All that matters is ‘love’ and even the smallest things bring the greatest happiness and satisfaction.

Anyone that knows Pete and I, know that we care for an 89 year old gentlemen who Pete befriended 20 years ago. Ray, doesn’t have any family or friends and lives alone so Pete has, all this time, been his confidante. We do his washing, shopping, organise his appointments and generally be his ‘family’. Yesterday we had Ray over for his favourite meal, omelette. It’s funny that something as simple as pottering around with him was so fulfilling. Takes my mind off ‘me’.

On returning from taking Ray home, we arrived to a package outside our front door. So beautifully wrapped. Inside it was full of thoughtful gifts for me and Pete and cards to both of us with love and happiness. We are both thrilled. Overwhelmed with happiness and  I can’t believe people are so kind. Throughout the past two years I simply have been astounded by the love and support from everyone we know and even some I don’t know.

The gift was from a client, a friend of mine. I haven’t known her for long but not only has she taken time, imagination, effort and love to make us happy she has even arranged a concert to raise money for the Sobell House Hospice and to raise awareness for Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Unbelievable! Thank you Sara.

I am of course very excited.. and here are all the details for anyone that would like to attend and party along with us. It’s going to be a small affair with only 120 seats available.

Friday 26th October at 7.45pm:

Meet the Beatles, one of the best Beatles tribute bands around. They came last October and proved to be very popular. Now they are embarking on another tour for charity.

See Meet the beatles perform such hits as Please Please me, Love Me Do, Help, Yellow Submarine, Hey Jude and many more. If you were, indeed are, a fan of the Fab Four then this fantastic show is a must for you!

The performance will be at 7.45pm on Friday 26th October at The Players Theatre, Nelson Street, Thame, OX9 2DP.

Tickets cost £12 with £2 off for concessions, and can be obtained from Tickets Anywhere, Greyhound Walk, Thame. Telephone 01844 217228.

 

Dontations will be collected on the night for the Sobell House Hospice.

Today the happiness continued as did the ‘simple things’. Pottering around the house, a visit to the Global Retreat centre and homemade vegan food. The Bear even made me a stand for my shrine for meditating, with his own hands (and didn’t get upset at ‘equipment failure’! smiley-smile.gif)

Life doesn’t get much better than this. Friends, family and little furry animals, oh and scrummy food. X