3 years on !

As I am still sitting here in the hospital ward for my sins !!

Going on 6 weeks on Thursday it is a long time to be away from my little Hannah and my own bed.

It is 3 years today from my original diagnosis I still remember that day like it was yesterday sitting in the breast clinic with my ma and da and heavily pregnant at 34 weeks!!!  I get shivers when I think back to that very day.

You try to put it behind you and move on to the next step but certain dates you will never forget !! How also a lot of things have changed and people too over the last 3 years.

You see you see people’s true colours when you go through Illness and hard times. I suppose some people can’t deal with it or do not know how to deal with it, so they keep their distance or they chose to ignore the fact that you are in fact sick, or sometimes might not be yourself.  I feel my social life has fricken diminished altogether. I long for a night out just to be able to sit out and get merry and have a laugh and go to bed in the early hours after being giggling all night from the drunken banter down the beach. It feels like ages since I done that, just to feel like a normal person again, well not normal but normal 33 year old with a social life if you know what I mean. The last night out for me had been Mia’s wedding and before that it was Christmas with the Coogans. I suffered for a good month after the wedding but that is my own fault. I did go OTT and I was on the dance floor giving it socks to the Luna boys all night !! It was the blow out I needed !! I well and truly enjoyed myself. I did have to build my body back up again using various juices, lotions and potions essential oils etc!!  I will do little run through or list of things that help keep me well and I think are a must in winning the war against the machine ๐Ÿ˜‰

So 3 years on from my original diagnosis going from stage 3 in August 2014 to stage 4 in August 2016 and then June 2017 I was doing amazing up till then, well we all thought I was. Then that end of June scan came up !!!! Of course I would have to be hit with another bomb shell after doing so fucking well. In April’s scan I had a WHOPPER 60 percent shrinkage over all. I mean my target Lesions were down from 88mm to 37 mm. It was bleeding deadly buzz delighra with me stira๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ  Target lesions is how they measure the overall length or span of your solid tumours on ct scan. They measure it by millimetres. I’d love if my tumours were only 88 mm in real life, I would doing really well. So target lesions are measured by solid tumours.  They add all of the total mm in hard tumours from the ct, this is what highlights under the ct scan after the (sugar) substance they use is injected into your arm or wherever. It will show up white on your ct scan. Then non target lesions I can’t remember what mm they were for me as I was only concerned with that mega decrease in solid tumours ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜  but non target lesions are what can’t be measured as it’s dense material on a ct so not definable enough to measure.  

I did take my foot of the pedal too a bit. Eased back a bit on everything I was doing until I was admitted for breast infection and it’s been one thing after another these last 6 weeks in here. I’ll fill you in again on my hospital ordeal this last few weeks. 

Then we were hit with loads of stress in May this year, a letter came through the door.  Let’s just say someone trying to rumble the nest from doylers past.  What kind of person does something like That, when all we are going through as is, is beyond me. I am fighting to stay well on top of stress of hospital trying to find somewhere to live. It is Bad crack that’s what it is !! Of course I am going to be stressed out over it, amongst other things. It is hard not to be me and Doyler are a team you hit one of us you hit us both !!! Fucking deceitful scheming going on if you ask me !!!

So anyone that knows anyone that has had cancer or dealing with cancer, It is essential that you try and avoid any little stress or worry, it can set your cancer off and trigger an inflammatory response which is what I am guessing happened here. You see in chinese medicine the emotions that are closely linked to the stomach are worry , the emotions that are linked to the liver is anger and frustration. So you can imagine my worry and stress frustration and anger when you have upcoming court date in the middle of everything else going on.

Say no to stress and toxic people in your life because they just do your body more harm than good and you need to be the bigger person and walk away !! Always come from a place of love and if people can’t honour that and be authentic with you then they do not deserve your time and energy as these people are never going to change their ways !

I came to the hospital with a Breast infection and I leave with progression in my stomach and a new spot on my Liver just fucking fine and dandy !! Thank you stress !!!!

But hey this is the deal with stage 4 illness you think you get headway and then boom you get hit with another battleship !!! Yes cancer you sunk my fucking battleship lol but only for that weekend I cried I screamed and I let it all out !!!! I am back in warrior mode again and not letting it win !!

So those of you that seem to try write me off I AM NOT DYING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If I was I think I know my own body and the doctors would tell me first so fuck right off writing me off and putting me 6 feet under cos I am still here armored up and ready to fucking kick ass !!

So negative Nora’s and people who are toxic in my life you have got to go I do not have time to wasting on other people’s dramas nor do I need to take on their personal lives I am an empathic person and care too much for other people but have to learn not to take their baggage also dealing with cancer takes you on a voyage of self discovery where you sift through the bullshit! I will and can be quite blunt and expect no apologies from the ugly truth.

I read a nice quote on Pinterest earlier that said

‘ I USED TO THINK I WAS OVERREACTING NOW I REALISE IT WAS JUST A NORMAL REACTION TO ABNORMAL AMOUNT OF BULLSHIT’

I thought how very apt to the shit that has been going on in my life these last few weeks !

I tell ya if I posted on here some of the things people have said or done on me these last few weeks it would show people in very different lights but I wont air all my dirty laundry on my blog I am saving that for my book. ๐Ÿ™‚

So there you have it 3 years on back with another bang and still standing to tell the tale

Its hard to see the light in people when all they do is cause you harm !!

Say no to stress and bullshit !!

Dont waste your time love or energy on them !

Love and light xx

Grace

 

One Breast or two !

While I sit in hospital having the chop again it’s ironic I am back again where It all started! Hopefully this is the last hurdle of the universe’s plan for me. I finally have time to sit and write my next piece for my blog. Hannah sure does keep me busy I literally do not get a minute with her. Come bedtime at 7 each night I am too tired to even think straight let alone look at the computer to type anything. Thanks to baby brain and chemo brain, I defo feel my mind is not as sharp as it used to be. Thanks for been so patient I know August was the last one. I promise I wont make you wait that long for the next one ๐Ÿ™‚
So surgery 1 – 16th September 2014

What a day to have your boob removed – of course I got no sleep the night before
you would swear Hannah knew something was up, she played up the night before, only 4 weeks old so still not fully settled in yet. That night she knew deep down I was stressed but didn’t think I was on the outside. I just wanted the tumour gone I had my game face on me ready and waiting to go. ย Tough cookie me but even the toughest of cookies still have to crumble sometimes. I was not going to surgery well rested. I stayed in my mams the night before it was easier just to get up and go and leave Hannah sleeping with Supernanny. ๐Ÿ™‚ My ma shes some woman !!!

I checked into admissions with my new jammie’s, slippers and dressing gown in tow or (housecoat)as some of you may prefer. Why is it we buy new pj’s for hospital stays talk about keeping up appearances. #pureirishthing.
Think I bought 3 new sets of jammie’s this time for my hospital stay I need to get out more. Seem to live in them these days and no you will never see me at the shops in them. lol
Getting back on track I sat in admissions all day chatting on whats app to the girls keeping the spirits up. I had ran down my battery to quick dam S4 and the shitty battery life on them. There was nowhere to charge it that I could see the lack of plugs was unreal and sure we all need a break from technology. So I sat and watched the telly with flipping Jeremy Kyle and doctors please shoot me now!!! I must have been the last to be called cos I was literally about to start chewing furniture I had been fasting for over 12 hours. I was in there since before 8. I was so dang thirsty I wasn’t called for surgery till 2pm I love my food can’t be starving me like that. Think the longer I was kept waiting the more anxious I got.
The phone rang I heard my name mentioned by the nurse bout time lets do this shit ! the lovely nurse in admissions got my stockings and hospital gown and done final checks on her end before we headed towards the staff elevators.
When I arrived to Theatre area I climbed on the bed and was prepped with the usual heart monitor stickers, blood pressure cuff, mop cap, white knee socks for clotting, lovely disposable knickers, left arm strapped out and ready for cannula god I hate them I feel like a pin cushion at this stage. It is worse after you have had cancer and lymph involvement because you can never have your blood taken on that side or blood pressure read from that arm so beware and the amount of times people go directly to that arm. I am always nearly screaming no cos you do have the tendency to forget. So while chatting to the anesethist final checks and consent of course all done before i go to sleepy land.. I was having right sided masectomy along with tissue expander placement along with lymph clearance cos it had spread there too. I am so lucky to be alive and i thank god every day. I woke up in recovery still very much off my titties i would say ususally but will say tit lol. I was in and out and i was in alot of pain. Do not try be a superhero for the 1st few days its very sore. You have nerves an all cut you do not recover over night, I couldnt chop veg for weeks. I had to have physio and exercise it everyday to build strength back up this is essential. i have full range of movement back in my right arm now. I felt like a man though on one side one boob was gone and my other one still there.
The pyschological effect that has on any woman is a big deal but you get on it and of course I would have to make a joke of it. Calling myself half boy half girl was my way of dealing with it all sure you need to see the funny side of things and sure most of you that know me and i have such a weird sense of humour.
So even though I had a mastectomy on one side and sort of temporary reconstruction on same side. See with a Tissue Expander its an Implant placed under the skin which has a magnet on the front of it, these are not tacked down or secured, so they give you a blue magnet to bring with you every appointment and it goes on your breast and that shows them where to jab you with the 50ml syringe filled with saline its actually quite cool. So I had saline implant placed but it was empty I had to get filled each week to stretch my skin as they had to remove so much with the size of my tumour. yes it was that big I lost not only my breast tissue in the mastectomy my nipple and a good chunk of the skin too. had we of tried to put an implant straight away it would have looked ridiculous. skin stretched they actually would not have been able to close the skin over the implant so I was patient for want of a better re construction further down the line.
Recovery afterwards was tough I had new baby I could barely hold I couldn’t unscrew bottle caps, chop veg, tighten her bottle lids simple little things we take for granted. I was kept in hospital for a week for my own benefit, they said with new baby I will be doing to much as soon as I was out which was 100% true cos I am that type of person. It was so tough spending nearly a whole week away from my 1 month old Hannah. I remember crying in the hospital because i got so frustrated with myself for not been able to hold her properly and I was missing her so much. I felt really down and of course you do not want your baby in the hospital full of germs at 4 weeks old. There is no greater love than a mother and their child!
I never understood that til now and i would move heaven and earth ten times over for Hannah. I gave in and got Doyler to bring her into me on day 4 I checked with docs was it OK for her to be in they gave the go ahead. I got so upset as I couldn’t hold her properly it was so uncomfortable I had to just sit there and let her lie on my knees all I done was stare at her little face and kept touching her cheek as I wasn’t going to see her for another few days. God it was awful and of course I was a blubbering mess when they were leaving! Bloody hormones fecking main reason I got into this mess in the first place lol !! God dam you Estrogen ๐Ÿ™‚
I was sent home with 1 drain left in on the right side this was my new accessory for the week everywhere I went so did the drain it was collecting fluid following the Mastectomy so that you don’t get a build up in the area after the procedure. It’s standard and all depending how your body is at eliminating waste so to speak. I had to empty my drain myself and measure the liquid with a syringe and track how many mls each day so we knew it was reducing each day. The drain was like a little clear size grenade hanging off the side of me. It poked out through my clothes, I had it pinned to my top, word of warning do not pin to knickers or trousers !!! It gone thrown over my shoulder when in the shower or resting on a soap dish sometimes I even pinned it to an earring so as not to let this thing pull at the side of me ! I later found out your not supposed to have them raised above you but sure look it was only for showering and that and no harm came from it. ย Once the output from the drain was minimal I was straight onto my breast care nurse pleading to get it out of me. I was walking around Avoca handweavers with my drain in tow when I got the message to say come on in and we will remove it for you. ย YES!!!

Had I of been able to drive at that stage I would have broke the speed limit !!

P’s removal of your drain is not for the faint hearted. Please make sure you take some pain relief prior to removal ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย my skin had started growing over it that’s how good I was healing up. But it is over before you know it.

Here comes Hannah

Ain’t nobody got time for Cancer !!
Well this week anyway ๐Ÿ™‚
So after my meeting with my Breast surgeon and Breast care nurses following my diagnosis the decision was made that Hannah would need to be delivered early! My main concern was not was I gonna be OK. It was is Hannah ?
Scary stuff !! It’s daunting enough having a baby for the first time, but to be told we need this baby out as soon as possible but also safely. See If the birth ends up in a C section this will delay the starting date for Chemotherapy as I could spend up to 8 weeks healing. Chemotherapy delays healing time in the body even further increasing your risk of infection. So in order to avoid that my Obstetrician said there was no way in hell This is my 1st child and would end up in a C Section if delivered before that. By 38 weeks shes cooked ๐Ÿ™‚
The girls even had to move my baby shower earlier, As we were not sure what was happening with the birth at the time, there was a big panic but they pulled out all the stops and made it one hell of a bash!
From eating melted mars bar out of nappies to the girls sucking the Helium filled Balloons even my Mother got in on that action. If I don’t mention the fab egg sambos that Nat made I will be shot ๐Ÿ™‚ It was an a fun filled afternoon and emotional one to say the least but the girls done me good.
That’s the fucker cancer again ruining peoples plans !! Wedding plans got put on hold also !!!
So with my new due date the 19th of August looming nearer I was stressing over ante natal classes, I was under the care of the Community Midwifes throughout my pregnancy. They done my own personal ante natal classes due to my circumstances. Just so I would avoid any awkward questions like me having to explain that my Labour would not be the same as theirs. Mine was going to be an Induction.
So lying awake the night before giving birth all I kept thinking was what weight is she gonna be? who will she look like? Cancer wasn’t even given one thought!
We were at Holles street for 8 bells thanks to my dad who put his taxi plate on bus lane all the way mind you my stomach was like a washing machine so I prob would have gladly sat in traffic that morning. We were checked in and I got dressed into my lovely Labour nightdress and new slippers !! such style thank god you never have to wear them again ๐Ÿ™‚ A nurse hooked me up to a monitor with straps placed around my stomach to check the baby heart and measure contractions. The nurse asked had I already been having some contractions ? I said slight cramps now and then yes !! Good ole Rasberry leaf tea I was drinking galons of the stuff this was not gonna be a C section.
So with an Induction they give you a Progresterone gel that is applied internally, this helps to thin out your cervix enabling the doctor to break my waters. This could take a few applications I was told ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I am not staying in the hospital till Friday this was my mantra Baby is coming tonight !!!!! The gel was only applied literally an hour, I started to have what felt like period pains nothing major I was up walking around the labour ward and bouncing on my ball trying to get things moving along. This continued for 3 hrs gradually the pain increasing over time but all bearable. Lucky I have high pain threshold.
I remember it was around 2pm I kept saying this baby is coming tonight I am not staying here till friday I’m defo in labour I know I am I was getting proper contractions now period pains intensified by 100 ๐Ÿ™‚ I proceeded to do my yoga positions I could see my other half Doyler looking at me going what is she doing! This got the baby down sooner and helped with my pain so I didn’t care what I looked like I would have even mooed like a cow doing my cat & cow positions had it got the baby down sooner also. lol
The Doctor came around to check my cervix, the gel had worked so well 1st go that they were able to break my waters. Well Holy Mother of Divine Jaysus I have never experienced anything so gross in my life. All hell had broke loose the contractions were kicked up a notch and getting more frequent. high pain threshold!!!! I lied who was I kidding I was in agony. I was starting to get apprehensive saying I’m in Labour, I’m in labour! The nurse didn’t believe me at first, I was no hero I was asking her for pain relieve at this stage! I was given two paracetamol what was she thinking ….
She got my midwife down to check me and I was 3 cm dilated. Lets get you to a delivery ward. I hobbled down still insisting I wanted the epidural. I could see by Doyler’s face ( he was defo thinking oh shit) Looking a few shades of grey as the reality sunk in what was going to happen soon. He kept checking with midwife each time nipping out for fags secretly hoping he would miss the birth and arrive once its out! Every lads dream. ๐Ÿ™‚
Not a chance of that happen! By the time the Anesthetist came! she took forever she walked in looked at me said no way and walked back out I was gone to far for Epidural .I went from 3 to 7 in less than half hr. My midwife was sorting things out. No one was expecting me to go so quickly. Suddenly I had the urge to push removing the gas from my mouth I called midwife I was thinking where is Doyler !! The baby was coming now. He strolls in with my mam in tow the midwife spots his grey panicked face gives him a chair by me in case he decides to hit the deck. My mam to the rescue ๐Ÿ™‚ She was on my left side fanning me down which was a god send at the time. My mam shouts she sees the head 7.45pm she was out with no trouble and no drugs I wouldn’t include the two paracetamol. I had giving birth to my beautiful girl weighing just 6lb 13oz she has some set of lungs she cried as soon as she came out. My mam cut the umbilical cord she was delighted. Very special moment indeed. She only had chemo the day before that. She is a trooper !!
My dad and my sister were out in the hallway waiting with balloons and Prosecco, my body was still shaking from the shock of just delivering a baby they are all drinking flipping prosecco !! It was all a bit surreal. All I wanted was a cup of tea and a bit of toast.
Then were back down to reality my baby is safe ten fingers ten toes perfectly healthy, Please god she doesn’t have BRCA 2 Gene !! 18 years of waiting until I can get her tested to see has she inherited my dodgy genes!!
Now to let the team in Vincents now I have had my baby wooo hoo they left me alone for a full two weeks to let me enjoy my baby.
Grace xx

What a year !!!!

Well it’s a year since my diagnosis and what better way to celebrate with the publishing of my 1st blog post. I have been saying all year, I am writing a book and putting pen to paper as I feel the lack of support for women aged 30 diagnosed with Breast cancer I feel the need to share my story with you all and my typing skills are way faster than my writing plus there is autocorrect ๐Ÿ™‚

So what a year its been from giving birth to my beautiful angel Hannah, ย 14/16 ย sessions of Chemotherapy, 28 sessions of Radiotherapy, Shaving my head twice, and here’s another curve ball in the equation ! my Mother having Breast cancer at the same time. Excuse my language in future posts too as its been one hell of a fecking year.

The bastard that is cancer that takes the lives of so many each year,ย was cast upon my mother and me and also everyone around us.

It all started with my 2 aunties having breast cancer a couple of years ago which led them to getting tested for the famous Angelina Jolie BRCA 2 gene. So this enabled my mother to be automatically tested. She was hesitant at first but myself and my sister were keen for her to avail of the service to see if we in fact had the gene or not. See if my mother didn’t have the gene then we would not need to be tested. A simple blood test done in Crumlin which I never thought my mother would have but she did. I sat there in shock thinking bloody hell its all real… No time was wasted she was automatically referred to the team in St Vincents hospital to get the ball rolling on a prevention plan with gyny appointments and breast checks. My mother had been naughty and not had a mammo in 5 years. So off we went to her 1st appointment in Vincents for a Mammogram and me sitting with her in the waiting room heavily pregnant surrounding by women in the lovely blue hospital gowns. My mother was in the changing cubicle at the time after her mammogram and I could hear the 2 girls in the mammo room chatting and me with medical background I knew exactly what they were saying. I knew then but still said nothing and thought it’s not true, I was in denial. So we went home for her to get a phone call the next day to come and see Breast check for results. Well when we were brought to a different room away from normal breast check I knew walking into the room it was positive and then you catch a glimpse at the box of kleenex on the table. Just another woman been told the sad news I am sorry its cancer ย lucky enough it’s totally treatable she was told as my mum had no visible lump she just had cancerous cells. She still needed chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed by surgery.

So I was around 32 weeks pregnant at this stage and hormones flying around when your told your mum has cancer, I had been complaining of a lump on my breast myself for a good month a good inch under my nipple, it started out the size of my baby nail. I naturally thought this was a blocked milk duct with me been heavily pregnant it was sore tender and hot. I was placing cabbage leaves in my bra from the freezer, massaging in essential oils trying to break it down, little did I know!!!!!

I rang my doctor to inform her my mother had been diagnosed and just happen to mention my lump on my breast she told me to say to my midwife as I had appointment that week with them.

My midwife said not taking any chances let’s get you referral for breast check as soon as possible. So an appointment came a week later which would have been the Wednesday 30th July 2014. Met the lovely Mr Geraghty in Breast check who felt the lump /mass on my right breast he then suggested they do a mammogram straight away. I was of course apprehensive at first as I was pregnant but I said if absolutely necessary then go for it. I remember sitting in the mammogram waiting room in my lovely blue gown texting the girls saying imagine me having cancer the same time as my mam. My stomach sank they of course been the lovely people they are said don’t be worrying you will be fine. So my mammogram was done and within ten minutes Mr Geragthy was back said we need to do a biopsy of your breast tissue under ultrasound. So all this was done the same day and I was on my own as never did I think for one minute that it would be a tumour and I should have really brought moral support. ( word of advice do not drive home after having a biopsy of your breast ) So I came out of the hospital cupping my sore breast from the biopsy and went to my car and just sobbed what had just happened. I didn’t fully process any of it, I needed to ring Doyler. I had been given an appointment for the Friday I had to wait two flipping days !! That’s two days of not eating or sleeping fucking great to a heavily pregnant lady.

See that’s the thing with cancer its like wild-fire giving the right opportunity to grow!!

I was still at this stage was in denial. Friday the 1st August sitting in the breast check waiting room looking oddly out-of-place while all the women stared at heavily pregnant girl accompanied by her mam and dad. Then my name was called my stomach was in my mouth by this stage.

Then you hear I am afraid it’s not good news, Its cancer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Followed by we need to get a plan organised and get the baby out as soon as possible !!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

WHAT ??????????????????