Monday 26 December 2016

Merry Christmas - you're discharged

Just before Christmas I was officially discharged from oncology – this was a really nice early Christmas present! It is is a major step after 18 months of cancer treatment. I know I still have a long way to go but It's such a relief.

I had to wait 1 hour and 40 minutes to see Dr Bradley - he's a very busy man. But he gave me lots of time during my appointment to discuss my worries and all my current side effects that I'm struggling with and he let me do this in great detail, which I'm very thankful for as that is not always the case with oncology.

My main issues at the moment is my continuing struggle with chronic fatigue, which Dr Bradley said was perfectly normal. I'm also having a few cognitive issues at the moment, which again Dr Bradley said was perfectly normal and we will monitor. I'd also been having some pain in my kidneys so he examined me but wasn't overly worried so he said we would keep an eye on things. I'm seeing a specialist regarding my tooth pain, which he was happy with and, again, we’ll keep an eye on it.

We discussed in great detail the prospect of the cancer returning, which is obviously my biggest concern. He's told me that I don't need to ring oncology every time I have a cold but if it's something that is persistent and doesn't go after a couple of weeks I should call him and they’ll bring me in. He also said if I have any pain that feels new for me. For example if I get a random pain in my thigh for no reason that I've not had before I should call and they’ll bring me in for an appointment. This all seems a bit scary but I was actually quite relieved. Being discharged from oncology made me feel like my comfort blanket was being removed and I was just being left to get on with it. It feels good to know that I can ring my oncologist or breast cancer nurse at any time with any worries and they can bring me back in to oncology if necessary. 

So the Christmas celebrations commenced in style!

Last year I had my fourth chemotherapy treatment on the 23rd December, which meant I felt pretty rubbish by Christmas Day. I couldn't really go out much because of my immune system and the risk of infection. So this year Michele took me to Manchester Christmas markets. We went on a Thursday so it wasn't quite as busy and I loved it.

Last year all the lovely Christmas food tasted of cardboard and I couldn't even eat most of it even if I wanted to as I was on a strict chemotherapy diet (it's a bit like a pregnancy diet but stricter) Cured meats, soft cheese, prawns and pate were all off limits. I remember trying a sip of wine on Christmas Day and it felt like it was burning my throat as  my mouth was so sore. This year I well and truly made up for it on both the food and the drink front.

Mum bought this guy…

It is as big as it looks and it was delicious. 

Mum and dad made a perfect Christmas dinner. 

Mum got a Christmas temp job at M&S solely for the fact she wanted a discount on the food. I've officially sampled all the M&S party food and desserts they make. They are all amazing. I ate ALL of the pate! Apologies if you tried to get brie from the supermarkets over the Christmas period. They were probably sold out because I ATE IT ALL!! Muhahaha!!

I probably put on about a million stone in weight but it was worth every mouthful. 

Best Christmas EVER!

So now it's new year and I'm very hopeful that this year is going to be a lot less ‘hospitally’ (-yeah I'm deciding ‘hospitally’ is a word) and lots more fun. 

I don't normally go with all this ‘new year new me’ rubbish but someone posted their ‘10 good things that happened to you in 2016’ on Facebook the other day and I thought that was a really good idea. I'm normally just winging and moaning on the blog so let's spread some positive vibes. Here's my ’10 good things that happened to me in 2016’: 

1. I finished chemotherapy in January. Then I completed radiotherapy. Then I finished my Herceptin injections in November. I can't say they were fun times but it's definitely a good thing they are now over with
2. Discharged from oncology. As I've said above it's a big relief!
3. I visited London
4. I did the London eye champagne experience and was lucky enough to go in a private pod with just Michele. Once in a lifetime experience.
5. I ate at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey's. Three Michelin stars baby!
6. I ate  at two other Michelin star restaurants. The box tree and Tyddlan Llan.  Both were amazing!
7. My hair started growing back. Happy days!
8. My eyelashes, eyebrows and nose hair started growing back. Nose hair is highly underrated. I'm glad it's back
9. My nails started growing back. My first gel polish was way too exciting.
10. I did the ‘Ultimate Beatles experience’ in Liverpool
11. I went on two family holidays. I went to Minorca and Fuerteventura with mum, dad, Darren and Michele all in tow. Good family times!
12. I visited Kefalonia. Love me a bit of Greece!
13. I sailed through the Melissani Cave. Absolute bucket list moment
14. I took the ‘ultimate selfie’ at Myrtos beach
15. I saw sea turtles in the wild in Argostolion.
16. I had an ‘all  natural’ mud mask at Lixouri beach
17. Had an ‘all natural’ fish pedicure in Fuerteventura
18. I went to Friends Fest. I'm a massive friends fan so this was amazing!
19. I celebrated Michele's 30th birthday with a big party. The fireworks might have nearly killed people but overall I think everyone had a good night
20. I became a media volunteer for Breast Cancer Care and featured in The Yorkshire Reporter and The Standard Issue Magazine
21. I booked Iceland as a gift for Michele's birthday. We go at the end of January and I'm so excited! 

Well I said I was only going to write 10 good things that happened to me in 2016 and evidently I've got completely carried away. (There's more too but I thought I best stop) I guess it shows that despite the cancer I've still had a pretty good year.

Here's to 2017! Plenty more adventures to come - I'll keep you updated ;-) 

Happy New Year everyone! x


Tuesday 20 December 2016

Last Herceptin Injection

On 25th November I had my last Herceptin injection. This means I'm officially at the end of active treatment. Wahooooo!! I have been on herceptin for 12 months and had the injection every three weeks so this really has been a long time coming. A year ago I thought this day would never come! 

I've mentioned herceptin a few times on my blog but I'll give you a quick description of what it's all about for those of you who can't remember. 

Herceptin is a brand name for the medicine known as Traustazumb. I have herceptin injections because my breast cancer is HER2 positive. HER2 stands for Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2. HER2 makes cancer cells grow and divide very fast. This is why oncologists refer to my HER2+ breast cancer as a very fast growing and aggressive type of breast cancer. About 15-20% of breast cancer patients have HER2+ breast cancer. 

Herceptin is a wonderful drug that came about in 1998 and was first used for patients with terminal breast cancer. It started to be used for all HER2+ breast cancers by 2005. It works by attaching to the HER2 cells and immobilising them meaning they stop dividing and multiplying. 

If I had this type of breast cancer ten years ago I'm afraid my prognosis would not be very good. HER2+ breast cancers have a very high reoccurrence  and mortality rate. Herceptin is a long but very important aspect to my treatment and I am very grateful to be able to have it.

I  started my herceptin injections half way through chemo whilst I was having docetaxel chemotherapy. I did this because research indicates that this is the most effective way to have it by starting it alongside docetaxel. For my first injection I had to wait in the chemotherapy ward for six hours to check I didn't have an allergic reaction to it. Once I had finished my chemotherapy I was lucky enough to have Healthcare at Home administer it at my house every three weeks. Since Herceptin is a specialised chemotherapy drug only specially trained doctors are able to administer it meaning a lot of people have to continue going to the chemotherapy ward every three weeks for a year to have their Herceptin injection. I'm very grateful I was able to have injection 4-18 at my own home via the lovely nurses at Healthcare at home. 

The injection is a subcutaneous injection that goes in to my thigh. They alternate thighs each time. HAH nurses administer the injection and stay with me for two hours. As the nurses are nice we normally just have a nice chin wag and a brew whilst watching This Morning and Loose Women. As you can imagine this is much better than going back to the chemotherapy ward to have my injection every three weeks. 

The injection takes about 5 minutes to administer. One of my nurses once timed it on my iPhone and it actually took 4 minutes and 56 seconds from insertion until it was finished. It stings a lot when it first goes in and feels very similar to a bee sting for about a minute and then the stinging eases off and it just feels like a normal injection for the remainder of the time. 

Im glad my coffee table doesn't have to turn in to a make shift hospital every three weeks from now on. 

There are many side effects to Herceptin - but not everyone gets them all. Mine were quite similar to my chemotherapy side effects although not as extreme. Mine were mostly flu-like symptoms. Such as achy joints and tiredness. The problem is these are also similar side effect for Zoladex and after effects of chemotherapy so it's hard to determine whether it's the Herceptin or not.

The most serious side effect of Herceptin is heart failure. This is why for the last year every three months I've had to have a MUGA scan, which is a kind of heart scan. The MUGA scan makes sure my heart is still strong and working well enough for me to continue with my herceptin treatment. 

I've blogged about MUGA scans before so I won't bore you with any more science chat. I will say I'm glad I don't have to have them anymore. My last heart scan showed my heart was very strong so thankfully it doesn't look like the Herceptin has caused to much damage. 

God I feel like this was a really boring blog post with waaay to much medical chat! Didn't I also start it with ‘I'll just give you a quick description’?? Sorry guys! Ah well the main thing is my Herceptin treatment is now complete and it's another big chunk of my treatment that's thankfully over and done with. 

Merry Christmas everyone!...I'm off to eat ALL the pate and cheese!! xx


Friday 18 November 2016

Return of the Mammogram

Two weeks after I had my review with my surgeon (read about that in my last post) I was back at the hospital for my yearly mammogram. 

I wasn't overly worried about my mammogram as I had had one before on the day I was diagnosed. After I'd been told the dreaded news that I had cancer I was sent off for a mammogram just, as my BCN put it, to tick a box. I’d already had an ultrasound and biopsy before I was diagnosed so I might as well have a mammogram as well. 

The mammogram on the day I was diagnosed went perfectly fine. The nurse was really nice – although I had been told five minutes earlier that I had breast cancer so you’d like to think she wouldn't be mean. I can't remember it hurting too much either. Or maybe it did and I was just hoping the machine would squish the breast cancer right out of my boob.

After my mammogram I was swiftly whisked back off to the ultrasound room. Dr ultrasound scanned my right boob. This was strange as my cancer is in my left boob. I asked the mammogram nurse if they think I also have cancer in my right boob. The mammogram nurse welled up and didn't say anything. Dr ultrasound said ‘we don't think so’ and looked back to the scan screen. 

When I got back to the clinic room my BCN told me they thought I could also have cancer in my right boob but it turned out to be just a calcification. Phew.

I was still fairly numb after being told I had breast cancer so my memories of the mammogram itself were positive in that it probably wouldn't hurt too much and maybe a little negative too in that the mammogram could show that my cancer is back. I haven't actually had any scans since I started treatment over a year ago. They think I'm ‘cancer free’ but as we all know they can't be sure. 

So I enter the mammogram clinic with mixed emotions. The nurse seems nice and welcomes me in to the mammogram room. The mammogram machine looks as large and menacing as ever.

I give my name and date of birth to the nurse. She makes a confused face at the screen and then says she has to nip out and check something. I wonder if that's because I'm only 28 and she wonders why I'm having a mammogram? Does that mean she thought I looked over 50 when she called me in from the waiting room? I was still trying to work out if I should be offended when she came back in to the room. 

‘Ok Kirsty. If you just take of your clothes and glasses and stand in front of the machine. Don't worry about the window. It's one way glass’.

I looked through the window horrified as an old man looked at me dead in the eye as he waited at the bus stop outside. 

‘Hmm I'll close the blind anyway. That’ll make you more comfortable’ suggested the nurse. 

I stripped off and took off my glasses. At least that made the machine a bit blurry. I stood in front of the machine and the nurse moved me in to position. 

‘A bit to the left.’ ‘A bit to the right’. ‘Now shuffle slightly more to the right’. ‘Now lean forward just an inch’. ‘Now a bit to the left again’. Mammogramming is like a fine art. I don't know how nurses have the patience. I was getting impatient with myself and it was my fault. 

‘Now stay completely still’ directs the nurse.

Then the boob squishing starts. I can only describe it as someone putting your boob in a vice and then slowly closing it. This makes it sound awful but it honestly sounds worse than it is and it doesn't hurt that much. It's all done very slowly and the nurse asks if you can take anymore each time she tightens it. 

Once the nurse is happy with the position and you are happy with the level of boob squishing the nurse goes back to her screen and starts taking the images.

‘Now don’t breath’ exclaims the nurse.

What? I don't know if anyone has ever told you not to breath but it's not the same as someone asking you to hold your breath. Holding your breath means you take a large intake of breath..and then we'll you know…you hold your breath. Saying don't breath doesn't sound like you should take an intake of breath first. Plus it had taken ages to get me in to position and it was to the millimetre so taking a deep breath would surely put me out of  position. As would talking. So asking if I was allowed to take a deep breath first was out of the question too. 

‘Nearly there’ says the nurse whilst I'm still not breathing – and without the aforementioned pre  gasp of air making me look as purple as Barney the dinosaur.

‘All done. Wasn't too bad was it?’ the nurse asks. 

It  wasn't too bad. It was definitely a little more painful then my first mammogram but I think the nurse on the first mammogram was probably being extra gentle since I only found out I had cancer five minutes earlier. My left boob also hurt a little more this time because of my lumpectomy but the pain was very manageable. I certainly won't be as worried about it next time. So, if you're old enough, go  and get yourselves screened ladies! It's really not that bad!

The nurse tells me I'll get the results within two weeks by post. She says I'll have a yearly mammogram from now on until I'm old enough for the national screening programme. 

‘You’ll join the national screening programme in…’. Checks computer screen. ‘2038’ she states proudly. 

Hmm I guess I'll have to write that in my diary. 

As this is my first scan after my treatment I was quite nervous about the results. Waiting for scan results after having cancer is always a nerve racking time whatever your prognosis. In the ‘cancer world’ its known as ‘scanxiety’ – and for the two weeks after my mammogram I was filled with it.

Thankfully I was in for some good news…

‘No radiological features to cause any concern’.

I'm taking that as medical talk for ‘Have a glass of Pinot mate you're doing all right’. 


Tuesday 15 November 2016

Drug Dramas

A couple of weeks ago I had my 12 month breast examination. I think I was meant to have my yearly mammogram but Dr S told me they couldn't use the machines on that day. Meaning I had to make another trip to the hospital for my mammogram the following week. 

So basically this was just a groping session. It's a good job I have lost all sense of decency at this point. For my breast examination I need to lie topless in front of Dr S, Kath (my BCN) and usually Michele or my mum - whoever is taking me. Dr S has a good feel around of both my breasts and surrounding areas. I then have to sit up on the bed and put my hands to the side and then above my head. Still topless and still with an audience. Then they make me sing and dance. Ok that last sentence was just a joke - although it would not surprise me. 

My breast examination was over shadowed slightly by the fact that pre-breast examination I had been having a nightmare getting my Herceptin prescription. This accumulated in me arriving at the breast clinic. Seeing Kath. Then immediately bursting in to floods of tears in front of the entire waiting room - which was packed with people. 

My Herceptin injection is given by Healthcare at Home every three weeks. I always have it on a Wednesday and a nurse always rings me on the Tuesday to tell me what time they are coming to administer the injection. 

This time I got no phone call on the Tuesday. I presumed a nurse had just forgotten so I gave Healthcare at homes head office a call on the Wednesday.

'No it's not due until Thursday' stated a harassed sounding women from HAH customer services.

'Erm yep pretty sure I always have my Herceptin injection on a Wednesday' I'm glad she couldn't see my eye roll from the other end of the phone.

After them 'looking in to it' and me calling my BCN, oncologist, oncologists secretary and just about a gazillion other people it turned  out my herceptin prescription hadn't been signed by my oncologist and in turn sent to HAH to order and book in.

But why wasn't it signed I hear you ask?! Good question guys. Apparently I missed a review appointment with my oncologist so he therefore didn't sign it. Why would I miss such an important appointment? Another great question! As far as I'm concerned I didn't. I hadn't received any appointment letters.

'Oh we have had a few issues with appointments' offered my BCN.

Oh right.

So what was going to happen then? I just don't get my herceptin? I'll just die of secondary cancer shall?

Jesus Christ.

So Wednesday came and went. No Herceptin injection. My herceptin injection is meant to be administered on the same day every three weeks. There must be a reason for this. I was not happy that this would now be a day late.

Thankfully I already had  an appointment with my surgeon on the Thursday morning at St Luke's hospital. Oh that's good timing isn't it? Surely your surgeon could just sign your prescription for you?

Well no. Apparently that would be too fucking easy.

So, as I say, this accumulated in me crying my eyes out like an actual baby in front of everyone in the waiting room at the breast clinic.

Kath took me in to a side room.

'Dr Bradley is PUNISHING me for not attending an appointment - that I didn't know about. He isn't giving me my herceptin prescription!'

'Dr Bradley's trying to KILL ME!!' I whaled.

Take note: There is no one more dramatic than a distressed women with zero estrogen in their body.

Kath calmed me down as much as she could and promised she would sort it all out for me.

HAH told me they need the signature on the prescription by 4pm Thursday to be able to do it on the Friday. I go on holiday to Furteventura on the Saturday so Friday was my last chance. Otherwise I'd have to wait over a week for my injection. Like I say this is meant to be every three weeks for a year on the same day. Having any kind of a delay on this, especially for over a week, does not sit well with me.

After a million more phone calls, to I think everyone in the NHS, Dr Bradley finally calls me.

He rang me at 15:56 to say he'll sign my prescription. HAH swiftly got it sorted and a nurse came to administer my injection on the Friday.

I'm sure it's really tough working for the NHS. I'm sure Dr Bradley's really busy. But....really? All that stress caused for him to just give me a quick ring and sign it.

I got my herceptin injection and flew to Furteventura as planned on the Saturday. I spent two full afternoons in bed because I was tired from my injection. Cheers Dr Bradley! Love you too!

Apart from being ridiculously tired the holiday was amazing! 

Here's a few holiday pics for you to gaze at while i ponder (and seriously calculate) how much it is to go private! x


Friday 5 August 2016

One year Cancerversary

So It's been a is my one year Cancerversary*.

On 5th August 2015 I went to St Luke's hospital in Bradford. It was there a doctor, that I had never set eyes on before, told me the news that would change my life forever. 

'I'm sorry but we've found a breast cancer'.

That was that. Life changed. 

From 5th August 2015 cancer took over my life. The way only cancer can and my life changed into, what felt like, one never-ending hospital appointment.

Here's what went down:

I had my first ever mammogram
Had another ultrasound (when they thought I may have cancer in my other breast). 
Had my first MRI scan. 
Had my first ever general anesthetic 
Had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy
Had my egg supply boosted with FSH injections
Had several vaginal scans to check their progress
Had more surgery to retrieve my eggs
Fertalised said eggs with Micheles sperm to create embryos
Had six embryos frozen
Had a couples counselling session to discuss what would happen to our embryos if one of us died (Yep. They really make you do that)
Had six sessions of gruelling chemotherapy treatment
Had countless blood tests 
Had three sessions of 10 day bone marrow injections
Had 5 MUGA scans
Took countless steroids, anti-sickness tablets and painkillers
Had 15 Herceptin injections (just three to go)
Had three permanent tattoos in preparation for radiotherapy 
Had 15 sessions of radiotherapy 
Had 5 booster sessions of radiotherapy 
Had seven zoladex injections (still five years to go)
Had countless exemestane tablets (as above - five years to go)

Phew. Are you tired? Yeah me too.

So how do I feel? 

Hmmm well I'm not sure. This blog post in itself took me ages to write. I started it on 7th August and then didn't write anything else until well over a month later. I was tired of thinking about cancer. My last blog post 'My Lovely Bones' was a bit of a grumpy, fed up post so I really wanted to take a bit of time away from writing the blog and all things 'cancery' to try and get myself in to a bit of a better place mentally. I ended up jetting off to Fuerteventura for a week with the family, which did me the world of good. I told you Sun and Pina coladas are great for my deteriorating bones. I'm pretty sure that's an NHS guideline. If it's not it definitely should be.

I can't believe it's been a full year. I'm still no were near were I thought I would be. I'm still ridiculously tired with little to no energy most days. My bones ache most of the time. I now have to pace myself. Yeah you may see me with a cheeky glass of vino on social media but what you don't see is me in bed recovering for the next two days. It's important for me to get out there and live my life to the fullest but I'm learning to understand if I do have a big, hectic weekend I will be paying for it for at least the next 48 hours. That's just the way it is now post cancer. 

However, although I'm not back to 'normal' one year on, I am grateful. Grateful I don't have to go through anymore chemo. Grateful I don't have to have any more surgery. Grateful, of course, that I am still here to even have the pleasure of moaning to you beautiful people reading my blog. When many of my friends from YBCN have sadly passed away or have since been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Many with exactly the same type of breast cancer as me who haven't had the chance to celebrate their one year Cancerversary. 

I feel scared that although I've made it to a year since diagnosis I'm not 'out of the woods' yet. I need to get to that magic 5 year mark and even then I know that the cancer could still come back at any time. 

I didn't really know if i should celebrate my 'Cancerversary'. At first I felt that I was maybe tempting fate. In case cancer was watching me from behind a corner. Whilst I danced around with my glass (bottle) of fizz celebrating. Maybe cancer would think I was being too cocky. 

Maybe it would think 'fuck you Kirsty I'm going to come back with a vengeance and shit all over your happy parade.' 

That's just the kind of thing that cancer would do.

He's always been such a sneaky bastard. 

I can see you watching me cancer. But guess what? I celebrated anyway. 

Michele bought me a cake and some tiaras and wands - because that's the kind of weird dark humoured shit we are into. 

After all If you can't have a cake and wear four tiaras after making it 12 months without dying when the bloody hell can you? 

My mum and dad sent me flowers and wine as well as a lovely card, which really cheered up. 

I then went to the pub with Michele, which was not to dissimilar to how I spent this day in 2015. 

The following week Gemma took me out for afternoon tea to celebrate, which was fab. 

In addition to some cautious celebrating I thought it was important to mark this day by doing something positive. So I set up a just giving page for Breast Cancer Now. In the future I hope to do some challenges for it but for now it was just about creating the page itself. if you would like to donate here's the link:

P.s. I'm a one year survivor. Go me! x

*'Cancerversary' meaning - a milestone defined by you. It might be the day a loved one is diagnosed. It might be your last day of treatment. It might even be several important dates that occur throughout someone's cancer journey. (


Tuesday 26 July 2016

For Kate

Over the weekend the sad news emerged that Dr Kate Granger had passed away. 

Kate was a geriatrician and campaigned for better patient care. She was diagnosed with a type of Sarcoma in 2011. When she got the devasting news that her cancer had metastasized and had therefore become incurable she spoke of the fact that the doctor who broke the news to her didn't introduce himself or look her in the eyes. 

This subsequently led her to start her #hellomynameis campaign, which encourages healthcare professionals to introduce themselves to their patients. This campaign has been tremendously successful and is now backed by over 40,000 healthcare professionals and 90 organisations across the UK.

I had the pleasure of hearing one of Kate's talks when she came in to my workplace to talk about her cancer and her #Hellomynameis campaign. (Like me, her husband Chris works for Asda House) I'm not one to cry in public but her speech really hit me and i have to admit I got very bleary eyed in the auditorium listening to her talk. She spoke frankly about her cancer and prognosis with a dark sense of humour, which I loved. I often draw upon this same sense of humour to deal with my own diagnosis. 

Starting the successful #hellynameis campaign was only one of her many achievements. She created a bucket list following her diagnosis and achieved such things as a skydive, meeting Gary Barlow, renewing her wedding vows and appearing on Coronation Street. Also on her bucket list was a fundraising target of £250,000 for the Yorkshire Cancer Centre. She achieved this target just a few days before she died. 

What a truly wonderful, inspirational life you have lived Kate. If I can emulate a smidgen of your success in my own life i would be very happy. 

Sending lots of love to your husband Chris and all your friends and family. xxx


Friday 22 July 2016

My Lovely Bones

Today I could barely walk up the stairs. 

Every step I took made me grimace in pain as I used both hands to grip the banister and haul myself up one agonising step at a time. 

Not every day is like this. Sometimes I bounce up the stairs like Mo Farah. Well maybe not quite that spritely but at least like my old pre-cancer self. But then I have days, like today, were an 80 year old woman could definitely out run me. 

I'm not even sure which one of my fabulous life saving drugs is doing this to me. One of the side effects of Herceptin injections is bone pain. One of the side effects of Zoladex injections is bone pain. One of the side effects of my daily Exemestane tablets is bone pain.

Bone pain. Bone pain. Bone pain.

I'm just sick of bloody bone pain.  

Pain aside, my bones are just being pretty rubbish at the moment. Frankly I think I'm about to fall out with them. I'm nearly as pissed off with them as I am with Mrs Left Boob!

I had to have a bone scan at the end of Febuary to check how healthy my bones are as my hormone treatment can cause bone thinning. It came back with some inconsistencies and I was sent for some blood tests. 

The blood tests showed I have a high ALP level. After a few more blood tests and few frantic calls to my BCN thinking the worse, (after all bone cancer would just round off this shitty year nicely). It would appear that my GP was just being overly cautious and a high level of ALP is nothing to worry about on its own. It's most likely caused by all the medication I have had and i'm still having. 

But further discussion with my oncologist revealed that the inconsistencies on the scan meant I have early onset Osteopenia, which is the start of Osteoporosis. It can never just be good news can it?

As the hormone therapy i'm on increases the risk of bone thinning (Osteoporosis) and as I'm supposed to be on this hormone therapy for at least five years this scan result was not great news. 

To rectify this I'm now taking Risedronate tablets once weekly as well as a vitamin D and calcium supplement, which I take daily. 

When you're in your 20's you have more bone cells (insert fancy science word here - I'm just going to say bone cells) going in than coming out of your bones. As you get older, lets say 40, you have equal amounts of bone cells coming in as there are going out. Once you get even older, in to your 70's and 80's you have less bone cells going in than you have going out. So thanks to my hormone therapy I now have the bones of an 80 year old - I feel like I am one too most of the time! So that means I have less bone cells going in than I have coming out. There is no way to put more bone cells in to your body. But thanks to Risedronate they can stop bone cells going out. 

Risedronate is a brilliant drug and I'm very thankful for it. Although I've got to say it's annoying as hell to take. You have to stand or sit up straight for 30 minutes after you take it. Otherwise you can get Esophageal ulcers. Esophageal ulcers are the last thing I need right now. You also can't eat for an hour after taking it. This is causing havoc with my morning brew and porridge routine as you can imagine. I've begrudgingly decided that that's a small price to pay to not have multiple broken bones. 

My vitamin D and calcium tablets are fairly unproblematic and they taste of tutti frutti so that's an added bonus! 

I've also now come to the conclusion that lots of holidays and Pina coladas are also a great way of getting vitamin D and calcium in to my system - at least that's what I've told Michele! So pass me my passport. x


Saturday 28 May 2016

I've been waiting for you...

One of the things that got me through chemotherapy was that we had a family holiday to look forward to.

I remember being sat at my mum and dads house after one of my many chemo sessions feeling sick, bald and full of poison. I was quite frankly feeling pretty fed up and bloody sorry for myself when dad peered out from above his iPad and announced that he'd just booked me a holiday. 

They had booked and paid for us all to go to Arenal d'en Castell in Menorca. 

It was my dads 60th birthday in May so a family holiday was a great way to celebrate, as well as celebrate me finishing a big part of my treatment.

My mum and dad always know how to cheer me up. I'm a lucky girl! 

My oncologist thought a holiday was a great idea and so in May off we went. 

Arenal d'en Castell is a lovely, quiet area of Menorca. We stayed at the White Sands Beach Club in a 3 bed apartment, which was fab. It had two balconies and a massive roof terrace, which was great to enjoy some pre-dinner sangria. 

There are quite a few nice restaurants in the area a particular favourite of mine was The Good Bridge Restaurant. I also enjoyed The Alcalde, which did a fabulous Chateaubriand that the chef set on fire at the table. The Alcalde also did some great cocktails! 

The White Sands Beach Club also has a restaurant on site that is very good. We enjoyed a T- Bone steak their on our first night, which was yummy. They also do great cocktails. Although go easy on the Pina Coladas. They are strong! Thats based on personal experiance. 

I'm sure you all know by now I love a decent food pic so here's a few from the week. 

There's not too much to do in Arenal d'en Castell apart from the aforementioned eating and drinking but that was great for me as I still can't walk too far. However, we did manage a few days out. We went to Mercredal and enjoyed a really nice Tapas at The Tapas Gastropub (yes I'm still on about food). 

We also spent a lovely day in Mahon, the capital. The food market there was out of this world. It had a lovely harbour as well as quite a few nice shops. There was a jewellery shop in the centre that I really wish was in England. Mum kindly bought me quite a few bits but I could of easily come out of their looking like Mr T with the amount of necklaces et al that I wanted. Sorry needed! 

Lunch in Mahon was spent at Sa Gavina, which was my favourite Tapas by far. Even my dad liked it and he isn't a fan of Tapas. 

We finished our trip to Mahon at the gin factory. Samples of gin were all free to try. I don't remember how many samples I had...or what flavour they were...or what they were called. Needless to say I had a great (very merry) time! 

The weather in Menorca wasn't great in May but I think it was good for me as I had only finished radiotherapy a couple of months prior so I didn't want to risk getting sunburnt anyway. However if I was to go again I may go later in the year as it was a little chilly in the evenings.

I took my wigs and turbans with me to Menorca, but despite the weather being cooler than expected I still felt hot and itchy with my wig on. So I'm pleased to say 'Fantasy' the wig came off on day one and hasn't been worn since. Going 'wig-less' on holiday gave me the confidence to ditch the wigs and turbans once I was home so I'm now embracing the short haired look. I'm thankfully a lot less bald now. However, my glasses still make me look like Harry Hill. A less hot and itchy Harry Hill though so that can't be a bad thing. 

Here's a couple more pics from Menorca.

Me and Michele also recently went to Liverpool over the bank holiday weekend. I bought Michele an 'Ultimate Beatles Package' for Christmas a couple of years ago but with everything that was going on recently we just hadn't got round to using it. So it was great to finally book it and it was something to look forward to after we got back from Menorca.

We stayed for two nights at The Hard Days Night Hotel. The Hard Days Night Hotel is a really nice hotel in the centre of Liverpool. I thought, as it was a themed hotel, it may be a little tacky but they had decorated it in Beatles memorabilia in a really classy way. 

We went on a few of the Beatles trips that were included in the package such as the Magical Mystery tour and the tour of the Beatles museum. We also had a private Beatles taxi tour, which was really good. 

We ate at Bacaro, which was near our hotel that served Venitian Tapas. The tapas here was really good. So good in fact that we went to The Salthouse tapas on the second night with our friends Matt and Sian. 

We had a great night at the Carvern Club as well as some of the cocktail bars by the docks. As I struggle to walk too far we ended up renting city bikes over to the docks. Yes cycling is pretty tiring but at least it's over a hell of a lot quicker than walking in Topshop wedges. Wish I hadn't worn a mini dress though.

Liverpool you were great.

P.s. Sorry for flashing you!

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