Back in hospital

I am quite a regular at places like this! Juaneda hospital in Palma de Mallorca. Although today I’m not here for one of my ailments, today I’m here for my daughter. She came down with a temperature over the weekend, then it has stayed put, on and off over the week. She hasn’t been able to eat or keep any food down for the last couple of days. Yesterday her sister also started to have a fever.

Today she was so weak she nearly passed out twice, I had decided coming back early from the horses to take both girls to hospital. Here the doctor checked them both out and decided to keep Myrna in here. After blood, wee and poo samples all was gathered we managed to get a bedroom close to where I used to live. (In the first month after my “initial” accident). The start of this blog. It kind off stared here. Now that I’m back, blogging about sickness with the ventilation systems whirring in the background, like I never left. 

It’s a strange feeling. Not as strange as this week but quite. Other than Myrna’s illness we have had an awful week.

Yesterday we had an earthquake like experience in our house. Water just poured in by the bucket load. And it kept coming even after we turned off all water. It turned out to be a faulty thing on the water deposit, but it’s unheard off not having a safety overflow valve on the system… We might have to change everything downstairs. Today my world has been shaken yet again. My lovely sofa buddy, my caretaker, friend and thunder buddy Smilla has passed away. There is no better word for it. She was here last night and we shared the sofa downstairs during the night and this morning she was just a little bit weak. 

After I came back from the stables I couldn’t find her. This afternoon when I was in hospital, Dan found her, he said she looked like she had fallen asleep behind the bar. She was a once in a lifetime dog and only because I’m in the same room as other people all the time here at the hospital, I have had to keep it all together. I need to break down just a little bit. I need to find my space where I can cry and allow myself to grieve her. But at the moment I have to stay strong and together, not be to angry about our house falling apart, not let the loss of Smilla unearth me, no now I have to stay strong for the bravest little girl I have, Myrna.

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ if not for anything else, the irony of everything… 

   

Disgusting toes

I thought I should share. My big toes are now disgusting. How they ever will become better is beyond me. It’s like the bleeding underneath the nail has become a really manky area of puss and nastiness. It’s also a problem that it’s my toes and not such an easy place to reach/treat. 

I feel like an idiot trying to call the doctors at the LOC about my manky toenails. But equally I don’t see how they can become better without any treatment. I am worried that with my lowered immune system I will develop some kind of in-curable nail fungus infection…

  
I hope they shall say “don’t you worry, this is all quite within reach of nasty happenings during chemo” but they might want me to go and chop off my toes… “Yes you better chop those chubby nails off off off!”

I’ve been back riding this week. Yesterday and today 3 worked in the morning, before the flat out heat boils down on us. Then I guess I hide my nails in boots so another point of why I love my horses! -“You can’t see your nasty smelly nails whilst wearing riding gear!”

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ at least your toes are a long way away from your nose, if they stink, chances are you won’t smell them!

Strange out of body experience

At some points in this chemo stuggels I would like to talk to someone who has been through this kind of hell before, to compare if what I feel is “normal” or similar to what other people do in their treatment cycles. This is one of those times, I would just want a short and sweet, “yes, you being beyond tired most of the time is completely normal” or an “no, as tired as that doesn’t sound good at all”. Just as a quick guidance to see if I’m within range of acceptable sufferance.

It’s “funny” how tired this chemo can make me. I sometimes find myself not even able to speak. Just moving my lips can be a too huge effort for me at some times, it’s not all the time but often enough for me to worry about it. And I do worry. I only wear a mask of very convincing care free and happy not to annoy or worry my closest. It’s never easy going back to early post accident feeling of numb left side and tiredness like a black cloak hanging over me. This is where the real weird part starts. Even when I feel as tired as this, almost like an out of body experience, it all goes away when I get onboard a horse!

I’ve been so careful not to get on a horse when I’m too tired, but yesterday after being on ground helping 3 horses jumping. I decided to get on my horse Pluto even though my soul was vibrating away from my body. It was almost immediate, when I got on the horse my spirit and body assembled! And as long as I stayed onboard I felt fine! 

I’ve also started a 40 day meditation challenge. It’s with Kundalini yoga and it’s supposed to give me more energy… I’m on day 5 and I think at least straight after the meditation I do get more energy. 

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ look up to your third eye and find that inner energy!

 

I’m supposed to feel better…

Everything happens for a reason. That’s a load of boll**s! I’m sure plenty of thing happen for no reason at all! That they challenge you to quickly change what foot you stand on. To find a new direction, balance or even change your initial goals.

Here I am day 6 after my 7th chemo. As I have felt better on the last couple of chemos than I did on the first 4, I assumed I should feel better! That’s some assumption. And it’s quite a shame as it couldn’t be further from the truth. I have so little energy, basically just walking downstairs makes my heart beat in hysteria. My breath becomes shorter and in reality it feels like I might collapse. If I stop right away then it all slows back down and I’m ok if I don’t try and move at all. If I on the other hand ignore it and try to continue walking/moving I look like a 100 year old woman. If I compare it to the first 4 chemos my actual energy levels seam to be less now than before, but sadly my brain seams to be working full pelt. 

Today I’ve done some edge sport, cooking plum jam in 35 degrees heat! That’s befitting hard core edge sport! I try and challenge myself even though I’m like this shadow of my former self. The challenges get smaller and still they get harder to do, go figure! The everlasting challenge I have is against my self, my temper and my attitude against my family members… 

The only point in the day that really clears my head and strengthens my spirit is the early mornings. There is promise in the air when the temperature drops below 29 degrees!!!

See I really shouldn’t complain! It took me a bit longer to write this so now it’s a cool (ish) morning! Today it’s not an average day, it’s my super duper brothers birthday! He has come to Mallorca to celebrate so later today we will do just that, although my now celebration style would be preferred in a fridge somewhere! 

Keep Smiling πŸ™‚ one more chemo to go!!!

  

Heat heat heat

Mallorca, mid July. Well anyone could have told me this before, it shall be hot. It’s a little different being trapped indoors, in house without working Aircon or fans… I feel a little bit sorry for myself.

I’m desperately trying to figure out how to stay sane, trying to organize things for the future and my upcoming operation. The hardest thing to do is to explain to the girls that I need to stay in the UK for 3 weeks after the operation. Also trying to find a solution that will keep me fit when in London post op. All doing this whilst trying to keep lucidity in this heated chamber without air…  The worst thing is we had the Aircon units all gone through and fixed before summer, and even so it’s still not working. Oh well, never mind, I could always write about this experience at a later date, if I survive it!

I am watching stories of people being trapped underground/in caves/in the mountains on fabulous channel on sky TV very bad accidents that apparently saves most of the people at the end. Not sure it makes me feel any better, actually rather sent me the other way… I went to sleep for a good 2-3 hours.

I still don’t feel lucid. Maybe the cool of the night will sharpen me up, maybe I need to go to a hotel and be locked in somewhere cold, oh maybe I should try opening the fridge, just to not melt…

Our guest Tony (godfather to our oldest child) has been helping out as new manny, as our summer nanny decided the job was not for her, leaving us mid-cycle, not really anything to hope for in the midst of all this. Why not up the battle for this family? We need a little bit more to work against us! 

Thankfully, other than the heat and the obvious tiredness that comes with this chemo hell, I’m not feeling too sick. Not throwing up, yet, and could come with to supermarket today. Sadly that was this morning and since coming back around 1pm I’m not too good.

Oh the little things that shall set us free. We will see what the little things will lead to.

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ even when your face is sweaty and hot, turn that frown upside down!

01:21 awake good morning!

This is a new oldie. I’m back to my first chemo gitter bug! Brand wake the world up awake at God unruly hour. I’m not sure why but it could be yesterday and thoughts about it to keep me awake. It’s not the flat out afraid or shaken, it could’ve been that but I’m more lightly stirred, like a drink prepared for James Bond.

Yesterday again started early, not like today’s early but 4am and shared in a hotel room it does not easily involve doing normal stuff like reading/watching TV/writing stuff(until I found the button to lessen the screen brightness on my mobile and now I can without waking up poor cousin Caroline!). A bit of turning and thinking finally managed to solve a whole lot of world mysteries/Greece debt problem/war with IS, unfortunately as the world is for me right now my short term memory is really bad so by 07:02 (Caroline’s waking up) my solutions to the greater good were mostly gone.

We went for breakfast in a London cafe and it was great! Then off to LOC for the meeting with dr Jones. Again she pointed out my doing so well and being such a model patient to Caroline this time as she accompanied me. She could also not feel Brenda! The biggest of my tumors has disappeared. The sad thing is with her going also most of my breast has gone with her. The right breast is now a flat shrinkly memory of its past self. I had a list of questions to her about the operation etc. By going through it with her we realized most of said questions would be better for the surgeon mr Ghosh, and as I was seeing him later in the day this was a good thing.

Going down to the Dungeon Of Death for the second last time, I started recognizing more of the staff, and they more or less recognized me too! I got Fabiana from Portugal as my poison distributer of the day! She has been my nurse twice before so she is getting used to my cheerful banter, not everybody else though! For the first time in the Dungeon Of Death I was being told off! For laughing too much! I’m sorry, I know that serious business is ongoing there, and there are a lot of people in pain going through hell and more, I’m sort of one of them. But Caroline’s re encounter of learning English swear words from friends in school, and not only mistaking the “Fu** You” for the not too offensive “Thank You”! But also instead of pointing the middle finger she got a finger dyslexia and pointed the pointy finger!!!! Imagine people’s surprise of angering this 7-8 year old girl and getting a pointy finger pointing strait up to the sky, with her yelling “Thank You”! I cracked up! We were both crying with laughter and this is were next doors nurse came in to quiet us up, well mostly me I think. You can’t have poisonous treatment here in the Dungon and laugh about it!

My bloods were good again! Thank the higher power my potassium levels were alright again!  The potassium is not a supplement I would wish on anybody to have to take orally! It could on the other hand be used in torture by the military on so many different levels… Doesn’t bare to think about it… The chemos 3 different poisons were put in, only the Herceptin level had to be put up. As I have gained almost 3kg in the 3 weeks since I had it before! It is responsible for a lot of Brenda’s disappearance, so that should have lessen my weight but it in combination with the other poisons binds a lot of water to my body so therefore I now weigh an impressive 73kg!

It’s mostly water they all assure me, I think not, a lot of good food and cakes have been consumed in Sweden, I think a new diet of raw salads is on the menu again when I return to Mallorca!

The 5 1/2hours went by so quickly. And as we were leaving the strangest thing happened! I heard a voice saying “you are amazing”. I looked around and saw a young dark haired pretty lady, looking kind of in my direction but as I was queuing to the loo, I thought she was talking to someone behind me. No one there so I turned to her again, I had never seen her in my life! “What you do is truly fabulous!” This time clearly aimed at me. She had come across my blog via an emailed she had had forwarded from someone. It was incredible to meet her, as she just wanted to point out how much she appreciated reading about my story  and that I could stay so upbeat most of the time! As she worked at the LOC I hope she understands that the work they do there for everyone is remarkable! It can’t be easy meeting all the sick people in various state of recovery or not so much. I know I should have found out her name, but as the loo was clear I lost her there.

Because Caroline and my other cousin Ebba had brought me some delicious Kushmi tea in May, and since then I have found a shop in Marylebone only selling Kushmi tea, I had booked in a tea sampling session for me and Caroline at Kushmi tea in Marylebone high street. This I can honestly recommend this for any tea lover out there. We got to sample 6 different teas, and got told the whole history of the Kushmi teas, the background of the teas Anastasia and Prince Vlademir and the mixtures used in them and why. It was a truly remarkable hour!

I was ready for my meeting with the surgeon. He asked how I’d been feeling and finished laughing at me when I explained that because of my traveling to Sweden I hadn’t managed to ride at all in the last cycle. I then told him of my going to Falsterbo instead meeting up with my riders and business partners and of my miracle paperwork before leaving for Sweden. I don’t think he gets that many upbeat forward thinking patients there, so I hope I make his life a bit easier, well kind of. My breast care nurse with him is called Lisa and she is an incredibly awesome Aussie lady! She was not very happy about the Ashes results last weekend so I didn’t rub it in too much that England (total underdogs who barely scraped by in the pre-ashes test matches against lilliput nation New Zeeland) beat the great grand superstars of Australia!!! They won by 169 runs which I think is pretty impressive! Well I’m not saying to much as the test match at Lords starts in two days, oh fingers be crossed!

Mr Ghoh examined me and came to the same conclusion as dr Jones, the tumor was nearly gone, but so was the breast. He went through the options for me with the op. The nipple has to go, because of Nina the nasty nipple hiding tumor, the risks of the cancer coming back there is too high. Nipple and surrounding areola has to be taken out. I then have a couple of options when I remove the rest of the dying two tumors Brenda and Brittany. I can remove them and the nipple and not be left with much on the right side. Or I can remove and put an implant in, or fat from my stomach or muscle from my back. We were discussing all the options as I started to realize this is no walk in the park. The minimum operation length is 4 hours and it can go up to 10 hours for the most complicated op. The minimum stay in hospital is 7 days. I guess this is different for everybody, but as I come under “the highly active not probably listening to much of our keeping calm talk” I think they have booked me in for hospital for that length for a reason.

I was given a book and a leaflet about the different options I have for the operation. Last night when I couldn’t sleep for some reason (I blame it on all the awesome tea) I managed 62 pages in the Macmillan book about breast reconstructions after cancer. It takes some reading. All the options with the medical names of them as well as what they actually are. The plus and minus of each option. I think I have to read it again today, would read it now but as I can’t turn on any light it will be later on. The pictures of the breasts post-op are incredible. The best ones are the natural ones that average a 9hour op, but I’m not sure I can do that. The regular silicone implant with the filling option under your armpit also looks like a possible option but as I’m having radiation treatment afterwards it could damage the implant… The pluses and the minuses, I have decided not to go for the cutting out breast and nipple and going one breasted, I think living in a country where I spend 300 days a year in a T-shirt or bikini it would make the fashion me conscious, and as she isn’t very big you should know how strange it would make me feel to only have one breast. We were also talking about my genetics testing that for some reasons beyond me have to be taken again and sent off. That’s blood sample taken to see if the cancer I have is genetic as my mother and her aunt had breast cancer. It’s better to know, I don’t think I have the awful Angelina Jolie gene, but better to be safe than sorry. I will meet the doctor and take the test next chemo time in London. I have also been booked a surgery time, much earlier than I thought was possible, but I guess they want me to have a life back as soon as possible! 

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ every day has new miracles waiting to be discovered and memories remembered to make you laugh out loud!!! 

 

I added my wig to the art at Kushmi tea

  

breakfast awsomeness

    

At Kushmi tea they use wigs as art!

  

“Thank You”


 

I’m going in for number 7!

7 used to be my second lucky number! Just so you all know. And as my lucky number in China is considered to be highly unlucky, maybe I should swap? 

I went to Falsterbo for the last few days in Sweden. It’s in the south of Sweden and hosts a huge international 5* and National championship in Show jumping and dressage. My family was invited by Lisen Bratt Fredicson who had a table overlooking the main arena! We had 4 days of show jumping in mixed weather. I didn’t get to the dressage arena but the Swedes won everything! More or less everybody cycles in Falsterbo, except me. 

I think all the traveling and not riding at all this “cycle” of chemo has taken it’s toll, on top of the fact that I should be getting more and more tired with every chemo. Now I need to have an afternoon snooze as well as going to bed early. (Sometimes I only last until 9pm). On the flip side mornings is me! I wake up between 4am and 5am with no possibility of sleep returning. 

In Sweden we have not had the joy of television so books is the new TV (maybe it’s the old TV…)! At the moment I’m reading a Liza Marklund from 2002, Prime Time. It’s very compulsive reading, the combination of tiredness and reading means I haven’t updated this blog for this week.

Yesterday I flew back to London via Denmark with my cousin Caroline. The girls and Dan flew back to Mallorca. Millie (the youngest at 4) has started using my in her words “little hair” as it’s grown back a little and is super soft. She pats it a like a cuddly toy and strokes my “little hair”. The request of my staying in her bed at night for her to use me instead of her cuddly monkey has been made. The doctor last time told me not to get my hopes up too high regarding the hair growing back as chemo has this nasty effect of no glamour for women. It might start growing a little and then fall out again, well so far so “little hair” good, now six week on new chemo and still getting more cuddly by the day! Also still piling on the weight so really am getting more cuddly by the minute… Maybe I’ll end up a cuddly toy for said daughter?

When it comes to wearing a wig, Sweden has been partly good as it’s not too hot generally, the wind on the other hand made wearing wig a little scary. I ended up wearing hat on top of wig and made a safer sandwich of headgear that didn’t fall off! Back in the UK a little better but still hot sometimes on trains/underground, and now with my little hair I have been compared to SΓ¬nead O’Conner or G.I. Jane so I guess I could bare it. My headshape is of the enviable frame for a person that likes possessing short trims. Going “naked” to me has a new meaning, it’s more of bearing my head than other body parts. Maybe it will become the new norm when back in Mallorcas tropical superheat. Yesterday we did try on a new longer wig, it made me look like a cross-dresser… Even the client next mirror agreed, no long hair in a wig for me, strange I never thought of myself at all ever looking like a transvestite in my own hair when it was long… Not even when it was pink! Maybe I lived in a fantasy world and should be corrected.

Coming back to the lucky numbers. Me and Caroline yesterday compared lists of accidents/breaks/illnesses/operations and it does seam my list being a lot longer. I could blame it on her being younger, or that she isn’t as high impact sport active as me, but she played horse polo professionally so I don’t think so. I don’t think you can change your lucky number as it has certain values to you personally. And I’m still here so that’s pretty lucky I think!

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ The world is turning and my “little hair” is way cuddly! Bring on number 7! After today one to go!

  
I got almost as many likes as my horses grey spotty bottom!

SwedenΒ 

We brought the heat with us from Mallorca, as the first couple of days we were here we had +30 and over degrees. It was quite funny as we had packed for rainy/coldish weather. The girls thought it was the norm and quite happily used their normal clothes to attack the not so normal heat of Sweden.

This year for my birthday I settled for a quiet 30 adults 18 kids party with Swedish cakes as the main ingredient! After indulging in the treats served up by mum and my cousin Caroline everybody headed to the lake to cool down. 

Days here have been quite full on and I just don’t think my body is coping very well with it. I’m tired all the time, and if someone spotted me trying to pay for a car parking ticket yesterday, after my 3 credit cards were declined, the guy on the telephone help line could only help me set up the convenient app for the use of paying car parking in Stockholm, not take actual payment, the array of Swedish/English swear words used amounted to an impressive €237 for the swearing pot! I was like an encyclopedia of bad words, my children were all within hearing distance, even though I used the ingenious “mother plucker”… I was in the bad books of most of my family…

Today is a new day, and let’s try Stockholm again! Mentally I am prepared, we will just have to see how the body will cope. I get so tired it’s hard even just standing up.

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ and keep your humour high even when machines work against you! 

      
  
 

Divine energy

We are in the air. Floating towards our goal, Sweden! For the last couple of days we have been at high speed trying to get second quarter accountancy papers done for our companies… It’s the busiest quarter for Dan’s cycling event company and as I’ve had the chemo my mind has been everywhere except on paperwork duty. I was shocked on Monday when I realized it was that time again. I honestly thought it was a couple of weeks ago since I did the last accountancy.

By some divine force of nature I managed to get proper energy back during Monday afternoon. I got a throat infection and had to go to hospital to have blood taken and was put on oral antibiotics. I preferred that to the second option which was intravenous antibiotics which I assume also would have meant another hospital stay. Anyway I was only too happy to be at home medicating self with my emergency a&b’s!

It’s like the emergency antibiotics have contained something. Since I’ve been on them I’ve had really high energy. Not like the over speedy version of self that I took to in week 3 after the first 4 chemo’s, but a new type of ready to get going and organized super power.

I’ve managed to sort out all girls and my own wardrobes. Organized playroom, office and all storage spaces in the house! On top of that yesterday I managed to do all paperwork! What normally takes me between 1-2 weeks I managed to do in 3 hours straight! I’m not sure who the new me is, but she is quite handy to have around! 

The hard working me has also had time to sozcialize with my friends, both locally and visitors from Sweden! And to top it off I decided to go for a yoga lesson last night! It was more or less like a Bikram yoga as the heat in Palma yesterday night was over 36 degrees.

I was worried that I might end up like last times trial and proper yoga fail, but not so! Sandra challenged me as my body was pouring into slippery poses. Only a few rounds of extra child’s pose and some alternative poses where I sat down rather than standing when I twisted but I finished off doing a headstand and almost an underarm stand! I know I’m not allowed to be competitive during yoga and I’m not really but it was a win in itself managing to walk out of the class energized and positive!

Then arrived this morning. I can tell you this much. I am very happy we made this flight. Especially after I forgot my antibiotics at home and we had to go back for them. Myrna started feeling sick and she and our new nanny had to get out of the car, and we left them at the side of the road speeding home to get the antibiotics and picking them up on the way back to the airport. When they climbed back onboard the mini bus breathing hard and huffing oh gosh did I feel like the worlds worst mother ever in the air conditioned beauty which was our carriage. It was not even 10 o’clock and it was already 31 degrees. Of course I had told them to stand in the shade, but as Myrna had taken off her shoes in the car and then forgotten to put them on when she felt sick, the shade was someplace she didn’t feel she could stand. 

Anyway, even without pre booking a space at the long term parking at the airport (yes I had no idea you had to pre book!) we made it and even though I nearly missed the plane for another fifty reasons, we made it! 

Keep smiling πŸ™‚ sometimes you can’t even recognize who you’ve become but she might be a better you!