Worrior Mum: The Cancer Fight

Previously I mentioned in my previous blog about my mum being diagnosed with lung cancer.  This was one of the biggest things I have had to deal with in my life.  It was a shock to us all.  It began with her saying that she was suffering with heartburn which then developed further in a matter of hours into a pain in her left side.  We wanted to take her to the Walk-In Centre or A&E but she was having none of it (the last time she was in the hospital for herself was when she gave birth to my brother) and she thought she could sleep it off as she felt really tired too so I gave her a couple of hours, called back and she said that it was time to go A&E as she started coughing up blood!  We rushed her into A&E and everything moved quickly from there.  She stayed in over the weekend after having different tests.  More tests were ordered as they found a shadow on her left lung then on the 2nd October 2014, my brothers 24th birthday, she found out that she had lung cancer.  It was inoperable as it was small cell cancer and they said it was aggressive and can spread quickly so treatment must start ASAP.  I broke down in that room and the feeling I had is indescribable.  Mum said she will fight this all the way and she is thankful for the length of time she has been alive.  She said, for ever year that she has lived over her mum has been a bonus; 10 years!  She packed in smoking straight away as this is the main cause for this; she wishes that she did it sooner.

Soon enough treatment plans came through and chemotherapy was first in line.  Anyone who knows my mum will tell you that she is hard as nails, nothing phases her and she will tell you how it is so going though this was just the same.  Sat in the waiting room in Clatterbridge, the people flooded in!  I was shocked to see the amount of people who were there to be treated or have their bloods done ready to be told that they were ok to go ahead with their chemotherapy session.  We went to the cubical that they told us to and as we was 1st in, mum had the choice of seat; straight to the window, next to the radiator and close to the TV with Smooth FM playing aloud.  She took the 1st session on the chin!  We had a laugh as she was singing away with the radio and was learning to text properly so she could bulk text her mates in work!  We had a packed lunch too, to keep us going of course 😉

The cycles were every 3 weeks for chemotherapy and there were new people every time she was due to have her session.  She brightened everyones day from the nurses to the patients just because of her positive attitude, her ‘amazing’ singing voice and her caring nature.  There was one lady who requested to be with my mum when she was due to have her chemotherapy again!

By her 2nd lot of chemotherapy, she was given 3 weeks of radiotherapy with just the weekends off.  This was to target the lung.  Again, you would meet new people and see the flocks of patients coming in and out of the clinics.  Her first day on radiotherapy, she was in the room for ages, this was because they could see a difference in her lung already from one chemotherapy session!  Amazing!  Mum took this on the chin and ‘back heeled’ it as she would tell everyone.  Although she had the sickness and felt her body slowing down, it didn’t stop her from being out every day.

As her 4th and last chemotherapy session finished, it was Christmas week and her one main wish was to be able to taste her Christmas Dinner, thankfully she could!  She had a break over Christmas and New Year from the treatment and was waiting to hear about the preventative radiotherapy on her brain.  This was 2 weeks of more intense treatment and this was the worst of it all.  Her hair was just starting to come back but this was to be lost again (this wasn’t a worry for her though), sickness was high, tiredness took over her body and her taste buds were shot.  The machine she was on would lock her into place with this mesh mask that was put over you.  You couldn’t move with it and for anyone who suffers with claustrophobia, it would be your worst nightmare.  She got through it though which is the main thing.

Moving forward, she was called to have another scan to see how the treatment has gone and to see what the cancer is like.  The consultant shouted her name and before we walked in mum said “whatever he says we will get though it”.  The scan of the lungs before and the lungs after were on the screen.  We had never seen these before as mum didn’t want to know or see anything, just for them to do what they can to help her get better.  Well they did just that!  The lung before was a 3rd full with this tumour and the one after looked as if it had been cut out completely; it had shrunk to nothing!  We are still amazed today!

She isn’t out of the woods yet though as she needs to have check ups and scans every 4 months to be monitored and she has to build up her strength too.  Her current diet consists of Cornflakes, Starburst, Vimto cordial and chips and gravy from the Chipmonk!  She’s been told that her tastebuds and hair may not come back, her short term memory may be affected and headaches may be quite frequent but she said that’s the price I am willing to pay to be given a second chance at life.

Thanks goes out to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre from the management and nurses to the volunteers, her consultant Dr Haridass, Macmillan and Cancer Research.  If you didn’t do what you do then this may never have happened.  Thank you.

Lynz x

me and mum

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It’s 2015! No blogging for over a year! Thought I’d give it another go!

Hi all!

Oh how I’ve missed publishing my feelings and using my blog.  I’ve not blogged since August 2013 which is a while ago.  Just took me ages to get set back up but it will be worth it I’m sure!

So, what’s been happing in the time over a year you ask?  Well a few ups and downs I’d say but I’m getting there.

My career has some to an end.  Teaching is not for me.  I enjoy working with the kids and making a difference but that’s about it.  It has made me ill on several occasions and I have jumped ship.  It’s an experience I won’t forget and I am damn sure that my skills will be transferrable.  I need a work:life balance.  I was unable to achieve this when I was teaching.  I wouldn’t see my family for weeks on end and I know I wouldn’t forgive myself if anything bad happened to them in that time.  I know that all careers can be hard working and you do it to have the best of everything but you need a life too, right?!  It’s a good job I became ill as I have been able to look after my mum and dad now.  My mum was looking after my dad and has done for many years (unfortunately he has various illnesses but he is too proud to show them) but my mum has now become ill too.  Cancer decided to target her.  So what my mum can’t do, I can.  I can also look after my mum by taking her to all the appointments she has for her treatment and meet with the doctors and consultants when they request.  I can also take my dad to his appointments and help around their house too.  Rewarding and upsetting at the same time I tell you.  Being a full time carer can be hard work (I don’t see it as hard work, they have looked after me and brought me up so it’s my turn to do the looking after) but that’s another story.

Health-wise – let’s not go there.  TTC still not happening and I am under investigation due to prolonged bleeds which are beginning to scare the life out of me.  I was dreaming last night about it.  Somewhere in my dream I was told to start investigating and do more for myself and that’s what I’m going to do.  When I was 18, I had a cervical cancer scare and I am actually worried that this could now be linked to that.  I have fought to have a scan (my blood loss started back in June 2014 and it’s still happening.  I have had blood work that shown I was ‘fine’ and I had a scan the other day to which I am waiting the results on.  I rang to get an appointment so I can discuss this further with my GP.  Lets see how I get on there.  With the family links to cancer, I don’t want to risk it anymore.

Family life is great apart from the above.  I am able to spend time with the people I care about and love.  I have a great support network around me and certain people do get me through everything.  My husband is my rock and I know he helps me no end with everything.  I can’t thank him enough.

Anyway’s I have to go.  Hopefully I get to blog more this year!

Lynsey x

It’s been a while hasn’t it!

So I haven’t been blogging for a while (April was my last blogging session) as I have been working hard and not had the time to update so I do apologise for that 🙂

What’s been happening over the past 4 months then?  Lets separate them into sections so you can see.

Career

Well I have got a job in a College teaching which is fantastic and I know this is what I want to do (It’s taken a while for me to decide where I fitted in and this is the right choice).  I was working in several jobs which stopped me from seeing my family and friends yet again but once the job in the College came, I stopped the other roles as I knew that I needed to focus on my career and it has paid off! Hurrah!!!

Depression, Anxiety and Stress

I am happier than I have been in a while and this is down to the support from my family and friends.  If they weren’t around and stood by me when things were bad then I wouldn’t have got through it.  I know that it was a stage in my life where I was pushed way over my limit and I needed to give in for a while.  There is nothing to be ashamed about if you have or are suffering with depression, anxiety and/or stress as it’s your body telling you that you have been strong for far too long and you need to rest and get some help.  It’s hard to do but please tell someone how you are feeling if you need to 🙂

Weight

I am still struggling with my weight and I am coming to terms with the fact that I am not helping myself with the food choices that I have been making.  I joined back Weight Watchers and have been referred to the dietetics department within the clinic I attend for fertility as my Fertility Specialist has realised that there is something I need support with here.  I have been for my initial consultation and today I attended to see a dietician who explained exactly how my weight isn’t shifting and the type of plan I need to follow for my own body – Low Gi.  I am in the process of reading up about this and what types of foods I am better having.  I will be linked with this person for a while now to help me with my weight issue.  I am also due to see the Physiotherapy department too so they can help with the physical side.  I am so happy that I am receiving extra support.  I just need to work with them and myself to become healthier.

Fertility

So I am still far from being pregnant.  I had a very large cycle of 10 months where nothing happened at all apart from being in pain.  A scan was conducted the other week to see what changes may have happened and these results should be given tomorrow when we go to see our Fertility Specialist.  I know the 1st thing will be ‘you need to lose weight’ which really annoys me as I can see for myself that I need to!  I am hoping to get more answers to what and how I can work with my dodgy ovaries to help with the weight loss and possibly the chance of conceiving naturally.  We will make a list of questions and treatments that could be done and see where we go.  It’s getting a little tedious just to be told that I need to lose weight so we can have IVF.  Surely there is something else!  Only time will tell.

In other news

I’ve been looking through my bucket list and have crossed another few items off which is great!  I feel a sense of achievement when I cross items off the list.  Some people say that they are easy to achieve but when you are mad busy and don’t have a settled job (like I have now) then it’s fairly hard.  Here’s to crossing more off in the future.

That’s it for now and as always, any comments will be replied to and thanks again for all of your support.

Lynsey xx

Happy Mothers Day

So today is Mothers Day and it hits me hard every year that I do not have my very own child to have the day celebrated like most of my friends and family who can. I know it’s hard for people who have lost their mothers and I feel for these people also. I see the isles in the supermarkets stocked up with amazing gifts that mothers will receive today but the only gift I’d ever want on Mothers Day is the sign of my child being developed, the sight of my child in my arms, a hug.

Here’s a poem I’ve found to sum today up:

So I was online today in search of a mother’s day gift for myself…its a little weird considering that Im not officially a mother. But I think that all because I am not holding my child physically, does not make me any less of a mother than those that are. Now that I have that off of my chest, I came across this poem that touched my heart because it is something that is a very touching subject for not only myself, but all of us.

“Happy Mother’s Day”

It comes around every year;
but when you have empty arms,
it’s very hard to hear.

It’s a day to celebrate a mother,
for all the trials she overcame;
and a reminder to an infertile
of her loneliness and shame.

But what really makes a mother,
Is it just conception and birth?
Or is there something more,
that shows a mother’s worth?

It’s putting your child first,
in everything you do;
it’s sacrifice and determination,
and love and patience too.

An infertile woman makes all her plans,
around a child not yet conceived;
she loves them even though they aren’t here, more than she ever could have believed.

She appreciates and understands,
what a blessing that children are;
she works hard for just a chance,
that motherhood is not that far.

All odds are stacked against her,
and yet she still has hope;
everyday is another struggle,
finding ways to help her cope.

So even though her arms are empty,
she can still be a mother too;
So say a special “Happy Mother’s Day”
for those waiting for their dreams to come true!

Happy Mothers Day to all who are dreaming and hoping to become a mother in the future xxxx

2012: A review. Heres’ to 2013.

Well it’s that time of year where everyone reflects on 2012 being ‘their year’ so I thought I’d reflect on mine.  I found it hard to think of anything good from 2012 so I had to have a search through my diary starting January 2012!  I found it hard to find many happy parts that just involved myself as this year has been my worst year to date!

Here’s a timeline of events that have happend in 2012:

January:  I worked my backside off to get any means of supply work – yes you have to be very proactive to get it by calling everyday and making sure the 8 agencies I was with were fully aware of my daily work situation.  Many thought I was just ‘lucky’ to get all that work; well I wasn’t lucky, I worked hard for it!!  This was also done alongside working in my retail job (I love this type of job).

February:  Again I worked my backside off to get any means of supply work and I also took on a 3rd job in a College in an evening.  This was very hard work for me but I really enjoyed working all day, all night and every weekend – YES 7 days and nights a week I worked.  This was also the month where our official 1st wedding anniversary took place, the 29th February.  Officially we had been married 4 years of course and we had always said that we would go on holiday to celebrate so we went to the 1st place we had ever been on holiday together, Benidorm!  That week was lovely.  I was able to relax and unwind.

March:  March is always a busy month with birthdays so a few celebrations were done here along with a mass baby boom; 4 people who were close to me plus a few others knocking about were pregnant.  Yes this can happen as thats what normal people do when they are in a relationship or married right?  It was the way I was told that hurt.  From their perspective it’s the thought of ‘oh how do we tell Lynsey’ about this news, my perspective is just tell me as I’m not going to tell you to have an abortion because I’m struggling am I?  We also met with the FS (fertility specialist) this month too so that made it a little raw as I always come out of them feeling like a failed woman!  Anyways, I was still working here, there and    everywhere whilst trying to find the time to see family and friends.

April:  April started off as a good month, I got long term supply work with the potential of getting a full time job there, I went to see New Kids On The Block and The Backstreet Boys which was ace and I still held down 3 jobs.  Not much time spent with family and friends again – some started to say that that it wasn’t good for me and others were gutted because I didn’t have time to see them.

May:  I give up one of the 3 jobs so I had a bit of time to myself.  Nothing else happened this month really apart from work.  WOOP!

June: Still putting the hours in at the 2 jobs I had, attended a couple of weddings and went to a couple of meals where the sole topic on the table was babies as everyone was sharing their pregnancy related issues.

July:  The month it all started to show the signs that I was becoming ill.  I already knew I was suffering with depression as the doctors put me on a number of different anti depressants in the past but nothing was helping but I wasn’t that bad at this stage.  Yes I would drive places and cry for no reason, I would feel a little anxious about people looking at me byt that I thought was linked to the ever gaining weight I was putting on, not having a child and suffering with my hormones.  I had my interview for my long term teaching job and didn’t get it, I was put forward for another school and never got that then the worst interview was when the school I was at recently told me that I was never going to pass anything in their school so I didn’t get that either.  So I was facing the summer holidays without a job in teaching and feeling rubbish at the job too.  At least I had one thing to look forward to; MARBELLA with my 2 good mates!  I then got a call the last week of term offering me a job.  WOOP!  So I had a holiday and a job in September to look forward to!  I went on holiday and loved every minute of it.

August:  August I attended the wedding of a very good friend of mine, completed the Race For Life 5k in a quicker time than I did a couple of years before, went to Creamfields and got ready to start my new job by handing my notice in at the job I have always loved.  An eventful month.

September:  I started my job at the school at the beginning of the month, I loved it at 1st but it was a bit of a struggle finding out how they worked as not many people in the school liked to reply to emails or speak face to face.  I ploughed though and just stuck with it.  I attended another wedding and the month ended with my Sister in Laws baby shower and seeing John Bishop!

October:  The worst month EVER for me!  Lets start with all the good things this month.  It started off nice at baby shower number 2 for my Niece that was due to come into the world this month (my bets was on Steven’s birthday (31st) but that was not the case at all.  We attended the last wedding of 2012 which was a family wedding, a good party and spent with special family and friends, I started doing Partylite, went on a surprise mission to Teeside for an Ice Skating night and met up with my other friends where we catch up from the months we haven’t seen each other.  1 had already told me that I was pregnant and the other announced on the night.  I have got used to making nappy cakes for friends so I will be happy to get them started for my close friends.  We also celebrated Steven’s last birthday in his 20’s – heres to his 30h next year!  Now for the bad:  I had to re-apply for my job, I didn’t get it, I was shot down for my work, I realised that I had put on far more weight than I thought, my FS appointments were changed left, right and centre for it to be on the day before my birthday and the highlight of dropping so low due to the negativity around me (job, weight, no baby and health) I hit rock bottom and by barrier that I had held up for so long, smashed into bits!  I wanted to die, I couldn’t  go that step further to end it all and it was a struggle to go out of the house.  I pushed myself for the last 3 days in the month to go to school but I was constantly panicing, I was constantly anxious and I was constantly crying.  The doctors saw this as an issue and changed my tablets and signed me off.

November:  I had been living in a bubble for the month, I have gained this mood that can only be explained as ‘I can’t be arsed’ but I want to push myself but my body won’t allow it to happen.  I struggled through by trying to go out of the house and putting on my brave face but I never felt comfortable.  Take this as an example:  My Sister in Law was blessed with a little daughter at the beginning of the month and we were blessed with a little niece.  We went to the hospital very excited as the mood should be but I was that scared of going near her for her to see how much of a shell of myself I have turned into (not that she knew) as she should have been round happy people.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy to see her, to hold her and to be one of the main people in her life but it was hard for me, not because I want one, just because of how my body and mind is working at the minute.  Sure enough I build myself up and went over and held her in my arms and I whispered to her ‘you don’t know how much you have done for me’.  By this I meant how I had talked myself out of harming myself just so I could meet her, my own Niece.  Oh and we celebrated the 4th year of officially ‘trying to conceive’ this month, yay!

December:  The month of joy, good will, food, drink, family and friends.  This I have realised this month.  I have seen my friends and my family.  I have received advice, care and comfort.  I have had 3 ‘good days’ which is an improvement from the past and I have slept loads.  I have been miserable on the days I should have been happy.  Spending Christmas day with family should have been happy but I struggled smiling, getting out of bed, trying to get ready and pretending to be happy.  Boxing day was the same.  My birthday was lovely, I went for a couple of meals and had a house party where friends and family came which was lovely.  I tried to keep positive for everyone.  I had Santa to come and visit the kids who came too.  It’s a happy time of year but I just don’t feel happy.

So here it is, the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013.  Is it the end of me feeling the way I do?  Is it the end of the career I have worked damn hard to get?  Is it the year where mental health is not a taboo subject and people begin to realise how serious it is and how it can affect people in different ways?  What is my New Years Resolution?

All I hope for 2013 is the following:

For my life to carry on

To start getting back to my old self

To lose a bit of weight for my own health and not for other people

To start my journey of becoming positive

To get a job that I love regardless of my qualifications

To try and not focus my life around trying for a baby, what can I do about the fact I’m infertile, nothing apart from getting to the weight I need for IVF

To do a little bit more that is listed on my Bucket List

To think of myself more

To be happy

Happy New Year to you all and heres’ to a lovely 2013