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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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

Happy Infertility Anniversary (4 years,1 week and 5 days)

Just needed to vent so here goes (sorry)

It’s been 4 years 1 week and 5 days since we made one of the happiest decisions in our life together – to start our very own family. Truth is, I didn’t realise that it would change my life for the worst (it could be worse I suppose but it’s added to problems I’ve had for years) Everyone has either had a baby or are expecting. Take a look at the list:

I’ve had a run through of dear friends who have had monthly births Aug (1), Sept (1), Nov (5) with announcements (some of which were scared of telling me due to hurting my feelings) in Aug (1), Sept (1), Nov (1) plus another 6 friends being pregnant and this is all just from August.

I am lost in myself! I want my own and I know this won’t happen. It hurts being in a room with people constantly talking about babies or children and most of the time not being considered of the things that I am going through (depression, infertility, negativity, anxiety, sleepless nights, panic attacks and thoughts I would never have thought I would have had) and when I bring up that I have an appointment or having going to the doctors about certain issues, the answer I usually get is ‘oh I forgot about that’ or ‘oh I didn’t realise’.

I wish I had never begun this journey as I was a far better person before this regardless of the issues I have had prior.  I was lively, outgoing, happy and the life and soul of the party but now I’m this moaning, argumentative, miserable piece of crap that I never thought I’d turn out to be.

Some say:

  • it’s only 4 years
  • you’re still young
  • it’s not the right time
  • you don’t need to have a child and our children love you
  • you don’t want to go through pregnancy anyway, it’s not the best expereice

My answer to these are as follows:

  • 4 years of wanting something SO MUCH and thinking about it every day is hard.  Unless you are or have been in this position or that you can think outside the box then you don’t know how this feels.
  • Why am I STILL young?  What is the age that you class me as being old enough for this to happen?  I have seen children who I have taught being pregnant.  I have seen people throughout my time in secondary school who have had 2 children and that is before the age of 16.  Please give me the age that is right for me to start worrying about NOT being young!!
  • Why is it not the right time?  I am in a stable relationship with a husband who loves me and who would be an amazing dad yet I can’t fulfil this dream of his.  My thoughts and feelings would have never got out of hand if this journey had worked like they teach you in school and all the medical theories that are out there were correct.
  • I know your children love me and I love them too but I would love to have the option to tuck my own into bed every night and comfort my own when they are ill.  The saying always a Bridesmaid never the Bride comes to mind here BUT in the sense of always the Auntie but never the Mum.  You have your children that you love and cherish, you have the special days in the year that you can celebrate; Mothers/Fathers Day being one of them.  Am I selfish in wanting this for us too?
  • I DO WANT TO HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS FOR A REASON!  The ones that are out there in a general are you don’t have a cycle (I have this), you feel sick (quite frequently I feel sick), you are getting fat (I’m fat already), you have stretch marks (I have these), you are tired (me too), you have tender breasts (oh yeah I have this too), you have headaches (check!) and you can’t sleep (I’m there with you too) BUT you have had all of these AND got an outcome.  Me on the other hand has had these for years along with taking hundreds of pregnancy tests and all being negative regardless of me actually seeing 2 lines (imaginary visions).

I wish I coud stop being like this.  I wish I could be more positive and I wish that I was back to my old self.  We have decided that the journey we have been on should stop but I don’t know how to give up.  I would love advice on how to give up and forget about it all.  I would love to be happy again.  I would love to sit in a room with friends and family and not get upset inside when they are talking about children due to feeling an emptiness of not having one of my own.

Again, I apologise for the length of this and the moaning that is involved BUT this is why I decided to blog; to put my feelings down on ‘paper’ thus the name ‘Stress Burner’.

Week 1’s weigh in

I had my weigh in this afternoon and I have lost 3lbs and 4 inches!  This is over my 2.5lb target that I have set every week until the 3rd July so I get to the weight I need to be at to be referred for IVF so I am rather pleased!  It is also a great loss for me and my body too as I am a very slow loser due to the PCOS.  Louise was happy with me too, YAY!

Now for the week ahead….

I have planned to get as much exercise in as possible so this evening I went to aerobics with my friends and pushed myself as much as I could (went a little dizzy at times but that’s due to the lack of calories I’m having) and I feel good for doing so.  I have also arranged to meet up with my bezzies from Uni on Sunday.  I’ll be going for a run mid afternoon and then going for tea and to the Cinema – I can’t wait!!!!

This will be the only time food will be passing my lips and I will be sole sourcing throughout the week.

Here’s to another good loss next week.  Can’t wait to see that ticker weight going down!

I have also been sizing up an outfit for Zoe’s wedding in September too –  hopefully I am around a size 12-14 then unless I end up pregnant of course 😉  Wouldn’t that be ace eh!

Well I better be off so I can have a chocolate shake before I go to bed (yes you can have chocolate on this plan!!!)

Night all 🙂

Our TTC journey

Well here’s the start of our TTC journey. I will fill you in on all the details from the beginning and keep up to date with the rest as we go along. So here goes…….

We decided to ‘try’ for a baby back in November 2008 after getting married in the February. We had already been together for over 7 years at this point and of course this was the next step in our relationship to complete our little family that we had dreamt of.

I came off the pill and for some unknown reason I didn’t have my usual cycle as I did on the pill (every month), it happened to be 5 months down the line. I did go to the doctors in the meantime and they informed me that the pill was still in my system and it would happen soon (yeah right!) I was in denial that anything was wrong within these 5 months as people I know had always got pregnant straight after coming off the pill and others who were still on it! How wrong was I!

In May 2009, I went back to the doctors time and time again then I finally got to see a doctor who wanted to investigate what was actually wrong with me. I informed them that we were TTC (Trying To Conceive) yet again and the doctor decided to send me for tests. I was sent for a number of blood tests and an internal scan. I awaited the results and they had told me I was suffering with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). This hit me like a ton of bricks and my 1st and only reaction was that I would never have a child. Since looking into PCOS, I am more than positive that I have been suffering with this since entering my teenage years as I have always suffered with my weight, had signs of depression, suffered with mood swings and very irregular cycles. Since coming off the pill I have developed acne (never suffered with this as a teenager) and a few skin tags (further signs).

We were put forward to see a FS (fertility specialist) straight away which was very unusual as they only seem to do this after a year or 2 of TTC. I thought that this was it, we were going to get the help we needed to have a baby. We had several tests separately and everything was always boiling down to my weight; lose weight they would always say (this is a very hard thing for my body to do – I will write about this in my weight blog) which would upset me no end. I fought with them to prescribe me Clomid (a tablet which helps trigger ovulation) which they did in July 2009 after my persuasive attitude. I was placed on them for 6 months. Each month I would take the given amount (50mg month 1, 100mg months 2-4 then 150mg months 5 and 6) from day 2 in my cycle to day 6 then on day 21 I would go for a blood test to see if I had ovulated. Month 5 I did ovulate but I still received a BFN (Big Fat Negative) pregnancy test.

We were then left to our own devices as they said that they could only suggest IVF. This was not what I had in mind too as I had researched a load more treatments which they would not conduct. I asked for another procedure to be carried out called an Hycosy/Hysterosalpingogram which sends dye down your tubes to see if they are clear and they agreed to do so in December 2010. The outcome of this was all clear.

At the last meeting I had in April 2011 when the FS decided to write us off as they could not fund IVF, I had argued to gain a prescription for Metformin (a tablet used with diabetics but works well with PCOS suffers). This was my only hope to get this as they just didn’t seem to have the drive to help us. I finally got this from them and began to take it.

As I had a tough time at both my GP surgery and this FS, I moved to a different GP who referred us to a different and more stable FS which I am grateful for. In May 2011 we were met by our current FS who has done the same tests so they have an up to date record of the results and the outcome was that we would need to go down the IVF route, again the talk of my weight being the main issue for getting onto the register (you need a BMI of 30 or below to be put on the IVF register on the NHS).

We have had several meetings since with the same discussion taking place which is not what I want to hear 😦

Our next appointment is next week and I know for a fact that my BMI is nowhere near 30 and I am hoping that they will be able to give us a few more options whilst I continue with my weight loss struggle.

It has now been exactly 3 years and 4 months we have been on this journey and we have had so many ups and downs which I know will still continue but as long as I have my wonderful hubby by my side, I will get through it.

Well that’s the TTC journey so far……..let’s hope it gets better in the future.