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End of an era

21 Apr

It has been a crazy, stressful past few weeks. I was planning on 1) celebrating, and 2) relaxing, given I had my last chemo exactly two weeks ago, but that didn’t exactly happen. The company I work(ed) for went into liquidation on 31st March and we all lost our jobs. We started finding out the state of affairs around a week before this, and it felt like we were all kind of in limbo, waiting for an official announcement to be made so we could all move on. I then had to decide what to do with my life/career. The problem was I had too many options! I was approached by another company who wanted me to work for them, either in a permanent or contracting role, but there was also the opportunity to independently contract to a new company started by three of my old colleagues.

I had to choose between a secure job, with a very decent salary, or something not so secure, but potentially very exciting, and the opportunity to be my own boss. I took a leap of faith and went for the latter. I am now owner/director/consultant/administrator/lackey/coffee lady at my new company The New Black Online Solutions Ltd. Please don’t judge my website, I haven’t had any time to do it property, but it is on the (very long) list of things to do! It’s an exciting time, but also a sad time as we had a great team of people there, and I’m going to really miss working with everyone.

A decent nights sleep has been hard to come by. With all of the above going on, I’ve also been having to cope with hot flushes waking me up several times throughout the night. A side effect from the chemo. This condition even has a gloriously colloquial name – chemopause. It’s been going on for about a month now, and it’s really starting to piss me off. It happens frequently throughout the day, but also at night, when I wake up in a hot sweat and have to throw all the covers off. Then, if I can get back to sleep (which I often can’t because I’ve had so much on my mind), I end up waking up again because I’m freezing with no blankets on.

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Delayed reaction

6 Mar

A few weeks ago it dawned on me that I hadn’t blogged about my first Paclitaxel treatment. Since then I’d been meaning to write about it (honest I had!) but then something really major happened. My beloved city of Christchurch was devastated by a M6.3 earthquake. As anyone in New Zealand knows, we have suffered massive loss of buildings, infrastructure damage and much, much worse, people have been taken from us. Now it seems to blog about anything other than the earthquake would be trivial, even insensitive. I mean, I’m still battling my own bullshit, but so many people are having to deal with much worse circumstances than me. I will go ahead with my intended post though, because perhaps it will be useful to someone, and because it does help to think about something else for a moment.

On January 12th I switched from AC chemotherapy (given every three weeks) to Paclitaxel. I was slightly pissed off about having to switch from a three-weekly regimen to a weekly regimen. Chemo is enough of a drag without having to go in to the hospital to get it every week. It is administered slightly differently than the AC treatment. With AC treatment, the ‘A’ (Adriamycin, also called doxorubicin) is pushed through with a syringe, and the ‘C’ (cyclophosphamide) is given through a drip. Paclitaxel on the other hand is administered through a line hooked up to a machine that pumps it through. Continue reading

Regrowth and radiation

14 Feb

I am sporting a great new ‘do. I would say it’s about a number 1, pushing a number 2 perhaps. I started noticing some regrowth about a week after my first paclitaxel treatment. I thought I might have been imagining it. I was checking myself out in the mirror every chance I got, straining my eyes to try and find evidence of tiny new hairs on my almost bald head. It was kind of hard to see because I hadn’t lost all of my hair. I still had some straggly bits that I was holding on to like some kind of victory prize. I kept making people take a look at it and see if they could see any new hairs poking through or not. I don’t think they could. But it felt different. And then this dark line started forming at the front. But maybe that was  just where my wig or headscarf had been rubbing during the day. Then it started coming back downstairs and since all of that was gone I could definitely confirm, without a doubt that my hair was growing back. Wohoo! I was so stoked! And I didn’t care that the regrowth on my head was starting with a frullet at the front. A week or so later my head looked like a giant peach with a lovely fuzz all over. Now, 3 or so weeks later, it’s grown to a point where I can feel confident enough to go about town sans headwear. And, lucky reader, I am even feeling bold enough to post a picture ON THE INTERWEB for you. So here you go:

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Halfway there

9 Jan

A new year and a new milestone – it will be 12 weeks tomorrow since my first chemo treatment meaning that I’m halfway through this step in the crappy process that is beating breast cancer.

Since my last (and first) post about chemotherapy I have had two further treatments. I was anticipating that the side effects would get worse as the weeks go by, but it has been fairly smooth sailing. I am so grateful that my body is coping OK with all of this as there are so many other people out there who have a really rough time with chemo.  There have been a few noticeable, but unexpected side effects though, including: Continue reading

Dear diary

8 Nov

I’m at home after my 2nd round of chemo. The first was 3 weeks ago.

It wasn’t fun. Today, as in the first appointment, the nurse had two goes at getting the cannula in for the IV and the first one freaking hurt. I feel kind of bad for the nurses. It can’t be easy when they know they’ve put you in pain after not getting it first time around. Although, as Mum pointed out today, it’s not like they don’t get enough practice (she’s been through it all too with bowel cancer around 6 years ago).

Following the cannula misfire at the first appointment, having been hooked up to the drip and looking at the needle in my arm with said tubes attached a small meltdown ensued. Right then, at that moment, it was real. I was actually getting this poison deposited into my veins (actually at that point it was just fluids, but that’s beside the point) and I was scared and worried about how I was going to feel after this, when my hair was going to fall out, how much it was going to take over my life. Tears started welling and then it all came out. F**k this sucks. Continue reading