Start of Cycle 6 ALREADY!

pic poolHello you! 6 CYCLES. wow. Time is FLYING! I never really have a plan of what I am going to write in my blog and today is no exception….

‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.’ Albert Einstein.

I am sure most of you know already, but I had my 2nd scan at the 12 week check point to see progress (a few weeks ago now). The results showed a further 11% shrinkage. In total now the tumours have shrunk 27%I am absolutely delighted! When I started the trial back in March I had 2 large tumours and 2 small tumours. The 2 large were over 8cm each and the smaller ones were both 1.6cm long. When you actually think about this for a second it is bloody scary!!! I mean, they got so big…. how did I not know?!!! That is just this cancer unfortunately. It grows silently and aggressively until BANG Stage 4 CANCER hits you!

F*** off FFS!

ANYWAY…

***(think rainbows + sunshine + Positive Mental Attitude)****

Since I have started on this trial the larger tumours have shrunk to 6.3cm and 6.4cm. The smaller ones are now at 1.3cm and 1.4cm. It is quite unbelievable really, and I am so thankful for this drug working. It has given me back my drive and I feel like ME again. It has given me the strength to get up and go back to work 2 days a week, to actually want to look pretty, put on my wig (I now have a selection haha) and go out, get on a plane and even go to Spain with my lovely friends!

So yesterday saw the start of Cycle 6 on TAS 120. That is 16 weeks in and I can’t believe time is passing so quickly. People often ask me how long I am on this trial for; the answer is quite simply this – as long as the drug continues to shrink my tumours they will keep me on it! I am still on the highest milligrams of the tablet (some patients have had to drop to 12/16mg daily as their bloods have lowered and become unsafe) but I am still on 20mg (the highest dosage), and all my blood work is staying the same which is really good news. I am still taking my phosphate binders to keep my phosphate in check, and all of my daily supplements. I bought myself a juicer a couple of weeks ago! Best thing I bought this year! I literally throw in anything – ginger, apples, oranges, pears, carrots, melon, lemons…. I love it and fresh raw juice is the best for your immune system and liver so I will keep feeding it goodness when I can! I am addicted to Iceland’s BULL Burgers. If you are veggie/vegan it is a must you bring them into your life!

As mentioned earlier I have just come back from a trip to Spain with the girls. YAS is getting married in Sep so we thought it only right to have our annual trip away together! It made me realise how important it is to have these times with your girlfriends. It was one of my favourite trips away with these 3 girls. There was non stop laughter and tears (from all the laughter) for the entire 4 days. Thank you to Bec, Meech and Yas cos you 3 are the best! Best at being my friend! 🙂

I enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea with the ladies in my life a few weeks ago, in Bromley Court Hotel. The sun joined us and we drunk a lot of tea. It was one of those days that you still remember weeks later because it was such a fabulous day! I have had many great days enjoying this amazing sunshine with my friends in their gardens in the kiddies paddling pools! I just love these days with my friends. They are really the BEST! Just so much lolling all day! We also celebrated Skins turning 31 last month and that was a very messy night with Sambuca flying about! I have only had a couple of boozy nights since my diagnosis last year, at first because I wanted to help detox my liver, but now I actually don’t enjoy booze like I used to. It is fine, I don’t miss those hangovers anyway!

People will often ask me how I am doing on this drug now. Most days I do feel good. It does still hit me in the morning when I am quite drowsy and dehydrated. I have to eat little and often now. Mainly fruit/ my fresh juice in the morning as anything else is just too dry and I cant digest it with my dry mouth. As the day progresses I seem to be able to eat bread, pasta etc! It is just that early morning rise I struggle with. My sleeping situ is fab now, with no issues trying to drift off. I guess that is me being more active and my body getting into a pattern again. My appetite in general is quite low. But I am very aware of this all the time. If I am really struggling I will eat 2 bananas in a row. They are still my saving grace when I cant face anything else! and thankfully I really enjoy them! My weight is at 54kg and I have lost 4kg since the trial so not a HUGE amount but enough to know I don’t want to lose anymore!

Last week I did a Reiki session at the Purley Cancer centre with Yvonne. As always she sends her positive healing energy to me throughout my body, through her hands. It is really astonishing how I feel afterwards, so refreshed and awakened. After our session she said she felt a lot of tingles in her hands as she placed them over my liver area which is a sign of activity and healing! I do get tingles, not pains, but feels like something is going on…. who knows….

We are planning a sponsored walk in the Keston woods on September 15th so please keep this free in the diary if you would like to join us. All monies raised will go of course to AMMF. The only charity in the UK who is raising awareness of Cholangiocarcinoma and researching on-going treatment.

As always, thank you for reading and thank you for your ongoing love and support! If you would like to follow me on my instagram its clairebarron82.

To every woman out there.

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Love Claire

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cycle 4 of Tas 120

It has been a while since I posted so a quick reminder from my last blog. I joined the clinical trial in Harley Street with minimal side effects, after my long 6 months of chemo not working.

I have now made it to cycle 4 of the trial still with minimal side effects. HORAY! However, I still have high phosphate levels (but issues kept at bay with the binder tablets I take 3 times a day) and I still suffer with a dry mouth. The other morning I woke up and found that my tongue had stuck itself to the roof of my mouth (that was a weird feeling unsticking it). I can definitely deal with these issues and so I pray it stays this way.

I am part of many groups on Facebook that are just for patients with Cholangiocarcinoma (CC) and also those who are on the same trial (Tas 120). I know some people have been kicked off the trial as the side effects are too much for them to cope and/or they have not had shrinkage. I pray everyday that this trial continues to work for me. (on that note thank you for the ongoing messages and cards I receive; it means a lot to me so thank you all)

I had my first scan on the 9th May and you may have seen on my social media that I finally got some good news, after a long 10 months…. I had 16% shrinkage. That’s 16% shrinkage in the space of 6 weeks. I actually got the phone call in the pub just after the guys did the abseil from St. Thomas’. When I came off the phone to my oncologist Helen, I looked up to the sky and I cried. I cried tears of joy and relief, that finally something was working and responding to this awful fucking cancer. All my closest friends and family were there (ladies outside in the sun, the men inside at the bar haaha, typical Barrons) I remember walking back into the pub garden and trying to speak but I just broke down into a massive sob on Lucy. (my oldest friend in the world) Everyone was looking at me but I managed to say it was good news. I think everyone’s heart stopped for a minute. It was a great news to end a great day! My next scan is approaching in a few weeks and I pray for more great news. I feel 2018 is going to be MY YEAR.

I have been feeling a lot better physically and mentally in the last month but I do still get tired, and I wake up most days feeling what I can only describe as hungover. My mouth is so dry and my head is very fuzzy. I normally am back to normal-ish after a pint of water and a little rest. My appetite has been quite up and down in the last few weeks, which I am very aware of. I have lost half a stone since I started the trial so if anyone has any advice about weight gain please message me. (food is a challenge mainly due to my dry mouth) With knowing I am feeling better I started thinking about returning to work about a month ago. I have been in contact with my bosses and the HR team since this all began and they have been so good to me. It is now official and I go back to work tomorrow (2 days a week) For me, it is the start of getting my life back and continuing with my life plan. What is my life plan you may ask? It is simple. To LIVE IT. Life passes us by so quickly and we waste far too much time worrying the small things. By getting back into work, life will be back into a routine, and it is so important for me mentally. To not constantly be thinking about my cancer and people defining me by it. It is not me, just currently part of me.

My only real concern about getting back to a normal routine is my lack of hair. As a woman I feel like my hair defines me and my style and personality. About 5 weeks ago I went to get a wig fitted (at Guy’s hospital in their wig shop) 5 weeks later can you believe I am still waiting. I ordered the wig I wanted (long blond hair like before) it took them 4 weeks to tell me it had been discontinued, even though I was ringing them two times a week to see the progress. Anyway, today was my new appointment but they cancelled it as the woman is off sick so my appointment is now next Monday!!!!!!!!!! what a palaver. I am so disappointed with their service (or should I say lack of it) Watch this space as I will put pictures up once (if) I get it! In the meantime I have been trying to rock out scarves but it is effort trying to get a good look. lol. I went to the Cancer centre in Purley last week and the very lovely hairdresser who volunteers her time cut my hair into a bob. My head is quite patchy and it is difficult to do much with it now. So I am wig ready in that respect, just need to get the wig!

Finally I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you to firstly Dan, Ciaran and Becky for doing the abseil last month. I mean, that was a tall building!!!!!!! It took courage and bravery and I know you all got bruised! With all your efforts I am absolutely delighted to share the total raised was £4876 and with gift aid £5608.75. What an amazing amount! £4.4K went to AMMF and the rest went to Guy’s hospital. So Thank you to all of you who donated! Thank you for all your support and kindness. The research done by the AMMF team is invaluable to finding a cure and help treatments across the UK. I will not be closing the fundraising page as there are lots more plans coming into play to raise more money! Watch this space.

I also attended the yearly conference by AMMF last month. It was very interesting day, learning about CC and treatments and the new drugs being tested. It was a very emotional day, but a positive one. AMMF are the only UK charity who are specifically researching all the time about CC; to have seen the doctors and professors speaking about this cancer made me feel hope and positivity about the future. I am not going to let anything stand in my way of my fight as I know I am going to come out the other end.

Positive mindset. Positive attitude. Positive outcome.

As always, thank you.

Claire xxx

Clinical trials drugs

In my last blog you may remember me saying how I was waiting for an appointment with a clinic in Harley street. Chemo had finished. My scan had showed growth and I was left waiting in limbo for an appointment at a clinical trial clinic. Well, it was eventually booked and I spent a day in the Sarah Cannon centre. I had blood tests, gave urine samples, had eye tests, had an ECG, and finally a CT scan. I was told I would find out within 24 hours if they could accept me on the trial. I did get accepted on the trial. 2 days later I started the clinical trial Tas 120.

I was overcome with relief. What if my results hadn’t been in the parameters for being accepted. I would have been left in limbo yet again…and IT IS happening to cancer patients out there. Especially those suffering with CC. The on-going need for money for further research is highlighted once again here.

I have just finished cycle 1 which is 3 weeks long. It is an on-going trial, so effectively there is no set end date at the moment and I am now on cycle 2. I have no week ‘off’ like I did in my chemo. Basically, every morning I wake up at 8am and take 5 small pills. Everyday. Then every Thursday I go back to the Sarah Cannon centre for check ups and they monitor any side effects. They take my bloods, do ECG’s, take urine, etc. As it’s a new drug (still phrase 1) there have not been many people on the trial. Currently, in the UK there are only four of us on it because it is a drug that has been developed in the USA. The pharmaceutical company that launched it are covering all costs, so even though it is not on the NHS it is still funded by someone else. Thankfully, otherwise I’d be paying thousands!! I have read a few success stories about this drug too, so I will keep positive about it working on me too. I mean, I feel it’s about time I get some good news! 🙂

However, with this drug there are side effects! Obviously there are. What drug doesn’t have!!! (sigh) As it is still a new drug the list of possible side effects is actually endless. Everyone is different and so of course, all react differently. The first side effect goes hand in hand with anyone taking this particular drug. It is high phosphate levels. So basically with that side effect I take 6 x phosphate binders daily in tablet form which brings it down. Another main side effect is a dry mouth. Imagine when you wake up after a heavy night on the wine or strongbow. That dry, in need of some liquid, anything wet to help your desert mouth feeling. I get that basically throughout the day, but the worst is when I first wake up. Also, my hair is still thinning, which is actually heart breaking. I used to have this big, thick curly mop of hair. Now its a short bob length, with hair that is clearly on its last legs. I am looking into the wig situation, and hopefully I will be able to pull it off. (not literally by the way).

Other than those, my side effects are minimal. If this drug is killing my tumours in my liver and bile duct then so be it. Make me suffer with a dry mouth; ill just keep eating pineapple and loads water. Make my hair fall out; ill just wear a wig. The need to do everything possible to stay feeling normal is SO strong. Nobody ever imagines this will be their path but when you realise it is, you will do anything and keep fighting.

The starting of this trial is like the starting of the second chapter of my cancer journey. From the first day meeting Helen, one of the main oncologists at the Sarah Cannon centre I was made to feel relaxed, hopeful and positive. I feel like I am not just a number; which is how it felt at Guy’s. As much as an amazing job they do, for me, my appointments with my oncologists were short and underwhelming. They never knew me. How could they, in 10 minute slots, once every 3 weeks, and it was always someone different. They were always stressed, busy and rushing through patients like a tick box. So far, this all feels very different.

As I have told you previously, I am raising money for AMMF with the help of my brother, my cousin and my best mate who are going to be abseiling down St. Thomas’ hospital. Only a couple weeks left to donate so please, please, if you haven’t already……link is below. AMMF are the only UK charity who are researching Cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile duct) (http://ammf.org.uk) and any help with funds is very much appreciated as the cancer is overly aggressive and not understood what kills it yet. A big thanks to everyone who has donated already. The total raised so far is over 2.5k. How incredible is that!!! 1.1k was raised separately for Guy’s and any additional donations will go to AMMF. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-portal/fundraiserPage?pageId=891890

People have been telling me I am looking better. Well, I am feeling better and they tend to go hand in hand. I think a bit of sun on the face is good for the soul so sun please stay with us. I think my face is recovering from the 6 month use of steroids, and I no longer have such a puffy face. I don’t get the awful chemo headaches and fatigue. My eyelashes are back too. I hope to soon get some decent happy news to share with you. Until then, keep your prayers strong, and a big thanks to everyone for reading, your support, donations and love.

Claire

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

Chemo is finished!

WELL…How do I feel? WELL…I just don’t know. I’m in a bit of limbo at the moment as it’s now a bit of a waiting game. Imagine being told you have stage 4 cancer, have the 6 months of chemo they suggest, and then they say…. ‘actually chemo didn’t work, and your tumour has grown’. What does one do? I could cry and be depressed, but there is no point. Wont help me. I keep going… life is still going on around me. I like to look for the gold at the end of the rainbow, I know its there, I just need time to reach it. so yeah, tumour has grown, apparently only very slight, but still, its growth.

My nan died last week. Aged 88. She was know as the ‘Queen’ to all my friends who met her at my 21st birthday party. She was quite the powerful woman, very glam and always had something to say. Used to make me eat me carrots and suede though. 😦  It was a perfect send off back in Armagh, Northern Ireland and it was lovely seeing all my cousins after so many years. My nan lived a happy life surrounded by many friends and family and the turnout for the wake and funeral really highlighted that. Although the last couple weeks have brought me two sad pieces of news, we must remember that life must be lived each day. No time for wasting it feeling hard done by, but making every day count. Being happy and doing things that make us happy!

So back to me finishing chemo; it was a good feeling initially but obviously I have mixed emotions. The girls came to meet me after I finished and took me out to dinner. It was a very thoughtful idea; what with the matching t-shirts that got made and the book they made me. Those girls are legends and have been my rocks throughout this whole thing. I love you!

The day after my last chemo I had a CT scan to see what had happened over the course of the last 6 months. There were a few days waiting to hear my results; which of course, felt never-ending. But the day arrived, and we waited our usual 2 hour delay at Guy’s. As soon as we were called and sat down, the doctor started speaking but all I heard was ‘unfortunately the tumour has grown.’ Not what I wanted to hear. But we had already planned for this outcome. (the cancer I have is really aggressive and it seems the drugs used in the chemo haven’t been that successful to all patients) My liver biopsy was sent off to America in January to see if I was eligible for an upcoming clinical trial. So it turns out I have the gene mutation they want to test and I am currently waiting for an appointment with the doctor in Harley Street. It may not go ahead as I will still need to do tests etc. But hopefully this will be an option for me.

The chemo drugs are finally escaping my body and I no longer have those chemo body/ headaches. I noticed my hair is not coming out as much. Soon I hope for re-growth. Although chemo didn’t help me, its not to say it wont help the next person. Everyone is different and unfortunately it was not for me.

I turned 36 last week. To celebrate, no, I didn’t go to Benidorm, or Butlin’s, sadly no, instead me and Becky went to Sky Gardens for some posh lunch. It was truly delicious and a wonderful day. It was 4 courses with a little bit of cold crisp vino to wash it down with. That wine was a taste sensation. It had been over 4 months since I had any so the light fuzzy head feeling was a welcomed delight. Food was, of course sparse, but tasty. The waiter realised it was our birthdays with all the cards and pressy’s on the table and floor, and so he did the waiter thing, and brought us over mini biscuits with candles stuck in and got everyone to sing us happy birthday. Me and Bec just sat there giggling slightly mortified! Lol.

I have now got my PICC line out. It was a very simple procedure but that didn’t stop my worrying. I mean it was a wire inside me about 30cm long. What are you gonna do – just pull it out? Yes that is what they done, took 3 seconds and that was over. The nurse just said, ‘Ok, deep breath’, and that was it. All out. I can finally enjoy a proper bath and shower and get back to some swimming. Maybe I will need another in the future, but for now I am very grateful for it coming out.

Thanks for reading my blog and everyone’s support! The emails and messages have been just incredible and means so much to me. Also my fundraising page for AMMF (my cancer charity) is still open. Amazingly, so far we have raised over £1700 so far. £1100 was raised for Guy’s hospital and now everything else will go to AMMF. Please click on link below to donate. It is very much appreciated. Thank you all.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-portal/fundraiserPage?pageId=891890

Until next time…’We need to make each day count by filling it with fresh air, laughter, and love – love for ourselves, for others, and for whatever we are doing with our one precious life.’ (Michael Greger)  My best friend sent this to me, and I couldn’t agree more.

Love Claire xxx

 

 

 

 

Cycle 7. One more to go….

The end of Chemo is near. (but who knows what the future holds with further treatment) I started Cycle 7 this week which means I have just 3 more chemo sessions left. The last one falling on 1st March, just a week before I celebrate my 36th birthday.

Once I finish my last chemo session, I will have another CT scan to see where my cancer is at. It will either have shrunk, be stable, or have grown. This will determine what happens next. (that’s a scary thought the level of extremes I have; grown or shrunk. Just please go away and leave me alone). I have been told I will have 3 months off chemo anyway, to allow my body to adjust back to normal. (yay – that will be a nice feeling) My Picc line will also come out allowing me to properly have a soak in the bath and also go swimming. My hair will start growing back and I will finally be able to go to the hairdressers and become a much loved blond again.

This month is Cholangiocarcinoma awareness month. If you are wondering what this is, well in short it is the cancer I have. It is pronounced Ko-lan-gee-o-kars-cee-nome-a. (bit of a mouthful). It is cancer of the bile duct. AMMF are the only UK charity working to raise funds for research into this cancer and this month they are raising awareness. (please see link at bottom of blog for more information). Cholangiocarcinoma is becoming more common in younger people so it is with great importance that people are aware of the symptoms. However in most cases there are not usually any symptoms until the cancer has grown and spread (which happened to me). But, if you get any of the below symptoms, even very slightly this could be the cancer slowly growing. Please go to your doctor and get them to do blood tests.

  • Jaundice
  • itching
  • dark urine
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • fever
  • nausea/vomiting
  • fatigue

I only had one symptom and that was abdominal pain; it got so painful I was doubling over in my bed not being able to move. I was feeling a bit tired, but put that down to being extra busy at work as I was always on my feet. There are many different types of bile duct cancer but the one affecting me is Intrahepatic bile duct cancer and this starts in the liver. Basically Intrahepatic bile ducts are a network of small tubes that carry bile inside the liver. Your right and left hepatic bile ducts then drain bile from the liver. So it is so crucial at this stage I am doing everything I can to help my liver out. (what with it being the most important organ in our body)

  • Since January 1st I have not eaten any meat. I first watched ‘forks over knives’ (Netflix documentary) and was intrigued in the link between meat and cancer so I thought id look into it more. Research is showing that yes, it is a major factor, eating more meat does result in more cancers. But my main reason for giving up meat was because meat takes a lot longer to digest by the body and therefore putting more pressure on the liver. (but of course it is all about moderation) The only thing I am craving recently is chicken, but then I discovered the Quorn range of breaded chicken nuggets. (LOL) and the Linda McCartney range is also very good (chorizo sausages are a treat).
  • No booze but that’s been in motion for a while now.
  • Supplements including turmeric, Vitamin c+ d, milk thistle, multi-vitamins, and fish oil. I take these daily alongside a shot of apple cider vinegar. (great for so many ailments)
  • Lots of fruit daily (especially red grapes)
  • A high vegetable based diet (esp beetroot, spinach and carrots)
  • Going to the gym class ‘Body Balance’ which is a mixture of Tai Chi, yoga and Pilates. Granted some days I do just stop and sit as I am exhausted but it is all about giving it a go. I have also used weights and treadmill at the gym just to change it up a bit. I have a fitbit watch so I do aim for those 10k steps a day. Getting out and getting oxygen into the lungs is so good for the soul.
  • I am still visiting Purely Cancer Centre for Aromatherapy massages and Reiki. That place is truly a godsend. My time there so far has been enlightening. I have learnt a great deal about alternative therapies and the importance of our mind. Positive thinking = Positive outcome.
  • I also have been doing a lot of research within aromatherapy and essential oils. They are a great source of relaxation and help with so many other ailments. I have Epsom salt baths with lavender, castor oil, coconut oil and baking soda. It is such a great way to get rid of all the toxins in your body, relax and at the same time increase your PH levels which is what the baking soda does. It is imperative to have a higher PH level in our body to stop cancer cells growing.

So as my chemo comes to an end, I feel all kinds of emotions and thoughts. The worry of the CT scan results and the available treatments for me. You hear all the time about different clinical trials coming up but lack of research into mine makes everything more limited. I am currently looking into new trials with my consultant so if something suits, for sure I will go for it. I am only 35 and am ready to take whatever is thrown my way. I have My Army of friends and family behind me, and really, what more do we all need.

‘Life is ten per cent what happens to you and ninety per cent how you respond to it’ so here’s to responding with a fight and my army. I am a powerful woman who is ready for the rest of her life back.

As always thanks for all of your support and well wishes. I think a lot of candles are being lit for me by my Irish family which I am very grateful for. Please keep all your messages coming as I do love to read them. Until next time… pray for me and my progress. Much love Claire x

AMMF Charity link

http://ammf.org.uk/

I’m halfway through…

As I sit here and write this, it’s coming to the end of a very eventful and emotional year. To say the very least! Goodbye 2017 and good riddance to you. I never would have thought I would be ending 2017 with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. But no one does. It has been a hard process of both acceptance and self belief that I will get through this. As 2018 starts I will continue to increase my positivity and healthy living lifestyle in order to beat this awful, awful disease.

I am currently just over halfway through my chemotherapy at Guy’s hospital. 5 cycles down, with 3 to go. (So in simple terms, that is just 6 more visits to sit in that seat where they drug up my body for a total of about 4 hours. I am on countdown mode). Last month I got a PICC line inserted into my arm. This was a small procedure which took 40 minutes and I got injections to numb the area. Those injections hurt let me tell you. The whole procedure was only slightly uncomfortable, and a vein did collapse so the surgeon had to re start and find another vein, which meant massive bruising and being in a great deal of pain for 10 days after. I am not the easiest person to get on with needles and blood, so I couldn’t even look at my arm for the first 3 weeks. Now I have got used to it, and chemo days are so much easier with nurses being able to insert my drugs with ease, and blood being taken is like a dream. No more arms with black and blue bruises. One small grace.

I am still on steroids but only for 3 days after the chemo. This helps with my appetite and gives pain relief. I have noticed that my face puffs out on these days, and I have the worst bags under my eyes. Eurgh. Thankfully there are all sorts of eye creams that ease this look, but nothing to really get rid of them. My hair is thinning, but thankfully I do have really thick hair so its currently quite unnoticeable. I cant get any highlights in my hair either, so my hair is currently half blond, half brunette with a few silver strands for good measure. I live in my leggings and jumpers as they are the ultimate comfort. Gone are the days of dressing up and putting on make up. Hahah. I just cant be bothered. I am so looking forward to the end of my chemo. Chemo takes a real strain on my day to day life, with constant fatigue and lack of motivation. Thank goodness I have such a great network of family and friends who get me out and about.

That said, I am not a lonely cancer victim. Far from it. Since starting chemo, it really does make you think about your life and the people around you. I want to live life to the fullest and enjoy everyday. (yes admittedly some days I have slow days where I don’t leave the flat, but those days watching a bit of Netflix makes me happy. The onset drowsiness doesn’t help either when I just feel like being in bed). I have made more of an effort to meet people and make plans. Me and my girls went to see Little Mix and Boyzlife this month. What a fab night Boyzlife was. One of the greatest!! Haha.

Unfortunately people, life is full of uncertainty. Look at all the terrorism, acid attacks, house fires and car accidents that are happening all around us. People dying unexpectedly. Lives taken in an instance. Noone can predict what will happen day to day and having this disease makes me ponder life daily. Good news, I am still here, getting a chance to heal and for me, that is a god send. I want to take both hands and grab at life. But right now, I can’t. But I will.

‘Live every day like its your last day.’ I love this quote.

My brother, Daniel, my cousin, Ciaran and my dearest best friend, Becky are all taking part in a fundraiser which involves abseiling down St Thomas’ hospital 160 foot tall. All monies raised will go to Guy’s hospital so please if you can spare a few quid, please sponsor them on the below link. It is not till May so they have time to embrace their fear of heights.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-portal/fundraiserPage?pageId=891890

I want to say thanks to everyone who reads my blog and sends me messages of support. It does mean a lot. I never ever thought I would get cancer and I am guessing you reading this would agree. I want to be open and talk about my situation but there are a lot of people that won’t, which is also fine. We all deal with things differently. But if there is one thing that comes out of my blog it is to raise awareness in the fact that they are not alone. 1 in 3 people now get cancer. That is a sad fact.

I end my last blog post of 2017 with a toast to ME.

To ME beating the shit out of this cancer. To be able to grab life with both hands. To be able to get on living my beautiful life surrounded by my family and friends.

To 2018. May God bless me. I am a Powerful Woman.

3rd Chemo cycle underway

What has been going on with me I hear you ask? Well, living with cancer changes everyday, depending on if you are having a good day or not so good day. It seems my 1st + 2nd cycles of chemo are finally creeping up on me. Dam you!

I had my 3rd consultancy meeting with the doc last week; the major issue for me is fatigue and the feeling of just pure exhaustion. It is so draining. It really is the worst feeling. I am also suffering from a joint ache in my left knee (a symptom of one of my chemo drugs). The doc also went into a bit more detail about the coming months and showed me my CT scan of when I first when into hospital mid August. The cancer started in my bile duct but spread into my liver. My poor liver. It was a shock to see, but made me more motivated to keep my ‘healthy diet, walking and complementary therapies’ up.

I went to a Reiki session four weeks back and was telling my aunt about the experience. I wasn’t overly convinced on the healing or in fact the overall experience, but had heard such positive things about it. She then proceeded to tell me about the ‘South East Cancer Help Centre’ (Purely Way). It was set up in 1983 for people who had been diagnosed with Cancer, and since then has just grown and is funded by voluntary donations and volunteers. I signed up with Mum and Dad (they too can use the services) and so far I have had another Reiki session and have met with a nutritionist. Both have been amazing. The Reiki session was with Yvonne, and I truly felt that I had emotional tension and anxiety removed from my body. What a great start! My next session is already booked in. Next week I am going to a seminar on ‘low immune systems’ and will also be getting an aromatherapy massage. All of these Complementary therapies are so good for the overall mind and positive being. I truly recommend it to anyone.

The start of my 3rd chemo cycle day at Guy’s was both tough and emotional. In total there will be about 8 cycles (which will take 6 months)  This day was the hardest one yet. At each chemo session before any of the drugs can be put through my body, a nurse needs to insert a cannula into my arm. It has proved tougher each time, and last week they couldn’t get a vein as easily. I was in so much pain I cried. The drugs have weakened my immune system, but I never had the best veins to start with. Thankfully 4th time lucky they were in (and the drugs could start doing their thing!!!) After realising the pain and time consuming nature the nurses recommended getting a PIC line inserted into my body. It means no more constant fights with trying to get veins and blood. This will stay in till the end of my chemo. It scares me. But it is for the best.

In my time of being diagnosed with such a horrible disease, life has changed. I no longer go to work, I no longer drink booze (too much impact on my poor liver), I no longer have the freedom of being spontaneous. So many more, but they are the main ones I miss. My life is taken day by day. Each day I check my temperature 3 times, take my anti-sickness pills, take my steroids, constantly thinking how I can ‘kill these dam cancerous cells’.

I would like to thank everyone who has sent me amazing messages of support and love since my first blog post. It really has meant the world to me.

Like I have said before, I will be as positive and strong as I can throughout this whole process. Life is a book, and this is just one chapter for me. . Everything will make me stronger and if that means suffering fatigue and having ‘down days’ so be it. I am a Powerful Woman who wont take any of this cancer shit.