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.
- dark urine
- abdominal pain
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
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