So time for a change of pace here. No more cancer talk. Let’s get back to me 🙂 I’m feeling pretty lost right now. I’m back in work but feeling like a spare part because they’ve got someone else in to help me while I recuperate, but it doesn’t really feel like help, it feels like that person has my job and I’m no longer needed. And I’m trying to ride it out, dig deep, grit my teeth etc. but all I really want to do is say I can take over from here. But I’m scared if I do that and then find it’s too much I’ll be letting them down again. So I’m trying to give myself the time everyone says I need, but all I really feel is disempowered and helpless and then guilty because I have an income, a roof over my head and food in the fridge, so why am I moaning? First world problems.
So I’ve decided to do something different. In the next 50 posts I’m going to answer 50 questions I have from a Life Coaching course designed to help people find their Life Passion. Here goes! Question and Answer Number 1.
Qu 1. What areas of your current life are working well for you — what do you find fulfilling, meaningful, enjoyable, and important?
Hmm. First question and such a hard one. Work is NOT fulfilling or enjoyable for the reasons given above. Plus I feel like I moved to my Directorate in the wrong way at the wrong time and deep down I don’t feel valued or respected. I’ve volunteered to do a talk in June that has the potential to change some of that, but it will only be for one fleeting goldfish moment. I might impress someone (if it goes well) but then they’ll forget about me by the next day. It always happens. So I’m not holding out much hope even though I’ll work like crazy to produce and deliver the presentation.
Onto family then. I feel fulfilled here, although it’s not easy. I’m a wife and mother and I love my husband and daughter. Bringing up a daughter and being in a loving and supportive partnership with my husband are both meaningful and important things. My husband is my best friend and soul mate. He has known me since I was 18 and stood by me during the tough times. He always knows what to say to help me clear my head – he’s the wisest person I know. My daughter has made me realise what it is to love someone in a way that makes you scared all the time – particularly when dealing with cancer – all I wanted and prayed for was to see her grow up into adulthood. I wanted to ensure she was old enough to make her way in the world without me. I definitely did not want to leave her as a child – I still don’t. And I worry so much about something happening to her. The world is a scary place when your child ventures out into it. But I’m also filled with so much pride and wonder at her too. And she makes me laugh all the time. So yes husband and daughter – fulfilling, meaningful, important. Not always enjoyable though. There is way too much bickering for that. But I’ll take the bickering. They are worth it.
But what else…? In no particular order I find the following enjoyable and/or meaningful/important/fulfilling:-
- Helping people when I coach/mentor them or as a line manager – making that connection, helping someone, making a difference etc.
- Helping my wider family through some informal coaching
- Helping my mother whilst doing my Style Coaching course – it’s something I started a few months ago in my spare time. Style Coaching works on the inner and outer level to help people grow in confidence and self esteem. I felt I needed something like this after the cancer treatment and it’s helped me feel better about myself. I’m now helping my mother with the same principles.
- Playing WoW & Hearthstone (although I’m not playing at the moment)
- Listening to music – favourite songs are Kathy’s Song and America (Simon & Garfunkel), Cleaning out my Closet (Eminem), Local Boy in the Photograph (Stereophonics) and Call and Answer (Barenaked Ladies)
- Writing poetry – see my Sullencraft and Seatown blog.
- Watching films/TV & reading books – too many to mention, but love The Walking Dead, Ozark, Santa Clarita Diet, The Americans, American Gods, Fleabag, Ash Vs The Evil Dead, The Affair, Big Little Lies and my absolute favourite recently – Tin Star. Jack is the alter ego I intend channelling during any future difficult times 🙂
- Reading about or listening to entrepeneurs who have created businesses from scratch – usually internet based. Very inspiring.
- Reading the Tarot & reading Rachel Pollack’s writings on the Tarot
- Thinking about writing songs, coming up with song melodies in my head, wondering if I should learn guitar or piano
- Reading my Stand Up Comedy book and starting to write my own fledgling stand up routines and making my husband laugh
- Looking at the stars
- Trying to figure out the meaning of the crucifixion and resurrection and Quantum theory and controversial archaeological theories that civilisation is much older than the establishment would have us believe and everything that Velikovsky said about Venus and wondering if we are the remnants of an earlier advanced civilisation or if we are all just computer generated. This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.
- Watching my hair being cut
- Cleaning and moisturising
- Dreaming about an alternative universe in which I’m living in a Big Brother type house with various celebrities who all fall in love with me
- Doing the Couch to 10K running program – I’m on Week 4 even though my hip is shot and my feet still burn from chemo
- Completing coding tutorials
- Baking bread
- Writing short pieces – mostly autobiographical (like this!)
I thought it was about time for another post 🙂
I’m happy to say that since getting the all clear CT result & coming off Herceptin I’m feeling a lot better. That said I definitely lack stamina – I still tire easily. To help with this I’m trying to be more active. When I can I’m walking my daughter to & from school and I’m going to try walking into work next month. I also signed up for an iNVNCBL challenge at the end of July with some people from work. Right now I’m nowhere near that level of fitness but I thought something like that would be a good goal to aim for, something to motivate me to get fitter and stronger. I’m also watching what I eat and finally I’ve started to lose some of the weight I gained during treatment.
To get some normality back into my life I resubbed to World of Warcraft. It has helped me through some difficult times in the past and I wanted to see if it could help me again. It was great logging on and playing my Priest but I’ve not had much time to play since. However, today my daughter & I started levelling two Blood Elves (Paladin & Monk) and it was really nice to play the game with her. I don’t enjoy/can’t play first person shooters like Fortnite and neither of us play much Minecraft these days so it was nice to get together in Azeroth.
I’m also trying to reconnect with more people. I think I withdrew into myself over the past year and my life got very small. My husband and I are calling 2018 the Year of the Pyjamas because I rarely got dressed. So I’m taking my mother to the theatre for Mother’s Day and I’m seeing my aunt next week to start some style coaching with her (me coaching her … yes in my spare time I’m now studying for a Diploma in Style Coaching … I’ll write about that in another blog post!).
And finally … my hair is growing …yay. It’s still really short (I had to have the chemo curls cut out) and I can’t wait for it to be shoulder length again but in truth I’m just glad to have my hair back.
And even more than that I’m just grateful to be sitting here feeling ok writing this post after a fairly busy Sunday. It’s not all plain sailing. I’ll still be in bed by 8 tonight as I’m still so tired. My feet constantly ache and burn because of the chemo. Also the vein in my hand where I had chemo has developed a really weird bruise this week which makes my hand look awful. But these are all minor things. I definitely feel more and more like myself every single day. And that’s good.
This week I heard that my CT scan was clear, no sign of cancer, and the oncologist agreed to me coming off Herceptin. Feel more positive than I have in a long time. I know I’m still battling side effects from the treatment – rib pain, burning hands & feet, stiffness & breathlessness, but these will pass (I hope!). Onwards and upwards!
A lot has happened since the last post. Briefly – I caught a bad cold in Nov, felt lousy, then restarted Herceptin, felt even lousier. Since then been struggling with sternum & rib pain (again) and also middle of back and left shoulder pain. Went back to oncologist last week. He advised to temporarily come off Herceptin again to see if symptoms ease and have a full body (including head) CT scan (which I had last Friday – I’m waiting for the results).
I’ve been off work again since the start of December (I started back last May once chemo finished) and feeling pretty rubbish physically and emotionally. Things don’t feel right. I was really hoping to be feeling a lot better by now.
On a brighter note last week I did have a bit more energy and was able to do a bit of cooking/baking – that was nice. This week though I seem to have crashed again. It seems that it’s very easy for me to overdo things at the moment. My breathlessness and general fatigue haven’t improved. I wonder if it’s still chemo or radiotherapy related, or Herceptin side effects, or chemopause, or mets, or something completely non-cancer related. I will know more I guess once I get the CT scan results and then we’ll have to take it from there.
Can’t believe I haven’t posted since August and that my last post was about Slimming World! That didn’t last! Stuck to it rigidly for a week, did not lose anything and decided that with everything else going on perhaps now wasn’t the right time for yet more stress. Through Sept/early Oct the following has happened:-
- Couldn’t have Herceptin because blood pressure too high (155/100)
- Following Monday had chest pain walking up a hill and felt unwell for hours.Rang ambulance but after two hours had not come and I was starting to feel a bit better so we cancelled it.
- Cancelled my rescheduled Herceptin – not going to have it until I speak to oncologist & find out what’s going on. Muga scan 58 but breathlessness bad & heart pounding.
- Since no Herceptin for a few weeks have felt better in terms of chest, still some breathlessness but some improvements and have been able to go into work every day bar one which I spent working from home day
- I think this might be the end of the road for me & Herceptin (I’ve had 10 of the 18) but we’ll see what they say on Monday.
- Oh and had bone scan – all clear. Yay 🙂
So today I restarted the Slimming World diet and I’m thinking of joining one of the local clubs on Wednesday. I’ve put on about 2 stone all told since I started treatment, bucking the cancer makes you lose weight trend. Some of it is poor eating and lack of exercise and some the medication itself – chemo, steroids, herceptin. Anyway I’ve had enough but I don’t want to do anything faddy. I know I need to eat properly to support my recovery. I did try a bit of fasting this week but don’t think that’s sustainable for me. Also tried calorie counting but too much weighing and counting. So back to Slimming World. I’ve had some success on the plan in the past but never stuck with it. This time it has to be different.
So far today I’ve had:-
1 slice of toast with teaspoon jam (0.5 syns);
beans, egg, tomato (free),
2 X satsumas (free)
1 chicken & sweetcorn noodle mugshot (1 syn).
I will probably have some rice, chicken & veg for tea (all free) & then use up 5 syns on a 2 finger kitkat. Not bad. Will be better when I get more Slimming World friendly food in but it’s a start. Will post my food diary and weight losses on here – makes a change from breast cancer treatment updates! Oh and exercise. Feeling a bit tired today after a busy day at the Insomnia63 gaming festival yesterday but tomorrow will try to get to the gym to get back on track with the Couch 2 5K programme.
I’m trying to feel positive and I’m trying to get back some control of my body. I will get there.
So despite being all zen like in my last post I’ve not reached enlightenment and I now find myself back to my stressed out, anxious, sad sack self.
In a nutshell still struggling with Herceptin caused fatigue. Also have some breast lymphodema & now cellulitis, on/off fever & chills, and aching hands, feet and ribs. I walk around the place all bent and stiff. I had to work from home all last week because I felt so rotten. I have 7 more Herceptins left. I don’t finish until end of Jan.
Also I still have concerns about my left breast. It is pinker and warmer than the other. They are saying it’s cellulitis but who knows. I have some pains now and again in my collarbone & what feels like a swollen lymph node just below my armpit so I fear something else. I guess I should speak to the oncologist when I see him in October.
The worse thing though is the guilt I feel about work. When I work from home I do work from home, I work very hard. Occupational Health have said I should mostly work from home and only go into the office for short periods of time. But every time I say I have to work from home I feel guilty, I feel like they’re all fed up with me, I feel like I’d be better off on the sick.
Oh and the hot & bothered malarky – I think that’s the menopause brought on by chemo. It’s great isn’t it?
I sound so moany I know. I am so happy to be alive but I hate what’s become of my body. We had a short caravan holiday week before last and I walked more than I have in months and even swam a bit, but boy did I pay the price for all that. Have been so unwell since. I want to do more to get stronger but it is a fine balancing act.
It will all pass I hope. It’s just the Herceptin causing me to feel unwell I hope. Maybe it’s the menopause. I just want to get fit & strong again.
Maybe waking up and typing blog posts at 4 in the morning is not the best course of action either. And now I want some toast …!