As a Bon Jovi fan I couldn’t let this milestone pass without a bit of “Living on a Prayer” so here it goes, feel free to sing along!!
“Wo-oo, we’re half way there
Wo-oo, livin’ on a prayer
Take my hand and we’ll make it I swear
Wo-oo, livin’ on a prayer”
So, the run up to round 3 was pretty good. The bone pain didn’t intensify to the same extent after round 2 as the 1st round and I didn’t need to take my anti-nausea tablets. I didn’t get away scot free though, I did end up needing that medication for the…ahem “blockage” spotted in the scan. Realising 3 days in I had accidently been taking triple the dose of said medication resulted in an interesting few days!!! I also got a tickly cough this time round, which really kicked off at night and kept me awake which wasn’t fun but it thankfully eased off after a week. I’m a very light sleeper, I suffered badly from insomnia with both my pregnancies and could count on both hands the number of nights my 3 and 4 year olds have both slept through the night so I am no stranger to a bad night’s sleep and feeling tired but I’m really struggling with it at the moment. I’ve downloaded the “Mindspace” app which was recommended by my consultant. I’m hoping practicing some mindfulness to help me get into a better headspace and starting a better bedtime routine will help ease me into a better sleeping pattern.
I felt like I had more energy this time round which I was very grateful for because we had 3 lots of visitors from Ballymena, Thurles and Manchester. It only took the Ballymena and Thurles gangs 9 years to come visit us (the things you have to do to get visitors eh?!) but I’ve slagged them enough about that already so will just say how lovely it was to see them! Our Manchester visitors also stayed with us last year so they are off the hook. Their visit coincided with Adrian’s birthday so we headed out for pizza with all the kids and back home for a few drinks and lovely catch up. It’s such a simple thing (and one I would have previously taken for granted) but it was great to feel well enough to enjoy fun times with special friends, no matter how simple they are (the moments not the friends! lol!)
I had an eventful day last Friday. I was due in to have bloods taken (which needs to be done before each session) but was also scheduled for a full body bone scan (to check up on a “probably benign” pelvic abnormality spotted in my previous CT scan). This scan was a Radionuclide Imagining (RNI) scan which involved being injected with a radioactive “tracer” which travels to part of the body requiring examination so this required inserting a catheter into my arm to administer the injection. My veins decided not to co-operate on the day and it took the nursing staff 8 attempts inserting the catheter before they found a vein they were happy with (I have some lovely bruises along my arm, wrist and hand to prove it) but to my mortification, while they were doing this I ended up fainting!! Even though I’m still not a fan, I’m well used to being prodded and poked with needles at this stage so for that reason I’m blaming the fainting on tiredness (nothing to do with the fact that Adrian was away on a work night the night before so I was home alone with the boys!!) and dehydration and absolutely nothing to do with me wussing out!!!
To avoid exposing the boys to unnecessary radiation I was advised to stay a meter away from them for 24 hours. I had an RNI in May before my lumpectomy so should have expected this but because that injection was more localised to my right side, at the time I was just advised not to sit too close to them and no cuddles on the right hand side. It hadn’t dawned on me that as this scan was a full body scan I would need to keep more of a distance (it might have helped if I had read the leaflet they gave me properly!) Unfortunately the west wing of our house is currently being renovated (!!!!) so avoiding the boys in the house wasn’t really an option. I am lucky though to have my aunt (my fairy godmother) living close by so I made the most of the situation and stayed with her for the night where we had a lovely evening and enjoyed a takeaway, some wine and a lie in (every cloud!!)
While I’ve continued to lose my hair, the rate and extent of the loss has slowed down. However, I am getting closer to the stage where I will no longer get away without a wig or hat. For now I am still getting away with my version of a comb-over (clipping the front of my hair back to give me a little more coverage at the back of my head) but I am very conscious of it especially on windy days. I discovered on my 3rd session on Monday that the reason for my balding at the back is because there is a bulge with the fit of the cold cap – I am using the small size but unfortunately there is even more bulging with the extra small cap so all we could do this time round to try and avoid further loss was try and tighten the small cap as much possible. This is just the luck of the draw, I’ve seen many women in there who have had more sessions than me and still have a full head of hair so the cold cap is definitely still worth a try for anyone who has the option. For me, I’ve had extra time with a “full-ish” head of hair and I can still stick on my baseball cap and no one is any the wiser so I’m grateful for that.
The irony hasn’t been lost on me that I’m desperately trying to hang on to some of my hair while willing and even rejoicing the loss of hair elsewhere on the body or the fact that I’m a far cry from lounging by the pool in my bikini the one time no pre-holiday waxing would be required!
I went to a “Look good feel better” workshop last week which was run in the hospital. It’s a free course, facilitated by experienced beauty advisers. The course gives hints and tips on makeup during treatment and we were also shown some wigs, hair pieces and hat/scarf options. This is a fantastic resource to help women feel a bit more like themselves as they deal with the changes the treatment is having on their skin/hair and general appearance. Being totally honest, if you are into makeup you might not learn a lot you didn’t already know but coming from a training background I know that the greatest benefit participants often gain from courses is the opportunity to hear about and learn from the experiences of the others in the room. This definitely made the workshop worthwhile for me, it was so lovely to meet some other women going through similar experiences and sharing hints and tips with each other. We were also given a lovely gift bag of goodies (below) which was a great bonus. The Look Good Feel Better website provides more information about the workshops and a list of hospitals where they are run across the country.
I’m currently three days post my 3rd chemo session, and the cough has returned stronger and as annoying, accompanied this time round by a lovely head cold. It’s a big week in our household with Alec starting school tomorrow so for now I’m just keeping an eye on my temperature and hoping I’m feeling fit and well enough to be able to enjoy being a proud mammy (and an emotional mess on the day!!)