New year, same fight #Sarcoma

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Since my diagnosis in October 2012, I’ve been determined to live life to the fullest. In 2013, I partied, had fun, went back to work…and (my favourite) travelled a bit. I went to Amsterdam (again), Prague where we got robbed off a taxi driver (turned out he only nicked Β£3.50!), Edinburgh numerous times, and to the lovely Antigua (the same hotel where Nicole took The Girls on The X Factor). I’ve learned to appreciate life and will continue (after treatment of course) this lifestyle in 2014 and beyond.

Festive Fun
I’ve had a manic Christmas and New Year. I only finished my last cycle on 22nd December so everything was a blur until Christmas Eve. We went to Liverpool for the night and stayed in a swanky hotel with Dave and Sabrina who were down from Edinburgh. We had good intentions of “we won’t have a heavy night” and “we don’t want a hangover on Christmas Day”….. Yeah right! After a fantastic Brazilian (meal, not the wax) we ended up in the hotel bar drinking Laurent Perrier Rose champagne and trying to convince the Latvian (I think) barman to move to Edinburgh……
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We had a great start to Christmas Day, the four of us having breakfast in the hotel restaurant, in Christmas jumpers singing like idiots.

14 of us had Christmas Dinner at my mums. My appetite still wasn’t 100% but I managed most of the meal – thanks Mum. I will make Christmas Dinner next year…..

Last New Years Eve I was having radiotherapy so we just had a quiet night at home. I thought this year would be the same and didn’t think it was fair on my lovely other half. So….we booked a week, with my older sister and her family, at Whitewell Cottages in Ty Nant. We had a week of eating, drinking, laughing, crying and realising that John is a sore loser at all games….
The Crazy Clan
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2014
I only have two cycles of chemo left (not that I am counting!) and I will have a month between chemo and surgery so we are looking to sneak a well deserved trip abroad in πŸ™‚

Today I read that pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers with only 4% of people diagnosed surviving past five years. Sarcoma is at a 50% rate. I will be in the 50% that survive this. These stats are horrendous and we must find a cure for cancer.

Good news….. #Sarcoma

Hey,

I’ve been absolutely manic for the last two weeks so apologies for not doing an update earlier.

I had a CT scan last Friday and went to see Dr Ali for the results today. There was bad news and good news. The bad news is that the main tumour wasn’t 15mm, it was more like 50mm. The two at the top of my left lung were 10mm each. I was shocked to hear this as I was working off 15mm…… Anyhow, I got over the shock and was pleased to learn that all three have shrunk by more than 50%!!!! Dr Ali showed John and I the scans and it was amazing to see the difference. One of the mets has shrunk so much that I think it will disappear by the end of the chemo! When I started this treatment, the objective was to STOP the tumours growing and anything else was a bonus so I am really happy with the way things are going.

Dr Ali said that he may just give me one more cycle of chemo but we agreed that as I’m coping so well with it we may as well blast the little buggers (Dr Ali didn’t say that hee hee) and complete the full six cycles. He is now going to involve a thoracic surgeon so we can plan the next stage of my treatment.

Thanks Mum and Dad for these gorgeous flowers from Nancy Moon flowers and the prosecco (that we will have with Chambord!!)
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The Penguin Tree
The Penguin Tree created a lovely paper cut design and donated proceeds from each one to Sarcoma UK. Here’s mine!
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You can visit The Penguin Tree here

Hope you are all ready for Christmas!

Bye for now xx

It’s been so long! #Sarcoma

Wow, I’ve not posted for almost two weeks, but I have been so busy (crap excuse!!!) so here’s what I’ve been up to….

Birthday and Rugby fun
We were at my sister Laura’s for Hot Pot and cake for her birthday-she even made a delicious Hot Pot. (We didn’t even think she could cook!!) While there, the lovely Jo Donkin text and asked if we wanted to join her and her mum, Veronica, in the hospitality suite at Wigan to watch the Rugby League World Cup quarter final England V France. Of course we said yes! and what a fantastic night we had. Wonderful food, great company and England won. Jo-thanks for inviting us, it was a great night, that was until John frogmarched us around the whole ground….to the wrong car park!!! Badbooks.com
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p.s on the table behind is Stefan Ratchford, Richie Myler and Micky Higham

New Friends
I am part of a sarcoma support group on Google Group Spaces. Through this site I have been in contact with people via email but last week I met one of the other members, Louise. We met for a coffee….and was still there three hours later….! It’s so nice to meet people who understand exactly what you are going through πŸ™‚

Old Friends
We have not neglected old friends and had a fab night with Bev and John on Saturday (too much drink-but very needed!!!)

McTickle Time
I’m sure you can appreciate that cancer is one pain in the arse and can put extra stress on a relationship, especially as John is doing everything, caring for me, housework, running me to appointments etc. So John and I have made time for each other and started to enjoy ourselves….by Christmas shopping!! I’m sure he won’t agree though! I wanted to get as much of it sorted before these next two cycles as I may be too ill. We have also had a date night or two πŸ˜‰

Random Side Effects
Randomly, the main side effect I have had after this cycle is…..MEMORY LOSS. I can walk into Tesco and not have a clue why, I will stop mid conversation struggling to remember what I was on about….would you believe this is “chemo brain” and is not uncommon. I’ll just have to start writing things down
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Some Good News
Dr Ali came to see me this evening to say that he reviewed there X-ray that I had this morning. He said that the lung mets appear to be shrinking! He wants to wait for the CT scan next week to be sure but they are not growing. πŸ™‚

I do have more to tell but will share who I have further updates as this could go on forever.

Night xxx

Cycle 2, hair fun and @mastermindquiz @sarcoma_UK

Cycle 2
Hey all, just thought I’d drop a line now I’ve had my 2nd cycle of chemo. I left Clatterbridge on Sunday and honestly have to say that I feel, well, ok. I’m confused as I’m on a combination chemotherapy of Doxirubicin and Ifosomide. Now don’t get me wrong, whilst in hospital I do feel sick but since leaving I’ve taken 3 anti sickness tablets whereas last time I took 3 per day for 8 days. Dr Ali did say that I may not suffer too much with side effects as I’m young, fit and healthy but I am certainly surprised.

I had lots of visitors when I was in hospital and my favourite was when Paul & Helen brought the Mini Macs. Maisie and Isobel were fascinated with Bert and how the ‘medicine’ went into my body via the PICC line. They weren’t scared and even touched my shaved head. Cutie Isobel had asked “What if Aunty Emma doesn’t look like Aunty Emma anymore….?” As soon as she heard my big mouth she realised all was ok….. πŸ™‚

On Tuesday I had to go for my dressing on the PICC line changed. I opted to go to Halton as it’s closer than going to The Wirral. I have to say, it was so surreal on the CanTreat day ward. I was sat with ten other people, who were having chemo, with ten “Bert’s” beeping….CONSTANTLY! You see, when I’m in hospital, I’m in my bed, hooked to Bert, watching telly, having visitors and only see a few people having treatment. At the CanTreat ward you are sat in a circle, having treatment together. I found it really upsetting and sad. I better get used to it as I have to go each week for my dressing changed :/

Wiggin’ it
I finally got the confidence to wear my long wig this week……and I bloody love it!! I went to Debenhams and a lady approached me to tell me my hair was beautiful. There was a moment of uncomfortable silence as I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to tell her it was fake or what, so I just said thank you and she walked away muttering that it was just gorgeous.

I had my short wig on yesterday and went to the butchers. As the butcher was serving me, she commented on how lovely my hair was……!

The wig love is really boosting my confidence right now!

Celebrity Mastermind
Sarcoma UK gave me two tickets to be in the audience of Celebrity Mastermind last night. So off we went to the BBC studios for a date night. When we got there Ted Robbins was the ‘warm up man’ and asked for a volunteer to test the black chair out. Needless to say, shy old me ended up on stage…..I pranced about and was fake quizzed by the funny man while we demonstrated to the audience what would happen during filming. It was brilliant! When filming commenced we were sat right behind John Humpreys so we may just get on the telly!! When we were eating our meal in Prezzo afterwards, a lady asked if I was Emma, the test lady! Oh to be famous…..

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It’s all about the hair…. #Sarcoma

Hi all, just a quick update to say my hair has started to go now. Luckily I went to The Wiggins (Penny Lane, Liverpool) and bought two beautiful wigs this week. One is a bob for daily use and the other is a glamorous ‘Holly Willoughby’ style wig for when I go out out….

I only had to pay for the bobbed wig as the long one was free. This is because I have my chemotherapy as an in patient. The wig was Β£155 so I am very grateful and lucky that I qualified for this benefit.

Here’s a pic of me and John out and about today in said wig πŸ™‚

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First week #sarcoma

I’m at the end of my first week after having my first cycle of chemo. I’m pleased to say that the drugs have been kinder than I thought. I honestly believed I would have been bed ridden and that John would be fanning my fever ridden body in a candle lit room….but I have been, well, relatively normal (no jokes there please!)

There are a few effects that I am having. The main way that the treatment has affected me has been fatigue. I am really tired and will sleep anywhere that’s comfy (beware if I come to your house – I nip to the loo never to return – you will find me in your spare bed snoozing…!)
Secondly, my appetite is non existent. I do not want to eat but I know I need to, the issue is that nothing appeals to me. I have been stocking up on rocket ice lollies and Pringles as these kerb the sickness but I know I can’t live off these. The thing that upsets me the most is that bacon and sausage knock me sick (now for those who know me, this is big stuff!!!). We are going for tea with the Scottish McTickles tomorrow and it’s already proving a challenge deciding where to go….

Work and cancer
A few months ago, I read an article where some employers make it difficult for cancer patients to return to work after illness. This really shocked and upset me as my employer had been so supportive during my absence last year. They are even more supportive this time and I can not stress how grateful I am and how lucky I feel to work for such a great company. I just wish that all patients could have the positive experience that I have with my employer.

Hairy stuff
I’m off to a wig shop on Monday to start trying some on so I can see what styles I like. Watch this space…..!

Finally a huge thank you to everyone in my department for my lovely gift and thanks to Joe for my goodie bag. They are very much appreciated.

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Chemo agreed….still get to go and see @JasonManford

Hello everyone, I have just been to The Royal to see Dr Ali to agree and sign consent for my treatment. I’m having combination chemotherapy and will have to stay over for three nights at Clatterbridge next week. I will then repeat this every three weeks for a further five seasons. I fully understand the side effects and I know this will be no easy ride but I know that with my amazing family and friends I can get through anything. I have never felt as determined to to anything as I do today. On a side note, as the treatment starts on Thursday I still get to go and see the lovely Jason Manford on Wednesday night πŸ™‚ Have a nice weekend peeps xxx