Hello, From the Other Side:


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The best thing about life is that everyday is a new opportunity.  As cliché as that may sound, it rings true.  Many of you know that on December 12, 2016, I underwent a rare procedure called HIPEC in an effort to provide myself with a greater opportunity to live.

There were many risks involved in having this operation, but without risk comes little reward.  I had to take that leap of faith in order to provide myself with more time and quality at that.  No doubt I had my reservations and up until the night before I was having serious second thoughts.

I’m signing up to be cut in half.”

 “Can I even endure this again, will my body be able to handle another major operation for the third time in three years?” I asked myself. My mind would not and could not stop operating on all cylinders.

Saturday, December 10 I had just been out with my Mum for a lovely day of brunch and pedicures.  It was special, quality, time before I was going to go into the hospital in just two short days.  After our pleasant day she dropped me off and Steve was at his parents house.  I lay on my bed as I was pretty worn out from the whole day and was going to try to catch a nap, when suddenly something came over me and I began thinking about the last few weeks prior and how I’d spent time with the people I love most; quality one on one time.  Were those my goodbyes?  I immediately began to shiver, my lips turned blue, my breathing became increasingly difficult and my body tense.  I thought I was dying right then and there.

As quickly as I could I called my Nan and word travelled fast.  She along with my Mum and Auntie Bev were on their way, as well as one of my very best friends, Allison.  Steve, too immediately left his parents.  No one truly knew what the situation was but knew in any case I needed immediate attention as my normally ever so strong brick walls had come crashing in on me.

Once they had arrived, I was clearly still very much alive but also in a state of panic and still freezing and stiff. They comforted me and Allison even called her brother with whom is an ER Doctor to get some medical advice on what they should do since I was refusing to go to the hospital.  If it actually was my time, I wanted it to be in my own home, not the cold hospital.  Her kind brother suggested that I meet everyone halfway and allow the paramedics to come and assess the situation and I obliged, particularly because those were Steve’s wishes as well.

Long story short, there were about five paramedics that came and determined I was having a forceful anxiety attack and low and behold my walls did cave in on me.  After awhile I calmed down and I was so grateful to have them by my side.  And I was happy that it happened when it did and not the morning of the surgery. For some reason I believe that, that freak out needed to happen in order for me to actually go through with the surgery, for me to know that everything was going to turn out okay in the end.

It was now time to be the queen I know I can be.  It was Monday and it was show time.  I rolled into that operating room feeling free of anxiety or fear, but instead excited for what was on the other side, post operation, despite the brutal recovery.

The Doctors practiced their magic and before I knew it, I woke up in the intermediate care unit.  I felt fabulous as the drugs from the operation were still in my system, even making a video of the news that had been shared with me that I was “CANCER FREE!” It felt so good to say those words, even if I was in la-la-land.

However, as the course of my stay at the hospital got longer and longer, the Doctors became less and less liberal with that word.  In turn leaving me to wonder what any of it really meant, even having it reiterated today at my follow-up visit with my surgeon now that I’m completely clear headed.  Where do I go from here and am I free of cancer?

The truth is, I’ve won the battle but not the war.  By having this surgery they have removed any and all signs of tumor that currently exists in my body, by cutting me open to remove them, scraping my insides and attacking with chemotherapy.  Therefore at this time I’m free of cancer.  However, I still remain a Stage IV cancer patient as I have had recurrences in the past, ones which have recurred rather quickly I might add, so I am considered a VERY HIGH RISK patient.  My cancer could come back tomorrow, next month or two years from now.  The moral of the story is I will be under surveillance non-stop by my Oncologist and looked after by the pros.  Naturally we all are hoping for the best-case scenario, but he kept it real with me, which I appreciate.

In the meantime, I’ve been home for the last week and a half recovering and it’s going well.  Slowly but surely I’m getting back to my old self.  I cannot express the gratitude I have for all of the love I’ve received leading up to the surgery, during and after.  It truly warms the cockles of my heart.  Now we are just trying to get through the holidays and get back into our routine.  When things get too routine, I just need to keep myself humble and remember that everyday is a new opportunity.

Happy New Year, my loves.


Britt x

Chemo Update: 10th, 11th, 12th Round

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

I #BSMHB #BeStillMyHeartBlog I www.bestillmyheartblog.wordpress.com

Top o’ the morning to you and Happy Monday, friends.  I awoke early today as my bedtime was roughly 7 o’clock last night.  My schedule is becoming that of an old woman.  Nevertheless, as I lay there, awake before the sun had risen, I realized that I have been negligent with regards to my Chemo Video VLOG’s over the last few sessions.  I was really priding myself on keeping that up as a means to share how each chemo session went, as well as reveal any new side effects, symptoms or other important updates pertaining to treatment.  My failure in doing so has come at the cost of how my chemo has been making me feel since my 9th round (I’ll be going in for round 13 next week).  As I have disclosed in previous posts, my energy levels have taken a dive and just about the only thing I feel like doing is sleeping.  It’s gotten to the point where I am in too much pain to sit or stand, so sleeping appears to be the best option of escape, along with my pain medication.

With all of that said, let me do a quick re-cap of my most recent chemo treatment and the effects I seem to be having.

  • Energy < No Energy
  • Small loss of appetite
  • Perpetually tired and sleeping ungodly amounts; morning, noon and night
  • Full-blown neuropathy in both hands and feet.  It has become difficult to type, as I am unable to feel my fingers/hands and has become extremely difficult to walk due to no feeling in my feet.  When walking, stumbling and wobbliness occurs and I look like a drunken person.
  • Continued low counts for both bone marrow and platelets.
  • Unfrequented urination (TMI, I know…)

The above pretty much sums up the more recent symptoms and side effects.  As for the neuropathy, the Dr. has prescribed me Cymbalta, which is an anti-depression medication, however it has been known to assist with alleviating the neuropathy.  I have been on the medication for about a week and I am not showing any signs of relief, but with most medications, it may take some time to see improvements.  On the plus side, it will also help with any form of depression.  Two birds, one stone.  Additionally on that note,  a friend and fellow cancer fighter advised me that her Dr, recommends B6 vitamins to assist with neuropathy.  You better believe I’ll be headed for the pharmacy today to purchase some B6 in hopes that it will help.  It’s so nice to be able to share tips and tricks with fellow cancer patients!

Second to that, I have continued to receive my bone marrow shots every Monday, following my chemo treatment from the week prior.  They still remain low, thus not helping my energy levels. I will be heading to the Dr.’s office in a few hours to get the not-so-lovely shot.  A little tip for anyone else who has to receive the Neulasta shot, begin taking Claritin twice daily, 3 days prior to the actual shot, alongside two Aleve with each Claritin.  This helps tremendously with the pain and makes it almost bearable for the few days following the shot itself.  Highly recommend, in an effort to not feel as though all of your bones are breaking.

Lastly, I contemplated sharing this one as it is a little personal.  I’m not one for talking about bathroom related topics, however for the sake of being forthright with all of my symptoms, I have decided to go ahead with it.  For anyone who knows me, or has been on a road trip with me, you can attest to the fact that I  frequently urinate.  I’m one of those girls with a pea-sized bladder that is constantly in need of going.  That said, for the last week and a half, my constant necessity for a restroom has been dramatically decreased.  So much so that I am now only able to urinate once or twice in a 24-48 hour time frame.  I have made my Oncologist aware of this new, strange issue and she immediately wanted me to go to the ER to have scans done, etc. but then changed her mind and wanted me to see a Urologist.  First of all, I never knew that “pee” had it’s own specialty Doctor and secondly, this is by far one of the stranger symptoms I have had since being diagnosed.  Low and behold, I followed my Dr.’s orders and went to see the Urologist last Thursday. He was able to scan my kidneys to ensure that they are stable, which thankfully, they are and then he sent me home with a worksheet so I can document each and every time I urinate over the course of the weekend.  This also includes the measurement in ounces of how much I am urinating each time.  I can safely say that it has been an extremely odd experience and I now know that I have urinated less than a handful of times over the weekend.  Once again, I’m sorry for the detailed information.  So, what’s next you ask?  I am seeing the Urologist again today to discuss next steps, whatever that may be and I will keep you posted, even if the subject is slightly mortifying.

All in all, that just about sums it up.  I’d love to tell you that I am in high spirits and everything is just dandy, but it depends on the day, the hour, the minute or the second that you ask me.  I’m continuing to take it one day at a time over here, as I believe that’s all I can do.  I’ll try to get back on track with the VLOG’s after each chemo round.  Wish me luck today with my bone marrow shot and my appointment with the Urologist (haha).

Until next time…


Britt x