Monday, 30 December 2013

Study links birth-control to rare breast cancer- TN Triple Negative, 2009

Arguably this report was published some years ago in 2009 and whether it has any real validity is questionable, BUT it is certainly food for thought. It seems clear that additional research does need to be undertaken and that these correlation of factors need to be explored further. 

Here is the link:


What is a Paraben?

A Paraben are the most widely used preservatives in personal care products.

Researchers found traces of parabens in breast cancer tumours in 2004 (Dabre, Journal of Applied Toxiocology) but the study left several questions unanswered and no concrete convincing scientific evidence to whether there is a link between the two was formulated. For example the study did not show that parabens cause cancer or that they are harmful in any way. The study did not look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue.

Which is lucky as I can only find Paraben free beauty products which carry an above average price tag!

This group of chemicals have a variety of pesky names

Many major British and international brands use different types of parabens in products, often listed on the packaging as methylparaben, propyl, butyl or ethylparaben.

Parabens can also occur naturally -

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Party trick gone tits up

My new party trick of pulling hair from my head, because I can - has slightly backfired in that I have a patch or two of baldness -which I just can't disguise (schoolgirl error). It seemed funny at the time.....

BUT without hair I feel that my head is too small for my body. 

I am indeed the shrunken head guy from Beetlejuice and that is clearly the dude on the right in this gif. However he appears to have a ponytail of hair which I had not previously noticed and is clearly sporting more hair than I currently have or can currently boast. 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Pubic Hair Migration

with the  migration of pubic hair, this can mean only one thing. The inevitable is about to happen (the hardest part of the process).

I am about to loose my hair from my head. 

I asked my Hubster to shave my head this evening in the bath and take pictures to post to my blog.

I actually think the Freddie Mercury Moustache is quite fetching and the plant growing from my head adds some what character. 

I've gone down to a grade 1, which means less hair being shed around the house in the future days/week.

I have purchased a beanie from (based in Wrexham)as the woollen headbands I have been wearing around the house are not something I can sleep in and will not contain the hair loss either. It's a Liberty print and I'm very excited :)

The headbands have however been invaluable under woolly hats and it is only now that I realise that my own hair used to keep my ears insulated from the elements.

Happy Holidays and have yourself a merry grope


Monday, 23 December 2013

Dear Santa

Thank you so much for the early Christmas presents of 

Piles and Pubic alopecia


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Look Good Feel Better Workshop (LGFB)

The only real `cancer` thing I wanted to do was to book a place on the Look Good Feel Better Workshop

Here are a couple of quotes, it sounds just .... mmm fluffy clouds

`The workshops are about having fun. They are informal, relaxed and informative, giving people a chance to meet others in a similar situation. It's a time for a woman to focus on herself and not her illness'

`I never thought of myself as much of a make- up person - I can't believe how brilliant I feel and look after just two hours. I can't wait to show my family'

This I thought would help in that - I could return to work in April and not look like I have cancer. Hair growth does not tend to return until your last chemotherapy treatment. 

 I'm actually thinking of returning to work minus wig, eyebrows, eyelashes etc, because surely the problem is in other people's perception and not my own, RIGHT - I know I'm being obtuse BUT I am ******* tired, very angry and ever so slightly annoyed + I have horrendous mouth ulcers to go with the bad attitude.

Anyway I contacted my local centre and the next available date is April ffs, REALLY? I am now on the cancellation list in case anything becomes available nearer to me loosing my hair - ALL HAIR- YES 


I currently have a very healthy lady garden BUT alas this is apparently one of the first things to go. 

I asked about the complementary therapies they have on offer - reflexology, reiki, aromatherapy. 

And .... as it happens this is no longer available. 

BUT I can attend a COFFEE MORNING which is odd because coffee is not on the greatest things to drink on the `fuck you` cancer list.

So when I joked about drawing my eyebrows on with various coloured felt tip pens or a Sharpie or two ...... 

Did I mention I'm having a bad day?

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Triple Negative BC Results

The results are in ......So, not only do I sit in the 5% of people diagnosed under the age of 40, but also within the 15-20% of people diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. 

`Triple negative breast cancer is found in about 1 in 5 women with breast cancer (15-20%)` Source: Macmillan

Well aren't I a clever fucker. I tried not to write anything too flippant but I just couldn't resist. 

What is triple-negative breast cancer?

About 10 to 20 percent of breast cancers are triple-negative. 

Knowing breast cancer basics can help you understand how triple-negative breast cancer is different from other types of breast cancer. To find out what type of breast cancer you have, your doctors search for the presence or absence of three receptors, proteins that live inside or on the surface of a cell and bind to something in the body to cause the cell to react. You may have heard of the oestrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2).

In oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, progesterone receptor-positive breast cancer and HER2 positive breast cancer, treatments prevent, slow or stop cancer growth with medicines that target those receptors. But triple-negative breast cancers need different types of treatments because they are oestrogen receptor negative, progesterone receptor negative and HER2 negative. Medicines like tamoxifen, which targets the oestrogen receptor, and trastuzumab (Herceptin), which targets HER2, are not helpful in treating triple-negative breast cancer. Instead, chemotherapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for triple-negative breast cancer.

Researchers are working to improve their understanding of the biology of triple-negative breast cancers, how these types of cancers behave and what puts people at risk for them. Their goals are to find out the best ways to use treatments that already exist and to develop new ones.

Understanding the ‘Basal-like’ Subtype

Most triple-negative breast cancers have a basal-like cell pattern. This term means the cells look like the basal cells that line the breast ducts, the tubes in the breast where milk travels. You might have heard your doctor call triple negative breast cancer a basal tumour, basal breast cancer or basal-like disease.

Basal-like breast cancers tend to over express, or make too much of, certain genes that encourage cancer growth. Not all triple-negative breast cancers are basal-like, and not all basal-like breast cancers are triple-negative. About 70 to 90 percent of triple-negative breast cancers are basal-like.

Doctors choose treatments because the cancer is triple-negative, not because it is basal-like. The  basal status of the cancer does not factor into treatment decisions, but your doctor may tell you if the cancer is basal-like because the term appears in breast cancer resources and information.

Three Myths About Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
MYTH - Women with triple-negative breast cancer can have the same treatments as all other women with breast cancer.

FACT - Many people do not understand that there are different kinds of breast cancer. Even some women who have had breast cancer do not understand the differences between triple negative breast cancers and breast cancers that are hormone receptor-positive or HER2 positive.

Women you meet may have taken a hormonal treatment pill for five years to protect them from recurrence (a return of the cancer), or they may know someone who has. These women may not understand that this option does not exist for you. Having to explain the differences between triple-negative and other breast cancers can be frustrating, especially if you are just learning about this diagnosis yourself. On the other hand, you may take some of the same chemotherapy medicines as women with other types of breast cancer.

MYTH - Triple-negative breast cancers are always hard to treat.

FACT - Your doctor may tell you triple-negative breast cancer is harder to treat than other types of breast cancer. While many triple-negative cancers are aggressive, your doctor’s prediction of how well your treatment will work depends on the tumour size and whether the cancer has travelled to the lymph nodes in your armpit just as much as it does on its triple-negative status. There are some very effective treatments for triple-negative breast cancer. Your doctor will work with you to find the treatment that is right for you.

Researchers are still learning why some women are more likely than others to develop triple-negative breast cancer. Research supports a relationship between risk and your genes, age, race and ethnicity.

There are some interesting articles on Triple Negative on and here are the links:

Not so scary anymore, and Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, Divide and Conquer, both written by Heather L Van Epps, PHD, 2013

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

1st week post FEC # 1 cycle - Tuesday 17th of December

After the initial crawling back into bed post chemo # 1, I have experienced:

  • Hot and cold sweats (day 1-3)
  • Fatigue - like sooper dooper tired 
  • Muzzy head (day 1-3)
  • Joint ache in my right shoulder (4-5)
  • Sore throat (4-7)
  • Indigestion (use Gaviscon)
  • Change in taste 
  • Cold, muscle ache and runny nose & sneezing (Day 6+)

Chemotherapy is very do-able. It affects everyone differently and each day can present with it another ailment or something new to moan about(boring). It's completely bonkers. BUT it's OK. What I can tell you is that I have felt completely pooped and have done my fair share of lolling around and sleeping and on a couple of occasions - not sleeping at all. My body has its own unique temperature gauge. 

I have now finished all anti sickness tablets until next cycle and had my last injection this morning at 06:30am for my immune system. This now means that my husband can have his half an hour in bed back, rather than `stabbing` me before he goes to work.

From days 10-14 I have an increased risk of infection and need to avoid everyoneFor me this is really important as I do not want the condition of neutropenia which could delay my treatment plan in anyway and then it's Christmas Eve. 


Love Tam x x x x 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Supportive agencies

Supportive agencies

Shine Cancer Support
A Network for Younger Adults Affected by Cancer

The Impact of Cancer on People in their 20s, 30s and 40s


Interesting articles and links

There are a couple of articles I've found which I would like to share.

Not another bunch of flowers was set up by Anikka Burton. She was diagnosed with an aggressive, locally advanced breast cancer in 2011 at the age of 33 and during treatment wrote a blog to help others. 
You can read this at

The Vagenda is a feminist online magazine launched in January 2012. 
A blog entry posted on July 10th - The Bald Truth, caught my eye and here is the link

A recent article written by Paula McGrath and Katy Watson for BBC News What's up, Doc? How comic strips are improving bedside manner. 
Here is the link:

I came across this article, which is really thought provoking and worth a read.

Cured - But at what cost? Long term consequences of cancer and its treatment: Macmillan, July 2013.

Cancer and its treatment often leaves a gruelling physical and mental legacy for many years afterwards. It begs the question - do we really understand the true cost of being cured?

At least one in four of those living with cancer - around 500,000 people in the UK-face poor health or disability after cancer treatment

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Tampon Crafts

Last week I sold my new Rene of Paris Monofilament Marie wig on Ebay, it just wasn't me and the Hubster hates me with straight hair. I sold it the very same night I posted it - so I was super happy :)

After the revelations of the tampon toupee and sharing with you tamponcrafts, I found this little gem on ebay. I very much doubt a sale anytime soon :(

You can enlarge the picture by clicking onto it

Alternatively .... With spirit gum!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Ist FEC Chemotherapy cycle

Tuesday 10th of December 2013 - Treatment Day
Day 1 starts tomorrow of FEC cycle

Lets Shizzle the FEC out of this little f****er (Grrh face).

However this is how I felt ....

I came home and took my first anti sickness tablet and went straight to bed. I felt sick and really cold. I couldn't get my head warm and wrapped various items around it. I felt like I was dealing with the most hideous hangover, the one where you have no headache, just feel sick and muzzy. 

I had anti sickness injected into the cannula before being administered the chemotherapy drugs, this is along with the drip (infusion) of salt water (saline) into the cannula. This felt really cold and I could feel it flowing up my arm.

I then had two x 60ml of E (Epirubicin) which is the red liquid and is the drug that causes the hair loss, this is the common side effect.

I then had two x 40ml of Fluorouracil, which is a colourless fluid which is also known as 5FU.

And 20 ml of  C - Cyclophosphamide

I then had an injection of anti sickness injected into the saline bag at the end of treatment.

The day after

I have 5 anti sickness tablets to take at 7am and breakfast/lunch time and evening and an injection every morning for the next 7 days to boost my immune system, to reduce the incidence of neutropenia and increase my white blood cell count. This can cause hair loss and lower back pain which is connected to the production of cells in the bone marrow.

At the moment I am bordering on a fever so I am checking my temperature every hour to make sure its not above 37.5c, earlier it was 37.4 but has since come down, so no need to contact Shropdoc yet.

Days 10-14 is when if neutropenia is going to occur, will happen and that brings us to 20th- 24th of December. 

Next cycle starts the 2nd of Jan, with blood tests on New Years Day.


My Superbeast trucker cap(bringing sexy back)

I was about to describe my friend Miche and then decided to let her do the talking and copied her About Me from her company website.

What I will say, is that Miche was and still is, the hippest person I know, with her finger permanently on the pulse. Cool Hippy Chick who used to spin some stonking tunes.

I'm a designer, chillie lover, cap lover, cat lover, countryside lover, they call me Mr lover lover. I have too many trainers (I know, you cant have too many) Im turning into a fish geek and still own 1210's.

And there you have it! If you have any questions or requests I'm more than happy to help... watch this space for the baby truckers that are coming soon. Supercool cuteness overload coming up!
Love Miche x

AND another shameful selfie getting ma WIG ON

Pre Chemo Assessment Monday 9th of December

I went all grade 3 on my hair on Saturday to go with my cancerous grade 3 BC and my shameless selfie was photo bombed 
(verb - to drop in a photo unexpectedly .. to hop into the picture, right before it is taken. 

I'm still laughing about the hairdresser on Wednesday asking me if I would like to take some of my cut hair trimmings off the floor (before being swept away) to glue onto a cap, so it looks like I have some hair sticking out. Don't get me wrong there are some fantastic chemotherapy hats out there with hair attached, but OFF THE FLOOR!

I was looking for an appropriate image, one that closely resembled how the hair would have looked and stumbled across this. 

Tampon Toupee

You can find some wonderful projects at (NO SERIOUSLY)

Mum picked me up this morning at 9am (Urrgh *The insomnia kid jumps into car)to attend a Pre Chemo Assessment at the Lingen Davies Centre. I would have liked the choice to attend or decline this appointment as there wasn't any kind of assessment involved. I can understand how helpful it would be for people who haven't been able to bring themselves to research or read the wealth of information on the Macmillan website. BUT I am very aware of the side effects from research and from my oncology appointment on the 14th. Lets just bloody get cracking shall we...

The results I have waited for since the second week in November are still lurking in some wormhole, so I've bought this book to assist in relocating them.

I was shown to a wipe down PVC armchair (which I presume is in case I piss myself with excitement at the impending proceedings)and then the nurse explained that I was there to see the ward. Strangely enough it's the same view when you look through the window from the outside. 

Hey girls, hey boys,superstar DJ's
Here we go

You can stick me on a plastic chair in the middle of the carpark, it makes no difference to me where I'm going to be sitting. 

No guided tour, no exploring... 

I made some comment about hair loss and the nurse said "well you've got nice short hair", 

Like yer since Wednesday and I showed her the photographs before the chop (she seemed suitably unimpressed)

Really is there not a degree of sensitivity that should be applied on a cancer treatment ward (evidently not - luckily I'm over the hair now). Even my Mum who often tells me I'm rude or too honest in critique thought so and that's saying something.

A very strange morning and I'm glad to be home.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Little Princess Trust - Hair donation

After another night of allusive sleep, I managed to nod off for about an hour or two and woke up after having a drink down the local with Richard Gere and having a guided tour of his house - go figure.

I had to put a considerable amount of effort and warpaint on as I felt as rough as a butchers dog + I wanted to look my best for the photographs - if truth be known. 

I think this quote is particularly apt.

Couldn't quite bring myself to having my head shaved today - I had an emotional moment ;)

Thankfully Rachel came with me and after having a little wee from my eye, asked me to reason with myself to why I actually needed to shave my head at this stage. It was great to have that support and I was with Rachel when she shaved her head in support of a young girl diagnosed with leukemia and also donated her hair to The Little Princess Trust, so it seemed fitting, that she was there with me.

Donated two ponytails of hair to The Little Princess Trust and raised £132.60 through my Justgiving page. 

Here is the evidence.

And the end result

And then we posted it
Rachel x

I had a lovely soak tonight, washed my hair with my favourite Aussie shampoo and got into my fab ROAR PJ's which Sam T bought me a couple of weeks ago.

Sam here is the photographic evidence(with added double chin I might add)

Monday, 2 December 2013

Why I started this blog

With this diagnosis it has presented many challenges, particularly as the information you receive as part of this process is given in bite size chunks which you are informed about at each stage of the cancer pathway. This unfortunately gives you time to scare yourself shitless with the amount of "stuff" lurking on the internet.

I eventually gravitated towards sourcing my information from Macmillan and Cancer Research UK. 

It's a waiting game and you often feel left in the dark, lost in the system and often trying to piece the information together.

Source: Google images/

I was also thrown another curve ball, in that the chemotherapy may render me infertile and I may hit early menopause after treatment, the percentage of patients who this affects is extremely high, In fact its probably inevitable. We had three eggs mature enough to be collected induced by fertility treatment and only one egg fertilised overnight, so we have one embryo frozen.

"Only good quality embryos will survive the freezing and thaw process."

There are significant differences that may occur in an age related `natural’ menopause compared with a treatment-induced menopause and I suspect I may need some advice on how to cope with an early menopause or the menopausal side effects of treatment *she says through hot and cold sweats*

I joined a forum, specifically for people recently diagnosed with breast cancer, mainly because I didn't want to inflict the boredom of the subject on my friends and family anymore, with how I was feeling. I thought this would be a positive tool in helping me to share with others about how it was effecting me personally and emotionally, support others, source diet tips etc. I had a couples of responses to the group thread, but didn't feel any connection, for me this is working through a process - It just hasn't been the positive experience I thought it should/would be(I think I'm of the Jennifer Saunders ilk).

I've found having a supportive husband, family and friends a far more positive experience.

Real life, real love and real conversations

I have been following a couple of blogs on the wonderweb which I have found inspirational, informative and full of hints and tips in coping with the treatment and how to deal with the side effects and these have been invaluable.

After being diagnosed with cancer, each journey is different, individual in every sense, some have better coping strategies than others, some have side effects others not so much, treatment plans vary depending on a multitude of factors. You have to find your own path.

I'm off to hug a tree