Monday, 31 March 2014

FEC #5

Monday 31st March 2014

The Penultimate

I got to pick my seat today, a window seat...this is how I roll.......

Almost mopped up all the rogue Cancer cells

This is why I had a sleepless night last night, still awake at 04:10 am and all down to the cannula
I don't know why I worried so much, I could hardly feel it. Thank you chemo nurse Caroline.

If you look closely all my nails are striped 

Out with the old

and in with the new

Friday, 28 March 2014

The quiet before the storm

Dear Diary

Last FEC #4  Thursday 13th February - 6th of March (FEC 4 Cycle)

Hospital admission Tuesday 4th of March

Discharged Thursday 13th of March

Next FEC chemo cycle # 5 Monday 31st of March - reduced dose from 100% down to 75%

My Oncologist postponed my next treatment by 3 weeks(a whole cycle behind)to ensure that my body had recovered from the IV antibiotics and hospital stay. 

No evil drugs killing off the healthy cells in your body for 3 weeks and a mini break mentally = appearance of hair (collar & cuffs).

Which is a temporary addition as the E in FEC is making a come back on Monday. For future reference, I'm happy that it appears to grow fast.

I went to the GP's this week. He said `I suspect this isn't a life choice, I mean you haven't been out and bought a pair of Doctor Martins have you?' (after taking off my woolly hat). I was glad to see a Doctor with a sense of humour and able to register how far he could push it. 

Anyway I went to discuss my rash, the one I was discharged from hospital with. The GP suspects it is a reaction to the IV antibiotics. So lets compile a list of the things I'm allergic too ......It appears to be growing.

I also asked for medication for the reduction of keloid scarring for my booby and some heavy duty cream for my evil little `friends' that appear through times of constipation and diarrhoea.

The pharmacist said that due to manufacturers delay she would not be able to complete my prescription today. She asked me if it was urgent. I lovingly told her that I had a lumpectomy in October and that the cream was to reduce the raised keloid scarring. At some point during `my moment' I realised she actually meant the cream for my little friends.

Let me introduce to you, my keloid scar, a waving Snowman. I had chicken pox (poulet pox) at 15 on the French Exchange and ended up being on house arrest, bathing in soothing medication and having a thermometer inserted into my bum (and missed all the parties).

AND then the chicken pox scar grew .

I reluctantly registered with the DWP for a Personal Independent Payment but discovered that they have an incorrect date of birth for me and now it's up to me to prove to them that I am right. I am not well enough at the moment to be faffing around with producing a birth certificate, so the claim has been pulled. Bit ironic really as PIPs is the replacement of Disability Living Allowance and in place for people that often struggle with daily living activities and mobility. 

I went to have my bloods taken today to ensure my immune system is ready for the onslaught on Monday and I have cording of the veins, this is where the veins feel hard and `cord' like, the veins lose their elasticity and feel tight, which makes your treatment arm sore, like you've had a couple of Chinese burns, the E out of the FEC ruins/damages the veins (Mr E is quite a twisted piece of work). My veins will gradually return to normal in the future.
I have had this for a while, but the nurse clearly noticed it today, in trying to bleed me dry.

For anyone that missed this programme on BBC 3 please follow this link:

It's available to watch until Wednesday 2nd of April.

and then you can watch this thank you from Kris founder of Coppafeel #RETHINKCANCER

Friday, 14 March 2014

Back from the Brink

At 6pm on Tuesday March 4th, we contacted the oncology helpline as I was unable to breathe, couldn't mobilise from bed and still had a high temperature and we felt that I needed to be in hospital. We waited for the paramedics to arrive and was hooked up to oxygen and taken in the ambulance to AMU and wheeled into a private room where once again I had a cannula fitted and blood taken to ensure I wasn't experiencing neutropenia. 

A junior doctor performed the Oxygen Saturation Test/Arterial Blood Gas Test - where the arterial blood can be tested for oxygen levels and blood is drawn from the artery rather than the vein.

As soon as my blood tests were returned as normal (and not prone to infections) I was moved onto the main ward of AMU and then moved to 23N. I came into hospital able to mobilise to the toilet to being unable to mobilise from the bed to a commode without oxygen and with the help of staff. I was put on IV (drip)antibiotics 3-4 times a day which unfortunately were not strong enough to clear any infection and therefore my health was deteriorating and I became incredibly ill even though I was in hospital. It took 3 days to arrange a CT scan as the doctors suspected a blood clot to the left lung as the x-ray on arrival on both Friday and Tuesday had identified shadowing to the left lower lung. The lung consultant visited me on ward 23N on Friday to explain that he was unhappy with the anti-biotics I was on and that they would not shift any infection I had. He explained that he was not happy with the diagnosis given following the CT scan and said that if he was to believe the extensive shadowing to both lungs on the images, I would actually be in intensive care. He said that if you are unable to breathe during the CT scan this kind of imaging appears. He said that I would be transferred onto the respiratory ward and placed onto stronger antibiotics to clear the infection.  I was transferred at 5:30 on Friday evening. By Monday/Tuesday I was able to walk to the toilet with oxygen, which felt like a huge achievement and by this stage I was being treated for bilateral pneumonia.

The consultant was unsure to whether I had glass effect shadowing to the lungs due to the chemotherapy drugs but the oncologist had already said that FEC drugs usually are not connected to lung damage/shadowing. 

During my stay in hospital all injections, cannulas fitted and blood has had to be taken from the left arm (right arm out of bounds due to lumpectomy and possible lymphoedema)and trying to find a vein they could use started to become problematic, especially as the doctor popped the only vein she could find.

Prior to discharge I was able to see my oncologist and consultant to discuss chemotherapy. On Tuesday they discussed my case at the Multi Disciplinary meeting (MDT) and one consideration was that maybe I am allergic to the chemotherapy drugs, however this is not conclusive as I breezed through cycle 1-3. We discussed reducing the dosage from 100% down to 75% on cycle 5 and review the situation prior to cycle #6 and hope I am not allergic and end up back in hospital for 9 days. My breast cancer specialist nurse said that not many people are able to sustain treatment on 100% and so 4 cycles at the highest dose was good going. 

I do not have the added bonus in taking tablets as a `backup' plan for the next 5 years post treatment and as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the only course of treatment available we want to continue to increase the survival rate and try and stave off a recurrence in the future. 

Hubby bought me some new PJ's

I am now back at home with a rash to both arms
BUT at least I can breathe, eat healthily and have a decent wash.

My next appointment at the chemotherapy day centre is Monday 31st of March for cycle#5 which is 3 weeks and 3 days later than planned, which allows my body enough time to recover from the 9 days in hospital. 

In 6 weeks time I need to attend hospital for an x-ray to check on shadowing on the lungs and the progress of recovery.


Dear Tami
Thank you very much for your entry to our competition to be a Vita blogger. We received almost 100 applications and the standard was very high so it has been a very difficult process deciding who our new bloggers will be.
We have tried to pick winners who have a range of different breast cancer experiences as well as being skilled writers. That meant we have had to overlook some candidates who were excellent writers. Unfortunately, although your blog was on our final shortlist, it was not chosen as one of the winning entries but we wish you every success with your writing in future.
Best wishes
Pete Coles
Breast Cancer Care

Monday, 3 March 2014


A normal temperature is around 37C (98.6F)

What I failed to mention was that my temperature has been between 38-39.9 C on occasions over the last week and it wasn't until we purchased another thermometer that I started to take it seriously. So the bad arse in the ear thermometer is clearly giving some freaky kinda shit reading and the new under the armpit - a more realistic reading. 

I have to inform the oncologist line if my temperature hits 37.5C

On Friday at 16:30, after no longer being able to ignore that I needed to go to hospital I called the oncology helpline - Shropdoc - with a temperature of 38.2. I was told to make my way up to AMU and was given a side room. I had my blood pressure checked and was running a temperature of 38.6c. I had my bloods taken and almost passed out, blood/sugar test,  (all clear, NO neuropathy) cannula fitted and antibiotics run through followed by a saline solution. 

I felt very chesty and was given a chest x ray only to discover that there is shadowing on the lower left lung and to take some hard core antibiotics twice a day for the next 7 days. 

I am now so breathy that I am hyperventilating just mobilising from the sofa to the toilet or from the bed to the living room. Not being able to breathe is really fricking scary.

We managed to get discharged at 23:00

Saturday and Sunday night consisted of a temperature higher than when I was admitted to hospital, hubby gave me paracetamol and made me sweat out the heat. I'm not going to lie, I didn't think I was going to make it at one point - I know this sounds melodramatic, but believe me when your husband is helping you with the most basic of things and you see the dread in his face and the person you seen in the mirror is a bald headed sweaty mess who can hardly breathe .... (all I can say is that if I still smoked I have no doubt that I would not be here).

So this morning I managed to walk to see my GP accompanied by my husband who was supporting me and subjected to walking at a snails pace to see if there was anything they could prescribe to bring my temperature down.

I also called the Chemotherapy day centre and explained that there was no way my body would be able to cope with a cycle just yet. They agreed that I need to finish my course of antibiotics and so FEC#5 has been delayed until next Friday and I'm off to see my oncologist this Thursday to discuss my side effects and how we can manage them better :)