Hello wonderful people in my life,
Well it’s been almost a month since my last update. I have had two further rounds of Chemotherapy the last one which was this Friday gone the 6th of September. Sorry for the slackness in writing I have been busy with lunch dates and what most would deem as far to much socialising! I started back at work last week and now the second week is almost over sleep in’s are a distant memory……sniff.
The English summer has been great and up until the last week it has been pretty warm and sunny. Being in London for Summer was great. I have seen a lot and enjoyed catching up with people who I probably not have seen had I been off gallivanting around Europe. Saved a bit too I think but certainly looking forward to getting paid this week. The NZ account is getting smashed.
Chemotherapy round two was on Monday 19th of August. By this point my hair was starting to fall out and had thinned out quite a lot. This I have to admit was hard. So much hair came out when I brushed it no matter how careful I was. Washing it was a joke and it was just going everywhere. I was so self conscious of it it was starting to drive me a bit mental. It just would not stop coming out. When I went in for chemo I wet my hair as having it wet makes the cooling cap process more effective. Well apparently! Not so much for me I suppose. I had the cap on and with my hair so wet I got cold pretty quick. So the administration of the drugs was quite painful and not that comfortable. Lessons to be learnt with intravenous drug taking……keep warm and be well hydrated before you go in. It makes your veins happier and far more co-operative.
Like round one it was pretty easy and straight forward. There were about five other people in the Chemo suite at the time. I was the youngest by far. There was a guy there who would have been in his 50’s and was a school principal. He spent the whole session eating. I was like what you got there! It was soup of some intense health vegetable concoction. He was having chemo to reduce a tumor that had been found sitting right between the end of his ospehagus and was blocking the entrance to his stomach. It was only 2cm wide but it was pretty much stopping him from being able to eat. Glad I am still able to eat normally and am eating as much as I can….just being a little piglet actually. Loving all my lunch dates and trying all sorts of different eatery’s. My taste buds are a bit funky some days but they have not been to bad yet. Tomato sauce will start becoming my best friend soon.
As soon as I got home I took my anti sickness med’s and had a yum dinner. Wasn’t feeling to crash hot so went and laid in bed for awhile. I honestly felt like I had had a massive drunken bender like I had smashed a bottle of tequila. I was all headachy and had a queesy stomach. I didn’t want the steroids to kick in so I just tried to lie as still as possible and take deep breaths to try and feel better. You get the hungover dries quite badly and then I started to feel really spewy. After a really large vomit I felt so much better. Tea and toast some fresh night air in our back garden then I had an amazing sleep. Brilliant. I think that’s the worst I have felt so far and it only lasted a couple of hours so glad about that.
The morning following I was speaking to Mum on the phone and I put my hand on top of my head. Because I had wet my hair the day before for the cooling cap and not put conditioner through it then forgotten about it and sleep on it, it was a large ball of tangled mess. Delightful bed hair. I had a big knotty matted mass on the top of my head. Basically the good hair was getting matted by the hair that was falling out. I tried to gently work out what was a handful worth of hair which when I pulled the whole lot came out. I had a giant bald patch on the top of my head. I was not too happy about this. There were no tears but shit it was a depressing moment. I think this is when it all got quite real for me. I don’t think I had really comprehended how quickly my hair would actually start coming away. Hair cutting party tonight! was the first text message I sent to Danieka. I decided to wear my wig for the rest of the day just to test it out. I was really self conscious of my thinning hair. That afternoon I had an appointment with my psycologist and as soon as I sat down I said what do you think of my new hair cut. She said to me yes it’s lovely. Did’nt you have it like that last time I saw you? Haha it’s my wig. It’s amazing how realistic it looks. Unless I told you I was wearing one it’s pretty good and you can’t tell i’m wearing one.
This was a liberating, fun, hilarious experience shaving my hair off. I think the decision was a very good one. There was hair everywhere. In my bed, on my clothes. It was horrible. Hated it. It was so thin by this point that I was more self conscious of it being everywhere and being all bald patchy. We shaved the side first, then the other side leaving the back for a bit of a mullet. Then the back came off and I was left with a bit of a mohawk – which I really liked! Then we shaved most of it off so I was left with the a fringe / quiff. Was cute. Then it was all gone. Born was the “Fuzzy Wuzzy!”. It was a bit patchy so I had to go to a hair salon and get it cut properly. Think we blunted the flatmates clippers…..oops! Just want to do a little shout out to Rob and Alex for their supporting Fuzzy Wuzzy hair cuts. Maya is shaving her’s to soon to raise moolah for Starship. Cheers for the support guys, means alot to have the same hair cit as you all. To be honest I am loving having no hair. The best thing about it is getting in the shower and having a head massage under the water. No shampoo, hair cuts and dye for the next year is going to have me a lot of coin. Luckily I suit having no hair. I like the shape of my head and the scar from where I got dropped on my head on a night out three years ago is not to bad. I have always wanted to shave my head I just never thought I would be doing it for me. It’s starting to get more patchy and soon I think it will be all smooth……pretty keen to get a cut throat shave just to say I have done it.
I have discovered an amazing Breast Cancer Support Centre not far from my school. The Haven is just wonderful and offers a wide range of therapies free of charge to those going through breast cancer. I have already had some acupuncture and there are other great things to look forward to including massage, reflexology, yoga, life coaching and lots of other goodies. http://www.thehaven.org.uk/
London lunch dates and cacth up’s have been great. I have made the most of the summer here and even made a trip up to Cambridge to visit the lovely Kirsten. Was a bit rainy but still a lovely weekend taking in the markets and the sites on a walking tour as well as sampling goodies at the local markets . We got to see inside the campuses of Queens College and Kings College which have so much history and heritage. The Kings College Chapel was just stunning and the ceiling its just breathtaking. Amaze. We also went punting on the River Cam which was just a hoot. It poured with rain part way through but that made it more entertaining. Umbrellas out and a couple of cans of Pimms. Bliss.
Loving London still have ticked off a few more sites. Notting Hill Carnival was a bit of fun with Sarah, Ally Danieka, Aurora and Amy. Afterwards we enjoyed a few bevvies in the sun at Kensington Gardens and had a bit of a treat when a little squirrel came to say hello. Had a lovely walk through Hyde Park at sunset which was just stunning. Have had London lunch dates and visitors catch ups with Jason, Elle and Rob, Jacque, Megan, Suanne, Jess O, Phil, J’Aime, Kate N, and Bex. Was wonderful to have Ell and Rob here at the end of August after their trip through Greece and Turkey. We managed to make it to Camden Markets and had a wander around “The Inns of Court and Lincolns Inn” which is London’s historical legal district. Steeped in history. We went to STOMP which is a stage show where he whole show is percussion using brooms, rubbish bins, pipes, tractor tyre inners and all kinds of crazy things to make music. It was amazing. Definitely recommend going and having a look see! It was Rob’s birthday so I decided to try my hand at making a fondant iced cake. Don’t ask me why but my current obsession with dinosaurs came out in full force with this one! I made a dinosaur cake. Thanks Hana for all your advice. Rob -a -Saurus Rex was delicious…..and turned out better than I expected. Not bad for my first go!
Played squash with Rob E which was great. So nice to have a run around and not to have any hair getting in the way haha. I was pretty poked after three sets but the exercise did me the world of good. Managed to make Rob run around a bit too! Wasn’t to sore the day after either….Yussss.
We are moving house this weekend. Going back to Manor House so looking forward to be in the area where I started my London dream. Closer to the hospital and even though it’s still an hour from work but the commute is easy on the tube with one small change. Will be living with Danieka and Imogen (trying to find one other) so looking forward to lots of baking and growing a vege garden. Will be nice to put some permanent roots down and have some pot luck dinners! Will be nice to be close to Kate (Wifey) too.
School has been good. I am so glad to be working again. It was lovely having 6 weeks off but the brain was getting a bit sleepy so back into it. The boys are adorable. I walked into my form class and the boys remembered me which was nice. One yelled out “Yeayyyyy Miss Weller!” and that kind of made my day. They are so chatty and incredibly unfocused. I need to get on top of the behavior management and fast. I am teaching all juniors from 8 to 13 year old’s so much the same as what I had at GEIS. They decided to give me the younger ones as there is no assessment pressure for me and if I am unable to be at school then it would be unfair on the older students who need more guidance if I was not around. I have also let the school know my long term plans to stay in the UK and am in discussions with them to arrange sponsorship. Hopefully the next 12 weeks of my probation period goes well and I am able to wow them with my teaching skills. The school has also rigged my timetable so that I have Friday afternoons clear. This way I can leave school at lunch time and go to Chemo….so great!
Chemo round #3 of 8 was on Friday just gone the 6th of September. The weather decided to be annoying on Friday. It was cold and wet. I was like nooooooo!! This is not good for my veins.
I got to the Chemo suite and I was the only one there so got the full service. Was put in a bed with blankets so I was all nice and toasty and got my nap on. My veins were hiding a bit but managed to find one right on my wrist on my right hand. this rounds was just like the previous two times a relaxing experience this time without the cold cap which made it more comfortable. Had Natasha for company this time so that was great. You always need someone around that is great craic! The nurse Patricia was lovely and we spoke a lot about the side effects that I will probably experience from here on in and how to deal and cope with them. Loss of taste buds and just generally not liking certain foods or smells of food, dry mouth – much like the hangover dries, mouth ulcers and constipation. My brain feels heavy and I get little niggly headaches so I am taking paracetamol on a daily basis along with a bunch of vitamins to help my immune system. The immunity injections seem to be helping too.
I felt pretty good after this round. Not even close to as bad as I felt last round. Got home and had a cuppa with Natasha then cake turned up with dinner. Pizza, wedges and cheese cake. YUM! It was the same kind of scenario with feeling a bit icky. I guess it is just a niggly queesy feeling that just hangs around and doesn’t go away. I was not nearly half as bad as the last round which I was thankful for. Again after a good power chuck (this time I almost missed the toilet!) I felt like a box of fluffy ducks. I have steeped down deeper into the chemo side effects realm. They are all slightly more intense. I have felt more spewy or icky, my mouth and lips are a lot drier so I am trying to drink more water….which means I have to pee more (this also has a lot to do with fluid retention and my body over compensating for the lack of electrolytes that would have been slammed by the chemo). The worst side effect at the moment is feeling like I am bruised. My body is so achy and I can’t even rub soap in, in the shower that’s how tender my skin is. It is so weird because I feel fine but it hurts. Its like when you get a cold and you are all achy……strange.
Just have to do a massive shout out to everyone that has made a donation towards my Shine Walk. Really want a few more people to join up and if you can please donate. I am half way there! Just recently figured out that I have chemo round number four the day before the walk. So going to need people to carry me and do piggy backs around London! http://www.justgiving.com/wellerjess. Those of you who are in London and ken to join please sign up as soon as possible.
So this weekend……Moving house, going to The Lion King and saying see ya soon to Shoe as she heads back to NZ, then off to Buckingham Palace on Sunday. Busy busy little bum…..
It was 3 months yesterday since I was diagnosed. I just can’t believe how quickly things have past and how much I have been through in such a small amount of time. I am glad that things are back to normal somewhat and I am able to work and do what I want to do. Cancer is not something that will hold me down. I think one of the most important lessons that I have got out of the last three months is that the power of positive thinking can make a world of difference. The love, support, messages and constant contact from all of you has just been wonderful and I can’t thank you all enough for helping me get through this……I feel very blessed to have you all as my nearest and dearest.
Hope this finds you all well…..