It's the time of the week to look back and link up to Michelle's Reasons to be Cheerful. I know I say this every week, but it is a favourite of mine. It's all too easy to get wrapped up in the rubbish but if you really think about it there are always glimmers of loveliness. Don't forget you can join in, it's easy. Just write a post and link it up. I would recommend it, very therapeutic! Oh and before I forget, I'm hosting next weeks! Eek!
I came home from staying at Mum and Dad's last Saturday. It's great to be home and sleeping in my own bed! Plus I get to cuddle up to Fritz and MrC!
Although I had an awful gallbladder attack which I blogged about here, the injections the out of hours GP gave me seem to have helped relax muscles and generally ease the surgery pain. Bonus! I'd like to say it was worth the attack for that side effect.....but I'd be lying!
Amy has been home this week although she goes back Friday morning. It's been fab to spend some time with her, even of its under these circumstances. She completed an inventory of my freezer, so I've now a list of foodstuffs and quite a few suggested meals!
She also invited her mother-in-law to be over and I spent a pleasant couple of hours catching up with Jane and have arranged to see her next week too. Jane is a brilliant crafter which includes quilting, crocheting, sewing etc, so I'm hoping we'll have a couple of hours crocheting and she can improve my technique!
I don't want cancer or #tedthetumour to take over my life at the moment, but it's hard for it not to. I'm recuperating and waiting hear about what the've actually found. Had the date through for my out patients appointment where I will find out the histology. So I'm pleased the 24th of April is next milestone to aim for, so in the meantime I'm just going to enjoy resting up.
And finally I would like to play tribute to my sister Joy who graduated on Saturday. Joy's worked so hard to get her degree working full-time and looking after her wonderful family. I'm so proud of her! She is my inspiration! And is now studying for her BA!
I'm honoured to be hosting next week, so don't forget to check back then and I really would urge you to join in too! Go on, you know you want to!
I spent some time in a wheelchair today and it was an eye opening. I had surgery a couple of weeks ago and need to walk everyday increasing the distance gradually. However today my Mum and daughter,Amy, decided to combine my daily constitutional with a little shopping trip. I could manage the walk there and back, but wandering around the clothes racks would soon bring the trip to an end. And there is nothing worse than an aborted shopping trip because one party faints on you!. So I agreed to be pushed around in a wheelchair, I'd take one for the team.
It was a weird sensation seeing all the clothes from a different angle and on a plus side I got to really look at what was on offer while I was 'parked up' for Mum to have a rummage while I tried not to say 'Yeah, I know' in an Andy stylee.
Now I may have been feeling a bit paranoid and a fraud but I don't think that excused the lack of eye contact from other shoppers. I know I wasnt exactly at their eyeline but no-one looked at me at all.
I was invisible
I'd like to think it was because I was carrying jackets, handbags and had a basket full of the latest summer fashions (Amy got a gorgeous pair of lacy flat shoes in the childs section and no VAT! Sometimes it's good to have small feet) and I couldn't be seen underneath it all.
But the cashier didn't look either and spoke the whole time to my Mum
"hellloooo, I'm the one with the credit card even if I can't actually see the display to put my pin number in! "
But I suspect it's because we, the British Public, don't know what to say or do. So take the easy option and ignore.
I'm lucky, for me my wheelchair trip was a one off. But how does it feel for people who use them all the time? I'd like to think I make eye contact, and see a person not a wheelchair but I'm not so sure.
It's certainly made me think, has it you?
Yesterday was an ouch day. In fact it was a 'what the bloody hell was that for?!! ' day. I had a gallbladder attack which was so bad, we had to call the GP
The gall bladder is a small pear-shaped organ on the underside of the liver that is used to store bile. Bile is made in the liver and is stored in the gall bladder until it is needed to help the digestion of fat. So in theory the more fatty food you eat, the more chances of an attack. If you want to read more about it, here's a link to the NHS site
Yesterday I wasn't sure if I was hungry or feeling a bit nauseous, I'm out of sorts and taking painkillers, appetite is up and down. So I ate a banana. That's low fat, right? Well my body thought otherwise and the gallbladder went into overdrive
It started with an ache in the middle of my chest, just under the ribs. That's my first sign of an impending attack so took some solpadeine and omeprazole which usually works in about 20 minutes. So I lay back on the sofa praying. Not only cos I couldn't imagine coping with the pain on top of recovering from a nephrectomy, (when I'd hoped they would also remove the gall all but blumming didn't) but also MrC was cooking roast chicken, which smelt awesome (he doesn't cook often and I was really looking forward to it!)
But it wasn't to be. The pain increased to the point I was crying, I couldn't tolerate any noise and I was just concentrating on breathing through it. I was worried about throwing up! I'd burped earlier in the day and that had hurt like hell on my surgery sites, so throwing up? O M G! Was going to be intense.
It felt like someone was stood in the middle of my chest. Just the one foot. On the ball of that foot. In a stiletto heel. A red one! (do you get the picture?) It's was very intense with breakthrough electric like pain. On a pain score it was a 9 and almost unbearable. I was tense and the pain on the surgery site was increasing too.
The GP arrived just in time and suspected an infection in the gallbladder because I hadn't set it off with food. He talked about admitting me to hospital and I'll be honest I didn't care, I just wanted the pain to stop. But he decided to try and get the pain under control first so two pricks in my bum later and a course of antibiotics he left ( tramadol and a muscle relaxant in case you've got a dirty mind!)
We were to call back in an hour if things hadn't improved, it was a long hour. (MrC went off at one point to pack an overnight bag ) But eventually the intense pain lessened, and the break through pain went from searing lightening strikes to a fist thumping through my chest (I did think at one point is this what it feels like to be in the film Alien) And then all of a sudden I realised it had stopped. I couldn't stop smiling, it was like a release from feeling so crap, to no pain.
I when I say no pain, the surgery site pain was relieved too. I spent the evening resting in bed and have done the same but on the sofa today. I feel a lot better and on the plus side, I'm feeling better all over. I was worried about the discomfort from surgery and that it didn't seem to be getting better. Either I was turning a corner anyway, or the injections I had, especially the muscle relaxant, helped ease things and let me have a goodnight's sleep.
I can finally see a definite improvement, the light at the end of a surgery tunnel and long may it continue.
If you remember ted the tumour was found by accident when my gallbladder was under going an ultrasound. So it may be very painful, troublesome and unpredictable but it helped find the tumour then and helped relieve things now.
Just don't make a habit of it please
If you have any tips on how I can stop an attack I'd be grateful for a comment and if you think you may be a affected with a gallbladder problem then pop yourself off to the doctor. It's more common than you think!
Well I may have missed the birthday by a day, but who cares? It's all relative. My blog is a year old!
I started it as a way to put some order into the chaos of my mind following the news of uterine cancer. Who knew that a year later it would be still helping me but through kidney cancer this time??
In the past year I've blogged about
Hysterectomy and subsequent all clear from that cancer
Meal Planning Mondays has also turned into a place I celebrate/commiserate with weight loss or gain
I've lost nearly four stone and guest blogged over at Kate's Five F's Blog
I've linked up most weeks with Michelle's Mummy from the Heart Reasons to be Cheerful, and even guest hosted it once!
Discovered a tumour (which I called Ted) in my right kidney, which was removed on 14th of March
Emails from my brother have proved popular
Damaged my coccyx or what I call my #brokenbum
My son celebrated reaching manhood, with his 18th birthday
I was at risk of redundancy and happily secured a job, which I've continued to enjoy
Discovered a love (if not an aptitude) for photography, with pictures peppering posts
Visited the Eden Project for the first time and now can't keep away
Walked 13 miles for St Lukes and raised over £500
So 185 posts covering a multitude of emotions and events. I've learnt a lot about myself, shared a lot more and met some wonderful people along the way.
Wonder what the next year will hold?
Well if I've got anything to do with it weight loss will be in there, with some keep fit thrown in for good measure. I'll continue to fight cancer and sort my emotions out in writing. Celebrating my families successes and shouting from the roof tops how proud I am of them all will also feature! And I will carry on wrapping it all together with a smile, will to succeed and a positive attitude
So let's raise a glass to the next year and beating effing ted to a pulp! Who is with me?
It's that time of the week to look back and celebrate the good things which have happened this week and link up with the wonderful Michelle at Mummy from the Heart. Go and take a look at her super doopa updated site by clicking here
It took me hours to write a progress post earlier today (RCS Syndrome) so I'm going to have to keep this one brief and to the point (famous last words!)
Roll on next week when I'm sure the pain will have lessened!
It's Thursday and how do I feel? I don't think tired is a descriptive enough word to convey how I feel. My arms just typing this feel like lead weights, it's like my batteries have been almost discharged and I'm running out of energy. I'm like the bunny with the wrong make of battery. But I will improve!
Came out of hospital Monday (was planned for on Sunday) as I'd a little crisis at home. MrC was taken ill and couldn't look after me. I experienced a whole raft of emotions. I was angry at him for not being able to cope for a few days, upset and guilty that I was angry at him, guilty more so because it was probably all the stress of me being hospital, which was making him ill, pissed off at the cancer for disrupting everyone's lives, pissed off with myself for being pissed off and upset....you get the picture.
Had a good cry, a great chat with my nurse (who was amazing) and another night was arranged which took the pressure off everyone. I'm grateful MrC was sensible enough to admit he couldn't cope, before things got messy! It's made me realised he's more poorly than he's actually letting on! (he's still poorly, but getting there)
I was discharged Monday and went back to Mum and Dad's, where I still am.
Aren't parents amazing? I'm so lucky for a start they are able to look after me, but they are just so calm and pragmatic about everything, and take things in their stride. (especially Mum) Their walk-in shower is a godsend! Mum even dried my hair for me (MrC would've tried but.......you know what I'm saying) Plus Dad is an amazing cook!
I've been treated to amongst other things, steak with white bean mash (it's the future!), warm pear and walnut salad, homemade macaroni cheese (comfort food) and runny scrambled eggs which always remind me of being off school when I had some teeth out and he looked after me.
I'm taking things very gently and easy. Had a walk earlier today, managed about 50 metre's! I'm finding it hard though as I keep comparing my progress with my big operation last year. I just seemed to improve quicker then. Or maybe I'm suffering from RCSS, otherwise known as rose coloured spectacles syndrome.
Was talking with @IanBoylett on Twitter who was diagnosed with kidney cancer and had a nephrectomy last year, picking his brains. Ian has put my mind at rest. He said:
' I thought keyhole surgery was a couple of days in hospital and a couple of weeks off work so was fed up v early on lol '
He was out of action for six weeks. I was also under the impression keyhole was quicker and easier. My experience at the moment doesn't support that impression!
I'm out of sorts mentally with everything and I keep questioning myself. Am I trying hard enough to get better or am I malingering? Because I've not felt myself, acting out of character, I keep second guessing and comparing with last time.
But I've got to stop!
Last time was just that, last time. Things are different, changed. You can only compare like with like. They are different operations, under different circumstances. I will feel better soon.
The staples (may get a photo beforehand!) come out tomorrow and the plan is to go back home when my daughter comes down from London for a few days. She's amazing too and with my son's help (who has been keeping an eye on his Dad) I will be fine, back home and sleeping in my own bed!
It can't happen too soon. I will miss my Dad's cooking but not as much as I'm already missing this handsome chap!
And I must remember, it's only been 8 days!
Hooray, it's finally happened and #Tedthetumour plus my right kidney has been removed. It's felt like an age to get to this point. I'm still in hospital, home tomorrow or Saturday, but am doing really well.
So interested in the details? Then read on
Wednesday I presented myself to the Freedom Unit, part of Derriford Hospital at 11.30am. I'd followed the fasting rules to the letter (last meal at 7am, last clear fluids at 9am. I'd even set alarms to make sure I didn't miss the deadlines and therefore food!) and sat in the waiting room, feeling relaxed and prepared. (that last bit maybe a lie)
My first consultation was with the anaesthetist which went smoothly. I even found out why they always ask about loose teeth (apparently there is a chance teeth are knocked and broken, but was assured they have insurance to pay for dental treatment....gulp) Followed swiftly by the nurse who asked the same questions all over again, including could you be pregnant. Hello? You know question 4 where you asked about previous surgeries? Hysterectomy?? ( she did apologise and said it has to be asked )
Back to the waiting room for about 20 minutes, everything's going smoothly, before seeing my consultant. I would love to able to say I like the guy....but I can't. He has the bedside manner of a dead duck. I had warned MrC, but I'm sure he thought I was exaggerating. I wasn't. But I don't have to like the guy, just so long he's good at his job. And he must be with a manner like that. Apparently I'm chunky, his words. He said them the first time I met him when he told me the tumour had a 90% chance of being cancer. Maybe I'm being unfair to the guy, maybe I don't like him more for the cancer news than the word chunky.....? Either way you don't call a lady chunky and certainly not one you are telling probably has cancer to boot!
But anyway, he explained the risks, complications etc, but nothing mentioned about the gallbladder, the reason why I had an ultrasound scan which found #tedthetumour in the first place. So I asked 'and you are taking the gallbladder too?' Fraid not was his not so cheery reply. Great! So another surgery sometime soon to go through. He then proceeded to tell me he couldn't actually see any problems with my gallbladder on the CT scan, so I shouldn't be having any pain. WHAT! NO PAIN!? I'll give you no pain!! Bless the young doctor with him, who said the gallstones don't show up well on CT's, but from the ultrasound it was clear I did. I was ready to lamp the consultant otherwise!
So, sent back to the waiting room to contemplate the bombshell of still having a gallbladder. I tried to put a positive spin on it by saying if that's the only thing to go wrong we'll be lucky. 40 minutes later I'm eating my words. Apparently the bed manager is struggling to find a bed for me! WTF!!! The next half an hour was the longest ever. All the time I've spent worrying and stressing, to get this far and have no bed? I was mentally writing a scathing blog post, MrC was writing a press release when we got the news "we found one!"
All hands to the pump from there and I was in being put to sleep ( not in the sick animal way ) in 15 minutes flat. But the best was yet to come. The bed they had found, was actually on a private ward! So I've my own room, own toilet ( although not used it yet what with a umm, catheter in ummmm, place ) nurses who have time to nurse, no one else to see my bare my bum when trying to get comfy in bed and beautifully prepared food.
I am so lucky!
Am doing well, #tedthetumour has been sent off for analysis and I will know the results in four weeks. My consultant has said in his opinion it was cancerous, but what does he know....I'm also not chunky!
Time has been an issue for me. At the beginning of this process I complained about how long I needed to wait and now I can't believe the operation to remove my right kidney (where #tedthetumour currently resides) and I hope my troublesome gallbladder, is actually happening.
The last four weeks have been very hard for me to cope with, because basically I haven't. And that in itself has been hard to deal with. My ability to cope with whatever life has thrown my way was something I've been proud of. I've spent a lot of time looking for the answer to why I couldn't just get on with things.
I hated the person I'd become. A person who cried at the drop of the hat and it didn't matter where. ( Luckily they know me well in Tesco ) A person who couldn't concentrate on a task. A person who flipped out as soon as the stress level rose by a milimeter. I just couldn't understand why I was reacting like this.
I've spent a lot of time trying to work out what was different this time round, to find the answers and to find me again.
I've spoken to people, a lot of people. People who know me well, people who only know me as @FayC and an avatar pic, people who have professions and experience in helping people like me (lets face it, I've talked to anyone who'd listen and maybe some who didn't want to!) and they've all said the same. 'Its normal to feel and act like this'
A someone who was shouting from the rooftop, woe is me?? Really??
It wasn't until someone I love very much described me as a lab rat, scrabbling around a maze trying to find the way out (an apt if not very flattering description!) that I realised the damage I was doing to myself and those around me.
Just because I was being told its okay to cry and get upset, be self absorbed and question 'why me?' it didn't make it right.
So my answer?
Stop looking and just accept.
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.
So it's with this new found wisdom that finds me due at Derriford Hospital for the usual pre-op stuff to get through (which includes the donning of the sexy stockings) and hospital gowns which don't actually close so your neighbours get a flash of your bum everytime you move.
another thing to accept!!!!