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Sunday, 29 May 2011

My Newest Best Enemy

I swear this is the fifth time I've done my nails today. They were orange, then coral, then grey with pink crackle, then nude with turquoise crackle and I'm now sitting wondering what to try next. I've also watched endless episodes of Come Dine With Me and Hannah Montana. May I introduce my new best enemy, Boredom. And yes, this is probably the fifth or sixth time I've mentioned Boredom in my blog, but I can't seem to get away from it. I'm only in hospital for 3 days a month at the moment, and people are still doing exams so no ones about and I have nothing, I repeat nothing to do, and therefore nothing to write about. Welcome to my more-than-boring life. Although, to my delight, exams finish this week so I'm in desperate hope that my friends will soon be out again, so I can slowly but surely re-kindle my 'social life.'
However I lost my 'Blingo' virginity last week. My mum took Chloe and I along to the Blingo which is basically a ladies dinner/bingo/fundraiser for It's Good 2 Give! To say I got into it would be beyond an understatement, never mind the fact I was having to do two cards. Unfortunately, no luck of winning. Happy to say though, that the wonderful Lynne McNicoll raised £15,000 for cancer-effected families and friends as well as the patients which is incredible. I was in hospital last week for scans and another bone marrow aspirates as well as chemo, which meant being in for 10 hours and TCT, again, was full, which means no TV/internet. So I suggested to my parents to get a dongle to relieve me from my boredom, and BAM there's a dongle in the ward the following morning from Lynne.

lookin' fllly going into surgery.
As I said, I was back in surgery this week which was my fifth time, I think. So five general anaesthetics, and this is the first one I couldn't remember falling asleep or waking up, which is frightening. One minute your watching the milky coloured liquid being injected into your canula and the next your waking up with nurses leaning over you and in quite a bit of pain. Creepy. As you can probably tell, I'm really struggling with things to write about..I also had more scans on Monday and Tuesday. So the MRIs, PETs and CTs were compared to the ones I got pre-treatment and it's all looking good. Well over 50% of my cancer has gone, but not the 95% aim which gives the all clear for no-radiotherapy. So after two cycles, I'm getting a lot better but will probably still need radio. But As long as it's all working, I'm happy. We got a leaflet through the door the other day about child symptoms for cancer; couple months late babes, but thanks for the heads up. Although the only symptom that matched me was the paleness and tiredness. Nothing else happened to me, and itchy feet wasn't included on the leaflet. So if any of y'all are finding yourself falling asleep whilst scratching your feet, get checked out. Haha, kidding of course. But thats what happened to me..'Hey Mr Doctor, I have itchy feet.' '..lets treat you for athletes foot, scabies, lets take, no clue whats wrong with you. Lets diagnose you with coeliac and ruin your food life for 10 days. Nah bbz your not coeliac, maybe you have chrones. NOPE, YOU HAVE CANCER.' That was my pre-diagnosis story.

So, please, I am begging you. If you have any ideas of what I could possibly write about/have any questions for me to answer, PLEASE let me know. My brain is mush, I have no life and I have nothing better to do.

PS, Rhys asked for a mention because he's 'the guy I love and he's sooo amazing it's unreal and I can't get him off my mind.' ..yeahh. ///

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Hair Thing

my hair before..

So when people mention the word 'cancer' the most common connotations are probably death and bald people. And that's fair enough, hair is a massive part of your life and you don't really realise that until you find yourself bald. Especially being a teenage girl, hair seems to be the end of the world in some cases, it's endless hours of amusement and makes a person's appearance what it is. When I was first diagnosed, it was one of the first things I thought about 'how long do I have left with my hair' and being told "a couple of weeks" is terrifying. I was beyond upset and just couldn't imagine being bald, always dreaded it and got terrified before I'd brush my hair or shower incase it fell out. I'd scrape my hair back and see how hideous I was going to be, I have quite a round face so thought I'd look like a football.

my Riff Raff days
So i lived in fear for a few weeks, until the 9th April. My hair had been tied up in a messy bun for two days and when I took it down to brush it (what I thought was) a huge clump fell out. I sat and cried but sucked it up and brushed my hair out. I sat and stared at this hairball on my desk and dreaded the next week or so. The following day, a clump about three times the size came out in the shower and each day more and more fell out. It got to the stage where i could pull 10 or so strands out and wouldn't feel a thing. After just three days more than half my hair had fallen out. And, just my luck, one of my best friends was having her sixteenth right in the middle of the week. At the rate it was falling out, I knew that I'd either have less than a handful of hair or (hopefully) none so I could wear my wig. To my horror, I had hair, but really not much of it. So i scraped it back and up in a bun, which is unlike me as I never wear my hair up when I go out, I looked terrible. My hair was so thin and just looked stupid down so I always kept it tied up in the teeny tiny bun. Less began to fall out but my parting was now about 5cm wide. I looked like Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was getting seriously annoyed with it so got my wonderful play nurse Helen to shave it off. So I found myself sitting on the tiny bed with Helen using hospital scissors to cut my remaining locks into a bob before running the clippers through it. It was hilarious. I thought I'd get upset but I was more relieved to be rid of my thin hair.

I held the mirror up and stared at this reflection. I looked weird. Couldn't quite grasp the fact that, actually it was me looking back at myself. Then I got annoyed because I looked like a duck. But the nurses convinced me I looked good. One nurse, Steph said "you could go on Britain's Next Top Model" which lifted my spirits. But I won't fall for it, I'm not exactly stunning with hair never mind without. The one thing I was worried about, though, was the reaction of people and, in particular, my younger brother. My older brother had seen me every day since it started falling out so he was kinda used to it and he had time to accept the fact he'd have a sister with less hair than him. But my little brother had been on holiday in the Caribbean for the week and hadn't seen me at all since it started falling out. I wasn't even sure if he knew it was falling out. So waving him off with a full head of thick brown hair and him returning to a slap-heed could be upsetting for him, but to my relief he seemed to take it okay.
aaaand after

I'm quite open about it though. My wig is my current life saver. With many many thanks for Charlie Miller. Whenever we go out, the wig is on. Unless its a trip to hospital. Then I go commando (in the hair department) and around the house I'm bald. My family are pretty used to it now but I'm still quite self-concious about what other people think. I answered the door the other day to some guy offering brass cleaning services and when i answered he just stared at my head for about ten seconds with his mouth wide open before he began with "um..hi. err..I was wondering umm..." still staring. Very awkward, rude man. But I found it quite hilarious.

So I finally grew the balls to do this post. I still have my fluff surprisingly, I was told it would fall out within a few weeks. It changes colour too, can be blonde one day and dark brown the next. It's great fun. And the upside to all of this is when you loose your hair, you loose ALL your hair. So not only are we saving money on shampoo and conditioner and drain unblocker, I don't have to shave my legs for a year. WOOPAAH. The one thing keeping me going is knowing it's not permanent, and it will grow back soon after treatment..I hope.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

There's No Place Like Home

It's amazing how familiar unfamiliar places can become. Back before March, the only time I've ever been in a hospital was to visit someone, mainly babies that have just been born. Now, the trip from home to hospital and the area that the hospital is in is beyond familiar. Like a second home really. Walking into the Ward and being greeted by the nurses and doctors, even other patients and their families. It's strange. You don't tend to properly know anyone, but you know who they are, who's mum they are, all just because they're in the same dreadful position of having to spend endless hours in hospital. Luckily though, I've not been in much recently. I was in last Tuesday, then not again until this Tuesday just past and now (hoping all goes well) I'm on my drugless, hospital-less thirteen days between cycles. So all my major OAPA (some medical drug term, don't ask) drugs are finished. Cycles one and two of six are finished! This is beyond exciting for me. I have (again, hopefully) thirteen days of freedom, then we must venture up to Aberdeen for a beloved PET scan and MRI scans to ensure all is well in my tumours and then it's all go with COPDAC (more drug terms) for cycles three, four, five and six! I've been randomised for these next cycles, which basically means a computer decided what drugs I get. They're all the same bar one, which is randomised in Germany, the one I've ended up with is an infusion instead of an oral pill which is a pain, but it affects fertility less so I'll pay the price. However, it's a half an hour infusion..with six hours hydration. JOYOUS. But nevertheless, we're slowly and surely getting through these cycles. Bring on September..hopefully!

So I've been spending a lot of time at home as a result of not being in hospital. Of course, I'd rather be at home than in hospital, but my hour infusion on Tuesday was exciting, just getting out the house really. Boredom is a major issue in my life, as I'm sure I've probably done my fair share of ranting about already! This week has flown by though. I haven't even done much..well, anything. My dad took me to the Bead Shop in Stockbridge on Monday, so we bought some beads and are going to attempt some bracelet making to kill an afternoon, he also bought me a 'Knit Your Perfect Boyfriend' for me to try. Unfortunately it's woollen so won't turn into the Prince Charming I'm searching for, but it's a start! It's aged 8+ so I'm hoping I'll manage, I wouldn't be at all surprised if I failed though. I bought a Princess cupcake mixture last week, also aged 8+ and they didn't look quite as good as they did on the box, nor taste great. But hey! They never do, right?  I made brownies yesterday though. They were good. A recipe of Nigella Lawson, the only flaw was I left them in the oven maybe three minutes too long. But of course that didn't stop half the batch disappearing down my brother's throats within an hour.

You really appreciate homey things though. Just a double bed, quietness, a kitchen where you can help yourself and just rooms to chill in. You never get that in hospital. You can't really do that for yourself, everything seems to be done for you. I've started helping out with cooking, well..kind of..not really. But still, I wish I could cook. Just having your own space, because although you get your own room in hospital, there's always your mum or dad or visitor there too and you just never seem to get time, quiet and space to yourself. The upsides of having mum or dad there is the 'mum, can you go and get me ___ from the kitchen' instead of the awkwardness of having to ring the buzzer and ask the nurse to get you it. But sometimes you just need your own space. I've settled with my parents that when I'm an inpatient, the evenings are mine. They can come until 7/8ish, then they shall hop to the kitchen and get me what food/drinks I require for the rest of the night and they hop home. I like hospital evenings, the LED coloured lights in the rooms given such a relaxing vibe, just chilling in a dim purple light watching whatever crap is on TV. Everything is so mellow.

So SQA exams begin tomorrow with English. I'm extremely glad and grateful I've wriggled my way out of them. Although the little 'Aw, so you're not doing exams?! I'm SO jealous. You're SO lucky' comments really bug me. REALLY, ARE YOU ?! Are you SO jealous that I have cancer and therefore no life for the next six months, does that make me REALLY lucky. No. No it really doesn't thank you. I've had so many of these. 'What do you do all day?' 'Not much.' 'You're so lucky. You can just sleep and chill and not go to school.' Yes, well actually, I'd rather go to school, rather do exams and live a normal life. Leave me alone. But anyway, good luck all you geeks out there. I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, and for the rest of the month whilst i willow away trying to teach myself the Intermediate2 Maths course, which I will undoubtably fail, even though it's my only exam. Oh the stresses of a teenage girl.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Happy People

It's recently occurred to me that people don't expect me to be happy. Many people, especially the ones I've not seen since the diagnosis seem to be shocked at how happy I am and how I actually smile. Sorry, is it a crime now ? 'Ooh you have cancer, you shouldn't be smiling.' HELL NO imma smile just as I like thanks! It's a proven fact that people in situations similar to mine actually have a 20% higher cure rate if they're happy. Being surrounded by negativity and negative vibes can corrupt your body. Crazy huuh, so yeah, stay away from me if you're moody. I want this cancer gone so imma smile like I meaaan it. Although there are days where you just wanna spend the entire day snuggled in your onesie infront of the TV with chocolate and sad films. I try not to, but that's what my evenings tend to consist of. Ice cream is a great comfort food. Such a happy food, so soothing and relaxing and doesn't fill you up. My brother and I (more so my brother) have massive love for ice cream. Except my dad's fave, Rum and Raisin which remains untouched since roughly June with merely a spoonful out of it where we tried it and vommed. (not literally)

Anyway, I haven't written a blog in almost a week with the sheer reason that I literally have nothing to write about! I sit to write a blog but nothing comes to me; my life has literally no excitement to it. I've done nothing in the past week. Went to the cinema and saw Arthur- highly recommend it! Absolute hilarity and increased my undying love for Russell Brand, which I didn't think was humanly possible! Also increased my painful desire for the perfect boyfriend (sad, I know.) I thought, maybe, that I'd find some guy in my ward like the guy in My Sister's Keeper; relatively good looking, understands what I'm going through, seriously decent guy, good boyfriend etc (hopefully doesn't die whilst with me). Buut nope. Nothing. Some of my girls and I had a BBQ on Saturday. Well, when I say BBQ, it rained so we cooked chicken and ate crisps and sat, chatting (mainly again about boys of course) and listened to old music. And that's the problem with Scotland at the moment; the bipolar weather. For example, yesterday, at around twelve I was driving through town unable to see out the windscreen because of the torrential rain literally flooding down the streets, and less than 20 minutes later it was sunny, warm and nice weather. CRAAZY. So unpredictable.

My bootiful Eefy and Lilz.
So it was good catching up with my school girls on Saturday. And I also met two of my beautiful ladies Aoife and Lily for lunch on Saturday. I promised I'd write about them, so I'm gonna have to think what to write. They're two of the strangest people you'll probably ever meet. In the best way possible of course. Since my diagnosis they've been amazing. Always there if I need a chat. Or just someone to rant to or laugh at, they're very good to laugh at. We sat and got matching drinks and chatted about piercings and people and cats and reminisced old times and just laughed. It was so nice just to feel normal, it was the first time I'd been into town to see friends and just socialise in a long time, since about February so it's so so good to begin to get normality back into my life bit by bit. Aoife and Lily are seriously two of the best friends I could possibly ask for, and for that I thank them. Love you ladies.

True friends are hard to find. Everyone has loads of friends, and best friends, for example, my 'group' at school consists of ten of us, and on top of that there's other girls who I'd consider my closest friends as well. I have one best friend, of course Chloe and my other girls follow right behind her. I'm lucky in that sense. But at the beginning of this all, my dad told me that this would change things and it would show who my true friends were. He told me people would move on and get on with their lives, because they can. Not forget about me, but I'd become less important to them. Which was inevitable, people don't always have time for people who they don't see anymore, so it's not their fault. But I'd also make new friends and keep them. And I didn't realise just how right he'd be. Even just the two months I've been living in this different world, I've realised so many different things. Some people just aren't who you think you are, or they have five different sides to them, and not all nice. When you're around these people so much you don't realise but when they're stripped from you, you see it. And it's horrible. Someone will mention a party they're excited for, I ask who's and BAM it's one of my best friends, and I never even knew never mind was invited. And yes, this is like the fiftieth time I've complained about being forgotten and just dismissed from social activities and I'm beginning to accept it but this time I was cut deep! Sorry for the rant, but it's amazing how no one is ever who you think they are. [I'd like to add that this rant isn't really directed at any of my friends in particular and is not to be taken personally because I love my friends more than anythaaang.]

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Mad Hatter's Tea for Two

"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary-wise; what it is it wouldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? "
-Alice in Wonderland.

So it's my beautiful momma's birthday today, so we went out for a lovely afternoon tea to Tigerlily in town. It's an understatement to say that I've been looking forward to it for ages. Even just getting properly dressed, done up and going out is so nice. Makes such a difference to how I feel, I seem to be wasting my life away in pyjamas and comfies! I also went into school yesterday. Wow. I mean, only for lunch and an hour of maths, but still. The awkward looks and stares whilst people seem to have forgotten you ever existed or just look at you as if you're an alien. The teachers were even worse than the girls with the stares, as I walked down the MES catwalk-isle of the lunch hall (avoiding any possible eye contact with anyone) the teachers just followed me with their beaming eyes. Sufficiently awkward. Being in such a busy environment is so overwhelming, I'm used to being just me, or me and my parents. But the cantine filled with 200 girls, with the horrific stench of the school food, was all a lot to take in. But none of that makes me miss it less, I still wish I were in there everyday with my girls. The welcome of "Oh..hello. Um..hi. ..Hi Laura, how are you? How are you feeing? ..Um..yeah." I got from my maths teacher was funny, he seemed somewhat confused about my existence, only to have one of my lovely girls to then sprint up the classroom and mount me whilst he was mid-sentance. Poor guy.

So all in all, it's been a good last few days. I watched Toy Story on Sunday night, Toy Story 2 on Monday night and was hoping to watch Toy Story 3 tonight, only to find out we didn't actually have it on DVD. So instead, I'm hoping to snuggle in bed with The Lovely Bones later. Despite not even watching the film with me last night, my older brother also managed to demolish an entire Toy Story birthday cake that was originally bought for mum in the time-scale of roughly two scenes before he got bored and pondered off.  But of course, Laura saves the day by being organised and having an un-eaten birthday cake already organised with candles and the lot. So he demolished that tonight as well. I was kept happy though as I got the ribbon of Toy Story stickers that came around the cake. #winning 

Anyway, back to the point. ..Well there's not really a point at all, but Alice in Wonderland and tea parties etc. I'm just so intrigued by Alice in Wonderland. Always have been. I confess, however, I've never seen the original Disney film, only the Tim Burton version about three-hundred times. It's amazing, so magical; the concept of a little girl who falls down a rabbit hole into some magical world where there's a smiling cat and a mad-man with a top hat and Queens and castles and amazing tea parties. One day, once I'm better (there's that sentence again) I'm going to have a Mad Hatter's tea party. Decided. Everyone shall come dressed in Alice in Wonderland attire, we shall have afternoon tea and cakes and frolock around as if we were in a magical land, because that's the kind of thing my friends and I enjoy to do. If I weren't allergic to cats, I would definitely own a Cheshire cat. With a disgustingly huge, teethy smile who can fly and disappear and talk. So that's one more thing to add to my 'Better List' (inspired again by sophiefeelsbetter) which is basically, as she described it, 'directly opposite to a bucket list' But to cut to the chase it's basically a list of things I plan to do once I'm better. It's still in construction and maintenance so one of my next posts will hopefully be idea'd around my Better List. I'm sure you're all edge-of-your-seats excited.

I again, apologise for the lack of nice pictures on all my blogs. I do take them..occasionally. But they never seem to be of people, unless it's me, bored on my Photo Booth or iPod just taking snaps of myself, which would be highly embarrassing uploading them on this. But i shall try harder, as I've said before!