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Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Looking Good, Feeling Better

Appearance is a tad of an issue for baby lgibz these days. With the excess steroid weight, the horrific steroid face, the in-between hair stage (long enough to be 'hair' but too short to go wigless) and my constant 'why is she looking at me? does she know this is a wig?! is it slipping off?!' worries. Anyway, I've never been one for these wee groups. My parents convinced me to go to one at the beginning of my treatment where 8 of us awkwardly sat and ate pizza and talked about anything other than cancer, although that was probably the ony thing we all had in common. Since then, I've avoided the rest, making up petty excuses to miss them. I'd rather stay in 'the mushroom club' as my dad calls it and be oblivious to the cancer world and pretend I don't have it.

Well,  I'd heard of Look Good Feel Better and it sounded pretty good, although I was meant to get a personal one in hospital but it was never organised to I though i'd may as well go to this one, so on Tuesday, I attended a Look Good, Feel Better session. Basically, LGFB is a charity that aims to help women cancer patients in the most practical, positive way by giving them makeovers and make-up/skincare advice. It involved well over 30 young cancer patients, both male and female from both Sick Kids and the General Western who either are going through treatment or have gone through treatment sitting round a big table, getting their make up done. (Not so much for the boys, they engulfed more in face masks and moisturisers) The volunteers are all either beauticians or work in the make up industry and are all volunteers. We all got a huge gift bag full of skincare products and make up and got taught good regimes and tips in both areas.
     It was a brill night with some lovely people and is definitely something I would recommend to other cancer patients, you can get group sessions or one on one sessions. It's good to talk about hot flushes, steroid pains and sleepless nights with people who have experienced the same.

with my lovely nurse Fionaaaa in the mirror

So, this week I also got voted to represent the charities committee for my year group at school along with another girl. The three charities we're focussing on this year are the Red Cross, Teenage Cancer Trust and CCLASP. Two of which are very close to my heart and I have benefitted a lot from. Before I was diagnosed, I had a 'it's only charity' attitude, but since I've seen what only a small number of charities can do and the difference they make in general and personally to my treatment is absolutely unbelievable so my attitude has completely changed.

With chemo, it's a known side affect for your tastebuds to change and for you to get cravings, and I've noticed it. I prefer salty foods to sweet foods (eg. HP sauce to Ketchup) and I have a HUGE craving for Petit Filous and have since the very beginning of my treatment. they. are. amazing.

So I start my Radiotherapy tomorrow. I've had endless hours of planning and end of treatment scans in he past week and got my last 5 tattoos today for the radio. I've had 6 needles put into me in the past three days. Life is so unfair.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Not Over Yet

Just when you think you're coming to the end of everything, chemo's finished and everything's beginning to look up, BAM I'm back in A&E at 11pm on a Tuesday night. Soo, here's what happened..
daddy sleeping in A&E at 3am
I was walking down the Buchan stairs at school on Tuesday morning, headed to my first class when I go over my ankle and fall over. Classic Laura, always the clutz. Anyway, after embarrassing myself and having first years laughing at me (who do they think they are) I man up, stand up, and hobble to class. The pain went away for the day but decided to come back and keep me company during my last lesson of the day. So I hobble down the hill and hobble home and lie in bed 'RICEing' my foot for the evening. (rest, ice, compression, elevate) Well, we had no ice, so I subbed in a bag of frozen chips. After RICEing all evening, the pain was actually getting worse and I could no longer walk. The pain slowly began to creep up my leg and I got ache and cramp in my entire left leg, soon to be joined by my right leg. I was in so much pain that I just decided to take some codine and try and sleep. A couple hours later, the pain was even worse so i crawled downstairs and asked dad what I could do. He phones the ward and next thing I knew, I was in a room in A&E in my pyjamas. They gave me liquid morphine, paracetamol, brufen, ora-morph, MSD and sevridol to ease the pain. I was discharged on Friday afternoon, still with a pain score of 8/9, and back in on Sunday afternoon, still in pain.

We have since discovered that, after having MRIs on my legs, I have cysts inside the bones in my tibia. (ew) which is a direct result of my steroids that is 'uncommon, but can happen.' So, again with the beloved steroids. First, they ruin my entire appearance by giving me a face that looks like a hamster whose filled it's cheeks with food, they ruin my body by bloating me and making me gain so much weight, they give me a huge lump at the back of my neck making me represent Qusimodo and now they've kindly given my legs a not-so-nice end of treatment present of cysts. Thank you, Prednisolone.

it'sgood2give parent's pack ayyo
It just comes to show, that even once you're finished, it's never quite over. There will alway be complications and visits to Sick Kids. I don't think I'll ever get rid of this place, but I don't think I really want to, it's like a second home for me now. My face and body may deflate back to normal, but I'll forever have my bodily reminders of what I've been through (my many scars, my radio tattoos and (hate to say it) my disgusting stretch marks.) But as my friend Robyn put it 'you are so beautiful Laura, even more beautiful with these reminders as they show you are a survivor! LOVE LIFE! :)' So, all I can do is look at it as that, reminders that I fought and beat cancer. Quite like Harry Potter fought and beat Voldemort..but his fight was longer..and probably more painful. And it doesn't really help with the number of cancer adverts around. Whether its on chemists/doctors windows, on television (I tell you, the number of times I've seen the cancer research advert..I still cry. It's at the end, the old man just starts crying alone. :( it's just so sad.)  or through the post. We seem to constantly get these 'please donate' posters through the letterbox. The worst one is a bbm broadcast or facebook status that goes along the lines of 'All of us have a thousand wishes. To be thinner, bigger, have more money, a cool car, to date the person of your dreams. A cancer patient only has one wish, to defeat cancer, I know that 97% wont post this as your status but my friends will be the 3% that do. In honour of someone who has died from cancer, fighting cancer or survived cancer post this status' ..ITS JUST SO AWKWARD. Of course, the majority will just post it out of respect, and broadcast to everyone..but I just find it very uncomfortable and cringe (for me)

Anyway, I've been chemo-free a week now and start radio in a week. So not long at all to go! I have all day MRI scans on Monday to plan my radio and one last check over at the Western and three more tattoos (blue this time. So i have MES school colour tattoos. waheey) I also now have blonde hair, how exciting and my actual-lid is positively progressing so everything is beginning to slowly look up! I'll soon be rocking the Emma Watson look..only a tad more..plump and less pretty. Oh well, we can't have everything. Hang on..I don't really have much going for me..MEH.