4 (5) Week Check

Today I had my 4 (5) week check.
The lovely Dr Powell was her ever amazing self.

Dr P: The last time I saw you, you was crying.
Fran: Those were tears of relief!
Dr P: Well, you look really well, how you feeling?
F: I’m feeling pretty good actually.

And I do feel pretty good. If I actually think about it, I already feel better than I did before I was diagnosed. Amazing.

Dr P has given me the go ahead to start swimming, dye my hair, travel…if I needed to and assured me that any other niggles I had will eventually disapate.

Now the bit you all want to know about… Fuckwit.

I’ve already got some adhesions which Dr P broke down but I really need to start work on the dilating. Dagnabit.

From the last time she came face to face with Fuckwit during brachytherapy she told me it has shrunk further. I’m still sore internally from radiotherapy and will be for another couple of weeks.

She walked out of the examination room and told Pete ‘Yep, it’s all going in the right direction’

And that’s good enough for me.

MRI in 8 weeks and back for 3 month check at the beginning of May.

And breathe….

Dream a little dream…

I’ve been toying writing this blog because I am worried it is going to make me sounds like a complete lunatic.

But fuck it, because if I don’t get this out into the universe then how earth can I act on it.

Eight months ago I had a dream. It was one of those vivid dreams that felt like it was real, so real that you felt everything that was in it.

There was nothing significant about the dream, but it had a beginning and a middle but no end.

It featured people who I didn’t know, but they seemed familiar to me. It was as though I was watching a scene from my favourite film or viewing a chapter from my favourite book.

I woke up the next morning and went to work and wrote down everything that was in the dream.
Then I wrote a bit more.
And a bit more. Then I re-wrote it.

I now have a start to a story. Yea, I guess you could say I am writing a story.

Even Pete doesn’t know I have been doing this…I’m so nervous about putting myself out there.

I love, LOVE writing. I really want to go somewhere with this. I love writing on my blog. Writing about my Cancer and the whole experience has given me a new confidence and attitude to show people what I can do. I think this could really be the start of my second chance

I think I have to experiment more with my blog before putting my fiction out there for the world to criticise. I’ve asked people to ask me questions this week, mainly as a test to see if people actually want to read my writing and not just because I have Cancer. It’s been a really positive response.

I’ve been talking to people this week about setting up my little blog more professionally and I am even considering attending Cybher to educate myself more…If I can find the money for the ticket that is.

But there you go…am I mad to act on something I dreamt.

Could I really go somewhere with this?

Seriously?

Crystal Ball

This next blog has struck a chord with me.

Whilst pondering on what I was going to write next, willing myself to suddenly become hilarious, the wonderful @ruralmummy threw this spanner in the works…

well the only question I have is about future treatment. Is there going to be anything on going? What is your prognosis long term? How do you feel about your future now?

The 28th February sees me having my 4 week check. I think this check up is to see how the lasting cumulative effects of the radiotherapy are doing and how I am doing in general health.

2/3 months later, I will have an MRI to see the status of the tumour and what/ if future treatment will be.

It could be surgery to remove, seeing as it has shrunk the margins are better to play with. It could mean more chemotherapy.
I don’t think radiotherapy in that area is an option as you can only have a limited amount of radiation.

Hopefully it won’t need further treatment.

Hopefully I can just go every three months for a check up for the next two years, then I can increase that to every six months, until we reach the magic 5 year mark.

I’ve really tried not to think too far ahead. Whilst I was having treatment, it was easy to have goalposts to aim against.

These last 4 weeks have been a bit like floating in limbo.
It was nice to have the security of visiting the hospital everyday. They checked you everyday, if you had a problem, you only had to wait 24 little hours before you could voice it.

Then suddenly they take that security blanket away from you and you have to try and get back to what life was like before Cancer came along.

So I’ve tried not to get too excited about future dealings with the devil. I have been so positive about things but, every time I try to get my brain to think about life down the road, I pull myself back.

You know those full body scans you can have, which can show osteoporosis, heart disease and even when your next due a poo, well I never ever liked the idea of having one done.
Why on earth would you want to know what could possible ail you in later life. Yes, yes I know prevention is sometimes better than cure, but why would you want to base your future on something that may or may not happen.

But now? Now that my future, for the next 5 years at the very least, is determined by a Fuckwit. Yea, i’d want one of them bad boys. It’s a freaking crystal ball into your bodies future.

I guess it’s a control thing.

I think you could ask any Cancer warrior what was the one thing they would like most and the answer (other than survival) would be to have more control over your….destiny I guess.

In a situation where everything is questioned or put on hold or assessed to within an inch of it’s life, having control over your own body is a sacred pleasure.

So what does my future hold?

I hope it holds me seeing in my 10 year anniversary with Pete next April.
I hope I get to see Jack graduate.
I hope I get to see James grow up and go to school and be a happy little boy.
I hope…I can only hope.

Where is that crystal ball when you need one.

…And Many More…

This is pretty much my life right now….

Tea? Check. Mac? Check. Cape? Check

Tea? Check. Mac? Check. Cape? Check

The lovely @luckylauraQ asked me:

I didn’t know you pre-fuckwit, but I wondered how it changed your body image? Do you see your body as having a different function now & do you feel differently towards it?

Good question Laura. I shall answer it through my birthday letter to me…

Dear Frannie,

Today you turn 29. At 21.05 tonight, you will officially be in your last year of your twenties.

When you look back on what you wanted to accomplish by this age you’ve done pretty much everything you set out. You wanted to be married to a lovely man, you wanted a baby, you wanted to be successful in your career.

Two out of three aint bad…you’re working on the last one now.

6 months ago, this date was filling you with dread. You were in a job that just about paid the bills, with an apprehension over you about some health concerns, the last thing you wanted to think about was your birthday and *gulp* getting older.

But 3 small months ago you were delivered news that at that moment in time questioned whether you would even reach your 30th birthday.

Sudden that little number didn’t seem so scary.

It actually became a goal to reach.

All your life you have tormented yourself about your body.
You’ve ranged from size 6 as a teenager to at your biggest, a size 14.
You are now a comfortable size 12.

I can’t believe it took being told you had Cancer to make you realise that actually, your body is awesome. It defied odds and carried a baby to term, it dealt with horrendous pain and turmoil every month.

And now?

Well now, its beating Cancer. It’s taking control over something which is imposing. The stupid fuckwit.
You lost 22 pounds in a very short time and admitedly, you wouldn’t wanted to have lost it in this way, but it’s given you the boost you needed to accept the new shape you have.

Proud of the pooch

Proud of the pooch

You have a little tummy pooch, which will probably always be there.
A reminder of the trauma it went through to make sure you see your 30th birthday, but more importantly the roundness to prove you did in fact carry a baby.
If the toddler playing on your Mac wasn’t enough proof already…

Mama? Issa mac, yea?

Mama? Issa mac, yea?

But I am proud of you. You have given up your hang ups with your body.
As your blog proves, you are not ashamed to explore your body and the problems you have had. Being more aware of your body made you realise there was a problem in the first place.

Well done for listening to it.

Today you turned 29. You’ve got a few more wrinkles round the eyes. You have a constant ringing in your ears from the chemo nerve damage and your left hand still gets pins and needles from the sheer volume of canulas and needle pricks.

But you’d take it all again if it meant you got to see your 30th birthday.

I hope you can see all the love out there for you. People from all around the world have been reading your blog, spurring you on, keeping an eye on you.

Remember this in the times when it gets hard to bear.
You might not have any more children, you will go through the menopause and you might have a few more stumbling blocks to go through with your cancer journey, but there is someone out there, who is rooting for you.
And it’s not just the lovely Man on the sofa with you.

Today you turned 29. You have realised that you are an individual person, with your own opinions and views and you are now not afraid to express them.
You are sharing your writing, which is in itself a massive V-flick to Cancer.
Cancer likes the quiet and dark. You are bringing it out of its comfort zone showing it up for the coward it is.

Cancer is the coward. Not you.

Today you turned 29. Next year you will be 30. Lets show everyone how many more birthday’s you are going to celebrate.

Happy Birthday Frannie. And I wish you many, many more.

Never stop laughing like this. Ever.

Never stop laughing like this. Ever.

Second chance

Sitting on a train into work, headphones in, iPhone out.

I look just like the other commuters. Hum drum expression, a sneer at the slow moving cattle truck.

Against advice I’m back at work. No money unless I’m back. I’m not back, not really. I’m might be there physically but not mentally and my body certainly isn’t ready for this drudgery.

Outwardly I look ok, subtle make up helps.

I don’t want this. I want more. I want more for my family. I want them proud I’ve gone back to work for something other than that I had to.

It’s like the last couple of months haven’t happened.

But it did happen, it was the hardest months of my life.

I have an idea. I have a couple of ideas. I need to get them into life and stop being just ideas.

How can I do this, can I do this, of course I can do this.

I am not going to waste this second chance.

I will not let cancer take away anymore from me.

Oh you’ve got Cancer? I’m suddenly very busy for a long time.

So as I sit here watching Aztec Camera on Vintage TV (or Sad TV if you’d prefer) I am pondering on another question posed to me by the lovely @Kelliet1085

What i’d like to know is how you delivered the news of your cancer to your friends & family and how people reacted to the news?

How did you feel about the way people reacted, did their treatment of you change, did people pop up who hadn’t shown interest in you before?

Have you seen the Macmillan advert where there are people falling over because the reality of being told they have Cancer hits them, right in the middle of doing something normal?
It is exactly how it feels.
I remember feeling eerily calm when I was told I had Cancer. Hearing the words coming out of Mr Hollingsworth’s mouth was just a confirmation of what I already knew. It only hit me a couple of days later, I think it was after my PET scan, and it hit me like a tonne of bricks.
I remember sitting at my desk in work and thinking ‘Shit, I have fucking stupid cancer’. It was like a punch in my tumour bloated stomach.

I didn’t know what to do, I felt like I was trapped in this cancer bubble. All I could think about was how do I tell people what is going on with me.

As you can tell my main way I communicate well is by writing. Before my diagnosis I only let a few people into my writing, I mainly published to Twitter and not on Facebook, largely because I was worried what people would think about my writing, especially people who knew me on a face to face level.

Once I had ‘come out’ as such on twitter and Facebook, I mainly found that people just didn’t know what to say.
I had a lot of people who were shocked and saddened.

I had old school friends message me after over a decade of no contact, wishing me all the best and following my progress. It was overwhelming the response I got.

I had complete strangers wanting to send me cards, presents, well wishes. People were just compelled to do something, anything. I guess it’s part of our human nature to want to help.

I had chocolate, flowers, gifts and at the last count, I had 40+ cards from people just wanting to be part of ‘Fran’s Army’

But, whilst this was all amazing and I felt such an enormous amount of love in a digital way, I found the flip side to a situation which forced people to feel….well feel numb.

In those very early days where we were also dealing with a bereavement, I craved love, reassurance and just wanting to know someone was there. I didn’t need anything more than someone telling me it was all going to be OK.

When Eve was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, my first instinct was to be with her. I had to be with her to let her know I was always going to be there. And I had to get there as fast as I could, as though being there within an hour would somehow change everything.
I know this is just how I dealt with her cancer diagnosis and everyone reacts differently to shocking news, but to me it would have been alien to not have wanted to be with her at her lowest point.

And yes, I know some people just simply do not know how to deal with someone telling them they have cancer, I get that, I get that completely, but if someone you cared about was going through the worst time in there life, wouldn’t you put aside what you were going through with the situation and just sat with that person?

Just had a cup of tea with them?

Just called them to tell them you were going to visit?

No?

Well, some of my closest family and friends didn’t do that either. In fact after nearly 4 months post diagnosis, I still haven’t heard from some F&F.

I was shocked and I was sad, and yes, I probably should have made more of an effort also, but I guess you do find out who is truly there for you when you most need someone.

Maybe people thought I would be different or maybe they were worried about my physical appearance being shocking (I actually rocked the cancer look, thankyouverymuch) but still, they weren’t (aren’t) there. Maybe people didn’t like my writing, was I too frank or they didn’t like I was sharing so much.
I simply don’t know because I’ve never been told.

So I will leave you with this;

If you have just found out someone close to you has Cancer, or anything else serious for that matter, just take a breath. Think for a minute and remember this: The reason they have told you is because they love you and they just want to hear that back.

Feeling like you are not alone or different at a time when all you do feel is alone and different helps more than you could ever know.