Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I am Cora

Saw this picture of Cora (the woman from the confused.com advert) & it made me laugh because I am this woman! She has about 10 hairs & although the things behind her are actually flowers, I thought it looked like she was doing a chemo fart ;)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Cream Tea by Post

Today I got an exciting package in the post......
I opened it up and although there was a clue that it was a cream tea I still didn't know what to expect...

I undid the union jack tissue paper to discover this amazing treat!
It was a fantastic Cream Tea for One from Fanny's Farm Shop containing
2 x fruit scones
1 x jar of fruit jam
1 x jar of clotted cream
1 x tea bag
Thanks Luke & Jen, what a bloody lovely surprise :)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Chemo Grad - #6 of 6

Today I can say that I am a:

Over the next few days I'll update how chemo 6 has gone, along with my top tips for getting through chemotherapy! but today I'm just bloody pleased to have this part of the journey over with! Jo xxx

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Thank You

A couple of thank yous needed for:
  • Hannah for her fab chemo cards that arrive before every session
  • Auntie Lee for my beautiful freesia bouquet

  • Amy & Andy for their card and fab interchangeable boyfriend beanie
Thanks guys, means loads to know you're thinking bout me :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Balance Me

Following my diagnosis back in June, I've been looking for beauty products that are paraben free, if you want to know why, please follow this link. After a bit of research I've found a company called Balance Me and their products are all nasty free:

I contacted them and asked if they could send me a couple of samples, as with my very sensitive skin on chemo, I have to be super careful of how it might react.

I got home from work on Friday last week, and had a "while you were out" notification from the postie. I was able to pick the parcel up from the sorting office yesterday and excitingly it was 3 full sized products from Balance Me :)

They generously sent me:
I'll review the products once I've given them a proper try, but I used the hand cream last night and it was wonderful. Really rich, moisturising and not oily like some hand creams can be.

Thanks Balance Me :)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Quoi de Neuf

So this time it was more the Tax Van than the Tax Truck that came to town. Although as before the bone pain was horrible, it wasn't quite as bad. Apparently this is because you still have some FEC in your system, so dose #4 is like a double whammy, whereas dose 5 is just (just she says!) Tax not Tax + FEC.

I spent a lot of this chemo taking my temperature, and feeling paranoid that I would be going back to hospital again. Although I know that if that had happened, then hospital would have been the best place for me, the idea of it is still pretty hard to think about.

This chemo has made my eyelashes thin dramatically. I have maybe two lashes on each lower lid, and a few more on each upper lid, but they are becoming pretty sparse. However, the lovely Louise may have just come to my rescue. She works at QVC, and they support (the bloody brilliant) Breast Cancer Care. This coming week they are having a fundraising day, and Louise was chatting to someone who works there about me, and how I was interested in a product called Revitalash. The lady she was talking to then said she had two open samples of the product that I was very welcome to have :) So that's saving me over £100! I think I have to use it after chemo (as your skin becomes super sensitive during treatment), but I'll be able to properly monitor the results then and let you all know if it works or not!

The same thing has happened with my eyebrows which have all but disappeared. I do have a fab bit of make-up to disguise this fact though. It's called Wide Awake by Jelly Pong Pong. It has some eye brightener cream which helps hide my black bags (well suitcases rather than bags tbh!) and makes me look more awake. The eyebrow stuff is powder rather than pencil, so it's easier to use and not as obvious. The eyebrow powder stays on all day which is nice as I find pencil smudges/rubs off mine. There are also 3 colours to chose from, I blend them so use lightest at start of brow and very end, slightly darker leading to the middle on each side then darkest in the very top at the natural arch. I then smudge the whole lot with my little finger so it all blends together. I think unless you really looked, you couldn't tell I was follically challenged!

Chemo #5 is apparently the most emotionally difficult for chemo patients and I can relate to this. I think it's because you're coming to the end of your chemo journey and you have kind of got yourself into a routine, chemo, feel crappy for a week, feel a bit better (but you're housebound because of your low blood count), feel more normal and then it's chemo time again. Now, faced with chemo #6 it's kind of like, what's next, and you feel full of fear and uncertainty again. I know that the next stage is surgery. I'm meeting with my oncologist on Wednesday this coming week to discuss how the chemo has gone thus far, and hopefully he will be able to answer some of my questions about what's next.

This week, although tiring, has been a good one:
  1. I won a competition at White Mischief Bridal - a day out consisting of a voucher off a dress, champagne, makeover, manicure, goody bag & sweet treats. Good news is that it's after my chemo, about week 4 so I should (fingers crossed) feel okay
  2. I was able to go back to work (I braved wearing Erika!) and although it absolutely exhausted me it was great to go back. 
  3. I got to see my sister Kitty & brother Henry (for the first time in far too long) along with my dad for lunch  
  4. It was my two of lovely friend's (LauraHannah) 30th birthdays - Happy Birthday Girls!
  5. Rob & I sorted the company that is going to do our invites, table plan, table names/numbers, guest book & postbox at for our wedding :)
  6. I went to the cinema with Rob, Michelle & Dave
  7. I have peach fuzz! My head hair is growing!! It's not much and is a bit like the fuzz you get on peach skin but it's definitely there and it's definitely growing :)
Previously, I would have taken doing all these things for granted. But now, although I used (loads of) spoons, just doing "normal" things is fantastic.

Tomorrow evening, there is a fashion show happening at The Hawth in Crawley called Catwalk Carnival to raise money for The Olive Tree (the young person's group I attend) so if you're in the area and fancy going along, please do :)

Best summary title for this post is Quoi de Neuf. There's not really an English equivalent but here's a rough translation

Friday, 5 October 2012

Finger Tips

So as you've probably read from previous posts (and just know anyway) chemotherapy attacks all your hair, your eyelashes, eyebrows & skin. Something you may not know is that it also gangs up on your nails. From googling (bad Jojo) I read that your nails can lift (the thought of this makes me feel pretty sick), split, discolour & weaken.

So far my nails have gone slightly yellow, felt tingly pretty much non-stop (a bit like the feeling when you shut your fingers in a door) & they've also developed some horizontal white rings/lines going across them. A bit of research tells me that these are called Muehrcke's Nails/Lines, are completely normal whilst on chemo & are indicators of periods of stress on the body.

At the moment my nails are staying put, and with only 1 chemo left, I'm keeping everything crossed they'll stick around. As (so far) what I'm doing is working for me, I thought I'd share my nailcare routine in case anyone else out there is going through the same thing.....

Every night I use Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream which smells fresh & clean & helps keep my cuticles soft & moisturised. Then I use Scholl Nail Conditioner (I got it in the 99p store - bargain!) on both my toe and fingernails. After that I smother moisturiser (at the moment I'm using Vaseline Healthy Hand & Nail) on my hands & feet and then finally I put on some socks & cotton gloves to help my skin absorb all the treatments.

Every day I use Tropic Body Love Buttercream & every couple of days I soak my nails in Care+ Almond Oil as a natural cuticle treatment.

Some of the forums I belong to suggest that UV from the sun can affect your nails whilst on chemo & that painting them a dark colour is a good plan. Luckily I have my own nail painting god in the form of Rob :) Every couple of weeks I use Sally Hansen Miracle Nail Thickener as a base coat & then use a dark colour on top. I have been using Avon Midnight Plum  for the whole of chemo so far so think I might switch to something different later today - just have to speak to Rob nicely :)

My nailcare package:

Thursday, 4 October 2012