Bikini diva to cancer whipcracker. ย 

As a former bikini diva, yep I strutted around in shiny bikinis. With fake hair, eye leashes, nails, tan…. You would think I would take the whole boobs being chopped off, getting fat, hair falling out, eyebrows, eye lashes shedding, no sunbeds allowed so becoming pale  really hard. 

  
And, I won’t lie, it did initially hit me hard, like I went crazy for a period of time. And then the warrior inside me said its just another way to ‘beast mode’ this world and win! 

But actually, when you think about it…. My fake stage appearance was great training for breast cancer! No I’m actually not kidding! 

Fake eye lashes…. It took me two years of competing to be able to get those things on my face! So when half my eye lashes left me …. I could use them (I only use them occasionally when self esteem is really low to make myself feel sexy).  Fake hair… Ok so extensions isn’t the same as a wig … But have you ever had those hoops stick in your head when you try to sleep… Bloody hell its painful! 

A wig can be itchy but you can take it off at the end of the day and I have embraced and loved, yes seriously loved, the change of appearance. One minute I’m a brunette beauty,  next a fiery red head, then a bouncing blonde! 

  
  
  
I’ve had more hairstyles in 20015 than my entire life! That’s with my own hair and with fake hair!

At the start of the year I had my hair scalp bleached to be a super blonde Wonder Woman for a Miss Galaxy Universe photo shoot and now I am bald! It’s a massive change but I’m still that same Wonder Woman… Apart from better! Yes better!  

  

  

Breast Cancer has taught me some hard lessons, some home truths and acceptance! All that being said I’m back on my healthy eating plan with no alcohol or bad food!  And to celebrate one week I had a banana pancake and black organic coffee in my good morning gorgeous mug from Laura. ( as you have to sometimes remind yourself you are gorgeous in a morning!) 

Recipe: half a banana, 2 free range eggs… Blended… Cook in coconut oil, use the other half banana inside the pancake and top with some French honey on the top (optional) 

 
Oh and on a side note my hair started falling out again a couple of days ago, that’s my hairy pillow! 

  
So I guess the bald/ thug look is staying with me for a little bit longer! 

  
And to any ladies at the start of the journey! Embrace the changes! And sleep! ๐Ÿ˜˜

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I think I’m the Scrooge ย of Breast Cancer Charities.ย 

So basically, I think I’m the Scrooge of breast cancer charities and maybe cancer charities in general….I am going to say what I suppose I feel I shouldn’t say, and people will probably hate me for. 

Breast cancer now, cancer research, breakthrough breast cancer, Macmillan and more appear to have endless marketing budgets currently. All I see is TV commercials, Facebook adverts, charity fun runs, calendars, radio advertising, in-store posters and magazine adverts. And I’m struggling to understand the sudden surge and seeming competion within the charity world. 

  
How can they afford prime time TV slots and big budget marketing campaigns and agencies to support them?  and how can they validate it when that money could be given and used to support the masses of struggling women and men trying to survive on sick pay or no money through treatment? 

I see local charities and organisations doing great work, St Richards, the worcester breast cancer unit, the haven, YBCN and I feel like it’s almost unfair that these big charities seem to get more air time, PR and resources than the charities and organisations that I can see giving back to the local communities and to individual people. 

So why am I bothered that people are raising money for the big charities? Because of above, I personally have not seen the direct influence of For example breast cancer now. I did however have a conversation with their marketing agency and to be honest the people I spoke to hadn’t got a clue, they hadn’t been educated, it was basically to me a campaign of exploitation of women with cancer. But were those women helped directly by the charity? I can’t answer that. I hope they were. 

But what continues to shock me is this budget and the seemingly endless advertising. As a marketing proffesional, the estimated cost to all this advertising, and how it is afforded and then rationalised is emotive for me. 

The large charities are operating as businesses and not as charities anymore. There is probably a PR budget, above and below the line marketing budget, events budget, and more and I just want to know where the money is going accept for on advertising. What are all the funds raised achieving? 

Do the people working in these large organisations even see a bald, eyebrow-less woman counting her pennies because she is off work and can’t afford normal lifestyle products and foods. Do they see or feel the individual struggle? The smaller charities do… They directly work with the patients, survivors the people who need the day to day support. 

And do people holding shave your head for cancer-athons, cake sales or other fund raising events for massive charities know where the money has gone? 

Would they in fact not be better of raising money for …. Iris down the street to pay for her parking at the hospital every day through radiotherapy, or Amanda who wants eyebrow tattoos to feel normal, rather than a charity that if I asked them what they are doing they probably wouldn’t know what it is, other than helping cancer in some way. 

People are struggling to survive day to day bills through treatment. The government don’t have a standard scheme for cancer patients. There is no set benefit. And those people who smile and keep their heads up might actually be struggling and they are being forgotten about in all the hype of another coffee morning, or running race. 

…….’It’s research based, we will eradicate cancer by 2050′ my answer to this before I am told it is ….. it’s 2015, I’m in active treatment and I haven’t been asked once to participate in any studies during my treatment or diagnosis… Which I would have. You’ve got 35 years … Maybe continuous research to find the cure or prevention should have started NOW! 

These charities that get the main support, that have the best marketing, the big budgets… They haven’t helped me. I’m sorry to say it so bluntly, but apart from Macmillan giving me ยฃ100 when I was first diagnosed with cancer to help towards my bills and a wig, which I did have to apply for and got, it isn’t automatic. And that money was great and I really appreciate it. 

But they have no local support groups I can access around my area and that goes for breast cancer now and cancer research… When people raise money for charity they seem to pick these charities and I just don’t understand why … Other than the power of marketing. 

I just wish the local charity, organisation or a national charity that directly helps the cancer survivors could get a budget similar and see how they used their money to help people directly. 

For me if anyone approached me and asked what I would want money raised for and how to raise it, I  would say charities like the haven, who give women 10 free sessions with professionals from masseus to councillors and aromatherapy, or the willow foundation, who provide women, like me, a trip away from the day to day… They appreciate that the average person during treatment for a critical illness has a disposable income of what can feel like 0 or into the minus figures… And they organise and pay for a trip for you and someone important during your treatment. The willow foundation have organised for me and Cassie to go to the Forest of Dean next week and I can’t wait! It’s a break away, I couldn’t afford it and they have sorted it all! And they just called me this second to check I am ok and that I can still go! Amazing support!  They have truely helped me and so many other women to show appreciation to important people during their treatment or to have a little break from thinking about treatment! Yes to life, look good feel good, St Richards, worcester breast cancer unit, yes to life….. These charities and organisations support and help people. 

I suppose what I want to say is help people. Support charities, yes, but support each other….raise money for a local person or drive them to their appointments, take their kids to school, cook them lunch, or ask them what charity is close to their heart. 

Don’t assume that because cancer is in the title of the charity that the person understands what the charity are doing or will feel the goodness of your work. 

Oh and cake sales for cancer … When cancer is linked to sugar … Don’t get me started! ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ฑ that’s a whole other blog! 

  
  

Hair. &. Tired.ย 

My hair grew back. Then fell out again ๐Ÿ™ˆ not all of it! Just parts of it. Including my eyebrows and eye lashes. Typically my under arm hair is coming back and my leg hair never stopped growing! 

  
I wish my hair wasn’t on the pillow again! I suppose you feel better when it isn’t falling out. And having the marker of the ‘last chemo’ did make me feel like I was getting somewhere that the hardcore treatment was over. But I suppose you forget it isn’t over I still have the side effects, the medication to elliviate the side effects, the injections for bloods. And I’m tired! I mean really tired! 

I’ve been for a walk the last 3 days and now I’m lay down on the sofa just tired and not wanting to move. 

When can I eat rare steak again? Pate, soft cheese, seafood? All the foods I wasn’t allowed to on chemo? I guess it is a while yet? When my bloods are back to normal? But how do I know when that will be as they don’t test you after chemo, when you have already had your operation.. So it’s a guessing game… Am I cured, will I worry forever more, will my hair ever stop falling out! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ 

Will I feel full of life ever again? 

  

Sleep, glorious sleep.ย 

So some of you may or may not know I have become quite a night owl due to the post chemo steroids and then injections, and then just the aftermath of it leaving my body. It’s about 7-10 days of mindless nothingness and is some what annoying. 

On Tuesday or Wednesday of last week I went to see a lovely woman called Fiona, who practises Reiki, I was late (standard) but as a fellow breast cancer sufferer she spoke to me anyway and gave me a top tip about lavender and it can help you sleep! 2 drops of oil on a tissue (which I did and popped it under my pillow after I sniffed it a few times) or on the pillow case (no more as it will cause over stimulation) and it can also make your hair grow back quicker ( I’m not sure if that is through rubbing it on or sniffing it .well I am already finding coconut oil a good speed inducer for hair growth). 

So I dutifully enjoyed my chat and mini reiki with Fiona and will be going back for more! (She is wonderful gives 3 free sessions to other women who have gone through / or going through breast cancer and really cares).  

So off I popped home, had treatment, and scurried off to the shop I have bough spiritual  stones and gifts from in the past but today I was there to see if the lady behind the counter sold lavender oil… Which she did! Hoorarh ๐ŸŽ‰ she also told me a purple amethyst stone under my pill (after I cleansed it in water) would help me sleep and calm my energies. So dutifully I purchased the two that cost me all of ยฃ3! Well worth the trip to but them. 

So last night, after my new advice (gentle telling off from my nurse) I took my steroid tablets earlier 7am and 6pm (it’s meant to be before 2pm but I forgot) I took two sleeping pills that my onchologist recommended. I used my old eye mask trick and ear plugs and I was alsleep from 12 – 8am (missing my steroid by an hour but I got up straight away and took them! 

So I’m feeling pretty happy that I trusted in my normal methods of doing it all and something or all of it will work. But I have to say the lavender was a lovely peaceful smell to have by me. Very calming and relaxing I would advise anyone to get some lavender and an amethyst crystal! For ยฃ3 it really can’t hurt giving it a try.  

 

Chemo 7: the last one!

The last chemo, done and dusted today and I don’t plan to sit in that comfy chair ever again!
I’m currently sat drinking water and feel maybe I should have some cocktails, champagne or prossecco but water is doing the trick! Maybe I will have a celebratory drink later on.
Thing is its not really over yet. I still have to deal with the injections (7 of them) which I hate, the tablets; not to mention the aches and pains and mouth and stomach trouble!
But it’s not all bad, they took out my picc line, after making my onchologist and the nurse laugh yesterday.

Nurse “Dr Price, melinda wanted her picc line out tomorrow After chemo, can we do this.”
Dr P ” not really melinda, what if you get an infection, or have to come back in so forth (I’m paraphrasing here!)”
Me giving a really good puppy eyes ” but I am going away for a couple of days in a couple of weeks, just in this country and there is a hot tub that I want to go in and I can’t with the picc line”
Nurse and Dr P look at each other, smiled and then started giggling at me!
Dr P ” well you haven’t had any infections throughout, so we’ll, since there’s a hot tub, I don’t see it being a problem taking it out, and if anything happens we can cannulate you anyway ”
Me “yeahhhh, thank you!”
Dr P then walks away chuckling at me. ๐Ÿ™ˆ whilst the nurses carries on tsking my bloods.

Honestly I’m a nightmare, me and my district nurse chatted so much in the morning about nothingness that we forgot the bloods and just flushed my picc line, so after my onchologist (Dr P) appointment I went to get them done from the chemo ward next door. And they did bless them.

All the nurses in the chemo suite are so nice, they always smile, joke with you, chat to you, give you tea and coffee and offer you sandwiches and biscuits. They are just really good people in there! So if any of the nurses or Dr P are reading this, so if you are thank you for being so kind and treating me like a human, a dippy, happy, smiley probably annoying human! ๐Ÿ˜˜

And my biggest thanks and continued thanks goes to everyone around me that takes an interest, that reads my blog, my Facebook page and comments, it does actually mean a lot to me; my friends that call, message and visit me to come chat rubbish and just be themselves and don’t treat me any differently; to my family who make a long drive to come to see me every week, my mom who on top of this messages me everyday, to my sister who is now sending me more photos of the kids which I love seeing. But, most of all I am thankful for my rock, my guardian angel, my nurse, cleaner, house wife, driver, chef, everything and more…. There aren’t enough thank you’s in the world to cover the amount of help she has given me and the amount she changes her life around to make sure when I need her she is there! So basically she is an angel (mostly ๐Ÿ˜‚). Love you more than cheese my girl, and you know how much I love cheese ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚.

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