If you want to start at the beginning of my journey click on 'April' and then my first entry '1.From November 2010 until March 30th 2011.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

354. Goodbye 2011...Goodbye Hope Floats

Well... it's the last day of 2011.
The year I bought a house and was set for big exciting plans to happen. Turned out to be the year I was diagnosed out of the blue with Hodgkins Lymphoma.

On March 30th 2011 I heard the words
Elizabeth from the biopsy we can see that you have Hodgkins Lymphoma a type of cancer.

On October 7th 2011 I heard the words
Elizabeth the PET scan results show there to be no signs of Hodgkins Lymphoma.
I am in remission.

I am fortunate to have beaten this nasty illness with the help of medical professionals at Bradford Royal Infirmary, doctors, nurses, Macmillan nurses and consultants. MY AMAZING GP. The fearful chemotherapy treatment which I then hated but now love for killing the cancer and making me well again. All in one year. I can start 2012 continuing my recovery and coming out of the chrysalis as I intended.

Which leads me to my decision to make this my final entry for Hope Floats.
I want to leave this blog in 2011 and hopefully start a new one for my new journey.
It will remain here for all to read and for future readers who may find my story helpful.

I have some special mentions to make before I say goodbye to Hope Floats!

I would like to dedicate this blog entry to ALL the people I have met online through this wonderful tool of blogging. My complete support network of friends who have been there DAY AND NIGHT when I was going through chemo. There to say hello, good morning, good night. There to listen to my worries, my complaining, my fears, my insecurities.

Here I go..... *deep breath* This is all off the top of my head so please bear with me!

Thank you to Chris Smith and Terry Smith. Your experiences helped me so much. Your words of support and belief in me, even though you have never met me. Your Facebook group has been a total blessing to me, I have been able to meet other people who have experienced HL personally or in their family. Amazing group.

Kate Ibbeson and Sheffield Cancer Mafia - Awesome support and I hope to keep in touch.
Thank you Kate!

Macmillan - Thank you for being there in times of need through my chemo. Thank you for the incredible grant money that is helping me so much.

Lynn Hale. You know how much I think of you and how much I value our friendship. I look forward to meeting you one day. xxx

Sarajane Ward. Gorgeous lady, I know you're going to beat this darling. You know I'm always here. Thank you for listening to me winge on and giving me support. We will meet and it will be amazing. I just know it. (fox dreams hahaa) xx

Paula Pipkin. Thank you gorgeous. You have been incredible.xxx

Nicola Botka. Thank you for the wigs and bandana and your beautiful emails and support!! Hugs lady xx

Fiona Fletcher & My Name Is Not Cancer,,That phone call that day was incredible, after we spoke I felt so lifted and not as lost. You took the words right out of my feelings and brain and helped so much. You are one terrific woman. I really admire the work you do. Thank you.

Liz Dando, Jackie Laycock, Laila Coote, Roz Barnwell, Michele Hallam, Sofina Hadley, Linda Rana, Louise Holmes, James Wrigley, Linda Shailes, Maria Wennestam, Stuart Williams, Jan Stroud, Christine Large, Becky Castle, Carly McInnes.... THANK YOU each and every one of you for your words of wisdom, understanding and hope.

Sarah Firth, Caroline Smith, Hayley Collis and all the staff at Bradford Cancer Support.

You 3 ladies have become more than just the ladies at Cancer Support to me.
You have become my friends and for that I am grateful. I hope to meet up with you again very soon.You know how grateful I am to you. And what your caring support means to me. Big cuddles.

Thank you to all the readers who have got in touch to tell me they have read my blog!
 Including old school friends, old friends, uni mates, old work colleages and friends of friends! Who then kept in touch through the whole of chemo!
To name but a few! These people particularly kept messaging, writing to me via snail mail, sent me gifts and flowers and give up when things were hard to deal with for me. In no particular order haha!

Ellen Scales
Alexis Wright
Vicki Wilson
Laura Payne
All staff from Hawksworth CE Primary
Isma Sadeeq
Jess Baxendale
Joan Cox
Verity Hanogue
Karl Ayton
Tracy Matthews
Jane Curran
Daphne Reynolds
Catherine Holmes
Audrey Davies
Claire Louise Ledger

I'm doing my best here,.. lol.. i feel INCREDIBLY blessed to have all these people to thank.

*another deep breath*

Raf Chandler - well Raf. You are an amazing friend. You may not think you have done much, but on those days when I was low, you knew what to say!! Thank you. Your constant support throughout and genuine care has more than a few times completely blown me away. You have lifted me and Anthony and been there. Sincerely. We love you mate!

Rachel Parkinson - You have been nothing but honest, loving and caring towards me.
I think you and Raf are such a fab couple. We can't wait for your wedding day lady! Thank you babes. much love xxx

Amparo, Rob, Jess, Melina - Love you all, thank you for keeping normality going for me and showing your care and support.

Andy Crombleholme - Thank you for being there hun. We've been there for each other so much over the years. xxx IM SHUFFLIN! *shows pic of dodgy ginger child with funny face*PMSL!

*racks mush brain*

Debbie Pett - I know this year has been a challenge for you too darling. Thank you for being there. xx

Sophie Parker and Tom Storey - You're awesomeness never ends! We look forward to more happy times ahead!

Rebecca and Simon - You are both amazing and when I was diagnosed you both knew what to say and do! Including: make coffee/let liz sleep on your sofa/cook chilli!! and more than anything, just be yourselves - wonderful friends. Your gorgeous girls Hattie and Daisy kept me smiling and laughing when I wanted to cry outloud. I look forward to seeing you soon!
And your shop becky! haha..  DG!

Lucy Hall. We've had a right bloody year havent we missis! Thank you. You know the rest xxx

Zoe Smith. My gorgeous friend. I miss you. You always know what to say! You're the best. (ooh poet)

All super star staff at West Oaks School THANK YOU for your support and understanding. Miss you.

Dan McIntyre. Thank you for being you and guiding, supporting and knowing what to say. Thank you for my wrens from Perry. They've been hibernating over Christmas so I look forward to putting them out again on show in the New Year when the dec's get tidied!

Pam Lamont and Katie. You know how much I love you both and how much I appreciate your friendship. Best neighbours ever. Fact!

Fiona and Scott - both Anthony and I think you guys are fab. We love spending time with you and we look forward to many many happy times ahead!

Our wonderful families for being there always for both Anthony and me through our toughest year yet. xxxx

Goodbye 2011 and hello 2012 and all it brings!

I have loved writing Hope Floats and documenting my journey through Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Thank you EVERYONE for reading and to anyone else who my mush brain has forgotten - you're not forgotten.

Night night!

353. New Year, New Dressing Gown!

2012 is nearly here!
Already had a wardrobe clear out and sorted out clothes and shoes. Took a couple of bin bags full to the clothing bank for Bradford and Airedale Cancer Support
I have a big bag of clothes from before treatment that are waiting (in the back bedroom) to fit me again. Including my 'skinny jeans' (Miranda SATC) and garments that I used to think were big. Now I am this size I long to be the size 14 I was! I know in time I will get back there it's just still early days. My energy levels are gradually building all the time so hopefully soon I can motivate myself to do some toning. I started going for walks before Christmas and intend on carrying this on in the new year.
I have a pile of tops and things I wore to chemo that I still like but I dont know I will be able to wear again. One thing I know I want rid of is my dressing gown! (dg- Mallinson!) So I have ordered a new gorgeous fluffy one online in the sales and as soon as it arrives I will be binning it! Hurrah! I have new slippers too. It's weird.. association of chemo with clothes and other things...

352. Catch up

Hello everyone! Been away from the blog for a week or so... Just wanted to drop by and briefly update.
Had a gorgeous time and the best Christmas in a long long time! Quality time with my parents and Anthony, laughs, smiles and cheer. We enjoyed a special Christmas dinner and the new Peter Kay dvd together.
I was a very lucky lady and got a new camera from Mum and Dad for Christmas! So I will be snapping away again in the New Year!
Anthony bought me a lovely selection of creative tools so I can make new creations through my recovery and enjoy making new things.
Boxing Day I was pretty tired and we relaxed through the first half of the day and then later went to Anthony's Grandma's in the afternoon. I was very lucky again and got some lovely gifts from the family.
Christmas has been really great, I have been able to put my treatment experience to the back of my mind and focus on the fun and excitement of the festive season, seeing loved ones and being with Anthony - as he finished work for Christmas on Friday before Christmas Eve.

Now its all about the New Year and what it will bring! 2012 here I come!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

351. Updates

My hair is growing at a fantastic rate and the last couple of days its been a bit out of control!
My eyebrows are getting a little bit darker as time goes on and they are starting to look really good now. I am having to pluck the stray hairs and they no longer feel weak when I pluck, but are as stubborn as they used to be and i LOVE IT!
Everything I didn't like about my hair before I now LOVE.
I appreciate everything so much more now.
I have more patience in situations that I didn't before. I am no saint though!

I spoke to my macmillan nurse and she was asking me about my feelings and thoughts. I said I didn't feel like my chemo/steroid cheeks were going down, she said she can see they have. Anthony and I see me everyday so we can't tell, but the mac nurse and my Mum both said they can see a change.
I feel less chunky in my body and like a lot of the fluid retention has gone. I still weigh the same as I did at the end of chemo, but in time, this will change. But my arms feel less tubby, the back of my neck has decreased in size, my tummy doesnt feel so huge and barrel like as it did on the steroids.
Mac nurse said that getting out and walking will help me in many ways and is the start to doing gentle exercise. So am going to do my best to keep this up.

I have had a much better week, involving more walks and better thoughts about my situation.
Plus, i think because its nearly Christmas, time with family, Anthony and friends, it is a lovely time to be all together and am looking forward to it.


Sunday, 18 December 2011

350. Closer To The Edge

We went to see 30 seconds to Mars, last November. It was a special gig for us and we loved the atmosphere there. The journey was interesting, up to Newcastle in full snowy roads! We were determind to make it there and back. It was an experience. And then standing outside in freezing conditions waiting to go in the arena. I thought we were going to get hypothermia.

Anyway.. this song felt so powerful at the time and even more so now for me. We love this song.

349. Recent pics

348. Just what the doctor ordered!

Saturday was a lovely day. Anthony wasn't working in the morning, so it felt like a Sunday.
We had a really funny food shopping trip together round the super market! We were just being daft and messing about, I was laughing so hard and Anthony was being so funny! At one point we were doing silly walks round the aisles, we must have looked so stupid. We didn't think about it thought and just enjoyed ourselves! In Morrisons?!
We got back and spontaneously started to clean the house together. Was done in half the time it takes me! I was really tired after this and needed a rest.
Later in the afternoon, I felt like I could do with some air. So I slowly walked down to Dunnes (5 mins walk away) and had a look round. I found some gorgeous things and decided to do what my doctor had told me to do. To buy things even though I'm not exactly the size I want to be. It felt so nice to be able to do this, even though my arms felt really weak carrying the few things I had. I still have very little strength in my muscles and tire quickly. I walked back, which was pretty challenging with bags, but I did it. It's a slight hill walking back home from there and when I got in the house I sounded quite wheezy and like I would have done a year ago after a jog by the canal! But the exercise definitely helped me and I felt really good! So I did a walk and I did some shopping! Just what the doctor ordered!
Need to go again for a little walk today if I can.
In the evening we went for a carvery for Anthony's Dad's birthday. Again, another normal life thing and it felt new and great. To be in recovery and not on chemo and to be doing that just brought it back to me how far i've come. My mood felt a lot better and I wasn't tearful or sad.

My hair is growing well and is thickening up - here's the stuff I am using ....

Its Clynol and its fab! It's really helping my hair grow and thicken up. The pic on the left is the shampoo, leave it on for 2 mins in the shower then rinse. The pic on the right is a liquiddy tonic and like water almost. It comes in a tube that you would think means the stuff inside is thick and like a lotion, so be careful if you do get some. I use a 10p piece sized amount and rub it all over after the shampoo, i'm not using a conditioner.
I went for a hair trim on 1st Dec for the fluff trimmed off and a tidy up and it has most definitely grown and improved in thickness since then. xxx Give it a try my friends - can be bought off ebay, amazon and pretty much anywhere on the net!  Well worth it xx

Friday, 16 December 2011

347. I love my GP and other random thoughts..

My GP is just fab. I walked in this morning and she gave me a big hug. Not seen her since I was diagnosed in March.
I went for a chat and to get another prescription for my anti-depressants. I was due to come off them this year in spring as I had improved massively and things were going really well. When I was diagnosed the hospitals and doctors recommended I stayed on them longer. I was disappointed, for many reasons obviously. I was ready to do so many things in my life, in my new house and my health was (to my knowledge) really good.
I had run out of the tablets yesterday, so went to the walk in clinic this morning to get some more. After chatting to my GP she suggested upping the dosage temporarily. I don't see this as a failure, at all. I see it as asking for help and getting something that can help me through. My mood and emotions are so all over. And I think getting help is important.
My GP listened to me for as long as I needed to chat. Not once did I feel like my time in there was up.
It was really helpful. She chatted to me about going for a ten minute walk a day to help my mood. Which I (honestly) had been working up to doing. Yesterday when I got back from the Macmillan centre, I planned to get the Wii Fit out and start that, but after my treatment I felt so sleepy and relaxed, I just went for a nap. But the thought and want to do it IS there! It's about balance isnt it. Balance is everything.
We laughed about it being Christmas soon and how all the festive food will cause most of us to gain weight anyway! She's so down to earth and lovely. She spoke to me about my worries and from that suggested it might help to go and get a few nice things to wear, even though I'm not the size I want to be. I think she's right. At the moment I'm slobbing and don't feel nice. So I might go for a little look and get something for Christmas Day and a few pretty basics. I have some of the grant money for clothing and I havent spent it yet.
I feel better for going to see my GP, even though I was out in the dark at 7.45am waiting to get in the doctors, togged up like a snow trekker! Worth it though.

I have some library books to take back so I might do that today. Thats a drive though, so I might go for a wander when I get back.

I love my new phone, it arrived on Wednesday. I was like a giddy kid opening it all. I'm still getting used to it and the sensitive touch screen. It's great to have an up to date phone to share photos and read my blog from it!

I have sold quite a lot of felt creations this week. The tree dec's have gone down well and a couple of people have asked for specific things which I love! I love a challenge.
 I am thinking of new projects for the new year, as I think I will need to carry on the focus as it really helps me. Might go through my books for new ideas.
So my friends - if you think of anything you'd like let me know I can rustle something up for a gift at a good price :)

Lots of love xxx

Monday, 12 December 2011

346. New phone ordered!!

New phone is on it's way! Samsung Galaxy S2 in white! Lush can't wait!

345. Christmas is coming

After all the chaos with my illness and treatment, it's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner.
I am going to make gifts this Christmas and I think that will be really special.
Anthony and I might spend a little something on each other. I'd like to be able to buy him something.

I love our living room at the moment. It's full of festive loveliness. Our tree is the one we bought when we first moved in together in 2009 at Cookridge. We lived in a rented house and it had a big long living room. We thought we'd be there for a long time initially, so we went all out and got an expensive 6ft tree and all the trimmings. It was so special, never forget that. Then Ziggy, who we'd only had 2 months, he was still a junior kitty, climbed up the tree and kept stealing decorations and hiding them in the sofa!
When we moved to Apperley Bridge, the house was a lot lot smaller. It was a stop gap. And we couldn't fit the big tree in that room!! So we bought a very small 2 ft tree! Which was nice, but just didn't feel the same. Christmas at that house was a bit naf!
When we realised we could have the big tree up this year, I was so excited. I love it. We put it up, whilst watching Love Actually, which is a special film to us, we'd just got (back) together when it came out in the cinema.
The tree is in window and looks very cozy indeed.
I have lots of lovely candles and christmassy smells (thanks Mum) and it does feel gorgeous. When we put the open fire on - WOW!
Ziggy has behaved himself a lot more with the tree and just occasionally chews it now and again.

We went to Christmas Adventure at Stockeld Park with Chris, Jenny and Lola at the weekend.
I was really stuggling emotionally before we went. Could not stop crying even when I got to Jenny's. Eventually, I was able to see and feel past it (think I had no tears left) and enjoy myself.
Being out in the open air and in a place so magical, felt just beautiful.

We ended the night with some chips back at Jenny's and then later Anthony and I came home and watched the last bit of the snooker final. (I have a big range of interests! I love snooker and darts! Darts on't telly after Christmas! Then it's my birthday)

Not long to go xxx

344. Blah

I've felt really quiet for the last week. Started with a total low last monday and the week gradually improved, with Thursday being the best day and Friday pretty great too.

I find this bit of the journey really hard to write about. To make sense of my feelings, emotions and behaviour is so difficult. When I was writing about physical pain that seemed a lot more simple and less scary to write about.

I feel like I am in shock by everything that's happened.

The trauma of chemo feels like it's going to take some getting over.
Bearing in mind it is a mere 9 weeks since my last chemo. 6-7 of those weeks I had chemo side effects that were still present and making me feel like death.
So it feels really hard to know what to say back when I hear the following...

 .....you should be back to work in no time then
*Clicks fingers...*
*Bounces out of chair*
*Takes tablets to boost confidence, self esteem, immune system, energy levels, breathlessness*
*Picks up life where left off*
*Injects happy emotions*
*Plays fanfare*

The truth is, I honestly believed recovering from chemo wouldn't be this hard. How ridiculous. I wanted to be back to normal just after Christmas, but the consultant I see didn't agree with this in her experience of seeing patients return to work too quickly.
But I guess until you get here, there is no way at all of understanding the real impact of it all on the body mind and soul. And everyone is different...
The frustrations, the impatience. The not knowing how long it's going to take.
Listening to the body and ignoring the mind. Vice versa.

It is such a long road. With no time scales I can give people....

If I rush I will set myself back, but it's that fine line between rushing and sitting back. Balancing it all and gaining a sense of reality.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

343. Spam attack

My blog is being attacked by spamming so I have changed the comments settings. Sorry! If you would like to comment, please email me - details on the contact me page. Or become a member to my blog. Many thanks x

Monday, 5 December 2011

342.10 instant emotional fitness tools

Found this on StumbleUpon and thought i'd share

10 Instant Emotional Fitness Tools

Saturday, 3 December 2011

341. Bye bye fluff!

My hair is growing well! It still falls out a tiny bit and my pillow in a morning still has a small amount of hairs on it. I was finding that the ends of my hair were really fluffy from when it grew back initially and it was overall a bit scruffy! So I text Fiona my hairdresser :)
I went to see her and had a lovely catch up. It was quiet in the salon, only one other client. Made it a bit easier than walking into a full salon as it would be on a Saturday.
Fiona trimmed my hair really nicely and it felt so good to be back there. It looks so much better! I am using some great products now (thanks hun :) ) to encourage my hair to grow.

My eyebrows are getting darker all the time it seems. The fluff has gone from them now!
Unfortunately I now have to shave my legs again! Just in time for winter, haha.. x

340. The inevitable ups and downs

Good days and bad days, ups and downs.. everyone has them don't they.
Turns out after cancer they are very very up and very very down.

Some days I'm celebrating being able to do more things, seeing my eyebrows growing back, feeling really good. Other days I am sat, just not with it at all. Thoughts and feelings overwhelm me and become like a fog that I can never see through. The other day my heart literally ached. The shock of what I have been through, counting each week as it goes by, every Thursday, thinking, __ weeks ago I was in my last chemo....
Yes I have come a long way, I have won the battle, but the wounds are still healing and will be for a while yet.

 'But it's over now' doesn't feel like a relief. Some reading this might sit and think, she's being so negative.. I know it sounds like that, but my body, brain, emotions and feelings are still recovering and like my friend Pam said, after cancer, there's not a switch you can flick and everything will be ok. Which totally hits the nail on the head. I have to be honest here and say that the people that 'get it' are still there for me. The real friends are still in touch, still texting and calling to see I am ok. Understanding the bad days and cheering the good days. Not judging me or trying to push me in any direction. It can't be easy supporting someone through such a tough journey.

I heard something on Radio 2 the other day, it was a woman who was talking about losing a loved one (in her case it was her little boy) and how she has found that people don't know what to say. Some friends completely avoided her, crossed the street, as they obviously didn't know what to say or do. Her response to that was, '...sometimes a hug is good enough.' I would agree with that, for this feeling I have. It is like a bereavement. A loss of the last 8 months of my life, the things I planned, where I was in my life was a really good, content place. I had got over so many hurdles and found a place I felt happy. I had built up my confidence again and learnt to cope much better with the stresses. To then have it all taken away and knocked down by cancer and new batch of challenges - physically, emotionally and psychologicaly. All to cope with, all to deal with and then the fight against cancer and the chemo at the time and the effects during and at the end of it all. One big maze! I don't expect people to all have the same knowledge of how to support me through this, that would be really short sighted and arrogant. But sometimes there are just those days where I am struggling, which is why I spoke up on my facebook page the other day. At that time, I couldn't face anyone or anything.. my emotions were in a mess and I felt like I wasn't here. I just wanted to 'feel' again, I just felt so numb, I couldn't even cry even though I wanted to, to get it out.

The support I got from everyone online was amazing and so genuine. I am so so happy I created this blog. I've linked up with so many people who understand and support me. People who are fighting cancer, an illness, people who have had a loved one who has fought, won or lost. People who I knew at school who have got in touch after reading my blog to say my writing has helped them. I plan to meet as many people as I can, when I can.

I would recommend writing a blog to everyone! You don't have to share it with the world. You can keep it private, like a diary. I feel better this morning for writing this entry!
I am so glad I took the decision to share my journey, it's one of the things that has got me through and helped me.

xxx much love

Sunday, 27 November 2011

339. Gingerbread houses

I sold my first few gingerbread houses today to Sarah! Here they are on her lovely tree! :) :)

338. Incredible.

Just incredible.
Sarah Firth (who I met through Bradford Cancer Support) got in touch on to say she had something for me, from Dan - a friend I have made online through my blog. Dan is a writer and we have been in touch for a more than few months now.
He has a website : http://www.danielmcintyre.co.uk/home.php where you can find out more about him and the writing he does. I am sure you will agree with me - Dan is totally inspirational and a true fighter.
I have also found Dan incredibly supportive and he always finds a way to cheer me up. Whether it is intentional or not.
He has shared my blog with many people on Twitter and with one person in particular who I did not expect at all! Remember this post on my blog just the other week??

Saw this in a gift shop in Windermere! I have ebay-d Perry Lancaster and there are loads of gorgeous birds and animals similar to this, including a tiny cute wren!!! I love wrens! well, any birds are beautiful to me
Well.. off I go to put the kettle on now. xx


Sarah came over this afternoon with the gorgeous box, stunning. I was totally overwhelmed and surprised to see these inside... 

The Wrens!
Dan specially had got in touch with Perry Lancaster, (sculptor) as he had seen I admired his work and loved it so much. 
*Dan ordered the pink and brown wrens and when Perry Lancaster had read my blog, he specially put a little black wren in with Dan's order!* 

http://homepage.mac.com/perrylancaster/perrylancaster9/perry_lancaster.html   Dan passed the parcel to Sarah, who dropped it off to me!

I feel so special. There was a card with a personal message from Perry and a beautiful card from Dan with touching words I will cherish forever, all inside the box!! I am very lucky indeed. How beautiful. I can't stop smiling and won't for a long time. The bonus is, I will smile everytime I look at the wrens in my living room. Amazed at the pure generosity and thoughtfulness.

:D - That's me look!

Friday, 25 November 2011

337. Hats off to Eastenders so far..

Just watching Eastenders, it happened to come on the tv. Normally I avoid it as I don't really like many characters in it.. But I'm glad I caught this episode and I might start watching it for a bit from now.
The character of Tanya, has been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

 So far they have managed to capture the essence of how it feels to be diagnosed. The pressures it puts on a relationship and how mixed up things feel about how it will be. Granted, I haven't experienced cervial cancer and I don't wish to claim I know everything, very far from it. But I can relate to some of the character's worries, emotions of treatment.
 I am impressed with the way that they are covering how it feels for a family member to watch a loved one suffer with terminal cancer too. The fact that Tanya has experienced that with her Father and then to be diagnosed herself.
I think it will prove interesting viewing...

336. Remission feels great, things taking time though

It feels so so good to know that the cancer has gone and all the chemo and fighting was worth it.
The end of the chapter means the start of a new one. I feel like I may start a whole new blog all together now, as the start of my life picks up again and I begin another journey as I recover.

I was sent some beautiful flowers from Alison, a close friend of my Mum's. We have been emailing each other and it has been really lovely to hear from her and keep in touch. These flowers were so unusual, almost like orchids. Amazing crafts of beauty!xx

I also got a card from Mum's work friends with lovely messages inside, which meant so much xxx

Our next door neighbours Pam and her daughter Katie, have been there for us since we moved in. Pam has done more than what neighbours do and they've become dear friends to us. Last night Katie brought a card round she had made. Pam couldn't come over as she didn't feel well and didn't want to pass any bugs on. Katie had also made me a bracelet and ring from some really beautiful, unusual beads. The card was so cute, but the message inside... was so precious. I get all goosebumpy just thinking about it. I will mention that Katie is in Year 6 at school.

 How precious? To be able to write those words? Pam must be so so proud. Gorgeous people. Very lucky to have them around. xxxx

Since my great news last week I have been resting but also making a lot of felt creations and keeping my mind and hands busy. It's perfect really as I can be busy but not exerting myself too much.
I have had a few down days where I have been tired and fed up. But to be honest, I haven't had chance to dwell on things, because somewhere, someone will text me or message me on facebook/twitter and remind me of how well I am doing. I think it must be my coping mechanism that just ploughs me through and pushes on - much like going through chemo really. I do sit and talk things through a lot with Anthony and he is fab at listening and helping me see things in perspective. (when I sit alone sometimes, it becomes easy to get things all confuddled and over think. That's why the creative stuff is fab, stick a DVD on and lose myself in the crafty world!!)

I have a long Christmas card list and love the fact I have so many new friends online, some who I hope to meet next year. A few who are experiencing cancer at the moment or have an illness which is life threatening. And some who have read my blog and have got in touch and continued to email.
My talk at the Women with Vision meeting really helped me and was a turning point just before remission -like a release for me. I want to keep in contact with Bradford Cancer Support and help future patients where and when I can.

I am still slowly building up strength. There are many many small little things that I found SO hard to do during chemo that I can now do once again.
I can now blow out tealights in the first attempt! Before I was so so out of breath that I couldn't. I had hardly any strength in my lungs. My being out of breath is still there but no where near as scary and bad as it was. Did I mention about what the consultant said? The PET scan showed that there is inflammation on my lungs from the Bleomycin (drug from the ABVD chemo) which can happen. So I will have to see if this out of breath continues to improve. They may give me a chest x-ray in the next couple of months to check how it is.
I can now carry a basket of washing up and down stairs without struggling.
Now I can clean the kitchen and have the energy to finish it.
I basically have a lot of independence back and it feels amazing. I still have to do small doses of things, or I will pay for it the day after/ in the evening.

Something that I am still struggling with is my face and how the drugs and steroid's effect is still evident. I still have that swollen look on certain days and those chubby cheeks. My eyes are still chemo-dark circled and it's a nasty reminder of what I've been through sometimes. Like a stomach sinking feeling. I can let it really bother me sometimes and I can't hide the fact it does hurt to see that still there. I was talking with Mum though yesterday and it helped. I realised that it wasn't until roughly halfway though my treatment that I started to look like this and it was a gradual thing becoming this way physically, heavier, looking bigger all over.
So it's bound to be as gradual losing the look too. I cannot happen over 7 weeks. It's got to take more time and I am rubbish, I  know, for not realising that! It will happen in stages.

My hair is getting much longer, still in naturally curls into a mohawk! It's so funny!! Even when I try and style it, it still goes back to that look! When I wake up it does it too.

It will prob need a little trim soon. Fiona?? (my hairdresser, who I miss visiting - soooo much) xx

My eyebrows are less fluffy and still taking their time to get back to their normal selfs. Miss them. Ladies, look after your eyebrows and love them, NEVER take them for granted.

Anthony said he thinks my scar on my neck has faded a little bit. Have been trying to keep up with using the Bio Oil, good stuff, may sound silly but up until the last week I just havent had the energy to put it on! My muscles are pretty much nil. I can't emphasis enough the extent to which chemo has battered me!!!

Well. I think that pretty much covers the last week really.

I miss hearing from people. It would be lovely for anyone to get in touch who has read this. Even if you haven't emailed before. xxx sendittolizzie@googlemail.com

Lots of love xx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

335 entries later....and I'm in remission!

The short but amazingly sweet news is that I am in remission! I will be updating my blog with a more detailed entry very soon.
Since Thursday when I got the news from my consultant, I have been very busy enjoying time with family, friends and Anthony :)
So I just wanted to check in and let you know.

I am ever so happy and just looking forward now.

Back soon! x