Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Christmas 2009

Well I hope that everyone had a great Christmas!

I had well and truly been expecting to...goodish results, feeling very unworried, what on earth could go wrong?

Well other than a few disasters with snow, lack of heating, electricity etc everything was going ok and I felt great about the run up to Christmas. Then on the 23rd we got the great news that my little great niece had been born 'Isla Skye Louise Ratcliffe'....lovely news in the run up to Christmas! Which set me off!!

I hadn't for one minute been expecting it....I'd thought I'd be fine until the run up to my next appointment, but when I was told she had been born I just couldn't stop sobbing! A total mixture of absolute happiness for them, and absolute terror and sadness that I might miss some of my other nephews and nieces having their children...which is madness given I haven't even been fully diagnosed yet! So the day continued and I'd be fine and then tell someone my good news (and then start sobbing again in private!!)...silly sod that I am!

And so it has continued. Christmas has been hard this year. As much as I have tried to be positive and not make Nick treat it as my last 'normal' Christmas, secretly it has really worried me and made me really sad. But when you can't admit to your irrational feelings, it is hard to then have the time that you really want as no-one understands what you're feeling. Urrggghhh!! So the last few days have been a bit of a nightmare, one that I have compounded by taking out my frustrations on Nick, and him, I think perhaps burying his head a little and thinking that none of this is going to become real for us. I owe him a big apology though (something I'm not very good at!!) for being such a miserable cow. There was me telling him where he was going wrong, and I wasn't exactly the innocent in it all.

It all seems like such a waste. I wanted such a special Christmas for the kids and us, and it hasn't been that at all. They are such lovely kiddies, and yet sometimes I think we take out our frustrations on them as they can't really respond at 3 and 5. I love them to pieces and would hate to think they would remember me for being a grumpy old nag....perhaps I need to do something about that...help needed!!! Maybe I can try harder in 2010.....there's my resolution for the year!!

Off I go now to try and get some sleep in the hope that I'll be a little less irrational in the morning!


Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Background

So how did it all begin...a few coughs and colds that I'd got fed up with! So off I went in April 09 to the docs who slightly reluctantly offered a swab and a blood test. The swab came back clear so I never chased up the bloods...until I came back from a great holiday in Portugal with Nick, the kids and our friends and godchild to a letter asking me to go and see the doc about my blood test.

So off I went and was told that I'd got the protein levels of a 60 year old and been referred to the haematology department just to check it out. Well, I knew I felt old after 2 kids, but didn't expect that! Within a couple of weeks Nick and I were making our way into the hospital to the 7th floor. I remember so clearly walking to the lifts and seeing the phrase ' 7th floor Sunrise Cancer Department' and just bursting into tears - no-one had suggested cancer to me!!

The consultant told me that he wanted more blood tests run, xrays done and a bone marrow biopsy. I was so lucky in some ways and everything moved so fast. The long and short of it was that in July 09 I was told that quite surprisingly at my age, I had Smouldering Myeloma. Not quite bone marrow cancer but it might as well have been for the way it has turned our life upside down.

So what is Smouldering Myeloma. Well, sadly it's not quite as sexy as it all sounds! It basically means that I don't yet have bone marrow cancer but that I have pretty high odds of developing it, probably within the next few years. Myeloma is a rare form of cancer. It typically affects people aged 60 and over, and is rare in people under the age of 40. It affects more men than women. Blimey I feel damn unlucky! A 34 year old female with it isn't the most common thing in the world!

What stops it being classed as Myeloma is that, as of yet, I don't have any symptoms. What are the symptoms when they occur? Hmm where to begin, bone pain, bone lesions, broken bones, kidney failure, anaemia, night sweats, bruising, bleeding, spinal cord compression and lovely things like this! So in lots of ways I'm so lucky to be where I am now. I get 6-7 week appointments to check my protein levels so if things develop they will be quick to spot them - which is great in so many ways.

But without wishing to winge, it's quite hard as well. I feel like I'm now living with a ticking time bomb...when will we get that bad news? When will I have to start treatment? Will the kids be old  enough to remember me as a healthy mum and not one who is constantly sick or in hospital? It's now7 months on, and we're getting better at dealing with it all and not letting it take over our every waking moment....but it's tough at times. And people saying that none of us know when we're going to die and that I'm lucky to get the warning ....well I'd quite like to tell them where to go!! When they have experienced living with being told that you are likely to die of cancer before the age of 50, then they are welcome to express that view! Moan moan!

So anyway, I thought that I would start this blog. And I don't apologise now for the content of it, the language I might use, or any flippant comments I might make. This website is predominantly for me to write things down...at this stage, I'm not sure I'll share it, but if I do, I hope you'll view it as me allowing you into my most private thoughts and forgive me it it offends you at times.

My family's snow fun!

My family's snow fun!

Snow Fun

Snow Fun