Cakes, cakes and more cakes!

Lockdown has turned me into a baker!… and no not bread like the rest of the UK.

This year I was home for both my nieces birthdays and boy did they make sure they got me working!!!

Celyn who was turning 9, gave me strict instructions on how she wanted her cake to look! She wanted a chocolate cake that looked like Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch)… wow I’ve never done a shaped cake before!

Chocolate Stitch cake

Shionedd was turning 10 just 3 weeks later and she’d discovered Pinterest! … I was in trouble!!

She wanted a nightmare before Christmas theme… had to be red velvet… had to be tall… had to have chocolate orange buttercream! This was going to be interesting! We were in local lockdown so couldn’t go anywhere and the hubby loves rolling his sleeves up for making figures…. my saviour πŸ™‚

Think we pulled it off!

Colourful topsy turvey red velvet cake

Also made a few cakes for some friends who were struggling to get celebration cakes due to businesses being closed.

Making these cakes enabled my head to be anywhere other than stuck in my home that had all to easily become my work space too.

It’s not something I’m planning on making a regular thing, but finding something that helped me to escape even only for a few hours really helped with my mental health. Plus the added bonus of seeing their lovely smiles when they got their cake!

What’s in a month!

October is breast cancer awareness month, but let’s face it for someone with a previous breast cancer diagnosis… it’s every month!

What does October mean for me?

  • October 2017 – Diagnosed with grade 3 bilateral breast cancer
  • October 2018 – Told I would need a hysterectomy due to being ER+
  • October 2019 – Checks on a suspicious lump (damaged tissue)
  • October 2020 – Change in pigment and dip on right boob (waiting to be checked) & here’s the shocker… confirmed BRCA2 gene mutation 😩

but it also means:

  • The month that I got together with my hubby
  • The month that I played a part in a national awareness campaign with Breast Cancer Now with 5 other ladies and their loved ones. That has since developed into a strong bond of extended family that are a constant source of knowledge, experience, support and am proud to call my friends.
#BCNFAM2018

Sadly we lost our beautiful Sal last month to this horrible disease, leaving a huge gap in my heart, that I’m going to make sure that I fill with smiles and experiences, because Sal was an explorer who loved life… you can find out more about Sal and her journey on her personal blog. https://mybeautifullife.org/

I don’t think October has quite finished with me yet, but what ever it is I’ll tackle it in the best way I know how… with a smile and the support of my family and friends πŸ’•

I’m back… but where have I been?

When I started blogging it was because I needed an ‘out’ somewhere to write my thoughts and feelings whilst battling through my personal cancer journey. No pressure to blog regularly, just when I felt like and I haven’t felt like for months… been too busy living life! πŸ™‚

A lot has happened since my last blog in January (I can’t believe its been 9 months!) including covid which saw me shielding for 26 weeks!!! Still don’t know how I managed to not go house crazy!

I am one of the lucky ones who was able to work from home and didn’t see a change to my salary, if anything I saved money on fuel costs, which we used to renew our bathroom.

Finally the bathroom feels like it’s ours and my husband doesn’t get his shoulders stuck chasing the soap around the bath… never buy an hourglass shaped bath! lol

Loving my new ‘hand’ to hold my phone!

Extra hand!

That’s my quick update for now… whilst I try to map out how I’m going to fill you in on the rest…. so in the words of Arnie

I don’t even own a pair of walking boots!

Rewind to January 1st. Yes I know I’ve gone backwards but I want to share something that I didn’t feel confident enough to share at the time just in case it didn’t work out and I’d have another ‘fail’ in my rollercoaster life.

Here goes!

I now realise that looking in the mirror I will never see the old me again… and you know what…. I’m fine with that …. in fact I’m more than fine…. I’ve finally realised that the woman now starting back at me is…. stronger…. focused and just a little bit calmer 🀣…. I think I like her!

But my body hasn’t come out of this unscathed and I decided that if my body was going to start falling apart on me… I was going to have to do whatever I can to make me the best me I can be… and that involved getting active, even after a busy day at work and even more so on my bad days!

As if it was fate, up popped an advert on Facebook for Race at your Pace (I’m sure Facebook is stalking me, although I’m not appreciating the adverts for buying your funeral… do they know something I don’t??) where you can choose how many miles per month you would like to achieve, how you would like to achieve it without having to set foot in the dreaded gym!

Let me think πŸ€”

  1. cycling πŸš΄β€β™€οΈ … I’m not even sure I can keep myself upright never mind a bike! βœ–οΈ
  2. Swimming πŸŠβ€β™€οΈ… not sure I’m ready to squeeze into Lycra just yet! βœ–οΈ
  3. Running πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ… since my boobs still ache after a quick jog up the stairs, I don’t think this is for me βœ–οΈ
  4. Walking πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ… now you’re talking, I’m sure I can manage that! βœ”οΈ

Now to choose the distance… 15 miles, 25 miles, 35 miles … I’m not even gonna go into the rest cos let’s face it we all know it’s gonna be a miracle if I hit 15 miles!

Hovering finger over that submit button and in a split second I’d done it!! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ. I don’t even own a pair of walking boots πŸ₯Ύ!!! What had I done?

Back in real time to end of January and I’m proud to say that I’ve not only hit my target but I’ve smashed it with a week to spare!

15 miles is 24.14km … stupid tracker only does km 🀯

… and yes I’ve already signed up for February… bring it on … I’ve got this! πŸ’ͺ

It’s only walking… how hard could it be!

I’ve never done New Years Resolutions and wasn’t about to start now!

What I have decided is that 2020 is the year where I am going to start getting a bit fitter after discovering that being overweight puts me in a higher risk of recurrence. Sciency bit below πŸ‘‡

(www. BreastCancer.org)
Overweight and obese women — defined as having a BMI (body mass index) higher than 25 — have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who maintain a healthy weight, especially after menopause. Being overweight also can increase the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) in women who’ve been diagnosed with the disease.

This higher risk is partially because fat cells make estrogen; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body and estrogen can make hormone-receptor-positive breast cancers develop and grow. Scientists also have recently found that extra fat cells can trigger long-term, low-grade inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer recurrence; the proteins secreted by the immune system seem to stimulate breast cancer cells to grow, especially estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Felt like I was a bit of ‘Got all the gear and no idea’ but it’s walking how hard could it be!

Those boots didn’t get to stay clean for long! πŸ˜‚

Having these nutters with me made all the difference. They kept me smiling, took the breaks when I needed it and gave me the boost I needed to go that little bit further even when my lungs felt like they were on fire.

I can’t thank Shaun enough for planning my routes, making sure I had all the right gear and taking every step with me πŸ’•

So how far have I walked I hear you say!…

In 20 days I’ve managed 24k and am super proud of myself. Obvs going to try and up the pace through the year, but it’s better than being stuck on the sofa waiting for ‘it’ to come back!

Smiling into 2020

I’m ending 2019 with a big smile and here’s why…

βœ”οΈ year 2 mammogram clear

βœ”οΈ got married

βœ”οΈ hysterectomy results clear

βœ”οΈ got enough hair that I don’t look ill

βœ”οΈ lung function improved

βœ”οΈ lost 1 stone of my steroid weight gain

Still a few things to work on but definitely going in the right direction.

Target for this year is to;

πŸ”Ήloose more weight

πŸ”Ήlower my blood pressure (currently have stage 2 hypertension 😩)

πŸ”Ή improve my liver function (won’t be raising a glass to the New Year πŸ₯ƒ )

Sadly both the BP and Liver issues have been caused by the chemotherapy, but without chemo I wouldn’t be here.

Chemotherapy drugs can cause liver damage because they are toxins and they place added stress on the livers filtering function. The liver removes toxins and chemicals from the blood stream and changes them into products that can be readily removed through the bile or urine.

The liver is a unique organ. It is the only organ in the body that is able to regenerate. With most organs, such as the heart, the damaged tissue is replaced with scar, like on the skin. The liver, however, is able to replace damaged tissue with new cells. So I’m keeping mine as healthy as possible to help it to do it’s job.

As for my BP, I’m hoping the weight loss and increased walking will help to reduce it as the last thing my liver needs is more medication to filter.

Happy new year from my family to yours and hope 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣ brings you health and happiness

My amazing support network without who I’d be lost! πŸ’•

#WaitingRoomFeet

Today is a date etched in my mind as 2 years ago today was the day I had surgery to remove the 2 uninvited tumours.

Although the dates stick in my mind, I’ve tried to turn them into something positive, meet with friends, book a holidays, do something fun but not this year as the hospital very kindly booked my year 2 mammogram today in the same hospital as my surgery! πŸ™„

So these are my #waitingroomfeet back in my gown sitting in the waiting room waiting to hear my name. Feeling numb as this is just part of the process, just wanting to get this over with.

This is squishy the lovely machine that’s going to turn my all ready sensitive boobs into pancakes. πŸ˜–

The nurse was amazing and did it as quick as possible… 10 mins and I was all done!

Torturous 3 week wait for the results, but so grateful that they’re looking after me. 🀞

Oh and thanks to the flushes for my rosy complexion 🀣

This envelope could change my future!

How can a little A5 envelope bring me out in a cold sweat 😰

This is the envelope that could change my future … it contains my family history details to assess if I need to have a gene test to check if I have the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene. These are the most common faulty genes that can increase your risk of cancer or cancer returning. Thankfully no other family members have had Breast Cancer, so it’s looking positive for me.

But this is not just about me, this is about my sisters, mother, sons, nieces and future grandchildren. The test also gives an indication if any other family members are at higher risk and would benefit from being tested.

It takes 6 weeks for a response to find out if I need the test. If they recommend for me to have the test, it’s a 12 week wait for the results and if it’s positive, the recommendation is a full preventative mastectomy 😩 but it’s still my decision, which is going to be hard.

It’s been completed and ready to post for 3 weeks, just sitting quietly in my handbag staring at me! But not today… cos today I pulled up my big girl pants and posted it !!! πŸ’ͺ. It’s going to be a long 6 weeks wait to see if I need the test.

You can find out more about the gene 🧬 testing below πŸ‘‡

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/predictive-genetic-tests-cancer/

So I’m back in the gown!

Another hospital gown, this time for a chest X-ray! After battling this stupid chest infection for 8 weeks the Dr thinks it’s time to check it out! Not quite so sure on her choice of words ….

Dr- there’s nothing to worry about, I just think we should get it checked out to make sure there’s nothing sinister lurking in there!…

maybe not the best choice of words to a BC patient! πŸ˜‚

Results on Monday 🀞 but cancer you won’t be invading my head this weekend as the hubby is whisking me off to Edinburgh 😝😝 you can wait till I get back!



I wasn’t just walking for who was on my back!

So the day had arrived for the Cancer Research 10k #shinewalk … what was I thinking signing up for this! πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

On antibiotics for a chest infection, no voice and sore ribs from coughing but I got those trainers on… but I wasn’t alone, just like through my treatment my amazing hubby and fellow BC mate Keeli were by my side.

Starting point was in Cardiff Castle, how lucky were we to have such an amazing venue, the atmosphere was alive, so many people all there for one reason…. to help beat this horrible disease.

The sense of we are all in this together made me forget my coughs and chest pains… I felt like I was in a warm comfy blanket alive with the buzz of the crowd.

And we’re off!

It felt amazing, I got this πŸ’ͺ … we got this!

Before we knew it we were at the 5k mark… How did that happen!

The cheers and support of the people around the route was amazing, really felt I was useful and doing something real to raise money to help fund future research.

Reading the messages on people’s backs of who they were walking for was really emotional, but in a good way as it spurned you on to keep going, I felt like I wasn’t just walking for who was on my back, but for who was on everyone’s back!

6k, 7k, 8k, 9k oh my god I’m going to do this!

Crossing the finishing line meant so much to me, chemo has owned my body for so long, but this finally felt like I was in charge!

I crossed that finishing line after 16k steps 😱 and proudly stepped up to claim my medal πŸ…and what’s even better, we raised Β£2️⃣7️⃣0️⃣ πŸ‘ for Cancer Research.