Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Half way happiness.

It has been ages since I wrote a blog!! So much has happened. At least thats how it feels.

I have had two chemo treatments since my last blog. I want to start by saying that last week I felt the best I have felt in a really long time. If it wasn't for the fact that I have chemo hair, I would have almost forgot that I have Cancer. I had a clear head which is something that I never have. My memory is not any better haha but I didn't feel cloudy.

The treatment before yesterdays marked the half way mark for me and my treatments. It feels incredible to be able to say that I am half way. I have sat through 6 treatments and while the thought of Chemo makes me wanna hurl, I know that the next 6 treatments will fly by. I can not express my excitement for the scan following my final round of chemo. Like I think about it and want to cry a little.

Firstly I was a little nervous for this treatment. It would be my first treatment since the article in the paper. I always thought that my fellow cancer fighters and the nurses would be a toughest critics. I felt a little ridiculous when I saw how massive the article was. Anyway, my lovely doctor came up and said that she thought the article was great and she also saw my blog and thought that it was good. About half way through my treatment, a lady who was sitting just down from me got up and walked towards me. She said "Thank you. It was so great to see your face on the front page and nice to have someone speak for us." I was quite overwhelmed and actually got a little choked up. I said "Thank you" and she said "No! Thank you!!" I was relieved and it was nice to hear what people who are going through what I am going through thought of it all. It was a nice wee moment.

I was even more difficult when it came time for Needle insertion. The nurse went to put in the needle and she said that my "fight-or-flight" response was insane and if I were to be faced with a Lion, I would most likely get away without a bite in the backside. Basically, I get a rush of adrenalin and my veins disappear.  So the vein she was putting the needle into suddenly wasn't there and we weren't 100% sure as to if it was in properly. She decided to leave it in and do a flush to see how it went. The area around the needle bruised instantly and was pretty clear that it wasn't right. Right at that point, My beautiful friend Sophie popped in for a visit. I hadn't seen her properly for a while and her hair had grown quite a bit since the shave. She seriously can rock any look! We had a little chat and then the nurse came over to say that she needed to put another needle in. I dont know what came over me but I had a wee break down. It was the first time I have cried at a chemo treatment. It was a mixture of things. It hurts, I work myself up and also a part of me had had enough. Now when I look back to my earlier rounds and I watched people cry as they start their treatments, I can totally relate and understand why there were upset.
After a few tears, I got myself back together and reminded myself that I was half way. I had come this far and just needed to pull myself together for the other half.
The treatment felt like it went really quickly and I was out of there in no time. Dad dropped my Brother and I at my Mums place and he looked after me for the rest of the day.

I have the best little brother out. For real.

My white blood cell count was low again which meant the nurse needed to come round the next day and give me an injection to help boost the count. She came at around 2:00 and I was still in my Pajama's haha. I always justify a PJ day the day following chemo.

I was contacted by WINZ following the article in the paper. After a bit of phone tag, trying to get hold of one another, we finally managed to sit down and talk about how I felt WINZ had let me down. It was really good to help them better understand how I felt and really appreciated the phone call and also the apology. I dealt with a man by the name of Alan Ching and he was really helpful and organised an appointment for me at the Nelson branch. I want to take the chance to say a big thank you for getting in touch with me.

This now meant that Cam and I had to sit down and fill out the forms etc and gather together our whole life story. Once we had everything, I felt ready for the appointment and was actually a little excited to get it all sorted. I rocked on up and had the loveliest lady helping me. Unfortunately this is where my positive thoughts finish. I am not eligible for any financial assistance. I cant get the sickness benefit. I want to make it clear that this rant is not about any person that works for WINZ because they are just doing there job, which is not an easy one. This rant is about our screwed up system. Why is it that the people that actually try in their lives, go off to study, gain diplomes and degrees are the ones that cant get the help when they need it?? Please someone enlighten me as to how this is ok. Basically because Cam and I are in a relationship, his income is taken into consideration and he earns to much. Basically you have to earn under just above $500 BEFORE TAX a week to be eligible for some help. If you earn over that, you cant get any help. I just dont see how this is a realistic amount for anyone working full time.
The lady who was helping me truly tried all the options but they all came back to not being worthwhile. I was entitled to $30.00 invalid benefit and about $7.00 accommodation assistance but once again because I am in a Relationship, Cam would technically be receiving a benefit which would means his tax code would change and we would loose that amount and then some from his pay, so it really wasn't worthwhile. I felt gutted when I left my appointment. No fault of anyone who was working there!!! It just really opened my eyes to the welfare system and also just reiterated the importance of insurance!! Every single person that reads this, PLEASE, I want you to seriously consider sorting your insurance out if you havent already!!! Its so crazy to think that a week before I found out that I had Cancer, I was in the process of working through getting my insurance sorted. I truly regret not sorting it earlier.
I have made the decision that I can no longer work for the duration of my treatment. I just felt as though I am drowning in the workload and really dont want to let people down. At the end of the day the work that I am producing has my name attached to it and I dont want anything going out there thats not my absolute best. So after being told that I cant get any financial assistance, I felt terrible. It is just so unfair on Cam to be expected to support us both and I wasn't expecting hundreds and hundreds of dollars but just something so I feel that I am helping out as much as I can. SO many people said to Cam and I after the appointment that I should have gone in there saying I was single. To me thats just ridiculous. I am not a dishonest person and why should we have to lie to get the help that really every single person should be entitled to?? Rant over. Needless to say, I was not impressed but yet I am truly grateful for the kind service that I experienced for my second trip to WINZ. My Mum also made a really good point which did make me feel better and that was that Cam and I received all of our IVF funded and not every person gets that opportunity. This did calm me down and reminded me to be grateful for all that I have been given help with. It still doesn't change my feelings to the messed up system. It is BS.

ANWAY nothing we can do except accept and move on :) Speaking of IVF, Cam and I had an appointment with my IVF doctor to follow up after harvesting. It was really good to see her and I left there a little stunned with the things she said. It was nothing serious. It was just things that I hadn't really thought about. When a girl/lady has chemotherapy, there is a high chance that the treatment will kill all the eggs and any possibility of being able to have children. I knew this. What I didn't realise was that even though once you finish chemo and things seem normal and it would seem that you will be able to have children, there is a chance that you will in fact go through menopause early which would mean NO chance of having children yourself. It was something that we ever thought about and basically she said that once Chemo is finished and a few months have passed, it is really important that I make an appointment to have my bits checked out so they can sort of determine what they think could happen and we could get an idea of our baby making timeline haha. GAH it is so crazy to think about!! SO basically, we may need to have children earlier than we had thought but also we could be fine. We really wont know until its all done. I have had one period throughout my Chemo treatments which I am accepting as a positive sign. I have a good feeling that everything will be fine.

I had chemo yesterday and I managed to sleep all last night and am out of bed! Granted I am still in my Pijamas and I have made it as far as the couch haha but that is beside the point!! I feel good for being able to sleep. I talked to my nurse a while back about ways to help with not being able to sleep. Basically the afternoon following treatment I avoid computer screens and I actually try to not sleep too much following treatment. I have a long hot shower before bed and then last night I lit some yummy smelling candles and drifted off to sleep. Perfect! I woke up feeling rather nauseous but am starting to feel better. Yesterday went well. I know I ALWAYS talk about it but the needle thing is not getting any easier....My nurse is going to talk to my doctor about giving me some pills to take the morning of chemo that will sorta mellow me out and hopefully will help with how anxious I get. It took two goes (seems to be the way it goes) to get the needle in. Mum, Dad and Kris were there. Kris had me in absolute fits of laughter! He is rather good at impersonations so I was rambling off names and he would impersonate them. Hilarious. So basically I laughed my way through yesterdays treatment and now I can count how many treatments I have left on one hand. How flippen cool is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One thing I have been busting to say but have been too afraid that it may be a little TMI, is that I cant wait to be able to take a crap normally!! Honestly I am one who has no problem admitting that I enjoy a good poop but unfortunately my bowel movements have not been normal since I started chemo. It either feels like I am crapping a prickle bush or it burns like a mother. I am taking pills and plugging myself with fibre but its just something that goes along with the awesome experience that is chemo...I have truly been unsure as to weather I can say anything about it, in fear that it will be crossing the line but I have decided that I know that people who are going through the same thing as me will read this and will get a chuckle out of it because they know exactly what I am talking about. Me telling my family that I managed to poo has become the norm in conversation, much to my brothers disgust. Its just such an achievement!! YAY I DID A POO!!!

Hopefully you are still with me and aren't to disgusted in the last paragraph haha

I have a lot of things to look forward to and while I wont be working, I have a few things in the pipeline that will be keeping me busy. I am doing stills for a movie that is being made here in Nelson. We had our first night of filming on Tuesday and it was so wicked. Its a short film called "ANZACs in the Trenches 1917' and is being made by Dramatix. It is so exciting and I cant wait to see the final product. We have so many talented and amazing people helping and it is going to be amazing. Also I am working along side the Woman's Refuge and the Cancer Society to make a calendar. I am doing the Photography and will be getting the opportunity to Photograph people who have been affected by Cancer in different ways. All very exciting and I am glad I have things that will keep me busy :)

This weekend is going to be lovely. Cam and I are headed to Christchurch for a Wedding and I cant wait to catch up with our CHCH friends. I always love going back. How beautiful was Easter weekend!!!?? Man the weather was stunning. I have my last Wedding of the Season and it was fantastic. Such a lovely way to end the season.

I hope everyone had a lovely long weekend and hopefully this week hasn't been much of a drag!! Reminding you all that you are great people and I love you all. My blog has had over 10,000 views. WOWEE!!! I am so glad that I decided to blog my experiences. It has been more than I ever thought it would be and I am so grateful for all the people the have met throughout it all.

A photo free blog post. Just all the things that have happened in the last few weeks. I have a different kind of blog post up my sleeve that will be done once Cam and I get back from CHCH.
Take care of one another. Have a great weekend.


  1. beautiful and honest and inspiring! xxx

  2. You make me laugh :D

    So happy that you're past the halfway mark. So proud of you for fighting with your chin up and a smile on your face. You are a truly amazing, beautiful and wonderful human being. I am so glad we met.