Monday, 29 August 2011

Be careful...

...what you look for in search engines.

One of the things that I am able to do with this blog is look at its statistics, such as number of hits (nearly 16,000 since I started this in April), where most of the readers are from (the UK, US and the Philippines) and traffic sources (the blog itself and Facebook are pretty high up the list). One of the other things it gives me are search terms - so evil crab blog, cancer blogs and chemo kits are quite popular. However, last night someone obviously typed in 'medicine for crabs' and somehow got directed to my blog. Dont know about you, but I find this absolutely hilarious!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Butterfly kisses

I have mini eyelashes! Yes, I realised this morning that my eyelashes are growing back. Hurrah! I'll be able to give butterfly kisses again...

Saturday, 27 August 2011


Sadly wig and snakeskin shoes did not get out last night as ended up staying in bed as was just so tired. Sigh... Another time then...

Am feeling much better now though. Thank goodness!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Taxing Taxol

I had my fifth Taxol last Wednesday - slowly, slowly, getting there. Sadly though, I think the effects of the Taxol are finally hitting home. With the first few sessions, I went about as normal. However, the tiredness is starting to set in and I just got out of bed around an hour ago (it's 5pm here). Don't get me wrong - I was up and about this morning and in fact went to a spin class, which is probably what killed me. I arrived back home, fed the children and could barely stay up after that. I eventually forced myself out of bed, but I'm still feeling very woozy. I must get my energy going though as have a party tonight and the wig must make an outing! (And not to mention the new LK Bennett snakeskin shoes...)

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Love it

Had my blood test for tomorrow's session and decided to pass by the shops on way home. On the way to M&S was stopped by a man to say he loved my hat. (No, am not wearing wig today - wore it yesterday but more on that later.) Around a half hour later, whilst waiting to pay, the 50-60-ish- year old lady waiting behind me said, 'you're beautiful'. Needless to say, both comments from complete strangers (and no, I was not flashing any part of my anatomy either) completely made my day. Especially keeping in mind that I live in the UK, the home of the stiff upper lip. This whole chemo look obviously suits me. Actually thought of taking a photo of myself and posting it on the blog; but then rushed home to cook the children's lunch (tuna bake, natch) and now have a tomato sauce splattered top. Oh well...

And yes, the wig went out for the first time yesterday. Felt quite self-conscious (and no strangers approached to make me feel better about it) but I figured that the ease will come in time. After all, the first few times I wore my turbans, I felt I had a beacon on my forehead. The funny thing is I bumped into one of the mums at the children's previous school and she made no mention of it. It was as if me, suddenly turning up with blonde hair, was the most normal thing in the world. Now, this could be one of the following things:
1. she never noticed my hair before;
2. drastic hair colour changes are normal in her world;
3. I stunned her into absolute silence (about my hair anyway);
4. she follows the dictum 'if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'; and
5. she's just indifferent (she didn't ask how I was doing either).
My theory is #5, but I'm fearful that she was actually being a good girl and following her mummy's advice and was doing a #4. I will need to build up my courage to wear the wig again - LH and I have a party at J & P's on Friday, and I think I will wear it then. Wish me luck.

Monday, 22 August 2011

It must be the postman

I wonder where the children got their dark hair from, since LH and I are both blonde...

Sunday, 21 August 2011


Just noticed this morning that the hair on my head is starting to grow back - hurrah! Okay, there isn't much, probably a millimetre or so, but it's better than nothing (literally).

Since I discovered it, I've been touching my head at every opportunity. It feels very strange - it's not spiky, like unshaven legs, or completely soft, such as a baby's head. I suppose it's a combination of the two. Anyway, it's very comforting and I'm loving it!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Do blondes have more fun?

Ha! Am now a (part-time) blonde! Picked up my wig today from the lovely Sabrina and although I initially freaked when she placed it on my head, within a few minutes I got used to it and started to believe that I could actually rock the look.

Well, we'll see. Am currently wearing the wig and I do like it, although I still surprise myself every time I pass a mirror. I sort of look like a male Japanese rocker - which can't be good. And it shifts every so often, making my entire head look lopsided. Hmm... Is there anyway I can superglue this wig to my scalp?

But! LH has seen the new blonde me and he likes it - and even the children have given the blonde mummy their approval. These are good signs so will continue to wear the wig, and start to believe that I am a true blonde. Now all I need is the attitude...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Ultimate Chemo Kit

I'd been meaning to post about this for ages, and in the absence of anything else to write about, here it is, finally.

First of all, a couple of crucial books:

1. Anti-cancer, by David Servan-Schreiber. I honestly think that this man titled this book wrong, as I'm convinced that this is one that should be read by one and all. It's written by a doctor/scientist who got diagnosed with brain cancer - it went into remission and sadly came back four years later, so he decided to undertake research to find out what he needed to do to prevent the cancer recurring. It's been over fourteen years and it hasn't come back. I like this book because it makes me feel like I am in control of my own destiny, and that I do not solely rely on doctors and fatalism.

2. Cancer is a word, not a sentence by Dr Robert Buckman. Great book, as it puts cancer in perspective. Also comes with some retaliation for those who are convinced that cancer can be cured without the use of modern medicine and chemotherapy.


1. Wheatgrass - vile, vile, vile stuff. No matter what they say and how many recipes they give you, it's still disgusting. Like licking the inside of a lawnmower. But I'm convinced that this is one of the major reasons why I am not experiencing a lot of the normal reactions to chemotherapy.

2. LifeMel honey - could be a placebo, but so far, it's worked for me. One of the most horrifying things that could happen to someone undergoing chemotherapy is for treatment to be postponed, as you just want it over and done with. Supposedly this honey keeps your white blood cell count up, so you are not prone to infections. Funnily enough, I did not take it before yesterday's blood test - and my white blood cell count was down from normal.

3. Female Multiple Multivitamins by Solgar - Pink horse tablets, three a day needed. Good to keep iron levels and other important vitamins and minerals up. Turns your wee a very impressive flourescent yellow.

4. Gallons of water - although during the most nauseous parts of chemo, the last thing on earth you want. But crucial, as it flushes the drugs from your body.


1. A selection of hats, turbans and scarves. Although I recently caved in and got a (blonde) wig, I think it will mostly be used for special occasions only. Apart from the fact that the wig is a pretty warm thing to have on your head, you can also accidentally cremate it by opening the oven without taking it off first. So scarves and turbans mostly then.

2. Benefits Brow Zings - although my eyebrows are not all gone, they've definitely thinned so I tend to look either like an alien/Pillsbury doughboy in the mornings. This allows me to draw them back.

3. Nuxe Huile Prodigeuse and Aveeno body creams - lovely lovely stuff. Don't think my skin has been ever been this smooth.

4. Solar Oil - I'm hoping that this is preventing my nails from falling off completely.

5. Jurlique face creams - Taxol has made me break out in spots (augh). Jurlique's natural, biodynamic face creams keep them (sort of) in check.


1. An iPad and a credit card (enough said)

2. A Kindle (or Kindle app on said iPad) or lots of books and magazines

3. Anti-nausea (sea) bands - definitely kept the nausea at bay. I kept these on during FEC sessions and for the week after each one.

3. A sense of humour

And MOST importantly, a strong group of the MOST WONDERFUL FAMILY AND FRIENDS (no link for them as you'll have to get your own)!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

You look different...

Although I've been very happy with my bandanas and turbans, I thought I may as well take advantage of the NHS' generosity and get myself a wig. So today, with the children in tow and the very lovely L for honest opinions (the uglier the truth the truer the friend, after all), I had myself fitted for a wig.

I tried on quite a few and had a lot of laughs along the way. The styles were quite varied, to say the least. I had decided quite early on though that I would choose a style and colour quite different to what I normally have: very dark, long, and wavy. And although I did waiver over the hair colour, with the help of L and the wig lady I did go for it: so on Friday, I have a short, straight, BLONDE wig to pick up.

There will certainly be no questions about carpets matching curtains (pardon me) as there is no way I could ever pass for a natural blonde - I am Asian after all. I suppose I can confidently say that the only natural blonde Filipinos out there must carry an albino gene. But! I may as well have fun with it. Cancer isn't a bag of laughs after all, so I should take it when and where I can find it.

Friday, 12 August 2011

No, I'm not surprised

Was back at the gym today and really pushed myself as I could feel the KFC Banquet for One still sitting in my tummy. Needless to say, I ended up sweating like a panicked rioter in a balaclava caught between the police and a burning building. So I used my very useful gym towel and wiped my face a couple of times, completely forgetting that my eyebrows are just drawn on, and excessive rubbing makes them disappear.

I am now debating on whether or not I should have my eyebrows tattooed - it would certainly avoid incidents such as these. But I am worried that because my eyebrows are nearly non-existent, the beautician might put in a set of eyebrows separate from where my normal eyebrows are; so that when my eyebrows do grow back, I will end up with two sets.

This is just one of the things that keeps me up at night.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Too vain?

I need to apologise in advance. I find it vain and terribly boring when people harp on about their weight, but sadly as it is something that is affecting me and is one of my great worries at the moment I'm afraid that just I'll have to talk about it.

Have just arrived back home after dropping the children off at camp (a 5-hour round trip drive) and on the way back home, LH and I stopped for something to eat. We opted for something healthy of course so ended up at KFC. (Ho-hum.) I ordered the Banquet for One, something that could've fed a family of five in the Philippines. It was enormous. I tucked into it and realised that the corpulent man seated at the next table was also eating the same thing. So we smiled at each other like kindred souls: we were both greedy and slowly eating our way to be contestants in some reality weight show.

The funny thing is that weight gain is one thing that's really worrying me. My hair will grow back with no effort, my nails will strengthen and lose their black tinge - but my weight will continue to rise if I do not make any attempt to lose it. I have so far gained (boring, boring) 2 kilos since this chemo malarky and it seemed to have plateaued with the first phase, but having steroids weekly seems to have accelerated the weight gain. Argh.

Anyway, despite all my weight angst, I had a KFC Oreo Krusher for pudding - all 600 calories of it...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

"I'm just a nymphomaniac"

No, no, no - not me! That was once said by an acquaintance ages ago - she was being questioned about a business she was putting up, and rather than say she was just a neophyte at the industry, she mistakenly said this instead. What a disaster, as she's never been able to live it down...

I was suddenly reminded of this incident because recently I seem to be forgetting everyday words and using strange ones instead. Nothing too serious so far - in a conversation with girlfriend A the other day, I said 'when my cancer goes into revision'. Eh??? I was hoping this was a one-off but it seems to be happening with increasing regularity. Chemo brain has obviously started.

I am trying to ward off the slow decline of my brain by playing regular puzzles ( is a current favourite) and reading constantly (does re-reading Harry Potter count?) However, there's only so much I can do. So if you find yourself in conversation with me and I say something absolutely ludicrous, just blame my chemo brain.

PS. I realise of course that this could be considered another positive thing about chemotherapy - I could just say things out loud, renege all responsibility and blame the treatment. Ooh, what fun!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


When I first got diagnosed with breast cancer, I made the decision to make a few changes: no junk food, no meat, no processed food, and loads of green tea. Basically, I was determined to have a macrobiotic diet similar to Gwyneth Paltrow's. But be warned: it is a VERY boring diet. Needless to say, this was slightly torturous especially because I love a good slab of rare steak. But I survived, even through the trip to South Africa, simply because they offer excellent quality and variety of seafood.

So, for the first three FEC sessions, I had two shots of wheatgrass everyday, no meat, loads of fruit and vegetables, no biscuits and a lot of cups of green tea. However, I was suffering with pretty bad nausea at the same time as a consequence of the drugs. So sadly, now I cannot look at a cup of green tea or a punnet of blueberries without retching. Which is an absolute pity because I know how good these things are for me.

I've made a horrid mistake here: I should've eaten, through all four FEC sessions, things that I normally crave but are not good for me: Doritos, Kettle chips, biscuits and the like. Then I would have developed an aversion to them. After all, whilst I'm having chemotherapy, I cannot develop cancer by eating all this junk - and the steroids are making me fat(ter) anyway.

Also, I found out too late that the acid reflux I was experiencing whilst doing the FEC was caused by the inability of my digestive system to process fruit and vegetables. What the heck. So although I had been eating all these healthy foods, as it turns out I wasn't even garnering anything healthy from taking them.

My diet is back to normal now, except that green tea, blueberries and red peppers are not on the menu. I'm still forcing back the wheatgrass as I'm convinced that it is helping me in terms of reducing chemo's side-effects, but I feel sorry for myself everytime I drink the vile stuff.

So, for anyone about to embark on chemotherapy, this is what I suggest: stuff your face with junk for the worst, most nauseous part of the chemotherapy, then switch to healthier food once the nausea as eased. Because by this time, the thought of junk food will just make you feel sick.

Darn. I wish someone had told me that!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Is it that time again?

Tomorrow I will be going for my second Taxol session. And knowing that it's nowhere near as debilitating as the FEC means that I'm not as nervous as I normally am about the upcoming treatment. However, it's quite odd. With the FEC, I had three weeks to get my head around the fact that I was going to have to go in to hospital and have drugs intravenously fed into me. Now I have a week. Not only that - with the FEC, I had two out three weeks as normal - now every week will be slightly strange as I lose two days out of every week (1/2 day for the blood test, 1 day for the chemo treatment and 1/2 day to recover after).

I'll still take the Taxol over the FEC any time though. Apart from the grogginess from the antihistamines, I haven't really had any other side-effects. Last week I was sent home after treatment with anti-sickness medication which I did not take and was back in the gym spinning by Friday. (And did loads of Zumba classes at home at the weekend, frightening the children to bits with my attempts at the shoulder shimmy.)

And having Taxol also means that I'm over the worst of the chemo treatments. What a relief. I do hope I can say that it's smooth sailing from here, but as I'm not wholly sure of how I will react to the surgery and radiotherapy, I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope for the best!