Currently living in Hong Kong, I am originally from Liverpool, UK. In December 2019 my world was turned upside down when I found out I had Melanoma. It wasn't until after my 40th birthday in January 2020 that I discovered the melanoma had got into my lymph nodes putting me at stage 3. This blog was set up to document my journey. It is an honest and open account of everything we are going through as a family. We are currently taking one day at a time and trying to keep things as normal as possible. xx
I turned up to the hospital exhausted today. This week I’ve done a couple of early morning workouts followed by full days of teaching. It’s been nice to get into a routine again, it occupies my mind and enables me to sometimes forget about everything else that’s going on.
Today started off really positive, until the nurse tried to insert the cannula into my hand. For some reason my hand completely swelled and bruised. It was really painful. Of course there were tears and moments of anxiety. After a bit of a break we tried again with success. During my treatment I began to reflect on my journey. I was looking back through my blog; and it really hit me how much I have been through. I used to struggle with people calling me ‘amazing’ or ‘incredible’ but today it really hit me that actually I am incredible…this body of mine is bloody incredible. And it’s refusing to give up this fight!
Yesterday was cycle 9 which means I’m officially half way through my treatment. I’m not going to lie, the first half has been traumatic. However I feel I’m now in a much better place, I’m no longer anxious and scared when I attend my appointments. Instead I’m just focusing on that finish line. I’m hoping and praying that once I pass that finish line I can finally travel to see my family and friends back in England. So many positive things to focus on now…let’s hope the second half of my treatment is less traumatic than the first half.
As the new academic year starts for me tomorrow, I have been feeling apprehensive. A new class of year 1 students and teaching online. In Hong Kong we started teaching online back in February. Just when I was in the midst of my surgeries. I was actually in a dark place but I kept going. I don’t know how I did it. But I did. The last few weeks I have had a dark cloud hanging over me. The thought of going back online bought back all the trauma I’ve been through over the past 6 months. Also the possibility that I may need more surgery depending on my recent biopsy results. Today I got those results and they were clear. It feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can go into this new academic year with a clear head and focus on my job. This may be a little premature, and I hope I’m not jinxing myself; but there is a possibility that my body could actually be cancer free right now. How awesome is that? On that positive note…good luck to all the teachers going back to school in the next week or so….we’ve totally got this! 💪🏻
They say that dogs can sense when we are down, when we are happy…even when we are not very well. Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer in December 2019 I’ve seen a change in my dogs behaviour. They have become my guardians. I am unable to move without them by my side. I go to the bathroom and all three will be waiting for me outside the door. I honestly believe they know I have an illness and they are comforting me through it all, even at my lowest points. Animals are just the best. Do you believe they can sense this too?
It was that time…skin check. Because of everything that’s happened I will now have three month skin checks…but will conduct my own skin check mostly everyday. It was decided that I needed to have some kind of mapping as my skin has too many moles. During my check two moles on my back were identified as suspicious, so we decided to take one off and watch the other. I had it removed yesterday and now I wait for the biopsy results. I’m feeling positive. On another note, today was cycle 8 of 18! Nearly half way there…and there were NO tears! Bonus. 😊
Yesterday it was time for my biopsy results. I was mentally preparing myself for the worst, let’s be honest, I haven’t really had any good news during this journey. So I was ready. I wasn’t sure how I was going to react but I was in fight mode. Walking into my oncologists office I felt sick, I thought I was going to pass out. As soon as I looked up he met me with a lovely big smile. I knew instantly it was going to be good news. I had got used to ‘the face’. It was indeed good news. The biopsy revealed there were no cancer cells even though the PET scan had revealed it was a hot spot. So officially at the moment I’m NED (no evidence of disease) but as we all know with melanoma, it can be hiding and just not big enough to reveal itself. So I’m trying not to celebrate too much yet. I’m only on cycle 7 out of 18 treatments. Nearly half way there!!!!!!
On Timehop the photo popped up. 10 years ago. 10 years ago I had bragged to the world that I was stupid enough to burn my skin to a crisp. But I justified it with a good day out on a boat. Reading this back mad me angry and my immediate thought was…what a fool. It got me thinking. If I could give advice to myself 10 years earlier, what would that be? It’s all in my poem. X
Yesterday I got my PET scan results. Not as clear as I had hoped. Basically there is a hot spot in my right axilla. This needs investigating. So next week I will go for another needle biopsy. I’m just so over this. It’s totally relentless. I haven’t had a break for seven months. I just want the old Adele back I miss her. Surely I can catch that break soon?? Reflecting on everything I think I need to speak to a professional. I need to look after my mental health. It will help me come to terms with all of the emotional turmoil I’ve been carrying. Here is a poem I wrote about my experience.
Last week I went for my 7th cycle of immunotherapy. However we had to postpone it as my white blood cell count was quite low. My oncologist also found a lump in my thigh which he wanted to investigate. That has since been declared benign thank god! However today was PET scan time. It’s always an anxious time getting the scan and waiting for the results. I get my results tomorrow…fingers crossed all is ok! X
I’m still here….7 days on. I was moved out of ICU and now in a normal room. Monday was a HUGE challenge for me. One of the antibiotics that they had been injecting me with was extremely irritating my veins. Every time the nurse walked in with the syringe I would almost have a panic attack. The pain was excruciating. So on Monday all I could focus on was the clock. Counting-down and dreading the next injection. I was a mess. I couldn’t stop crying with anxiety. I couldn’t speak to anyone, I shut down. I hit the lowest point I have hit since all of this began.
On Monday evening it was decided to look for another site for the cannula. My right arm is out of bounds, so only my left arm to work with…then the mention of my leg. I freaked out. Anyway, a lovely nurse was able to calm me down and we managed to find a new site higher up my arm. That was 4 days ago and so far so good!!! Here is a poem a wrote about the experience.