Chemo No

From May onwards this year I went through an aggressive combination of treatment and now I sit chewed up and spat out on the other side of this medical ordeal.

Chemotherapy is one of the bravest things a human can do my friend Leanne Pero says and now I understand.

Now I am a REAL cancer patient at the mercy of intrusive treatments and therapies. At Masala Wala Cafe August 2019

Dabbling with target drugs before was a breeze compared to what I have been through this year.

It took me to the edge, somewhere I had never been before in my life, I felt a sense of madness, like I could not hang on, like I could not continue living here.

Every part of my being felt thick like fog, I could not think straight, I felt frozen in time with depressive thoughts and restricted with chemotherapy/immunotherapy side effects.

To add to the overwhelming pile of stage 4 cancer problems, I encountered total hair loss, sensitive tastebuds, weight loss, nausea, extreme fatigue, neuropathy, under active thyroid, blown veins, lower immunity, digestive issues and various aches and pains.

I needed a portacath fitted for regular treatments as my poor veins could not cope with the toxic drugs being administered.

Portacath fitted July 2019

The first surgical procedure failed leaving a 3cm wound, the second attempt was a success under my left arm.

I was left with multiple wounds which I had to pay particularly close attention to as my immunity was compromised.

I had never been put under local anaesthetic in my life for surgery, this was a big challenge for me to overcome.

My chronic pain alleviated, I should have been relieved, to have a chance at quality of life.

Yet my tastebuds yell for spices I so adore, my brain wants my body to run around and do things 100mph like I once did.

I look in the mirror in total shock at the woman looking back, she is now a fatigued stranger, a shell of my former self.

Yet my spirit is still here, not clear at times, but she is still here…

SHE WILL ALWAYS BE HERE xxx

Malaga Holiday October 2019

Happy Cancerversary

On this day one year ago, life as I knew it changed forever.

I had been told after a short spell of illness that there was metastatic cancer in my body.

Just like that, boom everything changed colour, taste, feeling, my world as I knew it over in a 20 minute doctors meeting.

ARE YOU FUCKING SURE

sprang to mind

I DON’T WANT THIS

THIS ISN’T PART OF THE PLAN

Also I had dealt with enough medical shenanigans having had a traumatic miscarriage three months previous.

I was shell shocked, that this young brown girl had been picked to have cancer.

How did it manifest inside me in such a short amount of time?

I have barely lived! 

I felt disgusted because I did not know anyone going through it, because everyone I knew that had cancer was DEAD.

Cancer = Death no wonder I spiralled into panic.

Thanks to modern medicine and my stubborn persistence to live i’m still here give or take some intense nerve pain and a restricted arm.

I’m at the end of my natural prognosis (6-12 months without treatment) so everything from here on out is ‘extra time’ baby.

Women remember everything, it’s so annoying that I remember my diagnosis date along with lots of other useless information like my first date with Gareth.

Women use these dates as annoying markers for goodness knows what, just to add extra admin to our busy little brains.

As I write this the tree in my back garden is full of cherry blossom once again, I feel emotional as I compare the two springs, one where I was sick and full of uncertainty and one where i’m diagnosed as sick and still full of uncertainty.

With my G – June 2018

So much has happened between these two seasons I am no longer the same girl, my fertility and future out of my hands, uncertainty once again casting shadow over my day to day life.

It has been quite the challenge to accept that I cannot plan my future like I can plan menus, yet I feel totally and utterly comfortable living like this now.

A year on after trying a couple of target drugs which have stopped working I am now undergoing a new combination of Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy and Targeted therapy for my particular circumstance.

At Maidstone Hospital having my second round of combination drugs June 2019

I have been non responsive to target drugs yet no new mutations,  the combination is called ‘IMpower 150’, cool name right?

The initial fear, CHEMO, visualising sick people and bald heads made me shudder, but I have cancer through no choice of my own so must look to overcome and conquer my fears and work through this new chapter that I have quite frankly been blessed with.

This combination has proved to show positive results and brand new on our beloved NHS.

I recently had a break from writing and work commitments as chronic pain took hold and robbed me of my attention span and ability to physically write, walk and carry out the simplest of daily tasks.

I am improving and responding to this new treatment everyday and sharing my vulnerability through this whole process has completely……. IMpowered me

Ending on a terrible joke because my sense of humour has also come back.

Ha. xxx

Bristol – May 2019

New Year, Present Me

Every year we kid ourselves, new year new me! 

That we are going to change dramatically with the turn of the new year, whether it be physical aesthetics or changing addictive habits.

How about our spiritual and mental wellbeing?

This is something that usually takes a back seat as we all continue to attempt to cope with modern-day stresses.

Jobs or occupations that consume every hour followed by financial woes and then there is social pressure to be accepted whatever the hell that means, going out, drinking, being seen, wearing the coolest fashion, having the most hygge home, owning a home, having a bigger home, going on lavish holidays, being feminist enough, having aggressive yet agreeable political views, virtue signalling, pretending you care, having children, wanting children, getting married, dating anyone and everyone and in the same breath we are all DISCONNECTED and DEPRESSED more than ever.

Exhausting just writing all this, I’m just pushing the modern thought process.

How about growth, naturally evolving constantly like a beautiful plant and appreciating the everyday miracles?

My serious life style changes took place half way through 2018 and felt scary yet liberating too, I felt true change within myself, slowly as I recovered from what I now acknowledge as near death.

There are no two ways about it, my body was trying to kill itself.

The second largest vein in the human body, superior vena cava moves blood from the upper half of the body to the heart and I had a ruddy tumour obstructing it, quietly, silently, it was literally killing me.

At times, as ridiculous as it sounds I experienced imposter syndrome as without medical intervention it would be impossible for me to be here today, I was DYING.

It was a gradual, heartbreaking yet a therapeutic process for me to recover from this and look forward, instead of my brain feedback looping the traumatic events of this year. 

For the first time I am here, now, aware, I am not consumed by the financial/survival pressures this modern world has put upon me, my family are safe and regardless of my terminal diagnosis so am I.

My message this year is to DO LESS, you can still be productive and purposeful.

Stress is pulling the trigger on so many modern diseases, causing inflammation, anxiety, IBS, gut and digestive health issues, cancer, heart disease/attacks, depression, strokes, addiction, we are all cells and our mind and body are totally one hundred percent connected.

Not for one moment am I blaming diseases on individuals, what I want to do is empower myself and hopefully others to overcome lifes hurdles, whatever they may be by taking ownership.

I am constantly asked about the process of being diagnosed and what the doctors say but rarely am I asked…… and then what happened after?

What’s life like LIVING with cancer everyday? 

I have never felt so at peace in my entire life, I have forgiven so many traumatic factors that may have contributed to my condition and I have got a handle of my PTSD and anxiety to the best of my ability. 

Most importantly my focus is on ensuring as I continue with my care giving nature, serving others that I explored through starting a restaurant and sharing my experiences, that I totally love myself and nourish my soul and body too.

I first ‘came out’ online in June this year (2018) after letting the words stage 4 cancer sink in for about 6 weeks.

My colourful and passionate world totally shattered, it cut me deep, like a bad relationship break up with myself. 

A mixture of messages poured in of love and also total and utter fear, people exclaimed ‘sorry for you’, ‘sorry YOU are going through this’, almost separating and isolating my condition from themselves.

The messages I was particularly drawn to, which brought my great comfort were of empathy, hope and encouragement, not empty pity.

I’m a warrior and not programmed to shy away and hide in the corner and those who knew me well enough cheered me on at my weakest.

I did not look like those white bald heads you usually see on the adverts, dying, I was far from that generic cancer picture.

I wanted to show myself and others that there are other stories to be had and that there is a life before and after a terminal diagnosis no matter what age or race you are.

This year I am patting myself on the back for the little miracles, health is stable, I am still that British Pakistani restaurateur, newly wed Wife, Sister, Daughter, adding writer/blogger to my credentials. 

I have loose goals for this year but nothing is set in stone because well life is not guaranteed to me or anybody so live passionately yet more peacefully now!

You do not have to be anything or anyone, you are perfect just the way you are and can damn well do what you want when you want. 

Happy New Year, heres to a gradually transformative 2019 for all xxx