Monday, September 28, 2015

Cake could kill me...

I woke up one spring morning this year to discover someone had sewn a new layer of fat around my middle.

Who did this I shouted at Mr H as I grasped the roll between my fists in horror…was it you?

He giggled, put his arms around me and said I still love you, every bit of you Mrs H

Some people have told me that the Tamoxifen I am on, which blocks oestrogen receptors in breast cancer cells, will make me fat but not wanting to take their word for it I hit Google Scholar and do a bit of research...

The clinical papers I come across indicate that whilst some women do gain weight on this anti cancer treatment, statistically it does not appear to be the cause!

I blame it on Menopause! Chemotherapy has kicked me straight into menopause. My oestrogen levels have dropped. Excess fat is now being stored in my abdomen instead of elsewhere!

I need to get to grips with this roll of fat. Make it disappear I tell Mr H...

I am putting myself at risk because this extra weight gain significantly increases the risk of the breast cancer coming back!

 So I book an appointment with a dietician…sitting in front of her I clasp my hands around my new friendly fat roll and mutter where has this come from? I need to get rid of it. Send it back.

We talk about my diet. Since my breast cancer diagnosis I eat a diet full of organic fruit and vegetables. I cook everything from scratch…have ditched processed food I tell her.

But I can't resist cake and chocolate I slip in with a secret smile…

Exercise is key I subsequently learn on a Living Well with Cancer Day. Exercise until you feel breathless the lady tells us. I put my hand up

...but I walk and swim like a snail so how can I get breathless doing that I titter. Try something new, walk up hills, find something more difficult to do she replies.

So I buy a cross trainer and yes ten minutes make me puff and pant…

Now I record everything I eat on the MyFitnessPal app, struggle to keep to under 1200 calories…and try to do 30 minutes of exercise every day…


But most importantly I try and say NO when cake is on offer and turn my head the other way when Mr H mentions chocolate…

It is tough but I remind myself that going through a second round of breast cancer treatment would be tougher!!

 If I was made of cake I would eat myself before someone else could - Emma Donoghue

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I awake to a dusting of dew on the grass, the breeze nips my skin when I step outside and trailing leaves have turned a rusty red.


A time to start school; buy new notebooks for another nursing course or University module.  A time for new shoes and work Conferences.

My mind drifts back to September 2007, the year before my brain tumour set me on a different path...

I frown as I bite the end of my pen trying to summarise two years of my Masters Degree research into ten PowerPoint slides. I am to present a paper on my study of The Role of Audit and Surveillance Nurses.

Almost done I say to Mr H, when he asks how much longer before we eat dinner. At the mention of food I smile as I have happily vomited my way through August, survived on toasted tea bread and water for weeks, the only things I can keep down.

Whatever I eat for dinner, I will feed to the garden outside within half an hour anyway I say!

In the evening I lie on the sofa and with a grin devour every snippet of information in the magazines on my lap. I have never seen you look so happy Mr H grins.

At night I hug my tummy.

But at work I feel unwell so book an appointment. My tummy is scanned. 

I watch frowning faces. Bloods are taken…

At home the phone rings.

The bloods show you will loose the babies the doctor gently says. I curl up in a ball and Mr H and I howl like wounded animals.

To keep our hurting bodies and minds busy, I board the train to the Conference in Brighton. Mr H sets off for a meeting in London

Nothing we can do but wait…

I present my paper to a packed room. But the bleeding has started. Later sweating and shaky I lie alone on the floor in my room. The room sways, my head is as light as dust.

I reach up for my mobile and ring the one friend who knows…

The sound of running feet. The door bursts open. She calls 999…

I wake in recovery after emergency surgery as a nurse brings Mr H through the door.

She lost a lot of blood the surgeon tells him.

Now September is about our babies.

Only we remember. 

A flower bloomed, already wilting, beginning its life with an early ending 
RJ. Gonzales Mundahlia