Sunday, 1 October 2017

Week 15 of cancer treatment

I've been feeling very emotional today.  I've no idea why.  I've been close to tears and could cry at the drop of a hat.  On the other hand, I feel quite anxious and aggressive, like I want to fight someone.  I reckon it's the drugs but I haven't felt like this before on chemo so perhaps it's nothing to do with them.

I've had my second dose of Paclitaxel this week.  The side effects (except possibly those described above) have not been that noticeable. I've almost felt human.  I still have some effects from the previous drug, for example I've had sheets of skin peeling off from the soles of my feet, gained a few black toenails, and many of my fingernails are now either badly ridged or are lifting off the nail bed.  At least I won't need make up for Halloween.

I've also been able to inject the white blood cell stimulant over two consecutive days by myself.  I've had a few aches and pains as a result (quite common apparently) but generally I've not felt too bad.  It's such a relief to not feel crap all the time.

Radiotherapy - clinical trial dilemma

When I went to see my oncologist, she invited me to take part in a clinical trial for radiotherapy called FAST-Forward.  I meet the criteria apparently.  

The current regime for breast cancer is daily radiotherapy for three weeks (except weekends).  The trial is to test whether this can be reduced to five days.  I've been given a patient sheet about the trial, which includes information about known pros and cons, and have access to a researcher to ask questions before taking a decision.  

When I started off on my cancer journey I secretly wanted the opportunity to take part in a trial.  However I was led to believe by someone I met that if you took part in a trial it was because nothing else had worked.  Not so, apparently!

I really think trials are important but my son doesn't want me to do it.  He wants to be sure that I get the best chance of success and that would be through sticking to the current protocol.  I have no idea what to do.  If women hadn't volunteered for trials in the past I probably wouldn't be lucky enough to get my current treatment regime.  

I have my radiotherapy planning appointment this week (on my bloody birthday too!) and I'm going to grill the research team about what taking part might mean for me.

Macmillan Coffee Morning

The Move More group I belong to held a coffee morning last week as part of Macmillan's 'World's Biggest Coffee Morning' to raise funds.  I even made a simple banana cake for it and helped out as a volunteer. 

The amount of goodies on offer that were made/donated/bought was incredible.  I couldn't resist some of the cakes myself, particularly the rainbow cake in the picture below.  I reckon if cancer doesn't kill me, diabetes might.

We did brilliantly and raised over £800 in the space of an hour and a half.   We also had great fun doing it as well.

Some of the yummy cakes

Me (right) and my friend Sharon (aka the 'Kaz n Shaz comedy duo' 😄)

Onwards and upwards!


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  1. Hi Karen, Being asked to take part in a trial must be really difficult cos of the uncertainty and maybe this is why your feeling so anxious. Hope you get enough information to help you make up your mind and don't forget you can say no. Good luck.x

    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for your comment. It is a difficult decision, but I've decided to go for it. My next blog will explain more! Hope things are OK with you xx

    2. Hi Karen I'm fine start my RT next week and having 15 sessions. Also on letrozole. Glad you made a decision and at least you know you will get good aftercare. Take it easyxxx

  2. Good to see you're feeling more 'human' on this regime, Karen! You're doing great, given what your body is going through. Regards the trial, only you can make the final decision. It seems like a noble thing to do and I'm pretty sure most cancer patients like the idea of taking part, but you've got to take so much into consideration before you make up your mind. It's not an easy decision, especially if family are not keen!

    I'm sure you'll make the right decision for you and your family. Keep the blogs coming!! xx

    1. Hi Maureen, thanks for your comment. I've made a decision and I'm going for it. My next blog will explain more! Love xxx

  3. Hello Karen
    How are you? Long time since we spoke, it's Roy from the top of the mountain, remember? I believe you're ok? ish? I'm doing ok, just muddling along. I was speaking with Eimear today, asking about you. I hear the news isn't good for Sharon? I'm so sorry to hear that, is there any possibility that she'll improve? I hope so.
    Well, drop me an email if you want. I put my email address into the box at the top of the page.
    Take care Karen
    Roy x


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