Those who have read my previous blog post will know that I am now awaiting to have a stem cell transplant (SCT)… this process kicked off on the 5th of November… remember remember the 5th of November!

It has now been over 72 hours since i had the chemotherapy drug ‘cyclophosphamide’, the first 24 hours were not as bad as I had expected .. but then yesterday I woke up feeling swollen and bruised, my face and upper body in particular felt battered. I have experienced this with chemotherapy drugs before.. Its just one of those things.. I know its just a matter of patience and soon ill feel better…

This may seem very random, but before i continue with this post I wanted to include some quick facts about stem cells and the transplant process so my upcoming posts make more sense… I really apologise if this feels like a biology lecture.. ill try to keep it short and simple..

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are cells which are made in the bone marrow, they are unique in that they have the ability to change and grow into many different types of specialised cells… such as cells for your liver, your skin.. you name it… but most importantly for patients like me, stem cells can develop into new healthy blood cells.

(Image found on google, link:

What is a Stem cell transplant? Is it the same as a Bone marrow transplant?

Both stem cell transplants and bone marrow transplants involve taking stem cells and transplanting them into a patient who is unwell like myself, to give their body a chance to make new healthy cells. The difference between the names is simply down to how these stem cells are collected… a stem cell transplant involves collecting the cells from the blood stream, whilst with a bone marrow transplant the cells are collected directly from the bone marrow (much less common these days).

What are the different types of stem cell/Bone marrow transplants?

There are two types:

  • Autologous (stem cells taken from the patient themselves) –> what im having
  • Allogenic (stem cells taken from a donor e.g. Sibling, relative or someone on the bone marrow register)

What type of transplant is chosen depends on multiple factors, in some cases the only option is to use cells from a donor (allogenic). In my case based on my age and my scans, my doctors advised that using my own cells has a lower risk of death (as using someone else’s cells means a higher chance of rejection and long term complications).

It probably sounds odd that my doctors would carry out a transplant using my own stem cells… well as stem cells haven’t yet divided or changed, they haven’t had the chance to become cancerous (cancer cells form when a healthy cell begins to divide abnormally).

My doctors want to give me high dose chemotherapy to kill off any lingering cancer cells, but in doing so my bone marrow and immune system will be damaged. By taking my stem cells and freezing them beforehand, the cells can then be transfused back into my blood after I have been given the high dose chemo… hopefully these stem cells will then move back into my bone marrow and start making new blood cells.

(Sorry about the biology lesson.. i promise its over!)

I may have oversimplified my explanation and made it sound like the process is a walk in the park.. i am at the early stages. I don’t want to overwhelm myself or you…

So.. back to the 5th of November… the day my transplant process started..

This day was all about receiving a chemotherapy drug called Cyclophosphamide.. the job of this chemo drug is to “mobilise” my stem cells.. making them move out of my bone marrow and into my bloodstream, making it easier to collect the stem cells. The actual stem cell collection happens about 11 days later.

The Cyclophosphamide chemo is given over 2 hours as a IV drip.. but for an hour before i was given “pre medications” including anti sickness medication and steroids also through a drip. After the chemotherapy was over, i was then given tablets (‘Mesna’) to take to protect my bladder from bleeding, which is the main worrying side effect from this chemotherapy. I had to also take these tablets along with all the usual cocktail of drugs when i went home. Thankfully so far – no bleeding from the bladder!

Having had so many treatments I have pretty much become accustomed to all the side effects and dramas that come as a by product.. but what will always be difficult for me to deal with his hair loss.. i had just managed to grow enough hair to cover my scalp.. and i had began using my baby hairbrush to smooth down those fine hairs.. i had began looking in the mirror again, seeing glimpses of my old self… and now here i am again… beginning to loose my hair again.. cyclophosphamide makes your hair fall out, and the upcoming high dose chemotherapies ill receive will make me go completely bald again… it probably sounds ridiculous as i talk about hair loss so much.. i know my hair will grow back.. but it just doesn’t get easier.. this constant unasked-for change.. its like your identity keeps changing.. don’t get me wrong i love myself, God has blessed me with enough confidence to accept myself how i am… but for me its no longer about looking feminine and having long hair to brush and style.. its just simply wanting consistency.. not dealing with this constant cycle of change.. first world problems? Or maybe cancer patient problems..

Quick mention and thank you to my amazing lymphoma pharmacist and psychotherapist who have both worked to help me deal with all the side effects of chemotherapy.. there was a point when i would feel sick just entering the hospital (anticipatory nausea)… their continuous support and care has really made a difference.. there are really many amazing unsung heroes in the NHS..

The day after receiving cyclophosphamide chemotherapy I started taking GCSF injections (I have talked about them before – basically they stimulate the bone marrow to produce more cells… in the case of having a transplant.. the more cells which are produced the more there are to collect and freeze!).

Today is day 3 of taking these injections.. i have had them before so know what to expect.. I usually take them for a maximum of 5 days and they gave me really bad pain in my back and chest bone.. for the transplant purpose i need to take these injections for at a higher dose for 10 consecutive days!! I have been warned that the pain will be significantly worse.. my nurse called today to check I wasn’t in too much pain.. so far so good… watch this space for updates!!!

So whats up next? I will be back in hospital next week to have my stem cells collected.. i hope to able to document it all and share my experience with you!

I’m sorry my last post was very rushed.. I didn’t get a chance to thank each and every person who still bothers to follow my journey.. I really appreciate all the support.. my story is in no way as dramatic as what other cancer patients go through.. my heart goes out to every person whose life has been affected by this unforgiving illness.. together we have to all stand up to cancer… lots of love and positive energy to you all xxxx

“Cancer changes people.. It sculpts us into someone who understands more deeply, hurts more often, appreciates more quickly, cries more easily, hopes more desperately, loves more openly, and lives more passionately”

A random quote I came across on google.. typical of when your bored and google everything including how to fix the unbroken kitchen sink. What really caught me in that quote is “hopes more desperately”.. and that is where i have found myself time and time again.. when you are so desperate you can easily go off character.. to others you are irrational… but to yourself your simply fighting for hope.. ill explain more…

Since my last post i have had two more chemo sessions and a further scan.. it has been a bit more long winded than wanted..

After my initial scan the plan was to go ahead with a stem cell transplant, but i was in disagreement with my doctors about what type of transplant to have (whether to use my own stem cells or use that of a donor).

Before anything could be set in stone i unfortunately began to break out in a itchy rash.. identical to the one i had previously when my cancer had come back. I was told i would need a repeat scan before a final decision can be made on my transplant. It was this flare up that pushed me into mentally spiralling out of control and finding myself in a whirlpool of distrust in conventional treatments..

The days leading up to my repeat scan result were very intense and difficult.. probably the most stressful time i have experienced.. more so than any time before.. i can imagine some people are thinking “if you have enough faith you shouldn’t be anxious or stressed”.. but it isn’t as simple as that.. however strong your faith is, however many prayers you read and however many people you have behind you.. there is always that simple human instinct for survival… an instinct which is driven by fear and desperation.. resulting in a concoction of stress and anxiety…

Its this desperation which at times pushed me out of my comfort zone, away from my firm medical beliefs and left me seriously considering alternative medicinal options including the use of cannabinoids and travelling abroad to seek the help of a healer.. i will delve deeper into this controversial topic in a separate post. Thankfully i didn’t need to follow through with any of these alternative options… all thanks to God.. God is love.. God can make any difficult situation seem so much more bearable..

After having more chemo my scan was repeated and finally there is now plan in place, i will still go ahead with the stem cell transplant and more importantly I am now in agreement with my doctors.. hallelujah!

I have always written honestly… i’m not one to shy away from being critical when I have had a bad experience. But I have to say the medical team who have been looking after me have been really great. Despite not agreeing with their plan initially, I was given the opportunity to discuss my ideas and concerns and reach a decision after feeling I am fully informed.

I captured the picture below when one of my doctors was explaining the various risks depending on the type of transplant. I have always been convinced that if i was to have a transplant i would use cells from a donor as this would give me a new immune system. However what my doctors tried to explain to me was that using the cells of a donor comes with a death risk of up to 25%.. much higher than the 1% risk of death using my own cells..

The plan going forward is to have a stem cell transplant.. using my own stem cells.. known as an “autologous stem cell transplant”.. i am aware that most readers wont know what that is or what it involves.. i plan to document my transplant journey in depth and explain all this.

Today i am back in hospital.. waiting to have a new chemotherapy drug ‘cyclophosphamide’… this will kick start my stem cell transplant journey which will take two months from start to finish. I will break up the different stages of my transplant journey into separate posts so its clearer.

Please pray for me that today goes well.. i am now strapped to the drips.. and can only hope for the best.

Lots of love and positive energy to everyone xxxx

Bald is Beautiful

Bald is Beautiful

Today marks one month since i went completely bald, something i havnt really discussed in depth in any of my posts.

When i was diagnosed with cancer for the first time and despite the many chemo sessions i had, i never shaved my hair. I let my hair naturally fall out, my hair loss was very gradual spread out across my treatment. I was always against shaving as for me it was important to hold onto every last strand of hair – i was determined to beat chemotherapy and retain some hair – even if its just one hair strand. By the end of the chemotherapy i was left with few hairs very thinned out and patches of bald.. for me that was a triumph.. I hadn’t lost all my hair.. when my hair began to grow out it was uneven and many told me to trim my hair so it looks neater.. but i was proud of those longer pieces of hair which had defied the toxicity of chemo drugs and survived.. 

My experience with hair loss first time round was different to that which I experienced this time round.. very different.. for the first two weeks after my first round of chemotherapy i had very little hair loss.. at one point i even thought that i will never loose all my hair.. i would tell my nurses and doctors that i still have a full head of hair.. even though i was told several times my hair will eventually all fall out, inside me i chose to believe otherwise – i was in complete denial!

By week three my hair began to fall out more.. i would leave a trail of hair everywhere.. but it still was quite gentle.. then i began to develop an extremely sore scalp, it felt like someone had got a sharp knife and made many cuts across my scalp.. it was very painful touching my head and even moving my hair about.. putting my head down on the pillow at night was also uncomfortable.. a day or so after my scalp became painful i noticed i was loosing more hair.. but i still had a full head of hair.. then one day something I really never ever ever expected in my wildest dream happened.. i went to sleep one night with a full head of hair.. and i woke up the next morning looking like a different person.. my pillow was full of hair.. it literally looked like i had a furry animal on my pillow.. but even at that point I hadn’t fully realised what had happened.. it wasn’t until i went downstairs and saw my mum gasp did it hit me that something was different.. looking in the mirror i saw that i had completely lost the hair at the back or my head.. i looked like a guy with a funky hairstyle.. the back of my head bald with a turf of hair left at the front of my head… i looked ridiculous.. i had lost the bulk of my hair.. i immediately took photos to share with my best friends.. i remember telling them how i had gone to sleep as one person and woken up as another..

That day what was left of my hair began to fall out in chunks.. i had never ever planned to shave my hair.. again i was determined to hold onto every last hair.. but seeing large chunks of hair fall everywhere was disgusting and I decided i would finally shave.. I messaged two of my friends and told them i would shave that upcoming weekend with them present (they were by my side when i cut my hair after my first diagnosis of cancer)… however by the evening of that same day i had lost so much hair I decided i wasnt going to wait till the weekend… so my fiancé got his razor, and in the middle of my parents living room (newspapers beneath me), i sat cross legged and let him shave off what hair remained.. my mum and sister Vian watching over me.. when he was done i got up and looked at myself in the mirror.. for the first time i saw myself bald.. I thought i would cry and be emotional.. instead i smiled.. i smiled because i felt a strength within me.. they say a girls crown is her hair.. but with or without hair i will always wear a crown of hope and positivity of my head.. and that is priceless…

Being bald is beautiful.. its beautiful because looking at myself in the mirror i see myself fully stripped back of anything that may beautify me externally.. this is me raw.. in a day and age where we are pressured to live a instagram picture perfect life i stand boldly bald and confident.. only i will determine what beautiful is.. i have always been very confident and never felt self conscious even at the peak of my health.. but this has made my confidence grow more.. my looks will never defy who i am.. i do not need to hide behind layers of makeup and a wig of hair to be beautiful.. not to say there is anything wrong with wearing makeup or a wig (when the occasion calls for it)… i am determined to defy that mould which society expects us to fit into.. i am who i am.. with or without hair.. confident and positive.. i am beautiful i tell my reflection in the mirror.. every single human is beautiful.. colour, size and shape doesnt matter.. let your inner beauty shine through.. don’t let anything put you down.. be you.. because you are beautiful!

I am bald.. I am beautiful..

Enough hair talk.. or no hair talk.. before i go a quick health update.. i have been a bit poorly over the last few days with a cold and sore throat.. thankfully i am now on the mend.. i also had my PET scan this week.. now it is just a waiting game.. i nervously wait for that life changing news of whether my cancer is responding to treatment.. i am trying my best not to worry to much as it is all beyond my control.. i leave my fate in the hands of God and just pray for some much needed good news!

Always ending on a positive note and sharing the love of those amazing people in my life whom i am blessed with…

Layla.. thank you so so much from the bottom of my heart for this lovely surprise.. what a interesting read.. i pretty much finished it within a hour.. such a thoughtful gift from a beautiful soul.. love you so much and wish i could give you a massive hug xxxx

My soul mate and better half was away for about two weeks and surprised me with this.. blessed to have you in my life.. my everything xxxx

Habibti Sarah D one of my lil sisters loyal and beautiful friends.. thank you so much for all the support and love.. your gifts which are on point!!! You are so cute!! Love you to bits xxxx

My beautiful cousin Sora.. thank you for getting me these individually wrapped luxury dates from Dubai.. exactly what i wanted! Love you so much!!!! XxxX

My amazing friends Howra and Zainab… I can’t thank you enough for your continuous support and love.. for the beautiful flowers (which i’m kind of obsessed with – ive taken so many photos of them in evert angle lol) and your tasty treats.. but most importantly for being such loyal and caring friends.. I appreciate your visits and cant thank you enough… thank you for being you.. for all the laughter and great time.. i love you both so so much xxxx

Marzena… some times in life we cross paths with people for a good reason.. i am so thankful and lucky to have found such a close friend in you.. you are one of the most genuine souls i have ever met.. your friendship is a blessing.. thank you for this beautiful gift – great minds think alike.. i have been using this product for a while and i am totally obsessed! My refill was just about to finish.. this cane at a perfect time! thank you!!!! Love you lots xxxx

Last but not least… Big thank you Amna for everything.. i dont know how to even describe what you mean to me.. i love you so so much, thank you for everything.. you are really one of a kind.. thank you for today.. was so lovely having you over it made my day! It is so rare to find someone like you who is so stunningly beautiful on the outside and inside.. love u tons.. and thank you for the chocolates xxxxx

Lots of love and positive energy for everyone.. i pray the next time i write a post i have some positive new to share xxxx

Day 8 – feeling good

I am glad to say I am feeling much better!!  My mouth is no longer sore and I am eating and drinking as normal!! I’ve also got my voice back so the house is louder again.. 

I am so thankful, i never realised how debilitating it can be to lose the ability to talk and eat due to the pain.. I am so thankful to be able to drink a cup of water without fighting back tears of pain..

At the back of my mind i am fearful that my sore mouth will return after my next session of chemotherapy (next week), but i’m trying my best not to think of it and enjoy each day as it comes..

Today i had an appointment at the hospital (Haematology day care) for some blood tests and a check up.. 

I spent about an hour waiting to be seen, i was the only young patient amongst quite a few elderly patients.. however i felt a sense of belonging, i was sat there clutching my ‘chemotherapy book’ like all the other patients.. i felt i was part of the ‘chemotherapy club’.. I could see a few looks of sympathy but one friendly gentleman gave me a warm smile and nod which made me feel better..

I first had my blood tests done and a few checks.. Thankfully my blood tests were all reassuring but my nurse was concerned as my heart rate was high and i had mentioned i’d had chest tightness and palpitations.. big mistake!!!! This meant i had to wait to be seen by the haematologist.. and i have no patience!! So back i went to the waiting room where that friendly elderly gentleman was still sat.. He was fed up of waiting and started to chat.. He told me one thing which i took home with me.. “As a patient you have to learn to be patient”..  however obvious and simple his words are they are true.. Everything about illness requires patience!

So after another half hour of waiting i had an ECG which was reassuring.. I was then seen by the haematologist.. Long story cut short.. They will see how my next chemo goes next week and then decide if i need more heart tests.. For now i still have a heart and it’s beating so i’m grateful!

Today has been great! I went out with my fiance and niece to the park across our road for some fresh air..

Since i have fallen ill i’ve learnt to appreciate the simple blessings of life.. Having enough energy to walk in the park and smell the freshly cut grass and feel the warm breeze brush against my face.. that sense of normality..

Today is a good day.. Tomorrow will be even better..

Anyway thats some positivity from my life to yours..

I got this in the post from one of my close friends.. She is just so amazing!!! I am thankful for the friends and family who make my days so much brighter.. 


Sending you all love and positive thoughts..

Day 6 – A mouthful of pain

“I vow to never underestimate a patients pain..”

As a doctor i raise my hand and admit that in the past i have been guilty of  underestimating a patients symptoms.. I am sure many of my colleagues would say they are guilty of this too.. 

Pain is very subjective.. What one person experiences may not be the same as another.. No one should be judged.. No one should suffer..

Yesterday was a tough day.. Last night was awful.. And today is no better.. 

I am finding it really hard to deal with the amount of pain i am in, my lips, mouth and throat are so sore its agonising.. If your wondering why i have a sore mouth its because one of the possible side effects of chemotherapy is inflammation of the lining of your mouth.. And i think i have it pretty bad..

We went out to dinner for fathers day yesterday.. a brave move going out at a busy time (i can picture my doctors shaking their heads at me).. Unfortunately i didn’t enjoy myself one bit as i was so miserable beacause of the pain.. I think i would have done everyone a favour if i’d kept myself at home..

Last night i couldn’t sleep as the pain was so strong it kept me up.. I didn’t know how i would ‘keep going’ till the morning.. I wished i had a strong tranquilizer to knock me out and give me a few minutes of rest..

I miss being able to drink a simple cup of water without the sensation of razor blades cutting my mouth and throat.. Moving my jaw to talk and smile is enough to cause excruciating pain.. I would never ever wish this upon anyone..

I am thankful to everyone who messaged with useful tips to combat my sore mouth.. I am trying EVERYTHING.. No holding back.. 

So here is a sneak peak into my current “mouthcare regime” (this sounds so boring already..)

I start my day by brushing my teeth with a gentle toothpaste and a kids toothbrush!! Yes.. its soft and gentle and i can just about tolerate it.. There are so many kids toothbrushes on the market how do you choose?? I opted for the one that looked most fun.. well i might aswell make the most of being a kid..

Next.. I use Corsodyl alcohol free mouthwash.. And apply a lip balm as my lips are awful..

During the day i gargle with Difflam (its a numbing oral rinse).. This worked the first few times but now using it makes no difference..

I tried ‘Anbesol’ a gel which has an anaesthetic in it.. it just didnt work at all for me, if anything made things worse!

What has surprisingly been useful is gargling with olive/sesame oil as recommended by an amazing aunt.. However im left with a terrible taste in my mouth which makes me feel nauseous.. But trust me i would pick nausea over pain anyday..

Eating is a mission, but i just have to bite the bullet and deal with the pain or ill collapse.. Im mixing yoghurt with my food and mashing it up so its soft and can be swallowed without chewing! For breakfast today i had biscuits dipped in tea till they were soft enough.. Imagine baby food.. Thats my current diet..

I am trying to keep my energy levels up by drinking smoothies.. But even with the use of a straw its so painful i am getting so fed up and frustrated!!

Banana, kiwi, pears and apple smoothie:

Melon and rosewater:

Today i plan to survive another day.. I know things will get better.. If the pain doesnt improve my determination to keep moving forward will!

Okay enough talk about my sore mouth as it is boring me.. I will get over it.. Moving on..

Today i received the cutest cards by post from my cousins daughters.. They live all the way in California.. How cute???? Now that cheers even the most miserable soul.. Thank you sally and mimi.. 

I also got these beautiful flowers from my inlaws.. My second family who live all the way in Kuwait.. Love them!! Thank you!!!

So what’s next.. I plan to survive another day.. I can’t wait to be pain free and enjoy a meal.. 

Day 4 – day of ups and downs

Today is day 4 following the start of my chemotherapy and lets just say its not been a smooth ride..

So todays events began at 3am when i was woken up by the thudding noise of my neice who was ‘sleep running’ yes.. Im serious.. If you thought sleep walking is strange let me introduce you to sleep running.. We live in a three floor house (we have a loft conversion where my neice and sister reside).. My niece has a unique history of sleep walking/running..  Now to be fair its not a regular habit.. If anything it rarely happens.. But early hours of the morning she jumped out of bed and sprinted down the stairs 2 steps at a time, thud thud thud… It was literally like she was running away from someone… My mum is a light sleeper like myself so she heard her and managed to stop her from getting all the way down to the ground floor.. By this point i was wide awake staring at a rather amusing scenario.. My mum trying to wake little Amira up, and in return my niece with her eyes closed shouting “i need to watch the video” (what video? I have no idea.. Children these days!).. My mum eventually won the battle and successfully managed to get Amira back to her room and into her bed.. Off they all went to sleep.. And there i was left with a total inability to fall asleep.. So no real sleep.. Pure exhaustion..

The day then got better.. Despite being really tired and wearing a bag of black under my eyes i managed to go out with my family and a close friend.. We went to a ‘beauty warehouse’ owned by the family of my sisters best friend.. They basically supply shops with beauty products and hair pieces including wigs!!!

Welcome to ‘Wig heaven’:

So much fun!!!

After an hour and a half of making our way through multiple aisles stocked up with wigs we settled on one (not pictured).. Conveniently a hairdresser was there for a business meeting and she kindly gave me some tips about wigs and sorted the wig out for me!!! So sweet of her!!

My friend/my sisters best friend was also there.. Her and her mum are just the nicest people ever.. They let me try on a few wigs so i make the right choice.. Aswell as giving me lots of love and hugs they refused to let me pay for them!!!! So embarassing! Honestly some people are just so nice words cant describe them! Off i went home.. Proudly holding my new ‘temporary wig’ until my handmade one is ready..

The day was just so perfect.. Nothing could go wrong.. 


A few hours later whilst at home.. Everything began to go down hill.. Health wise.. Symptom wise..

I was convinced i was going to have a smooth journey  with my chemotherapy.. No problems.. No pain.. No distress..

Well how naive was i?

Unfortunately i’m not feeling great at all.. I feel so weak and washed out (partly because of lack of sleep) but also i have awful tummy cramps.. But worst of all.. I have the sorest mouth.. I am in so much pain just trying to open or move my mouth.. I feel like my mouth is full of ulcers (even though its not).. I just cannot describe to you how painful my mouth feels.. Its like i’ve gargled in acid and the inner lining of my mouth has been burnt.. 

Yes i know i am a doctor.. But i am also a strong believer in getting advice from people who have suffered similar symptoms.. So i referred to ‘Sir Google’ for some much needed advice.. There are excellent forums with lots of advice.. So im trying to keep my mouth moist, iv tried to eat pineapples (which apparently help) and my family have gone to get me ‘alcohol free mouthwash'(its meant to be less irritable)…

Writing this blog is a great distraction from my pains.. But i know as soon as i put my phone down i will be faced with reality..

Who said chemotherapy is easy?

It’s only day 5.. 

Tummy cramps and a sore mouth are just the start.. I just wonder whats going to creep up next..

I just hope something works.. A sore mouth means talking is painful.. And eating is agonising..

Just makes you think.. We really don’t appreciate the small things we have.. The ability to eat and talk pain free..

Well.. Lets not be so negative.. It could always be worse.. Tomorrow is another day.. I’m going into hospital next week for a check up including blood tests to check my immunity.. It’s a comfort knowing that help is out there.. I am not alone..

It will get better..

Sending you all postive energy and a smile from a very sore mouth

First day of chemotherapy

Yesterday was my first chemotherapy session.. It wasnt that bad!! I’m still alive and i am so happy.. I am finally receiving  treatment.. I am on the road to getting better.. I will beat cancer!!!

In total it lasted just over four hours.. before starting the chemotherapy i had a drip which had steroids and anti-sickness medication to help me tolerate the treatment better..

I had four chemotherapy drugs each one was run separetly and i was closely monitored for any serious reactions (as it was my first time being intoxicated with these drugs!).

The chemotherapy drips were always covered by a black bag.. I forgot to ask why.. But will ask next time.. It could be that the medication reacts with light?

The first three were okay.. I actually didn’t feel much.. However the fourth drug (Vinblastine) stung.. It felt like acid was running in my veins but i had a lot of distraction from my family which helped me get through it! One of the drugs is orange in colour.. Looking at it go through my vein made me think “seriously woman what are you letting into your body”.. It just looks toxic! I think i preferred the chemo drug which stung over the orange one..

Four hours was a long time to kill.. Other than innocently spying/eavesdropping (which ever sounds better!)  on other patients around me, i found it hard to focus on anything.. I’m quite a fidgety person.. As a doctor i just can’t help speculating what cancers the patients around me have.. You can tell everyone is at a different stage in their treatment.. I was the “newbie” who had broken the rule of ‘one visitor per patient’ and got three much to everyones horror (mum, fiance and younger sister).. I guess its a arab thing.. We are definitely that annoying family who just cant follow simple rules! It takes me back to when my dad was hospitalised after his road traffic accident in 2013.. He was in there for months.. and our family and friends took over the ward.. it was so embarassing.. The visitors room became our family living room.. I can swear the team looking after him were so glad when he was discharged.. As a doctor i have met such families and friends.. lets be honest they are never anyones favourite! But it’s hard as a healthcare proffessional, patient and a relative.. Healthcare proffessionals just want to get on with their job and they have to apply the same rules to everyone, relatives are super anxious and feel obliged to be by their loved ones bedside, and patients feel guilty because they are the cause of all this!

Anyway.. Back to the patients around me.. You can tell the experts who know where everything is and have come fully prepared with ipads/laptops and headphones, cleverly passing time by watching a movie.. Then you have the ones who are super anxious, holding the hands of their loved ones with their eyes closed.. it makes you wander if they have had a bad experience with chemo.. we are all different individuals, we all share one thing.. We have cancer and are in need of toxic chemotherapy!

Enough waffling.. Me and my sister decided to try and be artistic so we started colouring in this book.. Didn’t last long.. But somehow time passed! 

After my chemotherapy finished i got to go home! I was sent home with a goody bag.. Lots more medication.. My respect for patients just grows every day.. How do they manage so many tablets!! I can barely remember to do simple things! Some of these tablets i take more than once a day.. 

And.. I was given a chemotherapy book.. I am a proper patient check me out! I have to carry this with me to appointments..

When i got home i felt absolutely fine.. To begin with.. about an hour or so later i had some slight nausea and felt drained like someone had sucked the life out of me.. So i slept and slept and slept..

Today i have been fine.. I even went out for a bit! 

However i have been warned that the effects of chemotherpay kick in day 7-10.. So thats in five days time.. I am staying positive.. Okay enough chemo talk.. Time for some much needed rest..

But first:

I can not thank everyone for all the support i have received.. I am so touched..

Here are some of the flowers i received: 

PET scan result..

Not long left till i leave to go to the hospital for my first chemotherapy session.. However i had to share this first..

I just recieved a phone call from my consultant who gave me the result of my PET scan!! It was discussed in a meeting yesterday and they can now confirm my staging has not changed.. I am still a stage 2B.. The PET scan did not show any evidence of cancer below my diaphragm.. All the cancer in my lymph nodes are above my diaphragm.. My cancer is in the lymph nodes of my neck, both breasts, under my armpits, around my heart and lung.. Even though the disease above my diaphragm is “extensive” my staging does not change which is excellent news!!!!!

I am so happy.. Perfect timing for a boost of positivity before going into hospital today!

My PET scan will be repeated in 2-3 months to see if the disease has responded to the chemotherapy, if its the same or if its spread further.. Till then i will focus on my chemotherapy..

Before i head off to get ready i had to post this adorable gift i got in the post from one of my closest friends.. I feel like a child in a candy shop!

Preparing for the ‘Big day’

I’d like to say the ‘big day’ is my wedding.. But unfortunately no.. Thats out the window.. Well for a year at least..

My new ‘big day’ is the first day of starting my treatment.. My chemotherapy! I never imagined there would be a day when i would be telling people about how excited i am at starting chemotherapy.. But when your faced with dealing with my symptoms and having rough days, just the idea of recieving a treatment that will take my symptoms and maybe worries away is appealing..

My chemotherapy is starting in 2 days time!!! 

Today i went into hospital for some blood tests to check all is well before i start my chemotherapy.. 

I also had an injection called Zoladex.. This is to help protect my ovaries whilst i am on chemotherapy.. Oh my lord the needle used to give this injection is huge.. I was so shocked.. Its wide and long.. Next time i will take a picture to show you.. I’ll be having this injection monthly! 

Whilst on the topic of fertility.. This weekend I completed my ‘pre chemotherapy fertility preservation’.. After 2 weeks of injecting myself daily and having a minor procedure I can thankfully say that is now out of the way.. It was quite an exhausting day yesterday which has left me run down and therefore I choose not to focus on it..

Now back to the real talk!! I cant believe I am a hand stretch away from starting my treatment.. I have mixed feelings.. Part of me is looking forward to the road of getting well.. but I am so nervous and anxious about what comes with the chemotherapy.. What if I begin to feel more sick than I already am.. At least I can walk about now.. I’m dreading the thought of nausea and vomiting.. Now I know I should be thinking positively but I am well aware that chemotherapy is not pleasant.. What if it doesnt work.. 

My fiance has flown in to be by me for my chemotherapy so thats made me massively happy! My chemo buddy.. I don’t know what I would do without him as well as my family.. Everything is so much easier when you have people around you to support you.. It takes the edge off

As there are quite a few restrictions on what I can do and eat whilst on chemo I’ve decided to try and make the most of these last few days, all within the limit of my capability.. I don’t have half the energy I had before so I can only go out locally.. So I went on a last pre-chemo date with my fiance.. We traded in our preferred high end Indian Restaurant “Veeraswamy” in Mayfair for a local burger shop “Two Buns” in Harrow.. this allowed us to stay close to home and i could wear my comfy flats rather than my tight fitting stiletto Louboutins! We then headed to Vue in Harrow to watch a movie “Me before you” – loved loved the movie.. Shed a few tears whilst watching.. Don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but its a must watch! Anyway, by the time the movie ended I was totally worn out, so we headed home and I dived into bed to sleep off my exhaustion.. Not my ideal idea of a date.. But I am thankful I was able to get out!

That’s probably the last time i eat a butger and have fries for months.. I am glad I made the most of it!

Okay.. So let the countdown begin.. Less than 48 hours till chemo starts.. I’ll tell you whats its like.. Fingers crossed..

I received the most cutest gift ever from some very special people.. They got me a “rescue pack” to help me get through my chemotherapy journey.. Honestly the most thoughtful gift ever.. I love every part of it.. I am forever thankful for the love and support they have shown me! 

Last but not least.. Something from the cancer to do list book..