Vineyards Half Marathon and a catch up….

Well its be a little while since I last blogged.

A lot has happened, we completed the Relay for Life which was the most epic experience I have been through. Despite the shit weather that started the day off, the wind died and the sunset was just brilliant. Our team did such an amazing job and we raised over $5,500, a 10th of the total raised for the Cancer Society.

The candlelit ceremony was very moving, I got to light one of the candles and the lap of silence with all the people attending was just something you have to be there to feel. I felt very honored to be a part of it and the team we had was just so much fun and we really all had a great time, despite some emotional moments.

I’ve also been to Brisbane. Never actually been into Australia and I loved it! The Southbank in Brisbane where we stayed was epic and the walks along the river were great! We drove 40min south of the Gold Coast to stay with family friends. Thank you Briggie and Ryan for having us and showing us the sights! Despite getting sick on the Saturday the trip was a real success.

Last week I celebrated my birthday. Since I won’t be getting all of them I made it a week long a fair. A couple of brunches and a delicious roast dinner went down a treat! Thank you to my bestie Nicole for the most epic cake I have ever gotten! It was incredible. Thank you to the ladies who brunched with me and for all the flowers and pressies on the day. I felt very lucky, grateful and thankful for all the people I have and who have come into my life since I moved down to Christchurch last September.

I love and appreciate everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. You are all amazing humans and I feel lucky to have you around and be apart of your lives.

The biggest thing for my birthday was the weekend, going to Blenheim for the Vineyards half marathon that supports Bowel Cancer New Zealand. This organisation is totally run on donations so events like these are so important not only to raise money for a cancer that is the second biggest killer in New Zealand, but to also raise awareness for such an important cause.

I managed to raise nearly $1200, which was just amazing and so appreciated. If anyone still wants to donate to this awesome cause please clink the link below. Know matter how small every bit counts and goes to this great organisation: https://saintclairevineyardhalfmarathon2019.everydayhero.com/nz/cancer-can-trigirl/wizard/beat-bowel-cancer-aotearoa/page_created#

We drove up on the Friday and stopped at all the sights along the way. I haven’t done that drive for over 10 years all changes is just incredible.

We arrived to a beautiful afternoon to a lovely Airbnb which had a spa (very grateful to have post run that’s for sure!).

Walked down to the convention center to get our race packs. The singlet I received from Bowel Cancer is awesome and it was so lovely to put more faces to names. I am very grateful to you all.

It was also great to catch up with the Pure Nutrition team (their super berry drink was my saving grace at the aid stations and was definitely a big part of getting me through that run in such good condition).

A yummy homemade lasagna for dinner and a semi early night before race day.

Woke up to the most beautiful day for a run!

Wow what a location and setting, The atmosphere and the organisation of this event was next level. It was so so well run. It was something you can’t experience unless you take part in such an event. We went through 21 private properties and vineyards.

Cameron started at 9am and man did he put in an epic effort! Despite going the wrong way he still managed 1hr 31mins! Such a machine and is definitely on track for the Christchurch marathon come Queens Birthday weekend at the beginning of June.

John, my partner in crime and my hand break kept me in check and made sure I got through the event in one piece and able to pull up in great condition to still get through chemo Monday.

I am so so happy to say I chatted the whole way round with lots of smiles and even better I was able to run the whole way which after being away and so sick for 6 weeks I never thought possible. We did the run in 2hrs 20min. I was hoping for a sub 2hr 30min but realistically I was thinking 3hrs would be more my pace.

Josie was an absolute trooper and despite hating running managed to finish the event in 2hrs 55min!!!!!

The sun shone the whole way and the whole day was just such an amazing experience. I am so happy it was on my bucket list and something I got to do. The only negative would be I would have loved, loved, loved a medal instead of the bottle of wine for finishing as its something you could keep forever and in my situation things like that are very important.

Post event we just chilled out in the chill out zone and I ate ice cream while the boys had hot dogs.

Getting home we were all straight in the spa…….and I ended up in the pool… 14 degrees…..don’t think Ill be forgetting that anytime soon Cameron Mill!!!

Out for an early tea as we were all so tired after such a big day and after being on such a high.

I can not believe how well we all pulled up ! None of us were sore! We went for a lovely Mothers Day brunch before heading home.

The weekend was such a success and I was on such a high from it all the drive home I really struggled with.

The reality of having to go into chemo the next day hit me like a ton of bricks. I just feel so mentally and physically drained after 18 months of pretty much doing chemo every 2 weeks. I am tired. I a.m t.i.r.e.d.

It is really, really starting to take its toll. I didn’t want to do the last round and I got through it but getting through this round has been very tough. Had a complete melt down Sunday evening as I have just had enough of it all.

After talking to my nurse at chemo she said the biggest benefit is in the first 5/6 rounds and I am now on my 11th of this combo of drugs. My oncologist was happy for me to actually miss this and the last round anyway.

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I think deep down I have given it everything I’ve got and I don’t think I will be doing the last round.

It is after all only palliative chemo and I think its time to take on a few more adventures and trips while I am still well and able enough too. My 4-24 month diagnosis and I am still living after the 6 month mark which is just amazing.

I am ready to feel well and get on with life that doesn’t revolve around chemo and feeling sick for 7-10 days at a time. Here’s to living without constant hospital appointments and to life!

Until next too and to living life,

Britt xxx

PS Bowel Cancer NZ is running the ‘Move your butt’ campaign to get you moving for the month of June, deltails in the link below:

Move Your Butt

 

 

Time off…..

Itss been a minute since I wrote a blog on here!

Not sure how I’m going to catch you up but lets see how I go…..

Due to the awful shootings in Christchurch the Relay for Life was postponed until this weekend coming (April the 6th). After it had occurred there was such a weird eerie feeling around the city. We still had a team gathering on the Saturday with most of the team to come together and show solidarity and team spirit (at this time it was unknown if the Relay for Life was even going to be run this year but we are so grateful that they were able to find another date to run it on. There was a lot of hard work put into the team and all the money raised its great we can still take part and make this event and milestone plus a buck list item happen!)

It was amazing how everyone has come together as a community, city and New Zealand as one. We are much stronger than someone who has other agendas for our country.

Any way…

The following week i was struggling majorly with fatigue, it was a ‘good week’ and I couldn’t even drive or get to the supermarket or clean or make myself proper meals. I was tired, but beyond what tired should ever feel like. It was pure exhaustion to the point that getting out of bed was a mission in itself let alone trying to shower and be present in a day.

Chemo was starting to affect my quality of life and I have always said and wanted quality over quantity. Between myself and my oncologist we decided I would take a few weeks off chemo to regain some kind of strength and normality back into my life.

With the City to Surf that weekend I was only to happy to give chemo a miss the Monday after.

Oh the City to Surf! Another bucket list event I had on the cards. 14km. After having such a rough week I was really doubting whether I would be able to run (or walk) it at all.

I was gotten up and we got there and through it though!

Thank you so so much to Cameron who stayed by my side encouraged me when I needed it most and got me water along the way so I wouldn’t have to stop and try and get going again. Your kindness, support and love is beyond anything I can put into words, but I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do for me. How much you help me and get me going so I can achieve all these goals and bucket list craziness means the absolute world to me and I don’t know I could get through all this without you.

A big thanks to John too who ran beside me the whole way and walked when I needed and got going again when I got my HR under control. Constantly checking how I was and if I needed to slow it down or take it easier. You are a superstar and I’m so looking forward to and honored that we will be running side by side during the St Claire’s half marathon on the 11th of May.

Without you boys I would never have made it. A time of 1hr 35min not what I was after but the fact I managed to do it after the week I had. I guess I just need to roll with it and be happy with my time!

It was a real family affair, massive well done to Josie who did the run 15mins quicker than she was hoping for and running the whole way, as much as I may inspire you , you inspire me greatly too. Getting back into running to take part and come along all my crazy adventures and taking on all my bucket list events with me and to be apart of it meant the world to me.

Lovely brunch after to round off an awesome day!

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Unfortunately I really struggled the week after with fatigue and had got black toenails and injected big toes which I am on antibiotics and cream for to hopefully get them better for this weeks big event!

Among over things I had to do some tough stuff like go through a will and my advanced care plan for when I cant make decisions myself. Its the side of having a terminal illness that really brings it home and shines a big light on it and my mortality.

This week has seen a slight improvement of energy.

I managed to ride my longest ride since November on Monday while catching up with my dear friend Carol who is over in NZ from the UK! Was such a great day and I had such a good time.

Unfortunately we have had a bit of an incident with the hot water cylinder and it decided to spring a leak and flood the storage room upstairs to the garage roof to down some walls and the carpet downstairs.

Myself and the big air blowers have a hate hate relationship after a sleepless night listening to them humming away at a sound so loud it drowned my alarm out!

So many things to look forward to though.

From this weekends Relay for Life which supports the cancer society and all the wonderful things they do to a trip to Aussie the following week!

I’m very excited as I haven’t actually been to Australia besides transits to Europe!

We have a couple of days in Brisbane before driving down the coast line to the Gold Coast to stay with the most awesome couple ever! I’m so looking forward to a holiday and to get away somewhere different for a few days before coming back to my reality.

I sadly go back on chemo the Tuesday after we arrive home. We have done a 20% dose reduction and they are hoping I will  get through another 2-3 rounds of before we pull the pin whereby more scans will be taken to see were we stand and what will be done moving forward. There is also a point with this chemo reign were it just stops working and the body has built up resistance to it so hoping we can get those rounds in before that can happen.

Oh and before I go I can happily say the blowers are gone for now! Oh how blissful is that silence!!!!!

Until next time,

Britt xx

Scanxiety

Yes this is a real thing! An anxiety caused by scans and waiting for scan results. I had my scans on Wednesday afternoon and my Oncologist appointment on Thursday morning.

I haven’t written for a couple of weeks I think mainly due to my scans last week and waiting the results.

Not good news but not bad news, mostly everything is just status quo. Nothing is getting smaller but nothing is getting bigger. We have decided to take on 1 to 2 more months of chemo (4 more cycles) and see where we’re at then.

I found out last minute I have a blood clot in my leg and so I have to inject myself everyday for 3/6 months. I’m not sure if this is something that will ever become ‘normal’. Before I found out I had cancer I would pass out just at having going to get blood tests for my iron levels and now I’m injecting myself!

Its amazing how far a person can come in such a short time.

Although we are doing more chemo this doesn’t add years to the life span they have given me it hopefully just prolongs the quality. We also have to make sure the body doesn’t become resistant to the chemo and balance the chemo and fatigue levels to see if its still worth it after a couple more cycles.

After I have finished then we will talk about what happens going forward. Maybe nothing, maybe maintenance chemo. Its all pretty up in the air really and I’m not to sure what other options we have post chemo. .

I’m not 100% how I feel about the outcome of the scans. I guess I wish it was more one way or the other so decisions are easier to make, but other all I guess we are fighting the good fight and maybe not winning like we had hoped but we are definitely not letting it beat us down.

Despite chemo I am still managing to run and walk, ride my bike and I even went for a swim a couple of weeks ago which was really nice and kind on my body.

Despite the fatigue and nausea we seem to be trying to find that balance and make it work for myself and everyone around me.

I think following the scans I took Thursday and Friday and did nothing besides trying to process everything that had gone on following the scans Wednesday and the results Thursday.

I’m glad its done and it will be interesting to see what the next set of results show.

Picked up a in a big way on Saturday with my girls Lydia and Ester being in Christchurch for a track meet and going out to brunch with them and the lovely Julia. I really needed this and they are all such inspirational people in their own rights. Lydia has helped me so much since meeting her at One Step is All it Takes last year. She is my inspiration and motivation, being so kind and just smashing out the races and making me want to get out there and run.

Julia runs the One Step Is All it Takes group on a Monday morning 7am by Argham bridge at Hagley Park. It was lovely to get to meet a new face and a such an inspirational human.

One Step is a great initiative set up by Lydia O’Donnell about moving for our minds and mental health awareness. Moving to help depression and anxiety along with meeting new people and making new connections. These are run all over the country and overseas from Auckland to Sydney, check out their website: https://www.onestepisallittakes.com/ for more information. Its such a good idea and way to get out there and move the body whether its a walk or jog, its for everyone!

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Got home after that super motivated and went out for a run with my furry friend Fergus who I got to look after from Wednesday to Tuesday!

Also went out for a walk Sunday and ran 10kms Monday! 32.5km on the bike Tuesday and Wednesday despite chemo, round 7 on Monday.

The next big thing on the bucket list is The Relay for Life on Saturday from 10am until 10pm at Brookside Park out in Rollestern. Its a major fundraiser for the Cancer Society and I am so excited and proud to be apart of it.

I am team captain for Cancer Can Trigirl aka team 9. Today which the nausea and fatigue I made it to our creative hub! The letterbox looks awesome, our T-shirts are handmade and look amazing, our baton is well decorated and is a cycle seat, the candlelight ceremony bags look amazing and everything has come together so well! Thank you so much to Di, Raewyn and Josie for taking the day and making this all happen!

Also a massive thank you to John for making stands for my epic TT bike that will be there, all the articles and the letterbox. Our tent I don’t know if you can guess ,but is cycling themed!

I’ll have all my new colorful Toot cycling kit hanging up (new collaboration and exciting things to come!) as well as a Pure Nutrition flag for all the help they have given me over the last few months (this stuff really works!).

Feels like we’ve been talking about this event for a while and its finally come around so quickly! Hopefully the weather comes to the party too and is beautiful to match all the hard work everyone of the teams have put in.

Luckily we have a camper at the back of our site so I can go and have a nap when I need It is my bad week and its going to be a long day (thank you so much Tony for providing and helping with this!).

Next weekend sees another big bucket list item to tick off the 14km City to Surf in Christchurch. So looking forward to it and hoping I can run/yog the whole way (fingers and blisters crossed!).

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Then its a bit of a break until the St Claires half marathon up in Blenheim on the 11th of May (birthday week!!!!).

So if anyone has any challenges of ideas, or events you think I might be able to do between these events please let me know! I’m keen to try and give most things a whirl especially if I can raise awareness for young and old along the way.

Two big weeks ahead but I am so excited and an hoping the steroids and the adrenaline get me through!

Last donations for relay for life, however big or small it all helps an amazing cause:

https://relayforlifeselwyn2019.everydayhero.com/nz/cancer-can-trigirl

Until next time,

Keep smiling,

Britt xx

Ticking off the bucket list….

The last couple of weeks despite having chemo have been really busy.

I fly up to Auckland on my ‘bad week’ Friday and spent the weekend catching up with family and friends. It was a good trip but flying home on Monday and the after effects of fatigue were pretty brutal.

I struggled a bit last week with my get up and go seeming to have got up and gone.

Going up there really reminded me that although I may miss aspects and people up in Auckland, Christchurch is now my home and my happy place and I was really looking forward to getting back there.

I tried to run last Tuesday and it was DISMAL!! I manged 2km before my heart rate was through the roof, I sounded like a smoker with a smokers cough and I could barley get air into my lungs.

I walked a bit and felt pretty annoyed and angry at my body at this stage. I manged one more km before calling it a day and walking home from the park.

This didn’t bode well for the 1st upcoming bucket list activity, the Christchurch 10km ‘Run to Remember’ for all the earthquake victims 8years on.

I managed a walk up the bridle path with Kristy on Friday. It was steep and I wasn’t sure if I’d make it but I’m so glad she got me out there and to the top as well!

Saturday the weather was not ideal and race day didn’t seem like it would be much better.

I was woken up at 645am with ‘run morning!’ (thanks for the enthusiasm babe ;)).

It was raining but I was determined to get this run done as it was something I had really mean looking forward too and would have not forgiven myself easily if I hadn’t done it. I was going to run, walk or crawl but I was determined to get to the end.

The rain eased and actually stopped for the whole race! I was rugged which was just as well as it was freezing southerly.

Signed up and got our numbers on. A bit of waiting around and we were underway!

There was a lot of uphill to begin with up to summit road, but managed to jog in patches with a few hundred other runners trying to get through the walkers.

Managed to run a lot of summit road despite the rolling terrain but the views were next level and I was completely in my happy place, heart rate was good, lungs felt good, legs felt fine and the moral was even better.

I was so so happy to finish the 10.6km in 1hour 8mins when I thought Id be walking most of the way!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Josie for picking us up and dropping us off and the different start and finishing places, John for trying to hold me back knowing I had chemo the next day but also knowing I was in a good place and just let me run while running a long side me and to Cameron my partner in crime that could have run that in half the time but was determined to stick by my side and know I was in my comfort zone and just let me be. You all made the day happen for me and I was so so happy and just buzzing from getting to compete and complete something so cool!

To be fair brunch after was just as good!

 

Chemo Monday, I am now officially half way. I get my scans next week and officially find out in chemo the chemo is working and whether Ill be having another 6 rounds of 3 more months of chemo or whether its not worth it and I can just be and not worry with it anymore.

I am not sure which way I want it to go to be honest. Chemo is awful and so draining but then if its giving me longer and better quality in the long term maybe its worth another bad 3 months.

Its definitely a catch 22 and will be very interesting to get the results from next Thursday!

On a completely different note I have a wee addition to my bucket list…..The St Clair’s half marathon run by Bowel Cancer New Zealand on my birthday weekend in May! I am so excited to be able to enter this year! Last year I didn’t have people to go with and it was half way through my 9 months of chemo. I just wasn’t in the best head space to complete it.

This time am we are driving up and I will know so many people and just the entertainment like atmosphere is going to be awesome! It will be my last round of chemo when we get back that Monday, assuming my chemo continues after this week.

I know its a bit of a way but what 21.1km when you’ve done over a year of chemo and are terminally ill. It should be a breeze right? And really how could I miss the official Bowel Cancer New Zealand event and being able to raise money for such an amazing organisation who have done so much for me. I hope I can raise the money and awareness this event deserves.

My everyday hero fundraising page for this epic organisation that is Bowel Cancer NZ is:

https://saintclairevineyardhalfmarathon2019.everydayhero.com/nz/cancer-can-trigirl

Even a couple of dollars goes a long way. Thank you everyone!

 

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On a side note these last few days have been tough with a lot of fatigue and not a lot getting achieved.

Thank you to Kristen Ellis from Global PC for enabling me to finish this blog after my charger decided to blow up yesterday half way through! Absolute legend.

So far I have ticked off a bucket list item, and have added another to the list!

Next up is the Relay for Life which is going to be a long but absolutely awesome fun filled day with the opening ceremony to the candlelight ceremony as it starts to get dark! I am really looking forward to being apart of this event to not only raise awareness but raise money for the Cancer Society.

Hopefully after my couple of days rest I’ll be running into this weekend with a bang (in a good way) and keep up the training for all this bucket list excitement that is coming my way!

Until next time,

Keep smiling,

Britt xx

 

I just want my life back….

Cancer.

To most people its just a word, maybe they know someone affected by it, maybe that person is close or maybe its a friend of a friends mum’s aunts best friend. Most people have a story for you about that person and it normally ends with “but they survived and are doing so well now”.

Most people mean well and are just trying to connect with you on some level. I don’t love the stories. They mean little to me and rarely make me feel better.

See until you have heard the words yourself you will never know what they truly mean.

Cancer.

That one word changed my whole world. It made everything different and it could never go back to how it once was. It rocks your word in a way that is completely unexplainable. No words can truly describe the feelings and emotions you go through.

The mirage of words all the doctors threw at me made no sense. I understood I had a reaccurance and that it being so close after I had finished chemo it definitely wasn’t a good thing. The fact palliative care was being bounced about wasn’t didn’t sound good either. I knew the amount of doctors and nurses present probably wasn’t leading to anything positive either but no one said the words.

Terminal cancer.

I guess telling someone they have a timeline, especially someone that is only 32 isn’t easy.

Non curative chemo.

Something that I am currently going through. Its not a cure. I got that bit loud and clear, but it might slow the growth or even better shrink the tumors that are there. Maybe even stop new ones from forming.

That is the only reason I am putting myself through this hell.

Why else would you willingly go in every 2 weeks to be poisoned. I was advised to do 6 rounds of FOLFIRI before more scans were done. I am coming up to my 6th round on Monday. Once that’s complete these scans will determine if I have to put my body through another 3 months of the hell that is chemo or not.

I want my life back.

I am facing extreme fatigue and nausea week in and week out. I look so well people have no idea the pain I am going through. FOLFIRI you keep your hair, a blessing and a curse, I have color in my cheeks and hair on my head. I don’t look sick at all. But inside I feel like I’m dying.

I look to ‘well’ to be sick and yet I am so sick I am dying.

Its a cruel world.

I sleep 10-12 hours a night and I am still tired. Not I’ll have a nap and feel great tired, tired to the bone, to the very core.

I question its validity on the daily, surely I can’t be that sick. I look fine, there’s nothing wrong with me, I just need to get on with it. If I was just more motivated and driven I’d be able to do it, I’m just lazy, its not that bad. Well that’s how I feel and what I tell myself anyway.

Every single night I go to bed and I tell myself, I will wake up at a reasonable time, I will get up and go for a walk, I’ll come back check my emails and socials and have breakfast, I’ll get on my bike and at least ride the flat route to Sumner and back (31km), I’ll have a break and a bit of a lie down and then go for a walk in the park or a 2-5km run. I know that’s a big ask on chemo but I should at least attempt  a couple of those things. I mean comeon! I used to swim, bike and run in a day, I could even go to the gym. I’d do things, I’d get things done, I’d achieve stuff.

And then I wake up.

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I struggle to wake up. Its a long process. It starts with only being able to open one eye. Its already well past 8am closer to 9am. I’ve already failed my ‘to do list’. I need to use the bathroom but I can’t move. Everything feels heavy, even my eyelids. It takes more than 10mins to convince the body it needs to move. I get up, it doesn’t feel like my body. Everything is heavy, its hard to get going, it aches, not your traditional something aches kind of way but in a way I cant even put into words.

I get back in bed because that feels like the only option. I take my pills, yes there are a lot of them, I scroll through my phone. I should be getting up, at least to make a cup of tea, but the tea is down the stairs and I’m not ready for that walk just yet.

I should be walking, I should be getting ready for a bike ride, I should be going for a run, I should drive to the pools, I could at least do an ‘at home’ workout. Yet I’m still in bed, upstairs not able to even make a cup of tea yet (if you don’t know me, my bloodstream is made up of 90% tea and hot choc).

Why can’t I just do it? Why can’t I just be like before? Is it the chemo? Is it the cancer?

I feel like there’s no time. There’s not enough time in the day. If I don’t do a run, ride or swim before a certain time I’ve failed. But then I can’t do them anyway so really I’ve failed before I’ve even started. I do something else and it feels wrong or bad because I should be training, I’m wasting time.

I have my bad week and then a ‘good’ week. The good week is slowly disappearing before my eyes. I’m still tired, but I shouldn’t be. I should be good, its my good week. I need to do things, I need to be doing things. Why am I not getting things done? Why am I still so tired. I should be fine, I look fine, why am I not fine?

Oh yeah I have cancer. The kind that doesn’t get better.

So really I am running out of time. I should be doing things, why am I not doing things, why can’t I just get on with it? Why am I not getting on with it? Why am I so lazy and unmotivated? I need to be busy. Everyone is busy. Busy doing things and living. Busy, the word people use like a badge of honor, like the more busy you are the better the person you are. I want that badge of honor. I want to be busy too.

Meanwhile my reality is I’m over here and I havent’ even made it down to make a cup of tea.

I try not to think about it but I am sad. I try to be positive and put a positive spin on everything and be upbeat, try to turn this illness into something good.

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But I am sad, I miss my life, I miss having energy, I miss training, I miss being motivated, I miss being able to make a cup of tea without even thinking, I miss being busy, I miss that badge of honor, I miss doing things without a second thought, I miss being tired from being busy and getting to put my feet up because I’ve achieved so much, I miss doing that and knowing I’ll have a really good sleep and wake up fresh and ready to go.

I miss my life.

I miss it so much it hurts. My heart hurts.

My heart hurts for all the things I am unable to do and for all the things I’ll never be able to do.

I ache everyday in every way, for the life I’ve lost, for the life I’ll never have.

I don’t let many people into this part of my life, I like to try remain positive and happy and smile. I try to put a positive spin on things, I try to show people anything is possible. I keep it light and bright.

I want to help people.

But in the same way I wish I wasn’t in this position and didn’t have to help anyone.

I just want my life back.

I want to be normal.

But unfortunately that isn’t on the cards for me.

So I just

Until next time (and the last round of chemo before scans!),

Keep smiling,

Britt xx

 

The F word….

The F word- FATIGUE.

This word gets thrown around fatigue this, fatigue that. But I don’t think a lot of people actually understand the concept other than another word for just being tired.

Damn do I wish that was the case, to just be tired, like I could nap and wake up and feel fresh and energetic!

This is not the case at all when you’re dealing with real life, full blown fatigue.

Fatigue is like this energy zapper that no matter how many hours sleep you get you’re still flat, its tiredness that’s right to the bone.

The whole body feels like you’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. The aches are like nothing else. You can’t walk around without the aches making you limp and feel like you’re 90, at least.

I never really understood the full concept of fatigue until this last couple of weeks. I wish my chemo was more predictable but unfortunately not to be.

Every round is different and besides the constant background noise of nausea my body reacts differently each time. Last Monday I received round 4 of FOLFIRI. One of the worst side effects of Ironotican is known to be fatigue.

Until now the nausea over ruled and over rode everything, being so debilitating. Lucky for me I have (hopefully, you can never be 100% sure how the body will respond to the toxic poison that’s being pumped into it every 11days) found my solution to the nausea and with the help of a combination of drugs and Pure Nutrition hydration drinks, I seem to be coping a lot better with that aspect of the side effects.

Fatigue on the other hand, well that is in a league of its own.

During chemo the body is being depleted of everything, essentially chemo is killing everything in your body, good and bad. Couple that with a bit of nausea and being unable to eat much more than toast the body really is left depleted of most things.

Chemo day is ever 2nd Monday. We walk to and from the hospital as we don’t live far and parking is a nightmare. I usually feel OK on my infusion day. I then get ‘Bruce’ my pump for 48hrs. Last week I during my time with Bruce I didn’t actually feel to bad so along with Mondays walking I backed it up with taking Bruce for a 9.5km run on the Tuesday , a trip out on the bike to Sumner, 31.5km, on the Wednesday before walking to Nurse Maude to get Bruce taken out. Then I thought it would be a really good idea to ride again on Thursday (same ride).

By Friday I was starting to feel pretty achy and sore. I thought it was tight muscles from training more than I usually do on a chemo week so I backed off and did a 5km walk instead.

At this stage walking up and down the stairs was starting to become a problem and my legs just ached like Id run a marathon on no training.

I was making sure I was sleeping and drinking loads to keep hydrated. I was eating as much as I could manage, which admittedly isn’t much more than toast on my chemo weeks and sleeping 12 hours a night.

In my mind I should have been recovering, I took Friday easy, why was everything so sore? Why did it feel like I had been run over by a truck?

I just couldn’t make sense of it or understand, yes I know fatigue is a side effect but isn’t that just been tired? I couldn’t understand why I was so incredibly flat. Like couldn’t move, everything hurt, ached, pain like when you’ve done a 30hr training week but without being able to recover.

I spent Saturday and Sunday in bed or on the couch, I didn’t leave the house. I didn’t go outside, getting up to make a cup of tea was a massive effort (and for anyone that knows me knows I love my cups of tea), I felt lazy, massive guilt over the lack of movement and activities. I always feel like I need to be doing something to justify my existence and ever since I’ve been given a timeline for this existence I feel even more pressure to be doing things, accomplishing goals, or ticking stuff of this ‘bucket list’. I constantly feel like I need to be moving, like if I stop everything will fall apart. If I stop it I’m wasting time, and time isn’t something I have on my side.

Constantly having to fight day in day out just to feel some sense of ‘normal’ gets so overwhelming I don’t know what to do with it. Fighting all the time just to be half of what I used to be is tiring in itself without adding the fatigue and all the guilt it brings on top of that.

Nurse Maude are and were amazing, I got in touch with the palliative care team on Monday and Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting Moira the lovely physio. She explained that fatigue isn’t something that can be slept away. That this isn’t me being lazy and that in no way should I feel guilty about it one bit.

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She explained about the chemo depleting the body and then on top of that I expected my body to go over 85kms because my bodies always been able to do it. She asked me how I expected my body to do this when it has no reserves that not only is chemo taking everything from me, the fact that I’m not able to get in enough nutrients in, how am i expected to ‘perform’?

I never looked at it like that before. To me my body has always just had to do what its had to do. Unfortunately cancer and chemo don’t quiet work like that.  The body needs love, nurturing and kindness. Yes training for me is my happy place but having depleted everything I’ve left my body with nothing. The aching is the body crying out for rest and looking after.

She explained that during this time I need to slow down. That I need to conserve energy for the important things that I want to have energy for. That if i can do something sitting instead of standing sit. That walking up and down the stairs aimlessly because I forget things is a thing of the past and unless i need to go to the toilet I need to make sure I take everything down with me in the mornings.

I need to slow down. Instead of doing three things at once I need to only be doing one thing at a time. The brain expends the most energy and I’m trying to get it to perform two or three tasks in a row and that I need to just be concentrating on one thing at a time.

That instead of smashing out long rides or running for kms on end that I need to nurture my body and gently ride to a cafe, that a 10km ride is enough, that running 2km while taking in my surroundings is better than 10km ruining the body.

All of this is so foreign to me. I’m used to performing, to be able to have my body go day in and day out doing what its told and recovering like it should.

This is such a far fetched way of looking at life for me and its going to take a bit of getting used too.

Being kind and gentle to my body isn’t really in my make up. I’ve abused it for years. Getting my head around this is going to take time and a lot of work but I’m trying. I’m resting were I can, I’m sitting instead of standing, I’m trying to stop the endless aimless trips up the stairs, I’m conserving my energy for the stuff I really want to do, for the important things, for the important people.

So even though my mind is screaming at me ‘YOU’RE SO LAZY GET UP’,  I’m saving the energy and trying to change my thought process from that to a more kind and gentle tone.

It may take some time but I’m determined to learn to nurture my body, to love it and show it some kindness.

I think we all need to take a second and appreciate what our bodies do for us and learn to give them a bit of kindness and nurturing. To stop being so hard on ourselves and to remember we all do the best we can. Love you cos that’s all you have at the end of the day.

Until next time,

Be kind to yourself and keep smiling,

Britt xx

 

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I be famous……Kinda!

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to be interviewed for an article for The Press and Stuff. It was to bring awareness to Bowel Cancer and the lack of awareness not just in younger people but for GP’s dealing with young people and the huge amount of misdiagnoses that is going around.

Early detection is the best way to have a decent chance at fighting and living through this illness. Without early detection people like me are misdiagnosed for years. This has now threaten my life span on this earth hugely. 4-24 months is not a long time to be told you have left to leave a legacy or an impression in the world.

I took the phone interview and had pictures and a video done for the piece that was both online and in print.

I was extremely nervous about how it would come out and the message it would be sending to a very wide and largely uniformed audience.

It came out on Saturday morning I was extremely proud of how it had come across, the video online didn’t have to many ‘ummm’s’ and the article was very informative both in press and online.

The news article online:

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/109989406/young-cyclist-dying-of-cancer-regrets-not-pushing-harder-for-diagnosis?cid=app-iPhone&fbclid=IwAR0ePyW-g-SAuzpv3RMxCsMoH8yh1c9f_oVRj4suxw0ivwqponm8RxGb4Eo

Please take a read if you have a moment!

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There were 100’s of kind, caring and compassionate people out there. There were also a lot of others who told me I should have seeked a 2nd or 3rd opinion or that I should have not been ‘cheap’ and paid for my own colonoscopy.

Unfortunately I had no idea cancer was even in the realm of possibility let along that I would question a doctor I had the utmost confidence in. I never thought I should have 2nd guessed her to get a 2nd opinion let alone something like a colonoscopy.

There were also a lot of comments about the governments and who’s putting more into health and who isn’t. Yes both the current and former governments are at fault and everyone needs to seriously look at the way we screen for bowel cancer especially, and more so in young people.

In other news:

Since I last wrote I went to

https://www.facebook.com/breesglamourcake/

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This place is EPIC and has the most amazing donuts and sweet treats along with amazing pies (review from my pie guy ;)). It was on my bucket list and will defiantly be a place I go back too!

I struggled a lot with motivation last week even though it was deemed my ‘good’ week. This really took a toll mentally and really brought me down. I went on walks and rode around the park with Cameron while he did his runs.

Other than that I really struggled with motivation, fatigue and just feeling good about myself.

I had chemo on Monday, round 4. I still have 2 more rounds until I am able to get scans to see if the chemotherapy is having any impact on slowing the growth of my cancer. If it is I will continue FOLFIRI for another 3 months. Otherwise I will cut it out and just get on with living my life.

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Was able to walk to and from the hospital.

Tuesday I was attached to Bruce and still managed a 9.3km run! Wednesday before I got disconnected I made the decision to go for a ride and managed 32km before meeting a new friend and having an epic lunch, feeling like I’d known her forever!

To is usually when I hit a bit of a wall with my nausea but I managed to get on my bike today and do 31.5km!

I put this down to my new hydration godsend and help!

https://puresportsnutrition.co.nz/

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They reached out to me last week about their hydration products which are all natural and made in good ole New Zealand. They tried to get their products into hospitals in NZ which is such a shame didn’t take off.

They make a product specifically for nausea related symptoms. Honestly these electrolyte products are epic and I am blown away by their generosity and kindness.

Honestly this is the only thing I have changed this week and really stuck to just using Pure Nutrition’s electrolyte range and I’m out there on my bike in the heat nailing it!

Yeah the fatigue and nausea will probably kick in tomorrow until Sunday but having a at least a couple of good days when you’re excepting the worst is a godsend.

Thank you again to everyone who gets to the end of my blogs and that took the time to read the article and for the kind words that were said.

They really do make speaking out worth it and if I can change something for the better and help someone it makes all of this worthwhile.

Updates:

Relay for life: https://relayforlifeselwyn2019.everydayhero.com/nz/cancer-can-trigirl?_ga=2.237071744.1221091669.1548900486-2037045910.1547763067#

This is our team, the funds we raise are going to the Cancer Society who work completely on donations and do not receive any funding from the government. They have been awesome and got me involved in groups and offered support not just to me but the people closest to me, which I really appreciate from the bottom of my heart. The event is the 16th of March, please feel free to donate to any one of our teammates or to me. Would be greatly appreciated!

Rapha 500: https://give.everydayhero.com/nz/rapha-festive-500-bowel-cancer-babe

is is being put off until I get my scan results so we know where we stand with my health and whether we need to decrease the total kms I do in the 8days to make without putting my body at risk. It is still going ahead and all proceeds go to the Bowel Cancer Foundation. They do amazing work and also completely rely on donations and fundraising to keep them going as the government does not fund them either.

Both challenges are great causes and I feel proud to be involved and apart of both of them.

Until next time,

Keep smiling,

Britt xx