Well hello there!

So, it’s been 8 months since my last post. Lots of stuff has happened, but mostly, I’ve been living my life and keeping the attitude of, well if it gets me then at least I’ve lived! Kind of morbid to some, but that’s my life now. As all bc survivors know: you’re never quite clear of that dark cloud, as bc can never be in remission. Hey, you deal with the cards you’re played, hey?

Anyway, life is good. My job is going well, I’ve had another promotion and I’ve met the love of my life. We’ve been together now for 7 months… I met him just after I finished active treatment, and he’s an absolute gem. He understands everything my body has been through, yet still loves it in every way. He is aware of the potential infertility issue, but has made it clear that, baby or no baby, we will be together forever. I feel very lucky ❤

So, I'm fit (kind of….managed a mountain hike last week of epic proportions, and although I felt I couldn't make it, I did), healthy (lots of good food and green veg consumed every day), I'm putting the weight back on I lost during chemo, I have blood in my cheeks and I feel happy. What more could you ask for? Here's a little pic of our latest addition to the family….he's a monkey but he's my little diamond. He keeps me on my toes!

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So, all in all, just a quick update really. Hair is doing well, I’m doing well, next check up and scan is in march, so fingers crossed that I am as well as I feel! Still loving chatting to all my ladies in the support group I have online….without them I think I’d be a bit lost. But actually, what I’m really relishing is waking up, going to work, having my students call me names, chatting with family and friends….normal stuff. And I thank the universe every day for allowing me to do that xx

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“Today you’re like the Chinese guy from the Karate Kid”

It’s been around 6 weeks since I last posted. Not because things have been so awful, but because I’ve been generally carrying on life as normal. I’ve had the obligatory ming mouth, full of ulcers and grossness, and the eyeball headaches, but apart from feeling a bit ‘meh’, I’ve been ok. Life appears to others to be resuming as normal; I’ve got my last chemo in 3 days, radiotherapy has been confirmed as 5 weeks and will be arranged as soon as I see my oncologist again on Weds, where we will also discuss when I will start taking Tamoxifen. So, where others can see an end in sight, I see the potential of recurrence, secondaries and infertility. I’m finding it hard to be thankful that the end of active treatment is in sight, because I know it’s not the end. I know it won’t be the end in 5 years when I finish taking Tamoxifen. It will never be the end, because I will always be terrified of it coming back.

Today, I read of another young woman my age passing away from secondary breast cancer. I didn’t know her, and neither read her blog until today, but somehow feel connected to her. We are all in this little club which you are only allowed in to by invite which is determined by some messed up cells and genes in your body. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that she died at the age of 31 and it’s not fair that I am forced to think about death at the age of 32. I’ve had enough of that over my lifetime already, thank you very much.

So, in the spirit of mindfulness and CBT and all the other things that my brother would love, I have decided that this week, I am making changes. I will acknowledge that these bad things do happen, but will move my focus on what is good in the world…and there is a lot out there folks. My friend and colleague shaved her head to help me raise funds for my treatment and charity too, which means the cost of my radiotherapy is covered, as is the rest of my drugs and some flights. This has been the nicest thing that anyone has done for me, and left me quite speechless, but also helped me to see that there are some real diamonds in this world, and I’m lucky enough to know quite few of them. 

A lot of people have offered me things over the past few months, and I have felt humbled, yet embarrassed to take them up on them. Well, this week, I have decided to give that l WILL give that lady a call for the free reiki, and I WILL enjoy a glass of wine in Bangkok at our swanky hotel without worrying about my liver function blood test, and I WON’T feel guilty about buying an iPad because, quite frankly, I think I deserve a gift. I WILL acknowledge that these past few months have been terrifying and at times bloody awful, and I haven’t quite endured pain like chemotherapy before, but I’ve plodded on, amidst the cheers and “you’re so brave” and the “you’ll beat this” comments that I have ignored, because: a) I’m not brave, I’m just trying to survive – you’d do exactly the same. What really is the alternative? and b) It’s not a fight, I’m not trying to win anything, I don’t want to be applauded for turning into a sick cancer patient. It’s again about survival. But I shall do it all with a smile on my face. Having cancer really does test your sense of humour, and thank god I’ve retained mine, because it has helped me through; it’s helped me go from crying every day to twice a week, to once a fortnight, to just when I need to. It’s helped me tackle the whole wig situation with gusto (seriously, washing your hair in the sink with fabric conditioner genuinely does make you smile). It’s helped me deal with stories of people dying. It’s helped me deal with the fact that my life will forever be dominated by hospitals and high insurance premiums just because I have some little gene mutation. It’s helped me to enjoy things, even just sitting on the balcony with a cup of tea, watching the rain fall.

I have been wondering why these negative thoughts have reared their heads this week, after all this time, and have realised it’s because I’ve not been at work, with teenagers’ problems taking up my time. Work is good for me. I know that now. I know and appreciate how lucky I am to love my job. So, for the first time EVER, I’m looking forward to returning to work after the Easter hols, with my last chemo behind me and with positive thoughts of the future. Sure, those positive thoughts include finding a surgeon to discuss a double mastectomy and reconstruction with, but hey, this is my life now. Might as well find the best surgeon I can and get some crackers, and I am in the land of plastic surgery after all. When in Rome…

 

So I shall leave you all, after waxing lyrical about stuff. This entry is a little self-indulgent, but we are all entitled to that once in a while. Plus, I get to play the cancer card, which obviously means I’m allowed to do anything I want 🙂

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New beginnings and new faces…

So, this week I started at my new school in Lamai, Koh Samui. I was quite nervous to begin with because not only am I beginning a new job, in a new country, but also meeting all the returning staff there and beginning a new role. I needn’t have worried; the staff were so welcoming and lovely, all on hand to help with anything. We went out with a few staff member last night, and I have spent t

oday slowly recovering from a Thai Whiskey hangover…they know how to show the newbies the ropes.

The school itself has basic classroom facilities, and not even computers. Of course, I’m used to basic facilities with the IT issues at my last school (thanks Paul!), so am happy with what I’ve got. I have also warned the IT technician that I will no doubt be pecking his head on a regular basis…he took it in good humour…I wasn’t joking. Still don’t think he realised that. He will…

Anyway, after some lengthy reading of files and folders and detailed discussions on students, I’m relishing my new role as head of secondary, and still feel a bit odd when I don’t have to ask anyone if I want to change any policies or procedures – it feels a bit alien still, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. Best bit of news? I don’t have to do any duties or clubs as I’m senior management! YES! No high vis required. Amazing.I’ve put up a few pics of school so all you teachers can fume with jealousy. I really am working in paradise, and it’s ace.

Blackpool away from home? Amazing! Well you’d think…

So, today we spent the day in the nearby town of Chaweng. Home to backpackers galore and men brandishing monkeys on the beach. We were warned by Catherine, the lovely lady who owns a nearby bistro, that it is “like Blackpool”, and we all know how much I love good old Blackypool! However Chaweng is also home to the cinema and some larger shops, so off we set this morning.

We arrived just as the sun came out (it’s been raining a lot recently) and so set off walking down the beach road. There are hundreds of market type shops, not to mention massage palours (not of the tug and rub variety, just so we’re sure), and people trying to entice you into their restaurants. We were on the lookout for a shopping centre and the Tesco/cinema complex, but after a good 40 minutes of walking, couldn’t find it anywhere, so decided on a posh smoothie at a hotel resort on the beach, and then a bit of sunbathing. The beach was…loud…to say the least. Far away from the relaxing ebbing and flowing (to quote Island Man) of the waves in Lamai, it was hard house, people trying the hard sell with ‘local goods’, obnoxious tourists and, the piece de resistance, a man brandishing a monkey, and simply stopping and shouting “Monkey!” at us. Yes, I am aware that you have a primate hanging round your neck, but you’re in my light…so….

The trip was not all bad though – it’s good to get out and explore different parts of the island, and I got 2 bikinis for 15 buff, so, silver lining n all that! In other news, we’re off out for fish this evening and hoping to get a scooter this weekend to get to the west of the island, which is by all accounts supposed to be idyllic. No more Blackypool hopefully! Plus there’s no Pleasure Beach, and basically Blackpool without the Pleasure Beach is simply a large, loud, flashing toilet full of pink feather boas, and no one wants that as a holiday destination now do they?

and so the sunburn begins…

So, I’ve finally arrived on Samui after those weeks of packing and fussing. All flights were fine and no problems arose at any airports…only once we’d got on the island. Having thought someone from the school was picking us up, we got our bags and trundled in the severe and I mean SEVERE heat, to the meeting point where we were greeted by a lovely taxi driver who seemed very helpful, however we were totally unable to communicate and he had no idea where he was going. That was my first experience of ‘Samui living’. Everything here seems just that little bit slower; I can imagine if you were trying to build a house you’d have builders on constant tea breaks. Everyone’s just, like, so laid back, man. I shall bring you more updates on ‘Samui living’ as and when incidents arise…

We arrived at our apartment to find a nice, cosy 2 bedder with a pool! Not bad for the first month on the island! Now I just have to find somewhere permanent, but there’s plenty of time for all that.

After being quite shocked by the shanty villages outside the airport, and after spending a day with taxi drivers beeping at us constantly, we spent an afternoon at the beach in Lamai and are starting to get used to our new home. The perfect views, the gorgeous food smells and the friendly people are all helping. Anyway, talking of food, we’re off out for our first proper Thai dinner. I’m pretty excited as I haven’t eaten since the plane this morning, but to be honest, it’s just too damn hot to eat! Anyways, I shall report back on any gastro delights that I discover, which I’m sure will please Dom, Claire and Kim 😉

x

Uh oh…TEN DAYS!

So, I have decided to move with the times and set up a blog to track my impending new life in Thailand, which begins in…gulp…ten days.

As my life is being consumed with packing and meeting friends for goodbye drinks at the moment, I don’t have a wealth of things to write about. But I’m sure that will all change over the next couple of weeks as I travel to Thailand to begin my new life. Scary thought!

Anyway, I hope that I manage to entertain you all with my updates!

Next one will be after arrival….

Corbs xx