Pills, thrills and bellyaches

Posted: July 24, 2015 in Round Three
Tags: , , ,

I feel like I’ve not written anything for ages. It’s not that I don’t want to write, I’m just bored of writing about ‘My Cancer Journey’. I’ve been doing this for 3 years and there’s only so many ways you can report scan results. And the other stuff, well that’s my life now.

I know I’ve made a rod for my own back, because back when it was all new and scary, I reported every minor detail of treatment. Now, if there’s a long gap between posts, there’s an assumption that something must be wrong. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I no longer feel the need to tell the whole universe, every time something happens. So if I’m not posting, it’s either because I’m busy or I can’t be arsed.

The last few months have been very busy with holidays to Fuertaventura and France, along with all the behind the scenes stuff I’m doing to get Killer Kilts relaunched.

Me on holiday

Me on holiday

On the treatment front there is no major news to report, although I did get my ovaries removed a few weeks ago. I suppose that’s quite a biggie.

I was feeling really well before the operation, despite my ‘full-house’ of tumours. My fitness levels were getting back to pre-cancer levels and I was feeling super-fit after a yoga holiday in Fuertaventura.

Despite feeling like super-woman before surgery, it’s taken me much longer to recover than I expected. It’s easy to become blasé about medical stuff (even surgery) when you spend as much time in hospitals as I do, and because it was keyhole, I assumed I’d bounce back quickly. I don’t think I was prepared for how hard the oophorectomy would hit me, physically or emotionally.

I thought I’d come to terms with the fact that I will never be a mother, but getting your ovaries removed makes this pretty damn final. The ovaries are an intrinsic part of being a woman and the hormones they produce affect everything from your menstrual cycle to your mental state. It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling out of sorts.

The oophorectomy should have a positive effect on my hormone driven cancer, however there are lots of potential long-term side effects of a surgically induced menopause, as I discovered on an ill-advised Google search in the days following surgery. These include increased risk of cardio-vascular disease; osteoporosis and cognitive decline including, increased risk of dementia. I’m already on biphosphonates (bone-strengtheners) due to the bone metastases, so that’s the osteoporosis covered. It’s the CVD and dementia I’m worried about. Unfortunately I can’t take HRT because my cancer is hormone driven.

Obviously I’m being optimistic, as these are things that will potentially affect me in later life, but in my post-surgical loopy state of mind, I began to question whether I’d made the right decision. I Googled “can you get your ovaries put back in?” and even contemplated calling the hospital to see if they still had mine. I wondered if perhaps they keep them on ice, for indecisive patients like me? A friend in my support group said she felt the same and was hopeful when she found stories of women who claimed their ovaries had grown back.

I went on holiday less than two weeks after surgery and in hindsight, this wasn’t the best idea. Patients are advised not to lift anything heavier than a kettle for the first few weeks after surgery, so lugging a suitcase around wasn’t ideal. Must remember to check my calendar the next time I get any major organs removed.

I’ve not had any major menopausal symptoms, apart from the odd hot flush, although it was incredibly hot in Paris, so it was hard to tell whether these were caused by the extreme heat or lack of hormones. Now that I’m back in rainy Manchester, I think they were hormonal.

Physically I’m still feeling really knackered and this isn’t helped by the Kath ‘crash and burn’ recuperation plan. If I have a day when I’m feeling okay I tend to overdo it, and end up setting myself back. I went swimming the other day and traipsed around a flower show yesterday, so today I’m completely wiped out. I’ll never learn.

My weekly pill consumption

My fatigue might also be due to the fact that I restarted all the nasties on my birthday last week. My weekly pill consumption is so vast (Everolimus, Exemestane, Metformin, Doxycycline, Aspirin, Hayfever tablets, Statins, Mirtazipine) that I had to buy a humungous pill-organiser to keep me on track. One or two are supplements. (Pomi-T, Coriolus mushroom extract and Fish Oil) but the majority are hardcore pharmaceutical products.

Let’s hope this ridiculous cocktail keeps on working!

PS. I’m reading a really good book by Professor Ben Williams (I mentioned him in my previous post) who cured his cancer with drug cocktail therapy – recommended reading for anyone affected by cancer: Surviving “Terminal” Cancer: Clinical Trials, Drug Cocktails, and Other Treatments Your Oncologist Won’t Tell You About

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dear Kath as ever you are an inspiration darling xxx

  2. Sandra Littlewood says:

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on your journey Kath, really love reading your updates. You are truly inspirational in the way you write, no beating about the bush but telling how it is! You make us laugh and cry, we love you Kath! xxxx

  3. jiveen says:

    That’s some organised pill storage Kath. Reminds me of summer time fishing when I was a kid. Best for KK relaunch!

  4. julie says:

    Hola chica 😊 finding you everywhere 👀 hope you are recovering well after surgery and keep posting you are amazing, miss you hope we can meet again ♥♥

  5. Kid you not, a few hours before your latest post showed up in my inbox, I checked your website to see if I had missed anything. Glad to hear no new news is good news (is that true?!). Mushrooms are one of my first recommendations for those with whom I work. Wishing you the best in the post-oophorectomy zone. If you’re interested in reading ideas for keeping your noggin and heart working well for the long haul, let me know.

    • killerkath says:

      You’re right Anne, no news is good news! Would be interested to know about ways I can keep my heart and head healthy. I do eat lots of flaxseed but would be grateful of any other tips. I wish we had more integrative/holistic healthcare available in the UK, as I firmly believe nutrition, environment & psychological wellbeing are such an important part of the recovery process x

      • A few months ago I read Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin MD and loved it. I recommend it to most of my patients. Terry Wahls’ Minding Your Mitochondria is another great resource – might be overwhelming to develop a plan from her recommendations without guidance though. Anything you do to support heart health will support brain health. If you’d like to send me your email, I’ll share a few of my handouts (contact info on my website). Wish I could work with you more formally because you’re so right, food/environment/mental health are so important to our physiological health!

        • killerkath says:

          Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll add those to my reading list! Some of the patients in my Keto-Cancer Facebook group have mentioned ‘Wahl’s protocol’. It sounds quite similar to Keto in that involves eating ‘real food’ which can only be good. It’s so complicated for patients as there’s so much conflicting information out there!

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