Sweet Relief

The last 3 weeks, it’s safe to say that I have been a bit of a mess. Since being released from hospital, I’ve had a varying amount of hospital appointments, tests, and finally an MRI. I was trying to stay positive and believe that it wasn’t a relapse, but the more I tried, the more I failed and I was carrying around this big weight on my shoulders.

They weren’t sure if the thing pressing on my heart was nothing, a relapse of Hodgkin’s, a relapse of thyroid cancer or something that could cause me to go into heart failure within 48 hours of giving birth.

I’d convinced myself it was the Hodgkin’s. And I knew what that meant. It would mean delivering the baby early. It would be inpatient chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, which would basically mean a month in hospital. A month away from my boys. Someone else looking after and bonding with my newborn, so that when I came out of hospital he wouldn’t know who I was. Not being able to breastfeed.

I have not been in a good place.

The MRI scan yesterday was horrible. I don’t usually get claustrophobic, but I really didn’t enjoy being in that confined space. I kept my eyes closed throughout the whole thing so I couldn’t see the tunnel so close to my face, and the baby was kicking the whole time. I don’t think he liked it much either.

I didn’t expect to hear anything until next week when I go for another haematology check up, but last night around 6.30pm, the phone rang and it was the cardiologist who referred me for the MRI. He had the results for me.

ALL CLEAR!

I cried on the phone, when I heard his voice I was convinced it was bad news. Why would he be calling so soon if it wasn’t, but then he told me that he’d seen the radiologists report and that it was all normal. He said some other things as well, but I can’t remember exactly what as I was just focusing on the all clear bit.

To say I’m relieved is an understatement. I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. It means I can enjoy my pregnancy again, and I might actually feel like packing my hospital bag and sorting through newborn clothes. I’ve been putting it off for the last few weeks, not really knowing what was going on, and whether I would need to buy tiny baby clothes.

I know the chance of relapse is still there and I know I’m not really out of the woods until I reach the 5 year mark (just another 3 to go), but for now I am still cancer free, and that is enough.

Roll on 5 weeks and 4 days!

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The Week It All Went Wrong

Even though I’m a high risk pregnancy, apart from a tiny bit of spotting at 18 weeks, I made it to 31 weeks without any problems.

Then, quite quickly, everything went down hill.

I’d had, in the space of about 10 days, some episodes of seeing flashing lights. The last one was last Monday evening, and it lasted for about 15 minutes, whereas the others had only lasted about 2, so I thought I’d make an appointment with my GP to get it checked out.

I went to the GP on the Tuesday morning, and my blood pressure was fine and there was no protein showing in my urine. She called triage anyway to see if they wanted to see me. Apparently, the did, so I called my dad to watch Jake, and up I went. I only expected to be gone for a few hours, but I was sat in the waiting room for 2 hours before I was even seen.

I was seen, baby’s CTG was fine, blood pressure was fine, but urine now had some protein in it. How exactly it magically appeared in the 3 hours since I was at the GP, I don’t know. I think they also decided there were some white cells in it, and decided to give me some antibiotics to treat a water infection and to take some bloods to be on the safe side. I was discharged with a prescription and an agreement that they would call me if my bloods were abnormal.

I got a phone call about an hour later saying that in hindsight they should have kept me until my blood results came back, because one of my liver functions (ALT) had come back abnormal. So they had found me a bed in the antenatal ward and were expecting me about 7pm. So, time to pack a bag, wait for Neil to get home from his meeting in Coventry and organise for my in-laws to have Jake over night.

We got to the hospital just around the same time that shift change was happening, so it took ages for anyone to come and see me, and she had to go and get my notes from triage in order to find out what was happening. It works out that the normal range for this liver function is somewhere between 5 and 35. Mine was 54. So not too high, but high enough with the trace of protein they found and the flashy lights for them to be concerned. I found out they wanted to keep me in a minimum of 2 nights as they wanted to do a 24 hour urine collection starting from 9am Wednesday morning. They also wanted to repeat my bloods to see what was happening with the liver function (the next blood test showed it had dropped from 54 to 51).

So, two nights in hospital. I was then discharged on Thursday with no major concerns, but told to go back if I had any more flashy lights etc.

Friday came, and I just had a day at home. The phone rang, and it was the cardiologist I saw last week. I have seen a cardiologist twice and had two echo-cardiograms this pregnancy due to my chemo and the fact that one of the drugs is potentially cardiotoxic. The consultant told me last week that all looked fine and that he would see me again in a year. So I put it to the back of my mind.

When he called me on the Friday, he told me that he and his boss had looked at the echo together and noticed that my right atrium looked slightly narrow when looked at from a particular angle. In order to get a better look, they have referred me for an urgent MRI. He says that this is because the further along in my pregnancy I am, the more likely I am not to fit into the machine, and that I should expect an appointment in the next week. Later on, I get another phonecall saying that the MRI department is extremely busy and can’t get me in until the 28th Feb, which is over 2 weeks away. They may have a cancellation on Wednesday though, so I am to wait and see.

I thought we were all done, and then about 5.30pm, I had a phone call from my endocrine consultant who is responsible for my care throughout this pregnancy. She apologised that she hadn’t had chance to see me whilst I was on the ward and asked how I was feeling. Apparently, they have a “plan” for me. I need to see my haematologist this week (luckily I already had a routine appointment booked anyway) and ask to see the head of the department as that is who she has been speaking to. I am to have more blood tests done, as well as the aforementioned MRI, but now also an ultrasound of my neck.

“Let’s be blunt…” I said to her. “All these tests, are you worried the cancer is back?”

“We just want to make sure everything is ok, it being back would be worst case scenario, and there is only a slim chance.”

That there should have been the sentence that reassured me, but it didn’t. The last two times I have been told “it’s only a slim chance” I have been told I have cancer.

I have been trying to stay calm and not worry, but it is hard. Things that should reassure me are the fact that surely if there was a mass on my chest causing my atrium to narrow, that would have been seen on the echo cardiogram? And surely, if a mass had been seen on my chest, with my previous cancer history, they wouldn’t make me wait until the 28th Feb?

My white count is perfect at 9.7. When I had Hodgkins, my white count was high, even in the early stages.

When I had Hodgkin’s, I had alcohol induced pain with even a few sips of wine. I had half a glass on wine on Friday (no lectures please) and didn’t even feel a twinge.

So, I am hoping beyond hope that they are just being cautious based on my history and based on the fact that I am pregnant. But it doesn’t stop me worrying. I don’t think I could cope going through all of that again.

Here’s hoping I don’t have to.

The Titan Prophecy: Rise of the Dark One

Title: The Titan Prophecy

By: A.M. Crawford

Genre: Epic Fantasy Fiction

Publisher: Murray Mclellan

Release Date: November 2011

IBSN:  978-0-9570091-0-3

Synopsis:

There was a time, long before men walked this world, when the Titans ruled the universe. Then a prophecy foretold that they would be overthrown by the Gods who followed them. A great war ensued – the Titanomachy – and the Earth burned for ten years. Defeated, the Titans were then imprisoned in the hell realm of Tartaros, where they have languished ever since. Yet mankind’s reckless abuse of the of the world has now so weakened the foundations of Tartaros that the Titans could soon escape. For there has been another prophecy – The Titan Prophecy – warning of an even greater and more catastrophic war to come. A war that will be fought on Earth: a war that could destroy the whole universe. And, says this new Prophecy, the only hope of salvation lies with a Destined One.

A Boy…

My Review:

I am usually a “chick lit” kind of girl, so when I was offered the opportunity to review this, I half expected not to like it. It did take me a while to get into the book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it.

The story follows two boys called Max, Charlie and Charlie’s sister Emily, as they embark on an adventure travelling to and from the ancient world and through different dimensions with a Time God called Parseus, and learning how to defeat The Dark One. It focuses very heavily on Greek Mythology, but in a way that makes it easy for the reader to understand.

The time travel aspect is explained well, so that the characters can spend weeks in another world, but be transported back to the very moment they left, therefore not arousing suspicion from their family.

The characters develop well. Emily starts off coming across as a bit of a brat, but I did find myself warming to her towards the end.

I liked the way the book ended, it finished off the one story quite nicely, but left you wanting more as it opened up the scene for the next book in the series.

Definitely worth a read.

You can purchase this book from Amazon, or join in the discussion on Facebook.

*I was provided with a copy of the book to review, but all opinions remain my own.