Day 1, Chemo Cycle 1 
I just logged on and read all your comments on my last post. How lovely to hear from you all! It’s great reading all your posts and imagining you going about your lives wherever you are. Thank you!

Well, much to my incredible amazement it is now 3 hours post chemo and I am sitting up and typing this. It is very hard to determine if the slight nauseous feeling I have is in anticipation of the nausea or, in fact, real! The day started terribly but got slightly better. I woke up with a start as we had all slept in a bit – too early for getting up in St Lucia. Kids went off to school happily and then the dreaded trip to the hospital. I am afraid to say I burst into tears when the lady on the reception in oncology said ‘Are you okay?’ Could she really see my pale, grey colour beneath my Caribbean tan or was it the large horrified dilated pupils that gave me away I wondered…..

Lots of form filling and then a blood test (surprised I have any left now) and an ECG to follow. Then just waiting, waiting…..Finally my drugs were all ready. Three types of drugs, called FEC – don’t ask me the real names. The most painful part was the nurse putting the canula in my vein. Then a saline drip is attached and in go the anti – sickness drugs. Lots of them! Finally chemo starts. Four of the biggest needles I have ever seen! I am not kidding – they were enormous. Each one must have contained over half a litre. The first two were bright red and I feel sure it was really raspberry cordial. Looked like it. The nurse gleefully told me my wee would be red for a while! (She’s right, I just checked). Then two other types of drugs went in. The whole process took about an hour. Each time she injected one of the drugs she told me what I might feel but other than a weird taste in my mouth, slightly hot feeling especially in the face and a bit of a fuzzy head, it wasn’t too bad.

I now feel very tired and the weird taste in my mouth is much worse but so far, so good. I cannot believe it will stay like this, but what a nice surprise if it does!!
Anyway, I better go and watch Deal, Or No Deal. I know, sad isn’t it….I started watching it in hospital and it’s a bit addictive. Even though I don’t like that Noel fellow……Will let you know if I have any close encounters with the bucket over night. See you soon, Deb x

PS I chose not to use the cold cap which can help prevent hair loss because the nurse said it would not save all my hair due to the type of drugs I am having. It sounded like I would be bald on top but with some hair on the sides. Mmmmm, very appealing.....

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St Lucia Sunshine 

No time to say much tonight. We got in at 6.30am and have been trying to catch up all day as tomorrow at 9.00 I am in hospital for the first chemo. Hopefully the pictures will tell you about our holiday. It was lovely. Lots of sun and swimming. Way too much eating and drinking but I was putting some in the 'fat bank' for the weeks ahead!
Jacob was pirate on THE Black Pearl, as in the movie, and he loved it. Ali and I went horseriding, including bareback in the sea!

And the kids had a great time everynight listening to the band and having fun with their cousins.

The last few days I was anxious to get home and 'get on with things' though. I have missed logging in and hearing from you all. (Hello George - hope you are studying hard!). I hope you all had a great New Year and I hope I can celebrate NEXT new year with a bit more optimism. Will add some more over the next few days. Hope to see you before I get to wear my carribean dreadlocks! Love Deb x

PS Will now need to request pina colada's simultaneous with chemo intravenous. Think I am having withdrawal symptoms.....the sun seems to have dimmed somewhat...

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Happy Christmas 

Tonight I took my Pump class again for the first time since I was diagnosed on the 29th of October. I am still on a high. Although I couldn’t do some things like the press ups, I managed ok and maybe some people may not have noticed that my operation was quite recent. The hardest thing was having to use such low weights, especially as I felt able to use more at times. However, I am not supposed to use my right arm much due to increasing the risk of lymphoedema so I wasn’t going to create any complications now!

I cannot tell you really what it is about teaching fitness that I love so much, but tonight was like ‘coming home’ after a long and uncomfortable absence. I so love being there with everyone and still I would say that the most difficult thing about coming to terms with my diagnosis is not the cancer itself, but the fact that I have been ‘thrown out of my life’ and cannot do one of the things I most love doing.

I think that there is something extraordinary about being privileged enough to take a class through an hour of instruction. Tonight was certainly a highlight for me. One of the amazing things is the people in my classes. I would choose each and every one of them as a friend if I met them in another walk of life, so it makes spending time with them all the more enjoyable. So here I am, eating another reindeer and having a very nice glass of wine (given to me tonight by some lovely people). I find myself mulling over how ironic it is that after several different career stages, ranging from teaching to editing, I have only just found the best job in the world in the past three years and now I have to give it up. Hopefully just for 6 months or so. I am sure there is a reason somewhere, but right now I fail to see it. Well, of course it could be that the poor unsuspecting members of my classes get to have a break for a while…..!

I am off to St Lucia for two weeks on Sunday so I won’t be posting for a while. I will have a cocktail by the ocean for you, under a gently swaying palm tree…..Some of me may return more quickly than others if my new and most valuable left breast should escape from its special hiding place in my bathers and float in the opposite direction to the rest of my body! That could bring a whole new species to the jelly fish family!

Have a lovely Christmas to you all and I hope you bring in the New Year in style! I will miss your funny and supportive comments on my blog whilst I am away but I look forward to more to come. I cannot begin to thank you all for your support over the last two months – whether it came in the form of sincere comment, a funny story, a delicious meal, a special card or a chocolate (usually fashioned in the shape of a reindeer) I have taken much strength and determination from your concern for me . It is because of you that I can see a positive light at the end of this rather gloomy tunnel. Thank you. And see you soon. Lots of love, Deb x

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Setting The Standards 
As you know I went to meet the oncologist on Monday and I decided I had no option but to dress appropriately. I felt they had to know exactly what the chemo ward was dealing with. You see, as an Australian, there is a perception that we are all Kath or Kim types and I knew the consultant might be expecting me to turn up in my parachute fabric trackie. So, as you can see I made a bit of an effort:

I also wanted to make it clear that they had better not mess up my drug doseages or they would have to contend with my minders. I think the oncologist nearly fell off his chair when I opened the door to let him take a peek at the faces who would be escorting me there on my every visit:

Whilst there I was given a guided tour of the chemo ward which was quite an enlightening experience.....well actually there was nothing 'light' about it. Quite grim really. They obviously noticed my reaction and said that the nurses come around with trolleys of tea and sandwiches etc. This didn't really thrill me having recently experienced several nights of the Conquest 'sandwich teas'. I was quick to point out that the catering would not be necessary as my minders were quite used to serving me champagne and cavier or anything my little heart desired. I noticed a few of the chemo patients eyeing my minders off a little too eagerly and felt, rather selfishly, a bit protective. But then I thought Oh, what the hell, 4 is little too greedy so I feel some sharing may be in order. Oh, and also, the elderly lady in the chair in the corner wondered if you could all wear 'a little less' next time......Alright, boys?

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