About this Blog

This blog started as an online diary and place for me to rant about annoyances in my family.

However since July it has become a place for me to catalogue and express my views and opinions on the treatment I have recieved following the diagnosis of a potentially cancerous tumor in my bowel.

On 3rd August 2011 I was told that it was cancerous. In April 2012 I was given the all clear.

October 15th 2013 I was diagnosed with peritoneal disease and liver metastases. The cancer was back and this time it is inoperable.

It is a little bit out of date as the NHS doesn't tend to have a WiFi connection in hospital and I can only post when I get home and posts take a while to write.

It is NOT about individuals or the nursing profession. It is about some of the inadequacies in the system and the way the NHS is failing some people.

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Friday, 15 November 2013

Coming to terms with my changing body

I have posted a lot about the factors that led to me nagging my GP for every test under the sun to find out what was wrong with me. 

One of the big factors was weight loss. 

I have always been comfortable in my body. I have never dieted or religio├╣sly weighed myself ( apart from the 4 months before I got married when I used slim fast)

When I conceived Isaac in 2007 I was a size 18/20. I probably weighed about 100kg. However I was happy, I had no desire to loose weight, I did a lot of yoga, walked a lot and ate healthily. At 6' (1.8m) tall I carried it well. Ok, I was overweight but not scarily so.

After Isaac was born I lost some weight through breastfeeding. Yes, really, I did loose weight and then when Imogen was born in 2010 I lost more through breastfeeding and running around after a toddler. I was then between a 16/18, probably about 85-90kg. Still doing the yoga, not so much walking but eating a lot more healthily.

Fast forward to 2011 - more weight loss, people were starting to comment on it. I was doing nothing differently except for running around after 2 toddlers and using the car a lot less as petrol prices crept up and the Volvo drank fuel like it was water!!

I now know that the 2011 weight loss should have been a wake up call to get things looked at. I had a tumour growing inside me which was causing the weight loss. I was down to 80kg and a size 16.

Once I was diagnosed and started treatment things seemed to stabilise. I was a comfortable size 16 and celebrated getting the all clear with some new clothes. I felt good in my body, it had beaten cancer and survived 8 cycles of chemotherapy.

Then 4 short months later, even more amazingly I found out I was expecting baby number 3. At my booking in appointment with the midwife I weighed in at 81.2kg. However I did not have an easy pregnancy and clothes that fitted at the start of the pregnancy seemed to get bigger rather than smaller as I struggled to eat 3 meals a day due to a combination of sickness, pain and exhaustion. 

Once Hope was born I was back in my pre pregnancy jeans within days. I took Isaac to a birthday party on April 14th wearing size 18 jeans, that were too big.

Within a month of her birth I was buying jeans in a size 14. I was thrilled. According to my scales I was 75kg, and this meant I was no longer overweight. I was healthy. 

But the weight loss didn't stop there. By the time Isaac finished his first year at school the size 14's were too big and I was down to 70kg. I couldn't afford  to buy more new clothes. When you are as tall as me, you can't just nip to primary and pick up a few cheap pairs of jeans unless you want them to end mid calf. Charity shops are out too, there aren't generally tall ranges in them. 

Over the summer I tried to eat better. But I couldn't keep the weight on. By the time Isaac went back to school I was 60kg. I had lots of positive comments from people about how lucky I was to be loosing so much weight, how well I looked and what was my secret. Luckily these were people who didn't know me well. The people that know me knew how worried I was.. The tests weren't showing anything. Clear colonoscopies, clear CT scans, clear blood tests. But something was wrong. 

I hated my body now. Clothes hung off me. I looked gaunt and, to me, ill. The Ruth looking back at me was not someone I knew.. I was half the women I used to be. I joked a lot about feeling like a Trainspotting extra, a drug addict. I could fit my belt around me twice. The only benefit was I could occasionally go bra less (not that I did, I was still breastfeeding, but I did not need the support offered by my 38GG feeding bras, I actually got re measured in Debenhams as a 32E and had perky boobs again).

The cancer reappearing has been a blessing in disguise. I knew what was wrong. I was not imagining it. I really was proper poorly. This raised new issues for me. I started to realise that I wasn't going to put all the weight back on. 

In my new Box of Love was an envelope. I picked it up when we went across to Cardiff as I thought I might need cheering up. When I opened it on Friday night I was stunned. Several people had clubbed together a got me a voucher for Next. I couldn't wait to spend it. Imogen, Hope and I went shopping in Cardiff. We got something for each of the girls and then gleaned directions to Next. I'd decided I would get at least one pair of jeans, which I did, in a size 12. They were a little too big but I hoped I would put some of the weight back on. I also got a scarf and some long sleeved tops for layering as I knew that the chemo, cancer and weight loss were going to mean I was cold a lot. To the people that bought me that voucher, you know who you are. The thoughtfulness was amazing. You made me come to terms with my changing body.

I've been picking up a few more bits and pieces now. Mostly PJ's as they are comfy and multi purpose. I tend to put them on as soon as I know I don't have to go out again in the afternoon.

I still have a way to go before I am comfortable in my body though. Being slim, makes me feel taller and seems to make people more aware of my height. Today I went into Next and thought I would try some skinny jeans. I was not ready for that. A size 10 gaped at the back and was baggy around the thighs, as well as making my legs look like matchsticks. 

I'll be sticking to cosy PJ's and boyfriend fit jeans for now.