Tuesday, 23 December 2014

5 Years On!

On the morning of 23rd Dec 2009 I heard the words that would change my life – “I’m sorry, but you have cancer”.

Over the past 5 years a lot of things have happened. I stepped aboard a seemingly never ending rollercoaster. At the end of January 2010 I had a full hysterectomy; and when the pathology results came back showing that there were still cancer cells present I then had to go through chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. Then a week before my 47th Birthday in July 2010, my safety net of regular appointments ended and I was left alone to carry on my life.

How do you return to what was your life BC – before cancer? Everything has changed. Everything is different. Your outlook on life; your hopes and fears are all mixed up. People around you change as well. Those who you thought you could rely on fall away yet others step up to the mark and become new friends.
Since the treatment ended, my health has not got better like I expected it too. In fact, it’s got much worse.  Since being diagnosed with cancer, I have also been  diagnosed with an epi gastric hernia; an under active thyroid and lymphoedema in both legs.  I also have severe cognitive and memory problems and fatigue as a result of the treatment.  I don’t sleep very well and also have bowel and bladder issues, which is the reason why the epi gastric hernia isn’t going to be repaired any time soon!

The past 5 years have been tough, much more than I ever thought they would be. Had I known then what I know now there is a very good chance that I would not have had the chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The side effects of the treatment were never fully explained to me and for that I am extremely angry. However I can’t change what has happened and I have to learn to live with the consequences of the treatment.
There have been some very dark times as well recently.  Loosing my Mom to cholagniocarcinoma or bile duct cancer last Dec was extremely hard to deal with. The past year without her has been very hard and the anniversary of her death this year was tough to deal with.

5 years is a long time – an awful lot has happened and now is the time to take a step back and think about the future.

Where does the road go from here? Who knows?  I don’t have a map; I guess we’ll just have to wait and see where the rollercoaster takes us next!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Cancer doesn't care what age you are!

Sadly, cancer has taken yet another young life today; one amongst many who die every day.
Elena Baltacha, former British number one tennis player has died of a type of liver cancer,  cholangiocarcinoma, aged just 30.

This is the cancer that my Mom died of just a five months ago.

It's a fairly rare cancer, around 1,800 people a year in UK will die of it. It is also a very aggressive cancer and sadly it is hard to diagnose. Most patients are not diagnosed until the cancer is fairly advanced and the outlook is not very good.

Baltacha was diagnosed back in mid January; Mom was diagnosed just 5 weeks before she died.

There is very little known about what causes this type of cancer and also very little awareness.

If some good can come from either my Mom's death or that of Elena Baltacha then lets hope that it involves more awareness and more funds for research.

At present there is only one UK charity for Cholangiocarcinoma and that is AMMF - please visit their website and make a donation if you can.

Any awareness of this cancer is also useful so please spread the word and share this blog.

xx Kaz xx

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

How do you deal with grief?

It’s often said that life doesn’t come with an instruction manual; and sadly neither does death.

Loosing someone close to you is hard to deal with, especially when it comes unexpectedly.

I recently lost my Mother to a rare and very aggressive cancer called Cholangiocarcinoma.  Something I had never heard of and it took me a week to learn how to say it properly. It’s actually bile duct cancer and Mom died just short of 5 weeks from getting her diagnosis.
As a daughter, I always knew that one day the time would come when I lost my parents but I never expected it to be so soon and so quickly.

Living over 350 miles away meant that I wasn’t able to be there with Mom in her final days; being cared for in a wonderful hospice. When diagnosed she had been given 4 – 6 months so for her to die so quickly was a shock for everyone.
We had to wait 10 days for the funeral – I would have much preferred it to have been sooner because there was this feeling of being in limbo. Unable to grieve properly because there was so much paperwork and waiting.

The funeral was as Mom had wanted; short; non-religious; and simple.
It’s hard to accept that she is no longer around. No more phone calls from her on a Saturday evening after she has checked her lottery tickets. No more letters through the post when she sends me photos of the flowers in the garden. 

I’m angry that she has been taken from me; it’s unfair and I want her back. It would have been her 77th Birthday on 21st March and cancer has denied me the chance of ever singing Happy Birthday down the phone to her again.

So how do you deal with grief? I wish I knew. What I do know is that it hurts like hell and even though people keep saying that it gets easier, I can’t ever imagine a time when I don’t think of her .

In honour of Mom, I am holding an online auction on Facebook to raise funds for AMMF - the UK's only cholangiocarcinoma charity. I'm hoping that by keeping busy on the day it will make it easier for me to deal with things.

I hope things get easier as time passes.



Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Macmillan Information Service Launch in Rothesay

Today was the soft launch day of the new Macmillan Information Service in Rothesay Library here on Isle of Bute.

We have a corner of the local library and a very nice set up with lots of leaflets and volunteers are there once a week to chat to anyone who wants some information about cancer.

Its is something that I think is desperately needed here on the island and I hope that the community will use the service.

Myself and the other 5 volunteers have gelled into a nice little group over recent months as we did our training before Xmas and have been eagerly awaiting the time when we can start. We go "live" so to speak next week. The service is available every day that the library is open and volunteers will be there every Tuesday.

It was nice to meet some of the Macmillan staff from the area office and have a chat about the service Macmillan provides.

So roll on next Tuesday when we can down to business.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Where do the days go???

Doesn't seem 5 minutes since Xmas and yet here we are at 1st March. Happy St David's Day to all the lovely welsh people out there!

Well, I know that I promised that I would be writing here a bit more regularly this year but I really don't know where the days go to!!
I do write quite a bit but it always seems to be for other blogs - either my own for Womb Cancer Support UK, the online support group I run http://wombcanceruk.blogspot.co.uk/ or occasional blog posts I do for Beauty Despite Cancer a wonderful website set up by a very lovely lady called Jennifer Young who developed a range of skincare and cosmetics specifically for cancer patients.

The past few months have been quite difficult for me personally as I lost my Mom to a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, Cholangiocarcinoma or bile duct cancer, just before Xmas.

In her memory I am running an online auction in March to raise funds for the only UK Cholangiocarcinoma charity AMMF You can find details of the auction here https://www.facebook.com/events/1402314750026909/ There is also a justgiving page if anyone would like to support this great charity http://www.justgiving.com/Kaz-Molloy2

If anyone would be prepared to donate an item to the auction then please message me via the FB event page. It would be much appreciated.

Loosing Mom has been very difficult but I am trying hard not to let my feelings of loss drag me back down into depression. It's not a very nice place to be, as anyone who has experienced it will know.

So I am trying hard to get out of the house a bit more and next week sees the launch of the new Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Service in our local library here on the island. I am one of 6 volunteers who will be part of the service and I am looking forward to starting.

If you have recently lost someone or are still coming to terms with a bereavement then you might like to know about a new twitter hour that is on Wed March 19th between 7pm-8pm. Use the hashtag  # and support each other through the tough times.

Right, I'm off for a cuppa. Catch you all soon, I promise!! xxx

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Happy New Year

I know its a bit late, but Happy New Year to you all.

Doesn't seem like 2 weeks since the turn of the year but it is.

If you remember in my last post, I was organising a Xmas craft fayre here on the island; and although sadly it wasn't very well attended, I did manage to raise £50 for Macmillan, and the local Macmillan fundraising group raised £80 on their home baking stall so all in all, it was a good day for Macmillan.

My craft clear out is ongoing and I have raised almost £100 from that and I also had a Boxing Day sale on my Facebook page which raised another £73. :-)

The new Macmillan Information Service will soon be starting in our local library here in Rothesay. Myself and the other volunteers had another brief meeting today to catch up after Xmas. Looks like we might be ready to roll at the beginning of March. I am really looking forward to this and think it will be a service that will be welcomed by the local community and well used.

Not much else has been happening here - everything seems to shut down during the winter!

The weather has been the only thing that seems to have got much attention. Its been extremely windy and with the winter high tides, we have had quite a lot of flooding in town and low lying areas of the island. It has also been extremely mild for the time of year which is fine by me as it keeps the heating bills down!!