THE BLOG

Grounded: Living With Secondary Breast Cancer and Seeing the End of My International Adventures

13/08/2014 17:17 BST | Updated 13/10/2014 10:59 BST

Let's be honest, running around Europe having fun was only going to last so long... and it came to an abrupt end on Friday 18 July, which coincidently was exactly two months from when we stopped treatment.

I had an amazing trip to Lake Como with my best friend Ross and his fiancé Rob. But after this trip it was home to business; I had my bone drug on the Monday and a radiotherapy planning appointment on the Friday. The radiotherapy to my spine is to ease pain and symptoms rather than cure them.

Friday came and I took a sick bag in my handbag - no idea why as radiotherapy doesn't usually make me sick. It went well. I noticed they zapped me for a good few minutes in each spot, longer than other doses I've had. But it was soon over and I was in the taxi home.

The nausea hit about half way home and got progressively worse. Soon I'm throwing up in the back of a smart Mercedes. The driver pulled over and bless him, rubbed my back and got me some water. Thank goodness I brought that sick bag! When we get home I felt terrible and before long I was asleep in my recliner chair.

I woke up at 8pm that evening (Friday) panicked, thinking: 'oh my god it's Saturday and I've missed the reunion party of my old club friends that was planned for me!' I sent a garbled Facebook message to my friend who organised it thinking: 'Wow, how could I miss that, better go to bed!' On Sunday my Stepmom's cousin, Debbie, was due to stay - I figured she would sort me out.

The night was a very long one with lots of ups and downs to the toilet and complete confusion. I don't know what time or day it is or what's going on. I figured I just need to wait for Debbie to arrive... Finally the night is over. I go downstairs to watch telly but only news is on and I can't understand it at all. I think it's Sunday, but then a friend turns up - we'd arranged to go for brunch on Saturday. I realise this confusion is serious.

I call the Royal Marsden who, because of the delirium, call me in straight away. Getting there in that state was interesting but I get my hospital bag, call a taxi, plus, for the first time I think, arrive not in my PJs! I can't deny it though, I'm really scared as nothing like this has ever happened before.

As I've mentioned before, arriving at hospital on a weekend is never the best experience and this time is no different. The main thing though is I'm in a place where the symptoms can be managed and I'm safe.

So drips and drugs and fluids and care are given to me, the food guy is desperate for me to eat something and is so sweet but it's hard to eat when you throw everything up! He was so happy when I was finally eating.

Then the dance happens, doctors coming up with their different theories as to what is wrong with me.

We want to see if there is fluid in my belly as it's become swollen and if the fluid could be drained out (allowing me to fit into some amazing clothes I've bought, never worn and am now too big around the waist for). The registrars think we can.

The delirium goes after the first day with the help of steroids and fluids, and the other symptoms are controlled too. I finally see Prof J on Monday evening as he's been on holiday. He comes into the room like the principle dancer. I've been seen by different members of his team, all with different, plausible theories as to what happened. But they are like the first artists to the first soloists and Prof J is the principle. The other doctors did well but you KNOW why Prof J is who he is.

He taps my tummy. He explains my liver has now swollen across my abdomen and there isn't really any fluid to drain. The delirium was caused by dehydration. My liver struggles and doesn't manage the protein levels in my blood so well, and this affects my hydration. I was so dehydrated my brain shrank a bit which aggravated the cancer in the skull and brain lining and also the whole brain radiotherapy I'd had. The other symptoms were from the radiotherapy to my spine.

Job done and off he goes! He is one AMAZING man. So that's it, drink bucket loads of water and eat lots of protein.

Leaving hospital I can't help but notice a difference in me; I've lost a lot of strength and really struggle to climb the stairs. I'm very, very tired. Then the dark thoughts start swirling around my mind - is this ever going to get better? Is this now the beginning of the end that I keep talking about? Has my determination finally run out? Can I feel the fingers of death on the edge of my consciousness?

Actually, the answer to the fingers of death is no, I don't feel like this is the beginning of the end, it's a kick up the arse to get my determination back. I always seem to end up in hospital at a crossroads and this trip has told me to rest after all my international travelling. Time to stay away from planes and travel in the UK.

I've had one heck of a scare and the recovery takes two and half weeks of rest, gentle exercise and good food. But I'm back! More determined than ever and ready for the next bit of this journey! It's been three months now since we stopped all treatment, and my birthday is only three weeks away so you know what, I'm pitching to get to Christmas now! Bring on Rudolf!

For more information about secondary breast cancer, visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk/secondary