Trind Nail Care products – chemo nail rescue!!!

My poor decimated nails!

My poor decimated nails!

One of the annoying side effects from the chemo I’m getting ( Gemcetibine and Docetaxel) is the damage I’m now seeing to my nails. Researching online, it seems the Docetaxel could be the main culprit but having a double whammy dose of chemo probably doesn’t help matters. Having spent sooo long getting my nails up to par (if you’ve read my earlier posts you’ll know I’ve battled with nail biting for years up until a couple of years ago when I decided enough was enough) and to watch my hard work go down the drain as the drugs took hold has been a bit of a blow. Still, never one to sit down and give up, I’ve researched chemo nail care and delved into products which could help restore my nails to some sort of normality.  Hopefully, this might help some of you in the same position.

Re-hydration is my main aim as my nails have gone so dry, despite using cuticle oil by the gallon. The white bits have gradually crept down my nails but strangely enough, just on both ring fingers! I’m not sure what I can do about those though …..

I’ve had no problem growing my nails throughout my ongoing chemo treatment – in fact they’ve grown like mad. I read that some people lose their nails due to Docetaxel so I guess I’m lucky in that respect.

I read some great reviews on the Swiss TRIND products and decided t0 Nail Balsam &  Nail Repair

give them a whirl  – after all I’ve got nothing to lose but healthy nails to gain. The two products I plumped for were the Nail Balsam and Nail Repair and then their Keratin Nail Restorer and Keratin Nail Protector.  I’ve had the first two products for about a week now and the latter have just arrived. Whilst ferreting around online I was reminded that nails are basically made of keratin and that restoring your nails to health meant restoring the keratin levels.  Having seen that TRIND also have keratin products I went and checked these out and decided that having some extras in my arsenal wasn’t a bad thing.

Using the products is easy: you simply apply a coat of the Balsam to clean, dry nails and leave for two minutes to soak in, then gently rub any excess into your nails. I  can see my nails absorbing the balsam!  Then, you apply a coat of the Nail Repair and allow to dry.  This helps seal in the balsam and helps strengthen your nails. Each day, you simply remove the products with a non-acetone polish remover and start the two-step process again.

Trind Keratin Nail Restorer & Nail Protector

Keratin Nail Restorer & Nail Protector

Already I can see some improvement in the condition of my nails and they are definitely more hydrated. On first applying the Keratin Nail Restorer, I’m really impressed at how quickly it’s absorbed and how incredibly soft and smooth my nails feel, even after one shot. I’ve left off applying the Nail Protector for a few hours as I want to apply some more of the keratin goodness throughout the day.

The keratin products are formaldehyde free although the Nail Repair does contain this. I’m not a fan of formaldehyde but on this occasion, I’m prepared to overlook this if it means my nails stand any chance of getting back to how they were pre-chemo!!

I’ll update on the progress ……..

 

November Update

Well,it’s been a little while since I updated here but unfotunately, I’ve been pretty unwell and haven’t felt like dragging out the laptop and tapping away.  There’s been some good news and some setbacks: a CT scan I had a few weeks’ back showed that the chemo was doing its job and the tumour in my liver had shrunk.  Good news indeedy but this was overshadowed last month when I had to go to A & E as I was having trouble breathing and could hardly walk.  The breathlessness had been creeping up on me for several weeks but as I knew it was a side effect of the chemo, I must admit, I didn’t stress out too much about it at the time.  Ok, so I was very, very tired all the time and had no energy for anything other than the necessaries. Our trips up to the Marsden had become a trek for me and whereas I had been able to walk the 30 minutes from our hotel to RM, taxis were now the order of the day, both there and back.
I’d had trouble walking short distances, getting seriously out of breath and feeling like crap but I just didn’t have the sense to give in! I had to stay in hospital for a week, as the doctors tried to work out what was wrong. A blood clot on my lung was one possibility, as was neutropenia (a killer for cancer patients if not caught in time) but a week of daily blood tests (well done PICC line for all your sterling work there!), lovely antibiotic IV’s and a CT scan revealed no clot, thank god, but obvious damage to my lung, probably caused by the chemo.  Having missed a complete chemo cycle, we traipsed back up to London having been pre-warned that I probably wouldn’t be having  chemo and that’s exactly what has happened.  I’m having a break for a few weeks to allow my lung to heal, but the CT scan showed that the tumour was still shrinking and the mets in my lung had all but dissipated.  So it’s a double edged sword.  The chemo drugs are  working but at the cost of my lung, so the plan when we go back to RM in December will be another CT scan and then decide what course of action to take with regards to the chemo drugs.
Still on a reducing dose of steroids which have completely wrecked my sleeping patterns.  I’m awake most of the night and am at a loss to understand how I stay awake during the day! Feel sorry for Kev who wakes up as soon as I move and then has to put up with me being awake in the small hours of the night, reading or playing a game on my iPad! Being off the chemo has given me my old life back, even if it’s only for a short while.  I feel well, I’m eating well and enjoying having my tastebuds and I can even forget I have cancer.  As the doctor from our hospice said to me, you get so used to feeling ill, you forget what it’s like to feel normal.  How true that is.  Plus, my hair is growing back, albeit a different shade to what I had before, but hey, it’s hair!!

Indian summer here in the UK?….

Flower filled meadow Well, we’ve had a great summer this year down here in the south of England.  Plenty of hot summer sun and hot sticky nights and it looks like we are enjoying an Indian summer as the temperatures are still brilliant as we hit the second week of September!

I’ve not been able to fully enjoy the lazy days of summer, having to travel to London three weeks out of four for my ongoing cancer treatment but it’s been great to see our wonderful capital in its summer glory.  Let’s hope the sun continues to shine and that autumn is late arriving this year!

Some good news: we are expecting our third grandson early in the New Year! Leah and Simon are having another boy, a little brother for Archie, who’s now 2.  Can’t wait!

Apologies for the lack of posts written but this is due to my illness.  I’ll try and get on here more, promise! :)

 

New Round of Chemo drugs (just for a change)

It’s been a while since I last posted but unfortunately, haven’t always felt well enough to sit at the laptop ….Found that the original chemo hadn’t worked and instead of helping shrink the cancers, they have actually grown, so am now on a new regime of drugs on a weekly basis, which basically means that we are up at the Royal Marsden for about three weeks out of every four, with only one week off for good behaviour!!

The new drugs are pretty intense and have knocked me for six but if they work, then it’ll all be worth it. Have a CT scan booked for a couple of weeks’ time to see how things are progressing.  We know the prognosis isn’t good; the cancers are incurable but we just go from day to day and keep everything crossed.

On a brighter note, I managed to do the Race for Life back in July and completed the 6k in just over an hour with my daughters and two friends.  It was a baking hot day, which didn’t help but we did it and raised quite a bit of money for a very worthwhile cause…

Race for Life, Southsea

Race for Life, Southsea

Hair today, gone tomorrow …….

So…… back from another trip to the Royal Marsden, this time a two day stopover, as Tuesday I had my PICC line inserted, which wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be (although I did keep my eyes shut for most of the procedure!!)  Now sporting a very nifty little bandaged accessory on my left arm :)

Yesterday was the usual whole day of appointments, apart from having bloods, which was done through my line on Tuesday.  So simple and no cannulas involved – yay!

Chemo was also very quick, following the line being cleaned and re-dressed and was out of the RM at least an hour earlier than we normally are.  Only downside to the day was being told by my doctor that there are now at least two more nodules found and am now a Stage 4.  Great.

Last Thursday I went to work with my hair intact, apart from being able to pull out loads of strands. By Sunday, it was getting pretty obvious it wasn’t going to be hanging around much longer and most of it has now gone, apart my fringe (helpful) and quite a bit left on top.  I refuse to look like Max Wall and it’s going to have to go. Thank god I sorted out my new hair in time, plus my collection of hats/scarves etc!

Going into work for the first time with my new barnet was a little nerve-wracking but the only comment I received was from my colleague asking if I’d been to the hair dresser and that my hair looked so good! Other than that, I told everyone else who commented.  No point keeping it to myself.  Just in case the wind blew it off and then what an idio I’d look.

FullSizeRender(1) My “new hair” is an exact replica of my own hair, only looks sooo much better! It’s fooled a few people who think it’s my own and who am I to argue with that? The owner of the hair salon who supplies the hair is a fellow cancer sufferer so she knows exactly what we’re all going through when we lose our hair and want to look as “normal” as possible. Good on you, Chris.

24/6/14

So, another day of feeling yuk which means I just can’t go to work.  Fell asleep this afternoon for an hour or so, which I probably needed as I didn’t sleep through last night (again).

The British summer has really kicked in over the last few days, which is great but the sticky heat gets a bit much, especially at night.

Moan, moan, moan – just wish it was a bit cooler.  I’m already hit with hot flushes (oh yes I forgot I had a total hysterectomy a few months’ back which launched me into the menopause.  Thank you.  On top of everything else) so the heat does get a bit much.  But could be worse, I suppose.  Not sure how, but I’m sure it could ….

Nausea, nausea, nausea – and not forgetting the ulcers!

So, there’s no pattern to the nausea and retching! I seem to have a couple of good days followed by a wipe-out day when I don’t have the energy to get off the sofa.

And then there are the ulcers.  I’d read about this lovely side-effect but really hoped I would avoid them but I’ve got a couple of ulcers now, together with sore lips so the pineapple ice-cubes have come into their own….

Can’t wait to see what else is in store for me :)

But I did manage to find my jelly sweets at the local market. Bargain.

Tastebuds, where the hell are you??

Not only am I having to cope with nausea and retching but now my tastebuds have taken a holiday! Even when I do fancy something to eat, what it looks like and what it actually tastes like to me are worlds apart. The world now revolves around cardboard.  Everything and I mean everything tastes like the bloody stuff.

Even plain water has lost its oomph so I’ve ordered a new Brita filter jug which should be here today. At least I’ll have some decent hydration that’s not full of contaminations.  Got enough of those in me at the moment without adding more ……

Side effects so far ….oh joy!

photo8 150x150 Cancer Journey   side effects so far After a great first day following chemo, I just know that things are going to change. And it doesn’t take long either …
Friday I wake up and know immediately that I feel sick.  Sick, nauseous, just yuk.  I down my anti-emetics and hope it’ll pass.  Wishful thinking – the whole day’s spent either retching or feeling crap. ginger tea bags 150x150 Cancer Journey   side effects so far So, ginger game plan on.  I stocked up on teabags and crystallised ginger before going to London and am glad I did.  The ginger helps but oh god, I’m fed up with the stuff already!

Liquorice jelly buttons  (the ones you get in allsorts) help too but the only place I can get these is at our local hospital’s shop!! And I avoid that place like the plague unless visiting mum!   But I’ve found them online so no worries there! Drinking plenty of water and tea when I can stomach it but my tastebuds are definitely changing.  My appetite’s disappearing although I’ve found that sometimes when I think I feel sick, I’m actually hungry but halfway through eating, I can’t take another mouthful.

jelly buttons 150x150 Cancer Journey   side effects so far The inside of my mouth seems to have a life of its own now so the mouthwash I was given has been well used.  Also my lovely niece Rebecca reminded me that pineapple juice is a great antiseptic and I’ve taken her tip and frozen freshly-juiced pineapple juice cubes ready for when those dreaded mouth ulcers dare to show their face!

I’ve been tired for a long, long time but didn’t realise this would be getting worse. I can sleep for England and being back at work is only adding to the problem! But I try and stay awake in the evening as long  I can but trying to socialise is now getting to be an effort.  I just love my bed!

As most people are aware, one of the biggest side effects of chemo is hair loss.  Not everyone loses their hair, it all depends on the drugs.  I was told from the outset that I’d be losing my hair thanks to the Doxorubicin and even now, it’s starting to come away, a few strands each time but enough to notice.  The whole texture of my hair’s changed too, so it’s baby shampoo all the way from now on!  So how do I feel about the whole hair loss thing? To be honest, it’s only hair.  If it means I have a better survival rate, then why should I or anyone else worry about it? Millions of people are going through exactly the same thing each and every day and it’s just one of the darker sides of cancer and chemo.

Summer Fayre at Lee on Solent Infants School

tote bag Spending so much time at home recovering this year has meant that I’ve had to find things to do that didn’t involve either driving/lifting/too much exertion.  Luckily I’ve been able to stitch and make crafts for Jack’s upcoming Summer Fayre at Lee on Solent Infants School on Saturday 5th July.  Hannah and I have a table there where I’ll be selling my goodies with a portion of the proceeds going to the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

Come along and say hi to us, as well as supporting a great cause :)

Hello Royal Marsden!

Travel up to London Victoria ready for our afternoon appointment at the Royal Marsden. Just up the road from the hospital, I decide a glass of wine would be in order. And we toasted to kickin’ cancer’s butt with a large one!

Kickin' cancer's butt

Kickin’ cancer’s butt

Good thing we are fortified as there is, yet again, more bad news. The cancer has also spread to my liver and it’s pretty serious. Incurable serious.  When that little bombshell has sunk in, we ask and get answered, all our questions, nothing’s too much trouble, we’re given leaflets on rare sarcomas, keyworker contact numbers …. Chemo is discussed and we decide this is the next step forward. I’m asked if I would like to have chemo locally or come up to RM every three weeks. \Have chemo locally/ You’re having a laugh, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the incompetence of our local hospital.  I’d rather not put the remainder of my life back in their hands, thank you very much.  There’s no question,  our minds are made up. Yes, it’s a lot of travelling, especially when I start feeling really ill but there’s no comparison to the care we’re receiving from RM. Anyone who’s walked through their doors can’t fail to be impressed by the calm, positive attitude of everyone working there.

We're going to get to know this place SO well!

We’re going to get to know this place SO well!

We are the last patients at the RM when we finally leave to catch the Tube back to our hotel and I can’t speak for Kev, but I feel as if it’s all happening to someone else. We now know the true extent of what’s happening to me and what’s been missed over the last two years and we are devastated. And angry.

And a think a gin and tonic is well in order, not sure about  you …..

Chemo Day 1 Aftermath

Travelling back from London last night, I was exhausted but glad things went so well.  I feet ok and sleep the whole night, thanks to the sleeping tablets given to me by my consultant at RM.  I’ve had so many sleepless nights, they’re beginning to catch up with me so having something to help is a real bonus.
cider So I wake this morning wondering what’s going to hit me.  Nothing. I feel totally normal, I go out to lunch by the beach with a couple of friends and sit in the shade with a cider, followed by a wine.  Make the most of the alcohol cos it’s not really on the menu. I know this is the calm before the storm so I make the most of it while I can ……

Chemo Round One

Victoria-bound again, this time for my first day of treatment! Due to the last minute arrangements, we can’t get booked into our usual Premier Inn in South Kensington, so I’ve had to bite the bullet and book a cheapo hotel not far from the hospital.  From the price, we know it’s going to be pretty dire but there’s nothing else available at such short notice.  And it’s only for one night ….The hotel’s not quite as bad as we thought (thank god we won’t be here all day!!!) although the continental breakfast cheese was stuck to the plate, forcing Kev to ram his fork into the slices, in a desperate bid to upend at least one slice!  Glad to leave our case in storage and head off to the Tube!

* I’m forced to return to this post and add that, actually, the hotel was absolutely CRAP!  Building work going on, rooms badly in need of repair but we had no choice.  Definitely will never go near this place again, for sure.

My timetable has been planned pretty methodically: Bloods 10.00, echocardiogram 10.30, doctor 11.50 then chemo 2.00.  This is when we find out that things don’t always run to plan! First problem is trying to get bloods from me. My veins won’t play and it takes three attempts before the necessary tube is extracted from the back of my hand!  The echo shows my heart is 100% healthy, which is great as it means I can go ahead with the chemo, provided my bloods are ok.  In the gap between the echo and seeing the doctor, we head outside back into South Ken;  It’s boiling hot, there’s the London buzz in the air which I love and we have plenty of time to spare before heading back for chemo.

This is where everyone plays the waiting game. The chemo suite is large, bright and airy with comfortable reclining chairs.  It’s just a matter of getting in there! In the end, I only have to wait just over an hour and a half before I’m called in. And then I myself am the cause of more delays for other patients! Yep, it’s down to those old cannulas again! No cannula, no chemo. My poor nurse has three attempts, on both my arms and hands without success, even resorting to putting my arms into a yellow sharps bucket of hot water to soften my veins.  Chaos erupts when another young nurse trips over the bucket which is on the floor, spilling  a gallon of hot water everywhere! Kev is on his knees with towels, helping to mop up the river of water which has gone everywhere.  Meanwhile, I am reclining back in my chair, just praying they can get the needle in so we can get going with the chemo! Finally, another nurse is called over who quickly and expertly inserts the cannula and we are away!

The actual chemo seems a bit of an anti-climax after all the excitement.  Half an hour’s worth of bright pink Doxorubicin quickly and efficiently pumped into my veins from two large vials, followed by a few minutes of flushing and we’re all done.  One quirky note to end with; your pee is bright pink straight away. What a party piece!

Knowing the problems I have with my veins, I’m having a PICC line inserted the day before my next chemo, which should help as all bloods and chemo can be done through the line.
picc line

Rare Night Out!!

Out to my work colleague’s wedding reception tonight – the first time I’ve been out properly since March! Great to see my friends again but by the time our lift home arrives, I am totally ready for bed! Congratulations Nicky and George!