Saturday, 28 April 2012


I read a blog this morning via Twitter all about how this person's body couldn't handle hormonal changes. She wrote openly about how it affected her personality and her life and at last, I felt as though I wasn't alone in my plight with hormones.

It all began when I was in my early 20's. I was a size 6/8 and tiny..... things weren't going to well in my life. My parents had been going through a very nasty divorce during which time I was emotionally attacked by my dad, then my heroe, my big brother was killed in a car accident. All of this resulted in me going through a breakdown which led to the breakup with my long standing love, my fiance which was particularly nasty.

Looking back, I don't blame my dad or my ex.... I was a nightmare at that time in my life. Low self esteem, no confidence and I hated myself. They were having their own personal issues which changed them too. Its all water under the bridge now.

As part of my breakdown I started with an eating disorder. My weight plumeted to 6 stone and I was nothing but ribs and bones. The scarey thing for me looking back is that I distinctly remember thinking I was fat at the time.

The eating disorder never went away, it stayed with me until I had therapy at the age of 42 but it affected me in different ways.

The thing I am leading up to is.... when I did start eating properly again suddenly my periods stopped and my weight went up and up and up totally out of control until I hit 10stone and developed boobs!

The doctors didnt want to know until I met my husband and found that I couldnt conceive. During this time I was trying to lose weight unsuccessfully. Only after tests I found out that I had a hormonal disease called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which meant that my eggs developed normally but when they were released they stuck to my ovaries.

I read up about the condition and followed advice taking vitamins and supplements which helped and suddenly I found that I was losing weight and my symptoms subsided.

With fertility drugs I was able to have my two sons which is a blessing.

The hormonal changes which happened during each pregnancy made my weight go up and out of control but following my supplement and diet regime I lost the weight over time and felt great again.

I stayed a petite size 8 weighing in at 8 stone for years then I heard of this contraceptive contraption which all of my friends were raving about, the merina coil. This coil has a small amount of hormone in it and from the minute I had it fitted to the time I had it taken out my weight spiraled out of control again until I reached a size 12/14 and 10st 11lbs.......

As soon as the coil was removed and I started taking the pill again my hormones started to settle again and my weight began to fall off..............

That was when I found out that I had stage 3 HER2 pos breast cancer! The cancer was hormone sensitive so after surgery, chemo, radiotherapy and herceptin I was put on a hormonal treatment, a pill called Tamoxifen (thats another story).

Since being on Tamoxifen I have been struggling with my weight but that was the last of my problems because three years to the day of finding my first cancer, I was told that I had another cancer in my other breast.

This cancer wasn't as aggressive as the first and wasn't HER2 pos BUT it was hormone sensitive. This means that both of my cancers have been fed by my hormones.

Now I have had to have my ovaries shut down artificially to reduce the amount of oestrogen in my body and I also take a drug to stop my body producing any. Result..... I get days when I want to scream for no reason, other days I have no energy and then I have days when my bones hurt so much I can barely walk.

Hormones have been the bane of my life.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Cola's Bad Back

When Cola came into our lives he was 18 rising 19. Next month he will be 21 and in horse terms he is considered a veteran.

As you know, age doesn't come on its own and just before winter I noticed a slight stiffening in his front lets, a reluctance to lift them to be picked (cleaned) out. With this in mind, I despite the fact that he is a hardy Fell, I decided to keep him in a stable rug at night and a raincoat (lightweight rug) during the day.

Luckily it has been an extremely mild and dry winter so things have been good.

Since we have had Cola we have all discussed the fact that he has a dreadfully uncomfortable trot and canter which is unusual for such a roly poly chap but thought nothing of it. I have a bad lower back at the best of times so I put it all down to that.

Then for Jasons birthday, I bought him some riding lessons with our instructor friend and during his first lesson, she realised that although he wasn't showing lame, he was not as fluid as he normally is. I was busy eating Jelly Babies at the time so until my attention was called I hadn't noticed either.

We trotted him up and couldn't decide if it was his near side shoulder or leg.

We have an equine vet on our yard and he carried out an examination of Cola. Cola must have sensed he was a V-E-T because he didn't want him touching him no matter what!

He carried out a flex test on all of his legs and when he touched his back towards the hip area, Cola protested alot, rearing, kicking out and shivering. 50/50- this was...... I mean 50 pain and 50 the V-E-T!!!!

I was really worried now, I had thoughts of him being retired, or becoming terribly unsound or even dieing. One thing I was sure about that even if he could never be ridden again, he would be staying with us for the rest of his life. I made him that promise when he came into our family and I am sticking by it.

My friend was so calming and so good. Immediately she was on the phone to her "back" person and amazingly although she only works this area on a Wednesday, she was working Tuesday and had a free session at 5pm.

Well the "back" person called Rachel came. We walked him up then trotted him, we then turned circles and she immediately told us what was wrong.

It wasn't his hind near - it was actually his front right and he was suffering from an old injury, probably one which he had got before he came to us. It meant that his hip was thrown out and his left side was compensating and therefore had over developed muscles while the right side had deteriorated. This gave the affect from behind of being up on his near side.

We took him into his stable because the wind was keen around there at that time and we didn't want him becoming cold.

I was totally amazed at how Rachel worked. She was quiet, confident and kind and Cola seemed to accept that she was here to help him. He let her massage him and touch him, and was so comfortable he continued to munch his hay.

She then manipulated the hip and we heard a crack - scarey stuff!

After a short time we were done and I was told to rest him for another day then start off with light hacks.

Since then I have been taking him out for 20 minutes at a time and the difference in him is amazing. He walks perfectly and my hips sway with his movement as they should have done before and there was me blaming it on MY back. After riding Cola now, my back is actually better rather than stiffer.

So Rachel returns on 9th May to check on how he is doing and carry out another session on him then its up to me to rehabilitate him. With the summer coming up I am sure we will both be back to fitness pretty quickly.

I have been advised to get him checked annually now but given his age and the fact that he has a weakness now, I am going to have him checked every six months.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Pet Insurance Stitched Us Up

Just after Christmas, my 4 year old Miniature Schnauzer, Wilbur was taken ill. When I took him to the vets, they did a thorough examination of him and concluded that he was sore on his right side and suggested he might have slipped a disc. Rest and painkillers were ordered.

This ordeal went on for weeks with no improvement being made. I was in tears seeing the pain that my poor boy was in and not being able to help him.

At about the same time I found out that I had a second breast cancer so you can imagine the turmoil my life was in at that point.

Xrays were taken of Wilburs spine and to the specialists and my own vets mind, we were looking at one possibly two slipped discs.

So Wilbur went in for the operation only to find that he had a massive infection around his spine. The specialist was amazed because he hadn't seen anything like it before. Drains were fitted and he was put on a 2 month course of strong antibiotics.

The bill so far was £2500 but we have insurance for the dogs so I honestly didn't think that this was a problem.

Well, I put my claim in only to have it returned to me saying that my claim had been declined. This was because in September 2011 Wilbur had the achey shakes which was treated with antibiotics. Even though my vet and the specialist thinks that because of the time frame its highly unlikely that the two illnesses are connected. So they are saying that this was a pre-existing condition before I took out the insurance with them.

I have owned dogs for years and the amount I have paid into insurance policies runs into thousands, but I didnt mind because for me its a safety net when the unexpected happens as it did to Wilbur.

I am now wondering would I have been wiser to have opened a savings account and put the money away each month.

I won't name and shame the insurance company just yet but believe me, I will do if they still refuse my claim, after all, I don't want anyone else ending up in this situation. This is a worry I could do without post operative and facing radiotherapy plus a series of other tests.

Shame on the pet insurance industry!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Introducing Snowy

Well, I am not introducing you to the Snowy owned by the legondary Tin Tin...... However I must admit, the Snowy I AM introducing is named after that dog although she is a she and not a he.

She was born on 6th December 2011 in Bradford. Her mum is called Olga and her dad is called Demon. She came to live with us when she was 12 weeks old. Are you ready?.................

This picture was taken shortly after she came to live with us.

She is a white Miniature Schnauzer!

The Kennel Club has only recognised the white minis for two years and so they are very rare. Snowy caused quite a bit of excitement at the vets because nobody had seen one in the flesh before.

Pickles keeps her distance and growls at her alot, she doesnt dislike her, she is just flexing her muscles and showing her that she is the Alpha female in this pack.

Wilbur has made friends with her and they play continuously all day long. Digging holes, chewing sticks, playing chase - its amazing to watch!

and this picture was taken of her yesterday. Don't you just love those ears, she is totally just like Tin Tins little dog.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

One Month On

I can't believe that it has been a month since I last wrote on my blog. So much has happened in that time I honestly don't know where to begin.

I think I will do a little summary of what has been happening and then do a seperate post on each of the subjects:

  • We welcomed Snowy into our lives
  • The Dog Insurance Company stitched us up
  • Cola had a bad back
  • Breast Cancer hormone treatment
  • Radiotherapy set up session
  • Harry's hospital experience
  • Our trip to the caravan
I am sure that there are many more topics I would like to discuss but off the top of my head I can't think of them.

I can't find my camara which would be really handy because I would like to take some shots to illustrate the posts.