Wednesday, 2 July 2014

My can't do's

I have started my blog with being positive and that's the way I will try and continue.

Last June 2013, I was diagnosed with secondary cancer - the brain. I was given 2 months to live and I am still here fighting to stay with my kids and fantastic husband and family.

This cancer has stolen quite a lot, here goes;

    Lost my tit
    My tits were my assets, ah well. Their are other assets I still have - my hair.
  • Lost my hair
    I have lost my hair 3 f*****g times because of chemo and radiotherapy. It seems that I will continue to be baldy but it is now coming in very slowly. Friends and family say you suit being baldy. My response is - why don't you try being baldy for a day – you wouldn't say that to me.
  • Cant fly
    No more going to Spain for 3 to4 weeks. We have have changed to Ireland so I am in reach of a hospital if need be.
  • Insurance
    The insurance is far to high and I am only a short journey to Derry and Letterkenny so can take the risk.
  • Cant drive
    I have not driven for over a year. Do I miss it? Yes but I have to adapt to my new situation where Jim is my personal driver – he's good.
  • Cant work
    I haven't worked in over a year. Jim has had to leave work to look after me. He is the best husband, friend ever. Nothing is too much trouble – he treats me like a princes.
  • Eye changes - Steroids
    Last week in June, I decided to get new glasses because I was having difficulties reading my book or reading the programmes on the TV.
    My good friends from Ballysilan, school organised an 80's night in the Landsdown to support me. I am using some of the money to buy another trendy pair of specks. I get 50% off because I am regular customer and I got them for £210 with varial focus. Discount £220
    During my appointment the optician noticed a significant change in my eyes. Because taking steroids has caused the start of cataracts or glaucoma because of long-term use
    What Next! There is also an increased risk of eye infections. I told my oncologist and he wasn't worried – he said that is the least of your problems” lol. Then I was going to cancel my new glasses in case I was dead before I got the benefit of showing then off.
  • My Hosital visit
    On Sunday night, 29nd June 2014 – I went out with my twin and big man for a few drinks and ended up in hospital. Why ? BINGE DRINKING VODKA. (LOL)
    I now need a carer every minute if I have to walk. Well, my sister took me to the toilets in the pub. I have been in the pub from 3.30 to 8.30 pm.
    What happened – went to the toilet – leaned forward and fell onto my face,my glasses taking the brunt of any injuries on my face – no bruises on my face – next day bruises on my arms. A small price to price for having a wonderful binge drink. Ended up in hospital, ambulance called and Jim and I swiftly away.
    I soon came round and the young doctor asked “what happened?” I simply replied “binge drinking”. We all laughed and he said “why not” because we just don't know anyones time.
  • My Disabality

    Is very poor because of steroids – struggling to walk any distance because steroids are reducing my thigh muscles. I am coping! Once someone get's me up, I can walk. But over the next few weeks if I'm not off steroids I will need a wheel stand to help me and eventually a wheel chair.
    What can I say, be positive - I am still alive - actually enjoying my self

  • Cushing’s syndrome

    Oh yes – I have cushing's syndrome. This is usually only caused by long-term use of steroids. It can cause:
    I have never suffered from acne and now taking all the different medication I get facial acne – I use hydrocortisone cream – no problem sorted it out.
    Facial hair in women
    I just pluck them out in the face. I have never been a hairy lady – never shaved my legs or arms. I go down to the town centre and get my eye brows and upper lip done.
    Stretch marks and dark marks on the skin
    Taking steroids last year has caused me to gain stretch marks under my tummy – easily hidden, but after my tumours increased in January, the steroids have caused me to get more marks under:
  • both arms
  • back of my knees
  • further up the stomach
  • hips
  • breast
    I think I need to cover up lol.
    Do you believe it - I had 3, 9 ½ lb babies – I only got wee small silver marks – taking steroids ruins my body – but a small price to pay for living longer than anyone expected..
    Puffiness of the face
    What a fat face I have because of my long steroids treatment – I don't like my swollen face and neck – only thing I can do is just accept it and get on with it. I know friends and people who have not seen me are shocked at my change and mobility but I know now I am totally loved by family, friends and pupils and that,s what matters – that,s why I can be proud and walk round baldy, acne, round face and facial hair because it no longer matters.
    I am teaching my daughters that good looks and good jobs are not everything because health and happiness and a wee bit of money will see you through life – avoid stress, binge drinking and you should be alright. Don't become your mum by working too hard – just have a laugh.
    My swollen neck has caused my voice box to change.
    Bath time
    It is now official – I can no longer lift my body out of the bath. Roisin my 16 year old daughter tried and nearly tore my arm out the socket. I screamed like a bitch and had to wait for my big man to hoist me out. No more baths - showers now every morning.
  • Getting dressed
    Jim and Roisin are now helping me put on my clothes on e.g shoes, socks and bra but I still do my own pants

    MY can do's

I can still laugh with all that is happening to me – why not!

  • My oncologist told me not to go swimming because I am on chemo. Oh no just in case you take a seizure in the pool – I reassure my oncologist Jim and I were life guards in our day. So I am swimming.
  • What I can do is eat/drink – lovely.
  • I last week arranged to meet my friends, colleagues, neighbour, optician,dentist district nurse and I kept cancelling because of my extreme exhaustion. So I facebooked all my 600 friends telling them I hate cancelling so when I have more strength – we will get together. I feel no stress because I have not made commitments and just taking it at a slow pace rather than trying to hard.
  • I can give my kids wee treats that I could never do before when I worked.
  • My house is looking great and I am enjoying the comfort it provides us.
  • I know my true friends.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A mixture of stories

My MMR Results on my brain

Today, Thursday, 17 April 2014 I eventually got my results from my radiotherapy treatment which started on the 5 Feb 2014. The result was positive because the radiotherapy stopped the tumours growing over the last two months. My consultant is hoping that the new drug Lapatinib will maybe reduce the tumours as time goes on.

I was extremely nervous before the results because I have being getting painful headaches and dizziness thinking that the tumours were getting bigger. Now I can relax a little bit because the headaches are due to the drugs I am taking.

My new drug - Lapatinib

On Thursday, 20 March 2014 - I started the best drug for me, Lapatinib and chemo tablets. I have to take Lapatinib continually and chemo for two weeks and then one week off.

I am on my second treatment and side effects are sharp headaches and dizziness when I bend down and even getting up from a chair – a small price to pay. I am still taking steroids for the last 3 months until the headaches ease. I have put on 2 stone and my face is really puffed out.

My white feathers

After finding out my brain tumours had increased – I was looking in my stationery drawer and I found a white feather. I asked my kids and husband did they put the feather in the drawer. They all said “No”.

Then my daft husband piped up “you found that out in the street the other week”, I told him to “shut the fuck up “. I looked it up on the internet about finding a white feather it’s a sign of my guardian angel giving me hope and it gives me some peace.

Couple of weeks later, walking around the James Hamilton Heritage Park, I found 3 other white feathers. Just before finding the feathers I was getting upset because I was walking so slow and 80 year old pensioners were passing by me – I found the 3 white feathers and again I felt hope that I might get by fitness back.
Whilst collecting the white feathers from the lake I asked the Big Man did he believe that my guardian angel is with me. The big man then spoils the moment and said the feathers came out of that ducks arse at the lake. I really hate the Big Man at times.

My Vision – old eyes
I know that I have been given a terminal illness but I see myself looking out of very wrinkled old eyes – watching other people dying before me, I don’t like this vision.

My teacher Name – Mrs B
I was bored with just Mrs Bredin and I needed a trend, new young name and I decided to call myself Mrs B.

My new S1 pupils started a new school term and I introduced myself as Mrs B.

I told the class my name was Mrs B because I am beautiful, the best, brilliant, a buzz etc. I asked the class for more suggestions – one wee shit said “B for Beast” well that busted my bubble. I threw him out.


My book

I have started my life story – beginning from being born in Belfast in the troubles, the craic, depression, dyslexia (failing exams) and a very strong fight never to give up on anything.

My Blog

Updated hits are 28,648 – all over the world.

My Arm

Whilst I was in hospital at the start of Feb 2014, I had 12 attempts to get a line in. Look at my bloody arm:

My new hobby - Gardening
I started gardening - I just stick the flowers into the soil, but it gives a nice curb appeal.

My Painting by numbers

I have started painting – painting by numbers and have given my twin sister my first painting. I started 3 more paintings but I lost my interest.

My Big Mans high blood pressure

Since, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, my Big Man has done everything from cooking, cleaning and DIY. I noticed he was jumpier and wouldn’t settle down. We then went to the doctors and the doctor said he had high blood pressure. Next visit it was still high. So the Big Man was monitored for his blood pressure for 24 hours. The results were good, a bit high but not enough to go on tablets. So Jim is relaxing more and less DIY.

My Hospital admissions over the last 10 months

In July 2013, I toured all round Ireland. The day I started the tour, I had a quick visit to the Mater hospital in Belfast because my throat was very sore and I had painful mouth ulcers. Checked over and given medicine to relieve the pain. The doctor who attended me was gorgeous.

Then off we went on our tour. Did you ever think why I was touring Ireland just after being told I had brain tumours that were widespread because I booked a 3½ week holiday is Spain. I was told I couldn’t fly because the air pressure on the flight would be dangerous for me.
So we decided to tour Ireland because it might be my last holiday with my kids.

I started my tour on my last day of radiotherapy on the brain, maybe not the best of ideas touring Ireland but I wasn’t going to die in my f*****g bed if I still had breathe in my body – I want my kids to see me fighting.

Next hospital stop was whilst we were camping in Dublin. The mouth ulcers and throat infection was not easing. Did not like Dublin hospital admission procedures and made a complaint and told the staff that their service was not good enough for patients. Family members were not allowed to go into a treatment room and left for hours in the waiting room with no up-date information on their kids.

I was called before a lot of families who were waiting all night. I told the nurse to attend to a very worried mother on behalf of her young son. The nurse started to ignore this poor women's concerns, then I started to  cause mayhem and the family loved it. I could never stand back and let someone be ignored.

 I fucking got it done and I got results. After the trouble , the mother who was concerned thanked me – I was offered sweets and tea – I am a person who can not stand authority over other people who don’t like to make a fuss = well I can make a fuss because I was always being told by my mother don’t make a fuss’.

I was told that Big Jim was not allowed to go into the A&E department like the other family members – I told the nurse move aside she was not telling me what I can do – I have terminal cancer and he is coming in – Jim walked behind me quietly. Roisin was looking after Carleen and Orlaith in the Dublin campsite..

Continuing our tour of Ireland to Cork, Ring of Kerry and Galway. We stopped at Galway hospital still feeling unwell. I was admitted because I had mystery bruises on my leg. I read up that using steroids could cause diabetes. I was given a blood test to check my overall health. The blood test results came back and I had a blood infection – given antibiotics and never thought anything about it. It was just an infection.


From Galway hospital to Knock caravan site. I never left the caravan for 2 days – exhaustion. Visited Knock a gorgeous experience. Still didn't see Mary !! lol

Decided on Monday, 15 July 2013 to go straight home to Belfast then straight off to Larne for the ferry home to East Kilbride – ferry service provided me with a wheelchair and top service.

The weather was gorgeous in July 2013 and I eventually arrived home on Monday night – safe and exhausted. Who wouldn’t be with 3 girls in the back of the car for over 3 weeks.

On Thursday, another gorgeous day but I was covered with blankets. I was freezing and Jim shouted at me that I should not have a blanket on. I screamed at Jim not to take my blankets. I was f*****g freezing.

I took my temperature 37.9 then 38.3 – I told Jim I needed to go to hospital right away. The Big Man said “you are alright, you don’t need to go to hospital”.

Well – f**k Jim’s opinion (Doctor Jim) straight to the car to Hairmyres Hospital to A&E.

When we arrived at the waiting room, it was very busy. Jim and I sat at the front facing all the other waiting patients. Jim registered me in and up-dated the receptionist that I had brain tumours and they were very sore and my temperature was increasing.

I had just shaved my head a day before – so not looking my best. Whilst I was holding my head. Jim started to rub my leg trying to comfort me and I told him to stop. I started to shout at Jim not to touch me because he didn’t believe I was unwell. I give in , I started to ball my eyes out very loudly.. No holding back – a guy in the waiting room was his former teacher he didn’t know where to look.

I was called in right away and straight into resus they were all on me. They tried to get a line in my vein (3 attempts) drips and blood to be taken to ascertain what the infection was in my blood.Temperature scoring 38.9 getting worse, blood pressure just up.

I did not leave the A&E room the Xray came to my bed to check my chest. I also got an ECG. Oh this is serious being in the resuscitation room but I just never think of this being serious because I felt relatively ok.

I was omitted to Ward 2 – I demanded nicely I that I couldn’t stand being with other sick patients - I got my own room. I was in hospital for nine days in the best summer ever.

I was given a drip up for dehydration and a blood infection. The consultant on the ward couldn’t find where the infection was coming from. So if the antibiotics did not work I was to have lumber puncture – a very painful procedure to find were the infection came from.

Friday, 26 July 2013 I discharged myself because I needed to get home.

By Monday, 29 July 2013 the high temperature started again, we called the doctor to my house, confirmed the high temperature was caused by a urine infection. The doctor was more interested in talking to Jim about Celtic.

For over a week my temperature soared – took paracetamol and then it went down and then up, Constantly checking my temperature. .but never going back to hospital again.

A few days later I  received the discharge papers from hospital. Guess what I had septicaemia.Here's me thinking it was just a minor blood infection -I could have bloody died.

31 Jan 2014, when I was admitted to hospital I had to get a line in my arm. I can only use my right arm because I had my lymph nodes removed, so therefore I can’t take blood or blood pressure from my left arm.


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Great news to report

Hi everyone

Hail Hail

I have Good news to share with you all.

Yesterday, Thursday 20 Feb 2014 I when to the Beatson for my CT of my body. CT was to ascertain if the cancer had broken through the blood barrier into my body.

Was it in my blood, bone, pelvis, chest and the results were negative.

What a fantastic result!

Next good news from my gorgeous cuddly Oncologist Mohammad Rizwanullah is because it did not transfer into my body. I am being recommended to a specialist board to receive the drug which may help me.

Lapatanib Drug

I was told at the start of the Trial, if the other drug I was getting, Trial A (capecetabin and hercepton) didn’t work I wouldn’t get Lapatanib.

Now my oncologist is very confident it will be approved – I told you about being positive and praying.

So, what a turn up for the books – remember never give up.

This is not a cure for Brain tumours but to stabilise this condition for as long as possible, still hoping for a miracle- why not!!

Thanks for your support and prayers, I told you God is good.

NB Over the last few days my blog was hit over 5,000 times and counting. Thanks everyone! Total blog read is 26,480 readers all over the world.

KEEP THE FAITH !!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Part 5

My Summary – 19 Feb 2014

Hi everyone again – a wee summary to get up to date again.

On 1 June 2013, I was told I had brain mets (widespread tumours over 20 – greedy bitch). I was successfully treated with radiotherapy to the head and significantly reduced the tumours. Good results.

After being given 2 months. I successfully settled into my life and started the gym and walking – everything going great – even booking holidays etc. On Thursday, 30 Jan 2014 I went to the school for my last time and just to up-date them on my excellent progress.

Next day, Friday, 31 Jan 2014 my mother and younger brother Gavin came over to Central station where I collected them in good spirits. As soon as I got into the car, I had flashing lights on right hand side of my eye. I have had it before indicating a drop in blood pressure – not too concerned...

I had lunch from Greggs and then straight to bed. We had planned to go to Tony Macaroni's for a meal. By 4.00 pm my head was splitting sore – I knew it was time to get to hospital...

I was taken right away into A&E. I was groaning for f*****g pain killers – but they needed to assess me and get a line into my arm to administer the morphine. They couldn’t the get a line in.

4 bloody attempts – 3 nurses and 1 doctor tried – veins are crap now because of all my chemo treatment.

My progress was getting worse because of the time spent trying to get a line in. I was asked questions like “What day is it?” “Who is the Prime Minister?” I answered the questions but could not get the words out but I knew the answer I was suffering from dystop??? and a sidie (losing control of communicating). I could still shout “F**k, F**k several times to get pain killers. The doctor asks the Big man is this normal cursing – “oh yes”.

I was eventually given 16 mg of steroids, morphine and an anti sickness drip. Within 30 minutes talking away as normal – thank God. After the anti-sickness drug I was sick into 2 bowls and pissed myself (full bladder emptied) relief.

I told the male nurse I didn’t need the toilet anymore – I just laughed it off and got clean hospital clothes – then up-to the Ward 3 in Hairmyres in East Kilbride

Next day, I got a CT scan revealing the tumours were bigger by 1 1/2 times. I then decided to go home – couldn’t stand an old 85 year old complaining over nothing I have been given a 5 month death sentence and she still moaning.

But you guys all know – I do not do time lines because no one knows only God – so my life is in God hands and he has been good to me. I very much believe in miracles and Gods path for me.


My Radiotherapy treatment

0n Wednesday, 5 Feb 2014 I started a 10 day radiotherapy treatment. Last time, it was over 5 days more intensive treatment.

I also had a CT scan, Tuesday 18 Feb 2014, to check that it’s not spread to my bones, blood, chest, pelvis, kidneys etc.

I am seeing my consultant on Thursday, 20 Feb for the results and organize what the next stage in drugs I will be given.

Remember, I couldn’t get the drug lapatanib (Trial A drug) I got the other trial drug – capecetabine (Trial B drug) that was no good thats why my tumours have increased 1 ½ times.

Before the trial began, I asked the consultant if its was his wife what drug would he give her – Lapatanib, from the horses mouth. I accepted the only drug available and left it in good hands because he knows best.

My Outlook in Life
What ever is thrown at me, I am ready to keep fighting with a strong, Irish dignity because I will continue to keep light hearted and positive and putting my total faith in God gives me my total strength, acceptance and peacefulness. I do cry every night in bed quietly when Jim’s sleep – my wee personal time – it helps relieve the stress of the day. I am only human and don’t think about how I cope because I only know one way that is being positive and a fighter from Belfast.


My Steroids - hair loss, face puffiness, sleep problem

I have been on steroids for the last 3 weeks, started from 16 mg a day for 1 week, then 8 mg, then 4mg and then 2 mg. I promise I have not went haywire this time – the only problem not sleeping but I can sleep during the day – not really a problem.

I can’t wait to get up in the morning and get my house DIY (of course the Big Man does not let me lift a hand but I certainly organize him) did you know that the big man is my carer. He gets £56 a week.

The steroids have now blown my face up (puffiness) not worried about going out – I just don’t give a shit. It will die down over the next couple of weeks.

Hair loss is now inevitable, so in the next 3 weeks it will be gone – not a problem – it will be my 3rd time. Baldy.

My Big Man

My Big Man is amazing, talented, protective, caring and does everything for me – therefore I have been spoiled totally but I do organize and tidy up.

Jim and I over the last few weeks have redecorated the full house:



Family room

Living room

Carleen and Orlaiths’ room

Roisin’s room


The reason why we never had money spare to buy rugs , curtains, lights because we always got the cheapest. I am still getting quality stuff because of the January sales – fantastic bargains.

I want my house to be a warm, welcoming, friendly place for my family, friends and neighbours.

My Funeral

All organized with The Co-Operative Funeral care in East Kilbride. I want to have a say in all that happens and cost:

Coffin Traditional Oak                                                              £380

Hygienic Treatment (make up)                                                     £75

Professional Services                                                                 £280

Mum flowers (yellow)                                                                  £100

Order of Service (100 colour copies)                                          £144

Memorial Cards (100 colour laminated)                                         £74

Notice in the local News Paper                                                    £125

12 Yellow roses for the burial                                                       £25

Reception into the Church                                                            £150

Hearse & personnel to conduct funeral                                         £705

2 limousines                                                                                  £360

Interment Fees                                                                              £76

Collection of my body &                                                                £485

Adice, support and liaison with arrangements

Open coffin in the funeral home (Rosary in Hall)

TOTAL COST                                                                          £4,318

We paid a £1,000 deposit and over 12 months interest free at £276 a month – a good deal.

Remember this is not a negative process – its has given me comfort that the Big Man has no worries and all my wishes are met and that Jim and I have agreed. And very contented its out of the way. Never to be looked at again.

My HeadStone

Rustic 3ft Head Stone – black. Grey

Deposit on my head stone                                                £200

3 plot - only allocated on death.                                     £1,070

Picture (me)                                                                     £ 112

Inclusive of Vat & cemetery fees

TOTAL COST                                                                 £975


To celebrate the Wonderful life of

Annette O’ Connor


I told you , I had a headache”Big Man LoL

Loved by all

My 3 daughters, husband, twin,

sisters, brothers, mum & dad, family, friends and pupils.
Sleep in peace Mum

(Jim’s wee bit)

My Leaving letters

I have printed leaving letters for my children, friends, nieces, nephews. I just need to do Jim, twin, sisters, mum & dad. I went into the town centre Starbucks and wrote them all. Very emotional to my children.
I did not asked to be popular with so many good friends – and I mean they are good decent people – I've just been blessed with lots of friends and neighbours – so lots of letters.

My Travel plans

Yes – I am planning a romantic holiday for the Big Man and I to Ireland – Letterkenny 5 days trip in April 2014.
We are going on a Caledonian bus trip costing £240 each that includes:

Pick up from Hamilton
Ferry to Belfast straight to Letterkenny
Favourite Hotel – Mount Erigal
4 evening meals and bed and breakfast
Leisure facilities
Day trip to Giants Causeway

Day trip to Donegal. – getting pissed

Not to miss out - older sister and husband are coming down on the Thursday night too get pissed and then the Big Man and I travel home on the Friday to my kids.

MY brother and sister-in- law are kindly looking after my children for the 5 long nights – kids will be out at school and nursery all day. So not too bad.

My Priest

When I was told that the tumours had increased, we asked Father Ness from St Brides Church, East Kilbride to come to our home. He came straight away to our house on the Sunday evening.
I firstly apologised to Father Ness for not being a regular mass goer.
But I told him that I have a deep faith and do pray daily. I told him that I think God has chosen me to go younger (early forties) but I still have lots of fight. God know what he has planned for me and I accept it and I simply am contented and enjoying my life fully.

I spoke to the priest about acceptance from day one – and I have peace and contentment with my family.
The priest commented that he was here 7 months ago and he couldn’t believe that my home life has not changed in atmosphere, everyone doing well and that the home was charmed with grace. He told us other families have crumbled (I totally understand the pressure).
I told him acceptance has given me so much peace that he commented I was a unique person.

I absolutely loved the very special compliment.
Please leave a comment - I love to hear your thought on the blog. Annette O'Connor Bredin

ps don't worry about grammar or spelling - enjoy blog readers