When Shit Hits the Fan: Part Tres

Hey all welcome back to Martins updates, I know I haven't updated you for a while now so I have lots to back track on. So forgive me if I miss a few details out - some are hard to look back on but mostly because so much has happened since then. Those of you that know what's happened don't panic you haven't missed anything, I'm just very behind with my blog! 

If you aren't up to date with Martin story then you may want to read the previous posts but make sure to come right back!! 

"Cancer may have started the fight, but I will finish it'

So with you all caught up you know that Martin has his PICC line inserted, this was a fairly painless process for him though he said it was an odd sensation as he said he could feel the line going through his vein. The line is about a meter long and is inserted in the inside of bicep and follows a vein directly into his heart. This was to ensure that his chemo was going to get in to his system as efficiently as it needed. This was something that needed to be maintained all the way through his chemotherapy, so each week the dressing needed to be changed, we had been having it done the hospital but we felt it was a little waste of time as it would only take the nurses 10 minuets to clean that's when we asked about doing it at home. Thats right for a short while I became "Nurse Hannah" I got quite good at it if do say so my self, I was able to make it more comfortable for Martin to wear as he was happier to tell me if it felt too tight or too high up his arm. So I think we're both glad he put a little trust me. I imagine it was quite scary having someone fiddling around with something that was directly in your heart. 

Martins cycles were every 3 weeks and while some weeks were better than others we did our best to get out of the house and go somewhere, see something other than the 4 walls of our house. I feel as though each week came with its complications but the course of his chemotherapy actually went pretty smoothly, with only a few set backs; either hospital rescheduled us as they were running too behind or there just simple wasn't a bed for Martin to go in to. With this course of chemo he had to stay in hospital over night and sometimes 2 nights this was only as a precaution if Martin had a temperature, otherwise it was just the one night. Though with him staying over night I couldn't stay with him which meant me driving an hour half home and hour half back in the morning to pick him up. I'd obviously do anything for him but it wasn't the most efficient use of my time, just 3 hours of my day that I could something for him, I just felt useless. Each time he was let out of the hospital we were given a "goody bag" at least this is what we called it. It was just paper bag full of new dressings and flushes for his PICC line at home along with all kinds of medication. Before and after each cycle he had to take steroids these helped to keep his weight up as chemo is known for making patients lose their appetite, he also had to take anti sickness tablets - which are I think are self explanatory also had to take tablets to control some of the side effects that all these medications could cause. 

Within weeks of starting his chemotherapy Martin started to loose his hair, all honesty it was quite dramatic the way that it happened, it came out slowly to start with but as the days went on more and more came out. We had planned to do a "shave day" within the next couple of days thankfully, which was a great day to get friends and family altogether again and show Martin some support. Though he didn't show too much emotion about losing his hair, I know that it was something that effected him. I love him with or without his locks. 

 During his treatments we had various appointments out of the hospital such as with Journalist Nathan Rowden; he did a piece on our story and spoke to us about everything that has happened. Yes this did mean digging up all the memories about our holiday in Magaluf which we all know by now they aren't the nicest.  Nathan was extremely polite and asked all the right questions without being too intrusive. We didn't know what to expect as neither of us had ever had an interview before but we enjoyed it and got along with Nathan really well. Even after the initial meet up we still keep in contact now and up date him with everything that happens, we feel as though were talking to a friend not journalist, not that I know much about  the career, but I'd say he's pretty good at what he does to make us feel so at ease.  Now every good article needs good photos *cue Jamie Ricketts - Photographer for the Shropshire Star* He came into our home and moved our living room furniture around in order to get perfect shot, to capture the story and emotion in one single photo, boy did he do well!! this is something I was expecting to be intrusive but it wasn't. He was a great laugh and made us both feel at ease in front of the camera and turned Martin into some kind of model! 

"you never know how strong you are, until strong is the only option that you have" 

*funny story* in this day in age when you meet someone your first reaction when your not around them anymore is stalk them on social media .. right? well I found Jamie on Instagram, scrolling though his work, which I love! While scrolling I found a wedding a photo that he had taken of course I was intrigued by this and then I found my self following the link to lady who goes by @whieappleabi which brought me to some of the most breathtaking photos I have ever seen. At this point I had been sat on the sofa scrolling the internet for over an hour trying to find local photographers, which was proving much harder than I thought It was going to be. Its not something that I had ever looked into before and a I quickly realised that as soon as you put "wedding" in front of anything the price doubles. So when I found Abi I was over joyed, her work looked amazing and prices were very much more in our budget. I emailed her and arranged a meeting - then this is the moment that we found out Abi is Jamies other half. I clearly wasnt stalking enough or I think I may have found this out. I feel as though I was meant to find her account. *ok not that funny, but I just like the way things planned out, not everyone can say they found their wedding photographer through doing a cancer article in a local magazine *

Along side this excitement we had a few appointments at The Christies Hospital in Manchester. Not a place I had heard of until our Dr. told us about it, but I know now that its one of the best hospitals in the UK for cancer patients. Their research is a things of dreams and  for a change I saw a glimmer of hope that we might find a cure or at best something to help live a normal life. Your the lucky ones reading this, you can skip the waiting game. Martin had blood tests done and biopsies done for more tests. I mentioned previously in blog post about the 100,000 Genome Project, here they are doing something similar only to a smaller amount of genes. Choosing ones that are typically the culprits of cancer in quite a few cancer patients. We only visited here a handful of times but they were unable to help us and once again we were told that Martin's cancer is rare and there's nothing to compare it to.  Though the 100,000 Genome Project could still come through for us, it's not something that we can rely on for a cure or treatment as it could take months or even years. 

As I mentioned, we like to get out of the house and do things and took full advantage of Martins "good weeks" In September '18 we went to Brighton for a few nights and if you know me this one my most favourite of places in the UK, with it being a good 4 hour drive away its not trip to be taken lightly. We planned and prepared our selves for everything that we may need while we were away - such as new dressings and flushes for his PICC line, knowing the area better and where local pharmacies and hospitals are should the worst happen. These are just the things that you have  think about when you go to a new place when one of you isn't well. Well oddly enough this holiday we decided to reverse the roles .. I played the role of the "ill" one this time. At some point I either had food poisoning or 24 hours sickness bug. I won't go in to details because you don't need to know, but let me tell you this. It was the most Ill I have even been in my whole adult life. Martin ended up taking care of me as got really weak and couldn't eat anything, I had no sleep that night I woke up every hour on the hour and I was awake for half hour each time. We had to cancel our dinner reservation for the following evening and we stayed in our hotel room all day. One of my biggest concerns was with Martin on chemotherapy his immune system is weaker so if he gets ill with even a cold he could get a lot worse than you or I would get it. Despite being as ill as I was, Martins dressing needed changing (at this point we were convinced it had to be done on the exact same day every single week, had we have known I could have waited a day or two...would have held off) so we (meaning Martin) brought me some rubber gloves and anti  bacterial gel, he'd tried to find a face mask to cover my mouth and nose but couldn't, we had to improvise.. so we tied a jumper around my head instead. Honestly if anyone had seen us they would have thought we were nuts. But it "had" to be done and we didn't want to risk any further infections for Martin. 

Thankfully the blogger in me got her "fix" of instagram photos before I fell ill and we managed to have one really nice day, which actually was the nicest day with the weather.... so silver linings and all! On the 3rd day the day we were going home I felt a little better and we took the streets for a wonder and fresh air and decided to up the 360 tower thing thats on Brighton Beach front. Have to say the views from up there were pretty spectacular and I'm glad that we did it, it was a lovely way to end our time away! Looking back on pictures just makes me want to go back again. But maybe this year we'll go the other side of England and try Bournmouth or somewhere down that way. 

"no journey is too long in the right company"

To Be Continued..

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see you soon 

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