Rhona: In one evening I lost my independence

Rhona Damant, 45, developed breast cancer six years ago and now has secondary, imoperable tumours in her lungs, liver and spine.

Rhona's Diary

Rhona Damant, 45, developed breast cancer six years ago and now has secondary, imoperable tumours in her lungs, liver and spine.

This is a strange one to write, as up to now I have never had to write with a messed up mind. Firstly though… wasn't it lovely for you all to meet my “mother” last week - Francesca's grandma and Lily-dogs great grandma!!

I never expected her to reveal this to everyone, but now that she has, I don't think that she will ever be allowed to forget it.

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Where do I start then? It has been such a long time since I last down with a laptop on my knee and my dirty Lily beside me.

Please forgive me if I don't go heavily into the past month, there are a few things that I am trying to forget, others have done that of their own accord, but energy levels are at their lowest right now.

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From Lani's writing last week, you will all now know that my life has changed for me in a traumatic and hateful direction. I walked, as you will remember, to see James Blunt just over a month ago and have never walked again. At that time I put it down as being the cause from so many different reasons, knowing I think deep down that it was all the dreaded cancer off on its round again. A week later and in absolute agony, I finally contacted my consultant, who immediately had me in for tests. After a very short time, I heard the news which I expected, in his words my “Bones are now very ropey”, and he was “surprised that I didn't have any fracture, which could mean surgery”. I have been called in now for what appears to be a three-hour bone scan (tomorrow, Thursday), followed by a bone drip on the same day... a definite Whoopee Doo day!! A CT scan follows next Tuesday, and then, with instinct, Chemo - hopefully to start after my week to Newquay, where 10 of us are going for a week.

I can honestly say, very little else is on my mind, except what future is left. A night doesn't pass without tears, and frustration is in the screaming, when I fall because my legs fail me yet again.

I am now going through exactly how the end happened for my mum, I can remember it all as if it was yesterday, from her starting with hip pains until her final day, was just over five months... this takes me to November and not at all my chosen month, which if you remember is January.

Chemo has been kept for this moment in time - when times don't look good. I have always said that I will not lose my hair again, but if Kylie can do it - then so can Rhona Damant. When the mags and rags report on her now, she is always referred to as the, beautiful, brave, courageous lady who had all of this torturous treatment, so really no different from anyone else then, and if she can suddenly turn into all of the aforementioned, then that's what we future wonderful hairless beauties will do too!

The ball, for me, was an exhausting one, with having had the previous three days in hospital finding out that I had low blood sugar, a silly haemoglobin level, (Blood transfusion needed and if anyone is reading this over there, could I have some more please?), two dodgy-looking ECG's, unbearable pain, daily radiotherapy treatment and meeting their crash team (whose faces remain a complete blank to me).

I did actually dictate to the doctor that I was leaving at 10pm on the Friday night, as I had a charity ball the following evening, I will on this occasion, admit to complete madness and really should have stayed in my electrical bed until proper pain relief was sorted out. I have been told on countless occasions that when during the palliative care part of your life, you should not be in pain, but because of my need to get to the ball, I hate to say I am still very much suffering.

The ball was a huge success and from those guests who I managed to speak to, they all too had a wonderful evening, and one I hope that will always be remembered. Of course when money is raised, it can never all be settled on that same night, but from a brief count up from friends, we are looking to be close to last year's amount, which financed two electric beds for the chemo suite at Essex County Hospital, payment towards a new biopsy needle for Ipswich hospital and the remainder of Colchester's donation has gone towards a new blood analysis machine. The auction and raffle prizes were top notch, courtesy of all those very kind people who donated on the weeks preceding the 15th. The staff from Ickworth West Wing were absolutely by far the best I have ever come across. They did everything in their power to help us, nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble for them, even when the vegetarian eater sent her food back to have the pork added to her dish!!

We ended years of fund raising in true style, people always ask me about how much I have raised, but you know I haven't a clue… the money is so wide spread, I will never find out exactly what it has been used for.

I have one other big story which made my week, but we haven't managed to sort out the photos of the gorgeous “himself” and a special lady who also hit the VIP stand that night, so I will leave that to next week, when I hope that I will be able to tell you about it. If I am unable to then my lovely, loyal fairy friend hopefully can.

Before I switch my mind off for the day, there has been a very large lesson learnt with what has happened. In one evening I lost all of my independence, no more just getting into the car; no more lunches until I gain confidence in a wheelchair (I went out last week to meet my friends Alison and Sue and couldn't make it to even half a dozen little baby steps); no more. 'oh, I will tidy that up tomorrow, paint that wall; no more anythings that involve my stupid legs and movement. In just one night that all came to a very sharp quick ending, and now all I do is wish I could do all those things again today which I kept putting off until tomorrow. It is a hard way to be taught a lesson in can't, won't and laziness. Also it is now that I have had to start asking for help from friends…

I wish more than ever that I could still have the love and support from the parents of a long ago. We are still in contact after 25 years, and know if at all possible they would be there for me. My friends will always be here for me, as they will for my kids and David.


PS I have just thought, I never again have to look like I am a multitasking genius!!

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