What does Thyroid Cancer look like?

September 15, 2014 in Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Health, Medical, Radioactive mum, Videos by Emma Day

What does Thyroid Cancer look like?

Last year I had Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma – a malignant tumour on my thyroid. I was treated with surgery (Hemithyroidectomy followed by a total thyroidectomy) and Radioactive Iodine Treatment (also known as RAI). 

Thyroid Cancer often has few or no symptoms, unless you also have an underlying thyroid disorder, such as an under-active or over-active thyroid.

My tumour was 6cm in size and I had ignored the lump for two years, before I saw a doctor and got my diagnosis. If I had seen a doctor sooner, I might not have need the radioactive iodine treatment, and could have been treated with surgery alone. My only symptoms for the most part of those two years, was a lump. For the last few months, I also developed a hoarse voice and had difficulty swallowing.

I am now doing what I can to raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer and help other people get a speedy diagnosis and treatment.

Here is a short video showing what my tumour looked like, before the surgeons cut it out. Despite the tumour being 6cm in size, you will see in the video, that it was not really visible until I swallowed. I am publishing the video to raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer, in the hope that other people with similar lumps on their neck, will see their doctor before it reaches this size. You can see the tumour twice in this video – once each from two different angles. There is a short delay between the two, as I found it difficult to swallow at the time.

PLEASE TAKE NOTE: Having a lump similar to this DOES NOT mean you have Cancer. My mother also had a lump the same and hers was NOT Cancerous. The point is… DON’T PANIC, BUT DON’T IGNORE IT. See a doctor and find out.

If you would like to help raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer, feel free to share this video (you can also find it on YouTube) or this blog post.

You can also raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer by taking part in the #Scarfies4Thyca campaign by taking a selfie in a scarf and nominating friends to check their necks and post a scarfie too. You can find out more about the #Scarfies4Thyca campaign by clicking here.

 

 

Please note: I am a patient, not a doctor. I cannot give people advice on their own health. Please see your doctor.

My Sunday Photo

September 14, 2014 in Baby development, Blog Hops / Memes / Linkies, Childhood, My Sunday Photo, Photography, Silent Sunday by Emma Day

Diva Toddler

OneDad3Girls

MumKind Giveaway

September 11, 2014 in Food, Giveaways, Health, Pregnancy, Women by Emma Day

Last year I wrote a review of the MumKind range of products, designed especially for pregnant ladies and new mum’s. Their range of products are designed to be healthy, packed with vitamins and nutrients and give their lovely mummy consumers a nice energy boost at the same time.

My sister, my friend and I, all tried the products and absolutely loved them. The “Water Our Way” even helped me get through Race for Life last year!

You can read my full review of MumKind products here.

Thanks to MumKind, I am now giving away some of these fab products to one lucky reader of my blog.

The winner will receive:
2 bottles of Water Our Way
2 pots of Ginger Me Baby Lozenges
Ginge Me Baby Lozenges

WaterOurWay

To enter, just complete entries on the rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As listed on: ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/nutritional-energy-boosting-mumkind-goodies-pregnant-ladies-and-new-mums#sthash.KpCrTtbo.dpuf

Terrible Two’s with Twins

September 10, 2014 in Baby development, Childhood, Family, Humour, Parenting, Twins by Emma Day

I was lucky to never experience the “terrible two’s” with Bunny. She was an angelic two-year-old. I’m paying for that now she’s seven though and seems to think she is seventeen! The twins however, are another story. They are now two years and four months old (almost) and serious troublemakers.

terrible two's with twins

“Double the trouble and double the love” is most definitely true. The love definitely makes up for it though. One look, and I melt, no matter how naughty they have been. They are still babies to me!

crazywithtwins

Here are some of the things my adorable but “terrible two” have been getting up to lately…

Filling a bucket with stones and dirt from the garden, then emptying it all over the sofa and the brand new carpet, whilst Mummy makes lunch. Then doing it again, whilst Mummy is washing her hands, having just picked it all up and vacuumed. 

crazywithtwins crazywithtwins

Climbing over the safety gate, to get to the kitchen/bathroom/stairs. Mummy and Daddy spend an extortionate amount of money, which they really don’t have, on taller safety gates (the ones designed for large dogs). Then Fluffy gymnasts herself over those, just as easily.

Randomly sitting on the pavement, when we are walking together. Particularly if we are in a hurry. Then refusing to get up until they are ready. It is worse when they take turns, as this takes even longer.

Squirming out of their harnesses (no matter how tight they are) and standing up in the pushchair, or worse, getting out!

Throwing a car seat tantrum and refusing to sit down, so it takes ten times longer to get in the car. 

Hearing Mummy say “No”, then doing it anyway.

Tipping the contents of their plates, all over the carpet. 

Tipping the contents of their cup or bottle all over the carpet.

Dialling random numbers on any phone they can get hold of.

Saying “Mummy did it” every time they are naughty.

Flinging poo. (I kid you not!).

 

 

Check your Neck #Scarfies4Thyca Campaign

September 9, 2014 in Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Health, Medical, Radioactive mum by Emma Day

As many of you know, last year I had Thyroid Cancer, AKA Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month and a new campaign has started called #Scarfies4Thyca . The idea is to take a selfie, wearing a scarf, (selfie + scarf = scarfie) to encourage people to check their necks for abnormal lumps and bumps that shouldn’t be there and get them checked out.

Unlike other thyroid conditions, Thyroid Cancer doesn’t very often carry symptoms, other than a lump. In later stages of Thyroid Cancer or if the tumour is large, symptoms can occur, which are developing a hoarse voice and having difficulty swallowing. Usually however, there are no symptoms. This is because, unless you have an underlying thyroid condition as well, the thyroid continues to function, even with a tumour growing on it.  

I had a lump on the left side of my neck, for two years. I assumed it was a gland. Silly, I know. But when my lump suddenly got bigger and I started to find swallowing difficult, I knew I had to see a doctor. People could see my lump, travelling up and down my neck as I swallowed, from the other side of the room!!! I had no issues with tiredness, weight gain or loss or any of the other problems associated with thyroid disorders, so I knew it had to be Cancer. 

I was right. I had a hemithroidectomy, followed by a total thyroidectomy, followed by radioactive iodine treatment. I was coined “Radioactive Mum” by the media. Now I’m not going to pretend that my treatment was pleasant, but I am still here. The thyroid cancer is gone. I lived to tell the tale. I am a survivor.

That is why, I want each and every one of you reading this, to take part in #Scarfies4Thyca to help raise awareness of Thyroid Cancer and encourage people to check their necks.

Here’s how to get involved (no donations necessary)…

1. Check your neck. If you have any unusual lumps – book in to see your doctor.
2. Take a selfie of you wearing a scarf (a scarfie).
3. Post it as your profile picture on Facebook and/or Twitter throughout September using the hashtag #Scarfies4Thyca
4. Nominate 5 friends to do the same

 

Note: If you have the time – Jump onto a photo editor (eg, PicMonkey) and add the hashtag to your picture, to encourage even more people to get involved.
HUGE kisses from me, to everyone who gets involved in this. If you are a friend of mine, you’ll know how much this means to me. And if you are a blogger and choose to blog about it… I’ll love you forever!

Here is my Scarfie for thyroid cancer awareness
– You should just about be able to see my scar above my scarf, where the surgeons cut out my 6cm malignant tumour and my thyroid…

#Scarfies4Thyca

Big thank you to Kate, one of my readers and fellow Thyroid Cancer Survivors, for letting me know about #Scarfies4Thyca

Lloyds Bank – NOT here to help!

September 8, 2014 in Cancer, controversial, Radioactive mum, Working parent by Emma Day

Last year, many of you know, I was diagnosed with Cancer. This meant I was unable to work for much of the year. My husband also had to take quite a lot of time off work, unpaid, to look after me and the children. Unfortunately, I also wasn’t in a position to qualify for any benefits, so we ended up struggling financially and sinking further into debt. This kind of life event, causes a financial strain which lasts a few years and we are still struggling through it now.

Due to a few of my direct debits bouncing, my bank applied charges, as they always do. These charges soon snowballed, until the charges themselves were causing more charges or eating the money meant for other bills, which then also bounced.

As the charges began mounting up, I went to see one of the personal bankers at my local bank. We had a chat and he explained that Lloyds Bank will often help people in financial difficulty, especially in circumstances like mine. He cleared a few of my charges and promised he had “put a note on the system” to prevent any further charges from coming out. He told me to come back in if I have any more charges applied.

So I did… the charges that weren’t supposed to come out, did. I was then told that it was too late and they couldn’t refund any more for a whole year. That I needed to go into the bank BEFORE the charges were taken from my bank account, in order to have them removed.

So I did… I found myself returning to the bank, every month about charges, and every time I was promised that there was “a note on the system”, the charges were still taken from my account.

So I tried a different branch. Two more branches in fact. And in both, I was told that there weren’t ANY “notes on the system” and that nothing could be stopped or refunded.

One customer service assistant, even spent five minutes trying to sell me a loan. Clearly he hadn’t looked at my account, or he would have known I wasn’t eligible. The bank staff seem to constantly promise to help. They are always writing “notes on the system”, which magically disappear by my next visit. Nothing ever actually gets done.

I’m not saying it is my right to have these charges removed – but this was offered to me numerous times. I keep getting told that Lloyds are happy to help long serving customers who suddenly find themselves in financial difficulty. Their TV adverts state that they are “here to help”. Yet they seem to be full of empty promises and don’t ever actually… help! In fact, if I were to add up all the money I spent on petrol and parking to go to the bank every time this happens, I would probably be even more upset.

On my most recent visit, I was told by a very charming young man, that there’s a number I can call, and someone might be able to help me. A premium rate number. When I’ve just moved house and have no phone. Where people will still have no records of all the conversations in branch.

Between my Cancer diagnosis and now (1 year 8 months), I have been charged a whopping £635.00 by Lloyds Bank. To me, that is a huge amount of money. I’d almost go as far as to say a life changing amount of money – because that would pay off a big chunk of our debts.

I wish I could leave Lloyds Bank, but unfortunately I’m too far into my overdraft. I also bank with another high street bank, who I’ve never had a single problem with. They’ve been brilliant. I dread to think how much money Lloyds Bank have made out of me, in charges, in the TEN years I have been a customer.

It’s unfair of a bank, to offer help to a vulnerable customer and then not follow through with that help. To mess that customer around constantly for over a year. To take that amount of money, in charges. Especially a bank whose motto is “here to help”, when clearly they aren’t.

*****UPDATE*****
Just one day after writing this post I received a full apology from Lloyds Bank. They have stated that the service I received was not up to their usual standard. They investigated my case and refunded me all the charges that were taken from me, since 2011, due to seeing evidence of financial hardship on my account. I am very happy with their response and the politeness and professionalism in which the higher level management dealt with my complaint. It is a shame that it had to go this far in the first place, but I will now continue to bank with lloyds.

Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh : Review & Giveaway

September 6, 2014 in Giveaways, Holidays, Reviews, Shopping, Travel by Emma Day

Nivea Sun

One lucky reader, will win a collection of six different Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh products, complete with a lovely washbag to keep them in.

Prize includes:
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Sun Spray SPF20
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Sun Spray SPF50
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist SPF20
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Mist SPF50
Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Refreshing Sun Lotion SPF30
Nivea Sun In-Shower Refreshing After Sun Lotion
Red polka dot washbag

I have tried and tested my own set of all of these products over the summer and hope to continue using them on my Winter Sun holiday to Italy in a few weeks time.

So what did I think of the Nivea Sun products?

Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh

Invisible Cooling Mist

This has got to be, without a doubt, the speediest way of applying sun lotion ever. It comes in a pressurised aerosol, and takes seconds to cover a whole arm or leg. I can protect all my children and myself, in just a minute or two with this. It’s not so good for faces, but then I’d always recommend using a face specific sun cream for your face anyway. It is also, as it says on the tin, cooling! The spray comes out really cold, which feels nice and refreshing on a hot day.

Invisible Cooling Sun Spray

This product comes in a normal spray bottle, but is not greasy like other sprays. It feels a little thicker than the cooling mist, so you know you are protected, but is still easy to apply and rub in.
Refreshing Sun Lotion

This is your more traditional sunscreen. A lotion you can apply as sparingly or as generously as you choose. It’s not too thick and doesn’t feel greasy against the skin. It smells good too.

Refreshing After Sun Lotion

Although I didn’t burn this summer, because all of the above products succeeded in protecting me against sunburn, I still used this product in the shower after a day in the sun. This is one you rub on (after washing) and rinse off. It made my skin feel extremely soft, hydrated and healthy. I’m actually tempted to use it all year round. My favourite Nivea Sun product by far!

 

Nivea (11)

 

Your chance to win Nivea Sun products

So… You want to win a set for your own Winter Sun holiday? Or perhaps just to prepare for Spring? 

Complete entries on the rafflecopter below, for your chance to win…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer 1

As listed on Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com – See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/collections-nivea-sun-protect-refresh-products-and-red-polka-dot-washbag-put-it-all#sthash.n5F10Ls3.dpuf

Preventing Cancer number 3: I’ve got Grade 3 Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia

September 4, 2014 in Cancer, Charity / Awareness, Health, Medical, Radioactive mum, Women by Emma Day

Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia
My first smear test (yes… if you are male, you may want to stop reading this post now and come back tomorrow), got delayed by pregnancy. Then it got delayed by hormonal issues, the implant, the injection and the fact that Mother Nature seems to come for me, at least three weeks out of every four.

Eventually though, I had the test, I waited for the results, and as I expected, I had “Mild Dyskaryosis” which is the term given to abnormal changes to cells on the cervix.

I was also told I tested positive for high risk HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). Most women have the HPV virus at some point in their lives and it most often goes away by itself and people don’t even know they have it. Certain types of high risk HPV can cause Cervical Cancer.

I was referred for a Colposcopy – a camera… up there… to examine the changes to cells and determine whether or not they are anything sinister. Various different dyes and chemicals are painted on the cervix to check for abnormal cells. Unfortunately, a patch of abnormal cells were found on my cervix.

Next step was to take a biopsy. This was really quite uncomfortable. Although the tissue they cut out, was only a tiny part, it still hurt.

A few weeks later, I got my biopsy results.

Abnormal cells found on the cervix are graded CIN1 / CIN2 / CIN3. CIN stands for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia.

CIN1 are minor changes to cells, relatively low risk and expected to repair themselves. People with CIN1 are likely to have an extra smear test.

CIN2 cells are slightly higher risk and will either require more tests or treatment, depending on your doctor.

CIN3 cells are the highest risk abnormal cells are require treatment. These are likely to turn cancerous, although this could take up to ten years, it is important to treat them before they reach that stage.

So me being me, obviously I get told I have Grade 3 Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia or CIN3. So it turns out I didn’t have mild dsykaryosis, but I have severe dyskaryosis. Typical, just my luck, but I just need to get on with it.

It has been confirmed that these cells are not yet Cancerous. To which I am hugely relieved, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to the treatment. I felt violated after the Colposcopy.

So next for me is a Large Loop Diathermy, also known as LLETZ (Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone). This is basically a metal loop, which goes… the same place as the camera went… and destroys the abnormal cells by electrocuting them. This will be done under a local anaesthetic.

I’m really not looking forward to this treatment, but I have to do what I can to prevent Cancer number 3. I don’t want Cervical Cancer, but without this treatment, it’s possible that that is where my body is heading.

To any of my readers who have been putting off their smear test… don’t! Book it now!

Coca Cola Life (Yes… that’s the green can!)

September 4, 2014 in Food, Health, Reviews, Uncategorized by Emma Day

Coca Cola Life

I have been waiting for the new Coca Cola to come out for ten months now. It’s called Coca Cola Life!

Last October I was sponsored by Coca Cola to attend a UK blogging conference known as BlogFest and whilst there, I went to a breakfast meeting with some of the Coca Cola team. I learnt so much about the science of not just Coca Cola, but all their other brands too (My personal favourite is Fanta). Coca Cola actually have a whole section of their website on the health and science side of their products, such as a caffeine counter, energy balance, hydration, sweetener facts and also their “get active” and community campaigns (You can visit the Coca Cola UK website here).

Whilst we already have Diet Coke and Coke Zero for the calorie counters and those who prefer to avoid sugar completely, I was excited to learn about Coca Cola Life. Coca Cola life is sweetened with only natural sweeteners, it has a third less sugar than Coca Cola, less calories than Coca Cola (only 89 calories per can) and is sweetened by a natural sweetener which is becoming popularly known as Stevia. I’m not a big fan of artificial sweeteners, so I was curious to try this.

The verdict?

It tastes somewhere in the middle between Diet coke and Coca Cola. I definitely prefer the taste of Coca Cola Life to Diet Coke.

I think for me it’s always going to be the original full sugar Coca Cola that floats my boat, but I think it’s great to have a selection and great to have healthier options. I’d probably choose Coca Cola Life over the other Coke brands for Bunny to drink, as it is better for you. I try not to give her Coke Zero or Diet Coke as she is scrawny and needs the calories!

Bunny tested out Coca Cola Life too…

Coca Cola Life review

She loved it!

We even got stopped in the bank, because the cashier wanted to know why I was drinking Coca Cola from a green can.

Coca Cola Life

Please note: I was NOT asked to write this review, but chose to because I like the product.

Joining the Library & The Children’s Summer Reading Challenge

September 3, 2014 in Childhood, Entertainment, Holidays, Parenting, School by Emma Day

image

Ever since school broke up for the summer, Bunny has been excited about joining the Library. Unfortunately, as we were moving house for most of the summer, it got delayed until recently. Her excitement was mostly fuelled by her school telling her about the summer reading challenge.

Children are encouraged to join their local library and sign up to read six books over the summer, for which they earn little rewards (bookmarks, smelly stickers, medal & certificate etc). The summer reading challenge actually finishes the first Saturday in September and we only started it in August, so we needed to get a move on. I honestly didn’t realise how time has flown – to me, the summer holidays have only just started, because we haven’t had time to do anything fun yet and we have had to postpone our much-needed summer holiday to Italy. 

The anticipation of joining the library grew when our house move meant we were in walking distance of one! However to join, we had to fill in an online form and then visit a county library with ID, as opposed to the nearest one. 

So last week, we went out and joined the Library, so that both Bunny and I, had a library card each. Now I’m not sure the purpose of me having one, because I very rarely have time to read, but Bunny was jumping for joy. She chose two books from the Rainbow Magic series by Daisy Meadows (which are all about fairies) and we learnt how to use the self-service machine to take the books out on loan.
image

After £1 of pic and mix, a sneaky visit to H&M and a KFC with Daddy on his lunch break, we went home to read. I read my emails, the twins read the backs of their eyelids and Bunny made a start on her books. Less than an hour later, she had read the first one from cover to cover and proceeded to tell me all about it. Honestly I think I could have read the book quicker than she explained it, but if there were an Olympic medal for talking, nobody would beat my daughter.  It was so nice to see her sit quietly for a bit, as she runs on overdrive 24/7. 

After the first book, she did some looming for the Loom To The Moon appeal for brave little Skye Hall and after a good few metres of that, she sat and read the whole of the second book, cover to cover. She certainly has ambition and wants to earn that summer reading challenge medal, but the best part of that day, was that although most of our activities were simple and free… Bunny claimed it was the best day of her life.

Every day at the moment is either the best day of her life or the worst day of her life. I believe it’s the year of the drama queen. However, it’s a great indicator of her mood and what’s better than seeing your children happy? Especially when you’ve had a, quite frankly, SHIT summer!

Just 5 days later, Bunny completed the Summer reading challenge and got her medal and certificate. Proud Mummy and proud daughter.

You can join Gloucestershire Libraries here.

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