Erivedge…The Update….

I started out writing a diary of my journey, but after a week I really didn’t have much to tell, and decided that what I did have to tell would be better said in a post for you, when I first month was over.

If you are unfamiliar with my journey you can read more in the Too Erivedge or Not Post.

Erivedge or Vismodgib is a strong drug that alters the way in which cells divide, slowing down the growth or curing Basal Cell Carcinoma (until you stop taking the medication.)

After much consideration and consultation I decided to go ahead with the medication and tackle whatever side effects it may bring.

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Alcohol Free

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There are times in life that you have to stand back and evaluate what you are actually doing. We all do it at some point, there is always that one event that brings you crashing back down to earth and stops you in your tracks. This makes us question our actions, our lifestyles and makes us realise how valuable life is.

In my younger days, before my children, I would go to the pub every night, have a couple of pints and come home but that was because I went down to see my Dad or to meet my partner at the time from work.

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Losing my Dad was a major life evaluator for me. His death was sudden and although he died of a heart attack caused by heart disease, the reasons given at the post mortem, when Googled, were caused by years of abusing his body with alcohol.

After his death, although we are not big drinkers, we decided to cut back on how often and what we did drink. I fell pregnant very soon after my Dad’s death and so the alcohol stopped.

Once my little girl came in to the world we would have a drink on the weekends that Mark was off. He worked shifts in a factory so it would equate to a couple of bottles of wine a week. When he left the factory and went on the buses, his shifts could mean that he would only have a day off every ten days, but on his night off we would have a drink.

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These days, well up until a month ago, Mark and I would enjoy a bottle of wine each on a Saturday night. As I work night shift on a Friday this was the only chance we would have to chill and put our feet up.

Nearly three weeks ago I started on the Erivedge treatment to try and control the growth of Basal Cell Carcinomas on my body. The treatment is very volatile and can have some major side effects, so far they have not been as bad as I expected.

When signing up for the treatment I had to sign a form to agree to certain criteria and one of them was to limit my alcohol intake. I was asked to refrain if possible. The medication can, if mixed with alcohol cause liver issues. We decided that we would knock the alcohol on the head and embrace the opportunity to “Switch it Up”.

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“Switch it Up” is a campaign from AB InBev UK & Ireland, it comes following research they have conducted, they are aiming to empower consumers to make smart drinking choices and reduce the harmful use of alcohol.

Some of the facts and figures that AB InBev UK & Ireland have produced blew me away for example, did you know that……..

  • 78% of Brits consider themselves moderate drinkers

  • A third thank smarter drinking for staying in shape

  • 1 in 5 Londoners have missed a day at work because they didn’t drink smart

  • A quarter of 18-34 year old people enjoy feeling more productive at work thanks to moderate drinking

  • 18% of people have seen a wedding ruined by someone that drank too much

The results suggest that Brits are switching it up and are well on their way to a more moderate drinking culture, with only 16% of Brits admitting to drinking above the recommended guidelines.

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Having heard what my motivation was to Switch It Up, the research shows that us Brits main motivations to moderate our alcohol intake are:

  • To be healthier (29%)

  • Better Weight Management (19%)

  • Avoid a dreaded hangover (18%)

  • The Monetary savings of moderate drinking (20%).

There are so many facts and figures in the research but I truly found it a fascinating read …..

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How many times have you done your online shopping under the influence? The research showed that a third of us have. As well as that the average Brit spends £47 a month on alcohol, that amounts to nearly £600 a year.

By Switching It Up, 15% of Brits have gone on holiday with the money they saved.

Just think, going on a night out and being in total control, remembering the night the morning after (although my memory is shocking so I can’t guarantee this would happen in my case), not being the one that falls over drunk, waking up without that feeling of regret because you said something you shouldn’t have the night before and imagine how much more attractive you will look when you haven’t had your head in the toilet dealing with the consequences of one too many Sambuca’s. Of course, I have never done any of these and am not talking from experience (What do you mean I have my fingers crossed?)

Then there is of course the ultimate benefit of moderate drinking…….  the lack of a headache the next day!

Anna Tolley from AB InBev UK & Ireland says….

Offering consumers a variety of great tasting, alcohol-free options is an important part of our commitment to responsible drinking at AB InBev, and our aim is to empower consumers to make smart choices and reduce the harmful use of alcohol by the end of 2025. Through our Global Smart Drinking Goals we also want to ensure that No- or Low-Alcohol beer products represent at least 20% of our global beer volume by 2020

I have tried several types of low alcohol beers over the years and since learning to drive but never Becks Blue or Beck’s Blue Lemon, which in itself is strange as I love Becks (as does Mark).

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They are both very low in calories, which is amazing as we are back at the gym and calorie counting again.

Becks Blue comes in at under 40 Calories and tastes amazing. It is refreshing, light in taste and if I didn’t know it was alcohol free I dont think I would know the difference.

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I am very partial to the low alcohol fruit infused lagers, especially the citrus fruit ones. The Becks Blue Lemon is really tasty and tastes better than some of it’s competitors. This one comes in under 80 calories per bottle and again is refreshing and you would never know it didn’t contain alcohol.

This research and lager has really opened my eyes and made me want to carry on being alcohol free. I am not sure what my decision will be in terms of carrying on with the treatment but I do know, should I decide to stop taking the tablets, that my drinking will be kept to a minimum.

Thank you for sharing your research AB InBev UK & Ireland.

xxxxx

Surgery Update….

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It has really been hard not typing for the last week.

I wasn’t told not too, but I have found it so hard to keep awake and impossible to focus on anything but the headaches I have been getting.

As you will see from my last post and my Instagram pictures (along with the before, during and after section of my blog) I have had my surgery.

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(There are far more pics to be found over on the Before, During and After post)

I presented with one BCC in April and ended up having 13 removed last Wednesday.

After a busy day last Tuesday visiting the amazing Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham (post to follow in the next couple of days) and a family funeral on the afternoon, I took the sheers to my hair and gave myself a number one all over. (I had also spent a lovely day on the Monday buying hats and bits and bobs in Primark)

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Needs must, and it did mean that I located a couple of BCC‘s and for all they seemed nothing on the surface, they had progressed under the skin.

I spent four hours in surgery and for the first time in a very, very long time, I gave in and stayed overnight. I was in massive amounts of pain and my blood pressure was reflecting it.

It was a very restless night but I was very well looked after and despite the doctor taking quite a few hours to come to my rescue the Nurses kept me topped up and I managed a few hours.

I came home with stronger pain killers than I would normal and they did their job. Although I am still struggling with the pain in my head. I had my facial stitches and my graft dressing taken away yesterday and they are all looking good. However, my head feels like it has been in a vice and my next appointment cant come soon enough so I can get my head stitches out.

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On Tuesday I start the Erivedge…….the saga continues…

xxxxx