Sunday, January 29, 2006


icy, icy morning today - yes it is still morning, I just haven't gotten up yet......
Bright blue sky and we're off to look at a house this afternoon - not the one I want, but another one. The one I want is booked for viewings this weekend so David will go in the week without me and I'll see it next weekend hopefully......(If someone else hasn't put in an offer by then).
I hope this will be it though. The location isn't perfect but it has lots of room and what looks like a nice kitchen from the photo. Of course, then we have to get rid of this one.......not in tiptop condition although it does have a new kitchen......
Room for a piano and a room for guidey things: that's what I want

Friday, January 27, 2006

Brownies and Guides

I like my brownies and guides - honest - they're just utterly exhausting.
Especially since two of the guides are totally at each other's throats. The put-down of the evening is saying that everything is 'ghetto'. Whatever the heck that means......
Brownies are scarily full of energy, guides are totally unable to listen. THE BICKERING!!!! It was just like my brother and I - we were superb bickerers - now I start to know how my parents felt. Sorry folks!
And hey, at least spending 2 1/2 hours doing brownies and guides takes my mind off everything else.
I've been thinking lots about the girl I met who's younger than I am and has breast cancer too - her surgery was on Monday and she was, needless to say, pretty scared and unhappy. I haven't heard from her - hopefully all her family and friends are carrying her along but I hope she's OK. I've been thinking about her all this week.
It's hard because it brings back all the memories of my surgery and that time and it's tough stuff to remember. In some ways I find it harder to remember than it was to go through it. Because then I knew it would end - the memories don't end and they still have the capacity to upset me and I end up with this mantra going round and round: "It's done, it's over, it's just a memory"
But it doesn't help.
They tell me I'm still grieving but I feel like it will never end. They tell me that it's normal but I still feel like a dysfunctional freak. Elaine got quite cross with me when I said that last week - in a caring way - saying that I was wrong to call myself that, that it was normal, that she expects me to find this hard. But underneath all that I still feel dysfunctional.
Ouch - my fingers hurt as I type coz my shitty nails are digging into the side of fingers as I type. I'll be so glad when the rest of them grow out. At least they didn't fall out which is what various people were predicting (haha!) Did I mention that my body is utterly contrary and does what it damn well pleases??
My oncologist called me a 'challenging woman' the last time I saw her and said it was a compliment. I think that's what's got me through all this, to be honest - sheer determination and stubbornness. I like my oncologist very much - she's a challenging woman too and if I'm anything like her then I ought to be OK in life. If I can only find that bit of me and believe in it hard enough.
Elaine says I will get there - I'm not sure I want to. I like being looked after. I like being fragile. I don't want to be the snow-queen, ice-maiden, person-who-does-it-all anymore.
No more.

Don't add up

So, if I did it all, how come I feel so miserable?
How come it takes me hours to get out of the house in the morning? (Other than the fact I don't actually want to go to work anymore - why won't they pay me to stay home and knit? Unfair, I call it.....)
Have to finish arm exercises, have to make lunch (haven't time) still won't manage to be at work until about 11am - totally outrageous!!! They're wonderfully understanding but I just feel totally guilty every time I walk in the damn building......but obviously not guilty enough to haul my ass out of bed a couple of hours earlier in the morning.
Well, it's dark! Dark means it's still night and therefore it cannot be time to get up - see where logic gets you? LATE!
Then must have breakfast with stupid rice milk because apparently dairy is bad if you have (had) cancer. Takes an hour to eat stupid cereal - not wheat - wheat is bad too (I can't remember why). Nutritionists - fuck off!! (if you're a nutritionist, I'm sorry, but all this 'eat this, don't eat that' lark is making me stressed. Life is too short - I am acutely aware of this and I want to have a life while I have one and not spend it juicing celery (no, I do not have a juicer - HAVE YOU SEEN HOW MUCH THEY COST!!!!!! About 100 quid (180 bucks). This, to my mind, is totally outrageous and I'll just chew the celery thank you - added bonus of fibre and cleans teeth) I have too many brackets going on - I'm confused I'll just stick some in and start a new sentence). There, so much better. Don't try and make sense of it - just flow.....or some such malarkey.
Must. Go. To. Work.
Must. Catalogue. Dull. Books.
At least the sun is out - maybe I don't have to cry this morning.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Long time passing

Ok - I am still here - still kicking, still ornerary and contrary as all get out and it would appear cancer-free and one breast lighter.

I survived surgery - mentally as well as physically, I survived hospital food (by having my folks bring real food from home) and I have virtually all the movement in my arm back - although that took a hell of a lot of work and lots of chivy-ing from Karen the physio (bless her - she never gave up on me although some days I thought I would never do it).
I can not begin to say how well I have been looked after by all the folks at the Royal Free Hospital in London - they have (virtually) been so lovely to me and put up with me as I shouted, screamed, whined, whinged, cried, mourned, swore and generally thought more about myself than anyone else. Which some might say was a change since I am always mothering other people. It's been a real blessing to be cared for rather than doing the caring.
It took me a long time to absorb that the cancer was gone - having been scared to death by one of the surgical team when I went for the histology report post-surgery. The first thing he said said was 'we want to repeat the bone scan'.
Cue panic and hysterics from me.
Having seen he'd obviously ballsed up he went and fetched Tina - one of the breast-care nurses who came and basically took over. First thing she said was 'The cancer is gone' - thank you - nice to know my breast wasn't removed in vain. It's amazing how some people can be totally dense and others can be totally in tune. Although you wouldn't think it would require a genius to guess that saying to someone who has (had) cancer that you need to repeat tests wouldn't strike the fear of god into them.....
I have had cancer - I still have to keep saying that to myself - past tense - it's gone - although I daren't say that any louder.
I did it - I did it all. I did six months worth of chemotherapy -
  • I threw up no matter how much/many anti-sickness drugs they gave me
  • I had hideous heartburn and indigestion
  • my white blood cell count fell so low (0.09 I think) that I got an infection and fever and had to spend 5 days in isolation in the hospital with IV antibiotics and consequently had to have GCSF injections for a week after every chemo treatment
  • every damn medication they gave me had constipation listed as a side effect - and I got every damn side effect from every damn treatment so was permanently constipated for six months
  • my hair fell out - I had it virtually shaved off
  • my body ached so bad I felt like I'd been beaten black and blue with a baseball bat
  • all the skin on my hands peeled off
  • my nails went vile and disgusting and got a fungal infection
  • my fingers and toes (well, whole feet) tingled and felt fuzzy - and they still do
  • my eyelashes and eyebrows came out
  • my mouth tasted disgusting for the entire six months
  • my periods vanished and I had eight hideous months of hot sweats - right through the June/July heatwave in London.
Then, when we finished that I had a mastectomy - a polite way of saying that my right breast and a bunch of lymph nodes were removed and dissected to inspect the tumour. My arm seized up after the surgery and I had to work bloody hard doing exercises every waking hour to get it moving again. Having the stitches removed was hideous - let's never speak of it. Looking at the scar for the first time when they removed the dressing was scary but in the end it didn't look as bad as I was expecting.
But then, I was expecting my world to crashing to an end so possibly this is not surprising.....Having the drains removed was hideous but slightly quicker than having the stitches removed - but let's not speak of that either.....
So, then (no, not finished yet dear readers - this story goes on and on), then, radiotherapy. To be fair - a lot fewer side effects than with chemo and a darn sight less invasive than surgery. I went exceedingly pink and the skin in the crease under my arm went all peely and raw in the last week but it healed up again in a couple of weeks so that wasn't so bad.
And that's it - aside from five years of Tamoxifen and a year and a half of Zoladex.