Friday, November 30, 2007

The end, done, finito etc

Welcome to the end of NaBloPoMo. I made it, you made it reading along. Done and dusted.
Now I can think about Christmas - nearly - tomorrow I can.
Last year I thought that having done a month I'd be much better at posting regularly - it didn't really work out that way. I admit I was somewhat distracted by the whole 'going to Peru' thing; so maybe this year it *will* make a difference.
Watch this space!!

I promised lots of Peru photos at the start and didn't follow through - so maybe we'll finish up with a few more to make up for it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

False face must hide....

At some point I may have to admit to myself that I've been depressed for most of my life.
Because I think doing that might mean that I could stop feeling like I'm just not trying hard enough to be happy. That maybe it's not my fault. That maybe this is something that I've inherited along with the family silver. Or not, who knows.
I think that I have always felt at odds with the rest of the world. I think I met unkindness from my peers early on in life and I could not understand why. I think it's hard to realise that not everyone feels the way you do.
It seems like there is an expectation that childhood is 'the best time of your life'; that children are innocent and untouched and unaware of sadness and badness in life. And I think there (was) a feeling that children/young people aren't/can't be depressed. I think this attitude is changing - I think today there is much more awareness of it. I don't think there was so much in the 1970s.
I think I felt sad and didn't know it. Or didn't know that it was possible to change that. I think I did know that not everyone seemed to be that way - because I think I felt that it was my fault; my problem; that if I were able to be like other people then I'd feel happy.
I also think all these terms are horribly subjective; and that it's very hard to know how other people feel. I don't think I'm the only person in the world who puts of the 'I'm OK' face and lies and lies. (What's that quotation I'm trying to think of? Something from Shakespeare; possibly from Hamlet?)
I also fear that my memories are being tainted by the way I feel now and are not a true representation. Interesting conundrum, eh?

How's that for a serious entry at the end of NaBloPoMo?
One day left - light and fluffy? Or bad and serious? You choose.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'll moan if I want to!

Well, the Xeloda is starting to have a few more side-effects now.
The skin on my right thumb and forefinger has gone all shiny and is peeling all over the place. It's looking like I'll have no fingerprints on them (Quick! Rush out and commit crimes! They'll never catch me! - I'm kidding, right?)
The skin on the soles of my feet is quite tender now and will blister and peel if I even *look* at shoes other than my trainers. This I found, to my sorrow, the other week when I wore (not *that* high) heels to a dinner party. I was limping with both feet (this is quite difficult in itself) by the end of the evening and the little toe on my left foot was entirely made up of blister. No kidding - there was no bit of skin that wasn't blistered on it. Nice!....Not so much.
I'm back in heartburn-city, drinking peppermint tea by the bucket-load to try and stave off the having to walk round the house with hand pressed to chest at all hours.
Plus, the old lower digestive system is starting to notice and rebel - lovely. Just what I need to make my attractiveness bloom - rushing to the toilet. Although 3am seems to be the time it likes to strike. At least I'm at home then.....
Oh, and the cuticles are disappearing. I don't get that. It happened with the previous chemo-varieties too . What have cuticles got to do with anything? It's problematic in that it's not good for the lymphoedema side of me.
Flying (or something. Too much blueberry pie?) seems to aggravated my hand a bit too. My fingers are looking decidedly podgy again - grrrr. So it's back to the lurvely sleeve and gauntlet - mmmm, sexy!

Hmm, owt else I can complain about? I'm just practising for my next Onc. appointment on Weds really. My oncologist worries about me if I don't arrive whinging and complaining. I think she's finding me entirely less interesting this time around. No far-out, more-unusual side-effects this time around. (I'm tempting fate, aren't I? What an idiot.) She won't want to know about my feet anyway - she doesn't 'do' feet.... ;)

In other news, we flew back from the States on the daytime flight rather than the red-eye yesterday. Wow, *so much* better for the jetlag....we left at 9am US time and landed (with help from a very kindly jetstream) 5 and three quarter hours later at around 7.45pm UK time. Home by 10pm and ready to go to bed at a usual hour - woke up (well, as usual, throughout the night) but was in fit state to get up at 7am (I didn't, mind you; but I *could* have if I'd wanted to!). None of the 'awake until 3am and unable to prise open eyelids until noon'. Getting up at 5am to get to the airport on time was less fun; but manageable since I hadn't been there long enough to get fully onto US time anyway. I'm converted I think. I always thought it would make more sense actually but had never actually done it.
During the course of the flight, I managed to tip a full cup of gingerale onto the (fortunately) empty seat next to me and karma returned the favour when one of the flight attendants knocked an orange-juice carton onto me - it mostly went on the floor thankfully. Plus, I managed to fit in all the requisite pills at relatively appropriate times.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Goin' to Graceland.

Why is it that everything I'm truly interested in has signs on like this??

Home again, home again. I'm on the plane back to slightly-warmer London.

Capecitabine/Xeloda is making the skin on my fingers all peely. It's annoying. Welcome to the world of the banal. Lalalalallaala.

Tomorrow, we return with jetlag.......

Monday, November 26, 2007

The view today....

Well, here is what my day looks like today.....damp, but pretty.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who's who?

After a couple of nights sleeping pretty well I was back to the not being able to sleep thing.
I think I was just feeling a bit down yesterday - we had dinner with my great-aunt and I felt a bit on display. You know, the kind of having to prove that you're doing OK. Regardless. Because I don't want her to know that I'm not. Or something. I don't know.
Then I was watching the DVD footage from the Peru trip in the summer - which was nice, but sad too. I watched myself and was amazed at how 'together' and confident I appeared. Relaxed even when I was scared out of my wits. I watched myself leading our final round-up - asking the girls to reflect on their experiences - trying to make sure we all went home with good feelings about the trip and I thought I was pretty damn good. I remembered why I came home feeling so much more positive about myself. I can't tap into it; but I can see why and where that came from. That woman seems completely different.
I find it had to reconcile all those different 'me's'. I'm starting to feel that it's probably normal. We're probably all different in different circumstances but I find that confuses me because I'm not sure who the 'real' me is. Am I the competent, successful, caring, understanding person? Or am I the distraught, ill, confused person? Both, of course. But how do I balance those? How can I be both in one person?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Baby, when you're gone.....

I've been finding myself feeling a bit panic-y whilst I've been here. I keep seeing photos of myself - graduation photos, baby photos etc and I think it makes me realise that I will be missed when I'm no longer here. And that makes me feel terrible. It makes me feel so guilty that I will cause people to mourn; to feel so terribly sad. Perhaps that seems odd - perhaps it seems a bit big-headed. But it makes me feel terribly bad about myself. I don't want to be the cause of pain and sorrow.
I met my brother's girlfriend yesterday - she seems so nice. I like her a lot and I am so glad that my brother has found someone so great; someone else who sees how fantastic he is; someone who'll be there for him when I cannot be. I keep feeling like I see glimpses of the future - but a future that I may not be a part of.
So, I appear to have managed a week of being slightly upbeat before it all tumbled down again.
Oughts and shoulds and wishes all mishmashing together.
Plus, I have no knitting or yarn with me and I don't know what to do with my hands, never mind my head.
I know, I know; 'good situation', 'could be worse' - all of that. I suppose I just feel like the situation will be worse in time and therefore I might as well be there already.
What's the answer? A furry cat to heat me up beyond all endurance? I don't know anymore.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Hurried, fill in the NaBloPoMo requirements

We cheated - we had chicken.....which was fine by me.
Now I must go and eat more and then go to the New Balance Factory Store - because I'm all about the bargains. More later if I'm available. For some reason my brothers all wanting to spend time with me ;) Yay!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Round and round we go, where we stop - noone knows!

Well, what a farce that flight turned out to be!!! Like something from M. Hulot's Holiday.
First the flight was going from Gate 20 - then it disappeared from the departure screens entirely; then we got all the way to Gate 20 only to be told that the crew were delayed by a traffic accident in London and we had to return to the departure lounge and wait for a new gate and departure time EXCEPT we couldn't go back the way we came, we had to go back via 'flight connections' and go through security again. When we got back to the departures area the screens said, wait for it........
Go to Gate 20!
After standing in a massive queue to get back from Gate 20!!
Hilarious! (ish)
Go we trekked all the way back to Gate 20 and still had to wait a while for the crew to get aboard and so their safety checks. So we left an hour late.
Still - we made it - something to be thankful for I'm sure.
It's been misty all morning but the sun has finally made an appearence and the orange-yellow leaves on the tree outside the window are positively glowing.
Plus, I had a heavy, grey cat come and stand on my chest at 6 this morning (thank you Max!) why does he insist on standing on the painful bits?? Still, it's nice to have a furry, purry thing around - even if he is a bit of a bruiser.

Hey! I'm in Boston peeps! (well, Boston suburbs) - I made it! How's that?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yum - cake....

This post is a rush today since I'm trying to get sorted for the 'off'. So I'm leaving you with pre-season Christmas photos - my cake (which is gradually being pickled in brandy) and the mince-pies that 'worked' (i.e. the ones I didn't scoff because the puff pastry over-puffed and ejected the mincemeat onto the baking sheet.....)
Salivate at will......
I know there'll be types out there that say 'not before Thanksgiving!' - but the cake really does need time to sit and rest and absorb......
What are you baking for Christmas/Thanksgiving?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Leaving on a jet-plane...back next week.

I'm losing track of the days of the week - I was convinced today was Monday - it's not, by the way. This not working thing makes life very confusing. I can't quite believe that I'm flying to the States tomorrow evening - especially since in my dismal moments I'd been convinced that I'd never see the place again (or get clawed by the cat again).
And now I've just noticed I've scratched myself on one of my lymphoedemic fingers - so I hope that doesn't go funky and fall off before I manage to get back. I'm doing it all the time and I've already had one infection in that finger - and I couldn't even see where I might have damaged myself on that occasion. I'll be taking my antibiotics with me; along with all the other medication - I hope they don't search my bag otherwise they'll think I'm some druggie. I think I'd better carry my 'I've got cancer' letter. (Yay! - not)
I just had a thrilling time trying to speak to the airline yesterday to ask for 'meet and assist' at the airport - but they said they couldn't guarantee it unless I also booked a wheelchair.....well, I'm not doing *that* - damnit, I can still bloody walk; it's just that if I have to stand in a 30 min security queue I'm going to get stressed, get hot and collapse in a heap. So, if they have a member of staff available then they will help; but otherwise, I'm on my own. (Just they wait until I feign a faint!! ;))
So, any Bostonians out there? Or New Englanders? How's the weather? Any leaves left on the trees? Have I missed all the leaf color-change? When's the snow going to start?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow....

What was dull and drear and rainy yesterday morning took a turn for the more interesting when it got colder later in the day and we came out of the cinema (from seeing Stardust) to find snow! Pretty unusual for November in the midlands. It definitely made my day. I love the snow - probably because it's the exception to the norm around here and I don't have to traipse through it for months at a time. I was also impressed with myself for working out that using the red-eye reduction function on my new camera would show the snow best in the dark.
Of course, this morning it's all vanished bar a tiny pile against the wall...easy come, easy go.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

To sleep perchance to dream - no thanks

It's absolutely tipping down with rain here today. Dull and drear and we still have no curtains so there's nothing to shut out the cold with.
I am eating a persimmon, or a Sharon fruit or, apparently they're also called Kaki(!). I am alarmed to read that eating them unripe can cause bezoars. I could be in a Harry Potter film! I'm not sure how to know if they're ripe - I usually judge fruit ripeness based on whether I can bite into it without breaking a tooth - and I can,'s hoping I haven't just grown a bezoar. (I think my oncologist would roll her eyes at that.....)

I had *terrible* dreams last night. I'm blaming the weather. I dreamt there were people breaking into my home - I saw one of them and hid and then they were peering through the window trying to see me and then they were up a ladder coming through an upstairs window; so I told them to go away. It took some negotiation but they were caught by the police. And then I discovered the people over the road had been watching it through binoculars like it was some sort of show. A bit scary - I woke up and went back to sleep, where the dreams got worse.
Now, I was in charge of trying to rescue 3 children who were being taken to be part of some medical experiments - it was one of those deals where you know what's going to happen but you're pretending you don't because the 'baddies' are pretending to be the 'goodies'. So we tried to escape and we got out and set off running away and finally arrived in some place where we found somewhere to stay the night but of course, the person who owned the place we were staying was in league with the 'baddies' so we were caught all over again and then the smallest girl had her legs sliced up. It was horrible. The bones were sliced lengthways and laid our neatly in front of me. Luckily, though, she seemed to still be able to stand up and run after a fashion (this part makes even less sense) so we escaped again and got in a boat to go down a river and then I woke up again.
Went back to sleep again and now we'd escaped and we were at school - I guess I was
like a teacher but not and the boy who'd been one of the children turned up and he was crippled and on crutches. And then, thank goodness, I woke up and it was late enough to get up and leap in the shower.

Hideous night, or what? I seriously hope those dreams don't mean anything. I hate nights when I have very vivid dreams - even if they're not horrible ones because I never feel like I've slept properly. It feels like I've been awake the whole night doing the things in the dream. Ugh. Can you tell that sleep's become a big issue for me now?
I hope you're sleeping better than me. Tell me a nice dream to take away my horrid ones.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


">Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI've been looking at some excellent pictures on NaBloPoMo so I felt inspired to to share a few more Peru pictures with you. This is in Urubamba where Kiya Survivors have their centre and this is the view from the fantastic hostel we were staying at. The mountains with the sun setting behind them was lovely at the end of a tough day. True, many of my days involved staying at home with whomever was currently being sick; but that can still be pretty tough - especially the days with people who can't stop shaking or who cannot stop being sick. Poor things." border="0" alt="" />

Friday, November 16, 2007

Surprisingly thankful

Well, I've reached day 16 and run out of steam - I don't know what to say today.

That said, today's not shaping up too badly - I have actually had a shower and washed my hair today. Some days that's too much for me - so, yay me! I will also step out of the house today. True, only to the supermarket and only because the Dear Other is insisting that he won't drive - lazy old me would prefer it if he did.....

Are these bad signs? The other day I managed walking the distance I used to walk to work. I did feel like I'd walked quite far and I'm not sure I'd go straight out and do the same again in a hurry. But it was only a couple of miles and I used to cover that in 40 minutes easily. I can obviously still do it but without quite so much ease. What with the dormant verdict I feel even more lost sitting around at home. I know I still couldn't get up and do a full days work. I think it's because I'm so much less sick and unwell than I was with the chemo 2 years ago. But then, that *really* knocked me out so I guess that's not so surprising. Just because it's not as bad as last time doesn't mean I'm 100% well.

I think, having had a day or two to assimilate, I am feeling pleased with the chemo's apparent success. Stopping it growing is a good thing - it's not nothing! It hopefully means that we're in control again rather than it running the show. (hear that , cancer?? You've lost some power now - just wait and see what happens next, because we're running this show!)
I think I may be finding the groove. The little bit of bite and fight that gets you through. Yes, alright, a little hope. I'm not sure what the hope is or what it's hoping for but there's a glimmer. So, I'm upping sticks and heading State-side for Thanksgiving with my mum and dad and my brother - and at least we've got a little something to say 'thank you' for. I have even found a company that will insure me at not too extortionate a cost. Insure Pink is a broker that has finally realised that cancer doesn't necessarily make you an appalling risk for travel insurance. For £70-odd (GBP) they've insured me - including the cancer. For Christmas last year I paid £80-odd (GBP) *excluding* anything cancer related - and then I didn't have mets....and nothing happened to me of course and I didn't make any claim. Hopefully it will be the same this time.
Now I just have to sweet-talk the airline into cutting us through to the front of the security queue - gotta have some perks, right?

Turkey and pumpkin pie - here I come!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picture IDs

Well, few of you are biting on this one, so I'll give you the answer....
What do this and this have in common?

The answer is this: Yes, an overwhelmingly burnt piece of toast......

In the first picture you can just see the haze of smoke in the air, especially around the lamp. In the second, the vast amount of burntness that I scraped off before eating it. With whisky marmalade - why yes, I do have booze at breakfast ;)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Doormouse in the teapot

Dormant was the word of the day - dormant. As in, the cancer is no longer growning - it hasn't shrunk either - but it's not growing. It's dormant.

This is good news, I think.

It's also disappointing news - of course it is! Because really, the best news would be 'gosh, the cancer's completely vanished - off you go and have a nice (long) life!'. This is unrealistic - I know that. But it's still the only news I could hear and would accept as 'good'. This news is acceptable. Pleasing. Hopefull. But the word 'dormant' really does come with the implication of re-awakening. I.e. it's sleeping now but will be back eventually.

It's a shame that I can't just jump with joy over this and grab it and run with it - but that's just me, I guess.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day of reckoning

I didn't know what to write today and that is because tomorrow is Clinic Day and CT results Day and that's pretty much consuming all the space in my head currently. I slept appallingly last night but I don't feel like I'll sleep tonight either.

Tomorrow is also crap appointment-times day. I've got to get there at 9am in order to get my bloods taken in the chemo-suite. I much prefer Megan in the chemo-suite to do it than to go and wait for the general bods in the blood room but that means I've got to be there bright and early so that she can do it before it gets busy (and boy does it get busy later on!). I cannot begin to tell you how much I regret letting them persuade me to have my portocath removed. I should have trusted my instinct, which was definitely scared stiff about having it taken out and then needing it again. But I did it because I thought it would help me to move on - to stop being a cancer-patient - sadly I'm not sure that even worked really. I still have it somewhere - perhaps they'd put it back in for me.... ;) (KIDDING!) Anyway, then I have to wait around until 11.15am for my appointment with the oncologist; but the last two times I've been they've been a doctor short and things have been running *so* slowly and by 11.15am they'll have had lots of time to get behind schedule so I could end up having to wait for *ages*. Which is really bad for my nerves - I also tend to forget all the questions I wanted to ask if I had to sit around. The panic takes up all the room in my head. The receptionist said that if I turned up early then I might be able to be seen earlier; but if I don't get slotted in earlier then I'll end up having to wait in the Onc. corridor for over an hour - and that really will drive me to insanity. Decisions, decisions....

Plus, I'm really hoping that we don't have a replay of the last two prescription-cock-ups. I'll be scanning the sheet veerrry closely before leaving the Onc.

So, if I'm less than scintillating this evening then I suggest that you go and read (or re-read) yesterday's post. Particularly if you're a person of the knit. And, in fact, I'll accept interest from people who aren't of the knit but need a bit of cheering up. Leave me a comment or send me an email (address on my profile page) and tell me why you need cheering up and I'll select 2 additional folk to receive (why, yes, I do like making additional work for myself!) If you're of the knitting persuasion don't feel alarmed - you don't have to knock out 3 grand sweaters to send of - the knitted items can be little things, funny things, anything you can think of really.
So, join the knitty goodness!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pay it forward and other fantastic opportunities

I'm a lucky, lucky girl.

The lovely, fantastic necklace I ordered from Rebel1in8 from her Etsy shop has arrived via dad-post a couple of days ago and I haven't stopped wearing it since (well, I've taken in off at night for fear of being strangled or worse, damaging it). I love it and it makes me feel good wearing it.
The beads look even more beautiful in real-technicolor-life. So, if you need a little Rebel in your life then go and get yourself one!

The other yum item that actually arrived today is the snuggliest, squishyist, take-it-to-bed-with-you, lurvely yarn. The lovely yarn spun for me by the super-duper Pocketina.
The colour of it is full of greens - my favourite colour - with hints of yellowyness and purple and such a lovely texture with super thick fuzzyness and finely contrasting bits.
You think I'm kidding about the sleeping with it bit, don't you?..

You can peek at what it looks like for yourself on her flickr pages.
Go, look, I'm not going anywhere until you've appropriately 'oohed'.
I was so totally blown away when she told me she wanted to send me some yarn - and then she wrote such a lovely message to go with it that I'm totally going around squeezing the yarn and smelling it (I don't know why I keep smelling it - it doesn't smell of anything - but I feel the need to take it in with all my senses.....alright - except for taste - I'm not licking it or anything. What, you think I'm weird or something?)

In other, interesting news, I'm rather behind at posting my link for Pay It Forward - knitting style.
The first 3 people to comment on this blog post (who profess themselves to be knitters/crocheters/fibre-creators) will receive a knitted item, as knitted by me, within 6 months.
In return they must post on their blog and also commit to doing the same (i.e. knitting and sending to 3 more people) and so on.
I'm going to be the lucky recipient of something knitted by the lovely Lauren from StitchandBitchLondon - I'm very excited.
So, post a comment - please make sure I have an email address so I can contact you - otherwise I'll have problems!!

Finally, what do the following two pictures have in common?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Project Peru 2007

I took this photo in Lima this summer - I'm glad I managed to catch it as we went by on the bus to the airport because it summed up for me quite a lot about the conditions in Lima.

There were some very high class, 'nice' areas in Lima and obviously there were people who earned plenty of money, however there were also some real places where people obviously had very little and this photo with the advertisement for the fancy new car in contrast with the old banger parked in front of it really caught that dichotomy for me.

There were great swathes of Lima that looked like a grand building site. People often seemed to be living in the lower stories whilst new bits were built on top. It looked like shoeboxes stacked one on top of the other and with the steep hills in areas made it look even more like a giant stack. But Peru was full of such friendly people who were all interested in us and were prepared to share their lives with us. They were fantastic.

Finally, this picture is of the statue in El Parque del Amor in the Mireflores area of Lima. A park for lovers with a statue to commemorate love rather than struggle and war.
Lima and Peru were full of fantastically beautiful places - each so incredibly different; but still awesome. I feel so privileged to have been there and seen it - that cancer held back for long enough to let me get there and to have travelled with such a wonderful group of girls and women. Looking back on our photos I realise I miss them all.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mind loop

Dear God - please stop me from playing 'Breathe' by Anna Nalick over and over......I need to go out.
Step away from the computer........

What's the alternative?

Well, I whined a great deal about being 'too hot' last night and the result was that the referral letter to the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital's Complementary Cancer Care Programme finally arrived. How's that for a result?!
4th December I will meet Dr Sosie Kassab; or, at least, one of her team. She's been recommended (and I've been referred by) my oncologist - and she's not one to suffer fools gladly. Any praise or recommendation from her I'll grab with both hands.
I'm also going back to the London Haven; partly because I need to something to get up for on most days and partly because I guess I need a bit more TLC. Maybe I can sleep whilst I'm there ;)

This takes us into the tricky area of do I really believe these things work - I think there's a lot of evidence (medical) for the potential effectiveness of homeopathy, so I shall be interested to see what happens there. Of course, I'm also at a point of such desperation with it that if someone told me to stand on one leg for half an hour a day and then turn around three times and touch the ground whilst saying 'I believe in cancer-fairies' - I'd do it. I actually don't care what it is if it works. Well, within reason. I admit, I'm somewhat more sceptical about things like Reflexology and Reiki (to name two that I actually have experience of). I don't really see how they work or why they should. In both cases I enjoyed them - an hour to just relax and lay somewhere whilst someone is sympathetic about what you're going through. Plus with the reflexology - a foot massage. What's not good about that? Do I believe that that the foot massage moves the toxins out of other bits of my body? I dunno - I don't understand how it would but maybe I just don't know enough about it.....
The reiki - that was odd - I think I just snoozed my way through it really. I did have an odd experience of a sudden start in my body and a white light even when my eyes were closed. But I think that might just have been me falling asleep......
The one thing I really do need to avoid are the 'food facists' - I do believe that a healthy diet is important - and I'm pretty good when I'm not feeling too depressed; but I won't be lectured about 'acid ash' and the 'deadly dairy'. Perhaps that work for some people but it just makes me feel miserable, useless (because I can't stick to that sort of diet) and pissed off. Frankly, there's not much point saving this life if I'm going to spend it feeling miserable and guilty about food.
So there, now!

I'm actually loathe to ask you any questions about this for fear of grave recriminations - but, share your thoughts or experiences if you're so minded......

Friday, November 09, 2007

Drip drop

My neck is sweating. Whose neck sweats? I am so gutted about having had to start the Zoladex again. I was so happy when I thought I'd finished in August. That was the only way I got through the summer - by just saying to myself 'only a few more months - you don't have to do any more summers like this'. And it wasn't even a particularly hot summer.
But then the lump reared its ugly head in September and I had to start them again. And the hot flushes are worse again. So bad, that today I actually caught myself thinking that it would be better to die that go through another summer with hot flushes.
Which is ridiculous. I thought immediately - 'that's ridiculous - it so would not be'. I think I sound melodramatic when I say to people that they're going to drive me into a gibbering wreck of a woman; but I really, actually do think that. I really, actually think that one day I'm just going to sink to the ground and bang my head on it over and over again; or just start muttering nonsense. It sounds so pathetic - 'I'm hot' - I'm sure people think ' how bad can it be - it's just feeling too hot' but by the time I haven't slept through the night for *two years* and I continually feel sweaty and sticky and disgusting - it's amazing I can still bear to live with myself. It's amazing that I can string even two words together. I feel like a disgusting creature who no-one in their right mind would want to be near and then combine that with hating the way I look physically and it's amazing I still exist.
Sleep - I used to put my head on my pillow, fall asleep and not wake up until morning. Or if I did wake in the night, then I'd look at the time, roll over and fall asleep again. Now, I can sleep for a max of 4 hours straight on a good night - then I wake up, sticking to my sheets and can still be awake 2 hours later, tossing and turning, going hot and then cold and then hot, repeat ad nauseam. If I get back to sleep then it's usually for no more than an hour at a time. I've been given Lorazepam - which doesn't make me fall asleep; it's a muscle relaxant - so I lay there, relaxed, but hot and awake. Nice.
The best night's sleep I've had in the last year was the night before last when I finally resorted to codeine to get rid of my headache. I fell asleep pronto (I usually lie awake for up to an hour listening to Michael Palin or Garrison Keillor) and then the codeine made me so drowsy that when I woke up, I managed to sleep again - for nearly 12 hours. *12 hours*. I cannot even recall when I last slept that long. It wasn't the best quality sleep and I woke up feeling groggy but, by gum, it was still pretty damn good. Shame I can't just knock myself out of codeine every night. (No, I am not stupid, I shan't be doing that.)
Exciting needle sticking and pamidronate drip today. Thankfully my (fave) nurse in the chemosuite knows how to get into my veins and all was done without unecessary bruising.

I would take a picture to demonstrate the lack of success in the CT department earlier this week but the camera wants new batteries first and I can't find them.

I think I've run out of steam now - but I have written quite a lot this evening - I think wearing my Fussy shirt today has helped the word-stream....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The rain in Spain

Ugh, hate - Xeloda. Messing with my lower digestive system. (Why yes, that is me being polite about saying it's UPSETTING MY BOWELS.) Just the opposite way round from all the other chemo I had, which had the exactly the other effect.
Funnily enough - neither of them is a fun side-effect.
Am nursing lovely cramps and waiting for it all to eff-off.
(Are you listening bowels??)

Haha. How many people can I put off ever reading my blog again?......

How I wish it were the diamond effect.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Head falling off

Argh! Argh! Argh!
My wireless router is not working....I am having to sit, at my desk, in order to access the internet.
This is appalling. Mostly from the point of view that I am so lazy that having to sit at my desk rather than on the sofa alarms me.....

Mother of all headaches today that refuses to shift - you'll have to entertain yourselves today with some Peru pictures of Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu:

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

In which our heroine.....chooses curtains

Snaps to April (I'd link to you but you haven't left your url) for her spotting that yesterday was indeed Guy Fawkes Night - or Bonfire Night as we also call it. I've not been to an actual Bonfire and fireworks display for years - which is very disappointing. This year I really intended to - and I really hoped my brother would be visiting so we could go together like when we were kids. But he couldn't and in the end I couldn't be bothered. However our people in neighbouring streets actually had fireworks in their back-gardens which meant I could see them from our bedroom window, in bed. Now that is what I call service - and a good bonfire night. Lots of lovely sparkles and a warm feather quilt....perfect. The Dear Other declares that I would spend my entire life in bed if I could - I fear he may be right. You can knit and read and (in my house) surf the net from bed; so why get up? It's cold outside the covers (except when I'm having a hot flush) - bed is best. Why stand if you can sit, why sit if you can lay down? I don't think of myself as lazy; I just like to be *comfy*.

Today you have options.
For the squeamish amongst you - head further down the post and give me your opinions on curtain fabrics for mah bedroom.
For the unsqueamish amongst you there are pictures - of my scars. In order not to catch anyone unawares you'll have to head over to flickr to see them. They are just (just?) scars now - 2 years down the line - my mets diagnosis in September distracted me from the fact that it was 2 years since my mastectomy. I haven't talked about all the surgery lark for a while now. Mostly because I'm sturdily ignoring the scars as much as I can. I still don't like catching sight of my reflection unprepared in the bathroom mirror. I still have to stop myself from flinching when the Dear Other touches it - he likes the fact that the skin is so very smooth and soft along the line of the scar. I think I care far more than he ever has. ::sigh:: grrrr

The options:

And in close up:
Opinions please.....

Monday, November 05, 2007


Yesterday I was commenting on NaBloPoMo blogs with photos that I liked on them. So I thought that today, since I have this new camera and all, I'd post a picture from my walk to the Coop this morning.

This is what Northampton looks like this morning......and this was the nice trees - others look bare and bleak.

No wonder I'm depressed.!

Today is also Christmas Cake baking day. Well, it should have been ages ago but I have no impetus for doing things any more. Total lethargy. But, it has been done and is in the oven. The fruit soaked in a mixture of brandy, sherry and a bit of orange juice for 24 hours. I do know someone who soaks hers for 5 days without OJ ;) But this is for our Christmas drinks 'do' at the start of December so I didn't think it was so critical. Besides, some people will be driving ;)
So, what with knitting little mini stockings being knit, it's starting to feel "a lot like Christmas"....ish.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The discrete chemo-taker

Ugh. We went out to dinner last night at the house of some people we don't know terribly well - people from the Other Half's church. And there were 2 other couples there who we didn't really know. Which led to some rather stilted conversation although they were all very nice. I'm just really hopeless with people I don't really know - I can manage a few, but 6 is too many and I just end up clamming up. I'm really just shy at heart.

So, dinner was fascinating - all veggie and dairy-free. We had carrot and ginger soup, then home-made lemon sorbet, then roast pumpkin with a green veggie melange with red pepper and a sort of curried lentil filling plus cauliflower and finishing up with pear gingerbread. I'm still waiting to see how my stomach is going to react to all those veggie - it's been misbehaving on and off recently - usually at 3am - nice (not).

So we got to the end of dinner and I had to take my Xeloda (within 30mins of eating) and I debated excusing myself and taking them in the bathroom, but then I realised that I wouldn't have a glass to put water in to take them so I had to take them at the dinner table - plus I had to ask for a glass that wasn't a wine glass (I wasn't drinking alcohol anyway). Which I did and I tried to be subtle about it but obviously taking 6 tablets with an ocean's-worth of water is a bit hard to do discretely....
So, the chap next to me says 'those look like my pills' and I said 'I don't they will be' (thinking 'I don't think so! Shut up') and he went 'statins' and I said 'um, no, um, these are chemotherapy tablets' which shut him up for a minute and then he went 'they look just like mine' and I made some ha-ha comment about the terrible colours they make these medications, blah, blah. All the while feeling awful. I didn't want to tell this guy, or anyone about them; although our hosts and one of the other couples will know about my cancer from the church - I just couldn't think what to say (other than 'mind your own beeswax!'.) I'm a terrible liar in these situations and I didn't want to not answer because then they might be thinking who-knows-what....
(Dear Other Half suggested afterwards that I should have said they were hormone pills because of my sex-change operation - funny, but I think *not*)

What would you have said? What would you have done? How do you not say 'I have metastatic breast cancer in my bones and lung and I have to take chemotherapy in order to try not to die any time soon...' (No, I didn't actually say that; but I bet that's where his thoughts took him.)

Urgle. Hate.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The next level of insanity

Ha ha!! Don't laugh. I've signed up for NaNoWriMo.....
I fully expect to fail to finish and to write absolute dross but people keep telling me I need something to do - although I think they meant something that got me out of the house ;)

I am, bizarrely perhaps, currently writing something that might be classed as Sci-Fi/Fantasy. Think Elizabeth Moon/Anne McCaffrey.....

I'm not sure I dare post any of it here for fear you'll all laugh hysterically, or you'll simply decide I'm not the person you thought I was and sod off.

Have any of you done NaNoWriMo? Are you doing it this year?

It's funny, people have often encouraged me to write a book - given the number I read I think they thought it was a given that I'd be a writer too. However I've never felt the urge - too much pressure - the old 'getting it right' thing. However NaNoWriMo has given me permission to write total crap. And of course, it's the ultimate in escapism - not only is it getting to retreat into another world/life - it gets to be one that I fashion myself. What will it tell me about myself? That, I think, will be the most interesting thing. They say that when writing, you should write about what you know - but *how* exactly do you do that if you're writing fantasy/sci-fi? The whole point is that it has some strange-ness to it. Although, I suppose, not too much - otherwise we wouldn't read it, we wouldn't be able to relate to the characters or their situations......

Ponder, ponder

Friday, November 02, 2007


I have finally given in, or bitten the bullet or some such and bought a camera capable of taking decent enough pictures to upload here.

Too bad, folks, that means you get to look at knitting examples!!

This here is Mrs Beeton by Brenda Dayne from Knitty. I've knitted about 4 versions of these so far because people keep seeing them and going 'oh, those are nice' in that meaningful tone of voice. This is the second thing I ever knitted on dpns - not bad, eh? I actually like dpns very much - once I got past the feeling that I was trying to knit with a very unwilling porcupine.....

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Welcome greeness, pink go away

Oh thank heavens, October is over and I can go back to the more soothing green. Although it's looking a little more pea-colored than I would like - I'm sure it wasn't that color to start with....

I really do wish I knew how to do the fancy blog designing I see going on. I'd like a pretty banner rather than my rather plain, austere, blank heading......any good recommendations for sites that tell absolute dunces how to start this sort of thing??

My plans for NaBloPoMo are a little more ambitious this year. I think I'm going to have a theme for each day of the week (if I can come up with enough) and I'd like to pose you a daily question. It might just be for recommendations or it might be a bit more like homework......beware!!! :)

Watch this space!

Bearing in mind that I thought today was the last day of October and not the first of November; don't expect too much!!!!