Friday, 10 October 2014

Spiky



Here's my latest blog post for Vita (an online breast cancer charity magazine).  It's about how pissed off Breast Cancer Awareness Month can make me, and others with secondary breast cancer, feel.  Stand by for whinging.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The filth and the fury

At the beginning of September I went off to Northumberland for a week long holiday.  Northumberland was gorgeous.  The scenery is fantastic and the weather was glorious.  I'm not sure if I came back with a tan though or if it was actually a layer of dirt, as the holiday cottage we stayed in was beyond filthy.  

Admittedly when I booked the place I could tell from the pictures that it had a certain 1980s look to it (curtains with swags and tails anyone?) but I had expected it to have been cleaned since then.  The yuckiness of the place was apparent as soon as we arrived and much argy bargy, discussions, foot stamping and even tears (tears from the owner not me) ensued.

Ah well.  I've been back for a month or so now and I don't seem to have come down with bubonic plague.  I won't bombard you with pictures of the grottiness of the place but this gives you an idea of the cobwebby horror of it all:

mmm lovely!
 Thankfully the rest of Northumberland was its splendid atmospheric self:





Although if I'm going to be 100% honest I wouldn't mind if I never went back to Alnwick gardens again - talk about bling!
All fur coat and no knickers, in my snooty-for-no-good-reason opinion
On the health front the results of a bone density scan revealed I've got osteoporosis.  This wasn't a huge surprise, but my intolerance to the bone strengthening drug I've been prescribed wasIt made me feel far yuckier than my current chemo.  So after three weeks persevering I've been prescribed something different.  I'm not brave enough to try it yet as it's a chemo week for me and I don't fancy a possible double whammy of vileness. 

After a lovely, lovely summer Autumn has arrived.  This isn't all bad news as I much prefer winter clothes and love being snug.  The love of snugness is probably the result of my mum repeatedly telling me to tuck my vest into my knickers so as not to get a cold on my kidneys. Anyway due to the passing of the years and the eating of many biscuits, this year I had to go up a size when buying woolly tights.  I may now be a medium horizontally but I remain a small vertically - which means when I pull the tights up they come up to my armpits.  Here's to a cosy winter!

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

An opportunity for Scotland

My latest blog post for Vita (the online magazine for Breast Cancer Care) is available here.  Be there or be square.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Ismena


First Fig
By Edna St Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes and oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light!


This morning the lovely and inspiring Ismena died of secondary breast cancer, aged just 40.

I never met her in person but knew her through a marvellous Facebook group, of which she was a mainstay.

You can read about her in her own words here.  I think this post in particular has something to say to all of us regardless of the state of our health.

Thank you Issy.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Win-win

It's August again, which means ... Shrewsbury Flower Show.  I went along of course and got more photos of the children's veggie art entries to inflict on you.

August was also CT result time (which comes along every three months, although it feels like every three days to me).

I had double cause for celebration.  First of all there was no change to the cancer.  So I remain stable.  Hurrah for my chemo, TDM1 or Kadcyla (which I receive as part of a drug trial), and boo for it not being generally available in England and Wales (the jury is currently out in Scotland)

The second cause for celebration was that I seem to have a new oncologist.  I wasn't keen on my old (and now semi-retired) onc, Dr Oily, as I found him patronising and, to be honest, I haven't forgiven him for his attitude to his department's cock-up (in my view) in my care last year.  Anyway, the new bod introduced himself, didn't speak to me as if I was seven years old and was pretty upbeat.  Top marks so far.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Nasty NICE

Last Friday the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence (NICE) confirmed their decision not to approve National Health Service use of TDM1 (trade name Kadcyla), the chemo I've been having for over a year courtesy of a drug trial.  The decision is purely down to cost.  It pissed me, and a lot of other people, off.  I didn't bother whinging about it here because you've heard it all before.

Today NICE continued in the same vein (pun intended) and turned down a drug for advanced prostate cancer.  That thudding you can hear is the sound of people throughout the country banging their heads against walls.

A writer at The Telegraph sums it better than I ever could, so I'll stop going on about it here but if you do want to read more and get an idea of how disappointed and angry many people are then please read this.(By the way, if you do read it, maybe stay clear of the comments section as there are some right-wing nut jobs on the lose.  Apart from my mate Tim that is, who valiantly took them on!)

I've been having a whale of a time lately with friends and family visiting, meals galore and the annual trip to the Shrewsbury Flower Show.  It's just that all the craptasticness from NICE and my impending CT results (next Wednesday)have left me feeling a bit like this Flower Show exhibit:


Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Me again

Just a short note to pester you with the fact that my latest burblings for Vita (an online magazine for the Breast Cancer Care charity) can be read here. 

Not the cheeriest of reads so here, have a free photo of Cyril, the three-legged monster cat, to be going on with:


Now, if you'll excuse me I've got things to do.  I want to finish this excellent book before this excellent film comes on in an hours time.  It's all go go go.