Thursday, 23 April 2015

Hello


I am a sad enough specimen to check, from time to time, the number of people who've looked at this blog and whereabouts in the world they come from.  I'm chuffed but mystified to find that I've been getting a large number of readers from Russia, the Ukraine and Poland.  So the above is my attempt at saying hello to people from those countries.   Rather recklessly I got the translations by googling so if I've made any horrible, offensive mistakes, like Mr Brown in the film ' Paddington' then please accept my apologies.

Since my last post we've had heaps of sunshine in England and, mercifully, I've had several days of feeling well so I've been out and about including to the lovely Berrington Hall where I took these spring time pictures.



It was a beautiful day, especially if we gloss over the fact that the other-half did possibly the loudest belch ever burped in Britain right in the middle of a quiet tea-room.  Oh the shame.

Health wise I've no idea if the current chemo is still working or not.  I have days when I feel fairly grotty but I just don't know if that's due to medication side-effects or the cancer.  I had a bone scan last week as my ribs still give me the occasional twinge and my back has started joining in.  Next week I have a CT scan so, in the middle of May, I'll be seeing the oncologist to find out the latest.  I've been having the occasional dizzy spell.  This could again be a side-effect or possibly low-ish blood pressure but there is also the possibility of spread to the brain.  Metastatic breast cancer can spread anywhere but the most common sites are bones, lungs, liver and brain.  Obviously I'm really hoping I haven't collected the full set but the CT scan next week will also include my head (it's usually just chest and abdomen) so I'll have the answers fairly soon.  I will probably be an utter nightmare to be around come the middle May and the approach of results day - be warned!

In other news having just about recovered from my last foray into sewing (who can forget, even with therapy, the stunning pyjama bottoms I created) I am about to embark on trying to sew a dress.  The pattern describes it as simple but its got a zip and darts and requires something called 'stay stitching' (which I will google later) so wish me luck.  What with scary results and even scarier dress-making in the offing I predict some fraught times at Discombobulated Towers!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Decisions, decisions

Match pot frenzy
Decorating.  Yuck.  Not that I did any of the hard work, that was all down to the other-half, but I did put up with having the contents of the dining room (which was the room being done up) scattered through out the house driving me bonkers.  I hardly complained at all.  Truly I am a saint.  In the unlikely event that you're interested, after purchasing virtually every match pot known to man, we finally decided on the colour in the middle of the bottom row called 'scullery green'.  It must be a great job making up the titles for paint colours, I think 'disgruntled dormouse' or 'hangover horror' would be good names, but for all I know they might already be just that.  Anyway the decorating is done and normality, such as it is, has been restored at discombobulated towers.

I now have another vital decision to make.  I have a hair appointment next week - do I remain a brassy blond or go back to being brown?  Oh the indecision!  The chap at the hospital who does my regular heart tests (to check the chemo isn't wrecking my ticker) told me, unasked, that he though my old colour was better.  Nothing like a bit of unsolicited 'medical' advice is there!  The other-half is sitting on the fence on the issue (what a chicken).  Oh what to do?  The weight of the world is on my shoulders.

Pressing decisions aside, I did had some fun in March.  I left sleepy Shropshire for a trip to London, to meet up with some fellow metastatic breast cancer bods.  It was great to meet up with people face to face and if I tell you we arrived at the pub at 12.30pm and that I left at 6pm I think you'll get a flavour of the day.  Booze flavoured!  Yum, my favourite.  After that I went to my pal M's place in North London where I collapsed in a heap over a lovely plate of bangers and mash while watching the Lego Movie.  I have had a certain song lodged in my brain ever since.  My pal has a lot to answer for!  After a short stroll on Hampstead Heath the next morning I left for Shrewsbury, if I'd stayed any longer I might have been corrupted by those fancy London ways and ended up getting groovy, and that would never do.

Not content with going to the Big Smoke I also went to the pulsing metropolis that is Much Wenlock (population 3000) to see Jeremy Hardy, who was, of course, very funny and very scathing about the cockwomble, which is always a good thing in my book.

I've been continuing with my current chemo, capecitabine, with no idea if it's working or not.  My next CT scan, at the end of the month, will reveal all.  It's an odd chemo for me as it makes me feel intermittently yuck but with no discernible pattern.  So one day I feel, to use a medical term, like a bag of bollocks and the next day I'm tickety-boo.  Very odd.  I'm just making the most of the tickety-boo bits (and moaning like mad during the bollocky bits).

I've also done another whingy blog post for Vita (the online magazine for Breast Cancer Care) that can be read here if you're that way inclined.

Finally I can report that Cyril, the three legged monster cat, is keeping me on my toes.  Yesterday he decided to repeatedly attack a hapless (and very large) ginger and white cat who had the temerity to stroll down our street.  I had to run down the road after the pair of them in an ineffectual effort to stop the fight.  The street was littered with ginger fur.  Oh the shame.  And just look at him, butter wouldn't melt!

Be afraid, be very afraid





 

Friday, 27 February 2015

Going loco

The other day I went out to buy a water filter jug but came home with this instead


Not the world's best picture I'm afraid but who wouldn't want a tin 1950s toy train (plus signal!) on their bathroom skirting board?  The other-half is threatening to paint scenery on the wall behind the train, but I quite fancy the real 3D McCoy that I saw recently in an the window of an old style model shop in York


It would certainly make trips to the loo a bit more interesting.

So yes, I've been to York for a few days.  It has two of my most favourite things - history and shopping.  I had a great time, ate too much, slipped off the Lent no-booze waggon, spent too much money (new red boots and a picture!), went sight-seeing and walked my legs off.  

The glory that is York
I'm absolutely knackered now but it was worth it.  Did I mention new red boots and a picture?

Before we went to York I tried to kill sis no 1.  We went to see the snowdrops I talked about last timeIt was as lovely as usual although a bit on the chilly side


Then we headed off to a pub for Sunday lunch.  We decided to go via the Stiperstones (if you've the misfortune to live somewhere other than Shropshire and have no idea what the Stiperstones is, I'm talking about a big hill)As we drove up and up the weather got colder and colder and snowier and snowier


until we were almost in a white-out


Sis no 1, not a lover of all things wintry, was not impressed.  Anyway, we made it down the other side safe and sound, took refuge in the pub and stuffed ourselves full of grub before driving home, taking a less dramatic route.  I think sis no 1 has just about forgiven me.  Yhe other-half, on the other hand, enjoyed his Ice Road Truckers moment.

Have you notice I've been tinkering with the blog header again?  I'm not sure I like it but a change is as good as a rest.  And in that spirit I decided to experience some spring madness myself and go blonde



I'm not sure about this either as it's a bit too Bet Lynch for my liking



Picture from here
See what I mean

At my most recent hospital appointment I asked the oncologist what chemo options were left for me when the current regime (capecitabine and lapatinib) fails.  I was relieved that there are still two or three options to try but the reality is that nearly all of them would see me lose my hair again.  So I decided to have a bleach blitz while I had the chance.  So, no regrets there.  But no promises that the next post won't see me back as mousy brown and/or with another change in blog header.

While I'm on about all things cancery, my latest blog post for Vita (an online breast cancer charity magazine) can be read here, this month's not particularly happy subject is times when medical staff aren't all they could be, something most have us have experienced at times.  Big sigh.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A spring in my step


I'm just back from the oncologist's and am pleased to report that my cancer is stable.  In other words it isn't shrinking but it isn't growing either.  So I will continue on my current treatment, capecitabine and lapatinib, and then have another CT scan in late April to see what my insides are up to.  So, for now, I'm a happy bunny.

And spring time is just around the corner.  There are snowdrops and crocuses and the beginnings of daffodils here in Shropshire.  In fact, any local-to-Shropshie bods, if you'd like to see a kabillion snowdrops in one place and give to a worthy cause then come along to Winsley Hall this weekend (Sat 21st and Sun 22nd Feb) and stroll in the grounds for a fiver and see more snowdrops than you'll know what to do with.  The money goes to the Lingen Davies Cancer Fund.  More info on the snowdrop walk here and on the Lingen Davies Cancer fund here.

In other news I seem to have started a mini debate on Facebook about the correct way to eat a fish finger sandwich.  The correct answer is, of course, with tomato sauce.  I'm already aware, courtesy of the other-half, that some dimwits prefer brown sauce.  In addition to this heresy, it seems some benighted souls think that mayo or tartare sauce are the way to go.  I feel sorry for them all.  But not nearly as sorry as I am for the person who has never tried the gourmet delight that is a fish finger sandwich.  It really goes to show that the old cliche is true, there's always someone worse off than you are.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Cancerversary


Three years ago today I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer.  I believe the average life expectancy for breast cancer patients with metastases to an organ (or organs) is two to three years. So I don't know whether to be delighted or depressed.  I think I'll go for the middle way and settle for my usual frame of mind - discombobulated.

We marked the occasion in the traditional way by going to an oncology appointment only to find that the results of my CT scan haven't been reported yet.  To be fair this doesn't happen all that often and, in this case, we were forewarned.  Anyway, I remain on tenterhooks until I go back next week sometime to hear the results and find out if the current treatment, capecitabine and lapatinib, is working or not.  But just to keep me on my toes I'm also having a (planned) mammogram tomorrow so then I can add worrying about my remaining breast to the mix.

Blimey I sound glum.  I'm not, honest.  In fact on the way home from the hospital we sang 'Happy Cancerversary to you' in both the traditional and Stevie Wonder versions.  I know how to have a good time!

Friday, 6 February 2015

A public service announcement


I have some important life lessons I'd like to share with you.  No need to thank me.

Do not be fooled by initial appearances.  Just because a certain three-legged monster cat, aka Cyril, went all kissy kissy for two seconds with a foster kitten, do not be deceived.  I had high hopes that this meant that he was happy to mix with other mogs.  I should've known better seeing as his hobby is fighting all the neighbourhood cats very loudly, very late at night.  Anyway after this promising first encounter Cyril went all growly and grumpy.  So, unfortunately,  there'll be no adopting of a bucket load of kittens at Discombobulated Towers and Cyril will continue to rule the roost.  Rest assured the kitten is now in his proper adoptive home and having the life of riley (away from stroppy three-legged monster cats).

Watch your mouth (or in this case the laughter than comes out of it).  Yesterday, feeling wiped out by chemo, I lay in bed half the morning dozing while the other-half braved the supermarket.  He returned some hours later barely able to stagger to the door.  Apparently he'd dropped his wallet at the checkout and when bending to pick it up his back gave out.  To mark the occassion he yelled "Oh fuck" at the top of his voice.  He then had to apologise to nearby shoppers.  When he told me this, I laughed.  Not a wise response given the amount of pain he was in.  I think I've just about been forgiven.  
  
Things never get any easier.  I had a CT scan a couple of days ago.  So I'm now in the scary limbo land  (probably a couple of weeks) of waiting to find out if this chemo is working.  If it isn't, I'm not sure what's next, or indeed how many more treatment options I've got.  So it's scanxiety time.  Yes again.  I won't go on and on about it as I've said it all before.

Anyway, right now I'm feeling fine, I've even had the hoover out today (much to Cyril's disgust, mind you he doesn't see it very often).  So head in the sand and onwards and upwards. 


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

All change

The look of this blog, never up to much, has been driving me bonkers lately.  Almost as bonkers as the incessant sodding itchiness I'm currently experiencing thanks, I think, to lapatinib.  

Seeing as the itchiness has had me awake since 3.30am I thought I'd occupy myself by tidying up the blog a bit.  Almost all the old links (to useful info, other blogs etc) are still available but you'll now need to use the tabs at the top of the page to access them.

If you hate the new layout keep it to yourself as I'm itchy and grumpy and won't be held responsible for my reaction to any complaints.