Friday, 28 September 2012

Domesticated Del

The new me.  (Picture from here)

I’ve been on sick leave from work since I was diagnosed with cancer in January.  First of all I was too bonkers to work.  Then, once chemo started, I was either feeling grotty or had a pathetic resistance to infections.  However, the stay-at-home scenario now looks like becoming permanent as it’s almost a dead cert that I’m going to get early retirement on grounds of ill-health.  My employer’s independent doctor has approved my request, so it’s now just a case of tying up loose ends and, bingo, I’ll be retired.  As far as I’m concerned this is A Very Good Thing as I was made for a life of leisure.  I always claim that a terrible mistake was made at hospital when I was born.  Obviously I was destined for a life of idleness and must have been born to incredibly rich parents, which can only mean that a dreadful baby-swapping incident must have taken place.  You might claim that this theory doesn’t really stack up seeing as I was born at home, not in a hospital, but that's just nit-picking. 

In view of the early retirement news the other-half has been making remarks about how I’ll be able to have his dinner ready on the table when he gets home from work.  I might have fuelled his crazed delusions by starting my learn-to-knit course this week, thereby giving the impression that I’ve come over all home-makery.  However, I have to report that I was the worst in knitting class, even another pupil got cross at my inability to cast-on with confidence.  Luckily I have no pride so I don’t care in the slightest, although I have to confess I have looked at casting-on videos on YouTube.  Stand by for further reports on my knitting adventures.

Talking of YouTube I have, of course, been looking at videos of cats, which is what the internet was invented for surely.  Have you seen this?  It brightened my day no end. (Thanks for pointing it out M.)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Boxing Day

Well obviously it isn’t Boxing Day, but IT just is three months today until Christmas.  No need to thank me for the reminder.

Last weekend, even in the midst of deepest chemo-gloom, I wearily managed to do some on-line shopping (for me).  It really is remarkable how nobly I soldier on.  Today Cyril and I leapt with joy; me at the delivery of my new stompy winter boots and Cyril at the box the boots arrived in.

I also ventured out today for the first time since Thursday (when I went to see Ross Noble, v funny, big tick).  Today I provided the laughs myself by going to the hairdresser and asking for a trim.  I think the hairdresser thought I was a bit loopy seeing as my hair is still incredibly short, but nevertheless he trimmed away at the wispy bits round my ears and the bits that make me look like I’ve got a hairy neck (probably because I have got a hairy neck) and so I’m freshly shorn and ready to go out and about, as long as I remember to scrub my neck and ears first, I’m so high maintenance these days.

Not much else to report apart from being rained on relentlessly like the rest of Britain.  A month’s worth of rain in a day.  And, Australian and American chums, that’s a month’s worth of British rain.  As my mate T said, that’s a lot of big dollops.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

In disgrace again

This is me last year sulking while walking in the Scottish Highands.  Picture that same dejected look only now with less hair.
Firstly a rant.  Why do the blogging gods hate me?  I'm having problems highlighting the links in this post.  Usually I can show them in royal blue all beautifully underlined, this time they are grey with no underlining, ie practically invisible.  And I can't work out why.  Argh.  Anyway I know most people (rightly) ignore links but just in case you're interested the links in this post are 'lovingly crafted garden' in the next to last paragraph and then in the final paragraph 'Lauire, who helped me massively' and the two 'here's.  Now back to whinging of a non-technical nature.

I’m one of those people who can never, ever do anything wrong without being found out.  For example I have only once travelled in a first class train carriage while carrying a second class ticket (this was 100 years ago when I was young, wild and rebellious).  I was travelling for one stop, a journey of about 5 minutes.  I got caught out and was given a very public ticking off by the train guard.  Oh the shame.

Yesterday I went to my GPs for my pre-chemo blood test.  The first thing the nurse asked me was what the hospital had said about my hand (I hurt my hand last week and the GP advised an x-ray).  I had to confess that I hadn't been to hospital.  She gave me a very stern look and was about to give me a good old fashioned talking to, but I headed her off at the pass by saying, truthfully, that the swelling had virtually gone and that I was sick and tired of hospitals.  Trust me to get a nurse who had actually read my notes before the appointment.  There is no way I could ever take up a life of crime, I’d be behind bars in next to no time.

So, talking of hospitals, I’m off for herceptin and swamp juice today (heart and blood tests permitting).  I’m all set - my kindle is full of new downloads and my bag is full of snacks.  In fact I’ll probably be rolling to chemo as I can feel waistbands tightening after too much good living.  I had a lovely meal on Friday courtesy of sis no 2, ate out with J and M on Saturday and then had pizza yesterday lunchtime with sis no 1.  Let’s hope the chemo chairs are reinforced.

While I’m stuck at hospital all day the other-half plans to stand vigil over the lovingly crafted new front garden.  One of the neighbourhood cats is using it as his personal litter tray.  Without going into too much detail we believe the culprit is a very large cat going by the em, deposits, he leaves behind.  He doesn’t even attempt to bury it.  I feel he is cocking a snook at us.  The chief suspect is Big Brown Bad Cat who we also believe has been largely responsible for Cyril’s escape attempts.  Yes, the evidence is circumstantial but damning nonetheless.  We have bought heaps of cat-deterrent powders and the like.  There is now such a concoction spread all over the soil that should a passer-by flick a cigarette butt into the garden the whole thing will probably go up in a spectacular ball of flame.  Needless to say none of this has put off the phantom pooher.  Oh well, if the other-half catches Big Brown Bad Cat in the act today I should be coming home to a new and furry Big Brown Hat, which would be very handy as the temperatures are dropping and my relatively newly exposed ears are freezing.

PS.  On more of a cancery note, Oct 13th is Secondary Breast Cancer Awareness day.  The Breast Cancer Care website is trying to promote the day and has made some short films about living with the condition on a day-to-day basis.  One of the participants is Laurie, who helped me massively when I first found out that I had secondary cancer.  If you’re interested her film can be seen by clicking here, (although a word of warning the film doesn't seem to work on iPads).  And more info, on promoting the awareness day can be found here.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Fun in Clun (and other good stuff)

The throbbing metropolis of Clun

My last couple of blog posts might have given the impression that I’m a grumpy old sod enjoying wallowing in misery.  Admittedly being grumpy is one of my favourite hobbies but even so I can’t pretend that life has been all woe and wailing of late.

I’ve been out and about in the countryside again and bought a urine coloured glass chicken from a junk shop in Clun.  No home is complete without one.  

Five pounds well spent

For those inclined to disagree, I simply say that you are either born with taste or you aren’t.  Take that as you will. 

Other good stuff?  I went to N’s third birthday party and sat in the sun being waited on hand and foot.  I had a lovely visit from P (with flowers and chocolates, not that I’m mercenary you understand) during which I talked her ears off and had a bit of a self-help session on the subject of allotment committees (P is a long-suffering allotment holder too).

I had a surprise and spectacular bunch of flowers, thanks S and H!.  

Covent Garden comes to Spa Street

And I also had a birthday with more good things than you could shake a knitting needle at.  I’m starting a learn-to-knit course at the end of the month so one of my presents was a knitting bag.  Shut up.  I’m 51.  I’m entitled to a knitting bag if I want one.  Anyway watch out come Christmas time, if the knitting takes off, it’ll be balaclavas all round.

Sis no 1 has been saving the day with her meals on wheels service.  We had that pie again and heaps of courgette muffins (or zucchini muffins to translate for my pals in Australia and America, although I do wish you’d learn to speak English proper like what I do).  I know courgette muffins sound disgusting but they are truly delicious, honest.

My hand seems to be on the mend.  The morning after I last posted the swelling had gone down so much that I could see my knuckles again, so I opted out of going to hospital.  I spend so much time there anyway that I really didn’t fancy an additional and probably unnecessary visit.  In fact I’ll be there on Saturday for a heart test (to check that the Herceptin isn’t causing any problems) and then it’s time for another bout of swamp juice on Wednesday.

Cyril, the three-legged monster cat, ended up going to the vets as he was quite poorly.  I’ve got my priorities right.  I ignore the GPs advice about going to the hospital but make sure that the cat goes to the vet.  Anyway a couple of injections later he seems on the mend and is back to incessantly demanding food.  The vet thinks he probably just ate something yucky in the garden.  Very likely, as he’s been murdering and eating butterflies all summer.

My hair is continuing to grow and I’m now back on the shampoo and conditioner lark (after a few months of just dunking my head under my grimy bath water). 

Now just in case you think I’ve turned into some kind of dreary middle-aged Pollyana, skipping around the streets finding things to be glad about, fear not, I’m still more than able to be a glass-half-empty type of person.  For example, I’ve discovered that the returning hair situation is not all good.  I went to the supermarket the other day and found people treating me very differently.  For the past few months complete strangers have been very nice to me as I wandered about, hat  or scarf on head, obviously bald underneath.  But now my hair has grown, and could simply be a short (if very severe) hair cut, the softly softly approach has stopped and people are once more barging me with shopping trolleys, rushing to beat me to the queue for the checkout and generally not treating me with the respect I so richly deserve.  I may make a large badge saying ‘I’m poorly, I am’ in a desperate attempt to prolong the kid glove treatment.  Yes, I know, I have no shame.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

In the wars

I'm feeling sorry for myself.  As well as battling a grotty cold (on it's way out I think but dragging its heels), I've been afflicted by a nose bleed and now I've got a hurty handy.  I forgot to let go of the handle when walking through a door.  I know I struggle with multi-tasking these days but being unable to walk through a doorway is taking chemo-brain to new extremes.  Anyway I went to the GP and he thinks my owie warrants a trip to hospital for an x-ray.  Sigh.  At least he said it'd be OK to wait until tomorrow morning when A&E shouldn't be busy, the doctors will have just changed shift and it'll be drunk free (apart from me).

Also, to cap it all, Cyril (the three-legged monster cat) wasn't at all well this morning.  He seems to have perked up a bit as the day has worn on but I'll be keeping my eye on him and if he's still off colour tomorrow I'll be manhandling him into the cat box (one handed) to take him to the vets.

Normal service will be resumed shortly, I hope.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hairy Maclary

I’m on day four of being stuck in bed and I’m not impressed.  As well as the usual post-chemo yuckiness, I seem to have caught a cold.  At the moment my world consists of grot and snot.  Just thought I’d share.

Although I’ve been totally inactive my hair has continued growing (as the particular type of swamp juice I’m on now doesn’t always cause baldness).  It’s definitely coming back curly (I always had straight hair before).  The colour is indeterminate as yet but there are some definite grey bits including a fairly large patch at the front.  I think I’m going to be the proud owner of a Mallen streak:

Picture from here
In which case I must redouble my efforts at feeling better.  I can’t lie around in bed all day if I’m going to be a Mallen.  I need to be out and about molesting peasants and being horrible to widows and orphans.  I take my responsibilities seriously.