Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Doom, gloom and killer cattle

Picture from here
I warn you now, I am in a bad mood.  I was awoken at 3.45am by the claws of Cyril (the three-legged monster cat) who decided he'd quite like his breakfast served early this morning.  I have not been able to get back to sleep since, which is more than I can say for the bloody cat, who is now snoring at the foot of the bed with a full tummy.  Yes, I know I have created a rod for my own back.

While lying here wide awake I've been mulling.  Never a good idea.  Here are some edited highlights of my disgruntlment (and if that isn't a word it should be):

And now I've got a new message of doom.  Although people with cancer in England and Wales have been denied TDMI (and other treatments) through the NHS, we have been able to access these treaments through the Cancer Drug Fund (CDF).  Or at least we can at the moment.  The NHS has decided to open a consultation on changes to the CDF which means it will take the cost of treatment into account in the future (something it hasn't done before).  Call my cynical but aren't consultations by government bodies usually just an exercise in asking people what they think and then going ahead and doing what they planned anyway?  If my worst fears are realised many life prolonging drugs will no longer be available to those unable to pay for them privately.  The consultation ends at the end of this month and I urge you to have a look and complete the survey if you can bear to.
So there you have it.  The cat woke me early and I've been lying here fuming and decided to share it all with you, you lucky, lucky bunnies.

I then went on to consider that, had I not had the good fortune to be born in a country with good health care, I'd no doubt be dead and buried by now.  Which in turn led on to thinking about the dreadful hardship endured by so many people in the world, like 748 million people not having access to safe drinking water and the state of the world itself with all the horrors of war, pestillence and climate change.

It's enough to want to make me stay in bed for the rest of the day with a bottle of sherry and a family pack of custard tarts.  All in all that cat has got a lot to answer for.

I can't even blame my mood on the onset of winter.  I like winter.  I like snuggly winter clothes, sitting by the log burner and my latest knitting project, an incredibly (and unintenionally) wonky scarf.  OK, by February I've usually had enough of cold, driving rain and dark nights but up till then I embrace the gloom.  By the way here's some top notch and enjoyable research on seasonal affective disorder from the Daily Mash

Having moaned for several million paragraphs I should point out that, on a personal level, I'm having quite a jolly time.  Maybe, in the spirit of fairness I should list the good stuff too:
  • I am now on a different bone strengthening medication.  This one seems to have no side effects (unlike the last one which was yucky), so hurrah for that.  
  • I've had the full compliment of sisters (nos 1, 2 AND 3) in the UK recently.  Which was lovely.  Sort of.
  • Started a brilliant mindfulness course (mock me at your peril).
  • Some good friends have recently raised over 1000 pounds for the excellent Breakthrough Breast Cancer.  They did this by forgoing anniversary presents and, shudder, running a half-marathon.  Many, many thanks to them.  My cockles are warmed.
  • I've been out and about enjoying the autumnal sunshine.
The being out and about included walking up a sodding big hill.  The intention was to walk around the bottom of the hill rather than climb it, but the lower footpath was blocked by scary hairy cows (see picture at start of this post) so I took the high road.  Once I reached the top (and stopped sobbing) the views were fantastic.


And finally, here's a picture of me ascending the steep slope.  I'd like to tell you I was being brave but actually at this stage I was too out of breath to cry.

  Onwards and upwards.

Friday, 10 October 2014


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!