Thursday, 31 March 2016

No place like gnome

I went to see the oncologist's (very nice) underling today.  She was a bit concerned that I hadn't yet been given an appointment to see an ophthalmologist (after all the hoo-ha when an optician spotted a variation in my pupil size a few weeks ago).  Bugger.  I'd been feeling fairly relaxed about the whole thing since the CT and MRI scans of my brain came back clear.  It seems there may still be cause for concern. 

I'm also going to have a chest x-ray next week (in addition to the scheduled CT scan at the end of the month) as I'm coughing quite a bit.  Hey ho.  Luckily I'm still suffering from jet lag after my Easter trip and that means I'm too knackered to get worked up about anything at the moment.

'Jet lag' I hear you cry in uncontrollable excitement, 'oh what wondrous foreign climes have you been exploring Disco Del'.  Well, let me tell you.  Pembrokeshire.  And going by how I feel today I can caterogically state that it is possible to suffer jet lag after a three and a bit hour drive from South Wales to Shropshire, so don't try to tell me otherwise.

Pembrokeshire was lovely.  Look:

Atmosphere in bucket loads
Spring time arrived (just)

Sunny Solva
We went with friends and their little boy.  So there were Easter egg hunts, football on the beach (although I was more of a spectator for this due to my lack of puff) and colouring in as well as the usual booze and sight-seeing.  So it was a brill holiday.  And lest you think I've gone soft in my old age ... if it's wrong to laugh at a six year old falling over and getting a proper drenching in a very cold sea then I don't want to be right.  Oh don't look at me like that, he was fine, if a little soggy round the edges.

True to form I kept an eye open for cats and found a humdinger up at the local church

Hiya Handsome
Then we returned home to an intriguing mystery.  A three foot tall plastic gnome has appeared in the back garden.  I've composed a short list of possible culprits which I'll be passing to CSI Shrewsbury shortly.  Here he is - I'm just hoping he doesn't invite any mates round.

And if anyone has any information on who placed him in the garden I'd be delighted to hear it.  Once I discover the identity of  the evil genuis behind this crime I will have my revenge.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016


Which one is best?  Helpful clue: I made the brown one

Despite the indisputable evidence that I'm rubbish at all forms of craft (remember the dress that didn't fit and my foray into crochet?), I recklessly bought a felting kit from a lovely shop in Bishops Castle.  The kit sat ignored for months and months in the land that time forgot, otherwise known as the cupboard under the stairs.  Then motivation arrived, in the scary shape of sis no 3, and hey presto I give you two felted cats.  I didn't have a clue what felting involved before I started.  The kit basically contained wool and some scarily sharp needles with which to repeatedly stab the yarn.  It was unreassuring to say the least to find that the kit also included a plaster (or band aid for any American readers) for any needle related mishaps.  Thankfully I didn't need the plaster but then I was already feeling pretty stabby due to an eye test a few days earlier.

During a routine examination the optometrist spotted that I have one pupil bigger than the other.  This is not a good sign.  In fact, according to my consultation with Dr Google it means instant death.  I informed my oncology team who gave me the once over and then sent me for urgent CT and MRI brain scans.  The most common places for breast cancer to spread are liver, lungs (got the t shirt for those two), bones and brain.  So it was a scary wait for results. Luckily for me the scans were clear.  I still have to see a ophthalmologist but I'm feeling pretty relieved for the time being at least.

I've had lots of CT scans but the MRI was a new experience.  It was nowhere near as claustrophobic as I feared but it was just as noisy as everyone says it is.  To mask the clanging and banging I was given headphones to wear during the scan.  But I wasn't impressed the music selection pumped into my ears.  Given that they were looking for a brain tumour I think the first song 'Crazy' was a bit of a poor choice, then as the machine rattled and whirred I had 'Good Vibrations' piped through.  Do you think they were taking the piss?  I tried to give the radiographer one of my hard stares (via the mirror contraption above my head in the machine) but he was unabashed.  Git.

If the whole pupil thing wasn't worrying enough I also developed another very frightening symptom.  I've had a couple of sudden attacks of not being able to breathe.  During the attacks I can't speak and make horrible gasping noises.  The second attack happened when I was out for Sunday dinner with the other-half and two of my sisters.  It's not a subtle attack and my poor family didn't know if I was choking on food, going to throw up or what was going on.  I staggered outside and after a few minutes my breathing gradually returned to normal.  Thankfully my GP is sure this is a harmless spasm of the larynx.  It hasn't happened since and I'm not putting my name down for it again.  I don't recommend the experience.

I think I love my GP as not only did he calm my fevered brow over the breathing thing he also completed the form I had from the government querying my right to receive state benefit.  I'm waiting for the official response from the powers-that-be but am hoping the GP's input will make them wave the white flag, the bastards.

On a happier (but no saner) note a few days ago the other-half and I got up at the crack of dawn on a frosty morning to go hare spotting.  We did see a couple leaping about but they were too far away for a photo.  But just to prove that I was out and about bright and early on a very cold morning:

Now here's hoping for warmer weather and a happy, peaceful Easter for everyone.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Avoidance tactics

Here are some things I should be doing:
  • Finding out about what will happen when the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) comes to an end next month.  I know it will be bad news and I haven't got the heart to read it.  (The CDF allowed patients in England to access some cancer drugs which were not otherwise available.)
  • Starting an online course I registered for about immunotherapy.  But it looks like it might require thought.  Besides, the dog ate my homework.
  • Looking at the scary form I've received questioning my right to receive Employment and Support Allowance (a state benefit) and asking lots of questions about my ability to work.  I don't have the mental stamina necessary to complete the form let alone hold down a job.
  • Completing the skirt I started making last year.  But I'm at the stage where I have to do things with interfacing and attempt a button hole.  Cue an attack of the vapours.  The pattern says 'only one hours sewing time'.  Ha ha bloody ha
The material is now even more 'vintage' than it was last summer when I bought it

 Anyway, here's what I've been doing instead of all the boring stuff above.

  •  Getting out and about in the winter sunshine

  •  Going on two, yes two, snowdrop walks.  Never let it be said I don't know how to live on the edge.  In case you're interested, or even if you aren't, one walk was the annual one in support of a local cancer charity, (many thanks to all the family members who turned out in support of this, once again you warmed my cockles) the other was at Rode Hall.

  •  Going to Cambridge for the weekend.  It was very chilly and I walked my legs off

Trinity College (I think).  My brain had frozen by this point.

Punting?  In that temperature?  Silly sausages!

  •  Stopping off at Ely Cathedral on the way home.  Truly my middle name is Culture (or possibly Louise, you guess).

  •  Getting excited about finding a local shop (Whitchurch) bearing the family name
What can I tell you?  I'm easily pleased

  •  Gazing soppily at a happy Cyril (the three legged monster cat).  Also taking him to the vet again after he got into yet another fight That's 53 quid on antibiotics thank you very much.
Bless his furry little chops

  •  Purchasing (for reasons too complicated to explain) a Playmobil Elvis.  I'm pleased to say he was well received.

Now before you start tutting and shaking your heads about my avoiding all the things I should be doing, the reason is not, as you might have thought, cowardice, laziness or excruciating hangovers.  No, the truth is I have been traumatised and the shock has rendered me quite incapable of anything except the most frivolous activities.  One of my sisters discovered (I know not how) that our old family home is now used for this.  And to think I thought finding out I had incurable cancer was a shock.  What did I know!