Thursday, 30 August 2012

This message is brought to you by STEROIDS

I’m happily off my trolley again on my last of three blissful days on steroids.  I had chemo and herceptin yesterday and all went well.  The chemo unit at the hospital is always a surprisingly cheery place, I hesitate to recommend it, but you could do worse.  Nevertheless it was close to a six hour visit and my kindle came into its own.  Thanks work pals for getting it for me and dragging me into the 21st century.  It’s so much easier to sit with a kindle on my lap rather than rifling through my enormous bag (known on the unit as my chemo sack) for books and setting off alarms as I slightly dislodge the needle-y IV thing in my hand.  Also I get to feel smug while nodding and smiling at the other kindle users sat about me and cast looks of pity at those poor souls still reading vellum manuscripts and papyrus scrolls.  If only they could make a kindle that smelled like books I would be truly happy.

On Tuesday all four of the Discombobulated Sisters were in the same county (not to mention country) at the same time.  So the unheard of happened.  We went out for a jolly jaunt in the countryside, just the four of us.  I don’t remember the last time this happened but I like to think that it isn’t a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse style portent of doom (although it could easily have gone that way).  Anyway it was sunny; we had heaps of fun and lashings of ginger beer.  We went to Acton Scott Historic Working Farm (pushing small children out of the way to see the piglets), back to the Dower House Gardens at Morville, had lunch in a newish place in Church Stretton (thanks for telling me about it M) and then had a drive around the rolling hills.  This entailed sister No 3 valiantly driving over the Long Mynd with sisters nos 1 and 2 refusing to look over the drop as we climbed the hill and all of us squealing and breathing in at the sight of another car coming our way (the breathing in being essential to make the car smaller and therefore ensuring the squeeze past other vehicles on the narrow road would not see us tumbling into the abyss).  

Church Stretton from the Long Mynd, in other words, the great outdoors
When we reached the top of the hill we got out of the car for a look around and a breath of fresh air.  Sis no 2 loves the countryside but holds a deeper and more sincere affection for John Lewis.  As she tip-toed back to the car, avoiding sheep poo, she got talking to some cyclists and asked them how many miles they’d done.  “We like to do about 65 miles a day” came the breezy reply.  Sis no 2 wrinkled her nose and responded with a heartfelt “ooh I’d rather be shopping”.

As I told sis no 2 repeatedly, she has no romance in her soul.  Unlike me.  I strode about the Long Mynd, thought about life, the universe and everything and drifted back to the car not caring a hoot about whether or not I trod in sheep poo.  I should probably point out that I was travelling in my sister’s car so I wasn’t going to have to clean the poo off the upholstery, otherwise I might have been a bit more wary with my feet.  To be fair, I do have a lovely photo of sis no 2 pretending to be Julie Andrews on the top of the Long Mynd but I daren’t post it here as I’m too frightened of her (my sister, not Julie Andrews, although come to think of it ...)

Anyway I am now full of the joys of the Shropshire countryside and may take up poetry and turn this into my Blog of Poems.  Don’t worry, only joking, don’t unfollow me, please.  But I will leave you with possibly my most favourite nature poem, written I believe, by the great Spike Milligan:

Return to Sorrento (Third Class)

I must go down to the sea again
To the lonely sea and sky
I left my socks and vest there
I wonder if they are dry

Also, while I’m in a versifying mood, here's my favourite poem of all time, by
I-don’t-who, but taught to me by my dad when I was knee high to a grasshopper:

Little Robin Redbreast

Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a pole
Undid his breeches
And did a sausage roll

Last day of the steroids today.  Normal service will be resumed shortly.  Expect the usual doom, gloom and misery in a few days time and that’s a promise.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Tick, tick, tick

You may think this is just a cat.  You are mistaken.  It's a ticking time bomb.

I knew I was right to be alarmed by Cyril’s (the three-legged monster cat) apparent docility.  The storm clouds are gathering.  Cyril is chipped, a wise move I felt in view of his escape attempts.  But I’ve made a terrible mistake.  I’ve had a letter from the chip manufacturers and, guess what, the chip he has had inserted is one of a faulty batch.  Now the manufacturers have tried to sound all reassuring, saying that the vet just needs to check it out and maybe insert another chip if the current one isn’t working properly.  Ha!  They aren’t fooling me.  Reading between the lines it’s clear that there is, in fact, an evil cat overlord at work.  All he needs to do is flick a switch and all the cats implanted with the ‘faulty’ chips (including Cyril) will rise up to destroy their human slaves.  I’m keeping a wary eye on him and if he starts making his way upstairs with a kitchen knife clenched between his teeth I’ll be ready.

On a more mundane note I’ve had my appointment with the oncologist.  There’s been no change.  This was both disappointing and pleasing (yes, conflicting emotions, truly I am a deep and complex woman).  I really wanted to be told that the cancer was shrinking but, on the other paw, I’m relieved that it hasn’t grown.  So the plan is for me to have two more lots of swamp juice (chemo) and then carry on with the herceptin and start on tamoxifen with another scan in November.  So it’s a case of keep on keeping on.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Green eyed monsters

Cyril, the three-legged monster cat, is worrying me.  He has been very quiet of late.  He eats his food without complaint and seems content to stay in the garden in the (intermittent) sunshine rather than launch himself haphazardly over fences towards the Very Busy Road.  I'm sure he's trying to lull me into a false sense of security while secretly planning something designed to torment and distress me.  I've been a cat slave for many years.  I know the score.  The below, courtesy of Henri Le Chat Noir sums it up.

Now, try not to get too excited but, wait for it, wait for it ..... the front garden is finished! 

The start of it all and scene of much swearing

And after:
See that length of drainpipe at the back of the picture?  That nearly caused a divorce.
You wouldn't believe the problems such a small patch caused.  Anyway hats off to the other-half for getting it done, although if he never mentions drain pipes to me again it will be too soon.

Unfortunately the day after this little patch of paradise was completed we went to visit a friend who had just moved house.  Her new garden is truly spectacular, and huge.  The poor other-half was absolutely green with jealousy.  He spent the evening pouring over the internet looking at properties for sale in the sticks with impressive gardens.  At least that's what he told me he was looking at.

I feel a bit like I'm in limbo land.  I'm going to see my employer's Occupational Health bods tomorrow about the possibility of early retirement due to ill health.  I think this is just a preliminary stage and the whole process could take a while.  Also I'm waiting for the effing appointment with the effing onocologist on Wednesday which, if I think about too much, makes my half-inch long hair stand on end and my knees knock.  So let's not think about it and watch some rubbish tv instead.  And eat cake.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Effing effing effity eff. With brass knobs on

Warning.  Angry blog post ahead.  Look away if you don't like swearing.

Today I went to the effing hospital to see the effing oncolcolgist to get the effing results from my effing CT scan.

To save me from repetitive strain injury please imagine I’ve typed the word ‘effing’ (the real non mealy-mouthed version) after every other word in the rest of this post.

The results of the scan were not yet available so I have to go back next Wednesday.  I’d be hacked off about this under normal circumstances but I’m doubly pissed off as a few weeks ago, when I was given a scan date just two days earlier than the date I was due to see the oncologist, I rang the hospital to check that the close proximity of dates wouldn’t be a problem.  I was told in no uncertain terms by an obnoxious fuckwit in the radiography dept that the results would be ready in time.  On Monday when I went for the scan I bravely reminded the staff that I would be seeing the oncologist on Wednesday.  ‘That’s fine’ was the response.  That’s fine my arse.

I made my feelings about the situation known to the oncologist (Daddy Dougie) and he did lower himself sufficiently to apologise.  Meanwhile I’ve got another week of vileness waiting for the results. I'm sure I don't need to spell out to people how scary it is waiting for scan results, unless of course you happen to work in my local hospital's CT scan dept.

I am an effing grumpy, stressed out and rather sweary bunny.

On the plus side I’m going to see a friend tomorrow and she has just collected two rescue cats (mummy cat and kitten).  If a kitten-fix doesn’t cheer me up then I don’t know what will.  Stay tuned for further ranting.   

Monday, 13 August 2012

On my trolley

Look carefully, this is not Cyril but a French look-a-like.  Actually on closer examination you can tell Le Chat has got a lot more savoir faire and je ne sais quoi than Cyril.  Not to mention an extra leg.

Last time I posted I was happily off my trolley on steroids.  Now the steroids are finished and I’m back to being moany post-chemo person with tiredness and joint aches.  I don’t see why I shouldn’t inflict my whingey-ness on you, life isn’t all cats-in-planes I’ll have you know.

Actually I’m beginning to come round a bit now from the usual post-chemo grot, which is just as well as I had to drag myself off to hospital at nine o’clock this morning for a CT scan (and I don’t really do nine o’clock in the morning anymore as a general rule).  I see the oncologist for results on Wednesday so it’s scanxiety time yet again.

The three-legged monster cat has been fairly sedate in recent days, no doubt he’s planning something horrendous.  Meanwhile the other-half has been doing battle with guttering which is, I’ve been told at length, No Laughing Matter.  The great guttering crisis has to be sorted out before the front garden can be finished apparently.  Place your bets now as to which unlikely event takes place first, front garden completion or the end of the world (Mayan version).  

PS.  Have just seen highlights of last night's closing ceremony for the Olympics and was treated to the vision of Boris and Dastardly Dave Cameron dancing.  I feel the world may already have ended.  All bets are cancelled.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Squadron Leader Cyril

I can now reveal the secret construction project I mentioned last time I posted.  Hold on to your hats it’s impressive.

Cyril (three legged-monster cat or, to give him his new name, Squadron Leader Cyril) now has his very own plane.

Awaiting scramble on a warm summer evening
 Now this relaxed picture might give you the impression that everything to do with this major construction project was calm and controlled.  Let me disabuse you of that idea immediately.  The plane, a fantastic present from nephew no 1 and his long-suffering wife, came in a flat pack (two words to strike fear into the heart at any time).  The assembly instructions were Ikea-ish.  They merely consisted of a set of very small and ambiguous drawings.  The ground crew (the other-half and I) decided to put the plane together as a team.  I will draw a veil over this experience other than to say divorce papers were nearly served.  However, we are now both origami masters and domestic harmony has been restored.

Here is the Squadron Leader inspecting our work

And here he is in the cockpit (a hint of madness in his eye):

And then disaster, he pranged his kite:

(Yes I KNOW my house is a mess.  I can't build planes AND do housework you know)
You'll be pleased to hear that the ground crew has made repairs and the plane is airworthy once more as the aerial shot below proves (although sadly pilotless)

My nephew's cat, Wing Commander Cookie, had a similar experience in her plane.  See below, my nephew's wife managed to get the prized shot of the pilot's entry into the cockpit.  I defy any cat to get into their plane and maintain their dignity:

More boringly I had another lot of chemo and herceptin yesterday.  All went well.  I'm now in my usual steroid frenzy, up at daft o'clock and, as you've probably guessed, faffing about with lots of cats in planes photos.  Beats doing housework.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Under construction

Remember a thousand years ago when I said the other-half was working on transforming our very small front garden?  Well, work is continuing but prepared to be stunned and amazed by the latest change.

Here is our front garden wall before:

And after:

Lo!  The Great Wall of Spa Street. 
If you look to the left you can see the other-half moaning as he loads rubble into the car.

And just to labour the point, a close up (of the wall not the other-half, I wouldn't inflict that on you):

With huge thanks to the brick laying skills of the other-half's brother
The metal inserts originally came from a church and were used to cover heating pipes.  I only hope that they got to the reclamation yard (where we found them) by fair means.  I don't want a wall with bad karma.

However, there is something else under construction which is even more exciting than our thrilling garden wall.  Is such a thing possible, I hear you ask.  Yes it most certainly is, I reply.  Hopefully I will be able to report further in the next couple of days.  Stay tuned, if you can bear the suspense.

I have a rash of doctors/hospital appointments looming over the next couple of weeks, including chemo, a scan and the scary wait for results.  So, as well as exciting construction projects, I can promise you a good deal of whinging.  I'm really selling this blog to you aren't I?