Wednesday, 25 November 2015


Oh dear.  I had hoped to go to Birmingham today to have a mooch around the shops before they get too relentlessly busy but instead I'm taking a leaf out of the cat's book and lounging around on the sofa doing a lot of this

I'm not sure if today's lethargy is chemo related or due to me having a flu jab yesterday.  All I know is I'm not firing on all cylinders.  In reality, compared to what some people suffer on chemo, I'm having a pretty easy time of it on Eribulin (so far).  But it does make me tired and also sends my temperature a bit haywire at times.  As a result I've had to bail out of a few recent social events, which makes me grumpy.  I hate being an unreliable friend but when I'm tired and grumpy it's probably best for everyone if I go into hermit mode.  The good news is that I've got a week off chemo at Christmas time (I wrote a begging email to my oncologist and laid it on with a trowel) so I'm hoping to be full of beans for the festivities, especially as a big family getaway is planned.  All I can say is watch out Hampshire.  You have been warned.  

The other-half and I have risked divorce and done some cooking together in preparation.  You wouldn't believe the blood, sweat and tears (and booze) that have gone into this cake.

We've yet to ice and decorate the cake - so the story continues

Anyway, unreliable as I am, constantly failing to turn up to planned shindigs, I cannot compare with my paternal grandfather.  Sis no 3 has been doing lots of work on the family tree but until recently my grandad was a bit of a mystery.  

The last known picture of my grandad (picture from here)

He walked out on his wife and four children (including my dad) in the early 1920s and was never heard of again.  I had tried to give him the benefit of the doubt over this behaviour (which caused a lot of hardship to his wife and kids) but my sister has finally managed to find out what happened and it's not particularly edifying.  Apparently he ran off to Coventry, Coventry I ask you, (apologies to any Coventry bods reading this).  Other highlights of his life include
  • Entering into a bigamous marriage and having another family
  • Somehow getting his name on a war memorial in Cardiff as having been killed in action in 1918
  • Claiming (and receiving)  the old age pension two years earlier than he should have
  • Being convicted of bypassing the electricity meter in his house and thereby defrauding the electricity company
What a total ratbag.  The other-half is dismayed at what sort of family he has married into.  

To finish on a brighter note, the other-half's six year old godson was chatting to us the other day and informed us that he was going to be an indicator in the school play.  Much confusion followed.  Turns out he's playing the innkeeper.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cheers and jeers

Well what an up and down couple of weeks it's been.

The biggest jeer should be reserved for Alistair Burt, a Conservative Health Minister, who scuppered the passing of a law which would have seen off-patent drugs (for conditions including cancer) made available to the National Health Service (NHS) at low prices.  Not only did Mr Burt filibuster the proposed legislation he also accused his opponents of "shroud waving".  Classy.  You can read more about it by clicking here or just take my word for it that the man is a total and utter shit.

The other crappy thing that happened was of a more personal nature.  I discovered a lump on my chest.  I only had a week or so to wait for the results of my recent CT scan so I knew I'd get answers fairly quickly but it certainly made the days approaching my oncology appointment even more stressful than usual.  Given the appearance of this lump I was convinced that my current chemo, Eribulin, wasn't working.  So imagine my surprise and delight when I was told that the cancer is currently stable.  The oncologist also had a good poke around my chest and said that she thought the lump was bone.  She's getting the radiologist to double check my scan but is fairly confident that the lump is nothing to worry about.  So the plan is now for me to continue on Eribulin and have another CT scan in January.  What a relief. 

Honestly, it was like the sun breaking through the cloud
There was more good news.  You may remember that a while back I was on a drug trial for a chemo called TDM1 (trade name Kadcyla).  This drug worked really well for me for 18 months with very limited side effects.  There has been a lot of hoo-ha about kadcyla due to its cost and there was a very real threat that it would be removed from the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) meaning that it wouldn't be available to NHS patients.  However, a decision has been made to keep kadcyla on the CDF. Hallelujah.

Also on the plus side I have been diverted by having all three sisters in the UK and plaguing spending time with me. 

And I've been a right old culture vulture.  On the day before seeing my oncologist I took my mind off things by leaving the sticks and heading to London to see the British Museum's exhibition on the Celts.  Then, just a few days later, I went to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to check out the pre-Raphaelites and the Staffordshire Hoard.  While I was in Birmingham I also took the opportunity to visit the new shopping centre but, you will be relieved to hear, I didn't let this sully my pure and academic soul.  Please ignore any malicious rumours that I had to be dragged away sobbing from the cashmere jumpers in John Lewis.

Talking of shopping, it's not long until Christmas you know.  Don't hate me.  I'm trying to help.  You could order some beautiful cards from Ebay.   All proceeds will go to Second Hope (the new and only UK charity specifically for people with metastatic breast cancer).  Go on, you know you want to.