Thursday, 30 July 2009

friend award

I was away! I forget everything! So I just remembered that I received an award from Tracey! Thanks babe!

The Friends Award 
Friends Award
The instructions for this award are:

Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers, photographers, poets, humorists and smart asses."

Here's eight of the many friends whom I feel honoured to know – and whom I hope at some point, to meet if we haven't met already. Visit them'll be glad you did.

hot flash for the menopausal set!


we all complain about hot flashes, and no wonder – they are a pain in the butt!

"The faster you go through the transition from regular periods to no periods, the more significant your hot flashes are. Hot flashes are severe after surgical menopause, and they can also be quite difficult after a chemotherapy-induced medical menopause. If you haven't been warned about hot flashes, a sudden severe episode can be frightening; you might even confuse the flash with a heart attack."

Oh joy – I have had the surgical menopause. Lucky me. One piece of info I noted with interest is that thinner women suffer less than heavier women – MUST lose weight! ;o)

The only non-hormonal treatment I have been recommended so far by my oncologist has been Oil of Evening Primrose. Which I take every day. And which doesn't appear to make a blind bit of difference. Humph.

According to studies, hot flashes respond to placebo. ''The majority of studies confirm that women taking placebo experience about a 20% reduction in hot flash symptoms.'' So, gimme a placebo that I 'think' will work, and it'll work? Probably that's why the Oil of Evening Primrose doesn't. I never imagined it would. Oh me of little faith!

Then there's black cohosh. Some women get relief from black cohosh, but it has been linked to liver problems and most studies have lasted 6 months or less. So it's recommended that you avoid taking this remedy for more than 6 months at a time. Liver problems? On top of everything else? Er – that'd be a big fat NO thank you. Plus the oncologist gave me a rather rude look when I asked her about it. Trust your oncologist. Especially if she rolls her eyes. Good idea.

So! Failing being able to 'eat' things that may help, we have to think of something else. My first thought was exercise, and that seems to be helping everything. My flashes have lessened considerably since the chemo was completed and I started circuit training, but I still get them, especially if I am stressed, and sometimes when I am very tired. They tend to make one feel rather furious, and the aura before it arrives is quite unpleasant. Off to the internet for a solution!

Tadaah! I found this little fan. It's brilliant – I can put it on the bedside table, and when I wake up feeling like a malaria patient I can switch it on pointed at my face. This seems  to do the trick. For me anyway. It's so little I can take it everywhere, and it runs on batteries and it's not noisy. Cool! ;o)

turbo travel fan

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

buy gifts for €100, get €20 to give to the charity of your choice? cool!

this is a great idea! I must see if there are any UK sites that do this. Anybody who finds one, do let me know?

"Turning shoppers into philanthropists, is an online gift retailer that donates 20% of all purchases of USD 100 or more to a charity of the buyer's choice. Which allows them to be generous twice: once when giving the gifts they purchased, and a second time when donating 20% of their value to a favourite charity.

Seven days after shopping, customers are mailed a Good Card worth 20% of their purchase. The seven day grace period is in place should anyone wish to return a purchase. Customers can then visit Network for Good's website to donate the entire amount to one charity, or distribute it between several of the 1.5 million charities that are affiliated with Network for Good, from local schools and animal shelters to international aid programs and medical research organizations.

It's a beneficial move for all involved: the site differentiates itself from swathes of other online gift stores, charities receive extra donations and customers can choose exactly which causes benefit from their spending."


Tuesday, 28 July 2009

what a day

Arrived with Julie at the Oncology department, and the first thing was, they didn't have our details anywhere. Hello heart failure…but they soon found everything and off we went to the waiting room. Waiting…waiting..and MORE waiting! Bugger. They were 1 hour behind. Sitting there feeling sick. Eventually Julie went in, and came out with a good result - she will be scanned soon, and as it's near her 5 year mark, that seems sensible.

Off she went to the pub to wait for me. I was an age…but everything went well, and as I came out, Aj arrived to pick me up, and off we went to the pub to meet J and celebrate our brilliant results, PLUS Julie's birthday!

Brilliant - my CA 125 is back down to 6. Last time it was 9 - mine seems to nip up and down between 9 and 6 so I am very happy. Dr Hong was happy, Aj was happy and life is good! The norms are 0 – 35 (μg/mL).

Today I discovered something that I was 'sort of' aware of, but didn't really take much notice of as it doesn't apply to me. But since hearing my friend MA's story, I took more interest. MA's CA 125 jumps about all over the place – but this may be the reason for her not to worry too much.

The CA 125 is a marker. [well, it's also a Chinese aeroplane, but there you go…]. It can be the harbinger of a recurrence of ovarian cancer if it suddenly shifts by more than 20 points. But for example, my tumour was leaking CA 125 into my system before surgery. Many tumours don't. If the tumour isn't leaking into the system initially, the CA 125 isn't very reliable as a marker afterwards.

So before my surgery, my CA 125 was 1149. After surgery and before the first session of chemo it was 161 [25/03/08]. It went down to 30 before the 2nd session of chemo [24/04/08] – it was 7 before the 5th session of chemo. Now it is 6. Last check up, it was 9. Therefore, my CA 125 levels are a pretty reliable guide to what is going on with the cancer in my body. Right now it seems there isn't any. YAY!!

Dr Hong was quite concerned with the constant pain in my side. But she doesn't want to scan me yet, as I was pretty much blasted with radiation last year [sound scan, cat scan blah blah]. She seems to think that as my CA 125 is steady [i.e.: it is following the same constant pattern it has since the outset], and I have no other symptoms, that we can wait until November [next check up] and see where we are. Even if it was a recurrence [which it bloody isn't!], 4 months would make no difference to the treatment/outcome.

So. I am now cancer free for another 4 months! Phew…we are totally exhausted, and both off for an early night - good news is great, but waiting for it? Aaargh…

Kia, creating awareness

Check this out – this is a magazine article in the States about my friend Kia. See her blog for the actual facts, but even though the press didn't get it 'quite' right, and did misquote her it's still getting the message across.

Ovarian Cancer doesn't care WHO it attacks. It does not discriminate. But we can carry on with life afterwards. Even though it is a different life to the one we originally planned.

And Kia, you look great! :o)


Monday, 27 July 2009

the day before 'The Check Up' – screaming. quietly…

what I have wanted to know for a while is this: WHY do we get so distressed about having this check up?  And I think I may have discovered the answer.

Weeks before, I am thinking about what 'could' happen, what 'might' happen – the worst scenarios and the best. Plan A and Plan B. [gotta have those – control, control…]. And I know I am not alone in this. At first I thought I was, but now I know better.

EVERYONE who has had cancer [any kind – oh, and how fun that there are so many varieties of this fucking disease!!] that I know, freaks out in the weeks preceding The Check Up. It's odd, as as soon as I walk into the Oncology department I am totally Zen. I have a comfort zone there, as they are the people who saved my life, so if they did it once, in a worst case scenario, they can do it again. So, once I am there I am calm and totally 'in the zone'. Am I naive? Am I stupid? Or am I realistic?

But Aj put it completely into perspective for me when he said that actually, this is a 'life or death' appointment. And he's right.

It is life or death.

And that's scary. I never really managed to think it through until he said that, but I think that's actually what makes us all into quivering wrecks. And please, anyone, correct me if I'm wrong here. But for me, the [almost] subliminal thought that 'this time' could be the time that they tell you it's come back. That bastard cancer. That sneaking, murdering, hideous little cell that could kill me if I let it. It could be the day that I discover I am going to die of this disease. Soon. And in pain. Probably in agony. It could be the day that I discover I have to have more chemo. Or some new treatment. Or more surgery. Or that they can't do anything more for me because I am terminal. Or anything.

It's a screaming unknown. And we go into it screaming. Quietly. And hiding the screams with laughter or chatter or blasé remarks. Trying to be POSITIVE. BEING positive.

But the screams batter round your brain….echoing hell. A hell no-one can see.

How positive can we be?? I know I try so hard. It takes almost all my energy. Day in, day out, trying to just keep a cheerful face on…and I know my friends do too. But what if the surgeon / doctor / oncologist gives one that bad news? How strong do we have to be?  How strong CAN we be? Do we have to just carry on 'being positive' because friends and relatives expect it of us? Or is there a point we reach that we just say: "no, enough"…

I hope I never, ever have to find out.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Frenzied plans and feeling jumpy

22 July 2009

On Sunday I arrived in Portugal for a weeks work. This is a normal event and was planned well in advance. But I had no plans to return in August, as August is the month that the tile industry 'goes to sleep'. Usually most of the staff is on holiday, the kilns are shut down for maintenance and there is a skeleton staff running the factory. We tend to try to get ourselves organised which usually involves deleting and filing zillions of things that seem to get all over our computers and desks during the preceding months.

But this year, it seems I need to be here [Portugal] in August. But unfortunately I have already made plans and with only two weeks notice it is not possible to change all of them, and difficult to change some of them. The plans are all on the weekends apart from one weekend, which is the week of my 4 monthly check-up [SHRIEK!!] on the 11th.

The other weekends all involve people arriving and staying at the house. They have booked holiday or bought train tickets, bus tickets etc. and there is no way I can change those dates without letting a lot of people down. And I don't want to anyway. Miss the ''Annual Famous For Hangovers Cocktail Party''? I don’t think so!

So the only remaining thing I COULD change was my oncology appointment . That would free up the week of the 9th to the 15th so that I could come to Portugal [unfortunately the flights are Sunday to Sunday or you walk].

Uff - NOT something I particularly wanted to do, as I didn't want to make it any later, and so far I hadn't been thinking about it too much. It was, after all, 'weeks away'. But I had to at least try to free one week in August, and that was the only solution. So I rang the oncology department. They wanted to know why I needed to change it, so I explained. The woman I spoke to was so kind! She found an appointment 2 weeks AFTER my current one, and when I said I would get far too anxious waiting longer and may end up in prison for some violent crime, she seemed to think that was quite normal and acceptable, and hunted about further. Whilst all this was going on I was feeling sick and panicked. I didn't want to even think about that appointment right then, let alone phone up and change it. I was sort of hoping it would be impossible.

After some rummaging, viola! She came up with an appointment on the 28th July. Yay!! I think…Ok - but what about my bloods? I am supposed to have them done a week before, and I am in Portugal right now, so that's impossible. Nice Oncology Person said not to worry about that, just get myself down to the outpatients on Monday, they will do the bloods and process them for Tuesdays appointment. So, the plan is now to get home at 12.30 on Sunday night from Portugal. Jump up Monday morning and race to the Outpatients in order to get seen as soon as possible - I don't fancy sitting there for hours, as the girl are down Monday and I want to see them before they go home. Then Tuesday, The Dreaded Check-up!!

All rather rushed and making me jumpy. After I finished reorganising the appointment I was completely drained.

The good things about this are:
I have hardly any time to worry about the check-up
I am here with Julie, [she’s on holiday!] and her appointment is the same day, half an hour before mine, so we can worry together
Aj doesn’t have to put up with the Post Check-up Panics and Touchy Behaviour :o)
The sooner it’s done, the sooner I will know I am cancer free for another four months

The bad things are:

Better for everyone to stay out of my face this week that's for sure. I am head down and working in the day, and chilling out with Julie in the evening, and Aj checking up on me by phone. Roll on Tuesday evening when we shall all be at the pub celebrating!

In the meantime, I am in a bad mood. And nervous. And pleased that this time next week it'll be done for another 4 months.

I hope.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

this week

yay what a great week! I skived off circuit training this Saturday – and it felt like i was on holiday! How mad is that, when it's a self enforced regime anyway?

Circuit is at 10.15 on Saturday. Usually I am stressing out trying to get other things done then get ready and rush off to class. Today I simply stayed in bed – until 9.00!! Eek. Outrageous. And the BEST thing was, I didn't have to get up – so that meant I got up.

Last night we went to a wedding reception – it was great. The couple are in the news all the time and it was fun to watch the Japanese cameramen at work. They simply never stop! They actually wanted to see Steve and Carmen at 9.00 this morning? HA! Carmen was having none of that and I don't blame her. The first day of your honeymoon with cameramen in your bedroom at 9.00? Er – that would be a NO…they are in the Thaindian news, the Devon news, the Daily Mail – I could go on…

Anyway, we had a super evening.

Here are the bride and groom; sorry Steve – chopped your head off!


and here I am, as usual outside! The view from the hotel was amazing…


and here are the 'Boys of '72 presenting Carmen with a T-shirt…she was such a good sport – they also sang Delilah…hmmm



Carmen with her new father-in-law, Graham


Friday, 17 July 2009

doctors appointment

Right -  about the lumps on my elbows. Or the top of my ulna rather. Sorry to have engendered such a lot of attention by blathering on about this. But thanks for the calls and messages. You lot worry as much as I do! :o)

At the docs earlier [my fabulous Life Saving GP no less] apparently he thinks those lumps are normal thickening of the skin [eh????] but he has given me some steroid cream to slap on to try to get rid of them. Oh joy. I SOOO love steroids...NOT. But only for ten days I think. So we will see.

But at least I don't have to worry about bone cancer for the moment! Hoorah. We also discussed the ongoing pain in my side amongst other things. Like my raging hysteria as the check up looms.

He thinks the pain in my side is a sensitive colon thing…so we will await the sage pontificating of Renninson I think. As for the hysteria – apparently it's normal. Ok. Now if I whack someone over the head in the street I don't have to feel bad..excellent!!

In the meantime it is pouring with rain and generally obnoxious here in the UK. Ugh.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

do you live in Alabama?

If you do, check out this article about "Driving out ovarian cancer".  It seems that if you need to renew your licence plate [number plate], you can pay an extra $50.00 to have one that says: 'Drive Out Ovarian Cancer'.

More than 1,000 people have already signed up for the tag, and all the money raised will go to ovarian cancer research at UAB.

Every 1,000 Alabamians who ask for the ovarian tag will mean nearly $50,000 in research money. So, when you’re due to renew your tag, consider getting this new tag. It costs an extra $50, but you’ll be a part of driving out ovarian cancer from Alabama. And everywhere else!

I wish we were able to do that here. I'd have one in a shot. But the thought of anything slightly different on a number plate in the UK sends everyone into a flat spin. My brother was once fined just because his number plate used a different [and entirely legible] font. So no chance of that!

So, go Alabamians!! Buy those plates!

[I love that word – say 'Alabamians' a lot, it's excellent!]

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Researchers seek women for cancer tests

By Peggy O'Farrell • July 14, 2009

University of Cincinnati researchers are studying an experimental drug they hope will provide another option for treating recurrent ovarian cancer. They are recruiting women with ovarian cancer for the clinical trial of the experimental drug EC145.

Recurrent ovarian cancer is aggressive and often difficult to treat, said W. Edward Richards, the gynaecologic oncology expert heading up the local portion of the national study.

There are no effective universal screening tests for ovarian cancer, and 75 percent of women diagnosed with it have an advanced stage when the disease is diagnosed, Richards said. Most women diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer will have a recurrence, he said.

Current standard-of-care includes surgery, plus a two-drug regimen using platinum-based chemotherapy. The chemotherapy is less effective on recurrent cancer.

The experimental drug is designed to deliver chemotherapy to specific cells linked to the cancer. All cells need the vitamin folic acid, or B-9 to function. Ovarian cancer cells need more of the vitamin than normal cells. The cancer cells can capture the vitamin as it moves through the bloodstream, feeding the cells' rapid growth.

EC145 takes advantage of the cancer cell's need for B-9. The drug is attached to vitamin molecules, and cancer cells absorb both the vitamin and the chemotherapy drug.

"Once the drug is absorbed into the cell, it will link the anti-cancer agent to the cancer cell, and should result in targeted cell death," Richards said.

If the drug is successful, it will mean more effective treatment with fewer side effects, he said.

"We are in dire need of alternative therapies for ovarian cancer when standard-of-care fails," Richards said.


I REALLY have to stop looking at the News…it is doing my head in…I worry about becoming addicted to that insanity that is called 'news'. News?? Riiiight…

Apparently "Swearing Helps to Reduce Pain". I bet that'll go down well in the hospital wards. "Sorry Nurse, but I swore my head off at you because something was hurting" …of COURSE you did…I wonder how much swearing it'll take to make pain killers obsolete? Might have to swear QUITE a lot I think.

And I saw this today, which cracked me up too…thanks Phil. Pretty surreal. And no, I don't drink Evian.

So. Hilarity apart, this week I am mainly wondering about the lumps on my elbows. Or the top of my ulna rather. This is probably a refreshing change from the pain in my side? Mrs Hypochondriac Strikes Again.

At first I thought I'd been bitten, then the lumpy bits have sort of spread. A bit like that skin disease, psoriasis, but not red or scaly – just lumpy. It started on my right elbow, now it's also appeared on the left elbow. It's not on the bone, just under the skin. Weird. And irritating.

Hmm…lumps and bumps. A definite 'no-no' in my book. So I am off to the GP on Thursday to see if he knows what it is. At least he will 'know a man who can' if he doesn't know what it is. And I will be able to stop worrying about it. Definitely shouldn't have googled it – you will never guess what it comes back with? No. Do not! It's a no brainer…

And for anyone just about to start chemo or treatment for ovarian cancer, see this: the happy feet program. Such a nice thing when you are feeling really gruesome. I think they are going to send me some, as I am a Survivor. Pretty cool! I shall put a photo up if they do. Ovations for a Cure do a LOT to help bring awareness of ovarian cancer to women. Thanks girls.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Cancer Research UK's new TV advert

I just saw this on the News. It's an excellent advert, I cried my eyes out. I'm sure a lot of people will.

I KNEW it would be a bad idea to look at the news… ;o)


Sunday, 12 July 2009

better day

Today was great. Totally recovered from yesterdays fugue. Initially I didn't feel like getting out of bed that's for sure – just wanted to stay there and pretend everything is normal. And probably wallow in self pity. But  the smell of bacon from the kitchen got my arse into gear!

Every morning, Aj brings me a cup of coffee before I get up, I think it's probably the very best thing ever. I love it. Every morning!! Imagine…I can sit in bed having my coffee, contemplating whether or not to rise. Obviously I have to get up, but it gives me the chance to think well maybe I don't have to. That cup of coffee allows me 30 minutes of peace and decision making time. Bliss!

And every Sunday we have poached egg on toast with bacon. I read the silly 'women's magazine' from the Sunday paper, and Aj reads the news [yuck! I totally don't – enough bad news thanks]. I Google all the interesting links about fashion and food and makeup. Today I discovered amazing mascara. Good, I love mascara. It's the same one Judi Spiers recommended, so I'm going to buy it. She has great eyelashes.

I spent the day doing the garden  - always my favourite pastime. Better even than reading! I needed to cut back the Wisteria. Done – took 4 hours mind you [the Wisteria goes all around the entire house – and tries to climb over the roof too], but Aj did all the clearing away, so that helped a lot. Then I decided to attack the blasted Convolvulus that has taken over one of my roses..aargh!! I am now slashed to bits, covered in blood and off for a bath. DEATH to all Convolvulus I say!!

Aj BBQ'd some ribs,fish and pork chops for dinner – amazing. [Jones does good BBQ! Yesterday he made Tortilha. What a bonus – cute hubby who cooks!] woop woop. So we sat on the veranda in the sun and ate it – fab. Then the rain arrived so now we are indoors.

Yay to husbands that can deal with lots of BS…without having a fit, and without 'not talking' to me…brilliant. I know most people would think that after the chemo etc it's 'done', everything should be back to 'normal.' well, WRONG…I don't think you ever get over having had cancer [particularly OC, as the chance of recurrence is so high]. I don't think I will ever not worry about it.

Thanks Jones – you're amazing.

here I am chopping the poor old Wisteria up…


Saturday, 11 July 2009


aargh - the post I posted earlier has disappeared?? Whitestone, your comment moved to a different post?? – or went into the ether..sorry. grr. I knew there would be SOME drama using a new programme. Oh well, such is life!!

well, today I discovered this interesting thing on my computer that I’d never seen before. yes, yes, I know "how is this possible?" you are thinking. Well, my pc has so many programmes on it that it’s like an Indian bazaar…filled with lots of colourful things and utterly confusing to the eye…so just never mind that. It’s a thing called Windows Live Writer – and I am now testing it, as it said to me that it can publish my blog right from this page [the page I am typing in now on the pc] to my blog. So, it’ll probably all go tits up and you’ll all want to kill me for either multiple posting or some other chaos.

And YES it deleted one post…how? Don't know how. Anyway, it seems it only saves ONE post at a time. So, here we go again.

crap day

Right!! Now I know it works, off we go. Clever innit? To get to the actual point of this whole evenings post. Hmm. I have forgotten what I wanted to post about. MERDE!!! I get THAT furious with this – Oh, I have remembered…it's the combination of hot flashes, pain and chemo brain. Drives me mad.

I am so easily distracted – i do wonder if it's a matter of 'forgetting' things or simply a matter of drifting off. I seem to be concentrating on one thing, then 2 minutes later, I am somewhere else completely. Then I am thinking: 'what??' oh yes…' back to the drawing board. Again. Chemo brain. Such fun. NOT.

Today started out rather well. I slept in until 9.00. That's ok – it's Saturday right? And we were out last night. So. I bumbled about the house, checking email, seeing the current catalogue I am making [which I STILL don't quite like], drinking coffee blah blah. Then I decided that maybe I wouldn't go to circuit training today. Ha! The next minute my new 'skort' arrived in the post. Obviously a message from God saying 'get your fat butt into gear'. And I had to go to the post office anyway, so off I went. All skorted up. Felt rather a tart, as the skort is rather short! Class was hideous. Far too much cheery exercise.

eep!! lots of fireworks going off behind our house – hello typos..:o)

Got home and, full of energy, intended to do the garden. Ho ho…NOT. Rained all day. Wisteria, do your worst. I don't care. It's raining. I hate rain. It should rain in the night. Useful.

And that was it. I went into one of those days where even to pick up my hand seems too much trouble. I feel totally leaden. All my energy is gone. Like I should just lie down and go to sleep. Even breathing seems too hard. Uff. Not good.

And the pain in my left side is back. It scares me. I am a wuss. What is it? Sensitive bowel or the cancer has come back? After all, hoiking out and washing your bowels can't get rid of those little dormant cells now can it? Die cells, die…but having them taken out and washed must have consequences right? Hopefully the pain is just a consequence…

Today I don't care if I am a wuss. I had lots of those stupid, horrible hot flashes. So I absconded to the garden [where it is freezing cold] and had a good old cry. I am sick and tired of hot flashes, joint pain, side pain and worrying about bullshit that may never happen [here's hoping].

Why the crying? I am pissed off with hot flashes. I am also pissed off with pains in my side, insomnia, joint pain when I go up the stairs…worrying about a recurrence of this bitching disease and worrying about why they scan women in the USA and not here…and why I am having pains in my head, and why am I worried anyway?? And feeling like I am too young to have this joint BS. Grr.

Ah yes…I know. I should just 'get over it'. Er – not. I am mostly over it, this is true. But some days…well.

Here's a nice photo to cheer you up after this miserable post! My amazing husband.


Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Premio Meme Award

8th July 2009

While I was away, Audrey gave me a 'Premio Meme Award'. Thank you Audrey! What fun! Audrey is a blogger extraordinaire...check her out. I like this as it never pays to take yourself too seriously.

The rules are to tell you 7 things about myself, and then to pass it on to 7 other people. Any follower of this blog already knows most things about me, so I am going to try to think of some that you don't know...hmm, difficult.

1. I love reading...I will read almost anything at all. Except the newspaper, as it would make me suicidal...
2. I am outgoing and I love meeting new people, although I am always nervous at first, which makes me do a really demented laugh...and talk REALLY fast. So everyone thinks I am a bit mad...they are probably correct!?
3. I like gardening. Actually, it’s my favourite thing to do after drawing.
4. I love travelling, although these days the actual getting from 'here' to 'there' completely sucks.
5. I love my husband more than anything in the whole world. He is the most amazing man, and I am so lucky to have him. Eat your hearts out girls!
6. I vaguely resemble Jennifer Aniston from 'Friends' if I straighten my hair [this is according to MY friends...who are all crazy]
7. I am a Slimming World member. I have horrendous thighs!

Now, I get to pass this on to 7 unsuspecting victims...I mean, bloggers. And so, without further ado [I nicked this bit from Audrey!]:


Tuesday, 7 July 2009


7th July 2009

Oops - I forgot this - Aj doing the breakfast BBQ [or braai for the normal people!]. Karen started at 5.00 [ what??] and Aj started at bacon and egg baps and sausage baps...

The last few weeks

7th July 2009

The last few weeks have been the total opposite of last June/July. I have been well. I have been having fun. I have also been forgetting a lot of things, and getting very pissed off with the chemo brain, but that’s another story.

I went to Portugal to work for a week, then Aj and kids all arrived at the end of the work week for a further week's holiday. We all bundled into the apartment where I usually stay in Espinho, and had lovely hot weather, spent most of the time at the beach and went to Porto for the festival preparations. Saw breathtaking fireworks, met up with my fabulous friends and ate too much. Perfect. We all came home brown and fatter - the only way to end a holiday.

Here is my gift from Bella on the first day - it lasted until the very last day of our holiday!

Here with friends at the Barco Boador

At the beach with the Littlest Kid!

Blowing bubbles...hmm. Well, Littlest Kid loved it!

My two beautiful step daughters...

And then, home again, home again....jiggety jig

Last weekend we had the Relay for Life in Tedburn St Mary.

My friend Julie did an amazing job of organising the event, and it went off brilliantly. She never stopped for weeks before the day, and just RAN everywhere all weekend. Her poem was so moving, and she’s an absolute star. Everyone had a great time and what better way to raise money than to be having fun? Exhausting, as it’s both emotionally draining and physically draining [well walking first thing after being up partying until 2.00 in the morning - what can I say?]. ;o)

There were singers, bands, a Samba band, drum majorettes, name it, and we had it. Judi Spiers arrived in a helicopter, which tickled us pink, as we know her, so were able to take the Mickey unmercifully...she is a great support for us, and will open any event for Cancer Research, and she stays! She did the raffle for us on Sunday morning [hilarious - I wish I had a video of THAT!] and wandered around for hours selling raffle tickets the day before. Very cool. Hopefully we made lots of money!

Here's Judi with Julie and I

I’d like to say a HUGE thanks here to all the people who donated to my and Aj’s justgiving pages, and to everyone who was there on the day to support us. It’s amazing and touching how everyone has done some little thing to help. People even donated from Australia!!

So, you can see why I haven’t been on here! No time...and that’s a good thing.

Myself, Georgie and Julie waiting to do our Lap of Honour

Dancing [!?] to the amazing samba band, Jamme de Samba

The Survivors, guests of honour, doing the first lap

Julie, reading at the Candle of Hope Ceremony.

doing a lap to the tune of Rodrigo Y Gabriela

This time last year...

7th July 2009

OMG!! I can't believe’s almost a month since I’ve blogged. I MUST be having a great time right? Well, it feels like it!

There's been lots of traffic on my blog recently for some reason, and I clicked on one of the search queries, to see what had brought ''the USA'' onto a specific post. The WHOLE USA?? Sometimes it says ''Europe'' - does that mean that the whole continent decided that my blog would be worth a gander? It would be fun if it actually showed who had been on the blog – but it just shows the city, country, OS, time of arrival/departure and the way they arrived on the blog. For example by searching for ‘wine’ and ‘ovarian cancer’ [you’d be amazed at how many people search THAT!] Or ginger and OC.

Anyway, enough foolishness...the link took me HERE...

A year ago I was soon to have my LAST chemo session. I am amazed – an entire year has passed! At that point I really didn’t think I’d ever be normal again. Yet here I am now, my hair is almost back to normal [hooray!! curls again and no more torturous straightening the stuff!] doing circuit training three times a week, gardening, driving for hours, lifting and carrying, travelling all over the place...generally having a really nice life. I feel better now than I have felt for 2 years. Carrying a big fat cancerous tumour around was pretty knackering. The very last chemo was on Tuesday 22nd July 2008.

Isn't it amazing? The first thing you think with the diagnosis is: ''I am going to die''. But now I just think; everyone is going to die – I will die when my time comes. I don’t worry about that so much anymore. Hmm. I lied. Perhaps in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. That can be bad.

And here's me now - nice and brown, look!! Hair almost back to normal [a bit short but do I care? er - no!]

check this out - please help with a vote?