Sunday, 31 January 2010

preparing for the Great Chopstick Attack

Well, I just went through the rigmarole of Getting Ready To Go In. Nice long soak in the bath – in lovely birthday bath stuff from Neal's Yard. Wash my demented hair. Remove all make-up, all jewellery, which I hate doing, as I never ever remove my wedding ring or the necklace FH gave me for our first wedding anniversary. But they taped my rings last time, so I am hoping they will do the same this time.

Remove nail varnish; quite gross as my nails are so long, but only for one day, so not too bad. Tidy up everywhere. Set my alarm – have to be there at 8.00, and can have my breakfast as long it's before 7.30. Then nothing but water or black coffee until after the Great Chopstick Attack. I am going to STARVE!! Program the Ward phone number into both our mobile phones. Put them on charge. Find the letter I have to take with me.

Dig out the long, loose Monsoon dress and the big fur coat for coming home in. Don't fancy wearing anything home that'll squash me. And I will be freezing…

Pack a bag;

  • big fat fluffy dressing gown – check
  • frumpy pink nightdress – check
  • hospital 'specials' [frumpy black knickers from M&S!] - check
  • Havaianas [no slippers!] – check
  • iPhone charger [it eats battery on the internet] – check
  • book – check
  • wash bag [in case I have to stay there - eek] - check

Specs to read, ciggies in case I get a chance to sneak out [doubtful!], money – not much, but in case.

Now to remain calm and get a good nights sleep. Doubtful too. But I will get plenty of sleep the day after as anaesthetic knocks me for six. The FH has done rather well in not killing me this last few weeks – I am sure he'll be grateful for the Unconscious Wife for a while, as averse to the 'Gibbering Nervous Wreck' or the 'Vacant Eyed Zombie'  ;o)

tally ho

Hoorah! D-Day approacheth! Tomorrow, the surgery. I eventually went into manic mode, cleaned the house and got the grocery shopping in, which is far more a norm for me than this constant drooping about like a wet rag.

The week DID improve rather dramatically, as I had a load of lovely girls round for dinner on Friday night – originally it was just for we Cancery Types, but it turned into a free for all, and was good fun. And good therapy. Everyone brought some food, some wine and I got more beautiful birthday flowers. Spoilt. So, no cooking! Yippee! We had enough food for the 40 000! When the chaps came to pick up their other halves we were begging them to eat some of it. The FH was chuffed to find some sustenance waiting after his cold walk home from the pub.

Partay! I really need a haircut!


My worry about catching a cold came true; Friday and Saturday I was sneezing like a mad thing, but I am now down to just an itchy nose and a sniff. I am hoping that doesn't affect tomorrow's surgery. If it does, I shall be having a minor MAJOR nervous breakdown.

The amount of e-cards, cards, prayers, wishes and good luck are [as always] so touching. Thanks everyone. Sometimes when I am just about at my wits end, someone does or says just the right thing, and I am back with the program. It has been a weird few weeks, up, down, cross, sad – but now I am going in, I am sorted. Action is always a good thing in my book.

Here's hoping that:

A: Renninson can blow me up properly with the Carbon Dioxide [if he can't it'll be open surgery again – ugh]. It may be that there are too many adhesions in there from the last Laff Riot, glueing everything together.

B: He can see what it is straight away – now wouldn't that be fun?

C: that I get my biopsy results at speed.

And last, but certainly not least, that it's just scar tissue. Positive thinking, all will be well…and all manner of things will be well.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

the long week

pigtailed_girl_in_diving_suit_by_kisaruImage copyright Kisaru

I am sure I've never endured such a long week. When I am on holiday they definitely don't last this long! Why's that then?

Then after Monday's laparoscopy, it'll be the next WAIT for the biopsy results. The uncertainty is doing my head in. I am incapable of rational thought. I can't DO anything. And the things I do get done are very slipshod; it's as if all I am actually capable of is waiting. That's ridiculous. But all the same, it's true. I feel like my head is full of mayhem. I have taken to reading a lot. Trying to accomplish something, even if it's just finishing a book. And not thinking too much. But thinking a LOT.

My feet are always freezing because I still can't wear shoes. I need to clean the house and go grocery shopping. But I am worried about catching a cold from some germy tyke whilst I am about it. Perhaps I should wear one of those white mask things? That would go down well at the supermarket heh heh. Or an oxygen tank. A diving suit!

Perhaps I'll just sit in front of the washing machine and watch the clothes going around – at least THEY will be doing something! Maybe whilst wearing the diving suit.  What am I even doing up? I should have stayed in bed.


Monday, 25 January 2010


wow, what a nice day! I got up, had my breakfast prepared by the FH, did the 'Thriving and Surviving' Online Workshop and Study, supported by The Bonita Trust [this is an online study done by Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with Stanford University School of Medicine in the United States]. It is hopefully going to help us cancery types to 'cope' better. A 6 week, highly-interactive, online small-group workshop designed to give us ways to make our lives less stressful and more rewarding, and to give us tools to take care of our health. Gotta be good. Will report back on this. Chuffed  to be accepted, as only 24 people were. Must have been LOADS of applications.

So. Birthday stuff. Had a book I REALLY wanted from the parents. I've been waiting for the translation for ages. Chuffed. untitled

Lots of cards, emails, phone calls and an amazing amount of messages on Facebook! Thanks peeps!  I WILL get back to you! Promise…

The FH took me to The Warren Inn for lunch.

DSC_0008 I had Haggis! Never had it before, and as it's Burns Day, I felt it a good choice. Always nice to try something new – and it was scrumptious! Unfortunately I looked for the recipe afterwards…hmm. Delete THAT from the brain!! Haggis with neeps and tatties…yay!! Always good to eat ALL the bits of an animal if you must insist on killing the poor creature in the first place. FH had turkey and ham pie. I reckon my choice was best.


After a rather interesting drive through the Moor [there's a miniature Pony Club out there!! Great for The Granddaughter], I had to go and have a nose and throat swab at the GP's. Fascinating. It's a new thing they do, check one for MRSA before surgery – the poor nurse was going bezzo, as she didn't have the correct forms to send off all this snot and saliva with. She called the RD&E, and we are hoping for the best!

Then circuit training. Uff! But at least that burnt off the old Haggis eh? And I came home to a stunning Pinot Grigio [more pressies! thank you Julie!].


And my new and uber cool kettle! Julie went mad – had a frenzy at Darts farm – bloody nice kettle!! I will be making her a coffee with it tomorrow to christen it.

aga kettle

And last but not least, more flowers. From Judi – so nice. Loved today – I think I'll just have a birthday every day!


Saturday, 23 January 2010

three times lucky?

hmm. This week, I am the proud owner of three horrid things.

One: an 'abnormality' in my abdomen. That's sort of the worst one. But we try not to think about that!

Two: a big lump of flesh removed from the back of my ankle. Which has STILL not stopped bleeding!

Three: a great bloody scab on my knee – where I smashed it on the desk drawer yesterday. I only noticed this in the bath this evening.

I am actually quite a disaster prone person. I have walked in my sleep a lot – once I fell down the stairs and broke my ribs in the middle of the night. That was an amusing visit to the A&E. X-rays. Painkillers. 

Another time I fell and smashed my forehead open, knocking myself unconscious – I bled a thick pool of blood on my office floor before waking up in it [sort of glued to the tiles - yuck] thinking I'd been murdered. Handily, I hadn't been, but I was concussed for sure – I woke the FH and told him I'd called the police [which I hadn't]. He was a tad startled by my grim visage – blood pouring down my face – not very attractive. Another visit to the A&E…stitches this time.

I constantly stub my toes, rip my fingernails out at the quick and bash myself on things. I always have at least one bruise, cut or scab. Somewhere.

But I am thinking this is a good thing – the next 'thing' has to start a new roll doesn't it? A good one…and that has to be my biopsy.

Here is my nice thing of the day! A stunning bouquet of flowers from the FH for my birthday…wish you could smell them..they are divine!




Friday, 22 January 2010

letters [in scary brown envelopes]

Go back! Listen to the music! Take the time – it isn't much time. Got my hair. For the moment. Got my life – I'm going to keep it. Today I got the letters from the RD&E. Red return address gives it away every time! One was written by Renninson on the 14th January. It is now the 22nd. What? It arrived today to tell me that there was no evidence of any other 'abnormality 'on the MRI scan.


Good thing I rang them a week ago and knew this already – although to be fair, I didn't realise I should be worried! Now I have a 'worry vacuum' – I should have worried, and I didn't!! Aghast! So funny – I was so startled when Gail said "I am SO pleased to tell you…" – I was gobsmacked for a moment. Speechless. Then I got with the program and I was pleased too. If they'd found any other 'abnormalities' I may have had a heart attack. Or died of a massive hot flash – who knows? Can that happen? Death By Hot Flash?

The other letter confirmed my surgery date. And told me not to drink, eat or do anything interesting on the day. Ok. I am getting used to that crap.

Anyway – I filed the date and details in Outlook. Synched the iPhone [this is a MUST for me or I actually forget who I am]. But it was a bit upsetting. Once I'd read the letters, it all became real again [I am good at filing things AWAY]. I was upset – I wanted to phone the FH and ask him to come home. Of course I didn't. But I was crying – still opening mail. Slash slash. I opened the last bit, and what? A little Origami style packet. Hmm. I opened the initial [hand made] envelope. There was a card and another painstakingly wrapped parcel. Addressed to 'Zandra'. Ha! I knew who this was from – but I thought it was a birthday thing. Seems it wasn't. Just a friend thing [just?? er – not].

I opened it and there was a sweet card and the most amazing thing – a CD of the Very Best of Nina know how I LOVE her.  Aah - 'My Baby Just Cares For Me'…gotta listen with wine! Those were the instructions on the parcel - and who am I to argue? And it has that track - 'Feeling Good'! The anthem for the OC girls. The best best song ever.

Thank you Jacket. You know how 'I Feel'. It's a new dawn, it's a new day – it's a new life…for me. And I'm feelin' good!!

Afterward, I carried on with the Massive Office Clearance – it is now done – just to clean all the cupboard fronts and away we go! Well, I will anyway… yay, a clearer head.

This is for the FH!. watch it – it's so cute :o)…and so true. I have the very Best and Favourite Husband ever.

for my FH.

my baby just cares …for me.

just for fun

This post is for POD. What a witty, amusing blog – I love it. And this is an award that's particularly appropriate to her this week. :o) Be warned, drinking whilst reading her posts is lethal – you WILL spit it out all over the keyboard! It's not always funny – some things just aren't funny at all, but usually there's a chuckalicious bit in there somewhere.

This award thing is just a bit of fun. But also it's a way to send a virtual salute if you will. I am never quite sure how you go about giving the award, so I am just going to post it here and hope for the best!

The Zombie Chicken Award...
"The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a Zombie Apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of Zombie Chickens to read their inspiring words."

Ideally, pass it along to a few fellow bloggers that you think are amazing!

My Awardee:


Thursday, 21 January 2010


it works!! and it's almost instant! amazing.
I tried to send a picture, but 02 posted a message on my blog saying I had a picture message? Including my mobile numer? What? Shriek. So, no pics from the iPhone to the blog until I investigate it further. and deleting the 'sent from my iPhone' nonsense...who cares where it was sent from?
now testing an email :o) WITH a picture...note the GIANT geese...

testing mobile blogging

this will be interesting! Just testing out the mobile blogging thing...

sent from my iPhone

trash therapy

I have discovered that throwing lots of things away is very therapeutic. Tomorrow I am going to throw stuff away all day.

Oh, deleting works too…lots of that going on here! Delete delete – yippee!


another step in the right direction

Yesterday was one of those days that contained an Interesting Occurrence. You know how I just love those.

The Triage nurse phoned and did the pre-op. I appear to be scheduled for the 1st of February. All being well, I will be out that afternoon. I have been reading up on laparoscopy a bit more, as I appear  to have lost the 'Handy Hint' document supplied by Mr Renninson. Or I put it somewhere safe. That's always dangerous. I am clearing out my office, so I won't be able to find anything four months.

Lets hope it is as simple as it seems – not looking forward to the after effects of the CO2 insufflation. Urgh. I have the peppermint tea at the ready. It makes the kitchen cupboard smell lovely.

I decided to do some cleaning. Which is when it got Interesting. I collected the Hoover from the upstairs cupboard, raced back down our beastly spiral staircase and tore a massive lump out of the back of my foot! I slipped off one tread and smashed it downwards on the front of the riser. At first it didn't hurt, then it felt a bit odd, I looked at it and blood was pouring everywhere! As soon as I saw that, it started to hurt like hell.

Thank goodness for tiled kitchen floors. Blood everywhere. I cleaned it all up, pressed the rather large flap of skin back into the gaping hole in my heel, then sat on the floor and burst out crying! What?

As I was there, I decided it could be good to have a really GOOD cry – and proceeded to do just that for half an hour. About everything – we are so tired of stuff going wrong. It's becoming a bore.

Today – more office clearing – I have one million catalogues, adverts, invitations, data c.d.'s…you name it. 3 big black bin liners of papers out the door and I am finally seeing some light at the end of the chaos! Unfortunately I can't say the same for the dining room table, which is swamped. That's tomorrows job. Sorting out what I need and binning the rest!


Sunday, 17 January 2010

mayday mayday! lost BEAR on Branscombe beach!

A friend found this little bear, all lost and lonely on Branscombe beach – she left him there in case the owner came back.

Anyone who knows this Bear, better race directly down and collect him :o)

branscombe beach bear

Saturday, 16 January 2010


this week a friend asked me why I blog in the 'middle of the night'. I said because it helps me. To sleep. To be calm.  She sounded sceptical and suggested listening to audio books. I have tried them – they make me insane. But it was a nice question – it made me feel she cared. I know she  does.

I didn't go into the technicalities. But her question did make me think. Why DO I blog so late?? And having thought about it – I blog so late because it keeps away the nightmares. It empties my mind into to the virtual world, so that I can have at least a little sleep.

Insomnia is horrible. But, as a side effect of having had cancer; not unmanageable – better to be awake half the night than to be dead. But frustrating nonetheless. Audio books could be the answer – but the readers all seem to have such aggravating voices – I prefer to read to myself. And I do. A lot. Eventually ones eyes become so tired that one has to sleep – only to awake 1 hour later…it is shocking – you think you've been sleep for hours. But you haven't. I wake up on a 2 hour basis. It sucks. Sometimes I go downstairs for a cigarette. Sometimes, not. I read. I drink lots of water. I think too much.

I blog.

Friday, 15 January 2010

the procedure

I am writing this post mainly for my friends in Portugal. The translation of certain medical terms is complicated, and I really want them [you! I know you're reading this girls :o)] to know exactly what is happening / going to happen.

I keep getting emails from them, worried and confused as to what precisely is going to happen to me. Oh they make me feel like a Rock Star!


Step 1:

The pre-op. This is when they ask you all about how you are NOW. Usually you have to report to the hospital for this, but as Renninson [my surgeon] is away on his holidays, this is not possible. So what will happen is this; a triage nurse will call me and run through what she can by phone. Everything else [blood tests etc] will be done on the morning of the surgery. This is a good thing, as the RD&E is full of the vomiting bug! I really do not want to be there if I don't need to.

Step 2:

The surgery is scheduled for the 1st February. It is to be a laparoscopy. Renninson will try to take a sample of the 'thickening' they found on the original CT scan. This could be complicated due to the scar tissue I already have. The original hysterectomy, oophorectomy and Salpingo-oophorectomy was a massive surgery, and caused a lot of chaos in my abdomen. There is a LOT of scar tissue in there. He may not be able to get past/through it to the site of the problem. IF he can't, I will have to have another type of surgery – the same as I had when I had the original cancer removed. I DO hope not, as that scar has just healed well, and I do not wish to do the 'sardine tin' thing again…i.e.: chopped open from navel to pubic bone.

So, I am hoping he can get the sample of the 'thing' with the laparoscopy.

Here is a picture of the laparoscopy:


Looks like metal chopsticks!!

Step 3:

The biopsy. Once they have a sample of the 'thing' they will core biopsy it, and then we will know exactly what it is. 

After the laparoscopy, we will then simply await the result of the biopsy. Hoping it is scar tissue and not a recurrence of the hideous ovarian cancer. Keep your fingers crossed girls!

enough with this waiting now!

Every morning, the FH brings me a coffee in bed. I may have mentioned this before. It's my treat. Every single day. Without fail. It's one of those things that is so delightful that I never wake up without thinking 'yay'! I think if I woke up and the coffee wasn't there I would think he'd died!

So. What? Ah yes. This morning was a little different. The FH was in a state of High Dudgeon. Unusual for him. Usually he is very calm. Turns out he was rather peeved [this is an understatement!]  because I STILL haven't had  a letter from Renninson to tell me when my pre-op appointment is, nor when my surgery is. Hmm. A husband who is stressed and worried is not a good thing. Action stations! I am not sure why, but since Tuesday I have been quite chilled about the 'Situation'.

Actually, I have been strangely calm. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. I feel almost disassociated. At first I was shocked, upset and afraid. Oh – I was also quite furious at the thought of having to go through chemo blah de blah again. I think it took me 3 weeks to get my head around it. Christmas was a blur. But this week I came 'back'.  Odd. But there you go. Nothing much odder than a cancery type I think – well, apart from Ugli Fruit.

so, this afternoon I rang my Clinical Nurse, Gail [she works for my surgeon, Mr Renninson] about the surgery and pre-operative appointment.

First, the GREAT NEWS is that they found NO other strange things on the MRI scan I had last week. The MRI scan is a lot more detailed than the CT scan I had in December, and I was a little worried that they might find ‘something’ somewhere else. Lungs, liver...whatever - you can imagine. But we are still with just that one little thing. So that is excellent!! woop woop!

Second, I will have the majority of the pre-op appointment by phone, done by a triage nurse. So I don’t have to go into the hospital for that. Also excellent.

Lastly, the surgery is scheduled for the 1st February. Which is only 2 weeks away. It could be delayed, but at least I am in the system. All good news so far. The FH is looking far more chipper, and that works for me.

I know I am a bit weird right now [my communication skills appear to have disappeared], but I am quite cheerful, pretty positive and hoping for scar tissue. Sorry – no amusing picture.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

bored being stuck indoors?

I am not so grumpy today. Good.

You should have gone shopping with me today if you want entertainment! I usually shop on-line, but they're all back logged with foolish people panic buying, so the soonest I could get a delivery would be next Friday. By that time we would be down to drinking water [if they don't turn it off – there is a lorry in our road with chaps peering ominously at the water leaking through the tarmac] and eating the things that have lived at the back of the larder for 100 years.

So Aj and I went to the REAL [as averse to the virtual] Asda [it's Walmart, but englishyfied] in Newton Abbot. They are constantly jabbering on about rolling back their prices, so we thought we'd check it out. And it's true! They are Winning The Price War. Woop!

But my word that place is chock full of weirdoes. I had 3 hot flashes while I was in there, just holding in my axe murderer tendencies! Had to drink a bottle of Pellegrino off the shelf to calm down – much to Aj's horror, as he was convinced I would be arrested as I hadn't paid for it yet. If I hadn't drunk some, I would have been arrested for GBH. So I ignored him. And paid for it later at the till.

All these people were wandering around as if next week will do, which I suppose to some of them, it probably will. How long does it TAKE to choose a tin of beans?? And as for the cruel beasts  that tied their dogs up outside to wait in the freezing cold – well. I wanted to make all the owners sit naked in the car park for a while. Grr.

Anyway, what? Oh – shopping. As you can tell, I hate it. So does Aj. But we now have stuff to cook, and quite a bit of healthy stuff. Tomorrow is D Day – that is, diet. I have to stop being so pathetic, and get this stone off instead of whining about it whilst stuffing my [rather chubby] face with bread, cheese and crisps.

This is just a rude blog post about the whackos [love that word; whackos whackos whackos woop!] in Asda...and now I am off to roast a chicken! Tadah! Gosh, life's so exciting in the winter ;o)

I forgot these – this is on the way to the hospital for the MRI last week; it's the first time I have actually SEEN the car park…usually it's wall to wall cars. Yay, more boring snow pictures!

On the way…


in the car park…this is the rear of the 'Car That Broke' last week. grr. I should have kicked it then if I'd known.


look! no cars! that's the FH striding off to get the car park ticket.


Here's our garden [just for variety]


Saturday, 9 January 2010

waiting in the New Year

I was talking to a good friend last week. An old old friend – and you know what? It was one of the easiest conversations I have had in a while that included the word cancer. NOT the 'Big C' thank you. Fucking cancer. Hate it. She has fibroids that cause her horrendous pain, so we had that "lets laugh about this" conversation. Both of us in hysterics about our situations, but both knowing quite well that it isn't that funny.

Anyway – I am in a strange state. Living life as normal, but not. Not actually being very normal. But…being really normal! I am a genius. I can look normal, whilst all the time feeling completely INSANE. I am having horrible dreams/nightmares. I am struggling to attack the work situation properly because I am 'waiting'.

My FH and my darling grand daughter have left the building so to speak. I miss grand daughter already. Here we are on New Years Day – miraculously sunny! But freezing none the less. Love that coat!! DSC_0048

I am just Waiting. Waiting for the pre-op appointment. Waiting for the laparoscopy, which I am dreading. More scars, more pain. Waiting for the biopsy report. Just WAITING  to get on with my life. Waiting to hear if I have a recurrence. Or not. I just need to KNOW what's going on!

But; slight problem at our hospital – the RD&E has 8 wards closed because of the vomiting bug. They are cancelling all non-urgent surgery and everything is delayed.

So I think the waiting will be rather longer than I expected. The day I came home from the MRI scan, I was feeling awful – I slept all afternoon. The MRI seemed to cause pain in my abdomen? Maybe psychological? And the shot I had to relax the bowels? Maybe has side effects? Who knows. The next day, I was vomiting and had to hold onto the walls to walk, as I felt completely delirious. It was horrible, every time I turned my head, the world tipped over. Ugh. I just drank gallons of water and went back to bed. Seemed to work, as I am fine now.

Well…wait wait. Hopefully I'll have a letter next week with a date for my pre-op. In the meantime I am still looking for work, sending off zillions of CV's and hoping for the best. But I am confused. Too many things to deal with – it makes me unable to deal with anything. That sounds so stupid, but I just don't know where to start some days.

Must make a list I think. That may help.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

MRI; next stop

I don't think I was particularly clear about what is happening in the last blog post. But then again, I wasn't feeling very clever at the time, so there you go. My girls have been asking questions that I thought I had answered. Well, I hadn't. Looked over the last post and noticed LARGE gaps in the information. Sorry. Brain is mush.

What happened is this: CT scan in December. Couldn't go to Portugal to work because of that and family commitments. Then I lost my contract because I couldn't go. Uff. Seems that cancer can cause all sorts of BS that you never consider. Until it happens. Well, there you go eh? Life goes on…I will find other work.

Then the CT scan came back with 'something' on it. [I begin to hate the word 'something' AND the New Year]. I went into the RD&E to meet Renninson [my lovely surgeon]. He came in especially to see me just before Christmas. Nice or what?

Anyway, the meeting went thus: 'I have seen something on the scan that looks like a 'thickening'. It needs to be investigated. I don't know what it is, but there's a 50/50 chance it is either scar tissue or a recurrence. Before we go down the road of more chemo, I want to see what it is'. Me: Swallow [chemo? again? fuck!]. Aj: freak out. He heard 'it is cancer'. But we sorted that out. I love my husband – he is so involved with me. And I hate that he has to be. It takes things from his life. This is so unfair to him. Do ALL cancer patients feel as guilty as I do?

So, the next steps are: tomorrow, the MRI scan. I understand this to be a pre-op measure – so Renninson can see what is going on in there. A PET scan was out of the question, as he said it would merely show up a 'hot spot'. This would not tell him whether it is cancer or not, so no need for that. Ok. But at least I had the info to ask the question – thanks Nat. Then the pre-op meeting. Then I will find out when the surgery will take place.

The other thing Renninson will do [I am trying to be CLEAR here] is to try to find out what is causing the pain on my left side [although, thanks to Senekot, that seems to be receding]

Bugger. And yes, I could curse a LOT here. grr. But I won't. I will keep the Zen brain I succeeded with today…THIS IS BETTER.

Sort out the office [where I am sitting right now in  the midst of a ton of stuff!]. Clean the house. Look for work. Get on with it. Ok.

Good fun this isn't it? But at least two good things happened today – the car is fixed [£100.00] and the front window [which some prat smashed while we were away] is fixed too…