Friday, 23 July 2010

an excellent insight

While I was going through cancer and chemo and chaos, I had a hard time accepting or asking for help. I felt it would be 'weak' and tried my best to handle as much as I could on my own or with the FH. He never gave me a choice anyway ;o) Thank goodness. And it was exhausting. For everyone.

I did push people away. I didn't really want my family to see me at all - I just couldn't cope with the idea that they'd see me so ill. And whining. And bald. And that that would be how they remembered me if I died. Rather they remembered the argumentative baggage of yore…

Sometimes it was hard to cope with the reactions of friends or acquaintances, because I was feeling so touchy. Now, I understand everything - how hard some people tried, why some people ran away screaming [silently, but still…] and which people were just a bloody waste of space. And still are - but in someone else's space now thank you.

And how harsh I was. And how patient people really were with my 'oh I have cancer and I might die so don't even go there' bullshit. The following is a post by a fellow blogger - The Carcinista. She's a a two-and-a-half time ovarian cancer survivor. And a fashion freak ;o) And she is beating this bitch disease at last. Go girl! Third time lucky.

Her insight into this is excellent. Read on. Oh, and for UK cancery types, Ovacome is a really marvellous support group. Try them.


carcinista Help Me Help You


See her blog here: The Carcinista. And her Facebook page here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

just for being cheerful!

and I LOVE this, it's really really cool! :o)



other things that have been going on. Life does that. No matter what happens, there's still 'stuff' to do. People to see, the mundane things. Thank goodness. Mainly fundraising for women v cancer. And looking for a job. And cleaning…and looking for a job.

I had an excellent piece of post this week - you remember the SKY TV program that I did with Tern Television? Looking back it it is so weird. And it is now possible to embed it!

Well, Tern is not a big huge concern like SKY, but having asked both companies for sponsorship, guess who sent me sponsorship money? Tern of course!

This week they sent me a cheque. It was the nicest piece of post I've had all week!

Thank you very much Tern TV!!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

not goodbye, just au revoir

The worst was this. My sweet friend Diane died this morning.

Yesterday she had 1 to 2 weeks to live. She was in hospice at the end. A pretty place. Surrounded by her family. But at 7.00 this morning I found out she had died. I was so sad. Cried my eyes out all morning - glad I work alone Chalet Bashing. I kicked the stupid 'Henry' Hoover rather a lot of times.

Diane was a lovely woman. She lived in East Lansing, MI. She was married to her 'Bunny', whom I promptly christened The Bunster - I mean, 'Bunny'?? Get away!! We chuckled a lot about the differences between American humour and UK humour. Di had a fabulous sense of humour and was an extremely intelligent and witty woman. She was always asking about our odd expressions - and she would pick them up and use them hilariously. She was planning to come 'Across The Pond' next year with the Bunster - she even managed to convince him to get a passport!

Di was an attorney/arbitrator - I suppose we would call her a solicitor? Maybe a lawyer? She adored her husband, and talked about him a lot. She loved and worried about her children. She had a huge heart. During her own battle with ovarian cancer, she had to deal with her mother dying after a short two month battle with brain cancer. Then she had to have her dog put to sleep. Grr.But she still gave her time to support me [I was in the midst of losing my job] and others.

She was a member of the support group I have on Facebook, and she was always concerned about everyone else's feeling before her own. Recently she didn't post because she didn't want to 'bum us out'. She was in horrible pain. Nothing seemed to get on top of it at all. But she was a stoic in the face of it. A brave woman. She didn't complain. She got on with it.

I shall miss her enormously. But I have finished crying now - now I am just happy to have known her, and grateful for the things she added to my life. Here she is, hat and bag and all…I shall never forget her. Au revoir my friend.


laurel and Di_thumb[3]

Diane with Laurel - Diane: "Here's a photo of Laurel & I at Dinner at Manny's in Dallas. We had a great time! Ya'll should come visit us sometime! had a fab time with laurel. even tho we talked about cancer a lot it was still fun!! and the boys in the photo were cooperative even tho our waiter wanted to be paid to be photographed. he should have paid us to be photographed with such fine looking women!! My son took the photo and did a little work on us so we look perfect, but that's what all the stars do right??"

Amazing. :o)


I am always rushing these days. And this week has been no exception. It seems I don't have enough moments in the day. Or enough days in the week. I am breathless.

It's been a good week, and a very bad week. A very LONG week. Count the good first - my check up was fine, CA 125 up to 9 again but still well within the norms. A milestone for me, as it's 2 years [amazing! doesn't feel like it!] since my last chemo in August 2008 and I am now going for my next check up in SIX months time. Chemo never seems far away - hopefully it soon will feel that way. But I still remember this day so vividly - I can still feel how my scalp felt then…


Yay? 6 months cancer free! hmm - I think so. But it doesn't matter, as I can call and go there whenever I like if I feel unsettled. So. A GREAT result. Relief. And Rachel has been declared totally cancer free!! Amazing!

BAD because ALL bloody week my friends have been having lots of problems. Of my dear friends, one is constantly back and forth for scans, blood tests, this that and the other - and no-one seems to know what's wrong; another one's CA 125 has shot up rather alarmingly; to be resolved soon we hope. Another has been diagnosed with breast cancer and is now in chemo. My friends [she feels like my sister] mother has been diagnosed with the same. She is in for surgery this week. WHAT is going on?? It's almost like a message, pounding it home how grateful I should be.

And I am - but I so wish I could share the good luck. Because worse was yet to come.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

check up time again…

DSC_0130 Check up on the horizon. Bah. And here I am, having a GREAT day just 2 weeks before…why am I worrying??

Trying to be normal. But it  makes me drink too much, smoke too much [giving THAT shit up soon!!], talk too much [well, 'gibber' would probably be the operative word actually - think 'bouncing off the walls'...] - I stand in my garden looking at the flowers and cry for no reason.  My behaviour is erratic. I am out of control a lot of the time. I think about death. A lot.  STILL!! Why?

My husband is an angel when this is going on. This week he brought me flowers for no reason. He understands, and he lets me 'get on with it'. He doesn't judge me or hassle me or question me - he allows for lunacy, and he allows for bad behaviour. Thank goodness for that. Not many people are so forgiving.

I'm not sure how I'd cope without him actually. I have total free reign…I can do whatever I need or want to, for a limited time, and know there is always someone to save me if I push it too far. A safety net. I need that, as I am an addictive personality and a crazy person at the best of times - the FH helps me survive myself.

It's odd - I STILL can't cope. I do cope - but I don't. Pathetic really. But I am not so far from the diagnosis and surgery and chemo that I feel safe yet. I do wonder if I ever will. Feel 'safe' I mean. I hope I will. Eventually. I am sure I will - but when? I still starkly remember being bald. I still remember the shocking pain in my legs from chemo. I recall the night I had to phone the ward because I suddenly developed a burning rash. I recall being frightened quite a lot. And trying so hard to hide that.

I mean, at the end of the day, I'm not a weakling, I'm not new to this. So why do I have a total meltdown at each check up?? I think I know why - because at each check up, there's the chance that MAYBE this time the cancer may have returned. Quite often with ovarian cancer there are no symptoms of recurrence until it's late in the day. That sucks. No matter what you do, it could be there, sneaking about, ravaging your insides - and you'd never know. Fuck. It's so frustrating. And so scary.

BUT - hey ho, we have to KBO eh? Churchill understood the dangers of defeatism and poor morale as a soldier and leader, so he set the example needed to inspire others around him…and he kept “buggering on.” Well, I shall just do that.


Wednesday, 7 July 2010

next fundraiser and looking for work…still!

So now I am sorting out the NEXT fundraiser! Tell you what, this fundraising is exhausting stuff! If I were being paid to do it, I'd be raking it in. I am worried, as I am actually starting to enjoy it. Hmm - madness sets in?

Port Royal

I am seriously considering applying for jobs as an Events Organiser - can't be more difficult than finding a job as a graphic designer!! You'd think 10 years experience would be of interest to SOMEONE. But no…every job I apply for I get no reply. How rude. In Devon it seems it's ok to employ only people who have just left school. Oh, and to not bother to let one know whether you have the job or not. This explains a lot about Devon's advertising and marketing!! Anyway…onward and upward, I still have the cleaning job, the furniture maker thing and some gardening. So, all is not lost. Yet.

Today I went with the FH to the job centre - well, they were about as much use as a third buttock. I have to 'go away and phone in for an appointment ' and their job seeking help is to allow one to use their [odd] computers to access the job web site. Which I do at home anyway! It seems that if I work more than 16 hours a week, I am not eligible for benefits. If I work less than 30 hours a week, I am not eligible for tax credits. So, seems if I just don't bother my ass, I can be on the dole, but as I am trying my best to work, they won't help me. This makes no sense. Grr.

In the meantime back at the ranch, I have another fundraiser on the go, at the Port Royal pub on Exeter Quay. I have discovered that if I want to do a raffle in advance of the event [and I do want to - the 3 night weekend at Fingle Glen Golf club, kindly donated by Andy Bridgeman], I have to have a 'gaming licence'. Uh what? Now I am a gambling type? So we are having a 'discussion', the council and I, to try to sort it out. Very complicated. I just want to raise money for women's cancers - and the licence costs £40.00! uff…but they are being very helpful, so I'll see what tomorrow's phone call brings. I'm hoping for a good result, as the event is SOON! I need to sell a LOT of tickets for that - it's worth at least £300.00, so I need to raise more. Eek. But I do have my Secret Weapon: Graham!

Speaking of results, I am off for the beastly blood tests in the morning. Ugh. Next check up looms. Not in the best of moods this week I dare say. In fact, feeling quite the grouch.

And today was mad - after the pathetic result at the job centre, the FH decided that I need a new dress for my friend Julie's 50th birthday bash. I was NOT in shopping mode - so of course I found the perfect dress!! AND in a size 10 which I haven't fitted into since before my dx. Woop! Credit card is feeling the strain heh heh. But as it's her 50th AND her '5 year survivor of ovarian cancer' bash - well, what can you do? It's a bit special isn't it? Check out the cool frock from All Saints [my favourite shop in the universe]! Will be superb with my R+B leopard skin shoes methinks :o)


Oh and by the way, got the results of my mammogram after a shouting match with the secretary. She didn't QUITE get it that I need to know NOW not in 3 weeks time. But it sank in and she became very helpful - rang me back the same day bless her -  all clear!! Yay!! I should be cheerful right? I AM trying…

Monday, 5 July 2010

fairy cakes in the garden…result!!

Sorry - haven't blogged for ages - too busy! Will try to catch up now.

First - to the person [you know who you are] who loved the 'hugs' video and follows the blog. I love it too and good luck to your mum in Oz. I hope everything works out well.

DSC_0013 Second, well, bugger me!! On Sunday we made £401.10 in about 3 hours! The first donation was from my mum and dad; they couldn't make it but sent money anyway. Thanks! And that seemed to be the trend - peeps who couldn't come sent money. Peeps who could come went mad and bought lots of cakes and raffle tickets and tea. Yay!!

We raffled a couple of magnums of champers [kindly donated by Makro!] and some wine [kindly donated by Majestic Wine] - a good friend of the FH was selling raffle tickets to people who already HAD raffle tickets. Thanks Graham! He did wear his special fundraising hat too…here he is waiting to nab passers by! He sold £46.00 worth of raffle tickets…and hilariously [no, it wasn't a fix!!], he won the first prize, which Jo and I drew after everyone had gone, almost asleep on our feet by that time.


The day was great - I could go on and on about all the kind things people did, but to prĂ©cis: quite a few of my neighbours donated lovely cakes, one of my cancery type friends came all the way from Wales and donated £50.00, then proceeded to buy cake, tea, coffee etc as well! Thanks Kay! Two of the Cycle Kenya girls made a 3 hour trip out of their way to come [and we were so glad they did!! Thanks Jackie and Nicky] then raced off again to an anniversary dinner. While they were here, the Express & Echo photographer arrived to take pics - that was a nice surprise! We were in the paper! Woop!


express   echo 01

Everyone was unbelievably supportive - after the event, people who hadn't made it popped in and gave a donation, some even posted cheques. Unreal. My neighbour across the road bought about 20 cakes!! Go Chris!!

Ricardo made me a whole new set of wooden stepping stones because mine were rotten. Look fab!

And I mention this last but certainly not least - the AWESOME cakes that Jo made. They made the event - without them I would still have raised a lot but honestly, people were buying one, then coming back for three more! They were not "just fairy cakes, they were Jo Kenworthy-Browne fairy cakes" heh heh [sorry American friends, this is a mockery of an M&S advert over here] and they sold like the literal hotcakes. She spent hours and hours baking on Saturday, she brought all the decorations with her, having made them the week before, and then she was icing them all until 2.00 in the morning. See the decs here…gorgeous.                                                          DSC_0069 The house smelt divine all day. Jo drove down from the Scottish borders especially to help me - I thought she was just going to make normal fairy cakes! Not. She made AMAZING fairy cakes!! And the oddest thing was, having never met her other than on the internet, it was like getting together with an old friend. Not at all like meeting a new one - it was super to have you and Delilah JO, can't wait for you to come again!

Thanks so much everyone for your donations, cakes, help and everything I have no doubt forgotten. Whoopee! Great result - thanks!!