Saturday, 30 June 2012

result!! and no, not footy or tennis


ct scan

I waited just 7 days [which seemed like 10 years] for my CT scan result – but well worth the wait, as my scan is clear. I had an after hours call from my lovely nurse, Gail [Mr Renninson is on his hols] – first thing she said after letting me know who she was is that she had GOOD news. What a pro :) The instant one hears that it's 'The Hospital' – well, the brain goes haywire. Waiting for results makes ones head a gigantic maelstrom – so, 'good news' was a great thing to hear.

If it had been bad news I would have had to ask her to call back when the FH was home. Nothing like bad news about a cancer thing to make one's mind a complete blank.

BUT! Seems my CT scan is completely cancer free. Rah!!

medalSo I am off to the GP like everyone else, to see what the hell is going on with my back. I have been wondering if I have early Osteoarthritis - maybe due to the chemo which can exacerbate that kind of crap. It's in the family and the chemo amplifies any existing problem, so, better to try find treatment now? Or at east know what to do that will help NOT have this. OR, better yet, I have a muscle problem from sitting in the wrong position on my bike ;)

But in the meantime - bloody brilliant result eh?? Chuffed!

Oh, and one more medal for the [terrifyingly manic and traffic infested] Nightrider – and then, 10 days later we did the rather hilly Force 100km challenge – so, another medal :)  I am Mrs Medal heh heh – amazed! Here we are at the end, looking rather windswept and interesting…


Now we are training for the 100km Great Shakespeare ride…argh! So, please buy a raffle ticket! All monies to my fund – thanks!


Tuesday, 19 June 2012


cover-image-balloon-tripWouldn't you LOVE to go on a balloon flight, a glass of champagne in your hand whilst floating quietly above all the hustle and bustle?

Well, this is your chance to do just that for a fiver!

As everyone no doubt has gathered by now, I am doing another fund raising / awareness raising / crazy making CYCLE! This time, 400km across the island of Cuba in October 2013. In order to qualify to go, I have to raise a MINIMUM of £2800.00. ALL the funds go to Ovarian Cancer Action, Jo's Cervical Trust and Breast Cancer care. This is my first proper stab at fund raising this year.

This is a FABULOUS prize, kindly donated by a member of the public. South West Balloon Flights have also donated some champers for the trip; LOVELY!! :)
If you'd like some tickets, please READ the poster below, and you can either send me a cheque [made out to 'Women v Cancer'], drop the cash in OR put the money in my justgiving page, with a message saying how many lots of £5 you want to buy [five tickets for a fiver]. I will then put your name and address on the tickets and let you know the numbers. [which will be random].

The tickets are sold as strips of 5, so a £5 minimum spend. But for a champagne balloon flight for two? That's SUCH a bargain! BUY BUY!! Raffle ends Friday 13th July 2012!!

Please either comment here for more info, or find me on Twitter here and ask. The raffle will end on Friday 13th July 2012. I will announce the winner here, on twitter and on facebook. And I'll get in touch directly.

Thanks for reading! Please share with anyone who might like this prize – it'd make a fab gift too!

balloon raffle poster

we need more funds for research.


An excellent video – and it has Hani in it! :)

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Dad. I didn't forget you for a moment

Today was Father's Day. I feel like I shouldn't be this sad, because lots of other people are sad too, so why should I be special? But I AM sad. I miss my Dad. He was a sweetie. I still can't believe he's gone – dead, unreachable. It makes me feel sick thinking about it, so I don't. Think about it. Much. If I can help it. Because it causes a massive pain somewhere in the middle of me. But Father's Day is rammed down one's throat every which way; email, marketing, adverts…it's hard to ignore.

dad The FH had beautiful cards from the girls and from the G'daughter. They're lovely, with sweet messages - and they made me cry. On my own.

So. Dad. Love you – miss you.

I'll NEVER forget you. My memories of you are all good. Rudyard Kipling; the Jungle book - Winnie the Pooh, bike riding, your rescuing me from  sleep walking down the road, drawing, projects, fried bread, killing spiders in New Guinea, discussions about work, discussions about life….

dada lot of little things…which were all so important to me at the the time – and will always be important to me now. They always were. I never told you how important you were to me. 

I wish I had told you.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

the Nightride – eek!

IMG_1510Here we are – that's not actually all of us. But it's most of us! Charlotte, Juliette, Julia, Helen, Mazerati, Rachel and I. All of us did Kenya and it was lovely to get together again. MIA are Lorraine, Julie, Richard, Delyth and a few others that had wandered off.

Richard, Julie and I started the day in a rather novel fashion. Julie managed to get a fellow to GIVE us a van [yay that fellow & Julie's powers of persuasion!], plus a tank of petrol to transport us and our bikes to London. We need rather a large vehicle, as Richard has a tandem. So, all organised the day before – 11.30 ETD and we were all packed and ready. But the van broke. Hmm. Panic stations – but a new one was organised and we were off! Three and a half hour trip, including collecting Laurence from Heathrow, who flew in from Switzerland [I think] for the ride. We stuffed him unceremoniously in the back with the bikes for the last 50 minutes – poor fellow. In the dark! But he had coffee, sandwiches and Julie's head lamp, so he survived. I am wondering what the CCTV chaps at the airport thought…kidnapping?

We went off at 00.30, about 75 of us. And promptly got lost. ALL of us! Quite chuckalicious, as we were still fresh, so going down and then up three extra hills didn't seem too drastic at the time. The signage for this ride was NOT very good. Green plastic with black text. NOT luminous. Ok in daylight, but try and find one of those at night in the middle of sign infested London whilst watching out for buses, taxis, drunk people and massive potholes [who knew? roads are worse than Kenya!]…suffice to say, lots of people got lost. Happily, there were so many of us [3000] that eventually everyone found someone else.
There was a marked lack of marshals too.


Having found our way back onto the route, we were off! Again! And it was fun! But exhausting- we didn't factor in the 3 billion sets of traffic lights – literally stop start stop start all the way. About 90% of the lights were red…so our overall time was terrible, but it isn't a race, it's a team effort. The first half we did an average of 4 miles an hour…the second half [after 4.30 when everyone was off the roads apart from us and a few random prostitutes – who, by the way, cheered us on thinking we were Olympic cyclists :) ] was better – about 10 mph.

This is Regents Street at 3.30 in the morning! Buses, cars, taxis, and the Pedicab Rickshaws. They take up the entire cycle lane [when there is one] and drive like maniacs. This was manic. The level of concentration required was high, so it was more tiring than a normal cycle. London is NOT cycle friendly.


Back to the cycle – the break stops were not the best. Usually there are bananas, fruit and cake – stuff to eat that fuels you but also tastes nice. This lot had those horrific corn chips that kids eat [they were in the shape of ghosts for heavens sake! what? yuck!], and energy bars covered in chocolate. Ugh. Lots of water though. And lovely friendly people to help if you needed it.

The main break in the middle was shocking – bendy pre-packed sandwiches. A choice of ham and tomato on dry brown bendy bread, or cheese and tomato on dry white bendy bread. Hmm, what to  do? Mainly, choke it down! And we had to pay a pound for a coffee or tea. After paying £99 to do the cycle?? Lots of rather startled cyclists. Plus only ONE chuck wagon to deal with 3000 cyclists? Poor women were run ragged – they did their best, but it was bad planning. Look – yum eh?


At about 4.30 in the morning, the sun started to rise – it was amazing. All night we were lucky with the weather. It was warm enough. No rain! With sunrise it got very cold, but still not unbearable – and the Thames was incredible!  We gave the third break stop a miss [please – no more revolting ghost chips!] and took a break on the bridge – brilliant [no corn chips was a bonus]. The skyline is wonderful.



At this point we were a tad delirious…check out the Shard! To the right of Helen, who rather resembles a delirious 'X'


Cycling round London is fabulous – you see so much that is impossible to see from a car, and cover lots more ground than you would on foot. The idea of this cycle is great, but the organisation en route needs some tweaking. If I hadn't been with my friends I don't think I'd have made it round – the last bit being the worst as it was a massive hill back to Alley Pally. Here I am with Maz egging me on, I cannot believe I am laughing! I couldn't see where I was going, as the sweat was pouring into my eyes. I didn't dare raise a hand to wipe it away, in case I just stopped and fell over! But we made it – no walking, we cycled the lot. All 76 miles!


One highlight was my lovely friends Jack and Bill came to see me in at the finish line!! I was so touched – hope you had a fab birthday Bill, and that the 75 baked potatoes were all ok. Thank you both for being there. It meant a lot!!

In conclusion – it was brilliant to do this ride, and we're all very pleased we did it. We enjoyed most of it - but none of us want to do it again. At the end, when one should go and grab a bacon bap and celebrate, there was a 90 person queue and they actually ran out of food. Same single chuck wagon. Silly. To say the least. Back to the Plastic sandwiches, which, by now, were decidedly sweaty…ugh. BIN!! So we were starving. The medics had gone home by 9.30 too. Not the best form, as there were still a lot of people coming in an hour later.

Charlotte, Lorraine, Julia and I then had to cycle back to the B&B! We were cold, tired, starving and grimy. But amazingly, we were still cheerful! Another 4km…thank goodness for Charlotte, or we'd probably still be at the finish line. Thanks Char!! And thanks London for having us and not killing us.


Off for my CT scan tomorrow - another early start. I think I need a week of sleep to recover. No such luck, as the appointment is at  9.15. No eating. Then contrast fluid which tastes disgusting, then a wait, the the scan. Oh joy – but I'm glad to be having it, as the little niggles are becoming bigger. THEN the wait for results…ugh. That's the bit that sucks.

But I am thinking on the positive side – after all, I did manage to cycle 76 miles this weekend. And I am cycling another 100km for Force on the 24th. I feel ok, so let's hope it's a trip to the osteo that's needed and nothing else eh?

Thanks for the photos Helen and thanks for the support girls! Roll on the Shakespeare Ride!


Saturday, 2 June 2012

back to cycling!

ugh! Next Saturday I am cycling 100km around London. In the dark. As you do. IF you're bonkers. Starting at 12.30 at night and ending at breakfast time —whatever time that may be, as it will be when we finally huff and puff our weary way back to Ally Pally!

We do a massive sort of figure of 8 around London, passing all the cool things...the London Eye, Westminster, Canary Wharf, the Emirates Stadium, Camden Lock [which, for some odd reason, I absolutely love!], Regents Park, Hyde Park, the Royal Albert Hall, Covent Garden [we can pop in for a pasty there I think!] – the Oval, the Houses of Parliament…on and on. We will really be doing the Tourist Trail! Expect lots of barmy photos :)

We will watch sun rise over the landmarks & bridges of the Thames! Cool or what??

Here's a map if you're remotely interested ;)

So, we have been training. Last week I think we cycled about 85 miles. Not all in one go, but nonetheless – it's a good amount as we need 'butt in saddle' time. I am still having the stupid backache, and on hills it's torture, as I usually stand in the pedals. But hey ho – too bad. I am SO going to do this!


See above for a pic of the route – it's the same as the map, but if you don't fancy the map link, there you go. And check THIS out :) We are on the Alley Pally site!

So, lots of cycling. And this weeks post has been rather frightful, as the first letter to arrive was my CT scan date, the second was a date for a mammogram – hmm. Lots of nuking this month. Rather hair raising. But it's the 'waiting for results' that is really hair raising.  I think it's going to be a LOOONG month! Poor old FH is going to be living with the Bitch from Hell.

Today's 34 mile cycle was 'Interesting' to say the least – I had my THIRD puncture this month!! Unreal!  A sharp piece of metal stabbed my tyre [last time it was a piece of shale], but handily, Richard had absolutely everything to hand – including a plastic basin to fill with water to find the leak in the inner tube. Brilliant – he fixed it, and off we went. Hacker; the Secret Weapon!


Tomorrow we are supposed to do the same run, but as it's raining stair rods, we don't think so. Just need to do one more long ride before the Nightrider though. Hopefully the weather will clear for ONE evening this week.

Then, two weeks later, I am doing the Force cycle.

Yes. I know. I've lost the plot! But it's all good training for Cuba!

Friday, 1 June 2012

thank heavens for the NHS

bitch Recently I have been useless at blogging. Confidence in what I am saying and why = zero. This seems to be a common thread across my life right now. And I am determined to resolve it. Joining the jolly old BNI being one way of regaining some confidence. At least in the work area. And to be honest, BNI is really helping. I didn't think it would – but seems I am wrong about quite a few things lately!

Strange that it took very little to make me think this blog was worthless and that I shouldn't bother. Even stranger; initially I wrote the blog, not for me, [oops – that's a lie – I did write it for me. Self therapy – and oh yes, it works!] but more so for women like me who were looking for something on the internet that didn't tell them they should immediately  'Get God' [no insult implied – merely a term intended for the rather deranged out there who think if you Get God instantly, you will be cured. Er – no.] or that they were immediately, if not sooner, going to DIE. I forgot my place. I forgot that it doesn't matter WHAT people think of me, actually.

IF THIS BLOG SAVES ONE WOMAN'S LIFE I shall be reprieved [oh and doesn't THAT sound trite? But it's true]. If it helps ONE woman deal with her diagnosis in a more informed manner, I shall be grateful.

Well, I have now recalled my place in the scheme of things. This blog is for me, as a therapeutic exercise, and for all the women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and are frightened. It is so frightening.

I am still frightened. I am waiting for a CT scan – frightening.

It's here simply so that those women can read it and sigh with relief. IF they want to.  No, you do NOT have to become a Born Again Christian [although, if that helps, why not?]. No, you do not have to read this blog. No, you do not have to take the stats into account. Why bother?

And no, you are not necessarily going to be dead in 4 years [hello statistic people – we say STICK it, you Doomsayers!] and no, losing your hair isn't the end of the world, even though it really DOES feel like it is when it happens.

The last few weeks have made me think again. Four women, and two women's sons [imagine that!] have been in touch. Through this blog. Saying that the blog has helped them [all new diagnoses – IS that the plural of diagnosis?] and that it has been useful. So. Yay. Maybe I will be a little more proactive blog-wise again. We will see.

The main reason I am posting this evening is because I have NEVER been more grateful for the NHS than when someone shows me a blog like this; Jen Thompson's blog. She has ovarian cancer. Have a read – the photos are fab! Maybe give a donation to help her survive. Can you imagine that? Having to ask people to donate money or meals so that you can live? Is this civilised? No. No it's not.

This is Jen. Voted Woman of the Year by the Source Weekly, an edgy weekly magazine in her area. 'Highlighting some important issues and bringing the ovarian ick, to the surface.' Ick? Yeah.
jen with names
I really do thank God for the NHS. I would probably become one of those crazy people that plan assassinations if there were ever a time we would lose it. I didn't have a single worry about my treatment. It was all on the NHS. Yes, I have paid my stamp – but it was never a lot. And what I paid has been reciprocated tenfold. If not more. I have had chemo, surgery, anaesthesia – scans. All paid for. I didn't have to ask people for help fund me to survive. I didn't have to ask people to feed me. My only worries were my immediate self [and when you get cancer – boy oh boy, that is all you think about!!]

So please, if you can, donate either a meal, or a little money to this young woman. She so desperately needs help. If we don't help, the System she lives under will simply allow her to die. And that's what is so horrific – the inhumane 'allowing'. There are treatments that could save her. IF she had the money. So let's help her get the bloody money!! And bloody it is.

Confucius says - “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."

So much has been experienced by me; and hardly any of it has anything to do with cancer. But the cancer. Bitter? Isn't it? No. Bitterness eats us. But it IS infuriating. And Sad. So we have sadness…guilt. And rage.

And we have happiness, peace and love. Personally I prefer the latter :)

So now just to await the scan. And it's results.