Saturday, December 30, 2006

home on the range

Yiha - home again, it is nice to go travelling but also nice to get home ..
We had a great time in Dorset -- but sad to say, not a SINGLE useable photo on my camera which has set itself onto auto-smudge-mode and will not take an in-focus shot... *roll-eyes*

The image I would most have wanted to capture was Toby and Joe opening the presents that they had individually bought for each other .. out of all the shops and all the toys in Dorchester town they had both found themselves drawn to the same place and the same night-light lamp with moving fishes in them.

So as Toby opened his box from Joe and Joe openend his box from Toby they suddenly realised that they had chosen the exact same thing for each other ... Magical .... (it's a twin thing)

The food was also marvellous, partly provided by Julie - with a great feast for Christmas Day and partly "bought in" ready-cooked by their catering-chum Merry. This was a great plan and we all ate very well without Julie having to be permenantly at the stove. ... (any festival goers out there who've ever seen Henry's Beard will have seen Merry at work, cos that is her most regular catering outlet..... )

Picking out other highlights:
there was so much .. it was great just relaxing and doing a jigsaw with mum, one day while B had a happy few hours in the shed with dad, learning to be a D+T teacher ...
Playing Mousetrap and "cheat" with the boys was also very entertaining ...

I went swimming most days - tho Brigid was laid up proper-poorly with a throat infection so she didn's swim at all, she enjoyed walks in the woods most days.

best pressie? the big statue of a laughing god from Julie and John is extra special, but so are all the other practical things like nighties, bed sock, face-refreshing spray and other lovely toiletries are also very appreciated .. and the biscuits! hehe ...

and this is what I got for B - white gold and diamonds -- cos it represents me and her:

Please add your own Christmas Highlight in the comments:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas all our readers ...

We are off to Dorset tomorrow and may not be on-line much with one thing and another, so this is the "Queen's Speech" edition ..

tra la la la ... or maybe not !

Thanks to everyone for the lovely christmas cards and good-wishes that have been arriving daily -- we are so excited about doing something different for Christmas and spending time with part of our family this year down in Dorset ...

Mrs Hall (my surgeon) said "concentrate on enjoying your Christmas break" .. and she told me to drink some champagne !!! Good ole doctor's orders -- a bit more my style then telling me to go the GYM!

She also said that she was delighted with the shrinkage that Dr Adab has managed and now it is much smaller they really feel quite sure that the thing is contained and not spread to adjacent organs ... so that's a great relief ..

she also described the operation in some detail -- I tell you -- YUCK!
It makes me a bit squeamish and I even had a bit of a panic attack yesterday, apropos of nothing, just sitting in the hairdressers and realised I wasn't breathing properly and my throat and fingers were all tingly .. I think it was "just nerves" - yes despite this calm and cheerful image -- sometimes it gets to me ... :)

The other thing is, Mrs Hall is going skiiing over the Christmas -- so we all need to pray that she comes back with all her limbs intact ... haha!

Merry Christmas, Everyone!
Lots of love, suzi and brigid xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My mum is Seventy Today!

Yay - taking a leaf out of the Mistry Brother's book - I've made me own card ...

Happy Birthday mum, thanks for everything you've done for us all these years ..
and thanks for continuing to look after us (with your Widow Twanky hat on!)
-- did you like those Dyson accesories? I thought a new ironing board might have been closer to your heart!

We love you very much,
Suze and Bridge
see you soon!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

best christmas cards

The postal strike affecting our area seems to be off - as I got some post today - (tho still not the other 1/2 of Luke's present) We got these two lovely cards from the mistry brothers -- little Joe's has got two stockings on - labelled with Toby and his names! Bless him. (if you click on the pic you can see a bigger version)

What a great idea by the school to professionally print the pupils' own cards like this - they look and feel great ... any teachers among you might like to look into this :
(arts projects for schools)

The plumber is here, and stuggling with the valve ... argh

Health Farm - not really

I can't say I had a very healthy day yesterday -- ate a lot of chocolate brownie and not much rainbow ... hey ho.. I'm eating kiwi fruit and raspberry today, even as I type ..

I popped into college for a couple of hours to see the staff "show" which was very funny. It's an extraordinary thing to manage when everyone is so busy all the time ... so they did really well ... and played to a full house on two days ...

I was absolutely whacked out when I got back in - it surprised me how much energy it took out of me, and I had to change my mind about going to cycle-fit later in the afternoon -- just too tired.

I've had good news from the gym, though, they are going to let me have a deal where I can just pay "one-off" for the weeks when I can go before the surgery, so I am pleased about that.

Plumbing - external
Meanwhile I can't go to the gym this morning cos I am stuck in waiting for a plumber to come and fix our leaky boiler .. the heating keeps going off cos the pressure drops due to a leaky valve ... at least the leak is not under a floorborad somewhere .. we can see it dripping out of the boiler ...

Plumbing - internal
Tonight is our appointment with Mrs Hall, the surgeon, and we will be discussing the operation etc .. to this end I've been reading up on it .... .. all's I can say is YUCK and BLEUUUGH .. you can see for yourself if you open one of links here to the Beating Bowel Cancer site - they have a leaflet all about it ... YUCK and BLEUUUGH

Monday, December 18, 2006


Woooo - we had a great weekend, very densely packed with lovely friends and family.
We had a great time with Mark, Tracy and Luke and then whipped off to Manchester. James had the most absolutely biggest tree (as you'd expect ) and thousands of enormous ornaments to hang on it (also as you'd expect.) What you might not expect is what a good cook he is, he produced a yummy Christmas dinner for us and three other guests, with all the trimmings - which was delightful.

It was a weekend of male chefs, cos Mandy's fellah Pete made us a lovely soup for lunch on Sunday before we went to the new Hilton for cocktails. The building and the view from the 23 floor are brilliant, really stunning, but the choice of non-alcoholic cocktails wasn't very imaginative and the waiter was rather poor ... so a mixed bag ... Deffo worth a trip, cos the boozers had a vast choice of cocktails that they really enjoyed ...
book your table in advance so you can jump the queue for the lift and get a table with a window seat to take in the best views!

PS - scroll down to see the edit I did on the photos in the "for dad" post !

Saturday, December 16, 2006

health farm day 5

Gym Bunny
I really cant believe how many classes I've done --
Monday - Aerobics and Cycle Fit
Tuesday - Circuits
Wednesday - Absolution and Step and Swimming
Thursday Bums n Tums and Absolution
Friday Aerobics and Circuit and Swimming

That's ELEVEN things, nine of them classes! I'm a bit achey today so good job we're having a weekend off.. but I'm really getting a good buzz from going to Greens - the teachers of these classes have all been excellent and made it possible to join in as a newbie very easily.

Social Bunny
We had a great night out last night -- first evening out I've had since that theatre trip in Sept! We went to Robertos Italian in Hanley with people from the dept and their partners .. it was very enjoyable, big thanks to Celia for organising it!

Today - Mark, Tracy and Luke are coming, my brother and his family -- this is a great event!
later we are going to James's to hep him decorate his tree and eat a Christmas Dinner!

Tomorrow - we are seeing Mandy and Pete for lunch then going for cocktails at the top of the Hilton with them (apparently the DO do non-alcoholic cockatials for me!)

whhheeeeee -- so no time for blogging ..


Thursday, December 14, 2006

health farm day 4

phew -- do you think I could be going anorexic .. ? they get obsessive about exercise don' t they? .. and I've been to classes everyday this week .. *gasp*

on the other hand, eating Christmas cake, panninis, scones, and entire rainbows might be counter-indications

so that's one less worry for you all ...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

for dad - edited!

Here are some of the footy pics - the ones with Luke were on his birthday a few years ago, and the ones with the twins were last year in the Forest Of Dean place where we had a weekend together.

I edited this cos Matt pointed out the "swapped at birth " nature of Maradonna and Brigid!
If she aint Maradonna, she certainly has the look of the defeated goalie! (is that peter shilton?)

And here is the un-pillowlike "mother of two" showing us all how it's done!

Snowy Skye

Apropos of comments on last post, I've rooted out this picture of the snow we cycled in on Skye when we did our bike-only touring trip in The Outer Hebrides ... This was serious snow and we cycled through it for 2 hours, after this shot and while it was still falling, cos we had to get to the ferry port that day!

I guess you can see why my dear sis thinks I look like a pillow and I'm sure she can still enjoy that little light on my helmet that always makes ppl laugh a lot ....

Monday, December 11, 2006

health farm day 1

This is the first day of strictness and YES -- it's troo - I DID re-join the gym, as hinted in previous thread! I loved it -- it is good to go back to a familiar place. I did an aerobics class in the morning - dont worry - I don't over-do it, just bob about at my own pace!

I met a different type of woman here, ie the type who doesnt have a job and have been going to these classes together for 5 years, since the club opened!

Strangely, they were very friendly and invited me to have coffee after the class, which had never happened the whole two years when I was a member there before, just going to after-work classes or swimming ...

Even weirder was the fact that one of them had seen us in Cafe Davide on Saturday, after we'd heard Dr Adab's good news .. considering we were drinking coffee and big balloons of brandy before noon, and Brigid kept throwing her arms round me or lying with her head on my knees, I'm VERY surprised she wanted to say "hi " to me at all!

(That's the first coffee and alcohol I've had since June! I enjoyed it, it was our celebration .. but i'm not going to make a habit of it ... )

Anyrate -- I was so enthused at the whole idea of aerobics that I went back to do a cycling class in the afternoon ... where I did it at my own pace again...

I also saw my dentist there -- his wife died from cancer some years ago and he raises loads of money for cancer charities every year .... it's the first time I've ever been kissed by a dentist!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Health Farm

Full of enthusiasm from Dr Adabe's consultation, and not feeling so poorly from the radiation and stuff I am now starting the "health farm" again .. this will mean going back to the strict daily diet plans in the Superfoods book and less sneaky slices of cake! This now being easy cos the lemon cake is all gone and there's only a sliver of Christmas cake left too!

I had stopped doing my daily yoga in the morning cos there wasn't time to fit it in with the belly-ache and toilet stress during the radiation weeks, and since then I've been dog-tired in the morning .. but I think I can shake that off now, and get up with B to do it together -- I can always sleep again later!

The gym issue is resolved up until Christmas, cos Greens are doing a special offer (to lure old members back) with twelve days for £12 and no commitment, >YAY< I can go to their aerobic classes and maybe sit* in their abdominal cruncher thingy everyday before we go off for our STRICTLY NON-HEALTH FARM week in Dorset ..

then there are bound to be more "after-christmas" offers I can snag into before I have my operation to get me good and strong for it ...

* I might do more than sit - I might even crunch in it!

Saturday, December 09, 2006


So you've probably already heard from dad (great post dad!) that we got good news today.

Dr Adab came out to collect us from the reception and in the little walk to his office he said "It's good, good, very good."

So that's it, the tumour is 1/4 the size it was in Sept, we're now calling it a bunino (Dr A says that is an Italian bun??) and you can tell he is very pleased with himself. So are we.

Brigid had a look at the scans (I don't like it) and she says it is magic, really amazing how small it is now.


Me: So how do I go on now with all these rules, like not swimming, no takeaways etc?
Dr Adab: Oh your immunity is getting better now, you will be alright, you need to keep active, exercise, build yourself up for the operation. Walk a lot, you know ..
Me: Yes, I can walk a lot and the yoga and get on my bike
Dr Adab: Yes good, walk, cycle, gym.
Me: Eh, Steady on, gym? I don't do gym, you'll be giving her ideas
Brigid: *big grin*
Dr Adab: The more strong you are the better you will get through the operation ..

Hmm, well

I'm NOT doing gym!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dr Adab update - Saturday

Hi - I've arranged with my dad to post whatever news we get from Dr Adab on here so that anyone who's interested can find out what we know .. via the comments, below ..

I've changed the settings so that comments can go on unmoderated -- EEK --- this is a special offer only available for a short time, watch your step, JEAN and JAMES (for instance)

Then me and the lovely Brigid can just switch off and not be on the phone all day -- but enjoy being together ...

We see the doc at 10.45, so there should be news on here by midday Saturday ...

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

back to the grindstone

OK, aunty Barbara - just for you -- daily thoughts resume --

I've been for my scan .. you have to go an hour in advance in order to drink this nasty orange stuff. You also get cold while you wait 'cos the waiting area is in reception, which is OK for 5 minutes, but pretty draughty after an hour.

You then have to have another dye pumped into your arm, which makes you feel like you're having a hot flush and weeing yourself at the same time .. luckily this is just an illusion.

The scans themselves are remarkably quick, you have to hold your breath for a few seconds for some of them, but it is quick and easy.

B had the day off to come with me and now she is cooking up some tea for us. She is going into work later, for a parents' evening, and she will stay over there for the night. I will have Nurse Connie (aka Liz K) here with me, so I wont get lonesome!

Later arrivers coming over to add comments can still add to the 100 post thread below!

Friday, December 01, 2006

100 post review

This is my 100th post!
The only idea anyone offered was to review the last few months, so I'm going with that. (cheers, Keiran!)

It has been a real roller -coaster .. from feeling aware that there was something wrong in April, and putting it all down to "stress" with planning our wedding and "long haul flights" on our honeymoon... to being only a few weeks away from the surgery now ...

May was VERY hard cos I had a lot of symptoms, and work was still relentless, as it is just before the exams start. I could hardly manage the discomfort and nuisance factor .. but I didn't want to take time off, especially when I was feeling OK for at least part of each day.

I saw my GP at the start of June and he thought it would be something like IBS ... we had no indication of me being vulnerable to any serious health issues. I'd recently had blood tests which came out really good for my age, cos of my good diet and my reasonable exercise levels ... hey ho

So we started July thinking we'd tackle IBS - we planned a "health farm" holiday, took our bikes and the massage table to France and followed a strict "be good to your belly" diet, exercise and relaxation plan for three weeks. First time I've ever come back off holiday having lost weight!

The weight was gone, the symptoms were still there.

late August I toddled back to the docs and he agreed that further investigation was necessary. I got the earliest appointment I could with Mrs Hall on the 5th Sept .. groovy birthday week.. she said she needed to have a proper look and on the 11th of Sept she did that and told me I have got cancer.

September then gets me going on the round of scans, blood tests, doctor's consultations and the discovery that the tumour is too big to operate and I've got to have a programme of I.V. chemo and then more (oral) chemo and radiation. Meanwhile fretting about what is to become of my classes this year and "my" department!

IV chemo started 21st Sept. This treatment is boring, makes me feel proper ill and the side effects carry on for several days after the three days of drips have finished ... I had two lots of this, two weeks apart.

Meanwhile, I am rushed of my feet by tides of friendly well-wishers, family visits, cards, pressies, flowers and emails from colleagues, students (past and present) brilliant friends and random ppl I've met on tinternet over the years! This has to be the best bit of the whole thing -- I've never felt so bouyed up on a sea of love and kindess as I did then, and still do .. it is so great really, a total silver lining.......

On Oct 16th I started the 6 weeks of daily radiation and oral chemo. The routine was OK and the side-effects varied through into November There were some days when I had very bad pains, and others with none. I was nauseous most of the time, but could control it with a drug. I got sore hands and feet, blisters and mouth ulcers and started most days with a headache. I needed to sleep extra most days and felt sore from the radiation from time to time.

On the up-side thre radiation staff were excellent and I had a companion with me for part of the day nearly every day. These lovely ppl have kept my spirits up, distracted me and entertained me vastly with lovely tales and juicy gossip (haha - I'm saying no more!) There were also wonderful tempting meals laid before me, and walks and short trips to keep me bright .. as well as this blog, the comments, and emails and cards and telephone calls from all over the place ... THANK-YOU

December So the first "round" is over. My immunity is at its lowest this week (10 days after chemo finishes, apparently) but from then on I should be getting stronger and ready to face the surgery in January.

I've made much of the love and support I've had from many and varied quarters since this started, but I must mention B especially. She is a complete rock, my number one star and the absolute love of my life. She has had to cope with so much during all of this. She also made extra jobs for herself, like doing double the laundry to keep us extra clean! Most importantly she kissed every single tablet I had to take five times and said a little prayer over them all at each dose. She has multiplied the effectiveness of Dr Adab's potions, I'm sure!

We've celebrated 14 years together this week, and during all that time she had gifted me her unfailing love and devotion. I'm not sure that I deserve her but I am so grateful to have her in my life.

We are always together and will always be together

Thursday, November 30, 2006

me and jean ...

... in the Forest of Dean
(poetry to rival Cousin Pauline's there)

a memory of weekend away, last year
.. in bluebell season:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

birthday girl

not much new to say today -- but since Jean is back, and it was her birthday this weekend as well here is a picture of her *cheers me dear*

ps - loved your holiday photos - that red one looks more like a desert scene than Iceland!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ladies who lunch

During my short bursts of energy between stretches of exhaustion and sleep I like to "do lunch." Apart from anything it breaks up the long days when B is out of the house for 10 to 12 hours at a stretch.

Yesterday Kasia drove me out and we met up with James, who was literally just back from Oz. He treated us to our lunch in a Cheshire Country pub .. what a gent!

Today I am going to meet someone new off tinternet, she lives near here and we are meeting in The Lounge -- for a change. I must be boosting their profit margins this year cos there's is the only place I really trust in Hanley. I have got be careful to avoid food-poisoning and not get take-aways or eat in any dodgy diners, so I'm sticking with the same place.

Monday, November 27, 2006

dressing up

It was Azrini's birthday yesterday, and B and I are celebrating 14 years together this week -- so we decided to have a good dinner together and use the opportunity to be all girly and dress up. We had a great night, and they drank nothing but champagne the whole evening!

I got to wear the Cocktail dress (that is too big now and droops down at the back - but it still looks OK at the front).
B wore her newly cleaned "retro" 50's dress (which I love) and Azrini was subtle in dark blue velvet. She is saving her beaded dress for her Big Night Out in Gray's Inn later this month .. such exalted friends we have!

Dunno why I cant sleep -- been ups since 4am -- this is rare, especially considering how whacked I am most of the time ... hey ho

here are the pics:

hmm - we are showing off our twinkly shoes, obviously, not trying to fly!

and Azrini is showing off her new lippy!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


At last, blogger is letting me put my pics here, Julie has told me not to go on too much, in case she gets "performance anxiety" about Christmas ... ha ha ha, only a woman with her training would even think of that!

Sadly the image of Julie's first dinner was too blurry (my fault) -- just imagine potatoes dauphinoise, wild salmon, roasted plum tomatoes and broccoli spears!

This next one is the saddle of lamb with red cabbage, mash with onion marmalade and green beans:

Then she rustled up this vegetarian medley with baked goat's cheese, mediterranean potatoes, sprouts with chestnuts, carrots and a tomato dish:

This is me, ready to tuck in -- I guess you'll notice I look pretty tired, that's cos I am pretty whacked most of the time, but it didn't stop me enjoying my dinner! (and the leftovers since she's been gone)

(btw - note the new dress from TK Maxx - the only damned thing in my size in the shop - I have got a rant about clothes shops brewing, but dont want to spoil this homage to the celebrity chef by doing it now -- remind me next week!)

So, thanks Julie, it was so lovely having you here. We had such a good laugh every day and I reckon that's at least as powerful as Dr Adab's stuff.

We both love you to bits

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Celebrity Chef

Julie's cooking while she has been here has been excellent -- I rather fear she has shattered my image with B, cos she used to think I was TOP CHEF and now Julie's been here strutting her stuff, I think I've been relegated --

Sadly the blogger is having an off-day for photos, and will not up-load them, but I will keep trying so you can all see what she can do!

Friday, November 24, 2006

more time with sister

My sister could shop for England .. no kid, TK Maxx took the mian hit, so anyone thinking of popping up there tomorrow - be advised - it's empty.

In fact, town was heaving with shoppers today - there was no where to park, and jams all over the place ... which turns out to be because PRIMARK has opened -- bejayzus -- it's only a shop, folks, and it will still be there tomorrow .. literally 4 out of 5 ppl we passed by had a primark bag in their hand ... very odd.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

time with sister

hey -- thanks for all the lovely comments yesterday - especially from "new" commentators, Paoloman and Lee... you are very welcome .. and also a big wave and *hi* to the office staff at college -- I got your e-mail and realised that you read this stuff!

I am feeling fine and having a fine time with my lovely sister .. if I am the celebrity patient, she is the celebrity chef . Unlike many ppl undergoing this regime I haven't lost my appetite (what a surprise) but I had veered towards a pretty bland diet ... Julie has rustled up lovely meals, and if the blog would work properly there would be pics ... yesterday we had wild salmon and sundry lovely veg dishes including gratin potatoes and today she did me rack of lamb with onion marmalade and more sundry veg dishes ... just delightful -- I am trying to persuade her to move in but the Mistry bothers are to strong as competition I'm afraid -- but it has been a good taster for what Christmas with her will be like...

Kasia, yes yes yes doing something together on Monday would be most welcome ... pencil me in and we'll fix details later.

Matt -- thanks for your email -- you really cracked me up! Roll on May 1st, eh?

Liz - your comments ARE here -- but I need to moderate them and Ive been so engaged with Julie I've not been on here during the day -- thanks for your lovely e-mail,

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


So that is is, I've SAILED through it and had my last radiation treatment today.

The head radiographer said I'd come through it "remarkably well". I said "I do a lot of work on my mental outlook." and she said it is obviously working .. so she should know... she sees a lot of people having this treatment, after all!

I am really pleased to be at the end of that bit. Even though I am tired and sometimes sore/ achey, it really hasn't been as bad for me as it is for some people ... they reckon the radiation keeps working for another two weeks, and the side-effects of soreness and tiredness can last more than a month . ... but that still means I should be hunky-dory for Christmas.

Julie is here, and we had a little stroll round part of the lake today. She is getting her hair done now, so I might be posting pics of glamour sister soon!

(Mr Kettle, should you chance to read this blog -- thanks for your lovley card that came today .. it really made me smile. )

Monday, November 20, 2006

C+R finish minus 2

Can you believe it, only two more treatments to do. I am really really tired a lot of the time now -- so email and other contacts may be reduced for some of you .. but I feel pretty chipper, all things considered. Did a bit of a walk around the lake at Trentham today, and a bit of mooching in shops. They have a glamour shoe shop there that is really great.

Liz arrived last night, and is here for a couple of days. She will be making a giant casserole to see us through a couple of days ... yum.

On Tuesday night the lovely JULIE, my premier league sister will be coming up to stay for a few days .. which I am really pleased about ... there is no question of me having any un-nursed moments this week! Just feels a bit fraudulant cos (luckily) I don't need much nursing.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Today I am working on my spiritual / mental strength.

You'll have to reda the other blog to see what is in my mind just now.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Such a bright day -
this is our copper beech - showing off how it gets its name:

We decided to go over to Tittesworth Reservoir for our walk today,
but sadly when we got there my belly went quite sore and I felt too tired to actually walk.

We had a drink and I got a few snaps of the locals there:

You're not supposed to feed the birds, and these big geese in particular are considered a hazard up there, but the carpark is full of people dispensing crumbs.

ps if you click on the images you can see a slightly bigger version of these.

Friday, November 17, 2006

C+R finish minus 3

There we are 3 days to go. Feeling fine.

Example of humour from the radiotherapy waiting room ... we've all been hob-nobbing there together for a few weeks now, and share a bit of chit-chat each day. As we all turned in today the chat kept reverting to the miserable weather, then one fellah says, "oh well, it could be worse.." and another one goes, "Yeah, we could be dead .. "
and strangely this makes us all laugh like drains!

Wedding snaps
Seeing Jean (cosmolina) mention our Civil Partnership (aka wedding) in the comments has tempted me to post a pic of said event:

here we are - many of these are "usual suspects " whose names or comments appear often in this blog:

back row boys are
andy, james, woolfie and matt

lovely ladies are:
liz, jacky, B, kasia, me n mand

lovely looking lot, eh!

then cos jean was busy taking pics all day, here is a pic of her taking pics ..

Thursday, November 16, 2006

C+R finish minus 4

Only four more days of radiation to go. The lady at the hospital who is on her last day was terribly sick today and I notice my nausea is increasing .. but otherwise it aint too bad most of the time.

It was great to see Matt and Kasia last night. We only 1/2 watched the footie, it seemed a bit dreary .. but everyone liked my "one-pot-dinner" and Kasia asked for the recipe since it very very easy to do and is the same thing I've been doing visitors for the past few weeks (cos it is easy and you can do it when you feel ill, and can fall asleep while it cooks itself) I'm going to write it out here....

Serves 4 (or three if one of the diners is Andy)

8 - 10 chicken thighs , skinned (best use thigh cos of the bone to add flavour)
8 -10 oz of BROWN rice
1.5 litres of chicken stock (can include a sploosh of red wine here if you like)
2-3 big leeks
1lb fresh tomatoes
tin chopped tomatoes
2 red/yellow peppers
handful of black olives
extra salt and pepper (optional)

Chuck rice in big roasting tin
Pour on the stock
Wash and slice the leeks, sprinkle the slices over the rice
Chuck in garlic and herbs
Roughly chop tomatoes, olives and peppers, and add these
Space the chicken pieces evenly over the veg
Pour the chopped tomatoes over the meat
Cover with tin foil
Bake for ages (about 2 hours) on gas 5.

It is done when the rice is all cooked and the chicken is loose on its bones.
It ends up like a risotto with very little "sauce" Yum

To add a bit of spice in the past I have done this with chorizo added, but these days I pop chorizo slices on a tray and bake them for a few minutes to serve alongside for ppl who want it. (Too fatty/spicey for me to eat these days)

PS to aunty barbara -- this is a version of recipe I always did when we lived in cov, it is taken from the recipe book you gave me years ago which I have used many times over the years!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

C+R week5 day3

Went to see Dr Adab last night, and there is no problem with me carrying on the treatment for the final week. He has booked me a CT scan for 7th Dec and another meeting with him on the 9th. He was lovely, as ever.

When we got back here Andy had cooked us a great meal, and enough for another night this week, which is so helpful. Tonight I've thrown some rice and chicken in a pot to feed Matt and Kasia who are coming round to watch the football with us.

Just a quick point about sending comments to here that haven't got through -- I dunno why that is, but if you sent have sent a comment but don't see it the next day, then neither have I, cos I post all the comments and I look several times a day. (The exception to posting all comments is when jean gets too frisky .. obviously, there has to be a line drawn!)

I'm getting withdrawal symptoms from missing Keiran now! K - where r u?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

C+R week5 day2

hey there! what has happened to Keiran? So, OK Jean, you are top of the list for the belly massage..

Today has been less painful and I'm a lot less weary than yesterday. Felt quite chipper first thing and walked all round the lake today, in some patchy sunshine. The colours in the trees are brilliant just now. Must remember to put my camera in my bag.

So does anyone have any comment on Dowie's sacking from Charlton?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Spa treatments

B's just had a mailing inviting her to Moddershall Oakes Spa. It's a thick brochure, and when I picked it up it fell open on:
Elemis Fennel Cleansing Cellulite and Colon Therapy. Hmm, *thinks*
this might be right up my alley...

but no, the wimps aren't really doing colon cleansing, they are rubbing your belly for a bit of "abdominal massage"... *tsk*
and charging £55 for it ..
If you need your thighs and belly rubbing I can do it for less.

C+R week5 day1

An early start today, my machine is being serviced and some ppl are having a 2 day break -- but not me, I had to go in for 8am.
Also had to go for blood sample after that.

It turned quite sunny so we went for a stroll in the Italian Gardens and a hotmilk in the cafe. I have to say, hot milk is a good drink to order - no-one ever charges you much for it- usualy between 40 and 60 pence .. weird!

I'm having a few days where the side-effects are giving me some gyp .. but at least not all day every day. Only a few days more of this treatment to go!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Loads of people I know are doing International Travel at the moment. Mand is holidaying in Egypt, James just got back from Thailand and has to go to Australia on Monday. Ian is in New Zealand, Azrini just got back from LA and Greg is in Germany.

Erin lives in Canada --(*waves* - thanks for your lovely long comment the other day, Erin)
Scott lives in China (you can link to his blog from my index)
and thanks to this blog we can all keep in touch really easily. Technology.

It amazes me - especially using the wireless lap-top - like this morning, B lying in bed and idly wondering what the fixtures are for the next round of Carling Cup and we just turn the laptop on, no cables, no wires and start to look for the info - plucked from the air (as James puts it).

Got a question and you can get it answered on-line in minutes. (oh and we've got Wycombe .. yipee, since we aren't doing very well with the league so far!)


So, I am lazing in bed after breakfast ... making the most of the laptop since we dont have to go for treatment today.

Azrini came round last night and we had a good meal and sat by the fire chatting for hours.

Sweet (as Joe likes to say).

Friday, November 10, 2006

James' pressies

I thought you'd appreciate this snap of the lovely new necklace J bought back from Thailand for me. Apparently, he had to wrestle with a monkey for it. Hmm, seems it is a jewel more suited to a creature than to a celebrity patient like me.

Mabel, the Trusty Guard Dog, growls most threateningly if we try to take it off her now.

C+R week4 day5

Great - 20 down 8 to go.

Day started quite well, and I've been very relaxed, although the tiredness and soreness came back on schedule this afternoon. Mum and dad said goodbye last night, and they are off to Nana's for a couple of days now.

Have spent some time on the phone to various friends today, including my spiritual guide, Anandi .. think I'll bob off to the Take Heart blog and note down a few things there.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

don't worry

I know some of you think it is a strange thing if there isn't an entry every day, but some days there isn't time!

Yesterday was taken up by a pleasant few hours in the hairdressers in the morning and an unpleasant few hours in bed with belly-ache and exhaustion in the afternoon...

So, no blog.
AND I'm a bit behind with emailing ppl. too....

Mum and dad were here, and mum made a nice tea, which they all enjoyed, and I had had a bit of it... Not too hungry at times.

Today has been much less belly-ache. M+D picked me up at 10 and we had a couple of hours up 'anley, duck. including bumping into Cousin Pauline and having a coffee together in The Lounge.

There was a VERY strong smell of gas on the ring-road behind Marks and Spencer but no sign on Transco, desite the numerous calls made by The Lounge managers.
Today's top-tip: don't go smoking near Hillcrest St .
(and if it blows up you know that it was notified YESTERDAY!)

Dorchester Drama
My sister wasn't impressed when I laughed at this, but wouldn't you laugh if she told you:
the mistry brothers are "off sick" (sic) from school (sent home by the teachers) but well enough to get the saws and hammers out and start crafting a bird-table as soon as they get back.
Then they don't notice that one of the chickens took a fancy to the mastic and glued her beak together ..


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

C+R week4 day 2

We have more sunshine this afternoon ..

After another quick day at the radiotherapy place Mum and dad picked me up and we went (guess where?) yup - Trentham, tho it was too foggy to bother with the lake-side walk we did all the shops and had a drink in the Garden Centre bit. We came home for a bite of lunch and now my mum is ironing and I guess dad is snoozing! I may nod off later.

Mr K is coming around later.

ps - I've recently up-dated the other blog ... for those that are interested.

Monday, November 06, 2006

C+R week4 day1

On the home-straight with the radiation, and got a quick in and out again today.

The side-effects are becoming more noticeable. I seem pretty well rooted in either my bed (fast asleep) or the bathroom (very uncomfortable).

hey ho - not feeling massively sociable as a result.

Mum and Dad will be arriving soon. They are going to be here for a few days, making nice teas for me and Brigid - which takes the pressure off her, and will allow me to snooze more!

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I forgot to say yesterday, but I also got a date from the hospital confirming my surgery will be on 15th January .. so now we know!

Yesterday we had a great hour or so in the sunshine at Trentham, in the formal gardens. The car-park was almost full but there was no-one else in the garden, so the shops must have been busy. We also popped over to Leek to get our fruit and veg. The man gave us a bunch of parsely and knocked a few bob off the bill: "15 pound for cash" .. which you don't get in Sainsburys!

In the afternoon I was very sleepy and did nowt!

Today I've been relatively pain-free and managed to do a bit of tidying in the front garden, dead-heading and picking up leaves, mainly.

B has been running and we are going to have a lovely soup for lunch that she made with a pumpkin (which Azrini gave us!) and a few other veggies .. it looks lovely and orange food is supposed to be especially good for cancer healing. I've also had a pomegranate and orange smoothy. Anandi says pomegranates are "nectar" for me, so good job they seem plentiful (2 for 60p in Leek!)

This afternoon I want to finish the shrine curtains, but I might be too tired -- already going dozy

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Week 3 finished

Great news:
  • over 1/2 way through my radiation treatment
  • had a lovely walk with kate yesterday
  • had a laugh with James in the evening (he brought pressies -- keep your eyes peeled for pics later!)
  • got up and had a pain-free morning (yipee!)
  • the sun is still shining
  • B and I are going out for a walk now

Love to all my family and friends .. you are all doing your bit to keep me up-beat in these strange times and I really appreciate it. Thank-you. xxx


Thursday, November 02, 2006

C+R week3 day 4

More sunshine ... innit great?
Liz is in the kitchen whipping up a cottage pie for B and I to have for tea. It is the first time I've felt like eating red meat for months, and it smells wonderful. She'll be going off home in a minute and I guess I'll grab a nap then. I get pretty tired in the afternoons, generally.

DVD news - we watched Brokeback Mountain last night, or rather B and Liz did. I went to bed b4 the end .. I was so tired yesterday. Anyway it sounds like it was a real tear-jerker, so maybe I won't watch the end by myself today.

A few ppl have told me that they've posted comments that didn't show up with me in the last few days. Rest assured, I've not gone into some silly moderator's cull thingy ... it is all to do with the provider -- Google has had a few probs, but they reckon they are sorted now, so plz feel free to comment away .. you know I love it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

C+R week3 day3

Went to see Dr Adab last night. He is such a good bloke, though how he can manage to look quite so interested in the details of the day by day working of my bowels is beyond me. I had got anxious cos we'd booked the cottage for Christmas without checking the dates with the doctors, so I quizzed him about my surgery dates. He said he thought January was the likliest time....

Then as we left his office, my surgeon, Mrs Hall was in the corridor. She gave both me and Brigid a big hug; it feels so friendly and safe being treated by this pair.

She confirmed that she'd operate either the 15th or 22nd Jan. so this means our lovely plans for a good Christmas are all stations-go. Mrs Hall said she'd be skiing at the start of Jan.. so she said, "Plan something for the New Year too.... " hmm, there's a thought..

Liz has been here today and we walked all the way around the lake at Trentham after my radiation treatment. The sky was completely blue and the air fresh but not too cold. It was delightful. However, it seemed to exhaust me and I slept for three hours when we got back here. There is a fragrant smell of roast veggies that she is cooking up for tea and we are going to watch a DVD later!

B says I'm 1/2 way through my radiation tomorrow - day 14 out of 28 :)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

C+R week3 day 2 What do I do?

feeling pretty good today - nice change! At the moment the weather is rough and can't do any walking, just yet.

A few ppl have asked me what I do with my days .. I guess it seems I have oodles of "time" being not at work..

Mostly what I do is connect with (lots of) people and variously engage with words in their many forms... much the same as I've ever done!

This week B has been on holiday, so we spent hours together but apart from that, in the past few weeks loads of faimly and friends spend time with me, either in person or on the phone. There are five ppl who phone me nearly every day! I make free with my counselling services to any who ask (and one or two who don't!)

Then I do this internet stuff, message boards, emails and blogs to say nothing of pen and paper: writing letters and cards. I'm reading comedy books - Jeeves, Lucia and Mapp, Ben Elton, for example.

I try and walk a bit every day for at least an hour, and do some yoga, both physical and mental. I also tend to doze a fair bit now, and spend a good while each day in the bathroom, both of these in deference to the side-effects of my treatment. I also have my medical appointments to go to and have to follow a schedule for meal times and drug times.

I have done a few work-related things since I stopped going into college, mainly trying to support A2 students, and the staff who are managing my work while I'm not there.

I've also done lots of sorting: making the shrine took three days work with re-organising books and throwing stuff away. I've done the same with all my clothes.. lots of ratioanlistion and piles for charity shops.. so that is it ..

I dunno how I ever fitted work into my life - really
I hardly get time to watch a DVD, though James lent us loads, we've watched only one and rarely turn the TV on.

Monday, October 30, 2006

C+R week3 day 1 - James is back

DAhhhhhhhling --- thanks for your voicemail
things have been SOOO quite without you. Hope you have gathered loads of stories to tell us all about life in foreign parts.

I hope you are all getting some? We had a delightful afternoon yesterday -- went for a toddle round Tittesworth resevoir and it was like a Spring day.
Today I had a blood test appointment at The Nuffield at midday, so we spent an hour walking by the lake at Trentham in between the two hospital jaunts. B is worried that I am not safe driving if I get these fierce spasm-y pains, so she insists on driving me now and went into work very late! Luckily my side-effects allowed us to do the walking today, though the weather wasn't as bright this morning as it is now.

Lovely blue sky and fluffy clouds.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sailing Through

Regulars will recall that Dr Adab thinks I will "sail through" this course of treatment.

Here is the pendant that Brigid has bought me to encourage this. It is a lovely thing, and also an early anniversary present.

B and I have been a couple now for nearly 14 years (Nov 28th) When she gets her superstitious head on she says she'll be glad to see the back of the stigma of 13 years .. .. hmm... I tend to agree with her.

To sail through
is a verb that means : "Accomplish quickly and easily, make easy progress through. This expression alludes to a boat moving quickly and easily through the water.

My (more pedantic) legal-eagle, Q.C. wig-wearing friend opined that real sailing is perhaps a bit harder than metaphoric allusions suggests, so on her advice I will not be undertaking any REAL sailing without proper instruction.

I think my symptoms have settled down into a predicatable pattern, which makes them easier to deal with. Basically the mornings are dominated by sharp pains and taking up semi-permenant residence in the bathroom, and the rest of the day is a lot better ... thankfully!

I dunno quite how I'm going to fit in the visit to the radiation unit with the morning-trauma ? ? ?

Saturday, October 28, 2006

another weekend

Felt a bit better yesterday. Though I was/am still bothered by side-effects, I was not as ground-down by them, and I managed to sleep all through last night. Today has been a rough start, but I'm optimistic that it will settle down again as the day goes on.

It was a good day for people getting on touch yesterday. Karen popped in during the afternoon and we had a good chat.

Later my old school mate Lynn phoned. We nattered on for about an hour, which was delightful
The SUPER good news is that now she has been made a QC (triumphant fanfare)
and has got one of these fabulour horse-hair wigs, so if the chemo takes its toll on my coiffure she can lend me hers:

(obviously this is NOT my mate Lynn, but unless I can prevail on her to send me a snap of herself, which she seemed strangely reluctant to do - this woman will have to serve for illustrative purposes!)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

C+R week2 day4

I am feeling a bit rubbish today - very tired but unable to sleep cos of cramps in my gut and nausea. I won't be answering the phone today unless I start to feel better - as I can't easily engage in chatter just now.

Mike - I just wanted to ask you about your flat in M/c but the ppl in question want to be more central and seem to have sorted themselves out a gaff. How are you fixed for driving me back from the hospital (B will drop me off) next week on either Mon, Tues or Friday? (Liz will be here for Weds and Thurs). Cheers.

Cousin Pauline - hi - I got 2 messages from you today - I have to "approve" them b4 they appear on the site - so I only printed one. Not entirely sure that I understand it, however!

Mum - sorry to let your age out of the bag.... Don't worry, Keiran won't be put off!

Good News
The sofa has come back -- but with the wrong bed mechanism and without the arm-cushion!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

C+R week2 day3

Hi - another day of quick in and out at the Radiation unit... then back home to repair our new coats -- cant believe it - you spend a fortune on decent outerwear and all the buttons pop off like a Top Shop special. Then to Leek for some shopping. The veg shop there is excellent, as is the wholefood store.

It is raining like the Outer Hebrides here -- very windy and not conducive to outdoor activity.

Hey ho - we'll have to fall back in indoor activity ;)

PS I've up-dated the links to add Anadi Anant to the "lovely things" list and a bit to the "mate's blogs" to show Kate Bez's plans to raise money for Cancer Research.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

C+R week2 day2

Another day of getting in and out of my radiation treatment bang on time -- tho it is obviously tempting fate to mention it! Some people get there VERY much earlier than they need to - and I tend to cut it pretty fine - so I've hardly had any hanging about in there at all.

Skipped off to Manchester for phase three of Azrini's "make-over" (we already got the ball gown and glitzy shoes) today we were doing make-up. She forked out for a full set of lovely Bobbie Brown products and looked really fabulous she just needs to rehearse - it's her first EVER make-up!

I enjoyed it, but had to have a nap when we got back - I need plenty of sleep now, though no other side-effects of note. I sort of wonder if he's given me enough of the drugs, since I still feel pretty chipper most of the time!

Anyone interested in knowing more about what we put in our special place can tootle over to my other blog and "READ ALL ABITE IT":

Monday, October 23, 2006

(C+R week2 day1) Happy Birthday, Dad

Hi -- Happy Birthday, Dad, hope you've had a great day and have a nice party-tea tonight with the mistry brothers and all xxxx

Spend Spend Spend
We've been on a bit of spending spree today - including Trentham Gardens, which Andy said was horrible and everyone else I know has told me it is worth a visit.... Well Andy is obviously rueing the fact that the old swimming pool from his youth is no longer there, but I side with everyone else. We liked the shops and I've bought a season ticket to the Italian Gardens so I can mooch around up there as often as I fancy it... I'm going to add a link as well, some time soon.


We spent most of the weekend re-organising the study and now we've cleared a space and created a lovely little special place to keep our religious things on; it is very calming and precious.

We have turfed out loads of stuff, but mostly not to the bin (MUM!!) we are donating (or inflicting) it to local charity shops. I took me back, some of he books I've ditched - I was SO politicised in the 80s - loads of feminist and political tracts ... and now it is all religion with me!.. hey ho ... perhaps most of this stuff will end up in the bin, after going through the funnel of the charity shop!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Le weekend

Hi -- it is 1/2 term, and B is very excited at having a few days off together ..

We started major tidy in the study, so we can make space for a little shrine - of course now it looks messier than ever with random piles of books over the entire floor..

WE escaped the mess to go to Matt and Kasia's for brunch, which was lovely. They'd specially bought me beetroot soup, just like they have in Poland and top-food for cancer-fighting. Yum -- I can recommend it, from Sainsbo's Taste the Diff range ..

B has found that our NTL deal includes th SKY sports news so she is nodding off in front of that. I'm staring in disbelief at the mess we made this morning .. maybe I'll do a bit more now

Friday, October 20, 2006

C+R week1 day5


Those of you who don't know him can play "Spot the Keiran" in these photos.

The clue is that even on "Back to School" day he hasn't got a tie!

Seriously, a warm and effusive "Huzzah!" to all the dresser-uppers at college who have raised money for the Douglas Macmillan Hospice today. Brill!

In fact I my even know ahead of Keiran, that they raised £243... (I've got friends in high places, see!)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


you see - I've only just found time to update my blog today .. and it is already evening cocktail time .. yum..
(dja think this Bee looks like me? .. the belly seems authentic enough!)

C+R week1 day4

Whooooo - it is a busy-bee life being Celebrity Patient .. I've hardly had time to catch my breath these last two days ..
I had a very nice day -- met up with Kate who I've met through one of the message boards I use .. she was great company and we had lunch in The Lounge and bumped into Keith again.

Celia and Sukhraj came round after work and we passsed a couple of hours mulling over certain work-related issues .. which was interesting .. then no sooner had they left than Ann arrived bearig a gift of lemon and ginger tea-bags ... thank-you!

I cooked a lovely veggie tea for B and was in bed by 9 -- quite tired ... but smiley.

has also been good - I went in for treatment early for the second time this week, and Dr Adab popped his head round to check I'm doing OK - which is what he has said he would do .. ain't that nice!

I then finished annotating the ENB4 coursework plans submitted by A2 language students. I did them sitting in the cafe in Sainsobs and took them round to work. It was quite emotional being in there, and lots of ppl were very sweet with me ..

It was good to meet Stewart who has taken over my classes this year. We are sooo lucky to have someone who actually understands the Lang work! Liz leaving and me off sick left a fair gap in the market and he has made a great impression on the students already.. so hopefully they will be well cared for!

Lezli came for lunch and stayed to do a couple of hours with me about meditation techniques and using my mind's healing potential. I'm so lucky to be able to have this help and I feel very relaxed after the work we did today .. Lezli will teach me some more next week.

Little Mummy checked in for her daily chit-chat ..
my Dougie Mac nurse called to check that I am doing OK
the carers' group called to fix a date for B next week,
Jean called to do very high-level important talks with me ..

and later Azrini is coming round ....

see? it's a busy-bee life

Lots of love to you all

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

C+R day 3

I am typing this with one hand plunged into a bucket of water after an unfortunate incident with the iron. I am soooo unused to ironing I obviously momentarily forgot that I'd switched the damned thing on and seared three fingers of me left hand on the hot bit... WHAT A NUMB SKULL!

Ppl who know we have a cleaner to do ironing will be pondering WHY I'm even looking at the iron... HA .. I have decided to keep up my morale by dressing smartly when I go out and to cut more of a dash at the hospital than you can in baggy tracky-bottoms .. ... a plan that is seriously compromised by having no trousers that fit me properly (since I've lost a couple of stone - the silver lining in the whole enterprise!)...So I rooted an old pair out to wear today and they needed ironing.. the rest is history.....

And yes, I have tried to buy some new ones... also difficult...
Debenhams had some that fitted quite well, but only had SHORT length in my size...
M&S quite nice over the bum and leg, but a bit snug over the loaf area..
Evans - I just refuse to shop in there when I'm size other shops sell!

I'll keep you all informed on these crucial issue..
maybe hourly updates....?

my hand still hurts :(

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

C+R day 2

Hi - I'm TIRED this afternoon - so this is a quicky -

This is pretty much what the radiation gear looks like - the whole big thing ROTATES around the bed, and the square thing (at the bottom) comes out to take X-ray shots of where the zaps are going at the start of treatment (so they can check that they're doing it right)

... the circular bit in the middle is all flashy with red numbers and stuff, goodness knows what it does cos I am face down and not able to see much, really.
The table is far more cluttered than this - with shapes on it that I have to lie in - a shape for my head, one for my belly and some supports for my shins.

I got this pic from a website that seems quite good about what radiotherapy is: if your curiosity is unsated by just the picture ...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Chemo and Radiation, Day 1

I went up for my first radiationtreatment today - the staff were lovely, quite different to the strange crew I saw last week, which is a relief.

You dont feel anything when the rays are sent in, and obviously it is too soon for side effects. In any case they reckon if I follow their "Skin-care" advice my skin won't get too sore.

Afterwards, I saw Mike Woolf in town, he was full of his trip to Copenhagan on a fact-finding thing about architecture and being more Green in our town planning. They have made Copenhagan a really bike-friendly place.. Stoke could learn a lot!

B likes me to do the numbering of the post titles, cos she is a scientist, so I've sort of agreed to try it out -- but I cant see me using numbers for titles every day ... just ever so slightly boring, innit!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Le weekend 2

We've been having a lovely weekend.

Dr Adab was splendid -- he listened to all my questions and explained all my new treatments very carefully. When I said I was a bit apprehensive facing this new stuff he seemed surprised and was very reassuring about how many patients he has treated in this way, and how they cope with it and what the likely side-effects can be, etc.

He said "You sailed through the first lot and you'll sail through this." So, I find that encouraging.

We has a lovely time in Manchester. Mandy assembled a delicious lunch for us, and hats-off to her partner, Pete, who turns out to be a great cook with a lovely celery soup and an okra dish which we relished.

In town we found that the bags in Diesel, though very lovely and funky didn't quite meet our needs .. but we found the ideal one in Jones the Bootmaker. (Still too expensive to risk mum's blood pressure, but not quite so silly as Diesel prices!) Also got Brigid a brilliant new coat from Karen Millen.. (maybe photos of these materialistic excesses will appear later today.)

We came home to spend the evening with B's sister and brother in law Alice and Graham, and the lovely Tom. B loves her nephew, Tom as much as I love mine. She 'd been hoping that he would choose Keele for his uni next year .. so they have come up for the Open Day.

Tom has got really interested in gigs and stuff, these days -- so we're not sure Keele will be the best place for him, anymore! He's also looking at Brighton and Liverpool, which are probably better for music...

They all ate a belly-busting Chinese from my fave take-away, I think I'll post a link to them - cos it really is great quality food - tho I cant eat it, atm.

B is going up to Keele with them today ..

This is photo-shop image I made of Tom last year -- am I going to get students posting "he's hot" comments now?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Le weekend

French Friends
Bonjour, bonjour, je veux parler un peu a Lili et Bouclette. Merci beaucoup pour votre e-mail, vous etes si gentils. Je ne sais pas si c'est possible comprendre tout que vouz trouvez dans Le Blog ... mais vous etes bienvenu ici! bises et bises a vous.

Alors - "le weekend" (as they say in France)

Historic Mates!
We went to see a Gay History play last night at the Vic. It was good but we left at 1/2 time -- too tired and uncomfy to stay the full length. Needless to say we bumped into several chums there , like Keith and Ian - which was delightful.

Discourse Analysis
Slightly on the surreal side, I report this conversation with someone else we bumped into there:
Susan - Hi, you OK?
Ms X - Yeah fine, how are you?
Susan - Have you heard?
Ms X - What?
Susan - I've got cancer
Ms X - No! what a shock (etc...) What type?
Susan - Bowel, I'm on a big treatment programme now.
Ms X - (*miming a balaclava-hat shape round her face*) oh will you get one of these?
Susan - (*puzzled face*) what?
Ms X - or will you get a wig?
Susan - I probably wont need one, cos hair loss isn't a major side effect of my drugs
Ms X - oh you probably will
Susan - I think I'll find my seat now...

We are going to see Dr Adab at 10.30 and he'll give me my drugs etc. then we are going to Manchester to have lunch with Birthday Girl Mandy.

If I've got the energy we will go to into town to Deisel so I can treat Brigid to a funky new handbag ... she is looking very gorgeous at the moment and she just NEEDS a new bag .... (I know this isn't very yoga -- but old habits die hard)
the webpage doesn't really convey the wonder of the range of bags they do at Deisel, and luckily not the prices either - or my mum would pass out with shock!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More (gratuitous) nephew pics

I love my nephews so much; there is no excuse for posting these images except pure aunty-ness.

Of course, anyone I have taught forEnglish Langauge A2 has seen videos of Toby and Joe and read Luke's poetry and stories so this is sort of an up-date for them! These boys have all contributed to the good results we've always had on the Child-Language Acquisition papers ...

Doing a comment about Toby earlier made me think of this picture -- ever the show-man! (I've blurred the girl's face cos I don't have permission to use her image)..

This is how I visualise Joe these days -- he phones me loads and will leave messages on the voicemail too:

This is a lovely shot of my brother's lad, Luke. He is a very gentle and kind boy - just started at secondary school -- how time flies!

These two are from when we all met up in Cov this summer -- the one in the bed is watching England in the World Cup -- B feels it is her duty to educate Toby and Joe in footie matters, but Luke is already an expert ... he has a big range of international shirts which I tend to tease him about, is this his BRAZIL one?

In the ruins of Cov Cathedral ...

I said IN the ruins, not the three ruins in Coventry Cathedral!


District Nurses
Had a visit from the District Nurses yesterday. B was HUGELY disappointed to find that they arrived wearing sensible fleeces and not navy capes with lush red-lining, and of course, no trace of a cap. (It transpires it is 18 years since nurses wore caps -- outside the living memory of many ppl reading this blog -- unless, of coures, they are fans of Carry On films).

They didn't respond well to my sense of humour -- no twinkle of a smile when I showed them the cap Nurse Connie had left, and not even a groan when I remarked on the pink breast cancer ribbons that they were modelling and said I was going to start a trend for brown ones for bowel cancer .. oh dear!

Radiation Staff
Well they aren't really nurses, are they, but the ones I met today managed to keep me face down on a table in their room, told not to move for forty minutes without any effort at all to talk to me as they bobbed in and out about their measurements and x-rays. It was very strange and completely different to the lovely duo I met last week for my first visit, or the great woman who talked to me all through my MRI scan. She spent her entire 40 minutes telling I was doing really well, at regular intervals. I tell you, true or not, it makes a big difference to be encouraged with the total immobility thing that these big scans and x-rays call for.

Nurse Sisters
Of course, these are the best nurses of all - B and I both spent an age on the phone last night to our respective sisters, who are both nurses. It is so great to have a person on tap who knows a lot about things, and can be so supportive when we've had a bad day -- which we both did yesterday. Thanks so much to both of you -- you really don't know how precious those calls are , and how much they help us

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Rainy Day

HI -- it is really gray and wet here this morning ..

It was good to see Nurse Connie (aks Liz) again yesterday -- she cheered up my afternoon and then stayed over to travel into work from here this morning ..

I also heard from my mate, Karen last night, and we talked for nearly an hour about her experiences of cancer, three years ago. It was interesting and helpful to chat to someone I already know who has been through these treatments, tho' not for the exact same cancer.

Today I am feeling a bit reclusive; not very social, but OK otherwise ...


  • tomorrow I have to go to the Infirmary for my radiation "simulation".
  • Friday brings another trip to the Nuffield, just for a blood test
  • Saturday I see Dr Adab again at his clinic ... get my chemo drugs and all explained
  • Monday start the actaul chemo and radiation ..

At this point I bring to mind something my dad taught me 30 years ago --- when I was learning to drive ... we found ourselves in Central London, with me at the wheel (don't ask) and I was getting anxious about the whole "Argh, we're in the middle of London," thing ... ..

Dad said, "You only have to know what the traffic in front and behind is doing, don't worry about anything else" .. and that is a good metaphor for dealing with this treatement, I just have to do each day as it comes; deal with what is immediately "near me" and not get stressed by the general "bigness" of it all ...

I bet he'll be surprised that I've remembered that from way back then, but it was good advice and a tip I've actually used in a number of other difficult situations ever since.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Douglas Macmillan

Hi - I've just had my visit from my local / community Palliative Care Nurse --- not to be confused with a Macmillan Nurse, which is a service provided by a National Group (mainly in the hospital wards round here) where as our local Douglas Macmillan is something different: a local hospice / charity which send out nurses into the community...
.. .. I never knew there was a difference .. but now I do. She was very kind and I'm pleased to know that there is someone specific to ask about things and also someone who can help me get medication when I am at home. I've added a link to the Douglas Macmillan alongside here now!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Cancer Glossary

Hi, B and I went to do some retail therapy yesterday and bumped into a few students in and around Hanley -- talking to them made me realise that I've absorbed and used a vocabulary that is quite alien to many readers of this blog.

I thought I'd start a glossary -- how English- teacher is that?
Chemo -- this is the drug therapy, so I guess it is short for chemical-therapy. I am having two sorts. One "I.V." (intra-venous) which means I have been in hospital on a "drip" where a needle is put into my hand and the various drug solutions are pumped directly into my veins / blood stream throughout a three day stay. Later I will also be having "oral chemo" which will be different set of drugs, taken in a tablet form, every day AT HOME for six weeks.

Radiotherapy. This is using strong x-ray type stuff to "zap" the tumour. The actual treaments only take a few minutes and these will also be every day, but not at weekends. I go in as an "Out-Patient" just to get the zap then come home. This will also run for 6 weeks.

Side Effects - both of these therapies have side effects, cos while they zap the tumour they also zap healthy cells too! The main side effects of my current chemo are nausea, anemia, exhaustion , sore mouth and hypersensitive hands and feet. I also get a reduced immune system which means I could get quite ill from simple infections cos I lose the power to fight them off. This, and the exhaustion, are the main reasons why I cannot go into work. Cancer isn't making me feel ill, the treatments are! The radiation side-effects are similar, with the added soreness around the skin where they send the rays into me. I will get progessively weaker as the six week treatments go on.

Benefits of Chemo and Radiation. I'm having both these treatments to reduce the size of my tumour. This means that the surgery will be more likely to succeed. I can't have surgery straight after the therapies, cos I'll be too weak, so that is why I will get a rest and hopefully a good Christmas before my operation.

Surgery. Obviously, this is the operation to cut out the diseased part of me. It will be a fairly big incision and I will be in hospital for about 10 days for this. Then I will have to recuperate at home for a while. This is all supposed to take place early in the New Year. After surgery most patients have more of the I.V. chemo, for a period of between four and six months .. so you can see this is a long-haul, though at the moment I don't know how much of this I'll be given.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The oldest and newest ex-students

Getting email from Scott (see below) sent me digging in my photo albums...
I taught "scott n rob" in my first class (2001-2003)
These pics are the end of year party at my house in June 2003,
THIRTEEN years ago--

I was 34 in this pic and they were 18
and now they are in their 30s themselves..

Here are a few more of the same class..

Then hre are three of this year's lovely lot - who were so keen on grammar they called themselves "grammar-corner" and drew apostophes on their faces ..
(I look on this as a high point of my career - getting students to enthuse about grammar..!)

I'm also VERY proud of the two Lauras here who did SO well in their exams and have both gone on to do English Lang-thingies at Lancaster Uni --- which is perhaps another high point - cos Meagen (below) from this class also got into Lancaster .. TOP STUFF !

Ex -students

Hi - I'm home and it is groovy ..

I sent a circular email out to some of the students I have taught over the years who keep in touch with me from time to time. I've had a good chuckle over some of the repsonses, which have raised my spirits - and here is a bit from the funniest one, from Scott, who was in the first class I ever taught at college.

I'll have to get back in touch with Rob so that we can work on our victory song for when you get rid of the pesky thing. We're kind of lucky in that there are some fantastic rhyming opportunities for "bowel" ("howl, "yowl", fowl, "jowl") - even now I am working on something along the lines of (imagine a hard rock beat (harder than Bon Jovi but not quite Twisted Sister), " could've been worse for a language teacher, Could've been the dreaded cancer of the vowels.." It's nasty one that. y strt wrtng wrds lk ths nd nbdy tks y srsly.

And cancer itself has "dancer", "romancer" and "fancied 'er". We'd have been way out of luck if it had been the kidney ("sidney", "didn' he"?), or ovaries ("Madame Bovary's?"), or thyroid ("?")

I also think he isn't joking cos Rob and Scott did write and record songs about our lessons .. and it was Scott who re-named me "Suzi" in their great opus "We love you Suzi" all those years ago .... and the name has stuck. I've still got that recording -- I wonder if you can post songs on blogs?

I also had a lovely thing from Sarah which I will post over on the Take Heart blog - cos it is one to keep.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Second session of cocktails - Near end of day 3

a bit more from B

And then I remembered that I forgot to tell you about the highlight of yesterday.

I arrived at the Nuffield early yesterday morning with my two panniers loaded with the numerous things we’d forgotten to pack the day before. I’d also managed to secure a rather large box to the top of the rack of my bike, which contained a “Thinking of you” balloon from my sister. I must admit that I looked quite a “sight” as I cycled through Stoke! At least the nurses are used to seeing me laden with stuff so they didn’t even seem to notice and they might not even have commented except that, due to a plumbing problem, Susan had to move rooms.

This of course meant that the entire contents of her home from home had to be moved. No simple act and as you might imagine it employed me and a couple of nurses for a good while! By which time they could not help commenting upon the amount of stuff we’d got and general enquiries as to how long Susan was planning to be staying.

Suze is now happily settled into her new room.

And now that it's Saturday she'll be home tomorrow - yipeeeeeeeeeeee!

Good News

From Dr Adab… he has told me that I won’t need a second scan to enable him to fix my radiation plan. He has done the plan and we are going ahead with starting that treatment on 16th Oct. This also means that he has decided that I won’t need surgery for a stoma before the radiation, which he had been considering … so that is a huge relief.

What makes this really good news is that if all goes well B and I will be able to go to Dorset for Christmas. B has gone ahead and booked a lovely place for us to stay. I should be quite strong by then as I will be on the treatment “break” while I get strong again after the effects of the chemo and radiation before I have the surgery in the New Year. It will be good for us to do something different and gives us all something really positive to look forward to.

Other people’s stories

Yesterday I met a guy in here who has had very similar treatment plan to me and he is making a great recovery on the last stages of his final chemo. It was interesting and encouraging to hear what he had been through and how he is now. For instance, two weeks after his 6 week radiation-chemo treatment finished he was climbing in the Lake District, which makes me feel our plans for Christmas are quite modest and very realistic.
Funnily enough he knew me from being one of our college governors as he had seen me do a presentation about my work at a governor training event last year. He has also known Wolfie from CAB work from years ago. Small World!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Second session of cocktails - Near end of day 2

Message from Suze

So we are sitting here with Brigid on foot-massage duties and me filling in the crossword:
S: OK, 15 down, 7 letter word, begins with B, type of bird?
B: (quick as a flash) Beagle
B: Oh no, that’s a dog.
S: *eek*

You’ve got to love her!

Please post correct answers on back of a used note to her school.

I’ve not had the best night – arm is sore already with the drip and I am struggling to settle.
Talked to Mand for an hour around midnight … and doing this at 3.30am. Hopefully will nod off shortly. Or sleep through the England game that I should have been at this afternoon.
This would have been my first England game…..I hope Matt’s mate John Wain enjoys my ticket! I used to know a fellah called this too, and it’s not the same guy. Why do parents do this?

and from B

You can tell how sleepy Suze is from the fact that the England match is tomorrow so that makes us as dozey as each other.

I've just popped back home to post this and I'm back off up to the hospital now. I'm staying over at Matt and Kasia's tonight so that's all for today. Have a good evening.

love from B