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 ..now 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: http://www.athope.com/radiation.htm 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), "..it 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

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Second session of cocktails - end of day 1

Hello to all ye bloggers!

Suze is settled back into the Nuffield along with most of the contents of our house. What we didn't take is now on the list to take with me tomorrow!

James you will be pleased to hear that Mabel is back in situ, guarding over things, and of course being admired by all.

It was much easier going back this time, being familiar with the routines, and to be so warmly welcomed back by the staff. Suze did however notice that her arm, into which they feed the cocktails, was more painful than the last time but she was determined to keep it in her left arm and leave her right hand free.

We we so relaxed this afternoon that we even managed to catch up on some sleep which was great.

Well done to :

Julie for successfully publishing your first three comments. Hopefully we'll be able to book Christmas soon.

Cosmolina, Kasia and Kieron - for being top bogging commentors!


I don't think there is a song for that, but Mark and I are devoted to each other too .. it was great to see him yesterday and we spent all day together, mulling over this and that and just enjoying being on our own in the same space with each other.

It was very calm, restful time and reminded me of how easily we get on with each other and what great pals we used to be when we were at home or as students together in our "youth"...

We went shopping cos I was desperate for some new "sensible" shoes. Mark said he didn't want to buy me flowers, so he bought me the shoes instead .. bless him!

We also bumped into an ex-student in Dolcis, I doubt Liz will be reading this, but Rachel and Paul B might see it - so "hi" to you both if you happen to blog-on. Thanks for organising the pressies, Rachel, you are such a sweetheart and it meant a lot to me. Have a great birthday, Paul, and I hope your dad is OK. I WOULD have come and had a drink in The Club with you - but I'll be back on chemo-cocktails this Saturday!

sisters. sisters

....never were there such devoted sisters ...

many's the time Julie and I used to skip through streets singing this --- but never anywhere where Julie lived!

Haha - we could only do it where no-one knew us, or where it might be MY neighbours who would see us acting like a comedy-musical in the streets ...

Here we are being more sudued, but none the less devoted to each other ..

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

one - hysterical aunty sequence

This sequence starts with my sister trying to take a "nice" picture and telling Tobe to "stop waving these coke cups on your hands."

He takes "hands" to be the operative word and sets about finding other bits of his anatomy to wave is coke cups from -- there is a certain inevitability about this sequence of pics ...

My growing hysteria was only exaggerated by the evil eye my sis is shooting at me from behind the camera ..

I was literally gasping for breath by the end!






Did I eat a rainbow yesterday?
thinks ....
blueberries, peach, orange, grapefruit, raspberry juice, beetroot, tomatoes, carrot, broccoli .. hmm, not bad ...

This is me eating rainbows on the "Health Farm" this summer.

radiation plan

I was at the hospital to get measured up for my radiation yesterday and now have dates for that treatment to start on Oct 16th and run for 5 and 1/2 weeks until the end of November.

Mr K proved excellent company for the job -- keeping me entertained as we had a long wait .. (this mainly due to the previous patient being "unable to park" for half an hour! -- this being cos some ppl seem to think they have to park in the hospital grounds and not using the streets nearby and also not leaving enough time -- grrr -- since Mr K and I did both of these we were early and it felt like a double whammy!)

The staff seemed a bit puzzled by a male-mate who wouldn't be classified as husband going in with a female patient.. Obviously quite a novelty, but it added to the fun from our point of view!

Cathy's opinions:

We bumped into Cathy at the hospital - she opined that I looked healthier than anyone at work this week ... I think the ability to delete any work e-mail with "Pro-monitor" or "Register" in the title has curative powers.

Cathy had previously sent me an email saying: I'm there this afternoon - at the fracture unit which is a god-forsaken place , peeling walls , cracked flooring , crumbling Victorian loos and patients just dumped in the corridor on trolleys for hours on end . Still , the technology's impressive and the doctors we've seen so far have been very nice and reassuring.

I can't fault her observational powers, the fracture unit and the X-ray place are very close together! What she didn't mention is the constant high level of clattery clanking noise on the main corridor and the high-level windows so you can't see out.

In fact the radiation bit is a lot nicer than the main corridor of the Royal Infirmary, thankfully, as I'm going to be there everyday when the treatment kicks in.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's a new dawn ... It's a new day ...

.. and I'm feeling goooooood. (that' more Nina Simone)

Morning campers!! - a bit late this morning cos I've been typing out stuff for my new blog "take heart" ... it is exciting me.

I had a good time with the kids yesterday at Monkey Forest and managed to say goodbye without crying.. which is unusual cos I always do cry when I leave them... maybe I was scared to let myself get upset this time? My sis confesses to her own blubbing, so the tradition was partly upheld.

B is feeling a bit better today, tho she has got to work late tonight, so Mr K has been recruited in to come with me for my first radiation meeting this afternoon .. .. He seems to think he'll be advising them on tattoo designs, he is currently favouring some British Bulldog type thing .... . hey ho!

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Blog

I have started a new blog - which I plan to use just for religious stuff and motivational ideas .. I don't want this current blog to get too involved in that aspect but I need to have a section for that side of me.

Some ppl are sending me some really good quotations and I am forever reading things in my Yognanda books that I want to save -- so the new blog will be for things like that. Perhaps you have some ideas for what could go in it and I would welcome contributions.

It is a bit too new to be any use yet, but I will be building it over the next couple of weeks.

here is the link - and I've also re-arranged my permenant links section on the right here . The final links section includes the religious blog link as "blog 2" so you can check it out if you are interested (or ignore it if you don't care for that sort of thing,)


Sunday, October 01, 2006


eeeeep -
I am tired but not ready to sleep

so here is more blah blah blah:

The week ahead:
Monday - up to the Nuffield, but just for blood tests to make sure I am OK for the next round of chemo. Hope to walk around Monkey Forest with the boys b4 they go home.

Tuesday - up to the North Staffs for the first consultation about my radiation therapy. I think this will involve more scans and maybe some tattooing!

Weds - Mark is coming up for the day with me

Thursday - back into Nuffield as In-Patient for three more days on the chemo drip

Friday - B has got the day off to be with me while I am in

Saturday - In-Patient -- James is comng for another go at fixing my wireless set-up

Sunday - get out of Nuffield about breakfast time --

Photos of the kids - NOT with me!

In the absence of pics of the Mistery Brothers up here with me - here are some from a summer project they did all by themselves - making a bench! You can see those hours passed "in the shed" with my dad have paid off already:

I sort of can hear them hatching a new plan in the final shot of this sequence!


@ Dom and "Loz" - HEY, hi there! it is really great that you have been in to read this stuff .. thanks to both of you for your kind thoughts, and you really made me laugh, Lawrence. I will never forget what you quoted from Grandad (did he REALLY say that? I can't believe he said it, cos there is no swearing in it!) Please feel free to post any more random thoughts from him - I would like it very much, as I also take him as a good role model.

I think you and I are in a minority in the broader family for being big fans of Owd Fayther Toft .. ( one of them distant cousins told me as much after my speech at his funeral *gasp*) -- but I always had a massive respect for him and would be happy to be as strong as he was in his own battle with bowel cancer (and the rest).

I agree that J, M and I are getting spookily alike, and, I have to say, I think I look more and more like Nana Toft as each year passes -- watch out, it could happen to you!

Mistery Brothers Day 1 and 2

Arrived at last . It took them the best part of 6 hours to get here, yesterday, as it often does, but we all thought it was worth it. The night b4 I had had a dream of them arriving - so I told them how to get here (run onto the lawn and jump on the bench to look in the window then come to the front door to get hugged) ... so they did this and it was exactly like my dream -- and having them here is a dream come true for me... literally and all other ways.

I love these boys so much ---- the thought of not being there to see them grow up and how much they would miss me is the one thing about this cancer business that is guaranteed to bring a tear to my eye. We are CRAZY about each other, even though we only meet up a few times a year, we really have a great relationship and they are brilliant kids .. so I am very keen to still be here for them as they grow up.

Heritage Trail 1 with the kids - firstly impressing on them that Staffordshire is a beautiful rural place by taking them to their lovely BandB in a 17th Farmhouse out by Endon, (see Stokey links) with stunning views in to the Peak District. and then going out for a walk along the canal at Denford and into the Deep Hayes Country Park. We got a bit wet, and of course they're not used to rain, being from Dorrrrssset, but it was great.

You've got to love 8 year olds who appreciate scenery!

We drove home the hilly route to show them where B and I usually cycle about and then we had a big roast tea that Brigid had stayed in to cook for us. She is still poorly with her sore throat... but managed to be "Queen of the Kitchen" all the same.

Heritage Trail 2 with the kids. Today we spent almost the whole day at Gladstone Pottery museum, which they absolutely loved. I also took them to see the oatcake shop down our street and ended the day with another type of cultural advantage we get from living in a city:- the wonders of Al Murshid's foodshop, stuffed with exotic foods and spices...

I feel really pleased to have had this chance to show them some of "what's what" near me and some of the things that inform and enrich my life here.