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