Tuesday, October 30, 2007

scottish photos

Walking and cycling in Scotland ...
ppl who know me - know that I love to do this
I have to say that a year ago, I really, really, really could not believe that I would be taking part in the glories of scotland, ever again ....
and yet,
here I am, besides myself, really,
with joy and delight
rapture, even
to be there
to be stronger than I thought I could ever be again
to be walking, cycling .. let's face it,
breathing !
total delight
total rapture

Monday, October 29, 2007

Holiday Diary

Too tired to be very physical today. B went out on her bike and I did artist’s date .. spent a while on the internet and then did photography around the loch here and went off to explore in Spean Bridge. Ppl talk to you a lot when you are on your own!

Went to pick up B from the end of her ride (50 miles up the hilly side of Loch Ness!) It was very sunny by mid-afternoon and we sat on the loch side here watching the sun go down behind the facing hillside…lovely

Really exciting day – we got the train from Spean Bridge out to Corrour, the highest train station in the UK. There are no roads up there, it was built to serve the estate and in a way it still does, only three trains a day in either direction! We walked for about 90 minutes around Loch Ossian. It felt so wild and remote and was something I’ve wanted to do since I read about it one of our walk books. In fact the actual walking was far easier than what we did on Tuesday.. the terrain is estate track and basically flat around the loch! The train ride was magical in both directions.

Was sunny down here, but grey up there, tho it eventually cleared and the views opened up. Back in time for another sit on the Loch Lochy lochside to watch the sun go down.

Really lovely day – bright blue sky and sun from first thing till about 3 pm. Cycled along the Caledonian Canal from the Bridge of Ochy to Fort Augustus. Ten MILES! B running, of course, and me on the bike. Again it felt pretty easy. My legs are strong, but the cardio vascular side is less fit, just a small burst of speed will get my chest burning!
Had a big steak for tea….yummy!

B off early on her own for a couple of hours on the bike – it was raining, quite heavily and I was tired!

When she got back I spent part of the morning reading outloud from the Kate Atkinson book. Then we did a drive out up Glen Roy which is a lovely single track road with great views. Bumped into someone from B’s work at Spean Bridge!

Set off at about 9.30 am on, it is 370 miles, a little over 7 hours actual motoring and a bit added for pit-stops meant we got back about 5pm. Colder in this house than it was in the lodge!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bonny Scotland

This lodge is really marvellous - all glass on three sides so you can see the forest all around, the most amazing variety of tress in various shades of green and autumn, it is very beautiful ... there is also a waterfall in the grounds and a beach on the loch that offers fine views of hills in all directions .. so there should be plenty to look at through the lens when I venture outside later!

On Monday I got back on my bike for the first time since my operation. It felt brilliant, especially here in the great glen .. we drove downfour miles to the Caledonian Canal and pedalled in the direction of Fort William. Well I peddled, B was running! We were out for a little over an hour and it was magical, really just so great for me. And pretty easy. My muscles in my legs are still pretty strong, even if my energy levels are low and I didn't push myself in a heart and lungs type of way!

Yesteraday we drove out ot Kinlochleven where there is a lovely climb up, opposite the Pap of Glen Coe. It's part of the Highland Way and I wanted to do it cos it is a bit of serious uphill with no nasty exposed bits! I got more hot and bothered doing that than I did on the bike, but again it felt marvellous to be out in this beautiful place, with so much to delight your senses and using my body in a bit of a push.

I was dog tired last night, and pretty weary today so B has gone off on her bike and I am taking it a bit easier. One step at a time, eh?

I will go for an amble round the 12 acres of woodland that this place puts at our disposal in a little while. Bliss, really and very emotional for me, cos in my dark days I really never thought I'd be here again. All through my illness I have used memories of Scotland as part of my repertoire of mental "tricks" to keep me calm and rested in hard times ... it is just so special to be here and re-charge those images and sensations which have served me so well this past year.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

life in remission

I found a good article on tinternet about this .. if you are VERY interested .. here is the link:

If you're too busy to read that, here's part one of the digested read, made personal to me:

Dr Peter Harvey wrote it, he's Consultant Clinical Psychologist at Leeds Teaching Hospital.

He says now the treatment has finished I can begin, bit-by-bit, to deal with all that I have been through and all that is to come. I have had over a year of treatment by radiation knife, chemicals. Now is the time to heal, both body and mind.

He splits the process into three stages: recuperation, convalescence and rehabilitation.

RECUPERATION. One of the paradoxes of cancer is that the treatments made me feel worse, not better! I have been subjected to dangerous rays, had a 12" cut in my abdomen, been disfigured with a stoma, regularly injected with poisonous chemicals, all in the name of treatment.

The aggressiveness and power of the treatments is a reaction to the power of the disease and they placed enormous physical strains on my body. The treatments are harsh and draining. Added to this are the emotional angles - dealing with the implications of my diagnosis (initially I was told it was INOPERABLE!! .... then the fear and emotional stress.)

He reckons that however smoothly treatment went I now need time simply to recharge and recover - to recuperate . This is the necessary foundation on which to build recovery.

Once I have recharged my batteries, then I can begin to build up my physical and emotional strength. There are no set rules or guidelines for how long this can take, but HE firmly believe that to miss out this stage builds up problems later on.

I'll do REHAB in a later post!

Monday, October 15, 2007

well the mothballs were short lived


so much for mothballs

several regulars have passed the opinion that is it not a good idea to mothball my blog ..
so ..... you're not obliged to keep reading it, but I am going to keep writing.

In fact there is a school of thought that living with remission in more psychologically taxing than getting the first diagnosis ..

cos now you know a lot more about it the whole thing and
you know remission doesn't mean cure,
and you know you heard your oncologist's statistics
and you know ppl whose bowel cancer came back after three years
and you don't know what to do about "reversal" of the ileostomy
and you've "lost" your regular contact with the medics

and you're not well enough to do much else that you used to do
and "normal" is still a long way off
and you still need the care and attention of your family and friends

so I'm gonna carry on blogging ...

I am delighted to have a clear scan, but B and I are very much seeing it as a "treatment break" and planning to use the same calm sense of balance that kept us level during the last year to see us through the next one.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time, Gentlemen Purleez

That's it, drink up and move on,

this site is now officially IN:

I am officially IN REMISSION.

My scans are clear and there is currently no cancer active in my body and my oncologist has made an appointment to see me again for a scan in April.

Tra lalalala

thanks for everything !


clock watching

aye Julie - clock watching, well today at any rate.

Yesterday was lovely .. the sun was shining and we went out towards Tittesworth but then decided to ring the changes and go UP and walk along the Roaches instead. Good decision, very fresh and bright with lovely views out all around. Pity I had no camera with me, and even more outrageous: my STEPPER STOPPED. So all that yomping and no mechanical evidence for my fitness blog!

Good news - the tea rooms up there have re-opened. "Under new management" but nothing else has changed and we sat munching our hearty food and looking out onto hovering kestrels and a gallumping hare. B has recently seen a huge bird of prey up there, and the manageress says it's a peregrine falcon which perches on her wall sometimes.

It's enough, this sort of thing .. there is no more wonderful thing in life than to be able to be outside with your bestest mate and seeing the natural beauty in our own back-yard. One of the other women in there was saying to some ppl from Essex, "Oh I take it for granted,living here..." and B and I looked at each other and I know we both thought "Well, we dont ... " cos we never have, we always blather on about how great it is here, and get great pleasure from the area we live in.

Meanwhile, I ate loads ... on the CT scan appointment it says "Eat and drink normally" so I felt sort of obliged!

The scan thing was running pretty much on time and the RMO found a vein for the drip-thing really easily so that was all fine. We also bumped into Ann, the fellow-patient whom I talk to quite often in the Nuffield. Ann's bowel cancer started years ago. She has had various liver and lung surgery since, and is on "maintenance" chemo now. She is a very nice person and interesting cos she is my main source of knowledge about how this cancer can spread and take over your life .. but also my point of reference for how one can live with cancer, as she does.

I hope I don't have to go through what she does, but I also think she is inspiring as to how it IS possible to "live your life" with it.

I'm not sure what we'll do today .. it is pretty grey and rainy. I don't take this as an omen but I do think hill-walking is not on today's agenda. B is out running just now, and when she comes back we will decide. I might need a bit more retail therapy!

My appt this afternoon is at four, tho funnily Ann said she was expecting to see him about 4 pm too, and I doubt he is going to do a joint session! I'll update this as soon as I can after we get to see him.

It will be so great if today's update can be the end of this particular chapter and that this here blog can be put into mothballs for a while, indeed, mothballs for ever would be good ...

I think it's served its purpose well and I really do feel the kindness of everyone who reads it, especially the ppl who comment, cos comments keep me cheerful ... tho I know plenty of others read without ever mastering the comments thing, and that is fine too!

fingers crossed, then, folks, and thanks for all the texts and oteh messages of kind thoughts that we will take with us to Dr Adab today

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

distraction ....

.... is the name of the game this week. My friends have been keeping me engaged and I am mostly OK. B will be with me tomorrow, for the scan. We then see Dr Adab on Friday. I'm glad she's got the time to be with me.

I'll either post myself or get one of my family to post a comment on here when I've seen the doctor and have the latest news.

My guess is that we wont be answering the phone for a few days, whatever the outcome we need to just be together and take stock. We're going to Wales for a bit.

cheers fols and thanks for all the support

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Matthew Bourne rocks.

I went out last night to the theatre, the first time all year I've been to a show of any kind. I was determined to go cos CarMan is a show I've seen before and absolutely LOVED and wanted to see again, especially since it was on locally.

I think part of the reason I've not been anywhere else, either sport or theatre that I'd usually do is the fear of picking up bugs in a big crowd, or not wanting to sit still for that long, really .. but it was sooo worth the risk.

CarMan is a superb show, highly entertaining. That must be about the fourth version of Carmen I've seen now ... cos I've seen it "straight" and in a "film within a film" version and also On Ice! This dance thing blows me away ... really maximises the drama of the music ...


This week I am reminded of feelings I last had over 25 years ago, that waiting for results thing. It reminds me of waiting to know what sort of degree I'd got, and the fleeting fantasy of a first, and the surge of excitment that went with that notion ... or the alternative gut-wrenching fear of complete failure and the horror of that idea.

Generally these days I try NOT to anticipate things in this way, but waiting for cancer scan results seems to have flipped me back in time to that sort of habit.

Today, telling B I felt his way she said she had no idea what this was like .. apparently she always KNEW what degree class she was going to get. Imagine that! Perhaps that's about the certainty of studying science compared to the unpredictable nature of marking in Arts subjects. Perhaps just a difference in our personalities.

In any case, if you know what I mean, I'm in under-grad action replay at the moment!

Friday, October 05, 2007

home 12

Here I am again. Post-chemo-hazy and hoping it really is the last time.

It seems impossible to celebrate the end of the course and it was a tearful drive home last night. We so much want this to be the end of the treatment and I gave out boxes of chocolates around the hospital on the basis that I've had my last treatment there.. but part of me cant stop fearing the news that I have more treatment to come ..
I get into a strange sort of double think ...
"...yeah but no but yeah but no..." perhaps sums it up!

Anyrate, today has brought a beautiful blue sky and I will try to wake up enough to go out and take the air somewhere today. It must be the first totally clear sky I've seen in about six months .

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Last One?

Fingers crossed that this IS the last one.

B and have read all your comments below on my last post -- many thanks to you all for your support .. and in any case we're certainly NOT stressing about this all the time ...

As usual I'm putting off the packing and dillying about doing other stuff ... like drawing using Photoshop Elements ..
hey ho -- I've drawn y'all a big hug!