Monday, December 28, 2009


ppl trying to phone us need to know that our land line is unplugged for technical trauma reasons (that means I dont really know what is wrong with the bloody'thing! )

and you can either use our mobiles or tinternet to talk to us ..

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day

This time last year we sat on the cliff tops by the Atlantic eating crackers and salsa for lunch! We were in Lanzerote and had been rough tracking on the bikes along the volcanoes by the cliffs and beaches near Papgayo.

This year was a return to more traditional matters, which seemed a bit odd to be here for Christmas without Mr Kettle! We both missed him!!
We had a mini-platter in his absence, with all the traditional trimmings of turkey and stuffing, with lots of various veggies. Seems we were too busy doing the cooking or eating it all to take any snaps, so you'll have to make do with these photos of our tree and other decorations!

We hope you all had a very MERRY Christmas, and wish all our family and friends a very Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Had a pretty grotty, disturbed night, up for three hours with repeated toilet tripping .... YAWN .. but the day dawned bright and sunny and we went out yomping in the snow ..

This is the moorland at the back of our house ... notched up 7000 steps on this outing!
You can also see the value of the SKI PANTS!

It was very bright when we set out, but changed quickly as the clouds rolled in...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

festive finery

got to hospital today and there was a guy with lights and tinsel on his stand ... so I got B to get some for me ...

cute, eh? it's a snow theme

Monday, December 14, 2009

Good weekend

Spent a great weekend with the Two Jays ...

Did some walking around both the Roaches and the Lake at Trentham. Ate out lots too, the Tea Rooms at the Roaches are open every day of the year now, except three days over the festive period .. which is good news!
Must admit it looks like we are entrants in a comedy hat competition, but I don't care ... I even wear this bonnet up 'anley duck, and ignore the stares and sniggers!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


A slight change from the usual crowd this week:

one loss adjuster,
two sexy Celias,
three carpet fitters
four feisty cleaners
five delivery guys,
and an engine load of firemen


The Celias were obviously the high spot of this melody ..

Celia F knows how to do lunch - we'd already arranged that she would come over on Tuesday and she generally brings food with her, when she comes. I called her on Monday and alerted her to the severe kitchen crisis: nothing daunted she shifted her food plans.

She swept in here on Tuesday with a big flask of home-made soup, some chunky ham rolls and individual ramekins of apricot and brandy trifle. Plus the cakes and mince-pies in a tin as well! Awesome, as I'd say if I was American ..

The trifles looked amazing, heaped high with whipped cream and toasted almonds, the miracle was that they'd travelled at all, but Celia has a knack with packing as well as cuisine! The brandy in the trifles was my first drop of alcohol for 18 months: surprised I wasn't tipsy!

Thanks Celia.

And progress in the kitchen means it is all clean, the new flooring is down and the cooker is plumbed in .. so if you don't look up and see the smoke damaged ceiling, or spot the singed work-surface you'd just think I had a very clean kitchen!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Come Dine with Me

I love that programme (perhaps a bit sad to say?)

I think I'd be a natural for it, friendly enough and enjoy cooking and eating!

I also reckon I'd be good for the comedy element .. take this Friday Night, for example, from which I have learnt these two tips which I offer to you too:

However lovely your recipe, and however keen you are to get to the table, when you've cooked it

1. make sure you turn all gas jets fully off ..


2. if you accidentally leave gas jet slightly on, DO NOT put plastic chopping board on top of it.

If you neglect these two bits of advice you will find yourself with a kitchen fire and two fire-engines outside for the evening ..

I kid you not, this is what happened to me on Friday evening.

I have spent the day dealing with insurance ppl, though hats off to them, the Co-Op and LV have been great so far!

Saturday, December 05, 2009


I recently put a new battery in my stepper as part of my "Keep Moving" campaign and went around the lake at Trentham yestersday. I was amazed to find this "proper"walk only clocked up about 5,000 steps, and strolling to Bourne Sports and around Sainsburys in Stoke ratcheted up 3,000. Quite a surprise that these were so close.

I am going to log my daily steps as a way of keeping an eye on my campaign. If you are interested in this anorak-y stuff I am going to use the fitness blog as my notebook for my stats ...

I've done two little bike rides this week and should get another one in this weekend with Brigid, but whatever you do on a bike doesn't really record on a stepper.

Today we are awaiting the arrival of B's mum and David. They've been in the Lake District, just outside the worst of the flood areas.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Good news all round. I feel better now. Vesuvius rumblings from belly have subsided and I don't feel too sick any more.

Even better: Dr Adab's ideas on the timings of the treatment were laughed out of court by the nurses, who have planned three week gaps so that hospital and patients alike can get a break over Christmas. This is great, means next chemo will be starting on 15th Dec, then off until the 5th Jan.

Even better better: I've been able to do walking or cycling most days, and am optimistic of sustaining my drive to keep moving more through this lot of treatment. The new regime hasn't made me feel any worse than the old one did ... well better, in fact, since the sore hands and feet scenario it taken out (Vesuvius belly isn't as bad as a trade-off!)

My ride today included bobbing into the college car-park to collect my bike lock. Tho I am too scared of germs to risk going in, there are always a few chaps loitering in the car-park to banter with ... :) guess who I saw?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First chemo


Oh well, it could be worse, it's nice not having the oxyliplatin, and only having to stay in for two nights.

It's also nice coming home!

Still feeling a bit queasy, tho the anti-nausea tablets do keep it down quite well. I'm a bit tired too, tho managed to get some proper sleep last night, for the first time in over a week, so that helps.

This week I've had visits from Andy, Sam, Mandy, Huw, James, Keith, B's mum, David Stretch. Gosh, that's a lot of visitors ... and I enjoy the distraction.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Llandudno Treat

I have tried, several times, to line up these picures with their captions, but Blogger is beyond control sometimes, and determined to move them about.

Perhaps you'll have to imagine this as a puzzle and play "match the caption" if it scrambles them all AGAIN ...

This shows off my new dressing gown and the pyjama top you can just about see:

and the lovely breakfast that come on a tray
and the view down the prom from our window

The size of the suite is more obvious from this angle, with sleepy B on her sofa .
We had some good sunshine on Sunday:
Artistic view of the Grand Hotel .. worth clicking to see it full size.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hospital Glamour

Went shopping at M n S last week to treat myself to some new pyjamas and a dressing gown. The ones I wore last time are pretty tired and also I'm three sizes smaller, so I would have needed new stuff anyway. I reckon a new bit of luxury will make the fortnightly stays in hospital a little more bearable, so I set off to the shops, giving Primark a wide berth.

It was a good time to go shopping, cos (if you hadn't noticed) it is nearly Christmas and they have got lots more stuff in. I chose some luscious soft stuff in their Autograph range ... warm mink and aubergine colours which I really like.

When I got to the till I thought I'd offer up the gift voucher that people from work had sent me, which was supposed to buy me a few flowers (I'd been told!) In fact there was enough money to pay for the lot. I must admit my eyes filled with tears .. I hadn't any idea there was such a generous gift in the envelope.

I hope they don't mind I didn't spend it on flowers, and it feels very sweet that everytime I'm in hospital I'll have this glamourous gear with me as a reminder of the kindness of the people I work with.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Weekend plans

Brigid and I are going to have a couple of days by the sea this weekend .. to my favourite: Llandudno ... and our favourite hotel there Osborne House.

We stayed there before for my 50th birthday, and we like it cos the rooms are HUGE, well suites really with lots of antiques to give it a proper "country-house" feel. The room we're having has a bay on the front which allows you to look out down the length of the promenade, and is very close to the pier for a littel stroll out ... even if it is raining.

In fact, to ensure walking in all weathers we have bought ski pants, so there is no excuse, we have warm trousers that are both wind and waterproof ! Yay!

I've had my flu jab and will get my swine flu jab later on in the week next week.


Went to see Mrs Hall this week .. she told me about the histology again. 11 or 12 lypmh nodes were taken out and they are all clear, so she was REALLY pleased about it ..

I guess this level of pleased-ness is all very relative, since the whole situation isn't making me feel too great, but on the sliding-scale of things she was expecting to find at this point it's clear she is taking an up-beat view! In short - it could hav been much worse!

Monday, November 09, 2009

New Car

We toddled up to Wigan this weekend and came home in my "new" car. Of course it isn't literally new, but it is only four years old, and looks very new inside! It is a Honda Civic, three door version and with an automatic gear box. It is a metallic blue colour that we can live with!

The best thing about it is that the number plate is only one digit different to B's car number plate. Weird but true -- looks like we got matching plates only without spending any money on it!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Forward Planning

The good news is the histology was back after the surgery and Mrs Hall has got it all out .. clean margins .. always good news. Also good is that they found nothing in the lymph glands ... and nothing in the lumps she thought they were suspicious in my old scar. Three goods!

Dr Adab can't see the point in a PET scan, cos the treatment ... chemotherapy ... would be the whatever any other scan showed. I need more chemo now, because there has been a substantial new growth on my bowel.

The hope is to contain the lesions on my lungs and stamp on anything else that was thinking of growing. He'll review progress with another scan in three months.

I asked him if this was my outlook for the rest of my life, and he said not every other week for the rest of my life, there will be breaks in the treatment, but yes, I can expect regular burst of chemo to contain the metastasis in the future.

The new regime is going to be slighly different. Still 5FU and avastin, but NOT oxaliplatin this time (the one that gives the peripheral neuropathy side effect). This time I'll be getting irinotecan - side effects: chronic gut pain, diarrhoea and if that wasn't enough - you get hair loss with this one too .. hey ho! Actually you can read the whole bloody page on some of these chemo drugs without spotting the bit that tells you what GOOD they're doing you ... I assume they're killing cancer cells ino the bargain.

The only redeeming feature to this is that I will be inside for two nights instead of three this time, and he wants us to carry on living our lives as normally as possible.

Right then.

Oncologist update

I will be seeing Dr Adab this evening. Had a fairly restless night, not consciously thinking about it, but no doubt it was lurking in my mind.

It was in Brigid's subconscious mind, for sure. She had a very vivid dream where someone was breaking into our house and she went down to send them away. Which she did, and then she ran after them to get the keys back. Which they gave to her. The house was full of obstacles, but she was successful in her mission to keep us safe.

She sees this as symbolic of us trying to get rid of the intrusion of cancer into our lives. In dreams your house often seems to represent your feelings about what is closest to you, or your own soul.

It also reminds us of that time when she really did race after a guy who had sneakily stolen her handbag off the back of her chair when we were having a picnic in Park Guell (Barcelona), She somehow knew it was him in the crowds and ran about 80 metres to catch him. She made him give get her bag out of the bag he was carrying and got it back from him. Crazy woman!

This is exactly where we were sitting when it happened:

Monday, November 02, 2009

National Trust Fans

Had a good day out at Sudbury Hall with Mark, Tracy and Luke. We found the pub in the village there suited us, The Vernon Arms, which was just the ticket for decent portions of good pub food at reasonable prices. The last time we went to Sudbury we turned the wrong way out of the car-park and ended up having our worst pub-lunch experience ... so we were nervous!)

After lunch the sun shone enough or us to walk around down to the lake at the Hall and through massive flocks of swans and various geese / duck types of birds (see I'm not taking up a new career as a twitcher!)

We had a good dayout. I am also recommending the coffee at the Hall cafe where we enjoyed a giant cafetiere and shared out Tracy's Thorntons mint chocs, hey ho to the diet resolution ... a great complement to the fish and chips I ate in the pub.

I thought I'd post these photos from an earlier jaunt out to Cougthton Court, we've been to a few National Trust places together this year, and sometimes we have a camera with us. This was just at the end of the summer hols.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

1/2 term

Have had a mixed week - pain and discomfort seemed to get worse for a bit, but that seems to have passed now. It's been lovely to have B around, and she has looked after me really well. We've done a fair bit of walking round Trentham and we're making progress on getting my car repaired so we can trade it in and get me my "new" car next week.

B's sister was here at the weekend and we are seeing my brother and family on Saturday. I'm hoping to do some walking with them.

Still no word on the future treatment options. I've been trying to sort out flu jabs and swine flu jabs to get some protection for the future.

Monday, October 26, 2009

one week out of hospital

It's been a busy week, cos in between lazing around and watching TV I've had lots of visitors.

It was helpful to have mum and dad around during the week so B could continue to go to work and know that someone was taking care of me. We also saw my Aunty Barbara and Uncle Cliff during the week plus my bother came up last weekend and B's sister was here yesterday.

Various pals have also popped in to brighten my days, and that has been lovely.

I still feel as though a horse kicked my belly when I walk around much, but I've tried to get out and have been to Trentham three times - it really is a tonic, with the wide open spaces and ancient trees.

It's 1/2 term this week, so the lady wife will be fussing me and making sure I keep moving as well.

No news yet about when I might see Dr Adab to get news of the treatment plan.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Getting up Mont Ventoux.
This was a challenge I set myself at some point last winter and I kept to a pretty strict diet and trained for hillclimbing so that I would be able to do this iconic climb this year.
Since my last operation (June 2008) I lost five stone! I climbed hills in the Peak District through the winter 2008-9, and did soem good distances in Scotland at Easter and Ireland in June with my eye on doing serious climbs this summer. I did this Mont Ventoux climb in August 2009.
I went 10 miles up it on the day the Tour went past and a few days later did the whole thing, that's about a mile up in the air (1912 metres above sea level) It is 16.5 miles of cycling uphill, with NO downs and no flat ridges. It took me a little over 2 hours 30 minutes. You cannot imagine how great that felt. There are lots of other cyclists there, but very few of them are women, or my age, or my size … even though I lost a lot of weight I’m still big for a cyclist … so it was a good feeling to be strong enough to do it, and pay a tribute to the good job my doctors did on getting me better!
It's a sad to realise that even as I did this the cancer was already growing again. I do so hope they can patch me up again.
My next goal is to do some climbs in the Pyrenees next summer. I've seen the Tour De France schedule for next year and the final week is in the Pyrenees with a Time Trial at Bordeaux. This is near where our good friends Lili and Bouclette live, so I am hoping to spend the first week of our holidays with them, see the Tour and do some Pyreneean climbs myself .... great plan eh!
This is the professional photo, if you click on it you get the large version.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One week post op

I feel very well, considering. The pain is not a fraction of what I had to deal with after my first abdominal surgery, and I feel pretty good. Of course, last time was a much bigger op, deeper into my body and needing a stoma creation as well. Plus I'd been battered by radiation and chemo in the preceding weeks, so altogether lots of reasons for it to be worse then and better now.

Psychologically I am trying not to think what three visible secondaries might mean for me, long term. Spots on both sides of my lungs can only be bad news. I will see Dr Adab as soon as he's had histology results from my bowel tumour. I guess within a couple of week, and then he will be telling me his treatment plan.

I got the impression that chemo was the most likely route, as the spots are small and might go with chemo ..... but there was a passing mention of the option to deal with them surgically ... which is tricky with both sides being involved ... but then I am super-fit atm ...

Whatever, they certainly won't entertain surgery if they get a bad answer to the big unanswered question: are these three just the tip of a metastasizing mountain of mini-tumours seeded all about my abdomen? I'll probably have a PET scan to tell them that.



Friday, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

plan ahead

I am wishing I was cycling in the sun with you Malc, but will settle for the memories of the summer in france, which was so great

... and the next year's tour schedule came out this week .. they are doing a time trial near our pals in Bordeaux, so that's next year's summer mapped out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

windy wilde!

Good morning!

Suze is up and walking about trying to shift the discomfort in her belly.

Not as bad as last time though and she'll soon be on here herself reading all your comments and posting again. I look forward to hearing all about them later.

I'm off to work now

Enjoy your day

B xxxxx

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Hi, Just spoken to Susan she is feeling fine , has seen three Drs' all pleased with the progress
she has had some breakfast and the staff are just geting her out of bed.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Hello every one,
Susans op; took 2hrs' she is back on the ward ,and is ok.

Susan spoke to me and said she is feeling 'chipper' and is waiting to have a race with Brigid on her bike .
She has not had a colostomy bag fitted and is very pleased about that.

I spoke to Brigid and she is HAPPY BUNNY.

The doctor had no trouble removing the tumor it whas on the outside of the intestine, near the join with the small intestine ...  only a part of that needed removing .

Susan will be on chemo again for the two small sites on her lungs, and we all hope that treatment
will be as satisfactory as last time .
Good bye to you all for now, and many many thanks for all your kindnesses and best wishes.


wow - the sun is shinging! amazing..

I'm all packed up and ready to go, lots of bags, as usual ..
At least I've not had time to get scared about the surgery this time, with only a few days notice.

I also realised that I've been in the recovery room at the hospital four times before, so not only is FIVE an auspicious number, but I can mentally project myself there already and just bypass the bit where I am unconscious and imagine coming around and being cared for by the nurses.

My dad will update this later on this evening, whenever he gets some news from Brigid.

I started to re-read this blog last night, but there sure is a lot of it! and that's without reading all the comments.

I love comments, so if you are starting to read again, please don't be shy about adding a few words, just to let me know you're there.


lots of love

suze xxxxx

Trial run.

Susan , I am having a go to see if it will work, just a one liner first ,here goes!!.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

summer to celebrate

Three years ago, when I first got a cancer diagnosis I was told my tumour was inoperable. But they found a way to shrink the bugger and treated it. Thanks to my medical team we have just had the most marvellous 12 months together, cancer free and very strong.

But I've always known this could happen again. The odds were there from the start. 66% -- as most of you know, these were not good odds. Part of the reason I've worked so hard on my health is so I could be physically strong in the event of secondaries coming back.

Now they are back I am trying to hold onto the wonder of the summer, and here is a photo to remind you all of where we got to: me and my lovely wife on the top of mont ventoux

.. and where I am aiming to be again, next summer:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

nearly october

oooh - I can't seem to quite retire this thing!

I just flicked over the calander last week and saw that my annual scan / bloods Dr Adab do-dah is scheduled for 1st and 6th October .. I sort of had it in my head it would be around 1/2 term, and it seems very SOON for it to be here again already ..

It made me a bit mopey for a while ... 66% chance of secondaries in the first two year .. gaaaah ... his voice still echoes in my head with that scuzzy statistic .. and yes yes, I know it's only a statistic . .. I remember the lampost analogy as well .. but this is the two year check

gaaaaah ..

Anyway .. can you believe it, two years since the chemo finished? And they have been a very good two years. I've loved going back to work part-time and I am mentally strong and physically as fit as I've ever been.

To have faith in the future we've started looking ahead to our Christmas holiday -- thinking we'll do something like last year, jet off to some sunshine and more cycling .. yay!

And if my general state of health has any relation to my innards, I am fine, really fine .. thoroughly enjoying life, really enjoying being fit and geting great pleasure from zipping about on my new bike.