Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Poetry Heals

I find solace in poetry, it has helped me through many a difficult time. As part of the Spirit Jump programme I was so sad to hear of the loss of one of the jumpees to whom I had just sent a spirit jump. I followed this up with a card of condolenct together with one of my favourite poems which comforted me greatly following my brothers death in 1990.

An Indian Prayer (Anon)

When I am dead
Cry for me a little
Think of me sometimes
But not too much,
Think of me now and again
As I was in life
At some moments it's pleasant to recall
But not for long.
Leave me in peace
And I shall leave you in peace
And while you live
Let your thoughts be with the living.

I was touched beyond belief to receive the most beautiful card from the family and I was told how much this poem meant to their father, that it healed him over night. I am so privelaged to have been able to transform a life with a simple gesture.

So listen to this. Gossip, nasty words, deeds can impact greatly on a life in such a negative way. Driving a nail deeper and deeper into the ground. Please don't choose this way of life. Don't gossip, don't relish in other peoples misery...... Instead, I beg you to do the opposite. Smile, give compliments, make a positive difference to someones day.

Throughout my fight with cancer, the text messages, face book messages, blogging messages, cards and word of mouth messages are what has kept me going. YOU reading this will have given one of those messages and I want YOU to know what a tremendously positive impact YOU have had on my life and for that I thank you.

A Good Dog

That is one thing that cancer has definately given me and that is TIME to do something I so enjoy and have not previously had the time to do it and that is READ! Reading is a form of escapism for me. It takes my mind away from cancer treatments, needles, appointments, illness... it takes me to another world and another life.

I have just finished reading the book "A Good Dog" by Jon Katz and am bereft. It is a true story and I found it such a compelling read. I liked the way that the author was truthful and honest about his dog Orson. There is no Hollywood ending here..... just the cold hard facts of life and moral duty.

Jon Katz has had quite a slating over this book and what happened with Orson and this makes me really angry. What right does any human being have over another to judge them. They did not know Orson the dog, they did not live with him, they were not in Jon Katz shoes so how dare they have the audacity and arrogance to judge him.

I live by the code of "judge not lest ye be judged". Nobody knows what they would do if they were put in the shoes of another person so it is not our place to be the judge and jury that is for the hands of a far greater being than us, thank you very much.

Now, let me climb down off my soap box, and lets hope I dont trip up while I get off...... no of course I wont trip, I haven't had a glass of wine...... oops...... sorry...... private joke.

Seriously, this is a great book, not one to be read without hankies but one which has evoked powerful emotions in me......

Monday, 28 September 2009

Phew! What a Weekend!!

Jason and Sian figuring out the wiring for the lights, kareoke and music!

What a hectic weekend we have had! We had our new bedroom wardrobes fitted on Friday so then we had the huge task of finding homes for our things and fine tuning the newly transfered wardrobes in Joe's room. I am so pleased with the wardrobes which were fitted by Broughtons in Chester. I would highly recommend this firm as they designed the furniture to our room and the quality of workmanship is excellant. Very pleased.

Saturdays are always busy in our house because 9am until 10.30am Joseff has his tennis lessons with Reg at Chester Lawn Tennis Club then at 11.30am the three boys head of for riding lessons at Lisas. Jasons mum came over this weekend as well and we only just realised that it was Chester races! Hectic traffic!

In the afternoon we took ourselves over to Sians house to help her and Jan put the decorations up for the 70's party thrown to celebrate Jans birthday and end of chemo for me. It was pretty amazing I can tell you.
So Jason dressed as Austin Powers and I went as a flower power girl. I have always quite fancied long blonde hair so you can guess the type of wig I bought. We drove to Sians through the village picking up Jans sister on the way. You should have seen the looks we got, it was hilarious! We saw Christian (Joes class mate) and his dad on their bikes and Christians face was funny. They cycled back for a second look!!! We could have driven around the village all night having fun but the party called....
This is Sian and me, sorry the pictures are not too good we were too merry to work out the flash!

The food was done by caterers and it was AMAZING. I am so sorry I didn't take pictures of the food because it was a complete work of art and it tasted so good. There was salad, new potatoes, Salmon en croute, the beef wellington just melted in your mouth, eggs, pate on biscuits with olives, a cheese fondue, jelly shaped like a rabbit, melon balls, prawn cocktail, black forest gateaux, and fairy cakes with magic moon dust on them.....

So here is one of our hosts with her daughter dressed as Wonder Woman!
I didn't drink too much however I have found that in the aftermath of chemo alcohol tends to hit me quite hard. I regret to say that I DID fall over twice and giggled which is the norm for me, but I did take myself off to bed at midnight while the party still raged until 4am! I dipped my feet into the jacuzzi, I laughed, danced, fell over and had so much fun. I even slept walked but thats another story......

Sunday was spent in tiredness as you can imagine and today more zapping which actually made my scar hurt but hey ho only 4 more to go!

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Kilimanjaro Rocks!

For some reason, my link to the Love Hope Strength Foundation isn't working, but if you just search with the name Love Hope Strength, you should be able to locate both the UK and American sites www.lovehopestrength.co.uk

Right you lot! I know I bang on about Mike Peters and the Love Hope Strength Foundation but he and his team are on their way to Kilimanjaro as we speak to raise global awareness of cancer and to raise money so that everyone in the world has access to cancer care and detection.

You can send Mike and his crew messages of support as he and his team climb and the link is http://www.kilamanjarorocks.org/ Remember that Mike himself is a cancer fighter with a form of leukemia for which there is no cure but gladly he is in remission right now.

On 2nd October it will be LIVESTRONG DAY, to show your support visit http://www.livestrong.org/ and consider wearing yellow on that day (I wonder if I can get my hands on some yellow nail polish?)

The Love Hope Strength Foundation will be meeting UICC and working with them to provide support for a unit for a childhood cancer unit in Tanzania.

6th October marks the day they are to have climbed 19,336 feet to the top where they will release thousands of prayer flags (my name is on one) and sing (if they have the energy, pray that they do!). I think it will be the highest and most amazing rock gig of all time.

Please show them your support, they are an amazing team of REAL people and they are doing an awesome job.

http://www.lovehopestrengthfoundation.co.uk/ (also an American section too)

Friday, 25 September 2009

Friday Shoot Out

Sorry for my late submission of Fridays Shoot Out but I encountered some technical difficulties which my darling husband Jason, sorted out for me. Thank you Jason

The shoot out was to focus on a building in our community so I have done that. This building can be seen from our back bedroom windows. It is situated on Chester Road which is the old main route from Wrexham to Chester. The building is dated 1797 so I wonder if it was once a coachings stop along this once busy route?

In recent years it has been a Petrol Station, the last one I know of that offers service with it.

The lady who ran the petrol station has only just retired, she must be in her late 80's now. Her parlour is the window closest to the petrol pump. Sadly she retired due to mobility difficulties and the fact that she was burgled so the village grape vine tells me.

She keeps applying for planning permission for the land around her home every 10 years so I think it will be a matter of time before the house, and its trees are ripped down and replaced by lots of modern small homes. This is why I chose to photograph the building. The chimney is a little shaky!

It is so sad that I no longer see signs of life at the filling station. I will knock on her door once I have finished radiotherapy to make sure she is ok.

This must have been a mechanics shop at one time. To the right of the building there runs a small stream. You can see the cars, the cream one is the oldest and was her favourite until her legs gave out and she had to replace it with the blue car which is an automatic.

Can you see the brick wall on the right with a slight recess? Well, that wall backs onto our garden.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Tired...... AGAIN!!!!

Yep, tired again! I wish I didn't feel like this. I can cope with feeling ill but not this washed out tired feeling.

Mum, Auntie Heather and Uncle Phil took me to Glan Clwyd today so it was a nice change. Uncle Phil is having a stall at Coedpoeth Village Fete on Saturday. He turns wood and makes the most fantastic crafts such as carved walking sticks, figurines and welsh love spoons. His attention to detail is "second to none" he has an amazing talent and his works of art astound me. I will try to get some photos and hey....... if anyone wants to commission a piece of work...... made by a 100% welsh man, living in the welsh mountians, let me know and I will get you in touch with him.

In Wales it was a tradition for a suitor to carve a wooden spoon for his betrothed which signified everything he could give her. These spoons are beautiful.

Anyway, I digress...... Radiotherapy over again, same faces, same routine. My radiographer yesterday and today was born in 1966, same as me! The year the football won the World Cup! I hope I have weathered better than him!!! Mind you, it was nice to put the young ones in their places when we talked about shillings, half pennies and the old pound note!!

When I got home I was ordered to bed by my mum!! I must admit, the second my head hit the pillows I fell asleep. However, last night my sleep was interrupted by a naughty yapping dog called Pickles! The only time she yaps is if she is upset but last night it was because I had a chicken defrosting on the side! Naughty Pickles!!!!

I managed to get to the doctors in the village and requested some diprobase on prescription without seeing the doctors. The nurse said this would be ok so I can collect from Glen in Rossett Pharmacy tomorrow.... that will save me about £5 - £10 because all our prescriptive medicine in Wales is free on the NHS.

So tonight, mum has gone home and I am looking forward to a night with my husband, hopefully a peacefull sleep and more radiotherapy in the morning.

Oh..... PS....... I can't share my secret with you yet but at the end of October........ one of my dreams is coming true........... watch this space dudes!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Another Day Another Dollar

Joe: I love it when he wears the colour red!
I had my 7th dose of Radiotherapy this morning. All is well! I love the colour of the green lasor lines that cross your body, a beautiful vibrant colour, really attractive! The staff are really lovely, I got told I looked like Demi Moore yesterday! Well, I would like her body and her money but its all wishful thinking! Actually, I like me and my life and I wouldn't change it apart from the having cancer bit.
The area where they radiate is slightly sore but no redness yet. It throbbed a little last night but I adjusted my cushions for support and that helped. They told me to increase the amount of times I applied cream so I will do so!
I feel as though I am coming down with a cold. I have ZERO energy, slight headache and my nose is stuffed. However, it has been windy, it is autumn and it could be my allergies .... who knows.... I will rest and see what happens.
I have started a new post to help me with my fitness and weight lost challenge post cancer. www.saraschallenge.blogspot.com I will post my stats and pictures on a Friday which will be when I get my weekly weigh in at Weight Watchers. I am hoping that by blogging about my challenge, it will help to keep me focused.
Just waiting for the boys to return from school. Harry was "litter picking" today in the park as part of the "clean up Wales" campaign. He was very excited about using the grabby picky up thingy (he loves gadgets..... mini man in the making!).

Monday, 21 September 2009

I Have Made a Decision.....

Well, I am totally fed up with my body even though it has served me well through chemotherapy and surgery and now radiotherapy. I am 2 stone overweight (28lbs) and I am fed up with being breathless. My once well toned arms through dog grooming and swimming are now not and I am fed up!

I have decided to really get back on track SENSIBLY!!!

I am going to re-join Weight Watchers on a Friday morning once I am through radiotherapy at the start of October. At the same time I am going to start my running programme (Running Made Easy by Zest). Again, I will start that at the begining of October. In the meantime, I am going to start walking in preparation for running.

The first thing I am going to do which I have never done before and I must admit, I really dont like the idea at all....... I am going to have a set of start photographs and measurements and I am going to visually document my battle with fat to keep me going.

I have done this before and I will do it again. I need to drop 2 dress sizes to get down to my previous size 8 (US size 4).

I feel as though my life has been on hold with cancer, continually feeling rubbish and ill and tired.... I know it will take me a while to recover but I must make a start for my physical and mental well being.

Don't worry, I have been a fitness freak all of my life. Before marriage I cycled 30 miles a day because I didn't have a car, I did aerobics twice a week, I swam every day and I weight trained seriously, my spot partner was a bloke and I could beat him with sit ups and with weights. I know my stuff and although I have never been this unfit in my entire life, I will do something else I have never done before..... I will start at the begining.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 20 September 2009


My mum and Joe

Friends come in all shapes and sizes. They come from all walks of life and bring with them a wealth of information about their lives and experiences. They can be any age, any colour, any breed. Friends have no limitations.

Italic Chloe

When I was a girl, I had pen-friends from all over the world. Some came and some went but I am still in contact with two of them, one from America and the other Canada. We have never physically met but we are still friends and we care about each other. We give each other support when needed and just because we have not met, it doesn't lesson the friendship or bond that we have.

Italic Margaret, my mother in law

Some of my friends are tiny, some are large, some are wrinkled and some are covered in fur. Some I have met, some I have not but my friends are my friends and I value them so very much. My friends have played an integral part in my fight with Breast Cancer and some dont even realise it!

Mums dog Al

My blogging friends, well, I have not met you but you are my friends, no less or no more than those I see every day.

My Joe

So my friends, I thank God for cyber space and computer networking and I thank God for having you as my friends.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Friday Shoot Out - Domestic Animals

I could have put hundreds of pictures on my post "Domestic Animals" because my life is my animals... always has been and always will be. The above picture is of my darling first pony Shilo. I was given him as a rescue pony and turned him from a naggy, underweight and very sad pony into a healthy, happy best friend. I do miss him.
This picture is a very old one of me aged around 10 riding a 14.2hh mare called Cindy at Erddig Hall stables.

Little Harry riding Splash who was all kitted up for the festive season.

Harry being prepared for his lesson on Splash with Lisa.

My beautiful and darling first dog Bobbi aged a few weeks old. She was the love of my life, we shared such a special bond. So sad when she died of lymphoma aged just 5, my heart broke in two that day.

One domestic animal making a fuss of another!

Poppy with her own little domestic animal. She loves these little teddy bears which belong to the boys. She specialises in stealing them and taking their eyes out then guarding them from the other dogs, treating them like her "babies".

Wilbur the terrible with Pickles in the background and the blonde guineapig is Jessica.

Not such a good picture but this is my little boys Russian Dwarf Hamster, Penny. He is called Penny because he was the size of a penny when Harry had him. He is an old man now being almost 2 years old.

This is my eldest sons hamster Blossom. She is a Syrian hamster aged about 5 months old. She had been playing in my dolls house.

Really great shoot out, I could have published more!

Feeling Better Today

This photo was taken while the boys were on holiday at Nana's with Nain too. This place is in Conwy by the harbour and near the castle. It is the smallest house in Britain. It belonged to a fisherman and provided the basic care he required which was a fire to cook on and a bed to sleep. My mum (their Nain) wanted this picture taken because a similar one was taken of me and my brothers when we were around this age.

Day 3 of radiation went well apart from not being able to park. I am getting to know some of the faces and the ladies using "Aled" ward seem to all have breast cancer so we joke about our gowns and how things are going.

My mum came with me today along with my Uncle Phil and Auntie Heather. It was a quick experience again. It was nice for mum to see where I am being treated and may help put her mind at rest. Having lost one child, I know that this cancer fight has perhaps hit her harder than it has me.

I was exhausted when I got home. I think it is a combination of being 5 days from chemo when the blood cells start to dip, TOTM (yes, I know.... should have stopped but hasnt) and driving the 100 mile round trip for radiotherapy over 3 days. Also, the previous night, my husband was due home at 8pm, dinner ready for him to reheat and despite a few messages telling me he would be late, he didnt get home until 2am and I can never ever settle when he is late home. When his is on rota I always wake up at the time he is due home and cant sleep until I hear that door opening. Its the way I am.

Mum has been staying over to help with the children and she has been a star. Apparently there was an altication in the cloakrooms at school yesterday and Harry allegidly hit a class mate. The said class mate then threatened Harry so my mum replied telling him "Less if that talk! If anyone is sorting Harry out it will be ME!" - good old mum! Jason has spoken to Harry's support assistant this morning and she is going to investigate. Harry absolutely ADORES her, has invited her over for a sleep over so that she can watch Star Wars with him and she has helped him so much at school, he is a different child because of her.

Anyway, I was at the end of her sharp tongue and was ordered to bed at tea time because I felt too ill to eat and remained there until this morning. I am feeling much better today.

So, 3 down and 12 to go...... Oh, I almost forgot....... HAMSTERS!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Faith! I Believe.....

The picture above was taken at my friends daughters naming ceremony. This was the day before I started to lose my hair, I had it cut short in preparation but nothing, nothing on this world prepares you for losing your hair.

I don't know why, I can't give you an explanation.... but, deep in my heart (I am so scared to say this in case I jinx myself) I am so sure that I am cancer free...... I am so sure that I am not going to do this again. I have been given my test, I have past my test and now I am a stronger person, better equipt to deal with whatever is my purpose in this life.

I remember those years of trying for a baby; tests, pills, more tests...... Once I put my concerns to one side and accepted that this may not be my destiny.... I became pregnant with Joe. Having miscarried once, my pregnancy was threatened again..... I can't begin to tell you how it felt. I prayed and prayed that weekend and on the Tuesday, while walking across the car park, watching the ducks on the stream.... I was filled with a warm glow, as though some invisible arm was giving me a hug and the words came into my head "its going to be alright" .... and it was.Italic

This is how I feel about cancer.

Day two of radiotherapy was not as traumatic as yesterday. I talked to some women with breast cancer, I joked about the colour of our tunics.... "why do I get the insipid yellow.... bright purple is much more me!" - nice to have a giggle at not so giggleable topics! It was lovely to hear a mother with her 4 year old daughter and father talking in welsh. I was able to understand their tittle tattle which pleased me because I have lost my tongue since the death of my Nain and Taid. So comforting to hear welsh spoken as Wrexham has become much more diluted in the last ten years..... It is such a wonderful language, spoken with a tune..... love it! Dwyn carwch cymraeg!

So, I have faith and I believe.......

On a final note: I was so sad to hear of the death of Patrick Swayze, I have had a crush on him for 22 years! Ghost came out just after my brothers death and although it broke my heart, his portrayal brought me comfort. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lisa who must be totally lost and crushed by this loss.

Monday, 14 September 2009

First Radiotherapy Session

Well, I was so nervous today. Usual symptoms; slight nausia, tight tummy, tense neck, unable to speak ...... I don't know why I was so nervous because everyone has assured me that it isn't anywhere near as bad as chemotherapy.

We got to Glan Clwyd Hospital Cancer Unit with quarter of an hour to spare. I felt quite emotional because it was alot busier than last week when I went for my preparation appointment with people buzzing around.
I was called in early to go through what was going to happen then given this wonderful (not) gown which is mine for a whole three weeks - yipee do! Got changed, put my clothes in a shopping basket then waited.....
I felt a whole range of emotions as I waited...... For the first time I realised that it was me with cancer, yes me! Incredulous! Cancer, cancer, cancer ..... the big C - me? Yes ME! Amazing!!!!!
I think it was the fact that everyone in this hospital was here for the same thing, we are all part of the same club, we bat for the sJustify Fullame team....... cancer, bloody cancer! I was overwhelmed and I really, really, really wanted to hand my membership in.... don't want to be part of this club but ooops..... no choice, once you are picked for team cancer - thats it you are in!

The process itself was really quick. The ceilings had mood changing lights and music played. The machine itself had lines projecting onto my body which were a wonderful shade of lime green. Click, click, click, click.... over and done and home I went.

Did I mention that my Robin Red Breast visited me this morning for the first time in months? He jumped onto my Kilmarnock Willow, chirped then flew away. Peters message.....

Sunday, 13 September 2009

My Adopted Word is...... HAMSTERS

Actor: Stephen Fry supporting I-Can's "Adopt a Word" Scheme

Both of my children have had, have "speech, language and communication" problems. They have received therapy at different levels and still have professional input in their lives.

When I was baptised into the realms of SLCD it was a complete shock for me. I have always been an excellant communicator, indeed, my apraisals regularly commended me for "being able to communicate on all levels..." what this meant was, as my job as a buyer I was able to speak to production line workers and company directors alike, achieving my objectives with success.
I got good grades in English Literature and English Language, I have always loved to read and write so this disorder was a culture shock.

One cannot imagine how awful it is not to be able to communicate. This is how it affects you;

1. You don't "get" the subtle jokes
2. You can't express how you are feeling
3. You have great ideas in your head but you just cant make people understand[
4. You know what you mean, why doesnt anyone else

Oh, I could go on and on and on.......

I have adopted the word "hamsters" because my boys hamsters, Penny and Blossom are important to them. Their hamsters understand them without question and they understand their hamsters.
As an adoptive "parent" of the word hamsters, I have to exercise the word on a regular basis. So fellow bloggers, look forward to hamsters appearing on my blog now and again.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

End of Chemo and PANDORA GROWS

Those of you who have been following my blog for some time, will know that my War with Breast Cancer is being commemorated by my collection of Pandora beads. My best friend started me off by giving me my Pandora bracelet, together with the Breast Cancer Pandora bead when I was a "supporting parent" for her daughter Chloe at her "naming ceremony" earlier this year. From then on, I have been marking each stage of my fight with a pandora beads. Some have been purchased by myself, others come as kind and thoughtful gifts - all come with LOVE.

I purchased the above bead myself to commemorate the start of the last session of chemo (one session consisted of 2 rounds of chemo a week apart) which also happened to fall on our 15th Wedding Anniversary.

I had such a rough time of the "wedding anniversary" chemo, with canulas not going in, veins shutting down and then the nurse pushing the chemo in so fast I became ill that my husband purchased this bead for me and it came from John Greed Designs the very next day. He wanted to cheer me up and I will treasure this particular bead forever. www.johngreeddesign.co.uk Super fast and efficient service from John Greed Designs, as always.
To mark the end of Chemotherapy, my best friend bought me this bead. This comes with such love, thought and caring because she understands just how much my faith means to me and how strong it has kept me in this fight. She herself is unconvinced so the gift is even more special because of this.

My final bead to mark the end of Chemotherapy came from my mother-in-law. I particularly wanted this bead because of its significance in my cancer fight. Early on, at the start of my treatment, a friend sent me Reiki healing in the middle of the night. I received the healing in the form of a vibrant blue butterfly. I didn't realise its significance until it came up in conversation. Forever in my life, a blue butterfly will mean love, hope, strength and faith.....
My bracelet is not yet complete. I have to tackle radiotherapy, my first hair cut (can't wait), my first swim, my first running race, getting to goal weight, my one year after surgery, herceptin. Once it is complete, it will be an eclectic range of beads and colours but to me.... it will be priceless and a lasting reminder that life is good, life is wonderful, life is for living........

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Friday Shoot Out - Aged and Weathered

This Fridays My Town Shoot Out is called "Aged and Weathered" by Pauline. A challenging project!
My husband wanted me to focus on aged and weathered stuff but I explained to him that it was all about showing everyone your neck of the woods.

Sorry, I have had to use archive photos this week because I had a bad reaction to last weeks chemo then loads of hospital appointments this week so I haven't had the energy to get out and do the photos I had planned.

The photo above is of my mum and her dog Fudge standing inside a tree in Erddig Park! The hole has been created by a fungus which has eroded the centre of the tree over the years. Sadly this tree was burned down by vandals. You can see evidence of the start of such erosion in a picture featured below.

The grounds of Chirk Castle. This stepway has already been repaired since this photo was taken. Maybe it was the impact of the hundreds of little feet who have run down the walls. You can see the lichen and moss growing in the crooks of the stone.

The above picture is a bit obvious. The grounds of Gresford Parish Church. The stone second from right is where my brothers ashes are inturred. His stone has been there for 19 years and is cared for but many of the older ones are definately aged and weathered. Gresford Church is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales. A former area of pagan worship with evidence of Romans at one point!!! The Yew Trees that you see are ancient and are actually part of a pagan belief that as the roots run deep and long they anchor the dead souls to their resting place.

St Marys Catholic Church in Wrexham Town Centre. Very aged and weathered!

A tree in Darland Woods where I walk my dogs. Evidence of fungi and lichen. The whole in the trunk is erosion caused by a fungi infection. Over the years this may grow with the tree causing it to have a cavity in its centre. All it may cause the tree to fall down - who knows?

This is my back garden with an appearance by Wilbur. I wanted to take a shot of the fence which is extremely aged and weathered and due for replacement. It has been damaged by the weather but in additon the neighbours kids didnt help by continually bashing it with footballs until chucks came out. See the Ceanothis tree? That plant is only supposed to flower in May and yet here it is in September sporting some pretty blue buds.


This is the cake I had made for the staff at Wrexham's Shooting Star Unit where I have received my chemotherapy. I ordered it from a local shop called "Sugar and Spice" on Charles Street www.sugarandspice-wrexham.co.uk and he did me proud! Don't let the white icing deceive you, underneath there lies a CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!!!!!!! I had the words of Mike Peters on the cake www.thealarm.co.uk "Love, Hope, Strength" because that is how I cope with my fight.

Can you hear the happiness in my voice? Can you hear it as my fingers dance lively across my keyboard?

My last round of chemo is over! Done, gone, gone forever! Hurray!

My nurse was Sarah and she is so lovely, well they all are! She tried to get a line in my compromised arm but for some reason, failed. The vein they had used last week was still badly bruised. She checked out my other arm and the veins were pretty useless so rather than traumatise me like last week, she called the doctor and he managed to get a line in. Not as gently as most of the nurses I must say, but at least it was in.

Sarah suggested that given my situation I may like to consider a port for my herceptin. She said that my oncologist doesn't normally do ports but she would talk to the doctor and it could be a possibility. I will not deny it because my veins are small and this has been a nightmare.

Sarah was so kind, she pushed the drugs in very slowly so it didn't hit me like a truck like last week. Consequently, I am not feeling as bad as I did this time last week; then I got home and spent the next 24 hours lieing in bed! At least I have felt well enough to lounge around in my PJ's. My tummy hurts so much and my arms and legs are weak but I think my elation of finishing chemo is helping keep the side effects to a minimum.

We went to Sainsburys for a bite to eat post chemo which was nice. We both had the mega all day breakfast which consisted of; 2 eggs (I gave one to Jason), 2 sausages (I gave one to Jason), bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and chips (fries for you Americans reading this). Yummy!
So my friends....... this chapter is closed and the next one is opening. I just want to thank you all; my friends and family for sticking by me, for all the positive comments which has kept my fire burning. I thank Mike Peters of The Alarm for his inspirational music, which, on my darkest days have helped me to renew the fight.

On a final note..... I thank my brothers Peter and Gareth for being my brothers. Peter and I now share a day in the year......10th September for different reasons. His day took him away from us, my day keeps me with everyone but he is always with me in spirit. I put sunflowers on his grave today post chemo, he was like a sunflower for me... Tall, Strong, Straight and like the sun he shone and will always shine in my heart........

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Eye Tests are an Education!

My eyes have been troubling me over the last few months and when I started having splodges in front of my eyes when reading, I decided that I was due for an eye test.

So I telephoned my wonderful optician Mr Seys Llywelyn and made my appointment.
Mr Llywelyn is dyslexic and he is the most interesting person I have ever met. He gives you a thorough test but stops to chat as well. Sadly, he is retiring this year so I will have a hard job finding someone of his calibre.

He asked me if I had neck problems, I confirmed that I did and he told me that it was the neck problems causing the splodges. He explained that we have 4 veins supplying the brain and 2 of them travel through the bone. When on chemo your veins are narrowed so the supply is lessened. That, together with tiredness and movement / position of your head can cause the supply to lessen even more. This probably accounts for the headaches I experience when running.

The tinitus I have been suffering, the chills, the eye sight problems are all down to the chemo's effect on my blood supply. Once I am through with chemo, these side effects will disappear. There was me thinking it was nerve damage! He also confirmed that I do have small veins which has an added effect on my system.
Good news is that I was negative for glaucoma and apart from the chemotherapy I am a very healthy person!

I prepared him for Harry's appointment on Friday, he will need preparing!!!! I, in the meantime, will find myself a decent chiropracter to sort my neck out once and for all. After all, once September ends I will be running again and I don't want to be compromised in any way!!!!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


The pub in Glyn Ceiriog - our favourite place (not the pub but the actual village)
When I was growing up, one of the many pieces of advice given to me by my mum was.... "in life, you have to be like a tree which bends in the wind. If a tree stood rigid, it would snap, learn to bend....". I have always followed this advice, adapting to change really well and not being too bothered by it.

This week, I have found myself to be snappy, irritable, naggy....... Why? I ask myself. Then I realise that I am at a transitional phase of my cancer treatment. On Thursday; the 19th anniversary of my big brothers death; will be my last dose of chemotherapy. After 12 rounds of chemo over six months, I will be glad to kiss goodbye to that phase in my life. I then move onto the next stage which I haven't thought about much, the radiotherapy and it scares me. However, like every aspect of cancer treatment you have to put on that "stiff upper lip" and soldier on..... It is rather like fighting a war with cancer. One mission is soon to be accomplished then on to the next and the next and the next until peace can be declared once more!

So, having never been phased by transitions before, I am surprised that I find myself feeling the way I feel at the moment.

This thought leads to another thought.

This time it is with autism and those with communication problems. Transition is hard for them as their security lies in routine and mundane daily grind. I now know what it feels like to be my child...... I now understand just how hard life is for them, dealing with situations that I have taken for granted all of my life. Simple changes in routine such as going to school a different route, a school play instead of the usual work.... all these tiny tiny little things that we all take for granted because we are ABLE to bend in the wind.

Cancer has taught me so much in life...... Mainly.... not to take ANYTHING for granted, be it transitions, being able to adapt to change, my family & friends, my life........ I am also able to discard the unnecessary and the unwelcome and focus on what matters.
Transition.......... Bring it on!!!!!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Radiotherapy Set Up Day

Teal Toes for Ovarian Cancer Awareness

Sherry, I will post you a link I just hope I am not too late. Chemo has been bad this week so today is the first day I have been able to think about make up or nail polish. Soon over though!
Today I had to get to Glan Clwyd Cancer Unit in Bodelwyddan for 10am. No mean feat with having to drop the children at school. Harry didn't cope with the change in routine very well so this meant a rocky start to the day, we managed. Another disaster was that my friend couldn't drop her dog Poppy off with me because she had lost her in the woods, then as we spoke, she found her but her daughter fell into the swampy lake! Disaster!

We got to the cancer unit on time and I must say how posh it all is. It is all newly furbished and very nice for NHS!!!! I had a brief appointment with my oncologist just to sign the paperwork for radiotherapy and finalise details for Herceptin and Tamoxofen. She warned me that there would be alot of talking over me and about me so I got myself mentally prepared.


I was handed a piece of paper to cover my breasts while I got myself into position on the table. The two radiologists were lovely and kept me informed of what they were doing as the fiddled me into place. I had to then lie there as still as possible for half an hour while they moved me, x-rayed me, stuck labels on me, drew on me and measured me.


I decided that the best plan of action was to close my eyes and think about other things such as my dogs, my family and my blog. This way I didn't end up feeling like a piece of meat and also I didnt have to acknowledge the other members of staff who were working on my not so pretty body.

The good news is that because the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes, I will not have radiotherapy under my arm pit which was a worry of mine because mobility of my right arm is important in my line of work as a dog groomer.

The final insult was the application of permanent "dot" tatoos. As if my body hasn't been cut up, stitched up (or rather glued) and mutilated enough. I keep reminding myself that a few dots and scars are alot better than the alternative.

We got out of there as quickly as possible. However, the cumulative effect of 11 rounds of chemotherapy, sleepless night last night worrying about today and travelling had its effect on me and I hit a wall of exhaustion so the rest of the day was spent in bed, too tired to read or even think.

At least I was well rested for when my Screamers came home from school, since then it has been full on action with Harry filming his dwarf hamster Penny and play fighting. Off to swimming classes tonight so I should get an hours peace, poor Jason fronts it all!