Monday, 30 November 2009

Helpful Advice Required from my Blogging Friends

Not the best picture of me - no makeup, hair all funny but I like my smile!

I am a big believer in not bearing grudges and being kind and nice to people. I believe in karma (getting what you give out back ten fold), I also think that jealousy, bitterness and anger are negative emotions which should be avoided at all costs.

Throughout my life I have had some pretty bad experiences. Some people would have let these experiences make them bitter but I have always accepted that every experience you have whether good or bad, builds you as a person.

A couple of years ago, I fell out with a neighbour.... its a long and pathetic story so I will not bore you with the details but I had just come out of councelling and depression and was starting to stand up for myself.... this obviously did not go down too well. I tried to offer an olive branch because I detest bad feeling but this was thrown back in my face. This persons mother died of breast cancer so she must know what hell I have been through this year but despite this she has thrown wild parties, and never once asked how I was doing. Considering how close we once were I find this rather puzzling. She has also alienated herself from my children and her children will not speak to me if she is around.

So here is my problem......... While fighting cancer, I have not had to do the school drop offs and pick ups so I have not had to have contact with this person. Now I am getting back into circulation, the contact is increasing. Whenever I see this person, I can't help myself but feel so angry, so bitter towards her and I really really don't want to feel this way. Bitterness has a knack of turning inwards and rotting your soul....... How do I combat these feelings and change them to more beneficial and kind feelings?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Friday Shoot Out - Smiles and Faces

The journey home from Centre Parks. We stopped at a motorway stop and I bought these "dummy" sweets for the children which had funny lips and teeth on them. We thought it was hilarious!
My Joe with his wide "cheesy" grin!

My husband and I! Don't worry, the blue eye shadow is now in the bin!!!!!

This was one of our chefs at Jungs Chinese resteraunt at Centre Parks. The food was totally fabulous and so were the staff.

Harry is pretending to be dead in this picture and Joe the "vampire" has just made him his victim. Great fun!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Herceptin Round 3

Harry pretending to be cold at Centre Parks just after we had seen Santa. The snow on the trees is fake!

Yesterday I had my third round of herceptin. My veins are officially shut down in my left arm now as the Sister canulated first time but could not get any blood out for my tests and when the saline started to go in my hand felt cold, then it started to ache and finally sting. The sister decided to remove the canula and put one into my compromised arm. This went in first time and with a minimum amount of pain. I have only had a sentinal node sweep plus the herceptin is not an irritant like chemo so I am happy for my compromised arm to be used.

The herceptin went in well and it was terrific to leave the Shooting Star Unit feeling normal. Many ladies came in after me for their herceptin. The drug is so expensive that they place all of the herceptin ladies together to minimise wastage.

I saw my oncologist yesterday as well and had a thorough check over. Not only does she check my breasts but also my stomach, back, lungs and heart. The oncologist shadowing her also noticed my mole on my back and checked that out too. When I told my oncologist what I was up to these days she was amazed and called me "super woman". There's nothing super about me though, I am just so happy to be alive and thoroughly enjoying life at the moment.

My running is going well and so far I am up to 24 mins of 1 min run, 2 mins walk. I feel good because I am able to de-stress and clear my mind. I didn't stretch out after my run yesterday so my calves were quite tight this morning. However, I took myself off to the pool, swam for 9 mins, power walked in water for 10 widths, aqua ran for 10 mins, stretched out for 5 then treated myself to the sauna and jacuzzi.

Everyone thinks my hair is cool but I just want to grow it, after having no hair it will be nice to have longer than a crop!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Our Weekend Break

We travelled 150 miles to Winfield Centre Parks in Cumbria. Cumbria has been hit by the worst flooding in years with bridges being swept away and two lives lost, one of those being a Police Constable. We were amazed that the centre remained open and even more amazed that despite staff shortages due to the extreme conditions, we were hardly affected and the staff moral was amazing. The picture above is of the "village" centre which is surrounded by the lake. The lake was lit up with the most spectacular lights. They even used fake snow and decorated all of the log cabins with Christmas wreaths.
All around the centre were lit up and sparkling reindeers in various poses. This particular reindeer being hugged by Harry was on the way back from the village to our log cabin.

The bridge over the river was decorated, Harry, Chloe and Joe are ready for fun!

I loved the swan on the lake the best especially as the wind bobbed it around. It was spectacular.

Our first meal out was at a resteraunt called Hucks. The staff were excellant as were the conditions for the children. They provided a childrens buffet which they could help themselves too. It included pasta, chicken nuggets, fish fingers, beans, chips, nachos plus other things. There was also a play area for children which kept them entertained. From right to left we have Harry, my husband Jason, me, Jan, Joe and Chloe.
I was like a child on Christmas day all weekend.... I saw the first red squirrel in 25 years! They are endangered in this country and far, far prettier than the grey squirrel. We also saw a woodpecker right outside our door, grouse, and even a Hare! Seeing such wildlife brought me so much joy.
The next morning brought a visit to Santas grotto followed by abseiling....... I will tell you more tomorrow.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My Big Surprise!

Today, I collected my big surprise...... my mini cooper.

I learnt to drive in a Mini, passed my test in a Mini and my first car was a Mini. I was gutted when I had to part with it for practical reasons. When BMW took over the Mini name, I fell in love with the car, it became my dream car. I never thought in a million years that I would ever own one myself but with the year we have had, the fact that I have faced my own mortality we decided, "what the heck" and went ahead and ordered our first ever brand new car.

I love it!

It has USB, blue tooth, auto lights, auto wipers, climate control and the one I love the best.....heated windows! No more waiting for the car to de-mist or de-frost.

So there you have it....... my big surprise!

We recently bought a new bed, had fitted wardrobes put in and new carpets. This is part of the room. The crosses above my bed were given to me by my boys. They bought the hand crafted crosses from our church, said a prayer at the alter and then gave them to me when I was ill with my chemo. Jason mounted them and they go so well with our new decor. The large cream heart hanging from the door was given to me by Harry when I was losing my hair in an effort to cheer me up.

Life will never be the same, post cancer.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Love and Light

I was up at 6am this morning because this cold had clogged me up big time. After quite a few cups of tea things got better and once I had taken the dogs out for a long walk, the autumn breeze had blown away the last of the cobwebs. Had a fab afternoon spent with friends in the valley, amazing to see the rivers almost bursting their banks and water sprouting from every part of the mountain. I remember driving through Snowdonia this time last year on such a day and the gushing streams were just amazing.

On our way to our friends house, we passed through the town of Chirk. I caught a glimpse of such love, life and vitality, the momentary glimpse has left an imprint on my mind. I saw a father pushing his baby in a pushchair. His wife hid behind her husband then jumped out to surprise the baby. As she did so, her long hair swung around her and her face was lit up with such love and joy..... She reminded me of me with my babies, the sort of thing I did with them. I wished I could have taken a snapshot and kept it to remind me how good it is to be alive.

My arm and shoulder is so weak. Now I am begining to do more things I am realising just how much the surgery and treatment has taken out of my body. I am still numb under my arm and on part of my breast and still have pain if I over do things. The most frustrating part of it is that I don't have strength, not even to scrub hard when cleaning. I am not worried because I know it will come back, I will make sure of that. I am running, I have started to swim again and I am aqua jogging - they will all help with lower and upper body strength.

Love and Light!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Flood Warnings

"Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink" (unknown) - my Nain taught me that saying

Britain has flood alerts, mainly in the southern part of England and Wales. The rain is pouring down really hard and everywhere is damp and soggy.

Nine years ago, the River Alyn burst its banks and the village was flooded. They have since carried out extensive works to the river to prevent such a thing happening. Water damage is so destructive and the germs, smell, decay, damp - not healthy at all. So I feel really sorry for those under threat of flooding this weekend.

A year or so ago, a chap was walking his young dog, a golden retriever by the River Clywedog in Bersham which runs at the back of my mums house. The dog jumped into the river but the current, caused by the heavy rains dragged the dog under and despite a frantic rescue attempt, the dog died.

We also have to be careful of mass erosion around river banks, with edgeways disintegrating into the river, one could lose ones footing very easily.

I am in my home, drying off having been soaked whilst tending to my animals. Poor things had wet homes too so I have been busy replacing bedding, and fortifying their homes against further dampness. I owe this to my animals because I have the freedom and ability to care for myself whereas they do not. Animals come first!

My husband and number one son have gone horse riding! The lessons were cancelled due to the muddy and dangerous field conditions so they were offered a hack out. The price went up of course so we had to decide who would ride and who would not because it is an expensive business. Harry decided he wanted to stay home with me and look after me...... his friend called around and now he has deserted me for him - children!

Ah..... these newcomers into horse riding! I grew up riding, mucking out, standing on the muck heap to warm my frozen feet, riding in the rain and getting chilled to the bone! I have the benefit of alot of experience and I wouldnt go out riding in this weather!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Friday Shoot Out - Places of Worship

This is the family private chapel in Erddig Hall from the outside.

Wrexham Cenotaph, not particularly a place of worship but alot of prayers are said at this place

Again.... not a place of worship but people come from all over the world to visit Greyfriars Bobbys grave

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Such a beautiful flower, so delicate and such a vibrant colour. There's nothing in this world like looking at a field strewn with Poppy's, its breathtaking.

The Poppy has become the international symbol for honouring the dead and fallen during wars, in particular the 1st and 2nd World Wars. Since then there have been other wars, korean, Bosnia, the Falklands and Iraq. It is hard to comprehend that now we are losing so many servicemen and women - do we ever learn the lessons of war?

This takes me to a song by The Men They Couldn't Hang, "Green Fields of France". The song tells the story of someone who has stopped for a rest by a soldiers grave and he ponders about this life of 19 years. He also condemns the fact that although this boy died in 1914, died to end all wars....... it happened again and again and again.

I was so pleased to hear from my boys today that they observed 2 minutes silence at the 11th hour on the 11th day to think about the fallen. Joe stopped his gym class and Harry stopped his swimming class.

I was born about 20 years after the second world war, living memory for those around me. I was brought up in the shadow of war and I thought that the youth of today would be too desensitised to respect the fallen. How wrong I was, and I am glad I am wrong.

I am preparing boxes, small packages containing goodies which I am sending to SOS, these boxes will go out to our troops at war and will help to raise their spirits.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Can't Stop Being Cold

Yesterday we had the first frost of winter. I went to put a cabbage leaf into my recycling bin and it was frozen shut! Mind you, I am still feeling the cold quite severely. It is 6 degrees outside, growing temperature for grass but I am sitting here wearing a cami top, thick polo sweatshirt, a fleece and a woolly hat and I am only just starting to warm up. Could I still be suffereing from chemo chills? I know that the optician said that he could tell that my veins were affected by chemo because they were not working efficiently so could it really take 2 months to still get better?

Ah well...................................

I had more news of my big surprise this morning! Fingers crossed everyone, it will be arriving on Wednesday 18th November........ excited is NOT the word for it!

Had a great walk with the dogs today, I really love to see them pounding through the leaves even though Wilbur and Pickles come home resembling a forest with all mannor of leaves sticking to their hair! I am training Wilbur to come to the whistle because its the only way I can get his attention when he is on the trail of squirrels. It was especially nice today because there were no golfers around so we really did "fill our boots".

Stupid car the Renault Scenic is in the garage for yet more repairs, this time a broken shock exorber - must be all those speed bumps Wrexham council decide to put everywhere! A couple of weeks ago it was the alternator cable. I have never owned a Renault before and believe me, I will never own a Renault, ever, again! We ran an Escort, a Mondeo, a Micra, Fiesta and a Sunny all without half the expense this has cost us.

Moaning over! My new scan disk came this morning so at least I am able to take photographs again. Sad news is that we are still having problems recovering the photos taken on our recent holiday.

Update on Jules Peters. She was hoping to be released from hospital today but sadly she is having to stay in isolation for another week. Desperately hard for her and her family as she is missing her sons aged 5 and 3. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers as she has done so much to raise money and awareness of cancer.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Today I Bought........................

HAIRSPRAY! Yipee!!!!!

Bonfire Night

I don't know if you all know about the British tradition of Bonfire Night on November 5th?

Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament but he was caught in the act. His punishment was to be hung, drawn and quartered. This punishment means that you are hanged until you are almost dead, you then had your limbs tied to four horses who pulled in different directions and while you were begging for mercy, your entrails would be taken out and you would be left to die....... nice!

Anyway, I digress! Each year we celebrate with the burning of the Guy on Bonfire Night. When I was a child, children used to make their own Guy then knock on doors asking for "penny for the Guy" - sadly this traditon has been taken over by trick or treating. On 5th November, the bonfire would be built and Guy stuck on top!

Last night we had a Bonfire and burnt the Guy at my friends house. She lives on the top of the mountains so there was nobody to disturb. OK, so it was a little late but it was raining on the actual day and cold, and miserable. It was such good fun. So cold though until the bonny really kicked in and then our faces were glowing with the heat. Alvin let off some lovely fireworks, the children enjoyed their sparklers and we all came home muddy, tired and thoroughly relaxed!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Its raining but not in my soul

I am so happy to say that my hair is considerably longer than it is on this picture taken a couple of months ago! Even long enough to say I have had a "bad hair day".

The rain is pouring outside, puddles are huge, everything is soaked right through. So much for Guy Fawkes celebrations, theres no way I am going to a bonfire party when this amount of rain is falling!

However, in my heart the sun is blazing and the sky is blue because today, I lost one and a half pounds at my weight watchers weigh in. That coupled with the fact that I swam for the first time since my diagnosis yesterday and running is feeling good..... I feel as though I am taking control of my life once again and it is the most wonderful feeling in the entire world!

I had news of my big surprise the other day too and pretty soon I will have a delivery date for it! Watch this space!

Thursday, 5 November 2009


Apologies all around! Firstly, my scan disk is corrupted and we cant retrieve the holiday photos I took (and there are loads). Jason has tried lots of software to try and get them onto computer but with no success so any advice will be most gratefully received! I am waiting for the new scan disk to turn up so until then I can't take any more photos. I have taken these photos from my archive so I do apologise if you have seen them before.
The above photo is of Wrexham Police Station set against the skyline.
This photo is of St Mary's Catholic church in Wrexham

Edinburgh, December, the skyline was amazing, this photo does not do it justice!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Weight Gain and Bloating!

You will know about my bloating until the weekend when it started to get better. I had my meeting with the surgeon this morning and she confirmed what I already knew, that the bloating and weight gain was due to the drug Tamoxifen. However, my cancer tested extremely sensitive to hormones so really, I would be silly to stop taking it. I was given advice on how to reduce swelling and told that hopefully everything would start to settle down soon. I will have another review in 6 months.

This is what I already knew in my heart of hearts but I following my blue day last week, I have a renewed vigour to reach my target. I WILL lose weight, I WILL run again and I WILL get my fitness back!

I was given the all clear to start swimming again which will help with lymphatic drainage and she endorsed my running which is all positive!

I had my second lot of herceptin today and everything went as smoothly as before.

I had my second run today.... 60 seconds running, 3 minutes walking x 4 - 16 mins. I went out before the children were up because I knew I had a busy hospital day ahead of me and as it is my training plan to run on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, I really didn't want to jeopardise the plan when I had only just started. I was extremely proud of myself at making this supreme effort, I didn't let any negatives get in the way, I went out and did it. The only thing I found was, because I didn't warm up due to the time constraints and I didnt take my ventolin before hand, I found it slightly harder going than Monday.

I feel as though I am getting control back of my life and that is brilliant. I am have some exciting plans which I need to set in motion. The first being Reiki, I desperately want to master this skill so that I can use it in my professional life with dogs. I also want to take an animal first aid course and possibly a course in canine nutruition. I want to explore the spiritual side of my soul as well.... I would like to learn how to open my pyschie and be able to harness that skill which has been neglected for so long.

Despite the cancer diagnosis, I have found my War with Cancer quite liberating. For the first time in my life I am relaxed, I don't worry about things any more, I appreciate what I have. The only fear I have is of regression. I do not want to return to my old habits of self criticism, of eating disorders and low self esteem. I recognise my enemy within and I will fight it as I have fought cancer.....

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Get your Rocks On!!!!!

No, I don't like this picture of me! My face is so bloated but this is me and it is right and proper that I should reveal the real me not the one I want everyone to see! On the swelling score, my fingers and toes have reduced and now my 3rd ring (My Nains) fits me perfectly again. I noticed my cheek bones for the first time yesterday as well! I am seeing the consultant tomorrow just to go through this side effect and I am going to contact my friend to get more information from his angle.

I was really tired today on account of a busy day yesterday. Once the children were at school, I got into bed and slept for 2 hours solid. I woke up feeling great so I got on my bike and did some errands. Posted a card to my friend on Manor Lane, took some parcels to the Post Office on Station Road, stopped off at the Chemist on Chester Road before returning home and I felt great for the fresh air and gentle exercise! The dogs had a short walk today but exciting none the less because we came across my friend who had lost her dog Molly in the woods. The tractor had scared her. Needless to say it all ended very nicely with Molly being found and reunited!

I decided to take the car to school to collect the children even though it is only a 10 minute walk. The reason I did this was because I have had a busy afternoon and I had tea to put on, Joe's suitcase to help pack and the Breast Cancer Support Group this evening, there is going to be a talk given by a life coach!

So now to the title of todays post! While we were at the Llyn, we did lots and lots of beach walking and while there I did my favourite thing, I collected rocks. Usually I put them in my garden but this time I looked for palm sized stones. The idea is that I am going to try my hand at rock painting for small Christmas gifts so look out everyone! I will let you know how I get on. My acrylics were delivered today along with the matt spray so I am excited about making a start!

An update on Jules Peters... Mikes tour with The Alarm has been cancelled and rescheduled for the new year. Jules is an integral part of the team organising these events and that as well as the fact that Mike needs to support his wife and his two sons, Dylan age 5 and Evan age 3. Jules is still in isolation and will remain in hospital for at least another week. Her rehabilitation will take months. I sent her a "Caring" package today, I know how much these packages from friends all over the world have meant to me so I wanted to spread the love.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Today..... I Ran!!!!!

Today, I bit the proverbial bullet and started my running programme and it made me feel amazing.

I am following the ZEST Running Made Easy Plan and have started where I have never had to before, at the complete beginners place! Last year I was following the same plan but for a 10K race and was almost through it when I was diagnosed with cancer.

These recent weeks, one thing I have noticed is that although I feel so much better than before, my body is weaker than it has ever been in my entire life and I get tired quickly. Bearing that in mind, I have decided not to do my usual "jumping in with 2 feet" but to pace myself and take it slowly. So today it was 60 seconds run and 3 minutes walk x 3.

I read a running book once which advised a slow run/walk training programme because apparently your CV system gets fitter alot quicker than your body which is why alot of people succumb to shin splints and tendon injuries. Now, I know that I do have a dodgy hip flexor and delicate knees so I am bearing this fact in mind.

As I ran today, I remembered that it was this time last year that I was attacked by a German Shepherd whilst out on a run. I had planned to do a 5K run to a small village called Doddleston and back. I was happily running along when with no warning at all, the dog ran out onto the road and attacked me. He punctured my thigh and my instinct was to run so the dog continued on her attack. In a blink of an eye I took control of the situation and my two thoughts were, one: I must stay on my feet and two: I mustn't let the dog have anything to grab onto. I then turned my back on the dog, pulled my arms over my face and head and tightened my body. The dog was obviously making a go for my arm but instead, bit into my side just milimetres away from my breast. She bit through a base layer, a running top and a very heavily constructed running bra.

The farmer called the dog off and I reported the incident to the police. The dog has been put on the bite register and if there are any further incidents then she will be destroyed. I declined the offer of a lift home and instead walked the 2 miles back. I grabbed a quick shower to make sure that the wounds were clean then off to the doctors for a tetanus and antibiotics!

My mum is adamant to this day that the shock of the incident is what triggered my breast cancer. All I know is that for 6 weeks after the attack I succumbed to every illness going including cellulitus to my arm.....

I think back to this time last year and although only 12 months have passed, it seems like 12 years, like another lifetime.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Glad to Have My Blog Back

Before I get started on this blog, I just want all of my blogging friends to look at the picture above of Mike Peters and his wife Jules. They helped found the Love Hope Strength Foundation which aims to put cancer centres in every country and make cancer a curable disease. Mike himself has battled the beast twice in the last 15 years and his type of cancer is incurable but can be managed.
They have done so much, you must visit the LHS website to see what amazing things they have achieved. They have donated thousands to the cancer centre where I received part of my treatment. They have climbed Everest, Snowdon and now more recently Kilimanjaro.
As a result of this quest, Jules is now seriously ill in hospital suffering with not only DVT but a tropical disease. She is in isolation so will not even be able to see her two very young sons. I want you all to say a prayer for this amazing person. Hold her in your thoughts and pray for a fast recovery.
So.... I am back home from the caravan and now I can access my blog and everyone elses. It has been quite frustrating not being able to visit blogs or even pick up the comments left on my blog! I will be busy catching up with you all over the next week.
I am back in the pink! I only let myself have one blue day every once in a while, I think it helps to cleanse the mind and body but thank you for all of your messages of support which helped turn me from blue to pink.
The only other frustration I have at the moment is that my scan disk is not allowing me to upload my pictures so my wonderful husband has allowed me to use his from the holiday and will be working to fix my disk so that I can share the fab photos I took on holiday.
The above picture is of Joe pretending to fly a "Vampire" aeroplane at the museum.

Harry loves aeroplanes and so last Christmas we bought him an authentic pilots flight suit and Jason managed to get badges and a beret which he loves. In this picture we were on Llanbedrog Beach and he was busy enacting war scenes. This took me back years to my own child hood when I used to play the same games with my brothers!

Harry was flying a helicopter in this picture and by the look on his face, I think he must have been about to crash!

This is me and my Joe, Jason was insisting on taking photos of me which I dont like because of my weight gain, hair and general poor self image. We decided to pull extreme faces for this one!
We had a lovely week away, it is so relaxing on the Llyn. The best moments were the air museum because the look on Harrys face when we got there was just why I love being a mum, I also enjoyed the bonfire on the beach. Warm autumn night with leaves falling onto the sand, the magic of the fire, waves crashing on the beach and only us there - what a magical experience.