Thursday, 25 February 2010

First Year All Clear

I had my visit to the Oncologist and Surgeons yesterday but lucky for me they decided to combine the appointments so I didn't have to waste my whole entire morning in the Shooting Star Unit!.

The good news is that I have had my first year all clear. My mammogram was fine showing only scar tissue which "did not look sinister" in the words of the surgeons!

My swollen fingers and achey joints are all down to herceptin and the oncologist asked me if I still wanted to go ahead with a years worth to which I replied "hell yes I don't want to risk having to go through this again".

I am not feeling very good this week. I have no energy but that is down to pmt I think. Yes, my onocologist is amazed too, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, tamoxifen and herceptin and my body is still in working order so to speak!

Tomorrow I have a saddle fitter visiting Cola and I so fingers crossed we find a saddle to fit as I am itching to start riding him properly!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

New Life

This time last year I was recovering from my lumpectomy and lymph node sampling ops. I could barely move, a massive haematoma saw to that and the anesthetic knocked me for six. Everythiing I ever did was stopped; my mobile dog grooming business, swimming, running and all the races I had planned..... I really couldn't see beyond the day in hand let alone dream of a future. The thing that kept playing in my head was the conversation I had with my surgeon "I have just about ruined this year for you, but the next 40 are going to be great..." I didnt believe him at the time.. about the next 40 being great!
A year on, my life has changed beyond recognition. I don't get stressed like I used to.... whats the point? So what if the kids play up? So what if things go wrong? In the whole scheme of things, I have been to hell and back. I have looked death in the face and walked away.
I have a fab new car - my mini cooper and a wonderful addition to our family in the shape of Cola. I am running and swimming again and even doing some yoga!
Anybody reading this who may be going through cancer treatment right now.... believe me, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Life will be bigger and better!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Cola is Here

It has been a mad few days since Wednesday! We traveled to Uttoxteter in our rented horsebox to colloect our little man. It was quite emotional for his owner Karen as she clearly loves him to bits. He loaded beautifully and we took our time on the return journey because of our precious cargo. He seemed so relaxed on arrival and enjoyed the fuss Joe and Harry gave him. The owner of the yard said that he checked on Cola at 11.30pm that night and he was very relaxed.

It was so hard organising the logistics of getting Cola home, I totally forgot that I had a herceptin infusion due that day. Luckily the staff at the Shooting Star Unit accommodated me and allowed me to change my day to the Thursay morning at 9am. So I left Jason, Joe and Harry with a list of instructions and Cola was fine.

I have had 7 infusions of herceptin now so only 11 more to go! The doctor tried my chemo arm first of all and although he got a line in and was able to draw out blood there was no flush back therefore the vein wasn't able to support an infusion so my compromised arm it was (again). I have been suffering with really sore eyes recently and he was so kind, he prescribed me some eye antibiotics. That saves me a trip to the doctor which I am glad of considering the fact that I have 3 hospital appointments next week, one to see the Oncologist, one to see the Surgeon and the other for my heart scan.

So today we turned Cola out into the paddock for the first time and he was eager to get out there. He has suffered with bouts of laminitus over the last 2 years so as you can imagine I am quite anxious as to how he will get on with the grazing. We will be going back there in an hour to put his bed down, get him in, clean the poo from his paddock and feed him. We are loving Coca Cola so much!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Searching for someone

I am desperate to get back in contact with a very old friend of mine. We were penpals as children but lost contact with each other when I moved away from my home. It was a turbulant time in my life, I had just lost my brother, my parents went through a nasty divorce and my fiance was cheating on me.
Her name was/is Maria De Jesus Perez and she was married to Antonio. Her first son was called Rolando Cruz Perez and they lived in Salinas, California, USA. Maria would be around 43 now and Rolando would be about 26 or 27.

We were such good friends and used to write lots to each other. I have heard in recent years that she had tried to get in touch with me via my old address but nothing has been forwarded to me.

If anyone recognises the details or the faces then please could you let me know. I know that this is a long shot but I have put the photos on Face Book as well and you never know.....

It would be so nice to be in contact with Maria again but most importantly to know that she is happy and healthy.

If you can help, it would be so great!

I Am Back!

Sorry I haven't been around much but I have been so busy arranging things for Cola and to be honest with you I had the worst case ever of chemo brain. By Friday my head was completely fuzzed, I wanted to cry but couldn't, I couldn't organise my thoughts, I was forgetting words mid sentence........ all of you who have had chemo know the score, I don't need to explain! Yesterday I spent the day scanning old photos so I have decided to share them because they are special. The above photo is of me aged 15 about to go away on a school trip.Going through the photos made me think alot really. First I thought "how old am I?" because I have had so many body shapes, hair do's and parties! I also felt really sad at the people and pets I have lost and that was quite difficult to deal with but I had some good memories too. The above photo is of me and my neice Emma Louise taken in 1991 - hard to believe that she is a full grown woman now about to have a baby of her own.

This is me aged a couple of weeks old. I remember that chair too. Mum had me at home and apparently I was an easy baby from day one. Wish I had had one of them!

This was taken in my back garden, I am the one with the long hair and the other girl is my best friend Karen Scott. We had such laughs together. This is the only photo I have of her and I really treasure it. Karen was killed in a car crash when she was 17. The first time ever her dad had not picked her up from the disco, she begged him to let her come home with her friends. Then the friends got into a car race on the industrial estate and the outcome was the death of a vibrant, kind, fun loving and beautiful girl.

I have had many parties in my life and this was a fun one, very well planned indeed! Yes we had party rules and we covered the carpets with plastic and stored the furniture - it was a fun party.

Taken in 1992 in Liverpool City my friend Julie and I having fun. My Swiss Italian friends came over for a week so we did alot of sight seeing and alot of silly things.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Where Did the Week Go?

Phew! What a week! Where did it go?

I have spent the week trying to arrange the logistics of horse transportation and at last, I have it sorted. Cola will be joining us on 17th February. We have hired a horse box from Halls Horsebox Hire and Jason will be driving to Staffordshire to collect him with me. We have arranged his stable and ordered hay and straw and bought all the tools we need: brush, plastic shovel, poo picker, wheelbarrow, buckets, grooming kit and hay nets and my best buy was a PYKLE (hay fork). These are like gold dust these days and as I learnt to muck out using one, I didnt relish the idea of using a normal fork for the job. I am happy.

I have registered Cola with our vet and once he has arrived and settled the vet is coming out to see him and make sure that we have everything covered. I have even ordered a name sign for Cola's stable!

We are all so excited!

Mind you, this week has been a hard one for me as I have had a bit of a set back in my health. I have just felt achey, stiff and tired so I have taken it easy and tried not to do so much. I am recovering nicely and will be back to running next week.

Just took my naughty rabbit Ralph to the vet as he has an ulcer on his eye and a scratch on his other one! Alot of money later and we are home!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Coca Cola

Introducing Coca Cola, soon to be our new member of the family! Cola is a Fell pony which is native to this country. Thick set and rugged, built for enduring harsh moorland winters. He is such a handsome chappy, I may even get Jason to do some inhand showing with him while the boys can do ridden showing.
I am so excited! I just need to sort out the transport and we will be all set!

Saturday, 6 February 2010


Yesterday was a really long day! I went to weight watchers for my weekly weigh in and I have lost half a pound which is great considering the week I have had! I got called for a private chat with a WW lady and she has found a lump...... I gave her the best advice I could which was to call the hospital directly and get a date for her consultation which she has and we will take it from there.

We travelled to Staffordshire to see the Fell pony and I am in love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are having him. He got bitten on his muzzle and so couldn't have a bit in his mouth so I rode him in a headcollar and he was fab fab fab. He responded perfectly to my leg aids and when we went out on the lanes he didnt bat an eye lid at: dogs, fire, hedge cutting, cyclists, tractors, vans..... It convinced me that he is going to be perfect for my boys. His name is Cola!

I went to the school PTA Quizz Night and we lost but hey! We got a consolation prize which I am keeping for a party in the spring yay!

Life is good!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Gathering Part 4

The rest of the weekend went way too fast for us! We enjoyed the Battle of the Bands during the afternoon when the bands played against a panel of judges to decide who would be warming up for the Alarm that evening. The evening gig was amazing but sadly, I fatigued and had to sit out but we could still see the stage and hear the music. We didn't make it to see Children of the Revolution at midnight or the punk rock kareoke but we loved what we did see. I keep forgetting that I am still recovering from chemo.
At 10am on the Sunday we met in the Love Hope Strength Foundation suite and after a speech from Mike and a collective sing song of Love Hope and Strength we took a stroll to the beach. Somebody forgot to check the tidal times because the waves were crashing against the barriers when we got there. Mike stood on the wave barriers and gave us an acoustic performance of Rain in the Summertime as he was splashed by the sea.

Back at the site, after a full english breakfast we met Mike and Jules and he gave me a personal message "Never give up without a fight". Jules thanked me for the care package I sent her and she was so sweet.
Today I had my mammogram. It wasn't pleasant as the scar tissue hurt when under the machine. Now I have to wait until the end of the month before I know the results.
February is an eventful month for me! On Friday we are going to look at a Fell pony in Staffordshire, I am doing the school quiz on Friday night in aid of the PTA, the week after we are going to the Take That Tribute Night (a year to the day of my operation), I have various hospital appointments and on 27th I am doing a sponsored Ghost Hunt at the Tower in Mold in aid of Wrexham Maelor Special Care Baby Unit. Phew! Will I manage it all!!! Yes I will!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Gathering - Part 3 - The Acoustic Performance

The Gathering 2010 was officially opened by Mike Peters at 7pm. He gave a rousing speech and I was lucky enough to be at the front so I was able to get some good shots.
We got to the acoustic stage in good time and I managed to get a place right at the front. Jason insisted on taking photos of me so I decided to comply!
This is the acoustic set stuck to Mikes guitar. He opened the gig with "Love, Hope and Strength" a beautiful ballard which says it all when you are fighting cancer! Blaze of Glory was the final song and I swear, I am going to have that played at my funeral as the casket goes out to the cremation chamber!

Mikes roadie did a fantastic job of looking after him. He made sure that he had a bottle of water near each side of the small stage, he poured him a glass of juice and made sure he had access to that, he was on hand with spare guitars and plectrums, the harmonicas were laid out nicely. He did a sterling job!

I wanted to get a shot of Mikes jeans because they were frayed at the bottom. I wanted to do this to show the world that Mike is not just a celebrity, he is a normal, down to earth family guy.

I was so lucky to be up front. I was standing next to one of Mikes neighbours who was there with his 7 year old daughter. They thoroughly enjoyed the gig. I liked "people" watching while I was listening to Mike play..... I got almost as much enjoyment from that as I did the concert. I clocked the expressions on the faces of the fans and only one word can describe them all and that is adoration!

This guy is 50 years young, this guy has fought cancer twice and is currently in remission and this guy can sing, play and perform with amazing energy! He is my inspiration.

Young, older we were all united in our love for Mikes music past and present. The one thing I couldn't understand though was the fact that a few of the fans were well under the influence of alcohol and while I enjoy a drink as much as the next person I felt that they were so inebriated that it would have taken the enjoyment away from the concert. I loved every minute of that session for so many reasons; the energy, the music, the close proximity so a guy who has helped get me through 2009, and people......

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Gathering - Part 2 (our accommodation)

Prestatyn is a small coastal town in North Wales (my country) and it is where Mike Peters from The Alarm is from. Over the years, the Gathering has taken place in Llandudno (where my husband is from) and fans book into the local hotels but this year, Mike decided to bring the Gathering 2010 to Prestatyn and where better than at Pontins Holiday Camp!

What a genius idea this was, to hold the Gathering at the holiday camp where all the fans are together!

The chalet was small and compact but clean and had all the facilities we required. We didn't use the twin beds, instead we pulled out the sofa bed and because the mattress on that was pretty bad we utilised the single bed mattresses and got ourselves a nice comfy place to sleep.

We were situated on a top chalet at the edge of the site. I was dubious about the noise, this was a rock festival after all! I needn't have worried though, true to form, the Alarm fans were brilliant and the only noise we heard was that of the wind and the sea and the odd acoustic guitar floating on the wind.

The view from our chalet was lovely. It overlooked a park where people walked their dogs and the Prestatyn Golf course.

We also had a nice view of the mountains. When we woke up on Sunday morning, there was a light dusting of snow over them which was really pretty.

There was a shop on site as well as the pub and the swimming pool was open which I didn't expect so I could have kicked myself for not bringing my swimming cossy!!!!
It was great having the gigs on one site because you could dip in and out as you required. Although I am doing really well 3 months out of treatment, I am still just 3 months out of treatment and I do tend to tire easily, alot more easily than I used to. I don't care though because I am so excited by life and what it has to offer. This time last year, I was being told that it was going to be the worst year in my life (my surgeon was right) but the next 40 were gonna be amazing! This time last year, I booked my Gathering tickets and that was the light that kept me going through the dark days.

The entrance door to the Love Hope Strength suite.
All of my plans have been pushed back a year or so. I am still not fit enough to run a 10K race which is where I was last year and I am 2 stone over weight but I am booked in for the Race for Life 5K in May in aid of Cancer Research and I am going to look for a suitable 10K race in the autumn which I am going to run in aid of the Love Hope Strength Foundation. I have GOT to give something back to Mike Peters because his music and his strength got me through my war with cancer.

All around the camp site, the Poppy flags and Welsh flags were flying. To me, they symbolise Love, Hope, Strength. They symbolise my youth blending into maturity and all the benefits that brings over the years.