Sleep and Facebook

What bloody sleep? One of the many side effects from chemo is the tiredness that engulfs your body and you have to rest or sleep. Chemo sleep isn’t restful, you wake and you just don’t feel any better. Last night I went to bed at 2 am, I saw 3.22, 4.22 and at 5.22 I gave up. At least it’s light and it feels like another day has started. Rita sees that I’m up via Facebook and sends me a lovely message. She has a day of Nana time planned with her grandchildren, precious times.

I have a meeting in High Wycombe store today with Guy so I take my chemo tablets early so that I’ll be as good as I can be. Before I know it I’m asleep again.  Yesterday was just horrible for sleeping too. I get that flat look about me that the rest of the family see and it’s just not funny for them. I can’t even walk Molly, movement and walking are just too hard. So going into Wycombe was going to be a struggle. I decide not to drive as I don’t feel safe.

Steve takes me in and every step is just so painful, sharp pains and dizziness are so disabling. People fit and healthy rush around getting to work as I used to and I envy them. I’m greeted by Mary and Ann in store but I hate letting them see me like this. I know Mary doesn’t care but it’s still not nice for people to see. She helps me up the many stairs and we have to stop due to stomach cramps. I make it to Guy and he has worries of his own with his son. I haven’t ever seen him this flat, worried and concerned for his family. So between us we make a great pair. We discussed the forthcoming meeting and things he wanted to add to my presentation. We then concluded that we both needed to go, him to be with his family and me back home to sleep and no movement.

Facebook – I only joined Facebook so that I could stalk my kids, honestly. I had no idea how this programme would change all of us. I message Pete in Australia who says that he is feeling better but he has to stay in hospital for another two weeks to continue to take antibiotics. Not that long ago you would have to take out a second mortgage if loved ones moved to Australia to pay for the phone calls. I’m so pleased that Pete is doing well. Rita’s prayers are working their way to you ‘Stud Muffin’.

School day friends are constantly in touch and this is just wonderful. All those years spent together growing up and without Facebook now how would we stay in touch daily? I also get lots of messages from people I have worked with before and through the power of all of you who share my blog online some of you are reading about my journey with cancer and it brings back memories of suffering that you yourselves have had to endure.

I am also pleased to hear from anyone who is or has been part of my life, from school friends to anyone in the BHS family. I understand the ‘should I or shouldn’t I get in touch’ but it really does mean a lot to me to hear from you.

Coffee Time :-) cheers Lorraine x
Coffee Time :-) cheers Lorraine x

The Postman comes with another package, The lovely Lorraine has sent me some coffee beans from Nero’s. Thank you so much Lorraine and we can enjoy one together in person soon I hope.

Behind the scenes I am working on some fun stuff for you. 50 shades of Chemo is being done on Thursday night with Mr Grey and my BFF. This however will be a complete giggle session and I hope that we manage to get something down on paper for you. My mom is concerned about my sex tips and keeps asking me about it, how rude will it be, where will it appear on the blog and I think will my mom be too embarrassed to read it? My mom is too nosey so she will definitely be reading it LOL

The other stuff will be revealed in good time but I’m constantly thinking of how I can make your day as writing these ramblings helps me so much. I just want you to enjoy it, share in the bad days and rejoice with me in the good ones. A true reflection of cancer, it’s treatment and side effects so that you won’t be scared if it happens to you or it can help anyone you know going through it. One of the articles that Heather sent to me the other day reflects on her friends and how she laughs at the silly things people say to those with cancer. I have certainly had my rants about these comments made to me in the past.  I really did connect with the most hurtful thing people do and that’s not getting in touch at all. You worry that they don’t know or don’t care however I know it’s the ‘What do I say’ moment that strikes fear into everyone. If it’s ignored then it’s not happening. I think every cancer sufferer has played this game too.

Yesterday Jacqui from BHS Head Office posted up a charity event they ran at head office for Breast Cancer and a cream tea was organised. I remember last year at Kingston we did Zumba for this great charity. We had a blast as normal and I got the male members of the team to wear pink bras to raise money too. I remember that day well, not just for the fun we had but I was shocked at how many people came up to us quietly to say that they had lost someone they loved to Breast Cancer. Just silent sadness and a chance to give into a bucket is some way of giving something back to the support they may have received. So as I’m in a flat mood due to chemo I thought you might be cheered up by watching us trying to do Zumba and for my BHS family in Kingston a chance to relive some of those laughs again.

A final quick update: Richard is okay after his motorbike accident and is in Bavaria with the Army adventure training and Rebecca attended her first counseling session which was arranged via the Doctors. She enjoyed the first session and it enabled us to talk openly about her worries and fears. My poor family suffer through this more than me.

Oh and thanks for buying Steve a coke Bryn the other day. A simple act of thought and kindness can mean so much sometimes.

No Control, Prayers and Famous Faces

After the Juddys left yesterday I was conscious that my daily post was late going up. I hadn’t looked at my phone for hours as we were all just having fun. There were so many messages of “what’s wrong, where is today’s post?” I was both shocked and amazed that so many of you look forward to my daily ramblings. Final pictures entered and post edited, Steve hits the publish button. The internet is having a moment here and we all have ‘buffer face’ for 5 minutes.

Normally I don’t plan anything for first few chemo days as I have no control over by body and the side effects from the drugs. Your hands lock, anything metal or cold is evil and I forgot to mention before the lock jaw. This is when you first eat anything and your jaw locks, you have to hold it as the pain goes into your ears too. I have no control. Legs are weak and dizziness is a problem when moving around the house or travelling, that’s why the car journey for food on Sunday morning took so much effort.

I take 14 chemo tablets a day which are cancer causing and poisonous, no one else can touch my tablets outside of their packets apart from me. Since my episode of shitting myself the Immodium has worked well and stopped everything but to the point of nothing has happened since Friday. This leads Steve to start talking about me taking laxatives, OMG no control at all.

It’s Monday and you are all off at work, doing your bit for whatever company you work for. I am so blessed with the support I have received from BHS but I want to tell you a short true story. Mr Moore was my Regional Manager for 2 years. He was leaving us as the boss and going into a Senior role in head office which he now loves and enjoys. At the time it was new to him and he was leaving his team. He came into Staines one day to take Leanne and I out for a ‘thank you’ lunch. The very least he could do after we had put up with him for 2 years lol. We were alone in the office and I remember these sincere words from him.

“Wendy you don’t realise how much you like your job until someone says that you can’t do it anymore”

That pretty well sums up how it feels for me. Steve is in the office today, Rebecca is at work, as are most of you. I know the Monday routine of BHS, the start of the analysis of the past weeks trade and what actions are needed to be taken this coming week to maximise trade. No different to any other business out there. Just think for one moment on your commute to your job. How would you feel if you couldn’t do your job either via redundancy, illness, closure or just moving on? It’s a scary thought to leave people, passion and friendships made behind.

I’ve only had 4 hours sleep and was up at 5.22. It’s very quiet at this hour. Chemo tablets and breakfast done I turn to doing some work for a meeting on Thursday. I hope that I’ll be okay by Thursday and be able to get through it both physically and by not shitting myself lol. I can’t believe how many of you have come forward with your stories of ‘poo trauma’, see you are never alone.

I’m just too tired and sleep again for an hour, my sense of all taste has gone now and so you crave anything that might take this nasty taste away from your mouth. I have been cutting up small pieces of a cookie to keep to have with every coffee. I go for another coffee to find my mom has eaten my last piece lol bless her.

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The postman arrives at 10 am here every day and I get a lovely surprise from ‘Mother Theresa’ herself. She has sent a card that confirms that I will be remembered for one year in masses offered every day at the ‘Our Lady of Bethlehem Abbey, Portglenone. Not only has she done this for me but also enclosed one for me to pass onto Karen. God bless my angel, my Rita.

In the same mail I get a card from the Methodist Church in Kingswinford to let us know that I’m also continually in their prayers. I am so blessed and just overwhelmed sometimes by the love and support I have from everyone. I say to my mom this morning that if love could kill cancer then I would have been cured. It’s true and I thank you all as the messages, text, emails, and sharing of my blog to help others. It really does mean so much to me, and my family.

So I’m going to leave you on a high note day. After being with the Juddys yesterday and working at Gatwick Airport we were all used to celebrities coming through. I have decided to share my claim to fame list with you all. I’m not bragging about the famous people I just want to share it with you, here goes….

The Queen – might as well start at the top hey. I’ve catered for the Queen at her Garden Parties and whilst I’ve been in front of her I didn’t speak, best not to with my ‘Black Country’ accent hey.

Spoken to Prince Edward, had to curtsey and discuss life at an Airport

Coffee with Lionel Blair.

Served Sally from Coronation Street breakfast.

Talked to Rowan Atkinson whilst paying for petrol.

Jackie Stewart, Jackie Collins, Joan Collins, Pat from Eastenders, Stuart Rose, Sir Philip Green, Lemar, Johnny Wilkinson and the British Rubgy Team, I used to ride Robert Plant’s daughter’s horse and met him but I didn’t know who he was! I shook hands with Frank Bruno (massive hands), Trinny and Suzanne, I was interviewed by the original and founder owner of Costa Coffee and worked with his two children, Craig the winner of the first ‘Big Brother’, various famous Villa footballer players, obviously! Penelope Keith, Yasmin Le Bon has been in my house with Simon Le Bon, but I don’t like to talk about that much LOL, Emma Watson and there are probably many many more that I will remember after posting this up.

Here are some that I can actually prove for you to enjoy.

A poor photo but this is Rebecca with Emma Watson
A poor photo but this is Rebecca with Emma Watson
The kids with Peter Andre just before he went into the jungle
The kids with Peter Andre just before he went into the jungle
Me with Simon Le Bon in my garden but I don't like to talk about it lol
Me with Simon Le Bon in my garden but I don’t like to talk about it lol

 

Hope that made you smile. It’s been a hard day in the chemo gazebo today, a flat day but reaching out to you all everyday gives me pleasure and tomorrow I’m hoping to go into work for a few hours. To be me again at work, talking about work and being useful, I hope.

Now another final bit of good news is that Leanne BFF and Mr Grey are all planned for Thursday nights ’50 Shades of Grey’ first meeting so this should be a scream of an evening. I’m looking forward to it very much and sharing it with you all on a over 18 page only (Health and Safety covered again) :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Loved and not alone :-)

Saturday 18th July – What’s that saying? Oh that’s it, ” what a difference 24 hours can make,” how true. So last night I went to bed at 1.30 but was awake by 5.30, 4 hours that’s not bad. You all know the routine, feed the animals, coffee fag and this morning it was a Milk Tray chocolate. A thank you gift from our neighbour with the baby. Who brought me a thank you card and present for the present I brought her. Do I now have to send a thank you card for the thank you card she sent me???? We are all funny don’t you think!

Hi Pete from us all in England xx
Hi Pete from us all in England xx

I logged on to Facebook and I had a message from Uncle Pete, finally word from him. I started to cry instantly as I read his words but this isn’t good when you are on chemo as your eyes are just so painful. I quickly send him a message that I need to just have time to stop crying and then I’ll reply. He is still in hospital, they are filling him with antibiotics, he has the viral meningitis but he is a little better. Thank God, thank Rita for her prayers and I’m just so happy to hear from him. I know that when Rebecca and Richard wake they will also be comforted that they can read his words to them as he made it a group chat with them.

My next lovely surprise was from Heather who has 3 children but sadly lost Simon at just 9 months old.  I got to know their family via Richard playing football. She also sent me some clippings that she had sent a friend when they were going through cancer, and a lovely card. She like many others knows raw grief from losing a child. We are not alone are we?

The postman then arrives from Semin who I worked with in Oxford Street. She left BHS and started her own business. A box full of beautiful cookies all hand made. Thank Semin and we will talk soon, looking forward to it :-)

Thoughtful Gifts
Thoughtful Gifts

Steve has decided to construct a run for Molly which starts in the chemo gazebo and ends in the garden so that she can play by herself. He does this as Molly loves her ball but when I’m on chemo it’s hard to keep throwing balls as she never brings them right to you. I need a dog psychologist as she will take her ball to any strangers feet when we are out but not us, weird dog. Steve returns with all the bits and it’s cost him £65!!! Here is my mom trying to teach Molly how to use it:

Famous Chemo Gazebo photo with Richard & Toon
Famous Chemo Gazebo photo with Richard & Toon

Then I had a text from Richard that he was coming round for a few hours with his mate Toon. They arrived at around 2 pm, we had lunch but as ever I fell asleep. Richard played with Toon and Steve on Mario Kart which meant a lot to Steve whilst I slept. Normal is good, normal fun stuff is really good and it helps all of us, thank you Richard for coming to see me, even if I embarrassed you but hey I’m your mom and that’s my job, lol xx

 

 

On my boy's bike :-)
On my boy’s bike :-)
Me on my bike :-)
Me on my bike :-)

I post up my blog early yesterday as I can’t change it once it’s up and the admission of shitting myself to you all was hard. I was shocked at how many of you have experienced this. First admission was from Mrs Poo Pants, who was encouraged to smoke drugs by her partner and as she had never done this before. As she smoked the weed she had stomach cramps, went to fart and shit herself. She had tight jeans on and it flowed over the back of them. Now this story made me smile as she said she had never told anyone before. Now I’ve made sure the world can see it lol but I won’t give your real name :-)

Rebecca pops out to town and comes home with a dress for me and  a new dog jigsaw for her nan. Last night she was very late home from her trip into London but returned with a box of flowers for me, she is so lovely.

Well done to you all xx
Well done to you all xx

My lovely cousin Nicky has done a mud run challenge to raise money for cancer with her work colleagues and again she placed my name and website on her back, thank you everyone who took part in this. Now I think that you all look like you have shit yourselves haha

 

 

 

Baby Jacob Guy doing well
Baby Jacob Guy doing well

Then I get an update on little Jacob Guy, our new nephew born 9 weeks premature and he is doing okay now. Thank God again hey.

 

 

 

 

 

Finally I get a lovely message from the Juddy’s and they are coming for Sunday dinner tomorrow. It’s been too long since we saw them, oh how time flies and we are always too busy, I think I have learnt to take more time for important stuff, well to balance life more when I get back to normal, back to work, back to being me. So famous chemo gazebo photos will here soon.

So Rita on the prayer list for you is Karen, Pete, Jacob and anyone out there who has had the embarrassment of shitting themselves.

Sunday 19th July – Slept for nearly 6 hours, wow I can’t remember the last time I slept for that long. My sleep was intermittent due to sweating throughout the night. Is this the chemo or the ‘change of life’ another side effect from the chemo? It’s raining but due to stop and be a lovely day. I hope so as the Juddys are coming to have lunch with us today :-). It’s Mother Teresa’s (Rita) birthday today so I send her a birthday greeting via Facebook and save the date on my phone so that I don’t forget next year.

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Rita confirms candles and prayers for us all and sends photos again to prove it. Cheers Rita and everyone else who thinks of me and my family, it really means so much.

 

 

 

With confirmation that Juddy hugs are on the way, we set out for extra food. The journey is difficult for me, my hands and feet are so bad I can’t drive. They are due at 2 pm as the plan is home for midday, sleep and then i will be okay for a few hours. They are delayed on the motorway by 3 accidents and don’t arrive until 4 pm. It’s been 12 long years since I have seen them all but from the moment they walked through the door it was just magical. Juddy hugs had arrived. We relived such precious memories, talked for hours and the special friendship between us was as natural as it had always been. We laughed and laughed, looked at old photos and video footage. Such special people to me, so why the years of not seeing each other? Life and distance got in the way and I’m so sorry. Please if reading this and you think of old friends that you send Christmas cards to and every year you think, I must get in touch but don’t, DO IT – DON”T WAIT ANOTHER YEAR! Cos that turns into another year and another.

It was so hard to see them leave, I can’t cry cos my eye balls would explode but I feel the emotion of seeing them again, sharing moments together that I will hold in my heart until I can have Juddy Hugs again, thank you for making my day.

Juddy Love
Juddy Love

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Ian trying to open a beer at lunch with the now famous penis bottle opener from Mary Poppins

 

 

 

 

The famous chemo Gazebo shot :-) with Arnold and Leia
The famous chemo Gazebo shot :-) with Arnold and Leia

 

On a serious note, Richard crashed his motorbike, he’s okay, but his bike isn’t. More chuffing candles needed Mother Theresa, LOL.

Okay you can call me ‘Shitty Knickers’

Chemo day and cycle number 3

Thursday 16th JIMG_3923uly – I had 4 beers that night before chemo because I could! (opened with my new penis shaped bottle opener, a present from Mary Poppins) and I slept in until 7.30. Awake and animals fed I’m on my usual ½ biscuit, coffee and a fag. I always check my website stats when I wake up and 802 people viewed my day out in London post. Wow, I always check the countries too. We are in Japan, Ireland, Maldives (Ruth) Indonesia, India, USA and various other countries across Europe. This is due to the sharing you all do for me online. Thank you.

Friday, chemo day – I have to have toast as my main breakfast ahead of chemo. No yoghurts (my normal breakfast) until Steve does the shopping today, before starting work at midday. How can I possibly explain how crap you feel going into a hospital to have drugs that make you feel so ill. I will share a true story with you which I hope explains it, maybe not physically but certainly emotionally.

My mom’s friend reads my blog (thank you) and her friend’s brother had cancer and went in for his first round of chemo. After completing his 1st cycle of treatment he killed himself and the family never understood why. After reading my blog my mom’s friend said that it helped her understand the anguish of the treatment and that she was going to pass the website details onto the widow of this man. I’m comforted that my blog may in some way may help her find peace and understanding. It’s not that he didn’t love you, it’s just so hard to find the strength emotionally to take the drugs.

So I smoke as many as I can before we set off for the hospital. I pay for the reduced parking and today’s password is ‘Dairy Milk’ now after treatment I can imagine me telling my mom to shout “Cadbury’s” at the barrier man!

In the  Sunrise suite on the 5th floor nurse Daisy is there as well as other now familiar faces. They always want to talk poo, bless them. I say that I’m fine but that I have found out by default that I’m Stage 4. I tell the nurses about my back pain as it’s been 5 days now and I know it’s not right. Rita and Karen will stop nagging me now I hope! Bless you. I ask about my blood results and they say that my blood counts are fine, “it’s like we aren’t giving you anything!” Excellent. I ask about the CEA markers. This is a way they track cancer in your blood. My levels have increased from 4.1 to 6.6 now I don’t know how bad that is but the nurse I spoke to said it was okay and not to worry. They send a message to Doctor Weaver to say that I’m in and have back pain, but he hasn’t been to see me yet and never does that day. Looking CEA up online later levels of 10 or 20 would be high so gotta take the positives when you get them hey.

I’m weighed and as before I have put on weight, either that or my shoes and hoody are heavier than the clothes I was wearing on cycle 2. Or do tumours weigh more? The nurses assure me it’s just the steroids I’m taking, great!

I met Archie who was there on a days work experience to see what oncology is like. He wants to change and save that world, bless him. Maybe one day someone like Archie will find a cure for cancer. I talk him to death and give him my website address, as I hope it will help him understand how hard the process of going through cancer and it’s treatment is.

Frankie is back for cycle two. I met her last time. She is at stage 4 and she attended the Sunrise ward with her hubby 8 years ago. He sadly lost his battle with cancer. She knows what chemo is like via her husbands experience but she had an adverse reaction on cycle 1 and spent 5 days in hospital. Chemo had to be stopped and she has to find the courage to come and try to take it again. Like Karen, how much strength of character does that take? Can you just imagine the fear?.

My mom has arrived to keep me company and she says she doesn’t understand the Greek economy. I am not going to go into that, so don’t worry but I do have to talk about the people with cancer over there. They don’t have an NHS as we do, they have been through years of austerity measures and it will only get worse for them all. How do you raise the money for medicine if you are not working and you have to put food on the table for all your family how do you chose? The drug companies that supply chemo drugs to Greece to be fair to them have not stopped supplying the drugs in the hope that one day the Greek government will pay them.

The last hour of chemo going in is just awful, the pain, the symptoms start and the knowledge of the misery to come for days. I’m asking the nurses how much longer as it nears the end, hassling them that the last few drops won’t matter. You just want it done, over with. I pretend to make the beeping noise of the pump finishing to attract the nurses attention. Mom tells me to behave myself and not to be a nuisance. I just want it over with and I start to get angry. Behave! really? – You have no idea what this is like to go through. I have decided that for the rest of my treatments in hospital I will go alone, apart from if Karen wants to come. Unless you have been through chemo you have no concept of what it’s like, so I don’t need to be told to behave!

Last flush finally through we head home. I make it through the door. I go to rest in my chemo gazebo. Steve comes out to see me “not good then hey”. I’m sorry but I’m really not in the mood for feeling strong, so I snap “no I’m not fucking good” and Steve’s reply just makes me even angrier “I’ll come back when you can be civil then” and I just scream to myself in my head FUCK OFF. Everyone just fuck off cos you know I’d love to see any of you go through this shit and be pleasant! I’m angry. I’ve gone 5 hours without a fag, this shit fed into my system. I can’t even hold my lighter properly as my hands won’t work. The flick on the lighter is made of metal so I struggle to light it, the tumour in my neck hurts and I’m in constant pain in my back and you want me to be civil! FUCK OFF.

I rest for an hour and then my saliva makes my throat go into a mini spasm. I try to sit up but the pain in my right eye is awful. I hold onto my eye as it feels like your eye ball is going to drop out. My eyes water with the pain which is also unbearable as tears are water and I can’t touch water. After 5 minutes I’m ok and decide that I want a drink. As I get level with the sink in my kitchen  I shit myself. I can’t believe it. No warning, no feelings of wanting to go at all, I make it in to the downstairs loo and I’m covered in shit and I can’t touch water! Now you have to laugh sometimes but, as Rita would say “for the sweet love of Jesus, what the feck is this all about?”.

There is only me and Steve in the house as Rebecca is on her way home from work and Mom has taken Molly for a walk. So I do the bottomless naked walk of shame upstairs to get clean and changed. I bring my shitty clothes downstairs and put them in the washer. I go back to the chemo gazebo, ashamed and feeling so low. Steve comes to sit with me and asks if it’s now safe. I rant back about how I feel and that I have just shit myself. Steve goes and gets me Imodium and tells me of his stress at the supermarket as they left the tag on the joint of Lamb planned for Sunday, the beeper goes off and that he missed the lift to take him to the car park whilst he sorted it out. FFS really, those are your troubles. But I stay quiet.

Rebecca in happier times with flowers in her hair at Reading Festival
Rebecca in happier times with flowers in her hair at Reading Festival

I knew Rebecca had written her post and it was going up instead of one from me. When I read it for the first time I got to the 3rd paragraph and that was it I cried throughout the whole piece. So proud of her but so sad too as no mother wants to hurt their children. So when Steve puts it online for you all I read it again. Stupid or what as crying is not good on the first day of chemo and my eyes are in agony again.

Thank you all for sharing today’s post and for your comments. They mean so much to her and to my family. Some new people leave comments so thank you for the power rush as I have to approve new comments, for a brief moment ‘I have power’ love it LOL.

After tea, which I dread eating as what goes in must come out! Steve has a headache and is unusually quiet. I try to talk to him but he still tries to stay strong and not worry me, but we all know our men hey girls and I knew mine needed TLC. His day as I describe it in terms of worries wasn’t fair at all. He had to drop me for chemo and do the weekly food shopping, mom had agreed to be at home to put the shopping away and he had to start work at midday. She wasn’t there but with me so now he started to worry that I was okay, he logged onto work at 11.45 whilst trying to put the shopping away. Then he was asked to start work straight away as there was a big job on. The door bell goes and a neighbour has popped round to thank us for the gift we gave her as she had a baby girl this week. She has the baby with her but knew nothing of Steve’s pressing world of work, worry and food to be put away. Steve didn’t want to be unkind but couldn’t stay and chat. He has to worry about me and try to focus on work too, and keep running between tasks to get the chilled food away at least. He finished work at 8 pm and he has had enough of holding it together. Being strong for everyone and sometimes we all just need to vent. He hates what we are going through, seeing me suffer everyday, he dreads chemo day and the growing cancer inside of me. All this makes him snappy as it does me, so we take it out either on the ones we love the most or others around us that just piss us off. I don’t live in a prefect world with a perfect family but they are my perfect and arguing or being pissed off at each other is part of life. If I didn’t include it my blog, the blog to help you wouldn’t be real. So it goes in ‘warts and all’ which sadly hurts everyone too. I sat on Steve’s lap and gave him a love, fetched him a cup of tea and held him the best I could due to pain in my arms. Steve cried, not a full on breakdown but just tears of ‘this is so shit.’ My poor loved ones suffer so much and I can’t fix it for them.

I sit and check my work prior to it going online and I feel guilty. If I was about to start chemo and I read this post I’d be scared silly, but ‘warts and all’ it has to go in. When people ask what’s chemo like I say ‘it’s not fun’ but that’s all I say really unless I’m asked about the side effects. Then I go into more detail and now I can add ‘I shit myself to the list’ oh the joy of life, the indignity of it all. Living the dream Mrs HRH, living the dream!

 

My mum’s broken

It’s my turn to share on the ‘world wide web’ my experience with a loved one with cancer.

You always think as a child, ‘my mother is the strongest person I know,’ the one who’s been there to look after you, clean up after you and love you no matter what. Someone you think, that person can never get a life changing illness because it wouldn’t be fair.

That is exactly what my mum is: this woman I love dearly and is my best friend.

So 2014 came to an end the new year beginning, I was excited with different things I would do what I would plan with family and friends. January came about and everything was great and just normal.

Then the pains started, I remember mum not going into work because she was just not feeling well and now for my mum to be ill was a strange thing she normally just gets up and deals with a little pain or cold (which she hardly gets!)

This pain wasn’t going away no matter how many weeks went by, what was happening to my poor mum? So many questions but life had to go on, hopefully it was just something doctors could work their magic and my mum would be back at work or causing me more embarrassment!

Sadly it just went on, Steve then decided enough was enough and he made mum finally go to the doctors. Tests done, trips to doctors – it went on and on into a long cycle of just waiting..and more waiting. I was hot water bottle monitor as mum needed a water bottle to take the pain away.

Seeing my mum in pain is a horrible thing, what can I do to make things just a bit easier for her and everyone else? Cleaning? Cooking? Filling the water bottle that was her only source of pain relief!?

I remember my 22nd birthday came about and my mum had brought me 2 tickets to the Lion King Musical, I was so happy! I had been wanting to see it for ages, still being the amazing mother she is and thinking what I had wanted for so long and had given it to me! I went with my lovely Nan and I had a great day, but on my mind was my mum she couldn’t celebrate my birthday fully as she had to go in to the hospital for more tests and answers.

What was wrong with her?

The night came when my Auntie Nicky had come over to stay the night to visit us and see how mum was doing. Watching ‘Beaches’ with them seems to be a tradition, an amazing film a good tear jerker! We laughed and it was the first time in a long time I had seen my mum genuinely happy. I remember thanking Auntie Nicky that night.

The phone rang, it was her doctor. I remember hearing “you may need someone to come with you when we give you the results we can’t tell you results over the phone.” The evening came to a stand still…what the hell was going on! Everyone was confusing thinking the worse, questioning the doctor. I sat there in the chair not understanding things, was it maybe cancer? What was going on!! Someone fix my mum please!!

The next day mum went with Steve to the doctor. I stayed at home with Auntie Nicky for their return. It felt like hours until they finally came back, mum came in saying “hello Molly” like she always does, Nicky got up and went over to mum, now I wanted to know what it was but I felt so nervous in what the news would be but I remember from the corner of my eye my mum nodded her head. That’s it…

I went upstairs stared into the mirror and burst into tears before hearing the answer walking up and down in my room. I hear my name from downstairs I try to keep the evidence of crying from everyone and go down. My mum needs some medications so I go into town to collect them. I need to get away I can’t come to terms it’s that horrid illness. I meet up with Josh (my boyfriend) and just end up crying in his arms screaming thinking it can’t be, he does his best to comfort me thank you Josh.

I finally get home and mum sat me down and explained that it was cancer.

Anger, sadness, worry everything you could possibly not want to feel all at once is something I find myself experiencing everyday as this process has gone on. How dare this illness make my mum feel this way? She doesn’t deserve this!

She has the operation to remove the cancer, finally its going away! This nightmare is going to end now yes? Seeing my mum in hospital is horrible, she’s in pain but part of me thought ‘yes its over!’

Sadly that’s not the case, she is now Stage 4.

Everyday I think am I doing enough? What can I do to make this pain go away for everyone?

My poor nan, brother, Steve who all are watching my mum go through pain each day is a hard thing to deal with. The only normality I get is going to work and catching up with friends but at the back of my mind I am constantly thinking ‘how is she today?’

You try to do things away like watching a funny film or play a game, something to take your mind of it. Nothing works, you just want this horrid cancer (Harry we call it) to go away and sadly it can’t until the chemo has done its job.

I buy flowers, a laptop tray, gloves for my mum anything to help with daily tasks. Seeing my mum go through chemo is hard, she’s a different person, tired, crying (which I’ve hardly seen her do throughout my life.)

The one thing I love the most about my mum is when she smiles and gives me a cuddle, telling me things will be ok because that’s who she is, a mother. She doesn’t want to see all of us sad, not coping because she wants us to be strong and go on as normal.

With the support she has had from doing her blogs it has made her feel happy that it can help people and I am so proud of her. I am proud of Steve for putting his feelings down on the blog too. I felt I should do the same. So that people can see that they aren’t alone when seeing someone they love go through this situation. I am very proud of my nan for helping us whether its cleaning or walking the dog just being there gives me time to just relax myself.

People never know what the future holds. But I know one thing, Harry is going down with a fight and by god he will be stopped.

Sorry for the ramble as I didn’t know how to exactly share my point of view and I know its very long I do apologise, but just know that you are never alone in this big wide world.

My mum is broken, but by god we will fix her!

I love you Mum.

I love you Steve.

I love you Nan.

I love you Richard.

And I love the people that have supporting everyone of us, and those who read these blogs.

Thank you for reading. :)

 

Rebecca

Shared pain and a trip to London

Yesterday after Emma, Linda and Alison left, and once I’d finished crying, I was in so much pain, you can tell I was ill as I couldn’t take Molly out. Thanks mom for taking her. I’d had the runs all day (never pleasant) and the pain from my back and stomach cramps were just so uncomfortable, I had to sleep. I wasn’t going to mention that I had also planned to meet up with Helen who lost her son one month ago but as she put a post up on Facebook I think she wouldn’t mind me mentioning her. I checked my phone before I slept to see Helen’s message that she wasn’t up for my visit at 6 pm as planned, she had had a bad day.  After posting my blog I decided that she needed to know that although she was having a bad day, that I still cared. So against her wishes I went round.

Her first words were “I haven’t even done my hair today!” Like that mattered to me. I stopped doing mine 6 months ago LOL. It was her and Tom I wanted to see. We hugged and cried and I had coffee whilst Helen enjoyed her wine and the pizza they had planned for their tea. I said I wouldn’t stop but it quickly turned into a 2 hour chatting session. Their grief was open and honest, the struggles they now face together are heartbreaking. I don’t know how hard it is for Helen but I do know what it’s like for Tom to lose a sibling. We shared precious time just talking, just listening, just sharing the pain of loss. I also gave them an update on ‘WackaHarry’ the game we are now playing. Helen’s friend had stage 4 cancer and lived 14 years.

I think I could have been there for 2 more hours but I had taken painkillers just to get up there and without any tea inside me I was getting weak, that’s the constant shits for you, oh my poor bum!

I stopped for diesel on the way home. I didn’t check my phone at all, unusual for me but I wanted peace after leaving them, to think about them as I didn’t know how to help them but I hope Helen wins the lottery is all I’m saying.

I got home and tea was ready, I still hadn’t looked at my phone. Steve had a grin all the way through tea and as we were finishing he said that he had published his post, wow I thought. So armed with a coffee and fag I set about reading his post. Now I’m very proud of him doing this post as he has been unsure about doing it. Sharing himself with the ‘world wide web’. His post is very factual (that’s men for you) and I don’t see the other side of Steve, the Steve I know in his words, the emotions of Steve but it’s a great start and he will do another post as he was touched by the response from people who read it, so thank you all for your kind words for him and for sharing his post.

Steve is worried about my planned day for today I’m going into London, firstly to meet up with Leanne ahead of lunch with Amanda from HR and the Mrs HRH herself. Then I’ve planned to see another very dear friend Lorraine who I worked with for almost four years at M&S in Oxford Street. So I’ll let you now how all that goes but it will need painkillers to get through it all.

Today ends as it’s midnight. I went to bed at 1.30 which is early for me but woke at 4 am dripping in sweat, lovely. I managed to go back to sleep until 6 am. I am looking forward to my day so showered and dressed I head to London. If you have seen Rhod Gilbert’s ‘ Man with the Flaming Battenburg Tattoo’ then you will know what I’m talking about when I say I was going to take a potato with me into London but Steve says I should take my Weeble, so I did and in every photo you see, you have to play ‘spot the Weeble’.

I meet up with Leanne and Mr Moore another pseudonym for you, let me explain. He is called Mr Moore as he is not Scottish but Irish and looks nothing like Roger. He is Mr Moore because having worked for him, he always wants more from you and at conferences he always drinks way more than he needs too LOL. Anyway we meet and Mr Moore takes me into the hotel opposite Marylebone Station. It’s rumored than Madonna has an apartment there. I say to Mr Moore that I can’t go in there as I have jeans on and it’s way too posh but he just leads the way and tells me to stop being so daft. This place has doormen! In the toilets there’s no paper towels you have a facecloth to dry your hands on. You think the music in the background piped in but there is a man playing the piano. So posh, but guess how much they want for a coffee? £6 OMG! 3 coffees ordered we just sit and chat away ahead of my meeting with Amanda and Mrs HRH. The service however is shocking and they could all do with a sharp lesson in service! They were so slow that I was running late for my lunch date. I loved seeing Mr Moore again, he is hard to work for but a pleasure too. We chatted, I cried just mentioning not being at work with my Kingston family, Mr Moore understands and he has is own troubles in life. I jokingly say that I’m going to play the cancer card and get a job with him.

Leanne and Mr Moore
Leanne and Mr Moore
Spot the Weeble
Spot the Weeble

We eventually get to Head Office, Mr Moore and Leanne leave me with Mrs HRH and Amanda. I saw Arlene who reads my blog and I’m glad that she tells my how much she enjoys reading it. You’re now famous Arlene cos your in today’s post. She also tells me that I have another denomination covered as she is a Christian thanks Arlene :-). I’m glad that I don’t bump into Mr Bottom or Mr Muscles as I think I’d never stop crying. Mr Muscles knows who he is :-).

We head off for lunch, I tell Mrs HRH that I’m happy with McDonalds really or Burger King, she laughs. We had a lovely lunch the 3 of us. We talk about life, of course cancer and my journey. Mrs HRH says that she will read my blog, OMG! I talk about everything without crying until it comes to work and my BHS family. I know Mrs HRH gets how important work is to me. I also can’t speak to say thank you for all her support because I would just never be able to stop crying. I consider myself so lucky that I have their support. So as promised to Mr Moore I play the cancer card and it was agreed that I can go into Head Office to make tea and coffee for everyone, one day :-) so Mr Moore watch out as I will one day turn up and serve you a cup of tea but I won’t charge you £6 LOL.

Mrs HRH and Amanda
Mrs HRH and Amanda

After leaving them I phone Lorraine who I worked with for almost 4 years when I worked for M&S in Oxford Street. It was so lovely seeing her again. We set off for coffee and by now I really need painkillers however I am determined to make the most of the day as tomorrow when I’m having chemo in hospital I can smile to myself and think about the wonderful day I have had with everyone today. Lorraine and I are so close, she is lovely and although the years have passed with little contact we have such happy memories of working together. We laugh at our past antics together. I could have stayed with her for hours but I know I have to get back. My stomach is starting to swell as it always does if I overdo things and my back is so painful. Lorraine walks with me to Marylebone Station and I have just 6 minutes to get my train so thankfully no time for a teary goodbye, just a quick hug. How long before I can see her again or have coffee with Mr Moore or Lunch with Amanda and Mrs HRH I don’t know but today was so precious, thank you all so very much.

The lovely Lorraine
The lovely Lorraine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I get home to the news that Rebecca and Richards Uncle Pete may have Meningitis, I don’t know what type as I understand there are two kinds. This isn’t good news. My poor children, the worry, the constant bad news about me and Uncle Pete. I hug Rebecca but does that help, I don’t know. I can’t lie to her and say it’s not serious because it is following his brain surgery. Pete we are all thinking of you and sending you all our love and praying that you will recover quickly. Rita can you put Pete on your list for Sunday? Poor Rita, she already has a list for me but Pete needs you too.

Chemo day tomorrow so my post won’t be as long as today’s so you can all enjoy the rest from my ramblings haha.

My wife’s is broken

Wendy has been asking me to write something for a while. To tell the truth, it has been hard to know where to start.

 

Now, I don’t want to make you all reach for the sick bucket, but it is worth telling you that, by way of background, Wendy is the ‘other half of my orange.’ If you read about Julie you will know where this comes from.

 

Having had two failed marriages is nothing to be proud of, but it does make you realise when something is good. Wendy is more than just a wife, she is my best friend and the centre of my universe. We have been married for eleven years and lived together for about two and half years before that. We have had amazing adventures and travelled all over Europe, much of it by motorcycle. I never get bored with her, ever. This doesn’t begin to tell you the half of it, but I am trying to spare you the sick bucket. But I do adore her (sorry).

 

Like many couples, I suppose we were settled in to our routines. We worked, planned meals and did all the usual family stuff. We were always planning our next holiday as these spaces were precious to us in our busy lives. Times when we could be ‘just the two of us.’

 

When we got together we had four kids between us. Refereeing was hard work, but rewarding too, of course. We have had some great ‘family times’ with all of them. They all grew up and became less dependent, as they do. We love them all but it’s nice that we don’t have to ‘manage’ them any more, or at least not as much as before.

 

Life was comfortable and we were happy. Perhaps we took some of it for granted though.

 

Wendy is the least likely person to ever take a day off sick. She has always claimed to be immune to colds. She isn’t, but she will just carry on anyway. When she complained of abdominal pain in January I knew it must be severe for her to even mention it. Because of the location of Harry (the Cecum) the pain was in exactly the same place as appendicitis would be. In fact, even the doctor in the Surgical Assessment ward thought the same, getting her to sign the consent forms for appendectomy. He opined that it was unlikely to be cancer, as she was too young.

 

No worries, appendix out, a couple of weeks off work – sorted. But the next day, they thought it would be wise to do a CT scan, and this wasn’t so good. There were grim faces as we were told something didn’t look right on the scan, and a colonoscopy would be needed.

 

I still didn’t panic. The colonoscopy report was confusing, as it listed a whole string of things which were normal. Next to ‘cecum’ he had written ‘cannot rule out mitotic lesion.’ They just want to be sure then? No need to panic.

 

The biopsy result were sent to the bowel surgeon. There was this weird phone message which said ‘we need to discuss this in person, and you need to bring a relative.’ Now I was starting to get scared. That sounded very ominous. Could it be cancer? We couldn’t wait for that appointment so we bullied our GP into pulling up the biopsy results. It was cancer.

 

By now, Wendy and I are reading about bowel cancer on the internet. Always a dangerous thing. We scared ourselves silly. We finally got to meet the surgeon. It still sounded not as bad as I had feared. He said it ‘appeared to be contained in one place’ and that it could be a ‘keyhole procedure.’ So maybe we found it early? An operation, a few weeks of recovery and then we can put it behind us? He did talk about lymph nodes, and how they would have to be sent away for testing after the operation.

 

As we waited for operation day, Wendy’s pain became worse and worse. It was so awful to see her like this. But we clung on to operation day as the day when things would begin to get better. Mercifully, the operation was actually brought forward.

 

On the day of the operation, I delivered Wendy to the hospital and then had to say goodbye to her as they led her away. The surgeon promised to phone me when it was over. I left her at about 1pm and I was expecting this call by 5pm. Well 5pm came and went so I phoned the hospital. No news. 6pm also came and went. Now I am starting to panic. Had something gone terribly wrong? Finally the surgeon phoned me: “Your wife is well, but it took longer than expected. The tumour was adhered to the wall of her abdomen.”

 

At about 8pm I was allowed to see her. It was like something out of a hospital drama. She was attached to several machines and there were tubes coming out of everywhere. I felt like saying ‘what have you done to her? She looked better than this before!’ But the nurse assured me she was fine and fed her coffee and toast. I couldn’t quite get my head round it all.

 

She was only in hospital for a few days, but they were long days. She had been given an epidural, but when it was withdrawn the pain was awful. She had a machine that allowed her to give herself a shot of morphine every five minutes. After only one minute she was desperately pressing the button again. She was also very emotional and doesn’t even recall some of the things she said. I think it was about day three when I knew she was feeling better. She hated the hospital food and asked me to smuggle in Macdonalds!

 

She made friends with Karen on that ward, just by pulling faces and making thumbs up and thumbs down gestures. I was struck by how many people go through this every week. I was also struck by the amazing dedication of the nurses. Every one of them had a cheery manner, despite some of the unpleasantness of their duties. They are all wonderful.

 

Wendy being Wendy, the day after being discharged went back to take tins of biscuits for the nurses, and also for the patients she had befriended. Her recovery from the operation went relatively smoothly. At first she could only walk very slowly and I had to help her to bathe and dress. But there were no complications and she got stronger every day. We went for a follow up visit with the surgeon. They had found cancer in about half of the lymph nodes he had removed and there were likely to be others. We were facing chemo. The very word ‘chemotherapy’ struck fear into both of us. Visions of being made violently ill by something that was intended to make you better filled us with dread. But there was really no alternative. Without chemo the prognosis would not be good. We would just have to face it and deal with it.

 

We managed to fit in a blessed week in Majorca. She was six or seven weeks post surgery and strong enough (just about) to enjoy a week of sunbathing and eating out. The travelling was hard on her though. She still was only able to walk short distances slowly. A special mention here for the Easyjet gate staff at Luton. When I paid extra for so called ‘Priority Boarding,’ it was because my wife had difficulty walking. So it was really galling that you let everyone stampede across the tarmac to the steps at the same time! I’m surprised she didn’t get knocked down in the rush. I know you think we are all cattle. But some of us cannot rush! In fairness the Easyjet staff in Palma did it properly which made the return journey less painful for her. And to everyone else that took part in the stampede, if you see someone who has difficulty walking, please be patient. It might be you on day. Rant over! But it was a wonderful week and just what we both needed.

 

Then the chemo began, and with it the ‘Mine’s Broken’ blog. In true Wendy style, she tells it ‘warts and all’ in the hope that someone, somewhere will read it and say ‘that’s how I feel, that’s what it is like for me.’ She hopes that someone will find it helpful. The feedback she has received so far has both moved and encouraged her. We recently met someone who beat cancer seven years ago, and he said, ‘I could have written that – that was how I felt.’

 

Now the hard part.

 

Wendy wants me to write something about how I feel. She hopes it might help someone whose partner has cancer. I don’t know about that. Most of the time I feel ‘this is shit!’ It’s so unfair. Wendy doesn’t deserve this. Does anybody? I also feel very proud. Wendy continues to think of others all the time. She has inspired and moved so many people by the way she is dealing with this. People we know and people we don’t. A lot of the time I feel angry, but there is no one to be angry with. I feel numb. I feel confused about my feelings. I want to know if she is going to beat this shitty disease. But no one can tell me that. There are statistics, but Wendy is not a statistic.

 

For now, I just have to live the famous line from the marriage vows, ‘in sickness and in health.’

 

I have to be strong, to be there for her. To fetch her a coffee and proof read her blog posts. For years, when her computer or her phone wouldn’t do what she wanted it to do I would hear her cry ‘mine’s broken.’ Usually I could fix it for her.

 

This time, Wendy’s really is broken – and I can’t fix it.

 

That makes me sad.

Referred, Rejoice and Reunions

Returning home yesterday following my lunch date with Karen. Steve had taken a call from the local hospice and I had to call them back. My blog took priority so I finished my post and then phoned the hospice. Now I was referred via my doctors last week so I was expecting a call or letter. I was happy to be referred as I was hoping to get help for Rebecca, Steve and my mom if she wanted it. Notice I don’t include Richard in this list but at this point I think he would just say no thanks and turn to Louise and his mates for support. But at least if I’ve made contact then it can include him if ever he needs help. Anyway I didn’t expect the call to be so jolly cos if you think of hospices I don’t know about you but I think of it being the last place you sleep if you lose the fight, anyway let me explain why the call was such fun.

The phone was answered by an Irish sounding woman. I said hello and could I speak to Sharon. Now for the rest of this paragraph you have to read it in an Irish accent. She said “is that Wendy?” Wow I hadn’t given her my name yet, so this is impressive, “yes” I said.  The lady explained that Sharon had told her that I would be calling to make an appointment with her. I said “I love your Irish accent, it reminds me of a dear friend of mine,” and I then proceeded to give her Rita’s best lines. So in an Irish accent I said “for fecks sake” (now swearing in an Irish accent is probably not the best way to make a good first impression LOL) and Rita’s other line “for the sweet love of  Jesus.” The lady laughed and said that I should also say to Rita “for the love of a Lamb” now what does this mean Rita? She offered me a few appointment times, 2.30 was my favourite as this is so funny. 3.45 is just not as funny as 2.30 in an Irish accent.  She had to confirm the time a few times and I just smiled to myself as she spoke. I asked if I needed to bring proof of having cancer (I think I’m remembering the Army and the need for verification). Now she laughed and said “no just bring yourself.” So the appointment is booked but I tell her that I’ll just want to spend all my time listening to her talk and not Sharon unless she is Irish too.

Another thing from yesterday that I missed out was Rod Stewart as my Aunty Shelia had brought me a CD of his greatest hits. She said that nobody could be sad whilst listening to ‘if you want my body and you think I’m sexy!’ I know this isn’t the title of the song but it’s how she sang the song to me, and we both laughed. Well your right Aunty Shelia, the CD is now loaded into my iTunes and that track has gone into the chemo gazebo playlist and you have to smile as you sing it, even mom was at it. Another gift from my Aunty Shelia was a really difficult jigsaw. I don’t do jigsaw’s as they require patience and that’s just not me but it is my mom. Well mom has finished it and here is the proof.

Well done mom
Well done mom

Another thing I forgot to mention was that Richard took his sister out for a meal on Monday, wow! They spent some quality time together, sharing moments, this is them on their way out, my special things. I think you can tell that Richard didn’t want his photo taken in the first shot but then tried to smile as Rebecca is just happy to be going out with her little brother.

IMG_3910

IMG_3913

After publishing my post yesterday, I was so tired I fell asleep again. The sad thing was that Richard had to leave to go back to base and I didn’t get to say goodbye. Sorry Richard and it was such I comfort to have you here for a few days.

So the first bit is about the ‘Referral’ part of the post. ‘Rejoice‘ is about seeing the best in everything at the moment. Laughing at poo conversations with Karen, singing ‘do you think I’m sexy’, sharing another day with my family, finding humour in most things. Laughter should be prescribed. I’m still waiting for Rhod Gilbert to contact me about doing a rant on cancer for me as Steve sent a link to his Twitter feed but no contact yet :-(

I also laughed as I had a private message tonight from Russia. I thought we had broken into the iron Curtain, maybe President Putin was reading my blog! Sadly not, Evrim is on holiday there and still reads my blog daily. Evrim I should explain was our first au-pair. She is lovely and spent time living with us and she helped me raise my special things.

Reunion‘ is about seeing my team….

I’m awake as usual at 6 am. Feed cat, coffee, fag and today a chocolate, another gift from my cousin Nicky following her visit. I’m worried because I haven’t arranged a time to meet today and I couldn’t text Emma last night as it was in the curfew time. So I’ll just have to wait until it’s a reasonable time before I contact her. So I start as I often do when I’m up early on my project work, for work.

My mom and I go to our local hospital for bloods to be taken ahead of chemo on Friday. Mom has never seen how I’m fast tracked through the deli style cheese counter system of today 25 people waiting. She is impressed with the way I’m treated, straight through and out again within minutes. However she experiences the look of disgust from the others waiting, as I do look healthy. But as I’ve said before none of them would swap with me if they knew would they?

Parking at our local hospital is a nightmare. I also stood under the entrance barrier walking towards the hospital once parked and it came down and hit me on the head! Steve says he is worried about my sanity as I tried to condition my hair with body moisturising cream, I switched off the slow cooker by mistake when cooking a meal recently and now I’m walking under barriers!

With visitors arriving soon Mom and I go for fresh bread and cakes. can you believe all those cheesecakes have been eaten? I buy a whole chicken for hot chicken sandwiches, yummy. We return home to wait for them to arrive. I’m so excited that I’m out the front waiting for them, my team, my friends. Now I’ve not seen them for a few weeks although we do keep in touch weekly via text and phone calls. But receiving hugs (real hugs, full of love) is something else. I tell them no tears and lead them into the now famous chemo gazebo. We chatted for hours, drank coffee, had hot chicken sandwiches and cakes oh and Linda and I smoked throughout it all. But blink and they had to leave. I’m crying now just typing about them leaving. I tried to hold myself together for them but final hugs given I watch them drive away, unable to hold back the tears. I hope they didn’t see. It meant so much to see them, the people I saw everyday, laughed with, talked to, had fun with and just shared life with and not being with them just breaks my heart (still crying now and I can’t stop). Alison had brought me a wooden penis (featured in the photo) as a gift, she thought it may come in handy, really? LOL. I also had wine, coffee and beer, all this and I said just bring yourselves, bless them.

Left to right: Me, Emma, Linda and Alison (Mary Poppins)
Left to right: Me, Emma, Linda and Alison (Mary Poppins)

Other wonderful news is that my mom’s friends, Elsie, Mel, Pat, Les and Tom have been to my mom’s house and done her garden for her. The call from Elsie has really touched my mom. She doesn’t do tears but I know my mom and I know how much she appreciated it. Thank you so much the Scilly Six from buffer face Island as your kindness and thought for my mom is so touching.

I don’t like to end on a bad note but we all know that life isn’t fair so as Mr Grey and I often say “it is what it is.” This morning I found out via Facebook that Uncle Pete, Rebecca and Richards’ uncle has been in intensive care and is still in hospital. He had brain surgery a few weeks ago. Pete I hope one day you read this post and know that we send you all our love. Due to the time difference in Australia it’s hard to get updates. Much love to you from your family here in England.

As time goes by

Yesterday my editors were unhappy with my ramblings and so I thought I’d do a lighter post that reflects more on life and how ‘time goes by’. I remember what hard work it was having just 16 months between Rebecca and Richard. It would have been easier to have twins. As Rebecca was walking and Richard wasn’t it made even going to the loo a major task in itself. I couldn’t leave them together in the same room in case Rebecca decided to feed her brother or do anything that may hurt him. Just one of the many trials and tribulations of being a new mom. I remember one day when moaning about just how walking out of the house was like a military operation, bags full of bottles, nappies, spare clothes etc etc the bag of everything. This person said to me that they would both be 21 before I knew it and I would regret wishing these early years away. I recall being angry as I was in this never ending 24/7 job that whilst it’s been the best job of my life at times I like any mom could just feel overwhelmed with the never ending chores. The bloody bitch about life is that she was right, but I couldn’t see it at the time. Where has all the time and years gone too?  This photo is one of my favourite photos but I have many lol.

Cake baking at Nanny's house
Cake baking at Nanny’s house

Seeing my cousin was wonderful this weekend and when our kids were growing up I used to visit cousin Nicky every Thursday. Now Rebecca and Danielle were at school but our boys Richard and Jack played together. This photo was taken at a family wedding. Richard is the one on the left and Jack on the right.

Our Boys :-)
Our Boys :-)

Now both our boys are grown up and I’m proud to say both serve our country in the British Army. This is them recently with their sisters after their passing out parades.

Danielle and Jack
Danielle and Jack
Richard and Rebecca
Richard and Rebecca

Now my photos are no different than yours in that we all love our children unconditionally. All those years, all that joy and hard work and now they are all grown up, where did the those years go?

Okay enough of cute kids and back to my life now. The curfew is 2 hours of sharing moments. Last night we all played Mario Kart. Now we haven’t played this in years. It was fun to play it again and I have fond memories of playing this with Lauren, she normally won out of all of us. So I as always came last, Richard won as normal, Steve came 2nd and Rebecca was 3rd but only because she had to leave us and have a shower at 10.30. My mom tried but failed at even completing a lap. She spent most of the time going the wrong way. It was so funny watching my mom even trying to play it, even she nearly choked laughing at herself.

It’s morning and I am in the chemo gazebo as normal and my phone rings, it’s Ant (my sisters husband). Now Ant, as much as I love him is a man of few words. We spoke for 20 minutes and 18 seconds! He said that he would have called sooner but it had taken him all these days to actually read my blog. I’m impressed now, not only that he read it but he took the time to read it all. We talked about how in 25 years our only contact had been texts twice a year, Julie’s Birthday and her death day. That’s 100 text messages of ‘thinking of you’. He then said, “where has all the time and years gone” to which I replied “how funny as that’s the title of today’s post”. We talked about the fun years on motorbikes, our children etc. It was so lovely to speak to him and not cry, to laugh and smile about a life we used to share together.

I have a lunch date with chemo bud Karen so after the call from Ant I go to get ready and set off. I arrive at 12 as planned and wait outside the services. Then I saw my friend pulling up in her car, we wave and I walk to meet her to give her a big hug. Drinks bought we sat and talked without noticing the time until I realised it was 1.30. Who else can I discuss shitting yourself with? The ‘one minute warning’ which we both agree is actually only 10 – 20 seconds. The smelly toilets and the embarrassment of family members using the loo after you? Strong air freshener brands? And how to hide shitty pants in normal washing piles LOL. Okay so I’ve just told you lot, but Karen and I have a special friendship. Bowel cancer and going through chemo unless you have been through it is hard to endure and hard to imagine, but not for my chemo bud. Karen appreciates all the love and support from Rita, my family, Nicky and my friends.  I have asked her to write a guest post for you all as a special treat :-)

So it’s now just after 2 o’clock and after eating a delicious Burger King lunch I suddenly remember the 2 hour parking rule. After finding out that it’s £100 fine we set off to find the services manager. His name is Anthony and he is lovely ;-). Before we meet him I said that we could maybe play the cancer card to get out of the fine but as we are young and look healthy I doubt anyone would believe us. Anthony was so lovely that I decided that flirting is the way to handle it. So I say “now who do I need to sleep with to get out of this £100 fine?” We were both let off the fine and linking arms walked out giggling like school girls. Thanks so much Karen, you are so special to me. Keep up the candles for her Rita, you would love her. Here is Karen with her Burger King at Oxford services.

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Back home my back is painful and I take painkillers, not normal for me as I hate taking tablets. As I sit and write today’s post I can understand my editors feedback on yesterdays post. Karen said I rambled on too. This blog is about helping others in sharing the journey and as I am between cycles, have my daily ramblings gone into other areas of my life? Yes but I’m also trying to share my life and of those around me, so that you get to know me. So I told my mom that she should write a post too, that shocked her. She should share how she feels as I have asked Steve to do too. I doubt if she will but it’s worth asking. And we are still waiting for yours Steve, no pressure.

So if it’s about cancer and my journey, then it’s a good day. Without taking chemo tablets every day being as it’s my rest week, my need to go to the loo 4-6 times a day has returned and Karen says that I need to get my back pain checked out as that was one of her first symptoms.

So I’m just about finished this post and a work colleague, Yasmin calls me. Now I will use her real name but if she had to have a pseudonym it would be ‘Mother Hen’. Yasmin and technology don’t always see eye to eye so when I found out that she reads my blog everyday I was so shocked. She said that my blog makes cancer real and not something to be scared about it. She enjoys my ramblings, see mom! Rita, Yasmin says to get in touch LOL. Yasmin, thank you for calling and reading my blog. Every time any of you share it on Facebook we reach out to people. Today I’m excited because someone is reading it in Russia! Wow. Now I always know that in Australia it’s Uncle Peter, in Cyprus it’s Dena and in Turkey it’s Evrim but to be in Russia that’s amazing. You all did this by sharing my blog. Thank you. If you have never shared it please consider doing so, as I am trying to reach others so that Karen, myself and others don’t feel alone.

 

Behind the scenes

I have had a wonderful weekend but is that the whole picture? Sadly no it isn’t. Disease or illness is awful but like all things in life they are graded and accepted or not by the general public. I watched a fabulous film last night called Pride, recommended by Chris (ex boss) who came round to see me on Saturday morning, thanks Chris. If you haven’t seen it treat yourself. It’s set in the 80’s around the Miner’s strike and the fight for the human rights of gay people. Now in the 80’s (you forget how things have changed) HIV was an unacceptable disease by the general public, labelled ‘The Gay Plague’ as I remember. Thousands of people died but society deemed that it was their fault for being gay, disgusting when you think of it, how they were treated.

We now accept gay rights in our society, as we should do. It does however make me think about how we view people, their lifestyles and illness. Let me try to explain……..

Dementia or senile dementia is awful, a slow loss of your memory and mind. I remember saying to my nan who had senile dementia “are you scared nan?” And of course she was. Up until the person loses all memory the trauma of going through that must be awful. Again society accepts this as an awful illness but where’s the funding? Where is the public support? It’s not there really and then when someone you love is diagnosed with it, you then think “why don’t we have a cure for this yet?

I had a text from someone I used to work with at M&S in Oxford Street. Her husband’s mom has dementia and has been calling them throughout the day and night. A terrible illness that families just have to cope with. Another family suffering the long slow journey of watching someone they love fade away. My nan didn’t recognise me for her last two years, which she spent in a wonderful care home. I used to spend most of my time on visits feeding her but talking to others there who were physically in need of care but had their minds still. Which is worse I thought? Having your mind but not your body or having your body but not your mind? But it’s okay cos bad stuff never happens to us does it? So we don’t think about it when rushing around in our busy lives. There was a lovely old man there who just used to sit and stare out of the window, mom noticed that he never had visitors. One day my mom went over to talk to him as she thought he must be lonely, just staring, alone and quiet. He told my mom how he wasn’t lonely as he had a life time of wonderful memories to relive and that’s what he was doing everyday as he stared out of the window. So on balance I think keeping your mind must be better. However if your mind has gone and you wet yourself, who cares! Freedom of not caring or knowing what’s going on also has advantages.

Mental health is another terrible illness, a label, a stigma which is not talked about much. Why isn’t it? Because others think you are mad, you wouldn’t stand a chance at an interview if you were honest about having severe depression as there is very little knowledge out there for us the general public.  So if someone is depressed we try to get them to ‘snap out of it’, Really! It’s not our fault we just want the person to be better and as with dementia and cancer there is no plaster to wear to show us that they are ill.

Another friend texted Steve last night to say his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer. We went to their wedding. They are in their 30’s and have a six month old baby. I think that it’s wonderful that he turned to Steve, and why did he turn to Steve? I think that because he reads my blog he knows that Steve would understand what he is going through. What it must be like to worry about the health or contemplate the death of the love of your life. Time for you to do your post I think Steve!.

Anyway my point I think is that cancer is accepted by society, it’s pitied, there is an understanding of how cruel the illness can be and because so many people have died from it, empathy from society and support is there. As it should be I hear you say, absolutely I agree. What if I had MS, Multiple Sclerosis or ME? (Myalgic Encephalopathy) which was called ‘yuppy flu’ in the 80’s and again not much public understanding. People were labelled lazy. I still think there is not enough known about ME and people suffer for years without a diagnosis, no label, no empathy and no plaster for the world to see.

So this weekend I’m blessed but behind the scenes Jacob (our new nephew) who was born prematurely at 9 weeks and was doing well but has had a setback. He needed a blood transfusion and is back in the incubator. Steve, the family and I are all rooting for you Fiona and Andrew, that life may get easier for you someday soon. The worry over a child so fragile and small is heartbreaking. When Julie was doing her training in Wordsley Hospital I visited the premature babies and I just thought ‘Oh my, I could never cope with a baby that small’ But as life has taught me, we just have to cope. Something inside us just has to cope because choice has been removed.

Jacob Guy, bless him
Jacob Guy, bless him

 

Jacob with his sister, the beautiful Sophie
Jacob with his sister, the beautiful Sophie

 

Richard came and spoke to me again last night around midnight and we talked about the charity Beating Bowel Cancer and that it is run on just 200 volunteers. Without their time given for free where would the help for people like me be? I enjoy doing fund raising at work and I’ve been troubled about how to raise money for this wonderful charity. Fundraising has to be fun or challenging as unless you are effected by cancer people just don’t engage with what your trying to do. It’s not just fundraising for me it’s about education and understanding of the second biggest killer of all cancer’s. Bowel Cancer is just not as sexy as Breast cancer. Who wants to talk about bums & poo?? And that’s the problem right there! We don’t screen younger people for Bowel Cancer in England unlike other countries. My children will have to be screened from 36 years of age as that’s 10 years before I was diagnosed. So anyone who has symptoms may not react to them, as like me they may just think that changes to bowel movements or unexplained random pain that goes away is just ‘one of those things’. Once the pain has gone away we all just carry on as normal, unaware of the monster growing inside us. So I know the answer will come to me eventually about fundraising and spreading education of bowel cancer but if anyone has any ideas please let me know. Just to be very clear (I’m not sitting in a bath of cold baked beans for anyone by the way before you suggest it Leanne!) Baked beans are one food that I hate with a passion, Baked Beans and tinned Tuna are the devil’s foods lol.

Carolyn from HR called me today and she also reads my blog (thank you) she said that she also lights a candle for me and says a prayer at church every week. I forgot to ask her which church she attends as I have the Catholic and Methodist denominations covered so it would be nice to gain a 3rd one. I think that faith, believing in whatever God or church is freedom of choice and for me if everyone, even if they didn’t believe in God lived there lives by the 10 commandments then the world would be a better place. Now you are all thinking what are the 10 commandments? so for those of you that can only remember 3 or 4 here is all 10.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
  10. You shall not covet.

On number 4, remember the Sabbath, I hope someone from the Tory Government reads this as they are thinking of relaxing the Sunday trading hours! Now having spent my working life in retail I was against opening on a Sunday and I’m even more opposed to relaxing the opening hours. This blog is not supposed to be religious or political at all so I’d better stop preaching and ranting now, sorry.

Rita sent my a picture this week of her candles for myself and Karen, thanks Rita both Karen and I appreciate it. I’m seeing Karen tomorrow so I can give you a full update on her. Another friend I’ve got to know through my blog says that the curfew should be called the chemo curfew. Those two hours are now very precious and we are both sticking to it.

Candles lit every week from Rita
Candles lit every week from Rita

My messenger is still not working properly. I have replied to some of you but I don’t know if your getting them. Please either leave comments on the blog or contact me via text.

Sorry about this being a serious post but I am so blessed. Everyday I go to bed thankful that I can sleep in my own bed, in my own home. That I am okay and not ill. That apart from the side effects of chemo and the pains caused by my tumour in my neck I’m doing okay. How long for I have no idea but as someone said to me recently “Don’t count days, make day’s count”.

I went into work today and took one of my cheesecakes in for Mary to enjoy. Spreading the Juddy Love. Mary just texted me to say that it was delicious. You’re welcome Mary and thanks as ever for the coffee and chat at 11 am.

Back home it’s lunch time and if my son ever wakes up we will take Molly out as normal and then it’s back to work for me. I am also lucky to have this project work as what a great distraction work can be, I can forget my worries about others for a few hours. It’s not that I don’t care but I can’t fix them and this hurts too much. I instead send texts of love and support. Hoping that they, for that moment of reading my words, don’t feel alone.

So the feedback from my editing team is that I ramble on and have covered too many subjects. I’m sorry if this post reads that way to you. The daily posts are to try to explain how I feel and what goes through my mind. So I stuck to my guns on this post and said that it all needs to go in as this post is about worrying/caring about other people. My cancer and my journey is not about me, it never has been. It’s about the joy of life, finding happiness, appreciating others but also feeling suffering, worry of others and expressing myself.