The Rant!

I love a good rant me, is it that deep down being British we all like a little moan? Not a full on mega meltdown but an occasional rant which lets us all get things off our chests. I really like the comedian Rhod Gilbert. Now there’s a man who can rant. If you haven’t seen ‘The Man with the Flaming Battenburg Tattoo’ then you definitely need to treat yourself and watch it. It’s about how he uses a anger management diary to cope with his rants at lifes irritations. I would love Rhod to rant about cancer on behalf of us all. More on this later but first, Steve!

Yesterday morning Steve has to go into work and leave me. He is okay because he knows Richard is coming. Drugs administered, we are enjoying a coffee together before he sets off. Steve likes his food and good company. His days in the office are planned around lunchtime treats with fellow colleagues. An escape which he needs and looks forward too. There is however one problem with the office and that’s the cafe! So off he starts with his rant on why did the owner even bother to conduct a feedback survey if nothing ever changes? On a trading estate the owner has a captive audience but instead of driving business in, the manager has mastered the art of driving customs away with the lacklustre food and service. Steve and Graham had arranged to meet for breakfast, this sent Steve into one of his rants. Why do people feel the need to take a great drink, coffee and then ruin it, water it down and add flavours to it until it doesn’t resemble coffee anymore? Why do people have to do that long ordering process? By this he means the people he stands behind whilst they list their demands for a item that only costs £2.50! Your not ordering from the bloody Ritz! “Can I have a large semi skinny soya milk latte with half chocolate sprinkles and a shot of gingerbread syrup please?” All this whilst Steve stands with his tray of food getting ever colder in the vain hope that eventually this perfect drink of ‘not coffee’ arrives so that he can just pay and get on with his day! “Why order a coffee if you clearly don’t like the taste of coffee, just order warm milk and gingerbread syrup!” I listen to him ranting and I love it, he uses the everyday niggles of life to vent off some of that anger and he makes me laugh in the process just listening to him. I can see him in that queue saying to himself could you just get out of my way with your stupid non coffee-like drink and piss off. Gotta love a rant hey!

Back to Rhod, the anger management sketches are beautifully done and I won’t spoil it for you but he does this piece about writing to Imperial Leather. As one day he accidentally uses the wrong shower gel at the wrong times of the day, like it really matters as Rhod believes it’s all the same stuff in these bottles. Anyway he writes to them to complain and the reply from them is that they don’t believe that his insomnia is caused by the invigorating shower gel, nor is falling asleep at work was caused by the relaxing range they offer. They also added that they believe he expects too much from the comforting range during the loss of a grand parent, it’s just inspired and guaranteed a laugh out loud. Treat yourself and watch it, funny as. Steve, Rebecca and I went to The New Theatre, Oxford to see it live and it was so good we also had to buy the DVD.

Rita also has a rant. She loves my blog as she feels closer to me and what’s going on everyday. She only see’s my new posts when she see’s that Steve has shared it. A small part of her message and rant was “I’m fecking complaining, how come I missed the post ‘One day at a Time’? In fact I might just raise a grievance” She says fecking as she’s Irish. Her local church has had to order a bulk job lot of candles as since I have had cancer she nearly burns the place down every Sunday, God love her.

I don’t rant, I used to rant quite a bit I think, but not now. I actually don’t feel anger or get angry. Is that odd? I have no idea. I get sad and it hurts me so much that I’ve hurt the people that I love. That I turned our world upside down, like I’ve put life in the food processor and hit the frappe button. I wish I could help with everyone’s emotions/feeling and fears but I can’t and nor can anyone going through this.

Today I sat in the chemo gazebo and joined in with the one minute silence in respect of the lives lost in Tunisia one week ago. I’m also not going to rant about that. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones in this horrific killing spree. My mom, Nicky, Keith and Beth all have been on holiday this year in Sousse. Yet again you think that bad shit will not happen to you, the stuff we read in the news, just seems so unbelievable that it could never never happen to our family or someone we know, but sadly it does. I like you have to look to our world leaders to decide the correct course of action. One of the reasons my husband got into politics as a due to a very wise saying ‘for evil to succeed it takes a good man to do nothing,’ So we all just have to put our faith in those who represent us. Failing that I think a cup of tea between the mothers from all sides could sort out all of these troubles, it may take a piece of M&S Victoria sponge cake too but don’t all men fear their angry moms? Girl power again I think, that’s two nil in my book on the battle of the sexes :-)

Anyway back to ranting. So I think I need a chemo/cancer scale of shitness. So what should this scale include? Trips to the loo, actual sickness, overall tiredness, emotional feelings and of course fags actually smoked. So if they are all out of 10 (10 being the worst)  and then I divide the total by the five categories then I have an average and when asked I can say “today has been a 5 or a 6″ perfect solution.

At the bottom of each post now the scale needs to appear so this is my first attempt for yesterday:

  • Loo = 7 (as in how many times I had to go)
  • Sickness = 2 (not actually been sick but felt sick)
  • Tiredness = 8
  • Emotional feelings = 6 (only cried 3 times yesterday, good hey)
  • Fags smoked = 10 (always will be too many so I may take this one out)

That’s a 6.6 on the shitness scale! Job done. I have also decided that if any condoms get used out of the 8 (unopened box still in the treats cupboard) then depending on the quality of the experience and of course the overall artistic interpretation, I may just deduct a point or two off the total score.

 

Feel good Factors – Enough of ranting hey.

My wonderful daughter has brought me a lap tray. She spent hours choosing photos to go in it with me. She set the sizes, printed them, cut them to size and put them in for me, whilst I lay there knackered saying “you do it” as I had no energy. I have received the Macmillan nurses pack today for her and the family to look through. So I’ll let you know how that goes. I also went to the doctors and got IMG_3815my form for free prescriptions to send off and spoke to the Doctor about my worries of how my family are coping. I have now been officially referred as a cancer suffer. I never thought that would happen, well bad stuff doesn’t happen to us does it, just others!

 

Everyday Rebecca tries something new to help me. Flowers, cooking books, laptop tray, a can of pop to name just a few of the wonderful things she does for me and yesterday she brought me aIMG_3779n ice cream to cool me down. Now I could almost eat it but my whole face went numb so Molly had it and she loved it. Thank you Rebecca for being so so so wonderful and thoughtful.

 

 

 

After yesterday’s post and update on Karen. I received private messages for her, she has been named my chemo bud by one of you (very American) so Thank you from Karen to you all as she appreciates your support and good wishes. She texted me today, she is still doing well and more importantly still at home and not in hospital :-). Big hugs and love to you, chemo bud xxx

 

Honesty

Late last night I received a text from Richard saying that he was coming to see me today as he leaves for Canada again on Sunday. I was so pleased. I have found this week so hard. Amanda from HR called me yesterday to see how I was, a general update and through talking to her I realise that how I feel emotionally and physically are symbiotic and that cycle number 2 has been made worse due to the emotional side of my life at the moment. I’m just so tired all the time.

I fear sleep, in that I can only sleep for a few hours. At 12.30 last night I had to go to bed but woke at 5.30 :-( Once awake and after a coffee, 1/2 biscuit and a fag the one minute warnings start and by the time Steve and Rebecca get up I’m on death by diarrhea number 4 and I’ve only been up 3 hours. I worry about Karen and send her a text and then message my friend who’s sons funeral was yesterday. I know how low the first day is after a funeral, when it’s all over, tributes and tears done and then it’s just getting through one minute, one hour, one day, one week etc to come. Endless time spent without that special person in your life.

Mr Grey calls me after Steve and Rebecca have gone to work. I congratulate him on managing to phone me when I am not on the loo. Now there is another person to bring into this blog and that’s Mr Grey’s uncle. Back in January when I thought I only had wind, he was also going through the same tests and Mr Grey and I would compare results. He was diagnosed the week before me with bowel cancer. He only had his operation last week! He has suffered so much and as Mr Grey tells me of his suffering to recover from the operation, my memories of Ward 12 and how ill Karen had been come flooding back. No one can articulate how hard it is to see someone really suffer. How helpless we feel when the person we love shows no sign of improvement, hope starts to fade and morbid thoughts start to invade our minds. His operation had been 7 hrs long and he is 70 years of age. Now that’s a big operation to get over. Mr Grey has to continue to work, be professional and then leave work everyday to sit in a hospital with his family all hoping for a sign of improvement, of hope. Like so many others when asked Mr Grey will say he is fine but honestly he isn’t.

After that call I’m knackered again and sleep in the chemo gazebo. Normally I would be too excited to rest if Richard was coming but these waves of tiredness are endless at the moment. I woke to Molly getting excited as the door opened and my boy was with me, home again :-)

We chatted in the chemo gazebo, we took Molly for a walk and then a treat, McDonalds for lunch in the chemo gazebo. Rebecca wanted to see Richard before he left so I had arranged to pick her up from work so that 1/2 hour could be spent just the 3 of us. Best laid plans and all that! After eating both Richard and I fell asleep and missed picking up Rebecca, sorry Rebecca.

After chatting for 1/2 hour Richard was gone again, all too soon back to his other life outside of us, in the Army, a world of which we are not part. I’m so proud of Richard, what he has achieved and being part of our Armed Forces. As most people are in Britain today. However our service men and women also have to carry the pain of being removed from being part of everyday family life. Richard hides how he feels, hides within mates, fun, his job anything to pretend this isn’t happening. He wants to be with Rebecca and Steve to help but can’t, this can bring feelings of guilt. He is better off hiding or being able to avoid what Steve, Rebecca and my mom see but it brings him no comfort when he feels he isn’t doing enough or isn’t able to be there for them.

So why is this post called ‘Honesty?’ because to Richard like most people when they ask me how I am, I either say “I’m okay” or “read my blog” . I don’t mean to be like this but we all hide the truth about whats actually going on within us. We spare our loved ones pain at all costs however because I started this blog I have by default opened up myself, my feelings and my world to everyone. That’s either very brave or very stupid.  I have thought about stopping writing my blog over the last two days as it causes pain to others, but then something happened. This morning my mom called and I told her of the private comment via the blog from Sue and Tony who used to work with my mom. Mom cried, omg my mom just doesn’t cry! So Sue if your reading this then take pride in knowing that your kind words of love to my mom actually touched her so much, all via my blog. I have never felt so blessed and loved by the support I have received through opening up my world of cancer, my feelings, fear, pain and grief. Old friendships have been restored and new ones found. So I have decided to continue to write my blog everyday so that one day I hope to achieve what I set out to do which was to just help others through this shit.  If only we all lived in perfect worlds with perfect families and perfect friends who all said and did perfect things then my blog would not be needed but life isn’t perfect. My family is not perfect and I’m certainly not perfect. I will not however write stuff to pretend that it is. Anyone who reads this should be comforted and not feel alone through their journey with cancer. That how it feels and how others feel/respond or cope to you along the journey is not going to be perfect, that’s my aim, my only intention.

So Rebecca, Richard and I  have made a decision that from now on it’s only going to be honesty. No more “I’m fine” or whatever bollocks we all come out with to make someone else feel better. No more pretending and for Rebecca, she has to have Richard to talk to. When my dad died my sister had already died too so I was alone in the worry of what was wrong with him, the fear of losing a parent is awful. Watching them suffer is not something that any child, regardless of age can bear but sadly sometimes has too.

My special things :-)
My special things :-)
Honesty Only!
Honesty Only!
Gotta have a bike photo :-)
Gotta have a bike photo :-)

Last night Graham who works with Steve called him. It was lovely to hear him talking openly about life, work and laughing about stuff I’d written in my blog as Graham now also reads it. Thanks Graham :-) We all need each other to share our worries and joys of each day but unless we are truly honest, no one can reach us, no one can help. I’m not saying bore everyone to death with every details LOL but just don’t bury everything in the pretend world of ‘I’m fine’.

Whilst writing today’s post I get a text from Karen, she’s okay and got through cycle number 2. I can’t express how happy I am for her and her family. Now she just has to cope for the next two weeks with the chemo tablets and stay out of hospital and off the toilet! Well done Karen, with you all the way mate!

 

One day at a time

How do I even start today’s post? Okay so I have to firstly reflect on yesterday when at 12.01 I hit the publish button on my blog, my tribute to Julie, her life and the pain of losing her. That was so hard to share with you all. I woke to wonderful messages of love from my two cousins and my Aunty Shelia. It’s 7.27 and tears burn in my eyes, crying again! It’s becoming a daily habit. It is comforting but heartbreaking after all these years to just talk about her again. The day and evening continues with messages, texts, phone calls, personal comments on the blog from people I know and don’t know just sharing their pain. I’m so grateful to everyone for their support and love, I consider myself so blessed.

We all hide our true feeling of grief thinking that we are alone, that no one could feel the pain we feel. It humbles me that so many people wanted to share their stories of grief with me. Not for me to take that pain away or to fix them (no one can) but just to share in it, thank you.

Lauren and Dawn came to see me for the day and we spent the afternoon catching up on the last 12 years and times before that, of our shared childhood, poor Lauren couldn’t get a word in. Molly was glad of someone there to throw her ball for her though.

Prior to them arriving I felt unwell, tired from only 3 hours sleep again, waking up with sweats and cramps, running to the loo with the one minute warning, never pleasant.  I am still troubled by how Rebecca is handling how she is feeling. I called the Macmillan general helpline and spoke to a lovely lady called Sarah. She was very helpful about things that might help, local hospices and support groups. All which are being posted out to me, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

My mom called in the evening to say that she had seen my post, she cried, now this is massive for my mom, she doesn’t do showing emotion. I was glad that I had done something to share our loss, her loss, even if it was too painful for her to see it on a screen. After a long day I was exhausted and slept. Not like me at all, I slept for 5 hours, wow. Peace at last, I escaped from myself and the world I now live for 5 hours, like so many going through dealing with cancer there is very little escape.

I woke and felt okay,  but then the one minute warnings started again and just wouldn’t stop. I have a funeral at midday. Oh no! I can’t not go. Cancer nurse Daisy said in her wonderful Indian accent “If you go more than 10 times, you go A&E” well I’d only been up two hours and I was up to number 6, what was I going to do? Steve could see I was struggling and we have to yet again discuss toilets! Will I ever get used to talking about poo? The plan was Immodium and then get some fluids into me as I was weak. Showered and dressed I had to go to the funeral, I just couldn’t not go.

I met Helen, Jerry, Joseph and Tom through football. Richard played in defence with Tom. Football season, every Sunday’s through whatever weather, we were always there, devoted mom’s and dad’s watching our boys. Jerry managed the football team. Joseph usually only came throughout the summer or milder weather. He had cerebal palsy from the age of 5 months old.

Helen, Jerry and Tom have devoted their lives to caring for Joesph. In recent weeks the Facebook posts by Tom and Helen were building towards the inevitable that Joseph was not going to be able to continue to fight to be with his family who he loved some much.

The service was held in a beautiful 900 years old, local Church of England church where Helen and Jerry had been married and their sons had been baptised. It was the second oldest church in England. I was worried about getting through the service but thoughts just kept coming back to them and praying that they could get through it. I met Jane, Dominic’s mom outside. He also played in the football team. We went in together, tissues shared between us. Inside it was cool and peaceful and for the second time in as many weeks I found myself in church saying a prayer for my loved ones and for them today.

The service was beautiful but heart wrenching. Not a dry eye anywhere. The sight of young men carrying a coffin in to a church was just so moving. In support of the family and Tom, his friends were there, young, fit, full of life and yet joined in respect of the family’s loss. Richard couldn’t make it to the funeral, which I know hurts him. I could hardly stand for the hymns, my legs were shaking, I was dizzy and felt so sick. Nothing compared with the anguish the family were feeling.

IMG_3780

Following yesterday with the tribute to my sister. I have no idea what it feels like to lose a child. How can anyone empathise with that? How can we even comprehend the depth of suffering? Tom had written a tribute to his brother, Jerry dedicated a beautiful poem which were read by others, but Helen stood so proudly in front of us all and held herself together to talk about her love, joy and happiness of being Joesph’s mom and the sorrow and pain she now has in losing him. No parent should have to bury their child.

The service was over an hour, the coffin was carried out by family again with Tom. Most people don’t know what to say in grief, or shy away from others’ pain. I sadly am not due to the people I have lost. Outside the church I went straight to Helen to hug and hold her, to tell her how proud I was of her for her courage in giving a beautiful tribute to her boy. We just stood, holding each other crying. I passed on Richard’s love to her, Tom and to Jerry, giving them all tearful hugs. I then stepped away for others to come forward to share their pain.

I couldn’t go to the crematorium I knew I couldn’t make it. I don’t even know how I drove back home. Once back with Steve I just couldn’t speak for over an hour, there were no words, how could I describe for him or you the depth of that family’s sorrow? I just hope that they were comforted today by the people who were there to stand with them in their grief.

So it’s one day at a time for them, for me for all of us, whatever hardships we are all facing. I like them am not alone. We have to take comfort where we can and sometimes lean on those who can help carry our burdens.

I am so sorry that this has again not been a more uplifting post. I do like to add humour as you all know. It just wasn’t fitting for today nor yesterday. I will however try to be positive again tomorrow, if I can ever get off the loo!

Karen starts cycle two of chemo tomorrow and my thoughts are with her too. With you all the way mate, chemo buds together! I hope she can take this cycle and her luck can finally change.