This post is an unashamed copy of Pig in the Kitchen. Hope you don’t mind, Pig; sincere form of flattery, as they say. But you might be able to adapt the recipe to your own needs.
And no, I haven’t eaten that many chocolate brownies this week. 4916 was my finishing position in the Great Edinburgh Run a couple of weeks back. Over 1000 people finished behind me, so it’s not as bad as it sounds, or so I like to think. 6 minutes and c. 900 places slower than last year but I’m not complaining; Continue reading →
Hair. Or lack of it. I’ve started dreaming about hair recently. I’ve dreamt about washing it, brushing it, tying it back. I’ve been wondering where my hairbrush is and contemplating the shampoo supplies once more. This is all prompted by the No. 1 fuzz, colour indeterminate, that is currently adorning the top of my head. And eyebrows to match. New hair; it must be spring! Anyhow, there’s a good chance that it’ll grow back curly as apparently that’s what often happens after chemotherapy.
I went for my diving medical on Tuesday. I passed, despite having to step up and down off a chair for five minutes, which may be fine if you’re a 6ft North Sea commercial type but not if you’re little me. I left clutching my certificate and on the verge of tears. I’d put it down to hormones if I had any left. It was at last year’s medical, in August, that this same doctor spotted the offending lump and so set in train the medical saga of this past winter. He retires in June and so it will be a different doctor next year. GPD saw him earlier in the year for his medical and thanked him for, in effect, saving my life. Sounds corny, but it’s true. I’d had no symptoms so the cyst could have gone unnoticed for many more months and I would then have found myself in a totally different place.
“Well, at least it wasn’t a good one.” Spoken whilst rootling in the cupboard for the dustpan and brush. Again.
In fact, when I stop and think about it (although as a rule it’s probably better not thinking too much), I’ve broken more plates and glasses in the last six weeks than in the previous ten years. I think it must be due to this peripheral neuropathy. Numb fingers and toes to you. Continue reading →
It’s been very quiet in this corner for some time now. I have no real excuse, just a jumble of reasons. It’s partly been a form of writer’s block – how pretentious! But I’ve had several posts in draft for some time and don’t seem to have been able to find the words to finish, or in some cases even start them. Perhaps it’s been more a dive in motivation. I’ve been finding it hard to motivate myself to do anything much for the last few weeks. And that has been partly due to hitting something of a low, a wall – or perhaps more correctly slumping against the wall. I think a mid term low is probably quite normal – I do seem to remember it happening with my broken ankle. I’m a real expert in these things, you see!
Some of it has been brought on by having to admit to myself that I really am a lot more tired these days. It’s all very well trying to carry on as usual, but Continue reading →
This is going to be a very selfish, mean-spirited, churlish, curmudgeonly, whingeing and Grumpy Old Woman sort of post. There. You’ve been warned. For more enlightened, friendly, positive, cheerful reading you could try some of the links on my blogroll instead. Iota’s started posting again about life in the States and she’s always entertaining and currently much more enthusiastic than me. Or there’s Reluctant Memsahib who writes about homeschooling, schooling of the boarding variety but mainly day to day living in the Tanzanian outback. And you could try Potty Mummy, Mother at Large and Pig in the Kitchen for general entertainment and cooking tips. Oh, and I nearly forgot Fidra books who are offering to give away books to schools. I hope you’ve all gone now so I can complain in peace.
Well, brother-in-law got engaged at Christmas. Good news! Exciting news, even, as his fiancee only appeared on the scene in September; Mother-in-law had, I think, secretly started to give up hope of any more grandchildren and suddenly hope came galloping into our Christmas celebrations. Sister-in-law to be, who keeps Continue reading →
It’s official! My CA125 level – the blood marker for ovarian tumours – is already back to normal and there was absolutely nothing of interest on the CT scan. So I really am in remission – what a great Christmas present! I feel like I’m starting to see daylight again. Round 3 of the chemo is tomorrow, so when we get back after New Year I’ll be half way through. It looks like I won’t be clear to dive for 6 months after the chemo finishes but that seems a small price to pay.
I’m getting good at this. Wearing my wig, that is. I had a meeting to go to today so wore my wig instead of my much more comfortable buff. I detoured on the way home to buy Christmas cards and have a coffee, and bumped into a couple I knew in the queue.
“Oh you’ve changed your hair style! It looks really nice!”
“Thank you”, smiling sweetly.
“Is it easy to look after?”
“Oh yes, very easy” trying not to smirk.
“It must be great for swimming.”
Aloud: “Definitely easy for swimming”. (Thinks: I could just take it off and stuff it in a bag. If I could go swimming, of course.)
In fact, it goes on at such a pace there doesn’t seem to be time to write blog posts. And that’s with no significant work to do for a week or so. Bliss! Christmas shopping and meeting fellow bloggers without feeling that there’s something else I should be doing. Make the most of it. It won’t last.
So, in the last ten days I’ve had my second round of chemo, which was no problem, although I think it took a little longer to get over than the first. I did manage to get myself along to the EduBuzz meeting but was feeling slightly spaced out so I’m not sure I contributed anything coherent. In fact, I may have agreed to write something; it’s rather akin to agreeing to something at a party or with a pint in your hand. You wake up the next morning thinking “I said I’d do what?”. Anyhow, as I’m fairly certain I haven’t said I’d swim the channel for charity, I’m sure it’ll be fine.
I’m not celebrating the fact that my hair is now coming out in handfuls and my debris is competing with the cat’s fluff for the attentions of the vacuum cleaner. Mind you, the cat’s fur isn’t likely to block up the bath plug so I win on that score.
I am celebrating the completion of my Irish Sea contract. I wrote, way back in the mists of May, that a large proportion of the Irish seabed had arrived in my back yard. Well it’s now left. Finally. Only four and a half months overdue – it was supposed to be finished by the end of June. You’d think they’d have induced it by this time. The biggest inducement in the life of a self-employed anything is of course being paid and I had a quiet laugh as I wrote the invoice last week. Continue reading →
4am. That’s an hour of the night that really doesn’t impinge upon my consciousness. I like to be wrapped cosily inside a totally unmemorable dream at 4am. I appreciate that there are folks who have to function at that time of the night or for whom 4am means breakfast but me? Well, I generally only see that hour when there’s a low spring tide to catch in a Shetland mid-summer and, of course, being Shetland, the sun has barely dimmed. But 4am in an Edinburgh November is a cold, dark moment and the only place to be is bed. So you’ll understand that it was something of a shock to find myself setting the alarm for such a secret time last Friday, and sneaking along to the kitchen for toast and tablets. Yes, this is when the chemo started. Ten steroid tablets (that’s right – 10) to be swallowed with food at 4am. Admittedly they were only very small tablets – perhaps they wouldn’t work if they were scrunched up into one big one, surface area:volume ratios and all that – but somehow it didn’t seem quite legal. It’s just a good job I’ve decided to give next year’s Olympics a miss.
“You’ll never get back to sleep” was the advice from many quarters but it was too cold to read so I snuck off back to bed. And suddenly – 7.30am. I’d overslept. Continue reading →
I’ve discovered a wonderful support group of friends. You know deep down they’re there all the time and it really doesn’t take much of a crisis for them all to rally round. G and I sat and chatted not long after the cancer was confirmed and decided my hair had to go. Not completely – its demise would come in its own time, maybe three weeks into the chemo – but as its days were definitely numbered, it would be easiest to start with it short. Smaller handfuls when it goes, you see. And maybe less of a shock. So the girls came round with the tools of the trade and cut my hair by good humoured committee. I now have a stylish new look which shows off all my earrings; it’s just a shame it’s not going to last too long.
Nuns get it, apparently. Non-smokers get it. Ovarian cancer, that is. I can make no claims to anything in the nun department, despite the nunhood clearly being my destiny at 7 years old. Seven year olds are notoriously fickle, though, so by the time I was 8 I had the medical profession in my sights. Given recent events, I suppose some might say I still do. But smoking, that’s another matter entirely. I was such a boring wuss as a teenager I wouldn’t even try a cigarette, not even the ones that created the strangely scented cloud that enveloped all teenage parties in Jamaica, home at that time. Although, if I were a politician, I would probably have to admit that I’d inhaled. Apparently Jamaican villagers gave (?give) crying babies spoonfuls of ganja to lick; the West Indian equivalent of a baby bottle filled with Irn Bru, perhaps? Did you need to know that? I have never smoked. Not once.
My blog is fast approaching its first anniversary and I find myself in a place I couldn’t have dreamt of a year ago. As a family, we seem to have experienced a Series of Unfortunate Events this year, starting with the death of my father-in-law in January (we all hated those books, by the way). On the other hand, there have been plenty of highlights – that whoop! when GP1 saw his Standard Grade results, doughnutting on Coll, learning (perhaps too generous a term in my case) to surf, the end of week concert at NYBBS – there were lots more.
Whilst my blog began as a commentary on the boys’ goings on at school, it has evolved into a much more personal online diary, with random mutterings about family, work and, more recently, illness. Whether or not anyone else reads what I write, I have found being able to write extremely therapeutic
I’m not sure how I ever had time to work. After the excavation of my insides, the physio said “You’ll need at least 6 weeks off work. Maybe 12.” My comment: “So that’ll be 2 weeks then. I’m self-employed.” I could in fact have started work again last week (make that 1 week) but I’ve been floating in a sort of limbo of not knowing, which hasn’t done a whole bundle for my concentration. OK, OK, I know – Limbo has been cancelled, but I’m sure you know what I mean.
I thought maybe once Monday was out of the way I’d be able to move on so, in a fit of positive action, I unpacked some videos I need to analyse on Monday morning. When I say I need to, I should have done them weeks ago but events somehow intervened. Needless to say, it’s still all sitting there and very little progress has been made (I do hope Tom’s not reading this!). There has just been no time – there has been far too much talking to do. Perhaps I should be getting on with it now, rather than blogging, but I desperately want to write everything down before I forget. There’s been no time even to blog up to now so the videos will just have to wait. Just a little longer.
There I was thinking 2007 couldn’t get much worse. Oh dear. I’ve just been told I have ovarian cancer, early stages so prognosis is good, but I’ll most likely need chemotherapy. I’ll find that out on Thursday. So I might be doing the Great Edinburgh Run next year in a wig, and I might be walking it, but I sure as hell plan to be there. As sister no.3 has just asked “why is it the clean living one of the family this has happened to?” Positive thinking starts here and I think I’ll start looking forward to a good 2009.
Patientline is the communication system that is installed at each patient’s bedside in the ERI. It provides a personal telephone number, television, radio – and internet! Woo hoo! It took me a day or so to discover the internet function and a little longer to get onto Edubuzz (I like the new look, by the way!) and guineapigmum. So I saw a couple of good wishes people had put on my blog and it cheered me up.
Once the morphine fog cleared a little, I thought I’d have a go at responding – and then it all ground to a halt. Interminably slow connection speed, a keyboard with letters that didn’t work, most of the blogs that I read regularly blocked and a brain that wasn’t functioning. What, I wonder, is wrong with Mother at Large, Not wrong, just different and Reluctant Memsahib? Are they full of scurrilous material, likely to raise the heart rate of patients to a dangerous level? Anyhow, I gave up and resorted to less challenging pasttimes – the Archers and the insufferably perfect Nigella (although I have made the chicken pie she demonstrated since coming home, and it was pretty good).
I wondered, though, if this is what it is like trying to use the internet in schools. Slow, broken and blocked. I hope not.
Home again, and recovering, I’m the owner of a line of body piercings that a punk would be proud of or a Goth would die for. I knew I was on the mend once I started composing blogposts in my bed instead of trying to work out which body part hurt least and so could be moved first. Unfortunately, once the morphine wore off, those wonderful essays I’d written did too, so I’m starting from scratch again.
Thank goodness for S1 Biology. I’m prompted to write this as I was told that I didn’t put enough information in my earlier, rather too oblique post, so I thought I’d fill in some of the gaps. Read on if you dare. S1 Biology fortunately made telling the boys what’s going on a lot easier than it might have been. During GP2’s (boy, 12 yo remember) cross examination of me last week, we had this exchange: Continue reading →