Sunday, 24 May 2015

A tour around my garden and other things

Ok so actually my garden is very small and a tour would only take a minute, but I quite proud of it and have loads growing.

I have some tomatoes on the go, would like to be able to properly grow some veggies, but I really don't have the room.
A regular dinner
I do eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and I use the NHS app for healthy eating, some of the recipes and tips are very good, but the main benefit I find is it makes you aware of what you are eating and how you are cooking things. The last couple of weeks I have been suffering with stomach pains and bloating after meals in the evening, for some time I have had to watch how much I eat as too much leaves me in a lot of pain for the night, the main reason is obviously only having one Kidney, and it having a tumour attached which will be effecting its efficiency, also the upheaval in my stomach following the operation could cause problems for a few years yet. This is why I am trying to be sensible about what I eat, actually I have always been quite sensible, but some foods I have a habit of binging on, like nuts, can cause all sorts of problems, bit annoying as I have never had any problems with eating whatever I like, but hey ho, those days have gone.
A very good friend of mine, and elderly lady called Joan has had a really tough time recently, she has been in hospital almost continuously for the past two and a half months and has now been transferred to a home. She had a very nasty fall and now her cancer has come back in a big way, it has spread to her bones and she has been given only a month or so to live. I try and visit every other day, she doesn't get to many visitors so its the least I can do, so sad to see, some days she is quite chatty and still has such character and spirit, but she doesn't understand why all her left side is swollen, she hasn't been told about the cancer, which is understandable as it would just confuse her even more. While she is so much better off in the home, and it is quite a nice place, airy and good staff, but it is so depressing, you walk along the corridors and hear people shouting out for various things, none of them really understanding what they are shouting for, and in the main lounge some of them are in such a bad way they just stare open mouthed with vacant eyes, I do have a bit of experience with various homes so I realise this is the norm, and there really is not any alternative, very sad, looking at these people who are just a shadow of their former selves and imagining what they used to be like and what  they may have done in their life's.
I went to visit the grave of my lovely friend Roz who died of Kidney cancer last September, the headstone is now erected with a photo of her. I am in two minds about photos on headstones, while I understand it possibly gives some comfort to their family, I also find it rather sad to see photos of  people as they were, maybe I am just in a rather a dark place at the moment.
That's enough talk of suffering, ultimately the living have to carry on living and we owe it to those that are sick or have passed away to make the most of our lives.  
I couldn't finish this post without a mention of the dogs, below is a before and after shot of a ball that they managed to destroy in only one day!
And here is one of the culprits trying to deny all knowledge.



Saturday, 16 May 2015

Negatives and Positives

My ex best friend said to me a while back that I had changed since I had cancer, a strange comment really, as obviously my whole world has changed but underneath I am still much the same, what she missed, was because of the way she treated me after I came out of hospital my opinion of her changed and I realised that my idea of a best friend was completely different to her idea.
The one good thing to come out of my cancer experience is that it has opened my eyes, I don't have time for passengers, I am on borrowed time and I do not want to waste it squabbling and fighting and trying to keep other people happy.  I am lucky to have some really special and supportive friends and family around me, and now I have some fabulous people I know locally, I don't need anyone else.
Right that's the first negative out of the way, now for the second.
I had my 3 monthly scan on Tuesday at Clatterbridge, and now my consultant has 18 months of scans to look at he can see a pattern, basically everything is growing, and the cancer has spread to the glands in my chest, I can't say I am surprised it has spread, as it had already taken over 4 organs. I now have 3 months grace until the next scan, when I think I will commence treatment. The treatment for Kidney cancer is not particularly successful, Chemo is ineffective, there is the possibility of a clinical trial with a new drug, but that has now dragged on for over a year so I am not very optimistic. The part I am trying to get my head round, is that apart from tiredness at times, I do feel very good, both physically and mentally, so starting a treatment that will make me ill and probably wont have much effect on the cancer is a hard decision to make.

Now we can get on to the positives, which not only are way more interesting but way more important.
Last Sunday I did a sponsored walk for Clatterbridge hospital, I will donate them some money, as I really don't like asking people for money, especially as this is one of several events I am doing, and also most of my friends are Poor! I had to insert the capital P, as Margo says in the superb John Green book, 'Paper Towns' why do words in the middle of sentences have to get short changed!
Back to the walk. It was only 8km along the beach at Crosby north of Liverpool, nothing to strenuous, but of course I had to make it difficult, so I took one of our dogs from the Warrington RSPCA shelter.

I am not  sure how old Willow is, but she is quite young and because of her  ill treatment this would be her first trip out into the big wide world, and again I couldn't make things easy by driving, so we walked the mile from Slutches lane to Warrington Central station, got a train to Lime St, walked through the middle of Liverpool to Central station, got another train up the coast to Waterloo and then walked along the beach, and of course we had to do it all on the return.
Willow & friend
Willow is the most adorable dog, she has obviously had a really tough life, she came to us  scared of her own shadow, and she still reacts horribly if you accidently trip over her, but we had a fabulous day, she was unbelievably good, considering everything she had to contend with. She made friends right from the start, where she latched on to a young lady at Central station, and then curled up next to her on the train.
Lime St  
Waterloo train
The only real problems were at Liverpool Central, I left Willow tied to an A board while I went into Greggs to get a coffee, and while I was waiting I turned round and she calmly followed me in, having easily slipped out of her harness, I really should have known better than to trust most of these basic harnesses on sale, as they are rubbish, fortunately the staff in Greggs and a passer by were very helpful to say the least. Central station is like an underground station, and without thinking I walked on to the escalator, but unfortunately Willow didn't, and had no intention of either,  so I had to very hastily back track. Haha. Stairs from now on.

Remembrance flags

Clatterbridge helpers
By the time we got back to Lime St we were both very tired, on the platform we had about 150 ft to walk to the train and 10 minutes, I ended up carrying Willow as she really was not going any further, on the train she was bravely sitting up, but her eyelids kept drooping, so she had done enough for one day.
Proudly displaying her medal
Yesterday was the last time I will see Willow, as she has found a home with one of the veterinary nurses, she will have a great life now and will be surrounded with love, but I will miss her.
Our last walk


Monday, 11 May 2015

London Marathon

A day in London for the Marathon to cheer on my fab friend Emily, who was running it for the first time, and she did really well, I'm sure she was exhausted and hurt in places that she didn't know she could hurt, but Emily looked really good and we had a great time in the crowds trying to find other vantage spots, lovely atmosphere, and really inspiring to watch.
London Docklands
I stayed in London the night and because of a bit of a mix up I booked into a hotel near Covent Garden, I was lucky anywhere had vacancies, or maybe unlucky! The hotel was so bad it was fun, a real flea pit out of the 1960s.

View from my hotel
It was a funny couple of days in London, I was so proud of Emily and had a great day with the Marathon, but at the same time I managed to fall out for the final time with a friend and question the quality of the friendship with another one, a bit sad but these things happen and I am stronger for it, the real downside was Sunday night I met a guy from Nepal and a height challenged guy called Butch. We got on so well immediately and had a real laugh and a big night was in the offering, but foolishly I had arranged to meet someone and the rest as they say is history....thank god, anyway I will meet up with Butch at some point and I think its guaranteed it will be quite a night!
I had a trip down memory lane to where I was born in Wandsworth Common.
17 Mayford Road SW12
Was great to see where I went to school and the house I was born in, the area is very up market now and good to see the houses looked after so well, unfortunately I was with the wrong person so one day soon I will go back on my own and have a good quiet mooch around my old haunts.
My first trip to Amsterdam was pretty good, although again I was with the wrong person, but it was cool, gave me the flavour for going back, it may be the cycling capital of the world but that makes it a very hazardous place to walk in. I love Holland, we called in at a couple of places on the way including Rotterdam which was nothing like I expected, very clean and interesting. On the way back we stopped in Antwerpen and that was  good as well, was worth  the visit just for Antwerpen Central station.
Antwerpen Central
Clatterbridge Hospital again tomorrow, the 3 months pass so quickly, fingers crossed nothing will have grown unduly.