Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Horrible news. Mark's wife collapsed on Sunday and has cancer with bone and liver mets. Terrible. 

So how bad am I? Nothing in the great scheme of things. And I have been so brave, so inspirational - and I have nothing to be brave about. Not compared with that.

I've texted him, but he hasn't told us the details yet. It's a crap time for it to happen, too, they are still renting, waiting to move back into their house. 


Sunday, June 29, 2008

28 June

A week and a half into goat phase.

Saw the surgeon on Wednesday - it will be a mastectomy, with lymph node clearance. It's what we were expecting, but I was still upset afterwards. I think I had parked it all, decided to concentrate on the chemo, and suddenly had to face it. 

They gave me a leaflet on prostheses. Full of pictures of OLD WOMEN. Not very aspirational and nothing that I could identify with at all. "I can wear most things", but all the pictures showed necklines up at the neck. It really upset me. I cried that night and the next night. 

I just got the Amoena catalogue, which is much better. Quite nice underwear. I will go into Marks next week and get myself measured up, and then do some shopping...but I am absolutely certain I will have a reconstruction next year. 

I look at myself in the mirror and I can't imagine what it will look like. 

1 F was kneeling in front of the telly waiting to turn it off, and his feet were under him. Dirty little feet because he's been running around outside with no shoes on. I always like to see them with dirty feet in the summer.

2 The radishes have gone mad and it's so nice to pick them. They pop out of the earth like shocking pink torpedoes.

3 Picked my first sweet peas today. Pink and purple. They smell delicious.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

22 June - Wild and windy

Aaron came over with Rollo,  the grumpiest dog in the world. The kids are delighted to see him, giving him biscuits, dragging him round on a lead. I suppose he can't be THAT grumpy.

Took the kids taking the dog for  a walk down the lane. It was lovely - wildflowers everywhere. We picked a little mixed bunch which F presented to Aaron. S demonstrated her nectar sucking technique on the honeysuckle. 

So here are my 3BT

  1. Honeysuckle - smells so good. Looks like tiny angel trumpets
  2. Dropping daisies off the bridge into the stream and then watching for them coming out the other side - and S not minding that none of her stuff ever did. 
  3. F working out how to make a  pulley out of a skipping rope and a bucket for holding pens, and being so proud of it he had to show everybody.
Patio wall nearly finished - thank goodness. 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

21 June - the longest day.

So they decided to give me more chemo on the 19th. My wedding anniversary. My first chemo was on Valentine's Day, so there's some kind of cosmic irony going on there...

This is the hard day, when the steroids drop out and I'm left just feeling flat and low and wanting to be left alone. Hard for all of us. And it's rained all day. Still, that means I don't have to go and water the garden tonight.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday in the park

  1. F, S and Alex running round the paddling pool in the park. They all looked so fit and healthy, and were having such a good time.
  2. Strawberries, warm from the sun, picked straight from the plant and popped in your mouth. Not many things are nicer than that.
  3. I love the way S prefers peaches and F prefers nectarines. She likes the fact that they are furry. They both feel around in the fruit bowl until they find what they want.
It was a lovely day today. I woke around 6.15 and then fell back to sleep until F came in at 7.20. In our house that is a serious lie-in. A took S to school so I didn't have to rush, so F and I just pottered round the house, hung the washing out, mooched.

We headed over to Barnstaple to see Alex B, F's best friend. S is fascinated by the fact that she is a girl. "Are you going to marry Alex?" "I might and I might not". F says he wants to marry Joanna. "I will have to choose".

Had lunch in Alex B's new house. Three storey Victorian, not unlike our Bristol house. Needs a LOT of work, but they say they enjoy that. Then to Bideford park, where the kids had a great time in the playground and then Ann looked after F, Alex and Amelia while I went and picked up S from school. They splashed around in the paddling pool, got cold, warmed up, ran around, laughed a lot, fell over a few times, Amelia lolled around in the sun looking like a kid about to fall asleep, and then we headed home via Mr Hocking's van. We are so lucky to have them as our local ice cream providers. And my taste buds are back to normal, so everything tastes fantastic.

S did a few blasts on the trumpet when we got back. I really hope she gets into it. We agreed this morning that we would both try and be extra nice and good at bedtime, and it worked - though I don't think she is asleep yet...

Thursday, June 12, 2008


  1. Chickpea salad for lunch, with chillis and lime juice and a bit of onion. Lime and chilli is a great kick.
  2. Tea tastes good this week. There's nothing like a nice cup of tea.
  3. There are the first tiny baby green tomatoes on the biggest tomato plant.

I didn't water the vegetable patch last night, but it rained in the night, so that was OK. We ate salad leaves last night - some from the batch my Dad donated, some from the hearting mix and the first of the chard. Chard is so brilliant - it looks fantastic, tastes great and just keeps on going. What more could you ask for?

I had to clear some caterpillars off the cabbage plants yesterday, so that needs to be a regular job for a bit. But this time of year is wonderful - everything is growing so quickly. The patch looks really good at the moment, much better than last year.

A poem by my friend Siobhan


Call me crazy, if you like,
but I have decided
to save the world
and there’s a lot to do.
I’m in good company too.

There’s Tom, the gardener
in the park close by
rubbing his cold hands together,
carefully planting snow drops,
digging small holes in the rich Autumn soil
dark clay beneath his fingertips.
So that when Edith
takes a shaky walk around the park
she’ll see their brave heads
pushing their way
through the heavy snow -
and smile - properly
for the first time
since her husband died.

Perhaps Tom is saving the world.

And Mike from the ‘community service scheme’
paying back society for his sins
down by the neglected river bank,
pulling out old condoms
and half torn pages
of used up porn.
So that when Dave
takes his kids for a walk
(to give their Mum a break)
they can splash in the clear water,
dance for delight, clapping their hands
in amazement
at this world of ours.

Perhaps Mike is saving the world.

And Andy on the computer
late at night and far from home,
back aching and eyes sore
from squinting at the screen,
tired and missing the comfort
of his warm bed.
Putting the last touches to his paper –
‘Prevention of world blindness
a way forward’

Perhaps Andy is saving the world
as a really special gift
for Maria Abalooha,
blind for twenty years,
so that she can see
her grandson born
and the sun rise -
all on the same day.

So I have decided
to save the world
in the only way I can;
I will take the tattered scraps
of impossible dreams
and stitch them into poems,
piece by careful piece
I will place together
their coloured edges
to make a patchwork song.

And I’ll sing it right out-loud,
in the middle of the street
and you can call me crazy if you like,
but I have decided
to save the world.

Which is just as well really
as there’s an awful lot to do.

How to live life

I'm going back to some thoughts I had earlier about how to live life. There are a few influences I want to mention. Here goes:

  1. Enough by John Naish. We all live in superabundance. I do, anyway. This book is about how to stop over-ing. Overspending, overworking, overeating. I found 3BT from here. The message I got from it was that we have enough, we just have to learn how to appreciate that.
  2. (Which brings me neatly on to Terry Pratchett and the Wee Free Men, who believe that we have already died and gone to heaven - this wonderful, beautiful place that has everything we need. Their philosophical struggle is what happens when we die in heaven...)
  3. Siobhan M. My friend. Came down a few weeks ago and we had some good conversation, and a couple of things she said have really stuck with me. She talked about "eating mindfully" and "accepting the bouquet". I have kind of extrapolated from those images, but they really capture an essence for me.
  4. Doing the 29 day Giving Challenge. Interestingly what I have noticed doing this is much more about how much I am given by others than about how much I am giving. Gratitude again.
  5. CBT. Feelings, thoughts, behaviours, all influencing each other. As my daughter says "The things you do look after you." I don't want to nauseate people, but you can appreciate the good things in life even when there are bad things going on.

There is something important about living mindfully. When you concentrate on what you are doing and think about the consequences it is supposed to become a meditation in itself. I am sure there is truth in that. Relishing the moment. Relishing the small things, because it's not often that you have a perfect, fantastic, wonderful day, let alone a week, a month, a year. But if you relish a moment here, 5 minutes there, then you will find that they all add up.

I know none of this is new, but for me it is as if a number of things are coming together in a really productive way.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's shrinking!

Went for my mammogram today and they ultrasounded me too. Fantastic - the biggest malignant lesion has shrunk from 42mm diameter to 14mm. I cried a few tears. I don't seem to realise how tense I am about things until I am relieved of them.

Beautiful things:

1 Ann Tat and two of her friends, who I've met but don't know very well, took me out last night to see SATC. We ate beforehand, nothing fancy, but Ann and Sue paid for everything, just because they wanted me to have a good night out...

2 And Kate, who is having a shit time at the moment, her business has gone under, said if I ever needed help with childcare to give her a shout

3 and when I got home the stars were amazing.


1 The roses over the arch have come out - baby pink and smelling so good

2 Had a nice lunch with Mum and Dad, at the New Inn, picture postcard thatched inn, with a lovely garden and nice food.

3 The ultrasound, the ultrasound, the ultrasound....

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Karla's wedding

We went to Karla's wedding on Saturday. What a lovely day. The weather was lovely - just as June should be - the food was great - hog roast and salads - the bride was radiant.
S was a bridesmaid and took it very seriously. A guy from work, Mark, did the photographs, so I just had a sneak preview and S looks very serious through the whole service. F was just gorgeous and kept running over and kissing the bride. At one point he popped up from under the table, climbed onto her lap and gave her loads of kisses.

The team were all there. I dreamed I was sleeping at the office that night. Lovely to see everyone giving it heaps on the dance floor and great seeing them out of context.

We had planned to go to the beach on Sunday, but everyone was tired and grumpy, so we just went home and got out the paddling pool. What a good decision. We spend all this time, effort and money on living somewhere lovely and we don't spend enough time there.
some bts:

Karla's face coming up the aisle (to Zippadeedoodah)

The light in the field and F running across it.

S in her gold dress, delighted with herself.

Sitting under the elder bush, the smell of the blossom all round, dropping a few flowers in S's hair.

Avocado and bacon. Made for each other.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


Feeling better and better. I'm not really drinking enough because everything tastes disgusting, but I am eating better. Better quality - big salad tonight - manage good amounts all the time, but week 1 after chemo involves more sweets, because I need to get rid of that horrible taste in my mouth.

Today's 3BT:

1 As I was coming home over the bridge I saw an older couple hand in hand, in beige and cream: him in  beige top and cream trousers, her in a cream top and beige skirt. They looked so hilariously well coordinated.

2 At the Stretchacott turn there is a reddy-goldy-peachy snapdragon growing out of the wall all by itself.

3 S and F playing shoot and save football in the garden - the agony and the ecstasy - totally over the top goal celebrations and collapsing in despair, and both of them knowing it and finding it so funny.

The other thing about 3BT is that I find myself more conscious of beautiful moments through the day - I clock them and file them away for later.

Took F into the health centre with me today. Hilary did my dressing. I gave her a plant - a chilli or perhaps a pepper. I planted in a bit of a chemo haze and have no idea what anything is. I don't suppose it matters too much. F had to go and do a poo and came back in to have his bottom checked. It all feels very chaotic, but she doesn't seem to mind. Then took him to nursery. He said he didn't want to go, and I thought he would be fine when he got there, but apparently he had moments of sadness all day. I went into town and shopped for a dress for the wedding, but everything looks horrible. I think I like the dress I bought, though I have nothing to go with it, so I will look a bit undercoordinated, but there you go. 

I think I am coming to a philosophy of life. That sounds very grand, and I don't mean it to, but there are a few strands coming together that seem to be linked. I have been struggling with the idea of "battling with cancer". You hear it everywhere, and I feel uncomfortable with it. God knows I would love to battle with cancer, but how? What does it actually entail? If there was something positive that I could do and had faith in, I would do it. What I feel is something like Tony Blair said about the war on terror - and I can't believe that I am quoting him on that, but I think it was him who talked about the importance of continuing every day life as a protest against terrorism that would try to disrupt and destroy that. So I am trying to live my everyday life as well as possible as a protest  against the cancer that would disrupt and destroy it.

So what are my strands?

The big things don't happen very often, so you have to have regard to the small things and really appreciate them. 

It is worth paying attention to the small things, because they accumulate.

That's from the 3BT thing.

The giving challenge? Well, the more I think about what I give, the more I notice what I receive.

So it's something about the fact that life is OK if you look for the bits that are good. It's not very original, I know, but there you go.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

29-Day Giving Challenge

I took up the 29-Day Giving Challenge - it's interesting to consciously think about giving, especially at a time when I feel I am taking so much from people in terms of physical and emotional support.

I guess I feel much more comfortable giving than receiving - and I imagine that is normal. Siobhan talked about accepting the bouquet - most people find compliments hard, but help is even harder. Asking for help. And then someone will come along and do something small and gracious and you feel so supported.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Emerging from the chrysalis

From lunchtime onwards I have felt things lifting - it is such a relief. By 11am I was absolutely whacked and would have happily laid down on the kitchen floor and gone to sleep, and now I am feeling relatively perky. Yesterday was awful, and I woke in the night aching all over and hot and uncomfortable, but I think tonight will be OK. I didn't take any zopiclone last night - maybe I should have - it's a bit ridiculous, but I don't want to be taking more meds than necessary! That IS ridiculous. In fact I lay there at 3 am thinking "If someone told me this was how it would be for ever, I don't think I'd bother with it."

Spent the morning at Granny's, wrapping china and shifting furniture. At least Aus and Paul shifted the furniture and I wrapped china. We took more stuff than we should have - I have such a problem with things, I couldn't bear to see the stuff she loved abandoned. Anyhow, we have a huge attic, it will be treasure for the kids to find in years to come.

I am still doing the 3BT. It's an interesting thing, it is really helpful to reflect on the good things in the day. I was talking to Siobhan about this - about how important it is for me to focus on the little things that make life good (better than worth living...), or else, what is it that you want to live for? All those little moments make up the whole. So it is something I want to continue with. And if you don't reflect on those things it is very easy to sink into reflecting on all the bad things (and heaven knows that would be easy enough). I can hear Aus trying to get the telly to function properly in the next room. I could easily rant  for pages about that...

1 A vermilion geranium in a terracotta pot against a white wall. It's a classic.

2 Sam doing the hedge, and almost taking a spirit level to it. Such a contrast with last year, when he whizzed along. As if he's suddenly developed perfectionism.

3 F coming home from his first full day at school with a sticker on his shirt saying "Brilliant Behaviour" - a sticker S made him because he lost his original one. 

And now I'm smiling and feeling that life is good, and I'm ready for bed.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

a little moan

I have felt so tired today. I feel like a jug of  water that is just almost too full. I just want to be very still and very quiet, and not to be jostled in any way - because if I start to spill..! I just have so little to give anybody. 

Managed to do bedtime for children, and that was OK, but I have to remind myself that they are very small and can't be expected to understand. And I feel bad that they are having to understand stuff like this at all.

And I feel like I don't know what's going on, and that's very disconcerting. There is a plan and then it changes. It's horrible. They are going to re-mammogram me before the next treatment and decide on the basis of that, so it could be surgery sooner than I was expecting. S doesn't want me to have a scar. Neither do I, much.

Sunday 1st June

I have felt so tired today, but it has been nice to hear the kids charging around the house, using their imaginations. F is an undersea knight, and this is not his usual country.

S asking questions - how much more medicine, what is wrong, will I have a scar? But she didn't want me to tell Aus that we had been talking about it. The other night she said "I do worry about you, but I don't talk about it". And that's her.

1 The children hooning around the house piling on layer upon layer of imagining. "I will plant this magic seed" "And then lots of trees will grow"

2 F directing us on how to make a triangular door with our arms, and me and Aus just laughing and laughing.

3. Just hearing the birds singing and thinking how lucky I am to live somewhere where I can take that for granted.

Jess taking S tomorrow. Star. 

I looked at myself in the mirror earlier. Look like Nosferatu.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

3bt on chemo day

Just wanted to do this before I crawl off to bed:

1. My PICC line. It means I am in and out so much quicker, my veins are staying intact and they don't have to fiddle around hurting me every time I go in.

2. Julie brought F home from nursery and talked about the time she had with him so enthusiastically she almost made me feel I had done her a favour.

3. The luxury of going to bed for the afternoon, knowing both kids are safe and happy and having fun.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

the tiger and the cat - the end of the day

And this is me in my funky hat! 

Bit nervous about tomorrow. There is always the risk it won't go ahead.


This 3BT thing - there must be some formal religious precedent. It sounds like something one of the saints would have recommended.


1 The glove my grandmother got married in. She kept it for 70 years.

2 Sorcha sat down and facepainted the kids. They were delighted - a cat and a tiger.

3 It is raining outside and so cold we had to light a fire, but S is bouncing around the house in her new swimsuit and shows no sign of taking it off. She is determined to make the most of the summer. (She looks even better because of the face paint- it's like having our own mini-festival in the living room).

Chemo tomorrow, so news bulletins will be shut down for a few days...

Beach day yesterday, rain today

First of all my 3BT for yesterday:

1 Coming round a bend and seeing the sea in bands of dull blue-grey and sparkling silver

2 Eating a cinnamon roll for breakfast. Mmm, cinnamon...

3 Driving along a country lane alongside a row of massive stately beech trees

This 3BT thing is interesting. It is almost like a prayer, or a meditation in the evening. It feels really good to cast back over the day and pick out highlights. It is less daunting than doing a full journal entry - though once I started last night there were things I wanted to jot down in my journal and then there were more and more BTs that I remembered.

Yesterday was a funny sort of day. I had to go and have bloods tested in the morning, so Aus took S and F and Sorcha swimming. Sorcha has reached an age and has a personality that makes her a positive asset with small children. I picked them up from the pool and we headed home, then out for the Bush for good food out in the garden in the sunsine. S was mardy - not enough sleep. Then to Sandymouth, and Aus, Andy, S and Sorcha  played in the surf (S is a surf babe already) and Rowan and F made sandcastles - Rowan very tolerant of F - and then the kids headed off with fishing nets and found some crabs. I think some big boys gave them to them, and they were delighted with them. Ice cream on the way back to the car, then home for sausages and tabbouleh and home made coleslaw. Mum and Dad came over.

Aus and I went over the Granny's today to decide what we wanted. A lot of stuff, actually - Aus surprised me with what we ended up taking, but as people keep saying, we can  always throw it away.

S and F are doing a colouring game on the computer next to me?

S: What do you think of that?
F: it's really ridiculous, but it's nice.

F announced this morning "When I grow up I'm going to be a film maker"! We'll see.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Just so you can see what I look like with no hair...

Maud and Cam visit

a visit from Maud and Cam and Pumps, who is gorgeous, and incredibly strong-willed. They came on Saturday, so the kids were tired and cranky on Sunday. We took them to Rosemoor as they needed to get out and they varied from happy and running around to stressy and stroppy - mega-stroppy. S in particular was really grumpy and disparaging of everything. F was on the best form - and had had the most sleep. I napped in the evening and Maud did bedtime - good on her. Naps are so luxurious.

3 beautiful things
1 Pea shoots starting to come through - almost fluorescent green
2 Walking into a greenhouse full of stocks - the scent was amazing
3 S being a kind big sister and letting F have the binos, with no debate or discussion. She is a sweetie at times.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sunny Saturday

A lovely sunny day - felt like summer. Took the kids swimming. It is less painful to watch now, but still, I would like to be in there. Lunch with Julie, in the garden and then home to tidy up for Maud and Campbell and Pumpkin. Kids delighted to see Pumpkin, Maud and Cam on good form, Aus set up his amp so we can have really loud music. The first signs of pea shoots are coming through, and lettuce seedlings, and some chard. Chard is fantastic - it just comes back and back and back.


1 Picking flowers in the sunshine

2 Sitting in Julie's garden for lunch. First lunch outside this summer. And we ate the salad leaves she had grown, so she was really happy.

3 The smell of the first pink rose this summer. A big fat rose with a big fat scent.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Peaceful Friday evening

Ahh, peace at last. Just read that book to F, and now both kids are tucked up in bed and Aus has headed off to the pub with Aaron for a pint and is going to pick up fish and chips on the way back, so I can sit down for a quick tap at the keyboard for a few minutes before I tidy round.

It was supposed to be crap weather today, but it was actually quite sunny. I took F over to Tess's this morning and she looked after him while I went for a gynae appointment. She was potting up seedlings when I got there, and I had taken her a couple of strawberry plants and a couple of sweetpeas, from Smallridge. Would have taken more but I had run out of change.

The boys had a great time and F came home laden down with weaponry. The gynae bit was not much fun, but Alice was the nurse and that was nice. She looked better than last time I saw her - she really is a pretty woman, much better looking than Miss Thing - and it was nice to have a quick catch up. Her kids are settled in their new school - and doing French and Spanish, which made me jealous.

Picked F up and had a quick bowl of soup with Tess. Brought him home and did a bit of weeding and played football with him in the garden. He's quite good at saving goals, and quite good at kicking, but he falls over whenever he kicks the ball. He seems to think it is obligatory.

It was nice to do my giving, and get some lovely responses on that website. Judging from the time differences they are mostly American. Haven't seen anybody else from the EU on there. It is an interesting thing to be doing. I guess doing anything positive in a mindful way is good. I suppose the people signing up are likely to be nice, generous people anyway. Their comments are all nice, generous comments. Warm.

Aussie and Aaron are doing well with the wall. Aussie is so meticulous. There is a possibility of another long term contract in the offing, which would be fantastic. It makes it so much easier to be organised.

Susi rang last night. If she reads this she'd better leave a comment. She has been sadly neglectful!

3BT and 29 day giving challenge

I have set myself the 3BT challenge - wanted to concentrate on the good things (see previous postings...) and it seemed like a good model. And from that blog I found the 29 day giving challenge. It's an interesting idea. The woman who set it up has a video of herself talking about it and there's something sort of spontaneous and very giggly about her that I quite liked. And I have felt for a while that I am being given so much by other people that I wanted to think about what I could give back to the universe, if that doesn't sound too cheesy.

F is tired and fractious and needs to go to bed.


1 Tess looking after F while I went to the hospital. Just made my life so easy, and F had a great time.

2 Big hug from Alice at the end of the appointment

3 Aussie's bread. Irish brown bread made to a Rachel Allen recipe. Delicious++

Thursday, May 22, 2008


1 Buttercups

2 Hilary's nails. Hilary is the nurse who does my dressing every week and her finger nails always look reassuringly clean and well scrubbed.

3 I was stuck in a queue of traffic behind an articulated lorry on a winding country lane, and then the lorry driver pulled into a lay-by and let us all past. Good one!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why I don't want to die.

I was reading Anna's blog and she talks about how she's not afraid to die, she's done so much with her life, more life is just more - she wants quality, not quantity, if given a choice.

I'm not going to die of this. I really don't think so. I know I'm not. But even though I've done so much - travelled, lived abroad, done wild and crazy things, enjoyed myself so much - I don't want to miss out on more. And I think the difference is having children. My objective quality of life could be minimal but I would still get so much from them, so much enjoyment, so much love. Does that sound cheesy? Always difficult to talk about emotions without sounding cheesy (how English is that?).

And when I think about what I want from the future, a lot of it - most of it - is about them - I want to see what they look like as adults, I want to see them have adventures, I want to see them in love and happy, I want to see what they do. They have so much potential at the moment.

Which doesn't mean I think my life is over - far from it - there are things I want to do at work, improvements I want to make (things I've learned from this), things I want to do at home, still places I want to go, still experiences I want to have. But that is all less urgent.

My dad makes a joke

Did I mention that my Dad made a joke about me being bald, about me having less hair than him? I was delighted.

3 beautiful things

1 F running back to kiss me after I say goodbye

2 Green curl of seedlings through the dark compost - I planted them and they are growing!

3 White froth of cow parsley spilling out of the verges.

An afterthought

Made my own lunch today and yesterday - chickpeas and onion and chilli cooked with lime juice, and tabbouleh. Feel so virtuous.

A week and a half after chemo

Haven't updated this for ages. The chemo went OK - my shrinkage is so good they want to give me 2 extra treatments. I suppose this is good news - it is good news, of course it is, but I had got myself geared up for just one more, so to have 3 more to face...but it's working, so that is fantastic.

The muscle and joint pains have gone now, but my gum seems to be flaring up again. My cough is still around, but easing off. It's amazing how effective our immune systems are. I mean, when they are working properly all these things just wash over you and are gone, you would never know you'd been at risk of infection, but when things aren't working, you just seem to get hit by everything.

Finally managed to get some planting done in the veg patch. It's looking OK. Need to put in more lettuce and carrots this week, and there are some onions I might still have chance with. Dad gave me some tomato seedlings and I bought some at the WI sale on Sunday.

Bom and Sue came down for the weekend. I made jambalaya on Saturday - very tasty and surprisingly easy. Made it from the Larousse, which is a slightly scary place to make things from, as it assumes that you know what you are doing. Julie and Aaron came over for dinner.

On Sunday we went to Welcombe, to the beach. Lovely and sunny, but a bit of a breeze. Aus and S went in the water - S looks like a real surf chick in her wetsuit. Then for lunch at the Bush, which was heaving, and had run out of roast, but the burger was good. Then dashed home, said goodbye to Bom and Sue and headed over for the WI event.

Still haven't got anything to wear for Karla's wedding.

Parents' evening last night. Don't want to brag, but Mrs L says S is one of the most intelligent children she's ever taught. She is in a bright year group as well, which is good. There are 3 of them who stand out, S, Brooke and Harry, so she will have a bit of competition all the way through. But of course we also had to talk about the fact that she is really stressed out at the moment. Wet the bed 3 times last week, has problems getting to sleep, gets into a tizzy over nothing. She was crying when I went to pick her up yesterday - Mrs L had had to tell her off for leaving the classroom without telling her. I don't think she even told her off angrily, but S just dissolved.

She told Aus in the car last night that she would like to have some time alone with me. The problem is F, who makes himself so difficult for anybody else, if he wants. Need to find a way for him to be looked after.

Aus is really stressed. We are all stretched. This goes on and on and on and on.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A classic poem of parenthood by Sharon Olds.

Looking at Them Asleep

When I come home late at night and go in to kiss them,
I see my girl with her arm curled around her head
,her mouth a little puffed, like one sated,
butslightly pouted like one who hasn't had enough,
her eyes so closed you would think they have rolled the
iris around to face the back of her head,
the eyeball marble-naked under that
thick satisfied desiring lid,she lies on her back in abandon and sealed completion,
and the son in his room, oh the son he is sideways in his bed,
one knee up as if he is climbing
sharp stairs, up into the night,
and under his thin quivering eyelids you
know his eyes are wide open and
staring and glazed, the blue in them so
anxious and crystally in all this darkness, and his
mouth is open, he is breathing hard from the climb
and panting a bit, his brow is crumpled
and pale, his fine fingers curved,
his hand open, and in the center of each hand
the dry dirty boyish palm
resting like a cookie. I look at him in his
quest, the thin muscles of his arms
passionate and tense, I look at her with her
face like the face of a snake who has swallowed a deer,
content, content—and I know if I wake her she'll
smile and turn her face toward me though
half asleep and open her eyes and I
know if I wake him he'll jerk and say Don't and sit
up and stare about him in blue
unrecognition, oh my Lord how I
know these two. When love comes to me and says
What do you know, I say This girl, this boy.

counting down

Tomorrow is c-day, so am feeling a bit gloomy. Took my steroids this morning - was up and about before anybody else. F slept in till 7.15 and S slept in till 8 and had to be woken up, so we were all in a bit of a rush.

The veg patch is looking good - clear and ready to plant. Wondering about getting some black stuff to stop the weeds. Have pepper and chilli seedlings coming through and have planted some sweetcorn.

My oestrogen receptor results have come back moderate to strongly responsive, so they will be giving my tamoxifen. Aus says this is very good news, so hooray! Julian had his MRI scan yesterday and that came back OK. He won't need a repeat for 4 months, so hooray, hooray!! I know he was in a state about it. His best mate's dad died of cancer last week, and then there's been me and Granny, so I think he's felt a bit under seige. Sighs of relief all round, and we can shelve that worry for the next 4 months.

Email from Jane Duffy, with cute photos of her (very blond) boy. It seems like ages ago that F was so small. He started his induction at school yesterday - looked so smart and grown up in his uniform. He was so excited the night before he hardly slept, went back to bed for a sneaky snooze in the morning, had his lunch, put his uniform on all by himself (because that's what schoolboys do), and once we got to the playground S came rushing over, gave him a big hug and the pair of them charged off together. Apparantly he was very good, sat nicely at carpet time and was very quiet. We'll see how long the quietness lasts. He came home exhausted, which is probably why he slept so late this morning. We'll see how long that lasts.

S found out that Karla has asked her to be a bridesmaid. Much excitement. Tried the dress on last night and looked absolutely lovely. It is a gorgeous dress, and she did look lovely. Predictably she has completely fallen in love with the shoes, even though I think they may be a tad small. Certainly tight widthways, though the length is OK.

Heard a guy on the radio yesterday - "the main task of parenthood is to make them not need you any more".

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ian Gawler

Anna Donald reminded me of Ian Gawler, who is an Australian guy who lost a leg to a sarcoma and got into meditation and had a miraculous cure. I don't think I'm quite in the realm of needing miracles yet (don't get too cocky there), but it's nice to know they do happen.

My Birthday!

My birthday. Kids squabbled over breakfast, most of my cards brought tears to my eyes - such kind thoughts - and I'm a year older.

Just reading a BMA blog by Anna Donald, who had breast cancer 5 years ago and whose CT scan "lit up like a Christmas tree" in February. So she's having desperate treatment and expecting to die. Which is awful, and obviously is my fear, but what's interesting is that even with that, you still function, you still get on with things. Or she does. And what else can you do? You have to keep going, someone has to buy the toothpaste, do the washing up, get the kids to school on time (late this morning, actually).

I still have this cold. I'm a bit worried I won't shake it off before next week and they won't do me. I need a surgery date, I need to get myself organised. Aussie says it's just logistics, and we will sort it out.

It's raining and I want to be planting. My chillis are coming through.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My taste in books.

Interesting to see it down as a list. What does it say about me? There's a big heap of fantasy there, not much crime or horror.

Back at work

It does seem to be taking longer to bounce back each time. Still - hopefully only 2 more to go! I have had a really unpleasant cold this weekend, and am still croaky. Almost lost my voice completely on Sunday.

David rotavated the veg patch on Saturday, and I managed to rake over about 1/5 on sunday. It is exciting to see all that bare soil and I am itching to plant. Bought pumpkin seeds and sweetcorn yesterday with F. We will have lots of peas. We have been eating our own winter salad and my mixed salad leaves in pots are coming through. I would be so bereft if we had to give up the veg patch! I get much more excited about vegetables than flowers. We need to sort out the strawberry patch too. I put in 2 gooseberry bushes and some rhubarb, and the raspberry canes are looking good.

Aus took the kids swimming on Saturday so I could rest. Poor me with my sore throat and snotty nose. He ended up with S, F and Joanna and stayed there for ages - they were in the water about 1 1/2 hours - came back knackered. F had his swimming lesson yesterday and he's getting really good, though he does like to stay under. If he came up and breathed a bit more regularly he'd be swimming across the pool.

Mum and Dad took him last Monday, so I didn't get to see him. I slept. (So tired - I could sleep anywhere, anytime, anyhow). Mum came back and saw me without my hat. I knew it would upset her. Said she cried afterwards - "What have they done to my little girl?". I suppose I am her little girl.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Well, the consultant was very pleased with progress (though probably not as pleased as I was to hear him say that). Steve kindly drove me home, Julie brought F home (with daffodils and a beautiful card that he drew himself, and he is a genius), so it was OK as chemo days go. S went to Joanna's and had a great time.

Mum and Dad took the kids down to Rodger and Sue's for the weekend and I think they all had a good time. Took the dogs to the beach, went to the zoo, children behaved well, came back brimming with news and excitement. I lolled for a lot of the weekend, and have to say I am feeling tireder this time, and also have really unpleasant muscle ache. Am taking paracetamol and feeling lucky because some people have unbearable muscle ache. The paracetamol takes the edge off, but I'm not sleeping well.

S sleepwalked into our bed last night, curled up on top of the covers, had to be dragged in and covered over. I ended up in the spare bed because I needed to squirm, because I just couldn't get comfortable.

The weather at least was sunny today and I planted the gooseberry bushes (2) and then had to rest. It is so frustrating to have time off and not be able to do anything with it. It is so frustrating not to fell well. Not that I feel ill exactly, but I have no oomph. Missed an exciting meeting at work. So frustrating.

I suppose at least now I realise how much I enjoy doing stuff and how much I enjoy work. I do like getting things sorted out.

The veg patch is still unattacked. Don't see how we're going to grow anything this year. I suppose it is only April, but the year seems to be going...

Aus attacked the big thing. Stone feature. Don't know what it is, but it takes up loads of space on the patio and is not at all attractive. Doesn't seem to serve any sort of purpose except to look generally rustic. Wants to extend the patio, maybe this weekend. I feel like he is surging on and I am just a big saggy bag of bleurgghhh.

Cathy rang today to see how my aches were. Told me that after her first chemo a colleague had asked how she was and she said "Truthfully? All those people who've come in here year after year and said 'I'm fine!' - they were all lying". Made me laugh and feel OK about feeling rubbish.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

why do they want him to disappear?

Just been idly browsing the shops in my lunch hour wondering about buying a top for F. Could someone please explain to me why shops think small boys should be camouflaged? I don't want him in camouflage gear - I want to be able to see him from the maximum distance possible. There must be cool clothes in bright colours for boys out there somewhere (and not football shirts).


Went to have bloods done this morning - fantastic - in and out so fast I didn't have to pay for parking. Fab! Sadly one of my veins is looking a bit tired, so maybe next time I will go and get it done through the line. Don't want to lose me veins, do I?

F gone swimming with nursery today and S at Nell's. Nell had her new glasses on. Not sure why I am working today, but F is delighted to be going swimming - and to be taking a packed lunch! He chose a marmite sandwich and lots of fruit - very healthy. I have to go and get him some school trousers today because it's only a couple of weeks now. My baby!

A and S had a great day yesterday - went down to Bude, went to the pool with a wave machine - S very excited about that - and swam in the sea. Came back tired but happy...

Once I get this damn line out I will swim and swim. How long will it be before I get irritated by the never quite getting dry afterwards and the chlorine smell? Maybe I will never be irritated by it again, maybe I will always count it as a blessing! We'll see.

We are excited about expanding the orchard. I bought a couple of gooseberry bushes on Monday - additions for the fruit garden. The rhubarb seems to have died. Might see if my Dad can divide some off for us.

Read a really nice article about Jenni Murray in the Guardian on Monday. I've stolen it for here, because I found it so refreshing and so helpful after my stressy time of feeling maybe I wasn't taking it seriously enough. So this is a direct quote: "I suppose after I'd done it [told the audience], I thought I had to be careful that I don't just get drawn into being seen just as somebody who has cancer. And so I was very careful about what I wrote and who I wrote it for, because there are so many nonsenses written about it."
When people talk about women "battling" breast cancer, she gets angry, she says. Some people have cancer that will kill them, some people do not. "It's absolutely the luck of the draw which kind of cancer you get. And I thought, if I can communicate that kind of idea then I'm doing a reasonable job. And what it's like to lose your hair, how shocking it is, how you can help yourself deal with it. Then that's useful stuff and I was prepared to do that - and now I prefer to forget about it really."

So I'm just getting on with it as well as I can.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Feeling a bit wobbly

Rang Jen on Sunday night. Jen is a friend of Tess, just diagnosed with breast cancer, same age as me...so it was a slightly odd phone call, and I came off it feeling really inadequate, or maybe not inadequate, but worried that I've got it wrong.

You see, she is changing her diet, going completely organic, cutting out red meat, cutting down on dairy, avoiding soya. (She's been to the Bristol Cancer Centre). And she's not working. I came off the phone feeling like she is taking it really seriously and I have been trying to see it as a minor inconvenience that I can get through.

I guess it is all about feeling in control. I have faith in the statistics, I need to keep the rest of my life going as normally as possible - maybe it's having kids as well, I need to keep things normal for them, minimise the impact - damn it, I love cheese.

But there is a little bit of me thinking "Have i got it wrong? Am I going to die because I love Brie?"

But before this I used to feel really angry with places like the BCC that made people feel responsible for their illness in ways that there is little evidence for. (Soya, there is evidence for soya - but I've never indulged in soya - partly for that reason - partly cussedness - how has it got away with being a health food?). And I don't think my diet is too bad. A bit too much sweet stuff the last few weeks, but I'm getting back to normal now. Plenty of fruit and vegetables.

It is all about control. I guess everybody does it differently.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lovely day at the beach

F was ill at nursery on Tuesday, and still complaining yesterday morning, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt (sucker!) and let him stay off. I also thought "Sod it, they aren't having a great time at the moment, what with one thing and another, let's seize the day" so we went down to Sandymouth. It only took us about 35 minutes to get there and it was lovely. Shingle and rocks until the tide was out, then lots of sand. Lots of rockpools - and I bought them fishing nets to poke about with, though they didn't catch anything (surprise) - lots of places to scramble, big tidal pools to paddle in (cold), waterfalls coming down onto the beach and a really nice cafe, not a rip off at all. Free to park for NT members (middle class smugness). The sun came out and went in and came out and went in and the sea faded from blue blue blue to dull grey and then back to sparkly blue again. All very pleasant, and the kids were lovely.

Back to nursery and work today - S at Granny and Grandad's - Dad picked her up from the health centre this morning and F came in to see the nurse with me. I am sure my line has moved out of my arm a little bit, which is a bit of a worry.

Woke in the night last night worrying about pension, stuff at work, lift home from chemo next week...none of it major, but I think I'm just stressed and stuff pops up that I can hook my anxiety onto.

We all got into our bed for stories last night. Big cosy time. A really lovely day.

Monday, April 7, 2008

sunny monday

It snowed yesterday! Beautiful feathery flakes that stuck around for about 3 hours - long enough for a snowball fight - and then all disappeared. Went for a little bike ride in the afternoon along the tarka trail - lots of primroses, wild garlic leaves with buds starting to show and fresh new leaves on the trees appearing. There were patches of wood anenome and soon there will be bluebells. It was quite warm down there, because you're out of the wind.

S is going great guns on her bike, but whinged a bit on the return leg. F was on the tagger bike - standing up on the pedals, pedalling backwards, keeping up a running commentary on the whole proceedings, lots of criticisms of Dad's speed (lack of) and wobbling (excess of).

To the park today with Brooke. Warm until the sun went in. Bought ice creams from Mr Hocking - S and B managed to trap S's between the car door and the next car along so I had to buy another. Total despair from S. Nell came over in the afternoon. Wouldn't go up to the tree house, but they boinged on the trampoline and then watched Hoodwinked...

Work tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2008

a brief word about time...

Just realised that all the times on this obviously relate to some other part of the world. I'm not actually up at 4 in the morning pouring my soul out into the computer. It is now 16.38, so you'll have to work it out for yourself.


Very fuzzy headed. Mix up yesterday about picking up S - apparantly told her I would be picking her up, though she usually goes to Brooke's. I assumed she would be going to Brooke's as usual, but we hadn't discussed it, so I said to Jess "If you see S looking abandoned pick her up and take her home". Sure enough, I'm on the way to pick up F and the phone goes and it's Jess...

Still, all's well that ends well and she had a nice time with Nell, better than trailing through to Barnstaple to pick up F. And today I got up to the hospital and discovered that the appointment I thought was for today was cancelled until May. So stupid!

A looking really fit at the moment, and I feel like a big saggy blob.

Apparantly it's going to get really cold this weekend, so no point doing any planting until after that. We just got a tree catalogue, so we can expand the "orchard". All these local varieties of apple and cherry. Lots of Landkey based ones - must have been a big orchard area at one point. There is a cherry tree road on the new estate just before nursery, but not much other evidence.

A working an extra day today. I pottered around, had lunch with Anne Tat (accidentally), then came home and had a nap. Mike just turned up to do the field so S is up the tree house with his boy Kieran. Nice email from the Duffys - lovely hippy Jane. Must email her back.

Still tired this time. Is it a cumulative thing or just the new meds? Was having a prod last night and I do think it's smaller, but am worried about getting obsessed.

Spoke to Tess and Jen has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Just had her first chemo. She is 42 too. What is going on?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Up the tree

Do you like my hat?

New treatment

Well, went along last Thursday and it's shrunk a bit but not as much as they'd hoped, so they changed my chemo to taxotere ( I think. You would think I would know, wouldn't you?). I had to be predosed with steroids because it can cause reactions ("What sort of reaction?" "Well, like an anaphylactic reaction, really") so it all took quite a long time. Didn't feel so sick but am sooooooo tired. It's Wednesday now and I still feel knocked out and everything still tastes horrible. I bought some lemonade today, which is actually drinkable, and some ginger tea, which is just about drinkable. Wanted some Yogi Tea really, but Sainsbury's only had the liquorice and that sounded a bit scary.

A is going great guns with the tree house and has dug out a couple of beds and I just loll around like something out of a Victorian novel and could quite happily spend the day in bed, except that when I'm there I don't really fell comfortable. Whinge whinge whinge.

Poor little S has a sore neck. She's really having a bad time at the moment. Stressed. F made me a card at nursery yesterday "to make you feel better."

S did a scrap book page for Great Granny. "She was kind and helped me and I loved her". If she gets a cat she says she's going to call it Phyllis May Rawlinson. I suspect by the time she does get a cat she will have reverted to Princess Snow Crystal or Sugar Sweet Pearl....

So I'm just struggling on. I keep telling myself it will be worth it in the end. My finger tips feel a bit numb, which I think is a side effect and my skin is so dry. Never used so much handcream.

This is just a big grumble, isn't it? I'm sorry. I don't feel very upbeat. The sun is shining and i should be out there revelling in it, but I just want to flop. It did start out misty, so I should be very grateful.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Granny's funeral

This is the poem I read:

Jewels in my hand ~ by Sasha Moorsom

I hold dead friends like jewels in my hand
Watching their brilliance gleam against my palm
Turquoise and emerald, jade, a golden band

All ravages of time they can withstand
Like talismans their grace keeps me from harm
I hold dead friends like jewels in my hand

I see them standing in some borderland
Their heads half-turned, waiting for my arm
Turquoise and emerald, jade, a golden band

I'm not afraid they will misunderstand
My turning to them like a magic charm
I hold dead friends like jewels in my hand
Turquoise and emerald, jade, a golden band

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Postitive stuff

When I started this I did say to myself that I wanted it to be as positive as possible. And it seems to be a bit whinge whinge whinge. So here are some positives.

I suppose part of the problem is that the negatives are pretty big at the moment and the positives seem to be the day to day boring sort of stuff.


  1. The sun is shining
  2. The little daffodils in my pots are coming out
  3. F slept til 7.30 am (amazing!)
  4. The kids are funny:
  5. F looked at the ironing board (A was ironing a shirt) and said "You could surf on that" (Have we been in North Devon too long?)
  6. S (when told Great Granny was very poorly): "Is it blue tongue?" - spending too much time with farmer's daughter...
  7. Email from Jane inspired me to get down Philip Pullman again. And made me happy.
  8. The treehouse is nearly finished.
  9. Spring is sprung.
  10. Bought a new hat - turquoisey blue with a bit of bling. All cotton so it's good for work because it doesn't make my head itch.

Amazing what a difference the sunshine makes.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thinking about my body

You know what? I have always been quite relaxed about being naked, and now I feel a bit uncomfortable if i don't have a hat on, let alone everything else. I do wonder if I'll ever feel comfortable being naked again.

A's doing a load of swimming. He looks fitter all the time. And I want him to be fit and look good, obviously, but there is a part of me that is really jealous.

Looking forward to next week already...

Well, it's Tuesday, I'm feeling OK (hungry - is that me, or the steroids?).

I'm now officially bald. S was singing this song she got from school that started off "Be bold, be strong, because the lord your God is with you, be bold, be strong, because the lord your God is with you, I am not afraid, no, no, no, I am not dismayed, no, no, no..." and has changed the words to "Be bald, be strong..."

I finally got it shaved off last week. Got sick of the little silver whisps - looked mangey - if I was a stray cat I wouldn't let myself in the house. Sally did it when I took the kids to get their hair cut. I think she was quite upset about seeing me like that. The lovely bit was this little old lady next to me who whas having her hair coloured and set, and who leaned over and said "Actually, you probably don't want to hear this, but it looks quite good. Was it Sinead O'Connor who had her hair like that?". And just before I left she told me about her sister in law who lost her hair when she had chemo, but it grew back beautifully. I felt really reached out to.

A sad weekend because Granny died. At the moment it just seems terribly sad, but I suspect we'll look back and think it was not a terrible way to go at the end of a very long life. She was 93, she was living independently until 2 weeks before she died. I suspect the operation probably didn't slow things down any, but it had to be done. She had ovarian cancer that was blocking her bowel, and just never recovered from the operation. She died in the cottage hospital, where it was nice and peaceful

Friday, March 7, 2008

Second chemo

Second chemo yesterday. Not so sick - they gave me more fluids and I made sure I drank a lot when I got home and had some proper food.

I am not herceptin responsive, so won't be needing that. That means my chemo regime will be a bit different, but same side effects...

Hair virtually all gone. Look like something out of Belsen. Am very tired - amazing how it takes it out of you.1

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Just back from seeing Granny. She had sub-acute obstruction, they couldn't tell from the outside what was going on, so opened her up on Friday night and discovered ovarian ca. Told her yesterday.

She looked pretty good on Sunday and I was thinking well, the old girl is as tough as old boots, looks like she might have dodged the grim reaper again, but yesterday she looked awful, vomiting up that vile black phlegm-y stuff, pale, knackered, and wandering in her mind a bit. She looked marginally better today, but was still vomiting. She's back on nil by mouth and has tubes everywhere, and couldn't remember that I'd been up yesterday.

I spoke to Clare last night and said I thought Julian should come down. I have been wrong before, but I think he would feel so bad if anything happened and he hadn't been down.

Reading "Little House in the Big Woods" to S. I must have read it so many times as a kid, I remember it so much better than things I read last week. S is gripped by it, and it is interesting to see her having ideas about completely other ways of living.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Home again

Spent the morning at a study session - brief solution focussed therapy. It was so good to see everybody and have a bit of a laugh. I skirted around the exercises, though. Then occupational health, and we have worked out a revised timetable that I think will get me through. Minimal clinical work, as much other stuff as possible and as much work from home as possible. So we will be a really well audited service (in theory) if nothing else.

My mouth has settled down and I can open it wide enough to eat properly now, which is a relief. I am really annoyed that I missed that first 24 hours of effective antibiotics - it really got a hold then. It's still a bit sore, feels bruised more than anything else.

After occ health, went to see Granny. They told her this morning that she has ovarian cancer and she has taken it really badly. She looked terrible and seemed a bit confused, which was unexpected. I suppose she's out of her home, she can't see very well and she can't hear very well. She was vomiting some pretty vile black stuff and apparantly they did an aspiration after I'd gone and she got more comfortable and was a bit more lucid. It's awful though, and terrible for Mum and Dad -as if I wasn't enough to be going on with. And I can't help as much as I would like because I have to be careful of infections. My white cell count was really low - neutrophils 0.36 - if it doesn't pick up they'll defer chemo, which would be a right pain.

Going bald

Well, had my hair cut short last week, but now it is definitely falling out. Handfuls in the bottom of the shower, little clumps coming out every time I run my fingers through it. I don't mind too much, but it's so messy. It looks like we acquired 6 old English sheepdogs - the whole house is covered in hair. I was drying it this morning and you could just see strands flying off around me.

So now I have to decide wig or no wig. An NHS prescription wig costs £57. Which I suppose is a bargain if you're going to wear it every day. I can't see myself ever having long hair again so I was thinking of getting something funky so I could wear it on special occasions. But the thought of a wig seems so cheesy...

I quite like the thought of some new hats.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The joys of spring.

What has happened this week? I am now a woman with short hair. Di came over last night and lopped it off. I grudgingly admit it now looks better than it did , but that is NOT the point. Di's kids are great. Ollie appeared, said "I had chemo when I was 2" with a big grin on his face, showed me his scar, and then got on with hunting F round the field with F's bow and arrow. F ran into the kitchen "Mummy deer, mummy deer, the hunter is going to kill me and eat me" delighted with himself.

Woke at 5am with a sore mouth - infection in my gum. So after my appointment with the nurse - flushing the line, putting a nice white bandage on - saw MP to score some antibiotics. It hurts. It's not fair.

The good news is that my scans were all clear. Hooray, hooray, hooray.

books i have read while i have cancer
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
This is what I was reading when I got the diagnosis. I took it with me, unstarted to the first appointment. It hit a chord - that feeling of slipping into an alternative world, not quite connected to the real world, or at least the world that everyone else is in. For a long time I felt as if I was behind a pane of glass. That's such a cliche, but when you get to extremes of emotion, perhaps cliches are all you can use.

Bought them for S, read them myself. Gentle, melancholy, not really children's books at all.

There was a programme on the radio about therapeutic reading groups and the woman talking on it said that light, cheerful literature was rubbish for depressed people. I think she's probably right - tried some chick-lit and just got irritated with the light-weight, self-obsessed heroines. Have reverted to 14 year old boy mode - lots of page turning fantasy. Aussie bought me "Le Grand Meaulnes", but I can't quite make a go of it.

The glass book of the dream eaters
Can't remember the author, but it was a good romping page turner.

I did think I might do something beautiful and creative, but I don't seem to have any creative juices. (I can't think why!). Did obsessively make paper stars for a bit (S: Mummy, why are you making so many of them?). Something kind of mindless for the hands to do. Some knitting would be good, but I can't for the life of me think what to knit.