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".