Thursday, 12 December 2013

Dear Body

A few weeks ago I saw on twitter that one of the breast cancer charities was asking ladies who had been through breast cancer to write a letter to their body.
Rather than write it on the charity website I've decided to pen mine on my blog.

Dear Body,

How could you?

I thought that we jogged along quite well, you rarely got ill and I did my best to look after you ...... well ok, in the last few years I had neglected exercising you (but there aren't enough hours in the day) and had piled on the pounds whilst doing that awful job involving the long daily commute. I did try to eat healthily and my lunch boxes were the talk and envy of everyone else. Ok and I let you drink a lot of wine but hey, was it really necessary to go to such lengths to get my attention?

You bastard!

What a shock........... you scared me too.

I'll give you your due, at least you planned it so that it was picked up at my first mammogram, and you didn't let it spread.

Even so we had to endure the lumpectomy, lymph node removal and radiotherapy.

You didn't like that though did you?

The radiotherapy made you sore and you developed a rash. Then you felt knackered for weeks.

Well served you right!

....... and then what was with the infections? You don't like pills but you had to put up and shut with all that penicillin didn't you?

Now you've got to deal with Tamoxifen for at least five years ........ didn't think about that did you?
Insomnia, hot flushes, aching legs, dry eyes, weepy and all that other stuff we have to deal with....... well, thanks .......... hope you're happy now!

I haven't been too fond of how we've looked body, over the last ten years or so but now you've made me take a long hard look ........ the dented boob is something we've both got to live with and the lymph node scar is evident but lets just pretend its a war wound shall we?

I've been eating very healthily for the last few months, cut down on the vino, taken exercise  and lost weight......... you have to agree body, we are beginning to look quite good. Perhaps this is what you were trying to tell me ...... not very subtle though I have to say.

We are so lucky to have a husband who loves us no matter how we look. Very, very lucky!

So dear body, can we come to an amicable arrangement ....... lets look after each other. No more shocks please?

Love from


Friday, 22 November 2013

Where's it gone????


Have you seen it??

Have you got it??

If so please can I have it back.....

What the bloody hell are you talking about I hear you ask?

Well in case you haven't noticed I've lost my mojo.........

Careless I know but I've no idea where to find it!

I just have no enthusiasm for anything at the moment and that it includes cheesemaking ....... yup the one thing I've loved doing, found theraputic and never tired of these last four years has become a chore. Running the business has become a chore and getting back to people has been a chore. In fact I've become a crap business woman and done all the things against my principles which includes keeping people waiting.......

If mojo was here it wouldn't happen but...............where the bloody hell is it?

I've never been one for lounging around in bed ........ well with animals, markets and milk recording there's no choice really but at the moment getting up in the morning really isn't up there on my list of priorities, although I'm not sleeping beyond the early hours  (insomnia rules) I just can't be arsed to get up.

In fact I just can't be arsed to do anything...

If mojo was here it wouldn't happen but ........... where the bloody hell is it?

I have tried giving myself a good talking to but whereas it would normally get me back on track its not worked this time.

So if you've seen it or if you've got it please can I have my mojo back?


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Consultants appointment

Today felt a bit strange ...... no cheese making and

 ..... hanging around waiting............

Its a while since you've heard me say this but we left ridiculously early ................

However you'll be disappointed to hear I didn't hang onto the door handle and squawk in appropriate places  ....


Because I was driving!!! ....... OH still can't drive (but more of that later)

We got to RD&E in plenty of time and then drove round all the car parks getting madder and madder ..... lots of bollocks, shits and fucks!!

So we ended up heading for the nearest public carpark ....... as we came to the lights at Waitrose (OH who wanted to buy beer) suggested we parked there as you get two hours free...........

Big mistake ................

We nipped in and bought beer ...... oh and a bottle of wine somehow leapt into the basket (that's the no drinking during the week out the window then!!)

Twenty minutes later and ten minutes before my appointment time we were sitting in the waiting room.

We waited and waited and waited.

OH had forgotten his glasses so couldn't read his book and my book was so boring I gave up!

After fifty minutes OH asked how long the clinic was over running

It seems I'd be called in after another two ladies so another thirty minutes

Ten minutes later OH left to collect the car .................... bit worrying as he hasn't driven since his operation nearly seven weeks ago. Oh, and he'd forgotten to bring his mobile!

I was then called in and sat in the usual fetching gown for another thirty minutes before Mr. Ferguson came in.

'Hello, sorry to keep you waiting. Last but by no means least' he greeted me

He took my lymph node scar infections seriously and then had a good look at it.

He thinks that there is a cyst and a flap of skin which needs removing.

'Where do you live?'


'Is that anywhere near Tiverton or Axminster?


Anyway seems he does large ops at RD&E and his smaller stuff at Tivvy and Axminster.

He suggested finding someone in Okehampton to do it but was a bit doubtful.....

So the better the devil you know and all that.

He'll do it in a few weeks.

He's pleased with my boob and how its healed and feels!

So I'll be back to see him there in the spring and have a mammogram.

Luckly OH had managed to drive from Waitrose to the hospital without incident but was happy to hand me the keys!!


Monday, 11 November 2013

Healthy eating .... foods to fight breast cancer update

Ok so I don't post for a while and then suddenly like buses the posts all come along at once!!!!!

One of my early posts was about Foods to fight breast cancer and how well I was or wasn't eating!

And yes if I was clever there would be a link to it here but ........... I tried to do it and ........... it didn't work!! Send me a teenager!

How am I doing???? (healthy eating wise not link wise!!)

Well ................ initially I was sticking rigidly to the 9+ fruit and veg portions a day and the oily fish etc malarkey ...................and ............ then...................

.............. I became a lady 'who lunches' meeting friends in local eateries and it then became impossible to eat that much fruit and veg as even choosing the vegetarian option just doesn't come that close..... well even to one portion let alone two!

I got lazy, found it difficult, it didn't fit in with work, markets etc ...................... and anyway was it really making a difference?????

So five a day was the norm.............

Oh and then OH and I did the day date thing eating out once a week during my radio therapy......

Fast forward (or roll back) to the end of August ....

I realised that I'd put on quite a lot of weight and really needed to do something about it tout suite especially as I was well into taking Tamoxifen and one of the side effects is weight gain and all the forums and web pages are full of this fact.

I only need to look at food and will put on half a stone so taking Tamoxifen with this side effect has always been my biggest worry...... plus I really don't want the bastard cancer to come back so I must do my bit to piss it off by eating stuff it doesn't like!

On the 19th August I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to take action immediately......

.............simples .... cut down on what I was eating, up my fruit and veg to 8-9 portions a day and only drink (my beloved wine) at weekends

No problem!!! Maybe?? Dunno??

Actually it was easy ........ that night one of my lovely twitter friends tweeted that she needed to lose 2.5 stone by 3rd Dec for her hols but needed help so I suggested that as I had similar weight to lose we'd do it very publicly, have a weigh in on Wednesdays and tweet the results to the world.

Sooooooooooooooo back up to 8-9 portions of fruit and veg a day, oily fish and loads of brown rice for me! (I just can't get enough brown rice at the moment .... been craving and eating it for the last 6 weeks!)

Then we had other tweeters who joined us and we became an online weight watchers!!

This was the best thing for me and ..................

having to announce my results to everyone made me stick to this regime. Although its be slow (for my liking) I have now lost a stone!

Initially it hasn't been easy to stick to 8 or 9 portions of fruit and veg a day especially with milk recording mornings (if I have fruit on a MR morning then by the time I've got to the end of the lane, I need a pee and or need to go once I get to the farm ..... no loos available just the hedge!!) toast is order of the day then!


Here is a rough weekly menu!

During the summer breakfast was all the lovely peaches, nectarines, melons and blueberries and grapes, now its kiwi fruit, grapes, blueberries if they're reduced, and fabulous russet apples.

Lunch for months now has been Greek salad made with home grown cucumbers, tomatoes, dill and our own feta, just adding bought peppers, red onion and olives. Sadly this week we have had to buy everything except for the feta as the polytunnel is bare!
I adore houmous so making it twice a week keeps us in stock!........ mustn't forget the flat bread ... either home made or shop bought wholemeal pitta to mop it all up.

Avocado and couscous with tinned picante sardines avec tomato, cucumber and onions also feature as one of our favourites!

Supper is salmon twice a week in various guises, chicken once a week and then mushroom stroganoff, all with three or four vegetable portions such as green beans, broad beans, sweetcorn, spinach or purple sprouting broccoli. Roasted or stuffed peppers. Vegetable curry with dahl  and vegetable chilli are brilliant for getting in all the portions of veg. Oh and don't forget the brown rice ...... even OH is now eating it willingly!!! Oh yes and the chickpeas ..... I adore chickpeas!!

As you can imagine it gets quite windy chez nous!!

Now don't think he's hard done by ....... he still eats toast or bacon sandwich or eggs for breakfast and although I rarely eat red meat now, ( only because my body doesn't want it) I cook OH meat and his favourite mini roasties when he wants them.

We are also well into prunes and greek yogurt ......................

So all in all I think I'm doing pretty well!!

Friday, 8 November 2013

I'm still here!

Have you missed me???

rhetorical question  ..... no need to answer!!!

Yes sorry I've been a bit silent of late ....... don't snigger but I haven't had much to say these last few weeks.

Six weeks of Darby and Joan have become tres boring and I haven't had appointments involving lumps, bumps and piles!

Oh! did someone mention piles?????

Now ........ there's a thing piles......

When I was 17 years old I was told by a lady Dr  that I had an abnormal pile and that it was best to leave it alone....... so leave it alone I have all these years ........every now and then it and its soul sisters have got abit sore but they've sorted themselves out even if its been a while!

Ha ha .... bet you now know that I've had a problem ....... yup .... its piles!!!

Five weeks ago I suddenly had two days of constipation out of the blue ......couldn't find an explanation and my piles played up.

Oh so you're wanting to know the ins and outs of piles????? ...........

Actually its very boring .........................................

For two weeks shove anusol suppositories up your bottom......

then forget to buy more ......

have a sore bottom

Make an appointment to see your most trusted GP

Wait eight days to see him!

Squirm and waffle at the same time as trying to appear cool talking about your piles ........

Well I failed miserably ...... how uncool was I????

Why are piles the most embarrassing thing to talk about ???????

I can get my boobs out for Drs.  Consultants, Registrars, junior doctors (any anyone else in the medical profession wanting to learn )

And I haven't a problem with anyone looking at my lady garden .......

BUT piles .... ????

Dr Howlett was just so ...... well professional  ......

I'm still squirming at having to ask him to look but ...... well I'm sure I'll get over it and I think he's probably seen worse!

It seems Anusol suppositories are the answer!

Monday, 21 October 2013

How to treat a friend diagnosed with breast cancer - my view

Last week at a market one of my customers said 'we haven't seen you at Totnes (market) for a while'

'eeerrrrmmmm no........'

'Ah there's a story but I think this is the second time this week I've put my foot in it' He said

'No, no, no!' I said

I then told him about the bastard cancer.

He and his wife then bought some cheese and as I gave him his change he again said 'the second time this week I've put my foot in it'

Again I said 'No,no,no ....... not at all'

He then said 'I said to someone one this week I haven't seen your wife for a while and he said she died.....'

Oh bugger!!

It got me thinking.....

Back in May when OH and I had to go and see his shoulder Consultant (the one with the personality of a house brick!)  I picked up a magazine in the waiting room and there was an article ..........

Ten things not to say to a breast cancer patient

Now I found it very interesting and could relate to some of the things said as they too had been said to me but I also thought it was a bit negative and that perhaps it would have been better to have said what to say to your friend who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Ok you ask ..... what should I say?

Well before the bastard cancer came along I probably wouldn't have known what the right thing was to say to someone else either so although you might feel you've said or done the wrong thing so probably have I and I'm not being judgemental or critical. Everyone does cancer differently.

You may well be defensive and say I've said some of those things but I meant well. Sometimes meaning well isn't always enough.

I am actually going to list some of the negatives because they were jaw dropping and well .......jaw dropping

The worst was the day I went for my biopsy, not knowing what the lump was and being told by my mother about a woman she knew who at 73 went for a mammogram at her request, was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have 7 weeks radio therapy .......'and you have to find a hospital that does it and its everyday. I think you have weekends off though'

Yes thanks........ For five days waiting for my results all I worried about was 7 weeks radio therapy and when I got the bad news the first question I asked the Breast cancer nurse was would I have to have 7 weeks radio therapy. Bless her .... she couldn't believe what I'd said!

Over the months others have cheerfully told me about Mrs. So and So who was burnt by the radio therapy and their friends sister whose reconstruction went wrong and then died, yes thanks I'm not having reconstruction ....  oh and someones mother in laws friend who had all the treatment and then it came back. Yes thanks! Then there's R who had an awful time with chemo and had to crawl up the stairs  ..... yes thanks ... I'm not having chemo

You'll be fine I had a scare too it was just a cyst ......... (errr no .... its been diagnosed as breast cancer)

I know how you're feeling ....... ( no you bloody don't ....... you haven't been diagnosed with breast cancer )

I won't phone but let me know if you want anything doing .......(no, don't put the ball in my court )

I didn't phone because I didn't know what to say .....( at least you're honest but just be yourself ....... talk about what we'd normally talk about)

Hat or wig? (completely gobsmacked at this one!)

You're looking well ....... ( yes I was only diagnosed two weeks ago so what do you expect?)

'How are you?'

 'Very tired'

'Well done'

...... whaaaaat??? if you're going to ask  how I am then at least listen to my answer

Then there was the person who avoided me .......  I know that you know because I heard you'd given someone the third degree about them knowing before you .......thanks for getting in touch and your support NOT !

Don't turn it back on you or when you had cancer and try and hijack the other persons experience .......  we are all different and our treatment is tailor made for us individually. Empathy not negativity is needed. You may be bitter after your treatment but please don't make us feel we should be the same.

I have certainly been surprised and disappointed at how certain friends have reacted to my breast cancer diagnosis ...... the ones I thought would be brilliant have distanced themselves and others who I wasn't particularly close to have been amazing ...... as the saying goes 'friends for a reason and friends for a season' ...... so true. I have to wonder why ... is it fear that they don't know how to interact or they're upset or they may not be able to handle what may happen in the future.

Dunno........  but at the end of it all I'm still me even with a dented boob and scar under my arm.

From the start I had friends who phoned or e-mailed and said is it ok if I come round and see you at such and such time and what do you want me to do .......... as I was so pleased to have company and see them we ate drank and talked rather than them doing the housework, gardening, ironing which I had lined up. It was just good to know that the offer was there if I needed it.

Being taken out for girlie lunches was also great for making me feel normal even if I didn't feel one hundred per cent!

Its six months since my operation and I still have the get well cards up ....... you may find that strange but over the months I've taken great comfort in looking at them and reading the lovely messages over again, knowing so many people care. Looking at a hand written message is comforting.
 I've also had cards to add to the collection as friends have sent 'thinking of you' type messages during various stages of my treatment.

Since day one I've had certain friends who have texted, tweeted or e-mailed me daily then weekly then less so (as I've recuperated) to see how I'm doing ...... all unconditional and no pressure for me to reply. I mustn't forget facebook as although not a fan before the bastard cancer, my friends on there have been fab with their support and I've also been reunited with old friends who have been just as  supportive with their comments and personal messages. Makes you wonder why we lost touch....... shit happens!

'How lovely to see you' is one of the greatest things people can say to you when you're feeling shit and trying to hold it together ...... my farmers and fellow traders ..... you rock!

Hugs .... oh hugs are just the best thing ......everything is said in a hug ...... no words needed ....... market traders are fab at hugs and they made me feel so good, nothing better than when I felt shit! I can't thank the  twitter friends who turned up at markets just to give me a hug and say hello .... especially thanks to JGA and ET

Then there were the food parcels...... A and F and Sand A sent their amazing food back (unconditionally)with OH after a Friday market which meant there was at least one if not two meals I didn't have to think about ........ this was so appreciated.

If you don't know someone well asking 'Has it been a good day/week or a bad day/week for you' ...... is a good way of finding out how someone is feeling without being too intrusive

Small things are appreciated like when I blogged about my problems of having to hang free due to the side effects of radio therapy, a friend who was away told me where to find a top of hers in her wardrobe  that would disguise this ...... don't worry no breaking in was required I had a key and although I didn't go riffling through her stuff I appreciated the offer!                     

'You're looking well' ..... I know this was in the negative comments but actually eight weeks after my radio therapy everyone started to say it .......and it was such a boost because I felt better in myself too and to know that others noticed was brilliant.

As I've said this is my view and my experience of how I've found peoples reactions to my breast cancer diagnosis and how I've I appreciated friends love and support ...... we're all different and we all deal with things differently but maybe this will help you if in the future you have a friend diagnosed with breast cancer.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Media volunteer

Back in August around the time I had my first infection (that's how I can remember when it was) I saw on twitter that the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer were looking for media volunteers.

I wasn't entirely sure what was required of a media volunteer but clicked on the link and completed the online form.

A lovely lady phoned me a few days later and explained what was involved  and asked me about my breast cancer story ...... she'd already perused my blog so knew a bit about me!!

What is a media volunteer? I hear you ask.

Well when a journalist from a publication, radio or TV want to interview someone about breast cancer they contact the media department at Breakthrough Breast Cancer  (other charities are available) and depending on what story they're looking for a volunteer will be contacted and asked if they're willing/able to be interviewed.

A couple of weeks later I gave my first interview to a journalist writing for a health magazine.

The next call was the week of OH's shoulder op ....... a newspaper wanted me for a photo shoot for their health supplement .........

Great, no problem.......

errrrr yes problem........ the photo shoot was in London

..... and the other spanner in the works was OH's op so I wasn't able to do it.

On Monday I got a call asking if I'd appear on the Lorraine show on ITV to talk about the importance of going for a first mammogram...

Blimey ....... didn't expect that!

Yes no problem.......


Thursday 8am in London ........ go up the night before.

oh nooooooooooooooo ...................

A quick look at the diary spoilt it all.

I was booked to be at a farm for the day job at  6.30am ( could have changed it) however OH had his first physio session which couldn't be changed ........ he needed me to drive him to the hospital and of course wouldn't be able to look after himself or the ranch whilst I was away so I had to turn it down.

Fingers crossed that I'm able to say yes to the next request without any spanners in the works!

Friday, 18 October 2013


When I wrote about my memory loss, I had so many lovely messages from people.......  a lot said it was due to the stress of what I'd been through and others made me laugh about how they were having similar problems and weren't even taking tamoxifen!

It made me feel so much better...

Once I'd told you all about it, my memory then seemed to improve......

Coincidence?? ....... dunno

No doubt my medical records now have me marked as insane after mentioning it to two Doctors but hey ho I think I was anyway!!!

Last week I had the WI talk I was dreading as it was at the previous one that I forgot my words and made me feel that the tamoxifen was causing it and had to ask OH what words I was looking for!

So how did you get on??? I hear you cry!

Well apart from the fact that they didn't tell me when I was booked that there was no parking at the hall or nearby..............

I was in a complete tiz and stressed when I arrived as it was dark and all the streets were residents parking only so I had no idea where to abandon the car ..........thank goodness OH had decided to come with me at the last minute as I think I'd have just turned round and gone home if I'd been on my own!

It wasn't the best of starts and I was pretty uptight as I began my talk .........

however ...... I didn't forget any words and didn't once have to turn to OH for help!

My memory still isn't what it was but there is definitely improvement ..........

Was I over reacting before ???? No! I definitely had a problem......

Was it stress??? maybe....

Are the tamoxifen responsible?? ....... dunno the jury is still out.......

In other news......

I am now taking my tamoxifen when I go to bed and to date haven't forgotten it .....

The infection cleared up pretty tout suite with the last lot of penicillin and I haven't found anymore ingrowing hairs nee stitches!!!

The insomnia hasn't been too bad recently (probably speaking too soon now!) but I'm generally managing nearly five hours sleep instead of three .......and the hot flushes have stopped!

Have I missed anything??

No don't think so ......

You're now up to date with my world!!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Darby and Joan!

Where does the time go????

Well ten days since my last post I thought you'd like to know how Darby and Joan are getting on.....

Darby is right handed ....... his right shoulder is the one operated on and in a sling.

The consultant told him to be creative with his left hand......

Joan is still waiting.................... ha ha

Breakfast time..... Darby is trying to butter his toast left handed ....

.....its like a three year learning to use a knife

Joan 'would you like me to butter your toast'

Darby 'yes please this is difficult'

Lunch time....

Darby 'Please can you serve me salad and butter my roll'

Supper time.....

Joan 'Would you like me to cut up your food???'

Darby ' If you could'

At least unlike a three year old Darby can use a fork and Joan is relieved that she doesn't have to wait for the 'I've finished' call outside the bog to then go in and wipe his bum!!!

Darby has to go to the Surgery .....

The weather is colder so no shorts and sandals!!

Joan has to put his socks and shoes on and tie his laces ..... she thinks its just like having a three year old!!

The only consolation is that he isn't have any tantrums (well at least not yet)

Darby and Joan go out in his van .....

Darby clings onto the door handle (but doesn't squawk)  and says 'you get swung around in this seat don't you??'

So far Joan hasn't been able to demonstrate her lane discipline to Darby in his van yet!!!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Home for the bewildered

To put you in the picture...........
I am currently taking Penicillin four times a day on an empty stomach and tamoxifen once a day after supper!

OH having had his shoulder operation, has to wear a sling for six weeks and is taking paracetamol and Ibuprofen with food.

Well you've got to laugh ......... its like Darby and Joan here in the home for the bewildered

A conversation after supper.......

Darby 'Have you had your tablet?'

Joan 'No I can't take it for two hours, I've just eaten.......... oh you mean the tamoxifen, no I've forgotten again'

Darby 'Here' hands Joan a tablet 'and I've got some water'

Joan 'have you taken yours then?'

Darby 'Yes!'

They then collapsed into laughter.........

Bath time......... (no shower in this house)

Darby can't lower himself into the bath one handed and can't kneel (due to his knee replacements) so has to stand up.

Joan soaps him

Darby 'I'm cold'

Joan 'of course you're not ........ stand still'

She rinses him off with jugs of water 'oh you are cold aren't you?'

Ha ha ..... welcome to the home for the bewildered!!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Me and my little old blog have made a difference

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead........

It was really just to help me get through this blip in my life and a way of keeping a diary.



I then found out that I could see how many page views per day/week/month there were and which countries the viewers were from ......... bloody hell ........ its read world wide

What a revelation

During my dance with this bastard cancer I've had the most amazing messages of love and support from people I know, have known and don't even know.

To be called an inspiration is well ....... flattering, humbling ..... actually I don't know but its bloody amazing that little old me and my blog have helped make a difference to others.

When I started .......  in the back of my mind was if  I only help one person with breast cancer then I've succeeded ...... I hadn't considered anyone else ......

Since my last post I've had the most page views in 24 hours and so many lovely messages and thanks for my inspiration my humour and my determination.
Some from fellow breast cancer fighters and others from men who are supporting their partners through this bastard cancer.

One of them was from someone I worked with back in the 1980's and had no contact with since. They've had a serious operation and as a result suffer health problems . Despite having a far worse time than me they have 'gained inspiration and determination from my positive and humorous attitude'.
Now that made me go all teary (and I can't blame the tamoxifen this time!)

Thank you to all of you for reading my ramblings and I hope I continue to be an inspiration......

Saturday, 28 September 2013

The infection is back ......

Did I mention that after my oncology appointment where the Doctor prodded and poked my lymph node scar rather roughly (and I was paranoid for the rest of the week that the infection would flair up again) I found an ingrowing hair where the dead skin had dropped off??

Soooooooo out came the tweezers and I pulled the bugger out.

It was a couple of centimetres long...... no wonder I'd had an infection .... thank goodness I'd got it out.

Imagine my surprise then two weeks later, this Wednesday when I felt a sore lump in the scar again ........ with pus.

Shit Shit Shit

I need to be well OH is having an operation on his shoulder and will be out of action for weeks.

Shit Shit Shit

Whilst OH was being repaired yesterday you will have found me with my top off (again) in front of Dr. Howlett.

Poor man probably thinks I'm stalking him!!

Now the 'hair' I tweezered might not have been a hair!!!

'Are you sure it was a hair or was it a stitch?'

'I thought the stitches were dissolvable'

'They are but can take ages to dissolve'

'If its stitches then that is probably what is causing the infection. If you find anymore I need to see you'

You learn something new everyday!

So as I was expecting to see a hair I saw a hair ............................ thinking outside the box didn't come into it.

I'm now back on the penicillin............ just a normal dose though as the infection isn't as bad as before. Thank goodness.

We also chatted about the insomnia and my perceived memory loss which was a great help ................. he is very understanding

OH had his wing repaired ....... it was worse than expected so he will be wearing a sling for six weeks 24 hours a day and no lifting for months..........  its all over to me now!!!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Memory loss

Now I haven't mentioned the memory loss have I??

Well don't ask me I can't remember......

Actually joking aside I do seem to have a memory problem at the moment which is both frustrating and worrying.

Infact bloody worrying..........

I've always had a very good memory and prided myself on it, not only remembering my stuff but also things for OH who has always had the worst memory in the world and frustrated me for ever........... now I'm the crap one.

Since this bastard cancer I can't remember things......

It started with forgetting words and names of things in conversation, making me hesitate mid sentence as I frantically tried to think what I wanted to say.......the most embarrassing time was whilst giving a talk to a local WI last month and I had to turn to OH and ask him what word I was looking for on several occasions, god knows what the ladies thought ......... village idiot springs to mind.

I have another WI talk in October which I'm now dreading ...... I used to enjoy them but now I'm not sure how I'll come across .......... village idiot springs to mind.

I'm into the fourth month of taking Tamoxifen and it seems that soon after I started popping these pills my memory loss started. .......... is it the pill??

Hopefully Dr. Goodman will be able to help......

Sooooooooooooo I haven't told you about my oncology appointment last week .......

The appointment was for 1640 hours with the dapper Dr Goodman ...... he of the dyed hair and bow tie.

As you well know we left ridiculously early..... I clung to the car door handle and squawed appropriately ..... infact you can fill in the rest !!!!!

I booked into Oncology 20 mins early and as we got into the waiting room saw that the clinic was running 45 minutes late and that .............. WHAAAAAAAT???? Dr. Goodman was away.

How can he be? I have an appointment with him.

OH and I had both taken books so we settled down for the duration ..............

I looked up several times and saw that the miserable Tina was still in the department wandering around, just hoped that she wasn't on my watch.

At 1652 hours a lovely smiley nurse (definitely not Teeena) called me into an examination room and said Dr. Norris would see me and if I could put on one of the fetching gowns!!

Fetching gown on ..... a young man bounced in and introduced himself as Dr. Tim Norris

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm reminded me of a young Dr. from the Carry on films ...... no not Kenneth Williams!

Anyway we had a bit of a chat about the radio therapy and I filled him in about my infection.

He asked if I had any questions .................... errrr 'No' .... 'sometimes people have 20 questions now' he said uuummmmm 'No' I frantically racked my brains .... felt like an interview where you MUST have questions .... nope .. give up. Then OH said 'What about your memory loss?'

Phew ...... yes .... memory loss...............................

Well he just sat and looked at me as I rabbited on about my memory loss and Tamoxifen theory and wouldn't be drawn on it  ......... infact nodded and smiled like the carry on Dr. but said nothing making me feel as if I was making it up.

He then examined me ...... prodding and poking and especially prodding where my infection had been feeling scare tissue apparently ..... (please don't do that I don't want an infection again) ............ (suppose at least I have a lovely GP who can sort it out!!)

Everything seems fine ... he said.

Anyway two days later I got an appointment through for my next oncologist appointment with Dr. Goodman on 4th march (exactly a year to the day of my mammogram which started all this bastard cancer business) so lets see how I am then and hopefully the man himself will be in residence!!

I still don't know though whether I've got early onset dementia or its just the bloody tablets............

Friday, 20 September 2013


Ok so there was me rabbiting on in my last post about how great I was feeling and how I hadn't needed to rest, so I must have turned a corner ...... whoa!!!!

Whoa indeed ..........

Fuck, fuck, fuck...............

Its all been down hill since.

Prior to the bastard cancer I could do three markets on the trot (four on a Bank Holiday weekend), feel knackered afterwards but still do the day job and cheese making the following week)

Ha! Not now.

Before all this shit I didn't suffer from insomnia and OH didn't have a shoulder injury that was so painful that it kept everyone awake ........ until NOW!

Last week the day job was full on (oh and a visit to Oncology for a check up but sadly the dapper Dr. Goodman was away)  and we made cheese inbetween then there was the fabulous Ashburton Food Festival on Saturday.

Whoa whoa whoa .....

How knackered did I feel on Sunday and Monday????  ........ bleeding knackered!

Then I took a cheesemaking workshop in Somerset, followed by our first two days of cheesemaking since my diagnosis and last night a 75 mile round trip for the day job.

Whoa ...... please stop

Today I've felt so tired ...... I just want to stop the world and get off !

So before you all nag ..... I know you did all warn me..... La la la (fingers in my ears)


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Have I turned a corner?

Where does the time go????

Rhetorical question really!!!

The last two weeks have been pretty hectic ..........

The day after my last post was all about prepping for a market on the Sunday and it was the first time since radio therapy that I didn't have to rest.

Have I turned the corner?

The first Sunday of the month market is one that I haven't missed since my diagnosis but I have been exhausted during and after it until this one.

Have I turned a corner?

A couple of days later we set off for five days away at Burghley Horse Trials (our holiday)

The only spanner in the works was the five plus hour drive with guess who driving???

Soooooooooo as you can imagine I clung to the door handle, squawked at appropriate moments and tried to brake on several occasions ........ the response 'you're so fucking annoying' 

I'm glad to say we arrived in one piece at The Bell, Stilton which used to be our local and did us proud for our wedding reception 21 years ago!!

We had a fab time, caught up with friends we hadn't seen for 17 plus years, (didn't have time to see others) spent time with OH's daughters and granddaughter, walked for miles ..... the most exercise I've had since March, burnt the candle at both ends and was kept awake by noisy wedding receptions on two consecutive nights. Despite all this I felt tired but didn't have to rest.

Have I turned a corner?

Did the return journey, clinging to the door handle, squawking etc etc but got back in one piece!!

Since then the day job has taken over morning and evening and a bit of cheesemaking in between but I haven't had to rest although I feel tired, its not the fatigue I felt before.

Have I turned a corner?

Friday, 30 August 2013

How wrong was I?

When I left the surgery last Friday Dr. Howlett said 'if it doesn't clear up next week come back and see me'

With the high dose of penicillin prescribed I couldn't imagine that it would be necessary!

How wrong was I?

As I mentioned in my last post some of the pus oozed out on Friday night.........

Then after my bath on Saturday night some more came out.........

By Sunday the whole area looked and felt so much better and no oozing! Brilliant!

As promised by the lovely Doctor I had a loose stomach but after four days I was back to normal!

All seemed to be going to plan ............

On Thursday I popped into the surgery to pick up my tamoxifen and thought as I left I wouldn't need to be there for another month when I needed to collect the next pack.

How wrong was I?

When I lifted my arm up to dry it after my bath last night ......... guess what?

Yup ........ there were a couple of pin pricks of pus......

Shit, shit, shit!

Should I go back to see him??

No you'll just be wasting his time!

But we're going away for a few days next week what if it flares up again?


So today at  5pm you will have found me with my top off in front of Dr. Howlett .........

Soooooooooooooo I've got another weeks worth of penicillin 'just to be on the safe side!'

Saturday, 24 August 2013

An update on the infection!

Did I mention the bloody horse pills I've got to take???

two, four times a day .... they are huge and very difficult  to get down ...... OH has told me I'm a wimp but really how are you meant to swallow these things??

After I'd posted the blog about my infection last night I went for a bath.....

As I lifted my arm to pat dry the infected scar with the towel I saw some pus ........ now in normal circumstances and you may remember from my post about the boil I like nothing better than a good squeeze and the joy of pus....... BUT..................

not tonight Josephine

So I dabbed a tissue under my arm and then clamped another one there whilst I dried the rest of me ..... quite a difficult manoeuvre!

Suffice to say a lot of stuff came out!

What a relief ......... it felt better almost immediately!

Today its still pretty sore but not swollen! However I've felt crap all day ..... so much so that I had to light the wood burner and slob all day in front of it in between forcing down the horse pills!

Friday, 23 August 2013

I have an infection!

On Saturday I decided that everything had healed post radio therapy and that it was time to stop the twice daily application of aqueous cream and take the underwired boulder holders out of mothballs........

Ta dah........ well OH was the only one who saw me flash ....... new bra too!!!

On Sunday my underarm ...... the side where the lymph nodes were removed from felt sore.
Of course I ignored it ...... well we'd been at a market all day and I was knackered ...... simples

On Monday I took a peek and it looked tres sore and swollen. Bollocks!!

By Wednesday it had got worse and I was getting a tad concerned ...... well, very concerned but as you know I have to be dead before I go to the Doctors Surgery - it was my upbringing so I ignored it.
However after cheese making all day it really was very uncomfortable and that evening I had to go and give a talk to a local WI.
I ironed a top, put it on, had a pee and then was on the way out the door when I realised that the bra really was the problem ...... although it wasn't touching the scar, (as you know I've put on weight) and my underarm is podgy and was being squidged!!

................... so off came the bra, out came the iron to press another top ( more supportive and not thinning like the one I had just put on!!)

Immediate relief!!!

This morning it seemed to be getting worse but I had loads to do so decided (well had decided on Wednesday that I'd give it four days to improve ) to ring the surgery on Monday!

Ha! Wrong ............. when I got back home after doing my bits and bobs I went to put some cream on it as it really was uncomfortable.

Arm up in front of the bathroom mirror really wasn't a pretty sight .......

I phoned the surgery .........

So at 4.30pm this afternoon you would have found me with my top off  in a doctors consulting room!!

'You can put your top back on' he said as he washed his hands

'Oh of course with breast cancer you get so used to taking your top off ..........'

Sooooooooooo he thinks its an infection and has prescribed a very strong dose of penicillin.... two capsules, four times a day.
Will probably give me a loose stomach  ......the shits then! thank goodness I'm not at any markets or milk recording then!

As its very red around the area there is a chance if it starts to blister that its shingles so I've got to keep an eye on it!

What a lovely Doctor .....  great bedside manner, same sense of humour as me and easy to talk to!!

I still didn't know his name so as I left I asked and then saw it on the prescription ........ aaaaahhhhh Dr. Howlett

'Alan' he said and 'If its not better next week you must come back and see me.


When I told OH about him he said 'I think he has quite a fan club amongst the ladies in the village'

Can I join the fan club please???!!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Meeting old friends

As you know I'm a bit of a Twitter chick ......and have preferred it to Facebook as I couldn't get the hang of facebook!

Sooooooooooo it wasn't until I was at a loose end after my operation that I really started to look at FB.

What a revelation??!!!

I started to connect with friends I hadn't seen for years and as a result we met up with C and P on Tuesday  who were on holiday in this part of the world.

Guess how long it was since we last saw them???


No, not even close!

I'll tell you least 20 years!

It was so lovely to see them, catch up and find that they haven't changed in the intervening years .......... 3 hours just flew by!

Someone else who hasn't changed is my friend M.

M and I worked in Boots the Chemist (yes it was called that in the late 1970's) during our college days on a Friday evening and Saturday.

 We were privileged to serve on the chemist counter ....... well that's what we thought as it seemed important to have to ask the pharmacist if we could sell certain medicines to customers and we took great delight in not pricing the Durex so that when men came to buy them we had to hold the packet up and shout across to each other 'How much are these??'


.....and then usually have to look the price up in the book ............ hopefully we weren't responsible for too many unwanted pregnancies in Andover at the start of the 1980's!

We both left home went out into the big wide world in different directions but kept in touch, met up in London for lunches, (excellent that it was halfway!) attended each others weddings.............and then.......

the annual phone call on Christmas Day!

Whaaat I hear you cry......

Yes, for years we just spoke on Christmas Day ....... and always joked not to worry it wasn't Christmas if we called each other at any other time!
Oh and we texted!!

What can I do???

The first words she spoke on the phone after I'd texted her in March to tell her about the bastard cancer.

I actually can't remember my reply but we agreed that she would come down and look after me for a few days after my operation or during the radio therapy.

Well, bloody fucking sods law...........................

She was diagnosed with something that needed an operation so her visit had to go on hold as she also had to convalesce....

On Wednesday evening she arrived and this morning she had to go home but I can't believe how much we packed into two days ........................... it seemed like she'd been here a week!!!

Yup I was meant to be resting and she was going to do all my jobs.....

 BUT........... for goodness sake you didn't think I was going to lounge around did you???

I have to say I am bloody knackered and had to stop doing things for tomorrows market to rest but don't regret it for a minute so will not listen to any of your nagging!!!!

Monday, 12 August 2013

A dark cloud and little green man!

Hellooooo..............yes I'm still here!!!

Not much to report really hence the radio silence!!

For the last few days I've had a dark cloud hanging around me and a little green man putting thoughts into my head .......... no matter how many times I tell it to fuck off it just sticks two fingers up at me and refuses to budge .........

Is it the lack of sleep and the persistent fatigue that is dogging me????


Is it because we've almost run out of cheese???


Is it because we're still not making much cheese???


Is it because I'm not sure if we'll ever get the business back up to full capacity again???


Is it because my parents have had the nerve to tell me I'm doing too much and should rest .........

Yup, the same ones who won't come and visit me even when they're staying in Devon and so clearly have no idea as to how I'm coping with this whole bastard cancer thing!

The father who when I phoned to wish him a Happy Birthday lectured me (but told me he wasn't lecturing! ... yeah right) and made me feel like I was 15 again and having to listen to him going on and on about where I was going wrong .... for fuck sake............. leave it out!


Is it because everywhere I look everyone is having a good time. My timeline on Twitter and Facebook are full of peoples successes, going on trips, taking holidays, not having a care in the world ................

Yes, yes, yes...............

....... and do you know? ...... Its an awful thing to say but I'm jealous.

So a serious self bollocking is needed tout suite!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

They don't tell you about this.....

When I first met the dapper Dr. Goodman he said that about a week after radio therapy I would probably start to feel tired and would have to stop doing things and rest ....... yeah yeah yeah...

Well he was right ....... of course!!!

I can't believe how the fatigue sets in but I've just had to accept it and rest ..... some days are better than others BUT.....

I feel crap..............

Nearly everyday I feel crap.................

Each night I go to bed feeling tired and usually within an hour I fall asleep  .... I've never been one for dropping off straight away!

If I'm lucky I'll sleep until around 2am when OH then gets up for a pee, walks into things, sighs and talks to himself in the bog.

I then realise I'm dripping with sweat despite wearing nothing and being covered with just a sheet.

So now I'm awake .......

.......come on turn over and go back to sleep ....

.... I can't

Think I need to drink my glass of water....

.... oh now I need a pee...

Back into bed and then I feel cold so on goes the duvet ....

Oh come on go back to sleep..


Now I'm sweating again off comes the duvet and on goes the sheet...

More water...

This goes on for around two hours and then bliss I go back to sleep ...... fab if its a normal day as I usually manage to sleep until six when the boiler starts up, absolute bollocks if I'm milk recording and having to get up around 4.30 and 5 am.

They don't tell you about this!

Ok, the list of side affects for tamoxifen mentions night sweats but not insomnia ....... I  only discovered that from talking to others who've been on this journey.

They don't tell you about this.

Did I mention the stiff knees??? 

First thing in the morning and if I sit for any length of time I walk like an old lady.

They don't tell you about this.

Its bloody awful and I'm knackered.

Yesterday the teary feelings came back and I feel really pissed off, just like the feelings I blogged about on 13th June.

Sooooooo this week I've got my third prescription for tamoxifen ...... I can't believe that I have to order it every month despite the fact that I've got to take it for at least the next five years (bloody government rules I expect!) oh yes and talking about bloody government rules, when OH went to collect my prescription from the surgery he was told that in future if I wanted him to collect my prescriptions I have to send a note authorising it ....... for gods sake Mr. Cameron WHY???? you know I'm allergic to Dr's Surgeries! (oh, by the way he's not just passed the law for me and OH, it applies to everyone!)

Now back to the tamoxifen ....... for two months I've been on a brand called Relon, but this month its Teva........

So what???????

Well after the initial teary and pissed off stage on Relon  I've felt fine but since taking Teva its all come back....


They don't tell you about this .....


... different brands of tamoxifen have different side affects .....

Yesterday I looked on various breast cancer forums about side affects from tamoxifen brands ........

.... as usual scared myself shitless........

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

If you're squeamish look away now!!

On Thursday night my underarm around where the lymph node removal scar is was really sore ........ infact it was down right painful touch as well as lift my arm.!! Now I was blogging at the time but decided to take a look when I'd finished my last post........ whilst I ran the bath I tried to have a look ........... now bearing in mind that I'd taken my contact lenses out and am blind as a bat I really couldn't see much but the scar looked very red and a small area felt hard and sore........

Shit, shit, shit, surely so long after my op this couldn't be a side affect. Surely not? Could it be something to do with the radio therapy??

Oh bum is it the start of lymphoedema ...... not really taken much notice of that chapter in my folder, can't remember if it can occur at any time after having lymph nodes removed.

Oh well .... no point in worrying now.... will see how it is in the morning, if I stick my head in the sand it will hopefully go away!

............... So I had my bath and went to bed ........ OH was already asleep so I couldn't mention it to him.......... probably just as well as the sweats started ............ so duvet off, sheet on .......sleep for an hour ......... need a pee .........drink a pint of water..... back under duvet as cooled down ....... sleep for a couple of hours ....... wake up in a sweat so duvet off, sheet on........ drink a pint of water ....more sleep. Bollocks just heard the boiler start up ...... it must be 05.55 oh gawd its stopped...... shit don't tell me we've run out of oil or it needs servicing ......... oh its back on again ....phew. aaarrr the clock is flashing, that was a power cut.......

Bloody hell no wonder I'm knackered .....

Anyway might as well get up for another pee .......
As I sat on the loo I decided to have a look under my arm as it was still sore, because I'm so myopic I twisted the sore bit towards me and SPLAT ..... a load of pus shot out from above the lymph scar ....... woo hoo its a boil!!!!!

Ok so I can hear the disgust from you all from here but I've always loved squeezing spots and I haven't had the pleasure in years of something going splat!!!

I had a dilemma .... should I leave it as I knew full well that being so close to my op site I shouldn't be interfering with it but then again I really didn't want the hassle of going to the surgery or having to take more pills so I had another crafty squeeze and hoped for the best!!

Right decision ........... its cleared up!!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

How much??

My credit card bill has arrived ....................................

How much?????

No I haven't been on a spending spree .....

......well only at petrol stations!!

Have a guess at how much 20 return trips to RD&E for my radio therapy cost in fuel?


No nowhere near

I'll put you out of your misery.......

£303.30 to be precise

Fucking hell that is a lot of money!!

On top of that OH had a £230 garage repair bill for his truck which still makes the creaky noise so its probably not fixed anyway. Infact it sounded decidedly dodgy today!!

However I'm still alive and the prognosis is pretty good ..... well I should be around for at least  another 20 years or so subject to being knocked down by a bus (pretty remote possibility in these parts!)

I had another shock ........

I decided I couldn't put it off any longer..... I knew I'd put on weight since my operation, the lack of exercise and the tight clothes were a clear indication, as was all the eating and drinking with friends who we hadn't seen in ages ( well everyone really!)

I stood on the scales ...........

How much????

Oh I'm sure they need resetting.

I got off and reset them.

I stood on the scales again.....

Fucking hell I've put on a stone since my operation

Well I won't lie the diet doesn't start tomorrow and nor does the exercise ........ at the moment I can't tolerate the heat so until it cools down a bit I shan't be walking or cycling and we're socialising again this weekend so perhaps Monday will be a good day to start ??????

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I needed a hot water bottle!

Plans, plans, plans ....... what's the use of plans????

Not a lot where the bastard cancer is concerned!

On Friday we were up fairly early as like Thursday morning the bloody magpies and crows were making a racket. After delivering eggs across the valley we headed off to Holsworthy ........... after about five minutes into the journey I started to feel sick (and no this time it wasn't anything to do with OH's driving!!) and felt so hot that I thought I might explode. Also my legs ached from thigh to toe .... really, really ached. After a few more minutes I mentioned it to OH who offered to turn round but as we were nearly there it seemed silly to.

I have never gone round Waitrose so fast in all my life ...... got to the checkout, grabbed the car keys and left OH to pay!!

I sat in the car ready to explode and or throw up. Luckly there was a carrier bag on the floor which had had the eggs in for such a purpose!! (the throwing up that is .... exploding isn't that easily contained I'm led to believe) and OH had bought a small bottle of water with him which still had a bit in that I drained.

It seemed like ages although I don't think it was when OH appeared.......... all the way home he kept saying 'nearly there' which was lovely of him but unfortunately I knew where we were and six miles, four miles, two miles etc is along way when you want to explode or be sick!!

Hooray we got home....... luckly without having to reverse for anyone in the lane and I rushed upstairs and threw myself on the bed.

Now! bearing in mind that it was around 30C and during the siestas I've been having during radio therapy I just lay on the bed with my clothes on and on these hot summer nights I sleep with just a sheet on me I lay on top of the covers in my trousers and t -shirt and realised that I was cold.
I got under the duvet and assumed I'd warm up.


OH came up with a cold bottle of water ....... too cold for me to drink......

After about half an hour OH came to check on me and asked if I wanted a hot water bottle .....

What???? .......... Don't be ridiculous ............ its 30C ....... but I need tap water .... lots of it ......

When he popped in again I ordered the hot water bottle!!

Now, I thought that within minutes of hugging it I'd be warmed up and feel fine............


My legs ached so much and I just couldn't get my feet warm....

........ and I drank gallons of water..

So cut a long story short I eventually warmed up and by 1.30pm felt well enough to get up for a bit of lunch!!

During the afternoon I did some cooking as we had friends coming on Saturday for Pimms o'clock and lunch but after a while the leg ache came back and I had to go back to bed......

Despite not sleeping well I felt so much better on Saturday morning that I cooked like mad to catch up........

I love five hour lunches in the garden, don't you??? ....

......We had a fab time and I didn't need a siesta!!

Oh P.S. I'm still hanging loose!!!!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Radio therapy has finished!

Ha ha ..... so there was me saying in my last post that hopefully the sore split skin would improve after my last radio therapy zapping....


Its here for the duration................. apparently

Yesterday was my last radio therapy session and what a strange feeling that was.......

Its amazing how quickly we got into a routine with the daily trips, playing spot the lorry and courier game and betting where we'd pass the No. 51 bus on its route to Hatherleigh (you may laugh but actually it kept us sane!) Then there was the Sainsbury lady walking to work ... would she or wouldn't she have a fag on? Could we jinx the bloke who forced his way in in the merge lane when it wasn't his turn to then put the wrong fuel in his car when he turned into the petrol station!! Mean I know but it kept us sane!

I didn't have to wait long for my last session and before I knew it I was waving goodbye to the lovely A team leaving them some homemade treats for their tea break!

And we went for our last free coffee at Waitrose ........

Before I left the treatment room the radio therapist advised that the redness and soreness would get worse over the next 10 days as the treatment continues to work in my body!

Oh great!

I'm still having to go bra less as the skin hasn't healed under my boob.  It really isn't that comfortable hanging free and I realised in Waitrose I was pushing my bust up like Cissie and Ada in a Les Dawson sketch although I definitely wasn't gurning ..... well I don't think I was anyway!!

Now what?

A few lie ins??

No chance if this morning is anything to go by .......... first squabbling magpies, then Cedric the bloody fuckwit sounding off and to top it all a ruddy paraffin parrot circling overhead......... aaaaarrrrrrgggggg

Well, because of the tiredness we've cancelled this weeks markets and despite my optimism all those weeks ago when I got the RT dates we haven't made cheese today either ....... hopefully we'll start again next week!

I can't believe how knackered I get by the afternoon at the moment and apparently I've got several more weeks of it!

I  have a farm booked on Monday and Tuesday ........ its the one where I have to stretch so I'm hoping that the radio therapist is wrong and the split skin will have healed and I'm back into a bra again especially with this hot weather as I won't be able to wear my parlour clothes (waterproof top and trousers - give protection from getting plastered in shit and piss but too hot and sweaty in a heat wave) eeerrrrrrmmm my old t-shirts are pretty worn and see through!!!

Anyway hopefully normal service will be resumed next week??..............very soon??

Oh and I have an appointment to see the dapper Dr. Goodman in September ........ at 4.40hours!!!! We're already laying bets as to how late that will be!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Ouch, ouch, ouch..........

Sooooooooooooo within 24 hours of ditching the crop tops and wearing a cotton rich boulder holder the rash looked much better. I was putting on the fungal cream as instructed by my GP but still thought it a waste of time!
Three days later it was looking so much better but the A team had other ideas and told me they were sending me to see Dr. Goodman (he of the bow tie and dyed hair!) after my radio therapy session ................ oh great how long a wait would that be??

10 minutes later he was examining the rash ..........
He agreed that the cotton bra was a much better idea but silk was good too .... whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatttt ... yeah ok in my dreams .......... in a past life (when I had money) I used to have silk underwear (infact I still have it in a drawer but its several sizes too small!!)
No he didn't think it was fungal
No he didn't think it was the tamoxifen

Did I think the cream was doing any good??


So his advice was to stop using it ....... suits me!!

Within 4 days the rash had completely cleared up!

Hooray I hear you cry ............

Me too ...... except now I have another problem ..... no its not OH or his driving ..... the skin under my boob has split (it was one of the side affects Dr. Goodman listed at our first meeting along with the damaged lungs and broken ribs, so I suppose its the better option) Imagine severe athletes foot under all you toes on one foot ...... ouch ouch ouch

Remedy .... a gel to rub on .....ouch, ouch ouch and no bra ........ hopefully with only 3 more sessions it won't get much worse and I'll get used to no support!!

The other side affect this week has been the fatigue .... I'll never know if it was to do with the 2 markets we did last weekend (the only 2 which were a must during the RT) and/or the heat or just all the travelling catching up but I've had to have afternoon naps .......

What an old lady!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Thank goodness we have two cars

Now that we have a daily commute to RD&E for radio therapy we have found that leaving at 08.10hours means we get there between 09.15 and 09.30hrs ..... there is still parking and generally I get called in before my 09.45 appointment.

On Friday my appointment was put back three hours due to one of the machines breaking!

Soooooooooooo we were back to the leaving ridiculously early bit ....... just as well as it took us 30 minutes longer to get there.

However I'm jumping the gun..... we came off the A30 onto the slip road OH's truck started to make creaking noises ....... he didn't say anything and nor did I!!

Now at this point if it was my automobile I'd have turned the radio up  .......Once when I had to call the  AA man out  to a faulty temperature gauge, he then asked how long my engine had been making a particular noise ....... my reply 'I don't know I just turn the radio up!' .... his face was a picture!! ha ha ha!

Anyway I digress we sat in the traffic jam going into Exeter the creaky noise kept happening. Still OH said nothing so in the end I mentioned it as I was having visions of us conking out and me having to run (in my dreams) to the hospital.

He had clocked it as well but was clearly keeping quiet! Instead of turning the radio up I turned it off.... we had no idea what it was and I think both secretly prayed that we would get to the hospital.

As we got out of the Oncology Dept at 13.15hrs we decided to drive to North Bovey for lunch ......... if we broke down its a lovely place to do it in!

On Monday the creaking persisted so OH took it to the garage............and left it!

Oh dear............. we've had to use my car for the last three days and.......................... yes I've driven!!

Well you didn't expect me to let OH to drive my car did you???

Now he doesn't hang onto the car door or squeal like me but then again I have lane discipline!!
He does keep pointing out cars moving lanes and complain that I'm not shouting at them! ...... yes darling the reason is they are indicating to move lanes not just swerving back and forth!
Other than that he's been a perfect passenger until today .........

Well Chris Evans you have a lot to answer for ...... I know the car thing you did today is all for a good cause but OH isn't a petrol head and the huffing and sighing that went on in the passenger seat for an hour was medal winning.
On the way back the slow, smelly (burning oil) horse box I couldn't overtake due to the windy road and car with no oomph caused a load more huffs and sighs and then that idiot Jeremy Vine was almost the icing on the cake with his school girl giggling ........ OH turned the radio off and then he let out a 'oh fucking hell' as I slammed on my anchors .......

........well I missed the tractor didn't I???

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

I've developed a rash!

Helloooooooooo yes, I'm still here ...........

Just not had much to report as the daily ritual of radio therapy isn't very interesting!

On Thursday as I got changed after being zapped I noticed (because there was a mirror) that I had a rash................ it wasn't where I'm being treated but in a sort of outline of the crop tops that I've been wearing instead of a bra. Of course me being me I had a bit of a panic .... what should I do??? go back to the radio therapy desk and tell them??? Leave it until tomorrow???? Oh...... it could be the tamoxifen, didn't I see rash and hives in the list of side effects ???

So I got dressed and came home.......... as soon as we'd landed I had the Tamoxifen leaflet out going through the side effects .............. yes, a rash or hives could be caused by taking it but it wasn't neccesary to tell the doctor. Good although I didn't know if it was the tamoxifen at least I didn't have to see the quack!

It didn't itch and looked a bit like a heat rash I used to get when we went abroad so I came to the conclusion that as the weather had been very hot it was combination of  heat/sweat and the crop tops!

Still I'd tell my radio therapy team in the morning.

Actually I didn't get to see them the next day as my appointment was put back 3 hours due to one of the machines breaking down and it was a different team.

I didn't tell them!

By Monday it had spread to the top of my underarm on the side I'm being treated and although still not itching looked furious!

I was back with the A team so discussed it with them ....... they confirmed  it wasn't anything to do with the radio therapy, agreed that it was probably the heat/sweat/croptop combination but advised me to see my GP.

Within an hour of arriving home I was with Dr. Fernandez ..... his knowledge of tamoxifen wasn't good he said and the Oncolgy Dept should be the ones sorting that one. Anyway he decided that it was fungal. I now have cream to apply.

Whoops .... the A team were concerned about me using the cream in the zapping area but we decided that I didn't need to.

Whilst being zapped I decided that the crop tops had to go I'd pop into M&S afterwards and buy a cotton non underwired bra.

 24 hours after ditching the crop top the rash has calmed down!

In other news.......
...... today marked the half way point of radio therapy...... two weeks today it'll be finished!!!!!!

Friday, 21 June 2013


Well I certainly didn't expect to be posting today ..........

One radio therapy day is much the same as another!

And I know my sister and I don't get on but ........

.......... my Mother phoned tonight to see how the RT was going and then mentioned that my sister who is 48 went to her GP, a woman to ask for a mammogram because of my breast cancer.

Wrong ....... not a good enough reason


Actually I keep hearing this and even my friend whose sister died from breast cancer after the GP told her her lump was nothing has been told that she doesn't need a mammogram!


This just makes me so mad ... what gives them the right to be so dismissive?

Just refer them and forget about your budgets!

Luckly my sister is made of sterner stuff and went to see a male GP who saw the light and she is now booked in for a scan!

My friend however doesn't want to know and isn't persuing it. I hope for her GP's sake that he's right and he never has me to contend with!

Ok bye mum ........eeeerrrrr no .......

To cut a long story (very) short (yes I get the waffling gene from her) ......

They have friends who are around my age ......and she got a call saying that A had breast cancer and was going for an op so they wouldn't be able to keep the dinner date.

My mothers next comment astounded me .....

We hadn't told them about you as we find people don't know what to say when we tell them about your breast cancer,


So we don't say anything.

Ok Ma ....

Please can you give A my contact details. She may want to talk, rant, rave or swear so I'm here if she does!

I'm just so grateful that my bastard cancer was found through routine screening.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

one down nineteen to go

The deja vu continued last night with the odd dreams and waking up every hour ...... I'm hoping that now I've had the first session of radio therapy and we've done the first rush hour journey my sub conscious will take a hike!

So the first of my twenty radio therapy appointments started today ...... they are are all at 0945hrs.

You will have already completed the next sentence........................

As usual we left ridiculously early ............     0755hrs to be precise!!

In my defence having commuted to Topsham some years ago I remember how bad the rush hour was so although it was a different route into the city today I wasn't taking any chances.

It wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated and the traffic wasn't queuing onto the A30 which was my biggest fear! Although I was clinging onto the door handle as usual, I managed not to squeal at OH's lane discipline or lack of it!! (maybe he's getting better or maybe I just shut my eyes!)

We got parked in the Oncology carpark and I nipped in to hand over four quid in return for a parking permit. Works out at 20p a day! Without it we'd have to fork out £40 over the 4 weeks ....... thats 6 bottles of wine for goodness sake!

Ok, so we were there 30 minutes before my appointment but I was called in after 20 minutes to change into my tunic and 10 minutes later I was being pushed and pulled into position. 10 minutes of beeping later and that was it!


Didn't feel a thing!!

After everything that has gone before it felt a real let down!

The radiographers said 'Bye ... see you tomorrow'

So that really is it??

Seems so ...... I got changed and we drove home ...... we were only gone 3 hours!

Back for round 2 tomorrow!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Deja vu

Ha ha .................... I seem to have deja vu

Although I'm not conciously worrying about it the odd dreams are back and I've had concentration lapses. Infact this time it was my turn to make a fuckwit cheese ..... yes I left the vat on with the ripening curd in it so no doubt we will have a fuckwit ash in a few weeks time!! (Incidently for those of you interested in the fuckwit blue I'm going put the trier in sometime in the next few days to see how it tastes!!)

.....................and that bloke in limbo is back.................

Although I didn't know what to expect before my op I didn't actually have to rearrange things.This part of the dance means that I have had to get cover for my milk recording, cancel four weeks of cheesemaking and markets (apart from two) and (NO, I'm not listening to you naggers it has to be done - I've given up everything else)!!!

Its a strange feeling ..... you only do this sort of thing if you're going on holiday?? right???

Wrong dear heart your dreams ....... it would only be for 2 weeks if you could afford it anyway.

BUT I do feel as if I'm going away, that I'm not going to be having any control over things at home....

The not knowing how I'll feel and how my body will react doesn't help.

As I shaved under my arms last night I suddenly realised that I shouldn't be doing the right underarm ....... oh bugger and from tonight will have to use simple soap, no deodrant and put the underwired boulder holders into moth balls!

Tomorrow I start radio therapy..............

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Dark clouds

On Tuesday when I was milk recording at one of my regular farms concentrating on taking the right sample from the right cow and not thinking of anything else  I suddenly felt tearful for no apparent reason......... for goodness sake pull yourself together.

Later in the day I was driving, listening to the radio and not thinking about anything in particular when the tearful feeling came over me again..........for goodness sake pull yourself together.

Yesterday morning I was washing and sterilizing everything for cheesemaking and as I stood at the sink the teary thing happened again................ for goodness sake pull yourself together.
It happened another couple of times during the morning ................ by now a stiff talking to was administered and heed clearly taken.
It seemed to work........


I haven't felt my usual jolly self all week .......and then yesterday afternoon I had this overwhelming pissed off feeling ...... it just came over me like a dark cloud...... and then wouldn't go away

Fuck off  Fuck off Fuck off ........ but it wouldn't fuck off and stuck with me, slept with me, woke up with me and then went to work with me ..... oh and then came home again for cheesemaking with me.

This afternoon it finally fucked off but was immediately replaced by a short tempered, snappy mood........... gawd knows where it came from.

Luckly it it didn't hang around for too long and I'm now feeling more like normal....... ha ha well as normal as I can be!!

I can't recall ever feeling like this for so long .... EVER

Yes, I've been through all these feelings before over my 50 years but they've never stuck around for more than a few hours!

So why now???

Perhaps the lack of sun has something to do with it???

Perhaps I can blame the dentist???

Perhaps the fact that we have had to make the sad decision to cancel all but three markets until after my radio therapy has something to do with it????

Perhaps as we've almost run out of cheese as this bastard cancer has meant we've not been able to make so much for three months???

Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps.......

I have a sneaky feeling that despite all my fears about weight gain, fluid retention, DVT, hot flushes etc which haven't occured (yet)  Tamoxifen is messing with my hormones instead.

Be warned ...... I bite!!!!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Shut up!

For weeks I've been dreading today .......... infact since my op I've been hoping that my radio therapy would be in full flow now and then it would mean that  OH and I wouldn't have to keep todays appointment.

All the way on the 25 minute journey I was feeling nervous ...... my mouth was dry and I had butterflies .........

Even going for my op I didn't feel like this...... least this was a trip to Bideford so I didn't have the added worry of OH's lane discipline or lack of it!!!

There was only a few minutes wait so I didn't have much of a chance to read the back copies of country living before I was called in..................

............... to see the dentist!

I hate going to the dentist ..... stupid I know and for goodness sake todays visit was just a 6 monthly check up BUT I still hate going.
Even after all the bastard cancer appointments and even the op this was worse.

Of course Mr P. asked how I was and as usual my automatic response was fine thanks ....

But of course thats not true at the moment so I mentioned the bastard cancer.

His response after saying sorry to hear about it and hopefully its been caught early  was .... to go on about how cancer treatments and drugs affect the mouth causing dryness, and ulcers and also means a great breeding ground for bacteria and infection blah blah blah.....


I really didn't need to hear that and if I hadn't got a chipped tooth which needs sorting I would have left!

As he examined my mouth he added well as a non smoker you're less likely to get mouth cancer ....

Oh thanks very much that has really cheered me up!

Anyway I've got to go back for this tooth to be fixed.........

 I've made the appointment for August.

Friday, 7 June 2013

I've now got 3 tattoos!

So today was another visit to RD&E, this time for a CT scan.......

Guess what? .... well you know the answer  - we left ridiculously early as usual ....

10 minutes into the journey we rejoyced at this early start as at the junction with the main road we were met with a 'ROAD AHEAD CLOSED' sign .... ok no problem but where exactly was the road closed?? Should we drive  in that direction and see if we could divert later on???

Nope ....... no frigging answer , not even a diversion sign. SWH you are fucking muppets

Luckly I'm so used to this happening on my trips to the day job that at least I knew which route to take without panicking!

Once on the A30 it was a white knuckle ride as OH seemed to think that we needed to make up time ..... I spend the trip clinging to the door handle as usual!!
We got into Exeter with me still clinging on for dear life then braking like fuck as the  old fart careered towards the stationary car in front..... then suddenly I heard Ken Bruce on the radio getting someones details wrong at the start of popmaster and realised that it was my twitter friend Mr. VC  ....... he might have found it scary but he certainly made me forget about OH's lane discipline and all the other tossers on the road. Thanks Mr VC xx

Despite all this drama we did this trip in record time so popped to Waitrose to get marigold gloves and melba toast which Holsworthy don't have!!  ..... whoops big mistake ... noone told them we were coming and the queues were unbearable ...OH started twitching (thats seriously bad) Me?? I was fine ... thought there was plenty of time! 

Rolled into RD&E and for fuck sake at 11am there were no parking spaces ... did the tour of the 6 carparks and OH kept saying I'll drop you off and park elsewhere .....

shit shit shit....

No this bastard cancer is causing too much trouble as it is ..... so NO just park on the grass (despite the DO NOT PARK ON THE GRASS signs) Everyone else has and it'll save them strimming it!!

When the miserable Tina gave me my appointment card 2 weeks ago she said its in the main building.

Sooooooooooooo today we headed into the main hospital and scanned the map for radiotherapy

Nope it wasn't there .... was I being blind? quite possibly, when I'm up tight I can't take things in...

OH couldn't see it and he had his specs on....

So we asked the lady at the desk and with one look at my appointment card she sent us to the oncology dept... yup the exact same place as we went 2 weeks ago.

My appointment was 11.30 and for the first time in this journey it was almost on time .... I was called at 11.45.  First I had to put on a top with poppers which will be mine for the next 4 weeks of this treatment and then I went in for the CT scan.

Richard explained everything and then I had to lay down on the table and get a wire stuck to me. Whilst this was going on my oncologist Dr. Goodman popped in to supervise things .... Its a bit surreal saying hello and I'm fine thanks whilst your boob is hanging out!! Especially the far from perfect one!!

Then I was left on my own whilst the table went in and out of the donut type machine .. infact at one point I thought from the noise it was going to take off!!

Because I was laying down I couldn't see what was going on and just got glimpses of movement through the glass in the other room as this was going on which was a bit frustrating but apparently they were just monitoring my boob!!

Then I got my tattoos .......

Yes I now have 3!!

Before you all get excited and ask for photos ...... they are just dots (Richard said they don't do requests!) its so they can line me up on the machine for my radio therapy!!

Talking of which ... after the scan I was told all about radio therapy and what to expect and given some cream to use, advised to buy a soft bra and told to use simple soap.......

and ... I start my radio therapy in 2 weeks time on 20th June!!

Monday, 3 June 2013

I've finally done it

Tonight I've finally done it .................... !!

Yes its only taken four weeks of looking at the prescription and then hiding it again ...... then I had to go to the village surgery to apply for my NHS medical exemption card. (during cancer treatment I'm exempt from paying for my prescriptions)

Then of course I had to wait for it to arrive - too swiftly for my liking I might add!

I then conveniently didn't go near a pharmacy ........ well why would I? Excuses excuses I hear you mutter, absolutely right dear heart!

More delaying tactics followed ........

On Friday I went to Lloyds pharmacy and handed over my prescription. After confirming my details the sales assistant took it to the chemist.
She came back and asked if I was going to wait. 'How long will it be?' I asked adding 'I've no idea about this as I haven't done it before'

I think she thought I was a bit odd but for as long as I can remember on the few occasions I've needed a prescription its always been done at the Doctor's surgery.

Yup I don't do ill and have a tendancy to avoid Doctors!! I guess I'm now going to have to get used to them from now on!

When I got home my lunchtime reading was the leaflet in the box............... what an exciting life I lead!

So the tablets sat on the dining room table all weekend where I regularly picked them up, looked at them and put them back down again!

Today I ran out of excuses, gave myself a good talking to and after supper finally took my first Tamoxifen tablet .................

Friday, 24 May 2013

Oncologist Appointment

So our 21st Wedding Anniversary dawned yesterday. In one way I was looking forward to it as I'd planned a surprise night away with OH but on the other I really didn't want to go back to RD&E............

Yes, I know how I've waxed lyrical about how lovely everyone is there but to be honest I'm now getting fed up with it all and suddenly I started to feel nervous and the sweating started and I was all uptight again.

As usual we did the leaving ridiculously early bit and just as well ..... why are SWH digging up all the cats eyes in West Devon and holding us up????
Don't you know who I am.............??? Clearly not............

The plan was to park in the usual carpark 15 minutes away from the hospital, have a bite to eat in the Waitrose cafe ................ DON'T SHOUT ...( I know its against my principles too but all my twitter friend cafe's seem to be the other side of Exeter) and then walk to the Oncology Centre.

Well we did it in good time despite SWH and my gripping the door handle and squeaking at the lack of OH's lane discipline and all the other fucking wankers on the road who scare me to death. As we had arrived before visiting hours we  decided to try the RD&E carparks .............. no problem plenty of spaces.

So what to do for lunch...? try the cafe in the hospital then? NO! first I want to find out where the Oncology Centre is!

Yeah.... so! found it easy peasy.

Went into the first cafe which I suppose was a snack bar with a very small selection of sandwiches, crisps and biscuits and OH said is this ok for you? ..... now I was in the don't talk to me, don't ask me any questions, just do it mode so we had words .... I apologised to the lady behind the counter and then we moved to the next cafe....... our romantic lunch consisted of a houmous and salad roll for me and a tuna melt for OH with coffee.

I'd forgotten how hot the hospital was and along with this and my nerves I felt quite shit and really just wanted to run away......... get a grip .... deep breathes ...just get on with it .....bollocks, bollocks, bollocks.

We were taken to the waiting room by a lovely lady who I presume was a volunteer and who explained to me in very hushed tones what rooms we were passing as Victor Meldrew trailed behind!

Oh joy! after 20 minutes we were told that Dr Goodman was running 50 minutes late and if we needed extra parking time to report to reception...... fantastic this time we were in the hospital. OH was duly despatched to reception.

He returned to report that we would have an extra 1.5 hrs added FOC to our parking.

At 15.30hrs an hour after I should have seen Dr Goodman, Tina the nurse called me in to a consultation room, either she was having a bad day or is normally a miserable cow but she's the first person I've met on this journey who made me feel I was a nuisance.

As you know (or do you?) OH likes to fiddle with things ... if there's a button he'll press it and as we sat waiting he started to pick up things and move around  the room and annoy me as I was still in the don't do anything, I'm getting very uptight mode.

Finally Dr Goodman appeared ...... not at all how I'd expected him to be  ..... bow tie and (I'm sure) dyed hair!! but I liked him instantly! He explained everything in detail and despite being behind with his appointments wasn't in any hurry to get rid of me.

So I've got ER positive bastard cancer which apparently is better than HER2 bastard cancer . ..... mine is the oestrogen fed one which isn't helped by the fact that I'm still having periods ....... yes those periods that started when I was 12 and are still bugging me at 50 despite the fact that I NEVER wanted children ...... no use complaining though its bloody happened!

Tamoxifen is the tablet that I've been prescribed  to piss off this oestrogen but despite having the prescription I'm still looking at it (the possible side effects are not attractive)

I will start radio therapy in a months time although no date has been set. I will also need a CT scan so they can work out where to zap me!
The RT possible side effects don't fill me with joy ..... persistant permanent cough, cracked ribs, sore/cracked skin. Also over time my boob will become smaller and firmer 'isn't that what every woman wants?'  I asked - I know I'll never make it to the stage but this actually cracked him and OH up!!! The downside apparently is that the other boob will stay the same!!

After seeing Dr Goodman we had to wait for Tina to come back with a CT scan appointment ....... still in miserable cow mode she handed me a card and said 'next Thursday 30th Radiotherapy dept'. I actually had to clarify where this was
......... Tina - take it from me love ....if you hate your job for everyones sake please resign and go elsewhere.

My CT scan appointment was changed today to 6th June .................. so now 2 weeks until the next RD&E episode!!!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Dear Diary .................

I love stationary shops ...... I can spend hours in them picking up bound note books and journals and stroking them (and marvelling at the price!)

As a teenager I'd spend my hard earned cash on these beautiful journals and write Dear Diary ......... but not a lot else as I had no idea about writing down my feelings despite the fact that Jackie magazine told me that I should be keeping a diary......... on reflection I could have written war and peace ..... living a sheltered life on a farm in a small village, bullied at school and no idea about boys.

So really I should be writing this blog in a journal, however there would be so many crossings out and no one else would get to see it! Yes! I know dairies/journals aren't for public consumption!!

When I started the blog I didn't realise that so many people would view it infact I think I was quite naive about it all. I just felt I had to write about my journey! I also didn't realise that it would write itself!

Yeah I know you're saying what the bloody hell is she going on about.........

Well I'll have an idea about what I'm going to say and then as I start it all goes off at a tangent and suddenly I've written the complete opposite to what I'd planned! Infact tonight it was going to be about my busy week so you knew why I hadn't blogged!

I've got my oncologist appointment this Thursday so hopefully I'll be starting radio therapy soon..... I hope that they give me the start date there and then as I'm getting frustrated again at the not knowing.

Would you believe Thursday is our 21st Wedding Anniversary ....... what a way to celebrate .... bet they don't have a champagne bar at The RD&E either!

If you'd asked me all those years ago what I'd be doing on my 21st Wedding Anniversary ... I'd have never come with the one about the oncology dept!!!

Sometimes life is such a fucking bastard.

Tonight before I logged on to my blog I read someone elses blog ..... she is far younger than me and been through alot more with this bastard cancer than I have but is questioning why she got it .... diet, lifestyle, bad luck ... all the things I've raked over and like her googled it and found the answers contradictory........I felt so helpless as I can't answer her questions but really want to make it all better for her  .... all I can do is  give her a big virtual hug.

Fuck off cancer!