Friday, 29 March 2013

Old Friends

Its Good Friday and our first Bude Farmers Market of the season has been and gone! What a fab start to the season..............

It was so lovely to see all the traders again and their love and support for me is overwhelming. Not to mention the offers of help to sell my cheese when I'm in Hospital. Hey guys ... you rock!!!!

Had a huge shock though when we got home as OH recieved an e-mail from a friend who we see/keep in touch with every few years ( the sort of friend you don't see for years but pick up the conversation from where you left off ...) His wife who I worked with 20 odd years ago was diagnosed with breast cancer last September ..... she is still receiving treatment now. Why her? ... she is such a lovely person.

What a bastard this cancer is.

Talking of old friends ........ just before my diagnoses a couple of old friends got back in touch via facebook.

Facebook???? Yes I know, most of you know I have no idea about FB, Twitter is my thing but something seems to be making plans....... fate or whatever my old life has something to do with it.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Op date set

Its been a long day .... up early to cheese make before setting off ridiculously early for my appointment at RD&E Hospital. Thank goodness we did though as there wasn't a single parking space in the 6 carparks we drove around. Of course I was stressed to the eyeballs but luckly OH who is usually hopeless at remembering locations was able to find a carpark he used near by when visiting the Police Station a few years ago (in an official capacity I hasten to add).

15 minutes walk later we reached the hospital and 10 minutes before my appointment.

I'm getting used to appointments running late on this journey but here they tell you how long they are behind.

I was seen and examined by the Registrar, who then explained about the operation. He was lovely and gave me a lot of confidence.
Whilst he went to check on operation dates the Cancer Nurse then talked through things too.

She was also an absolute star and organised my pre-op whilst I was there rather than us having to trek back again!

Everyone at RD&E was so lovely and helpful that I don't have any fear of going back!

So I now have my Operation date - Friday 19th April

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


After my diagnosis last week I decided on the way home that I would blog about my experiences and OH agreed it would be a good idea. I'd already tweeted about what was going on and then the results just after I'd recieved them so alot of people knew or potentially knew I had breast cancer.

We didn't discuss about telling friends so I was a bit surprised when I heard him on the phone tell someone who needed to know what was going on that we weren't telling people!

Hadn't I just just broadcast it on twitter???

Wasn't I going to tell the world in a blog???

..............................We then started making phone calls and sending e-mails!!

I've had so much love and support, not just from my wonderful friends but also people I don't know that well or have never met. (Some of these being my twitter family!)
Just knowing that they are there and thinking of me and sending positive vibes is a great comfort.

The offers of help for when I'm post op have been amazing ........ this place will look fantastic with all the cleaning and gardening that'll get done!!!
Strange though how everyone has said they will be no good at making cheese ...........

Fellow traders have offered to take the cheese to sell at markets and one has even offered to lend their teenager to help OH if he needs it.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH, with your love, help and support I'll get through this.

Monday, 25 March 2013

No positivity today

Today hasn't been a good one.

I'm normally a positive person but today I woke up to find all positivity had deserted me. I lay in bed thinking about my operation and how they will remove two lymph nodes at the same time to check that the bastard cancer hasn't spread .... and then I started to feel scared. What if if it has spread??? How bad could it be??? Would it be treatable???

I didn't want to get up, even Tilly's play barking couldn't entice me out to the barn to let her and Jess out. All I wanted to do was curl up and hibernate like the hedgehog in our garden bank, then perhaps when I woke up everything would be alright.

Hibernation being out of the question I had to get up, but so did a dark cloud which has hung over me all day. Suffice to say I haven't achieved very much and I have to admit to a few tears when I was brine washing some small cheeses ....... I'm sure a little extra salt won't hurt them!!

I'm sure its just a blip and that I'll be back to my usual cheerful self tomorrow.......

I hope so.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Why me?

Why me??? Am I being punished for something?? Is it my lifestyle??? 

These are the questions I'm asking myself.

Well I suppose this bastard thing has to choose someone but what are its criteria?

I don't think I've been really bad in my life ... might have nicked the odd 10p out of my mothers purse for sweets but at least I didn't nick the sweets from the village shop!

In my 50 years I've only had about 3 Macdonalds and 1 KFC and on the odd occasion a ready made moussaka from Waitrose.

I've always cooked meals from scratch and we eat alot of beans, pulses, and vegetables. Poor OH suffers when I find another chickpea recipe in the weekend papers!!
We only eat poultry and meat that we have reared or bought from friends or fellow traders so know its provenance.

I'm the only person in the world who doesn't eat sausages .... hate them and its only in recent years that I've started to eat bacon - has to be smoked and usually we have it in a toasted sandwich on a Sunday when we don't have a market so no more than twice a .month.

I suppose this leaves alcohol ...........

I do like my wine!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Not what I wanted to hear

Being in limbo is horrendous ........ .

At least Wednesday came around quickly. As before we got to Exeter mega early and then hung around. After a coffee I bought a new bra in M&S. !!!!!

My worst fear was trying to get through the door rather than hearing the results.

Since Friday there was a new sign on the door buzzer and it opened immediately.

In reception there were 3 members of staff to greet us this time although we still had to wait 30 minutes to be called and weren't kept informed of the delay.

As soon as we sat down with the nurse I just knew that I'd been kidding myself....... and then she uttered the words 'sorry but the biopsy has shown its cancer'

Shit  she just said cancer.

So my next appointment is with Mr Fergueson the consultant on Wednesday at Exeter Hospital ..... why does it have to be a cheesemaking day??? Why does it have to be cancer????

More scans and biopsy

The radiographer was lovely, explaining everything and showed me the scan with the white blob on the right boob that didn't match the missing one on the left boob on the original scan. She was going to take extra scans to check it out.

No problem then ... must have been the angles in the mobile unit.


I then had to sit in a waiting room with another lady who wanted to talk. Normally I'll talk to anyone and I like to talk but I really wanted her to shut up as I needed to be anywhere but there..

Finally I went to see a very nice man .... Dr Russell Davis who did ultrasound. He then did a biopsy as he couldn't say what this blob was. It definately wasn't a cyst he said but could be a number things and he couldn't rule out cancer but if it was it was only 4mm so was completely treatable.

How naive am I ...'will you phone me or send the results by post' I asked 'no you're going to see the nurse now and she'll give you an appointment for next week'

No problem then ... so small it will be something simple.


I got dressed and went back to tell OH what was happening before seeing the nurse.
He and two other husbands had been swopping notes and they'd all had a problem with the front door as well as lack of welcome!

The nurse called us in and gave me an appointment for Wednesday which really wasn't well timed as its cheesemaking day but I had to bite the bullet and accept that I needed to know the results.


So I've just turned 50

My 50th Birthday was a great day, we ended up in Totnes in a fab bistro called Rumour eating  moules and frites and drinking rather good wine, followed by a wander around the town. The next day we were at my favourite food market - Royal William Yard for the first time this year catching up with customers and fellow stallholders and selling lots of cheese. Life was good. Little did I know.
Two days after my Birthday I went for routine breast screening in a mobile unit in Holsworthy. Within 10 minutes it was all over and I didn't pay much attention to the fact that the results would be sent to me within 2-3 weeks.
Nine days later during cheesemaking the post arrived at 2pm. I assumed the envelope marked NHS was the letter telling me that the breast screening was fine and they'd call me back in 3 years.


All I saw was 'don't be alarmed' and appointment in Exeter on 15th March. What? thats the day after tomorrow. Why?

After I'd run round like a headless chicken OH who had read the letter properly explained that sometimes further scans need to be taken and that probably they didn't get the right ones before.


On Friday we got to Exeter mega early in case of hold ups, sussed out the breast screening unit and then went for a coffee.

At the appointed time we went to the unit and followed the instructions for entry ...... the door  wouldn't open properly, it seemed to be jammed at the top. OH kept pressing the buttons and I kept yanking at the door. At this point I was all for leaving and if it wasn't for OH I would have given up. Eventually the door was released.

The next hurdle was the waiting room ..... no receptionist just a notice saying take a seat and someone will be with you shortly. There were 2 women and 3 men seated with a chair free between each of them except the free chairs had coats etc on them and then 2 chairs either side of the room which were free. Obviously we wanted to sit together but when OH tried to sit on the seat next to me with a coat on the bloke next to it just shoved it a bit more. In my nervous state I just instructed OH to sit on the other spare seat on the opposite side. The room was stifling hot which didn't help either. After about 15 minutes OH attempted to sit on the coffee table opposite me as he could see that I was getting more and more worked up. All I could do was hiss 'don't! don't sit on that table' because I could see it would collapse under his weight. At this point the bloke on my left with a wardrobe of clothes on the seat between us grunted and then moved them so OH could sit there. Hurrah.

After 45 minutes I was called and it was down to the radiographer to explain that the receptionist was off sick and that the first two ladies of the morning had needed far more time with the nurse so that I had had to bypass the nurse and go straight in for the scans.