Monday, 28 April 2014


I'm still waiting for the letter from Mr. Ferguson ...............

No news is good news I guess so I'm presuming that my mammogram is clear BUT whilst we hang around waiting I thought that perhaps we could make polite conversation and discuss Tamoxifen.

On Friday I collected my latest Tamoxifen prescription ................. yup this is the eleventh one from the surgery (first one was from a chemist) so I've been knocking them back for a year!

Now you may recall that last year I put off taking these bad boys as I was worried by the side effects ........... weight gain being top of the list. 

I really wasn't bothered by the other side effects ....... DVT, face swelling, unusual vaginal bleeding, hot flushes, leg cramps, dry skin, confusion, depression etc etc ........ oh you can google the side effects , there are too many to mention here!

Sooooooooooooooooo 12 months down the line whats the verdict???? ............

Well I had the same make of Tamoxifen for two months (as I mentioned at the time) and then it changed to Teva .........Teva and I jogged along, and apart from the dry skin, dry eyes, leg cramps, oh and all the other things I realised that everything was ok as I hadn't grown two heads, a tail or hairs on my palms.................

.......... and the weight gain??????

Well at the end of August I decided that I needed to lose weight.

Before my diagnosis I was already over weight and during my treatment with all the inactivity and socialising I piled on even more weight and possibly the Tamoxifen made me gain a few pounds. Who knows.

So I and a few other twitter friends formed an online slimming club.

Once a week we announced our weight loss (or gain). What an incentive to stick at it though!

By cutting down on what I ate and of course trying to fit in 8-9 portions of fruit and veg a day I lost one and a half stone. However it was difficult and most of the time I felt hungry, even after eating a big meal. Tamoxifen makes you feel hungry that's for sure. So I now understand how weight gain is a side effect.

Last month I collected my prescription and knew instantly by the feel of the packet through the bag that it was a different brand

I tried not to panic but wondered what Wockhardt had in store for me?!

Oh noooooooooooooo what are they like??? will I have all the initial symptoms again???

Oh for goodness sake .......... get on with it!

Do you know what?

These ones are great ............. no leg cramps ............

So much so that on Friday I dug out my trainers from under the stairs where they have been for at least the last ten years and after hoovering them (of cobwebs and stuff) I went for a run with the dogs!

Do you know I was really chuffed because although I ran then walked then ran on our 3 mile route I found it quite easy! All the walking has clearly improved my fitness.

The only odd thing you will have notice should you have been stalking me is that I have to hold my right boob as I run ....... a strange sight I know but I clearly need to  get a sports bra!! The lumpectomy has made bouncing around painful

Yesterday  I tried it again (along with boob clasping) and I ran further. 

I'm sure those of you that run miles on a regular basis will just shrug but I'm really chuffed. Infact so much so that I posted it on facebook and twitter and then discovered that I had inspired a twitter friend who suffers from depression to put his running shoes on and kick the black dog into touch.

There is a down side though to no leg cramps ................

I seem to get emotional and teary for no apparent reason. Just like I did at the start of taking Tamoxifen.

Which one do I prefer???

The latter .......... at least I can blink away a few tears without any pain!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My breast cancer article for our Parish magazine

Last month I was asked to write an article about breast cancer for our Parish magazine.

Its three weeks since the magazine was distributed to local households. I assumed people would read it and hoped that maybe it would help someone, if not now but at a later date.
So I've been pleasantly surprised by the positive response it has received.

The last lady to get in touch was someone who had known from the start of my diagnosis but had appeared to go out of her way to avoid me over the last year. She made a point of phoning to tell me how brave she thought I was for sharing my story and that she was sure it would help someone and that she was going to keep the article just incase ..........

I've only had one negative reply, a person telling me that my advice about TLC wouldn't have helped her ..... it wouldn't have helped me either, because as you all know the mammogram was my saviour.

I was just trying to cover basic awareness in the article.

Anyway I thought I'd share the article with you.........

Breast cancer


v    Breast cancer is the most common cancer.


v    One woman in eight will be diagnosed with Breast cancer in her life time.


v    Around 50,000 women and 400 men are diagnosed each year with Breast cancer.


v    The NHS automatically invite women aged 50-70 who are registered with a GP for breast cancer screening every three years.


v    Around a third of breast cancers are diagnosed through screening.


So what? You’re thinking this is just a load of statistics, why should I read this? It doesn’t affect me.


A year ago I would have been thinking the same as you but in March 2013 I became part of those statistics.


Two days after my 50th Birthday I attended the mobile breast screening unit in a Holsworthy car park and had my first mammogram. It didn’t take long and soon I was on the way home and to be honest I didn’t give it another thought.

Nine days later I got a letter with an appointment to go to Exeter for further screening. This involved another mammogram and a biopsy. Five days later I had to return to Exeter for the biopsy results.


It was breast cancer.


The lump was small which is why I hadn’t felt it and if it hadn’t been for the screening I wouldn’t have found it for maybe another couple of years.


Initially I was shocked, scared and angry.


I decided to start a blog and write about my breast cancer. Not only did I find this cathartic but it also helped people keep up with my treatment without feeling they had to phone or e-mail every few days to see how I was getting on! Perhaps rather naively I didn’t realise at the start that it would be read worldwide in fact I just thought a few friends would look at it every now and then, however to date there have been over 8700 page views and I’ve been told that I’ve made some people laugh and been an inspiration to others.

It can be found at


Now enough about me!


If you are invited for a mammogram please go, it could save your life!


Are you breast aware?


Do you know what your breasts look and feel like normally?

Are you on the look out for any unusual changes?

It’s a good idea to get into the habit and do it regularly, maybe in the bath or shower.

Me? I do it first thing in the morning on the way down to the loo!


I’ve pinched this from one of the breast cancer charities but it’s as easy as TLC.


T ouch your breasts – can you feel anything unusual?

L ook for changes – Is there any change in shape or texture?

C heck anything unusual with your Doctor


Now there’s no special way of checking yourself and each Doctor and Consultant who has examined me has their own way so don’t be scared to have a good feel of yourself.


If you have any breast cancer or breast health concerns or you are a friend or relative of someone who has, who can you talk to?


Well there’s your Doctor and then there are also breast cancer charities, two of which are listed below.


They also have a free helpline 0808 8006000



The best advice I was given and which I will pass onto you …. DON’T google anything about breast cancer ……. It will scare you to death unnecessarily! Talk to the healthcare professionals.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

I think I can stop holding my breath......

Soooooooooooooooooo for the last thirteen days I've been there waiting for the postman, hoping that he hasn't any post for us but also willing him (them)  ...... (yes we still have the job share muppets) to deliver our post to the neighbours by mistake! Although the neighbour always brings it over as  ...... The Holstein Journal, Down your Whey and Know your Curds magazine doesn't interest them!!!!

Ha ha ... prize if you guess the made up names!!!!

I think I can now stop holding my breath ...............

...........................and breathe!

Yup ...... the two weeks is up tomorrow and as its Good Friday ........and .........useless piece of information exactly a year to the day that I had my lumpectomy - can you believe that?

I don't think there will be a letter on Saturday.

I'm beginning to believe that my mammogram results are clear!

I have to say that I've been worrying on and off over the last fortnight and felt like I'm in limbo again  because of last year  but also I've had the 'I've been there done that, got the T-shirt' thought and realised that I fought the BASTARD and won so how dare it even think about showing its face again.

It probably sounds easy to you but the bastard cancer does mess with your head .......

Anyway .......... just waiting now for one of the muppets to deliver my results from Mr. Ferguson.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

My family part two.......

Those of you have been with me from the start will know that my family (parents, sister and her family) spend Easter in South Devon.

We live in North Devon.

My blog post 'My Family' (8th May 2013) explains most of what you need to know.

Soooooooooooooooooooo this weekend was all planned ....... cheesemakers workshop at my favourite Bistro in Plymouth ( and then on Sunday back to Plymouth for the Good Food Market at Royal William Yard.

It was a bit of a shock during yesterdays workshop to hear that RWY was cancelled due to the weather forecast. Thank goodness for people with fancy phones! Otherwise we wouldn't have known until we got home.

Anyway a fab day was had by all and OH went to get the car after paying £7.20 for the privilege of parking in Plymouth for 6 hours.

The other privilege is parking on double yellow lines toute suite  to pack everything back into the car ....... (thank god they don't have the same traffic wardens  as we have at Bideford Farmers Market ) by that I mean muppets with no common sense and no sense of humour.

However in between all this OH phoned my Dad to tell him that we would be at a tea room near Ashburton delivering cheese at 11am.

Yup another downside of the market cancellation was that the trader who would collect our cheese at Plymouth and then deliver to a tea room just down the road from his store wouldn't happen. So we'd have to do it ourselves.

Dad said that they wouldn't get there until midday and he doubted if the others would come.

Fast forward to today ... Sunday 6th April.

So Ma and Pa were there when we arrived , we had coffee and talked about cheese, cheesemaking, food, my Dads health, after fifteen minutes OH announced that it was time for us to go ......... bloody hell ...... really ....... even for me that's rude ......

My Ma then said my niece had said to say 'Hello' ... great! but no message from my sister then..........

Dad then asked about our no supermarket shopping ... apparently its the talk of the golf club!

We eventually managed thirty minutes.............. thank goodness  the coffee at Hill House Nursery is fab!!

Driving back I mentioned to OH that I thought fifteen minutes was rather quick. He said that they hadn't asked how I was or how I was getting on even at the start when I'd popped to the loo and that he thought that by him trying to get us together they might at least acknowledge my cancer.

Too late lover ........ its a year on........

They don't even know about my mammogram ..........

We haven't seen them since November and rarely talk on the phone so how can you catch up in thirty minutes.

Well you can't.

However I'm sure as I write this my parents and sister and her family  are all playing happy families in their holiday let and no doubt slagging me off as I have just done them ........ that's life ........................that's families................ well my family anyway.

Oh I forgot to mention ....... to make it all better we went for lunch at my sanctuary .....................

..... for those that don't know - its The Ring of Bells!

Friday, 4 April 2014

The dance goes on ......

OH woke up fairly early this morning ...... well, before the alarm anyway (I think it was set for 7.30) and did his usual routine of yawning, sighing, tossing and turning when I'm trying to sleep .................

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 'Shut up ... I don't want to wake up'

Actually that's a lie, I really wanted to get today over and done with, but he's sooooooooooo annoying!!

I know it seems that I'm wishing my life away at the moment but I just need to know now!

After doing the cheese brining, salting, turning type things and egg packing stuff we set off with the dogs for a walk.

Great no time to think about things!

OH hurt his foot last night (one of his clogs split and did some damage to his toes -and he does have sensitive feet after the Navy amputated his little toes in the 1960's. Bastards! ) and within minutes of starting out this morning he had to return home as his foot hurt.

To take my mind off things I tried to identify the bird song serenading me and also all the wild flowers that are springing up daily as well as bellowing at Tilly before she shot off after bambi's and pheasants.

Now you know that we have a lorry and courier game that we play on our way to RD&E ........... well it started early today ..... one of our big fuck off wagons came chugging up the lane past me and the doggens. Bloody hell ...... he must have a satnav malfunction, coming to our neck of the woods ....... anyway I ticked him off!!!! (just as well, as you will find out)

Get to the point I hear you cry......

Ok, Ok,

Yes, we left ridiculously early ..... but in my defence they are doing loads of resurfacing on the way and one lane at Alphington/Marsh Barton junction is closed.

Not much to report on OH's driving apart from the sudden braking near B&Q when I wasn't paying attention due to looking at my phone and my sunglasses (propped up on my forehead) flew off and I was made to let off some expletives. I'm sure he did it on purpose!

Our lorries weren't playing either .... only saw one!

...... and yes we got there in plenty of time ....... loads of parking spaces and time for a coffee and a sandwich before popping up to the breast care unit for my appointment.

The last time I was in this department was on operation day when I had the wire inserted to identify the bastard cancer for Mr. Ferguson and then OH and I  sat for hours in the corridor waiting for me to go down to theatre. (not forgetting my sexy get up of hospital gown and white stockings with my addition of green dressing gown and pink slippers!!)

Today there was no one in reception (well it was 1.35pm - everyone was at lunch I presume) so after hissing at OH to sit down after he did his wandering around bit and poked his head through the window ....... yes its me booking in not you and there's no one there so 'READ YOUR KINDLE!' I stood there watching David Cameron on the TV with sub titles telling me how brilliantly 'we had got the railway line repaired at Dawlish' before three radiographers appeared. Just like buses!

Took a seat and before I could get into my book I was called.

Four x rays of my squashed boobs later and I was out!

The quickest appointment ever at RD&E and called in before time!

However ........... and this is the thing ...... the breast care unit will look at my mammogram and if they want to recall me I'll hear within two weeks ..... if not they'll send the results to Mr. Ferguson and he'll send me the results. If I haven't heard within four weeks then its a phone call to his secretary!

Lorry result on the way home, lots of ticks!!!!

So, my dance goes on ......