Saturday, May 29, 2010

Woooo Hooooo!!!!!

Yesterday I received the letter I had been waiting for. My 5th year mammogram showed no abnormalities. That means I'm all clear! Yippeeeeeeee!

This is the best news, because the mammogram is probably the most thorough test I will have this year. I have one more visit with the oncologist in August and if everything is still OK I'll be given the go-ahead to come off the dreaded Arimidex. Then, maybe, my hair will thicken up again, some of the other side effects will go away and I'll get back to a normal life.

This time 6 years ago we were just starting to get hints that I might have breast cancer. It wasn't definite yet, but I was in the middle of tests and more tests. It was to be another few days before we cancelled our flight home and then found out the bad news. We went to Matt and Karlyn's wedding and then sold our house to them!  Happy Anniversary, you two!!!!!

As the summer progressed we managed to go through an excision biopsy that developed into an abscess, find a flat, move in, go through a lumpectomy and axillary dissection, develop another abscess and then start the process of chemo and radiation.
I say "we" because John was with me every step of the way. He was the one who pushed bandages into the abscess twice a day for 6 months; he was the one who sat with me through endless doctor appointments and every chemo session; he was the one who cooked and cleaned and did laundry when I was too weak and depressed to do anything and he was the one who took me out to fun places and brought in friends to entertain me. John helped me through by showing me the funny side of the whole process and in that way we were also able to amuse and help other cancer patients at the centre.

Thank you, John!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A walk in the woods

Ella and I took a walk in Rectory Wood this morning.  I managed it ok although I had to stop and cough a few times.  I really think I’m getting a bit better, but it looks as though it’s going to be a long recovery.
The bluebells are glorious, although I think they are not yet quite at their peak.

I found this little inch-worm on a railing.
Quintessential English woodlands in spring - lovely!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sad News, Happy News.

Hello all!

The last few months have been a bit fraught, which is why I haven't done any blogging.  I'm at home with a cold and am finding it difficult to work on all the stuff I ought to be doing.  So I thought writing this would be a good alternative. The cold is clearly my body telling me to slow down a bit. I had another one 2 months ago and I've been coughing and exhausted ever since. I'd just decided to go to the doctor when this latest cold developed. It's really horrible. Everytime I move or laugh I start this chesty hacking cough. I don't want to spread the germs around so I'm waiting to go to the doc. till next week when I hope the infectious part will be over.  You all know that I'm a hypochondriac - when I start coughing I think I've got pneumonia or lung cancer, when I have a headache it's a brain tumour, etc. etc.

It has been a bit of sad/happy time.  The saddest news of all was the death of our good friend David Matthews.  David lived in the house at the  top of our drive with his wife Pam and the four of us became firm friends.  He was the first person to welcome us when we moved in and he was always ready to help with a project or advise on technical issues.  David and I worked together, took long walks, discussed all sorts of things (sometimes quite rudely, but always in the spirit of good fun), and of course, I was always giving him advice which he ignored completely!  Here's a picture I took of David on one of our walks with Ella, their lovely dog.  I really miss David.

We've also seen quite a bit of Ella over the last couple of months as Pam has been up and down to London a couple of times.  Ella stayed over and now thinks this is her second home.  It's not unusual to open the back door and find her sunning herself on the driveway!  When the door's open she comes in and makes herself at home.

Last week I went to a workshop on relief modelling.  I needed to learn how to do it, because I have tried it in polymer clay and failed.  Our teacher, Jane Robbins, was fantastic and here's what I produced.  Yes!!!!! A portrait of Ellla!!!!! 

In March we cancelled our trip on Longsdon because we had a lot of things to do.  I think, now, that this was a mistake because we're both tired and a rest on the boat would have done us good.  Still we have had a few trips out.  Most notably a day out with Joy and John when we visited two very interesting National Trust properties in the northeast midlands.  The first was Mr. Straw's House, which is an early 20th century house complete with all the furnishings and trappings of life from the 20's and 30's.  It was fascinating, not least because we recognised so many things from our grandparents houses.  The second property was the Work House and I include a picture.  This is where poor, sick and indigent people lived and worked in Victorian times.  It was a hard life, designed to deter people from living off charity.

On the way back from our outing we saw a beautifully ploughed and prepared field - is it banked up for potatoes?

In between work on birding courses, birding atlasses, Scrappies, Church Stretton Arts Festival and all the other things we do, there has been progress in the garden.  After a slow, cold spring we're finally seeing some green as the buds burst and lots of colour as the flowers come out.  There's more information and photos on the Peel Wyke Gardening site, but this is a picture I took from my study window this morning.

Finally, I want to tell you about a very happy event.  On May 1st, John's cousin Janice married her fiance Ian.  It was a beautiful, happy day, full of love, laughter and fun.  Here's a picture of Janice and her dad (John's uncle Wilf) as they prepared to enter the church.  Wilf is 98 - it's not polite to tell you how old Janice is!  We're all happy that Janice has found someone to love and who loves her, and that he comes from a good and caring family.  We wish them all the best for their future lives together.