Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Wait is Over

For five years I've been counting. First I counted years, then months and finally I was counting weeks, days, hours: and now it's all over. I had my final appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Agrawal, today and he's discharged me. I didn't cry when they told me I had cancer, but I certainly cried tears of joy today.

Afterwards we celebrated by going to the site of the Battle of Shrewsbury - made famous by Shakespeare in Henry IV pt.1. This is where Henry IV and his son Hal defeated Hotspur and established the power of the Plantagenet kings in 1403. It was a bloody battle and many were killed on both sides. You can read about it here.

A Royal memorial chapel was built near the battlefield, probably over the burial pit for the men killed in the battle.  It was replaced by this church in 1460.  The church has been renovated a couple of times since then and it's beautiful inside.  There's a lovely hammerbeam roof, superb stained glass windows and a little exhibition about the battle.  We got the key from the shop and had a good look round.  The pictures were taken in and around the church.

And now for something completely different!  The Art Festival ended about two weeks ago.  It was an exhausting but exhilarating fortnight with nightly performances and daily stints at the Art Exhibition.  John took most of the photos and they've all be processed and posted on the Arts Festival Web Site.  Click here to see the photos.  The whole committee was delighted with attendance figures and the quality of the shows, but I was especially delighted that the Art Exhibition, which is my special baby, did incredibly well.  We had over a thousand visitors, sold nearly £6000 worth of art, craft, photography and cards and doubled our takings from last year.

To relax at the end of the Festival, John and I took the train to Cardiff for a day of shopping, eating and sightseeing.  The first picture was taken on the platform at Church Stretton.  There is a group of dedicated volunteers who maintain the station in picture perfect condition and the flowers are fabulous right now.  We left about 8 am and were there by 10.  It's a very fast, comfortable journey and we whiled away the time reading and looking out of the windows.

Cardiff is also full of flowers - this is the scene that greeted us outside the station there.  We went straight to the new John Lewis store.  For our Columbus friends, John Lewis is a lot like Lazarus was in its heyday.  We wanted to look at their kitchens as we're planning to replace ours very soon.  We also took coffee in their espresso bar - below, there's a picture of John in this very modern class enclosed cafe.

Later we wandered through malls and arcades, lunching in "YO!", a sushi restaurant where the plates are colour coded according to price and are on a belt that moves past the end of the table.  You just grab whatever looks good and they bill you by counting the plates.

Late in the afternoon, we took an open top double decker bus tour of the city.  It was very interesting, if somewhat chilly, taking in the sights of the city center and the newly redeveloped dock areas.

Dinner was again Japanese style - this time a big bowl of ramen noodles in broth at Wagamama's!  And so we made our way back to the station and back home on the train.

So now - it's off to bed.  For the first time in 5 years I WON'T be taking my arimidex pill before I go to sleep.  I WILL be hoping for an improvement in the various aches and pains and other problems I've had over the past years, but who knows how much of that was due to the drugs and how much to other factors.  We'll see over the next few weeks as the arimidex slowly leaves my body and the estrogen builds up a little bit again.  Maybe my hair will thicken up - that would be nice - or maybe my brain will function more efficiently - others might appreciate that!