Thursday 27 October 2011

Mood Lift

Photo Copyright Maggie May

I expect you will all be pleased to hear that my mood has lifted! Thank God for that, you might be mumbling.
The reason why? Well yesterday I went to Oncology for my review concerning the fact it had been a month since my last radiation treatment.
I was given a thorough overhaul and was able to tell the consultant (who had arranged the radiation in the first place) that I was aching and not feeling as well as I should be.
He told me that it will be two more months before he would even consider me anything like normal and he said I was being really hard on myself. He felt I was doing fine. I will be having a scan in the New Year.
The consultant told me he would not have put me through so radical a treatment unless I had a very good chance of being free of the problem for a good while.
So I have to believe that.
I felt like hugging him and came out skipping. I am off all pain relief now and am thinking of getting twin beds so that I can get a decent nights sleep with out getting clumped in the back by a restless husband.
Harry starts chemo 9 tomorrow and his consultant is also very happy with him. Looks like we might both feel well for Christmas and fingers crossed...... it seems that my son's house move is on the cards soon.

In one of my posts I wrote that I was reading The Clan of The Cave Bears and that it would do for my winter reading. There are six books in the series. On the whole most people who commented on my post, enjoyed at least the first few books. Some said that they stopped reading them because there was explicit sex in the content and human sacrifice. Well, there is explecit sex content but only in the way that people living then might have experienced it. That was only part of the story and not meant to be pornographic in anyway. Far from it. So far I haven't come across human sacrifice though a bear did get killed in this way. I don't enjoy reading about animals getting killed but this story is meant to have happened 35,000 years before the present civilisation and I think considering, the people are depicted as very civilised and could teach us a thing or two.
I like the storyline and that is why I'm reading the series.
Anyway, I was extremely pleased that my blogging pal, Jinksy, sent me the Mammoth Hunters straight away and is parceling the rest up to be posted soon. So my winter reading is well catered for. Thank you Jinksy.
Thank you Guineapig mum for your kind offer to send the books, but I didn't have your email address and your blog was closed and unavailable.

My daughter is coming for a few days with my grandsons, so I am going to be busy enjoying their company this weekend.
Thank you so much to every one who has written kind things and helped me to feel cared for. You never cease to amaze me the way you are all so lovely and allow me to rant or get depressed, without either avoiding my blog or telling me to snap out of it.
That is true friend ship ....... in the bloggiest kind of way.

Monday 24 October 2011

Much Ado About Nothing?

In my last post, I was in a state about the water running down the wall and causing damp to get under the wallpaper in the bathroom, causing mould to grow through the paper and the beginnings of the same in the room beneath.
We couldn't get hold of a plumber who was known to us (unless we took pot luck by getting some one in from The Yellow Pages.) This is always a risky thing to do.
We realised that there must be a problem with the ballcocks in the two tanks connected to the central heating in our roof space, causing the overflow to be in use. The problem was..... where was the outside overflow and why wasn't the water running clear of the wall? On closer examination, it appeared that the overflow had been cut off by the men who had put new facial board on the back of the house when they decorated it over ten years ago. This meant that the water came out from beneath the facial board and tricked down the wall unnoticed until it started to seep through the wall. Obviously there hadn't been a problem with the overflow until recently and that is why it wasn't discovered before.

My son, Sam, went up to the roof space and looked into the tanks and was able to see the need for two new ballcocks and they were easily replaced. Trouble was now, there was a slight leak on the outside of the tank for some reason, that would in time come through the ceiling in the bathroom. So now we had to put a container under the drip and we worked out that this would need emptying twice a day because it took quite a while to fill the container.

In the meantime, my son managed to get a plumber friend to come and see the problem. He called round today and he was very efficient and knew what to do immediately and for a very reasonable price.
The trouble with the facial board can be dealt with maybe in the warmer weather as it will not cause any more problems for a long time.
If I still could get in touch with the men who chopped the pipe off because it would be easier to fit the facial board, then I would. However, after ten years I feel that they are long gone from our lives.

This week has been very up and down for me. The weather went very cold just at the time that the wet was coming into the house and my pain was playing me up and I felt depressed. It is now a month since the last radiation treatment and I have been very disheartened not to be feeling better than I am. I was told the pain would peak after a couple of weeks and then start to diminish. This didn't seem to be happening to me. On top of that I have heard of the death of two other cancer suffers within the last week or so whom I was relating to and thinking that they were a good example of delaying this awful disease with courage....... and now they are gone.
Will I be the next? It is only natural to wonder. Harry, who also has late stage cancer, just says *What will be will be* but I cannot sit back and think like that and am kicking up a fuss. Anything to delay it for a while yet. I have to get to seventy at least but realise that I haven't got a God given right to do so. However, I will give it my best shot.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Dripping Destruction

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Over the last few weeks we have experienced many different kinds of weather. We started off with a heat wave and we've had rain, followed by sunshine and then really cold weather, followed by sunshine again and now it seems to have settled into rain and much colder weather.

Wet weather is the last thing I need at the moment because we have a problem with water running down the back of our house and as it is an old stone wall that has no cavity, the damp is coming through the wall and has already ruined the bathroom and is now creeping downstairs.
Naturally we realised that something was wrong and our son, Sam brought a ladder round and cleaned out the gutter above the problem area. He felt that was the answer, but instead of drying out, the wet is continuing to seep through to the inside wall and I think it is something more serious. There is no sign of an overflow pipe oozing water. I wonder where it can be coming from?
Harry has to keep well away from anything dirty that could be harbouring bacteria... because of his lowered resistance caused by chemo therapy and it seems beyond me to be able to do very much myself. Besides, he hasn't the energy or stamina to deal with this anymore than I have.
I keep asking myself, why we didn't move into somewhere smaller and newer when we were in a stronger position a good few years ago. What has kept us in this big house when we are no longer in a position to look after it and do the necessary repairs?
Seems we get over one problem only to be confronted by something else.
I have tried calling plumbers that are known to us, so far with no success.

Isn't it annoying that this is the type of thing that can really wear you to the ground? It seems all we need after having to go through painful, lengthy treatments and life threatening illnesses to be outwitted by water.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Song and Dance?

No, not dance. I'm not quite up to dancing. However, today I decided to give my singing group a try and a friend, who also wanted to go back to it, went with me. It was good to get back to it but we are right behind, having missed a whole term, so we have to learn eight songs that we didn't know. We didn't realise that we'd chosen the last day of term to go back. So we were given a CD to learn over the holidays in order to catch up. So that worked out very well.

The book in the picture above, was given to me to read from an old boxful of things to be thrown away. At first, I thought it was a children's book but although the cover looks a bit that way, it is for adults judging by what I have read so far.
Actually, it is a set of two books and there are another two similar ones to carry on the story, making that six books altogether. I don't normally go in for long sagas but this first book that I am nowhere near a quarter of the way through, has captured my mind and I can see that this will be my winter reading matter. I will have to get the other books too.
Has anyone else read them and if so did you like them?

Saturday 8 October 2011

Finishing Touches

Photos Copyright: Maggie May

I copied this idea from another blogger. Although I had made crochet blankets before, I liked the way mrsrunofthemillsblogspot another Maggie, used different sizes of squares in her pattern. I also liked the scalloped edge and was not sure about how to achieve this. My crochet skills are very basic.
It took me from May to the present time to use all the wool from my wool bag and to have pieced together a large shape for a blanket. The other Maggie told me through a comment how to make a scolloped edge and she gave me very easy to follow instructions.
I am very pleased with the finished result.
Sometimes I didn't feel like doing any work on it at all and had regular breaks from it while I read a book or did some other activity. However, it gradually started to take shape and as it grew, I became more enthused with finishing it.

I have heard that we are in for a very hard winter so I shall, no doubt, be very glad to have the blanket to cuddle into during an evenings session watching TV.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

What Can People Say?

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

As the week is passing by, I am reducing my pain relief considerably, and apart from my usual arthritic pain, I am enjoying the freedom from that dreadful bone pain I had prior to the radiation treatments.
Pain is the very opposite of all that is good in life.
It has the power to impair a brain's functioning. It drains your energy. It takes over your mind, your body, your thinking, your creativity.
Like the pains of childbirth, when it has stopped, the severity of it disappears somewhere into the unconscious mind and a little door is shut on it. It isn't until there is a repeat experience of it that you remember how awful it is again.

At present, I am just having to wait and see what happens next and try enjoy each day as it comes.
This doesn't come easily to me.... the born worrier.
Will IT come back?

However, each day is a gift of extra life...... a bonus.
All that I know is ..... that I feel things more intensely. My family and friends mean more to me than before. The sky, the garden flowers and colours all seem more intense than they did before. My freedom seems more important too and I am making plans to go to the singing group again and take trips to the sea.
Everything that isn't life threatening seems to be quite unimportant to me. I used to worry about the most ridiculous things. I wasted so much time doing this.

People, on the whole, seem to be friendly and supportive towards me. However, there are still some who feel terribly awkward when they spot me and would rather run into a shop than to have to say anything.
I feel it is better to risk not saying the right thing than to run away. I don't think there is a right or a wrong thing to say anyway. Just be yourself.

I don't think people find it easy to meet up with anyone who is having a close brush with death. I think its not in our culture. "If I don't have to talk about this, I don't have to face up to the problem of cancer."
They feel threatened when they get close to someone with persistent cancer. It makes them feel under threat too. "If this can happen to her, then it could happen to me. I'd rather not think about it right now."
It is a big problem. One only has to spend a short time in Oncology to realise just how common the problem is.
I hope by talking about it that I will help others to drop their barriers a bit, though much of the time I want to be treated as normal. I am Maggie, the same person as I have always been ..... I experience the same things as you and face the same fears as you.
I just happen to be battling cancer.
I don't always want to talk about it but sometimes I do because my whole life is so tied up with how it affects me and how it makes me feel.

One day it will get me but not yet. I have so many things I want to see.
I want to see my granddaughters at least get settled into Secondary school. I want to share in the joys of their new house. I want to be able to do things with them again.
Amber, my eldest granddaughter, on hearing that I had finished my treatment, said to me, "Oh good now you can start doing things with me again."
She knows that I have cancer and she also knows I've had a problem with a sore bottom. Goodness only knows what she has said at school. (Don't forget that I used to work there.)
Some people see me standing in the playground and look the other way. Some of them are work mates or parents I knew very well. They are not all like that though, by any means.
I often just open my arms and say, "Yes, I'm still here." That seems to break the ice and put others at their ease.
One person who I thought I knew extremely well said to me. How can you just keep acting normal when this is happening to you?"
Well my answer really is, "What else can I do? Do I just lie down and wait to die? It might take a long time and it would be a bit of a waste of time, don't you think?"

I am learning to laugh at this because it is a terrible problem and one that any body might have to face sooner or later.
So how about seeking out someone you know who might be battling cancer or any other disease (that people find difficult) that takes you out of your comfort zone?
You might make a difference in that person's life. More than you think.