Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Suppliant Women

It will soon be four years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Four incredible years when I have learned so much about myself, my abilities, and about the people I love. At 65 I, in a way, feel more alive than I have done all my life. That isn't to say I don't get tired, fatigued and knackered. What I do do is stuff I like. I take my pictures for myself and others. I do stuff with the OLGBT community, I cycle and I go to the theatre, The Suppliant Women being today's play at the Royal Exchange.
After I was done with radiotherapy I want on to Tamoxifen and was on this until November last year.
The Tamoxifen hadn't caused me any problems so I didn't think twice when the Nightingale Centre suggested going onto Letrozole. All was fine until I started having severe foot pain. Pain that woke me up and made walking difficult. So difficult that I tripped in St Anne's Street in the centre of Manchester and felt a lot older than 65 when someone rushed to help me up. I am therefore on a break from these tablets and await a consultation with the team at Wythenshawe.
If there is one thing that is important post surgery and radiotherapy it's do the exercises. Oh and make sure you enjoy life.
As today is the day after the sad events outside Parliament my thought today is, things change in a fraction of a second so be kind and love as much as you can.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Where's the tooth fairy when you need her?

I think this photo reflects my mood today.  I went to the Oral Surgery thinking that I would get my root canal filling done, after all, he had x-rayed it last time, but no, he made a chart of my mouth.  I find this ridiculous in this day and age and considering that I have gone to the dentist every six mouths for around 57 years. I would have thought that it was possible to transfer a chart electronically.  I was then sent for a full mouth x-ray. 
I expressed my concern that the next appointment would be months away.  The consultant went into a big explanation about staffing levels.  Somewhat patronising.
The photo is Windy Corner.  If you have travelled over Saddleworth Moor on the M62 you may have seen this mast.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Alternative Energy

 Along with trying to get daily exercise I am trying to get regular picture taking in.  These were taken on the Cliviger moors, were the West Riding of Yorkshire butts up against the Lancashire moors.  Not only is it windy up there, it's also several degrees colder than in the valley.  It was bitterly cold the day I took these.
Each walk I have done, has of course, this being the Pennines, involved going up a least one hill.  Each one leaving me breathless.  One of the consultants at the Christie said that it could take up to a year to get full lung function back. 
My only other medical complaint is that I have sudden, random, stabbing pains in the operation side.  These are unpredictable and can make me cry out.  The oncologist had said to ask my GP for Gabapentin.  So I am now taking that three times a day.  Although the pain has reduced it has not gone all together.
I joined the march at Barton Moss to protest against 'fracking' one Sunday.  I can't see that fracking will be the answer to our energy needs that the government thinks it will be.  The operators are in danger of polluting our vast underground water supplies here in the North West.  If you don't know about fracking, please find out.
I have been seeing a counsellor at 'Oldham Cancer Support'.  I self referred myself after a massive anxiety attack.  My anxiety was about some house maintenance that is needed.  A bit barking really, you would think that I would be anxious about cancer returning or my life being shortened by it. 
Tomorrow is Oral Surgery day, so hopefully my holely tooth will be sorted.
Once again, circumstances have made me think about the fragility of life and I think the best I can say is 'Seize the Day'.  If there's summat that needs to be said say it because you may not get another chance.  Let people know how much they mean to you.
Take care, love one another and love where you live.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Goodbye Christies.

I was discharged by the Christie today.  I will still have to visit the Nightingale centre at Wythenshawe hospital for the next 10 years which seems a hell of along time.  I will be 72 by then which in itself seems impossible.  I do have a feeling of being adrift at sea now.  
I joined an online breast cancer group recently.  This is a bit of a two edged sword.  Reading other peoples experiences highlights how lucky I have been but also there are so many cases of the cancer reoccurring that it doesn't help my anxiety.
On a positive note the Oral Surgery at the Royal Oldham have managed to get me an appointment this month-a bit better than their original one of July.  I am trying to figure out a way of complaining about their appointment system that will result in them looking at their shortfalls.  Unfortunately I feel this is a system that is not capable of listening.  I really think that we need to point out,constructively, the failings of the NHS.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The North wind will blow, and We Shall have Trampolines.

After a stormy Thursday night I returned home to Chadderton, after spending the holiday at A's, to find the above trampoline in the back garden.  I don't enjoy storms as I worry about the damage that may occur but I wasn't expecting this.  It had blown in from next doors garden, tipple topping over the five foot fence and landing the right way up and just dipping a leg into the pond.  I will not be trying it out even though I am tempted to do so.
It's difficult to remember a Christmas tide that I didn't find sad or sorrowful.  Lots of reasons for this and if I related them to you, you would probably get your violin out.  A and I have unconventional Christmas's that often involve bike rides, decorating or some physical work.  We are lucky to have similar mind set about this time of year and are able to enjoy it in our own way.  I enjoyed three days of cooking.  There will always be part of me that longs for the adult equivalent of the doll that I lusted after in Rushton's post office window in the '50's (odd cause I would have really preferred a
 train set) but I am truly thrilled to receive this Christmas cake from a dear friend.

And of course, I have been blessed this year with life itself.  Gifts that are priceless.
My best wishes for 2014.  I hope to celebrate the wonderful people in my life and life itself.  Enjoy everything and everyone that you have been blessed with.

Friday, 20 December 2013


I am truly blessed with the friends I have.  Thank you all for your heart felt best wishes.  Sometimes I didn't think that I would get to 62.  No big celebrations, in fact I spent the afternoon at an Age UK LGBT get together.
On returning home there was a letter from the Pennine Acute Hospitals-the Royal Oldham to you and me, informing me of a follow up appointment from Tuesdays visit to the Oral Surgery.  Now you need to remember that I have a hole drilled into the back of my front tooth by my own dentist about seven months ago.  So I think the appointment that was in the letter was a bit to far away-8th July.  It took 4 calls to different numbers to get someone to deal with it.  The booking and scheduling were unable to sort this.  A strange and inefficient system.  I really don't get why the Christie model can't be used throughout the NHS.
Enjoy the weekend and if you have finished work for the holidays have a restful break.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Power of Words

Extreme anxiety a few weeks ago made me seek out some counselling.  I had picked up a leaflet about counselling, at the Christie Oldham on one of my radiotherapy visits.  I rung the number but it was engaged.  After I had repeated this several times over a few days and it was still engaged I decided that there was something wrong.  Support organisations of one kind or another sometimes don't survive because of they way they are funded.  People involved are continually looking for pots of money that they can tap into.  It's a time consuming business and needs a lot of staying power.  So it was with low expectations that I went to the website of Oldham Cancer Support.  I was glad to find that they are still operating, it was just that they had changed their phone number.
I had my first session last week and one today.  Very difficult to reflect on this as the last eight months and everything that has been involved in 'having cancer' still have a quality of having happened to someone else in a parallel universe.  I also think I got away with it (the cancer) quite lightly.  So I've nowt to complain about, have I?  I'll just have to see how it goes.
I was chuffed to see two good friends when I had my dental appointment at the Royal Oldham yesterday and today I spent sometime with a super woman who I am blessed to have as a friend as her wise words always help me to see a bit clearer.
Never underestimate the power of what you say to someone, words are a powerful tool for both good and bad.