Friday, 29 June 2012

Slow As A Slug

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

It seems that after a thorough examination by my Oncologist that I am suffering from Sciatica.  There is also a possibility that I am suffering from a stress fracture due to radiation treatment that will take a couple of months to heal if that is so. It is a relief that they don't suspect its anything more sinister but believe me, it is a very painful condition. 
I've had Sciatica before and its taken months to get right in the past. We seem to be prone to it in our family.

I'm hobbling around, sometimes with a stick and I'm trying to keep exercising as that apparently is the new way of dealing with it and not lying on a flat board like they used to do.
The pain killers make me feel sick but I can't manage without them.
I had lots of plans that I've now had to put on hold. In the meantime, I'm trying to carry on as normally as possible, allowing myself plenty of time for everything because I am now as slow as a slug.

I'd be interested to know what others do if they have this complaint. What has benefited you? 

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Like A Butterfly

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

My posts seem to yo yo from happiness and good things happening to the very worst. I jump from one situation to another, just like a butterfly flitting from flower to flower, drifting on the wind.

In my last post I was writing about always expecting the unexpected and I was really happy then. Suddenly my life has been turned upside down again by something unexpected and its not good this time.  I have been suddenly afflicted by really bad pain in my lower back and hip.
Before the days of cancer, I would have accepted it as sciatica because I have always been prone to that and used to go to the Chiropractor to put it right. Ever since being treated for cancer, I haven't been able to have any chiropractic treatment because it is far too risky and might break a bone, made fragile by cancer and radiation treatment. 

I wish I hadn't experienced a burst of enthusiasm last week, when I climbed the portable step ladder and painted two walls. I felt so good when I saw the transformation and had planned to paint two more. Its not as if I was doing a thorough job, like moving everything out and doing the ceiling and all the wooden paintwork. No, I was doing a cosmetic job and just lightening the walls and it was really looking better and made me feel good.
Now I have this awful pain and can hardly walk and I am obviously thinking it might be the cancer returning faster than I thought.
So, I have panicked and have brought my Oncology appointment forward by weeks and I am going today to be seen after the afternoon clinic finishes and to be prepared to wait a very long time, bring a book and plenty of Paracetamol because that is all I was advised to take for now. 

I will not find out anything today, only a scan can really tell me what is going on and believe me, the amount of scans I have had over the last two years is enough to give me cancer.  However, at least I will be in the system again and will get a physical examination and be put on a waiting list for a scan if the hospital think thats what I need. I will get advice on painkillers and such like. I have been down that road before and don't want to be doped up, but it is surprising how pain will change one's mind and in the end there is no choice. 
This post isn't meant to whinge but to be a source of therapy by writing and to be an account of what is happening to me for future reference. I regard my blog as a journal so I'm sorry if it is taken as a grumble. Its all part of the journey when I flit from one state of mind to another.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Unexpected

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

Always expect the unexpected. Isn't that how the saying goes?
I am pretty good at that but sometimes my pessimistic side takes over and I can often expect bad things to happen.
This time though, I was caught by surprise and a good thing seems to be in the offing.

Better start at the beginning, Maggie.
My son's partner, Sandy had a funeral to go to and she wanted Sam to accompany her to the Channel Islands where it was to take place. I was asked to have the four children for the night which would involve picking them up from school, giving them an evening meal, getting them all to bed, making packed lunches for each one of them and taking the three girls to school the next day.
It was a bit daunting as I am only used to the two of us, but I agreed and got on with the task in hand. It all went very smoothly and I hardly noticed that I had four children in the house because they were probably all on their best behaviour. It was a really enjoyable time and we all got on very well.

The following afternoon I was on stand by waiting for a phone call, just in case the plane was delayed or anything and I had to pick them up from school and do another stint. (This is the kind of unexpected that I expect...... if you know what I mean).
Anyway with only about half an hour to go till school pick up time, Sam and Sandy arrived on my door step and excitedly told us about their trip and revealed their plans. They are getting married, probably next year and what is more they want to get married in the church where the funeral was because they both liked the vicar.
We are very delighted but surprised because they both seem very *alternative* in their taste for things and not into church at all. I think this was the biggest surprise about the church as I was expecting them to just live together, which we would have accepted.
There are now three ecstatically happy little girls and a boy who says he is happy about it but doesn't really understand what the fuss is about.
They have only known each other for six months but I've never ever seen my son so happy and that is what we parents want for our children in the end, isn't it?

So I think we should always expect the unexpected. What do you think about this?


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Friday Nights

Photo Copyright: Maggie May
The rain is still coming down and all the counties in England have now released the hosepipe ban.

When my son, Sam was small, he used to pack a little suitcase and go to my mother's every Friday night. Then she brought him back on Saturday lunch time. He had a marvellous relationship with his grannie, who lived near by.
My daughter was much more clingy with me and didn't want to do this at such an early age but she did seem to enjoy the time on her own with me and much later in her life she was happy to spend an occasional night with her gran and eventually had just as close a relationship with her as Sam had developed earlier.

As I help out at the Brownies on a Friday night, I collect  7 yr old Millie from school and give her an evening meal before we set off for Brownies together. However, she has now asked me whether she can spend the night with us as well and get picked up on Saturday just like her father used to do with his Grannie. In fact, she had her first Friday night sleepover last time she went to Brownies.
As she has to be shared with three other children now Sam has this new relationship, instead of just her own sister, she really seems to appreciate a one to one situation and we had a most lovely time with her as well. She is so easy to look after as she loves crafts, reading and stories and all the things that I can do with her easily without having to use lots of energy and spend lots of money.
She told me on the Saturday morning, "Grannie, I do love coming to this house." When I asked her what she liked about it (thinking she would say that she liked Granddad and me or at least the rabbits) she replied that she liked the clocks and the mirrors ........ and as an after thought, she said, "and you have such wonderful cereals for breakfast!"
I am now viewing my clocks and mirrors and my Variety Pack of cereals in an entirely different light.

Monday, 11 June 2012


Photo copyright: Maggie May

Officially, England is still in a drought, even though we've had weeks of continual, slashing rain with flooding in some areas. The longest day is almost upon us and we are still waiting for some warmth.
It was very warm in March, hot even but that seems ages ago now.

I am not so good with secrets......... secrets from Harry, that is. We have always shared everything and neither of us are used to having to watch our tongues in case we let the cat out of the bag.
Last week I knew that my daughter was thinking of coming for the weekend when Harry would be celebrating his 73rd Birthday. "Don't tell Dad", she said just in case the visit didn't materialise and then he'd have been disappointed.
I hadn't realised how difficult this was going to be. I had already promised to have the granddaughters to stay and also my newly acquired step grand child, making that three girls. They were coming for the night which meant I had to make up extra beds so that I could accommodate everybody.
This meant that I had to tell a few fibs about what I was doing and before I knew it, everything was getting very involved and I was becoming an accomplished liar. 
I wasn't too happy about this and as the day of the arrival approached, on Saturday, a very stormy day, things were getting quite difficult and I almost had to avoid Harry altogether in case something slipped out.
However, it was really worth it in the end, just to see Harry's face when Deb, Rick and Dean walked in to the room where he was watching TV. As they live nearly 200 miles away, Harry thought he was dreaming.
He was so happy.
We were later joined by Sam and Sandy and we opened some wine and brought in a Chinese takeaway.
The next day, we went to Clevedon, a seaside near by, for a favourite walk round the cliffs and this was only marred by rain and cold but we pressed on with it, getting quite wet by the end of the trip.

"This was my very best Birthday", Harry announced after they had all gone home and the house seemed very quiet again.
Are you any good at keeping secrets?

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Red, White and Blue

Photo Copyright: Maggie May

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 2nd has probably affected all of the UK over the last few days. Whether we admit to being for the Royals or not, we probably have benefited in some way or other from the celebrations. For a start, there were two days official holiday and for many, that meant no work. Britain held many street parties where tables were put out into the road and food shared. I noticed that people talked to each other more and it was an occasion to get to know others who are neighbours just by sight. Then there was a continual coverage of the Royal events on TV for those who wanted to take part but couldn't and it really was the best way to see what was happening from the comfort of your own arm chair.

Where am I in all this? Well I am neither particularly for or against the Royals but one thing I know and that can't really be argued against, is the way the Queen has stoically managed to keep working well into her eighties. She has more stamina than I do and she seems to take a genuine interest in all the people she meets and organisations that she supports. She promised never to retire and she seems to be honouring that pledge.
I remember when she was crowned Queen of England when I was only about ten. We had no TV in those days and my family was invited to watch at the home of one of Dad's friends. They had a small black and white set, as only the richest people in the land had colour in those days. We all sat glued to the set and watched in awe. I don't know what happened to my Coronation coins that were given out (or maybe my father bought them, I really can't remember). I still have a prayer book with the Queen in her Coronation robe and crown on the front cover.

In my last post I was moaning about the effect that the sun was having on my skin. However, I needn't have worried because the weather changed to a much cooler and wetter state, which probably hampered the Jubilee Celebrations a good deal.
The British are renowned for their stiff upper lip attitude to hardship so it was no surprise to see the Queen standing in the cold for hours taking part in the River Thames Boat Pageant where hundreds of boats of all sizes headed for Tower Bridge in a very orderly armada. I must admit that I did enjoy watching that from the comfort of my own home but all her loyal subjects who stood in the rain obviously thought it was well worth their while. They had all waited for hours to get a place along the route. Thousands of people came and supported it, which must have been good for our economy.
I really enjoyed watching the Royal Concert the next evening, again from the comfort of my own arm chair, and I thought that the lighting effects were wonderful and enjoyed the singers, many of them from my own era.
It was a pity about the weather and the Duke of Edinburgh ending up in hospital, but it is something that will go down in history and we will never see the likes of any of it again in our lifetime.
It is quite obvious that the Queen enjoyed herself and that she had the love and support of all her family and that is something we can all identify with.