A really good organisation called Lifespan

September 21, 2012 § 10 Comments

Dinosaur bone cabochon in sterling silver handmade cage

Now here’s an ironic thing.

Every year, for a few years now, I’ve made a piece of jewellery for an auction held by a charity called Lifespan.

Lifespan is a small Northumberland based charity, that helps out sufferers of serious illnesses and their families, cope with the effects of the illness on their life.

The help they offer is free of charge and includes, sitting services, counselling and various complementary therapies. They do sterling work.

So the irony is, that I find myself with one of the diseases that they offer help with. Funny isn’t it how these things pan out.

This year, I’ve donated two necklaces (one of which is shown in the mage above). I haven’t mentioned that I make jewellery – well I haven’t made any for a while as my hands are very shaky and shaky hands cannot make jewellery. Fortunately, I knew the auction was happening, so I made these a while back when I was still well enough.

The Lifespan auction is being held at a gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne called the Biscuit Factory on the 4th of October. I usually go each year and always buy something, as they have utterly wonderful pieces for auction, often by very famous artists, like Tracey Emin, Anthony Gormley and Beryl Cook (yes I feel quite humbled that my work is in amongst those). This year I may not make it, I’ll see how I am. At least I can give them something to auction. Organisations like this are so important. Serious illness affects not just the person who has the disease, but their family as well. I’ve also realised that being ill, for so long, with such a scary illness, affects your mind as well as your body. Having people who understand that and can offer advise and practical help is so important.

Fingers crossed Lifespan get a good crowd and make a lot of money at the auction.

I like big butts and I cannot lie

September 16, 2012 § 18 Comments

Me and my big bum, happy together

These steroids have made me put quite a bit of weight on, as I’ve previously mentioned in a recent post, “Me and my big fat arse“.

Consequently, I have virtually no clothes left that fit me properly. I’m so sick of heaving my fat bum into trousers that are at least a a size too small. Even if I do somehow manage to lever myself into them, excess belly, hangs gaily over the top of them, wobbling as I go.

So yesterday, my lovely little brother (image below – not quite so ‘little’) took me to buy a new pair of fat arsed sized jeans.

Buying clothes is normally one of my most beloved things to do. As I’ve said, I am and always have been, a lover of fabric and clothes and fashion and design. But it just put me in a bad mood having to pick ‘that size’ off the rail, you know the one, the size that you never want to be, the ‘L’ for large or “lard arsed” size. I did it though, I picked a few pairs and went sulking off to the fitting rooms, dragging my gammy leg behind me.

In the well lit (damn you shop owner) well positioned dual mirrored, fitting room, I tried on my L size jeans and I have to admit it was an utter relief to actually be able to put on a pair of trousers without a shoe horn to ram my fat in. They fitted perfectly, no more belly fat hanging over the top and I looked at my big bum in that well positioned dual mirror and I loved it.


I was going to put Sir Mix Alot, “Baby Got Back” here, but I’m sorry, way too sexist, so I’ll embed Queen “Fat Bottomed Girls” instead…

It’s so much better than a skinny arse (you were right Eve).

Hate my big belly of course, but oh well, I am female.

So I am now comfortable in my skin, for the time being anyway.

My brother Andrew – thanks for making me buy the big butt jeans!

Chemo Update . . . And Banking the Compliments

September 13, 2012 § 4 Comments

Well I have to be honest and say that I am feeling remarkably well post my second dose of chemo earlier in the week.  I might well have lost my hair  (picture still coming) but the anti-nausea drugs have really worked.  Not sure if it is just luck but I haven’t suffered from any sicky feelings at all.  I hope this signals clear sailing for the course of treatment – but i can’t imagine I could be that lucky after hearing the horror stories of others.  While not paid work, I have been able to do a lot of committee work for the various panels/committees/boards I am on which has also helped to give me both a focus and helps to keep my ‘hand in’.

It was my birthday yesterday and I have to say I was humbled by the attention and well wishes of all my friends, family and extended family.  What touched me most was not just the birthday greetings but the wonderful, humbling compliments made by people and the support offered.  While at one level I felt quite embarrassed on another I was reminded about how important it is to ‘receive’ and accept this sort of positive acknowledgement – indeed how important it is to ‘bank’ it for those times when you are struggling to find anything positive about yourself.  So in the bank it has all gone – and I feel the better for it.  I have no doubt i will be wanting to make a withdrawal sometime in the near future !!!!

I Don’t Care About Losing My Hair – Well Maybe I Do A Bit . . . .

September 11, 2012 § 4 Comments

Well it has finally happened – the hair is now gone.  It started to fall out in clumps on Sunday  – the day before Chemo no. 2.  It was a bit distressing so yesterday after the treatment I just got it all shaved off.  At least now I am not thinking about it – it is just done.  I have a selection of nice caps and hats to wear so that is all OK.  And while I said all along losing my hair was no big deal – it did feel odd letting it all go.  It was sort of proof that I do actually have cancer and that the treatment is pretty rough.  It represents a new milestone in my realisation and acceptance of what I have.  And I do feel a little embarrassed about seeing people for the first time – it will just take some time to get used to.  I am a pretty proud person so my usual response is not to let people know if there are any issues – with a shaved head and cap, it don’t leave much room for guessing !!!   There have been so many other things happening in my life over the last 12 months that when the cancer came along I found it easy to deal with because I had a lot of other challenges to manage.  But yesterday it sort of struck home.  Mind you, my sister tells me (and others imply) I am the healthiest cancer patient they have seen.  I hope it continues that way.  I got a bit of a talking to by the community nurse today making sure I am not pushing myself too much and not brushing off things as insignificant – tiredness etc.  I don’t think I am.  I think I am doing OK.   Tonight for some odd reason the lymph glands in my neck are sore and one of them is swollen. I presume it is from the chemo – i’ll see how they are tomorrow before I worry.  I know I have so many drugs in my system that anything is possible.

One thing I meant to say about my hair/head – is that I didn’t realise what a small head I have.  It looks like a little ball on my shoulders – I love that hats but because my head is small a couple of them are just about falling over my eyes.  I guess that means they will fit when my hair grows back !!!!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Near and far or there and back again

September 10, 2012 § 8 Comments

Ella wanting to come on the intrepid expedition

My dog Ella wanting to come on the intrepid expedition

In the spirit of the postaday challenge to add audio to a blog post (which I totally missed) I decided to record my intrepid adventure to the end of the road and back again.

Blog readers, this is an account of a trek, nearly beyond human endurance. A trek that tests a human to the limits of their capabilities (well this human anyway). OK I may be exaggerating, a bit 😉

The Trek Begins: There and Back Again…

Gammy leg in tow, I began my trip, from my house to the very edges of my road. I had to navigate through small children, screaming as they saw this hideous half pig (from my steroid moonface) half human, emerge, hobbling along like a modern, female, version of Quasimodo (the bells, the bells!)

Here, blog readers are excerpts from that trip, recorded for your delectation and delight (beware the Geordie accent, not quite as pronounced as Cheryl Cole but almost).

Hope these play on non Mac OS’s:


And back again…

A Trek in Pictures

Here I am starting out on the epic adventure – aka the top of my road, tis no ordinary road, this is a lovely place that I live in:

Halfway there (puff, pant, tired, sore)

Halfway there – it’s actually quite a long road you know!

And finally the end is in sight – phew!

The end is in sight! Have to turn around now of course

Journeys End

I made it back, intact, leg a bit sore but that’s OK. I just have to keep it up and that’s hard when your leg has a tendency to swell up and give you pain like you’ve not experienced since childbirth. Thank god for heat packs.

UPDATE: Since this epic trek, my leg has actually been much improved and I’ve even done a little bit of gardening…dare I say, I may be at a turning point, oh how I hope…

Me and my big fat arse

September 8, 2012 § 18 Comments

An ‘Arse’ in Yorkshire, England, as seen on google maps

Before I start this post, I think I best create a mini glossary, as the writings herein will contain words that most, non British people will simply not understand:

Arse: The thing you sit on, also known vicariously as (in English, please insert other language versions as appropriate) posterior, bottom, bum and in North America…’fanny’. Note… Americans, some advise, never use the word ‘fanny’ when in the UK to describe an arse, because it means something completely different!

Knickers: Under garments worn by women to cover their arse

So there I was just finished showering and I tried to pull my knickers on and they didn’t fit me! My ginormous fat arse rejected them. It may be time for a pair of elasticated ‘granny knickers’.


I can put up with the pain, cope with the exhaustion, ignore the rash, deal with the blurred vision and so on, but putting on weight…nooooooo!!!!!!!!

It’s those damned steroids again. I’ve put on at least 14Lbs (a stone, or 6.35 kilos) in weight in the last month and I’m now at the point where I’m too scared to go on the scales, so who knows how much I’ve really put on.

Thing is, I’ve always made sure I’ve stayed around the same size. I’m an average female, so my weight does fluctuate, but only a little. This, however, is the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life and I do not like it, not at all.

I love clothes. I love them so much, it’s a hobby and a passion. I’ve got 2 wardrobes full of clothes and an overflow wardrobe and a rail with my oldest (true vintage now) items.

I love to wear them, touch them, have them. I love the fabric, I love the design. Now hardly any of them fit me and I’m extremely upset about it.

But I don’t want to go out and buy new clothes, because I feel fat and it just puts me off. My belly sits there looking up at me and laughing. My double chin, on my moonpig.com steroid face hangs down, mockingly. It’s horrible, this disease has taken my strength and now it’s removed my clothes (metaphorically…).

However, looking on the bright side, I could give Kim Kardashian a run for her money in the booty department and my swollen face does mean I have no wrinkles at all. So it’s not all bad.

Hmm in fact thinking about it, I prefer to think of myself as steroid induced bootylicious.

P.S. Sightings of my arse from space are grossly exaggerated!

Stones in the Road and Bloody Boulders on the Highway !!!!!!!

September 7, 2012 § 6 Comments

 Double Dear God, as my lovely co-blogger Sus would say – what a hell of a week !!!!!!!

In my last post I reflected on the  constant worry  and strain of having an anorexic daughter – the utter waste of the 18th year of a beautiful young girl’s life.    Between then and now I have spent most of the week at the hospital – not for me but for her.

Prior to my  post she  was already suffering a very severe bout of diarrhoea – had been for almost a week.  By last Sunday, having gone to the doctor several times and with no medication working, I took her to the hospital emergency department.  Down to 40 kilos – there was literally nothing of her but skin and bone – bones protruding through the skin. She was hunched over like an old woman with hardly enough strength to support herself upright. While her condition was obviously made worse by the diarrhoea, there is no doubt in my mind that this was a crisis point in her anorexia.  She simply had none of her own reserves to fall back on.    To cut a long story short she was admitted to hospital last Sunday and has since spent most of the week there, only coming home yesterday – still very, very thin but at least with no diarrhoea and more importantly,  a  genuine realisation (pray to God ) of the severity of her anorexic condition.  While I hope this realisation will last – there is no guarantee, anorexia is just the most  insidious illness, it eats away not just at the body but also the mind  !!!!!  In terms of me, having just had the one chemo treatment I took the risk of sitting in emergency and visiting the hospital numerous times during the week. What else was I to do???  I am just thankful we all got through it – chemo again next week so I guess the timing could have been worse.

So needless to say over the last week I have reflected on the blog Sus and I have set up – Stones in the Road taken from the same titled song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, nicely captures I think the determined attitude Sus and I have about managing our respective health issues with a view to getting on with our life.  But just when you think you have the stones pretty much under control it’s those bloody boulders that really take you off course when you least expect it – those are what you have to get over – no getting around them!!  More about stone sin the road another time – great song by the way !!!

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