Friday, 24 August 2012

CUP Awareness Day - Coming Soon

I fits in it - I sits in it!
Hello again

Nothing too exciting has been happening this week. Have been going to work - and then working on my Parish Council stuff at home - as well as doing housework.

It is nice to be back to normal though :-)

Thought you might like to see this photo of our cat Buddy (known affectionately as Boodle) I had some new boots and he decided he liked the box. What is it about cats and boxes? They can't resist one!!

We got a bit excited when we received a letter addressed to our missing cat Kurt. We though it might be from the microchip company telling us someone had found him - but no! Sadly it was from the vets telling us to bring him in for his booster shots. If only we could! He disappeared when I first got ill and he's has not been seen since. We thought with him being microchipped that if he'd been injured or lost and taken to a vets then we would have heard. We just reckon he's moved house to somewhere where he gets more tinned tuna. It's the only explanation!

In medical news I have an appointment next Wednesday at the hospital just round the corner from us -- The Bradwell. I have been there once before to have a blood test. This time I will be off to Audiology to get my hearing tested. I have to say the tinnitus isn't getting any better - in fact it seems worse every time I come out of a loud environment. I don't know what they'll be able to do to help - we'll have to see. I read somewhere that listening to noises of the sea can help. Might be quite relaxing if nothing else!

Then the week after that I am back at the hospital to see Mr Hughes - or one of his team for my monthly check-up. This will be a regular thing for the next year - then next year it will be spaced out a bit more - and so on until I've done five years without incident. Then I might get discharged. It is good to know they will be keeping an eye on me.

I was happy to learn that Jo's Friends - the website where I managed to find some information when I was first diagnosed with CUP - are campaigning for a CUP Awareness Day - to try and let people know that it exists and affects a lot of people. Most of us had never heard of CUP until we were diagnosed with it ourselves! Had you?

Anyway they have a PR company who are going to try to get lots of our stories in the papers and magazines around 22nd October. Also Channel 4 are making a programme called 'STAND UP TO CANCER’ to raise money for cancer trials. They want to feature CUP and have asked if they can interview someone who has been affected by it as a patient or loved one. I said I was happy to help and had a chat with Nancy who is organising it. She asked me about my story - and she also read some of this blog. She is putting me forward for the C4 thing and also said some magazines might be interested too.

Anything that will help to raise the profile of CUP and lead to better diagnosis can only be a good thing!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


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No - it's not some new kind of stag-night fun :-)

 I had an appointment for a mammogram today at the hospital's lovely new Breast Care Clinic. It was at 9am and the Main Building was the busiest I've ever seen it. Luckily I didn't need to check in on the machines in the foyer (as outpatients have to) as I'd been instructed to go straight to Breast Care Reception, just down the corridor. I am certainly good at finding my way around this hospital now - I've been to enough departments!

I didn't even have time to actually sit down and get my book out before my name was called and I was whisked off down a corridor. I was given a gown and a dressing gown and asked to take off my "top things" and then put them on and return to another waiting area. Then I sat in there for around half an hour. It was a shame I had left my book with Nathan back in the main waiting area - but they had not allowed him to come through with me. "Patient only!" the nurse said to him when he rose to come with me.

Anyway there were a few magazines to amuse me. I had no idea that Fern Britten was so addicted to car boot sales - did you? It was fascinating. I also learned, from OK magazine, that Chantelle someone had had a baby but couldn't decide what to call her. Shame..

Anyway, after this I was called through to a shiny new mammogram machine. The nurse who was doing the mamo was called Bernadette too! This hospital is full of them! The last one I met was in Endoscopy. (The less said about THAT the better!) She said it was a different type to the ones you get at Breast Screenings. I was asked to take the two gowns off (I was getting a bit hot!) and I had to stand in front of the machine. it was a tiny bit uncomfortable as I was prodded into place then squeezed by the machine - but it really didn't take long and the great thing was that she told me the results straight away! She said there was nothing there that she could see to worry about. Then she emailed the images to the consultant - and got a reply right away!

They decided to do an ultrasound on the left side, where the mysterious blob had showed up on the scans. So I was taken into another room and cold jelly was applied to the offending side. Then I could see the screen while she moved the scanner over it. She showed me that there were some tiny cysts which were huddled together - and could be what showed up on the CTs scans. She pronounced them entirely harmless and extremely common. I asked her why they had formed there and she said it happens when there are hormonal changes and didn't need draining unless they grew and became painful.

Again she emailed the images to the consultant while I was getting the jelly off me and putting my top back on. After a very brief sit in the waiting room again she came to me and said that the consultant said there was no need for further investigation and she would send a report to my own consultant. The whole thing took less than an hour.
I felt very happy with that and went home in the sunshine with a smile on my face :-)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Pie 'n' Peas

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Alice Nutter - Pendle Witch

Have had a lovely weekend back oop North in Lancashire. When we last went back in January it was snowing - this time the weather was kinder and we had a fantastic walk out in the countryside on Saturday. We went to a place called Barley, where there was a car park and cafe next to a river. My cousin's daughter, Tilly, brought her fishing net and we watched her catch stones in the shallow water. The tadpoles were proving a little more elusive.

Then we set off on a walk following the river which took us to picturesque Roughlee, where the famous Pendle Witch, Alice Nutter lived back in the sixteen hundreds. Before they executed her at Lancaster Castle that is! It was nice to see that they had recently put up a statue to commemorate her and the fact that she was unfairly treated when she was alive.

Have a look here ifd you want to know more:

We saw a waterfall in the river, where a couple of us saw some otters playing in the ater at the base of the waterfall. Uncle Paul wasn't convinced - he said they must have been rats!

Little Tilly really took to Nathan and insisted on holding his hand as we walked along :-)

There were lots of animals in the fields, especially horses and we even saw bee hives in one field. There were plenty of bees around lazily buzzing around the wild flowers.
Waterfall where we saw the otters
It was so warm that we decided to turn back one we'd gone as far as Alice Nutter. We  traced our way back down river until we arrived back at the car park at Barley,  We were happy to see the Pendle Inn just nestled behind the trees, so went in to get a cool well-earned drink. It was cousin Paul's birthday so we left him and his family there to eat while we drove back to Auntie Anne's house where we were staying. I have to say though that the menu looked fun - and quite intrigueing. I'm not sure I fancied some of the items on there - but I'm sure they were all delicious :-)

We were due in Burnley for dinner later that evening. We arrived at my mum's brother Anthony's house. Heather had cooked us an amazing meal - with the help of their house guest from France, Jeanne.

Jeanne is staying for a month hoping to improve her English - but it already really good! We had a fun evening , eating fine English/ French food and drinking Uncle Paul's wine cellar! He is moving house soon, in London,  and rather than have to take it all with him he's on a mission to drink it all instead :-) He brought quite a lot with him! 
Welcome drink at the Pendle Inn
 He was looking really well after his two cancer operations. We all clinked glasses and toasted "Good Health!"

Not sure I fancy Old Mould's Heel Pie...

The next day we met us with cousin's Neil and Luke, and their partners Eve and Sinead. We went to Worsthorne, where Neil has just bought a house. We met up at the Crooked Billet and indulged in a true Northern delicacy - Pie 'n' Peas. There was even a choice of pie - meat and potato or cheese and onion. I opted for the meat and potato and it arrived in a bowl covered in mushy peas, It was yummy. There were many options of accompaniment, such as pickled red cabbage or beetroot. Sadly after that it was time to make the journey back up the M66/M56/M6 to the Midlands once more.

Hopefully some of them will come up and visit us soon. Then we can treat them to some Staffordshire fare such as a nice cheese and bacon oatcake.

Tastier than it looks!

Funky Jeep in the car park :-)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Back to the Hospital

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Today I was back in outpatients. I had an appointment with Mr Narayanan's team, to see what they thought about my mysterious blip on my scans. I actually saw one of his assistants - a very nice lady consultant. She looked at the scan and told me that the lump in my left breast was only just over a centimetre in size. She seemed pretty confident that if it hadn't changed between my fist scan last year and the latest one in June then it was almost certainly benign, Malignant tumours "don't stay quiet!"

She examined me and said she couldn't see or feel anything at all. She went off to consult with her colleagues and they said they will give me a mammogram just to be completely sure. So I am back there next Wednesday for that to be done.

I have had a busy week so far. I was in work all day Monday and this morning and I've had quite a few people in. I am quite excited as I have a great company called Art Brasil coming into the library to hold a free Jungle Drumming workshop for our customers. I remember I once went to a Japanese Drumming concert in Hanley and it was amazing! I would love to have a go myself. I hope I get chance to join in too! It's going to happen on Friday 31st August - come along if you fancy a go!

On Monday I had the Book Group in - first time I have seen them since I got back to work. I was a little concerned that they seemed to have dwindled down to three or four people. I guess it is summer - and we do have better attendance in the winter months. It was lovely to see some of them. We are going to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel this month. I have to say that I was a little shocked when the vicar's wife suggested we read Fifty Shades of Grey! I am not sure if she was entirely serious. We have had a few requests for it - usually over the phone. I think our customers are too embarrassed to come in and ask for it face-to-face!

Remember back in January, before my big operation, when I went up to the place of my birth - Nelson?  We had a fun weekend with aunties and cousins and uncles. My Uncle Paul was also having to undergo a cancer operation so we said that we'd all meet up again in August when we'd both recovered? Well, this weekend is the big reunion! We are both doing well and feeling good so we are off to Nelson again (Paul is coming up from London) and we are going to be eating pie and peas and drinking beer and wine. Should be fun. Looks like the weird summer weather is going to be kind to us - might even be sunny. Back in January it was snowing up North :-)

Buddy on the bed - where he's not allowed

In case you are wondering how Buddy the cat is getting on after his grass swallowing antics - he is pretty well. Hew has a little cough now and again - for sympathy I think. He;s back to normal though - eating, drinking sleeping and getting into places he shouldn't - like our bed!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Amazing Olympics!!

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What an awesome Saturday it has been at the Olympics. Had a great time watching on TV today - not managed to do much else as we kept winning medals! We were disappointed that we didn't get any tickets when we tried to get them a few months ago - but the coverage on BBC has been fantastic.

Makes you feel inspired to do more sport. We shall be out running in the morning :-) We did miss our Friday run though - as we had to take Buddy, our black and white kittie to the vet's. We had been worried about him all night. He came in last night coughing and spluttering - as if he'd got something stuck in his throat. Laura sat up with him until 2.30am and he was still coughing and looking very sad, so I rang the emergency vet. He asked a few questions and as he wasn't crying or scrabbling at his throat he thought it would be okay to leave it until morning and then take him in then,

N was so worried he slept downstairs to keep an eye on him. In the morning we tried to get him into his basket to take him down there. He was a little reluctant! N dropped me off early - as he had to go to the dentist. They did open up at 8.30am for admitting pets for operations - so I sat in the waiting room and watched lots of worried owners with their (mainly) dogs, handing them over to the veterinary nurses and being told to ring later to see how they were. One little girl came in with her mum - with her cat in a basket. She was in tears because the cat was crying because it hated being in there. I was nearly in tears myself! It was a kittie with a toothache - come in for some dental surgery.

Buddy was very well-behaved and quiet though. We were the first in once they started surgery at 9am. The nice lady vet had a look in his mouth but couldn't see far enough in to see if there was something there, although when she touched his throat he coughed on cue! She decided he'd have to stay, have a general anaesthetic so they could have a proper look to see what was causing the problem. We left without him, and called back later around three. The cheery receptionist told us that they had found some grass stalks stuck in his throat and that he was fine now.

We went to pick him up and the nurse brought him out and showed us two little bits of grass in a tissue that they had fetched out of his throat. He was a little woozy - but even though we tried to keep him indoors he forced his way out of the locked catflap. He was determined to be outside! He came back after a while and slept peacefully on the sofa. He managed to eat again too. He's had a bit of a cough now and again - but the vet  said he wouldn't need to go back.I suppose his throat will be a bit sore for a while. I know the feeling!!

Join the Summer Reading Challenge!!

In other news I did one FULL day at work this week! It was pretty busy too which was good. I knew I'd done it by the end of the day - but I felt okay over all :-) Next week I'm adding Monday morning to my repertoire too! We have launched the Summer Reading Challenge , to encourage children to read six books over the summer holidays. The theme this year is Story Lab, so Tracy and I enjoyed some cutting out and colouring of test tubes and beakers - and Tracy's daughter Sarah decorated the entrance in this eye-catching way. We think it looks great!
Sarah is helping us on Saturdays - to get kids signed up. We have a target and are over 100 already.

In medical news I've had a letter from the hospital asking me to come along to see a breast consultant - to investigate the strange thing they've seen on all my scans - on the left side. They are pretty certain it is something benign as it hasn't changed at all. But as the Primary Cancer still remains a mystery they are being ultra-cautious and checking out absolutely everything. I'm not worried :-)

Last night we went out to celebrate Danilo's birthday. He's an old school friend of N's and he lives in Edinburgh (lucky chap!!) He is good company and we enjoyed a nice meal at the Blue Chilli with him and some others. He will be back there next week enjoying the Edinburgh Festival. I really want to go to that again. I love the Fringe and all the random shows you can see. Maybe next year ... :-)

Why haven't I noticed this before?

Laura told me something amazing yesterday - which I didn't know. In fact everyone I have told since, didn't know either. Did YOU know that there is something inside your car that tells to which side your petrol cap is on? The little petrol pump symbol by the gauge actually has an arrow pointing towards the correct side. When I looked in N's car - it is true! I'd never noticed that before. How handy :-)