We just want to wish all our family and friends a happy and prosperous New Year and hope you spend next year living your dreams! That is the name of the game here at Beastie Folly.
With this Big C thing lurking in most corners of our joint lives very foundation, it would be very easy for us to not dare to look forward, to refuse to look ahead in anticipation and excitement, but really that's no life at all, so of course we will still dare to dream and indeed will strive to chase our dreams down. Dreams happen when you make plans, so we have already booked a May holiday, to watch the Monaco Classic Grand Prix, to watch the Mille Miglia race in Brescia and to revisit Venice. Then on Christmas Eve we were helped to add another of our dreams to this holiday adventure. We have a sexy red convertible (yeah I know but someone has to have one, so that others can drool as they fly by) and we have long wanted to take it on a road trip with some of its fellow Opel GTs. Well on Christmas Eve we got an extra christmas present when a European OPEL GT group invited us to join them in the South Tyrol for a razz around the Dolomites and it ties in perfectly with the spare weekend we have on our road trip, when we will be in Venice anyway. I've been busy getting my teeth into this dream I can tell you. I bet he was quite surprised to get an acceptance of his offer by return e-mail!
Our Christmas and New Year break itself had little planned to begin with, as we were initially heading for France for a break, but developments on the BIg C front made us have a change of heart on that one. In the end we did as much driving over the break, as if we were going to the South of France!
On Christmas Day we drove up early to My Mum's in Buckley where Lady P cooked a delicious Christmas Dinner and although it was just the three of us we had a lovely day and enjoyed some Xmas day TV with Dr Who and Strictly.
Back home Boxing Day lunch time to feed the cats before dashing across country from Malvern to Bicester to catch up with Peanut's babies - The Elf and Duncan. The Elf made us a very tasty Ham steak cooked in her own uniquely flavoursome way! This was another lovely meal and over dinner Duncan and The Elf had Peanut in stitches of laughter with some general silliness and I can't begin to tell you the joy it gave me to see P crying with laughter. Another great day.
Friday we were at home and did some more tidying as the decorating of the living room had really messed up the whole house with furniture strewn everywhere but it was good to have most of the house back in order after it was tidied. Saturday and we went to Ashtead and Epsom to stay over with my cousin Lorraine and to have dinner with her and my Auntie Enid and Uncle Jim. Lorraine had an IT job waiting for me, updating her iPhone and moving some music and photos off an old computer onto a new. It was a bit fiddly but I enjoyed getting there in the end. Another lovely meal out but this time a Chinese and very nice again. The theme of the Christmas break seemed to be good food then!.
Sunday saw us dining out in Cheltenham with some friends closer to home, another watch lover who had fetched a lovely Graham Chronofighter for me to drool over. It sure worked for me - lovely! Our meal was at the Brasserie Blanc in Montpellier and the meal did not disappoint - topped only by the good company.
Monday - another day and another party! Carl and The Elf came down early evening to spend the day with us on New Year's Eve while I had my first Chemo session at the Worcester Royal. It seemed then that a reality check was looming. Er not just yest. We met them for a quick bite at The Harvester at Timberdine in Worcester before going to a house party with some of Mrs P's work friends. Carl and The Elf gatecrashed but the Elf is pretty so she is always allowed to! It was another fun evening and some tasty nibbles were served too. Yes food was the theme of the break. I'm sure I was going to pay for my excessive epicurean treats somewhere along the way!
New Year's Eve - and a chemo day - surely reality was knocking on the door now. I rolled up at the Chemo shop in Worcester at 8.30 like a rock and roll star, familiarising himself with this part of the day and with a full entourage, with Lady P fussing around me and Carl and The Elf also dancing in attendance.
First hiccup, was one blood test was not done so that had to be done before the chemo could be made up in pharmacy. Then they had to weigh me. Your weight dictated the volume of chemo made up as it is dependant on your body mass index apparently. Whose idea was this foody Christmas break thingy then. My already not so svelte 12 stone 4 had hit 13 stones! I endured half an hour's worth of teasing about my increased body mass index! Significantly though I was now in the next band up for the chemo mix, or borderline at least, so pharmacy were again held up, waiting for a consultant to decide exactly what volume I should receive.
My chemo began after 12 and we finally left a little after 6.30, though Elf and Carl escaped around 5. It was a very long day and if the two of us had been there alone we would have been making ourselves miserable moaning about the delays. This of course would have been very unfair, as clearly everyone was doing their best and I'm sure all the nurses wanted to be away before 6.30 on New Year's eve too. The staff there really do a fine job and always find the fun in things, like asking me to move so they could get on with disinfecting my chair before they left and "Oh could I turn the light off when I'm done?" Carl and the Elf though made it a bit of fun and they had loads of chocolate goodies and sandwiches and newspapers and they really made the day pass.
Home for seven, a rom com on Netflix and then Garaham Norton followed by Gary Barlow to let in the New Year. His last song of 2013 was Rule The World, a very special song for both of us and it had us both in tears. We smiled at each other locked our little fingers and promised to chase our dreams next year.
Christmas and New year then had all been rather good fun and this Big C thing, while it was there, it was shoved away in a cupboard and our Festive season has actually all been darned good. So I hope you all had a fun Christmas too and in this time of reflection, think not what could have been "if only" , think what will be if you dare to live your dream!
Best wishes to all our family and friends for a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - Love Beastie and Peanut.
On one level life at Beastie Folly is just carrying on - the same roller coaster ride it always was. We had a winter project which was redecorating the living room and this is getting close to being done now. The new fireplace is fitted and all the decorating is finished except for wallpaper on the chimney breast and it really does look fabulous. The carpet though will not be ready until the new year but it is ordered. However, repeated visits to the carpet shop have meant that we have now decided to replace the hall carpet too and we have gone for some of Karndean's absolute finest in a parquet wood style. Again we are looking forward to this as we realised the old hall carpet would just not look right next to the new living room carpet.
On another level of course everything is now different and Mrs P is struggling at times with the reality of our situation. She will get there, Mrs P always does, but she needs to shed a few more tears just now. For myself, I deal with it differently - I keep busy, I work hard, I play hard, I read a lot and I make sure our calendar stays full, so, so far so good.
Last week I had my PICC line fitted in my arm, ready for the chemotherapy. No big deal. A bee sting in the arm as the local anaesthetic goes in, a consultant fiddling with my arm and a pretty nurse in glasses hovering in attendance, yep not bad and far better than a clean and polish at the dentist! I was really pleased with it too. It was very unobtrusive, and living with it, I am just not aware of it at all. Definitely better than the Hickman line I had in my chest last time.
However, after 4 days it fell out!. I started to undress for bed and when I took my shirt off, the rubber tube was hanging out in a big trail, with just a bit left in my arm. A bit disturbing, so we taped it up and went to Day Care the next morning. A nurse checked it out and could tell by the markers on the line that only ten centimetres was left inside, so she just pulled that out, unclipped it and booked me in for a replacement on Monday the 23rd December.
Déjà vu. Same consultant, same theatre, same pretty nurse with the glasses. Bigger smiles this time, more laughs, when this girl dances in Piazza San Marco at Midnight, she will remember me. This time the bee sting was more like a mosquito bite, so I told the consultant he was improving and his 9 out of ten last time had become a "Ten from Len". He was pleased. A better waterproof dressing, where the line enters my arm means this time it should stay put.
We were out of there by quarter to twelve, so Peanut took me into work. It was the last day and there was a pizza buffet in the main office for all the employees and it was nice to be able to go along. Peanut came too and it was a lovely couple of hours for us, wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and Peanut being made so welcome by Anne and Gordon and all the Customer Services girls. As we left, Anne made me kiss all the girls for Christmas. Well I say made...
Work has been a good place to be for me. The atmosphere is great, the team I work with are great fun and importantly they are doing a damned fine job too and meeting their challenges. It's a buzz you want to be a part of, they even make a joke of my sighs and my huffs and puffs. On the surface they are young pretty girls, light, fluffy and fun. But dig deeper and there is a real professionalism going on. It's a good mix, and a very healthy place for me to be.
Back home and the decorator was on the last stages with the wallpaper finally going on. We are pleased with this and finally we have managed to plan a room which looks good but also looks in keeping with the style of the house. Yesterday then was a damned fine day.
So going forward. The chemotherapy starts on the 31st. It is the same as last time I had chemo except that one extra drug is added - Avastin - and you can find out more about it from this old article from the Daily Mail. If this works for me we get a longer train ride if not we don't.
So here we are then. Peanut is by my side, she has packed one of her magic picnics for the journey. We are on the station platform and the train to Deathsville is heading our way, but with luck it won't be the express, it will be the slow train, calling at every statiion along the way, St Tropez, Monaco, Brescia, Venice and one or two more. And knowing Mrs P, I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't hi-jack it and take it on an even longer detour! Here's hoping!
Anyway, have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year - I'm going to!! xx
September 20th saw me have my third CT scan after my last liver section and the results were not good. Last Friday I had a second scan and today we went to hear about this latest CT scan.
Put simply it was a "Disaaaster Darling" and the Big C has come back with a vengeance and there will be no cure this time around. The Big C is out and about beyond the boundaries of the liver, so now we are playing the game of fighting a war that we cannot win. How many times have you seen countries carry on fighting a war that they cannot win for years and years? Well that is where we are at. Chemical warfare then!
Tomorrow, I have more blood tests and on Friday I have a Picc (peripherally inserted central catheter) line fitted ready for the chemotherapy to be connected up on the 31st December. All being well I will respond well to the chemotherapy, which will be for three months, followed by a break and then some more and so on. The bottom line is this, Peanut has a bet on with the Doctor, so if I don't last two years he will lose a tenner. I find comfort and reassurance in this, as I know that with so much to play for, he will do his best for me!
Flippant and blasé we might be but to be honest how else do we deal with this? We have shed our tears but in truth, the only way forward is a 100 smiles for every tear. I am sorry that I will not be the victor in this war, but I will carry on kicking him in the shins for a while yet as I still have more than a few smiles to put on Lady Peanut's face.
God bless and I look forward to popping up here and there to torment you with my bloggings in the meantime! x
So the Big C is back in my liver and it looks like it might be causing mischief somewhere close to one of my kidneys and now it is a case of dealing with this while we wait for a second scan and learn more on how we are fighting this from here on.
Well, I've told my Mum and work, and put the news out on here. Mum is upset but being strong, work is totally supportive, my pals are gutted. Closer to home, if I'm honest, this has knocked us for six. Mrs P's tummy has just not stopped churning and nor has mine. My brain is playing tricks with me as I try to calm down and get a grip. Every cough, every hiccup, every belch, every ache in my stiff neck, and every time I feel a bit sick in the tum scares me as I think it is a symptom. I'm scared right now and I won't deny it.
The Elf came down on Thursday to see her Mum which was good as otherwise Peanut would have been home alone all day which would not have been good. For me work has been a Godsend, I work with a great team and there is always so much to do that it gives you little time to think. It helps a lot as a distraction and as a hold on normality.
Peanut had lots of distractions on Thursday too, a Terraclean engine clean up for the Opel GT first thing Thursday, then the arrival of our new fireplace, followed by a hunt on the net for a new turbo for the Clubman. Mrs P did all this before the Elf had even got here to say hello to her. Then she had my dinner on the table for when I got home so that I could dash off to a Beacon Camera Club meet in Worcester centre where we practised doing long exposure shots. Great fun and great as a distraction. Loved the steam coming off the freshly laid tarmac!
Saturday saw more on the distraction front as we went to Newport and ordered a new sofa, chair and footstool for when the decorating (another great distraction) is done in our living room. I am quite pleased as our sofa is made in Wales by Welsh craftsmen using only the finest Welsh dragon bones as a frame for the sofa. We stopped short of having the finest welsh dragon leather stretched over the frame and opted for a rather swish regency style fabric instead. We were both rather pleased with this, so on the way home we called in at a beefeater (not been to one of those for years) for some lunch. Very nice to be fair.
So yes, right now, life is not a picnic and we are not able to view it through rose tinted glasses. However, we can view it through a Fuji 35mm prime lens and we will do our best to ensure that this puts a nice tint on the world. Couple this with some healthy distraction therapy and the smiles will keep on happening at Beastie Folly!
Mrs P though is a champion and with her around I can't help but smile and laugh. She phoned me from work today for a quick chat and told me how she had felt an odd bulge in one of the legs of her jeans. On investigation, she found one of mys socks in there! Only Mrs P could do that! And why was I so jealous of a sock? She is the girl in my head when I sing along to Tina Turner:
I call you when I need you, my heart's on fire
You come to me, come to me wild and wired
Mmm, you come to me
Give me everything I need
Give me a lifetime of promises and a world of dreams
Speak a language of love like you know what it means
Mmm, it can't be wrong
Take my heart and make it strong, baby
You're simply the best, better than all the rest...
After the all clear on my second CT scan we had a summer of fun, with three marvellous holidays in the south of France and Italy, culminating in a wonderful three day stay in a city we have really taken to our hearts - Venice. It really has been a fantastic six months and a photo of the pair of us on a Gondola in Venice captures the essence of the last six months for us.
September 20th saw me have my third CT scan after my last surgery in the war against the Big C and the Sunday after the scan saw us once again exploring one of our favourite local beauty spots - the Mill Pond at Golden Valley, near Castlemorton. A couple with a dog whom I caught on camera, typified the scene there and set our minds thinking about getting old together.
A fortnight passed with no phone call about the scan and we breathed a liitle sigh of relief and planned the next six months of our lives - a long winter and a big facelift for our living room.
Today we went to the hospital to see the chemo consultant and to get confirmation on the CT scan results. Our world caved in.
A small 5 mm... in your liver, something suspicious on a nodule on one of your kidneys, you have responded well to chemotherapy in the past...
I asked for a glass of water, I recomposed. The poor chap went for the senior consultant, we could hear them composing themselves in the corridor and in they came all hope and optimism. The senior consultant applied a coat of veneer on the picture and we got to the bottom line. Right now it's small, they need to see the extent of things. They cannot rush me in for surgery yet, as it could be spread beyone the liver. It might not be quite what they think. So a second scan early December with a follow up appointment on the 10th December, where they will tell us where we go with the fight next, it's sounding more like chemotherapy and less like surgery to me. Methinks we will be playing a holding game. Let's hope there is no Ardennes forest knocking about when we build our Maginot Line.
Oh and by the way things come in threes. Got home and found out that there is a delay on the delivery of our new fire surround and that our MINI Clubman has blown his turbo. ClubBeast is just taking empathy too far!
Meantime it's a busy week this week - Covert Affairs on Wednesday night and a night in Worcester on Thursday with the photography club. Life and all it's smiles just keeps rolling on. Will keep ya posted - take care x.