Wednesday, 6 April 2011

D Day + 237 - Graduation!

Did you hear a huge bang in the region of East Midlands Airport today? That would be me, bursting with pride that my not so little girl graduated from cabin crew training today and got her wings! All her group were in their uniforms and looked so smart, it brought a tear to my eye when they called her nameand she went up to get herwings and certificate from her tutor!

It has been a long day and we've travelled quite a way but it was so very worth it for that moment; one of those forever moments that will be indelibly in our memories and what you wait for when you're a parent - they can be few and far between but are priceless.

Enough waffling now...I could go on and on but ee're on the ferry on the way home, shattered but happy and looking forward to having the girly home for a few days before she, quite literally, takes off.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

D Day + 236: Update?

Hello again.  It's been a while.  I thought I'd post an update, even though, in terms of C, there is nothing much different to report!  In terms of his illness he is still battling on manfully, coping extremely bravely with the horrible drugs he has to take and coming through relatively cheerfully.  He finished cycle four a couple of weeks ago nearly and is almost back to 'normal', by which I mean C-BC (before cancer).  And on top of that he's trying to keep himself occupied during the day - which is a good sign because it means he's feeling well enough to be bored!!  We're all looking forward to the better, warmer weather, not least so that he can get out and about and potter without getting cold, wet or blown about by the wind.  Roll on....

News re Romilly - she graduates from her training with Thomson Airways tomorrow!! The five weeks have absolutely flown by (pardon the pun) and we are travelling up to East Midlands Airport (which is somewhere near Derby I think - my geography always was rubbish) to watch the 'wings ceremony' and generally blub like a couple of good uns.  Our little angel gets her wings...aah.

Work is still the same - unsettled and uninspiring - with less people as the weeks go by!! They're either leaving for new jobs or being moved into similar ones.  It won't  be long before the office is almost empty.  No idea how all the jobs are going to get done with so few people doubt the admin fairies Mr Beynon clearly believes in will appear in the night and catch up on work while everyone's out of the office, for free obviously.  Yeah right.

It's been a hectic few weeks.  I'm not going to apologise yet again for not doing the blog; my life is whizzing around like a manic carousel right now and not only do I not have so much time to do this, but there honestly isn't really very much to report.  I could go back to blahing about everyday life but frankly that's not what this blog is about.  And I supposed really we should take it as a good thing that there's nothing to report - it means that C is, for the time being, doing well.  And that's an all too unusual positive right now.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

D Days 203 - 215: Thurs 3 March to Tues 15 March 2011

I realise that I am still woefully inept at doing this regularly, and the gaps between posts are ever increasing. Yet again I can only apologise and try to do better. But don't hold your breath...real life has an annoying habit of getting in the way of the best laid plans!

So, C...he is in the last week of this latest cycle of treatment and it's been tough going, more so than previously. He's struggled with it this time in terms of energy, stomach upsets and feeling the cold; we're not sure why this should be but I guess each cycle has brought slightly different issues and this is no exception. In his own inimitable, stubborn way he has soldiered on and made the best of it - well, as he rightly says, what else can you do? We've developed a philosophy of dealing with each day as it comes, and no more if we can help it, so each day starts with "Well, he's still here, still mobile, conscious and damn well fighting it, so off we go." some days are just harder than others and it takes a bit longer to get going. I'm telling you, if there were awards for determination he'd have my vote, no contest. He just keeps on keeping on.

We're kind of adjusting to Rom being away - it is strange not to hear her about the house, but I guess she had us semi trained anyway, being out so much! And thanks to the joys of Facebook, Skype and mobile phones she's never really too far away. She paid a surprise visit home on Saturday, something she and C had concocted between them - I had no idea she was coming back until I turned around on Saturday afternoon and there she was! It was a flying visit but so nice to see my baby again.

I realise now that I've lost the pattern of themes for each post. It's a bit difficult to think of any really, as there's so much going on and The gaps between posts mean I dont' remember so much. Also I'm typing this one up on the ipad and it's not I'll sign off now before my neck develops a crick and my forefingers melt, and try to post more news tomorrow....

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

D Days 191 - 202: Saturday 19 February to Wednesday 2 March 2011

Phew time flies.  So much has been going on that I've  barely had a chance to sit down and log in to the I expect you've noticed!!!

So where to start this post?  Well....Romilly I guess.  You know that back in January she was offered a job with Thomson/TUI Travel...well that start date crept round so quickly!  It's been a manic time since she got her start date that we've been trying to organise stuff ready for her to go.  Which has involved visits to college, shopping, ordering stuff, getting the car checked out (C's insistence), booking ferries, hotels etc etc.  Daniel organised a surprise evening meal for her, at which both sides of the families met up.  It was lovely - Dan's family are lovely people and I'm so proud and pleased that they've taken her in as one of them, as we have Dan, so it was nice to meet up as a group.  Rom didn't know anything about it (yes, for once, we got one over on her and she was speechless) and as she walked past the window she looked in and apparently thought "Ah, nice, someone's having a party."  Yes, you muppet, you are!!! She cried...ahhh!!!  That was the Sunday, and then of course half term was upon us..,

We had a bit of drama over half term week - not Rom, but my littlest nephew Toby.  Kealy had said he had been under the weather for a few days, and he had a lump on his leg which to start with she hadn't been to worried about, but it started to worry Toby and he seemed uncomfortable in using his leg.  She went to the GP, who said they'd refer to the paediatrician, but unfortunately Keaz was worried enough the next day to take him to A&E - and that's when the lightningly quick situation kicked off...they admitted Toby to the Children's Ward, did some tests etc and admitted they didn't know what it they sent them over to Southampton General to get it looked at properly.  During the explanations they said there was a possibility that it could be an abcess, a cyst or a tumour...which of course scare you completely witless as you imagine, naturally so, that it's the worst.  A couple of days of high anxiety followed, plus a few days stay in Southampton, but thankfully it was only an abcess, he had an minor operation to drain it etc, and is now home safe and sound.  

While all this was going on Rom stepped up to the mark, along with Dan, and they were surrogate parents to Oli and Libby.  I'm not sure who enjoyed it more....but suffice it to say that they had a nice time together, and I know that Rom and Dan made Oli's tenth birthday as nice as they could, considering his parents couldn't get home for it.  I can't believe he's ten already.....
So all this drama hadn't left Rom an awful lot of time to get organised for leaving - including trying to see everyone before she went.  I was at work all week so didn't have much of a chance to help out, so spent the weekend laundering like a madwoman just so everything was clean in case she wanted to take it!!  We spent a nice evening at home on the Saturday before she left - ordered in a curry, had a few beers and sat watching some crap film on TV.  Nice and cosy...and then Sunday arrived and it all got a bit active!!  I got the big case down, she dashed off to get some last minute bits sorted out, then when she got back her brothers arrived to say farewell.  Finally she started putting things in the case in the afternoon and we seemed to be getting somewhere...and the pile of things to take started to grow.....I did a roast dinner, and Dan stayed, so they didn't have to say goodbye to each other until almost the last minute.  I have to confess that I didn't sleep all that well, knowing what the morning would bring...

And so to Monday.  The day our baby girl flapped her wings and flew the nest.  I was supposed to go on a training course but frankly I couldn't leave C to see her off alone, plus there was still stuff to sort out and I didn't want her to leave having spent the morning getting wound up.  So I stayed, we unpacked and then repacked the suitcase (Do you really need six black tops Rom?  Yes, apparently) and before I knew it the time had come to put stuff in the car...back seats had to go down to accommodate the huge suitcase (I have to confess it is mine, I bought it back in the summer to go to France, and it IS huge), the smaller suitcase full of shoes (well she is MY daughter), the large toiletries/cosmetics bag (again....) the mirror, the pile of electrical stuff (all essential - hairdryer, straighteners, mini straighteners), iron and ironing board (and there was me thinking she didn't even know what these were - now she's bought her own!!) and the food box I made up for her - well, come on, who knows when you might fancy a midnight pot noodle in a strange hotel?  And off she went - there were tears from all of us, much excitement too, and a little apprehension.  But generally I think we handled it quite well!  It was such a poignant moment watching her little car disappear down the lane, knowing she was off to a new phase in her life and would probably return at some point a changed young woman.  It was also a very very very proud moment for C and I as parents...I don't think I've ever been so chuffed I could burst, and so sad at the same time.

We've had a couple of phone calls and some text messages, plus the omnipresent Facebook contacts (which C now has as well  by the way).  All seems to be going well - she's made friends with some of the girls on the course, is tired but happy and seems to be thriving in her new role.

Bang....(there, I burst). :D

Friday, 18 February 2011

D Days 189 - 190: Thursday 17 to Friday 18 February 2011

Sorry for the delay with the update; I had a busy day yesterday!  

Well as you know, we went to see Dr Madhava yesterday afternoon for the results of the CAT scan.  It's a sad old state of affairs turning up in the Outpatients department, with the prospect that you might be getting bad news - they certainly don't believe in fripperies there, believe me; it's an unwelcoming atmosphere and a long, boring wait to be seen.  Somehow that doesn't fit right with the so-called 'patient care' that's supposed to be so important.  Anyhow, the clinic was running almost to time (by which I mean that we were only 25 minutes late, instead of 45) and as usual we were shown into the depressing, windowless clinical side room where he seems to prefer to see his patients.  This time there was only one chair, so I perched on the examination couch while C had a look at the wheelchair scales parked on their side in the corner.  Lovely.  In comes Dr M, shakes C's hand and offers it to me, limp and warm, to shake, which I do because it's polite, even though he's clearly not bothered whether I do or not.  But this is all padding, so I'll get to it....

...basically the upshot is that the news is okay.  The treatment C's been on since November has shrunk the main tumour slightly, and there doesn't appear to be any spread.  Some of the attachment to his liver has been reduced and his bones are clear.  So the drug seems to have done some good, and it's holding the cancer at bay.    All good news, considering it could have gone the other way.  So we're cautiously optimistic.  Now, trying to ask Dr M any questions once he's delivered the news you came for is not this point he starts to back towards the door as he clearly thinks he's done his bit and is keen to leave.  He has put C on another month's cycle, during which time he (Dr M) is apparently going to discuss the case with the Southampton team (remember all those months ago when they were mooting surgery as an option?  Well that might be on the cards) to see what they think.  I asked what the benefits of that are as I wasn't sure - if the kidney is dead (as the biopsy in October showed 'necrotic tissue') then is it doing any harm leaving it there?  What I wanted to know was, is it worth C going through major, invasive, traumatic surgery and post-op recovery if it's not going to make much difference or improve things dramatically.  Dr M wasn't sure and said we'd have to wait to see what the Southampton team thought.  I was reluctant to do down the positive news we'd had and left it at that, and Dr M managed to sidle through the door, having given us the prescription for more treatment, and another blood test form.

And so that was that.  Good news really.  Although as things are still in limbo - we have to go back in six weeks time - I'm wary of jumping up and down and celebrating too much.  I know only too well from bitter experience that it's best to be cautious about these things so you don't end up being let down even more than you might have been.  But it has given C a lift, the realisation that he's done so well, has fought this thing tooth and nail and it has done some good.  The kids were chuffed obviously, as was Jill, so it means that life will go on as it has done, for a few weeks more at least.

We're off to the mainland tomorrow - he's decided he wants to buy a Land Rover Discovery and has found one in Stoke Mandeville, so off we go tomorrow.  Hope the weather's nice.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

D Days 183 - 188: Friday 11 to Wednesday 16 February 2010 - 188 Days Have Led To This

Hmm, first time I've put a title in the title other than the day count.  Reason?  Because ever since we found out C has cancer, all days have led to tomorrow - the day we find out whether the treatment he's been having is working.  It's all come down to tomorrow's appointment with Dr M, the oncologist - whether it's worked and we continue, or it hasn't and...well you can fill in the blanks.  I've really felt it the last week or so and the stress of waiting for tomorrow has got to me.  To his immense credit C has coped much better - stoically saying that "What will be, will be" and not getting himself wound up about it.  I've done enough of that for both of us anyway!  It's difficult to know how to feel about the outcome...if the treatment is working, then it should continue, which is great and will buy C more time but at the cost of his health for four weeks out of every six.  I guess that the alternative is so much more bleak that this option seems definitely preferable.  So we'll see....

Things have plodded on as usual other than this waiting game.  Romilly is putting things in place for her anticipated move to the mainland (something else I'm getting stressed about) and is knuckling down to do the necessary to finish her college course so she can get her full qualification.  C, being off treatment, has been out and about more, catching up with former work colleagues, family and chores - he even felt well enough to wield his chainsaw at his sister's today!  Unfortunately the weather has meant that he hasn't been out as much as he'd like but hopefully that will change.  The garden is starting to come to life now, and the bulbs I planted last October are starting to shoot; this small thing is so meaningful, as when I bought those bulbs last September C wasn't sure he would be here to see them bloom...well he is, and it's a major notch in his belt of achievement fighting this cancer.  Crocuses never looked so beautiful....

Meanwhile things on the choir front are hotting up; there are lots of 'gigs' coming up which means going over former repertoires as well as learning the new one for the July concert.  We are entering the Ventnor Music for Fun Festival again, which is at the beginning of March, and also have quite an exciting concert in mid April with a well known singer....details to follow on that as I've been told they haven't officially been released yet so it has to stay hush hush!!

Romilly and I spent a nice girly Saturday afternoon doing what we do best - shopping!! It was annual bra shopping day and she's the best person to take along - not only is she very good at helping me choose non-granny underwear, but she can also nip out and find different sizes as necessary (amazing how much boob size can fluctuate according to which bra type you go for....)  This year's 'in' bustenhalter is the balcony - no, not anything to do with the tacky nightclub on Ryde seafront, but a very nice design which hauls everything into the middle and up slightly, where it used to be when I was young, thin and pre-motherhood.  Very pretty and comfy, and nicely reminiscent of my younger days, with just a little  more engineering to get the same effect!!!  Of course these days it's all about matching top and bottom, so it's time for an underwear cull or my drawer won't close...but enough about that now.  Probably TMI!

My lovely curly haired friend Lis left work today - she's sat opposite me at work for the last two years and has been a breath of fresh air in the office.  She is always upbeat, bubbly, cheerful, cracks the most awful jokes you can't help laughing at, declared she's not racist whilst having little digs at foreigners, and generally been the kindest, most supportive workmate you could wish for.  She's been a fabulous tower of strength to me over the last six months and things won't be the same without her.  It was sad to see her go, but I know she's better off choosing to go now so she ends up in a job she wanted, rather than waiting for the axe to fall from The Poison Dwarf himself and be forced into something just to earn a wage.  Good luck to her, and fate help the rest of us!

I had a migraine today.  First one in months (last time I had one was on the choir tour at the beginning of August, which I think was due to being over tired and drinking too much!)  Today's was as bad a headache as I've had for years; analgesics didn't touch it and it took the best part of the morning for me to be able to open my eyes properly and not feel like throwing up.  I couldn't go home - I didn't want to miss saying goodbye to Lis - so I stuck it out and eventually had to go and sit in my car for a cat nap to try and relieve it.  It went eventually...but I guess it's a sign that everything I've got going on right now is just getting too much.  Hopefully after tomorrow I'll have a better idea of where we are with C's illness, and can at least have a plan for one part of my life, his life, and our kids.  Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

D Days 179 - 182: Monday 7 to Thursday 10 February 2010

It's been a bit of a week.  For me that is anyway.  And I'm getting so bogged down in the negative things that's it's getting harder to be positive.  Something to do with the moon?  Or is it just that all this is finally starting to wear me down?

C's been a bit better this week, having finished the third cycle of treatment.  He perks up within a couple of days of finishing and is so much more energised, positive and active.  Which is a good thing really because I think I've imploded slightly, and I'm the one that needs the propping up!

My work situation is still hanging in the balance, which means that speculation is still rife as to what's going to happen to us.  And when you get an office full of women speculating about something...well you can just imagine how that conversation goes.  Romilly has also had details through about her training with Thomson, so that's completely thrown me and I'm starting to fret about her going, and how it's all going to be for all of us.    Add into the mix the upcoming appointment with the oncologist next Thursday for the results of C's scan.....that's a recipe for one mixed up Karen!!

I'm going to have to apologise that I don't have anything very positive or interesting to post.  But I guess that was bound to happen one day.  There just isn't anything to's all mundane and very much in limbo.

I suppose one small 'up' is that my fitness is increasing, thanks to the lovely Bob and The Biggest Loser Challenge I'm doing on the I suppose physically I'm in much better shape than I've been for a while.  It's so ironic that mentally and emotionally I'm a bit the worse for wear!  C'est la vie....