Thursday, 27 January 2011

Keep an eye on it

The above was my mums advice when I told her I thought I was getting a sty on my eye.. She should go into stand up eh? Well probably not, but she was amused at her off the cuff comment. I've been pretty busy this past week, just meeting up with folk I've not seen in a while and trying to sort things out. I've also been trying to walk more so my calves are killing me! Grandpa Inverness (as we call him) came to visit from Saturday to Tuesday and it was great to see him. Granny couldn't come down as she had a cold. Hopefully we'll be able to go to Inverness and visit soon.

On Saturday my friend Andy hosted a Burns Supper which was great. He cooked up a marvellous meal and everyone took their speeches very seriously. Ally even did a reading of Tam O' Shanter by candlelight, very Burnsy! It was a lovely evening and so good to see everyone. On Sunday we went to church and Alice came round for lunch. It was good to have a catch up and we just blethered the whole afternoon. Grandpa went home on Tuesday - the bus only cost him 50p! I thought that was pretty swell. That's something to look forward to when I'm an OAP.

I had the Beatson today to check my bloods and do my Hickman Line and things. My Magnesium is still pretty low but everything else seems OK. After that, Mum and I popped into town to meet Cat, ML and Cat's Mum Ruth for a coffee in Princes Square. It was lovely to see them and ML gave me a gift which I love... It is HILARIOUS.

Dad once spent a whole afternoon in the hospital looking at this website so I'm sure he will also love this book.

I have received some lovely gifts recently. Our friend Jantine from Holland sent an amazing quilt and some drop. The quilt is absolutely gorgeous, here is a picture of Teenie and I posing with it..

Doesn't it look amazing?! It took her three years to make and it looks very impressive. I also received some lovely socks from Jamie's Granny which she made herself! They are so comfy. I have worn the other pairs so many times and they are great to have in the hospital as they are so cosy. Thank you!

Recently I have been obsessing over my eyelashes (not much has changed) and even though I am still totally bald, my eyelashes have stood firm. I presumed they would go with the high dose but I'm happy to report that they've remained in place! I am using the eyelash stuff Auntie W bought me every night and some new Lamcome mascara which I am loading on. This pic shows how much my eyelashes have grown since October..

They're not as long as they were but at least I know they're growing! OK, I'll stop as I could talk about eyelashes all day.

The only other news here is that our old cat Twinkle had an operation today to get her thyroid removed. We think she is about 16 but I have no idea how old that is in cat years. I'm guessing pretty old. Here is a picture of Teen posing with Twinkle last night..

Most people know that I am not Twinkle's biggest fan but I am happy to report that her op went well, she's a resilient creature indeed. She definitely has more than 9 lives and has outlived every other pet we've had. We did have another cat, who Twinkle hated, called Simba. He was a ginger cat, totally mental and we have no idea what happened to him. I was once entered into a pet lookalike competition with him and we won (actually, I can't remember if we won or came second - both obviously a great achievement). Rona was obsessed with Simba and even brushed his teeth for the occasion. This was a long time ago - it was a pet competition in the Tunnock's Car Park! I can't remember when it was he disappeared but we were all pretty sad at the time. Well, everyone except Twinkle.

OK I think I'll be off now. I just want to say big love to the Jackson's. XXX

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Sweetie Face

A new sweetie shop has opened on Argyle Street and I managed to pay a visit on Wednesday.. As my tastebuds are still a bit all over the place, we bought quite a few sour sweets. I tried one on Wednesday night and it is definitely the sourest sweet I have tried - I quite liked it though! For some reason, I then decided it would be funny to take a picture of folk trying to eat it (inspiration from Hamish!). To start with, here is a picture of the sweets.. Look quite innocent yes?

So I started with Mum and Dad.. They couldn't hack it.

Jamie then tried it.. He did ok. This was the after shot.

Next up we have Teenie.. She couldn't even try the sweet - it's fair to say she was pathetic.

Finlay and Christine came to visit so obviously I had to try it out on them. They both coped very well and were the first people to actually eat the sweet. Yes, that's me laughing in the background.

Rona seemed quite unphased by it all but I still managed to catch a not so great snap of her so that works for me.

Last night Ruth, Clare and Louise came round so I let them try one.. Let's just say, none of them were very impressed.

So clearly I've been having a busy few days! I had the Beatson on Thursday which was fine. Just had a blether about the high dose and things. I didn't do much during the day yesterday. Granny showed me how to make tablet - there's more to it than I thought! Granny went home last night but hopefully we'll be able to go up north to see her soon. Anyway I'm off to have a shower, laters!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

So it turns out...

The tablets I have been taking are dissolvable. Yup. The tablets which (at one point) we were separating into 16 (yes, 16) individual bits are actually ones that are soluble. I discovered this whilst choking on one and realising that it was dissolving in my mouth... In my defence, it does not say this on the bottle! But I guess I was happy at the realisation of this.

My father pointed out some mistakes with my last blog - some spelling mistakes (which I think I have fixed) and the fact that the 'Burns Poem' Teenie recited in Primary 2 is not actually Burns. Who knows how she won a prize in the Burns Competition then?!

Yesterday was my mum's birthday so we went into town to Cranachan in Princes Square for lunch. James came through for the afternoon and Rona managed to come during her lunch hour. It was very nice, just a wee light lunch as we were going out for dinner in the evening too.

This is James' current hair situation. Sorry bro, but it's starting to get ridiculous. I've ordered him to get a haircut before my birthday. Maybe it's time to go for the Amish style...?

After lunch we managed to fit in some shopping (my first time at the shops since before Christmas!). My excuse was that I really need to build up strength in my legs.. And obviously look at the Ted Baker sale. I got a nice wee dress and some make up from Frasers and Debenhams that I'd been wanting for a while. All in all, a lovely day! That evening we went out for dinner in Bothwell and it was very nice. For my starter I asked for a side plate and just stole parts of everyone elses (pretty good idea I thought) and for my main I had veal. It was yummy!

I wore my wig as Granny hadn't seen it on me yet and it was actully really sore! I'm not sure why, maybe I'm just not used to it as I've not worn it in a while. Anyway, we had a lovely meal and then just went home for cake and presents. Here is a snap of Mum posing with one of her amazing gifts from her amazing children... Ahem.. There may have been an alterior motive in us buying her a cake stand as she will obviously have to fill it at some point but that's fine yeah?!

Teenie made a cake (which I haven't tried yet... breakfast?!) and apparently it's just a coincidence that it's in Celtic colours. It looks quite nice though yes?

I don't have a huge amount planned today. I am supposed to be getting ready for going into the Beatson and I am yet to leave my bed. I plan to soon. It's just for a catch up with my doctor and my specialist nurse. It will be good to touch base with them and then they can report to the prof with how I'm doing. We still don't know when the high dose will be but I'm saying to myself probably the end of February.. I think my fingers are starting to improve. They're still very tingly but not as bad as they were. William bought me a piano book (which I LOVE, thanks Will) and I've been playing that OK so they must be a bit better. My feet are still really numb though, when I step into the shower I have no idea how hot it is! I always seem to have a sore head and back at the moment too. I'm not sure why, maybe I'm just not getting enough sleep.

I'm looking forward to the next few days. Jamie is coming out this afternoon (hopefully we'll watch some West Wing, I feel like it's been too long) and Ruth, Clare and Louise are coming out for dinner tomorrow. On Saturday I am going to a Burns Supper and I'm desperate to wear something tartan.. Unfortunately, I think my Dad's kilt may be slightly too big... I also looked online for a tartan wig, apparently these don't exist (gap in the market...?). Maybe I'll just paint my nails in a tartan way?!

Right, I really should start getting ready. Over and out.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Pills pills pills... Just like the Destiny's Child song.

Pills are playing on my mind. I have always been rubbish at taking pills (which I think I have mentioned before) and you'd think that I'd be an expert now. Oooohh no. I got out of the Beatson on Saturday afternoon (thank goodness) as my Magnesium and Potassium had risen. My blood was taken again on Monday and my Magnesium had gone down again. As of this, I now have to take Magnesium tablets. AND THEY ARE HUGE. I have to take two every three hours and they are the size of a 2 pence piece. Ok, slight exaggeration there but they are pretty big. Mum has been splitting them for me so along with my antibiotics I have to take about 10, three times a day. Not much fun. Aside from the pills, Mum has been force feeding me banana's as apparently they have a lot of Potassium in them. This would be fine if I liked banana's but I would probably rank them as my least favourite fruit. I do like banana loaf but apparently this doesn't count. To sum up this paragraph, I am really annoyed with my Magnesium and Potassium levels. They are just being plain awkward.

Anywho, I was very happy to be released from the Beatson on Saturday. As Stef is recently back from Vietnam, we had planned for the 'Booty' crew to come round and have a big catch up. It was so great to see everyone and we managed to watch the Film & TV crew's final piece of work for uni.. A visual masterpiece called 'Where's The Booty?'. Booty love guys. The next day I went to church with the family and it was so good to see everyone again. Marc was giggling throughout the whole service.. Mainly because Teenie and I were tickling him - he's so cute when he laughs though! After the service I managed to catch up with Mary, May and Janice which was great. Ian also recited his Burns poem for school which he has memorised very well. I never did Burns at school but I remember Teenie doing one about a dog in Primary 2. She said it ALL the time and can still remember it. So I'm sure Ian will remember his for years too! On Sunday afternoon my cousins Rosanna and Esther came out for lunch so it was lovely to see them. We've always been very close with our cousins and it's so nice that a lot of us are now in Glasgow.

By Sunday afternoon I was totally knackered so tried to have a nap... This proved unsuccessful as I can never sleep during the day. Oh well. I just took it easy yesterday and in the evening went out for dinner with Jamie, Ruth & co. I hadn't seen Amy or Ally this year yet so it was great to see them. It isn't too late to still say 'Happy New Year' when you see someone for the first time is it? We were debating this but I can't remember what the conclusion was. Today has been rather quiet too. It's Mums birthday tomorrow so I'm saving my energy for that! I hope she likes her presents..

My apologies that this hasn't been a very exciting post. The most exciting thing I've done in the past two days was sort out my Grey's Anatomy DVDS (thanks Ruth and Gordon - we know we will never be doing that again). Well, I'm off downstairs. I bet I'll be told to eat a banana. I can't wait.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

This feels familiar...

I am currently writing this post from Ward B4 at the Beatson. We got a call from our GP last night (about 5.30) saying my Magnesium and Potassium were pretty low and I would need to come in for replacement fluids. It's typical that these things always happen on Friday night! I've not been feeling drastically different, just still really tired. Apparently my neutrophils have also gone down but that's pretty normal. I've been hooked up to a drip all night and getting my blood checked when they're done. I'm hoping things will have picked up and they'll let me out today. It's typical, whenever I make plans they get totally messed up! So, can everyone please cross their fingers and hope that my blood is OK so I can get out this afternoon? Thanks, much appreciated.

I've had quite a busy week really. Jamie came over on Tuesday and on Wednesday the Music Girls came round and Ruth & Gordon came round for dinner. It was lovely but by the time they all left I was wiped! It was so good to see them all though. On Thursday Teenie, Mum, Ruth and myself went to Silverburn to meet Sarah, Grace and ML for dinner. We took Ruth for her first Nando's - don't think we'll be rushing back anytime soon. I'd much prefer the Crashakk (Ruth will be forced there despite her fear of fish). Anywho, it was a lovely evening until I started to feel very sick and we had to rush home. I was quite surprised as I've not had one of these 'sickness waves' for a while - we think it's due to a new antibiotics I've been prescribed.

Yesterday we took Granny to see The King's Speech and it was just wonderful. I was a bit wary to believe all the hype around it so wasn't too excited but it really was great. Colin Firth was so convincing. The music was just marvellous too. The score was by Alexandre Desplat who has written the music for Harry Potter, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Queen etc. I think he did a very good job! After the film Granny was saying she remembers King George VI making the speech (to the country in 1939) on the radio, she thinks she was about 10 at the time. I found the film so emotive and can't begin to imagine how everyone felt at the time. Anyway, I would definitely recommend this film to all!

It's very strange being back in the Beatson. I've not been here since September (I think) and it's odd being in a different ward. Odd in a good way though.. The nurses are lovely and they are all very aware that I want to scoot out as quickly as possible. I just hope I can. I will keep you all posted... I think the IV machine might be running out of battery so I best be off. Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Mind that time?

For some reason, this is a phrase that I say constantly. I'm unsure if it is an 'Uddingston thing' or a 'Mairead thing' but I do say it a lot. Last night I was BBM-ing (Blackberry Messaging for those not in the know) my chum Cat and reminiscing about our time in Peru. When we start blethering about Peru we go on for hours but last night we were chatting about my favourite story from our time there and I still laugh whenever I think about it. Ok, so I'll tell you it in brief. It would be unfair not to. So, we were round at a friends flat and all chatting when some of the guys started having a heated discussion about something (we couldn't hear what). We were intrigued as to what they were talking about so Cat delved in, only to discover they were talking about how much they loved 'breast feeding'. I can't quite remember how long it took, but we eventually found out what they actually enjoyed talking about was 'wrestling'. Turns out Cat misheard them and when trying to contribute to the conversation they all thought she was rather strange.. Wonder why. It's one of those stories that nobody else ever really finds funny (oh yeah, one of those 'you had to be there' type stories) but oh well. I will always remember the look on Cat's face at that moment of discovery. This leads me on to what is probably my 'favourite story ever' and one that my Mum will always get me to produce at the dinner table if someone in our acquaintance doesn't know it. So here goes... There was this one time that... A fox stole my shoe. Yes, if you have not heard this story before (and if you know me, you probably have), a fox did steal my shoe. I was playing shoe fling in the park at Highborough Road one night (as you do) and I flung my shoe (really far might I add) and a fox came along, bit into my shoe and ran off with it. Everyone stared around for a bit and Jamie and Gordon ran after it (or tried to, which was difficult as they were laughing so much) but to no avail. My shoe was a goner. Since then I have not been all that fond of foxes. So there you have it, my 'favourite story ever'.

Blogs are a really self indulgent thing eh? I just feel like I'm talking to myself, it's all rather odd really. I guess I should be used to it now but oh well! I'll just keep plodding along with it.

The girls arrived back from Paris last night and it sounds like they had a hoot. Teenie is like a walking Encyclopedia about the French Revolution (Marie Antoinette in particular) and it's made me realise how much I've forgotten from Higher History. I loved history at school and studied it for my first two years at Uni but not really read any history books since then. They brought me back a lovely Amethyst pendant which I am very excited to wear. We have decided when I'm better that we're all going to go for a trip. Teenie has been quite a few times now so is a pretty good tour guide apparently!

I've slept better the past few nights, well except last night I guess. I woke up at 4 totally wide awake so picked up the book I've been reading the past couple of days and finished it. I think I'm the last person to have read it (One Day by David Nicholls) but I adored it. It's been ages since I have loved a book that much. I also cried about ten times throughout it, oh it was great! I now feel strangely at a loss without Dexter and Emma...

Anyway, I have no great plans for the day. Jamie is coming out for lunch and Granny is coming over in the afternoon. I know I need to take it easy this week but I feel I have so much to do! I think I'll leave this rambling blog post here... Toodles!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Melon gelato, por favor

I don't know if I have mentioned on here before (probably have), but my favourite EVER holiday was when we went to Rome. I think it was about ten years ago now but I have such good memories of it. Dad's idea of a holiday is not exactly relaxing, but it does mean we get to see everything. Oddly, one of the highlights was finding a shop that sold loads of piano music and I remember getting melon ice cream and going into this shop and buying some books. Also, somewhere in the apartments we were staying was a pianist who would play Mozart Sonata in C Major (one of his most recognised pieces) everyday. It's such a simple piece but, as of this, always reminds me of Rome. When we left Rome I was determined to learn it, so I did, and has since then become my 'failsafe' whenever I go to a piano to see how rusty I am. That might sound a bit silly, and I don't know why I do, but that's not the point I guess. Anyway, when we arrived back yesterday morning, I stupidly went to the piano to see what I could do and I couldn't even get through the first few bars. My hands do feel very different but I don't think I really realised how much the chemo has affected them. I'm going to try again this afternoon and see if I can do it. I've been told it's an accumulative type thing and it should go away with time - I really hope so. Sorry, I do realise this is a lot about something that I guess (in the grand scheme of things) is incredibly trivial but it is playing on my mind. I also bought a pair of boots (online) which have arrived but I can't tell if they fit me properly or not as my feet are completely numb. It is very strange indeed. Fingers crossed (oh ha ha) it will go away soon.

Anyway, as I am sure you can deduce from that, we are home! I can honestly say, I have never been happier to walk into the house. I was even happy to see the cat! She wasn't that fussed about seeing us.

We got the Sleeper home which was quite fun but I didn't sleep a wink. I had done so much walking on Friday (compared to days previous), and I thought that would help... Well it didn't! Oh well, I managed to finish my book and it was comfortable! Here's a wee snap of me - happy as I'm in my PJ's, reading Vogue and eating Pringles.

The train was delayed a bit but it was great to see Dad at the station and drive home. I can't believe it's been 4 weeks. I went to bed and tried to sleep during the day but just couldn't drift off. Yesterday I was going crazy due to sleep deprivation. I spoke to my Auntie Rosemary on the phone and I think I must've gone on for ages about it, it's all I can think about! But now, I'm getting so worked up about the fact I can't sleep and it's becoming more of an issue. The above doesn't even make sense does it?! Anyway, good news - I DID sleep last night. I think I probably got about 8 hours in total which is the most I've slept in sooooo long. I feel a bit better today so I'm hoping my pattern will go back to normal now.

The house is very quiet at the moment. Dad is at church and Rona and Teenie are still in Paris. It looks like such a lovely day outside and I'd love to be able to go out for a walk but I just don't know if I have the energy. I'm always told not to push myself but I feel like I'm being so lazy all the time! One other thing, I still have a really weird taste in my mouth all the time - like a soapy taste. I presume it's from the chemo but technically that should be out of my system by now. Hmmm... I think I'm gonna have to dig out the sour sweeties again. If only to take a picture of Teenie when she eats one.

I don't have any great plans this week. Granny Fearn is hopefully coming to stay for a few days but I don't really think I'll be doing much at all. Maybe I'll get her to teach me how to make scones.. I hope everyone is having a lovely Sunday.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Dreaming about sleep

Is that even possible? It can't be possible. In order to dream, you need to be asleep (which obviously, I'm not) so I am day-dreaming about sleep. Yes that makes more sense. It is very strange to be so tired but unable to drift off. The other night I was listening to the shipping news on Radio 4 and THAT didn't even work. In the end a programme about the translation of the King James version of the Bible got me. After that started, I fell asleep for about 2 hours which was great progress. Maybe I should i-player that programme and play it on loop. Hmmmm. Yesterday at Charing Cross we were waiting for ages and I very nearly fell asleep in the waiting room. I'm not really one to sleep in public places so I was quite surprised. The only time I force myself to sleep in a public place is at camp. Every time I've been to camp with William, we are first to volunteer to take the kids to the cinema so we can have a nap. It's quite an expensive nap but totally worth it. So basically, I am beyond the point of tiredness and I just can't sleep! If anybody has any suggestions, fire them my way.

Yesterday was quite a long day - the first day I had worn actual clothes and put on make up for quite some time! We arrived at the hospital early for my appointment and bumped into a friend from Ward 6 South, Suzanne. It was great for a catch up. The people I met on the ward in November were so lovely and it's been really nice that we've been able to stay in touch.

So, we eventually got into the clinic and as Prof is away, we saw one of his colleagues. I've met him briefly before and he was fully clued up on me so that was good. He was really helpful and confirmed that I will definitely will be having another round of the high dose. He said that studies (which there are not many of) confirm that two rounds of the treatment are more likely to zap all the cells. In their eyes I tolerated the high dose very well (even though I felt like I didn't!) and he was very keen to move things quickly. He said I should prepare myself to begin the next round at the end of January. He feels that if the two rounds are done closely together, there is a better chance of getting rid of all the horrid cells. However, he did say that the problem with me is that I am 'unique' (oh great) and that there is no exact way forward so they are working on a hunch. Their 'hunches' have all been correct so far so I guess we need to go with what they say. He didn't say anything I wasn't really expecting so that was fine. By this point, mother and I were STARVING so we popped over to Pizza Express for some grub. I surprised myself that I was able to walk that far - how lame does that sound?! From all the different times I've been at Charing Cross, I think Mum was a bit sick of the place but she got a glass of wine so wasn't that fussed.

Today was an appointment at Hammersmith which was supposed to be at 11am... 2 hours later we see the doctor! Anywho, we just had a blether about my medication (which apparently I now no longer have to take as I'm not neutropenic) and discussed dates for the next round of high dose. He said I dealt with the treatment very well and that my stay in hospital was a lot shorter than the average. I can't believe how much I complained compared to how long some people have to stay in for! Gosh I moaned a lot about it. Anyway, he said they wouldn't think about giving me the next round until the middle of March as my body needs time to recover. He said that my lungs have taken quite a bash from all the chemo I've already had and they need quite a bit of time to pick up. So now we have a bit of a dilemma... The prof isn't back until next week and we think he'll push for it to be quite soon but the doc today is very reluctant to do that as he doesn't want to cause even more damage. It's something they need to sort out and I need to trust in their wisdom but it's quite a lot to get my head around! Hopefully they'll decide soon and we'll be able to make some concrete plans.

On the plus side, we are travelling back to Glasgow tonight! Mum and I are booked first class on the Sleeper and I'm quite excited. Ruth and Ally came to London on it and had a hoot. I'm just looking forward to being in my pyjama's on a train.

I've not been off the laptop in days and I'm feeling like a bit of a computer geek. I can't wait for some energy to return and I can get out and do things! I'm so excited to be heading home as well. One thing I can't wait to do is go to bed and re-read Sense and Sensibility (I don't care if that sounds sad). I think it is probably my favourite Jane Austen and for some reason I have a total hankering to read it right now. My hands and feet have gone totally mental from the chemo (numb/pins and needles/cramping) which is why I've not been great at texting back and replying to folk via email or facebook - easier on the olde fingers! I'm also looking forward to playing the piano. I really don't know what I'll be able to manage with my hands like this but I am determined to learn to play a few ceilidh pieces in time for Burns Night!

Also, I am absolutely rubbish at New Years Resolutions but this year I have made one... At some point in 2011, I am going to make a Croque en Bouche. Here is a snap of how one should look (well 3 in this picture)...

I'm unsure why I want to make one but oh well. It can't be that hard eh?!

I still have Jamie's camera (after borrowing it for Tasha's wedding in July...) and last night got round to putting up some pictures from December. We went out for dinner for Teenie's birthday on 10th December and here's some snaps from that...

Oh this was the hair situation - starting to thin again and fall out everywhere. Very annoying.

James doing the Home Alone pose. He is convinced he had never seen it, total lies. He also knows exactly how to play Rummy.

The next night was an early Christmas Dinner with the usual suspects and here's a few snaps of that... I do love a good snap. How excited does Jamie look?!

It was a lovely evening and feels so long ago now! The next day was not nice at all - this is Teenie and I trying to smile before we left for the train...

To end, here are some pictures of my room... I loved the flower decorations Stef sent - really brightened it up and everyone commented on how nice they were! Thanks dear.

So, I think that's probably enough for today. Sorry if I have bored you! Hopefully my next blog will be from Uddingston... And I will have got some sleep.