5th September 2007It is the end of the summer and winter is on the way.
The utter kindness of the staff at the Marsden brings me very close to tears. I am feeling vulnerable this morning and I am 45 minutes late for my mammogram (well, half mammogram!) and have also forgotten to bring my blue hospital appointment card!
My apologies and excuses for these misdemeanors due to nervousness about being here, and the London traffic game of snakes and ladders regarding parking; congestion charge; finding a meter; having enough change for a meter; trying to dodge a ticket whilst you are buying a Daily Mail in order to get change for the meter, have just been waved aside by a warm receptionist with a kind smile and an “Oh don’t worry, dear”.
I settle into the charming newly decorated calm blue waiting room with fresh green plants for only two minutes before being collected by a smiling angel called Rosa who whisks me through to her Mammogram X ray room, and, having manoeuvred me into precise position like a ballerina at the bar, squashes flat my remaining boob and X-rays it while I chatter on nervously about why I am nervous and what I plan to do if they find anything. The plan would be to immediately ‘have it off’ (the other boob Russell!) and go for a double reconstruction, which I keep being told can produce boobs better than your original ones – though, may I say without modesty that in my case that would be quite hard to do!
Rosa, I know, is not allowed to tell me much, but from what I got out of her psychically, I’m pretty sure, fingers crossed, that there is nothing to be concerned about and I shall have my results on Friday when I go for my next Herceptin drip and see the doctor.
I am now free to go home and still feel a bit tearful – trying to work out what I’m feeling, I find there are so many different emotions stored up. A year ago, the axe came down and I sat in this same blue oasis in terror and shock. I dare not, not be worried this time! What a year it has been. What sort of a year lies ahead? In spite of my emotions I feel intuitively, that it is going to be a good one.
Rosa and her young man are into holistic healing and have a very good website – why not check it out on www.thestarbody.com
September 15th 2007
I am feeling battered. After a battery of tests and needles this week plus an aching tooth, I am not my usual cheerful self. In addition to the Mammogram, I have been injected with radioactive fluid so that my heart action could be assessed by a huge scanning machine, I have had my 3 weekly Herceptin drip and I have had two teeth removed at the dentist – one of which he could not numb completely to make way for the bridge that is being prepared and which will rest on two titanium implants that were put in 6 weeks ago. Neither tooth was suitable to carry the bridge.
Thankfully, all the results of the tests were clear when I saw the Oncologist on Wednesday. I also told her that I couldn’t face the thought of going back on the Arimidex with the resulting muscle aches and pains which were seizing me up and she has switched me to another drug called Tamoxifen. She spent a good hour explaining the different way each drug works. The Arimidex kills any oestrogen hormone that the body is manufacturing so that if by any chance I had a cancer cell still in my body it couldn’t feed on oestrogen and grow. The Tamoxifen which I have switched to has a slightly different approach in that it blocks the receptor pockets on a cancer cell and prevents oestrogen from entering the cell to feed it. Both have very good results and more than halve the 20% risk of cancer returning, but I would definately rather be blocking the hormones I am making in my body than killing off what would appear to be a natural process, so I will report back on Tamoxifen and any side effects in a couple of weeks. I can expect hot flashes which will hopefully wear off in time.Something rather interesting took place at the Boot Inn, though, in the midst of this post holiday, anti-climactic week.
An Icelandic family consisting of Árni Daníel Júlíusson and his two attractive teenage children Ari and Maria, came to stay and took two of my rooms. Over breakfast one morning as I was making Arni his coffee and light conversation, I mentioned that my father had been in Iceland during WW2. He was there to defend Iceland from the Germans who might have used it as a strategic launching pad, however, apart from the odd air raid, no serious attempt was made and the troups had rather an easy war and had to find ways to amuse themselves when they were not digging bunkers (in case). Apart from editing a newspaper called the Iceland Times for the men and a large intake of alcohol, it seems, my father enjoyed the company of a young Icelandic girl called Asta. He had kept all the love letters she wrote him and they were sweet and charming and full of funny gramatical errors and of great interest to Arni Juliusson, because of the descriptions of those times which apparently there is very little record of in Iceland.
He asked if he could copy them and take them home with him and I of course agreed. He also said that he would be able to find Asta as the population of Iceland is only 300,000 and there was a database of everyone on the Island. Also Asta lived in a very small village quite near to his home. He said he would call his wife and see what she could find out. It was very exciting and I was all set to fly immediately to Iceland and embrace this elderly lady who had known my father so well, but very sadly Arni came home with the news that his wife had indeed tracked Asta down, but she had died last year in her nineties and had gone blind in her latter years. I suddenly felt very sad. Silly because this old lady had mean't nothing to me the day before, but suddenly, with the chance of finding her, she became real and I felt a sense of loss for a day or two.
Arni who appeared to be the straightest, and most respectable man you could meet later informed me that he had been a punk rocker in the 80's and has sent me pictures of himself in one of his bands. There is never a dull moment at the Boot Inn and you never know who you are going to meet next. He is pictured on the far right in stripes!