Monday, 20 October 2008

50! Not Out

A beautiful arrangement of David Austin Roses sent me by my Sister-in-Law 'Ben'

Some of you will know this already, some of you wont. My 50th birthday last week was supposed be spent in South Africa. We had a long held dream to celebrate both mine and the iGit's October birthdays. He had announced his plan to do this a long time ago, in the interim between his and my 50th years. The timing would be perfect, both the children would be happily ensconced in University, we had heaps of credit with neighbours on the cat sitting and garden care rostas, and felt confident to leave everything for a week or three.

A few of the many Giraffes munching their way through their hay ration in the Giraffe House

Spring starts in September in South Africa, the Fynbos erupts and this is what I wanted to see so much along with the Botanical Garden at Kirstenbosch. Of course we had planned a Safari too, a trip to the Kruger National Park to see all the large animals, a balloon trip, and various other delights. Sadly, my current circumstances got in the way, and all has been put on hold until next year now.

A Sand Cat, the size of a domestic moggy and equally cute patrols his territory

Not to be beaten, we went on a miniature Safari of our own, to Marwell Zoo. I pass the brown tourist information signs for the Zoo each day on the M3, as we make the 80 mile round trip between home and Southampton Hospital for Radiotherapy. The gods smiled on us and granted me a perfect sunny autumn day for my jaunt to celebrate my birthday. So the iGit and I made our way to the Zoo for a gentle afternoon walk amongst the Zebra, Giraffe and various large cats. I also got the chance to try out my brand new Digital SLR Camera, that my clever husband had bought me, it will be a while before I am able to take full advantage of its wonderful optics and functions, but I made a start, and learned a lot whilst we ambled around oohhhing and ahhhing at all the fabulous beasts.

The most stunning Snow Leopard, normally found in the Himalayas , not the Hampshire Downs

Just a quick update on the treatment aspect, as I know some of you want to know how I am doing. I had my 9th Radiotherapy (RT) session today, I saw the Oncologist afterwards due to the radiotherapists concerns about the size of my breast, and now have to see my Breast Surgeon tomorrow afternoon in Basingstoke, after my RT treatment in Southampton. The Antibiotics don't seem to be clearing up the infection properly despite taking two courses back to back. I now have what I refer to as my 'Comedy Boob'; very swollen, more than twice its normal size; very red, and quite uncomfortable. The monstrosity bras went out the window as they wont go anywhere near me anymore. That situation suits the Radiotherapists, they don't want you wearing one anyway, but I know I shall get a ticking off by the Breast Care Nurses tomorrow for not wearing one when I go to see the Surgeon. It's one area where I am frequently given conflicting advise. The outcome of tomorrow according to the Oncologist is that I will be probably be admitted to Southampton Hospital so that I can continue my Radiotherapy whilst having antibiotics and whatever else I need intravenously to clear the infection up. I suspect I shall be silent for a few days again, so please don't be offended if I don't reply to emails I won't have access to the Internet in all probability.


Elizabethd said...

Zoe, I'm glad you had a good day but so sorry you had to miss such a wonderful holiday. Make it a target for the future.
As we are doing, having had to cancel a special Swiss holiday due to my husband's stroke.
You are in my thoughts and prayers Zoe.

lampworkbeader said...

Good luck with the treatment. You are in my thoughts

elizabethm said...

Good for you for having your mini safari and I am sorry to hear that you are going to be admitted again. I am sure it is the best thing but it is no fun going into patient mode is it?
Will be thinking of you and continuing to admire your very true grit!

mountainear said...

We must learn to use our posh DSLRs together. I have a very point and shoot brain but my eyes tell me there is much more out there.

Best wishes to you and the comedy Boob - which I'm sure is really No Laughing Matter. Take care. x

Cait O'Connor said...

Great photos Zoe.
I hope your infection clears soon, will be thinking of you.

Frances said...

Hello to you Zoe,

Your mini birthday safari surely did give you lots of beautiful animals to photograph. You already seem to have quite a good command over your new camera.

Best wishes on the next bunch of treatments. Surely the medicos will be able to stop that infection. Looking forward to hearing from you whenever you have time and inclination to write more.

You really are a remarkable lady!


Pipany said...

Well that will just make next year a special birthday too won't it? I am sorry you had to cancel it for such upsetting reasons Zoe, but glad to hear you had such a lovely day at the zoo. The snow leopard is truly stunning.

Good luck with the hospital visit. Sending heaps of love to you xx

Sarah S. said...

It sounds as if your birthday was fun and the camera, well enough said!

I hope you are feeling better and your appointment goes well. I am sending you good thoughts all the way from the US!

Jean Bradbury said...

How clever to replace an African safari with a local one. The snow leopard takes my breath away. I hope that time passes quickly in the hospital and that you will soon be home to your own blue eyed snow leopard. (gorgeous picture btw)

Patsi said...

Can't imagine having so many infections...
You're a strong lady.
Thinking of you.

ChrisH said...

Happy belated birthday and well done for creating your own safari celebration. Hope the comedy boob starts behaving. Best wishes.

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

I just found you. But I wish for you the best, certainly. I am 52, don't know my family history, and so far have been lucky. But you never know when this disease will hit you. (Wow, I do hate bras, and I'm a size D, unfortunately.)

Lucy said...

Had no idea there were snow leopards in Hampshire!

On top of everything else, it must be wildly frustrating to be given a camera then be obliged to leave it at home. (I don't suppose they want a resident photographer on the ward?)

But, if they have kept you in for intravenous anti-biotics . . . I hope there are some good and interesting things about being in hospital that you will be able to make the most of; I hope you get home soon; and hope you get rid of that infection pretty smartish too.

Best wishes


Pomona Belvedere said...

Hi Zoe,

I'm sorry to have missed your birthday--glad you got to have a kind of practice S. African trip with your wonderful new camera.

I don't know if you'd be interested in trying any alternatives to antibiotics for your infection or inflammation, but if so please email me and I can steer you to some possibilties.

I suppose you are already using ice? Not madly comfortable, but it often helps.

Withy Brook said...

I hope that by now, the infection has been zapped and you are home again.
Envious of the SLR. Think I need one!
Love and prayers still winging their way towards you

Mother Nature's Garden said...

I pray your treatment goes well.

emmat said...

Such a cool idea to go to the zoo, I LOVE that little kitten. I hope you are feeling abit better by now... sounds yucky. And painful. XXxx

Exmoorjane said...

I loved your local safari, particularly the pics of those giant puss-cats.....looks to me like you're getting the swing of the new camera pretty darn fast.
Sorry though to hear about the swollen boob....sounds horribly painful. Sending loads of love

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

My thoughts are with you Zoe, I saw a wonderful full body picture of 'you' from Chealsea Flower show you where very very beautiful! The moss lady. Greatings and LOL from Tyra

CAMILLA said...

Hello Zoe,

Sorry to hear that you were not able to make it to Africa for your planned holiday. Do not rule it out though Zoe, hoping that you will take that holiday next year.

Wonderful photo's you have posted for us of lovely animals at the Zoo, and I adore David Austen Roses, that pink one is so beautiful.

Hope you are resting with some lovely books Zoe.

Love and Hugs,

vivh said...

Postponing isn't all bad. March, April and even May are excellent months to visit South Africa. Much better than spring when things can be sludgy and wet. In late summer or early autumn the weather is gently warm, golden even, the grasses are beautiful and there are far fewer tourists to contend with.