Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Grounded! Grrr!

I think I should have this hung around my neck, I am feeling quite volatile; boredom is setting in!

I went to see the Oncologist yesterday, and after some discussion we settled on a course of 25 sessions of Radiotherapy starting in a couple of weeks time. I will get the appointment sent from Southampton direct, so I am not exactly sure when. I mentioned that I was quite uncomfortable under my arm, and in my shoulder. I had a full range of movement, but there was visible swelling, that had initially subsided after the surgery, but had returned and was visible in my arm too. The area felt hot and hard, and I've since noticed it in my breast too. A dull ache that doesn't go away when you take Paracetamol. I was referred to the Breast Care Nurse(BCN), so waited to see her afterwards.

The BCN asked had I been resting plenty, I lied - yes! I neglected to tell her that I had washed the utility room floor and then spent an hour and a half ironing sheets and pillow cases and various other items that morning, giving up using my left arm as it was too slow and cumbersome, and using my right instead. I omitted to tell her that the previous day, I had taken myself of to the nearest large town on the train, and spent 3 hours rummaging around the shops, carrying 4 bags full; 3 books from Waterstones, a bevy of bras from M and S, and a fabulous wool blanket found in TK Maxx.

She looked at me sideways, I am not a convincing liar, and proceeded to lecture me. Upshot is, I have to rest, and she means rest, til Friday, and take pain relievers/anti-inflammatory every 4 hours, and return to see her on Friday at 2.30. If the swelling hasn't subsided, she will drain it; I hate to think what that will entail, but I have a reasonable idea.

To make matters worse, my Mother called in yesterday lunchtime, and the first thing she saw was the ironing board. Icy glare. Then she asked why was my arm puffy. I felt about 11 years old again, ready to rebel and protest. Today, my Father phoned me, and effectively read the Riot Act, albeit with humour, and told me if I didn't start being sensible he was going to phone my Consultant and tell her how stupid I was! Grassed up! Tsk! So how am I feeling? A mixture of being really cross with myself for doing too much too soon, and being arrogant enough to think I could get away with it, and mind numbing boredom. Even the new books I bought and dragged home on the train, have lost their appeal. I'd really like to go for a walk, and take some pictures of what I find in the woods near the cottage, but that will probably do more harm than good too. Moany, moany, whiny whiny me; I know!

Monday, 15 September 2008

Life's a Picnic

Yesterday, the sun shone, and we decided to head to Epsom, were both my children are now living, to see how Little Bird had settled in, and spend a day together as a family again; I was desperate for some normality, and simple pleasures. We made a picnic, not the usual fare, as I am still a bit limited in what I can and can't easily do, my arm is still sore and I have decided to let my body tell me when its OK to go full steam ahead and resume normal frenetic activity. Even so we dined on freshly baked baguettes stuffed to overflowing with Tuna and sweetcorn, Strawberries, Bananas and Grapes, Chocolate and Blueberry Muffins, and our families favourite sins; Giant Cadbury Chocolate Buttons, and Waitrose own Jelly Babies!

My Son had walked to my Daughter's place. We called in, and stayed a while, meeting some of her new housemates, and for me finally a chance to check out her garret now that she had turned it from attic to home. Although much smaller than the space she had here, it retained the quirkiness of home. Sloping walls and ceilings, the ubiquitous piles of fashion magazines, fabrics, and notebooks everywhere. My daughter is studying Fashion Journalism, and the previous day had been scouting the West End in London, and had made her way to Mayfair. She proudly showed me a bag she had blagged from the Marc Jacobs' store, essential a cotton shopper, emblazoned with the Marc Jacobs' logo that we are all being encouraged to use instead of plastic in these days of recycling. Recommended Retail Price? Seven Pounds!!

We piled into the car and headed the short distance to Epsom Downs, famous for the race course, and the Epsom Derby. We parked up near Tattenham Corner, and unloaded the boot. We lay rugs on the grass, and the wicker Optima hamper that I had won in a competition some years earlier, courtesy of The English Garden magazine. Both my children love picnics, it is something we did often when they were kids. Teatime is so much more fun when you pack a basket full of goodies and walk half a mile to sharpen the appetite to a nearby Wood.

After lunch, we went walking. Just behind where we picniced is a Public Golf Course, with fabulous views over the Thames Valley of London. The brow of the hill we stood on was about 600 feet above sea level (son has an iPhone with GPS), and I surveyed the plain as it stretched out before us. I love this view, even 17 miles out, London has a magical potency, and energy, and it is easy to understand why it draws so many people to its streets. We walked the grass paths as dozens of horses and riders appeared to be taking part in a mounted orienteering competition. Within the bounds of the race course, horse boxes disgorged horses and ponies of all shaped and sizes, from portly coloured Cobs to bright grey Welsh Mountain types. Further away in the centre of the racecourse, family groups flew huge kites in the welcome breeze. We bumped into some of my son's flatmates and chatted a while, all returning to his home to freshen up, and then consume the delights of dinner at a local Italian restaurant. After we walked Little Bird back to her new home. It was strange to say goodnight to her on a foreign step, and I learned to let go a little more. We walked back through the town to my son's and said our goodbyes too. It was strange to drive away, and leave them to their lives, having spent the whole day together as if nothing had changed since childhood. I settled down into the passenger seat of my car. Tiredness almost overwhelmed me and I fought back the tears that wanted to come, and thought to myself NO; be happy for them. And I am. I have put a couple of pictures of the amazing view from the Golf Course towards London, hopefully you can make the landmarks out.


Looking over Docklands to the East, you can make out Canary Wharf and the 'Gerkin'


To the West, you can clearly see the Arch over Wembley Stadium