Belated Valentine’s Day wishes and big wet kisses, imaginary flowers and BIG love to you… I do hope you made time for some loving for those near and dear to you.
I’m now back in Glasgow, after my three weeks south of Hadrian’s wall. I had a lovely trip enjoying quality time with friends, family and colleagues. My trip included a total of three Burns’ Night Suppers: lucky I love haggis so, and great to see it being appreciated south of the border too. Ragdale Hall with Mum and Julie was a lovely start to my NHS holiday, where I was buffed, scrubbed, massaged and pampered. Contrary to my prior visits there, I did very little in the way of real exercise, and far more lounging and lolling. In fact, I don’t think I broke a sweat at all, and I certainly didn’t miss a meal either. So, I continue to be an atypical cancer patient with regards to weight loss. Alas, my chemotherapy hasn’t resolved the ongoing female challenge of hair removal with my “mangy dog” patchy-head hair look prevails. I’m pretty much used to it now, and have learnt a new life skill that I never thought I’d have: the art of shaving my own head. My look does seem to turn some heads though, and I do feel the need at times, although I’ve not yet done it, to remind people that it’s rude to point and stare.
I had a few days at my house in Barkway and time sorting out the contents and sale-related stuff and fitting in lots of lunches and dinner to catch-up with friends and neighbours. Then I checked-in to Hotel Hensby, to which I award a six star rating. Not only did I have full-board personalised care, I had a 24 hour chauffeur service, a warmed bed every night, wonderful company, and I got to play with a gorgeous 14 week old Labrador puppy. Who could ask for anything more? A massive thanks to Family Hensby for welcoming me into their home and family life. I promise I’ll be back. Harry can look forward to more help with his maths homework if he wants it!
I made trips into the Big Smoke, Oxfordshire and Leicester to meet up with old friends and their babes. It was lovely to be a Lady who lunches, and to get my quota of baby and kiddy fun, catch-up on gossip and excitedly talk about the Six Nations Rugby in anticipation over a few beers, and watch some junior rugby too. We had a mini Galbraith Clan gathering in Edinburgh last weekend for the battle between the Scots and Welsh and to partake in a few Guinness and drams. I am hoping the Scots are going to show some improvement over the next few weeks otherwise we are serious wooden spoon contenders. Sincere thanks to my French and Welsh friends for not being too smug about their wins against Scotland.
It was great to catch-up with friends from Roche and hear how life there goes on…. I never knew I would miss work, the community and my colleagues, as much as I do. I feel kind of “worksick” if that can be used to mean the same for work that homesick does for home. The routine of work, even though at times it feels like you’re on a treadmill, and the commute is a grind, is something I just wish I could be doing now and have that comfortable normality and sense of purpose. I think it’s when these things are taken from us by events outside our control that it’s most difficult to adjust. An extended period of leave might be something we all hanker for, but I can assure you it’s best when it’s chosen as opposed to by necessity. As I have talked to fellow patients and staff within the NHS, there’s been much interest and admiration of what we do at Roche, and it’s certainly leaves me with a good feeling about my little contribution in this big universe, and makes me want my former normality back more so.
My current sense of purpose continues to be charity fundraising, along with getting better. The VixBigShave donations have been totalled and I am utterly amazed that we together raised over eight thousand pounds for the chosen charities, simply from hair shaving, some waxing by the brave, coffee mornings and bald biscuit baking and wine mulling: those involved are utterly fantastic.
The VixBigWalk to clinic has taken shape nicely thanks to my Chief Operations Officer, Dad (a.k.a. Alasdair). If you would like to support us by joining in the walk and getting sponsors, or by sponsoring those taking part, that would be much appreciated. To join in, you don’t need to be and 2012 Olympic contender or fit as the proverbial butchers’ dog: I’d love to have some gentle walking companions. My pre-BigWalk training will include starting chemotherapy. Not your normal training for a big long walk I know and I certainly don’t expect the same of my co-walkers! All the information you need can be found on https://vixbigstuff.wordpress.com/ a blog which the wonderful Wiggy has created for me. Those of you who know me will be well, you will be aware that anything as clever and techie as creating a website is well and truly beyond me, so massive thanks Wiggy, I owe you a pint ;o)
On 14th February, between my imaginary florist deliveries, I had my first visit back to hospital to have some blood taken ahead of clinic yesterday. The news was that my neutrophils are still a bit low, so I’m getting another week “off”. It’s a bit of an odd feeling, combined with my post holiday blues, as I had psyched myself up ready for the kick-off of the chemotherapy tournament, and I now have a week of pseudo holiday. I’ve also been started on anti-seizure medication as I’ve been periodically having this funny metallic taste sensation and a stage-fright feeling in my stomach, that is worse than any I’ve ever had before presenting to big audiences in real life, and apparently that constitutes mild seizures. So, I will see how that goes and hope that it’s all good signs of brain repair and the result of chemoradiation doing it’s intended thing. I will keep believing in science, drugs, the power of positive thought, a good night’s sleep, and will remain open to all your prayers and wishes from all directions, of all kinds, and will keep my crystals with me, eat some more hemp and green turmeric, just in case, together, they can get me fully well again.
For your leisure time, a great YouTube viewing to enjoy with the sound on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eBT6OSr1TI Dan and Dan
Lastly, a bit of poetry for you that I find inspirational:
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool.
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement.
To expose feeling is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To live is to risk dying.
To hope is to risk despair.
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing and is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he cannot learn, feel, change, grow, or live.
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
Live, love and laugh
Big kisses and bone-crunching hugs
P.S. Please keep your news and updates flowing as they are a massive help to stay in a positive state of mind and remember what normality is all about. Your snippets of real life do bring a smile to me:
I did laugh the other day when a friend described her little boy’s amazement at himself with his first standing wee: marvelling in the Laws of Physics associated with pressure, velocity, gravity and fluid dynamics.