Introductions: Phil meet my friends… friends meet Phil

Dear Friends,
I hope this finds you and yours well not too snotty during the Snot Season.
I thought I should introduce you to Phil: Phil is the name I have given to my remaining neutrophil. Not exactly the most imaginative name I know, but “Phil the Neutrophil” made me smile, and I thought I could do a series like “Bob the Builder”, you can sing along “Phil the Neutrophil, can he kill it? Phil the Neutrophil, yes he can!”.
So the hypothesis has been proved positive: chemotherapy works. Following my blood tests yesterday and clinic this morning, I know my blood cells have been zapped, and although my platelets are just about alright, Phil is a bit too lonely for me to start on my next cycle of chemo tomorrow. Hopefully, by having a couple of weeks off, Phil will soon have lots of friends and we can then zap them all with a higher dose of chemo. I got the results from the CT scan I had a couple of weeks ago, which is the baseline for the adjuvant chemotherapy phase of treatment and, cue drum roll…. everything looks good, of course you’d expect nothing less from me, would you?
I think the Chemotherapy Tournament scoreline is not looking so favourable now. Vix is still performing well with no food wastage, but hase had a snotty cold, which counts as an infection, and have had some bleeding gums and nose bleeds. I think to date, after 28 days of play, the “clean day” count is 19, so Vix still leads 19-9. I’ll have to look up the rules on chemo dosing delays though, I’m not sure if that’s the equivalent to a yellow card sin-binning, or play being suspended. If anyone knows, please do let me tell. Every cloud has a silver lining though…. the gathering this coming weekend up in the north west of Scotland, for Fifi’s Pre-marriage (but not-Hen) Do, I will be chemo-free. Happy days. I will continue to gently self-medicate with Guinness to look after my red blood cells.
My Lent resolve is proving quite a challenge, and some days I have had to do double-ups if I’d not written the previous day. “Double-ups” work when you take up things for Lent, but doesn’t work so well if you give them up. I have had some grammatical queries though, including how one transition from the verb to the noun. For example, I got referred to as “a writer”, to which, I thought, yes, I can use a pencil or pen and dump stuff on paper, but I call that writing. When does one go from someone who writes, or writing, to being a writer. Similarly, after last weekend with Mum and me on a residential upholstery course, we did a very fine job on my wing-back arm chair. Some people do suggest that it is always a good idea to start with something simple, like a stool…. but we learnt lots starting with something not-so-simple. So, after a weekend of banging, hammering and upholstering, are we now upholsterers? If anyone can help with my understanding of the English language usage, I’d be most grateful.
I am delighted that Scotland managed to come good with a reasonable performance against England and a win against Italy at the weekend, meaning that we managed to push the Wooden Spoon on to the Latinos. I’ve never been able to attend so many of the Six Nations matches before and it’s been a real treat catching up with old rugby friends and Iain’s family this weekend, going to watch the Scotland Women play on Sunday after giving out the jerseys to the squad, and meeting up with some of the auld ladies from my playing era. I am very glad that we didn’t play in those tight-fitting spray-on jerseys in my day though. Even when one does have a mangy dog hair-do and Phil is lonely, there’s something about the rugby community which is very special and supportive, so if you’ve not tried it, I do advocate having a go. Go on, get muddy, battered and bruised and make new friends.
I’ve just featured in the Daily Record, and not as a pin-up I hasten to add. Hopefully this helps with Brain Tumour Awareness month and also interest in the charity Big Walk. The hard-copy version is a full 2 page spread, with good pictures, given what the photographer was working with, he did a good job! Here’s the on-line version:
Do let us know if you fancy some walking over the Easter break and feel free to send on the details to your friends who are game – the more the merrier. Information for the Portree to Glasgow walk is on:
The Southern Lowland Walk taking place on Easter Sunday in Bedfordshire, information can be obtained from Amanda on
Please do support us physically or via  to support the Beatson Pebble Appeal to support the Maggie’s Cancer Centre to support Macmillan Cancer Support
For your amusement and to ensure you laugh today, after all, it is very good for your wellbeing, please enjoy the following, with sound on:
Julie Sweeney’s Sex Education Monologue
Just remember there’s always the alternative answer of “Ask your Dad”
Alternative Flight of the Bumblebee:
Lastly a bit of poetry by Mary Anne Radmacher, which I think says it all.
Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen Hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.

Live, love and laugh, lunch and long lie-ins
Big kisses and bone-crunching hugs
Vix xxxxxxxxx
P.S. Please keep your normality news and updates flowing


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