Canned Tuna

I am delighted to share with you my Good News, in a non-biblical sense. Recently, I have been somewhat wobbly, and that’s not just my extra few pounds gained whilst on chemo. It’s been emotional wobbles, which you could say I should expect, plus some comfort-food wobbles. I admit that at the moment, I am carrying a bit of excess baggage, and not just in my head. I’ve been celebrating anniversaries and re-living days, thoughts and feelings… the Original Big Stuff has going through my head one year on. The fundamental question   “Has the tuna been canned?” has been answered. There’s been a look inside my head, without the need for a Neurosurgeon: I had an MRI Scan on 14th November up in Glasgow where my cancer care continues. The trip north had its silver linings as I got to see the Wallace Clan in Fintry, and Amanda came with me to help me get through the days, hours and minutes. Massive credit where it’s due, she did have me laughing before and after my near-puke scanning experience. I’ve re-written the Patient Information Sheet for your enjoyment, it’s posted with my other musings. It describes my experience in detail if you want to know more about what it’s like with your head inside an MRI scanner for an eternity. Thanks to those friends and family involved in the Global Positive Vibe Transfer (GPVT) for my scan day and the GPVT in the series, on second results day. I was almost knocked over by the torrents of vibes, deafened by the whooshes of wishes, and bashed by the blasts of blessings and pulses of prayers and glasses being raised to me. The knowledge that I am in your thoughts is massively comforting, and the power of the collective positive vibe is not to be underestimated. A BIG thank you vibe is coming right back at you.

The two week wait between my scan on 14th November and my Neuro Oncology Clinic appointment on 28th November required me to live through a total of twenty thousand, one hundred and sixty minutes. At times, it felt like lots more than one million, two hundred and nine thousand and six hundred seconds. My memories of Richard Whitely’s clock in the TV quiz-show Countdown has been on extended replay:

Da, da, da, daa, daa, da,

Da, da, da, daa, daa, da,

Da, da, da, daa, daa, da,d ta

Doo dumb, doo dumb, doopety dooop daaaaa!

Fast forward? No, no, no… I have to make sure that I live every minute…  Pause? No, no, no… I want the bloody results… It’s been a bit like the two week wait between IVF embryo implantation and testing to see if you are pregnant, except that I want to know that there’s nothing extra inside my head, that it’s my positive outcome, the absence of tuna, rather than a positive outcome by the presence of something extra. I could have done with a bit of David Tennant to be honest, in more ways than one. I could have been his Dr Who’s Assistant.  I’ve been trying to pass the time by having good times, with laughs and silliness, with friends and family, and as part of that, almost a year to the day of having a golf-balled sized tumour removed from my head, I closely averted having a real golf ball implanted in my head when I spent some time down the driving range with Amanda and my Scar Brother Harry. I have been largely totally sober, yet skeamandering my way through the one million or so seconds between scan and results. I’m working on increasing and developing my skills of being patient, I’ll put it on my Personal Development Plan for 2012. I think the stress of the wait almost gave me a heart attack, which would have been a touch ironic, if I’d been found cold, in a heap post myocardial infarct.

So, the Good, in fact wexcellent* News: between you, the GPVT, the clever medics and me being a tough old thing, we have made it work. My Consultant is very happy with me, I’ve done “better than great” in his words: I am technically stable, and the after effects of the treatment that I am learning to live with, are entirely normal. To celebrate, I’ve been skipping, doing cartwheels and flick flacks in joy, and have just about managed to avoid pulled muscles in muscles that were about fit to burst with tension.

How time flies…. 2012 Calendars on sale on 1st December. If you need a bit of naked me on your kitchen wall, here’s your chance. The Bare All for Brain Tumours 2012 Charity Calendar is raising much needed funds explicitly for research into brain tumours. I’m not sure what month I am, and I haven’t seen the proof version, so I am hoping that the camera was kind, and the six packs of Guinness, and muffin tops don’t detract.  The calendar was launched in Aberdeen, by the great lady whose idea it was.

I was very disappointed at the publicity of International Brain Tumour Awareness week that preceded Bonfire Night. I even called national BBC Radio a couple of times to try and get a mention, but it seems that National Sausage Day was more worthy in their eyes. So, I thought that maybe I should set-up a camp, outside some religious building, in the style of the anti-capitalist protesters at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. I was wondering if I could get a somewhere where there’s actually a campsite though, rather than using the pavement, so it’d be (a) more comfy on the grass, and (b) there’d be the benefits of basic sanitation. May be I’ll leave it until the summer.

Pudsey Bear and Matt Whatsisname cycled through Barkway a while back on his fundraising cycle from Edinburgh to London for Children in Need. It caused a riot in Barkway, with fellow villagers standing outside their homes, waving flags and cheering and shouting. Now there’s an idea for a fundraiser… but bagsy I’m not in the saddle and I’m sitting in the rickshaw and being towed the length of the country, or maybe further afield even… “Vix in Need”, what do you think?

Plans for 2012 and fundraising have begun: I am thinking of “Vix Gets Around by Halves” in that I want to will do a series of half marathons and may be the odd triathlon, in nice locations, if invited by friends to join them. I’ve already signed up for 2012 Dingle Half Marathon & Blenheim Triathlon. I recognise that I may suffer from “donor fatigue” in these times of economic hardship, so I am hoping to tap into the benefits of pyramid giving, as opposed to pyramid selling, to continue my brain tumour awareness and cancer charity fundraising work. And, as if by magic, Brain Tumour UK have just launched their World Record Challenge Marathon Relay around the UK. It will run from 4th-22nd May, and looking at the website, it looks amazing and incredibly well organised with a total of 140 marathons running in relay. I will be joining in some of it…. for sure. If you can run a marathon, and fancy getting involved, have a read and let me know.

A good one for those who are follicularly challenged and less inclined to wear lycra and trainers, that wear a hat day on 30th March 2012. I will if you will, it might take some serious training though. I can lend you a hat if you need to borrow one as I have a few following the generosity and creativity of friends who felt pity for skin-head me in Glasgow last year when we were sub-zero for months.

Please sign E-petition on BT awareness and funding of research into brain tumours:

Before I go off and do a bit more skipping and cart-wheeling, here’s a bit of philosophy for you:

Look to the sunshine, and the shadows fall behind you.

Living, Loving and Laughing, with big kisses and bone-crunching hugs Vix xxx

* Wexcellent = excellent + wonderful


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