I hope this finds you well, enjoying the changing colours of the leaves as they turn, the chill of the mornings and mistiness. As I watch the leaves fall, I feel in betwixt and in between, in a twilight place. A place of change: thicker jumpers, hats, gloves, scarves; working out how to turn the central heating on again, and lighting log fires.
I’m in a twilight place, as I’m in a waiting place again, after my September MRI scan at the end of cycle 2 of this chemotherapy. I waited for my clinic appointment, and prepared myself, results day. I prepared myself thinking that I was doing well, “looking good, feeling good….” I kept telling myself as a positive affirmation, but there’s always a voice of “what if” in my head. The news was not quite what I was hoping for: the scan hadn’t been reported by the radiologist yet. Big tut, and a bigger sigh. We looked at my brain images on the screen with the consultant, and Mum and I played “spot the difference” between the September and May scans. There are changes in my brain, so we need to wait, wait patiently, for the radiologists opinion. Irrespective of the scan results, I wouldn’t have been allowed to start cycle 3 of chemo this week, because Phil the neutrophil (you may remember his wayward behaviour from my blog back in March 2011). Phil deserves an ASBO. He again is a loner and lacking companions. My immune system is depleted, despite me managing this cycle of chemo pretty much free from bugs and infections. So, being immunocomprimised, means I delay the next whack of chemotherapy. The silver lining of this situation, which I have gotten very good at looking for, is that if the chemo is that good at wiping out my white blood cells, hopefully it’s equally good at wiping out redcurrant tuna cells. It’s an odd place mentally though. I’d gone up to Glasgow hoping for more chemo. That is one of those things that I never thought I’d say “I want more chemo”. Now I have been sent away, with Phil in detention as his performance isn’t worthy of an A*. We’ve been sent away for a week, to grow and mature friends for Phil.
Since I last wrote you, I’ve been keeping myself busy, living life to the full. I had my summer holiday in Yorkshire, at Lumb Bank, the Arvon Writing centre in Hebden Bridge. While I was there, Hebden Bridge made national news, which I like to think was nothing to do with me. There were floods and rain. It was quite moist, and as one would expect, I didn’t get a tan from my writing holiday in Yorkshire. I learnt to write. I transitioned, I think, from the verb, “someone who likes writing” to the noun”, “Vicky is a Writer”. It was a Life Writing course, as I have a book in me wanting to come out. It’s been brewing and stewing, and I need to work it out. Along with my fellow Writers, a heterogeneous bunch of story tellers, and our Tutors, we read, wrote, listened, constructively critiqued and reviewed. We learnt about voice, structure, construction and the narrative arc, or was it Noah’s? While it rained outside, we thought about beginnings, middles and ends. Now, I just have to write it. There’s a fire in my belly, stoked by my fellow writers and Arvon.
I continue to work, and recently was part of a consortium of colleagues from Academia, the Pharma industry and Patient Advocacy Groups, working on an EU-funded project to ensure that Europe remains a good place to develop new drugs. Concurrently I’m reading Bend Goldacre’s new book “Bad Pharma” are I am trying to make sense of his arguments, and what I know as someone working in the industry and as a patient advocate.
When I’m not thinking too hard, I have been enjoying some treats and cultural stuff. I’ve been to Hanbury Manor for Afternoon Tea, a first for me, with my neighbour Julie. We surprised ourselves and behaved like right proper ladies. I’ve had a trip to see the Ukulele Orchestra of GB at the Royal Albert Hall. A combination of musical genius and sharp wit, well worth a watch. I was also fortunate to play my uke, to guest, with my friends “Red Diesel” who had a charity night in Welwyn Garden City, which included diverse entertainment, from Bollywood dancing, to comedy, and bandsmanship. Another night of musical genius and sharp wit. What a lucky girl I am!
Massive thanks to those involved in making the charity night such a success, we raised the roof and about £1K for Brain Tumour UK and Penny Brohn Cancer Caring Centre.
As you can see, our set-up for on line ticket sales was somewhat prehistoric.
At the end of October I will be taking part in the half marathon Run to the Beat with my neighbour Alison and some former rugby girls, if you want to join in, please do. I received my race pack recently, which gave me the hebby-jebbies as the T-shirt is yellow. I just wish they would choose more flattering colours.
Thanks again for your continued support and positive vibes and well wishing and hard praying. It helps, I am sure.
For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple of YouTube recommendations:
UKGB Fly me off the Handle http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUijx65ss9I
Still living, loving and laughing
With big wet kisses and bone crunching hugs