Saturday, May 23, 2015

Five blogs to get you through it

There are a few blogs which I like to follow.  Five, in fact.

They often give me inspiration to find a way through my chaos.  Click on the pictures for a link to their wise words.

The first is Kris Carr:

Kris is sunshine distilled into human form. Reading her books has completely changed my approach to what I eat and she has made me evaluate the sort of life I want to lead.   She is well known in the US but I've met more women who have heard about her this time around on my trip about the chemo-ward.

Then there is the dynamo that is Jen Hanks:

She is a professional mountain biker who has been through chemo twice.  Her own journey gave me hope.  She has generously taken the time to reply to my comments and reposted her chemo training diaries so that I could pick through the details of how she had managed to kept herself fit and well. Her advice that a day on the bike, no matter how slow or painful, will always lift you out of a chemo slump is right on the money.

Legend Eddie Sutton writes a blog about ultra running.  But it is more than that.  She is an extraordinary woman:

I met her while teaching at Godolphin and Latymer school.  Eddie was a remarkable triathlete at that time and I just about managed to keep up with her as we ran along the Thames before work.  It was tough going!  I couldn't keep up with her now but find her honesty and perseverance humbling.

Cecilia Hazlerigg writes a reflective blog linked to her counselling blog, Telos Therapy. Cecilia is on the right of this picture. The other lady, Dr Jen Hewitt,  is equally awesome and helped me return to fitness after my first encounter with chemotherapy.

I like Cecilia's writing because she is frank and open about her feelings.   She has introduced me to mindfulness and although I am not an accomplished practitioner, I have found it to be an invaluable tool throughout my cancer treatment.

Rachel Musson is another cancer thriver.  She is a beautiful person, inside and out.

She was an incredible friend to me when I was going through treatment for the first time.  Her writing is compelling and colourful.  She makes me feel at ease with the world and happy with my place in it.

Post Chemo Park Run

In December 2014, I was diagnosed with plural effusions, that's fluid on the lung to you and I, caused by metastatic cancer cells floating in the space between my lung and the pleural lining.  I didn't realise I had a pleural lining before this happened. In fact I just thought I was breathless due to overdoing it at a cross country race.

On New Year's Eve I had the first of two operations called a pleurodesis.  I had the second just over a week later.  This is where they stick the lung to its lining by creating inflammation with talcum powder.

I was discharged in mid-January and told I would never run or cycle again.  That wasn't such a good day.

In late January the wonder that is my oncologist popped me on carboplatin chemotherapy and the darling nurses in the chemo ward at King's College Hospital set me back on the road to recovery. I cannot express how much I love these angels of the NHS.

Somewhere along the line they found two blood clots on my lungs. I am now an haematology patient.  I take daily injections of clexane to stop any more nastiness from occurring.  I think my haematology doctor liked me.  He said he doesn't have many patients who enjoy running half marathons.

I finished chemo last week and all the external indications would seem to suggest that things have gone well.  I'll know more for certain after I've been scanned.

The point of the post is that this morning, Saturday 23rd May, I completed the Park Run in Brockwell Park.  Sam ran it too.  You should be impressed by this.  Sam doesn't like running.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Horace: Ode III.29

I have two Woodmans to thank for my love of Horace. This is a small extract from a bigger Ode. We can do nothing about the future. Enjoy today.

 Translation not my own, it is John Dryden's. It is a little bit free but you get the idea.

 ille potens sui                                                     Happy the man, and happy he alone,
 laetusque deget, cui licet in diem                       He, who can call today his own:
dixisse "visi: eras vel atra                                    He, who secure within, can say
nube polum pater occupato                                 Tomorrow do your worst, for I have lived today.

vel sole puro; non tamen irritum,                      Be fair or foul, or rain, or shine,
quodcumque retro est, efficiet, neque           The joys I have possessed, in spite of fate
                                                                                     are mine.
diffinget infectumque reddet,                             Not heaven itself upon the past has power;
quod fugiens semel hora vexit.                          But what has been, has been, and
                                                                                           I have had my hour.  

Horace                                                                   J. Dryden

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The bitch is back

Metastatic cells have been found floating in my lungs. I don't understand; the picture was so rosy only a matter of weeks ago. I've had time to adjust my thinking. I am proud that I've done my best to keep myself fit and healthy. I am going to need all the physical strength I have. One in the eye of the alien.
You are living in a body that has been arming itself against you. You cannot win.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bex and Jenny

Having fabulous friends and team mates takes the edge off being very unfit.  Congratulations to Bex for a win and to Jenny for an awesome ride.  Well done me for not packing it in half way through.

Monday, February 17, 2014

In the Pink

Lovely Laura Fitzgibbon, a colleague from Emanuel has been kicking my butt the last couple of weeks. Thanks to her encouragement, I finished my third Park Run and managed a new personal best.  Running has helped me stay sane in the last few weeks and I think I'm finding my mojo again.  I owe Laura a bun.

Previously there had been water on the course but things were a little drier on Saturday. The sun was shining and helped to boost my confidence. Last week a student of ours also raced and had told me that he'd been impressed by how strongly I'd finished.  It's not the first time I think I've learnt from my kids.

Towards the end of the race I spied a photographer and managed to catch him after I'd scanned in.  He very kindly emailed me these pictures.  His site is here .