Tuesday, 27 December 2011

A Picture Speaks aThousand Words.

Christmas 2011 - TARGET MET!

Grandchildren Ethan and Lilah
Sons Jon and Tim
Daughter-in-laws Gaby and Anna

Tess x

Friday, 23 December 2011

A blip and Happy Christmas

Bit of a blip this week. Had to call my gp on Tuesday. Getting a chest infection whilst on chemo is not the cleverest thing I have ever done!!! My rib muscles and diaphragm are so sore from all the coughing – but the antibiotics are kicking  in . So no trial treatment this week and chemo will not go ahead next week.


Well 2011 has been a bit of a roller coaster year for us. Last Christmas if you remember I was going through chemotherapy and we were celebrating the birth of our first grandchild Ethan and the news that we would be having a second grandchild in Canada later in the year. What a boost for us both.

The chemo was successful and bought me some time. We had a great week in Colaton Raleigh in Devon at Easter with Jon, Gaby & Ethan. Another holiday to Menaggio, Lake Como then followed in May to chill out after the treatments. We managed several trips – the highlight being the Bernina Express through the Alps.

Our granddaughter arrived in June – Lilah Thorun – and we were over the moon. Grandchildren, are a bit like buses - you wait ages for one and then you get 2 within 8 months!

In July Alan & I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary – we celebrated in style with a lovely meal at the Ashdown Park Hotel in Surrey.

In  late August we went to Canada to meet Lilah (and mum & dad!). Jon, Gaby & Ethan came too so we really had the holiday of a lifetime. Still get very emotional thinking about it.
We spent a couple of days with Tim, Anna & Lilah in Toronto then when the others arrived we rented a house on Gul River in the Kawarthas. Finally we spent some time catching up with Canadian culture and history in Ottawa.

We have also managed a couple of weekends in France and Belgium – which meant the wine/beer stocks could be topped up!

Medical tests continued and the news we did not want to hear was that my cancer was once more progressing. I had hoped for a longer spell of remission but it is no help to dwell on these things.
So I am now in the middle of a second chemotherapy regime and I am taking part in a new drug trial at Maidstone hospital. It is a double blind trial so I don’t know if I am receiving the drug or a placebo but at least I have the chemo as a backup. This does require a lot of travelling (hospitals twice a week) but if the results are positive then it will be worth it.

So from Alan & myself we wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy & Healthy 2012. We will be spending Christmas with our 2 wonderful grandchildren and their mums and dads, my brother and partner and daughter. Tim, Anna and Lilah arrive on 24th Dec. Thank you so much for your support this year – knowing you are there has made a difference.

With love
                                               Tess &Alan xx

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Why am I doing this?

I was asked this last week - relating to the drug trial
Why am I doing this? Grasping at any treatment on offer even if it may be a placebo drug?
In the hope that it will not be the placebo and make things better.
In truth the best outcome will be to buy a bit of time.
Who knows how long this time might be? So why am I doing it?

I look at Alan
So big, so strong, comforting and caring.
Making sure everything is there for me.
So sad, so fragile - who is supporting him?
Need to keep on 'keeping on' - Alan needs me. We will journey on together.

I look at my grandchildren.
So new and perfect.
So much to learn about this funny old world.
So much to discover.
They have been a the main focus for Alan & I over this last year.
Need to keep on 'keepin on' - Ethan and Lilah need their Nana. We will journey on together.

I look at my boys.
Gentlemen now - so strong and manly, husbands and fathers too. Beautiful wives and children.
We gave them wings that they might fly and they have made us so proud.
They need me to keep them grounded and I need to see more of their story,
Need to keep on 'keepin on' - Jon and Tim still need their mum. We will journey on together.

I look at my wider family and friends.
I have been overwhelmed by their love and support
The letters, cards, emails, blog entries, daily jokes, small unexpected gifts, visits, social network messages, forum messgaes etc.
Need to keep on 'keepin on' - My friends need me to be there for them when they need supporting too and I need them to keep me sane!.  We will journey on together.

So that is why. With uncertainty comes hope.

Tess xx

PS Wish I could get that yoga position right - a target -maybe not!

Monday, 12 December 2011

Targets met, target set and to friendship

We are just back from a great weekend in London. Catching up with friends, some old and some new.
On Saturday we met up with Janice & Tony. Janice is my ‘oldest’ friend. We first met 51 years ago when we started secondary school. They now live in Stokesley  but were in London for the weekend. We had a drink first and then a lovely dinner in The Latium in Berners Street – off Oxford Street. Well worth a visit if are in that area. We stayed the night in the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Tottenham Court Road. We were able to do a bit of Christmas shopping and a made a visit to our favourite Indian sweet shop Ambala. Target met.

On Sunday we made our way to Enfield for the Enfield Classical Guitar Society’s Christmas lunch. Alan used to play with this group when we lived in Enfield. What a great meal we had. Lots of laughter and friendly banter and bad jokes! Thanks Jacky, Bernard and Ray for your cooking. It was good to catch up with old friends Bernard & Margaret, Richard, Valerie, Simon, Morgan and to meet Sue and Pauline – I hope they know what they getting into!. Good luck to them for Christmas concert next week – perhaps if they leave the wine tasting until after the concert rather than during they may play well! Love you all. Target met.

We then moved on to more friends in Palmers Green – Tony & Roz. Yet more food and more wine consumed and as always good chat (a lot football related) and music. We stayed the night with them (– thanks Roz for 2 duvets – was sooo cosy)  before catching the high speed train back to Margate this afternoon. Target met.

Planning now to do another London weekend in January. Target set

So I am trying to live according to the Petal philosophy. It would be so easy to find a reason not to do something – the weather might be bad, the trains might not run, I might not feel well, it will be expensive etc. With all the love and support I feel around me all things are possible.
So I will finish with a few of my favourite quotes in celebration of friendship:

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

"A hug is worth a thousand words. A friend is worth more."

"The making of friends, who are real friends, is the best token we have of a man's success in life."

Love you all. Tess xx

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Target met, Advent and the Trial

Just back from a quick trip across the channel to France for a spot of Christmas shopping. Living in Kent it only takes approx 2 hours to get there. This pre-Christmas trip is something we have done for many years now and means the countdown to Christmas has began. We topped up on beer, wine, chocolates, foie gras, cherries in brandy, dried fruit platters, stollen cake and biscuits – all good healthy fare! There will not be shortage of drinks in the Gully household this Christmas! Target met!

I bought myself an Advent calendar this year! Always had one until the boys were about 30! This year opening those windows is very special and keeps me focussed until the 24th when I will meet my lovely granddaughter Lilah once more. I ‘see’ Lilah on Skype most weeks and I am amazed at how she is changing and growing so quickly. Sometimes Toronto seems so far away. To be with my two beautiful grandchildren will be wonderful.

The drug trial is continuing. I have now had 3 sessions of drug/placebo and 1 cycle of chemo. I certainly feel as if my body is reacting to something but thankfully the side effects are much more tolerable than my previous chemo. The regime will continue for another 4 weeks after which I will have a scan and be assessed. If the scan shows disease progression I will not continue on the trial. 

Tess x