Thursday, 20 December 2012

Christmas thoughts

Well Christmas is almost upon us and another year looming. We have just been getting on with usual festive preparations. We have gone a bit OTT with decorations this year but what the heck! These are special times and the grandies will love it!.

I am not sure what the New Year holds for us – Mr Nasty is progressing this we know, so another regime of chemo is almost certain but I won’t think about that until it happens cos it scares the hell out of me. I have several hospital appointments and yet another scan in January – ho hum! So we live for today and give it everything we’ve got. I have a few targets to meet in 2013 – a wedding in April and a silver wedding party in June.

‘I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat.  I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!’
~Dr. Seuss

 I wish you all a very happy Christmas and special wishes to those spending Christmas alone - not through choice - and thank you for following the blog. I hope you will continue with me on my journey in 2013.
Special thoughts to Mesowarriors and their families everywhere - maybe 2013 will bring news of a breakthough in treatment so we can move from 'palliative' to 'curative'. God bless you all 

Tess x

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Carrots, Canterbury and old Chums

The last few weeks seem to have flown by and we are into December already. It is very cold here in Kent as it is all over the UK. We seem to have our own little microclimate in Westgate and the weather forecasters so often get it wrong. Alan has been busy harvesting the last of the crops from the garden. This week's carrots came in various shapes and sizes - definately would not meet EU regulations. I will make no comment about the big boy in the front of the photo!

Posing carrots!

It seems that carrots are growing well in Toronto also

Lilah should be able to see in the dark!

Tess, Janice, Tony
We enjoyed a weekend with friends Janice & Tony who came down from Stokesley in N Yorkshire. We had a lot to catch up with as you can imagine much vino was consumed with good food. We had a very enjoyable day in Canterbury. We found a little cafe/bar that was getting in the Christmas spirit. The decorations were not finished yet but it was already so over-the-top and tacky that it looked really great! We then had a good meal in Deeson's which is one of our favourite restaurants. We took them on a whistlestop round the coast but in it wind and heavy rain we were not able to do much walking.

This week we have met up with Harry, Vicky & Gareth  which of course entailed another lunch out! Great to see all and thanks for the gorgeous plants and Ethan's Arsenal ball!

Healthwise things have been fairly quiet (this is good). Walking in the cold wind and damp is difficult but getting out each day is still a priority. Emotionally thing have been getting difficult but I am taking steps to remedy this. In my last blog (17 Nov) I mentioned Peter who had gone into a hospice - sadly he too passed away and his funeral was this week. Sending love to his wife Elaine and family. Other meso warriors Jan and Steve continue to do battle with chemo.

We are all watching this story as mesothelioma needs many more trials and innovative treatments if there is ever to be  a cure:

Lord Saatchi launches campaign to speed up cancer cures

By Marina Soteriou, 05 December 2012

Conservative peer Lord Saatchi has launched a campaign to speed up cancer cures by increasing freedom for doctors to stray away from standard medical procedures without fear of litigation.

Lord Saatchi: law restricts progress on curing cancer (photo: Marketing)
Lord Saatchi: law restricts progress on curing cancer (photo: Marketing)
Josephine HartLord Saatchi, whose wife Josephine Hart, pictured, died from peritoneal cancer last year, launched a private members' bill - the Medical Innovation Bill - at the House of Lords on Monday.
The law in its current form 'provides no inducement to progress' in curing cancer because it means that any deviation by a doctor from standard procedure leaves them open to claims of medical negligence, Lord Saatchi believes.
‘This is a deterrent to innovation in cancer treatment,’ he said.
‘Standard procedure is clearly defined in law as the practice which would be followed by a group of medical practitioners skilled in the particular area of medicine in question.’
Through the Medical Innovation Bill, Lord Saatchi said he wishes to encourage doctors to seek improvement on the standard procedure. One of the bill’s purposes is to ‘codify existing best practice as to decisions by doctors to innovate where evidence-based treatment or management is not optimal or appropriate, because the available evidence is insufficient or uncertain’.
Joined at the launch by fellow Conservative peer and chairman of the Institute of Cancer Research Lord Ryder and Oxford University’s ovarian cancer specialist Professor Ahmed, Lord Saatchi admitted that the Bill was unlikely to become law.
He said it was unlikely to be successful unless it was picked up and backed by the government.
He added: ‘It is more likely that the government is going to say "all is well, we are investing tremendous amounts in research, there’s great work going on. We in the government are fully aware of the problem and there is no government on Earth that could be doing more than we are doing therefore this bill is completely unnecessary".
‘That is what they are going to say unless we talk them out of that and we are all going to try very hard. Whether we succeed or not I don’t know.
‘Today is the beginning of a long journey.’

Article taken from GP magazine.

Tess x

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Stockings, Ramparts and the Grand Old Duke of York

Over the last fortnight I have finished the Christmas Stockings I was making for my Grandies. This was a true labour of love as there were sooooo many sequins and beads and with my numb fingertips it was a bit of an effort to sew them all.  But the job has been done and I am proud of my achievement. They are really just decorative but I might just put in a few sweeties! Target met!

We had a good lunch up in London with our friend Elaine (Lilah’s other grandmother). She was here on a business trip and passing through London. We had a good old chin wag and drank a toast to our lovely granddaughter.

We have spent this week in France with my son. daughter-in-law and grandson. The weather was a bit cold and foggy but we had one warm, sunny day.

Our first stop was at Chateau Chartreuse just outside Bethune – such a beautiful hotel – my kind of living.

We then went on to Montreuil.  Montreuil was the setting for much of the early part of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables. The last time we were here was in early July just prior to my op and then I could not even manage the walk from the hotel to the ramparts due to shortage of breath. It was so different this week – not only did I get to the ramparts but walked the 3kms round the town! This palliative surgery has certainly improved the quality of my life! It was a sunny clear day and the views were breathtaking (not a good choice of word!) I was not breathless in the slightest but so tired and legs felt like jelly – a good lunch soon rectified that! Target met!

If you’ve taken the Eurostar south from the Channel, you may have noticed, as the train rushes across the flat Flanders fields, the geological anomaly that is Mont Cassel - a 500ft hill standing out from the plain like a pyramid in the desert. Next time you take the car to the Continent, it is worth the diversion to aim for the hill and climb the broad cobbled road that eventually winds into the historic town of Cassel. Legend has it this is the hill the Grand Old Duke of York led his 10,000 men up and down. The day was so foggy we could see nothing from the top but we did all sing the nursery rhyme (with actions) at the top. Ethan really enjoyed that.Not sure what anyone else would have made of this spectacle! Brits abroad!

Alan was delighted to be able to take his elder son to the Brasserie de St Sylvestre – where the best beer in the Universe (Trois Monts) is brewed. A rite of passage for Jon as he approaches middle age!

These couple of weeks have also been tinged with sadness. A cousin of mine died. My sincere condolences and sympathy to Peter's wife Margaret and all the family.
My friend and fellow mesowarrior Denise died last week from this awful disease. It was only a month ago I was chatting to Denise - so young to have been taken. My  sincere condolences and sympathy to Denise's partner and family.
My thoughts are also with Peter - another mesowarrior - who is now in a hospice where he is being well looked after. My thoughts are with him and his wife Elaine at this difficult time.
Sending positive thoughts also to Steve and Jan who are going through chemo at the moment - stay strong my friends.

Tess .

Monday, 5 November 2012

Dracula, Art and Carrots

I received this lovely photo of my (our) gorgeous grandson dressed as Count Dracula in a Halloween celebration with all his friends. Couldn’t resist adding  a few spiders and ghosties to the image. I don’t really like the thought of my little man being a blood sucking vampire but he certainly doesn’t look upset by it!

Count Dracula and friends
We visited the Turner Contemporary gallery at Margate to see the Alex Katz exhibition 'Give me Tomorrow'. I hadn't heard of him but apparently 'he is one of the most important and respected living American artists'. I thought his pictures were very juvenile, very flat and lacking the correct perspective - I would compare it to some of the work I have seen exhibited for GCSE Art in my previous school. In its favour he does paint pictures and not splodges! The second exhibition was masterpieces from the Tate chosen by Katz. the selection included works by George Stubbs, JMW Turner, Walter Sickert and David Hockney - now this is more like it!
After visiting the exhibition we went for lunch in The Ambrette.

Alan has been harvesting the last of the potatoes (Kerr's Pinks) which have been brilliant and the carrots. Oh my! We have had carrot soup, carrot and coriander soup, mixed veg soup with carrots, roast beef and carrots, grated carrots, pureed carrots and the freezer is full of carrots. Wonder what is for lunch?

I have been reading  lots of info about asbestos this week. A school closed in Wales: When will this country wake up to its responsibilies?

My thoughts this week have been  with fellow mesowarriors Steve and Jan who are currently going through chemotherapy. Hope the poison does it worst to this damn cancer. Also thinking of Peter now recovering after a rough few weeks of radiotherapy. Be strong my friends.

Tess x

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

63 not out!

Well it has been a funny old week weatherwise - we've had it all, dense fog, sunshine, rain, hailstones, snow, warm temperatures, cold (near freezing) temperatures. What is going on?

Have been out to lunch a fair bit! We had 'rent-a-crowd' to visit. Our friends from Enfield took us out for lunch at the restaurant at Minnis Bay. This was on one of the warm sunny days so we were able to walk on the beach. Lovely to see you Ray, Jacky, Bernard and Harry and thanks for the goodies.

The beach at Minnis Bay
I celebrated my 63rd birthday on Saturday - another target met. I was again taken out to lunch - this time to The Olive Tree in Canterbury - Lebanese cuisine. It was lovely to see Jon, Gaby, Berni & Norma and of course my little man Ethan. Alan has bought a new Smart phone but he had difficulty taking any decent photos so unfortunately I only have one to show.
My house is looking a bit like a flower shop. I had some lovely flowers from 'rent-a-crowd' and a couple of gorgeous bouquets. My granddaughter is such a clever child - organised this all on her own!

Finally more friends visiting from London yesterday. Tony & Roz met us in Canterbury and this time we went to Deesons - a British restaurant! The day was glorious sunshine so we were able to walk in the park before lunch. Thanks guys - lovely to see you both.

So that's it for this week. Just a ham sandwich for lunch today.

On the Meso front - just have a read of this. What a total ignorant prat this guy is. ALL ASBESTOS IS POTENTIALLY LETHAL.