Well, just how am I these balmy days of Summer?

[Originally posted in June 2011]

Alright, I am feeling just a teensy bit guilty for not blogging much lately. Especially as I feel as if I have a regular fan club now (what a terrifically weird thing that is) so I do apologize but you see the thing is ….I’m feeling kind of great and this is supposed to be my CANCER blog. You surely are expecting to read about some horrid things happening to my body….well, ok It’s not all peaches and cream but I’ll get to that in a moment. So just to keep you all in the loop here is an update:-
I have not lost my hair, at least not the stuff on the top of my head which is amazing considering all those pink pills of chemo. If you travel a little father south things are looking decidedly sparse in the nether regions also ‘that lot down there’ have decided to go gray, oh well at last I will have a matching ensemble. Also….areas are healing up (radiation burns) but, you know how sometimes things start to itch when they heal….yep, this is proving a bit of a challenge when in pubic I can tell you. But nothing, I repeat nothing had prepared me for the shock of vaginal stenosis……eeek!!!
Right, for those of you who are not looking this up on google, let me enlighten you. While the radiation therapy shrinks my tumor it also shrinks my……vagina….Bloody hell, can you believe it? so in order not to end up with the vagina ( I’m really getting used to typing the word now) of a three-foot midget (and I mean no offense to any little people out there, it’s all a question of proportions)   I must use a dilator (posh word for a dildo) daily or just have lots of sex. Neither of these options I might add, are too comfortable at the moment. Ahh well, must take” one for the gipper” or as we say back home just “lay back and think of England” ps I could not think of an appropriate photo for this post so I just chose a pretty sunset.


The kindness of friends……….. and some strangers

[Originally posted on Sunday, June 26, 2011]

Yet again, I am so incredibly touched and humbled by the amazing outpouring of support. Yesterday some of my friends and commuter pals over on this side of the water put on a garage sale to help raise funds for me. It was a huge gigantic success. I am sure it’s because you all worked your tails off..So, thanks so much girls (and Gertrude) I can’t believe how incredibly fortunate I am to have friends like you.

A very Sad Day….

[Originally posted onTuesday, June 21, 2011]

As it was father’s day on Sunday, I called England to wish David (my stepfather) a happy day. When no one answered the phone I thought it strange. David has been confined to the house for some time with serious old age problems. I left a cheery message on the machine and hoped everything was alright. I learned later that day that he had been taken to hospital with a broken hip. I sort of knew he would probably not survive this and sure enough he passed away this morning.
He was a lovely man who married my widowed mother and took on a precocious sixteen year old into the bargain. Not an easy task even for the most tolerant of people. It was not all smooth sailing in the beginning, well, how could it be. I’ve always been, shall we say, a little strong-willed.
Poor David, I really put him through the wringer that first year. At seventeen I left home to start my own life. Ha Ha aren’t we funny at that age, we think we know it all. I had two jobs, a crummy flat in the dodgy end of town that I shared with…….an actress friend called Julia Scott-Pillow who had the most beautiful long red hair she insisted be called ” titian”…..no drama there then, and I soon learned that my life back at home was way more comfortable and that David was really super-duper nice to me. We became very close after I moved away and when my mother was dying he kept her at home and nursed her with such tender loving care till the very end. I loved him even more. Always the perfect gentleman, he taught me to love Jazz, taking me to my first concert (Oscar Peterson) and I shared his passion for Rachmaninoff after he asked for an LP of one of his concertos for Christmas and I could not stop playing it. It seemed to encompass all my teenage angst.
It doesn’t matter how old or sick a person is, when someone you love and respect dies you instantly feel that hole open in your heart. I will miss you dearest David.

Baby Chicks

[Originally posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011]

Sometimes I have to wonder if I don’t lack a little common sense. I went to yoga class yesterday morning.My thinking was, that it might be a good idea to get my body a little stretched out before surgery (there are yoga twists that actually stretch your colon). What I forget is that, if you have a teacher like Heather (mild-mannered drill sergeant) and you have not done any serious stretching in, oh what’s it been …..3 months? You might want to take it easy…Ha. If I tell you it hurts to pick up my coffee cup this morning I think you have an idea of the pain I am feeling. I even did some weeding in the garden when I got home, quite a lot actually. So I have those aches and pains on top. Maybe if I just lay in an Epsom salts bath all day.
What is helping to take my mind off the searing pain in my muscles are the eight adorable baby chicks that arrived in the mail….yes, the mail.
My friend Sandy and I could hardly wait to get to the post office to pick up our cheeping box of cuteness. As soon as they are born they are shipped out. A new chick can suvive for about 2 days with no food or water, so  as soon as they arrive you make sure they drink some water and keep them nice and warm. Really, is there anything as sweet and soft and cute as a new-born  chick? So I think I will just pull up a comfy chair next to the heat lamp and watch them as they fall asleep, wake up and explore thier new world.To hell with the chores.

A little reprieve and a robot…..

[Originally posted onThursday, June 9, 2011]

You know it’s a good feeling when your surgeon greets you with open arms and you start your appointment off with a hug. Then of course you notice the gauze square with the lubricant next to the rubber gloves sitting under the spot light and the magic is gone. In defense of Dr B he has to be the kindest surgeon on the planet and for this I am truly grateful that he is the one doing the slicing and dicing. Which, by the way is not happening until August 5th.So I will be working through August 4th for any of my clients needing services.
Now, the freaky thing is…..I will actually have my surgery done by a ROBOT!!! You heard me right; no human hand will be reaching the inner me so to speak……..wild huh? It’s called  Da Vinci and according to Dr B it has much more dexterity than a human hand and can perform the very twiddley little maneuvers that are needed. Sounds good to me! The surgery should take between 5-6 hours. It must be exhausting to be a surgeon….just imagine that kind of focus for that long. This is a picture of the real thing….

I should be a guest of Swedish hospital for 4 days or until I can safely operate my new accessory (the colostomy bag) which apparently comes with its own nurse whose sole job it is to teach me, let’s call her the “Bag Lady” or maybe “the Old Bag” I’ll let you know on that score later.
At the moment I am planning to take one month off work to recoup. I do have almost 5 more months of chemo to endure so I don’t want to take too much time off at the beginning and then there is one more surgery to but me all back together as I was before at the very end. I will then be the new and improved Tina so look out world I may need to go climb a mountain or maybe just sit on a beach in St Tropez.:-)

Fossil Hunting…….

[Originally posted on Wednesday, June 8, 2011]

Alfie and I fossil huntingI must be collecting all my good karma points at the moment because with all the rotten weather we’ve been having lately, what are the chances that the one weekend I choose to go out to the rugged and usually wet wilds of the Olympic peninsula for a little R&R with Peter the weather is FANTASTIC.Had just a brilliant time for two days. We stay in a very rustic cabin (no electricity) right on the beach. You can see Canada across the water. Peter has been fossil hunting in this same spot for about 30 years. It’s amazing there are any fossils left to find. We didn’t find but one or two this time but had a beautiful day on the beach, heads down, hammers in hand and bags slung over our shoulders. It’s a very isolated spot and you have to time the tides right otherwise you can get stuck. I absolutely love it and I’ve got much better at spotting fossils over the years too, although nobody can beat old Hawkeye Peter who has filled our house with cool and beautiful rocks.30 million year old shell fossil

I see my surgeon today, so will have some up-dates about my future schedule soon. Trying not to be too nervous, I’ve never had surgery before unless we are counting dental work and really I would rather chew stinging nettles in a muddy puddle than go see the dentist. So, off I go and I will try not to look like a deer caught in the headlights.