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Why jump?

May 6, 2018

On June 3rd, my man and I will be voluntarily jumping out of a plane. With parachutes, hopefully.

The problem is, he’s scared of heights and I’m afraid of flying.

Because we both believe so strongly in the cause we’re supporting, we’re going to do it anyway, terrifying though it is, and this is just part of the story about why…

Almost 30 years ago, while I was still at school, my Mum had breast cancer. She fought hard, stayed positive and beat it. Hell yes, she kicked breast cancer up the arse and got on with her life. The treatment was long and unpleasant, including intensive chemo which made her unbelievably sick. Home was a difficult place to be for two weeks in every four, as she suffered the side-effects and there was nothing anyone could do about it.

Compared to the chemo, radiotherapy was a breeze, just a short treatment each day for a few months. The difficulty was that the treatment centre was in Oxford…and we lived in Swindon. That’s an hour away by car, on a good day. If you have a car. If you can drive. If you’re well enough to drive.

Mum, superstar that she is, got a car, a beat-up old mini which got her there and back for every treatment. She drove herself every time, with friends and family taking it in turns to keep her company.

That’s my Mum, in the picture above, raising money at the annual Brighter Futures Reindeer Run two years ago, with my Dad and their youngest grandson.

Almost 20 years later, Mum had breast cancer again, this time a different type known as inflammatory breast cancer. It has very different symptoms, is very painful in fact. But again, Mum fought hard and made an amazing recovery. Chemo has changed, developed, to the extent that it wasn’t recognisable. Anti-sickness drugs have also changed, so Mum wasn’t so sick. This time, due to the doses delivered first time round, radiotherapy wasn’t an option, but thankfully it also wasn’t necessary.

Shockingly, Swindon still has no radiotherapy unit, despite the many people living there and in the surrounding area who have to travel to Oxford for life-saving treatment.

This is where the parachute jump comes in. The Brighter Futures fundraising team at Great Western Hospital are trying to raise enough money for a treatment unit to provide radiotherapy locally. And we are determined to help, even if it means facing our fears and doing something we never would have imagined.

If you are still reading, thank you for your time and attention. Here’s an irrelevant picture of my Poppet, as a reward!

Now to business – please will you help us to raise funds? If you can donate, however little, that would be amazing and I thank you sincerely. If you can’t donate, please can you share this story with anyone else who might support us.

Team ‘I Believe I Can Fly’

Oh! And please send us lucky, safe-landing, happy thoughts on the day 🌻

Thank you 💜



December 22, 2014

So, hi there! It has been a while.

Do I have anything to say? Maybe…we’ll see, won’t we?!

On a break

January 7, 2012

This is surprisingly hard to write, but I’ve decided to take a break from blogging, for a while at least.

I started this while I was ill, in pain and regularly spent time spaced out on painkillers and incapable of work.  Or real life, come to that.  It was supposed to be a way of letting off steam without whining at A all the time.  Instead it turned into a way of turning my attitude around as I just couldn’t bear to press ‘publish’ on all the whingy posts and made myself list reasons to be positive instead.

Now I’m well, I don’t have so much to write about, or as much time to write it in.  This has just become a rather dull list of things I’ve done during the week, heavily filtered of all true opinions because I’m paranoid about someone I know reading it and being upset/offended/freaked out.

I might come back to you one day, but hopefully not through illness again.

For now…keep well.

Mad crazy busy

November 20, 2010

Since I posted last week’s update on Tuesday, I have been on the go non-stop.  Or at least it feels that way.  My baby bro has had surgery on his broken leg, involving a serious amount of metalwork t hold his bones together.  He has an open cast at the moment, and has to go back in about 6 weeks to see if they need to operate again.  Pretty serious for a broken leg! 

Because of The Boy’s accident, I’ve been visiting the hospital, and his home.  I’ve looked after Gethin so Sam can visit.  I’ve driven my Mum around to Dr appointments (which Sam was going to do originally) and to visit The Boy.  I’ve taken A to a Dr appointment.  We went out for dinner with Mum and her partner, officially for my birthday, but a bit late.  And I’ve been running errands as planned before the great broken leg disaster. 

I’m tired! 

I don’t begrudge any of it, as the people needed me and I kind of need to help to keep myself happy.  But I do think I’ve overdone it a little, and I’m struggling with some recurring pain and exhaustion.  Never mind, on Friday I’m seeing my consultant for a post-op follow-up, and I’m thinking he’ll probably sign me off for a couple more weeks. 

The knitting isn’t very exciting really – I’m just plodding away on the same few things.  Gethin’s shawl is now down to 90 st per side, which is good news.  The Sagrantina shawl has a few more hexagons.  I have finished the first of my Dawlish Warren socks:

I also got my birthday presents from my Mum, who amongst other things bought me books and this little beauty:

That’s ‘Woodpecker’ from the Laughing Yaffle.  Pretty! 

This coming week is another mad crazy one by the look of it.  This afternoon we’re taking a niece shopping for her birthday.  On Tuesday is a nephew’s birthday.  Also on Tuesday my friend Caron is coming to visit.  On Friday I have my consultant appointment.  On Monday Mum has another Dr appointment.  I’ve promised to visit The Boy some more, and offered to look after Gethin if needed.  Plus I’d really, really like to get to Knitting at the Library this week.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2009

Just that really 🙂

Not the best week

January 17, 2009

For some reason this week has been hard.  The pain has been bad, I’ve been tireder than ever and just haven’t got it together all week.  I only worked in the office on one morning, and on Monday didn’t do any work at all.  I didn’t even make it to knitting group, as some urgent work came up at the last minute. 

I have been giving some thought to what the consultant said about the possibility it isn’t endometriosis causing the pain.  Maybe that isn’t the bad thing I assumed it must be.  Maybe I can get some tests done, get a diagnosis and get some treatment.  Maybe I’ll get my life back. 

I read a thread in a Ravelry forum where someone told someone else that they could be tested for coeliac disease with a simple blood test.  They were however warned that they might get false negative results if they quit eating gluten ahead of the test.  That got me thinking – I had a test for coeliac disease about 4 years ago.  I had discovered that eating less wheat eased the pain I was getting from an ovarian cyst.  Unfortunately, I had already stopped eating gluten weeks before the test…could that have caused a false negative result? 

Maybe I don’t have coeliac disease.  But maybe there is something else going on, and it isn’t just endo.  Why didn’t it ever occur to me that I could have 2 different illnesses?! 

I know it isn’t actually good to have 2 illnesses, but I’m clutching at straws and hoping there might be some help with the pain, in the long run at least.  I can cut out gluten if needs be.  Whatever it takes. 

I’m seeing the Dr-man on Wednesday and I’m going to ask him a) for the coeliac test and b) what else he could be testing for.  I don’t have to wait until I see the consultant at the end of March (no luck with cancellation appointments so far), I could get tests done before that. 

It seems like a ray of light. 

In knitting news, I’m still working away on my VG alpaca bedsocks.  I’ve finished the first one, and it is pretty…

I’ve made a size bigger than I usually would, as I want them big and cosy and really comfy.  This first one is a good fit and soooo soft. 

When I have finished this one, I’m starting on my next KAL socks…socks for a cause.  I asked my mum if she had any suggestions, and she immediately announced that she wants some pink breast cancer awareness socks.  With a ribbon stitched in on the sock leg and a ribbon threaded through at the top.  It looks like I’ll be designing my own,as I haven’t seen anything like that.  I might look for inspiration on Ravelry, as there are bound to be many out there.  It’s quite exciting really. 

Speaking of Mum, she has pain in her scar area.  She’s seeing a surgeon on Tuesday, but I’m trying not to think about it…I don’t think she’ll go for more treatment if it turns out to be bad news, if they can even offer anything.  I shouldn’t be so negative, but it’s so scary. 

Anyway, the second semi-final of the Masters snooker is starting in a few minutes, more soon.

So much going on

November 25, 2008

Life is hectic again at the moment.  I mean, for me.  Not compared to what most normal people squash into their everyday lives, what with socialising, looking after children etc. 

Yesterday the boss-man returned from 4 weeks in New Zealand.  It’s good to have him back, he can buffer me from people I don’t need to deal with. 

Today I took the car in for it’s 3rd year service and 1st time MOT.  I took it to the garage over the road from work, mainly because they are over the road from work ie convenient.  They promised I could have it back by lunchtime, 12 if possible.  At 9.30 they phoned to say it a rear brake light had failed.  Okay, so fix it.  Also, they recommended the brake fluid was changed.  Fine, do that.  Then they phoned again at 11.15 to say that while changing the brake fluid, a part had seized up, so they forced it and it broke off.  !  !  !  What?

It is going to take until tomorrow to even get the part in, then time to fit it.  In the meantime the car is not safe to drive, so i had to leave it with them.  There was no courtesy car available. 

So at lunchtime I had to catch 2 buses home, clutching my laptop and wishing I’d taken a scarf and an extra coat with me this morning.  Tomorrow I’ll have to  make my way back over there somehow, to collect my poor car.  It’s better be done in the morning, or they’ll be delivering it! 

This afternoon, I have to phone a different branch of Ford, who have sent me a letter telling me that my warranty is about to expire.  Would I like to renew it?  Only, I did!  When I bought the car I paid extra for an extended warranty!  Aaaaarrrggghhh!

Then I have to phone the hospital, who still haven’t sent me an appointment with a physio, 6 weeks after I was promised an emergency one. 

Tomorrow, apart from trying to retrieve my car, I’ve got to get to the Dr’s surgery to collect a prescription for painkillers.  Only, they are only open until lunchtime. 

Then, thank goodness for occasional relief, I’m off to the library for my usual knitting group meeting. 

On Thursday I’m going out with friends I used to work with, for lunch at my favourite Italian restaurant.  I meet with Caron fairly regularly, but only occasionally with the other guys, who are consultants and work all over the place. 

Next Tuesday is our final team meeting before christmas.  Theresa has just suggested going out for lunch, and the boss-man has offered to pay!  Not arguing!

Sometime next week I have a 1:1 with the boss-man, but don’t know when. 

Then the following weekend is A’s annual weekend away with the lads.  I’m off out with the left-behind girlfriends one evening, and my Dad id taking me and my niece shopping for birthday presents. 

Phew, feels like there isn’t much time to breathe!

More Reasons for Cheerfulness

November 8, 2008

Okay, today I’m going to work harder at listing reasons to cheer up and smile…

  1. It’s the weekend
  2. I made it in to the office yesterday, which makes my stay-at-home record this week just 2 out of 5
  3. We are going to Alan and Kat’s for dinner tonight
  4. I can give Kat the socks I made for her and see her smile
  5. I’ve nearly finished Ali’s xmas present socks
  6. This week’s veg box included the first of the new season parsnips…which we both love
  7. mmmm…parsnip chips
  8. The parsnips will soon be followed by turnips, swede, artichokes, sprouts and other winter veg
  9. This coming week will include a butternut squash, which we are planning to roast then stuff with seafood
  10. We have planned most of our xmas presents, now we just have to wait until we have the money to buy them
  11. I should get my payrise in December’s pay…including 6 months backdated money
  12. We saw my Dad twice this week
  13. My Mum went to the hospital to see her surgeon and doesn’t have to go back for a year

I think that’ll do, 13 is a good number to finish on.  Hoorah!  Cheerful indeed!

Got a new toy

September 17, 2008

I did a bad thing at the weekend.  Bad for my finances that is.  I ordered a new laptop from Dell.  Astonishingly, it arrived today and I’m using it now! 

Last time I ordered a laptop from Dell (nearly 5 years ago), it took an agonising three weeks or so to arrive.  That was three weeks of excitement, frustration, anticipation and worry (what if it gets delayed?). 

This time, I ordered on Sunday evening, received it Wednesday afternoon.  I could have had it this morning, if I’d been here to sign for it, but I had to work.  Damn work, getting in the way all the time. 

By itself, buying a laptop isn’t that bad.  But of course we didn’t stop there.  We also ordered a netbook for A.  That arrived on Tuesday afternoon.  It’s a dinky little thing, tiny compared to the laptop, and it’s specifically set up for browsing the internet but not a lot more.  It has a Linux operating system instead of Windows, something I’ve never used before.  It’s neat though, and A is happy with it. 

Sadly of course, until the novelty wears off, we’re both spending the evening on our separate machines, doing our own thing.  I give it a few days until we get over that, but until then, at least we are in the same room!

Facebook is consuming my life

August 28, 2008

It’s not really, but doesn’t that sound dramatic? 

I did join though, finally giving way to the pressure.  I’ve already traced a few friends I had lost touch with…although now I find I don’t have that much to say to them.  Which is probably why we lost touch in the first place.  Or was it just because I’m lazy and unsociable? 

I’ve also got a lot of cousins out there, who I’ve barely seen since they were toddlers.  One or two I’ve only seen once.  I haven’t added them all as friends as yet, but I’ll get round to it. 

This unusual fit of sociability is starting to worry me.  Four social events in one weekend, two weddings in a month, now facebook as well.  What is going on with me?  I don’t like people! 

So, the week is nearly over (hooray!), the weekend is almost here…what’s the news?

  • we got a large meatbox today – loads of meat 🙂
  • there were grapes in the fruit box this week
  • So far I’ve been in to the office for 2 mornings out of 3 (the third I worked at home)
  • the weekend comprises a carefully planned nothing. 

Seriously, nothing all weekend.  We’ve decided to give ourselves a couple of days to chill.  Sounds good to me. 

What’s on next week?

  • team meeting in Bristol on Tuesday
  • Dr appointment Tuesday afternoon
  • office clear-out day on Friday
  • 1:1 with the boss-man on Thursday

Okay, so that’s almost all work stuff…don’t think there is much more than that.  We’re about to enter silly season for Birthdays, so there’ll be loads of last minute gift and card shopping, dashing to people’s houses on the day after, forgetting and making up for it weeks later…then Christmas. 

Speaking of Christmas, A has just finished a shift at work where he spent some time putting the christmas stock on the shelves.  It’s not even September, people!  That truly scares me.