Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Royal intimations

A new royal child is on the way, most people are happy but some of us are rattled.
It’s unsettling to realise that this new baby of the blood, will not get a chance at the throne for at least sixty years.
I will never see it become a sovereign. If it turns out to be twins I will also miss the civil war which might ensue,  and  I doubt if I will be around for King William V.
On the radio today other middle aged people were commiserating because they will never see another diamond jubilee, the next one will probably occur in the 22nd century.
All I can hope is to see the coronation of Charles Philip Arthur George and I hope he doesn’t mess it up by relinquishing the title, Defender of the Faith.
 I wonder which name he will take. He could style himself King Arthur II which would be fun.
Rather than coffee spoons I am living out my life in royal crowns, and owing to the tough royal genes and increasing longevity, one coronation is all any of us are likely to get. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

English maidenhood 2012

On my way to the hospital this morning, Monday 26th Nov, walking past HMP Wormwood Scrubs, I met a young woman, aged about 23, who asked me where she could find a cash point. I suggested she should come along with me to the Hammersmith Hospital entrance where they have one. As we walked she told me she was on her way to visit her boyfriend, aged 24, who is now in the Scrubs doing five years for fraud.
Apparently he stole all her money and defrauded about 40 other young women.
"But I still love him," she told me, "and I have decided to wait for him until he gets out."
I felt that she wanted my approval and felt a bit harsh for not giving it.

On the bus back home I sat in front of two well spoken school girls aged twelve. I know that was their age as it was discussed as one of them told her class mate that her mother is 36 years old. She also has a sister aged sixteen. The two of them set about trying to work out how old the mother was when she had her first and second child. They could not do it. They struggled with the subtraction sum for most of our journey and never hit on the correct answer.
I was very surprised firstly because my life has been blighted by my inability to do maths, but I could do that one albeit using my fingers. Secondly because I have been labouring under the delusion that maths teaching has been improved in our schools lately. From the sound of them they were attending quite a "good" school. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

OK I am back!

25th November, 2012.

I have been writing my blog on the Salisbury Review on line blog spot for a few months. That is all bad tempered political stuff,  not a place for random thoughts, or reflecting on the cancer which originally led me to start blogging.

It is now over two years since I took ill and had the dread diagnosis, ovarian cancer stage four, grade three, that was in May 2010 and despite predictions of doom, I am still here going strong!

My check ups are every six months from Feb, but I was surprised when the time of the 3 months check came, I felt anxiety, even though I didn't have to go for a check. My brain is still hard wired for the 3 monthly anguish it seems.

I wouldn't perhaps think much about the cancer at all now, if I didn't keep meeting other unfortunate beings who keep getting it.

On Saturday at my art class a middle aged woman revealed that she has brain cancer. She told me that it began with a polyp up her nose which her GP failed to diagnose. By the time they found it, it had developed into a rare form of brain cancer. When they operate she will lose the senses of taste and smell and perhaps her sight, and the tumour  could of course kill her.

She is a self-important, rather unfriendly woman but I felt bad for her of course. She is striking a pose of absolute strength and determination, even saying, "if I die, I die, can't do anything about it." Perhaps not the best way to face the future, but she will change as she enters the tunnel and goes along it, at what ever pace.

This morning I was thinking about her as I got ready for church. As I walked there I suddenly felt terribly tired, after the service I came home and went to bed. I dreamed that a large tumour had come up on my neck. The fear is all there in me, and other people with cancer act as "triggers" re-traumatising me, but I don't resent that at all. That is all part of my new life, post cancer, or "in remission" as people put it, which is  a word which also traumatises me, as my conscious, waking mind likes to believe  I am am cured.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Dear pals and enemies alike, 

at present I am putting my blogs on to the Salisbury Review blog spot. 
It is a magazine of conservative thought, but don't let that put you off! 
You can add your remarks

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Mother's 90th birthday


Home to Codsall for my mother’s 90th birthday. The houses seem increasingly adorned with vertical drapes and the new, apparently modish, shit coloured window frames.

On the morning of the birthday she found a large brightly coloured hoola-hoop on the back garden. It had a label on and seemed to be new. None of the neighbours knew anything about it and we noticed small holes in the edges. I think it was a gift from the local fox population, or possibly carried there by the birds. She has been feeding them steadily every day, for the last fifty years. Over the years their food has improved greatly, they now get all kinds of expensive seed all year round and in the winter tiny,  perfectly cut lard sandwiches.

I always take my cat Maisie, who in human years is 86, for treatment when I’m up there, as it is so much cheaper than vets in London. Looked up the phone number in my mother’s book, hunting through a maze of crossings out  realised her book is like a grave yard. Almost everyone in it is dead.

My mother seemed a bit disturbed before her birthday, worrying about her future. She also started “de-cluttering” facing up to the possibility of losing her home by offering to unload her treasures on to me. She has some very nice things but I have noticed in the past that when I bring them  back to my place in London they don’t look right – removed from  the context of her house they lose their shine, and my joy in them.

Later, when she was feeling better she started congratulating herself on living so long.
 “I must have done something right” she said with satisfaction.
 I mentioned my great grandfather who lived to be 100 although he was hugely fat, smoked and drank heavily.
 “It’s the luck of the genes,” I said.
“It wasn’t genes,” she said, “He was just wicked Irish.”  

She received at least 50 cards, not bad going and I gave her lots of parcels. Ever the optimist she wanted a watch from me, and was quite specific; stainless steel face, black strap. 
I ordered it from Samuel's on line. It arrived in a very large box with lots of wrapping and two other boxes inside. We opened the final one and there it was - sparkling gold with a brown strap. 

The cancer survivor's diet


The fear I had after I started treatment, when the doctor's told me such bad news, has begun to fade now after two years. Sometimes it returns unexpectedly but I recognise it as it almost always comes back in the evening when I'm alone. I notice feelings of bloating, indigestion etc. the symptoms of ovarian cancer - but in the morning I wake up feeling fine, nothing wrong. All that was going on was my digestive system responding to daily battering from whole heads of broccoli, thick tangles of fresh parsley, sage and coriander,  and pounds of  fresh fruit.

The cancer survivor's diet is a work of intelligence and industry. I visited a friend recently who has prostate cancer. He was once a jolly farm lad who lived on burgers, pub food and beer.  He now has a juicer in his kitchen which he told me cost £350. He has a breakfast of juiced pomegranate seeds with grilled tomatoes topped with turmeric in olive oil. This is followed by apricot kernels ground to dust and drunk in fresh pineapple  juice. He eschews all sugar and alcohol.  Under his sink he has installed a maze of pipes to provide purified water.

Does it work? Well he was given 18 months to live over three years ago. The food he eats might not be able to shrink his tumour but battling away in the kitchen to defeat it seems to be keeping him going.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The interview with a survivor


I have just put up an  interview about an Olympic athlete who was diagnosed with Ovarian C last year. 

It's  not terribly penetrating - she was diagnosed a year ago, had chemo but now says she has a clean bill of health. Is that possible? 
Doctors here are much more pessimistic about it coming back and surviving with the thought of recurrence is the most difficult thing. I wonder if she has to have the 3 month check ups? I have got my next one on Monday and I am starting to get all the psychosomatic symptoms and anxiety - not as bad as it used to be though, it no longer resembles a crashing seventh wave that smothers everything in its wake.