Friday, 27 February 2009

Frid. 27th Feb. 2009

Another dry day and warm enough to have the conservatory door open. Also, it means I don't have to wear a hat all the time. The latter results in differing reactions when I'm out and about. It gets a lot of 'double takes' and curious looks, which don't bother me at all. I think wigs, unless you can pay a large amount of money, always look like wigs, plus you can't take them off in the middle of a cafe or public place if you have a sudden hot flush! It's personal preference I suppose.

So, what else today? Well, I'm feeling well and apart from a mouth ulcer, my side effects are diminishing and I should be able to enjoy my food and drink for the next week. I'm extremely excited about the music night tomorrow and we should raise some more money for the Oncology Unit. I will of course be reporting on that along with some pictures!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Thurs. 26th Feb. 2009

A quiet day today, don't want to wear myself out before Saturday. We did however go to York to pick up some raffle tickets and bumped into Alan and Tina (brother & sister-in-law), so we had some lunch together.

Shortly after arriving back home, I had a call from my Consultant who wanted to discuss possible dates for my mastectomy and reconstruction. I could see Graham's puzzled face as I revealed my bra size and discussed intimate details regarding my bosom! Anyway, I'm going to end up with slightly smaller boobs, so there are some benefits, ha ha.

I've also spoken recently to an ex work colleague who was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago and was given Herceptin last year. It was a really useful conversation (more than an hour) and I'm feeling a little better about it. I say a little, because although she didn't have any side effects with Herceptin, she also didn't have any major side effects with the chemotherapy, after the first treatment. I also received my appointment for an echo cardiogram this morning, so things feel as though they're moving on.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wed. 25th Feb. 2009 'Out & about'

A definite improvement in my energy levels, but the stomach and bowel problems continue and I don't seem to be able to eat anything without developing the now familiar stomach cramps and the need to be near the loo. I have lost a couple of pounds in weight over the last week and I think this is linked to the dodgy digestion.

I am increasingly worried about the next couple of months in relation to work. I want to be signed back in some capacity i.e. working from home, but i am scared that I won't be able to cope, or that my employers won't understand the unpredictability of the side effects and the need for extreme flexibility. I'm sure my fears are unfounded, but I have lost a lot of confidence.

As part of building my confidence, I decided to drive myself to Hilary's house, which is about 30miles away and the longest journey I've done since I left work in October. It was good and I managed the trip without incident - hurray! I left Graham painting the lounge ceiling - it's better if I'm not there as I'm a control freak and would have driven him mad.

So that's it for today and tomorrow I intend to log onto my work lap top and sort out my 'inbox' - aaaagh!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tues. 24th Feb. 'Fund Raising Success'

Want to start today's post with some fantastic news. Remember my lovely Niece Dawn and her sponsored 'hair shaving'? Well, it looks as though when all the cheques are collected, Dawn will have raised a staggering £850 for the York Oncology Unit, which for a young Mum with two small, energetic children is an amazing achievement and I can only thank her from the bottom of my heart.
The 'Music Night', also to raise money for the Oncology Unit is this Saturday and it looks as though attendance is going to be high. It should be a really fun night, some great musicians and maybe even some dancing. I should be at my best by Saturday, so I'm getting quite excited, especially as all my family will be there and lots and lots of friends who I've been in touch with, but haven't seen for ages.

I made real Cornish pasties today, the way Graham's Mum used to, with leeks, potatoes, suede and diced stewing beef, not a hint of carrots, peas or mince (oh please). They came out great and Graham's brother called, so we had them for lunch. I'm suffering now, but it was worth it!

Mon. 23rd Feb. 2009

I'm writing this retrospectively (ha, must be feeling better using words like that). Despite a disturbed night due to my stomach doing impressions of an erupting Mount Vesuvius and waking up with jagged golden teeth circling around in my left eye, Monday was a good day. We made a brief visit to Ikea as I had a list of things I wanted and when I'm on a mission....... Actually, if I'm honest, their lunches are really yummy too and you know the way to a man's heart, not to mention a woman on chemotherapy? Spent the afternoon recovering as a trip like that is a bit like doing a marathon for me right now.

Had one of those stupid moments later on, I'll explain. My Sister had asked if she should come over while Mike was at College. We tend to text each other, so I said great. However, a text arrived mid afternoon which I read several times, but still interpreted as 'We're both germ free, so would you like to come over?' I told Graham, 'plans have changed we're going there'. I asked her 'What time' and she replied 'Around 6p.m., after a light tea'. Strange, thought I, why is she telling me to have a light tea? Anyway, at 6p.m. we got ready and were just going out the door when my phone 'beeped'. A text from Patty saying 'We're on our way' - now I'm confused! Of course, on reading the text again (with Graham), it did actually say 'would you like ME to come over'. After we'd stopped laughing, we settled down to await their arrival.

Yes, I know you're all saying 'but I do that all the time'. The thing is I don't, I'm usually very organised, but at the moment my levels of concentration and problem solving are zilch! Suffice to say, it caused some hilarity and we had a lovely evening eating pancakes and catching up on family news.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Sun. 22nd Feb. 2009 'Spring has Sprung'

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful, na, na, na, na, na, naaaa, naa - and that's enough of of that! But it really has been quite stunning today and coupled with the fact that I feel a few degrees better, has allowed me to accompany Graham on his daily field trip with Daisy, sit on the step outside and wash my plant pots, plus I cooked lunch and so far it's staying down!

I'm also feeling so lucky to have such good friends and family. Our friend Alan has his own radio show every Sunday 11 - 1p.m. from York University. Last week he dedicated a lovely Tom Waits song 'Little Trip to Heaven' to us both and this week he played 'Lesley's Tune' for moi, an instrumental with more than a hint of the Celtic, can't remember the album now, but I will find out as I want to try and download that one.

Also, as you will see I've been looking at Joan & Gerry's disc of photo's, so finally a picture of our dear friends whom I can't wait to see again in March. Take care guys you're very special to us! Hope you approve of the picture I chose.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Sat. 21st Feb. 2009

A beautiful day, it makes such a difference. We've been to town, but not for long as I was feeling very nauseous and forgot to take my anti-emetics with me (bum). Also, I still have stomach problems and feel safer at home.

Came home from town to find two parcels, one with bath salts (for me)and a soft toy for Daisy, which she demolished instantly, the other was a photo disc all the way from New Zealand (Joan & Gerry), so all in all, it's been a really nice day.

Severe reflux is plaguing me again tonight, it comes on every time I eat anything and feels like knives are being stuck into my throat and back. Nothing seems to relieve it, not even the daily Lansoprazil, so I'll just have to walk around until it settles.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Frid. 20th Feb. 2009

Another day.... Didn't feel like getting up at all today, but made the effort spurred on by the promise of a visit from Hilz. Stomach is a little easier, just feels like a bus has run over it and 'calls of nature' are urgent.

Hilz came and the three of us had a much needed laugh and the usual heart to heart, not to mention a bacon, mushroom and tomato sandwich, which I was longing for well before lunch time, yes the urge to eat is strong, even though I feel slightly sick - weird!

Again, I thank people for their 'blog' comments and rest assured I am still fighting and I know each day should now start to get better as I move towards my 5th treatment. I can tell you though that when it's bad, it's bad. It's not just tiredness, it's as close to 'shut down' as you can get and when I heard recently that Jade Goody had said she just 'wanted to go', I could really, really understand where that was coming from, especially as she knows there's no way back. Hopefully for me and countless others there is a way back and that's what keeps us going. Oh yes, and Gordon Brown is thinking about us all too, bless!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Thurs. 19th Feb.2009

No blog yesterday, didn't feel up to it. After a few reasonable days had one of the worst I've experienced for a while, both physically and mentally, completely 'rock bottom', felt dreadful and had not an ounce of energy, but plenty of frustration, which didn't help and made us both fed up with the whole situation. The 'In France' effect is extremely distressing and makes me feel so ill and uncomfortable that I start to lose the will to live, literally. Anyway, having taken prescribed potions daily for the last week, plus prunes, etc, etc, things finally are resolving. Unfortunately that meant a night of extreme stomach cramps and several hurried trips to the loo (sorry if you're eating).

Today - well, I'd have trouble squashing a grape or fighting my way out of a paper bag, but in myself I'm feeling somewhat better, it's just a case of coping with the stomach problem, i.e. trips need to be planned carefully. We're supposed to be going out to see a short play, which would have been fine if my treatment hadn't been delayed, but I need to make the effort, so we'll see how the day goes and update later.

Back from the play - it was really good to get out with my brother & sister-in-law and the play was very clever. It wasn't easy and my stomach was lurching and painful at times. Did have difficulty concentrating at times, but only yawned once and managed not to fall asleep (my fault, not the play). So, we'll see how things go tomorrow although I doubt if energy levels will increase much more now.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tues. 17th Feb. 2009

Just read three lovely comments on my blog, thanks Pip, Jane and Max for those. I'm sure I should be able to reply on the blog too, but I need some more tuition. Suffice to say I really appreciate your support, it's what keeps me going.

It's been great to have another day of milder weather and because I was feeling frustrated we went into York and had lunch at the Ate O'Clock (Kenny & Jane's superb place) they're definitely my 'food angels' and I can usually find something to tantalise the taste buds. I then went to Brown's and had a 'make-over' to find ways of brightening my eyes and face. Can't wear mascara now and the eyebrows have gone. I was really happy with the results and I spent some money - yeah!

Generally I'm not doing too bad, coping with the usual stomach problems, lack of spacial awareness (can make me look a little drunk). Odd effect, my eyes don't work with my brain and body, I feel as if I'm not quite awake.

Think that's it for today, so thanks again everyone. Hope you're all coming to the 'Music Night' so I can have some hugs.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Mon.16th Feb. 2009

Not a bad night, but woke early with the now familiar disgusting taste in my mouth and very thirsty. It's been a mild morning for a change and I've really made an effort to push myself a bit more. This is partly as a result of the dryer, warmer weather, but more to do with the timely call from my friend Hilz this morning. As usual she was right, reminding me that I wouldn't be here if I wasn't having the chemotherapy and yes, I need to concentrate on the here and now and not get bogged down in the future, that will take care of itself. Hilz has a way of stating the harsh truth in a loving, practical way and it really made me determined to take each day as it comes and to 'stop being a nurse' and concentrate on being a human being, with cancer, who needs to 'live for today'.

So as a consequence of the above, I have today been out in the garden and pruned a few bushes, emptied out old pots and generally tidied up. It may not seem much, but believe me it took a lot of effort and I was extremely tired when I'd finished, but boy I felt really 'lifted'.

I know that my colleagues are meeting in Guildford tomorrow and I will miss not being with them, but Margaret (my great Manager) rang me tonight and I've suggested I could do some behind the scenes work, so I hope that's possible.

I've also picked out the new settee I want from Ikea and made a list of things I would like doing around the house. So I'm making a real effort to set goals, however small they may seem.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Sun. 15th Feb. 2009 'My Valentine"

Who needs Valentine's Day when you have a wonderful husband like mine. Cooks, cleans, walks the dog, irons, good at 'odd jobs' and most of all makes me feel so special every day. So many times his first words are 'are you okay, how you feeling' or just a cuddle with the words 'I'm here' what more could I ask? Would sit up all night with me if necessary and often makes tea at unearthly hours when I can't sleep.

I was feeling quite low this morning, following another very disturbed night. My mind is in turmoil and I'm finding it hard to shut off from all the stuff that's going on and what the next few months will bring. I now feel like I'm looking into a 'black hole' and I imagine that's how everyone with cancer feels as they go through treatment, because there is so much that not even the health professionals can tell you, it seems it's a waiting game and I don't do 'waiting', I'm too organised and need to have my days, months and to some extent, the year planned. I'm learning though!

So I'm concentrating on doing some house improvements, a past time I really enjoy. I like making changes and I have a few in mind - sorry Graham! Also, I feel justified in spending a bit of money and cheering myself up!

We've been out for lunch, taste a little lost on me, but nice to get out. Graham is singing at the 'Ate O'Clock' in York tonight for their Valentine's evening, so I guarantee all the loving couples will have a wonderful evening 'cos he's such a brilliant singer/musician - just another reason why I'm so blessed!

So 'Happy Valentines Graham' I love you. x

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Sat. 14th Feb. 2009

Not feeling too bad today, took my time getting up and ready so that I could manage a short trip to town. I'm just waiting for the sledge hammer to fall now, not very positive I know, but that's what happened last time. My enjoyment of food and drink has been replaced with a disgusting taste.

I've taken time to look at the implications of being HER2 positive and I don't like what I'm finding and I'm a little confused. First of all it would appear that this means the cancer is more aggressive as the protein on the cells encourages the cancer cells to multiply at a much faster rate and I should be starting treatment as soon as possible. Unfortunately I can't start the Herceptin until I finish my chemotherapy as the Epirubicin already poses a risk of heart problems and the Herceptin has an even higher risk, which requires cardiac tests and regular monitoring. Added to that it has some very disturbing side effects, sickness, flu like feelings etc, etc.

The Herceptin would be given over a 12month period, I think approx. every three weeks by injection. The first is given in hospital due to the possibility of anaphylatic shock and possible heart problems. The other injections I believe can be given in the home by a trained nurse.

My dilemma is do I really want this and if I don't have it how would it impact on my overall survival rate? I need to seek some professional answers and speak to a friend who I know is on Herceptin at the moment to find out how she is coping. A lot of the chat forums do seem to report side effects and gradual heart failure, which although it can be reversed, must be detrimental and there is no research at the moment into the long term effects. So a lot to think about.

On a brighter side, I received flowers from a Line Manager at BOC and the 'Tete a Tete' daffodil bulbs my sister sent have grown two inches and one is already in flower. I love the thought that Spring is around the corner.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Fri. 13th Feb. 2009

Not much sleep last night, but that's largely due to the steroids. Played Scrabble on my Nintendo before dropping off to sleep and listened to the iPod when I woke around 04.30a.m. Ruth took the attached pictures yesterday. The first one is warming my hand up to get a good vein. The second is me sucking a lollipop to take mask the nasty metallic taste that comes with Cyclophosphamide.

Today I haven't felt too bad, a little sick and wobbly, but otherwise pretty good. However, I seem to think I had two good days last time and got quite optimistic, then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Also I've had my Sissy here today and that helps to pass the day and take my mind off things.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Thurs. 12th Feb. 2009 Chemotherapy No.4 and Roo

As usual I was really nervous on the way to the hospital, it's always daunting knowing you've got two weeks of 'crap' ahead, but also because I was having a mid treatment review. Unfortunately my anxiety was compounded by a long delay in seeing the Doctor (40 minutes). I don't mind waiting, but I thought I might miss my chemotherapy appointment. I was re-assured however that my treatment would still go ahead.

Eventually the Senior Registrar came and explained that they had been discussing my future treatment. I am apparently HER2 positive, which means I can have Herceptin, the drug you hear about in the media. He also added that this is a 'double edged sword' as being HER2 positive means that the cells have a higher than normal level of protein on their surface, which stimulates them to grow, these cells tend to grow and spread faster (not something I realised or wanted to hear). The Herceptin is given over a twelve month period (17 injections) and I can't start it until I've completed the chemotherapy.

I asked if I could be told my 'staging' but he explained that there were so many factors and variables, based on population numbers that it might not be of benefit and may even frighten me without due cause. We did discuss the subject in some detail and I was happy to take his advice on this question. Reading between the lines I have an idea what my 'stage' is, but as he said it's not worth dwelling on and I need to concentrate on the treatment and my 'armies'.

My other question was how long the cancer may have been there before it became evident to me. I was quite shocked to learn that it may have been developing for 4 - 5 yrs, which is a worry to me in view of the vertigo and other odd symptoms I've had for around that period. He didn't seem to think that I would have noticed symptoms though, so that remains a mystery.

My most positive result is the fact that I am node negative, but the fact that I have lymphovascualr permeation means cancer cells could have entered the blood stream and gone elsewhere, which I find just as worrying. However, all the treatment and surgery is designed to get rid of 'strays' and that's what makes it bearable. I was happy with the review and found the Senior Registrar very approachable and understanding (also very young and quite good looking!).

As a result of the review and the fact that I have suffered a lot of nasty side effects, the Sen.Reg. decided to reduce my drugs by 10%, which isn't much, but may prevent some of these.

Treatment itself went well and it was nice to have my daughter Roo as my 'buddy' this time. A buddy doesn't do anything, but their presence is really important and stops you dwelling on the treatment, also it helps to take some of the mystery out of what happens. My nurse was lovely as usual and I came home with a bag of various tablets to help alleviate some of the worst side effects.

We dropped Roo at York station - thanks Roo I love you lots, and drove home in the snow for my favorite meal, Graham's pork steaks - they were lovely. Onwards and upwards!!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Wed. 11th Feb. 2009

Have been a bit teary for the last few days and especially this morning, don't know why. Anyway, I went to Selby for my 'bloods' this morning and hopefully they'll be ok. The nurse said that the vein in my right arm is very poor due to repeated blood taking and the chemotherapy drugs, she wants me to ask if we can use the left arm next time. I know they don't like this because of the risk of infection, but I am getting a lot of pain and aching so it's worth asking the question.

My brother-in-law (Barry) had his total knee replacement yesterday, so we've just been to see him at Goole Hospital. He looked really well and the physios sat him out while we were there. The op. was done with an epidural only, so Barry was aware of all the hammering and sawing. I've seen it carried out when I did my stint in theatres and it is very agricultural! Barry and Sue are lovely and the problems with Graham's Mum has brought us all much closer.

No phone call, so it must be all systems go.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tues. 10th Feb. 2009 'Reconstruction Seminar'

Slept well last night and woke to a sunny morning. The snow has gone as it rained last night and I'm looking forward to a visit from Roo & Gor. Roo is going with me to a seminar at the York Hospital on 'reconstruction'.

The Seminar: Was very interesting, but I have to confess there were moments when we both wanted to laugh, but managed to contain ourselves for fear of being thrown out. It did confirm my decision to ask for a Lat Flap, I don't fancy the idea of an implant and I definitely don't want a prosthesis. The photographs used were not only a bit outdated, but the subjects were less than attractive, I don't think any of them were under 70. Fortunately they did have others which were more up to date and the nipples did at least point in the same direction! Did you know that they can tattoo nipples on or make one out of your own skin - aagh, Roo thinks they should be made of Marzipan?

Anyway, it was worth going and I'm clearer on what's involved, so I'll be able to discuss my options with Mr Mancy Jones.

Back to Selby in the morning to be vamped again, fingers crossed this time!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Mon. 9th Feb. 2009

Went to bed around 10.30p.m. last night and didn't get to sleep till after 01.30a.m. Couldn't seem to switch my brain off, it was whizzing through conversations, memories, hopes and dreams, you name it. I did sit up at one point and have a game of Scrabble on my Nintendo while trying not to disturb Graham. Eventually dropped off to sleep, had several crazy dreams and woke up again just after 5a.m with stomache cramp. I think it's probably because we're on the countdown again and wondering what this week will bring - hey ho!

Sun. 8th Feb. 2009

Feeling fine, nothing to report. Going to my sister's this afternoon for a family gathering providing everyone is free of coughs, colds or other nasties. I've made some Chelsea Buns as Dawn likes them and it was her Birthday yesterday. Should know how much has been raised from Dawn's sponsored 'head shaving' in a week or so, but it's looking very promising. I can't wait to get my hair back, I'm not enjoying the baldness even if people do think it suits me. Problem is I feel cold all the time and end up wearing a hat or scarf (sometimes both) around the house, which can get annoying, apart from the fact that it makes me feel less than attractive. I really don't know how men cope, do they have thicker skin on the back of their necks?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Sat. 7th Feb. 2009

Had a slow start this morning, trying to rest as much as possible to give my white cells a fighting chance. It is nice to be able to enjoy a cup of tea and taste my food, but I am aware that delays in treatment can reduce its effectiveness and I've had two delays already.

The side effects continue to amuse and frustrate, I tried to put some mascara on today, which is difficult normally as I can't see what I'm doing without my glasses, but I couldn't understand why it kept smudging until I put my glasses on and had a look - my eyelashes have all but gone, it's like one, two, miss a few. So I'm using eyeliner instead now and contemplating falses. Also, my finger nails seem to be developing ridges, which is a shame because the steroids have made them grow nice and long.

There have been some very high profile cancer stories recently and I find them upsetting, even though their diagnosis and treatment may be different to mine. Unfortunately TV tends to feature those who don't make it, which can make me feel vulnerable, but I also feel a kind of a bond with them and what they're going, or have gone through. Even writing this blog has a dark side sometimes when I find myself wondering how it will end. I hope if it's not the outcome we're all hoping and praying for I can remain strong and cheerful throughout.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Frid. 6th Feb. 2009

A nice clear but cold day. We decided last night that we would pop into York for a bit of fresh air and a coffee and that's what we did, but for some reason I'm not feeling at my 'Mae West' today! Legs are very weak and I feel generally tired, so we didn't stay long. I've had two lovely surprises though - four bunches of Narcisi (tiny daffodils) from Dianne and Bill in Cornwall and a large box containing a beautiful basket of spring bulbs from my lovely sister. I do get a bit teary when I receive such lovely gifts, but they are very uplifting and I can't thank people enough.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Thurs. 5th Feb. 2009 'The not chemo day'

Can't help but think that I would have been getting on with my fourth chemo now. Even though I wasn't looking forward to it, another delay is frustrating, but I understand the reason for it and I'm just going to try and enjoy the extra time. I am a little nervous however regarding possible infections and aware that I still seem to have a slight cold, the same one, it's just hanging around.

So hey ho, nothing else to report, it's been a quiet day confined to the house due to more snow, but hoping to get out for a while tomorrow.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wed. 4th Feb. 2009

I had a poor night last night, partly due to the impending treatment, but largely because I had really bad stomach ache, which turned into an urgent need for the loo this morning. Fortunately it does seem to have settled and I've been for my pre-chemo bloods. The nurse at Selby knows me now, I don't make an appointment I just turn up and she fits me in. I even got a hug this morning before I left, how sweet.

I've also had a couple of e-mails this morning which have lifted my spirits, one from Joan & Gerry who are on their way to Honolulu and one from Hilz who gave me some sound words of advice and made me laugh. So I'm rallying my troops ready for battle. My daughter says Frodo would be proud, I do hope so. 'Go Frodo go'.

Update: Received a call at 4p.m. from one of the oncology nurses. I can't have my treatment tomorrow as my white cells are too low (neutropenia) and I would have no immunity at all which could be life threatening. So it's delayed for a week and in the meantime I have to be really careful regarding any rise in temperature or any signs of illness. I'm really disappointed having prepared myself, but there's little I can do. On the positive side, I can enjoy another week of nice food and hopefully get out if the snow stays away.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Tues. 3rd Feb. 2009

The snow has almost gone and the sun is shining. I feel really physically good and I've spent some of the day cleaning because I find it quite therapeutic, it also helps me prepare for my next treatment because I know I won't be looking at the dust, or the dirty windows and feeling frustrated because I can't sort them. It's no reflection on Graham's support, he would do anything I ask and does alot of the day to day cleaning, but I still need to feel useful.

Mentally I'm struggling and I've really appreciated the words of support on my blog. I'll be fine, it's just knowing how crap I'm going to feel that makes it difficult, plus Graham and I are seeing the Consultant this time and I have questions!. My daughter is coming too, she's going to be my 'buddy' during the chemotherapy and I'm looking forward to seeing her.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Mon. 2nd Feb. Snow & Daisy

'Who threw that snowball?'

Woke up to several inches of snow this morning, it looks fantastic.
Apart from sticky eyes, I feel well, so we took Daisy onto the field for a run, she absolutely loved the snow and kept eating it. It was so nice to be out in the open and probably the most exercise I've had for a while, but everything looked so wonderful and I felt alive, it was great.

Nothing else to report really, I'm trying not to think about Thursday too much, it's depressing, I've really enjoyed the last few days, feeling something like human for a change. Oh well, as Terry Wogan would say 'musn't grumble'.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sun. 1st Feb. 2009 - Cold & Snowy

Pleased to report that my cold seems to have subsided, maybe my 'feed a cold' approach is working. I am however going to cut down on food now especially from Tuesday onwards as this will lessen the 'In France' effect, plus I'll will start increasing my fluid intake. I'm now eating natural yoghurt with blueberries and cranberries for breakfast and two or three prunes.

Haven't done much today, it's been too cold. We listened to our friend Alan's radio programme and had a visit from John and Annie who live just down the road. I can't do much cross stitch or knitting at the moment as my eyes are very sore. I don't know if this is a side effect, but its very annoying as I have a couple of projects on the go and come Thursday I won't feel like doing them for a while.

I'm spending some time at the moment looking at how chemotherapy works and it's helping me to understand what's happening to my body and why I get the side effects I do. Basically the chemotherapy drugs attack the DNA of the cancer cells, killing them off and stopping them from replicating. Unfortunately they also attack some of the body's healthy cells, but the DNA of the healthy cells is stronger, so they are able to recover and reproduce again. The healthy cells which suffer are commonly those of the bone marrow (where blood cells are made), hair follicles, the mouth including taste buds and the digestive system.

So here ends the first biology lesson!