Saturday, 28 February 2015

Operation Postponed!

For any of my followers or visitors who have not been contacted either directly by my hubby or indirectly, my surgery has been postponed because no High Dependency bed was available. Please see my updated Cancer Diary page for details.

I shall be online until the night before my re-scheduled operation and will hope to be able to moderate and reply to any comments up until that time.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

WOYWW 299

A very brief post for WOYWW this week – again, nothing at all on my desk, as I rapidly approach my date for admission to hospital and surgery to remove my large bowel and create an ileostomy.

A picture not of my desk – just so you don’t feel too deprived of visual stimulus. A rare sight – our two girlies together in the same bed! (Taken several years ago.) Beatrice on the left, Phoebe on the right. Both are looking a bit longer in the tooth these days!

Beatrice & Phoebe in Hammock 15 Dec 04

The past few days have been very busy indeed, seeing people, taking phone calls, emails, etc. and fitting in some treats before I go in. Also working hard on getting Mum into respite care – success at last, and she is going in tomorrow.

Some retail therapy in M&S today – new night wear for hospital and also a few pretty things to wear in the spring while I get better – something nice to look forward to.

I wanted to post for this WOYWW just to let everyone know that I won’t be online after tomorrow, until my hubby brings my laptop in to the hospital when I feel up to it (not sure when that will be). If anyone is kind enough to leave me any comments, they may not get moderated or published for a while, unless I get some time tomorrow, so please don’t despair if you check back and they haven’t appeared. I promise every comment is read, and treasured, and will be published as soon as I can. I’ll try and update my Cancer Diary page before I go into hospital – they phoned while we were out today, about one last appointment before Friday, to see the stoma team. Tomorrow is a very heavy day, getting Mum settled, and going out for a meal in the evening, all being well. My hubby has a physio appointment in the morning for his wrist that was broken in October. I have a hair appointment on Thurs. a.m. which I am determined not to miss, so that only leaves Thurs. p.m. for my hospital appointment so I hope they can fit me in then!

By the time I get in, at this rate, I shall be glad of the anaesthetic and a chance for a long rest! (not…)

I shall be thinking of you all. I may be out of sight, but hopefully not out of mind!

Happy WOYWW everybody, and thanks for all the support and encouragement over the past month or so.

Cancer Diary page now updated.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Visit from Shaz

Today we had a lovely visit from Shaz and her hubby. Shaz and I first met on WOYWW, and when she was diagnosed with rectal cancer she started a cancer page on her blog, and I have been following her progress with great interest, and sending messages of support and encouragement whenever possible.

Little did I know that I myself would soon be treading the same path, and facing many of the same challenges that Shaz has faced – and faced with great fortitude and humour. She has been of immense support and encouragement to me, and recently, particularly this last week which has been so difficult for me, we have been emailing back and forth several times a day! Truly this cancer journey is an emotional rollercoaster and I have been experiencing some real highs and lows in the past weeks, and it is great to know that one has friends and allies rooting for one. On her recommendation, I have started my own Cancer Diary page on this blog (tab below blog header).

They arrived mid-afternoon and we had a great chat all together, over cups of coffee and tea. Our hubbies were getting on like a house on fire and my hubby ended up giving hers a pair of motorcycle boots – sadly my hubby has reluctantly agreed that he really should give up motorcycling after his broken wrist in the autumn. He has realised that he has caring responsibilities these days and it’s just too risky – his accident could have been an awful lot worse.

Shaz and I hit it off straight away, which I knew we would because we’re already great online buddies! She and I went upstairs for a chat and left the boys to it, and she has encouraged me greatly about having a stoma and managing the bag. There is nothing like chatting with someone who is already dealing with it, and she reassured me that it can all be dealt with quickly and easily, and become part of one’s daily routine.

I showed her round the house, including my gorgeous girlie bathroom as my hubby calls it, and of course showed her my ARTHaven, and we agreed that Really Useful Boxes are the best thing ever! Unfortunately I didn’t have much in the way of projects to show her – my desk is bare at the moment, in the continuing absence of Mr. Mojo and Mrs. Muse. I am not pushing for their return and they can continue with their extended holiday! I am sure they will return once I am out of hospital and well on my way with my convalescence.

We had such a lovely time all together, and hopefully we will be able to meet up again in the future. Shaz and I both agree that we have the best hubbies ever, and how wonderfully supportive they are being as we both go through this ordeal of cancer, surgery, and having a stoma.

Here is the picture I took – the two hubbies took some too but I haven’t got those yet.

Shaz and Doug's Visit 21-2-15

I also took this one of Shaz because she’s got reeeaaally cool hair!!

Shaz

My hubby is into treats mode at the moment and has got a few “spoilies” up his sleeve for the days before my hospital admission, and one of the things I am doing is to have my hair done the day before I go in. It is getting rather straggly so I’ve booked to have it tidied up a bit, and I want some streaks of colour – I am going to print this photo out and say “I want one of these”!! Actually, it won’t be all over – I am having streaks, but I’d love the dip-dyed look. If I keep my roots my current colour I won’t get a line as it starts to grow out, but if I can have sections with the dip-dyed look, starting a little way down from the roots, this should look good, and I will also be able to continue touching up the roots at home as the grey appears.

You only have to look at Shaz with her funky hair and clothes, and her wonderful smiling face, to know that she’s one feisty lady and great fun to be with! She’s a real friend.

Their visit was one of this week’s “spoilies” for me – what a lovely afternoon we all had!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

WOYWW 298

What’s on my workdesk this Wednesday? Again, nothing, I am sorry to say. Mr. Mojo and Mrs. Muse are still on their extended naughty holiday and are showing no sign of returning any time soon. I haven’t heard a word from them, not even a postcard.

Last time I didn’t have a picture to show you of my workdesk, it was suggested I put a picture of something else, so here goes.

Distorted Orange Peel 5

This is a picture of some orange peel which I took several years ago and manipulated using my photo editing software (Serif PhotoPlus). Make of it what you will!

I now have a date for my surgery – Friday 27th February. I saw the surgeon last Thursday. For those who don’t regularly follow my blog, you can see full details on my Cancer Diary page (click tab below blog header), but basically it has been decided that I require much more radical surgery than originally suggested. I am having the whole of my large bowel removed, and an ileostomy created, so I shall be a gutless bag lady for the rest of my life. Although I felt fine about it while I was talking to the surgeon, I have become increasingly freaked out by the whole idea and terrified I won’t cope – although I keep reassuring myself on the stoma forum I have joined. Lots of people have this done, and once they’ve recovered from the surgery and learnt how to manage, they live full and active lives (not that my life is ever what you might call active lol!).

This is major surgery, and I shall probably be in hospital at least a week. They won’t know till they send the tumour for histological examination what stage the cancer is, or how aggressive; this will determine whether or not I require chemotherapy after surgery.

I am now trying to organise things at this end to be ready for when I come home. We are trying to find some respite care for Mum until my convalescence is well under way, but she is unwilling to go and we’ve been having considerable problems with her, and I have suffered a lot of stress, which I had been told by the anaesthetist to avoid at all costs, but that’s easier said than done! I am trying hard to keep a positive attitude and a sense of humour but today have failed miserably. I am now feeling quite desperate, and wanting to run away from the whole situation and hide.

Everybody is being very kind and supportive, and in front of me on the sitting room table is a wealth of beautiful flowers to cheer me on my way.

Pre-Op Flowers

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

WOYWW 297

To find out how to join in the most fun nosey fest on the web, click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar and you will end up at our hostess Julia’s blog, where all will be revealed.

Well, better late than never… About half an hour to go before this would be WOYWT – What’s on your workdesk Thursday!

In answer to that question, a repeat of last week: not a lot. Well, a tiny bit more than last week.

WOYWW 297 11 Feb

On the far right is a large acrylic block that has been out for weeks, waiting to be put away. On the mat is my iPod, and its case with the neck strap, and the earbuds. They have sound-reducing rubber tips which are supposed to stay pushed on, but in the past I have found they have a habit of popping off and getting lost, so I started gluing them on with Pinflair glue. This works extremely well, but after several months they work loose again. Today I stuck them back on again – I want them working properly when I go into hospital, and I’m going to make sure I’ve got lots of nice music and audio books on my iPod to keep me going. The case had also got a bit worn and developed a split, and I’ve mended that with Pinflair, too.

On the left of the iPod are three stamps, and at the back left, the wood blocks I have just pulled them off. These are all Stampotique stamps, and for some reason they only supply them mounted on wood blocks, which I don’t like, so I always peel them off and stick them on EZ-Mount Foam to use with acrylic blocks. The large one is the Kitty Squad stamp I bought several months ago and still haven’t used, and the medium one is their Medium Bee, which comes with the tiny bee on the side of the block. I’ve had their Large Bee for some time and have used it quite a lot, but it really is a bit big for a lot of projects, and these two smaller ones are gong to be very useful.

So much for my desk. In the past fortnight I have done precisely one embroidery piece for my bed decorations. Here it is.

21 Red and Green Paisley

Here are some detail shots.

22 Red and Green Paisley Detail

23 Red and Green Paisley Thick End Detail

24 Red and Green Paisley Thin End Detail

I do wish photos would pick up shiny stuff. The red triangles between the shi-sha mirrors, and the French knots between the small circles, are all worked in red lurex thread which sparkles, but in the photos it looks really dull. The photos simply don’t do it justice.

Mr. Mojo is still on his extended holiday (probably having a naughty vacation in some obscure south coast seaside resort with Mrs. Muse) so this is all I’ve managed to achieve, I’m afraid. It looks more and more likely that my poor hubby is not going to get the special Valentine card I promised myself I would make for him this year, to show how much I appreciate all he is, and does, especially at the moment… Maybe it will be OK for him to have it late?

Cancer update… On Friday the specialist nurse phoned after their meeting to say that the scan revealed that the cancer is confined to the bowel and has not spread, which is a great relief. This news was followed by a brief period of high elation, followed by total exhaustion and a long sleep in the afternoon, and when I woke up, I felt all unsettled again… I have it on good authority from other cancer sufferers that this emotional rollercoaster is perfectly normal, so I’m not fretting too much. I have also received my appointment to see the surgeon, and I will be going tomorrow lunch time, after which we should know a bit more. I’ve got a whole sheet of questions for him, some of which I am sure he will cover, and I shall be sure to write down all the answers!

Despite the reassurance by the anaesthetist last week that they take post-operative pain management very seriously these days, and I can expect a lot less pain than after my hysterectomy 20 years ago, I am still dreading the operation and feeling very nervous about it. I hope that he will tell me tomorrow when I shall be admitted. Watch this space (or at least, my Cancer Diary page) for updates.

The anaesthetist said it was essential that I kept stress to a minimum during this whole period, but this is proving more difficult to achieve than I thought. Things are not good with Mum again at the moment, after a period of much better behaviour, and we are making plans to deal with this, and I am intending mentioning this to the surgeon tomorrow and getting his opinion. I can’t say more at the moment but hopefully we’ll manage to achieve some peace and quiet, and the opportunity for me to have a good convalescence.

We seem to be so busy at the moment with all these hospital appointments and other things – we managed at last to get to the dentist this afternoon, having postponed so many appointments because of problems with Mum, and I now have the back of a couple of my front teeth thickened up with the new filling material they use these days – they had apparently worn very thin. At the moment it feels weird and I can’t bite down very well, but he says it will wear down a bit in the coming days and weeks. My hubby now has two collapsed teeth as a result of the delay, but the dentist says he can fix them and he doesn’t need any further extractions, which is good.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

A Sweet Gift

This morning my hubby went to church. Last week he told the curate about my cancer, and this week, two little girls in the Sunday school made me the sweetest gift! He came home absolutely thrilled with it, and knew I would be too. This is the first part.

Jesus Hug Hands

The two card hands are connected by a ribbon and he hung it round my neck! I love the little hearts for fingernails!

They also made me this card.

Healed by Jesus' Touch 1

It is a volvelle. I love volvelles. I’ve got some instructions for them and tried to make one once, but it was too small and didn’t work, so I abandoned it. You hold the tab and pull it round, and the picture changes into something else.

Here is the volvelle in the half-way position.

Healed by Jesus' Touch 2

This is how it looks fully rotated.

Healed by Jesus' Touch 3

Isn’t that adorable?

He also brought back one of the printouts that the girls made the card from, complete with instructions, which I can use again with other pictures.

Healed by Jesus' Touch Instructions

Finally, they sent me this chocolate lolly from Lidl.

Chocolate Bar

I thought this was so sweet of them, to make me all this, when they have never even met me! My hubby says it’s a lovely congregation. I did meet the curate once, when she came to a craft show in the church where we used to live, and we compared wheelchairs! My hubby told her last week that I was ill, and she got them together to do this. I am so touched.

I really appreciate the prayers and kind thoughts of all my friends around the world, at this difficult time in my life. God bless you all.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

WOYWW 296

What’s On My Workdesk this Wednesday? Absolutely nothing!

For details of how to enter the world’s most famous nosey fest, please click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar and it will take you to our hostess Julia’s blog, where all with be revealed.

I thought I’d join in WOYWW this week, albeit rather late in the day, just  to say I had my anaesthetist’s appointment this morning, and I have updated my Cancer Diary page accordingly.

I have no picture for you today because there has again been absolutely no work done in my ARTHaven. I haven’t even managed to do any embroidery this week. I am still feeling very unsettled, waiting for further news about my bowel cancer. I have not yet got the follow-up appointment after the scan, and until I attend that appointment, we do not know exactly what we are dealing with, or how serious it is. As you will see from my diary, I do now have a lot more information about what is likely to happen before, during and after surgery, but the fine details have to be filled in by the surgeon when I see him.

Yesterday my hubby and I attended the first day of a four-day course for carers. The next three will take place on successive Tuesdays. They know we may not be able to attend them all, but handouts are available, and if necessary we can always enrol for the next one. These courses are offered free in our local area, and are run by an experienced nurse who has had to take a back seat from active nursing due to back trouble. She is now teaching, and running carers’ courses, and has the added advantage of having taken care of an elderly relative herself.

A beautifully presented sandwich lunch was provided, and as much tea or coffee as we wanted. The whole course is free of charge. We are being made aware of all the resources available to us, and individual needs are being met, and dealt with promptly. Hearing the experiences of the other members of the course made me feel extremely humble – compared with what some people have to put up with, caring for Mum is like a walk in the park.

We have also joined a local carers’ group which meets regularly in a local hotel for morning coffee and afternoon tea a couple of times a month. Again, we won’t make them all, but it will be a nice opportunity to meet others in our situation, and make new friends. I am impressed with how much is on offer in our area, but shocked at how little help some people are getting. A lot of this is down to not knowing what’s available, and an added problem is simply not being able to get away in order to take advantage of it.

I will keep you up to date with progress on the cancer front. I am hoping to have my laptop in hospital once I’m on the general ward and feeling up to it, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep in touch with everyone.

Happy WOYWW everyone, and if you happen to see my mojo on your travels, please give him a wave and tell him I miss him.