Nobody told me

Chemotherapy affects teeth. Just when I’m starting to feel human again with hair and fingernails returning,  I’ve noticed bits of teeth have gone black. I look like a ‘before’ model in one of those cosmetic makeover programmes, or someone with a 40-a-day habit.

And this really pisses me off because I’ve always looked after my teeth. I only have two fillings and these I’ve had since I was ten.
Google led me to a forum full of horror stories about molars crumbling and front teeth falling out – the internet is a dangerous thing!

Hoping it’s just plaque which a few trips to the hygienist will sort. Booked into the dentist later so I’ll find out the worst. Funny how despite being cut open, poisoned and irradiated this year, a visit to the dentist can still induce such dread. It’s a primeval thing.


Life’s a beach

Yesterday’s revelations about Departmental expenses, including tales of Rada acting lessons and a visit to a chocolate factory, must be music to the ears of those who like to villify the public sector. But I say take these stories with a barrelful of salt.

My former Department fell foul of similar exposure when it published details of annual expenditure. Elements of the media pounced on accounts of chauffeur-driven cars and a trip to Blackpool Pleasure beach with suitably outraged indignation.

The resulting coverage read like civil servants had been having one long jolly at taxpayers’ expense. The reality – which never got published – was that most of these jaunts were organised at the behest of Ministers. The chauffer-driven cars were booked not for staff but for Ministers on their travels. And the pleasure beach, which the media enjoyed so much, was used solely for its conference facilities.

Talking of beaches, we’ve just been up to Northumbria for a couple of days. The coastline is spectacular; miles and miles of golden sands dotted with castles, built to keep out the Scots and the Scandinavians. Weather was a bit grey but hey, it’s November..

First night in for ages!

After feeling isolated and a little low last week I’ve started getting out again in earnest. Have taken in a movie, a meal out and a 50th birthday bash in the last few days. And today went for a swim with a friend and her three-year-old. Wonderful to be back in the water.

This all feels like emerging after some chemically-imposed house arrest.

Next week brings a new regime of daily radiotherapy. Although it’s a slog going to the hospital every day, each session only takes ten minutes, apparently.

‘We’re punctual here. Not like at the chemo clinic,’ said the consultant. Good, because I need time to fit in my social life.


It’s been three weeks since the last chemo infusion so the drugs should officially be out of my system. Recovery starts here!

Have been scanning my scalp for signs of re-growth. Nothing yet. Probably a bit optimisitc. I’m told within 2-3 weeks I can expect ‘soft fuzz’, with normal hair growth after a month. In two months I could have a whole inch of hair! Such potential…maybe the hairdresser could make me look like this?

Now that winter is here the wig has been getting more of an airing. It keeps my head warm, but soon starts to irritate.  Anyone who invents an itch-free wig could make a lot of money out of the NHS.

Got a week off before radiotherapy starts so hoping to head out of town for a couple of days. Also planning trips to places that have been off limits, like restaurants, swimming pools and the cinema. Anyone seen any good films lately?

Tales of the riverbank

Home from home

Another glorious November day. We brought the boat to its new winter moorings. JP and brother did all the work. I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

Years ago I lived near here as a student in a wooden shack called the Boathouse. Three of us rented the place during the summer of  ’83 (a hot one) for the princely sum of £25 a month. We spent the summer working shifts in a nearby pork pie factory, swimming in the river and tootling around in a rubber dinghy. Happy memories. Funny how things come full circle.

Sadly the Boathouse is no more. It got demolished to make way for a car park. Generations of Nottingham students mourned its passing…

Brothers on lock duty

Cat in the doghouse

Oscar, bored with his prescription ‘sensitivity’ diet, has been causing chaos in the kitchen.

He has just learnt, in late middle-age, how to leap onto the work surface, and in the past week has SHOVED the lid off a steaming pan of bolognese, SMASHED one of our best plates, SWIPED three meat balls and SCOFFED the best part of a tin of tuna.

John thinks we should get tough, show him who’s boss, teach him obedience through a system of reward and punishment. But Oscar won’t buy that Pavlovian stuff. Being a cat, not a dog, Oscar won’t obey…

Why me?

I don’t mean this in a self-pitying, ‘woe is me’, sort of way, but 

Sunny Beeston – who needs California?

everyone with cancer must ask themselves this question.  Why does someone with none of the usual risk factors (no family history, not a smoker, healthy lifestyle, healthy diet etc etc.) get it?

I got chatting to a woman at the radiotherapy clinic. We were speculating as to causes. She thought it was something to do with micorowaved meals in plastic containers. 

Toxins leaching out from plastics? Pollutants in the air? Electromagnetics from our phones and wi-fi devices? Growth hormone in dairy products? A combination of factors in our chemical world? Or maybe it’s just luck.

Another woman I know was diagnosed last week. Cancer, it seems, is everywhere.

Meanwhile JP’s been trying to persuade me that November is the best – not the worst – month of the year, and after the glorious weekend we’ve just had, I was starting to believe him, until today’s relentless rain set in.  Took this pic down by the marina on Saturday.

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