Dreaming

I dream about my Dad often, he always crops up at some point. He’s loitering in the background. Sometimes he’s trying to get my attention. Other times he’s just watching, like he’s observing what’s going on.
I never hear his voice; I can’t remember it enough to recreate it. He was in my dream last night, sitting on a chair, nursing a drink and cigarette in hand. As I walked in he looked up.
The beam that came across his face was like looking at my own smile. The creases in his mouth and his heavy set frown. I could have traced them for hours.

He set down his drink and stubbed out his cigarette.
His immaculate suit falls into place with a shirt that was proud to be pink and there, neatly folded in his breast pocket, a purple silk handkerchief.

He looks at me and suddenly I could be four years old again with my arms around his neck.
An overwhelming need to smell him comes over me but there is nothing there. No scent or warmth.
He puts me down with one last crushing cuddle.

He steps me aside and walks out the room and my heart, although fractured, is pleased he was ever there at all.

You can read so much into this. Interpretation is so vast and you can either take a positive or mould it into a negative.
I used to be the eternal optimist but recent events have ripped that ability from me. The belief of seeing a positive in everything is such a great one to have.
It doesn’t take a psychic to inform me the reason why My Dad wanted to see me. Tomorrow I have my one year check for crying out loud.

But this was a comfort more than frightening and I truly believe (get the straight jacket on standby) that the reason he walked out of the room and didn’t sit back down is because he wasn’t coming to take me away from my world yet.

Or maybe he was in the wrong room.

Who knows? I don’t believe in much anymore. I lost my faith back In that consultants room that bleak November morning. I lost my positivity a few weeks back and have been clawing back ever since.
Love, that is what sees me through.

Whatever it means, whatever that dream holds, I’m just glad he came to visit.

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Toddler talks…What is love?

In what potentially could be a new part of my blog, me and James have lots of insightful conversations mainly surrounding a question either on of us has asked.
Such classics include:

‘But why is it raining? I want bubbles’

And the classic which I’m sure lots of Mummy’s have had to encounter…

‘You has two bottoms. Why? It’s furry!’

So with this in mind, after having a very challenging 20 minutes discussing how much I actually loved him and explaining that I have bigger arms so must love him more, James gave a great explanation to that lovely love question.

Out of the mouth of babes — in case you needed clarification, he says that love makes him feel better.

I appear to have something in my eye *sobs*

Toddler talk…I can’t wait to see what else he has to say.

Wonder Women – Part Two

So that wonderful Victoria Marks only went and ran her 10k in 57 frigging minutes!! How amazing is that!? If you would still like to donate to her cause, please do so here…http://www.justgiving.com/fighttheFW Victoria is up to £192, lets get her up to £200!

Now, Wonder Women – Part two.

The group of ladies who will be running there Race for Life for me tomorrow in Regents Park, are amazing. Two of them work with my big (little) Sister and have been such a support for each other over the years, it felt natural to them to want to do something for her little (big) Sister when Cancer came a calling.

As one of the runner’s Julie so nicely put it, You’re friend’s with Giu, then you’re friends with her whole family. Bout right too.

Tomorrow 4 women will take part in Race for Life, and as there motto goes, they are definitely sticking two fingers up to Cancer:

Julie

Julie

Julie – Avid motorcycle rider when younger.  Arsenal fan. Loves Johnny Depp.

Sharon

Sharon

Sharon – Always been into sport and has dabbled in many including boxing!  Budding cake decorator. Spurs supporter – Please don’t let this fact stop you from donating.

Kiera

Kiera

Kiera – Brilliant trainee hairdresser and lover of angry birds!
Katie

Katie

Katie -Member of successful girls football team that won the league this season. Go on the Girl! Spurs supporter – I repeat – do not let this stop you donating!
They already said they will walk round the course, but they could do pigeon steps all the way round, at least they are getting there butt out there!
I just know they will have me in tears of laughter and tears of overwhelming love.
So please, yet again, dig a little deep and donate a couple of pounds.

Crystal Ball

This next blog has struck a chord with me.

Whilst pondering on what I was going to write next, willing myself to suddenly become hilarious, the wonderful @ruralmummy threw this spanner in the works…

well the only question I have is about future treatment. Is there going to be anything on going? What is your prognosis long term? How do you feel about your future now?

The 28th February sees me having my 4 week check. I think this check up is to see how the lasting cumulative effects of the radiotherapy are doing and how I am doing in general health.

2/3 months later, I will have an MRI to see the status of the tumour and what/ if future treatment will be.

It could be surgery to remove, seeing as it has shrunk the margins are better to play with. It could mean more chemotherapy.
I don’t think radiotherapy in that area is an option as you can only have a limited amount of radiation.

Hopefully it won’t need further treatment.

Hopefully I can just go every three months for a check up for the next two years, then I can increase that to every six months, until we reach the magic 5 year mark.

I’ve really tried not to think too far ahead. Whilst I was having treatment, it was easy to have goalposts to aim against.

These last 4 weeks have been a bit like floating in limbo.
It was nice to have the security of visiting the hospital everyday. They checked you everyday, if you had a problem, you only had to wait 24 little hours before you could voice it.

Then suddenly they take that security blanket away from you and you have to try and get back to what life was like before Cancer came along.

So I’ve tried not to get too excited about future dealings with the devil. I have been so positive about things but, every time I try to get my brain to think about life down the road, I pull myself back.

You know those full body scans you can have, which can show osteoporosis, heart disease and even when your next due a poo, well I never ever liked the idea of having one done.
Why on earth would you want to know what could possible ail you in later life. Yes, yes I know prevention is sometimes better than cure, but why would you want to base your future on something that may or may not happen.

But now? Now that my future, for the next 5 years at the very least, is determined by a Fuckwit. Yea, i’d want one of them bad boys. It’s a freaking crystal ball into your bodies future.

I guess it’s a control thing.

I think you could ask any Cancer warrior what was the one thing they would like most and the answer (other than survival) would be to have more control over your….destiny I guess.

In a situation where everything is questioned or put on hold or assessed to within an inch of it’s life, having control over your own body is a sacred pleasure.

So what does my future hold?

I hope it holds me seeing in my 10 year anniversary with Pete next April.
I hope I get to see Jack graduate.
I hope I get to see James grow up and go to school and be a happy little boy.
I hope…I can only hope.

Where is that crystal ball when you need one.

Pete, through the looking glass

I thought it would be nice to get Pete’s perspective on how he dealt with my Cancer diagnosis.

Bring tissues because you are going to bawl.

When you’re a kid and the six weeks summer holiday comes along, you have all these plans that you and your mates are gonna do, and before you realise it, it’s the weekend before you go back to school and you’ve done hardly any of the great things you had wished.

Well six weeks in the eyes of a husband watching his wife go through daily radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment does not pass as fast, in fact 6 minutes seems like forever. Watching the person you love more than anything in the world go through an endless amount of tests, treatments and consultations, whilst most days you have to watch her leave through front door, and go off to the hospital alone and not hold her hand or give her a reassuring smile telling her how amazing she is and how well she is something I will hold with me forever.

One week in November, in fact the first week of November will always send a very cold shiver down my spine it was a sequence of days and events that when I think back on it, will probably go a long ways to shaping my future personality and outlook on life in years to come, for this would be the week when cancer after many years of trying, took away my hero, my Dad. It was also the week when Frannie was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer – a group of cells that mutates and destroys healthy cells. this could also be said for the impact it can have on families who have cancer in there lives.

Because of cancer, I spent the last hour of my fathers life staring at a heart monitor. Waiting, hoping for it to flatline, so that my Dad didn’t have to suffer anymore, an hour which I spent whispering in his ear “You can go now fella, you can rest now, your job is done”, all the time hoping that he would sit up give me a slap and tell me to stop being a big girls blouse. But no slap or name calling came just the one long shrill noise thats lives on in my head, no matter how hard I try to lose it.
Because of cancer my wife has had to endure many painful, awkward and no doubt tiring and stressful moments fighting her battle.
But, also because of cancer she has found an inner strength and believe that she didn’t know she had.
Plus I have found my new hero,

Because of cancer my Frannie has got her own little fan club or army as she calls it, a group of people who’s support and love have been a major factor in her strength during her treatment.

She’s also managed to drop a dress size something she has wanted to do for a while but struggled to.

Because of cancer, I have spent a lot of time doing the one thing I never do. I have been pleading with God to take away her cancer and give it to me, not that I think I could cope any better than Frannie, she is stronger than I could ever be. It’s purely because she doesn’t deserve this. Nasty things should not happen to nice people.

So in short…..Cancer you may have taken my Dad and made me knacker my knees from excessive kneeling (begging) but you have also given my Frannie an inner strength and belief that is eventually going to kick your ass, plus a thinner superhero wife who me and James can enjoy for many years to come.

Wizard Sleeve

Wednesday was probably one of the most bizarre experiences in my life. Even more bizarre than my friend in primary school telling me how babies are made. Apparently babies are made cuddling tightly and then the man touching your bum. True story.

If you are a lady who has had radiotherapy to the pelvic region, and if you then have brachytherapy, it is likely that after the cumulative effects have subsided that you will get adhesions in the vaginal wall which, can be usually broken by fingers but if left, can harden and then only be removed by surgery. Grim.
In order to prevent this happening, you have to administer dilation to keep you, er, ahem, stretchy.

Below is the conversation I had with Gloria about post brachytherapy maintenance. Prepare to be weirded out.

Gloria: Right, now, this chat is the same with any woman who has had this treatment, any age and any amount of sexual activity-ness.
Fran: *bites tongue at sexual activity-ness*
G: *Gets green bag of tricks out*
F: Ooo do I get a little bag?
G: Ooo yes, well actually you get a case, but you can keep it with your other vibrators if you want, just wash it etc.
F: *eyes widen* oh, ok.
G: Right, I see you’ve had a baby so this is gonna be dead easy for you to do. *proceeds to get out 4 tubes of varying sizes, they all twist on to one another to make a dilator and handle* Ok so as you can see, we’ve got varying thickness most women, feel nothing with this one *holds up rounded tip which is about 1-2cm wide* so you can use this one first but you might as well use this one *holds up rounded tip which is about 5-6cm wide*
F: *gulp*
G: Dead easy, you need to do this 3 times a week. Put some nice music on, relax, maybe do it after a bath. Just slather on the lube and pop it in (she actually said pop it in, i’m wincing just remembering) then turn it anti-clockwise for 2.5 mins then turn it clockwise for another 2.5 mins then bobs your Uncle, you’re all done. Now, there are alternatives.
F: Oh yea, I think I might try that. Never been a big fan of shoving things *up*
G: Really, oh you don’t know what you’re missing. You could get your Husband involved.
F: Erm
G: Actually the alternative is to use your Husband. If you have sexual intercourse (yes, she said sexual intercourse) twice a week you won’t need to use the dilator.
F: TWICE A WEEK?!!
G: Yep
F: *tumbleweed* Anything else?
G: Well, to avoid RSI, we get loads of complaints about wrist injuries from using the dilators too much, we can provide a vibrator which does the turning for you. *Produces THE RABBIT*
F: Oh, so when you said vibrator, you actually meant a proper one, not like a hospital grade one
G: Yes, of course, do you have this one at home?
F: Me? Oh erm, well…
G: These are fabulous, they really work well plus they do all the hard work for you, you can use your own one or we can provide it for you for £17.50. Don’t worry you don’t have to “hide the rabbit”, that’s just for clitoral stimulation.
F: *crimson* Right, I think i’ll stick to the dilators you give me.
G: Good choice. Right, now, lube. You can get it on prescription and seeing as you get your scripts for free, you might as well go to your GP and stock up now. Make sure you get the Sylk lube, its the best one.
F: Right.
G: Now, I suggest you wait 4 weeks after treatment before starting this which will probably be about the 21st Feb.
F: *Laughs* Oh that’s my birthday. Happy dilating birthday to me!
G: Oh that’s perfect, get a baby sitter, get your Husband to make you a lovely birthday meal then have lovely birthday sex, then you’ll only need to dilate one more time that week.
F: Was hoping for some Ikea vouchers, but I guess this could work too.
G: Vouchers won’t make your vagina stretchy. Here’s a leaflet and a DVD on how to use the dilators.
F: I think you have explained it more than enough, Gloria.
G: Oh good, I love these chats, vagina’s are fascinating.
F: Huh, My Husband says the same thing.

I got home later and read the leaflet which informs me that I have to do this for 5 years. FIVE YEARS. My poor foof. I’ll have the wrists of a pubescent boy.

I’ve not watched the DVD yet. I’m not allowed to get drunk enough to get through that…

At least my vagina won’t be like a Wizards sleeve *Punches air*

Where does the time go….

As I sit here in Starbucks abusing the free wi-fi on my Big Mac, nursing a peppermint tea and trying desperately not to get indigestion from the fruit toast I have just inhaled (yes, I am still eating like a sumo wrestler), I am drawn to the fact that it is the 2nd of January.

THE 2ND OF JANUARY.

How on the actual earth we live in, is it already the 2nd of Jan???

It is exactly 2 months since I was diagnosed.

In those two months I have had:

A PET scan
My 1st general anesthetic
My hair chopped off
5 oncology appointments
1 kidney test
One toddler pour my wee away for aforementioned kidney test
3 tiny tattoos
22 fractions of radiotherapy
4 cycles of chemotherapy
10 blood tests
22 pounds lost
One Superhero cape made

I am 3 weeks off completion of my cancer treatment.

What will I do with my time then?