Week of 24 July

Don’t Give Up! said the invitation to a Jehovah’s conference lying on the doormat.  I needed those 3 words; my focus has been faultering in the lead up to my second quarterly scan.  Dr Jackson’s voice has been ringing in my ears ”the cancer will grow back in 4-6 months”.  It is now 7 months.  So it felt like a  personal message to get me back on track.

Whilst at the hospital for the scan this week, I popped into the Blue Café and had the first slice of their gluten free carrot cake….Yum!

But the two high points this week were: the ‘flight’ on the Brooklands Concorde and a visit to the RA Summer Exhibition! Ron and Liz are members of Brooklands and we joined them to look around the huge number of exhibits there.  The learned volunteers make interesting listening and consequently lots to absorb.  Whilst there, we had a gander inside Mercedes Benz World next door – like everyone else.  But the best was sitting inside Concorde and experiencing the multi-sensory simulation of a take-off!  The next day, Fiona and I attended the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.  Another lovely day. We wandered round the rooms with a very civilised glass of sparkling wine in one hand and a guide book in the other critiquing the exhibits.  A couple of hours viewing required some sustenance in the tea room after with a delicious Gooey Chocolate Cake!

I met up with Carolyn this week for a catch up at the Yew Tree Garden Centre and had the first slice of their Lemon Drop cake.  Very moist. Very zingy!

Also this week, Mum and I continued with the Jane Austen trail and found another couple of ‘bookbenches’.  One was at the Old Basing Tythe Barn – one of the largest Tythe Barns in the UK. Then onto Viables Craft Centre where we stopped at the delightful tea rooms there and shared an enormous slice of toffee cake.  I’ve never seen so many freshly baked cakes on display. Funnily, it was empty of people when we arrived yet the waitress said, ”have you booked?” and ” I’ll just have to check if we have a table”.  Fortunately, we were squeezed into the empty tea room successfully!

         

I’ve been very lucky to get 4 free aromatherapy sessions agreed by the Newbury and District Cancer Care Trust and had my second this week.  I arrived for it already feeling very chilled from the session at the Global Retreat the day before so no surprise I floated out after the massage…

Week of 19 June

Well a week of ups and downs!  The temperature for one: 30 to 14 degrees (a windy Windermere yesterday)!  Also, Jeremy went off walking the Lakeland fells to recharge his batteries, so lots of ups and downs there too and unfortunately on his last fell of the week – fell…so we had an unexpected tour passing the Sellafield plant to Whitehaven A & E.  He had his wound glued together and some strips applied plus his hand was xrayed and found to be OK.  Bizarrely, 3 black cats ran out in front of our car on the  journey from Greendale to Whitehaven and back and even Jeremy thought that was an omen…

Here he is, the following day at the Ravensglass miniature railway café – you might just be able to see the strips on his head.  We shared a lush lemon meringue pie before heading off on a leisurely ride to Boot where we lunched.  Lakeland Lamb Henry – delicious! We stayed in a cottage in a remote part of West Cumbria close to the beautiful Wastwater.  I stayed for 3 nights having got the train mid-week and thoroughly enjoyed the ride from Lancaster. Some beautiful scenery.  It sparked the idea of a Favourite Journeys page.

                   

Earlier in the week I had a blood test at Basingstoke Hospital and so I had a slice of Lemon and Poppy Seed cake in the Blue Café. Very nice! Then there was the lush Victoria Sandwich at The Saddlebacks Farm Shop with lovely views over the fields but a swarm of little black insects attached themselves and it wasn’t such a pleasant place after all….Then today Marion, Judy and I went to the West Woodhay Garden Fair and I had a slice of cherry filled Victoria Sandwich. Scrummy…..

Hopefully there is less drama next week….

Week of 1 May

Well the high point of this week was a high point!  Literally!  Julia, Jenny and I went to Portsmouth for some retail therapy and had afternoon tea at the top of the Spinnaker Tower.  The fruit scones were the best I’d had in a long time; squared shaped with a crunchy sugar coating. As for the cakes, we had a selection of bite size goodies including macarons which I love!  The booking said we had only 1.5 hours which goes surprising quickly as we were mesmerized watching the vessels below us come and go.  Unfortunately, the lady on the next table had a tea port dropped on her by a waitress who hadn’t balanced the tray correctly.  Not nice.

       

Sue and I met this week for a catchup at the Herb Farm in Sonning where we started with coffee and cake and stayed long enough to include lunch too!  It wasn’t the easiest of places to find and I had expected some signs but no.  I resorted to asking a horse rider as my sat nav had me on a wild goose chase….The horse wasn’t going to stop so my car crawled alongside so I could hear the rider’s directions!  With the saxon maze, the gardens and the shop, time flew.  They had a wonderful section of cakes.  My small slice of lime and courgette cake made up for its diminutive size with its great flavour but I still secretly coveted Sue’s huge slice of coffee and walnut cake (bottom row in the picture)!

       

Jeremy and I ticked off another White Horse Walk this week – the Broad Town Horse south of Swindon which is a little traversed walk judging from the great clumps of grass and mature nettles.  Another time of year it would be a quagmire.  The surprise was finding a huge swathe of woodland under planted with blossoming wild garlic as far as the eye could see.

I had a CT scan (with contrast)  this week and finally got to eat at 11.15am so what did I choose but to treat myself with a very chocolaty rocky road at the Blue Café – you must recognise the china by now…. Results next week. Then  I went over to Bushey Heath (Watford) to see Alan the hypnotherapist again.  We learnt last time from the unconscious mind that the cancer is genetic so this time he got my unconscious mind, using visualisation, to visit my DNA where I removed the cancer genes.  Of course I’ll only know if any of this is working when I have my next CT scan.

Anyway, if you think I’m barking now then wait for next week’s post when I’ll tell you about my visit to a white witch…

Week of 24 April

It’s been a week of many high points. Non-health and non-cake was seeing Natalie and Ian from Strictly in their fab show at the Corn Exchange.  It was Mum’s birthday present and we thoroughly enjoyed it!  They have so much enthusiasm and its great that they come down into the audience.

Then the non-cake highlights include a free consultation with Patricia Peat from Cancer Options, courtesy of Yes to Life.  I have a lot of really useful information including new supplements, new therapies and new drugs.  Dr Jackson, who we saw this week too for a review, wasn’t so sure about the use of their listed drugs as they ”weren’t mainstream oncology”.  Like Mr Cecil, Dr Jackson can’t advise on the next stage – (surgery that won’t cure me or no surgery but chemo later).  Plenty to still think on…..

Jeremy and I did another of the white horse walks although the Marlborough horse is more of a foal!  It was a lovely walk through the green, purple and yellow Wiltshire landscape with  a coffee stop at the Food Gallery and a lunch stop at St Peter’s church café.  In fact I had reiki, reflexology and 3 yoga sessions this week.  No wonder I feel so good…

So turning to cake, Jeremy and I shared a chocolate tart for dessert at the Blue Café – he’s looking a little bashful as the hospital restaurant was busy…  Then there was the scrummy Black Forest cake made by Lucy’s Mum at the Mug and Brew…And the Matcha  (Japanese Green Tea) cupcake – so that makes it a  detoxing cake:) – made by Debbie at the Pineapple Palace.  You’ll see some other cups and cakes in the photo belonging to the Supper Club ladies who do coffee mornings too…

                     

I read Lynda Bellingham’s book: There’s Something I’ve Been Dying to Tell You.  She had bowel cancer that had spread too but I must say she had a far worse time of it than I had and am having now.  Long may it continue….

Week of 3 April

Had a really varied week this week with 2 visits to Basingstoke Hospital and yes 2 visits to the Blue Café – to support the Ark Cancer charity of course! The chef had been very busy and the display of cakes looked super under their gleaming domes.  The fudge cake was really fudgy and just hit the spot after having completed my pre-op assessments – which I passed, I add.  The second visit was for the blood tests ahead of surgery next week.  But we won’t dwell on that.

Much nicer was the visit with Helen to Kensington Palace where we lunched in the Orangery amongst a lot of people having their afternoon tea!.  The guinea fowl was very tasty and lunch set us up for the tour around the Palace which culminated in the Diana’s dresses exhibition.  There was a queue but the numbers into the exhibition are controlled so you see the 25 dresses close to.  Would love to have seen more!

Staying with the royal theme, Marion, Judy, Lindsay and I went on a Spring Bulb tour of Highgrove.  (Another favourite place added to the list).  The ensign was flying above the house so Charles was at home yet the press where still referring to him being with Camilla in Italy!  We never saw him but we really enjoyed walking around his garden even down the thyme path which is out of bounds later in the year.  We ate some of his delicious braised beef for lunch in the Orchard Restaurant and the chocolate brownie which was gluten free was the best – made with ground almonds. New chef apparently.  Lush!

I’ve slipped up! I have few photos this week!  Christine and I went to the Pineapple Palace where Debbie has taken over the cafe.  I had her carrot, parsnip and ginger cake which tasted much scummier than it sounds.  We sat outside on the deck in the warm morning sunshine and commented on how nice it was not to be working….

If you are waiting to hear about the clinical hypnotherapy – it was fascinating to hear Alan speak about how we can be governed by deep thoughts and early experiences without realising.  At worst, it affects our health but our sub conscious can help. My objective is to change the chemistry of the cancer cells so that the white blood cells can identify them and destroy them.  I’ve not been hypnotised before;  it was very relaxing for my body and my mind was very active as it listened to Alan and visualised his words.

So I’m off now to keep that visualisation going….

Week of 13 March

On Monday, we collected my new automatic, limited edition Mini Cooper Seven courtesy of Motability (yes I am a bonefide qualifier!).  Here’s a picture of my new car outside Mum’s house and here’s a picture of a cake:

 

Yes, the cake is on the left! Made by Lou Wilson from Lou’s Amazing Cakes when she came to a Sugarcraft meeting last year to show us how to carve cakes.  I had it set as my desktop background for ages….

I went to the Yew Tree Garden Centre three times this week! With Jeremy and Mum, just Jeremy and with Carolyn.  When Mum came we had chocolate cake with smarties on the top!  Out of shot here but had a big filling of chocolate icing! Yum. Just as  like it. Jeremy and I had lunch at the Yew Tree before doing  a 6 mile walk that included the infamous Inkpen Crocus field.  Dainty wild crocuses have been flowering in this protected pasture for at least 2 centuries.  The bulbs are believed to have been brought back by the Knights Templar.  With 400,000 plants, this is the largest British population.  We started the walk at West Woodhay church which had daffodils amongst the grave stones which swayed beautifully in the sunshine.

Later in the week I was back there to meet Carolyn for a catchup cuppa and a coffee cake.  I do like the way the garden centre have little notices beside the food with allergy information. So amongst the usual  references to ‘gluten’ and ‘nuts’ was ‘sulphur dioxide’ (found in dried fruit).  New one on me.

After our (delayed – we get used to it) meeting with Mr Cecil at Basingstoke Hospital we went to the Blue Café and over indulged on the chocolate. I had a very chocolaty rocky road – it was just what I needed after our meeting.  There was a lot of info to process. See post below for a summary.

This week I also met with Christine and we went to the Mug and Brew for a catchup.  She is looking so well after her surgery. It was just a flapjack for me!

Week of 20 February

I feel really well.  Just like the old days.  There is an element of disbelief that I even have stage 4 cancer, but then I didn’t know I was going through stages 1, 2 and 3 either.  wp_20170223_001

I feel lucky which is odd to say and Penny and I laughed about it when we met for coffee at the Flower Pot where we had lush Carrot and Courgette cake with soy butter topping.  And we laughed about how I qualify for a Motability car.  So I get my lapis blue mini cooper seven on 13 March.

I went to a workshop organised by Berkshire Cancer Rehabilitation and we discussed stress management, sleeping problems and fatigue – none of which I suffer from and perhaps in hindsight I didn’t need to be there.  But hearing from the others (none of which had a terminal diagnosis) they have all sorts of issues – so I look at them and think how lucky I am that I can get out of bed and get on with  life. My diary  has multiple entries each day – not all cake eating by the way but there’s all the therapies and sporty activities I do..wp_20170220_001
Anyway, back to the workshop, when we stopped for lunch that day we went over to the church where the village deli and coffee shop are based.  What a great way to make use of a church building.  There I had a slice of chocolate cake with some old fashioned silver balls on top!

I met Ruth this week – we meet every year to celebrate our birthdays which both fall in December.  Our waitress at Darwin’s, Fenchurch Street was really bemused by this ”you mean one time in a year”.  We were very restrained and didn’t eat cake.  I was still thinking about the huge portion of pavlova I had at Marion’s the night before.  .

Jeremy and I waited 1.5 hours for Mr Cecil, the surgeon, who was delayed on a train and after 30 minutes of absorbing all his options (which I have added to the 2017 page), we went to the hospital’s Blue Café for something to eat.  wp_20170224_001-1They had set up for lunch so Jeremy had a colourful salad and I had a tasty cabbage soup (I’d have never made that choice once upon a time) followed by a celebratory slice of sticky toffee cake….The next day we did the first of the Wessex White Horse Walks – Uffington.  I was ready for a sit down but we still had about 2 miles to go! I’ve created a Walks page for the 9 Horse Walks under Wellbeing and Exercise.

 

 

I’ve also created a page a new Favourites page for my favourite Classic FM Music.

Week of 30 January

The MacMillan’s guide I was given last week on ‘Healthy Eating and Cancer’ says  ”sugar in your diet doesn’t directly increase the risk of cancer or encourage it to grow”.  Goodo!!  But at a Nutrition workshop held by Maggie’s in Oxford’s Churchill hospital this week, I learnt that sugar ”depletes the body of essential nutrients and interferes with the fine balance of bacteria in the gut”. Oh dear!!  I’ve had a few cakey exploits this week to tell you about.  At Maggie’s, we sampled a plate of Tofu Cakes! Yuk!  The monthly Essebourne Ladies Lunch was this week: Val, Norma, Margaret, Cathie, Sandra, Heather and I enjoyed another delicious lunch!.  And, although not cakes as such, we had some lovely petit fours to finish off……  Which plate would you prefer??

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I guess the highlight this week was hearing the results of my CT scan from Dr Jackson at the Basing Unit that ”there has been greater than average shrinkage”.  More on my 2017 page.

wp_20170202_002Jeremy and I shared a (healthy) granola bar in the Blue Café – part of Basingstoke’s Arc Cancer Centre while we were there.  Secretly I hankered over the rocky road!!  And that night we celebrated with a glass of Bouvet (a lush sparkling red best served cold)!

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So also this week,  I met Carolyn to take her to the Tea Cosy but got there and found it is closed on Tuesdays and so we headed back to Mocha Choc for a cuppa! Next time!  The Supper Club ladies: Pam, Judy, Marion, Alex and Ann and I met at at the Pineapple Palace where I was the only one to eat cake!  A lemon drizzle with a lovely crunchy topping!  I had tap dancing that evening so I may have worked off some calories….I was back at the Pineapple Palace a few days later for a ceramic course with Sophie to make tea light holders.  Here’s me at work cutting out hearts in my clay with a slide of coffee cake on the side!  Perfect! Jeremy and I did do a 6 mile walk in the afternoon!!wp_20170205_001

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I said there were a lot of cakey exploits this week…. Mum and I went to Angelina’s at Camp Hopson for a coffee and natter – we were very restrained – we had a little pastry each! The filling was similar to praline – very nice – and just enough not to undo all the hard work I had put into Aqua Aerobics about 2 hours earlier….