Week of 23 October

”It’s all cake, holiday, cake, holiday!”, joked Jeremy.  Yes, guiltyyy!   This simple formula plus the therapies, supplements and exercise is working though.  I’m still here and approaching 19 months since the prognosis and 11 months since chemo with still no physical symptoms. Hurrah! Sadly, this week 20 years ago my father died of bowel cancer aged 60.  But since then, I see from the Future Learn online cancer related courses, that science has and is moving in leaps and bounds.  I keep an eye on trials for one I could qualify for and there is plenty happening for the 200+ cancer types around. This is great news for the future generations.

The other ‘C’ word is cake! I was at the hospital for my CT scan; they had trouble finding a vein, ”your veins are very thin”.  The rest of me isn’t!   I got a puncture in both arms in the end and got through it visualising the chocolate cake I was going to treat myself to afterwards.  It was the gooiest triple decker I’ve had in ages. A bunch of enthusiastic dentists sat at the next table discussing teeth health. I heard: ”Your teeth are nice” ”Oh but I like yours”….Note to self: brush teeth 30 minutes after eating cake. Is that practical?

Saw Alan the hypnotherapist this week for a new visualisation. I had a positive test for RAS wildtype last year and it was this week I learnt, on my online course, that the pesky protein had been promoting cell division resulting in the tumour.  The online course lecturer described it as ‘a switch stuck in the on position’.  A great concept for a visualisation.  I was early for our appointment and went to the Sefton Tea Room first.  I tiptoed up the stairs to avoid disturbing the horses in training, closed the door of the café behind me and the waitress said, ”good morning, how many of you are there?”.  ”Err one!” ”Well you can sit where ever you like”.  So I can – it’s empty!  I chose a slice of the rocky road cake which looked better under its dome…

Well, Carolyn and I had a catchup and celebrated her birthday at the Tea Cosy.  Here we are.  I chose a slice of The Friday Cake!  YUM! Really YUM! And yes it was on Friday.  I only had space for soup when I met Anne Marie later for lunch at The Flower Pot.  We both had the healthy and hearty vegetable soup.

                       

Also this week was the Didcot Food festival organised by Christine Wallace from GBBO.  (We’ve been to her house for Bake with Me sessions). She had her friends from GBBO, Great British Menu, Masterchef and BBC Oxford there.  It was very well organised with a variety of stalls and non-stop demonstrations. 

Julia and I were the first to arrive and met up with Sue and Janet later.  Here we are tucking into Red Velvet Cake  and 6 hours later finished the day with a cuppa before heading home.  The demonstrations were fab, we had front row seats and I got to meet the wickedly funny Candice.  Neither Charles nor Jeremy knew of Candice but they know of Caprice!!  Funny that..

So I uncovered a sermon written by my grandfather and published in October 1938 which I have posted under Wellbeing.  Even though it is 80 years old it has resonance today-about taking pleasure in silence.  I feel so lucky you know.  I met some people on a focus panel this week still taking anti-depressants years after their cancer diagnosis. ”My body’s let me down”.  No, your brain has….

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Week of 11 September

If you are a fan of the GBBO, then you may remember Christine Wallace from Didcot who was a Quarterfinalist from the first series.  She opened my first craft fair back in 2014.  Well she does ‘bake with me’ workshops from her kitchen.  So Sue (who lives round the corner from her) and I made macarons: a scrumptiously scrumptious salted caramel with a gooey caramel filling and a deliciously delicious raspberry with white chocolate ganache filling:)  Here’s Sue with the orange coloured salted caramel ones.  YUM! Sue managed to keep her apron immaculate unlike me.  I just get food colouring everywhere…

         

A top tip we learnt was to limit use of wooden spoons as they could harbour fatty deposits and are definitely no good for meringue making nor for stirring caramel ingredients; use a metal spoon for these. 

I did a second workshop this week: wired jewellery making.  It was a lovely couple of hours and I have mastered the art of using pliers to make round loops which are key to wired jewellery making. So I went away with some dangly earrings and a couple of bracelets.  Dead easy when you know how!

Jeremy, Mum and I popped into the Yew Tree garden centre and we had a coffee with a little star shaped shortbread biscuit.  A nice idea for a little something sweet to go with the coffee. Jeremy and I were back at Basingstoke Hospital this week and, in the Blue Café, I had a super chocolaty chocolate brownie before our meeting with Mr Cecil.  The Arc Centre was preparing for an auction that evening of all the painted bookbenches – part of the ‘Sitting with Jane’ idea celebrating Jane Austen – in aid of their cancer charity.

Mum and I had a coffee and shared (a term used loosely as I had the lion’s share) a slice of Victoria Sponge at Angelica’s.  It was a lovely golden colour and very moist with just the right balance of jam and buttercream filling.  It spurred us on to look at their range of carpets for her hall and stairs…

The cake highlight though was at my favourite place in Newbury: The Tea Cosy.  Here is my slice of the very decadent Chocolate Bar Cake. 

Thank you Penny. I’m sure it was my turn to pay.  The cake was constructed with Kit Kat bars decorating the top and bigger one propped up all round the sides of a fabulous chocolate sponge with caramel.  It was scrumptious!

There’s certainly nothing wrong with my energy levels, which shows my immune system is functioning perfectly well.  In addition to the above, I had yoga, tap dancing, 2 aqua aerobics classes, an aqua zumba class, aromatherapy, reflexology and reiki this week! My current lifestyle is all about feeding and nurturing my immune system.  As soon as I start to get periods of tiredness, I’ll know that my immune system is struggling to cope with the growing cancer.  But on that note, mulling over Mr Cecil’s conversation (see last blog entry) Jeremy had asked him about the original tumour (Dr Jackson had reported it as being of ‘no worry’ and ‘it’s stable’).  Mr Cecil, who as a surgeon uses CT scans all the time, said in a long reply, that ‘the CT scan doesn’t give enough detail’ ….and in another sentence, ‘cancer can just disappear’….  Looking back, was he saying that the original tumour had shrunk/gone?  As a medic, he’s hardly likely to admit it as it means the complementary therapies have worked…  Interestingly, CT scans give enough detail that someone can be declared as ‘’all clear’’.  I’ll question it more when I have the next quarterly scan which is actually due in 4 weeks.

Must go and pack now for the next adventure…

Week of 29 May

Holiday over! Back to work on Project All Clear! Back to the Oxygen Therapy and I started the Juicing Therapy this week using the Silvercrest Slow Juicer that Which recommend.  I have been juicing broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, apples, ginger, brussels and beets and its great – no bits, pure juice.  So the idea is I juice on a regular basis throughout the day – when I’m home that is……  The therapy, if you follow it to the letter, suggests juicing (and drinking) on the hour every hour to flood the body with the essential nutrients.  I have created a new page on the Juicing Therapy under Wellbeing and Complementary Therapies with the anti-cancer recipe from Jason Vale the Juice Master!

A highlight this week was a trip to London. Jeremy and I had to go to apply for our Russian Visas at an office near the Barbican.  It wasn’t as time consuming as we anticipated probably because we had all the paperwork completed correctly!  We had time to take in Trafalgar Square, walk down the Mall and back through St James’ Park, have a late lunch in St Martin’s Crypt and then head home as he was due on a night shift.  An errand that turned out to be a nice day!

In spite of all the cruciferous vegetables I am consuming, I had some treats this week and consumed some delicious cake. Mum and I went to the Tea Cosy and I had a slice of their chocolate cake.  Yum! The Tea Cosy really is the best place for delicious cake.  Then Penny and I met up at Mocha Choc where we indulged in large slices of Sylvana’s Orange and Almond (gluten free as well)!  They will be sadly missed when they leave for Gibralter.

                

I also met Shirley this week for a catchup in Hungerford  for coffee and cake at Eden’s Baking.  It’s run by a lovely young man and Shirley had a slice of his chocolate cake and I had an orange cake. Scrummy!  And we still had room for lunch too (after our walk along the canal that is)….

The Christian Aid week donations are still coming in and the counting continues – just 4 more red bags to get back from volunteers and I’ll be able to give you a total for Wash Common…..

 

Week of 6 March

Good news. I’ve got my weight back to that of one year ago and on top of that I am no longer in the ‘overweight’ classification!  So all the exercise is paying off.  So I should ‘grab the bull by the horns’ (seems apt as I have made a marzipan bull for our Spanish themed sugarcraft competition display!)  and get on with losing some more to get rid of the muffin top!  The low GI diet is an easy one to follow and have been since last year (brown rice and bread, nuts, seeds, veg and fruit ).  I know now where to go for organic veg but an observation: they too look perfect in their bags – where are the knobbly organic veg and fruit?  Even at my farm shop the veg looks perfect.  Grow your own is probably the answer:)  I will say, there is little chance of me turning vegan – the options for plant protein does not give enough variation for my taste buds.  So the 80% plant based diet will stay at 80%!

Had two lovely days out this week:  A day out at the Portsmouth Dockyard to see the Mary Rose exhibition with Julia and an outing with Llinos to Kew Gardens.  It was a NADFAS trip to the Mary Rose museum where two talks were arranged.  A lot of work has gone into collecting the remains from the bottom of the sea – even pepper corns ; assessing the role on board of each skeleton found; preserving the items and then displaying them in the new museum.  Well worth a trip. Turning to cake – I can recommend the chocolate fudge brownies that I purchased at the Mary Rose café for us to eat on the coach going home.  It was probably a no-no so we scoffed them surreptitiously!  But the best I’ve ever had.  Unusually they had cut them into long finger shapes.

At Kew Gardens, we saw the metal structure called the Hive which was installed last year. The lights you see and the sounds you hear inside the Hive are triggered by bee activity in a real beehive at Kew.  After walking around the grounds and having fish pie for lunch in the Orangery, Llinos and I went to the Maids of Honour tea shoppe across the road from the Gardens.  There I had a hot Maid of Honour (apparently a secret recipe using curd cheese and loved by Henry VIII who, one day,  found Anne Boleyn and her ladies eating them hence their name). Llinos chose a very creamy cream slice from a super range of cakes. Honest it wasn’t me who chose that big cream slice:)

This week Margie and I went to the Tea Cosy; Mum was there in spirit only as she wanted to make sure Kevin the bathroom fitter completed her snag list on his last day.  We chose the chocolate box cake!  It was scrumptious! This is my favourite tea room!                                                  

 

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….

Week of 9 January

wp_20170109_001This week I went to the Treats Day at The Pink Place in Basingstoke where we heard advice about nutrition and finance which was very useful.  I surprised myself as to how much I knew about nutrition since I have been studying Health and Nutrition with Newbury College.  We had a super lunch provided by Sainsburys but the cakes were homemade.  It looked a lovely spread!  My favourite cake was the gingerbread with salted caramel topping! Yum! It’s good to meet people going through the same process and the ink Place is great at making you feel at home when you arrive.

I met up with Shirley in Hungerford and we had cake in Eliane’s where there is a fantastic selection of cakes.  Shirley had a Hummingbird cake – never heard of such a thing but it contains pineapple – and I had a Chocolate and Orange cake.  It rained all day so we spent most of the time in the antiques centre and so we plan to meet again there.wp_20170113_002

Overnight there had been a sharp frost but I met with Penny and we drove out to Hurstbourne Tarrant to the Tea Cosy and had  a slice of Lindor cake!  My favourite chocolates! Scrumptious!  Just look at it.  Heaven!

I walked into Newbury on the sunny, crisp Saturday afternoon and popped into the cosy Flower Pot to warm up.  The windows were covered in condensation but it was very cosy inside. And of course I had to partake in a slice of their Carrot and Orange cake which was my award  before walking home!  I do like their toppings!wp_20170114_001

Week of 2 January

The highlights from the first week of January included meeting up with Sue and having coffee with a lovely coffee and walnut cake at the Aston Pottery near Bampton in Oxfordshire. Can’t wait to go back in the summer!  I’ve heard it is quite attractive with all the summer flowers in bloom.  And as we were there so long and drank so much, I have a nearly complete coffee reward card!

I was so taken by the Christmas tree there that I forgot to photograph our cakes!  The tree had stalks of orchids (plastic) hanging and large baubles in shades of pink. Stunning!

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I also met up with the Aqua ladies: Paula, Anne-Marie, Christine, Margie, Marilyn and Lorna.  The Pineapple Palace had a scrumptious vanilla and  caramel cake! Yum!    But you can see that not all of us caked.  You can also tell it was a little cold as we are all still wearing our scarves!  Maybe that’s why they have a good choice to sell in the shop….wp_20170107_004

wp_20170105_004But on 5th January Mum was 80!  yet she didn’t want to celebrate it so we celebrated my birthday on her birth day!  We went to the Tea Cosy in  Hurstbourne Tarrant and had their Terry’s chocolate fudge cake.  And they kindly put a candle in it for her!  This tea room is really tucked away behind a garage and supermarket and consequently the best kept secret.  Their Facebook page keeps us up to date on the latest cake ….2017-02-04-2