Week of 17 April

This week is about disappearances!  Our new chimney  was finally completed (the bricks were spawling onto our neighbour’s drive).   Mick the Brick’s noisiest days were the ones I was in hospital.  Lucky me.  Not so lucky for Jeremy as he had to deal with it all. On the first day, M the B’s ‘mate’ disappeared after 30 minutes never to return – didn’t like the ladder – and when he found a new ‘mate’, he didn’t turn up on his second day!    Don’t they want to get paid?

I can happily report that the giant bagel left by the laparoscopy had deflated (another disappearance).  I can’t believe 2 minute incisions create such discomfort – they must have had a good rummage around!  One incision is in the belly button and one 5 cm below – on the zip line!  I can wear jeans now and, great, the old muffin top has disappeared too!  Onto nicer things: cake.  I met with Penny this week and we went to Mochachoc for a catchup sharing holiday tales.  We had one of Silvana’s Uruguayan treats – little cinnamon tartlets covered with white icing which disappeared (haha) down the hatch very quickly..

Also this week, whilst shopping, I popped into Angelina’s and had a rather nice vanilla and raspberry chocolate brownie cake.  Never had anything like it before. Two cakes in one. Fab!

Well there was more tea and cake (in aid of the Royal Marsden) at the Dunsborough House Tulip Festival.  I’ve had an entry carried forward in my diary for 2 years to go to this annual event and it was worth the wait.  Tulips are my favourite flower and to see so many varieties and colours in the tulip meadow was really uplifting.

This is non cake but I met with Alan for a second hypnotherapy session. The problems he has helped people with are astounding – just by going back in the unconscious mind to the cause of the issue and making corrections.    It’s fascinating. For me, we are following Simonton’s method of  psychoneuroimmunology!  We are using visualisation on the unconscious mind to change the chemistry of the cancer cells so the immune system can identify them and destroy them.  Another disappearance!  And one we want to happen!  Only I have to wait for the results of the next CT scan to see if it works for me!

Do you know, it was a year ago this week that we met with Mr Cecil to hear him dismiss  surgery due to the amount and spread of the cancer.  We can remember it like it was yesterday….

Week of 10 April

Happy Easter! This was a momentous week.  The hope and new beginnings we speak of at Easter seem to me to be a portent of good things to come. Mr Cecil would only have agreed to the laparoscopy if he felt that surgery was a possibility.  And that procedure now confirms it is.  So 2 days in hospital gives me a taste of what to expect when I have 2-3 weeks in hospital later on.  The food, when I was allowed to eat it, was good.  The little ensuite room very cosy and the staff lovely.  Lying in bed the view from the window was of the sky.  Did you notice how many crossing plane vapour trails there were on the 11th?  When we left the house at 6.15am there was a giant, billowy X in the sky which followed us to Basingstoke.  It didn’t disappear and I saw more that day out of my hospital window as I twiddled my thumbs.  Never noticed perfect crosses before; it felt like someone was sending their love….

After 2 days indoors I became stir crazy.  So on day 3, tanked up with paracetamol, Jeremy and I went to the Pineapple Palace for coffee and cake.  The parking there meant it is only a short distance for me to shuffle from the car to the café.  I was told I would be sore but hadn’t expected so much inflammation in the abdomen.  Dresses and skirts are the most comfy to wear and luckily I have some spongy shoes that when lumbering along absorb most of the jarring from hard ground.  Here’s me celebrating with Debbie’s carrot cake with lime topping which was delicious. Jeremy had a flapjack.

I have created 2 new pages: Favourite Food and Drink (very little is plant based, I add:) and Hypnotherapy under Wellbeing, Complementary Therapies.

Have you noticed I used the exclamation mark only once in this week’s post?  Jeremy said I should rein in the use of it. I’m using it too often he says.  So I’ve been re-training my muscle memory not to do ‘shift 1’!! Oops

Home Again

So very nice to be back home!  Thanks for your good wishes. I had a 10 hour wait which was very unfortunate as it meant I had arrived at hospital 7am having fasted.  But at 9.30 I was permitted a slice of toast and coffee. However,  by 4pm when the registrar and anaesthetist came to see me in my little room I was famished, weepy and wobbly.  Jeremy wasn’t permitted to stay so I had been on my own.  TV, radio and a book hadn’t helped calm my mind.  Mr Cecil did only the laparoscopy in the end – he decided he wouldn’t be able to remove the ovaries and all the cancerous tissue surrounding them.  The major surgery (earmarked for end May) would do that.  But on a positive he had a good look around – I was ‘out’ for 2.5 hours!  He found nothing that would prevent his team doing major surgery.  Naturally I’m rather sore and not venturing very far….

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 27 March

Shirley and I went to Milan and Lake Como for  short break this week.  We had lovely weather as you’ll see from the photos.  I was looking forward to seeing Leonardo’s Last Supper, on our walking tour, as it was on my bucket list!  I wasn’t disappointed.  Whilst there we sampled everything typically Italian: prosecco, prosecco and prosecco.  Only joking! The surprise was the salty and custard filled croissants not together, I add!  We visited the beautiful Lake Como on two days by train tearing ourselves away back to Milan each evening after visiting Varenna, Bellagio, Como Town, Moltrasio and my favourite Brunate (high above Como).Yes I’ve updated my favourite places. Our cake eating was very restrained.  We noticed Italian’s are into little pastries – just mouth size like these two here.  (But they are big on ice cream!) Just before we left Milan on the train we had a coffee and pastry in a cafe we enjoyed eating at on a previous evening: The Cat Café (direct translation) or Bar Gatto – much more romantic sounding. It’s near Loreta metro station and our hotel Adi Doria Grand which was perfectly placed for the central railway station and attractions including Milan’s canals which are worth a visit on a Saturday.

I would like to go back and take Jeremy and stay at the Bellavista in Brunate – the food, view and staff were fab!

        

Week of 20 March

Jeremy and I went to Paris this week.  I wanted to see the Mona Lisa. We joined the stampede to see her when the Louvre opened but when we went back to her room about 3 hours later – well you couldn’t get near her for a selfie!  It was pretty airless in there.  No wonder she is behind glass!  Everyone said to me ”she’s very small” so I was surprised how much bigger she was than I expected:)  We recovered with a café crème and a gander at some beautiful patisserie in the Louvre café. That day we walked through the Tuileries, up the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe and bussed it back to Saint Chappelle and Notre Dame. We spent another morning at the Musee D’Orsay to see their collection of Impressionist paintings and walked beside the Seine towards the Eiffel Tower and bussed it to Montmartre and back. We stayed at the fab Hotel Louison and had a upgrade to a Prestige room (ooh you say).  It was very classy.  We ate our way though all things considered French: croissants, bagettes, crepes, mussels, snails, onion soup, steak au poivre,  tarte tatin, and gateaux.  Speaking of which, we went up the Montparnasse Tower to the cafe with the best view in Paris and shared a delicate chocolate patisserie. It is said that the view from the top is the most beautiful in Paris, because it is the only place from which the tower cannot be seen!!

Mum and I went to a rather under supported Cancer Research coffee morning but ate some very nice salted caramel cake.  I bought a chocolate cake with white choc buttons on and took it to Jacky’s craft class later that day where we all scoffed some and tried to avoid crumbs getting on the lovely greeting cards we made. That’s Jeremy’s slice below……..

Off to Milan next week.

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 Carolyn.  When Mum came we had chocolate cake with smarties on the top!  Out of shot but had a big filling of chocolate icing! Yum. Jeremy and I had lunch there 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.

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!

Hot News

We saw Mr Cecil this morning.  In short, he will do a laparoscopy on 11 April.  The MRI scan done 3 days ago shows MORE shrinkage.  Oooh interesting! The last chemo treatment was 30 December!  Does that mean the new diet, supplements, reiki, yoga, meditation, visualisation and exercise is paying off?  And of course the chocolate cake?  The down side is that the extra detail obtained from the MRI scan shows cancer cells within tissue in the pelvis area that cannot be removed with surgery.  So, more decisions to make in the coming weeks.

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 27 February

Surgery? Or not? In January I was working through the bucket list and now we have options.  Hence I have stopped the planning.  The proverbial balls are all up in the air! The certainty is that I will have a laparoscopy and see where that takes us. We see Mr Cecil on 17th March to discuss the outcome from the MRI scan and dates for the laparoscopy. This week, I went to my first gym class paid for by MacMillan and organised by Berkshire Cancer Rehabilitation (BCR) at our local leisure centre.  The class uses weights, dumb bells and kettle bells plus exercise bikes.  It was good fun and I will be the fittest I have ever been:)  These classes continue for 3 months and they are free…

I went to the second workshop organised by BCR this week and as Lindsay said to me later in the week ”in life people are either ‘radiators’ or ‘drains’!” – meaning they radiate positivity or drain you of it. The people attending the workshop were, in the main, the latter!  So the last time I attend a support group. wp_20170227_001Anyway, at the Beech Hill church café across the road from the hall, I tucked into some good mood food – a slice of chocolate cake with a chocolate peanut on the top!  To go with my one slice houmous sandwich…..

The highlight of the week was the trip to the Ashmolean with Marion, Judy and Lindsay to see the exhibition: Degas to Picasso.  It was a private collection and I found it interesting to see the preparatory sketches an artist undertakes.  It’s easy to overlook the preparation required before a masterpiece is created.  Aftewp_20170301_005r that we had tea at the Randolph hotel  in the lounge and watched the England rugby players pass by!    These fit looking  under 21s went with Eddie Jones then the rest appeared – crickey- they were huge.  They’d all make good bouncers….

I went to the hairdressers this week and got a new cut.  Here’s me with Jeremy at the Hillier Garden Centre sharing a slice of cappuccino cake. If you look closely you’ll see my new accessory – a blister on the tip of my nose.  The cold wind on the walk last Saturdaywp_20170305_001 affected the skin and I even had to get a course of anti biotics mid week to cure my red infected nose.  What with my catarrh aswell, I’ve not been firing on all 8 cylinders!  So much so, that when I met Anne at the Mug and Brew for  a catch up – she gets her scan results on Monday – I didn’t eat any cake…..