I’m feeling a bit coldy. You know how it goes. My nose is tickly, my throat feels a bit tickly and I am sure by tomorrow I will be streaming with cold, despite the number of blood oranges I have been consuming. Having ordered 5kg of blood oranges with our weekly organic vegetable box, I feel I must be awash with vitamin C which should ward off all kinds of horrible cold viruses. I suppose it’s common to feel a bit under the weather in January. Classic New Year blues.
Last week was quite busy at home and at play. Mr Mason and I are turning the house upside down, ferreting out clothes, books and dvds we no longer want and boxing them up to get rid of. It feels quite therapeutic but is also a bit tiring, even though there are great memories surfacing along with the dross. Miss Mason, when she was less than 3, drew a wonderful octopus which had an enormous number of arms and took up a whole sheet of A4. In the corner, she drew a very small Humpty Dumpty and, so proud was I of my gorgeous girl’s artistic endeavour that I put it in a frame. Thinking she would be pleased, I showed her the framed drawing whereupon she embarked on a ferocious tantrum complete with vomiting and passing out. Miss Mason was very good at throwing a tantrum which I am pleased to say she has grown out of. The experts were obviously correct in advising us to ignore them.
I visit the Maggie Centre on a regular basis to meet the others in the Young Women’s group (please don’t laugh) so Wednesday was taken up with that and a long natter with my friend Ms Marsden. I also have a new compression sleeve to collect from the lymphoedema nurse as the others are making my arm quite sore in the crook of my elbow. My journey home takes place in the school rush hour and, walking through Hammersmith station, I am nearly knocked over by a couple of small schoolgirls who, instead of clutching cans of soft drink, sweets or crisps bought on the way home from school, are carrying takeaway cups of coffee. They look about 12 and are high on caffeine instead of sugar. Ah, how the times change!
On Thursday, I do what feels like a million errands. And I am not exaggerating. Honest. I go to Maggie’s to meet a research nurse from Guy’s Hospital who I am working with on a project to develop a device which will detect cancer cells during breast surgery. We discuss the project which is applying for further funding and then discuss trials involving lymphoedema patients which sound really interesting. My next port of call is back to Jeanne, the lymphoedema nurse to collect my new sleeves which were not available the previous day. They are black and softer than before so I have high hopes. I really like both the lymphoedema nurses. They are so warm and human which, possibly surprisingly, is quite rare in the cancer world. There has to be an element of self-protection for people working with patients who possibly have a terminal illness but I suppose the lymphoedema duo are working with those who have survived long enough to develop the condition and so can relax a bit. They are both delightful and scatty and very, very helpful. The next stop is the breast clinic. I have discovered some red marks on the side I had my mastectomy which look like tiny burst veins but, cancer being cancer, they need checking out by someone who knows what secondary cancer looks like. My friend, Ms Cantini, something of an expert herself gives advice via text but I still have to go and see the breast care nurse who, happily, can see me after her ward round. I show her the offending marks and she agrees, they are burst veins probably caused by radiotherapy and that she saw someone with even better burst veins recently but that this is the quite unusual. It’s a relief, I won’t deny. She also throws in an appointment with the lady who provides prosthetic breasts as she also thinks my current prosthesis isn’t really working. If I had the time and energy, I would write a whole blog on the hopelessness of post-surgery bras. The idea that they fit and allow you to look just as you did before someone took a scalpel to you is, quite frankly, bollocks. Perhaps prosthetic bollocks would look better. Who knows?
On the way home, I walk back from the tube station as I need to collect a prescription from the GP. Of course, it is not correct so I ask the receptionist if she can get the GP on duty to change it. This she does. It is still wrong and I cannot summon the energy to ask her to change it again. Sigh. But I do see something which disturbs me. Outside the local supermarket, a small-ish dog has been tied up and is waiting patiently for its owner. I pause to speak to it and then see its claws are painted bright red. No wonder it’s whining. I don’t think I have enough varnish to paint Dog’s nails and I’m pretty sure Mr Mason would have something to say should I attempt such a feat. But Dog is busy sporting his new snood, knitted by yours truly and ensuring he stays warm and cosy by day and night. I have taken photographic evidence of the latest in Dog couture but, as an appetite whetter, I am going to give you Master Mason in antlers. Those of you who know Master Mason, including Ms Atherton, will be surprised he acquiesced so readily on Christmas Day but he wore antlers for a good hour or so and here is the evidence.