It’s been an interesting week. Chemotherapy is still making me feel incredibly tired. Most days I can easily sleep for 12 hours and there are quite a few pyjama days on the sofa. On Wednesday, however, I have an exciting appointment at Maggie’s. We are having a woob decorating session. What is a woob? I hear you cry. Woobs are the brainchild of Jane Hutchison who runs the charity Hello Beautiful, helping younger women to be aware of breast cancer. Woobs are wooden ‘breasts’ which come in 3 shapes, one representing a lumpectomy, one a reconstruction and one a mastectomy. Ms Frumin picks me up in her car, known as the boiled egg, and we set off for Maggie’s. Luckily I am familiar with the route as Ms Frumin is not good with direction and frequently tries to make turns which will take her home. At least she has a homing instinct and is a good driver, to boot.
We arrive at Maggie’s and immediately see 2 friends I haven’t seen in ages. One has come down from Cambridgeshire and another from Kent. More people arrive and we sit at the table which is laden with paints, pens and brushes and all say how we’re not good at painting and how awful our attempts may be but once we select our colours, our paints and our brushes, we seem to forget all that and become absorbed in the task. It feels a little like a really good school art session and we talk and laugh as we paint. Ms Frumin tells me later that she was not looking forward to the painting session at all but once she was there, she enjoyed it so much she stayed longer than she planned. The act of painting feels soothing and calming and I make a mental note to do more painting.
I am also in receipt of 2 parcels this week. The first is sealed under many layers of tape and takes me a while to open. Once open, it reveals a spillage of loveliness. There are packets of jelly, chocolate buttons, honey, Angel Delight and tissues – everything I could want to deal with the permanent drippy nose and the limited ability to eat hard foods. I have not had Angel Delight in years butimmediately plan to start eating it again, courtesy of my school friend, Ms Peek. My second parcel is a fabulous hat and beautifully knitted socks for my chilly feet from my Norwegian friend, Ms Stokke. She is an absolute whizz with knitting needles and a crochet hook. It is a week in which I feel really taken care of by my friends. It takes the sting out of trying to find proper travel insurance. Now I am diagnosed as Stage IV, my current insurer declines to take care of me and refunds my policy. I check with others who have cancer on various Facebook pages to find personal recommendations of insurers. There are not really any good leads and some bright spark who doesn’t read the post tells me Boots does travel insurance. At this stage I just roll my eyes. I speak to a whole lot of people on the phone who, after taking all my details, decline to insure me. Sometimes they talk to the underwriter in which case I am offered a policy to mainland Europe which is actually no good when I am travelling to Thailand. One company will not consider me until October, the month I am travelling. They want a blood test done before I go and then for me to delay chemotherapy until I get home. The woman warns me “It will be expensive”. This I already know. Eventually I find a company who will insure me. It will cost £1700 for the two weeks we are travelling. I am just pleased to have found someone who will take a chance on me.