Lark’s Diary XIV

Things have been a bit scary and there have been lots of changes here at home which Archie and I don’t really understand. I am so glad Archie is with me as he’s a good brother except when he puts my head in his mouth but it’s just his way of showing me that he’s in charge. It does make my ears wet, though, and it’s a bit tickly. Firstly, Mum has been in bed for quite a long time because she is very tired and has been hot, too. I know she’s been sad because her Dad died and she cried a bit so I climbed onto the bed and gave her a long cuddle which she likes. She’s been on the telephone a lot of the time talking to people called “Dickheads”. I’m not sure what they are but apparently they’re not very nice people and it’s something to do with ‘insurance’. Another really annoying thing is that pigeons have decided to live in the virginia creeper at the front of the house, right between the windows of the front bedroom and the dressing room and they are always squawking and making noise but we can’t get at them as they are too high up. Another bad thing that has happened is the white and orange cat which belongs to Grandma. She can’t have him where she lives now so he lives with us, usually under the bed although I have seen him trying to climb out the windows to catch the pigeon. Maybe I should help him a bit with a gentle shove. He also shouts all the time and he is the greediest cat in the world. He keeps trying to hit me but he avoids Big Archie. Mum and Mark have been behaving strangely too,with big bags of clothes and we didn’t understand what was going on. One weekend we went on a really big walk until my legs nearly dropped off. There was a big ditch and because we were thirsty, I jumped in and then found out it was very deep and it went right up to my shoulders so I was covered in mud but it felt nice and cool.  Mum said I looked like a vagabond which might be something like a Dickhead but she didn’t sound so cross when she said it. Really Mum doesn’t get properly cross with us unless we do something really bad which is nice because I think it shows she loves us. By the time we got home we were nice and dry.

Anyway, the next day the gardener came over to see us and put our beds in the back of the car along with some toys and one of Mum’s cardigans and he took us away without Mum or Mark. Archie and I were scared although we like the gardener but Archie remembered when he had gone to stay with Uncle Phil once and Mum and Mark came back for us. He took us to something called ‘Kennels’ where there were other d0gs staying without their owners and I’m a bit ashamed to say I cried a lot and kept everybody awake for the first two days, singing the song of my people, but Archie told me that Mum and Mark would never leave us on our own and that we might make some new friends to play with. The gardener came to see us every couple of days and brought us Bonio and pig’s ears which kept us happy. Then one day he came and packed up our toys and beds and put us in the car and TOOK US HOME! It was the best day of my life when I saw the gates to the house and Archie was very excited, too. We played in the garden with Mark for a while and then he let us in the house to see Mum who was in bed and very tired. She told me she had been a long, long way away in a plane (that’s one of those things that buzz about the sky although I don’t know how they keep up in the air) to see Francesca who is Mum’s real baby. She said that Francesca had had a baby of her own although I can’t see how because Francesca only looks big enough to have a kitten. It’s all very exciting and I’m looking forward to sniffing the baby and giving it a big kiss (so long as Mum doesn’t see me do it).

So all is well except for the tv. Mum and I watch dog programmes together sometimes but the other day I looked up and there was a big plane coming towards us and it frightened me so much I fell off the bed. I think Mum might have laughed a bit. She has asked me to put in my diary that she will be back writing very soon and sends you all lots of love and a picture of the baby.


PS I don’t think the baby is that fond of Mum yet 😦


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.

DSC_0795DSC_0791 Woob011014

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.