Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Dealing with Emotions

I haven't blogged much this past week - I needed to distance myself enough from all the fear and sadness I've been experiencing in order to be able to write about it. 

It's been a tough week or so, since I got that unexpected/unforeseen scan update.  I've been through every emotion under the sun, from absolute terror, to total devastation, and then back to positive and strong, and back again.  The interesting thing about all this for me, has been the role my mind has played.

The mind really is like the naughty child the Buddhists say it is!  It seems to wait for a quiet moment and then start to wiggle its way in with negative thoughts.  I've had to really keep an eye on my thoughts, and be ready to counter the negative ones the moment they arrive.  So far it's been working and I've only had two occasions when I've had to phone my dad and get him to come and talk to me (as negative thoughts take hold and spiral out of control.) 

On the plus side, I feel supported and loved by so many people, and really don't know what I ever did to deserve it!  They had a collection at work for me, to help with the costs of Bowen Therapy - which is really helping me so much, emotionally and physically.  I cried (in a good way!) when Babs came over and told me.  Thank you so much, all of you in the English Department at Edge Hill - you have no idea how much your gift means to me. 

I'm starting to see myself healthy and strong again, healthier than I've ever been before perhaps.  I am trying to visualise that - to really reach out and touch it as though it's real, and then maybe it will become real.  My rational, academic mind tries to but in often with thoughts of, "you're just kidding yourself - clutching at straws, love," but I've seen how negative thoughts perpetuate and aggravate situations in my own life, and that of others.  If it works negatively, it stands to reason that thinking positively also must attract more of the same too!

Also, the whole approach to food as medicine has given me lots to think about too.  I feel as though I'm actually taking control back of the situation.  Since the new regime I've been going to the loo normally for 5 days now without any laxatives at all!  I feel more energetic than I have in a year.  And that's only after 5 days (of small changes too - I haven't even started on the full on program yet!  Just cut out meat, dairy, processed foods etc, and started drinking more water, herbal/fruit teas, eating sprouted beans, brown rice, seeds and dried fruit, and a whole host of stuff I've never heard of before is waiting in the kitchen to be prepared!!!  My taste buds are upset and beg for chocolate and tea with milk and sugar!  I watched the family sit down last night to fresh lamb steaks, while I munched away on raw sprouted beans, lightly fried stir fry veg (2 mins in olive oil), short grain brown rice, and a sauce made of butternut squash, red onion and red pepper.  Hmm.  But I will get used to it, and my body seems to love it.  For breakfast this morning I had 100ml of wheat-grass juice with algae in it (not as bad as it sounds!), seeds, nuts, dried fruit and a half cheat with 2 pieces of whole-grain seeded brown bread toasted.  The diet is called The Ph Miracle and is so complicated, but I'm getting there!

Today is a lovely day.  The rain is pouring and the wind is shaking the trees outside, and I am warm and safe in my living room, talking to whoever reads this, and hoping that the message gets through - that no matter how bad things are, it is possible to scrape yourself up off the floor and be happy again, and it doesn't matter if you collapse now and again, if the wicked thoughts take over, as long as you nip them in the bud or have someone who can help you when they've taken hold!

Doc tomorrow.  No idea what he will say, but I've booked  Bowen the day after, and horse riding, to help me get through it, whatever he says.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

A New Way of Eating

One of the main ways to restore my health is through diet, so this week I've been thinking, and reading lots, about food. It makes for quite frightening reading - that most of our western diet is actually non-food! Apparently our daily intake should be divided in an 80/20 split, with 80% fresh vegetables (lightly steamed or even better, raw), fruit (as with veg), sprouts (as in water cress sprouts etc.), brown rice, unprocessed foods, seeds, grains, nuts, and so on. The 20% is for meats (if you must but better not to), dairy (though again, not recommended), oily fish, and so on.

I don't know about you but my diet, even though we cook from scratch mostly, is still appalling in terms of the 'healthy' eating rules!

But all that is changing, albeit a bit slowly. I have to make my taste buds change to accept soya milk, and to change over to herbal teas. No more sugars, saturated fats, meats, or junky, processed foods.

Apart from learning about food, I went horse riding again, and have been mostly positive and up. I am certain that the day is coming when everything will be back to normal!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Hangin' in there...

I had Bowen again today and can honestly say it is the most relaxed and positive I have ever been in my life! I was on cloud 9 afterwards, and skipped out of there, joyous to see the sunshine and 100% confident that I can beat this.

I did slip back, however, on meeting some people who don't know the scan results, and in telling them I found myself getting tearful and afraid again. It also makes me sad to see that other people are frightened and upset by the whole thing too.

But I have managed to turn it around again. I've been looking at the stuff listed on a site (cancer fighting strategies) with alternative strategies, and am now researching further into these. The main things that keep turning up from a billion sources are;

- making the body alkaline through diet, liquid zeolite, or both (cancer loves acidic environments)
- getting more oxygen into the cells (cancer loves low levels of O2)
- killing of the fungi and bacteria that flourish in a low O2/high acidity environment (diet/supplements)
- re-introducing the good bacteria (through pro-biotics and diet)
- using positive mental strategies as outlined in The Secret and in countless other sources (to believe it, see it, visualise it gone and the body left with perfect health)

I'm not giving up by any means. I've just seen and heard too many stories of people curing themselves with the above methods that I cannot just dismiss it out of turn as my doctors appear to. One doctor actually told me that a change in diet wouldn't make any difference whatsoever (what? to anything? Changing to a high fibre diet has already sorted out most of my stomach problems and that was recommended by a dietician!)

Riding tomorrow and some visitors, which will be nice, and I also have my birth uncle over from Canada until Saturday, and enjoying that loads! I even made it to the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool yesterday - although I had to leave U. B. and hubby to make their own way home as there was more they wanted to do (Beatles shop/The Cavern etc.,) and I was starting to be tired and in pain. But the point is I drove there and back, had a reasonably good day, and am feeling very positive again!

Righto. Still got a broken Sky box, so off to watch 'Lost in Austin' on ITV's catch up web service!

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Today is the first day of my new life.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this past year or so (my, is it really that long already - how time flies when you're having treatment!). It's been a long road, and I obviously either didn't;
a) learn the lesson I was supposed to learn or
b) focus enough on the positive or
c) manage to rid myself of the stress, negative thinking patterns, or past traumas that attracted the illness to me in the first place.

Or a combination of all 3!

I got up this morning and when I reached the kitchen I found myself becoming very angry and stressed about the mess. It was only after I'd cleared most of the mess, loaded the dishwasher, and made a brew that I suddenly stopped and asked myself why was I upset, and what was I really upset about. The kitchen? Or perhaps yesterday's diagnosis?!!! It was just my mind being naughty, and focusing on the negative again.

So I got out The Secret, and re-read the chapter on Healing. I reminded myself that every cell in the body is replaced regularly, so that in 7 years, not a single atom in you will be the same. I reminded myself of how fantastic I feel, and repeated over and over in my head "I feel fantastic. I am healing. Thank you for my healing." I read about the placebo effect again, whereby a patient is healed despite the fact that the medicine they received was only water, or a sugar pill. Their mind healed them. I read all the cases of patients who have healed themselves by picturing themselves well again, every second of every day. Within a short time (still had tea left in the cup!) I felt positive, safe, and confident that I am going to be perfectly okay.

The Secret also talks about the importance of not talking about the condition. The teaching is that to discuss the illness gives it attention, and attracts more of the same, because (and I believe this and have found it to be true throughout my life) that what we think about and focus on is what we receive more of. The universe, or God, or cosmic energy - whatever you want to call it, has no concept of 'good' and 'bad' and so it will provide us with what we want (that is what we focus on with our minds).- So I've decided that once the news is shared (as in yesterday's blog post and countless phone calls to the non-bloggers!) I don't want to talk about it anymore. Don't want to give it any energy or attention, or thoughts.

I blogged about this in the past - the old "How are you?" chestnut. Some people took it to mean that I didn't want people to ask how I am, but that wasn't what I meant. What I meant was that when we ring someone up to see how they are (which is lovely, and needed, and truly appreciated), we need to accept their answer and not keep asking questions, and/or dwelling on the illness or whatever problem it is they are having - and I have been guilty of this myself in the past, when all I wanted was to provide a sympathetic ear. But now I'm in this little predicament, and now that I understand the need to be positive in all my thoughts, I realise that talking about things endlessly, is not the answer.

So I think it's a case of ask how people are doing, and be there if they want/need to talk, but when the talking is done, move on to normal things!

A final note: My dad is the best. He calls and says how are you, and is there if i need to talk, but he also understands the importance of not giving these negative things any attention, so he will quickly move on to talk about when my next riding lesson is, or what I've been up to. He reminds me that I can do this, can change it all around and make my body healthy again by thinking positive thoughts, and focusing on perfect health, goodtimes, and more perfect health!

So have a great day - I'm going to!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Si quieres llegar a la cima...

...tienes que empezar al fondo.


It's a funny old thing, life (or perhaps it's more 'sentience' than life itself).  No matter how close to the bottom you think you are, there always seems to be just a little more descent left to fall down.

I thought I'd reached the bottom and was on my way back up again, but then I went to see the doc.  And she was acting very strangely. 

I was full of beans this morning, going on about how much better I feel, and all the improvements etc., and yet she had that look on her face - a mixture of pity and sorrow.  It was the expression of one who knows something you do not, and who wishes they did not know.

So I said, "Go on.  What is it?" and she said, "When do you see Dr. E (the oncologist)?"  I said not for another two weeks, why?  Her face began to crumble under the weight of her knowledge.  She shook her head and wrung her hands a bit more, which, to be honest, was a tad disconcerting.  I've never seen her look even remotely phased before. 

Then I saw pictures on her pc of a scan, and I knew it was mine.  "What have you found?" I asked.  She doesn't want to tell me.  She's looking at me like so many doctors must have looked at so many patients before.  I'm waiting for the "I'm so sorry but..." line.

Okay.  Deep breath.  Do not freak out.  Bad news is a-comin' but I can take it.  Bring it on...

There's two more shadows turned up, 17mm in size, only in the liver this time.  The good news is that it'll be the same cells as in the lung - non-small cell, slow growing.  She said cancer doesn't spread like a train, moving from point A to point B over time, but rather like a star-burst, it radiates throughout the entire body from the start, and then lies dormant, or grows, or whatever it does, over time.  At least that's how I understand it - I could be confused/mistaken but will let you know as I find out!

She said it was also good news that I was feeling so well in myself, because if these two newbies were very active, I'd be feeling really crap and unable to do anything.  They probably won't cut it out, but treat it with chemo - say may yet end up bald.  And it explains the pains I'm having in my abdomen too.

My head is trying its best to remain positive - to keep focused on all the people who have beaten their cancers and other life-threatening illnesses even when the prognosis (and indeed the disease) was far worse than mine.  So I need to stay positive.  After all, I've worked so hard these last two weeks to turn my head around, to stop with the sliding into acceptance that it was gonna be game over.  I may have lost a match but the game is most definitely NOT over!

As I said in the very beginning of this post;

If you want to reach the top, you have to start at the bottom - I just hope this really is the bottom at last!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places...

It's been another good day, or days, or however long it is since I last posted!

I had my CT-scan today, and it may be coincidence but I went along in a purposeful, positive state of mind, and it all went very smoothly and quickly. When the guy (who always makes holes in me before calling for help) said, "I remember you! You're the vein lady!" I stayed calm and jokingly (well semi-jokingly!) said I hoped he'd improved since last time, to which he replied it was my fault. But I'm reading A New Earth: Awakening to your life's purpose (Eckhart Tolle), and The Secret (again!), so I just concentrated on my breathing and accepted whatever happened. He didn't get the line in first time, and it was sited badly so really hurt, but the stomach pains have been far worse, so I kept on breathing. As you do.

Bowen Therapy was really good on Monday. Again, I don't know if it's coincidence, but I'm really feeling the benefit. Today I had no pain at all until around 4-ish, and even then it was quite mild. I ate and it subsided even more, and I got to 10 pm before I realised I'd forgotten to take my 8 o'clock pain killers! Good stuff - am so grateful! Not least because my first two Bowen sessions have been paid for me, by two wonderful people. You know who you are - thank you so much.

This morning, Desi rang me from Spain and we had a long chat. It's weird, but while I was so low over the past few months, I didn't see much of anyone, but now I'm back to embracing life, and reminding myself to avoid wallowing; to be grateful for every moment, and to seek the best in everything, the phone hasn't stopped ringing! I even got a call from a girl I went to music college with, whom I haven't spoken to since 1987! That was lovely. She found me through Friend's Re-united which was a shock because I'd forgotten I'd listed myself there!

Riding tomorrow - woohoo! I even feel like writing again, and can see the book finished in my mind. You know, it really is going to happen! I'm so excited - I'll get well, I'll finish my book, and I'll get as good as I can get with the hay-eaters!

And now for the inspiration - hubby showed me this and I just had to share it with you. Whenever I feel like I can't do something, and blame limitations, I'm going to come back and watch this wee vid. Ay! Phenomenal!

A Good Week

I've been meaning to blog all week but somehow didn't get around to it!  I had a weird couple of days after the Bowen Therapy; headaches, pain worsening in stomach and shoulder, yet very content and positive in terms of the mind.  The therapist said that for three days after, physical symptoms may be worse, and to expect headaches too.


By Saturday morning though, everything felt much better physically.  We went out looking for a replacement cooker as our oven died a few weeks ago.   'The man' said it'd be £200 to fix and at 14 years old, would probably break somewhere else, so it'd make more sense to buy a new one.  I hate the way nothing is built to last anymore and was pleased with our 14 year old cooker, but I had to accept it was the scrap heap for the poor thing.

Have you seen the price of cookers???!!!  Ours has two ovens, a grill, timer and self-cleaning liners (a must!) so to replace all that came in at £550.  Nearly had a heart attack. We went to the nearest retail park and found the £550 cooker for £450 in the shop next door, and then later in the evening, went online and found it for £350!  It really does pay to do a bit of research before you buy, eh.


Coming  on, coming  on!  Had another jumping lesson on Siobhan again, and am getting my confidence back now that my seat is far more secure.  I was quite tired though, but maybe that was due to having the Bowen a couple of days prior.  I'd had enough by the end of the lesson - put it that way!  I'm going to start helping out the minute I can physically handle more than a couple of hours of activity!

Scan Tomorrow

Results at the beginning of October.

The rest of it...

I've been out visiting!  Can you believe it?!  Actually got out of my house and went to someone else's house!  Been catching up with lots of people I didn't see over the summer too, as they were either away or busy with kids.  J brought me some lovely home-made apple chutney (yum yum!), and I had a phone call from someone I went to music college with in 1986/7!  She found me listed on friend's re-united and emailed me last week.  That was lovely.  And I have a birth relative coming to stay for a few days while on a business trip - so very excited and imagining myself well so that I can be active and able to go out, (or even just get off the sofa would be a good start!) when he's here.

Yup.  It has been, all in all, a good week.  A very good week, and I've a feeling there'll be more good weeks to come!

Now I better get to bed before my husband thinks I've fallen asleep on the couch.  Again!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

The F-Word

Got sent this today and it made me smile!

5 Cases When It's Okay to Use the F-Word:

Not that I ever needed much of an excuse ;-)

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

A new leaf

I don't know what happened to my thinking over the last few months - since radiotherapy and all the trauma that it resulted in - but I lost my positive outlook somewhere along the line, and I need to get that back.

Of course I do realise that when a person is so ill that they can't get off the sofa all day, is unable to get out of the house more than once or twice a week, and hardly sees another living being, they're bound to sink into a bit of a depression! Add to that the diagnosis of such a life threatening disease, and the pain that grips my heart whenever my naughty mind suggests I might not make it to see my kids grow up, and you have a recipe for disaster.

So I've decided I need to make some changes. Rapidly. (Actually it's more down to a very long talk (in between the sobs and tears) with Nee, and this morning with my father.) But the talking is done now, and I need to take action. So I have a plan.

1. Restore my faith in my body and mind.
I have an appointment today to have Bowen Therapy, and while I don't know much about it, it takes a holistic approach, and works on the principle that the body can heal itself. This is important because I do believe that 99% of fighting this disease is in the mind. I kind of lost sight of all this somewhere between the vomiting and 14 hour stretches of severe stomach cramping!

2. Get out of the house more.
I've been stuck on the sofa and/or otherwise incapacitated for too long now - since RT started at the end of April to be exact. It's a long day when you are in the house alone. I need to push myself more and start swimming again. I am hoping to get my fitness up enough to be able to hang around the riding school and help out with the horses a bit.

3. Write.
I haven't written a thing. I keep getting phone calls from well wishing folk, asking me if I've written anything for my novel. I've thought, "Are you taking the piss?! When, exactly, do you think I've been up to writing?" But I do want to write. The thing is I've been becoming more and more paralysed by the fear of the disease and the unknowns of the future etc., so I need to work on no's 1 and 2, and hopefully the writing will come. Then I can stop the cycle of guilt that I haven't written, which makes me more depressed, which means I don't write for even longer...

4. Get a new Life.
Okay, so I lost my life. Big Deal. I need to get over it. So what if I can't teach any more. Okay, so I'm heartbroken over it. I miss the classroom, the students, and I admit it, the kudos of being a university lecturer. It was part of my identity, and it's been taken away. I feel robbed. But I'm just gonna have to get over it, and get a new life. I've had a letter about fees for my PhD, so there's another thing that may come to an end. Fees were waived in the past because of the hours I taught, so it looks as though the uni will want me to pay fees now that I'm not working. But of course, not working means I can't afford to pay them anymore. I have very limited resources now, and if it's a choice between riding lessons and a PhD, there's no question as to which choice is the more beneficial! As my exceedingly astute 15 year old daughter said last night, I know I am capable so I can stop trying to prove something all the time, and I don't need a PhD to write a novel, do I? If anything, it may be easier to get on with the writing if I don't have all the theoretical/academic stuff to worry about!

So a new life with horses perhaps. A new life where I write full time, get out more, be more positive. I need to learn to say to friends and family that I can't handle talking about anything to do with this illness, or anything negative right now. It's back to the old, 'How are you?' question again. I need to be able to say, "fine" and leave it at that, because otherwise I end up talking about all the stuff that's going wrong with my body, and focusing on the illness, when what I need to focus on is that fact that I am still here. I am still alive after 12 months. I need to focus on the positive because if I don't, I've a strong (and terrifying) feeling that I won't make it, that I'll succumb and lose all my fight... which brings me to...

5. Keep fighting (and believing).
I should say 'start fighting again' really, as I haven't had much fight lately. So I need to fight fight fight all the way. I don't need 'realism' and I need belief in miracles. I don't need to hear the medics and nurses telling me that there are no guarantees - I know that, and it doesn't help hearing it all the bloody time.

Righto. I expect everyone to give me firm kick up the backside whenever I get negative. I want to focus on the positive, believe, and fight. I refuse to roll over and let this thing get my mind or my body.

So there!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Fall, not falling off, and the end of BB9

Autumn is here.  The scent of it hangs in the air, deliciously crisp and fresh.  When I was a child growing up in Canada, it was called Fall, presumably because the leaves fall off the trees.  But it is also the fall of summer, the end of a year long cycle of birth through to death.  So whilst I love the summer, the spring, and even winter, I think the Fall is my favourite.

Autumn is also the time I love to write the most.  The weather is still gentle, the rains wash away the stifling heat (usually!) of the summer, and it's good to be all cosied up in the house, in front of the patio doors, looking out into a garden alive with intense colour.  I become melancholy but in a good way - a time to reminisce and to write about it.  This year is particularly strange and melancholy because I'm not going back to work, the scan is on the 16th to see if the RT worked/didn't work/how much it worked, and I see the oncologist on Oct 1st.  A scary time.  And the children have returned to school, the day has a pattern again, a natural rhythm that I can fall into.  I'm hoping it will be a good time to crack on with my work, and to finish my novel.

And of course Big Brother finishes tonight, so will have to find something else to occupy my days, especially now (fingers crossed) when my stomach seems to be sorting itself out.


I had a fantastic lesson yesterday, despite torrential rain and the horse refusing to walk across a flooded yard to the indoor school!  Siobhan had her ears pinned back but eventually settled down.

I've been reading a lot lately about jumping techniques and cross country, and realised that I didn't have an independent seat at all when it came to jumping positions.  So I asked my teacher if we could work on that in order to get my confidence back.  I spent 45 minutes learning how to balance in a cross country seat, and it all started to fall into place.  Fab.  The best bit was when I was asked to get Siobhan to jump over the pole on the ground, and to tell her when to take off.  I thought, how the hell do you do that?  But S is such a good teacher that I managed to get it second time around.  Funny - there seems to be no relationship whatever between what we learn in the early stages of riding, to what we learn further down the line, but I love that it's so technical, so physically challenging, and so enjoyable.  Oh dear, I am truly a horse freak now!

Big Brother 9 Final

It's Friday and the last day of BB9.  Who wins?  You decide (because I'm too tight to pay the costs of a vote!). 

This year's series has been more inspirational than previous years.  They seem to have gotten rid of the idiots early on - the violent ones, the fame seekers, the shallow and the depraved.  The tasks have been interesting, and Big Bro has been quicker off the mark to stamp out unacceptable behaviour (probably since all the furore over Jade and Shilpa Shetty in Celeb Big Bro).  The range of people has been far wider this year, in terms of age, place of origin, and character, and that's made all the difference for me, because of course I only watch it to study the interaction/psychological side of people for my writing (and if you believe that you'll believe anything lol).

I think we've been left with a lovely bunch of people this year; Darnell with his 'potty mouth', and issues of not fitting in (reminds me of myself when I was younger except I was more sad than angry), Rachel with her 'Disneyesque' character (so what if she is simply a nice person?!), Rex, whose arrogance and plain speaking is actually quite endearing now (although what was going on with him and Nicole - a co-dependent relationship if I ever I saw one), Mikey who is extremely funny and has a wicked sense of humour (although I'd probably kill him if I had to live with him), and last but not least, Sarah the Aussie who genuinely doesn't  seem to realise that she's really leading poor Darnell on all the time with her flirting (and who has already won £25 grand).  I'm struggling to pick a winner, feeling they all deserve it pretty much, but Rex says he'd give the money to charity (so not him - I want it to make a real difference for whoever wins it), and Sarah has cash now... I think... er... mmm... okay - Darnell.  I'll go with Darnell to win!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Autumn's Coming but Life is Great

After more days of hideous stomach pains, today I woke up pain free. I can't tell you what a joy that is, to wake up and not be in pain... something I never even considered before!

Pain pain pain
I saw the surgeon who first found the tumour (he was going to do my gallstone op that was then cancelled due to the tumour). He checked me over and doesn't seem to think it's anything serious - just a combination of drugs causing constipation. So have to take Movicol everyday now, and experiment with the dose till I get it right. I dunno what's going on. Thursday I was in too much pain to ride, and Friday/Saturday I had no pain at all. Sunday it started at 7.30 am and lasted till 11pm. I can't find a pattern to it, or identify a source/reason. Today I've been fine again all day, despite not being able to go to the loo 'properly'.

Back on ma horsey!
Anyway, today was superb - I had another joint lesson with the Little One. K got to have her first canter (with the teacher leading her pony), and I rode Henry. Great lesson for us both. K is starting to get a feel for rising trot now, and isn't holding the saddle any more. I've been working on my transitions, and controlling Henry's speed (learning how to prevent him grabbing hold of the bit and careering off with me. I'm finally starting to develop 'feel', to know what the horse is doing underneath me - where the feet are, straightness, bend and all that. It's getting soooo technical, and I love it. Not only that, but it gives me a boost physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Listed 17th in Blog list
I got an email a while back, but been so ill I never got around to mentioning it - apparently my little blog is listed as being 17th in the Lexiophiles top 100 Language Blogs. Quite cool, eh, (I think?). Also got an award from one of you lovely people, but again, been so out the game I still haven't got around to having a look. If it was from you, and you're not utterly offended that I've forgotten/haven't looked yet, and you don't mind, could you leave a comment and tell me where to look again?! Thank you!

Back to School (and picking up the pieces of my academic life.)
It's all back to normal tomorrow as kids return to school. I'm almost looking forward to autumn (summer's been a tad non-existent in terms of seasonal weather). I can smell the damp nip in the air in the garden, early morning. There's a melancholy about autumn I love too, and I'm looking forward to some nice hacks, and the structured day that comes of having two kids in school - up in the mornings, uniforms, house nice and quiet till 3pm everyday, and no guilt at not taking them anywhere/doing anything with them 'cos still too bloody ill! I envision sitting down and getting some serious writing done - my supervisor (PhD) rang me today and that was superb - I'm still being invited to the monthly postgrad writer's group (NRG) despite the fact that I've been... well you know!... haven't been since last year! One of my short term mini-goals to get well enough to be able to go out in the evening and attend a meeting!

All good then really. Hanging on in there. Appreciating every minute I am not in pain, and revelling in doing things with the girls, however small or periodic. Being more positive again, and hoping Darcy is right *winks to Marion*.