Well, not exactly a new life, but a new attitude towards life.
Before moving on to a new year, time to say goodbye to friends that we’ve lost and remember the love they gave us. Ellie, Bramble and Hastings. So sad to have to let them go.
Despite reservations (mainly from my daughter) I’ve kicked the Tamoxifen into touch. Too many debilitating side effects. Severe hot flushes, day and night …… relentless. Difficulty in sleeping and tiredness …… unsurprising considering the hot flushes. Anxiety and depression ……… resulting in drinking too much! After 3 weeks of being Tamoxifen free, I started to feel so much better. So then I made the decision to gradually wean myself off the Sertraline. This antidepressant drug has similar side effects to Tamoxifen and in addition, can make you feel suicidal. I experienced that last year. But now I cannot believe how much better I feel – and realise how unwell I have been over the last 18 months. I actually feel more like my old self again ……. albeit with high levels of fatigue and low energy levels.
But I’m working on it. I need to be as well as I can be, because 2018 is set to be a fabulously exciting year. Sticks and Stones, Jo’s first book, will be released as an e-book on 12th May, a full 3 months before the hardback release on 12th July. She has book deals in 8 countries world-wide, whoop whoop!!!!! The Penguin marketing team see Jo as ‘the complete package’ – sorry to embarrass you Jo, but that made me blub….. I am so proud of you as a woman, for being who you are, never mind being an author. Enough said. So Grannie needs to gird her loins, boost energy levels and be ready to spring into action should grandsons require attention, taxi services and feeding whilst Jo is on the road promoting her book. Sticks and Sones – read the first chapter. I haven’t yet, I want to read the whole book in one sitting! And check out Jo’s blog
I had been looking forward to Christmas for the first time since Tony died. It was scuppered a bit by me coming down with the rotten cold that has been doing the rounds. But we managed to fit a lot in as a family. The week before Christmas,we had a lovely lunch with Rosemary in Nuneaton. She was gobsmacked at just how much food the boys can pack away. Then a Christmas meet up with members of the Jakeman family (Jo is publishing under my mum’s maiden name of Jakeman). Seeing cousins who I had not seen for almost 60 years (that makes me feel sooooo old). Thank you Uncle Mick and Auntie Mary for organising it. What a fabulous pair.
Christmas Eve at Grimsthorpe Castle was ‘feudal’ (to use a son-in-law James quote). Invitees were estate tenants, workers and our family members. I qualify on 2 counts! A proper carol service in the Vanbrugh Hall delivered by Andrew the local vicar (his church is part of the Grimsthorpe estate). A HUGE Christmas tree, mulled wine, mince pies, chocolates and Lady Willoughby de Eresby giving out balloons. Graciously accepted by Danny. Politely refused by Alex.
And a picture of Rose Cottage’s more modest Christmas tree, decorated by Guillaume
Back home for supper in front of a roaring fire, the opening of a couple of presents and an evening of Trivial Pursuit, Harry Potter version ……loved it!
Unfortunately, I then came down with a rotten cold. Struggled down to Mass on Christmas Day with Dottie, James and Danny – I was reading the lessons and bidding prayers and managed to get through without sneezing or coughing. Jo and Alex were left at home in charge of the turkey. Lovely lunch accompanied by a bottle of Bollie, a wedding present from Becks and Amy, which had been put on ice waiting for an appropriate celebratory event. So a toast to Jo’s book. And a glass raised to Tony. The Bunts went home early, and I went to bed.
New Year passed by uncelebrated as I spent most of the time feeling rough and in bed. Poor Dottie went back to Cumbria with my cold, I guess there was no way that she could escape the germs.
I don’t do New Year resolutions, but ……
I AM going to do something nice with family and friends once a week.
Birthday lunch at The Six Bells at Witham-on-the-Hill with Joy and Steve on Jan 5th. A belated birthday lunch at The Queen’s Head Sleaford with Helen and Caroline Friday 12th. There seems to be a theme developing here …… Star Trek on 16th with Ruanne. And a Burn’s night supper at the church on 25th January.
And I’m raising a finger or two to people and things that wind me up, draining the limited energy that I have! That may seem selfish. But hey ho.
A ‘good stuff’ round up of 2017:
A call out to Heidi, Nat and Char – a once a year meet up is just not enough! So good to meet up with the old team before Christmas.
She doesn’t do internet stuff, (a self-confessed Luddite), but my sis Dottie is an absolute brick supporting both me and the Bunts. Looking forward to a planned trip up the Norwegian fjords in May.
So many people have been here for me and I don’t want to leave anyone out. But special mentions to Jo and Guillaume – pruning the walnut tree, stacking logs, digging garden. Stuff I can’t physically do. Fr Clem, Fr Pat and Sue …. special people, special prayers and masses so appreciated.
Lucille and Andrew, Dave and Jenny, Butch and Sally …. great food shared with great friends.
A fab catch up with Karen, Eleanor and Sarah. We will do it again … and soon.
Pete and Jan, Robbie, Johnny, Felicity, Corryn, Terri, Mark, Sharon ….. so many more people. Thanks to you all for being there.
So, what next?
I’m back to see Pam Woodings (Oncologist) on Thursday. Results of CT scan and a forward plan. I am totally laid back about the results, I guess after 4 cancer diagnosis and a scary lump that turned out to be ….. just a lump …., there is no point in trying to second guess. We’ll see what other cancer drugs are on offer. I’m running out of options but Pam did say she has another one in mind. As I’m feeling so well at the moment, I’m willing to give any drugs a go ….. and then assess whether they’re worth it, quality of life wise. We’ll see.
Finally …. Thanks to St Barnabas Hospice and my Macmillan Community Nurse. I had a Holistic Needs Assessment and was linked into loads of support. counselling, Mindfullness, Advanced Fatigue Management, Relaxation. Grateful thanks to all the professionals – and those of you who have been on the end of drunken telephone calls! You know I appreciate your non-judgemental support ….. xxx