Wednesday 26 March 2014


A slight hiccup in the proceedings began on Friday afternoon when I started bleeding. Not badly but enough to scare me. To cut a long story short, Saturday morning saw us in the out of hours clinic in Truro where a doctor diagnosed an infection and put me on some incredibly strong antibiotics. Typically, they are ones you can’t drink alcohol with, and the day before, my lovely brother Ben had a half case of New Zealand wine (my favourite) delivered.

My dear mate Av arrived on Sunday, though, which cheered me up and gave the Lone Sailor a bit of a break, so they were able to enjoy the wine - nothing worse than me lying on my bed for a rest listening to the two of them next door clinking their glasses saying, “Cheers!” To add insult to injury, Mr B came round later so I ended up pouring him said wine and watching wistfully while I sipped my grapefruit juice…..

On that note, we were talking about Being Strong the other day. Mr B was away when I first found out about the cysts, and I was so terrified and felt incredibly alone. I thought This Is It. Ovarian cancer - no more anything.

Once I got on the NHS bandwagon, life had a momentum of its own over which I had no control and I was swept along which was fractionally less terrifying as I felt at least they knew what they were doing. But despite having fabulous friends, this is the time when you need that special someone there to hold you in the middle of the night, which was what I sorely missed.

Having mulled it over I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s how we react to circumstances that determine our level of strength. Some people perceive themselves as victims which means they relinquish control (which is terrifying - I've done it) and thereby are unwilling or unable to pick themselves up, and rely on other people. Others panic and are just as terrified, hurt and bewildered, but, having been knocked over however many times we eventually think, “**** it. I’m going to get up again and keep going.”

In my case, I felt that I just wanted to cram as much of life into the days and hours I had left. Which, now the future is looking brighter, I hope are many.

So here’s to my first glass of Ben’s delicious wine on Sunday night. To sailing again, very soon. To love, to health and to happiness. To dear friends, old and new. To music, and singing, adventures, and laughter and fun.

And to making the most of every day.

P.S. Just walked into town for a coffee - and back. It took hours - the Lone Sailor said it was like walking with his granny - and I was wiped out for the rest of the day, but I have a great sense of achievement!

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Back again

Well, where to start? Firstly the operation, I guess. Several people asked me how it went, but as I was unconscious for all of it, I have no idea. One minute it was 11am, the next it was nearly 6pm. I have a dim memory of a friend who’s a nurse calling in to see me, but I could have made that up. The following day was a nightmare of illnesss and tubes. The morphine drip made me feel incredibly sick, I had anaesthetic drains into my stomach, oxygen coming through my nose and a catheter. Not a pretty sight. I was so far out of it I couldn’t face turning on my phone or talking to anyone. The lone sailor visited and I couldn’t talk to him either, poor fellow. I just dozed on and off all day.

But the following day they removed various drips and I began to feel better. The day after that, they said I could go home when I wanted as long as I had someone at home. I would have stayed another night, as I was feeling pretty ropey, but one other patient was incredibly sick, poor lady, and I didn’t feel I could cope with any more of that. So I came home after 3 days and my god was I glad to be back.

The Lone Sailor volunteered to stay for as long as I need him, and thank god for that - I hadn’t realised how utterly helpless I would be. All those little things I can’t do like drawing the curtains, bending down, lighting the fire, turning the TV on, feeding the animals, picking things up off the floor, opening windows. Getting in and out of bed is a challenge. So many little things that I need help with.

But a week on and I am a bit more mobile around the house, though walking is a No No still. My legs just don’t work, which is probably a good thing, and my scar - which is massive - aches if I do too much, so the two combined stop me doing too much.

The lone sailor has been incredibly patient and understanding. He has held my hand while I cried at 3am (can’t hold me because The Wound is too sore), and talked me down when the pain got too much. God knows why or if we will ever speak after this interlude, but he seems positive - even cheerful - about it all.

The other thing that has been worrying me is Mr B. But on Saturday he is going to take me down to see darling Echo. It’s difficult for both of us, but we know enough to secure our strong friendship which means a lot to us both.

How I will survive the next 5 weeks is anyone’s guess. But I have friends to take me out every day to prevent cabin fever, friends who bring food and friends who are just there on the other end of the phone.

Mr B said the other day how much he admired my resilience. It’s down to my friends, I said. You’re the ones who give me strength, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Nearly There

Friday approaches with ever increasing speed, like a runaway juggernaut that is about to squash me flat. To say I’m terrified is something of an understatement, but at least I know that the lone sailor and my other lovely friends will be there to carry me out the other end.

And I’ve had my birthday to take my mind off things. I’ve managed to have almost a week of celebrations which has been lovely, and gathered as many of my nearest and dearest around me as has been possible. The others I look forward to seeing later.

Driving back from Devon last Saturday I took Moll for a walk and thought, “this is the last time I’ll be able to do this for a while,” and that was not a good thought. I can’t imagine being unable to do all the things I love doing, so perhaps it’s just as well I can’t. We went down to Echo yesterday morning and bailed her out and I thought how fond I am of her, and of the many happy hours we spent on her. “See you soon, I hope, little boat,” I thought.

It’s a scary time and I don’t exactly relish the time in hospital. But it’s got to be done, and I look forward to enjoying some quiet time, after this hectic period, to read, maybe write more poetry, and catch up on some sleep. I’ve had the Worried 3ams for a while now. I must use the time wisely and actually enjoy a period of relaxing and reading.

I met Fiona last night who is already planning to take me to the cinema, out for lunch etc until we can go walking again. The Lone Sailor is planning trips, too, as are my other lovely friends.

So think of me on Friday when the lone sailor will drive me in at some ungodly hour of the morning. (Having just had a call from the hospital to confirm Friday “subject to bed space,” I hope to god it won’t be postponed.)

On the basis that it does all go ahead, soon it will be over, and I can start looking forward to the spring. And to summer, and lots of singing, sailing, walking and all the other things I enjoy so much.

This time next week I could be coming home - just think of that…