Chemo Club

Yesterday morning I had session Three of chemotherapy and the cannula went straight in, all positives, so I wanted to do a quick blog. The only hiccup was something going on in the hospital pharmacy and they neglected to tell any of the staff on the ward that there would be delays so they could phone us all to come in later. We all had to wait for our drugs. But the four of us were so busy chatting from our socially distanced chairs that time flew. Three ladies with more problems than me and all different cancers ( though I did have the trump card of being widowed ) and great senses of humour. We talked about everything including the after life. I am part of a real club! And I should add that we all agreed the medical staff are great.

How did you all manage without Facebook etc yesterday! Of course I thought it was technical problems Chez Tidalscribe till I tuned in to that much older medium the radio and The News!

It is a good while since I was working on a novel, with all that’s been happening, though I have never stopped writing short stories. I keep wondering how on earth I managed to write forgetting that I have written five novels. I think Three Ages of Man remains my personal favourite, it is the second of the trilogy, but can also be read as a stand alone novel. It is about ordinary folk, but they do tend to have extraordinary experiences and you may find out how we are going to manage the planet and our health in two centuries’ time…

Friday Flash Fiction – Flat Earth Society

Vanden came back a hero, nobody had flown that high into upper space before. Even as he negotiated the precarious landing he was planning his next take off; he had to discover more, find out if his amazing theory was correct. But would the high council even believe him, let alone invest in another skyblast and a three person expedition. First he must address The Academy, his safe return did not in itself prove anything and it would take a while for his team of experts to interpret the telescopic recordings.

The ageing president spoke to the learned gathering first. ‘The fact that Space Chief Marshall Vanden has returned is proof indeed that upper space is finite, otherwise he would surely have been propelled further and further into infinity, never to return.’

‘Your honour,’ the vice president stood and bowed, a tight smile on her face ‘our rocketgalleons are programmed for reversal after 35% of crew sustainable capacity has been used, but the magnetron telescope saw far yonder with no sign of an ending.’ She nodded to Vanden to speak before the president could utter more foolish words.

‘Your honour, our ancestors thought our earth was finite, they feared to climb any mountain lest they topple over the other side into hell. Then a few brave women climbed the highest peak and what was on the other side, but more land stretching endlessly in every direction. Each generation has travelled, hunting, roaming, farming, multiplying so that their children in turn set forth to find new land. There is always new land and always will be, we are not a table top held up by a giant, but an infinite earth that I saw from upper space; our land has no edges, no corners, no curves, just beautiful undulations and landscapes of every hue. And what of the depth? How far down have we mined for the precious elements we need for our cities and our galleons? If it were possible I believe we could excavate down and down and never reach rock bottom. And so it is with upper space, infinite in height as the earth is infinite in depth.’

There was a cheer from at least half the gathered assembly and a young man stood up. ‘Should not the mind of Academecians be as infinite as creation? How high must be the mega stars that give us heat and light. Vanden has not even approached them, otherwise his rocketgalleon would have melted.’

Another voice called out cynically ‘Stars, did you count how many or shall you tell us there is an infinite number?’

‘They are infinite, but stars are not all that is beyond our reach. The magnetron detected reflected light from orbs, orbs of rock and land; I believe above us is a universe so different that the impossible is possible. Round earths with an atmosphere surrounding them, the same as the mighty layer of air that blankets us and perhaps…’

No one was agreeing now, everyone was on their feet exclaiming, gesticulating, but Vanden was determined to finish what he had to say.

‘…perhaps on these round earths there might be life, even intelligent life like us.’

Now there was uproar, the vice president pleaded for silence, it behove the dignity of The Academy to let the president answer.

‘Now we know for sure that the mind of our poor brother, our esteemed Space Chief Marshall, has sadly been affected and if he is not insane he surely speaks blasphemy. How could there be life on a ball of earth… people? They would surely fall off. There is but one earth that has no end, one body of air we breath and high above us the stars that warm us and nothing else.’

The Game of Life Continues…

Warning: Do you dare to play the game of life? If you don’t want to read about illness and death or you dislike dark humour please avoid this blog, but I hope you will continue to visit my Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday blogs. Do not seek professional advice here either!

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The Game of Life continues with no rules; it is over a year since the Game of Life started  play on Tidalscribe. Worldwide people continue to be out of the game in war and disasters – natural and man-made; even the blame for natural disasters is now laid at the feet of humans. What happens to individuals in their little lives means nothing in the bigger picture, but the bigger picture is too much for us to take in so we talk about people we know.

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A storm, a phone call and an early Christmas card.

 We had a big storm recently, not a typhoon, hurricane or flood. Out of all the people in Dorset the roll of the dice went against one older lady, a tree was blown on top of her car.

When my old school friend phoned one evening with ‘sad news’ it wasn’t hard to guess her elderly mother had died, but it had still come as a shock to her because of the circumstances and because she had been her mother’s carer for a very long time.

Just back from our little holiday in Wales, Cyberspouse  browsed through the mail and opened a Christmas card. Without actually looking to see who the card was from he started reading the brief type written slip inside describing the peaceful death at home on Good Friday of someone’s husband. From the name I guessed, we only exchanged Christmas cards, but our mothers had been best friends when we were in infant school. Chemotherapy had not worked, but he had time to see family and another grandson born, loved ones take comfort from targets achieved.

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How many things can humans have fixed?

How many extra years does modern medicine give you? Cyberspouse met up with a friend he hadn’t seen for a while and was surprised to see him looking so well. Over a period of time he has had his rib cage opened up, heart surgery, cancer, other multiple conditions, plus various parts removed.

Death Jokes

‘Eighteen months at the most I was told’

Well seventeen, it was a month ago they told you that.

Wilko Johnson is an ageing pop star I knew little about, but a few years ago I heard him talking on the radio about being diagnosed with terminal cancer; he just made me laugh, after always suffering from bouts of depression he was feeling really cheerful, his calm acceptance of his imminent demise apparently impressed his friends and fans. He carried on with life without bothering about treatment. After doing farewell tours, circumstances led him to an oncologist who offered to operate with a 15% chance of survival. He survived.

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Appointments

Cyberspouse’s most recent scan showed everything still stable, nothing had changed since his previous scan and six months of no treatment, when we went in to see the oncologist she said ‘Oh, you’re looking well!’. Life carries on as normal; we’ve had trips away most months, north, east and west. There are no magic answers to cancer; if you are feeling okay you may as well get on with life and not waste time searching for ‘key lifestyles’ and new cures ‘overseas’.  If a diet of raw vegetables doesn’t appeal to you eat what you like. The Macmillan nurse said at the start of all this, keep moving and feed yourself up, words taken to heart by Cyberspouse. We don’t look things up, but I find Quora quite interesting or amusing when it pops up.

Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are asked, answered, and edited by Internet users, either factually or in the form of opinion.

Cancer is understandably a popular topic and most of the answers sensible. There is no miracle cure that someone somewhere in the world is hiding so they can make money. If there were, the rich and powerful would not succumb like the rest of us. It is not one disease, cancerous cells can pop up anywhere and move round the body to anywhere, cells have their own DNA and this can alter; every patient is different as to how illness and treatment will affect them. Cancer is not a battle to be fought, if it was the young with everything to fight for would not die.

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People you don’t see, in laboratories, are busy researching, adding to the multitude of different chemotherapies and other treatments – adding new chance cards to the Game of Life.

 

 

The Game of Life – When The Rules Are Broken

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Warning – may contain discussion of death.

True cancer stories from my family.

‘…and have you got any other medical problems?’

‘Oh… no’ said the husband.

His wife was glaring at him and mouthing something.

‘Oh… yes, I’ve got leukaemia…’

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‘..apparently one of the volunteers at the centre has had to leave, she’s seriously ill.’

‘Oh Dear…  what’s the matter with her?’

‘Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.’

A moment’s silence… ‘Oh… that’s me.’

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Cyberspouse has had two visits to the oncologist since chemotherapy. One scan showing everything stable and blood tests ‘all in the black’. Another scan is booked before the next check up. Check up means just a chat ‘How are you?’ I don’t know what happens to other patients, but I guess the oncologist has checked results and can see if you are looking fine or not and judge which aches  and pains have any significance.

Life goes on normally with DIY, trips to the rubbish tip, outings and mini breaks and more planned and it’s easy to forget there is anything wrong.

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Photo by Bogdan Glisik on Pexels.com

When the Game of Life goes wrong.

There came news recently that a cousin had committed suicide; something that has never happened in our family before, as far as I know. But shock was not the first reaction because this was a cousin we hardly knew, he had cut himself off from his family, his sister tried to keep up some form of contact, obviously enough to hear the terrible news. I know nothing of his life abroad, what was it that led him to take his life? The only further details to emerge are that his sister is now very angry at what happened before his death. My aunt and uncle are dead, spared this final disappointment with their son’s life. I wonder what people in his life have been left behind.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The saddest news this week is the senseless murder of a young policeman, Andrew Harper. The fact he was married only a month ago and was due to go on honeymoon soon has touched everybody and kept his death in the national news. Anyone can imagine what his family are going through and any police family would be chilled by the reminder that no police officer knows what each shift might hold.

Cyberspouse did his thirty years in the Metropolitan Police, he and his colleagues got their pensions and time to enjoy a new life. Andrew Harper will never have sons and grandsons. If the young get incurably ill it is terrible, but sadly that is the unfairness of life and we have to accept it, but no one has the right to take another life before their allotted time.

 

The Game of Life

Warning: Do you dare to play the game of life? If you don’t want to read about illness and death or you dislike dark humour please avoid this blog, but I hope you will continue to visit my Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday blogs.

Round Three – Coffee with Dinosaurs

It’s Good to Talk.

I had an uncle who was always talking about cancer, before and after his retirement. In the company magazine he would read of ex colleagues and their demise, he would meet people out walking the dog and hear about which bits they’d had removed. He would recall a friend coming out from his hospital appointment saying ‘That’s it Roy, I’m a gonner, if I was a dog they’d have me put down.’

A friend’s father died of a ‘trapped nerve’.

Another friend’s brother, still young, could do little but lie on the floor in pain, but ‘they couldn’t tell him he had terminal cancer, he couldn’t take it.’

I’ve always thought one should know everything and tell others what’s going on. Then get every pain killer available.

I can’t remember not being aware of cancer. My grandmother died of bowel cancer aged 56, a year after my grandfather died suddenly. He had been very happy, having a little grandchild ( me ) and his wife home from hospital after a successful operation for her cancer… then he dropped dead, out early in the game of life. This is the story I heard from my mother; she saw my grandmother getting undressed and was shocked to see lumps on her body, the cancer had returned. Mum asked why she hadn’t gone back to the doctors. She had ‘given up’ after my grandfather died. But Bowel cancer couldn’t be cured back then anyway.

Little Rooms

Hospitals are full of little rooms with people sitting outside waiting to go in them.

At the beginning Cyberspouse was at the hospital for tests and when he was taken in the little room, he knew it wasn’t good. When all the tests were finished we sat outside the oncologist’s little room and watched the Macmillan nurse and the other nurse go in first, then we waited… ‘Mustn’t forget to turn our phones off,’ I said ‘don’t want to get in trouble in the head master’s office…’

Ironically it was the doctor’s phone that went off, just as we were getting to the crucial bit!

Next we went in another little room with the Macmillan nurse, cosy armchairs and a coffee table with teapot and cups on a tray – but they were empty, just for show.

Hospital, Tesco and Dinosaurs

We can get to the hospital cycling, walking, two buses or drive, but the car park always looks busy. Easier to park in the big Tesco as long as you won’t be more than three hours, or you can park down the lane that leads to the golf course.

We have walked to the hospital several times, a pleasant 50 minute walk on a sunny autumn day. That day it was raining and we had to be there at ten past nine. We had already decided we would go to the golf club house for coffee afterwards as we had parked in the lane. On the way, Cyberspouse spotted a twenty pence piece on the ground. ‘That was lucky’ I said.

We had heard about the dinosaur crazy golf; as we wound our way down the lane they came into sight, real large dinosaurs which moved, right in front of the clubhouse. A surreal end to a surreal morning. This was really crazy golf. Perhaps professional golfers should try dinosaur golf, it would make it more interesting on television.


The Game of Life

Warning: Do you dare to play the game of life? If you don’t want to read about illness and death or you dislike dark humour please avoid this blog, but I hope you will continue to visit my Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday blogs.

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Round One: No word from Dagenham yet.

Game Rules:

Everyone’s life is a story and every story has an ending.

It is generally agreed that life is not fair, at least from our earth bound perspective.

Life is a game without rules, or if there are any we don’t understand them.

The further round the board you get, the less you should complain when you’re OUT.

Tragedy is when children or young parents die, by the hand of nature or by the hand of man.

When they say everybody is living longer, they don’t actually mean every person.

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We have to leave Summertown, the days of being recycled teenagers are over.There is a very real possibility that Cyberspouse will be outlived by the Duke of Edinburgh and my mother.

His attitude? These things happen, don’t get upset.

None of us REALLY thinks they will happen to us.

How is the game of life playing out in our families?

We heard only third hand via Facebook that someone in Cyberspouse’s large family had lost their only daughter, who leaves behind two young children. We know little about her life or death.

My mother is the only one left of her generation in the immediate family.

I am the first grandchild on both sides, the next one down, my bachelor cousin in Australia, had already cheated death after a massive stroke and just as our bad news was sinking in we heard he had died in an horrific accident. He had become the first one OUT in my generation of the family, Cyberspouse moved on an extra space.

You get the prognosis and you have to start telling people. Cyberspouse, as is the modern way, e-mailed one of his best friends, who was recently widowed, with the up date. He replied with suitably sympathetic words ( modern men do talk ) but without pause added ‘no word from Dagenham yet’. When Cyberspouse read it out from his phone we both burst out laughing. This was a reference to the annual ‘boy’s outing’ to collect friend’s new car. He loves cars and when his wife was in hospital he had said ‘we might not get to Dagenham this week’.

Today we went to the group workshop on understanding treatment, patients could take one ‘friend’. It was like being back in the classroom, but quite jolly. Next week it all starts. In the meantime he says we should carry on as normal, although he has now got a good excuse for getting out of my writers’ group Christmas dinner and splashing out on Sky sport.