Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursday 28 April

I'm prescribing myself a sofa day tomorrow... boy am I tired! It's been a bit of a rollercoaster week, and I remember from last year that it is important that I don't keep going as a sort of superwoman, but take time out for myself as well. So, tomorrow I'll be mostly watching a certain wedding and doing some knitting and not much else.

After mum unexpectedly popped into the cafe yesterday morning on her way back after her MRI scan, I spent most of the day working till it was time for her appointment with the surgeon. He kept us waiting for over half an hour, but then took all the time we needed.
So far things aren't quite clear cut. There are two abnormal areas (on the same side, thankfully), of which one is definitely malignant. The other one they're not sure about, and they want to be certain what it is before they decide on a course of action as it could mean the difference between a mastectomy or lumpectomy. The medical team were meeting tonight and would take a decision then - chances are they'll do a biopsy on the second area to determine its nature before they set a date for the operation. After the operation there will be a course of treatment, but until they know the exact type of cancer, they also can't say yet what that treatment will entail.

I did come away feeling much more positive than I had earlier this week. The outlook is so much better than with pancreatic cancer, and the team is very optimistic and most of all, very caring. Of course I would rather she didn't have cancer again, but I feel she couldn't be in better hands and that makes a big difference.

It was all very tiring though. After we'd finished talking to the team, we had something to eat in the cafe and then I set off back to the ferry. My usual road was closed and I had to take a detour without my GPS or a map as I'd forgotten both, just relying on my rusty knowledge of topography from primary school! I did get to the port on time and travelled back last night on the overnight ferry. Drove straight from Harwich to Cambridge to go to work (my colleagues said I could work from home but I thought the distraction of being in the office would be welcome), and by the middle of the afternoon I started to feel very tired. I'm now just waiting for B. to ring and then I can get my head down...

So, a long way to go yet and still with a longer stay in Holland in the future, but it's a cautiously optimistic future we're facing. And for now, I'm very grateful for that.

And a little PS: thank you for all the well wishes. They are much appreciated...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wednesday 27 April

I'm sitting here in the hospital cafe, trying to get a few hours of work done before mum's appointment this afternoon. I travelled to Holland overnight. I had a complimentary upgrade to a comfort class cabin, which felt bitter sweet - yes, it's nice to have a more comfortable place to stay, but really, I didn't want to be on that ferry at all. It's all felt very odd - last time I was on the ferry, was with I. and her two friends and we were all excited about going away for a few days. Last time I was in this hospital was almost 18 months ago when we thought mum's cancer had returned in her liver - and it hadn't. When I left that time, I didn't think I'd be back here again, and definitely not for something that wasn't related to why she spent so much time here before. I had to swallow a big lump as I drove past the ward where she stayed after her operation 3 1/2 years ago. Everything in the hospital feels so familiar, I even recognise some faces, which in a way feels nice, but on the other hand, as on the ferry, I wish I didn't have to be here.

Let's hope we have a bit more certainty about the future later this afternoon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday 26 April

The National Vintage Tractor Road Run in Pembrokeshire this weekend - the perfect distraction from everything that's occupying my mind at the moment.

A quick update on mum: I'm travelling to Holland on the overnight ferry tonight. She has an MRI scan in the morning and in the afternoon an appointment with the surgeon for results of the biopsy and a plan of action. The plan for now is that I'll travel back to Britain again on the overnight ferry on Wednesday night, and then returning to Holland when she has her operation and is recovering. We should know a bit more by tomorrow evening.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sometimes life bites you when you least expect it

My miracle mum who managed to survive pancreatic cancer over three years ago, has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. At the moment, life just feels very unfair that she has to go through it all over again.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday 11 April

Just popping in for a short-ish post. The Easter holidays have arrived, and with that the juggling act of amusing children and trying to get work done has started. I normally try to work half days on the days I work from home in order to ease the pressure somewhat, but this holiday I've already got a week off to go to Holland and didn't want to take any more time off. I. and N. are getting to the stage where they often get on with their own things while we're at home anyway, so I thought I'd try and see how I got on with working all my hours, but then spread about a bit more. It's hard work and doesn't leave much room for getting out and about, but at least this way we get to spend some time together. And in the meantime they are learning to get on with a few chores too - can't be a bad thing!

Lots of progress on the building the last couple of weeks.

The gable ends are up and some of the sheets of plywood have gone up as well - mostly to strengthen the structure in preparation for the main beam which will run from one end to the other (almost 12 m long!).

The cat's still enjoying a spot of acrobatics

Progress was slightly hindered by B. having a knee injury. Not quite sure what's going on - he goes skiing on a dry-ski slope once or twice a week and has had a few tumbles lately. On Saturday his knee swelled up like a melon. When he started feeling odd with it, I took him to A&E (it really did look quite frightening), but when we got there, he said it had started to feel a bit better so we didn't actually go in. Over the weekend the swelling began to subside and he could bend his leg again on Sunday morning. Very odd - I think he's just overdone it, he thinks he had an infection.

Cairn hat is finished, so's the first mitten, with ends still needing to be woven in. I had to reknit the last few rows as the mitten was too long. Just cast on for number 2 this afternoon. We've had a week of glorious sunshine and it felt odd to be knitting mittens whilst sitting outside in the sunshine getting a tan, but our weekend in Wales is coming up and 25 miles on a tractor without cab can be very chilly... I think they'll come in useful!

First though I have 3 days with I. and two of her friends in Holland to look forward to. I haven't been to Holland since November and it's been too long - I'm counting the days as eagerly as the girls are!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tuesday 5 April

Today, my big girl, you are 12. One more year before you're officially a teenager.

I remember so vividly visiting your Middle School during an open morning when you were almost 9 and were due to go there the following September. The oldest children were 12 and 13, and I couldn't imagine that you would ever be like those teenagers. I may even have thought 'she will not be like them!'
But now you are so similar to those children, and you know what? It's not really that scary. It's actually very enjoyable to see you grow up into an independent person, with your own opinion and likes and dislikes. Every day you grow up a bit more and you become a bit more interesting. It is fun to discover traits and characteristics which you have obviously inherited from your parents or grandparents, and ones that are just from you and make you the unique girl that I love so very much.

You are mijn grote meid and I'm so proud of you. Happy birthday!
Mamma xxxx

Mother's Day

Much as I enjoy being spoilt, I feel that Mother's Day can get very commercial. Cards, presents, flowers - it seems whatever you are supposed to be doing for your mum, it involves someone making money out of it. For me that is not what Mother's Day is about. A little bunch of spring violets that N. picks for me in the morning at the bus stop, or I. suddenly bringing me a cup of tea, means a lot more than the kids wandering around the supermarket trying to choose something that they think I might like.
So, I told them a few weeks beforehand that I didn't want any money spent. Any gifts had to be home made. They moaned a bit, mostly in the 'o trust her to come up with that' way, but I think in the end they enjoyed it.
And I did feel thoroughly spoilt: a bunch of daffodils and a pot with a primrose, two candles in the shape of their initials, a box with truffles (yummm!) and two handmade cards. N.'s text made me laugh: Sit down, relax, put your feet up and... get knitting! That's my boy :-)
I. took care of supper and made some lovely pizza breads, and I didn't have to clear up afterwards.
But the very best thing about Mother's Day? I get it all again in May, as that's when Mother's Day is in Holland!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

March Photo Scavenger Hunt

I'm a little late in on this one, but then I only found out halfway through March, so I think I am excused!
A fun little photo project, every month you get 10 or 12 items you need to take a photo of. You can interpret them as you want, which is what makes it so much fun - trying to come up with an unusual photo.

Anyway, these are my ones for March.

Something sentimental:
This little chair belonged to my grandmother. She got divorced in the fifties and ended up pretty much homeless with three children under the age of 10. Apparently she bought this chair on the famous flea-market in Amsterdam. When I was 12, she passed away and the chair came to live in my parents' house, and then when I moved to Britain, it came with to live with J. and me. It was green originally and I painted it this colour blue and made a new cover for the cushion. It now lives in my bedroom and although it isn't the prettiest chair, I'm very fond of it.

Something green:
Discovered I was making this recipe in the same pan as in the photo with the recipe! Love my green Le Creusset...

Peeling paint:
Barn at B's farmhouse. The doors, windows and roof are all B's work. Apparently his dad insisted on using this particular paint on the doors, and B. warned him it would peel. Which it did.

Sunshine and shadows on B's kitchen floor early one Sunday morning

A lamb (or rather, a few lambs!):

Spotted on a bike ride

Something as old as you are:
Almost - this is from 1969 and I'm from 1970. This is the tractor we brought back from Holland almost 2 years ago.

A fancy gate:
This was probably the subject that we enjoyed the most. It really got us to look at buildings in a different light, and we still go around spotting fancy gates. This one is in Bury St. Edmunds and forms the entrance to a B&B.

A lion:
As real-life lions are in short supply around here, this is what I came up with. It's from a Dutch children's book, that many Dutch children grow up with.

A collection:
I've always liked dolls and specially rag dolls. The one on the right was a present from my mum to I. a few years ago, but she now lives on my bed. The other two were presents from the kids for Christmas and Mother's Day.

An empty chair:
This chair really is nearly always empty. It's my fourth dining room chair.

A ring:
I haven't worn rings since I took my wedding ring and engagement ring off 7 years ago. I still had some rings but most of them got stolen about 18 months in a burglary. The one that upset me the most was a ring my mum gave to me for my 18th birthday and which was meant to go to I. when she turns 18.
This ring is one that mum bought for I. last year.

A rainbow:
I'll admit to cheating here... I had trouble finding a rainbow, so I got I. to draw me one... Just as she'd done one, my dad mailed me to say there was a rainbow on the Lyme Regis webcam - but I missed that one.

I've very much enjoyed this month's hunt and am already wondering what to do for 'something to do with Shakespeare' for April's hunt!