O blimey, I just skipped a whole month on the blog. And I had so much to write about too!
Life's just been very busy. I'm working and looking after the kids, I knit and I crochet, I cook, I've become a volunteer visitor for Independent Age (click through for more information - it's a very rewarding role), I cycle, I am doing an evening class in photography, I have started teaching crochet classes... I don't know how I fit it all in sometimes (well, okay, the housework doesn't even feature on the to do list!) but they are all things I enjoy doing so somehow it doesn't feel that busy.
Last month we took our annual November trip to Holland. Normally we go to watch Sinterklaas arrive in Holland after his trip from Spain (and every year I hope it will be the last - 10yo is still a keen believer and wants to go, I just stand there shivering by the waterside feeling more conspicuous with each passing year as 10yo gets taller and stands out more and more amongst the crowds of small children...). This year was to be a little bit more special as we had something else to celebrate too.
Those of you who have followed my blog for a while may well be familiar with this story. I knew so very little about pancreatic cancer in those days, other than that I could see my mum getting more ill by the day. And even then, I don't think it was until a few weeks later I realised that she had slowly been dying. Over the years I have learnt much more about pancreatic cancer and how bad the survival rates are. I'm on a few forums and member of some online groups for this illness and there are so few success stories, it's heartbreaking. Unfortunately pancreatic cancer has symptoms which often appear when it's too late to do anything. My mum was just lucky in lots of respect - the tumor was in an operable location, it hadn't spread yet and she was in very good hands. I always felt that apart from the very early days when we were still searching for a diagnosis, the medical staff couldn't do enough. I can't thank them enough that five years on, my mum is still here and still doing well - despite having battled breast cancer almost 2 years ago on top of everything else. 19 November 2007 was the date of her operation and so a couple of weeks ago, we went and had a cup of coffee and a cake to celebrate her five year anniversary. We'd talked about it before and neither of us felt comfortable with anything more significant - we're not going to tempt fate! But it was a good reason to knit her something nice...