Christmas come and gone

Where did this year go?

The one thing I can say is that I made sure that I packed a lot into in 2022 and I am hoping that now that I have received my Stable Mable results that the next 6 months will be filled with adventures and new experiences.

I have been proud of a few things, mainly the fundraising that I have done for Sue Ryder and Manorlands Hospice with over a £1000 raised for Zip the Cow, Susie the Flowerpot nurse and then the final push selling hats at the local Christmas fairs.

The other thing which made my heart burst was sponsoring a dog I met while on holiday in Spain (at the Los Infiernos Protection home) – it brought not only another friend into my life, Jan his new Mum but the knowledge that she (Lucky Linda, now Molly) is living her old age surrounded by love and lots of it. Next year this will be something I would like to do again.

There are no foreign holidays planned for 2023, just going to play it by ear. This time with all the delays not just at the airport but getting there meant all journeys were tiring and stressful. Only booked one so far, a 3 day break which can’t be more local at 14 miles away, but doing a festival – Food and Drink – and not camping but GLAMPING. Hoping to get tickets to see James Martin and Gino D’Campo and this will be the highlight. If I am poorly the hospital is 5 minutes away with my team although I am hoping a proper bed and toilets means that I will be well looked after!

December saw me see Blue in concert after they took a break from touring, so my first concert of 2023 is Sam Smith at Sheffield Arena – think this concert will be a feast for the eyes but can’t think anything that could top seeing the Wanted at the Royal Albert Hall for the Stand up to Cancer show or when they toured in March.

I said I wouldn’t be doing any fundraising next year (right said my friends) but when an email popped through from my HODU team to say they were having a massive fundraiser called Cuppa for Cancer Care in aid of the Hope for Tomorrow buses (I use them monthly for treatment) I couldn’t say no.

Not intent with asking a few people to my house – not enough chairs – decided in fundraising you go big or you go home. Decided on a date – between Monday 30th January and Sunday 5th February – OURS IS WEDNESDAY 1ST FEBRUARY – Venue SETTLE RUGBY CLUB who kindly gave the venue free. We have even got the milk as ARLA have donated it after I got speaking to them at the Settle Lights Switch on.

Now the planning is taking place for everything else.

Anyone that wants a stall to sell anything – tables are £10 each

Time is 10am until 2pm

We are having a tombola – who doesn’t like a tombola so any donations of Christmas presents you hated, chocolates now you are on that diet when you do dry January. Donations can be brought to Lucy at Forage and Feast at 9 Duke Street Settle when she re-opens on 5th January.

A few things you need to know about the Hope for Tomorrow bus if you see them in your local supermarket or even pub!

26447 Number of patient treatments in 2021

14 Mobile Cancer Care Units

1760 visits in 41 locations

13 Nurses Support Vehicles

I have my treatment in the local Booths carpark in Settle, every 4 weeks on a Thursday, they are 5 minutes away from my house. If I had my treatment at Airedale Hospital I would have a 2 hour round trip plus waiting time, knowing that my cancer treatment has no end as stage4 is only treatable and not curable TIME is precious and I can get on with doing other things.

£10 could pay for ONE patient to receive treatment on board one of the mobile units

£30 could enable SEVEN cancer patients to have their PICC line cleaned

£50 could pay for TEN patients pre-chemotherapy blood transfusions on board

£212 could keep one of our mobile cancer care units running for ONE WHOLE DAY.

Come join in the fun!

Feel like you have been forgotten?

Well I suppose my fellow bloggers and supporters might feel like that since I haven’t written since July but I haven’t had that much to tell and I don’t want to bore everyone with treatment that is ongoing until well its not…..

So this blog is slightly different, its about the things that concern me, things that are within my power to change and others that it just makes me feel good knowing I am a small part. They always say Charity begins at home but I think its wherever you seek it……

I love animals – a massive sucker for all but especially dogs and horses. It breaks my heart when I see the amount in this country and others that are abandoned or cruelly treated. Last week I was able to go and visit two wonderful friends Lorraine and Sean who live outside Murcia in Spain. Both are volunteers at Los Infiernos Protectora Animal Shelter and asked if I would like to go walk a dog.

They did warn me of the sound and smell – over 250 animals isn’t going to be a perfume you are going to spray on liberally but I wasn’t expecting the emotion I would feel to see dogs (plural) in cages begging for attention, wanting their forever home, wanting some human interaction – which one do you choose?

Not only that but there are dogs that cannot be walked – those that are deemed dangerous and can only be walked be those that have a licence and then muzzled, their eyes still said they want love.

Puppies galore, these are the ones that don’t stay in long but get their forever home for the fact that they have no history, are adorable with those big puppy dog eyes – who could resist? Nearby are the small dogs and the old ones – who wants to be in a loud shelter in your later years when you should be curling upon a sofa with a soft toy as company.

I came across Linda – one such old lady whose overbite made her look as though she was constantly growling, she melted my heart and Sean got a slip lead so that we could take her out, nervous at first but once out of the pen on her own she loved her freedom – sniffing and pooing to her hearts content. It was lovely to see her outside and also the others that volunteers had come to take out. She wasn’t happy to go back in and showed her disapproval.

Knowing that I couldn’t adopt her myself – even at 8 years old she still might outlive me – I decided to sponsor her so that she could be hopefully adopted outside Spain and set about with the centre at promoting her. Didn’t take long and a couple of days later I got a personal message to say she had been reserved and is due to go to the UK in November. My heart could have burst as she wasn’t doing well – now all she needs is a bath.

My mission now is to get the two longest residents of the shelter homes Otto and Blade both part of the invisible crowd both have sponsorship to be homed abroad, who knew that the Spanish don’t like black cats and dogs.

Both don’t like other dogs and Otto doesn’t like cats but is great on walks and is a strong boy. The centre have posted some fantastic videos of him on his walks and he is such a lovely boy. Blade was given up by an owner who spoilt him so much that while she taught him to obey and be polite she gave him no social skills with other dogs – he loves to play and his favourite thing is his ball. Both dogs need someone with patience, understanding and a lot of love.

All their details can be seen on their Facebook page Los Iinfiernos Protectora Supporters or website Share, share share because I am always in the mind that if we can’t help at this time there is always someone that will. Just remember Lucky Linda!

Long before Spain there was Norfolk and an animal charity that was asking for a donation of a bale of hay as it was coming up to winter and because of Covid they were short on donations for their animals. Hillside Animal Sanctuary needed more than a bale of hay so I set up a direct debit of £10 a month – the last email I got from them they have 300 pigs, 650 cows, 750 sheep and goats, 2500 horses, ponies and donkeys and lots of other smaller animals and dogs.

It was founded in 1995 to help and campaign for animals in need in particular those in the intensive factory farming industry. Martin Shaw is their most famous patron. Looking at those figures and the fact that feed costs so much my donation it’s a drop in the ocean but it is something and while I can I will.

Mum loves Gorilla’s, the mountain kind and on my Bucket List was to adopt an animal so WWF UK was the first contact to see if I could tick this off and make my Mum smile at the same time. Again its only money I can afford and not a great deal but there doesn’t need one person donating thousands just thousands donating £1. In these times of austerity it is hard to think what we can do and that charities can be losing out so much but I am sure there is a way.

I give to many other charities many cancer related – please help if you can, share if you can. Thank you so much for reading, this time its about helping and not about illness.

Cows, Flower pots and raising money!

What have all these got in common you might ask?

For years I have fundraised for different charities and I thought this would stop once I had my diagnosis 2 years ago. Well it didn’t but the charity I have chosen is much more personal to me as they are helping me not just now but will in the future. The Sue Ryder nurses and Manorlands Hospice are my constant and for that I am truly grateful.

Cows first – this Sunday I will be being forcefully pushed off the rock formation known as the Cow and Calf in Ilkley. And because I think I might die at some stage – probably from a heart attack – so I will go out in style – in full cow outfit, complete with udders!

My longtime friend Lorraine is coming from Spain and doing the Zip Wire too (I did mention that didn’t I?) and hopefully Sean her partner will take some photos – I hope that I am not screaming too loudly.

If you wish to donate please click the link below – anything gratefully accepted

Now for the Flowerpots – from the 16th July until 4th September it is the Flowerpot Festival in Settle and I have been blessed to have been part of a team who have made some new creations for this year.

The first was a parrot to fly amongst the trees with it fellow birds, then there was Doris the giraffe who had to be repainted when I sprayed with a flourish in white paint instead of clear sealer, the third was Susie the Sue Ryder nurse along with her donation bucket (£40 so far) and she sits proudly at the end of my drive. My next creation had me tearing my hair out, a windmill – thought it would be easy no it wasn’t but sits outside the local jewellers Warren & Wrights. My favourite is Bertie Bassett who while not perfect has a cheeky face and lastly for the Golden Lion pub – a Golden Lion – surprise surprise!

Locals and visitors alike can buy trails – there are 3 – and search for the many dotted around town and the surrounding area. At £2 each its a cheap fun thing to do whether young or old – although if I was to do it I would be stopping for refreshments all the time (loads of places in Settle)

So with all that going on my treatment has been put on hold for a bit, first because I got a dry socket infection after having my tooth out then getting two more infections after each other that floored me. Only the third lot of antibiotics actually worked but had to go to see a hospital doctor after my team deemed it necessary. Treatment day was today and I am glad to say it went ahead.

Next body scans won’t be until November as they have now given me 6 months between since I have been stable. There is always the anxiety that there will be spread and it won’t be caught in time but I have my annual mammogram next month to make sure there is no change from last year – all you do is keep fingers and toes crossed and anything else you can cross!

I am happy while feeling OK to book a few things, meals out with friends, a concert ticket and hotel to see Andrea Bocelli, a holiday in Lanzarote, another possible trip to Blackpool with my Scottish mates (this one only came about today) – Life definitely is for living!

Hope you like the Flowerpot photos – next blog there will hopefully cow ones!

Lastly I bought a book (on recommendation) to help sort out my affairs – great name eh!

It started with a run…

Cancer Research UK Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

My blog started all those many moons ago to record my running journey but turned out to be more than that. Before my treatment in 2015 for primary breast cancer I ran Race for Life to raise money, I saw it as I way of taking my mind off the upcoming treatment and when it had finished I felt it was my way of giving back, saying thankyou to the team that got me through it and basically celebrating life.

Cancer Research UK Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

A lot of people see Breast Cancer as one of those ‘lucky’ cancers to get because of the success rate and while it is one of the better ones there are 31 who are diagnosed every day with secondary, cancer that while they can treat they can’t cure.

It wasn’t until my secondary diagnosis that I resurrected my blog, mainly to keep friends and family abreast of how treatment was going and life in general that I realised that Covid had hit so many charities, all scrambling for money which people find hard to donate with the cost of living so high.

In a week where we had the devastating news that Deborah James (Bowel Babe) died of Bowel Cancer, she was brilliant at keeping things at the forefront of peoples minds and even when she was given palliative care was still raising millions for research – a cure that she knew wasn’t going to help her.

Deborah James and her children

I was approached while on holiday in Gran Canaria via email asking if I wished to tell my story with the hope that it would help people sign up and raise funds for Race For Life Cancer Research UK. Happy to help – just not while lazing by the pool!

So since then I been in contact with Michaela who is the Senior Regional Media Relations Officer – I know a mouthful, luckily for me I didn’t have to stand to attention and she has been such a lovely person to talk to and finally meet. I do find that I have been privileged to meet some fantastic people, and if I hadn’t had this diagnosis maybe our paths would never have crossed.

The 23rd June was arranged with the photographer Richard Walker, a really nice guy who I am sure was more used to taking photos of famous people for the National Newspapers than taking photos of someone dazzling him in PINK! But that’s what I tried to do DAZZLE, from a woman who hated seeing herself in photos when younger to one who embraces that I am still here and I want people to see that I am!

Richard made the shoot fun – two hours of fun and then Michaela topped it off by asking questions for a YouTube video. Just got the photos back today and local newspapers have taken it up and posted the article which they have done me proud.

Cancer Research UK Photograph by Richard Walker/ImageNorth

I can’t run anymore, the risk is too great that I will fracture but I hope that by reading this it encourages you to put on a pair of trainers – find your local Race for Life and Run, Jog or Walk, encourage your friends to do it – make it a party at the back – I started in 2004 Skipton and it led me to do the London Marathon and along the way I made fantastic friends.

Remember that everything helps, no matter how small and while it probably won’t help me in my lifetime I hope that the next generation will not go through the same diagnosis as I and many other Cancer patients go through. One day the Race for Life might not be needed but until then please sign up.

RIP Deborah James 28.06.22

Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated….

So I have not been blogging for a few months, well since I came back from Switzerland and both me and Mum got Covid and after I recovered things went back to normal – well as normal as it can be and I never got around to writing.

But speaking to someone earlier this week reminded me that people do read my blogs and are interested in what I get up to so on this Platinum Bank Holiday Weekend where we are celebrating the 70 year reign of Queen Elisabeth II I decided to update on things present and things past.

Today saw 100 days since the War in Ukraine started and although its not the main thing in the news its still in the forefront of many peoples minds, war sees the worst and best in people and locally as well as nationally saw the generosity of everyone, I tried to do my bit by donating things that would be useful and somewhere there is a dozen of my hats made with Molly’s love direct from Yorkshire.

My garden has played such a major part this year, growing things shows that there is life and I have been getting my green fingers prepped – potatoes, cabbage, courgette, strawberries, raspberries, lettuce as well as beautiful flowers which are now all starting to bloom. On a bad day I can look out and know that I did that. This weekend its decked in all things jubilee!

Love my garden Platinum Jubilee

March was a hard month with highs and lows. I got to see The Wanted in concert in Leeds and the beginning with my friend Liesl – Tom Parker missed this one due to treatment and being ill although he managed to make the final few concerts. Since seeing him twice before in London and Blackpool and knowing the severity of his brain tumour I knew that this could be the last time I would get to see him, the concert was still amazing but I came away disappointed. But it was still a shock when a few weeks later his death was announced. Such a sad loss, someone so young with a family. Today I finished the book he was writing at the time HOPE and he had so much.


Years ago I met a wonderful lady called Harriet who taught Pilates and did running weekends – now with the power of ZOOM she does different classes from home (or her studio) She has managed to create a fantastic CHAIR PILATES class for me and others who for one reason or another can’t get down on the floor. While I haven’t managed to do every week for 25 minutes I stretch, relax and feel I can still do some sort of exercise.

April saw Mum in hospital after a fall which gave her really bad concussion, this was a really stressful time and my team were in two minds whether to give me treatment as my blood pressure was so high but luckily both Mum and I are made of stronger stuff and we are still here! She still won’t slow down – I have got fed up of asking now!

May is always a good month – usually the weather is better but I at least got to see another birthday and have been taking up another new hobby (hats are only a winter thing. After a shout out on Facebook about the local Flowerpot Festival I went along to Watershed Mill where they have a studio to see if I could help.

Flying bird

I was immediately hooked – my love of power tools and painting coming to the forefront and after I had finished my first animal, a flying parrot (or something similar) I was on the look out for something else to do – Doris the Giraffe was created. Now I am doing two projects simultaneously, a windmill for the local jewellers and my friend Carrie and also a Sue Ryder Manorlands Nurse who will be on the trail outside my house, a nod to the hospice who will care for me and their fantastic nurses.

Last year I got membership for Leeds United Football club so that I could take my brother to see a match and they are fantastic at looking after their disabled fans. We managed to get 2 tickets – I was front row – for the last match of the season against Brighton. A match they couldn’t afford to lose, well with a few minutes to go they were 1-0 down so we decided to beat the masses and leave the ground (along with many others) We got on the bus to go to the train station when the bus erupted in cheering – trust us a goal in extra time, they got their draw. It still all hung on the last game as to whether Burnley or Leeds went down, playing away at Brentford they won – again in extra time. Reference for future always stay until the end! Membership bought for next season as they stayed up.

Leeds Leeds Leeds

I had already booked a holiday to Gran Canaria hoping that my scans would have been completed by then and the results would have been back but an issue with my port and my local hospital saw me being referred to St James in Leeds – stressful in itself when the referral kept getting mislaid and the day before I went away it was done (although the contrast wasn’t a success) and results are due Monday. If results are good and I am stable then I can start planning for a further few months at least – change in treatment could mean that I would not have the flexibility as I do now.

Holiday was a huge success, I did nothing, went nowhere but the pool, the restaurant, the bar and my room. I read 3 books, watched all Selling Sunset on Netflix and met some lovely people to talk to. Being All Inclusive I also came back 7lbs heavier!!!

Room with a view

Other break aways included Liverpool with some fantastic ladies in my support group and meals out with family and friends. Hope to add to more of these memories in the coming months but guarantee I won’t leave it as long before blogging.

Gourmet dresses……

Back to the bucket list, after having my portacath fitted on January 17th so that I no longer have to suffer the indignities of being a pin cushion every time I need a blood test taken or a cannula fitted for CT scans, its not quite gone to plan and I have ended up in hospital with a high temperature, I am still rattling with antibiotics to make sure that any infection doesn’t take hold and while I don’t feel great I know I will get there and in the long run this will be something positive.

Every month or so my friend Carrie and I go and sample something from the local eateries, now and again we go further but we find that in the 5 mile radius of Settle we have got some great places to go and if we stay in Settle we can both have a nightcap (just a small one obviously!)

So when I said that on my bucket list was to go to a Michelin Star Restaurant then Carrie was the only person to take with me. There are 3 in our local area but the only one I wanted to go to was the Box Tree Restaurant in Ilkley. In my teens I had passed there in the bus on my way to work and thought what type of people dined at such a beautiful place – well its people like me and Carrie!

From when we entered the restaurant to when we left nothing was too much trouble. Everything was described and brought to us as though we were the first customers they had ever dealt with and I suppose at the end of the day this is what you pay for.

The whole experience was worth the bill at the end and while Carrie and I will go back to doing our ‘normal’ meals out this was number 24 ticked off in style – actually got to tick off number 22 as well which was Eat Something New and I had truffles – there wasn’t enough to make it something I would say I would buy but not nasty to say I wouldn’t eat again if offered.

I chose Sunday lunch for 2 reasons – one financial, as a 3 course meal it was going to be cheaper than the evening one of multiple courses with wine in between and the second being that the menu was something I liked.

Now to dresses and more specifically WEDDING dresses. Originally in 2020 my friend Aileen in Hartlepool had organised through another bridal shop to go and try on dresses, severe lockdown restrictions came into force and everything was cancelled. As the industry had been so badly hit and not knowing how I would feel I thought this might be one I permanently on hold. – Cinderella’s Skipton

Then Lucy came to the rescue, its not what you know but who you know. And that was Mandy, owner of Cinderella’s in Skipton – to me the best bridal shop ever. So the reasoning behind why I at the age of 56 I wanted to try on wedding dresses when there is no chance of being a bride – because I have been engaged twice so wanted the whole ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ experience (well I watch enough of the programmes)

I think I checked out her website nearly everyday looking to see what I liked and what I thought would suit me. Excitement was building up inside and it was going to be made even more special as Aileen was coming down from Hartlepool staying overnight at The Golden Lion. It seemed fitting really since she had organised the cancelled first one.

To me the bucket list is about making memories with family and friends and as we were limited to who I could bring Mum was priority, my sister Erika, Hannah (nephews partner), Aileen and of course Lucy.

I really was worried the night before when I was throwing up at midnight whether the day would ever go ahead and luckily by the time the morning rolled around I was feeling much better – hoping that a few pounds might be lost to fit into the dresses.

Tuesday 10am saw us go down to Skipton – I think everyone was excited at this stage. The range of dresses was massive but I had my list of about 12 dresses as I knew just the effort of stepping into a dress would take it out of me.

Meeting Mandy for the first time was a pleasure, normally I would feel uncomfortable walking into shops where most of the dresses weren’t in my size and the people selling them were all taller, thinner and definitely younger. But Mandy made me (and I am sure all her clients) feel as though they are wrapped in a hug as soon as they enter the door, pure northern and Yorkshire hospitality.

She doesn’t believe that there should be dresses for thin girls and a section for the say more curvy but that the dresses should be available in all sizes but with her knowledge and many years of experience she knows which style will suit each body type and I can vouch that she really knows what worked for me.

After posting the photos on Facebook everyone says how happy I looked and each dress, whether it be be the big puffy ballgown one that I first tried on (and the one Mum cried at) to the black femme fatal one that everyone loves, each one made me feel fantastic.

I am so glad that I really wasn’t getting married as I really wouldn’t have known which to choose and then because there were so many you would always worry was this the one. I am glad we all took photos as the one I liked the best in store wasn’t the one that I thought I looked best in camera wise – saying that everyone has their favourite.

The sofa has been my friend since then – not been feeling 100% since but thats the price to pay for making memories.

Next stop in 10 days time is a short break with Mum to Zurich so have to be fighting fit for that, seeing family I haven’t seen in over a decade.

Its been a while…

A lot has happened, well it would do as it was November when I last posted – Christmas is over and we are into another year, 2022, what will that bring? We are now going into a third year of uncertainty but hopefully one where we learn to live with COVID and not be governed by it. I sometimes sit and think, will the country get back on its feet in my limited lifetime, so many people have been affected, and financially it will take decades until the money that was borrowed to shore us all up is paid back.

But I can’t look that far forward – my life is in 3 month blocks and so far I am on January to March. Scans done in December showed that the lesion in my pelvic bone is stable so can still call me Mable but I have a hiatus hernia (which causes terrible heartburn) and some benign granulomas in my lungs. Still in a lot of pain on my right side but they can find no reason for this so have been given painkillers to help.

well they can never find blood!

A letter at the beginning of December from my Breast specialist regarding my mammogram in September apologised for not getting back to me sooner as they had noticed changes in my primary breast from my previous one and a biopsy was needed to see if there was anything sinister. This has only just been done this week due to a number of factors and I will get the results on the 18th. The day before I go in hospital for a operation to have a portacath fitted – my veins have collapsed now and bloods have to be taken from my feet, CT scans have to be done without contrast as they cannot put a cannula in.

So treatment and hospital appointments still go on, life still goes on. Had a lovely Christmas and I cooked dinner (except the Turkey) for 6 of us – it took its toll though and I slept like a baby afterwards. New Year I was up just to raise a glass of Baileys with Mum and my brother and then bed!

Xmas dinner nom nom

December I was able to go to Lanzarote and have a lovely holiday at the Sandos Papagayo Resort, 24 hr All Inclusive, I had a fantastic room with a sea view and when I didn’t feel 100% I stayed in my room, read or watched TV or Netflix and always had the knowledge I could get something to eat or drink day or night.

View from Room
Feet action

Mum and I were supposed to visit family in Switzerland the week after but due to new rules by both Governments this has now been changed to February. Other things planned off my bucket list for the next few months is an Italian Course for beginners at the local college (Jan) Leeds Utd Football match with brother (Jan) Michelin star restaurant with friend (Jan) Going to be a bride for the day – trying on wedding dresses at Cinderallas (Feb)

Bucket List for March is a bit bare but sure I will find something, just have to get op and results over with first. Still knitting in fact I am doing more than ever at the moment, winter with hair loss is the pits and when I lost mine I was blessed with so many friends that sent me hats and head coverings so now that I can knit I am repaying it to the ladies in the support group I am in.

colours galore

I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2022. Make memories. Live laugh and love. Life is definitely for living as you only get one.

How many steps do I take?

Two steps forwards and 3 steps back!

This is how I feel this month and its been one of mixed emotions. After my holiday I had quite a few things planned, getting back to my bucket list, spending time with family and friends.

Soon after treatment I went to write my Will and while it was a simple thing to do – I haven’t much to leave – the reality of doing it when it might be used in the not so distant future made me upset. Still if being diagnosed has taught me anything is that you don’t leave things until the last moment. Strike while the iron is hot, another thing crossed off.

I also had my 3rd Pfizer vaccine – not a booster but the actual jab again as I am immunosuppressant – feel as though its my comfort blanket knowing that I am giving myself and others the chance not to be gravely ill from COVID. When you have had friends die all conspiracy theories and peoples blasé attitudes go out the window.

When I was diagnosed with stage V breast cancer a friend, Michelle, directed me to a wonderful Facebook page called Stage4deservesmore, I can honestly say the ladies in this group have got me through the bad times and have shared the good ones. Gemma the founder of the Group organised a Halloween lunch in Chapel-en-le-Frith so I jumped at the chance to meet some of the women I have been chatting daily too.

Don’t believe that having women together who have a life limiting illness is all doom and gloom, OK we might not be able to stay out until the early hours (well I certainly can’t) but we can party as much as the next person! They say laughter is the best medicine and it certainly was the best tonic.

I came back really early as Sue Ryder and Manorlands were organising the Settle Loop – a 10.5 mile trail race where you can run/walk/cycle or even ride a horse. Helping out basically meant for me sitting down, drinking cups of tea, eating bacon butties and waiting for everyone to come back so I could hand them their medal. It could have been a bit warmer – strike that it could have been a lot warmer and I was wrapped in blankets to keep me warm. Had such a brilliant day – the last one for a while.

Sunday I felt rubbish but just put it down to the fact that I had done too much – the 3 steps back scenario – so laid on the sofa trying to sleep it off. But things started going downhill and I couldn’t keep anything down and the only option was to phone my team for advice.

Hospital – A&E – and then Acute Assessment Ward. Hooked up to drips both IV fluid and IV paracetamol for the next 3 days they struggled to stop me losing fluids. Tests came back that I had no infection and no bugs – so the doctor could only conclude that I had a build up of toxins from Palbocicilib one of my cancer drugs. As I had been taken off it on arrival at the hospital it just meant meant a wait – wait for me to feel better and on Wednesday I decided to come home, they always say home is where the heart is!

Since being home I have done nothing much, appetite is coming back, have lost about 6lbs in weight (needed) and even though the weather is typical Autumn wet and windy I have managed to take Casey out for 2 short walks. I will hopefully know in the next week if I have to go back on my original treatment or whether that has now stopped working and I will be on second line (scary).

Taking the advise from others about looking out for myself, so although I missed my target or 100 miles swimming – did 36 miles and everyone else who did Molly’s Miles, Samantha who did her miles open swimming, Karen, Emma, Shauna and upcoming Olympian Phoebe as well as Hunter the dog who did quite a few doggy paddles – I have decided not to swim for the foreseeable.

I am proud that I have been able to raise so far £1705 for Sue Ryder Manorlands and Yorkshire Cancer Support and it would be fantastic if before the page ends in November that the £2000 target can be raised.

Once again thank you for your support, the journey continues.

Dying for a holiday

Holiday’s were never a luxury in our household, more like a necessity. When we were younger I can remember Mum & Dad packing all three kids (plus luggage) into the back of the little yellow mini we had at the time, to drive to see my Grandparents in Switzerland. To save money (and a few grey hairs) we would stop off in Germany – no fancy hotels – just a tent!

Selling holidays was a natural step for me and I sold cottages and villa’s for many years (pressing that sunshine button) and my last job was working for my favourite airline – Jet2!

Covid changed everything for the holiday industry, can we go, where can we go, what do we do when we get there and God forbid what happens if everything changes mid way through.

Slowly but surely planes are taking to the sky again and last week I was one of those passengers. Still not easy and things did go wrong – not for me but for my friend Liesl when the NHS app was not updated with both her vaccines and she was not allowed on the flight.

Things were resolved (in a fashion) but not until the following day. But the one thing you can be sure of when you leave a cold Leeds Bradford Airport is that when you arrive at the airport in Fuerteventura on an October afternoon the heat will invariably hit you and continue for most of the week.

And that’s what most of us want – to be taken away from the normality of life just for a short while.

My treatment is a 3 week cycle with one week off and after landing I will have my bloods taken Wednesday (today) at the hospital with meds and injections Thursday – even though I can’t say that I felt 100% most of the time with aches and pains and general lethargy I ate well, had a few cocktails and even went on a boat trip – that reminded me that I probably don’t have the sea legs I once had!

Masks and sanitiser are the norm abroad, much more so than the UK as they don’t seem to be up to our vaccine programme so are much more cautious. It’s also sad that when strolling about bars and restaurants which would once be full of people are quiet with some closed altogether. A reminder that while Staycation is great for our economy if we don’t get back to overseas travel many more businesses will suffer.

On a lighter note I finished my Channel Challenge of 21 miles – had 3 days to do 2 1/2 miles and did it quite easily, residents of the hotel were suitably impressed when I was first in the pool every morning to do my laps – that stopped once the challenge finished.

So where next?

Have a few things planned. A fish and chip supper along the Leeds Liverpool Canal with Mum on Friday, a meet up with friends in the Peak District at the end of October and Scotland with more friends to see Steps in Concert in November.

My advise for anyone. Just do it.

**** Blog written 12.10.21 at 17.04 on the plane coming home ****


Say my name like it’s the last time,
Live today like its your last night,
We want to cry but we know its alright,
Cause I’m with you and your with me,
Butterflies, butterflies, we were meant to fly,
You and I, you and I, colors in the sky,
We could rule the world someday,
Somehow but we’ll never be as bright as we are now. We’re standing in a light that won’t fade,
Tomorrow’s coming but this won’t change,
Cause some days stay gold forever.
The memory of being here with you,
Is one I’m gonna take my life through,
Cause some days stay gold forever. Promise me you’ll stay the way you are,
Keep the fire alive and stay young at heart,
When the storm feels like it could blow you out remember,
You got me and I got you
Cause we are, butterflies, butterflies. We were meant to fly,
You and I, you and I, colors in the sky,
When the innocence is dead and gone,
These will be the times we look back on. We’re standing in a light that won’t fade,
Tomorrow’s coming but this won’t change,
Cause some days stay gold forever.
The memory of being here with you,
Is one I’m gonna take my life through,
Cause some days stay gold forever. I won’t, I won’t let your memory go
Cause your colors they burn so bright,
Who knows, who knows what tomorrow will hold
But I know that we’ll be alright Butterflies, butterflies. We were meant to fly,
You and I, you and I, colors in the sky,
We could rule the world someday,
Somehow but we’ll never be as bright as we are now. We’re standing in a light that won’t fade,
Tomorrow’s coming but this won’t change,
Cause some days stay gold forever.
The memory of being here with you,
Is one I’m gonna take my life through,
Cause some days stay gold forever.

They say everyone has one record, usually the one that was played at their wedding and that they had their first dance to, can remember a special time – I had a couple prior to this My Sharona by The Knack, the first record I ever bought and Tubthumping by Chumbawamba – I was working at a pub in Zurich in my 30’s and I loved this song. So what has this anything to do with the lyrics above GOLD FOREVER by THE WANTED I hear you say?

When I heard this song sang live at the Royal Albert Hall last week by them in aid of Stand up for Cancer and knowing what it means for Tom Parker and all fellow stage 4 cancer patients, I will not say I am a sufferer as I am living the best life I can while I can, but the words resonated with me and I wanted this to be a song which will be played to remember me. When the song ended there wasn’t anyone that wasn’t crying, including me.

On a lighter note DNCE – Cake by the Ocean is one I would always dance to – who doesn’t like cake?

Cake by the Ocean

As I said life is for living an I have been doing just that – with a little help from my friends. First on the list was a day out in Blackpool and without Liesl and Gazza it wouldn’t have been such a laugh – and to think Miss L thought I would have been offended by the chariot that awaited me! Not a horse, not a donkey or even a private driver (complete with hat) – this is after all the Benidorm of the North and nothing but a double mobility scooter would do!

Zooming around Blackpool

If you think going on a Reality TV show will make you famous, forget it just hire one of these bad boys, people were pointing, laughing, stopping to ask where we had got it from and more importantly – take photos (they did say they would miss our heads out!!)

Being able to get about without getting out of breath and doing the WHOLE of the prom at 7mph was brilliant. The sun was shining so we couldn’t ask for more, the only thing that ached was my sides from laughing!

Been busy knitting hats for charity – had 10 on order and today I am on my last one, all various colours with nice big pom poms on – next project I am doing hats for premature babies. Since learning to knit (on YouTube) I have found it relaxing – don’t like counting stitches so make the patterns easy.

Sometimes I have to remember that if I do too much one day it will take it out of me the next and maybe even 2 days. That day was Saturday when I went with Carrie to Lancaster for an Italian meal before seeing a Tina Turner tribute act. Meal and company were amazing and although Tina was OK in a drag act kind of way the dances were dreadful (but I was fixated on how bad they were) It took took me 2 days to get over what I saw, good job we could see the funny side.

Swimming has been put on hold this week due to the madness of getting fuel – 18 miles return journey 5 times a week can’t be justified as I need to get to Leeds Bradford Airport on Tuesday to take me to Fuerteventura, a week in the sun and until earlier in the week a lonely one but Liesl to the rescue and she managed to get time off and a surprise phone call announced I would have my partner in crime with me. Now on countdown – even managed to get travel insurance that didn’t break the bank although at £180 I know a lot of people wouldn’t pay it. But for me peace of mind.

So next photos should see me with a tan, on my week off treatment so oncologist OK with travel. Have some other things planned for October but now the nights are getting shorter (and colder) I will be staying in more. Still watch this space.