Saturday, 23 July 2011

Day One of the Hols

The first day of the hols...spent in Edinburgh.

We had a fab time - better than this lady on the tour bus anyway!...

See the sights........unless you're asleep!

Let's follow this fella

Outside 'Our Dynamic Earth.'

Inside Our Dynamic Earth


A wedding!

The 10 year old has a go at being a street entertainer

The real entertainer swallowed the whole balloon!

Then made the 10 year old stop the bin wagon in its tracks - with a balloon sword and a whip

He deserved the applause!
 We had a great day, despite travelling back home on the train with a carriage full of rowdy, drunken scotsmen!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Revolving Doors

As we left the hospital, my dad crashed into the revolving glass door like a blackbird on a window pane.

We walked to the car in hysterics.

It was exactly 12 months ago. We were leaving the Freeman hospital after my LAST bit of treatment.

I hated those revolving doors. As you stood outside, waiting to make your move at the right time, they seemed to suck you in suddenly, like a Hama bead up the nozzle of a Henry Hoover. Into a place you didn't want to go to. Later on, after a round with the zapper machine, the doors spat you out again - bewildered and bemused into the sunshine and the fresh air once more.

I've been asked a couple of times recently by people who I don't see that often -

'So, how are you?'

Obviously they're not referring to the whack that I got on my shin last week, they're asking about the other thing - the big thing. The thing that finished a year ago.

My reply is always the same -

'I'm fine thanks...' Then I usually change the subject. I don't want to talk about 'it,' I don't think they really want to hear much about 'it,' and to be honest, I don't want to be associated with 'it.'

Shortly after I was diagnosed last year, I was approached by a well-meaning granny. In a 'bring out your dead' face, she said how awful it was that I'd got 'it', how she had been treated for 'it' a few years ago, then, taking my hand, she welcomed me to the 'club.'


I know she was just trying to be nice, but I didn't like it. The very idea of being a member of 'Team Cancer,' filled me with horror. 'Wanna be in my cancer club?'

No Thank You.

It scared me that people would be looking at me and thinking 'Breast Cancer,' or would start using words like battler, sufferer or survivor.

Over the last 12 months, I have tried to make sure that people don't think that way.

'This is Lisa - she plays cricket for the Angels...'

That's more like it.

'This is Lisa - she's the one you need to ask about the swimming promotion...'

That's fine.

'This is Lisa - and have you met the rest of her lovely family...'


'This is Lisa. She only came third in the mum's race...'

Even that would be ok...:-)

The truth is, 12 months on, I hate to be reminded of the whole cancer experience. I see people in the street in Hexham sometimes, and I think 'where do I know you from?' then I remember - 'oh yeah, you're a chemo nurse. You injected me with a barrel load of raspberry sauce last year.....

I occasionally open the box that contains the itchy, scratchy wig. It was handy having a 'plonk-on-and-go' instant, fabulous hairstyle...and it did look great...but I still hated the damned thing.

Every 12 months I have to go and get my boobs crushed by a machine. Smiling and laughing with the nurse as she tries to squish my fried eggs into a giant sandwich toaster...I hate it. Not because it hurts, but because it reminds me of that very first experience when I had to get the bloody lump looked at.

Every 6 months I have to sit in the Freeman Hospital's Cancer Care waiting room to be checked by a consultant or one of his little helpers. I've always hated it in there. I'll never forget the day that 4 million 'cancer' words attacked me unexpectedly and made me cry. They're all still there - waving at me from the leaflets and posters that are everywhere in that damned place. I try so hard not to catch their eye, but its difficult when they're leaping all around you.

Away from all these little prompts, I ask myself sometimes - 'Did that all really happen?'

Yes, Lisa, it really did.

Why the hell...?

No idea. Don't think about it, don't dwell on it, don't worry about it...

...Just be grateful that those revolving doors threw you (and dad once he'd found the way out!) back out into the real world again.

So when people ask me nicely, 'So how are you?' I'll still churn out the edited answer. 'I'm fine thanks.'

The answer is honest and true...but in reality, its a whole lot more complicated than that.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Rap for Mum

Got home from cricket practice tonight, and fully expected the usual Sunday evening session of yelling and bawling about tidying up, clearing away, getting ready for school etc etc etc....

But instead, (and I'm still not entirely sure why), my 2 kids had worked their socks off whilst I was out, to make the house look absolutely spotlessly smart and tidy for me coming home - even the 7 year old's room!

AND not only that, but they'd written a rap for me, which they performed as I walked through the door. Here it is -

Aren't I a lucky lass!!

Friday, 1 July 2011

You've Got a Friend

We've just come back from a live gig that featured 2 musicians - Gareth Davies-Jones and Pete Ryder. It was at a little village hall near us, with just a few folk there, and there was a magnificent supper served at half time.

For most of the evening, my sleepy 7 year old girl curled up and lay her head in my lap, until one of the songs he played made her sit up and smile.

'We're singing this in our class assembly next week,' she hissed, then proceeded to sing along with him - as we all did. Everyone knew the song.

It made me smile too. Its a lovely song and he sang it beautifully.

The words make me think of lots of people, but on this occasion I thought of my friend Rose. Glass of white wine in hand as I'd promised her family today - I raised it silently to her, and to her friendship.

Carole King and James Taylor have sang this song together over the last 40 years - but I quite like this version with James Taylor, because you get to see the audience's expressions and emotions as they sing along with him - just as we all did with Gareth in that little village hall tonight.