I’ve looked at life from both sides now

The downhill from Autumn to Christmas is not generally my favourite time of year. It’s a good job probably, that this year I have been distracted and busy and before we know it, the shortest day will have passed and it will be Christmas. I love Christmas. I love everything about it and make no apology for that. I love sparkles and festive songs (even the bad ones) and baubles and Christmas jumpers and Christmas food and Christmas markets and advent calendars and shopping and the mad frenzy of seeing everybody before Christmas (which makes no sense) and family.  I am 45 years old and have never spent Christmas anywhere other than with my family.  I simply can’t imagine it. Family is my everything and hence the reason for my general busyness.

My dearest SP sister just moved house and I went to help her out for a few days.  She lives too far away in Manchester but we managed, in a short space of time to figure out the heating, the washing machine, put an Ikea flat pack together and nobody died. It’s the small victories. We also went to a wine bar with vending machines – it’s like magic! She also declared it “Take Your Sister To Work Day” and I went to talk all things I’m a celeb…(my specialist subject) on the radio. We had a lot of fun.


Prior to this, we had both been on The Mumbles with Mum and Dad.  Finally, as of last week, my Dad has finished his 37 fractions of radiotherapy for prostate cancer.  Swansea is too far from their home for a daily commute so they set up a GozFam outpost during the week in The Mumbles. 37 treatments means 37 days of daily zappings Monday to Friday. Quite apart from the treatment, being away from home for nearly 8 weeks, with long drives back and forth at the weekend has been exhausting. He recorded a 14 hour sleep last week, which we are pretty sure is a personal best.  It will take some time to recover and he is not the world’s most patient patient. He has been a hero. I can’t tell you how much I complained about 4 weeks of radiotherapy and the raging boob. He has just got on with it. He was also looked after so carefully and brilliantly by the angelic staff at The Singleton radiotherapy unit.


I spent 3 weeks there, on and off, trying to do my best carer, taxi driver, chef, cleaner and organiser.  I have to say I enjoyed our time down there and as Goswells we are very much in this together. Our mantra when we talk about these treatments and drug side effects is “it’s making me better”. And so we repeat “it’s making me better” until we get distracted by something more interesting.  There are worse places to be than the Gower Peninsular surrounded by family when you are going through difficult times.


My family read this blog, I don’t underestimate how awful this is for them.  A few weeks ago, my Dad put this comment against “Let’s start with an apology”:

As Abigail’s Dad, I have, of course, been following Abigails blog with the same roller coaster of emotions and felt it was time to contribute. I have to say that Abigail is truly inspirational. She has fortitude, determination and strength that have helped to keep our family sane. I also hope her blog has given the same support to other patients and their loved ones. Discovering that one’s daughter has stage 4 breast cancer is probably some of the worst news a parent can contemplate. The simultaneous discovery that I had prostate cancer paled into insignificance. Abigail has been with me and Jenny in the Mumbles, as often as her own treatment allowed during my eight weeks radio therapy treatment. She has looked after me and made sure I adhered to the treatment regime. Daughter Emma also came to help keep me under control as often as her mad schedule allowed. Abigail is a star we are all so proud of her.

A lot of people tell me that reading my blog makes them cry.  I have to tell you that’s not my intention and I try really hard to be positive here, but that comment from my Dad truly made me lose my mascara.  I might also add, for “made sure I adhered to the treatment regime” read “is ANNOYINGLY BOSSY”. Well yes, yes I am. It’s done with great love.


In terms of my own treatment, there is little to report. I worked out that my treatment schedule had me planning to go to the treatment centre on Christmas Day.  That aint happening so I have extended my current cycle by a week so that my treatment won’t get in the way of me enjoying Christmas.  At least, that is the plan as it stands. It relies on the white blood cells doing what they should and nothing going wrong between now and then. So fingers crossed.  I will be at the cancer centre next week for blood tests, injections and implants, and with a following wind, that will be the end of my appointments for this year.

Just as I am busy complaining about the seasonal decline, this morning arrived with a big blue sky.  I set off to the woods and had a wonderful walk. How absolutely stunning it was.  I took a few deep breaths of fresh air, felt grateful to hear the birds, feel the sun and see the beautiful colours.  I figured it was a good day to hug a tree. So I did.





Happy Advent and Big Love, AG xx



Joni Mitchell: “both sides now”
Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels
The dizzy dancing way you feel
As every fairy tale comes real
I’ve looked at love that way

But now it’s just another show
You leave ’em laughing when you go
And if you care, don’t let them know
Don’t give yourself away

I’ve looked at love from both sides now
From give and take, and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know love at all

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say “I love you” right out loud
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I’ve looked at life that way

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all








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