That perfect girl is gone, Here I stand in the light of day, Let the storm rage on

As always, I just read my last blog in order to know where to pick up the story. On reflection, it’s really not true to say that I only write for me. It’s not true that I wouldn’t care if nobody read it. It’s not true that this is a purely selfish exercise. I care that people might know a little more about living with cancer once they have read it. I definitely care that people might be minded to be more aware of changes in their bodies. I absolutely give a lot of a shit that people are bothered to be here, with me, to share the rollercoaster. I will stop arguing with myself, which is always fun, but please know that every visit to this page gets reported to me, and gives me a little bit of happy. My last blog was entitled “far beyond the chaos there’s a steady, steady, heartbeat” which is a lyric lifted from a Bryde track. She contacted me after that to let me know that she was “humbled” that I included her music in my writing. I’m really chuffed about that. The internet creates a small world after all. I’m guessing the writers of Frozen may not be so forthcoming…

The shingles has gone, thank goodness. I’m left with some scars which will hopefully fade but otherwise, I am back to normal. The week before last I had to make an unscheduled visit to the cancer centre as my hands were so bad. The side effect of the chemotherapy which is affecting me most is the blistering, peeling and cracking of my hands and feet. As I was having an “off chemo” week, they told me just to get on with it and recommended some different creams to try. Last week I was back for blood tests, bone strengthening injections and the start of the next chemo cycle. My bloods are tolerating treatment much better than they did previously on the targeted therapy, so I am moving as planned through the chemo cycles. I am often asked how many cycles of chemotherapy I am having. I think this comes from the fact that most people’s experience of cancer is treatment of a primary. The answer, when it comes to secondaries, is there is no end point. I will continue on a treatment plan until the drug stops working, which inevitably it will at some point. After that, we hope The Prof finds something else in his magic cupboard.

This week, my feet are really suffering with the chemo, so I am hoping they hold up long enough to get to the end of the cycle and then recover a little during the off week. If they don’t, then either the dose will have to be dropped again, or I won’t be allowed to start the next cycle at all. Treatment breaks due to side effects is a scary place to be, so fingers crossed it doesn’t come to that. I am trying all the lotions and potions you can imagine to resolve the palms and soles issues. I spend night times, long drives, and the odd sofa break with slimy palms inserted in to delightful white cotton gloves. It’s a look, I tell you. The ends of my fingers are now next to useless which means my attempts to text and message people usually results in nonsense. My ability to use a touch screen is definitely not improving. I can no longer use the biometric fingerprinting to access my devices. I have learnt that chemotherapy can, in some cases, completely remove your fingerprints. If you see me on Crimewatch, you will know that I tested (unsuccessfully) this theory.

The shingles subsiding has meant I have been able to get back to The Hospice. Last week I returned to yoga and this week I went to a Colours and Style session. The session was a lot of fun. Aimed at helping patients feel better about their appearance. I am a strong believer in the psychological benefits of not looking sickly. Fake it until you make it. Put on your lippy and put your best foot forward.

pour-yourself-a-drink-put-on-some-lipstick-and-pull-yourself-together-quote-3

The last couple of weeks has also seen two really joyous weekend trips away. Firstly GozFam decamped to Bristol. We did what Goswells do best and planned our itinerary around our favourite restaurants and watering holes. We also caught up with two of my Mum’s cousins which, as always, was just brilliant. On my Mum’s side, we have generation after generation of family history in Bristol. Despite not ever going there until a couple of years ago, I am starting to feel like I am coming home every time I visit. I just love it. On St Patrick’s day we did a fabulous boat trip up the Avon out to the Severn. The weather was a little dodgy, which is always the case when Goswells take to the water, but on the way back in to Bristol, a rainbow appeared. It was beautiful. I can’t wait to go back.

 

 

The second trip was to Windsor and Eton. Another Goswell spiritual home. Should you find yourself in Windsor, take a look around and notice how many streets, places, buildings are named Goswell. Weirdly nobody in my family knows why. This trip fortunately coincided with fantastic weather. We took a trip around the castle which was just incredible. As the weather was so lovely, we forgo shopping in favour of another boat trip. 2 hours motoring up and down the Thames on a very quiet afternoon was about as blissful as March gets. There was, of course, plenty of scones.

 

 

All of the good times are possible because the chemo is just about keeping everything stable. There will be a time when I won’t be able to turn my face to the sun and eat scones. But for now, I am grateful for the chance to make special memories with the people I love the most.

 

I am also keeping myself busy by reading stories. A few weeks ago I applied to be a judge on the BBC Radio 2 500 words competition. Sure enough the stories arrived in my inbox and I have spent the week enjoying a fantastic insight in to the minds of the nation’s 5 to 9 year olds. It’s quite an education!

In other news, on the 13th of April I will be in Hemel Hempstead M&S collecting for Breast Cancer Now with one of my bestest pals. If you are in the area between 10.00 and 1.00, please drop by, say hello, but more importantly give this fantastic charity a few pounds.

Next week marks the first year anniversary of me writing this blog. Which also means it’s a year since the immediate fallout after the secondary diagnosis that rendered me incapable of processing a thought from one day to the next. Let’s call this progress. I mean to go on as I started. I will laugh about the ups and be brutal about the downs and I will not stop reminding you to check your boobs and bits.

Big Love, AG xx

#Macmillan

#Breastcancercare

#Breastcancernow

Frozen / Let it go / Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez
The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation
And it looks like I’m the queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway
Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
Let it go (go, go, go go, go go, go go, go, go, go go)
Let it go
Let it go
Let it go
It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand and here I stay
Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past
Let it go
The cold never bothered me anyway
Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on

 

12 thoughts on “That perfect girl is gone, Here I stand in the light of day, Let the storm rage on

  1. Hi Abigail- have just read your latest! It arrived earlier this evening- so that is a world record for me in promptness. We had heard a bit about the recent Bristol w/e & meeting cousins (we hope to visit Margaret again soon), but it was especially good to hear of your progress including with the chemo. A couple of your blogs ago you referred to ups & downs. That reminded me of a quote I heard a while back along the lines that mediocre people are unique: they are the only people in the world who are invariably ar their best(!!) If that is true & you experience ‘ups & downs’, then you are not mediocre. But we knew that anyway.
    Please continue to keep us posted.
    Love, Richard

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Richard! Very prompt reading indeed, very much hot off the press…
    Yes we had a lovely time in Brizzle, great to see Margaret in her new place.
    I like to hope I’m not mediocre!
    Trust you and Viv are well. Thanks for your comments XX A

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  3. Love you Abi G. Your words, are no doubt, an inspiration to so many. Bougainvillea, you are those many colours, you are that vibrancy.

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  4. Hello. It was lovely to read that the chemo is keeping things stable enough for scones & sunshine, beer & boats. Have you considered a new career as a master criminal now you are untraceable? It does sound painful though. I hope your hands get better xxxx

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  5. You are inspiring so many people. I described the Gos Family to Anne Pattinson yesterday. “Each Goswell, no matter what life throws at them, do not have a bad bone in their body.” You all remind me of Angels. Caring, selfless even when it should all be about you. It’s a perfect example of the most perfect family love. Love allows one to go on. You are loved by us all too, all of you. Xxxx

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  6. Love your blog Abi, so glad you are able to do the things you love still and long may you continue. Hope you have very much improvement with your hands and feet. You are an amazing lovely lady. Lots of Love Kathy xx

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    1. Thank you Jm xx
      Not so posh when you learn The Goswells is actually an area behind the castle which was once the slums… 😄
      Thanks for the link, v interesting!

      Like

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