Saturday 30 May 2015


Fucking cancer. A friend of mine has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Pretty fucking dire if you ask me. This friend is somebody I've known for over 20 years but we're not particularly close. When I heard that she had the  buggering 'C'.  I messaged her to offer support. I live close to her..I work from home...I can take her call at any time, and there's lots that I can do to assist, cleaning, talking...that kind of stuff.

Immediately she accepted. I'm honoured to be honest. Seriously. Big time. That she would think little old me worthy of helping her through this.

I have no idea how good I'll be ...but she's given me her trust with this and I am determined that I am not going to let her down.

Yesterday she had a biopsy to take samples from the tumours (one biggish one and three smaller ones) and I offered to go with her to hold her hand. She accepted. So there we were in this room...with a doctor and a nurse (who were lovely)...a big probe type thing and an ultrasound machine.

She bore this with an amazing amount of courage and grace. If it were me I'd have been crying and dissolving into a puddle of snot, wee and tears. She was laughing, chatting and even when it was uncomfortable (understatement of the century...a big metal probe  going through your skin...digging into your flesh and snipping bits of you away?) she was dignified to a level that was, quite frankly...astonishing.

After the deed was done we went back to her shop for tea and chocolate biscuits. We thought that was the least she deserved. Frankly I think she deserved two nights with George Clooney, a winning lottery ticket and at least one pair of Manolos. And that's just for starters.

Anyway - as is often the case when your world is collapsing around you - you see the funny side. We got chatting about platitudes. The things that she's expecting people to say to her. Well meaning utterances of such banality and ridiculousness..... We laughed so much about this that we decided to start a list of "Platitude of the day". I promised her I would text her every morning with the very worst platitude I could think of for that day.

So...'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger'.....'it's always darkest before the dawn'....'you'll look great with no hair'....etc etc etc..... that kind of thing. Personally I can't imagine anything more annoying and insulting.....imagine having to fight this battle and then having dumb folks saying dumb things to you...and then having to smile graciously and accept their kind words? I'd be on a murder charge within hours.

Anyway - that's all apart from to remind the girls out there to check their boobs for lumps. Please. For me.


Thursday 19 March 2015

Driving, Alzheimers and my Mum

Today has been a very demanding day. Very. Demanding. Indeed. My Mum has alzheimers. I haven't mentioned this before - because - well - I haven't mentioned much about anything for a while.  Anyway - at the beginning of December she had an accident and broke her ankle - which meant being off her feet for a couple of months. She very kindly loaned me her car.  In the ensuing time period  her driving license was revoked by the DVLA - because she hadn't responded to their letter asking her to have a driving assessment. She got annoyed and threw the letter in the bin with the attitude of "who are they to tell me I can't drive?". The result being that her license is now withdrawn - and if she wants to drive again she has to take another test.

Last week her car failed its MOT. In a huge way. It requires about £450 work to get it roadworthy - and as the car is only worth about £'s just not worth it.

Alzheimers patients forget lots of things - but equally can get fixated on things. Mum is currently fixated on her car and being able to drive again. Her car represents her independence and it's quite understandable that she doesn't want to stop driving. However, the safety of other road users and pedestrians is also important - and her driving simply isn't safe anymore. The DVLA decision to revoke her license was a relief for all of us - as it meant that the decision to persuade her to stop driving had been taken out of our hands and we could join in with her when she verbally berated the DVLA for daring to do such a thing.

This morning she phoned me to demand that I bring the car back to her because I had 'stolen' it from her and she wanted it back. No amount of explanation would appease her, she didn't care that has neither license nor MOT nor insurance. She called me some very choice names. I was shocked at her outburst - my Mum has never had a hot temper...but this morning it was scorching.

She won't ever drive again...but getting her to understand this is akin to pushing water uphill. This disease is vile. Vile. Vile. I don't like to hear my Mum in such an angry distressed state. I don't like it that she simply doesn't have the ability to comprehend and remember information - especially when it's unpleasant...and that reminding her just repeats her distress over and over and over again. This morning she hated me.....I know that my Mum doesn't hate me - but I felt the full force of her temper and anger's not actually her temper or her's the disease. But the disease is a twat - because ruined her day and it ruined mine. The balance between keeping her safe and keeping her happy is very difficult to get right - if possible at all. I fail at it spectacularly...over and over again. The disease is other words...all of this will just get worse.

I have no idea how to lead my Mum and her damaged mind over the hill so that she understands and accepts that she won't drive again...I'm working on's my current project.

Alzheimers is a fucker.

Tuesday 24 February 2015

La Trix I am. I've been out this evening - out for tea with a very special friend. My best friend in fact. She mentioned my blog and said that she still looks to see if I've written anything. My friend doesn't live here any more...she lives in another country...but she visits home regularly and when she does we see each other and - like all great friendships - it's like I only saw her a few days ago. I love awful lot. We've been friends for over 20 years and she's the one who has been there for me time and time and time and time again. She has comforted me when I've been hurting and laughed with me when I've been happy. She cheers me on from the sidelines (always) and loves me unconditionally. And I love her that way too. She knows all my secrets and she 'gets' me every single time. She's got my back, and she takes care of me. She's part of my family and I'm part of hers.
There is nothing I could do that would shock her or cause her to turn away from me...and likewise...there's nothing she could do that would cause me to turn away from her. I have other friends, and I'm blessed because they are all very special to me.

But this one friend - she's the very best. She's funny, and smart, and kind, and beautiful inside and out. She gives everything in her heart to those that she loves, and she never stops giving. In all the years I've known her she has never said one unkind thing to me...and I know there must have been times when I've driven her nuts :)

If I was a  drinking girl I would raise my glass to her - but I'm not - so here I am tipping my coffee cup to her instead. Thank you La Trix for being there for me and making my world a much nicer place. I love you - my dearest friend XXX

Beautiful New life