Archive for October, 2008



20
Oct
08

For Bernadette!

I had a gorgeous afternoon yesterday, at my Dad’s house with Ian and the kids, plus my brother Brian, and great family friends Bernadette and Heather McP. My brother Marty had hurt his back, and was missed!

My Dad made the most magnificent lunch- fish cooked in cream and parmesan, leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic, and a delicious blackberry crumble. Brian brought a lemon meringue pie, and Heather a banana cake, which were both amazing!

Bernadette and Heather had brought me the most amazing birthday presents! My birthday tomorrow coincides delightfully with my second round of chemo, so it’s a bit of a no-go this year!

Heather gave me a gorgeous pampering set, and I have been using it already, it smells delicious. Thank you, my dear friend, you are the best!

Bernadette gave me SO many different things- several books, perfume and body lotion, a GORGEOUS red lippy (you know how much I love those!!), a beautiful handmade card…the list really did go on and I was so touched! One of her wonderful gifts was a beautiful magenta/purple silk scarf which matches one of my favourite tops perfectly. I have been wearing it all day!

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She also got together with my Dad and collected flowers from his garden, turning them into the most gorgeous and artistic arrangement, which are now proudly displayed on our mantlepiece (please forgive the disgusting decor, the living room is beyond hideous- not our choice- but until the kids are old enough to stop trashing it, it’ll have to do!!)

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Thank you SO MUCH to everyone for yesterday afternoon, to which everyone contributed and which I so much enjoyed. I am so spoiled!!!!

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20
Oct
08

The Family Joke

My good friend More Than An Electrician posted partially about how his nine year old son was reading Old Yeller at school.Β  This prompted a discussion in which I revealed what is practically the family joke- the fact that films, documentaries and sad songs will make me cry at the veritable drop of a hat! πŸ™‚

So, I thought it might amuse some of you to hear my top picks of Things That Make Suzy Cry, mainly because some of the reasons can be fairly preposterous. πŸ˜›

1. As mentioned on MTAE’s blog- the theme tune to popular children’s TV series The Littlest Hobo. The theme tune acts- I shit you not- as some kind of trigger in my brain which makes me cry. It is quite frightening. I looked up the above link, and when I clicked on it, two BARS in, I was howling and laughing at the same time. Ian is now hysterical with laughter, and the kids are looking at me in utter astonishment. As a child, the theme tune used to make me cry because I hated that the doggie had no home. I guess I have been left with deep, deep emotional scars by this loveable series of “dog saves boy”, wholesome family drama. πŸ˜›

2. The scene in Highlander where his wife dies. Highlander is one of my favourite all time films. Made in 1986, if I am brutally honest, it hasn’t aged all that well, but I still adore it, and think that the Kurgan is one of the all time best baddies. Plus the Scottish scenery is incredible. We visited the castle (it’s called Eilean Donan)Β where Conor McLeod lives at the start of the film,Β when on holiday in Scotland in 2002. Two very fat Italian ladies were walking past us, and one was earnestly saying to the other “Si, si, Christopher Lambert!” Maybe you needed to be there, but it made me and Ian crack up! I find the death scene of his wife really sad- but my friends have over the years been very proactive in telling me how funny they found it…generally, if it’s on, I leave the room at that point… πŸ˜€ Queen’s amazingly sad “Who Wants to Live Forever” really doesn’t bloody help. One of my friends, Nichola, upon seeing this scene (without me- I left the room) went into fits of laughter over the scene and said scornfully “And you’re wearing the boots I made for you?!!” so clearly I am an idiot… πŸ˜€

3. Surely one of the most beautiful films ever made- House of Flying Daggers. Stunning from start to finish, you know almost from the very outset that there can be no happy ending to this tale. AND- sure enough- the entire second half rendered me almost insensible with grief. So, no matter how incredible the photography may be, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it again!

4. The JCB Song by Nizlopi. It’s about a small child who is being bullied at school, and was nearly the Christmas number 1 here a few years ago. I do really like the song, but it makes me bawl my eyes out!

And finally…one which made me cry with laughter.

5. Father Ted- the writing of My Lovely Horse for the Eurovision Song Contest. For those of you in the States, Eurovision is a particularly hideous competition which plagues us in May every year and which is populated with poor songs and even poorer singing. Ireland have a history (not so much of late) of winning…Father Ted is absolute classic comedy to everyone in Ireland. It’s sheer genius. I am not 100% convinced that people outside Ireland will fully get the joke, because it’s full of colloquialisms, but the writing of this song, Father Ted and Father Dougal’s entry to the contest, made me weep with laughter.

So- there you have it!! Probably, lots of you will have more suggestions for my list! πŸ˜€

18
Oct
08

Big help in my fight for better health!

My brothers Marty and Brian took the boys for a couple of hours this afternoon, to let me and Ian have a break, which was so much appreciated and let me make the lasagne that Ricky had demanded for dinner!

When Marty brought them back, I was presented with a fruit and vegetable juicer, and a Wii Fit!!! Yay!!!

It’s my birthday on Tuesday- coinciding delightfully with my second round of chemo- so the juicer is an early birthday present. I am desparate to improve my diet, and have been eating tons of raw veggies (it gets very boring very fast- I love raw veggies, but there really are only so many you can eat in a day!!). I am thinking that drinking freshly juiced veggies will allow me to majorly up the amount of raw veggies I am eating, whilst being a bit easier to deal with. I can’t wait to try it out!! πŸ™‚ There is a lot of scientific evidence that eliminating dairy and meat products from your diet and eating mainly raw veggies dramatically increases your body’s ability to kill cancer cells. I am not sure if it is “too late for me” on the dairy aspect of this…I just can’t imagine a world without cheese- but I am trying really hard to cut back on dairy and processed foods, and eat a lot more raw stuff. I am hoping that “everything in moderation” will hold true for me. I know perfectly well that in the medium to long term, I would not be able to stick to such a harsh regime as eating 80% raw veggies as my diet. I salute people who can do it, but really, I’d be alive and miserable…that possibly makes no sense to anyone else, but food is a big part of my life- I love to cook and love to eat good food. Raw veggies are fine for breakfast and lunch, but I really can’t do it all day, every day.

The Wii Fit is on loan from my brother Brian. He says he isn’t using it too much at the moment and is concentrating on his X-Box, so I am really grateful! I have’t tried it out yet but think it will be something fun for all the family. I gather that you need to do a test first which works out your weight, BMI etc, which I will not be too happy with, but need to live with! I put on a load of weight after my diagnosis, to my horror, and it’s coming off again, but very slowly (maybe 1/2lb to 1lb a week), so I hope the Wii Fit will help me with that too.

Tomorrow my Dad is having one of his legendary Sunday lunches in honour of my birthday- I can’t wait! Bernadette and Heather McP, both regular readers, commenters and all round amazing friends of mine, will both be there and I will be delighted to see them! Apart from my little family, my brothers will also be coming, so it promises to be a lovely afternoon. πŸ™‚

Hope you are having a nice weekend too! πŸ™‚

17
Oct
08

Adventures in Wig Wearing, #2

My thought for the day is- what do you say??

Let me explain. As you all know, I’ve now got a baldy head, thanks to chemo and a hefty haircut, and have been wearing a wig for two days now when not at home. Actually, I am, to my utter amazement, totally comfortable with my nudie head, but I am aware that there are those who see me on a daily or at least regular basis who might not share my comfort. This is the main reason that I have been wearing a wig to work, for example. My colleagues have been massively supportive (except for a comment made to me today by my dear friend Gareth Thompson- it was so rude that I can’t even bring myself to repeat it- he knows he can get away with these things because he is a very old friend and knows it will make me laugh!! Suffice to say that he had some theories about how much hair would fall out. You get my drift.) but I have no desire to make them feel uncomfortable around me.

That said- I have no social cues for dealing with comments about my “new hairstyle”! Yesterday, I went to pick the kids up from daycare, and one of the girls who looks after Ricky said how lovely my hair was and when had I got it done. I kind of stood there mouthing silently for a second before blurting out “I have cancer and it’s a wig”, which was SO tactless and kind of mean of me. She was totally mortified, and I felt like an utter bitch. It wasn’t that I even meant to say something that would make her feel like that- but it hadn’t even occured to me how I would deal with these kinds of questions.

At the other end of the spectrum, is the local shop and service station in the centre of Ballygowan, which is pretty much the only local resource which covers all our day to day needs. The staff in there are, without exception, an absolute delight and it’s a pleasure to shop there. It’s also the first place I went with my Sinead O’Connor hair. They’re used to seeing my with my tired old ponytail, and the girl behind the counter obviously took one look at me and worked out the situation. Despite the queues behind me, she asked me in a clear, ringing voice how I was and made it clear to the whole shop that I had cancer. I was rather embarrassed, even though she was being really sweet, but again, the whole bitchiness ALMOST set in and I had to resist the urge to loudly comment “What do you mean? I’m a lesbian- my hair is a statement!” (PLEASE don’t shoot me down if you’re a lesbian and you read this!) I was in again tonight, with the wig in place, and she again asked me really loudly all about it, how I got it, etc etc, and I felt mortified again. It’s not her fault at all- she’s trying really hard to be nice and offer support. I am the one who has the issue.

I don’t really know how to deal with either situation, and in hindsight I am totally bewildered that it didn’t occur to me before my hair left town that I would have to deal with these kinds of situations. I’ve been concentrating so hard on myself and my own feelings that I didn’t stop to think about others and how they would handle it.

I think if people tell me how nice my “new haircut”, ie wig, is, I should probably do what’s kindest to them, and simply thank them and leave it at that. I have to find a way to stop myself from just coming out with it. It’s not fair to them.

How I deal with the lady in the garage- she’s lovely and means well. I’m not ashamed of having cancer, it’s not like I could have prevented it. So, I guess those conversations will probably continue.

Any thoughts?

16
Oct
08

When exhaustion sets in…

My son Ricky LOVES his food. He was tired this evening when we got home, but I can honestly and truly say that I have never, ever seen sleep come between my son and his grub before! πŸ˜€

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Any yes, the dinner he was eating is far from healthy, I must be a bad mummy. Surely the pure apple juice counts for something though, and he did have fresh fruit and yoghurt for supper…frantically trying to justify myself… πŸ˜€

16
Oct
08

My first day as a wig wearer

Well, I’m more than half way through my first day in the office with my new wig. I emailed all the guys to warn them that I’d be wearing a wig, so they had some time to prepare! πŸ˜€

They’ve all been really supportive so far, and haven’t shunned me, ha ha! I do feel like a complete pillock in the wig. It is going to take a lot of getting used to. It isn’t all that similar to my normal hair, and also I am accustomed to wearing my hair back most of the time, so IΒ am finding it a culture shock to say the least. Also after a while, my head gets a bit sore and I have to run off to the ladies bathroom to take it off for a few minutes! Also, it needs brushed all the time! I am glad I brought my hairbrush into work, which is not something I’d normally ever do!

So, until the last of my hair falls out, to be honest I don’t see me wearing my wig all that much except in work. I am certain that my self confidence will improve and that before I know it, throwing the wig on will be second nature, but it feels like a hassle!

The kids reacted well last night when they got home and saw my drastic haircut. They both giggled a lot and wanted to touch my hair, which of course feels like suede now! I was relieved, because I was half worried that they’d be upset. Ricky has been really sweet and said I still looked fine, and gave me a double thumbs up! πŸ˜€

My hair has never been so short before. I went to the shop last night, and the wind blowing through my scanty locks was nearly tickly! πŸ™‚ Plus lying down to go to sleep last night was just plain weird- it does not feel the same at all!! πŸ˜›

A lot to get used to- but I know it will be fine, and that’s the main thing. πŸ™‚

15
Oct
08

A Very Different Haircut!

Well, the fateful day has finally come.

My hair was coming out in great big massive chunks, and as I want to donate it to a children’s charity, I thought I should act before there was nothing left to donate! So, this morning, feeling not too cheerful, I made the call to the hairdresser who cuts my sons hair (and Ian’s too, when he can be half assed!!) and asked if she could do it.

She kind of put me on the spot by telling me to come on down- I’d somehow imagined that she’d say to come on Friday or Monday, but it’s probably been a good thing in hindsight that I didn’t have time to think about it too much.

Julie owns Black Knights Hairdressing in Ballygowan- I know how kind she is because of how she has dealt with Ricky in the past, and I knew she’d deal with the situation sensitively. She whisked me into a back room and discussed what was needed. I was shaking like a leaf when I got there, but she really put me at my ease and made it so easy.

I got my hair taken down to a number 2. I can’t bear the big clumps which come out in your hands when washing your hair at this stage, so this way, any bristles will just go down the plug hole. I am hoping this will make the process less painful and difficult.

Julie was also kind enough to style my new wig for me. It was a bit too long for my comfort, and the fringe wasn’t easy to deal with. She cut and layered it for me, and I am pleased with the results, though it will take a while to get used to it all!

Emotionally, I am dealing with this much better than I thought I would. I thought I would sit and cry while she did it, but I wore the now-compulsory red lippy, gave myself a stiff pep talk on the way down about how it was only hair, to stop being so bloody melodramatic, and to remember why I was doing this. It worked pretty well. The only tears I have shed today have been when I was washing my hair before I left, and it was all coming out. That was hard.

So- I live to fight another day!! I’m even more comfortable with my nearly baldy head than I thought I would be. It’s bloody cold though. I hadn’t realised how warm my hair was keeping me! It’s not just the head itself, but my shoulders where my hair normally goes. Hmmm. I will put the heating on!

Many thanks to Julie, for giving me courage to get through this, and for being such a kind person, and for giving me a great haircut!

GI Suzy-

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Suzy with Wig-

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