Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So, Basicallly.........

...I am a fat, middle-aged woman with depression.......?


Go on, deny it!


[I laugh bitterly in my doctor's face]

You can't!

[he colours slightly]

Blood tests all normal, there is nothing nasty going on other than the voices in my head.

And no, he didn't notice any loss of weight, and I was too self-conscious to mention it......


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All Over the Place

I'm a bit discombobulated at the moment.

It's my birthday at the weekend. I was planning to go to a medieval banquet for my birthday but the stunt riders are otherwise occupied, filming 'The Duchess' with Keira Knightley.

Now the plan is to go bowling and have a meal for my birthday with the gang.

My father is still in hospital and will probably be there for another week, maybe two. He is still in high-dependency ward, and we are still waiting for the results of his biopsies, so that's all up in the air and we are walking on unknown ground.

I am very tired and was supposed to be at Aquafit tonight, but a bad tummy has kept me at home.

I have just found out that MB has to travel to Scotland on my birthday.

I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, for the results of my blood tests and a 'how're you getting on these days'....I hope he notices I have lost 4lb in a week!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Father, Dear Father

Thank you to everyone who left messages for my dad and my family.

My dad is now in the high-dependency unit on oxygen recovering from his surgery. We still are awaiting the results of his biopsies.

More later.


Friday, October 26, 2007


Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! ... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the Middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger!!!!!!. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Champagne in one hand - strawberries in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO, What a Ride".

Thank you all for your good wishes. My dad made it through surgery safely and is now recovering in intensive care. The biopsy results will take about a week.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've just got off the phone with my mother, checking up on my dad who has recently been admitted to hospital.

They are operating tomorrow on a suspected bowel tumour after two days of testing him.

Although he is not my biological father, this man has loved and cared for me for the last thirty seven years as though I were his own. He is not a natural father, but we managed to knit together a very sweet friendship, based on mutual trust. He has faltered over the years, stressing out over a wife and four step children, but when I have needed him he's been there.

He is my 'dad' and I am his daughter.

I'm worried. Please keep him in your thoughts.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

One Step (Updated)

OK, to summarise the story so far......

Emotional crash on Thursday
Crying jags
Paranoia fuelled by cancelled birthday plans

But I'm not one to wallow. I've had this problem for long enough I know what is happening and I do know what I need to do. But it's just getting the 'umph' to actually get up and do something.

I know I have to do everything one step at a time.

Yesterday (up since 2.30am):
Step One - got dressed (didn't manage it before lunchtime, but 'dressed' is good).
Step Two - looked on the internet for some form of gentle exercise locally to help with the weight problem.

Today (up since 3am):
Step One - managed to get dressed before 10am (quite an achievement as I have been up since 3am)
Step Two - went to the Sport Centre to enquire about Aquafit (aqua-aerobics) times and prices.
Step Three - said to the lady at the till 'See you later'.
Step Four - WENT TO AQUAFIT! [puff pant] Ol' cq got a couple of gold stars - one for sheer effort and one for being able to hold my breath the longest. I was pleased I managed the whole hour.

Step One - get dressed before 7am.
Step Two - go to work.
Step Three - go out with the gang to celebrate bionicdwarf's birthday with munchies and movie.

btw - BIG LOVE to the wonderfully supportive Naomi over there in the Hollywood Hills for her encouraging and loving email.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Best Laid Plans etc

Birthday plans made here are cancelled.

The stuntriders are working on a film in November.

I'm gutted.

'Bout par for the course, though :-( Life sucks atm.......


Sunday, October 21, 2007


I am a collector. Wherever I, or friends or family, go I have to have something from there to remind me. I have books, ornaments, jewelry and clothing - but mostly I have T-shirts. My dad travelled all over the world with his job when we were children and brought me back T-shirts from everywhere, which started it all off.These are the actual country ones I gathered together for the photo. This is a king-size bed! From the top left, reading across each row left to right:

Scotland, Scotland, Cornwall - Lands End, Scotland, Canada - Victoria, Greece - Thassos, Corfu, Austria - Kanzelwand (that's a mountain!), Gibraltar, Tunisia, Tunisia, Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Lanzarote, Greece - Kefalonia, Lanzarote, Cyprus, Tunisia, Gibraltar, Sri Lanka - Skanska (Swedish firm my dad worked for), Bali - Lombok Island, Cornwall - St Ives, New York, Tunisia - Hammamet.

Lots of Scotland (visiting my parents) and lots of Tunisia (reflecting 12 years of holidaying there!).

And the little pink and white one, bottom right? That's my Cancer Breakthrough long sleeved T, for work - very Special.

These are just some of my collection, I also have some stored away in the loft. I also have numerous special T-shirts, purchased at events, venues and as gifts.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

[hangs head]

I do apologise for that self-indulgent unhappy post yesterday - but, hey, I can't be the Life and Soul all the time....

I have decided I need Stress Management.......

Here is a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work. Think about each step below. The entire process can be successfully accomplished in less than one minute.

1. Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.

2. Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.

3. Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.

4. No one knows your secret place.

5. You are in total seclusion from that hectic place called the world.

6. The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

7. The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater.

[typing around very stubborn old cat who is crammed onto my lap next to my laptop and is dribbling down my arm - well, she has no teeth to speak of.......]

Thank you to cyberkitten! We went out the other day to see 'Ratatouille'. I wasn't the best company but we went shopping for the double CD soundtrack of 'Across the Universe' - we could only find one copy. CK, being CK, told me to have it. I am playing it now - it's fabulous! I love my friends.


Friday, October 19, 2007

It's a Long Drop

It's that time of year again. Like a well-meaning friend, my depression creeps up on me and puts it's hands over my eyes shouting 'Surprise!'.......

I can control the darkness somewhat in the summer months, but it becomes overwhelming in autumn and winter, knowing I have four to six months of darkness and desperation in front of me makes me feel totally helpless.

I have had my usual autumn doctor's appointment. I hate going to the doctor, there's nothing they can do about a chemical imbalance other than give me drugs, they can't make it better or improve my quality of life. I hate sitting there basically complaining while they listen sympathetically. It is also always very, very traumatic as I have to face my depression and actually speak the words I usually conceal.
They had me do the psychometry test for depression, and surprise - I am 'severe'.

I hate this non-illness. It's not real, there is nothing physically wrong with me - except everything is a struggle. It's all in my head, as the saying goes.
My life is a constant effort to hide my unhappiness and misery from those around me. The occasional bouts of agorophobia or paranoia cripple me. the daily effort to remain 'normal' and balanced at work exhausts me.

I'm paying for my stubbornness too. I won't take Prozac in the summer, I refuse to become a Prozac junkie. But when autumn comes and winter looms, I end up worse off as I have to adapt to Prozac again.
My doctor pointed out I should take it all year round - he's right, but I don't want to be that person.

I told my doctor for the first time that I had given up smoking 12 months previously. He agreed that could explain the weight increase, but he also wanted to do the usual full blood work up - testing me for everything from thyroid to cholesterol.
I even had a spyrometry test, to check my lungs, because I am still wheezing and breathless. They were worried I might be asthmatic ('or worse' to quote my doctor!) after 30yrs smoking. My lungs have 90+ capacity so, as I said to the nurse, 'I am just an overweight, middle-aged woman with depression - I might as well start smoking again.'

This middle-aged woman is currently walking on the rim of a black, dank, bottomless pit, with an ugly monster whispering in her ear 'go on, jump.....'


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Variety and Spice

Few bits and pieces for you all today..........

Still poorly - back on the Prozac and Vitamin B, struggling with the usual stomach aches and killer headaches while I get used to the chemicals which help me survive miserable old dull winter.

All my life I wanted to be Popular. You know, Popular with a Capital P, like the pretty, blonde, skinny, perky girls at school. I had to wait over 20yrs but - finally I am Popular - see Barbara's blog here.
Apparently, the sweet Barbara has done some addition and division.....and even a bit of long work out who are popular in our little bit of the blogosphere - and I came second......after the lovely Lazy Daisy! Whaddyerknow!

My bestest mate Aginoth has not been blogging of late, he's been poorly. But now, he has said he is back in the blogosphere and blogging like the Aginoth of old - just slower 'cos of his arthritis. Go visit, say hello :-)

Hearing something on TV struck a chord. Son of Legendary Rockstar said:
"Dad calls it 'Happily Unmarried'......."
Dad chuckles
"Mom calls it [-pauses for effect-] 'Waiting'.......!"
Yep - my life mirrors the life of Shannon Tweed, un-wife of rock giant Gene Simmons, just without the money, the house, the Hollywood lifestyle, the rockstar partner and the two fabulous kids..... [chuckle]

I may shout at her and curse her when she gets all clingy, and get annoyed when she gets under my feet or wakes me at 3am - but everyday I give thanks for one more day with my little old girl, Pandora - 18yrs young (85+ in cat years). We' ve had her since she was a small kitten and knew her mum-cat when she was pregnant - so Pandy is extra-special. Long may she stay this side of the Bridge.


Monday, October 15, 2007


Will you just take a look at the clicker in my sidebar - who'd have thunk it??
1 year down - 40 odd to go.
Mah Blogsistah in BC has asked how I'm intending to celebrate.
I have no plans. I was ill last night and have spent today recovering.
MB is away and I was kinda hoping for some flowers or something........nope, no flowers.
To me a huge milestone - in the Grand Scheme of Things, just another day.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gettin' Excited.....

It's my birthday soon and I, with five friends, are going back to Wychwood to see this man.....
[does Chandler dance] I'm gonna see my Black Knight!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Our Boys and Girls

I was very upset at a news item this week.

There was a segment devoted to the unfortunate loss of Major Alexis Roberts in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. Major Roberts principally garnered his own news spot because he was the former platoon commander of Prince William.

In the MOD, our intranet web service has almost daily notifications of our boys and girls who lose their lives in operations around the world. In Afghanistan alone, 82 servicemen have died since 2001.

So I felt that the wide news exposure on the loss of Major Roberts was inappropriate given how many of his comrades had gone before him.

So please spare a thought for the following servicemen. From 18 to 49, death is the eternal leveller.

Pte Darren George 23 09/04/02
Cpl John Gregory 30 17/08/02
Sgt Robert Busuttil 30 17/08/02
Pte Jonathan Kitulagoda 23 28/01/04
L/Cpl Steven Sherwood 23 29/10/05
Cpl Mark Cridge 25 22/03/06
L/Cpl Peter Craddock 31 27/03/06
Capt Jim Philippson 29 11/06/06
Sgt Paul Bartlett 35 27/06/06
Capt David Patten 38 27/06/06
L/Cpl Jabron Hashmi 24 01/07/06
Pte Damien Jackson 19 05/07/06
Cpl Peter Thorpe 27 05/07/06
2nd Lt Ralph Johnson 24 01/08/06
L/Cpl Ross Nicholls 27 01/08/06
Capt Alex Eida 29 01/08/06
Pte Andrew Cutts 19 06/08/06
Pte Leigh Reeves 25 09/08/06
L/Cpl Sean Tansey 26 12/08/06
Cpl Bryan Budd 29 20/08/06
L/Cpl Jonathan Hetherington 22 27/08/06
Ranger Anare Draiva 27 01/09/06
Marine Joseph Windall 22 02/09/06
Sgt Benjamin Knight 25 02/09/06
Cpl Oliver Dicketts 27 02/09/06
Flt Lt Steve Swarbrick 28 02/09/06
Flt Lt Leigh Mitchelmore 28 02/09/06
Sgt John Langton 29 02/09/06
Flt Lt Steven Johnson 38 02/09/06
Flt Lt Allan Squires 39 02/09/06
Flt Lt Gareth Nicholas 40 02/09/06
Sgt Gary Quilliam 42 02/09/06
Flt Sgt Stephen Beattie 42 02/09/06
Flt Sgt Gerard Bell 48 02/09/06
Flt Sgt Gary Andrews 48 02/09/06
Flt Sgt Adrian Davies 49 02/09/06
Pte Craig O'Donnell 24 04/09/06
L/Cpl Luke McCulloch 21 06/09/06
Cpl Mark Wright 27 06/09/06
L/Cpl Paul Muirhead 29 06/09/06
Marine Gary Wright 22 19/10/06
Marine Jonathan Wigley 21 05/12/06
Marine Richard Watson 23 12/12/06
Lance Bombardier James Dwyer 22 27/12/06
Marine Thomas Curry 21 13/01/07
L/Cpl Mathew Ford 30 15/01/07
Marine Jonathan Holland 23 21/02/07
Marine Scott Summers 23 21/02/07
Lance Bombardier Liam McLaughlin 21 03/03/07
Lance Bombardier Ross Clark 25 03/03/07
Marine Benjamin Reddy 22 06/03/07
Warrant Officer 2nd Class Michael Smith 39 08/03/07
Guardsman Simon Davison 22 03/05/07
Pte Chris Gray 19 13/05/07
L/Cpl George Davey 23 20/05/07
Guardsman Daniel Probyn 22 26/05/07
Cpl Darren Bonner 31 28/05/07
Cpl Mike Gilyeat 28 30/05/07
L/Cpl Paul Sandford 23 06/06/07
Guardsman Neil Downes 20 09/06/07
Drummer Thomas Wright 21 24/06/07
Capt Sean Dolan 40 30/06/07
Sgt Dave Wilkinson 33 01/07/07
Guardsman Daryl Hickey 27 12/07/07
L/Cpl Alex Hawkins 22 25/07/07
Guardsman David Atherton 25 26/07/07
Sgt Barry Keen 34 27/07/07
L/Cpl Michael Jones 26 29/07/07
Pte Tony Rawson 27 10/08/07
Capt David Hicks 26 11/08/07
Pte Robert Foster 19 23/08/07
Pte Aaron McClure 19 23/08/07
Pte John Thrumble 21 23/08/07
Senior Aircraftman Christopher Bridge 20 30/08/07
Pte Ben Ford 18 05/09/07
Pte Damian Wright 23 05/09/07
Pte Johan Botha 25 08/09/07
Sgt Craig Brelsford 25 08/09/07
L/Cpl Ivano Violino 29 17/09/07
Pte Brian Tunnicliffe 33 20/09/07
Colour Sgt Phillip Newman 36 20/09/07
Major Alexis Roberts 32 04/10/07

This post is dedicated to all our boys and girls, who are dying for an ideal of world peace, and their families and friends.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Minerva is, understandably, very scared.........

I have racked my brains to think what to give her to help with her fears........

so, a candle to light the way on the dark days to come.........

I offer a shoulder to cry on - or scream on - or laugh on......

a hand offered in friendship - or for company on this unknown journey....

It's not much, but it comes from the heart.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Begging for More

Have you been across the universe yet?
Have you been to see Julie Taymor's stunning and incredible film 'Across The Universe'?
(imdb) An original musical film, Across The Universe is a fictional love story set in the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, the struggle for free speech and civil rights, mind exploration and rock and roll. At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, the story moves from high schools and universities in Massachusetts, Princeton and Ohio to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool. A combination of live action and animation, the film is paired with many songs by The Beatles that defined the time.
Stocked full of gifted young actors and singers, this film was an absolute delight. I missed Beatlemania by a couple of years, but was still able to sing along with most of the songs.
The film starts with the same song being sung between an American high school prom and the Cavern in Liverpool, instantly showing us the background of the two main players. This beginning made us sit up and take notice, and we didn't take out eyes off the screen for the next two hours.
I came out of ATU desperately wanting a cigarette! - that film was better than sex! It was an assault on the senses, a visual and aural onslaught that left one breathless and begging for more. About half way through I whispered to cyberkitten that I was exhausted....!
If I come out of a film wanting to go back and watch it all over again, then it has to be 10/10.
Once you've left your mark here please go visit my friend Minerva, even if you've been before (multiple visits are not a bad thing!), leave her your comments, strength, love, prayers - anything you can think of to say 'I Was Here'.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Twisted Meet and Greet

It's the weekend and it's time for Michele's Meet and Greet.

But a certain someone has been preying on my mind for the last couple of days.

A much-admired blogfriend, Minerva, has been diagnosed with secondary cancer. She has battled cancer three times and this diagnosis is a body blow for her. She has glimpsed her future and it is bleak.

Once you've left your mark here go visit her, even if you've been before (multiple visits are not a bad thing!), leave her your comments, strength, love, prayers, jokes - anything you can think of to say 'I Was Here'.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I want to yell.

I want to scream.

I want to drive to London to see a woman I have never met in person.

I want to hug that certain woman close to me.

I want to give her some of my life time.

I want her to live a long lovely life with her family.

I want........

I want........

I want you all to go and see Minerva, leave her some bloglove.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Some Thoughts on Illness

I was just over at Minerva's place, seeing what was happening at Womanly Parts, and she raises an interesting question:

Time after time, I am asked, why do you think you were the one to get this illness? Was it, and then you can put in any number of words denoting various potential causes of cancer including the
pill/stress/depression/diet/exercise/breastfeeding or not breastfeeding.
Other than not smoking [polishes ticker in sidebar] is there any way to avoid cancer? Or can you actually court it? If you can - why on earth would you want to??
[smoking is a cause apart, a world of addicts to a substance that is life-threatening who are unable or unwilling to give it up]

Of course not, any idea that one would know why they had cancer would be ludicrous. Er - because if they did, they would likely stop whatever it was. But then we are getting very mixed messages.....

Lettuce causes cancer - stop eating it.

Lettuce prevents cancer - every meal then!

Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But it's not as crazy as some of the experts have told us over the years.
And once we know what supposedly is bad for us - a few weeks later it is good for us. 'It' may cause cancer, but 'It' might prevent altzheimers. How many times have we seen this kind of information? No wonder we are confused and scared.

I have been tested for melanoma and uterine/ovarian cancer. Both were, thankfully, negative.

I'm a vegetarian, therefore I'm vulnerable to certain cancers.
But - because I don't eat meat, I am protecting myself against 'meat caused' cancers.
I was on the pill for 12yrs, so I am a breast cancer risk - apparently.
On the plus side I can't get cervical cancer - because I don't have one!

I have known people who live a blameless life and still get (and die from!) cancers. A young female relative with a small baby died from breast cancer. A family friend died from bowel cancer. The elderly wife of a colleague is fighting breast cancer.
Even the healthy food/living 'poster girl' Linda McCartney succumbed to breast and liver cancer.

Illness is a form of Russian Roulette.
Spin the barrel to see what illness you will get.

So, I will go on with my life, eating reasonably, getting some exercise, indulging in chocolate 'occasionally' [snigger], sleeping at night, working during the day, eating fruit and vegetables, avoiding meat and fish.

And then when, and if, I get ill (which I will because apparently 'age' increases the risk of cancer!) and some bright spark asks me what I thought caused it - I'll answer 'Science or Religion - you choose!'