Wednesday, 26 September 2012

One of those days when the bottom falls out of everything, again.

Every now and again, you receive a phone call that stops your heart and takes you to the verge of fainting. Suddenly your perception of everything changes; it’s amazing how easily a sentence or two can make the bottom drop out of your life.

First thing Monday morning last week, I was told that there was a 7mm shadow on my latest mammogram. Apparently there may be a technical fault, and more tests are needed. I’ve learnt that phrases like this are often a good way to break the bad news gently. Previously, I have been given the ‘all clear’ only to be told otherwise the next day.

Though I am obviously concerned cancer will return, the phone call took me totally by surprise. Surely it can’t be back so soon? I’m only just starting to feel normal after my first rounds of chemo and radiotherapy. The hardest thing you have to face before receiving cancer treatment is the fact that you know you are soon going to be very unwell in spite of feeling super fit and healthy before it starts. The waiting game between tests and results is stressful; it always feels like I’ve stepped into some sort of half-alive limbo. This week was even worse as I know the news may be quite bad.

Ergonomic design or interesting torture devices?!
Feeling quite jaded (what was the point in going through all that horrificness last year?!) I ended up back in the Countess at home on Friday morning. After plying me with sweet tea I was shown the scans and the definite shadow, scary stuff! But thankfully after more mammograms, ultrasounds and an examine, it turns out that it was probably just overlapping glandular tissue. Definitely not a tumour whatever!

Its not every day that you get your life handed back to you; told that everything is going to be ok after all. It’s an even harder emotion to describe than faint-inducing phone calls, but Friday was definitely one of the happiest days of my life!

Anyway its hard to not be happy when you start most days by cycling full pelt down the Clyde tunnel singing at the top of your voice!

Plenty more adventures to look forward to! Ta Sam for the photo.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

2 weeks without snow is too long!

Before every particularly important hospital appointment, I try to get out into a wild place a day or two before. I find that it helps sort my head out, reminding me that life is good and that there is still a lot more to see and do in the world. However, doing White Magic the day before a Chemo meeting two years ago, made for an extremely surreal week. Even though I had to be in hospital in Chester first thing Friday, Thursday was no exception to this rule and I spent the day up on the Ben with some GUM Clubbers.

View off the summit cairn, can't believe how much snow there is already! Bring on winter
Typical day out on the Ben for Libby and I, we always seem to find ourselves tramping about up there in terrible conditions! With Jonnie completing the team we had planned on doing Minus 1 Direct; it was a pretty wet day but Minus 1 is a moist climb anyway, apparently. This didn’t happen, nor did plan B. (Route II) or plan C. (one of the big ridges). So, with much dithering we joined French newbie, Arthur, on the walk we had suggested for him, up CMD arĂȘte and back down Ledge Route.

As none of us could really be bothered carrying anything up any higher (bad training I know!) we left everything at the CIC and went for a wander up to the arĂȘte. Arthur was pretty concerned about our stuff getting nicked, but I guess this is the one advantage of Scotland over the Alps; there was no one about to do any stealing!

So I still haven’t been for a ‘run’, though we did bounce down quite a lot of the path. But I think this is the first time I have worn my Innov8 fell running shoes in about 2 and a half years so it’s a start at least! Though I don’t think I am total lost cause for the OMM as impressively we got from the CIC hut to Glasgow in just over 3 hours. This meant that I could get a few hours kip before my 4.30am train back home. Believe me, Alpine starts are even less fun when there isn’t any climbing involved in them!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Lucky number 13

Today is a pretty significant day as it was the last of my Zoladex hormone injections. How fast 2 years flies when your having fun?! In this time I've had thirteen injections into my stomach and I'm pretty glad to not be having any more! Though I will miss chatting to Stina as she tries to persuade me to relax my stomach muscles. Good core tension is amazing for climbing but not for getting an implant to stay under the skin.

Fat needle! Unfortunately it retracts after use so no photos of its proper fatness

Tomorrow is my bianual mammogram in Chester though I've had a trip to A+E in the Western Infirmary inbetween; so maybe 13 wasn't so lucky after all! Once again I went over the handlebars on my bike but luckily didn't break my hand or my shiny pink jacket. The GUM Club gathering in the waiting room greatly improved that trip, alongside watching wasted freshers wandering in. However even for me, I think that 3 hospital visits in under 24 hours is a bit extreme!
EMLA cream always makes life better. Although trying to explain the little window plaster to a the till lady in Boots was interesting.... 

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Went up to Climbzone on my lunch today to mess around with the Schmoolz. They are pretty weird things, super light ice-axe style handles with fabric loops instead of picks. This makes them significantly less scary and less likely to devastate your face when they blow. A session a week climbing with them will definitely help to keep up my dry-tooling strength! Although this also definitely won't help my running ability.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

A healthy balanced meal. One last blow out for me and Laura and then proper training starts tomorrow, we promise!