A booby is a seabird with blue feet

  • Lady of the LINAC

    For my new workout, I have started using dumbbells. These are extremely heavy: there is an 8 kilo weight attached to each end. And I have been using them every day, for 3 days. This would be really, really impressive - if I were lifting them vertica...
  • Radiotherapy - Planning Scan

    The planning scan for my radiotherapy treatment is done, thankfully.   The session involved me having to clamber onto a metal (and surprisingly narrow) ‘bed’, covered in the customary paper sheet. This bed then has to be specially ca...
  • Don't worry, it's only an electron gun!

    A radiotherapy machine is properly called a ‘linear accelerator’, but I’m not too keen on that name. For me, those two words immediately bring to mind flat-lining, possibly at high speed. (I must squash that thought.)   Almost ...
  • Deep breath, deep dive, deep thought

    Before radiotherapy, I’m getting some proper breathing practice in. Or more accurately: not-breathing practice. And I’m trying to improve my technique with one ( rather stiff) arm held above my head, as I’ll be expected to do this i...
  • Sorry, Snow White ... I may have some bad news for you.

    As I have been getting significantly more (and worse) insect bites again lately, I began to wonder what the reasons for this might be. I know chemotherapy can simply make a person’s skin over-sensitive and their immunity lower. And of course go...
  • Hair Story

    My hair doesn’t promise anything good. It has become too strange. It looks all worn out, like grass in a well-trodden football field. There are random whorls of hairs, of various lengths, pointing in different directions. I have never (yet) see...
  • Breathing Lessons

    To prepare for radiotherapy, I recently discovered that I’ll need to be able to hold my breath. This is especially important because the laser is going to be focussed on my left side, near my heart. Originally I had been told that 15 seconds wo...
  • So long, seventh saroma!

    My seventh saroma will hopefully be my very last one. Because I have had more than enough of these, thank you. Otherwise I may soon receive the gift of a steroid injection in my chest cavity. Which doesn’t sound too lovely, to be honest. Even ...
  • Breast bombs (or 'saromas')

    After my single mastectomy a month ago, I have had five saromas. This is not particularly unusual either. Mine have all been large and painful. The grand total of the combined liquid comes to almost exactly two litres. All lined up, the actual p...
  • Happy Easter, maybe

    My fifth saroma is the size of a pretty large Easter egg.  And I am afraid that it may just 'burst open' today (before my next appointment).  Which hardly bears thinking about.  Even if I would love to be instant...
  • Series of serious saromas

    Having a series of saromas (on one side of my chest, after a single mastectomy) has made me consider the size of what I have lost. The breast must have been around 500 ml, if the amount of liquid which has been filling the space is anything to go by....
  • Saroma, saroma, saroma ...

    As feared, I have a new ‘saroma boobie’. The fourth one, in less than a month.   Looking at this really generously, it might be considered a special skill? I’m able to create a pretty convincing boobie-like structure, approxima...
  • Ooh, another saroma? Thank you so much, but ...

    My saroma (in the place of my left breast) has now grown to the size of its real twin. Yet I’ve said what I assumed was a final goodbye to my genuine left breast once before surgery, then to two imposters since! Another farewell – the fou...
  • Playing it by ear

    My original tumour measured over 9 cm x 4 cm x 4 cm. This made it the size of a quite a large mouse. It even had a sort of tail, in my lymph nodes. Mid-treatment my tumour measured about 2.4 cm x 2.3 cm x 2.4 cm. So it was then about the size of may...
  • Tis but a scratch …. Just a flesh wound

    The Dark Knight in Monty Python loses his left arm; I have lost my left breast.  Presumably, his left lymph nodes are removed at the same time, as they were for me.  So we share a similar experience then. Well, that’s unfortunate...
  • Bye, boobie! Bye, boobie!

    Now it feels as if I have had to say goodbye to my left breast twice. First before surgery, then again today. Because the space somehow refilled with what became a rather large water-filled imitation of the lost breast. Sadly, the ‘water b...
  • Drain, drain, go away! (And don't come back another day, please!)

    After my left breast had been removed, the space converted itself into a neat but slightly squishy cushion. So when the nurse announced that she was definitely planning to remove the drain, I was worried that there might be a mini flood. For 5 days, ...
  • Draining drains and tight tights

    This is the fourth day of having a ‘drain’ by my side and in my side.  Even at night it has been held close to me, yet at a safe enough distance - like an odd baby or an awful teeny-tiny twin. I don’t want to crush it or to bre...
  • Waking up

    When i woke up from the anaesthetic, following my surgery, I noticed that one of my arms and part of my neck had turned bright pink. How strange! It looked like terrible sunburn - as if I had somehow had a long and foolish nap on a really hot be...
  • Yes, Cinderella! You, too, shall go to surgery!

    The day previous to my breast surgery, I had made sure that I had done all my housework. Just like Cinderella did, before she set off for her special event. So far, so ‘good’. Unfortunately for me the fairy tale didn’t continue run...
  • Looking for a happy ending

    Life has taken a sudden wrong turn because of cancer. I am not too sure how I can get it back on track again. But perhaps this is only a difficult episode, rather than a sad ending. That is the hope. I guess I will just have to wait and see how event...
  • Cold Cap Conclusions

    From my experience, the Cold Cap treatment does work. So if this treatment is offered to you, you should have hope that it will almost certainly be successful for you too. I have now completed 7 simultaneous rounds of the Cold Cap and chemothera...
  • Happy NEW New Year's Eve

    Somehow I missed the moment with the New Year, when it came to starting my resolutions, on Saturday 1st January. Then I completely missed the Russian New Year on Friday 14th January. But there is a third chance, the Chinese New Year on Tue...
  • Colourful Chemo Kimono

    Having cancer is an opportunity to reinvent, and in so many contexts. And for me, it has certainly been in ‘good’ ways and not-so-good ways. I am maybe wiser but I am definitely a lot older too. The drugs are doing such a marvellous job o...
  • Mr Bump

    During all my chemotherapy sessions, I have had the Cold Cap treatment. Each time a bandage gets wrapped around my forehead under the edge of the cap (to avoid frostbite), then all over the top of the Velcro helmet as well (to minimise bubbles and ba...