Saturday, 24 April 2010

Oh ... oh ...

I lay in the semi-darkness ... strapped to the bed ... and looked around the room ... noting first the bright lights ... and then the camera which was pointing at me. A voice beside me broke the silence. “It won’t take long. And it shouldn’t hurt. It is just a small prick. Then I will untie you ... we’ll be done ... well for today anyway...”

My very first porn film. It is a remake of that raunchy 80’s classic ... 9½ Weeks  ... but this time called 4 Weeks ... as twenty years on Mickey Rourke no longer has the stamina that he once had.

O ... kay ... so I am joking ... teasing ... pulling your plonker. It was in fact just my infamous vivid imagination during this week’s radiotherapy planning session. But hey, it got your attention didn’t it ... and the thought kept me amused.

So it was back over to the hospital on Wednesday. I wasn't really looking forward to my appointment ... nor was I worried or concerned about it ... I just couldn’t be bothered. The end of treatment is in sight and I am getting impatient.

Hi, my name is Looby Lou, I am an Assistant Radiographer, and will be doing your planning session today.” I peered up at the beaming friendly face ... gosh I was definitely old enough to be Looby Lou’s mother ... I quickly tried to mentally calculate if I could be her grandmother ... she looked so young!

Today we are going to work out your treatment so that your breast receives the most radiation and the healthy tissue and organs, such as your lungs, receive the least. Are you OK with us doing some small tattoos so that we can easily see which area is to be treated?" I nodded my head ... I knew they were going to be tiny. “It means that when you come in for your four weeks of treatment we will be able to line up the linear accelerator quickly and hopefully you can be in and out within 20 or so minutes ... of that the actual treatment will only take a few minutes. Is there anything you are worried about?” I smiled at her. “After seven sessions of chemo ... and then surgery ... this is the part I am least concerned about.” Now, I have been told that this bit is ... quote ... “compared to the rest radiotherapy is a walk in the park.” But as I was the person who used to insist that my dental records were marked with Nervous Patient ... and that I used to greet my dentist with my stress ball ... I am not using that phrase quite yet ... after all we are still talking health professionals and medical equipment ...

I have read the booklet that I was given ... and I think that explained most things” I said to Looby Lou. “Oh good”, she nodded ... and grinned. I wanted to tell her about the bit which made me smile... but there was no point ... she wasn’t old enough to appreciate my comical thoughts. It was under the paragraph Reactions to Radiotherapy. It said .. “External radiotherapy doesn’t make you radioactive. It is safe to be with other people, including children, throughout the course of treatment.” Which made wonder whether some patients think they are going to walk around with a fluorescent silhouette ... like that 80's TV advert for Ready Brek ... with the slogans Central Heating for Kids and Get Up and Glow ...

I have some pressies for you”, said Looby Lou. Oh goodie ... I like pressies. “Here is a gown for you to take home and bring in each day. It is yours. Well, until treatment is finished anyway.” I can admit to you now ... I wasn’t at all disappointed by that last bit. Quite frankly, the gown would have ended up in the same drawer as those fetching DVT stockings ... and at least the DVT stockings might be of some use if I jump on a plane. “And ... some aqueous cream.” Hey ... I bet Looby’s colleagues hope she doesn’t draw their name out of the Secret Santa hat ...

Some people get a mild reaction during treatment so there are some things we recommend you do and don’t do”, continued Looby Lou. “Firstly, we recommend using this cream at least twice daily to keep your breast moisturised. You shouldn’t shave or use a hair removing cream on that armpit ... and no deodorant.” I looked at her quizzically. “I know I shouldn’t put deodorant on before treatment ... but I can apply it afterwards ... right?” “No”, smiled Looby Lou back, "we don’t recommend using deodorant at all during the four weeks ... unless it is aluminium and perfume free ...” Well folks, I know I was pretty excited about the arrival of them pit hairs ... but what I didn’t go on to say was that they didn’t hang around for long ... and although I didn’t admit it to Looby there and then ... there is no way that I can endure four weeks of smelly pit hair ... and for those of you who personally know me ... I don’t suppose you could either ...

Now, I will give you a few minutes to change into your gown and then I will take your down to the treatment room. We will ask you to lie on the couch and then we will work out where we need to make the treatment marks. It can look a bit scary with the green laser lights ... a little like that James Bond film ... but I promise that unlike that, this definitely won’t hurt.

Oh yes ... I know what she is talking about ... which film was that ... err ... ah ... Die Another Day ... with Halle Berry... as Jinx. Now there is a girl who looks good with very short hair. Very short hair and in a bikini. Not just that ... very short hair ... and in a lurid orange bikini. Pah. Just as well I don’t do orange ... I say tongue in cheek and with no bitterness ... ha ha ...

Don’t worry,” interrupted Looby Lou, “we are there all the time so if you are concerned or feeling uncomfortable then you can just say. We do have to leave the room twice ... just quickly ... but we are watching through the CCTV so you just indicate if there is a problem."

I changed into my blue flowery gown and Looby Lou took me down to the treatment room and introduced me to Nicola ... and for 20 minutes or so I lay on the couch, with my arm strapped above my head, as it moved up and down ... left to right ... and light beams flashed across my torso ... Then Looby Lou finally made two tattoo marks ... one between my breasts and another on my armpit ... so tiny they are smaller than my freckles.

As I walked out of the Oncology department ... back into the bright sunshine ... I grabbled for my sunglasses in my bag ... and had a flashback. I suddenly remembered the time a couple of years ago when I was delivering my canvases to the hospital for the annual art exhibition. I had dropped them off and was getting back in my car ... I was feeling a bit low and gloomy. As I went to start the car I looked up and saw a woman leaving Oncology ... she had a book in her hand ... and a scarf on her head ... she had obviously had chemo and was now having radiotherapy. ... but her face was bright and smiley. I recall looking at her and thinking “If she can be happy ... with all that she has been through ... then so can I ... what have I got to be so down about?

Little did I know that exactly two years later ... that woman would be me ...

As I strided down the hill to the car park I bumped into a friend of mine, F1. “You look really well” she said. I thanked her and said that I felt great. “Honestly, you look really well”, she repeated. It wasn’t until later that I realised what she was saying. That not only do I look OK physically, but that I look OK mentally. She could see that sparkle in my eye and a spring in my step.

And things are feeling good you know ... in fact this week I am meeting with my manager, Mr Campbell, to discuss my return to work ... part time to start off with.

I guess you will want to take it easy at first ... especially if you are still having radiotherapy?

Yeah ... there is that ... but then there is this new thespian avenue that I want to pursue. Perhaps a small role in the next Bond movie ...

... with Daniel Craig as 007 ... in his DJ and dickie ... I could be tied to the bed and be shaken and stirred by him anytime ... in fact I am getting that Get Up and Glow just thinking about it ...

Oh oh dear ... I really am back on form aren’t I ...

Sunday, 18 April 2010

"Say fromage .... "

A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.
Ansel Adams

A while ago ... actually sometime ago, long before the Yukky Lump appeared, I asked my friend Bubbles a favour. “If I was to die ... would you arrange an exhibition of some of my photos ... perhaps just a dozen of them ...? Of course!” she replied. Then after a moment of two of consideration she said ... “but does the death bit have to be part of the equation ... I would much rather help you do one whilst you are alive and kicking ..."

After I had recovered from my diagnosis in August (well sort of recovered ... I don’t think I will ever really come to terms with it),  I decided to make the most of my involuntarily time out and set myself two goals, and one of them was to do that photography exhibition. Ironically, my new vulnerability had given me the confidence to go ahead with it ... but I didn't appreciate at the time that my photography mojo was going to take a serious bashing.

Photography is one of my true passions. I remember the very first time I was allowed to use a camera. I went on a school trip to the Roman baths in Bath and my mum let me take her Box Brownie. I got on the bus and everyone else had one too ... and I recall being really fascinated by the fact they came in different styles and colours. Since then photography has always featured in my life ... though at some points more so than others. In my early twenties I purchased a 35mm Canon EOS ... but then some years on the children came along and didn’t have so much time ... then I bought a cheap and cheerful digital to record their early days ... before I later invested in some more heavy weight equipment.

My pals are use to me constantly carrying my camera in my hand or around my neck. My bike even has a pouch on the handlebars so I can easily pedal around and whip it out at a moment’s notice. I remember me and My Little Friend cycling around Poitou Charentes a couple of years ago ... at the beginning of the holiday she would look at me and then out at the landscape to where my lens was pointing and wail “I can’t see the picture ...” but after two weeks of observing me ... literally watching me take hundreds of photos ... she got the idea ... and would get really excited as the shutter clicked and would exclaim “I can see the picture!” She and her family even have a special term ... “Oh it is very Paula-resque” ... which they use to describe a photo ... or something that I might take a photo of.

So what has happened with the photography over the last few months? Well not much really. I am not sure why ... probably because I haven’t being getting out and about much ... and on top of that, because of treatment, two of my proposed French holidays were knocked on the head ...

When I went to Wound Clinic a few weeks ago Nurse G asked me when I was due to see Dr J again. I said I didn’t know and so she logged on to the computer and checked. “Oh ... next Wednesday” she said. “No”. I replied. “I am not coming in next week. I am going away next week. Since August I have cancelled two holidays and I am not giving up another one.” “That’s OK” she assured me “it is only a check up we will postpone it a week. Where are you going ... somewhere nice?” “Only Cornwall ... but it will be an overdue break.” She nodded and replied “Cornwall can be lovely ... especially if the sun shines ...”

The first couple of days were a bit grotty weather-wise. Grey and damp ... but on Wednesday I woke to glorious blue skies and sunshine. We drove into Padstow ... now jokingly nicknamed Padstein ... and actually saw the renowned chef walking up the hill ... though it was funny not to see Chalky dancing at his feet. We met up with Lil’sis, her husband and That Ruddy Dog, who had chosen a great day to join us, and we all jumped on the little ferry and rode over to Rock. Once there we walked along waterfront, admiring the beautiful and impressive houses, before settling down at a restaurant for a little alfresco lunch.

Just after our food was served I turned to Lil’sis and said “I had to laugh on our first morning here.  Tinker woke and asked if we had bought some pain au chocolat. He thought we were in France! We obviously spend too much time there!” “Well ... you can hardly talk” jibed S, “sat here with your mussels and glass of wine ... anybody would think you were there too.” And I could have been ... I could have been in Cornwall ... or Poitou ... or even Cape Cod. The sun was shining ... the sea was glistening ... and I closed my eyes and sat back ... relaxed ... feeling happy and content ...

The weather remained good and the following days we did more of the same ... packing picnic bags, books and various bats and balls and went off to Polzeath and Constantine Bay. And ... it was there ... at Constantine ... that I decided to pick up the camera and leave the beach and wander over to the rocky cliff. The huge waves were pounding into the cove ... spraying high into the air ... and ... for the first time in ages ... I was captivated. Which is one of the reasons I enjoy photography so much ... I just lose all my senses ... I become totally ignorant of what is around me ... my mind become totally focussed on what I am attempting to capture ... I enter a world of my own. And, it was there, as I waited for each wave to break, and I sat with baited breath, staring through the view finder, with my finger on the shutter, that for the first time in ages I felt that old familiar photography passion. Later, as I walked back to the beach I thought about a newspaper article I read earlier that day...

Now, even before the arrival of the Yukky Lump, I wasn’t a save-it-for-best kind of girl. I couldn’t understand the point of buying a shiny new car but never driving it just in case it might get dirty or scratched ... or accepting a beautiful solitaire but never wearing it, because of fear that the rock might fall out ... so to me the thought of owning a camera and never using it is unbelievable.

According to the morning paper, camera king Leica has teamed up with fashionistas Hermes, and are going to sell a special edition M7 camera. Just a hundred of them. I must admit they are cute ... clad in special orange calfskin ... delivered in special silk lined and linen covered boxes. But the cuteness comes at a price ... £8,735 ... to be exact. And, what is so sad, is that most of these M7s will remain in their designer boxes ... as just breaking the seal could mean a four grand depreciation. Of course, the fact it is actually a camera is totally irrelevant. It could be vase ... or a picture ... it is a collectable ... something to be admired and not used. What a waste.

Just before my operation I hunted down my friend Caerphilly who works at the hospital and who organises an annual art exhibition. I have entered twice before and have sold a number of photo canvases. It is obviously nice when people say that like your pictures ... but when someone actually chooses to buy one ... and voluntarily displays it in their home ... it is a real compliment. Last year a hospital consultant was so pleased with his purchase that he even sent me a photo of my photo hung in his living room.

I take it you are running the exhibition again this year? What date is it?” I asked Caerphilly. “Oh ... I am sorry ... we are not doing it this year ... I have just sent a note out.” “Oh no ... I was just considering my entries” I said disappointed. “I tell you what” she replied. “the current exhibition at the Chapel gallery is due to come down ... would you like to do your own exhibition there? Your photos would be suitable for such a sensitive environment. There is room for about a dozen pictures. I'll take you down there”.   So me and Bubbles followed her and took a look.

So it is happening. My very own exhibition. And not only that ... an exhibition at my hospital ... at the hospital where I was born ... where my mother sadly died ... where I tragically lost my first baby ... but went on to celebrate the birth of two healthy sons. The hospital where I was told that I have a huge Yukky Lump ... and where the wonderful health professionals have shrunk it ... removed it ... and got me back on track ... to enjoy the things I love doing ... like taking photos ...

So it looks like I am to achieve one of the goals that I set out to do last Autumn. The other one ....? Well ... maybe not ...

So what was it?

Well ... it was to learn French ...and I admit ... I am not progressing so well on that front. I still can’t enquire “What time is the next train to Lyon?” ... or “Do you have this shoe in a size 5?” .... but heck ... I can I get by with the important stuff ..

Je voudrais des moules ... et une bouteille du vin blanc, s'il vous plait ... oooh la la ...”

To see the Cornwall pics come over to mine - click here

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Lovin’ and livin’

Love – what is love?
A great and aching heart;
Wrung hands; and silence; and a long despair.
Life – what is life?
Upon a moorland bare
To see love coming and see love depart.
Love, What Is Love?
Robert Louis Stevenson

You know people often say nice things to me – complimenting and praising the way I have been dealing with the Yukky Lump and everything else that comes with it. They tell me that I am “brave” ... and “courageous” ... and “inspirational” ... and although the comments are well meant ... I must admit I treat them like water off a duck’s back.

Now ... don’t get me wrong ... if someone says they are reading the blog and enjoying it then I am absolutely delighted. If it means that I am succeeding in promoting breast cancer awareness, and sharing what it is like to go through the trials and tribulations of treatment, hopefully in an informative (and perhaps in a sometimes humorous and witty) way, then I feel I am making a difference ... and that is an achievement. But to be honest most of the time I don’t make a conscious decision on how to get through this crap ... I was dealt this dire card ... and my attitude is that I will grit my teeth and get on with it. Then, once it is over and done with, I will draw a line under it and get on with the rest of my life. Or will I ...?

Thankfully I don’t have too many days where I feel really depressed ... my sad bad moments tend to last only minutes or very occasionally hours. My last grey day was ironically just after I was told the Yukky Lump had been successfully removed, that no more surgery would be necessary and I could move on to radiotherapy. Isn’t that ironic? The very day that I had longed for ... for over seven arduous months ... the day I should have been celebrating ... whooping for joy ... but I wasn’t. I was depressed, sad, angry ... and resentful. Though I wasn’t surprised by this. You see I have read that these are common feelings for people who have been diagnosed with cancer and have been successfully treated. Their friends, family and colleagues, expect them to be happy and buoyant ... but in reality they are often left shocked and traumatised ... and embittered.

I am not sure why I woke on that particular day and felt so bad ... maybe it was the aftermath from the general anaesthetic ... or the side effects frm the huge amount of painkillers ...but whilst I sat back and thought “yeah, it looks like I have cracked it ... for now anyway” I then went on to consider that I hadn’t made it to this point without battle wounds. The lump may have gone but what had I endured to get that far? I had been robbed of nearly a year of my life ... no job ... no social life ... no holidays! Surgery that has left me permanently scarred. The physical mutilation after the seven sessions of chemo ... the chemo that made me really feel sick ... and left me fat and bald ... like a little Buddha. And, more than three months after the final poisonous cocktail, the chemical burns are still visible on my hands and wrists ... and a number of my fingernails are about to dramatically drop off. Yeah ... I had got to where I wanted to be ... but boy I paid a bloody price for it.

For those of you who are reading this and are fortunate not to have cancer then you are probably unaware of a  secret cyber world that exists in this malignant parallel universe. Until last August I had absolutely no idea of its being ... but it is there. People, who like me that have been told that they have a Yukky Lump nestling somewhere in their body, silently communicating electronically and supporting each other through blogs like this, or chat forums on sites such as MacMillan or Breast Cancer Care, which are a bit like Facebook for cancer sufferers.

A couple of days ago I “popped” over to say hi to my friend Debby. Debby lives in the States and went through what I am experiencing now about a year ago ... and, like me, she tends to wear her heart on her sleeve and tells it like it is. In her blog this week Debbie described her latest trip to the Cancer Centre. She detailed how, whilst waiting to be seen, she met a younger woman with two children – aged 8 and 10. Yep, a lady that is a similar age to me ... and whose kids are exactly the same age as mine. But what Debby found out from chatting to this lady was that she doesn’t have breast cancer ... she has metastatic breast cancer ... cancer in her liver ...  and her lungs. She had breast cancer five years ago, and was thinking that she was in the clear... but then out of the blue these secondaries appeared. She told Debby "I didn't know. I thought that because my mammograms were good, I was okay. I did not know that if it came back, it would probably be someplace else."

You see ... breast cancer rarely kills. We often hear that women (and sometimes men) die of breast cancer ... but that isn’t strictly true. The breast is not a vital organ and so if you can remove the cancer from the breast there is a much improved chance of living. But sadly cancer likes to roam ... and with breast cancer it tends to break out and venture into the brain, spine, liver and lungs. This is serious big-boy-cancer ... demise of those crucial parts of your body can be fatal.

In her blog Debby points out that health professionals talk about getting rid of the breast cancer ... however patients are rarely told that the chances of the cancer returning to the same area is not the concern ... but that it might reappear in a more threatening location.  Debby also explains how witnessing the stark reality of the cancer coming back to haunt this younger woman, a mother of two primary school aged children, has really shocked her. And, as I read her admission of fear, I could empathise with her angst ...

A few days after surgery, I sat in bed and checked out a number of my favourite blogs. I wondered if my cyber friend Pash was around, as she hadn’t updated for a while. Pash – real name Sarah but known as Pash due to her passion for life – was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of months prior to me. She had the same chemo regime as me, then a mastectomy just before Christmas and everything seemed to be going fine ... until January ... when she started complaining of vision problems and went back to the hospital for a scan, “just in case”. Sadly, Pash was told that the cancer had metastasised and that she had 8 lesions on the brain. Her prognosis was possibly up to five years ... but she was told in reality it was more likely to be 18 months to 3 years. However ... what should have been devastating news didn’t knock Pash ... nope, renowned for her postive mental attitude she kept striding on with life.  She moved into the beautiful country cottage that she had always longed for ... with her new sweetheart Neil ... and was absolutely adamant that Mr Frodo was not going to stop her from doing anything ... she was going to get as much as she could out of every single day.

As her blog appeared on my screen I could see it had been updated. But unfortunately not by Pash. The latest entry explained how she had not really recovered from a recent fall ... had contracted pneumonia ... and although her mind was a positive fighter ... her poor body couldn’t cope. And, on the day of my own surgery, Pash’s friends and family had joined her at her hospital bedside and celebrated her wedding to Neil ... and were there an hour or so later ... when she sadly passed away ... only nine months after her initial diagnosis ...

As I read the devastating news the sorrowful words blurred as my eyes filled and I cried. There were tears for Pash ... and Neil ... and her family and friends.  But ... if I am honest ... there were also tears for me ... for my own fragility ... vulnerability ... and mortality...

And then the tears stopped ... something made me dry my wet face ... rise from my bed ... venture out ... and enjoy the beautiful sunny spring day.

What I want to tell those folk who say I am “brave” ... and “courageous” ... and “inspirational” ... is that there isn’t always a smile on my face ... there are definitely grey down days. But what I think of ... and what I reflect on ... when I have those horrid grotty spells ... or tearful times ... is the likes of Pash ... and the lady in Debby’s waiting room. Yeah, I was handed a dire card ... but there are people out there that are even less fortunate and have been dealt two, or three, or four crap cards. I don’t know what is around the corner ... none of us do ... but I feel I owe it to those guys, as well as myself, to try and make the most of what I got now.

As the feisty little angel whispered into my ear the other day ...

Don’t just live the moment, love the moment. Get up. Go out. Kick ass.”

R.I.P. Pash.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

A puppy is for life ...

You were audible from here” Bubbles scolded gently, as I returned to the waiting area. “You are the only person I know that I could escort to Wound Clinic and hear you laughing from the consulting room. What on earth was going on?” “Oh, it is Nurse G, she is a right one” I responded matter of factly. Bubbles looked at me, her eyebrows slightly raised, her facial expression silently saying “That didn’t answer my question.” So I continued “Well ... after she checked my breast she tried to preserve my privacy and dignity by covering it with the gown. However, I pulled it right back and said “Oh no, don’t hide it ... I am rather proud of my new boob ... I like to show it off at any opportunity". I went on to explain that Nurse G laughed and said "Well, Dr J has done a very good job so I don’t blame you. Though I wonder what will you be like once he has done the other one?! Then we both had a chuckle at that thought.” What I didn't admit to Bubbles was my laughter was a possibly a little too hearty ... through slight embarrassment ... ‘cos I am aware Nurse G asked a very good question ...

That was the first hospital appointment of the week ... as my sooper-dooper consultants are having a little game of Paula Ping-Pong and my wonderful breast surgeon, Dr J, has just batted me back over to my oncologist, Dr Oh-so-luv-ver-ly, who greeted me at my second appointment with his usual beaming smile. “How are you feeling?” he enquired. “I am alright. The breast is OK but I am getting some pain in my arm. I went to Wound Clinic on Monday and they said this level of discomfort is to be expected. It could continue for the next few days or weeks, but it is something that I may unfortunately have for years. It is nothing abnormal.” Dr O smiled sympathetically.

I expect someone has gone through the outcome of the surgery with you? he probed. Now, Dr Price did say a little bit about it but I was more than happy to hear it again, and perhaps glean more information so I replied “Mmm ... not really”. So he launched into his appraisal “Well ... the lump was 2.5 cm ... and the margins were excellent. They removed 11 nodes in total and although we didn’t expect to find any cancer in them, as the chemo should have probably killed it off, the good news is that we couldn’t find any evidence of there ever being any malignancy there.”

A bit of good news and not such good news then. Good news that there doesn't ever to appear to have been cancer in the nodes - but a bit of a blow that the lump was actually bigger than the scan had indicated, as Dr Ultrasound said he thought it had shrunk to only 1.5 cm. Having said that, this news didn't surprise me as I know ultrasound scans are not very accurate. Dr U had also said that my tumour was believed to be about 5cm at diagnosis – but Dr O had previously indicated it was more likely to be at least 6cm – and I am going with him on that as the Yukky Lump lay along the cup of my breast and even I could tell it was pretty big.

My musing was interrupted as Dr O started talking again ... perhaps he had read my mind ... “You know I am very pleased with your treatment ... things have gone very well. I know we cancelled your last chemo and I comfortable and confident that was the right thing to do. We are on track and I am now going to refer you for radiotherapy." “Four weeks ... three on the breast ... and one on the skin?” I butted in. He chuckled a little at my rude interuption ... I guess not all patients have the awareness and understanding of their care pathway like I do. “Yep, exactly!” he said nodding his head.

Now before you go, can I just take a look?” “Oh yes” I replied just a little too heartily and eagerly stripped and jumped onto the chaise. “Can you put your hand over your head?” and I obediently did as I was asked. “That’s great as you will need to be able to do that for radiotherapy.” He inspected my new, rather yellow and orangey, but rejuvanated breast and concluded “Ideal. It looks very good”. “I know” I said and smiled proudly as I admired it too.

Now I am aware that you are probably thinking ... she has spent months crapping on about how much she didn’t want surgery ... how much she loved her ample boobs ... and that she didn’t want some breast surgeon let loose on them. I know ... I know ... the only way I can explain is ...

Imagine you have a pair of old faithful dogs ... something hearty like a couple of labs or retrievers ... and then suddenly and sadly one dies. And whilst you are upset and are grieving, your well meaning friends and family suggest that you get a new doggy to replace your previous one ... to fill the emotional and physical gap. But you are adamant ... no, nothing will replace your old trusty companion. Then one day someone turns up at your house ... with a cute little woof woof ... and although you initially resist ... after a few days you have fallen for its charms and enjoy its company. It ain’t the same as your old pet ... but you start to warm to it ... it is new, novel and fun ... it has an endearing youthfulness and is sparky and alert. Yeah I know it is ironic ... but that’s how I feel about my new boob. OK it might be a bit swollen and discoloured at the moment but give it a few weeks, once it has resumed its usual tone, I think I will become quite fond of it ...

In fact I am seriously thinking of exhibiting at Crufts this year ... yep, my new puppies ... Pinky and Perky ...