Friday, 31 December 2010

Life is a rollercoaster ...

You know ... I used to say “if only I could have a pound for every compliment I receive for them red shoes.” However, over the last few weeks it would be for each time someone has said to me “Gosh ... doesn't time fly ... where did that year go ...?

These comments have left me rather bemused ... wondering whether I am now looking so good that people have forgotten what has featured during my year ... or (what is more likely) is that they have very short memories. You see, to be honest, I wouldn’t say this year has been totally plain sailing.  Why not?  Well, let's spend a moment flicking through my 2010 diary ...

January ... mmm ... that was when I had my seventh and final chemo. Moving onto February there were discussions about a mastectomy – something that I really didn’t want – though the ultrasound showed Yukky Lump had not totally disappeared or dispersed but had shrunk and a lumpectomy was indeed possible. In March I had surgery – including the removal of 11 nodes – which was thankfully successful, and finally seven months after my diagnosis I was told that at this moment in time I was cancer-free.

Moving onto May ... when I experienced the high of returning to work ... and the low of four weeks on my back enduring radiotherapy. June and August saw sunny spells in France ... with the final removal of my trademark Baker Boy caps ... coming back to discussions in September regarding further surgery. Then, in mid-November, I saw not one op but two ... asymmetrical surgery on my ‘other side’ and the abstraction of my ovaries. Following a few nail-biting weeks, when I was dreading further bad news, I was informed that the tissue removed had been tested and everything was looking good ... and  I was finally done and dusted ... in time for the festive period and the New Year.

Last Christmas I spent a lot of time thinking about this Christmas ... and this Christmas I spent some time reflecting on last Christmas. Twelve months ago I wasn’t in a good place – not really mentally and definitely not physically. I had just received my sixth chemo – Taxotere number two – and the weird second wave of side effects were just kicking in. I probably could have endured the cardboard mouth and achy joints – but the sore throat, hacking cough, the loss of voice and the hideous rash were terrible. On Christmas Day family members cried when I walked into the room, I missed the Pigeon Pooh Crew Annual Festive Outing ... and by Boxing Day I was visiting the out-of-hours GP to discuss the possibility of being admitted to hospital so I could be treated with antibiotics.

During this horrid spell I remember sitting on my bed – feeling isolated and lonely – flicking through my Favourites and deciding to pop over to Alright Tit. Now, for those of you who have had some unfortunate experience of BC the chances are you will also know Lisa .... Lisa is the Queen of the BC blog world.

I came across Lisa very shortly after my own diagnosis and, although it sounds funny to say it now, I couldn’t bring myself to read large segments of her blog. It was so brutally honest and detailed there was only so much that my distraught emotional state could take, so I would read one entry, switch off and return at another point. However as time went on ... and as I came to terms with what I had ... and the treatment I was to receive ... I became a regular reader.

So what did Lisa have to say during the 2009 festive period? Well, she had posted a photo of herself and husband P. In fact two pictures. The first taken on a bus in London a week after her own diagnosis ... and then the second, more recent snap, captured on a boat on the Seine. She looked lovely in both. Not just lovely ... but happy... a girl that looked a picture of health and fitness ... who was having fun. Lisa’s accompanying commentary basically said “this was me then” and “this is me now ... we made it”.

So I dropped her a note (mine was one of 31 comments on that entry  – I told you she is the Queen of blogs, I think the maximum I have attracted is half that number) and this is what I wrote:
Hey - that is just what I needed. I am having a totally shite time in the middle of this cancer crap - and Christmas crap. Gives me hope that one day I can truly smile again.

Love and hugs - P x
Lisa’s pictures and lengthy personal response to my comment gave me inspiration and on my own blog this very day last year I said:
I bought myself a camera for Christmas. I know, I already have a camera. But the camera I have is big and bulky ... in your face ... so I decided to purchase a little cutie which I can pop in to my back pocket. And it is pink! Yes, how girlie. Now, I am usually very practical with these things. Normally I would buy one in black ... or silver ... with view to the fact that once I have outgrown it then I can pass it on to one of my boys ... they are both broad minded and level headed but they don’t ‘do’ pink . But I didn’t this time. I just thought sod it. I want pink. I am having pink.
So far I have taken one picture with my new pinkie camera. Yep, just the one. Of what? Of me. Yes, rather surprisingly of me. Me, who hates having my pic taken at the best of times ... and this definitely ain’t the best of times. Now, don’t worry I am not gonna post it anywhere. Not yet anyway. I think the description above probably gives you a pretty good idea of what I look like at the moment. Perhaps the word ‘pretty’ isn’t the most appropriate word to use ...

You know the last week has been really tough. The worst in terms of feeling physically poorly. I won’t lie ... there have been tears. But not that many really. Yeah, I got cheesed off ‘cos I wanted to enjoy Christmas Day. I didn’t want my children to wake up on their special day and see their mum looking and feeling so God damn awful. And all the nice things I had planned ... meeting up with my friends for brisk walks and leisurely lunches ... a Christmas party with colleagues ... have all been knocked on the head ... I was really disappointed about that. But mentally I could have been worse ... and am not quite sure why I wasn't ... why I haven’t dissolved in the middle of the kitchen floor. And the only thing I can put it down to is that I have felt so physically poorly that I couldn’t slip mentally ... ‘cos my mind and body would not be able to cope with both. Or perhaps when you feel so so bad that you know that the only way is up ... I dunno. So what has kept me going? Next Christmas. Yeah, I know, it sounds a bit odd. Especially from me ... who doesn’t really ‘do’ Christmas.

You know I mentioned that red silk dress of mine ... the one that I wore to the Christmas party last year. The one where my Little Friend said that I looked like Jessica Rabbit. Well, I have been thinking about that. Thinking about it a lot. And I have made a promise to myself ... that next Christmas I am going to be back in that dress ... and I ain’t going look like I did for Christmas 08 ... no, that is because for Christmas 2010 I am going look even better.

I am going to have the little pixie crop, just like I had done a week before my hair dropped out, and which everyone loved. My brows will be back ... and hopefully my beautiful long black lashes ... Oooh ... and as a treat ... I think I might buy some new cracking killer heels ... red of course. Then I will take a second photo with my little pinkie camera. And I will be able to say ... that was last Christmas ... poorly, blotchy and hairless ... but I made it ... just look at me now. I am back ..."
And so that is exactly what I am going to do ... what I promised a year ago today.

This is this time last year ...



And ... this is now ...

Me in a new red frock ... and new red shoes ... with that pixie hair cut ... with a celebratory glass of red.  I hope you think I have "made it" ... and that it gives inspiration to anyone who is currently where I was this time last year.




I talked about rollercoasters in my very first ever Red Shoes Green Peppers blog ... so I think it is only fitting to refer to them in my very last.

Indeed life is a rollercoaster ... but I am getting used to riding it.  In fact, I would say I am riding it bucking bronco style, one hand gripping and the other swinging, into 2011 ...

Appreciating that most women would not want to stand in my shoes ... but that there are a few out there which gladly would ...

Saying farewell to Red Shoes Green Peppers ...and possibly hello to Red Shoes Red Wheels ...

Someone out there knows what I am referring to ... the rest of you will just have to wait and see ...

In the meantime I would like to wish you a happy, healthy, fit and fun New Year!!!

36 comments:

  1. Hi Red,

    All the best for the New Year Health and Happiness.

    All the best and Good Luck.

    Take care and be safe Big Hugs Love S.xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. Paula Wow you look amazing now. So beautiful. Wishing you love and happiness for 2011.

    What a diary.....You are right too people do have very short memories!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Paula you look stunning chick! What a girl! It's still early days, there are even better things to come.... red wheels would be a flippin marvellous start! much love Mxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW Paula, how absolutely stunning you look! YAY! one hell of a year/rollercoaster ride you've had. Glasses raised for 2011. And....look forward to the red wheels :-)
    Love DL x

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the picture. You are vibrant and alive, and on the other side of something big. You go, girl. You step right out there and you celebrate.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not only have you 'made it' dearest P, you have 'ROCKED IT' .... big time! You look amazing ... you ARE amazing and I'm so proud of you.........red wheels? Mmmmmm do I really have to wait until the 8th to find out what that's all about?! Here's to a fantastic 2011. Love you loads, Bubbles xxxxx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Paula, you are BEAUTIFUL. In both photos, as it goes. But in the second, you're happy. And that makes me happy. May 2011 bring you much, much more of that happy stuff, girl.

    xx

    PS, I finally understand the term 'knowing smile'... I've seen that grin somewhere before too... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi P, apologies for the delay but I do like to make some space and time to emerge myself in your blog. I sometimes read back a little, not just to remind myself where we left off, but to get more more more. As I have said to you before it is with very mixed feelings that I say I love reading your blog, and have done since I first stumbled accross it and read and read and read, with tears streaming, and a smile at all the humour woven through your difficult story.
    Your final blog is no exception. Excellent. I hope you understand when I say i am gutted that its your last,only because the power of your writing is really something to behold. I am of course also delighted too, I am thrilled to witness this final chapter, to celebrate with you, and to see you draw a line.
    Here's hoping you do decide to write something else though, for those of us who become addicts.
    Sweet P, thankyou. For all the people you have helped to understand. And for inspiring and helping (including with the boys blog). You deserve every happiness and many many years of healthy carefree times.
    I look forward to getting those updates over a cuppa instead
    Faye
    xxx
    Cyber hugs

    ReplyDelete
  9. WOW!!!! Tears are flooding as always lady P but maybe just that bit more.
    What a journey you have travelled and you have taught us all so much about life and how we should enjoy it!!!
    I also thank you for your company when we were both laid up in March but for very diffrent reasons.
    I wish you many many years, a lifetime infact, of health and happiness!!!
    Em xxxx

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi paula, Mia's sister here. Your last entry made me cry for joy. You have had a long journey with it all. My experience was just so much shorter. Anyway we both made it and your picture definitely will give huge hope to those out there going through the same thing.
    Rock on 2011!

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