Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dear reader ....

I do apologise. I've been so busy of late that I haven't blogged for nearly a week. I've been quite busy on community events - the most recent a celebration of St George's day at the pub. A superb meal was followed by a mummers play. We had no time whatsoever for a rehearsal so we had to read out parts - but the amusement provided seemed to have greatly pleased our audience.

Franc the Van is sitting proudly outside the house and tomorrow the habitation check van man cometh to ensure that everything that should be, is safe.  And the weekend after this one we're off for our first camping of the season. I'm very excited to be able to get out and about again in Franc. I've missed him a lot.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

My Annus Bonus

Behind the scenes here at Holly Cottage we've had a right old Latin lesson and I can now confirm my Annus Bonus as a quick description of the year in which I was saved.

It's amazing how quickly that disruption to my life has sunk into my past - only I'm not so sure my subconscious feels quite as at peace about the whole thing as I feel on the surface. My dreams are strange and I reckon that during the night the old grey cells are busy trying to rearrange the record to take into account the buffeting my psyche received last year.

Physically I forget entirely that I am anything but whole - I certainly feel hearty.  Interestingly enough a binge on Saturday night during which I ate everything on my plate and drank champagne, wine and finally a double of single malt, is something I will not repeat. I had a hangover, unsurprisingly - not a bad one, but unmistakeably a hangover.  I apologised to my liver and vowed to get back on the no alcohol and no sugar routine immediately.

When I say I forget entirely, well I do with the exception of one or two twinges which have been apparent in the past couple of weeks, around the site of the incision in my back. I am conscious of something - as if I've done a bit too much lifting - but only very slightly. If a medic asked me to describe what and where I wouldn't be able to. It's too subtle a feeling. I can only conclude that some of the nerves are re-establishing contact around the site of the incision.  Jolly good show eh!

Monday, 16 April 2012

(missing title)

Today we liberated Franc the Van from his sojourn in a wood where he'd been hibernating under a slightly padded waterproof cover. Amazingly the only mould to be seen was on a bit of melamine round the fridge and on the kitchen vent wire filter. Presumably there was enough bacterial matter (dead flies, smidgins of food, etc.) on the wire to make a mould feel it worth a mycelium.

Franc is now to have a habitation check and we're resolved to find out how and where we switch on the central heating when The Man comes. We've both forgotten where the controls are. (I have my suspicions about a small area of switching mechanisms with a nob or two and an LED which I don't recall belonging to any other control.) The Romahome explanatory book is sadly lacking on detail in this regard and the manufacturer's booklet - to which Romahome refers - gives 30-odd pages on installation but no picture whatsoever of the controls!

You're wondering, I know you are, don't deny it, why I've titled this post (missing title). Well, it was while I was cleaning the muck off the kitchen vent in Franc that I got to wondering what handy title I could give to last year.  I need a handy title because I keep finding I have to refer to it. That was the year in which I underwent chemo therapy and had two thirds of a lung out. So it could be called my Annus Cannulus* (because of the number of cannulas I had stuck into me). I'd prefer it wasn't my Annus Horribilus because I don't actually see is as negative. It was all positive. 2010 wasn't good because in that year I got the diagnosis, but in 2011 they appeared to have cured me. So we reckon (I've got hubby in on this now and we have two Latin dictionaries annd the internet to play with) that 2001 was an Annus Bonum.  Latin scholars will no doubt put me right on this if my declention* is wrong.

NB. I was not privileged to "do" Latin, being merely a Beta-grade pupil until my fourth year of grammar school, at which point They discovered I did have some semblance of a brain.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Project: hymns

I've decided to retrain my voice by doing a bit of singing every day - currently I'm having problems with the notes from A (above middle C) to D. I can get them but it's very strained and not comfortable and I long to be able to open my throat and really belt those notes out, as I used to. 

I've decided to use Hymns Ancient & Modern Revised and start at the front and sing right through. So that you can keep up-to-date on my progress I've put a link on the right hand side of this page - just in case you wonder how it's going.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Bad science

I must apologise for the appallingly bad science of my rash theory. As a dear friend who has been my signpost for so much of my cancer journey has pointed out, and as my nutritionist has also stated, Vitamin C tablets contain lots of other things. They're right - I checked the ones I've been taken are full of all sorts of very long-named chemicals.

It's quite possible that my rash (and the rashes attributed by others to Vitamin C) are caused by an over-sufficiency of some other ingredient. Nevertheless I am continuing without the food supplement now and (if I can resist hubby's wonderful homemade bread) going back on my austere diet in order to rid myself of the excesses of Easter (yes, I did eat some Easter eggs) and hopefully deplete some of the excess adipose tissue around my waist in time for summer.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Alleluia - my voice is returning!

It's quite appropriate I guess to head this up with an alleluia - for today is Easter Sunday and I've been singing for hours. OK my tones are less that rounded and pure at times, some Bs and Cs have been questionable, but it's working better and better the more I sing.

Up to this point I was worried that I might strain it unduly by doing a lot of singing, but over the past week I've been working it hard. Two services on Good Friday and then a band rehearsal, a MCing job (albeit not singing) last night meant that I was projecting my voice, and then two services in one morning today.

Perhaps I was right after all in my theory that the thyroid nodules were affecting my voice. Maybe my wildest dream could come true and it might end up better than it was before it started to decline. Wouldn't that be wonderful!

I'm thinking that I need to sing every day and not just songs in a key of my choosing. Should I attempt to sing right through Hymns Ancient & Modern starting at the first one and doing the whole 600 or so - or at least the ones I know tunes for?  One a day - that sounds like a plan. I'll let you know how I get on.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

When's a login a username or a PIN or a password or an ID or a passcode?

I don't know about you but I'm considerably annoyed by the plethora of web sites that I need to use which have enhanced security to such an extent that I cannot possibly remember all the different pieces of information I need to access them. If we are to have different password for every single web service we use (and I really recommend that you do that) then it is simply not possible to remember them all. For a start, you don't always get a chance to choose and might easily be saddled with the occasional 786cv33bN or similar.

On top of that I've noticed a definite trend to complicate matters even further. I can cope with a login and a password. I can even cope with a user name, a login and a password. What really annoys me is when the provider uses the word login in the sign up screen and then askes for a user name, or demands a passcode when they've earlier referred to it as a PIN. For goodness sake, if the provider can't stick to a consistent language, how on earth are us mere mortals expected to cope?

Because I am the guardian of so many password and login details for people for whom I've set up web sites, as well as all the ones that I have myself, I have to keep a list. But it's a list of cryptic clues - not the actual words. Just occasionally they're so cryptic that even I can't understand them!

Anyone who does internet banking, online communication with their GP's surgery, their school intranet, their Hotmail account, logs into Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, MSN Messenger, Flickr or a hundred and one more online services must either use the same identification for many or keep a list. It's not humanly possible to do otherwise. Ergo the more online stuff we do, the more insecure it all becomes.

P.S. That last posting on the first of April wasn't an April fool in case you were wondering. I'm pleased to report that the rash abated as soon as I stopped the Vitamin C and it's continued to fade and is almost gone.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Can you have too much Vitamin C?

I've been taking food supplements since I was diagnosed with lung cancer including a daily dose of Vitamin C. However something someone said last night about Vitamin C suddenly made me wonder if my skin rash is due to too much.

A Google reveals people who are actually allergic to Vitamin C - although none of the medical web sites mention it. One of the side effects of too much is, yes, you've guessed it, a skin rash.

I've been puzzled as to how my skin could not be in the best possible order and why it might hospitable to a fungal rash. Maybe I have the answer. Time will tell. No more Vitamin C supplements for the time being. Meanwhile we continue with the cream three times a day and to give the medication its due, it does seem to have had an effect.