Friday, 31 December 2010

Christmas Phew!!!

My life has been all mixed up for the last three weeks with the run up to Christmas and all of the arrangements. I have had a thoroughly wonderful Christmas which was actually WHITE this year and now I am ready to get back into the routine of life.

I had my unltrasound scan the Wednesday before Christmas and am waiting for the results. They spotted a fibroid which might be the cause of all of my problems but my ovaries were clear! I can't believe it having been diagnosed with Polycycstic Ovary Syndrome before I had the children. I am wondering if the chemo actually cleared my ovaries and thats why my body has gone into overdrive. Who knows? I just want to sort this problem out.

I am worried about my mum though as she is all out of sorts and not looking her usual self. I think Christmas time brings back memories and when you have lost a child and your parents, it must hurt so badly. I know that when I was on FB just before Christmas there was a bit of banter going on about what are your best Christmas memories and I started to think about them.... I got very sad, very angry because I realised just how much I miss my big brother Peter. He may have been dead for 20 years but sometimes it feels like 20 minutes.

I have decided not to go near FB for the next few days. I find new year and the way people treat it quite maudling and I would rather not put myself through it all in my own home. I don't want to look at the past and what has happened, I want to look to the here and now and the future....

So I am sitting here, Carry On Camping on the television and a dog on each side. The children are happy playing and all is peaceful for now.

I have decided that 2011 is going to be my year..............

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Dr Soe

This week has been a bit of a muddle really. I turned up for my oncologist appointment on Monday only to find out that I wasn't due there until Wednesday.

I had a long wait to see Dr Soe, scarey really at the age range of patients waiting to see various surgeons etc. Made me feel like a child!!

Dr Soe was very pleasant although I much prefered Dr Champion, she was direct and outspoken but you knew exactly where you were with her. Dr Soe is so quiet and gentle and I always struggle to understand him. Anyway, he was happy with my situation and explained that the Tamoxifen is causing menopausal symptoms, it doesnt mean that I am going through the menopause.... He is going to expidite my abdominal scan and praised my GP for taking the right action.

I won't have to see Dr Soe again until December 2011 and after that I will be left in the care of the surgeons. Its all good news, I feel as though I have lived in the unit for 22 months so to have all of this free time is liberating.

After doing my 10K race I hit a bit of a slump. Craving all of the wrong food, having no get up and go. Glad to say that I got it back today and feel very much like myself again.

I have changed gyms because I feel that I have outgrown my old gym, its very small and I want something which will be challenging for me. I have also decided to give a low GI diet a go because I am fed up of diets and want to do something which all of the family can do with me.

My eldest son has decided that he quite likes running having done it at school so I have promised him that I will start to train him.

I have also decided to get my business up and running again although I wont be working evenings as I did before and I will limit myself to one day only.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Tatton Yule Yomp -12th December 2010

Today was the day.... I have been training for this day for a long time, even running on ice in sub zero temps. I was ready to run my first 10K. It should have been done on 1st March 2009 but cancer kind of got in the way. I finished my treatment in October 2010 and I must admit some of the side effects are starting to get better such as the aching joints and hands.

Today it was all about sticking the V's up to cancer and drawing a line under the last 22 months. I was also raising money for the Love Hope Strength Foundation because not only is it a global cancer charity but its co-founder Mike Peters has got me through my own fight with cancer because of his music, his tenacity, his positivity and the fact he will never give up.
 I have managed to raise over £700 for the charity. I was going to dress up as Rudolph but as it was my first official race I decided to wear the names of fellow cancer fighers on my back. Sadly, some of those fighters are not with us now but remain with us in spirit and love.
 There were some crazy fancy dress costumes as you can see by the photo above! Amazing! There was such a lovely feel to the event, it was well organised and friendly. My nerves of last night needn't have got the better of me. There was freezing fog which was terribly hard to run in, alot harder than sub zero temperatures. The fog got to my chest and set off an asthma attack but I kept going. I hooked up with a guy called Andy half way through as he was struggling. If I had carried on alone I know I could have improved my time by 10 mins but sometimes, other things are more important, and people are more important to me than times or personal bests. He thanked me for my companionships, told me he would never have got around if it werent for me.
Crossing that line was amazing. All of Andys friends were shouting for him and I egged him on. My name came over the tannoy and I was handed my medal, something I will treasure forever.

A big and huge thank you to my lovely friend Lesley Kenton who not only took me to the race but sat there waiting for me in the freezing cold, took photos for me and was there to cheer me on over the finish line. That meant the world to me, thank you Lesley xxx

Not too sweaty but damp because of the freezing fog. My chest hurts right now but I have time to recover. I now need to set a new challenge for myself....... what will it be???

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Almost There!!!

Well, not long to go now! Only 4 more sleeps and I will be doing my first 10K running race in Tatton Park. The race is called Tatton Yule Yomp and its 6.2 miles of running through parkland. I am looking forward to it because I will be (in the words of Mike Peters) "right back where I started from" before cancer.

I am writing the names of fellow fighters onto pink ribbons and pinning them to my running jacket. Nimblerunner gave me the idea and while I was out on my 3 mile run this morning I was battling with mental fatigue. I thought of all the people who have touched my life through cancer and all of those who have supported me by sponsoring me and that got me through the mental barrier. I thought that it would be good to wear those peoples name with pride on Sunday, that way you will all be with me.

Training has been hit and miss because of school holidays and the weather of course. Running in sub zero temps has been hard work. Trying to run on black ice has been tiring as well. I am not a fast runner. I can manage a 3 mile run in 36 minutues and a 6 mile in about an hour and 20 - I wished I was faster but I am short and I have just finished 20 months of cancer treatment so I should give myself a break shouldnt I?

Ah well, I am not sure if I will be able to get pictures on the day because I think I will leave the boys at home but we will see.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Farndon & District Junior Brass Band

My eldest son, Joseff plays in Farndon & District Junior Brass Band. A band which has only been in existance since the summer and some of the band members were completely new to playing instruments. Yesterday they played at Bellis's Country Market, it was their first "outside" concert so alot of the band members were quite nervous. The adult band was playing first then during their break, the children took over in their newly purchased uniforms.

Joe was worried that he hadn't practiced enough as he takes his music quite seriously but he needn't have worried because I was so very proud of him playing his cornet.

Santa was arriving at 6pm which is why his reindeer are there waiting for him. The next concert is an evening one to a closed audience to which we need to purchase tickets. I don't mind because the band really does need the support for equipment etc. Joseff has his own cornet because he had lessons in primary school. Sadly his brass tutor was uninspiring and Joe decided not to continue with lessons in high school.

However, he has straight A's and A+ in music and his music teacher wants to push him to the max, PROUD is not the word!

Janet, pictured here is the wonderful junior band leader who teaches the children. She has a gentle and kind approach which really makes the kids enthusiastic to learn and develop. Janet gave birth to her second son just last week so is on maternity leave at the moment but her dedication to the children meant that she still came to conduct at the event (even though she was visibly shattered).

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Nimble Runner Needs Your Support in His Fight Against Cancer If you follow this link, you will find a guy who calls himself Nimble Runner on Twitter. He is running a marathon to raise money in the fight against cancer. He needs to get about 58 new twitter followers in order to qualify for the run. He is also pledging to wear a ribbon dedicated to a loved one who had fallen to cancer.

Please give Nimble Runner your support.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Moved to Tears, Message of Hope

As with every morning, one of my rituals is to log onto facebook and twitter to catch up with what is happening with the world and my friends. I also like to set up my Weight Watchers page ready for the day ahead.

This morning, I logged onto facebook to find a personal message and gosh, it moved me to tears so I really want to share it with you

As you know you are a real inspiration to me and everyone who knows you. You have been up against some of the hardest challenges life could throw at you, yet you still embrace life and battle the challenges with the fight to win each time. You also pass this strength on to lots of people who know you and even knows who know of you and I feel honoured to have you in my life.

My mum is in teneriffe this week and has gone with a friend she works with. During the holiday, she informs my mum that she has breast cancer, stage 2 and will be having an op shortly. She was very very low and was talking about this now being the end of her life etc etc. My mum then talked to her about you and told her she was so wrong and explained all your journey and how she would have to take what she had said back and fight it!!! Sara, you would not believe the change in her. She went was petrified to yes I can fight this all by listening to your story!!!

Keep sharing your stories Sara as they are helping change lives without you even knowing.

Your wonderful

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Things I Don't Miss....

It has been 6 weeks since I had my last dose of herceptin and one thing I have noticed is that my aches are getting better. That fact got me thinking to my other pesky side effects of cancer treatment and I realised that I no longer suffer from chemo chills, my hand grip is coming back and I am feeling fitter than ever.

I am due to run my first 10K in a couple of weeks time and so far I have raised £455 for The Love Hope Strength Cancer Foundation! I am nervous and excited because once I cross that finish line, I know for a fact that I have beaten cancer.

The other side effects aren't pleasant such as the hot flushes but I read an article which said that if you had these when taking tamoxifen the cancer is less likely to return - bring em on then, thats what I say!

I am starting to think about returning to work as a mobile dog groomer. However, if and when I do return, big changes will have to be made......

I need a smaller and lighter grooming table and a smaller grooming box in which I carry only what I need for the appointment. I will also keep my appointments to one particular day, I thought of a Tuesday because Joe does a ju-jitsu class on that day and I can book Harry into after school club and take my last booking at 3pm.

When I was last running as Clippers and Claws I was a bit of a softy, taking on clients and exhausting myself in the process. This time around I must be tougher, more assertive. Stick to the designated day and time I have decided upon and NO night work!

I will let you know how I get on!

Monday, 22 November 2010

I am Back!

I havent been around much lately because life is so hectic. Now that I am back in the driving seat I am busy with caring for my special needs son and fighting his corner. I finished herceptin about a month ago and I am still waiting for the side effects to leave me. I desperately want my swollen fingers to go down so that I can wear my wedding rings again. However, its nice that I am wearing rings which are very dear to me, my Nains (grandmothers) and my great auntie Lizzies engagement ring.

I have been busy going to concerts, running and generally enjoying my life. I am still fighting with my weight but Tamoxifen isnt the best drug to lose weight on!

My running is going well.... only a few more weeks until my race! If you are able to sponsor me please visit my Just Giving page

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Each New Day

 Each new day has something special to give to you, a lesson to be learnt or a new discovery.
 Every day is special for me. I always try to find something in it that I can recall and think "that was good". It may be a little boy rolling around on the school playground, a baby calf being licked clean by its mother or a friendly comment.
 The happiness of others. Happiness and positivity are contagious so forget your misfortune and saddness, look for the beauty in that day, accept it with a smile and grow from it.
Each new day I thank my stars for my beautiful sons, for living in a free country, for having legs so that I can walk and run, eyes so that I can see the beauty in all that is around me and ears so that I can listen to all of the things which give me pleasure.

Friday, 8 October 2010

A New Chapter

On Wednesday 6th October 2010 I had my last infusion of herceptin! I calculated that each dose of herceptin costs £2000 - amazing! I am so glad that I have been given the drug, the side effects are worth having for the fact that it is such an effective anti-cancer drug.

I was so sad to be saying goodbye to all of the staff at the Shooting Star Unit. We have had a relationship spanning almost 2 years and I have come to know them all like friends. I will pop in to say hello every now and again though.

So I had a range of emotions..... sadness, relief, scared!!!

I feel as though cancer is a thing of the past for me now, onwards and upwards is what I want to keep saying. The world is my oyster.

Before cancer I didnt have much self confidence, I would never "go it alone" but now, with my second chance at life I am grabbing it with both hands. I would have come up with countless excuses for not going to gigs but now I am making excuses for why I shouldnt go.

Life is for living and I am doing that to the full!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Blogging for Boobs - Breast Cancer Awareness!

I have placed the photos in no particular order, cancer doesn't leave order in your life but these photographs reflect 20 months of breast cancer treatment.

I had everything to live for at the start of 2008. A successful mobile dog grooming business, two gorgeous sons, a niceish home and I had just finished therapy following some difficult periods in my life: family break up, death of my big brother at 25, breakup of a 7 year relationship, infertility, having my sons diagnosed with autism........ Life was starting to pick up.

One day, I was about to start grooming a little Bichon Frise called Ruby. I was chatting to her owner and she told me something which caused me to put my left hand to my chest to say "how awful", as I did that I felt a lump.

I went hot, cold, numb all in the space of a few seconds and during that time a whole stream of thoughts plundered through my head. Do I continue with the dog? Do I go home? The Doctors surgery is closed theres nothing I can do until the morning? Is it really there? How do I tell my husband? In the end I decided to carry on as normal.

Within two weeks I received my hospital appointment. Initial consultation was with a registrar and after that I had a mammogram and ultrasound scan. I returned to the tiny consultation room which was filled with the registrar, the consultant, the nurse and a MacMillan nurse so I knew it wasn't good. This was confirmed following 2 attempts to get a sample from the lump failed by the registrar and the consultant swept her away and I nearly hit the roof!

My diagnosis was confirmed 5 days later. Stage 3 HER2 positive, hormone sensitive breast cancer. The lump was the size of a 10 pence piece and the cancer was the aggressive type. My consultant told me that because I was young (nice compliment to receive) he was going to hit me with everything they had.

On Friday 13th February 2009 I had a lumpectomy. I wasn't sure at that point whether I would require further surgery because of the size of the lump but luckily, having G cups is an advantage and the lump was removed with good clearance and the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes so only 3 were removed.

Following that I received 12 rounds of chemotherapy from March to October and 15 rounds of radiotherapy. Following that 18 rounds of Herceptin over a year.

2nd October 2010 - My scar is it is today 20 months after surgery

Slightly better picture of my 20 month old scar. It healed badly because of a massive haematoma

Friends and family kept me going through treatment

December 2009, my hair had been growing for 4 months and I had just had my first hair cut to take the dead ends off

When it started to grow back I was like a Kiwi

Not a good look! No hair, no eyebrows, no eye lashes and a swollen face due to the drugs and steroids

20 Months on and I still can't wear my wedding ring

Once it starts to grow it comes through quite quickly

Not such a good picture but trying to show the damage the canulas do

There is so much I would like to say about my experience, so much.

The one thing that nobody prepared me for was how invalided I would be following my treatment. I expected to be back to normal once my chemo was over but I wasn't and this was a bit of a shock. I have been left with side effects which I am learning to deal with.

  • Aching hands due to neuropathy caused by chemo and damaged veins due to over 40 canulisations
  • Aching back due to hormonal changes and the drug herceptin
  • Swollen fingers and feet due to the drugs I am receiving
  • Poor digestive system for which I am medicated
  • Fatigue which I battle through
  • Chemo brain: Inability to multi task, concentrate, I lose words etc. Memory is not good
Before cancer I was always active and fit so once my treatment was over I couldnt believe how hard it was to regain my fitness. I gained almost 2 stone in weight due to cancer treatment and the drugs they pump you up with. My face and body became swollen.

However: I have lost my "cancer" weight - its been a long hard battle to do so, taking me a year because I am still fighting the effects of Herceptin and Tamoxifen which make it hard to lose weight. My hair is growing back, thick and the same colour as before and yesterday ............ I ran 3 miles - my furthest since I had cancer.

In December 2010 I am running my first 10K - something I was due to do just before I was diagnosed. For me, this will be an emotional event because although my running time is still compromised, I will do that race, I will cross the line and I will stick the V's up to cancer. I am raising money for the Love Hope Strength Cancer Foundation because the co-founders of the charity have done so much for me to get me through my battle. Its my way of saying thanks!

If you are just facing the start of the fight, here are some tips;

  • Stay positive and keep smiling - cancer feeds on negative emotion
  • When you go for treatment, dress up and put your favourite clothes on, it helps you get through the ordeal
  • Don't be afraid to question your treatment, ask for ways that the treatment can be made easier for you. For example: if oral anti-sickness tablets pre treatment aren't working, ask for them IV, ask for emula cream prior to canulisation or ask them to use freeze spray
  • When you finish treatment, don't expect too much of yourself. I felt totally wiped out for at least 6 months after chemo ended and even now, 12 months on I have dips
  • Allow yourself a down day but dont dwell on it. Accept your down day, go with the flow but make sure you are up the next day - remember, cancers best friend is grief, stress etc
  • Try not to feel guilty when other fighters fall. I have experienced survivors guilt and its natural but try to turn it around to carrying on your fight in their honour

Monday, 27 September 2010

Nature is Cool

Slow start to the week really had to get the weekly shop done which ate into the time I had left to do my "stuff". I managed to get out on my bike and clocked up a route for a 4 mile run! I past Cola in his paddock and he recognised me and came over to say hi!

I picked some blackberries! My intention is to make some yummy Blackberry Brandy for Christmas but I will probably use some for muffins too. I will get some more tomorrow. I made some Apple Muffins this afternoon, I need to get down to my mums to get my hands on some of her apples before the frost sets in.

Just made some gluten/wheat free bread, the first time I have made this type of bread so I will let you know the results (if I remember) in my next posting.

Training is coming on well, I am almost up to 5K and working on doubling it in time for the race. I am cross training with my cycling and horse riding. I find that riding Cola stretches out my leg muscles after a long run.

If you are reading this and haven't sponsored me yet, please consider visiting my Just Giving page and making a donation. I am nearly at the £300 mark, it would be great to exceed that!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Up on the Hill

After many weeks of being unable to communicate with our best friends up on the hill, it is with great joy that I can confirm that not only do they have telephonic access but internet too!

We went up there today and boy was it cold! You can take the temperature here and knock more than a few degrees off it! Luckily I did go prepared with my fleece but forgot my boots. Thank you Eleri for letting my borrow your pom pom boots again!

It was so nice to see my friends again. I enjoyed long reigning Robbie with Llinos up the hill even though it nearly killed me! Those hills are steep. I cant believe that I am fit but get puffed when I walk up that hill with her!

It makes the world of difference having good friends in our lives. I feel as though in this last year I have had a coming together of friends. I have met people who I feel I have known all of my life. Really weird to say this but I feel like this is "my time".
So Llinos and Alvin thank you so much for your company today. Relaxed and informal as always. Sorry about the cake!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Fast Start!

Cola for Company


What a busy start to the day!

First off was a whistle stop visit to Cola before 7am. His stable was quite wet so I ended up removing the shavings and swilling down his rubber matting. Mental note to self: must remember to take the discinfectant to the yard with me...... He was pleased to see me this early, I think he has clicked that if I am that early he doesn't get ridden just put straight out to grass.

Once that mission was complete it was off to the hospital with Harry for his eye test. He was being tested for Irlen Syndrome, an eye disfunction which can go hand in hand with dyslexia. Sadly, the test was kind of inconclusive because it had to be done using numbers rather than words due to Harry's poor reading standard. Result: he took away a magenta over lay with him for school and at home and they will re-assess him in 3 months time.
I am now up to date with my paperwork for the boys! Its lucky I have the time and capacity to do these things! I have had to follow up Harry's ADHD assessment in writing..... why do all of these tests take so long? I am also waiting for input from the Education Psychologist with the possibility of investigating dyslexia.

Anyway, I am still suffering the effects of Chemo and when I do too much mental work which I have over the last two days, I suffer with "chemo brain" which is what has hit me this afternoon. I have the luxury of being able to rest when these episodes hit me and that is what I have done today.

Maybe tomorrow I will take some more shots of Killing for Company's infamous "stickers" - where will the next one appear?????

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


My training for the Tatton Yule Yomp is going well. I am up to 2 1/2 miles in a single run and hoping to increase it little by little each week. I am using my bike to warm up and check out the route and distance for the run then using it for a gentle cool down. All in all I am getting a pretty good work out.

My running time isn't good at all, I am currently running a 13 minute mile but at the end of the day, for me, the race isn't about getting a personal best or by crossing the finish line first. Its about getting back to where I started from before cancer, getting fit and raising a lot of money for the Love Hope Strength Cancer Foundation.

At the moment, the total raised online and offline stands at approximately £260. If you are reading this and would like to support me you can do so by visiting my Just Giving page. I have had some little business cards made with my details on so over the next few weeks I am hoping to distribute them and put a splurge in our village magazine, possibly even in the newspaper - we shall see!

My weight is peeling off me at a painfully slow rate but I am not a quitter, once I have set myself a challenge I will get there! I have at least 14lbs to lose but 20 would take me back to my old weight.

I am enjoying being active again, its something you take for granted when you are fit and well but when illness strikes it knocks your body for six. I have always lived my life at 100mph but now I dont want to lose a second because it is so precious to me.

I am a bit fed up with schools and paediatricians at the moment!

Some incidents in my sons mainstream school have left me frustrated. Not being a person to let any injustice be done, I have expidited the matter and can let you know that I will become public enemy number 1. I am fed up with having to wait around for assessments and tests, it seems to take forever. At the end of the day my son is in year 5 and has the level of a reception/year 1 pupil when it comes to reading and writing, it is such a worry.

My older son is plagued with allergies. Last week he had a serious allergic reaction to something which left him covered in a painful and itchy rash. This spread to his face and airways so we spent a few hours in A&E making sure he was safe. I have had two appointments now with the paediatric team and I feel as though they are putting me on some sort of "holding" process. I need to know what my son is allergic to so that I can make his life more comfortable but they are not willing to do the tests.

Sorry about all of the moaning when my blog started off so positively!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Cola Has to Lose Weight

The vet visited on Wednesday to administer Cola's vaccinations and to check and rasp his teeth. He was fine with the injection and the rasping to be honest with you. The vet put a special bridle on him which opens his mouth and keeps it open, he can then have a good feel and check that there are no ulcers or sharp teeth. Cola's teeth were in good condition and only a bit of rasping was needed.

However, the vet has advised me that Cola does need to lose weight. He is a "good doer" so can put weight on with thin air. I have decided to bring him in at night now so that his grazing is restricted and rinse his hay to remove the dust and sugars.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

I am near the end of my treatment for breast cancer now. Only two more infusions of herceptin to go and then hopefully I will be able to wear my wedding ring and the weight loss will become easier to achieve.

I had a bone scan a week ago and no news so far so that is good. I think that my aches and stiffness are nothing more than hormonal reactions to the drugs I have been taken. My poor body has been through so much.

My hands still hurt but at least I know that eventually they will get better as my veins heal. I still have digestive problems for which I take medication and my shoulder hurts if I over do things.

Oooh, this all sounds so negative but it isnt, really it isnt!

I am running 2 miles now and three times a week as part of my training for my first 10K race, the Tatton Yule Yomp on 12th December. I am raising money for Love Hope Strength Foundation, a global cancer charity.

I ride my pony and cycle to the livery yard. I muck out, groom and poo pick - all exercise related activities and with each passing week I can feel my body getting stronger and back to how I used to be before cancer.

I read today that the government are cutting back their funding for research. At a time when cancer seems to be hitting epidemic preportions, I think that its sad that they are cutting back on research. I have benefited from research with the sentinal node biopsy and herceptin, relatively new drugs and procedures.

My hair is growing back thick and strong and I look forward to the day when it hits my shoulders once again.

I am a survivor and cancer is in my past.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Where to Start?

Where to start really?

I haven't posted a blog since 19th August and so much has happened in that time.

My eldest son Joe has started Darland High School, he is pictured above in the smart green blazer. My youngest son Harry has entered year 5 of primary school. I have to keep pinching myself.... where did all of those years go? It doesn't help that psychologically I have "lost" a year in my life. Yesterday we took Joe's hamster "Blossom" to the vet and I presented a 6 month old hamster, Joe reminded me that it was her first birthday LAST May so she was 18 months old! Sadly, Blossom had to be put to sleep because she had a growth in her tummy which was making her very sore and unhappy.

I had an appointment with the breast surgeon, I think I must have been called in by accident. I was expecting to see the oncologist but saw the surgeon instead. I was glad I saw him though because he was able to answer my questions more clearly. It turns out that I only had 3 lymph nodes removed which is why (touch wood) I haven't had lymphodema, the aches in my hands are due to the countless canulas I have had over the last 2 years, in his words "your veins are knackered" but eventually they should heal, the swelling to my fingers is most likely down to the herceptin so hopefully by 2011 I will be able to wear my wedding ring again (yipee!) and when I mentioned my bad back for which my GP had given me pain killers, he sent me for a bone scan immediately just to make sure everything was ok. I went for that almost a week ago and am waiting for the results but I am certain that they are good.

This week is the first full week that the children have been back at school and I am on a high with all of the physical exercise I am getting through running, riding Cola and walking the dogs.

On 18th September, my friend and I are going on a road trip down to Swansea to see friends and to watch an amazing band called Killing for Company. I am so excited!

At the moment, life is good and I am aiming to keep it that way. I am busy preparing for my 10K race in December so if you are reading this, please consider following my just giving link and sponsoring me, every pound or dollar helps and will certainly help me get through that 10K!!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Tatton Yule Yomp 12th December 2010

I was ready to take part in my first 10K race on 1st March 2009 but I had been diagnosed with breast cancer one month previously and the biopsy and subsequent operation left me unable to run and once I had recovered from that, the chemo made sure that I definately couldn't run.

I have been getting back into running and need to lose at least a stone in weight but I work best with a challenge. This is why I have entered myself into the Tatton Hall Yule Yomp 10K on 12th December 2010. Its a good time of year for me because I prefer winter running and the circuit is on National Trust property so it will be beautiful. I don't care if I come last, the main thing for me is the taking part and flicking the proverbial V's to cancer!

I am running this race to raise money for a global cancer charity called The Love Hope Strength Foundation so if you see the Just Giving widget at the side of my blog, please consider making a donation to help spur me on.

The foundation does alot of work in the UK and I have just volunteered to help out on their bone marrow drive at local gigs. The USA part of the foundation have already had a phenomenal success.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Love Hope Strength - Rhuddlan Castle Rocks

The Love Hope Strength Foundation was established in 2007. The co-founder, Mike Peters of the Alarm has been hit by leukemia twice in his life, the last time being in 2007.

Mike is from North Wales, not far from where I live and has been treated in some of the same cancer units as I have. The Love Hope Strength Foundation has funded many of the new facilities where I have been treated so folks, I have directly benefited from the Love Hope Strength Foundations fundraising.

Oh where to begin telling you what they have done in the last 3 years. It has been totally amazing. They have rocked Mount Snowdon, they are about to rock Rhondda again next weekend. Everest, Kilimanjaro, Mount Fuji... the list goes on. They climb to the summit and rock it with their guitars!

They have established a bone marrow drive in the USA and are doing the same in the UK. At the Rhuddlan Rocks gig last weekend they established 75 matches. All you have to do is be under 40 (counts me out), cancer free (counts me out again) and give a saliva sample.

Please please please, follow my links and look at the work they are doing and have done. You can follow them on facebook and twitter.

Mike Peters wears combat clothes because he is active in his fight against cancer! To quote him in his song "I'm a soldier marching in an army I got no guns to shoot, all I got is one guitar...."

I was amazed and honoured to be rocking to my all time favourite band in such historic surroundings. My friend Sherry Binns-Smyth has been reading a novel based at Rhuddlan Castle and she asked me to kick some stones for her to defy King Edward I who built the castle in order to subdue us welshies. I willingly did this for her!

At the end of the night the litter strewn across the castle grounds was disgusting so Jason, myself and Lesley stayed behind to help clear up. Its something I feel passionately about, respect for others, for our surroundings and our heritage! I was able to have a brief chat with Mikes wife Jules and yes, with a few glasses of wine under my belt I had the courage to run up to Mike and give him a big bear hug! Why? because he has kept me going not only through life but in my cancer fight. The times I have felt like not going on I have had a message from Jules or I have put on Mikes music and I have continued the fight.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Rhuddlan Castle Rocks 7th August 2010

I do apologise for the poor sound quality on these videos but they were shot using my camara. "Walk Forever By My Side" was dedicated to Mikes wife Jules and their two sons Dylan and Evan.

The second video is of Mike singing with Fowler from Ocean Colour Scene.

The "doors" opened at 4pm and we entered the historic ruins of Rhuddlan castle. Never in my life could I have imagined seeing my all time favourite band play in this part of my ancestry. I was honoured and humbled to be there.

The gig was organised in order to raise money for Mikes charity The Love Hope Strength Foundation which is commited to combatting cancer on a global basis. Please visit their web site and look into their work.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Rhuddlan Castle Rocks

Just waiting for my friend to get to the house and we are off to Rhuddlan Castle to see The Alarm and the Levellers rock an ancient castle built by Edward I to try and subdue us Welsh. I wonder what he would say if he knew the welsh were rocking his castle!

Friday, 6 August 2010


When I was bloggin on Cancer Ain't Gonna Beat Me, the topics and words flowed out so well but these days I am stuck for topics and for words. I wonder why that is? Maybe it is because now that I am through the treatment which gave me bad side effects I have less time to think and therefore generate ideas. Is this a good or a bad thing? Not really sure!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

15 down and 3 to go!

I had my 15th lot of herceptin yesterday so only 3 more to go - yipeeeeeee!

I will miss the staff at the Shooting Star Unit in Wrexham Hospital because it has been an 18 month relationship with them and I have got to know some of the nurses so well.

I was happy to pass on some hints and tips for a lady who had just received her last dose of chemo and was going for radiotherapy. I told her to order some diprobase from the doctor and use it all of the time. To buy some breast pads and put chilled diprobase on them and slip them into the bra.

Radiotherapy works over a period of time so at first you think "great, no side effects" but by the end of 3 weeks your skin looks and feels badly burned. It soon passes though but with the help of these creams things can be so much better.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

I am a Great Auntie

Me and my neice, Emma when she was a toddler 18 years ago!

My big brother Peter Geraint Kyffin died on 10th September 1990 at 6.42am. He crashed his car on the Mold Road in Wrexham on his way to work. He was driving his white RS Turbo when his tyre blew and he riquoted into a lamp post which killed him instantly. He was 25 years old. He had a daughter who had just celebrated her first birthday and recovered from a round of chicken pox.

My neice is going to be 21 years old later on in the month and on 1st August she became a mum herself.

I can't believe that my big brother is a grandad/taid! In my mind and heart he is forever 25.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Knitting and Stones

Picture courtesy of Amazon UK

Simple Knitting by Erika Knight was supplied to me by Amazon Vine but can be purchased from It is a brilliant book for those interested in knitting but are beginners like me. The layout is simple, well illustrated and there are some good projects in there. My mother in law suggested knitting as a way of working my hands to heal them and I am going to give it a go so guess what everyone is going to get for Christmas this year!

I still love painting my stones. I recently picked some slate from the welsh hillside for painting on with really good results. I still keep my prayer stones for those I think of in their struggles with illnesss. You can see Barry's stone there.....
This morning I am off to the doctors with my eldest son as he has had constant tummy ache for 2 months now. I am then taking my youngest swimming with his friend (oh the joys!)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Living History Day at Bersham

My mum is a real history buff, she knows everything about everything and is pretty amazing really. So its no surprise that she is on the committee for the Friends of Wrexham Museum and as such was manning their stand today along with her sister, my Auntie Heather at the living history display.

We decided to go along for a trip out and weren't too sure what to expect. There were roman tents set up where they were cooking roman type food. Harry got to have a roman coin made for him and the displays were pretty good.

The best part of the afternoon was when the roman re-enactors asked the children to come forward and dress up in costume. They were then drilled and marched! The parents didn't escape lightly though because they had to become the celts and fight the romans. My son Joe is pictured on the front row with a crooked helmet.

The re-enactors were amazing, the attention to detail in their uniform was good. One chappie even made his own chain mail through the winter. They didn't wear sandles in Britain but instead wore leather with metal studs pressed into the soles.

There was also a vintage car and machine display. I liked this car because it reminded me of our first family car although ours was maroon with a cream interior. There were no back seat belts in those days!

I liked this old fashioned bike, it took my eye. I can imagine the junior baker apprentice using the bike to deliver the orders.

The old post office van took my eye as well!
The boys enjoyed seeing Auntie Heather and their Nain and best of all, freshly made donuts!

Books - Evernight

I have just finished reading this book and have passed it on to my 11 year old son. The book is aimed at those aged 13+ but being three decades older I still enjoyed it. Yes, the story line was a little "cheesy" but when you think that it is aimed at youngsters that cheesyness becomes acceptable.
I am lucky enough to be part of the Amazon Vine programme. It is an invitation only "club" and each month I get to choose four titles from their magazine. All I have to do in return is read them and publish my review.
I enjoy being part of the Amazon Vine programme because not only do I get all of the latest books for free, it gives me the opportunity to read books I never would have considered.
The ice cream van has just called into our close so the boys are enjoying a Mr Whippy.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

At Least a Stone to Lose

This picture was taken of me about 15 years ago and that is the size I want to be again. To be that size I will have to lose a stone in weight.

I have a condition called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome which was diagnosed when I was trying to start a family but couldn't. I knew something was wrong anyway because I went from a tiny, slender girl to a plump one with boobs literally overnight... well... in a space ofn 3 months. I might add that this was after I had suffered a breakdown following the death of my brother and I had an eating dishorder. Once I started to eat again thats when things went wrong.

I have battled with my weight since that time but I got to goal after I had Harry and remained there until I decided to have the meriner coil fitted which has hormones in it. From the time it was fitted to the time I had it removed I piled on 2 and a half stone in weight. I was just starting to get rid of it when I had my cancer diagnosis.

I have now lost all the cancer weight but now I am in that position where I need to get rid of the hormone weight.

Its so hard especially when you hit a plateau like I have.

When the children return to school in September I can get my old routines back in place... dog walking, running and riding then hopefully, by Christmas I will have reached my goal.

Friday, 30 July 2010


Had a nice day today despite the ever constant grey skies and rain. I gave my eldest son, Joe a half hour riding lesson on Cola then I went out on a hack, Joe accompanied me on his bike. We had only been out for quarter of an hour and the heavens opened so we returned to the yard. Soaking wet through we cycled home and Joe saw a little baby fox in the hedgerow. Now we are waiting for the rain to subside so that we can turn Cola out and poo pick his paddock.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Life is Fast These Days

The children are now on their summer break and as if on queue, the weather turns for the worst. Last week we had horrendous downfalls of rain which lead to localised flooding (luckily not in my village). It has done the grass some good and weeding my ponies paddock is alot easier so I can't and won't grumble (too much).

Oh yes, just looked outside and its raining again!

This weekend was spent on the welsh mountains at our friends house. She took me to see a wonderful cottage which would be my dream place but sadly its only up for rent. It has land, it is massive with 4 bedrooms and a utility room which could be converted into a grooming parlour. Best of all, no neighbours so I wouldn't have to worry about the dogs excessive barking, the kids could go out to play without worrying about poeples gardens, the children being too noisy, and best of all we would have peace... Its good to have dreams.

I did a silly thing! I used the self checkout machine at the supermarket and only went and left my debit card there so today I need to take a trip out there to pick it up. On the way, I will take my kids for a walk somewhere so we will go prepared with wellies and waterproofs. Watch out for a posting with photographs.

I won in my fight to stop the selling off of Darland High School Tennis Courts, just by the by, thought you would like to know that! I raised a petition of 673 signatures and the plans were dismissed by a respectful majority. If you are interested in hearing more then I will do a seperate blog.

If you are reading this, please could you do me a favour........ log onto Amazon and download a single. It is by a band called Killing for Company and the name of the single is Former Mining Town. The band has recently lost its drummer, Stuart Cable who died suddenly at the age of 40. An amazing person who was full of life, the single has been released in his honour. The proceeds will be split between two great charities which are The Teenage Cancer Trust and Ty Hafan which is a charity caring for children with terminal illnesses. The single only costs 79 pence, so its not much is it but it would help the band, Stuarts family and friends come to terms with their shocking loss whilst supporting two brilliant charities.

The following videos are as a tribute to Stuart Cable. The first one is by his former band The Stereophonics but personally I LOVE the last video "Born Yesterday" where you can see just how passionate Stuart was about his music.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Life is worth the fight

Last Thursday, Mike Peters of the Alarm and a North Wales musician toured the three hospitals in North Wales to highlight their amalgamation. He held a buskathon at each one of the hospitals to raise money and awareness for his charity, the Love Hope Strength Foundation. LHSF has already donated a significant amount of money to the North Wales hospitals in the fight against cancer.

Mike got hit by leukemia about 12 or so years ago, he won his fight only to be hit again with a different form of the disease which is not curable but treatable. Since his diagnosis he founded the LHSF, rocked Snowdon 4 times, Kili, Everest, Rhondda to name but a few. An amazingly talented guy with an equally amazing wife, Jules Jones Peters.

I really wanted to go to the Wrexham Hospital buskathon and Jules invited me to help the team out which I would have truly loved to have done. However, it was my eldest sons induction evening at his new high school so I was unable to make it. I decided to take some flowers for Jules as a show of support and was going to leave them in reception with a little note. When we got to the car park, who should be getting out of their car but Mike, Jules and Matt. To say that God works in mysterious ways is an understatement because I was able to hand the flowers over personally and introduce them to my sons. I was over the moon.

On Monday I went out for an amazing run! Its funny how I come up with the best ideas and thoughts when I am running so I must invest in a dicatphone so that it can come with me on my runs. As I ran in the rain on Monday, I was overcome by the beauty of the world, not just visually but the smell, the rain, it was amazing. I was then struck by the thought that heck, the world is the only treadmill you need. With that thought in mind, I laughed, I jumped and had myself a pretty amazing run.

Our local council has been trying to sell off our high schools tennis courts for development. I instigated a petition and my friend Judy helped me and together we got 673 signatures against the sell off. Judy wrote to the executive council and we were invited to the executive meeting in order to hand over our petition and lodge our objections.

It was quite a heated debate but our community councillor Hugh Jones put forward an amazing argument against the plans. Basically hightlighting the fact that the council had acted in an underhand way and had not made it clear to the board of school govenors the amount of land in question. He also highlighted the fact that selling of school land was against the councils pledge and that of the government. He raised the fact that Prince William was heading a campaign to stop the sale of school land and actually quoted him as saying "recreational land is not a luxury it is a necessity..." He highlighted the fact that Sport for Wales and The Fields in Trust were on our side in preserving the school land. He also drew attention to the fact that in 2009 a survey conducted in our village showed a serious shortfall in recreational facilities.

I am pleased to report that the council voted against going ahead with the planned sell off much to the aggitation of those involved in finance!

So I must report a pretty successful few days!

Friday, 9 July 2010

Chemo Brain

I changed from Cancer Aint Gonna Beat Me to Sara's Fight Back because I wanted to move away from cancer, move my life forward. However, there are some aspects of cancer that aren't quite so easy to leave behind and I feel that I must talk about them in order to spread awareness and nurture understanding.

When I finished, what I call, the radical part of my treatment in October 2009, I really thought that I had cracked it. I had been operated on, poisened and burned and life would resume as normal.

How wrong I was.

My first realisation came early in the year of 2010 when I finally realised and accepted that I was not as physically strong as I had previously been. It was a shock I can tell you because I expected to pick up where I left off! I accepted the situation, grieved a little bit and moved on.

Today, my second realisation hit me. Chemo Brain! Yes, I am suffering with chemo brain or cognitive disfunction. It basically means that I have word retrieval difficulties, word/name memory difficulties, sequencing and feel confused alot. I can no longer multi task as I used to, my short term memory is shocking....

Today I hit meltdown. I had a good cry then went off for a run to clear my head and get rid of the negative energies in my body. After 15 minutes of a 45 minute run I realised that my chemo brain and subsequent melt down this morning has given me an understanding of what it is like to have autism, or cognitive difficulties. I then felt a bit guilty because I am in a situation that I can rest my brain but children with ASD are unable to do this. When my son has his next melt down, I will know exactly how he is feeling and I am better able to deal with him.

30 minutes into my 45 minute run, my brain started to work again and my thoughts became less random and by the end of the run I was laughing and picking the seeds off the long grass as I ran past.

My head is still fragile, it won't take much for me to hit melt down again but I can grow from today now that I have accepted my situation and put in place strategies for us all to cope as a cognitive disfunctional family.

Monday, 5 July 2010


Today we went to our sons IEP review at school which is where we discuss the progress and agree new targets.

I am so proud of my son because we are now discussing literacy and academics rather than behaviour, speech, language and communication. He has made so much progress and his self esteem has been raised so I am hoping that the literacy will start to come.

I went to Glyndwr University this evening to see an Autistic adult give a talk. Well, what an amazing talk it was.... witty, humerous and enlightening. I have a better understanding of what my boys are going through, how they see life and why they do the things they do. Best of all, it has given me hope that my boys will become well rounded adults.

I could write pages and pages on my life with autistic children but I won't because words cannot adequately describe what life is like.

All I can say is that my life is so much better for having my autistic children, it has made me a stronger and better person and I enjoy dealing with their little ways.

Autism is such a broad spectrum..... well..... thats why they call it a spectrum. No one ASD person is the same or affected by the same things. My children do have sensory issues..... light, sound, taste, texture etc, we think H may have dyslexia, they have compulsions and OCD habits but we live our life around them and deal with them. It is hard having autistic children, nobody can ever understand just how hard it is for us as parents and them as human beings living in this crazy world.

There is hope for my boys, and now that the condition is being discussed, and people are becoming more aware of it, tolerance is growing.

One thing the condition has taught me is that I don't give a fig what other people think of me or my children...... I believe in me and most of all I believe in them, nothing else matters!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Monkeys on my Back

When I run, I seem to generate great ideas for my blog. Ideas that I would like to share with people. Yesterday I had a lovely run. The wind was blowing and although it was hot it was a great temperature for running. While I was out I listened to my MP3 of all the songs which have got me through my life.

I realised that all of my life I have had "Monkeys on my Back". These monkeys aren't good, they are not nice, they hung onto me for all their worth but I shook them off. The monkeys come in all shapes and forms and their names are;

Low Self Esteem

The only monkey I have been able to get rid of completely is Infertility! Yes, I got rid of you because I have my two wonderful sons who I had to fight hard for and wait many years for.

The other monkeys have been shaken off but they are always there in the shadows, lurking with evil intent, waiting for a chink of weakness to appear in my soul, waiting for negativity to slip into my life so that they can jump on again for the ride.
The only monkey I am desperately afraid of is Cancer because I have no control over him. If he decides to get on my back again I can only hope that physically I have the strength to kick his butt again. The other ones are relatively easy to keep at bay because as long as I stay strong they will remain in the shadows.
Do you have monkeys on your back?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Summer Ramblings

Life is good!

I hate the way I look at the moment... my body is not mine and my hair is not mine....

However, I am getting back into shape slowly. My energy levels are much higher than they were so that I can push myself through the pain of back ache and do all of the things I enjoy. My running is going really well as is my swimming and aqua jogging. I love riding Cola but the only down side about that is my back hurts so much when I ride.

My hair is growing slowly too. I am striving for a short, chin length bob then after that, maybe a bit longer. It will be nice to feel feminine again.

The weight is coming off slowly but I am determined to get there. I am within a healthy BMI range now which takes the pressure off me a little. My fingers and toes are still swollen and sadly, I still can't wear my wedding, engagement or eternity rings.

I am enjoying life with a passion now. I have been given a second chance and I recognise that.

Summer is coming and with that brings all sorts of changes in the lives of my sons. Joe will be finishing at primary school and moving on to High School, we are attending his last ever primary school sports day tomorrow....

Harry will be moving up to year 5.... I am wondering how he will cope with the change and the fact that Joe won't be there.... I know he is worried because he keeps asking me questions about it, seeking confirmation.

I wish Harry could remain with his existing class teacher because she has worked wonders with him this year. His self esteem has gone up and with that so to has his reading and writing. He still has a long way to go but he is coping much better with life these days.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Lets continue our walk....

The Castle has been lived in since it was built by Edward I in order to keep the welsh in place. During the civil war the castle was ordered to be raised to the ground by Oliver Cromwell and alot of the castle was damaged. The Middleton family lived in the castle until a couple of years ago and still have apartments in the Batchelor Tower. This view was taken from the buildings previously unseen by the public.

I love this part of the garden, it is full of colour and life. The picture doesn't do it justice.

Down one of the many footpaths you stumble upon the gravestones of pets who once belonged to the Castle.

A little further on and you come to the thatched summer house.

The flowers were breathtaking! The perfume off them was devine.

No garden would be complete without a water feature!