Sunday, June 14, 2015

Health update and spring adventures

I started cycle five of Ramucarumab and Paclitaxol last week. I have three Tuesday's of treatment each cycle with one tuesday off before the next cycle starts. I try to travel each time I have the free tuesday. 

In March Mr Margie and I went to Mullaghmore in Sligo for two nights. 

We stayed right on the sea, visited WB Yeats grave, and had a look around the shops in Sligo town.

Then after the next cycle I went to London to stay with Leiny. Mr Margie, Leiny, and our friend James, replaced the head gasket on Leiny's Morris Minor and got it back in perfect working order again.

Leiny planted up a mini garden on the gantry. She also gave Maria and I a master class in bread making. After which we took our first visit to the betting shop to back horses in the Grand National. Duane's chosen horse came in second and he won all of seven pounds. 

I went back to visit Leiny after the next treatment cycle and travelled alone for the first time since my diagnosis. I was tired but I was so proud of myself. James drove me from the airport to Lein and Duane's, pointing out all the London hotspots, along the way.  

Leiny treated me to a Vegan Afternoon tea in a beautiful hotel central London. On another day we took the train out to Crystal Palace to visit my niece Rommeij.  We had a very tasty Vietnamese lunch together.  I was spoiled for the five days. Mr Margie joined me for the last two nights. The day before we left we met James and Maria at Syon House for lunch and some retail therapy at the garden centre.

Last Monday Mr Margie and I got back from visiting Mel and family in New Hampshire, USA. 

We had eleven nights with our daughter, son in law and grandchildren and enjoyed every minute of it. 

We had fun by the pool, on the swing, 

making towers with blocks, out at the shops,

out to dinner, and out to lunch, or at their beautiful home, 

from when we woke up until we went to bed. 

Chris's mum and brother visited as did my cousin and his wife and children. It was so lovely to see the cousins playing so well together. 

I have contrinued to work part time since February, there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to do the things I want to and as the treatment continues my energy levels are falling. My oncologist is keeping me on the chemo for one more cycle, if I am able for it, then I will have a break from it but will continue on the antibody.  

Summer has finally arrived at Chez Margie and the Summer House Mr Margie started last summer is nearing completion. 

I plan to sit and craft in it as much as possible, and spend the evenings soaking up the last of the day light, chatting and spending time with family and friends. 
Big hugs, 
Love Margie ❤️

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spring and new treatment

Merino cat has been keeping me company and bringing occasional gifts of mice. 

I recently went to see the Shaun the Sheep Movie with Mr Margie. It was so funny. 

I started a new treatment last week. It's a combination of a new monoclonal antibody called Ramucirumab recently approved in USA. It's not available in Ireland as yet, but my oncologist managed to get it as a goodwill gesture directly from the company. I am also getting a chemotherapy often used for stage four metastatic cancer called Paclitaxol.  I have had some minor side effects, fatigue and joint pain, but otherwise getting through it. I will be attending the hospital once each week, and it's a further drive to the hospital as I can't have the new treatment at my local because I am the first person in Ireland to receive it and I have to be monitored by my Oncologist.   

On February 1st after a leisurely brunch at Chez Margie, Mr Margie and some of our friends visited Brigid's Well to celebrate the Goddess on what we in Ireland consider to be the first day of spring.

We also managed to get in a spot of retail therapy at Kildare Village, in my fav Joules shop. I also returned to work part time and am really enjoying flexing my professional brain again. Due to my treatment I am not meeting with groups or the general public. 

I continue to enjoy making raw vegan cakes and made this strawberry "cheesecake" for Valentines Day. 

Last weekend Mr Margie and I joined our friends for a visit to Burtown House near Athy, County Kildare to see the snowdrops.

While I enjoyed the snowdrops and the aconites, I think the hellebores stole the show. 

Big hugs, 
Love Margie ❤️

Monday, October 13, 2014

Health update and recent travels

My most recent CT indicated I had fluid in my abdomen. A biopsy of the fluid tested positive for cancer. I can't begin to tell you how devastating this news has been for me, Mr. Margie, Mel and Chris, Lein and Duane, my parents, mother-in-law, aunts, uncles, and cousins near and far, also my dear friends, all of whom have rallied and supported me in the last few weeks. 

I had a PET scan last week, and the results show the cancer is confined to the fluid in my abdomen. As a result I start palliative chemotherapy on Wednesday 15th October. I will be on Folfiri, a cocktail of drugs that have proven to be effective for stage 4 cancers particularly of the bowel and stomach. I will have six 14 day cycles, taking about three months to complete, all depending on how I react and respond to the chemotherapy. My dear friend Ming in Singapore has been on Folfiri since September 1st when he was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer also. The good news is one of his two tumours has disappeared after two cycles of the drug. He is my hero, providing me with all the research he completed on options he compiled when he was diagnosed and a daily account of the side effects of the drugs. 

As soon as I was diagnosed Mr Margie and I took the next flight to the uk to have a few days with 

Mel, Chris and girls before they relocated to Boston, and to hug Lein and Duane in person, and we were so delighted to

have a beautiful meal to celebrate PC Jess passing out and becoming a policewoman. 

We cried and laughed, discussed and planned, looked for solutions and used expletives, and most of all we shared our love of being together.

I had my chemo prep last week and my weight is now 42 kilos, not a bad weight to start with. 

I have been eating well and juicing in prep for it.  The garden has proven to be prolific thanks to Mr Margie. 

I started making raw cakes too. I have also been walking a few miles two or three times each week. 

I hosted knitting group, made family lunch, had friends over for elevenses homemade scones, foraged with Nunny, shopped in charity shops and designer shops, chatted and listened to beautiful music love in my kitchen, lunched out with friends, chatted to Uncle Tony from Australia,

 attended uncle Pats 70 th birthday, locked out Ciaran and Domonie in the rain for forty minutes! and loved living each day.

 I am feeling strong and thanks to family and friends I have kept positive. 

Last weekend Mr Margie and I went to the UK again.

We saw the Ritz, got caught out in the rain, visited a beautiful golden 

Laudree shop, delighting in the macarons ( I don't eat sugar anymore, but Mr Margie enjoyed one) 

and were in awe at the delights of Fortnum and Mason. 

Lein and I volunteered for the UK handknitters Association at the knitting and stitching show in Alexander Palace. We had a wonderful time. 

Mr Margie and Lein worked on Lein's Morris Minor (MoMo), then we polished it up.  

We visited Kenwood House 

with our dear friends Maria and James, and Ollie and Alex. We walked in Hampstead Heath.

Duane cooked tasty pasta bakes 

and I even made my signature pancakes.  I really enjoyed the chats, the support and the love. Thank you all so much. 

Big hugs, 
Love Margie ❤️

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Makeover and relaxation

The garden is providing an abundance of vegetables at the moment, 

the dwarf French beans are ready now and the courgettes are marrow sized and the round ones look like pumpkins. 

Mr. Margie planted potatoes with Chris and Lir, they will be ready for Christmas dinner. The carrots look so funny, like they are cuddling, as one of my Instagram followers commented. 

I can't keep up with the harvest at the moment. The meals I have are full of fresh produce.

Last week my mum, Sheila, my two aunts, Rosie and Essie, and my friend, Sandra, and I, all went to the Heritage Golf and Spa Resort. We all needed a little rest and relaxation, and boy did we get it. We spent a few hours in the Spa, relaxing and resting, our skin felt like silk after and we were all so refreshed and chilled. 

We retired to the lounge for afternoon tea, a selection of mouth watering sandwiches of egg, smoked salmon and chicken wraps, accompanied goats cheese tartlets, tapenade swirls and deep fried prawns, along with mango and passion fruit mousse, double chocolate cake and macaroons, and to top it all off there were scones, cream and jam, too much for us to finish. 

We went home smiling from ear to ear and so chilled and relaxed, promising to return again in a few weeks. 

While I was having chemotherapy I lay in bed looking at the bedroom furniture. The wardrobe, which came from Belgium over 25 years ago as part of a set, gave me the most grief.  It had been accidentally sprayed with metal cleaner a couple of years ago, and looked desperate. I kept thinking "when all this is over I am going to paint that wardrobe". 

I spent a week washing, rinsing, painting and waxing not only the wardrobe, but the bed, bedside lockers and the chest of drawers also. 

What was and still is a mix of furniture 

styles has now been unified using Annie Sloane chalk paint. The best thing about doing a bedroom project is the opportunity to have a lie down when the energy levels drop!

Thanks to Kay and Catherine at "Before and After" paint stockist in Carlow who were so excited to see the finished results, and impressed with the scale of the work too. 

I had a positive meeting with my surgeon last Friday. He said I could try drinking and eating at the same time and begin to introduce some different food and drink. I tried my first tea in eight months, it went down well but I paid for it later. I will try again in a few days. 

I was so happy to complete the project and to celebrate I baked chocolate end cherry jam cupcakes and a pear and plum dutch cake, for afternoon tea on Sunday.  

Mr Margie and I were joined by out dear friends Sandra and Des, who brought me beautiful roses. 

We drank tea and watched the rain from Hurricane Bertha pour down outside. 

Big hugs, 
Love Margie ❤️