2012 – The Hong Kong Visit (and assurance to those who have missed me, that I am still surviving my various cancers!)

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IMG_1690 IMG_1700 My stay in Hong Kong was all too short. During my time there I was able to spend the half term with my grandchildren, which was wonderful. I did lots of kids things and nothing much else. It was only when, at the end of my stay, I was on my way to the Airport Express at Central, that I realised it was the first time I had been into the city at night during that visit. Such an amazing place and I knew just how much I missed it. (Mental note – stay longer next time).

In November I had the planned surgery on my face and leg and have recently received the histology report – and the offending blemish on my leg was actually a BCC (basal call carcinoma, sometimes called a rodent ulcer).

My long holiday was made possible by my mum having to go into full-time care, as her mental health deteriorated so much – and she was sometimes quite manic and keeping me awake far too often. I frequently didn’t get any sleep for up to three nights at a time and she would then go into a deep sleep to recharge her batteries, but I would still be on the go doing my everyday things. It just became too much, so the big decision had to be made. She has settled okay into the home where she used to go for respite care, but I don’t feel it’s an ideal situation. I mean, would anyone ‘like’ to go into a care home? I know I wouldn’t. The irony is that I had the extension built to incorporate a downstairs wet-room for Mum. The extra space is nice, but the money could have been used elsewhere – even on a new roof! Mum will be 95 next week.

For the first time I spent Christmas with my younger son and his family up in Scotland and had a really good time.

So that’s my year in a nutshell.

Most of the hits I have on this blog are regarding cancer or colostomy, so thought I’d better let my followers know that I am alive and well. To summarise for new readers, it’s now 28 years since my cancer first manifested itself. Over six years it changed its course – anal cancer for which the treatment (radium needle implant in 1986) was unsuccessful. For 18 months I appeared to be well and then at a routine check-up, my doctor found enlarged lymph glands higher up in the rectum and I had to have a colostomy. That was November 1987. The following year I started a degree course and a year later, attending a Well Woman Clinic, it was discovered that I had carcinoma in situ of the cervix (unrelated to the bowel cancer) for which the cure was meant to be a cone biopsy. The surgeon at a local hospital tried that, but had to abort on account of my uterus not being accessible, as it has slipped into the place where my colon should be. As the cancer was untreated the surgeon decided to keep it monitored by giving me regular smears (ceased long ago).

Everything was going according to plan when the following year (1990) I became lame and after many months it was discovered I had a fractured pelvis due to secondary bone cancer, Conventional radiotherapy started in the December. When that was finished in January 1991 I had a few weeks break and then a bit more surgery and chemo for the next five months at three-week intervals. Since then I have had plastic surgery to try and alleviate radiation damage, another aborted cone biopsy (and of course the blemishes on my face and leg removed), but otherwise I’m well and busy – even blogging again!

I did manage to do a bit of artwork over the year and even did a portrait in Australia. I would have liked a lot longer on it, but of course didn’t have the time within my schedule. However, it was part of the bargain I made with my cousins. They wanted me to go out for the visit and said they would pay my fare, but would like a portrait as repayment. I was happy with that, so it all worked out well, though it meant I spent half of the time in front of an easel, which meant they felt a bit guilty.

Forgot to say that I was shortlisted for the BBC 2 programme, Show Me The Monet and went down to Birmingham for an interview and screen test in February, but sadly didn’t make the final cut.

I will sort out some images of the work I did in 2012 and insert them into my next post.

In the meantime a Happy New Year to All!



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Born in Liverpool at the end of WW2, but raised in Skelmersdale. I first studied art in Southport from 1960-63 and worked in graphic design till I married. In December 1969 I moved to Zambia with my husband and two young children. There I taught art in the local girls school, illustrated for the National Correspondence College and did all sorts of other artwork, paid and unpaid. In 1978 I divorced and remarried in the summer of 1980. In 1985 I became ill and the following year cancer was diagnosed. There was no treatment available in Zambia and so I had to go to the UK. After recovering from a radium needle implant I went back to Zambia, but 18 months later the cancer recurred and it was off to the UK again for radical surgery. This time I realised I must stay in the UK where treatment was available, so I never returned to Zambia nor my husband. A few months later I applied for a degree course, but two years later the disease metastasised and I spent most of my final year in and out of hospital. It’s been a long hard road, but I’m still plodding on and it is now 24 years since my last cancer treatment. Because of my experience of cancer and surviving against the odds, I try and help others cope with their devastating diagnosis and prognosis.

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