Sunday, 3 August 2014

Post Provence

It feels like our feet have barely touched the ground since we returned from France. 

Less than 12 hours after returning home, a huge box of components for the new garden store was delivered. Within 24 hours, fence panels to screen the shed from the rest of the garden had arrived.  As both were on a 2 week delivery schedule, these had not been expected until the following Monday at the earliest.  We had to scurry around making enough space to store them outside, contact John (the friend who is helping us with the garden makeover) to arrange to build the shed base, and pick up ballast and cement to do the work.

On the plus side, this activity prompted us to organise the garden, fix and clean the garden chairs, tables and lanterns, and take greenery to the recycling centre. By the time daughter Katie and her partner Ed arrived for the weekend, we were able to sit outdoors and enjoy the glorious weather over a glass or two of wine as a pre-birthday celebration.

As Steve was not feeling great, we abandoned plans for a meal out and eat at home on Saturday evening.  By Sunday, he was feeling better again and we went out to a local viewpoint, Jarn Mound, to look down on the dreaming spires of Oxford (sadly obscured by trees and bracken on this occasion), 

have a walk around the wild garden designed by Arthur Evans (archaeologist, famous for work at Knossos, Crete) and venture a little way Mathew Arnold's field, the place said to have inspired the famous poem The Gypsy Scholar...before ending up at The Fishes pub for a picnic!  Lovely weekend :-) 

Monday was hospital day - me, not Steve this time - for a face to face assessment in the spinal unit, an explanation of the MRI scan results and a short discussion about treatment options.

For my birthday on Tuesday, we headed for the hills - the Lambourn Downs to be precise, where we climbed up to the white horse carved into the chalk and watched the paragliders take off over the Vale of the White Horse spread out beneath us.  

On to the ancient circle of standing stones at Avebury in Wiltshire for lunch, followed by a walk around the stone circle.  

Then home for birthday cake and fizz!

On Wednesday, we were hard at work in the garden with John, taking down a large shrub and extending the concrete base of the old shed to accommodate the larger new one. Thursday's task was to go through the boxes containing all the components for the new shed to check nothing missing and to stick labels on to make it easier to find the bits when we put it all together...Took a surprisingly long time.....

The weekend kicked off enjoying an evening out with our friends, Jonathan and Sally, a sort of joint post-birthday celebration for two of us!  Saturday was spent recovering.....Today, we are trying to catch up....

Over the last few weeks, we have been a little concerned about Steve's appetite.  He has had days when he has eaten little and has lost a bit of weight, judging from the loose fit of his trousers.  However, now that the high temperatures of the last few weeks have subsided, he seems to be back on track food-wise.  Maybe the loss of appetite was all related to the heat...and the weight loss due to the fact that we have been more active recently, walking a lot in France and working in the garden.  

However, there are a couple of other little niggles - occasional tenderness low down on the right side of his chest (the meso is in his right lung) and a small lump high up on the front of his chest, which he first noticed after lifting heavy bags of concrete.  Although tender at first, the lump doesn't hurt now but it still hasn't gone away.  Something to discuss with the medical team at Steve's next assessment on 18 August.  

In the meantime, we send our love to all the meso warriors going through treatment, waiting for scan results, starting clinical trials and fighting the disease in their own ways, and to those who have lost loved ones or are watching them slip away....

...and if you haven't read it already, please take a look at this article in the Independent on 1 August "Secret deal meant mesothelioma compensation scheme favoured insururers"   and consider signing this e-petition about research funding into asbestos-related diseases

Thank you x

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