Saturday 31 December 2011

Looking back on 2011

Our plan to have a grown-up intermittent "gap year" traveling when both children left home ended abruptly when Steve was diagnosed with mesothelioma in June 2009 and our lives were turned upside down.  However, in 2011 we have been fortunate to be able to pick up where we left off two years ago.  

There have been several trips to europe, including Venice, Bilbao, Paris and a tour of south west France.  We've travelled extensively in the UK often meeting up with family and friends, including trips to Edinburgh, Bristol, Bath, Bury St Edmunds, Manchester and London, and short breaks in the Cotswolds, the Peak District, Yorkshire and around the Devon/Cornwall borders.

We've packed in experiences which are new to one or both of us - hot air ballooning; clay pigeon shooting; skimming the waves in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat); a day at the Derby, Epsom; a production at Stratford and visiting sites and buildings not normally open to the public when opportunities have arisen.

We were delighted to become Associates of the Royal Photographic Society; have our photography selected for exhibitions in the UK, France, Holland, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina; featured on photography websites and published in magazines, picking up a few awards along the way.  

However, it doesn't get any easier, living on the emotional roller coaster of three-monthly hospital visits, never knowing what news the next assessment will bring. The deaths of several friends this year has reminded us how precious life is and how important it is to make the most of the good times. 

We have been fortunate to be able to do that over the last 12 months, as each assessment has brought the good news that there is no significant change in Steve's condition, some two and a half years post-diagnosis. Although others have been less fortunate, the courage and determination shown by other meso-warriors when faced with less good news remains inspirational.  

While a cure for mesothelioma still seems some way off, there are several promising lines of research targeting the mechanisms of cancer cell growth and ways to harness the body's own immune system to destroy cancer cells. Who knows what will happen in the next 12 months?

Tomorrow it will be time to look forward.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and fulfilling New Year :-)


  1. Happy New Year to you Linda. Thank you again for your insight and perspecitive from your blog writings and add another warrior to your international list. Test results conclude Epithelial Mesothelioma so 2012 will be a busy year for us. (I tried to connect on Friend connect with a personal message however I wasn't successful). Again, best wishes.

  2. Hello Marg

    I know you will have other things on your mind in 2012, but I hope you will keep in touch and share your experiences. The epitheloid type of mesothelioma is known to be the most responsive to treatment, so hold on to that knowledge as the year progresses and remember the Meso Warriors are there to support you.

    Stay positive, best wishes

    Linda and Steve x