Thursday, 30 October 2008

Best Birthday So Far...


Huge Bouquet from Aunty Ann

One of my younger cousins turned 21 a couple of weeks ago.  In the morning she went up in a hot air balloon, in the afternoon she did a bungee jump over a ravine and a bridge swing, in the early evening she jumped out of a plane, and to cap it off, had a meal on a cruise yacht.  On top of all this, she was in Australia!  Of course my birthday was nowhere near as exciting, yet it was just as wonderful in other ways...

Firstly, I made it to 39, which in my position is a huge blessing.  It's the first birthday in years I've not been depressed about aging!  I've never been a birthday person, and tended to avoid doing anything for them.  Secondly, I was overwhelmed by the amount of birthday wishes, greetings, emails, phone calls, and FB messages I received, and I feel truly blessed to have so many wonderful friends and family rooting for me.


Bramble doesn't do birthdays! 

(New Earrings too!  Silver Dream Catchers)

I also got some beautiful gifts: a healing quartz crystal pendant and another piece of quartz to put with my Buddha, loads of pamper stuff including the most fabulous Molton Brown smellies!  I took my little one for a riding lesson so had lots of lovely horsey time too, and later hubby cooked a delicious evening meal.  Also had lots of visitors and phone calls, so it was relaxed but very sociable.  And thankfully I only had a few hours of pain, and didn't let it get me down (somehow!).

Out of interest, my last birthday in Spain was also wonderfully special.  I wrote a little story about it that somehow ended up here.

Now I look forward to my 40th (and 50th etc.,) which I'm planning  to spend with NeeNee in Mexico, with lots of horse-riding and swimming with dolphins :)

Almost as a belated birthday gift I got a call from the oncologist saying my tablets are ready for collection tomorrow morning - the gift of life I'm hoping - please keep fingers crossed (or better still visualise them working and curing me!).

Thanks to everyone who sent messages etc.  You all helped to make it a wonderful day filled with hope and positivity and light.  I owe you all one!

Monday, 27 October 2008

A fantastically horsey weekend

Sunday Morning with Cas

I've had a cracking weekend, despite a bit of pain here and there. On Saturday I went to see our friends with the horses. I was supposed to be there for 9.15am and was sure I'd make it. I got up at 7 in plenty of time but the horrid tummy ache refused to budge until well after 9 o'clock. I ended up arriving at 11, just in time to put Cas out to graze as by then, she'd been ridden and the mare had been schooled on the lunge. Plus it started to rain. But you know, whereas a year ago I'd have been devastated, now I think to myself, "Never mind. There'll be other opportunities," and as it turned out we went up to Derby House (Equestrian shop) and I had a great time looking at all the lovely horsey things. I bought a sumptuous dusty pink fluffy fleece, and a fleece scarf, and D and I had a cup of tea (yes herbal for me!) and a piece of carrot cake (which has to be healthy as it is full of carrots!). So it turned out to be a good day, and I was out till after 5pm (a record since all this began!).

Thankfully, the clocks went back on Sunday morning, so the extra hour meant I was able to get to D's early enough. Cas and D were in the manège already, so all I had to do was pop my hat on, swallow my nerves, and hop on board. Now the last time I attempted to ride Cas, I had not a clue how to ride her, and my beginner's legs and hands sent her off all over the school in canter, complete with flying changes, the works. D had to put me on a lunge line after a couple of minutes. It was like putting a learner driver behind the wheel of a Formula 1!!!

So this time I was desperate to make a better impression, and at least no lunge line was called for! However, my 20 metre circle was more like a 15 metre quadrilateral, and as I settled a bit more and got to grips with the feel of her, we did achieve slightly rounder shapes! The main problem I have is that I need markers, and in an unfamiliar arena I have no markers. Once D made me a marker in the sand I did much better. And then we had our first canter and I made the same old same old bleedin' error of leaning forward and ever so slightly panicking at the speed (even though it isn't very fast to look at!) causing me to then pull on the reins. After a few more pointers from D I managed to have a few more canters that were nice and controlled. I think I've come a long way with my riding, as at least this time I was able to understand D's instructions and implement them! Plus, I've never ridden a horse that goes into such a lovely outline before, so riding a 'headless' horse was a new experience (you can't see an awful lot beyond the bottom of the neck when you sit up tall and straight, and look ahead to where you're going!).

Just realised, am in danger of being a terrible horse bore so enough of that - and just the pics!Working in Trot

After my lesson, I got to watch the mare being schooled under saddle - she's just learning so had a bit of a paddy when J first started working her. I was impressed by how skilful J and D are, and felt like a sponge, just soaking up all the new terminology, and matching what I was seeing to what I've been reading about for two years. And to top it off, J was able to sit on her for the first time, and because of all the work that's already been done, the mare was calm and quite happy, if not a little perplexed at having this lady up on top of her!

A Funny Thing Happened...

Later on when I was leaving a funny thing happened. D's property has a little track that leads to the road - about 3/4 of a mile - and there's a gate at the end. As I got closer, I could see two cars were parked infront of the gate. They appeared to be devoid of any life forms, so I got out of my car and walked towards the cars, looking around to see if anyone was.... and that's when I saw him. In the passenger seat. He was lying back as far as the seat would go, and appeared to be... nope, no appeared about it, he was somewhat hastily unbuttoning his jeans! That was when I saw her too - in the driver's seat, also lying down as far as the seat would recline, and she was tackling her own buttons!!!

You know when you just don't know what to do! I mean, this is well out of my normal realm of experiences.

I waved at them over the gate, but they were oblivious. Obviously occupied with sliding tight denim down over expectant hips, they didn't look up at all. And things were hurrying along at this point. I was running out of time! So I went back to my car and honked the horn - a few short bursts should do it, I thought. Nothing. Just more and more flesh being revealed. A slight film of condensation forming on the windows. So I frantically shouted over the gate, "Yoo hoo!" (Well what else do you say?!). A face draining of all colour stared at me through the windscreen. Another one joined it. "Do you know whose car that is?" I called over, pointing at the other car. She began buttoning up again with even more haste than the unbuttoning. He looked a bit pissed off at being disturbed, if I'm honest. Eventually he pulled up his pants with a irate shake of his head. "It's mine," he said. "The plot thickens," said I.

He scuttled off into his little blue Fiesta, as she pulled up her pants, and the seat, and turned the engine over. And then off they went. Only they went quite slowly as I caught them up even after opening and closing the gate! I followed them for quite a while before they both disappeared off into a side street in the next town. I don't know - 1 o'clock in the afternoon as well!!!

All in all a cracking weekend. Even the baby horsie came to say goodbye as I drove past her in the field (taken before the Gate Incident!)

Baby says Bye Bye through the car window!
9 months old already!
(You may remember her from her baby pics on the blog last year?)

Thursday, 23 October 2008

More Bad News - But Not the End of the World!

Okay.  I've had a good cry, talked to a few wonderful people, and surprisingly - even to me - have bounced back again.

Failure is not an option.  I choose life, thank you very much.

Basically, the scan that showed up the 2 tumours in the liver, has also thrown up another shadow, in the pancreas this time.  Hence all the abdominal pains!

Doc said they were 90% certain that all 3 sites have the same cancer, but that a biopsy was the only way to know for sure, and even then, getting a sample is not always possible.  The tears started to flow at that point.  I shook my head.  I can't go through that again - being awake in a scanner while they force a needle through my abdomen to take a chunk of liver out.  We decided that we'd take it they were they same, i.e. secondaries as opposed to a new primary, and we'd see in the next scan what's going on. 

*big sigh of relief*  

The fantastic news is that I am getting the new tablet drug instead of IV chemo.  The side effects are diarrhoea (in some people), and a rash ranging from a patch of dry skin on your leg, to full blown facial acne in others.  Chemo was extreme nausea, hair loss, sitting in the chemo suite for hours on end... weeks lost to sickness and sleeping... constipation... 

I am, as you can imagine, ecstatic that I'm having the tablet.   My friend said last night, that the corner has been turned now - that I needed to focus on and believe that yesterday was the last of the bad news.  I used to think I needed to be a realist all the time, but the more I read and learn through this experience, the more I understand that it is only by abandoning realism that miracles can happen.  Without belief and that crazed faith in the impossible, no one would have ever tried to build the first submarine, or airplane, or any other technology.  So sod realism, and those horrendous figures that say I should be sorting out my affairs.  People have survived worse situations than mine, and no one can say how or why, but the one thing they all seem to share is an unbreakable belief that they would get well.  I am already on the mend!

Of course it's not all positive thinking.  We are what we eat and  I need to make a few more dietary changes, start doing some fitness work, and organising my writing day.  I great thing is that I can do all this now because once we get the pain sorted out, I'll have all the time in the world to crack on with fighting this disease.

Life is good.  Diclofenac seems to sort out the pain in the abdomen sufficiently for me to get on with things, and I've even been invited over to my friend's house to watch them (and learn about!) working a horse under saddle, and may get to ride if I'm well enough, and the weather is okay.  Hurrah!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Big Day Has Arrived Already

It's that day again - Oncologist Day (or OD because I always end up overdosing on information).  We have to go up to the hospital to the oncology dept, past the open chemo-suite where short-haired, or be-wigged patients will be sitting in high back chairs, their long suffering arms cradled on white pillows.  Above their heads, plastic bags filled with clear innocuous looking fluids, will dangle from metal stands, connecting to winnowed veins via  clear - we've got nothing to hide -  IV lines that wind around their victims  patients charges, delivering their cyto-toxic concoctions directly into bruised flesh.  It all relies on the gravity of the situation.

Past the chemo-suite there is another room, shared between those who are coping less well with their treatments, and those who need blood tests.  The doors are often closed here.

We will give my name into the Reception Desk, smile, go along the corridor to the waiting room, and wait.  Sometimes we are seen quite quickly, but at other times we can wait an hour or so.  Then I will try to do my breathing exercises inconspicuously, and people watch.

Waiting rooms are ideal places for people watching.  Here the faces are mostly wrinkled with experience.  I feel very young sitting their among them.  When I've been with my parents, people have made the mistake of assuming one of them is the patient, not me.  In all my visits I've only seen 3 or 4 people around my age (39/40).  It's easy to feel cheated about this, but if I start to feel self-pity, I'll remind myself of all the children who are tucked away in other places, hooked up to their own IV-lines, and moreover the majority of these kids don't complain, or wallow in feeling sorry for themselves.

Anyway, we may or may not get talking to people while we wait.  More usually I find the English reserve keeps a lot of people quietly locked in their own inner worlds, while I will talk to just about anyone!  The only people I don't want to talk to are the ones who go on and on and on about everything that's wrong with them, and moan endlessly.  They are usually the older people, and I want to say, "Please stop being so negative and miserable.  You've lasted long enough to see your grandchildren grow up and get married!  If I were in my 60s when this happened I'd be just as scared, in pain, etc., as I am now, but at least I'd be thinking, okay, I reached my 60s, and that's something to be thankful for! I'm praying I see 40 at this stage in the game."

Sometimes my assigned nurse will come to see me.  She is lovely, and means well, but talks to me with that hideous tone of voice that should really be reserved for patients in their mid-90s who are in the closing stages of their lives and dementia.  It's the voice that has poor, poor you! as its undertone, no matter what words are being spoken.  She says, "How are you?" with a heavy sigh that says I know poor baby, it's terrible isn't it?  Life is so unfair!  I think she'd be devastated if she realised she did that, but how do you tell someone?  Is it acceptable to say, "Look, you're a lovely woman and everything, but if you use that 'talking to the terminally ill voice on me one more time, I may just have to ride Henry to my next appointment and trample you to death in the car-park!!!"

Time's marching on.  The hour is fast approaching.  Chemo or tablet?  That's the HUGE question.  Nausea or no Nausea.  Baldness or Acne?  Intrusive IV line or Bitter pill to swallow?  Existing harsher than harsh treatment or brand-spanking new not-even-half-as-bad-as-chemo treatment?

Watch this space!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Monday again

It's been a challenging few days in terms of pain. Lots of horrendous stomach ache which is probably gall-bladder and/or pancreas related. Crazy. If it weren't for the bloody cancer, I'd have had the gall-bladder out at Christmas and not had to go through all of this crap! It seems to have it's own little time schedule too, this pain. It starts around 4 ish usually (though sometimes as early as 2pm) and lasts right through till 10 ish. There doesn't seem to be any connections with when I eat/take painkillers/etc., so I can't avoid it either. I'm just hoping it'll sort itself out again soon.

Not a lot gets done when you're doubled over in agony, but I did manage to get around the supermarket yesterday to buy ingredient for another ratatouille. Afterwards I went up to my cousin's house for a family get together, as my cousin L is over from Vancouver Island visiting. It's been lovely to see her - she's like a sister as I saw her and her siblings just about everyday until we emigrated to the UK. Unfortunately, by the time I got there the pain had started and soon kicked in with a vengeance. I ended up driving home, swearing rhythmically to ease the worst of it. Luckily, hubby to the rescue - cooked a fab ratatouille while I helpfully rocked back and forth with a hot wheat-pack!

I did make a few writerly decisions over the weekend:

- Have decided that whatever happens the PhD is something I want to do. I just need to know how elastic the deadlines can be given my health. For example, can I be excused for not making it to any research meetings? I miss studying! Can you believe that? (I never really stopped studying though, just switched to equestrian reading and research!)

- Am going to start submitting work again this week. Mslexia dropped through the door and inspired me again. If there's one single activity that has helped me get through it's been writing about it. Most cathartic.

Facebook has been quite interesting these past few week as well. A strange little place I still can't get my head around. I never know what to do with all those invitations, for example. I don't want to be a vampire, or poke people en-mass! I started having a green patch but it quickly became the bane of my life (even more annoying than cancer!) - either the deer were eating all the plants, or the rabbit were digging holes and needed feeding, or I had to go to the 'shop;' and buy things like rakes, shovels, and animal feed! Even when you start clicking 'ignore' you'll find yourself spending hours a day clicking ignore to endless invitations. Still, it is nice to be thought of!

It's also a bit stalkerish - the way you can see what everyone's been doing, follow their comments and conversations, see who they've been super-poking and throwing sheep at. My husband is currently racing motorbikes - although you never get to the bikes actually race, you just click and the next screen tells you who won! Now figure that one out! The chat facility is odd too. I log in and it says 10 people, but when I click to see who they are the number becomes a 1! I've only managed to speak to one person on it so far! Am I slightly paranoid in thinking people log off because I've logged in?!!! MSN is much more my cup of tea!

What is is good for, is finding people you've lost touch with. I'm one of those people who has no problem phoning someone after 20 years and saying, 'Hello! Remember me?' I've moved around so much, and had the privilege to meet so many fantastic people, that there's still loads of people I'd like to catch up with. Of course it's embarrassing sometimes (I was strange, unconfident, unaccomplished, unmade back then) but it's also been good to discover that despite being all fucked up, I was still a good person, and people haven't minded me calling them out the blue. Over the past few weeks, I've had lovely long telephone conversations, filled with warmth and happiness, shared memories of the past and plenty of laughter. So facebook does have it's uses besides helping writers (and everyone else) to procrastinate just a few minutes longer. Well, I have 6 new notifications and it'd be rude not to at least take a peek at them!!!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Heard a lovely quote today:

"Don't cry because it's over,

Smile because it happened."

Dr. Seuss

Monday, 13 October 2008

the health fair...

Health Food

I went to a health fair on Saturday. I didn't know what to expect to be honest, never having gone to anything like that before. I wanted to find some good recipes that use the foods I'm supposed to be eating at the moment (vegan basically, with a bit of raw food diet thrown in). Unfortunately, I'm also avoiding sugar as much as possible, and you be bloody amazed at how much 'healthy' stuff is full of sugar, and that's before you even look at the foods' natural sugar contents!

But Louise Hay reckons we should listen to our body and feed it well, that all of the 'for health diets' have cured someone or other. It doesn't matter which one apparently. So I ate the free sample of vegan banana loaf (with the added sugar) and it was delicious!

So the fair was chock full of foody stalls, all claiming that their food or supplement was the best that money could buy/could be found in the UK/Europe, The World. There were huge claims for supplements; they cured everything apparently, for an average of £45 a month per miracle potion. One wonders why anyone ever gets ill or dies at all, if we are to believe all of these claims!

And there was a talk on cancer: an alternative approach. It was a bit disappointing to tell the truth. He went on about how his wife cured herself of breast cancer with foods, supplements, and positive thinking (that was good - I was interested now). He said all the same stuff that I'd found on the net, some of which has been heavily refuted on other sites. But then he went on about allopathic medicines (your chemo and such like - normal Western treatments), and how no one should use them, how damaging they are. Which of course makes you feel just great when you've had it already! Plus, on the way out some man accosted me with, "He's full of shit, that fella. People like him should be shot!"

Hmm. I think we'll go with the allopathic AND the naturopathic thank you! The middle way, and all that.

I did get lots of free samples of natural soaps, vitamin tablets etc., and half a forest worth of leaflets.

Natural: Funny word. Surely everything is natural?! Okay, so meaning not-man made. Even so, arsenic and cyanide are natural, so are lead, mercury, and radio-activity!

Health Food: Another funny one. Isn't 'food' meant to be healthy? Isn't it odd that we have 'junk-food' and 'fast-food', and 'processed-food' - all stuff we eat without thinking twice, and yet these substances have very little 'food' left in them!

Trouble is, the stuff that is full of food (vitamins, enzymes, minerals etc.) tastes so different to what my Western palate is used to. I've been struggling to finish my meals for the past few weeks, getting slimmer by the day. I couldn't come up with any ideas at all, and then little 'un picked up and aubergine in the supermarket yetserday, and asked what it was. I was inspired! Ratatouille! Why didn't I think of it sooner? So last night I sat and wolfed down my wild rice and organic, home-made ratatouille - fantastic! Any other recipe ideas gratefully received!!!

Right. Off to write!


Am going into uni tomorrow lunch time, so will be in the SCR if anyone fancies saying hello!

Friday, 10 October 2008

quick post today

A quickie post today, I'm afraid, as kids nearly home from school.

It's been a great couple of days. Even the lung nurse phoning me to tell me my pancreas 'might' be enlarged, hasn't quelled my zest for life! I thanked her, hung up the phone and went riding with a big old smile on my face. This positive thinking stuff really makes a difference, eh!

Yesterday, I took K to school for the first time in a year (last Oct when I came of sick). She was so happy that I'm going to take her every other day next week, and then as often as I can. I also had a cracking ride on Henry - getting those transitions much more smooth again, and getting over losing my nerve - he tanked off again, and I had no panic at all! Am slowly but surely getting back to where I was before - next things to do are a) hack on the beach b) jumping again and c) getting to the stables more and hanging around to help out a bit - yes okay - I won't overdo it!!! Yesterday I stayed on to watch one of the staff lunging her horse - learned loads! After I went for Bowen and got home at 4ish, absolutely wiped out! Ended up sleeping for most of the evening.

But today feel great again. Have had healthy porridge, fruit, and watched a dvd by Louise Hay - she wrote You Can Heal Your Life which I bought years ago and still have on the shelf. My dad got me the dvd and it was like OMG why didn't I take notice of this when I first bought it. But you know, sometimes we just aren't ready for the information. I am obviously one of those people who need a sharp kick between the eyes before making real and lasting changes!

So now I fill my mind with good, positive thoughts. I tell myself I am healthy and strong constantly throughout the day, and whether or not it is coincidence doesn't matter - I feel stronger in the last 2 weeks than I have since the whole thing started last year. I feel more joyous. I appreciate life much much more, and I appreciate my body. I could wish I'd done all this years ago, but no point kicking myself either. The situation is obviously one the universe thinks I needed. Now I need good health, courage and strength!

And I'm still working on the novel too! Gosh. Success all round.

(Although I didn't go swimming today - oops. But I still haven't had any meat, sugar, eggs, or processed food in a fortnight! Or a brew!)

Herbal tea grows on you! Honest.

And I'm on to my 2nd lot of germinating seeds/sprouts - growing them that is. Now all I have to do is eat them all up!!!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

In Search of Motivation/Digging Deep

It's been a week of deciding to do things, but also of procrastination, I'm afraid!  A week of listening to Cds, and of reading books.

So I decided;

  • to start swimming again
  • to do some writing
  • to be more active and get out and do things
  • to eat properly - working toward the full Ph Diet


  • have only got as far as digging out my swim suit and gym membership card - concerted effort to start Friday morning
  • have so far only managed a couple 100 words or so
  • Monday I made a few phone calls (although forgot to ring J back and she wasn't in on Tuesday), and did the food shopping.  Tuesday I did very little.  No excuses.  Today I  have to wait in for the Sky people to come back and sort out the mess they made of the wiring first time around.
  • haven't eaten meat in 2 weeks, nor chocolate, nor sugar, nor white bread - or white anything come to think of it!  I have had dairy in the form of butter, and milk on cereal, but today I just ate fruit until lunch time, so avoided it.  I've not needed laxatives in 2 weeks, and am getting hardly any break through pain in the evenings. 

So far, I'm feeling fantastic, it must be said.  In fact, why on earth am I sitting around all day when I feel this great?!

I've been listening to some Cds by a bloke called Tony Robbins - change your life in a week stuff!  I wouldn't normally bother with all this self help/self analysis stuff, but L sent it, so I had to listen.  I'm half way through.  Some of the stuff he says;

  • Have an hour of power every day.  This is your first hour of the day where you give yourself time to focus on goals, do visualisations, meditate, etc., and you must make it like an appointment with a very special person who you wouldn't let down.  (I'm a crap friend - have so far failed to turn up to the first meeting!)
  • Psychology starts with physiology.  In other words, if you sit slumped and downward looking, you'll feel that way too.  (This one works!)
  • He lists all the excuses we make for ourselves:
    • I'll do it tomorrow - tomorrow never comes
    • I'll do it after I do x, y, z/I'm too busy right now
    • I'll just think about it some more and then I'll do it.
    • etc.
  • Visualise what you want in your life, focus on what you want, and push thoughts of what you don't want, out of your mind altogether.
  • Get fit and active again if you've let that slide, some of us since childhood!  Love your body by feeding it right, and keeping it oiled and active.
  • To make a start, just tell yourself you'll just do 10 minutes.  We are assured that once we get started we'll usually end up doing more (well, that's been true for this blog post!)

Bugger!  I am all inspired now and want to jump in the car and head for the pool, but I can't bloody well go out till the Sky people come.  And the kids are home at 3.30.  I need to bottle this feeling and when I get up in the morning, I can drink it up.  Then I'll do my hour of power, have fruit for breakfast, and go riding.  And when I get home I'll do some writing before Bowen Therapy.

(Voice in head says, "Yeah Right!  Ha ha ha!  Don't make laugh!  You'll stay up all night again playing solitaire while listening to the radio, and struggle to be out of bed for 9 am!")

I have faith in me!  I can do this change your life thing!  I have nothing to lose and everything to gain!  The sad thing is, I had decided to make all these changes a year and half ago, when I started running and swimming, and getting fit.  Only I didn't realise the cancer had already started - and I had left it too late to prevent it.  So now I just gotta reverse it again.  Pick up from where I left off.  Keep going.  keep fighting.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

What the Oncologist said, Part IV

Sunflowers from Julie

I got a beautiful photo through the post yesterday, from Lesley. It was a moment caught on film, as the sun begins to rise over the sea, gently throwing its light over jagged, snow covered crags softening them. On the back she had written, "It's always darkest before the dawn." And she was right.

The dark bit has been the last few weeks, carrying the heartbreaking news of what was happening in my body, wondering what on earth the oncologist was going to say to me. Would he just send me home to die, I asked myself, and if so how would I deal with that one? But the dawn did come, and things were not as bad as I had thought. (It's still not fantastic, of course, but better than the worse case scenario above.

The oncologist said:

1. The lung tumor has reduced, and the lymph node is no longer visible! For me this means that the radiotherapy was not a waste of time, and that means a lot psychologically.
2. The 2 newbies are small (17mm the largest), but he used the word virulent which probably isn't great. The liver can still function as long as 50% of it is clear though.
3. I have the option of more chemotherapy (Taxotere) or possibly a new tablet called Tarceva.
4. I don't think he's thinking of curing me, rather keeping me alive as long as he can. If I can make 5 years I stand a good chance of making it a lot longer. I've already done a year.
5. The miracle alkalising powder/liquid zeolite seems to be a hoax/sham from reading the forums where loads of people have tried it and it hasn't done a thing.
6. He said changing my diet to a more healthy one is something I can try, as long as I don't get so miserable with food I hate that I stop eating!
7. The glimmer of hope - People have survived this, and worse. Okay, so the percentage is miniscule, but it is not impossible.
8. I intend to beat this and get my body and my life back, starting today with some horse riding and Bowen Therapy. Oh and lots of water, herbal teas, and stuff that looks like it came from the bottom of a bird cage!!!

Thanks again to everyone who has texted/called/visited/etc., and just generally supported me through what has been a somewhat, er... difficult time!