Monday, 25 February 2013


With three weeks experience as a dog-owner, I've learnt an awful lot of new things, one of which is never buy a completely black dog and expect to take decent photos of him that actually do him justice. Here are my best efforts, but Steve is actually much more beautiful, cute and adorable looking than any of these pictures. It's very lucky that he does look so gorgeous, because he is very naughty, mischievous and has the soul of an anarchist, but those puppy-dog eyes bail him out of trouble all the time. 

 He bites and chews everything - furniture, skirting boards, floors, whatever anyone is wearing, and best of all, he managed to bite all the way through the charging cable of Toby's Galaxy Tablet, which caused untold misery and heartache. We are all covered in teeth marks and scratches, and I won't even mention his remarkable ability to poo and wee constantly and everywhere. 

He's now had his jabs and his microchip, so only another two weeks before we can take him out on proper walks to burn up all that energy - I say we, it won't be me, because I'm still barely able to walk more than a few steps before having to sit down and recover.

 On the plus side, he is very friendly, makes a huge fuss of everybody, and has a lovely temperament most of the time. It's amazing how companionable he is, you could never feel lonely with him around. 

It's been a very tough week quite apart from the chaos and mess that Steve creates all by himself. The rounds of medical and professional appointments has been a marathon, 16 in total, each one raising new issues and managing to add stacks of yet more admin type things to do to my ever-growing admin mountain, which now takes up 7 storage boxes. Forms, letters, emails to write, historical paperwork to find, issues to address - it's both endless and mindless, and I'm almost at the point of losing the plot completely, and sorely tempted to take a match to it and dance around the fire while it burns. However that would only be a temporary solution - I really would need to brick up the letter-box, cancel my internet subscription and  move to a desert island to completely solve the problem. Or sell the children. Or die of cancer. 

Dying of cancer has been somewhat uppermost in my mind lately. For nearly a year my life has been dominated by cancer treatment that has been very hard to deal with, and I'm now left with feeling so weak and ill and shattered all the time that I feel like 10% of the person I used to be. On top of all of that, the radiotherapy burns are very debilitating, both in terms of pain and  mobility. Being a mother to three children who all have varying degrees of disability and special needs is beyond a full-time job at the best of times, and we just seem to lurch from one crisis to the next on a week-by-week basis. It means that my cancer is about 8th or 9th on the list of priorities at any given time, which is a mixed blessing. At least I don't get time to obsess and get depressed about it all, but neither do I get the time to rest, relax and recuperate, which is essential to cancer recovery. So this week wasn't really the best week to read a piece of research that indicates that 30% of breast cancers pop up all over again, and that when that happens, it often means a very poor prognosis. I don't even know yet if all the chemo and radiotherapy has banished both my cancers completely, so to see in black and white how prevalent recurrence is wasn't the most cheerful moment of the week. 

Then there are all the issues that all these appointments bring. If you don't have disabled children, you may think that the professionals we have to consult are just that, professional, and that with their knowledge and experience they actually make our lives easier. Well, no and no. Some, in fact most, are excellent, with good will and well-meaningness exuding from them. However, just in any other walk of life, there are some very difficult, tricky characters who just make a really difficult situation a thousand times worse. It is this end of the professional spectrum that I'm having to deal with at the moment. A totally unnecessary set of very stressful situations are being played out, and I'm left feeling vulnerable, frightened, angry, rageful, shocked and horribly sad. To work our way out of this will mean a huge amount of research, emails, meetings -  and it's all so scary, particularly coming at a time when I really don't have the resources to fight our corner like I should normally be able to. 

So WM has come up with a solution, aided and abetted by my lovely friend, Anita, of the Cancer Photo Shot blog fame. He is whisking me away for the weekend, and Anita is moving in to keep the balls in the air here at home, and to wipe up Steve's poo by the bucket load. 

We're off to an amazing hotel on the seafront in Bournemouth, called The Grove and run by Macmillan, it's especially for people with cancer. 3 nights of just stopping ahead and I just can't wait. In a cancer-friendly environment I won't get the stares I might get elsewhere because of my bright red burns and my bald head. No one will bat an eyelid if I never leave the hotel and just curl up and read a book or several. However if I do want to go out, I can hire a mobility scooter! How cool is that...... I can be a menace on the promenade!

This week we only have 9 appointments so it will be a bit easier. I finally got around to seeing my GP this morning about the Goitre they discovered 7 months ago. A whole new set of tests and treatments to look forward to, now how exciting is that? It actually might be...... there is a very long-shot that with proper treatment all my extra weight might just fall off effortlessly..... but then again it might not, but I'm holding on to that thought to get me past the blood tests and needles that I'll need. 

We took little 10 week old Steve to the vets on Saturday, where they used an elephant sized needle for his microchip, and he totally put me to shame. The vet warned us to expect pitiful whelps of pain and distress, and Steve didn't even murmur - he was so brave. I really wish I was too. 


  1. Well first off, you are brave. The way you know that is you're still standing (or sitting, or lying... point is you "are"). Second, thank goodness for WM and Anita, she of photo shoot fame. Third, and essential, well done you for accepting the help and giving yourself three nights off. You need it, it's not luxury. Love you... as ever <3

    1. Thank you, as always, Benedicte, for you kindness, constant support and friendship. But I am so not brave, I promise you! love Yvonne xxx

  2. Hi Yvonne, that's a very heavy load packed into one week!...and somehow, the time-warping, stress-warping Fairy God-Mother that you are, enabled you to wave your magic wand, sprinkle a little fairy dust on the problems...and poof...they were gone...and now the golden carriage is about to pull up and transport you to the ball and 3 days of paradise, where you can celebrate every moment as YOURS! You so deserve the rest and the complete break from everything!

    Steve's looks very adorable, and I can well imagine his naughtiness at this age. If you can spot him while he's chewing things he shouldn't, a fine spray bottle with water, sprayed on his head as you tell him a firm "No", will deter him. Or coins in a can can be shaken everytime you catch him chewing, to snap him out of it. His pending outdoor exercise will go a long way to calm him down and give him other interests.

    I'm happy for you that the lovely WM and Anita have enabled you to get away for a few days. Have a wonderful time!

    As always,
    Love and Hugs,
    Sharon, Ottawa xox

  3. Hi Sharon, I've just put a load of coins in a metal baking tin (only thing to hand in a biting emergency a minute ago!) and it worked a treat! He shot away from my daughter's ankle in a nanosecond, looking very chastised! We had to repeat it a few times so hope he doesn't just start tuning it out! Thank you as always for your kindness and support - a golden carriage does sound a tiny bit better than a mobility scooter! xx

  4. Hehe! Yvonne, yes, a few coins in a beverage can, shaken very briefly but vigorously, usually work a charm to stop a dog in its tracks from its undesirable behaviour! Try it for the peeing and pooping too, if you can catch him 'in action'! And try following the brief coin shaking with a dominant "NO"!

    Another great technique is rolling the dog onto its side or back when it has misbehaved and affirming a dominant "NO", to show that you are the "Alpha dog".
    When dogs are learning their role in a new family setting, it's very important that we establish boundaries asap, and show them who's in charge/who's Alpha dog...and when they clearly experience who's Alpha dog, they respond.

    Yes, I envisaged a fairy tale book golden carriage to transport you to your vacation! But WM's a most wonderful gentleman and he's going to look after you, royally. I can't wait to hear back from you, how your vacation went!

    Love and Hugs,
    Sharon, Ottawa xox