EOMV, Garden blogging, Garden Meme

End of Month View: March 2013

Oh goodness me, I wish I hadn’t just looked at my End Of Month View for March 2012. It has made me realise how very delayed everything is this year. It’s still very cold and we are no nearer to any signs of the Spring warmth. It was unseasonably warm in March 2012 and the plants and flowers shed their Winter hibernation and burst forth in full splendor. The other day, when the temperature was just above zero, the weatherman happily reminded us that it was 20C on the same day in 2012. No wonder the plants are not doing their thing yet.

For example, the Kerria was in full bloom, covered in yellow pom-poms, but today there are only a few feeble little buds trying to break through.

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The Montana Elizabeth Clematis was a mass of leaves and pink buds. This year I have had to hunt for any sign of life, in fact, I almost thought it had died, so was cheered to find a few leaves – all is not lost.

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I can’t even start to show you the blue Anemones, the Pieris in flower, or any tiny Violas as there are none – yet.

However, on a more cheerful note, the Forget-me-nots are beginning to flower and will soon spread some pretty colour in the flower beds.

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About a month ago, with the help of a friend, we managed to reduce the ivy at the bottom of the garden down to the height of the wall. Actually, he did the majority of the work, I just chopped it up and put it in the garden waste wheelie bin. The intention was to then have a go at the ivy to the left of the garden, but the weather has been so appalling we are yet to get out there again and tackle the next stage. It is amazing the extra light that is in the garden now and how much more there eventually will be once it is all down to wall height. You can see from the photo below how much needs to be removed.

DSC_0502 (800x533)There are a few more signs of Spring, albeit slow. The Forsythia is covered in tight yellow buds with just a few beginning to open out into flower. The extra light it is receiving now has clearly made a difference.

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I think the Spirea Firelight is also benefitting from no longer being stuck in the shade of the ivy. I love the bronze leaves on this plant that appear in Spring, it’s a back to front plant, because the colours are what you would expect to see in the Autumn.

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And the Ribes is dripping in pink buds. During the Summer, when it does absolutely nothing, the thought is always that I should remove it but then when Spring arrives and it flowers I am reminded how pretty it can be, despite the unfortunate cat-like smell that follows in a few more weeks.

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The other plants that seem to be doing well, despite the cold weather, are the Peony (I do hope it flowers this year) and the Erysimum. The foxglove is looking as though it’s going to do something soon too.

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The front garden is slightly ahead of the rear, this is because it is drier, lighter and receives a little more sun, when it comes out. The tete-a-tete daffodils are a colourful welcome underneath the front window. They are totally unphased by the snow and icy cold days, but at the moment are the only daffodils in flower, all the others are still thinking about it.

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I have a number of pots of Spring plants, including a variety of tulips, down the side patio, all placed so that I can see them from the kitchen window. Some of the pots I had to cover with chicken wire because there was a little critter that kept digging up the tulip bulbs. It was suggest it could have been a squirrel. Anyway the bulbs seem undeterred and if I look carefully between the tulip leaves I can see some flowers beginning to shoot up. They should be pink and white striped and apricot tulips so will be lovely to look at whilst washing up.

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Fingers crossed that the April End of Month view will have a lot more colour and feel of “Spring has arrived”. I expect like me you are desperately in need of some warmth and sunshine. This EOMV is a few days early, as they are usually posted on the last day of the month, so at the end of the month please hop over to Helen’s blog The Patient Gardener who hosts this meme. There you will find a number of posts from other gardeners with an update of how their gardens are faring this time of the year.

Bowel Cancer update:

It’s felt good to get back into writing gardening posts, the last few have been about the bowel cancer I have been recently diagnosed with. As a brief update, the lung specialist confirmed that it has not spread to my lungs, which is a huge relief as you can imagine, not only for me but for my family and friends. The next step is for a CT guided biopsy on Wednesday (3 April) on the enlarge lymph node deep in my abdomen, which I am told is about the size of a hen’s egg. You would think I could feel something that size wouldn’t you? Once they have that result which is the final piece of the jigsaw, I will be told what treatment/surgery I have ahead of me. The waiting is horrendous, but made much better knowing that my lungs are ok. Now, all I need are some good weather days to make it possible to get out into the garden while I can.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond ©AarTeePhotography;Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.

Beating Bowel Cancer, Personal blogging

Patience, Green Tea and Turmeric


Patience has never been my strong point, add that to being an inveterate worrier, this last week has been difficult to say the least.

On Saturday, I received a copy of the Consultant’s letter to my GP. Seeing it in black and white completely freaked me out, especially the detailed setting out of the CT scan findings. The words and phraseology coupled with some of the content that I don’t recall from the meeting made a very tough letter to read. Along with the fact the weather was awful (again), Saturday was a very weepy day, and I didn’t get out into the garden or write a gardening post which I had promised myself either.

The Consultant’s letter, dated 14 March, also said that he had requested urgent referrals to “…further investigate the histology of both the gastro-hepatic lymph node and lung nodules…”. You would think under those circumstances that an appointment might have come through early in the week wouldn’t you? Perhaps my idea of urgent is not the same as mine. I called the Colorectal Macmillan nurse several times this week asking her to chase things up.

Being at work this week has been a panacea, it has made me forget about the cancer and I felt that life was back to normal again, whatever normal is. I have told my work colleagues and being able to speak about it has released the pressure building up inside me. Everyone has been so kind and supportive, although there have been one or two, understandably, who have just nodded as they walk past not knowing what to say. I was surprised however at the number of people who said “You are so brave”. I don’t feel there is anything brave about this at all, I am just getting on with my life and my job until surgery or chemo commences. The quote in the picture above sums it all up really.

Reading the Beating Bowel Cancer patient forum I saw that a lot of people swear by an anti-cancer diet consisting of plenty of green tea, vegetable curries – turmeric is supposed to have excellent anti-cancer properties and absolutely no sugar. That means no biscuits, cakes or hot-cross buns!

Fruit, especially berries for breakfast, with ground linseeds and sugar free cereals, especially oats
Vegetables soup or salad for lunch, with whole grain carbs
Veg curry and brown rice for tea.
Choose something from the brassicas, mushroom and onion families every day.

Occasionally eat:
Meat as a treat once or twice a week
Oily fish twice a week
Eggs once a week
Use soya products instead of dairy as often as you can.

Do NOT eat:
sugar – including fructose in drinks / sweets etc
white flour / bread / cakes / biscuits / croissants etc
white rice / pasta
hydrogenated fats / margarines etc
bacon or any deli meats.

I am drinking at least 3 cups of green tea a day and slowly acquiring the taste and the other day I made lashings of vegetable curry. Not surprisingly, my kitchen utensils have gone yellow – turmeric has great staining power. Anyway, the whole point of this is that I intend to do anything possible to fight “Eric the Invader” and hope he hates curry and will vacate my body.

I got home last night (Thursday) to a message left on the house phone with an appointment today (Friday) at 2:00 p.m. I spoke to the x-ray department this morning and have been told that the Consultants have looked at the CT scan and decided they need to do an ultra sound first to determine if it is possible to undertake a needle biopsy. If they can’t then it will have to be done another way – yet another wait for an appointment!

I am seeing the Lung Consultant on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. It is going to be at least another week or two from then because they have to have their Multi Disciplinary Meetings to review all the findings. I was told that I probably have had bowel cancer for a few years and it is slow growing so another few weeks won’t make any difference… well I have news for you medical profession!

It makes a lot of difference to me!

Related items:

Coming Face to Face with Eric

The First of Many Highs and Lows

Bowel cancer

The First of Many Highs and Lows

15 March 2013 : Today I changed the header on my blog so people could see I intend to fight Eric all the way and a wrote my first blog post about the start of my journey. I also joined the patient forum on beating bowel cancer. Such inspiring stories. Someone made the point they decided not to give their cancer a name because it might sound as though they were making friends with him. Eric the Invader is certainly never going to be a friend in any shape or form. I just hope that I continue to have the strength to oust him.

Getting my affairs in order is important too. Not that I have any intention of not being here in years to come but for piece of mind, I have set in motion a health and welfare lasting power of attorney. This gives my daughters the authority to be given access to my medical notes and make any medical or welfare decisions on my behalf if I am unable to do so. I already have an enduring power of attorney so they can deal with my finances should the need ever arise, which of course it won’t, but it’s good to know it’s there.

This evening probably because I am tired I am beginning to feel somewhat maudlin. I’ve been reading about chemotherapy which sounds absolutely awful but if it prolongs my life I will have to deal with it.   Even though treatment gives people another 5 to 10 years, it’s still like having a death sentence over you.  Of course this is crazy because we all die eventually, it’s just that most of us don’t know when that will happen. Think I’ll take myself to bed at least when I am asleep I won’t think about it.

16 March 2013:  It’s 4.30 in the morning and I have woken up wanting everything to go back to normal. Only it hasn’t really been normal for some time now, it’s just that then I didn’t know I had cancer.     Feeling tearful and scared. Perhaps the middle of the night is always going to make me feel like that.

I have read all the lovely comments on Facebook of support from family and friends and on my blog. People I have never met who have followed my blog for a long time have sent their love and expressed their sadness and shock at my news. Suddenly feel quite lonely though and wonder how I am going to cope with all of this living on my own.  There is no immediate person to give me that all needed hug.  Damn it now I am going to cry.

My next blog post is going to be about my garden, I have promised myself that.

Bowel cancer

Coming Face to Face with Eric

I have suffered from IBS for many years so there was no real noticeable change in my bowel habits.  For the last few years my GP has been telling me that the bright red blood when I go to the loo was due to piles.  It was only when I started passing blood clots and blood stained mucus that I went back to him on 31 January 2013.  He fast tracked me to the Colorectal clinic at the local hospital.

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14 February 2013:  I had a rigid sigmoidoscopy which only goes up the first part of the bowel.  Not the most comfortable thing to have done on Valentine Day.   I was told I had a couple of grade III hemorrhoids but for belt and braces it was arranged for me to have a flexible sigmoidoscopy – this goes further around the sigmoid section of the large intestine.

27 February 2013:  with the help of gas and air to take the edge of the camera passing through the bowel some polyps were found.  I could see from the monitor in front of me that they didn’t look right and sensed from the tone of voice of the consultant, who had been called in, that he was not happy and he ordered 3 biopsies to be taken and a CT scan and full colonoscopy was arranged.

6 March 2013:  I had the CT scan.

10 March 2013:  Two days before the colonoscopy I had to have a bland diet, and ate poached chicken breast and mash potato for Mother’s Day lunch, loving prepared by my eldest daughter.

11 March 2013:, A fluids only day and at 7:00p.m. I drank the first litre of a revolting concoction called Moviprep.   7:00 am on the morning of the colonoscopy, I had to endure the second litre of Moviprep which made me sick so I lost some of it, however it didn’t prevent it working!

12 March 2013: Prior to the full colonoscopy I was told that I had bowel cancer in the sigmoid section and they also needed to do a gastroscopy (a camera into the stomach) as the CT scan had shown up something.  So I had an endoscopy from both ends! I don’t remember much as I was given a sedative which knocked me out for a short while.

14 March 2013:   I saw the consultant, with my youngest daughter, and he told us the CT scan had shown up enlarged lymph nodes in my pelvis, abdomen and lungs but strangely it has not affected my liver, which has confused them somewhat as this is not the normal progression.   I am due to have biopsies on the abdomen and lungs next week to determine what the next step will be.   I had sarcoidosis many years ago which affects the lymph glands and there is a possibility that this is the problem, but until they know they can’t decide whether to do chemo first or surgery.

The Macmillan nurse was lovely and gave me lots of information from Beating Bowel Cancer and told me she would be my support.

So, at the time of writing this I still do not know what stage my cancer is at, the treatment required or what the prognosis is.  I have read many case histories in which many people have lived for beyond 5 years even when diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer so I am holding on to that thought.   At the moment it is still difficult to understand why this is happening, I don’t feel ill, I am in no pain and there is nothing tangible to hang the cancer label on.  It is there though and my fight starts now.

Why “Coming Face to Face with Eric”?  I have named my cancer Eric and am going to fight him tooth and nail, it’s tough being positive but I am not going to let it get me down although I know there will be some very hard days ahead.  I am going to use my blog to write about my days and bring Bowel Cancer to the attention of others.  It is a silent cancer with symptoms that are all too easy to ignore.  DON’T IGNORE THEM!!

With the support from my lovely family and close friends I know I will make it.

Monthly Photo

Monthly Picture – March 2013

I love monthly memes, especially ones that involve the use of a recent photo to depict a particular month.   Katarina at Roses and Stuff runs one such lovely meme, which is headed with the following:-

On the 15th of each month I will post a shot of one Particular motif, in order to document the changes of the seasons. It would be nice if you would like to join in!

There were a few days in March when I really felt that it was heralding the start of Spring.  We had some definitely warmer days, the sun shone and more importantly    it didn’t rain.   However, that didn’t last long and on Tuesday we had some very heavy snow on the South Coast.  It was still around on Thursday when I went for a walk along the beach.  I can’t remember the last time I saw snow on the beach at Worthing so whipped out my mobile (cell) phone and took a photo.


Yesterday was a beautiful warm day in the sun, so the juxtaposition of snow on the beach was all the more bizarre.


Garden blogging

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

I have not participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge for the last few weeks but the prompt this week has inspired me.   This is the challenge set by Christopher Martin:

“This challenge is about getting lost in the details. Once you’ve found a subject you want to photograph, challenge yourself to work a little further into the scene… I challenge you to go out and spend extra time getting lost in the details — and finding a great shot”.

Anyone who follows my blog will know that my passion is gardening and macro photography of flora and fauna.  So what better than getting lost in the detail of beautiful and interesting plants.

One of the best all round year plants for value is the SEDUM.  It grows to about 3ft (1 metre) and produces quite large flower heads and when you look closely you will see lovely rosy pink clusters of small star like flowers.  At bit like Hydrangea.

DSC_0446 (1024x683)During the autumn months, the Sedum flower starts to turn an impressive burgundy.

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Don’t cut them down during the winter months because they turn a fabulous bronze and make for great architecture when other plants in the garden have died down.

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New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we are provided with a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)”.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond ©AarTeePhotography;Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.