Sunday, 28 January 2007

Nordic Walking Poles

My Reno friend reminded me yesterday that back last spring I had been really interested in Nordic walking poles. I watched a section of Country File (BBC programme on Sunday favorite!) which talked about the sport and gave you some advice for starting. I'm not well enough at the moment but as soon as I am I'm going to buy some sticks and get going. Surrey (the county I live in) offer some inexpensive beginner classes. If you are interested in learning more, click here.

Today has been difficult and a little demoralizing. How easily one forgets the past! If I had been on the more toxic of my two drugs, I would have been in a great deal of pain right now instead of just feeling sick and being very tired. I should be grateful for this but instead, I've simply forgotten all about it. I suppose it's this same amnesia that allows mothers to suffer the pains of childbirth and then have another.

I'm hoping to go in to work tomorrow but I think that I'll tell them that I won't start till 11.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

A conversation with Canada

I had a phone call from a friend who lives on Manitoulin Island (please excuse spelling mistakes)tonight. I haven't seen her or her family in years and would love to be able to visit them this summer. I thought perhaps that we could take the train up from New york and then take another train to Sudbury. Unfortunately, it takes nearly 8 hours on the train to Sudbury. I had forgotten how big a country Canada was. I then thought that we could fly to Sudbury. It would cost nearly $250.00 each, can you imagine. Obviously Canada doesn't have low cost airlines or I haven't found any yet. So, it looks like Manitoulin is out of the question and that's a shame. I'd love to see Pat and Ken and find out how their move north had treated them. Well, there are a few months to go so perhaps something will work out.

We're watching the final episode of MASH as I write. I had forgotten how moving that show was. It is also amazing how it hasn't aged. In so many ways, it is still relevant to what is happening today. War never changes and neither does the suffering.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Nerve Damage

Did I mention that I had nerve damage in my hands and feet. This morning I woke up and my right hand was numb. Three of my fingers felt better after a while. Two of them were like that until about 1:00p.m. I phoned the hospital at 9:00a.m. and they said it was part of the nerve damaged caused by the stronger of the two chemo drugs. I'm off that one at the moment but the damage may take up to a year to be repaired by my body. I must admit to having a little cry but it was just a momentary lapse. I am positive about this treatment and I know I'll get better but I think that I'm allowed a little wobble once in a while.

My department took me out for lunch. We had a professional development day so we actually had an hour to eat. It was really nice to be able to go out and talk with them out of the school environment. However, school did seem to dominate the conversation.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

After chemo again.

I know that I haven't been writing as consistently. Sorry to those who are checking here to see how I am. A lot has been going on here other that me feeling sick (but not as much as before!) so I haven't really had the time or energy to write. School went well both Wednesday and today. However, I did decide not to teach my afternoon classes. I knew that I wouldn't have enough energy.

Cliff and I have been trying to decide what to do as far as our living space goes. We have approached our landlords (who live in China) about buying the house we are living in. We've also thought about getting something a bit bigger and further away from traffic noise. Probably I shouldn't be thinking about this at the moment. It's just another thing that might cause stress and I really don't need much more of that right now.

I'm really getting rather excited about our trip to New York. It's something to focus on and look forward to. I ought to find a poster of the boat and put it up somewhere. Does this sound silly? Ah well, I don't really mind about that.

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Day one of the 4th chemo treatment

Three cheers! Not only have I had treatment number 4 but they decided to give me only one of drugs (the least potent) so I am looking forward to being a lot less ill this time!!

Sunday, 21 January 2007

An exhausting weekend

I haven't really done a lot this weekend but I've been exhausted nonetheless. I suppose when I say that I haven't done anything that isn't entirely true. I've marked papers, listened to 30 or more French orals (students manhandling the French language, oh dear), prepared lesson plans, got the house ready for when I have the chemo, organized meals for this coming week and been shopping. I should have gone to school and done report cards too but I just wasn't up for it. Now I know why I'm tired! I do hope I'm ready for Tuesday but I suppose in the end it doesn't really matter because someone will do whatever I haven't been able to do.

I was feeling rather low yesterday and then my friend Mary Jane from Reno phoned. We didn't talk about anything in particular but it's amazining how a chat can boost your spirits. Today I'm watching Audry Hepburn in Funny Face. It's having the same effect on me. What does it for you?

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Another uneventful Saturday

I would really like to have the energy to do something on the weekend but keeping up with work during the week means I have nothing left. I did go grocery shopping this morning but I would have liked to go for a walk this afternoon. I know that I need to rest and that eventually I won't have to spend Saturday and Sunday on the sofa. It doesn't help right now though. I'm probably feeling this way because next Tuesday I have my fourth chemo treatment. By this time next week, I'll be too sick to do anything but lie on the sofa. Alas! To get ready for all that, I have to finish marking exams and do my report cards as well as prepare my classes for the supply teacher by Monday at 3:15. I think I'm feeling rather sorry for myself. I should get over it. I might try for a half hour in Windsor Great Park tomorrow. That shouldn't be too taxing.

I don't mean for this blog to be one long moan. Sorry if it may seem that way.

Well, Hillary is going to run for president. We've had a woman leader in the UK but it seems too great a leap for the United States. There is so much history with Hillary. she's an intelligent and charismatic women but a lot of people (especially woman)still think that she should have left her husband. It's funny that people would consider that when deciding on a leader. Will Bill be an asset or a liability?

In the UK we have our own leadership race coming up. Will Gordon Brown take over from Tony Blair or will Labour go for someone else? Will Labour survive no matter who takes over? I used to be a Labour supporter but not since the last election. The war finished that. Though I suppose it wasn't just the war. The state of education and the health care system in the UK was and is another factor.

On another note, In Our Time (link on the left side of this page) has an interesting programme this week on the Jesuits.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Trying to keep up

It has become difficult to keep up with everything that I have to do and that is why this blog hasn't been updated lately. I've also had to stop writing my murder mystery for awhile. It's a shame because the murder mystery was a good way to get out my frustrations. However, just going to school exhausts me. Right now we are just finishing exams and I have to have the report cards done by next Monday since I'm off for chemo on the Tuesday. What I should be doing is preparing classes for when I'm away but as I said, I'm too tired to do any more.

Cliff and I have wanted to do something for our 30th wedding anniversary. Initially we were going to Cuba (hopefully before Castro dies). However, we were to go in February and of course I'll be having chemo then. We also considered Easter but I'll be having radiotherapy then. However, we've come up with an alternative and I must admit that I'm rather excited about it. We're going to sail to New York from Southampton on the Queen Mary 2. After 2 days in New York, we'll take the train from New York to Toronto. Did I say already that I'm excited?

Friday, 12 January 2007

Computers and my husband

I haven't had enough energy this week even to write my blog. I go to work, am exhausted after two hours, make it home to sleep for an hour or two, and struggle through the evening till bed time. Thinking processes are definitely dulled by the fatigue.

A change of topics! Cliff was supposed to go on a computer course yesterday. You have to know my husband to know how funny that is. He is a complete technophobe. In December the school sent him on part 1 of this computer course where he learned all about Word and Excel. Afterwards, I asked him if he knew how to turn the computer on yet. Apparently, they hadn't taught him that. Of course, come January, he still can't turn it on and he was to go on part two of the course yesterday. However, he received an email (which I have to check for him) in late December from the people running the course to remind him and I replied (as him) saying that due to the pressure of work, he would be unable to attend. It worked! Neither of us thought that it would! In fact, he went to the course only to be told that he wasn't on the list! He said that the carpenter looked enviously at him as he left. However, his boss found out that he hadn't gone and tried to tear a strip of him. When Cliff told him that he wasn't on the list, it rather took the wind out of his sails! Even funnier, Cliff went on to tell him how ridiculous it was that he should take a course when he couldn't turn a computer on nor send an email. The fact of the matter is that if he wants to contact his brother by email, I send it for him. In the end, the telephone is Cliff's form of communication and I can't really blame him. I think that I prefer to talk to people!

I think that stress has a lot to do with my fatigue. A friend of mine (Lynda in Florida) sent me an email about stress. It is a little simplistic (at least when you work with my head of school it is!). However, it might be useful to some and it does have a few laughs. So, here it is:

Stress Management
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"
Answers called out ranged from 8oz. to 20oz.
The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance."
"In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."
He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."
"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."
"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can."
"Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy!"
And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

* Never buy a car you can't push.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once

* We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull, some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today. . . . . . . I did.

I hope you don't think this is too... I'm not sure what but I'm sure you know what I mean. Folksy, that's it!

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

Not much happening!

I have been so tired after each of session at school! I come home barely able to move and usually sleep for 2 hours or more. What's it going to be like after the next chemo and then while I'm have radiotherapy. At the moment I'm only teaching 2/3rds time and it's exhausting! At least I don't have the same stress as before.
That's got to count for something.

We had a big surprise at school today. A teacher who was with us for the last two years and left in June, has been arrested on suspicion of 'inciting a child to engage in sexual activity'. He had moved to a school where Pricess Beatrice was a student and he was her A-level history teacher. What a shock to everyone! Of course, we should consider him innocent till proven guilty but of course, you don't, do you! Tomorrow our school has an assembly for the high school students to explain what has happened (of course they all know already!) and to offer them councelling if necessary.

Monday, 8 January 2007

Back at school and I survived the weekend! It was an exhausting day. I had 4 groups over 6 periods. I keep forgetting how physically demanding teaching can be. Luckily this week the grade 11 and 12's have mock IB exams and so I don't see that much of them. I came home today and went immediately to the sofa and slept. It was interesting being at work and seeing how people were already so stressed out. How could that happen in such a short period of time? I do not work in a very healthy environment!

Saturday, 6 January 2007

The Fog Clears!

At last I'm beginning to feel better, more like myself. I'm still having problems with my eyesight but it is diminishing. Last night my first mouth sore appeared. I'm hoping that I can stop it in its tracks. Yesterday, I went around in a fog. I almost felt disembodied. Today, the fog has cleared! Yes!

School went well. I found the class exhilarating. I hadn't realized how flat life had been at home. Yes, I can catch up on reading (when I'm able) or listen to programmes on radio 4 or World Service but it isn't interactive. No buzz! It's good to discover what's important to you.

Last week, I had difficulty sleeping through the night because of the aches and pains so I listened to the radio at various times. During one wakeful period I followed a programme called In Business about the use of Toyota's assembly line practices to solve problems in the National Health Service. It was fascinating and threw up possibilities for use in education. If anyone is interested in the programme click on the link above.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Back to School

Today I only have one class so I'm going in for about 2 hours. I am beginning to worry about how I'm going to continue working. I have been abed for the last 5 days. I'm still feeling very weak. How will it be next time. I'm assuming it will take 14 days or more to recover. Enough! I'm back to talking about being sick! More later after school.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Nothing much to say!

I should have gone to school today but I have been in bed or on the sofa since Sunday. Each day I hope that I'll feel better but so far that hasn't happened. Perhaps tomorrow! Sorry that I don't have something of more interest to say. Best wishes for now.

Monday, 1 January 2007

New Year's Day

Enough talk about me! What about all of you who have been so supportive of me in the last 4 months. I hope that all is going well for you and if not, that you have someone to share your problems. If not, drop me an email. I'm a good listener (is that the right word?)! Best wishes for the new year!