Think Pink Friday Fundraiser

As soon as I was told my lump was cancerous, I knew I needed something to distract myself so I turn to something that I know I can do and something that is good for others.

So I thought I’d plan a fundraising event, I have organised one before and another with some friends so I contacted my local gay venues that I support to see if I could host a fundraiser at both venues for Breast Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK. Both said yes and one offered to donate the proceedings from their already planned event to the two charities of my choice.

So we chose the weekend, the 28/29th September. The club Embassy had already booked a Pink Tribute Act to perform so the pink theme was ideal so I came up with the Slogan Think Pink. The gay bar in Gloucester were due to hold their Felicia Factor Final on the night and they agreed we could fundraise on the same night which was good.

Sadly a week before the 29th Embassy had a change of event management and the Love Team I was working with no longer had the option of hosting events there so we had to pull the event so now all efforts were going on fundraising on the Friday night.

Luckily a friend had already donated a lovely framed photograph of Madonna with two genuine film negatives that was a real gem and I had managed to wrangle a Hot Air Balloon flight out of my mums fiancé via his business. So I felt confident that we stood a good chance of raising a decent amount.

As it turned out I was meant to get my results on the Friday morning so I knew that I may have good or bad news and that I may struggle with my emotions in the evening, but as it turned out my appointment was cancelled and put back by a week, so in some ways this was good news, but I took it quite badly as I had built myself up for the results and as a result got upset and ended up with a migraine on Friday.

At the start of the evening I was dashing to the loos to be sick, I wasnt sure I would last the night, but I felt I had to keep going, as I had to make sure the raffle took place, the auction went ahead and the pin badges got sold.  Luckily after a couple of hours I started to feel better, which was a huge relief!  I managed to keep some lemonade down so was full steam ahead!

On the night we raised £386 which will be split between the two charities and there is more to come in, we are using Just Giving to raise money and using the text donation service which is so easy its amazing!

A massive thanks to The Westgate in Gloucester, Miss Felicia and the Westgate Staff, the GGG Girls and a special thanks to Angie for helping sell stuff while I was not feeling well!  Plus a special mention to Lynn by GGG Events Team member for her very pink support during the night!  🙂 xx

The Think Pink Fundraiser with Miss Felicia on stage

The Think Pink Fundraiser with Miss Felicia on stage

The links are:  http://www.justgiving.com/gggthinkpink and http://www.justgiving.com/gggthinkpink so please do donate to both if you can or text GGGB98 £1 to 70070 and text GGGC99 to 70070 to donate via text.  You can put any amount in pounds if you wish to give more than a pound 😀

Now that the event is over, I do feel a little bit lost as to what to think about next, so will have to put my thinking cap on as I would like to do something for Stand Up To Cancer (http://www.standuptocancer.org.uk/) so watch this space!!!

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Deflated

So I have a few days away to chill and relax and take my mind off everything ready for my appointment tomorrow (Friday 28th) morning.

So I get home about 5:45pm on Thursday evening and start unloading from the car. On one trip I notice the answer machine is flashing, now I don’t get many calls on my landline so it’s rare to see anything flashing on it.

So I press the button and I have two messages, both from my surgeon/consultant’s office to say that they were having to cancel my appointment on Friday please could I ring them before 3pm. I don’t know what date this was, so shocked I listened to the next message and it was the same lady asking me to call her before 2pm. Again I don’t know when this came in, so I quickly tried calling but I got the answer phone.

I can honestly say I felt absolutely gutted, I literally felt like everything I had been waiting for, my countdown to Friday was like a milestone. Now I felt like the carpet had been pulled out from me.

I literally broke down and sobbed, I think this was only the second time I had felt like this throughout the whole process. The other was after being told my lump was cancerous.

I had a good cry, felt incredibly angry for about 30 mins. Then I calmed down and started organising stuff for the fundraiser tomorrow night. That’s kept me busy most of the evening till 11pm and now I’m really tired and feeling a bit flat.

So tomorrow I’ve arranged a fundraiser in a local bar, the theme is Think Pink and I am asking people to wear Pink and donate a pound. We will hold a raffle, an auction as we’ve had two items donated that are too big to be raffle prizes! A signed authentic Madonna Photo with two film negatives and a hot air ballon flight 🙂

So I am seriously hoping to raise a lot of money for Breast Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK.

Fingers crossed!!

Preying/praying on my mind

I get my results this Friday and up until yesterday I wasn’t too worried. Mum offered to take me away to for a few days to her chalet in Somerset and as I was signed off for another week, I jumped at the chance.

I had already found that being on my own in my flat was not the best, even thought I’d be happier there, in fact I found being on my own gave me too much time to think. When in company of others I can forget about “stuff” and feel normal and more importantly forget that things aren’t normal.

I was asked the other night if I was scared about the results and I replied “no, not really” and at the time I wasn’t but now I admit, the nerves are kicking in.

I know I have a few possible results:

* All Clear – No further treatment needed.
* Further surgery to get a more tissue from the area where they removed the lump.
* Radiotherapy
* Chemotherapy

Well I’ve considered all of these and feel that deep down its likely to be 50/50 between chemo and radiotherapy. I’m not exactly scared of the treatment themselves but its more the impact on my work, my life, my family, my relationship with Di and my friends and my interests.

I feel guilty quite a lot that I’m adding stress to my family, my mum has a lot on her plate at the moment, my sister also has a lot going on and I feel bad that if I have treatment that I will need to rely on them.

I also got worried about work, what happens if they decide I can’t do my job and demote me, take the car off me? I’d be right royally screwed if they did, I don’t mind admitting that!

My lovely Di assures me that nothing will impact the way she feels about me and I believe her, for the first time I believe someone likes and actually loves me for me. I don’t have to try to be someone else but what worries me is that I may not be able to see her as much as I want if I get treatment as I may feel groggy etc.

I know a lot if this is probably just nerves but I said I’d make this blog a process of my journey so I can’t leave out the emotions you go through and the lows and highs.

I was told tonight, it’s ok to be scared and for short amounts time I allow myself to feel scared but that’s normally when I’m tucked up in bed on my own 🙂 Come the morning, all is fine and the smile is back 🙂 As my blog says…. Tiggers Always Bounce :-))))

And yes I have been praying to him upstairs 😉 xx

My first day without a NaNa Nap

I am proud to announce that yesterday was my first day without a “NaNa Nap” 🙂 For those of you who do not know what a NaNa Nap it is, do you remember going to stay with your grandparents or old relatives and at various points during the day they would randomly fall asleep for short periods of time. Well that’s what I call a NaNa Nap and since my surgery I was having numerous nana naps throughout the day. I’d be feeling fine then it felt like someone had pulled the power cable out.

I had cut it down to one nana nap a day but yesterday I managed a whole day and a bloody long one at that. Ok I had the incentive of a day of Return To The Forbidden Planet which gives me a real buzz and natural high anyway.

I was a little worried about the 2.5hr journey but it was an easy journey and I felt fine. The show (well both performances) were amazing, I was sat right at the front so got the full blast of sound and vision and I loved it. Every cast member put 1000% into the show and I clapped, cheered, whooped, whistled throughout the show. (Luckily I was sat next to fellow Planet fans so they didn’t mind)

After the shows I caught up with my Planet Family 🙂 These are my planet friends that I’ve met over the years and they can be fellow fans, current or past cast members. The planet cast members that I have got to know over the years are one of the best, friendliest, down to earth lovely people you could possibly meet. I have the utmost respect for them and because most of them love the show as much as I do they love being in the show as much as I love watching it.

You may wonder what this has to do with my recovery etc but having a goal to set yourself is a massive healer. My goal was to see Planet as often as I could during its run at Hornchurch. I won 3-1 so am happy with that I only lost one performance as I had a migraine the day after being told I had Breast Cancer but nothing stopped me seeing the other performances and I’m thrilled about that.

Planet means a lot to me and its helped me twice now through difficult times, so it had better come on again soon 🙂

Big love to JM and PT and FR for yesterday xxx

Plasters off

I had been told that 5 days after surgery I could remove my clear plaster/dressings and I couldn’t wait, the one in my armpit was getting a little sore as the blood that had pooled in there had dried and was chafing a bit.

Initially I had decided to wait until Weds evening to have a bath and soak it off but as per usual I am impatient so did it Weds morning. It felt lovely lying in the bath and before long I was pulling at the plasters easing the edges up. I was amazed how strong they were, not like plasters at all. So I took my time, easing a bit at a time.

Eventually I got the one in my arm pit off and took a lot of time washing the blood away gently and finally I could see the actual scar for the first time and I was impressed how neat it was, it was a little longer than I’d expected as I thought it would be a couple of centimetres but it’s more like an inch… I think?

I then turned my attention to the plaster on my boob, this was harder to get off and took some time. Eventually I got it all off apart from the centre that was directly above the scar. So I let it soak and took my time then started. I have to admit I started feeling queasy at this point as the sensation across the scar was odd. Plus it did open in a few places, more so where the edges hadn’t sealed together as well above the stitches but finally I got it off. I just led there for a bit as I felt light headed.

After a while I started to clean around the scar and try to remove the sticky residue from the plaster. This stuff is not easy to remove as I’m hardly going to scrub hard!

After a while I got out the bath and the sensations in both scars was weird, this was when it hit home how protected they had been under the plaster and now it was up to me to look after them.

It sounds daft but this rattled me a bit, it’s amazing how protected they are with the plasters, it stops the skin pulling, keeps the right shape and nothing can get onto/into it. I felt a bit vulnerable then.

I put a normal plaster over the scar in my armpit as I knew that my bra could rub that area but left the other scar uncovered.

I took lily for a walk for her morning business and my boob felt more sensitive and it was really distracting.

Throughout the day I was a lot more aware of my boob and I felt drained both emotionally and physically.

I am sleeping a lot at the moment and tire very easily, I don’t like feeling like this to be honest as I feel weak and I don’t like that feeling.

Sensations after surgery

It’s been a couple of days after my surgery now and I wanted to write about the various sensations or lack of sensations that I am going through. I was told after surgery that my armpit and upper arm (underside) would be numb and would feel like you’d been to the dentist when you can feel it but at the same time, you can’t and that is a very good way to describe the feeling in my armpit and arm right now.

Initially after the blue dye, some parts of my body did stain blue, around my nipple, some of my tummy and I didn’t see anywhere else, but as my body reacted to it and I found my first allergy lol, I knew it travelled around my body as my feet were swollen and purplish, my hands and arms were raised and blotchy and my eyelids had a blue tinge to them, both mum and a nurse said it looked like I had blue eye shadow on 🙂

After two days most of the dye had disappeared and yes your wee does go blue, I didn’t have blue number twos that I was told could happen 😉

One side affect that is very strange and slightly unnerving is the build up of seroma, this is a natural process of bodily fluid that builds up in the area of surgery, either where the lump was removed or the lymph nodes removed. I first noticed this on Sunday, as I started to go up the stairs I could hear a swishing/swooshing noise, like a bottle of water sloshing around. It confused the hell out of me to start with and then I realised it was my boob! I can assure you this feels very strange but is quite normal apparently. Having read about this, the body will naturally absorb most of this over the next month onwards, but some people do get a build up and a pressure point so need it to be drained but I haven’t noticed anything like that yet.

I have noticed today that some parts of my armpit and side of boob are tingling and sometimes I get a pricking sensation in my boob, I am guessing this is all part of the healing process and it’s coming back to life. Sometimes it is like an injection so. It nice but the majority of it is just a strange tingling sensation.

All in all I feel ok, I think I feel more tired today than anything else, so am taking it easy but it feels strange trying to rest, I want to be doing things, so blogging helps 🙂 xx

What a pick me up! Planet 2012

I set myself a goal for after my surgery and this was to get myself to see my favourite show of all time, Return to the Forbidden Planet, a rock n roll musical that I have been mad about since 1992 when I happened to get invited to see the show when it was on its uk tour and it was on in Bristol. From that moment on I was hooked, I saw the show as many times as I could and every year it toured I would see it at least 2-3 times.

In 2001 I heard it was going on tour again as it hadn’t toured since 1996, so I was incredibly excited and went to see it at Cheltenham and Bristol and numerous other places. I took a lot of different friends to see the show as well and got a lot of people into it as well, which was cool. I was dead chuffed when I was asked if my website could be the official website, so of course I said yes and that just added to my love of the show.

In 2002 it toured again with a slight cast change, but these two years of seeing the show changed my life immensely, I widened my music knowledge, my confidence in going places and lots of other things.

Since 2002 there hasn’t been a production out there under the writer and creators name Bob Carlton, there are numerous amateur productions and there was a professional production that went out in 2006 but wasn’t a patch on Bobs productions.

So when I heard that Planet was coming on for 6 weeks in Hornchurch, I had to go. Sadly my first trip had to be cancelled as it was the day after finding out my results from the biopsy and I had a migraine (probably brought on by stress) so couldn’t go.

So when I looked at the next free weekend I had it was the weekend of my surgery and I didn’t think I would be up to it by then. So when I found out there was a Sunday production, I leapt at it and as my lovely Di said she would come with me, I was all ready to book. Then my lovely mum said she would take me and Di so I booked tickets for Mum, Ron, Di and myself. Sorted!!!

So today was the day, I felt a little groggy and stiff this morning, but I had to keep going as I needed to see the show 🙂

The drive is just over two hours, but it’s so worth it when you get to Hornchurch, I love The Queens Theatre, it has a magical feel to it. I was very excited to see James Earl Adair outside the theatre so nipped over to say a quick hello as hadn’t seen him for a few years. Once I was inside, it felt like I was home again, I hadn’t been there for about 4 years but it felt lovely.

I won’t go on too much about the show in detail, but basically it is a actor musician show based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest set to rock n roll music. All of the actors play at least 3 instruments and swap instruments throughout the show. It’s amazing to watch and one of the actors is on roller skates and skates around the stage playing the saxophone while another actor is wrapped around him singing. It’s a joy to behold.

Now I have seen this show well over a hundred times, I have long lost count of how many times I have seen it and was thrilled to see that one of my favourite actresses was playing the lead role of Gloria, Jane had always played the Navigation Officer when I had seen the show and I have seen her in other shows and know she has an amazing voice, she had been the understudy to Gloria in 2001/2002 but I had never seen her take on the role, so now I was going to get my chance and boy was it worth it. Gloria’s main song is Go Now which was originally sung by The Moody Blues, and I almost cried last night hearing Janes’s version, she has such a soulful voice and I could listen to her sing for hours, (Jane you need your own album :-))

Frido Ruth is the rollerskating robot in the show and he has played Ariel in most of the shows that I have seen and he is Sooo funny and talented, he can get the audience doing all sorts of silly things and he choreographed the show as well. I haven’t seen Frido since 2002 but was so good to see he hadn’t lost any of his magic.

James Earl Adair was back as Dr Prospero and once again rocked the stage during all shook up and this is one of may favourite songs and one I have performed as Ivan the Drag King, I have seen James in quite a few other shows now, but he is my favourite Dr Prospero 🙂

Simon Jessop was back as Bosun, I had seen Simon play this part numerous times in the 90’s and knew he would be really good and he didnt disappoint, I had seen Nick Lashbrook play this role the most so it was interesting to see Simon play it in a softer style to Nick and I liked it.

The rest of the cast were also amazing but the actors I have mentioned above have all featured in my theatre life for some time now and mean a lot to me, when I was out of work and pretty low, Planet was there to lift my spirits and I threw myself into it and working on the website. It may sound silly but at the time, it was the only thing I looked forward to, it was like a drug to me, a legal high so to speak, so the fact that planet came on at this time in my life was another sign that it’s a “fix” and the high I got yesterday lifted me out of my slightly dozy thoughts to get up and clap and cheer to the best of my abilities. Ok I couldn’t jump around like I used to, I had to keep my arm firmly clamped to my side and be a little restrained 🙂

My mum and Ron and Di all said I overdid it yesterday, but I know I didnt 🙂 I don’t feel sore apart from my right hand where the cannula went in and I think is a bit bruised from all the clapping 🙂

So I would like to thank my Planet chums for the amazing show yesterday and my lovely friend Pink Tim who was there too. My amazing Di who doesn’t like rock n roll music (gasp!!!) came to the show knowing it wouldn’t be her cup of tea, but said she enjoyed it, thought it was good but not her cup of tea bless her 🙂 so that means the world to me that she even came to see it, knowing its not her thing :-). Mum and Ron also got dragged along and poor mums been dragged to see it so many times now, but she knows how much it meant for me to see it, so offered to drive so she and Ron did the driving which meant I could doze in the back.

If you ever get the chance go see Return to the Forbidden Planet, I am seriously hoping it will tour again one day as its a show that deserves to be seen 🙂

“Live Long and Prospero”

Xxxxxx