A different kind of update.

Friday, March 01, 2013

I have to apologise. I realised last week, when I wrote about my mum having chemo many years ago, that I haven’t been keeping you in the loop. In fact, I haven’t really given you any update at all since we had bad news last April. So in return for all of your kindness about the new blog design, here is, erm, a nice depressing post about cancer. My thank you notes really leave something to be desired, don't they? Sorry. At least the pictures are pretty.

Last year came and went. There was treatment, there were scans. My mum lost her hair for the third time in her life. I sought some meaning and purpose in all this mess by swapping work for volunteering for a while. Slowly, very slowly, the hair grew back. The scans proved hopeful. We breathed out.

Then on Christmas Eve, of all days, I got a call to tell me she was in hospital with the same symptoms that had us worried last time. Thankfully she wasn't kept overnight into Christmas Day, and it turns out the side effects of steroids (eating constantly, putting on weight) are exactly the same as the side effects of Christmas, so no problems there.

The new year came, and with it a new treatment plan. More chemo. Hurrah. In an exciting new twist, this stuff doesn't make you bald, but it does leave your mouth bubbling with blisters and your feet in perpetual cramping agony, which is quite enough to be getting on with thank you very much.

And here we are still. Chemo, blisters, waiting, caring, hoping.

It’s funny how it gets both easier and harder to deal with bad news. Easier, because you've been through it before and know roughly what to expect. Harder, for the same reasons.

This time around, I've decided to cope by burying myself in creative projects. As well as the blog makeover, I designed and styled a display for my friend Lauren at the Glasgow Wedding Collective fair a couple of weeks ago, and in return she took these beautiful pictures of me with my mum and aunt. I can't thank her enough.

(Pictures of her stand in all its woody, scrabbly, flowery glory coming soon, because I know you're waiting with baited breath.)

And even more exciting than blog makeovers and pretty flowers, Fin and I are going on holiday tomorrow. TOMORROW. I can't wait. It's been a hard start to 2013 in many ways, not just because of the crap that my mum's going through. I'm still building up to telling you about all of it. But in the meantime, I plan on doing nothing in the next week but skiing, sleeping, drinking wine, reading actual printed books, and eating my body weight in unpasteurised cheese. (In case you can't tell from that description, we're going to France, a country where they store their cheese in the basement instead of the fridge. Bring it on.)

So that's where we are. I don't know why I've taken so long to get round to writing about this. You've always been so kind and supportive whenever I've talked about what we're going through, and hitting publish on posts like this always feels like a sigh of relief. Thank you for that.

While we're on this topic, forgive me if I take a moment to plug Breast Cancer Care's Big Pink Bucket Shake. They're holding collections all over the UK around Mother's Day (the UK version, which falls on 10th March this year) and need volunteers who are willing to shake buckets and exude cheer for an hour or two. If you live in the UK, I'd encourage you to check out the collections in your area and sign up if you can, or even organise your own. Pink wigs optional, smiles welcome.

See you on the other side.

Images: Lauren McGlynn Photography, taken in the Palm Court at the Balmoral Hotel, because we're posh.


20 boats moored

  1. Rosie aka Kirst's mum1 March 2013 at 08:02

    What can I say, my darling daughter? Having a big blub at 7.30 am is not my usual start to the day, but your blog was just so lovely. Your support through all this crap is invaluable (as is your Dad's and brother's).That's enough of that emotional stuff - have great time in France, very jealous. Also new blog is fab.

  2. Have a wonderful holiday Kirsty. You deserve it for making so many people happy, and for obviously being such a fabulous daughter. I am tearing up reading Rosie's reply, very best wishes to you for good news in 2013. xxx

  3. I am so sorry that your family is going through this, it's such an unforgiving illness. Two years ago one of my dear friends was diagnosed with breast cancer weeks after having her baby, I am pleased to say that she fought it and got through the other side and is now planning on having surgery soon for breast reconstruction, she really is one of the bravest women I know! Unfortunately another friend of mine has recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer and is just starting her treatment now and I pray she gets through it all as well as my other friend did! I really hope your holiday gives you time and space to relax and get distracted a little, it sounds heavenly! X x x

  4. Cancer is a C**t.

    I hope you have a fab holiday and that 2013 gets better as it goes on.

    Those photos are beautiful. Your mum is a stunner hair or no hair.

  5. Have a great holiday and hope things look up soon for you all

  6. I will be thinking of your mom, and hope that she will go in remission, that it will stop, that they will manage to have the monsters under control, and most importantly that she will feel better.

    PS : I love your image credit "because we're posh"

  7. (And also of course enjoy your holidays! Eat lots and lots of fondue and assorted varieties of cheese (I don't think I have to tell you that) and just have fun!)

  8. I know what you are going through far too well. Having gone through serious health issues with my mom(and losing my dad), I know what it's like to be made stronger when hard times fall. At the same time, reoccurring health issues bring on pain and sadness. It's a strange combination. I find that having support, being humble and continuing to have fun in life, has helped a lot. I never feel particularly brave, but occasionally I realize how well I have fared despite the odds. Anyway, it's great news that your mom is doing well. It's a gift to be able to have her, despite her struggles and I hope it get's better for your family :)

    Now enjoy your holiday and stuff your face with lots o' cheese!

  9. I'm a new reader to your blog, and I'm impressed. My thoughts are with your mom, and you, as she goes through this nasty experience. I to have gone through it, and know how bad it can get. Enjoy your vacation, and thanks for giving us all something lovely to read.

  10. 'Twas a lovely afternoon.I am in constant awe at the way your mum just keeps battling on every day,one tough broad as they used to say in movies.
    Have a lovely time in France and perhaps when you come back you could blog about the fate of the left over afternoon tea cakes!!
    Love you xx

  11. Cancer sucks. There is just no more I can say than that. Enjoy your holiday!

    always, koru kate

  12. Thinking of you and hoping your holiday in France bring you some cheer. And some cheese obv.

  13. I'm so sorry for your mom and your family, Kirsty. I hope you know that I'll always be around if you need an outside person to vent to. I am sending my good thoughts to all of you.

  14. Cancer is a fucker. I think you and your mum and your family are all ace.

    Thanks for the link to the big pink bucket shake thing and I hope you have an ace time in France eating all the cheese and come back to things being a little bit better.

  15. Have a fabulous time in France, we're all thinking of you and your Mum, it sounds horrendous (mouth blisters, owwww!) I can't imagine what it must be like to go through like some others above but I know exactly what you mean about distracting yourself with creative things, I've been crafting up a storm lately to help me get through some stuff and it's a godsend, if a little messy! Your creativeness is also making others happy and we're all LOVING the new blog! Enjoy all the cheese and as always, hoping for better news soon! xx

  16. P.S. Amy and I were just talking yesterday about how you have the dogs in outfits market covered and then I saw this... (tweeted you a pin but here is the whole page via Etsy!)

  17. You are posh!
    And cancer sucks so much, and parental sickness sucks so hard.
    I wish I had something more profound or useful to say, sorry.
    Enjoy France, bring back stinky cheeses.

  18. Your Mum sure knows how to rock a silver crop. Enjoy French cheese and wine x

  19. Oh christ, cancer sucks so hard. My dad had it when I was young so I know how it feels to have to deal with it .. your mum sounds like she's doing ok though, and I have to say she looks beautiful with short hair - very French (is that a thing? it is in my head) xx