For some reason, I found the traffic and crowds particularly bad this time but the best part of going back is always being able to spend time with family and friends. While I'm very happy to be back in the peace, quiet and beauty of our corner of France, it took me a while to adjust to not being able to see those we love. Plus, I'm always reminded of the availability and choice over there and we did make the most of the shops when we could!
We travelled overnight from Caen to Portsmouth then drove in to Kent to meet up with our friends Andy and Yuliya, who stayed with us earlier in the year. That evening, they took us to a fabulous restaurant in Sandwich. If ever you have the chance, I recommend you visit it and in the meantime you can check it out by clicking this link The Fisherman's Wharf
The following day, we went on into Essex, stopping for some retail therapy at the Lakeside shopping mall! Later we met up for dinner with all of Danny's sons, their wives/partners and children. During the next couple of days Danny and I each spent time with "special friends" and before we knew it, Saturday - and the day of Mark and Kelly's wedding - arrived. It was a lovely wedding but I'm afraid I don't have many photos to share with you. Nonetheless, here are the happy couple.....
....and here's one of us with Mark, Kelly and Danny's cousin and his wife.....
Having had to tie in our travel dates with the lovely lady who house-sat for us, we set off back to France the very next day, again travelling overnight but to Saint Malo this time.
Well, that's about all the news I have for you this time. Other than the following update on my health for those who want to read it.
The day after our return to France I had to go and have a CT scan. Danny and I were both very nervous, I think because this would be the first scan since before I was diagnosed. Since then, the oncologist has relied on whatever the blood test results show, so the CT scan would tell him (and us) exactly what is happening. It would also show whether the cancer has spread to other organs. Over here, having been scanned, you wait to see a doctor and he goes through the results with you. Also here, you keep the pictures and the doctor's written report. Luckily the doctor spoke very good English as I hadn't taken a translator with me! He had the good - and very unexpected - news for us that, while the tumour has not decreased in size from the previous scan, the cancerous cells within it are dying. And there is no cancer in any other organ. This was confirmed by the oncologist who I saw yesterday. We asked him if the tumour itself would eventually shrink and he said it would do so but that it could take "several months". We also finally asked the question as to why it couldn't be operated on (several people have asked us that question so we thought we'd get a definitive answer!) We were shocked to learn that the reason is the sheer size of the tumour which is 60% of the liver.
The upshot of these two visits is that I will continue to take the same drug and I will probably have another scan in a few months' time.
I told you about side effects last time, one of the worst being the soreness of my feet. Well! Our house-sitter, who has a problem with her heels, which makes walking difficult and painful, had discovered some shoes that had eased her problems considerably. She recommended them to me and, to cut a long story short, I found a stockist in Essex and bought a pair for myself. Every time I tell this story, it seems that everyone but me had heard of this brand of shoe - they are Skechers. And what a difference they have made! I can walk about easily and free of pain now.
One thing I didn't mention last time was my loss of appetite which has been getting worse as the weeks go on. This, of course, affects my weight and I have now lost over 3 kg since going on the drug in July. The tablets have to be taken morning and evening and 12 hours apart. You can't eat for two hours before and an hour after taking them. The times that I've been taking them up to now has meant that after dinner I couldn't eat all evening. While my appetite for "proper" meals has all but disappeared, I believe I could quite easily nibble on snacks while watching TV. I checked with the oncologist yesterday and he agreed I could change the times when I take the pills. So now, from today, I'm hoping that being able to eat bits and pieces during the evening will provide enough sustenance to stop the weight loss. I think this is the first time in my life when I've actually wanted to gain weight!
The weather here is cooling right off now although we are still getting sunny days. The central heating has been turned on and Danny's back to his wood-burning duties! I still have quite a lot of work to do in the garden but can only do little bits and pieces at a time. With the nights drawing in and November around the corner, we have turned our minds towards our winter "projects". The first of these is going to be redoing Danny's hobby room (or "cave" as he calls it!) to enable him to have more space to do his models. Naturally, this cannot be done in isolation so my little study is also in for some rearranging!
Till next time then, à bientôt!