A Request for Action to Support Standing Rock Water Protectors — Voices from the Margins

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Carol A. Hand My heart is heavy with the news coming from Standing Rock, ND today. It’s led me to do something I rarely do. I’m posting a request for the help of all of those who follow this blog. For the sake of the health of our earth and future generations, I ask you […]

via A Request for Action to Support Standing Rock Water Protectors — Voices from the Margins

Chewing it over.

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The other day I was recalling the time when I worked as an advocate for parents with learning disabilities. I often accompanied families to court as almost all of them were heavily embroiled in child protection proceedings.  Over time I got to know many of the judges and some of them had a fearsome and quite deserved reputation.  Some of them were lovely characters and warm, one in particular liked the barristers and me to bring in home made cup cakes and sausage rolls to court and she would enjoy them in her private rooms.

One day I turned up and all the courts were full, they were spilling over actually so this particular hearing was held in some rooms at the back of the building. As is my habit, I was chewing on some Wrigleys that morning, you can sometimes sit about for hours waiting to be heard and my mouth gets so dry. I don`t know what made me think it was ok to keep my Wrigleys in my mouth when we were called in but that is what I did. I took a seat at the back of the court and looked at the judge. I had not met her before.  To put it politely, she was a very large lady and she had the most enormous bosom I have ever seen in my life. Her breasts were at least twice the size of her head and were swathed in her very capacious black silks.  As she moved about shuffling papers around, her enormous boobs hung and swung like big, soft pendulums, over the polished wood of her desk. So mesmerised was I by this fascinating site, when she asked me for my name I quite forgot where I was and answered her quite naturally with a smile.

It all happened so quickly, for a moment I was confused as to exactly what was unfolding. Raising her billowy arm and pointing at me with a great, long finger nail, her deep voice boomed out over the court room, “ARE YOU CHEWING GUM?”

I immediately turned into a quivering five year old and meekly replied in a tiny voice which is most unlike me, “Yes m`am.”

“WELL GET OUT OF MY COURT AND DON`T COME BACK UNTIL YOU HAVE DISPOSED OF IT!” She yelled at me.

Red faced I got up to make my way to the door when suddenly, all hell was let loose.  The court alarm started to ring out in an even more deafening fashion than the judge`s voice.  It all became a bit shambolic, barristers ran hither and thither, security people with worried expressions appeared as if from nowhere and other people in the room did not know what to do.  When it had quietened down and everyone was settled again and I had disposed of the offending gum, I was told that in raising her arm to oust me, one of the judge`s enormous mammaries had hit the court alarm button, situated on the top of her desk.

I don`t think I have laughed so much in ages. Discreetly. With no chewing gum!

 

 

 

 

Beating the Banana.

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I decided to put all my breast cancer blogs together in one book-ette. It will be available on Kindle in the next week or so. Isn`t the cover fantastic!  Thanks to my editor/publisher, Andrew Sparke for his encouragement and support.

 

A Tale of Two Titties.

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Apparently my boobalinkas have become the subject of speculation at my local hostelry.
A couple of weeks ago a neighbour at the top of our road, passed away and as is the custom in these parts, his missis had put some money behind the bar so that his buddies could toast his heavenly departure.
I didn`t go because I don`t really like pubs and I didn`t know my neighbour, however lots of others did, including two ladies who also know me. (I use the term ladies, loosely, apparently they were absolutely lagging which is an English euphemism for pissed as farts.)  For the sake of modesty let them remain anonymous.
A third neighbour was also present at the merry goodbye and took great delight in repeating the following conversation to me…….
Neighbour 1:  I see Hel has some new boobs.
Neighbour 2:  Yes but they`re not her own, I reckon she`s got summat shoved down her bra.
Neighbour 1: They look too good to be real, I agree.
Neighbour 3:  I can assure you they are real!
Neighbours 1 & 2 jointly:   Nooooooo!
Neighbour 3:  They most definitely are all her own, the doc` gave her an uplift and I know because I`ve seen them!  She has the titties of a thirty year old and her skin is beautiful.
Like me, this lovely lady has recently recovered from breast cancer and so we have swapped many a treatment tale.  She had a lumpectomy and recently she asked if she could see my new boobs. I obliged as to be honest, so many people have seen them over the past year I no longer care who gets a gander…..
She said that neighbours` 1 and 2`s faces were an absolute picture.
Wish I`d been there with my camera.

Taking Joyce to a wedding…..

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There was a family wedding recently and as my ex-husband was away that day I was tasked with taking my ex- mother-in-law Joyce, to the event.  Some of you will be familiar with Joyce from previous blogs.
I arrived at her house two hours early so that she would have plenty of time to get ready, she is after all nearly ninety.  It was lunch time so I asked if she would like something to eat since I knew that our sit down meal would not be until 5pm. Joyce refused a snack even though I said several times that she would be hungry and instead she sat and munched a few crisps with a rather miserable expression on her face.  She also complained that her back ached and wouldn`t take any pain killers. Hey ho.
I suggested that we take her wheelchair to the wedding since she is quite unsteady now and when she is walking and if you allow her to, she clasps your wrist with a vice like grip to balance herself.  This really hurts and threatens to topple you over.  She refused the wheelchair and agreed to take her walking stick.  Just as I was ready to leave, she said that she needed the loo and disappeared upstairs for ages and I thought, “we`re going to be late…..”
I was wearing a white jacket and a rather pleasing grey, blue and white jump suit so I looked very nice. Joyce handed me her stick, which incidentally she did not use at all the entire afternoon and grasped my wrist as I tried to lock her front door, which is a bit like locking up Fort Knox.  I happened to glance down at my jacket which is just as well because there was something brown and unpleasant looking smeared on the lapel.  It could only be one of two things, the second being bird pooh so I put Joyce in my car and sighing, I went back inside the house to rinse the lapel through. I knew we were almost certainly going to be late but I didn`t have an alternative.
My jacket dripping wet, I got into my car, Joyce said, “I`ve changed my mind, I want my wheelchair.”  I told her it was hard luck then since we didn`t have the time to lug it into the back of the car and off I drove, so she pulled a face.
Fortunately, when we arrived at the venue everyone was gathered at the bar prior to the main event.  Joyce said that she was hungry, no surprise there but we had to go and take our seats.
The wedding was very sweet and tender and the groom was quite emotional and the bride looked absolutely lovely, so did her maid of honour.  All the men were dressed in tail coats and co-ordinated colours and looked very handsome.  Afterwards we went outside for the photographs.
We had only been outside about two minutes when Joyce told me that she was cold and wanted to go back inside.  We trundled back to sit in the bar and she again said that she was hungry. Someone went to ask the barman if it would be possible to make her a sandwich, which he duly did.  Joyce took one bite and instantly said, “I don`t like this whatever it is (it was beef) it`s horrible, ask him for something else.”  I went back to the barman, who was definitely not a local and apologising for her rude manners I asked him if he would very much mind doing her something else.  I said that if he had any Paraquat in the kitchen, he was most welcome to use it as a sauce.
As I walked back to Joyce I heard the barman calling out to me in a thick, south American accent and a voice that was audible all over the venue,  “Paraquat?  Paraquat?  What is this Paraquat?”  By this time I had rushed back to him and stroking his arm I shushed him saying, “It`s just a joke, just my little joke, take no notice…..”

Yes – we have no banana!

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I had some wonderful news yesterday. I went to see my surgeon Mr. Basu for a check up.  I am totally in love with him anyway and even more so now because he told me that following my breast cancer surgery, all my biopsies are clear. There`s nothing in my breast tissue, no live cancer cells in the bits of banana still remaining after chemo, and nothing in my lymph nodes.
To say I am grateful is putting it very mildly. I am grateful beyond words.
So this is my last blog on my breast banana, as I have referred to it.  I have to have a small amount of radiotherapy Mr. B says, to err on the side of caution but that is NOTHING compared to chemotherapy.  I will be fine.
Thanks to the many, many people who have supported me on my journey, who have made me laugh, held me when I cried (Tony) bought me flowers and treats far too many to mention here. People who have prayed with me and for me in their prayer circles, the friends of mine who are atheist or pagan, or agnostic or of completely different faiths, thank you for your good wishes, positive vibes and many, many messages of support.
It carried me through and I will never forget it or any of you.
With all my love.
Perky Pitt.  🙂

Keep breathing as long as you can!

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If you have been following my posts then I hope you will be pleased to hear that last Thursday I went to have surgery for the removal of any remaining breast banana and a reduction in both breasts for the purpose of symmetry. I was very excited. The first procedure I went through was actually the day before, when I had an injection of isotope which preceded my scan. It didn`t hurt at all, it didn`t even sting, the nurse just made me radioactive. The next day I arrived at the hospital with my lovely daughter by my side, bright and breezy, ready for the operation.

The next part of the proceedings is called a wire insertion. A very thin piece of wire, a bit like fuse wire, was placed inside my breast under a local anaesthetic with the purpose of assisting the surgeon. It guides he or she in what shape they need to be making with their scalpel when they are taking bits of you away. Ultimately it leads them to the tiny, titanium implant which is at the heart of the banana and which I had inserted way back in February. It`s all about getting the incision right. The procedure was again carried out under a local anaesthetic and although it was mildly uncomfortable, it wasn`t anything to write home about. I was then taken to the operating theatre where one of my close friends works with the anaesthetist team. This made it a very jolly experience with lots of crass jokes, micky taking and general hilarity while they fiddled about with tubes and cannulas.

The last thing I remember before dropping off was one of the doctors telling me to think of my holidays and asking me where I was going and I said, “The Maldives,” which I am not and then I was out like a light.

When I woke up in the recovery room, I was being observed by a very lovely nurse from the Filippines. She asked me if I believed in God and clearly wanted to talk about her faith which I guess you know, is generally forbidden in a hospital context but as I am a firm believer, we talked for a while and then I said to her to stop now, because if a colleague hears, you will be in trouble. I`ve had this experience of nurses wanting to talk about God a couple of times while I have been having chemo, they were both nurses from abroad so perhaps it is more acceptable in other parts of the world. One of them was so nervous she even crossed herself and prayed before administering the dreaded stuff to me which was a little disconcerting at the time.  When the Filipino nurse left me she said, “I love you,” and I replied, “I love you too!”

I wasn`t to know that while I was under the anaesthetic there had been an event and as a result, I had been in theatre for 5 hours, it should have been about 2. I have absolutely no recollection of anything at all untoward happening but apparently I had an anaphylactic reaction to some blue dye that is used in breast surgery. Very quickly after injecting me with the dye, the team noticed I was having difficulty breathing and my blood pressure plummeted. AIthough I didn`t go into cardiac arrest, my breathing was stopping and had they not swiftly pumped some adrenalin into me I certainly would have. My poor daughter went straight into panic mode as doctors rushed hither and thither past where she was waiting, trying to stabilise my blood pressure.

Afterwards I was taken to a ward to sleep off all the excitement. I remember my daughter leaving me some sandwiches and a drink and a friend telling me not to try the sandwiches too soon, she was right!  My lips were claggy and I couldn`t chew or swallow properly as my mouth was so dehydrated. I fell asleep. At 3am I woke up and ate the sandwiches, they were delicious and then I decided to go and take a look at my greatly reduced in size, new boobs. I was wowed, I still am. I haven`t looked this good since I was a young woman. The internal stitches melt after 10 days. The external skin is superglued so there will be minimum scarring, not that I care….. if the banana has vacated the premises then I haven`t got a care in the world.

At about 8am the surgeon came to see how I was doing. He said he had left no margin in the affected breast and had removed about 180 grams of tissue, hoping that he will have removed any remaining banana. About 120 was removed from the other side and they are now of more or less equal size, I am so pleased. My daughter who is an ace chef immediately said, “mother that`s about 6 and a bit tablespoons from one side and four and a bit from the other,” so I feel like someone has had their pound of flesh.

Now my nipples no longer gaze at the floor and my boobs are about half the size they were, I have become affectionately known as Perky. The operation has made it very obvious that I have a belly which needs some serious downsizing, meanwhile, I am going to keep on strolling. I am in minimum discomfort, there is some bruising but the swelling is already going down and psychologically I feel wonderful, so if you woke up breathing this morning then congratulations, you have another chance!

Keeping abreast.

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Just a quick update for anyone interested…..
My chemo has now finished and I am absolutely over the moon about that. My hair should start to grow back in about a month and I am also very excited about that as lots of people have told me it`s likely to grow back an entirely different colour and curly.  Hah!
I went to see the surgeon to talk about the next bit, which is surgery followed by some radiotherapy.  Mr. Basu is a beautiful man, both inside and out as I observed from the wonderful interactions between him and the staff of the breast care unit at Birmingham Women`s Hospital.
He checked me over. He said, “There are 2 options available for you. The first one is to have a lumpectomy to the breast that has been affected by the banana. This will result in some puckering and scarring and your breast will be a different shape to the other one, however, it is the simplest option for you.  The other option is for me to do a breast reduction in both breasts, which will offer you uplift and symmetry as well as taking away any remaining banana.  Which would you prefer do you think?”
At first I said the first option would be fine. Then the sister took me aside and we had a chat. It was clear she thought I was bonkers.  I said that I felt guilty about the cost to the NHS involved in the second option and she said, “how long have you been working?” I said since I was 16. She said, “Well I think you can dispense with any guilt then don`t you?”
I went back to see the doc` and said I would take the second option so I am going for surgery on July 7th and as you can imagine, I feel very fortunate to come out of a very difficult experience on a much more positive note.  He drew a picture for me of what he was going to do.
Later on I said to my old boss Mike Scorer,  “of course the op` will mean I have the boobs of a forty year old, attached to the body of a sixty two year old,”  and he said, “Could`ve been worse Hel, could`ve been the other way round!”
#greattobealive