zarkandar enjoying snow

Zarkandar enjoying some of the recent snow

This Blog is to record , try to put into some sort of perspective what it is like to be diagnosed and live with cancer plus the treatment I’m receiving.

I hope that my musings / ramblings might help others living with or coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis.

From the very start I was told that we all react differently emotionally and physically to not only the news but the treatment plans. Even if we have the same sort of cancer we are all unique individuals

I am a firm believer in fate and for many years I have been banging on about cutting back on my yard and semi retiring , both my husband and younger sister had been diagnosed with severe life limiting auto immune diseases , I am riddled with osteoarthritis and have two full knee replacements , but still I couldn’t see my way to cutting back and had got stuck in a total rut .

God or fate , both really took a hand and a routine mammogram at the beginning of December showed up a problem.

From that moment on it was like stepping onto a carousel I now couldn’t get off. Within weeks I had met with surgeons , oncologists , nurses , numerous scans , ultra sounds, biopsy’s done , treatment plans set up and incredibly luckily I was asked if I would like to join a trial , that was swiftly signed up for as I feel it’s so important to be able to help others. Initially it was extraordinary how fast one felt one was being swept along , now well into treatment , life has settled into a pattern and rhythm , boy is it different to my old life. I have had to learn to slow down , compromise, focus on what is important ie listening to my body and getting well again .

Oddly from the very first letter recalling me for more scans ,x rays I knew I had cancer but was never frightened , yes one has the odd dark moment but someone something is holding my metaphorical hand. I have this unshakeable conviction I will recover and this is a new and exciting chapter in my life and I must make the very best of this new journey. The positives totally outweigh the negatives , so I feel truly blessed on so many levels. I am going to have a stab at listing some of them in no particular order!!

We are as Brits , incredibly lucky to live in a country with free health care and I know many knock and belittle the NHS but I cannot knock the NHS for their exceptional care and commitment to me it has been beyond amazing , I have met and am being treated by some of the most extraordinary saintly people who I trust implicitly . Their care , kindness and compassion is overwhelming , the team from my fabulous oncologist Dr Raj through to the nurses , receptionists are all such fun but professional in fact I run out of superlatives. Walking onto the Nick Jonas ward is like an extension of family.

My own family and tight knit circle of friends are my real rocks, I have a private what’s app group where I can let off steam , deliver my innermost thoughts , get things off my chest and generally be totally self indulgent, they are so utterly supportive .
But it is my immediate family who have bourne the brunt of my bad days ( luckily few and far between) I have what are euphemistically called ferocious Fridays , savage Saturdays , sulky Sunday’s and moody Monday’s !! My poor husband who does all the shopping and suffers my moods , along with my wonderful daughter ,who has given up her life in London to come home to help run the yard and look after her infirm parents , my son home for Easter from University and about to graduate , my extraordinary indefatigable mother who is loving being back in charge of her sick daughters, at the age of 80 ferrying us around to hospital appointments, cooking , cleaning , bossing all about and teaching my lessons for me! My darling sister who suffers so much pain but who is constantly upbeat and also comes to many of my appointments and is a huge emotional support , not to mention my brothers and their gorgeous wives who are so supportive. Pippa who though isn’t family is like another daughter and is running the yard with Olivia .

I have strengthened my faith and now have time to attend church regularly , something I’m loving and find restful and calming. I’m also loving relearning all the hymns and have lost my inhibitions about warbling along totally out of tune !!!

Learning it’s ok to ask for help and accept help when it’s given , not being so proud

Time to think about and plan for the future , the future of the yard and strengthen in my own mind those plans.

Time to declutter , tidy , clean , sorting the clutter in the house is very liberating . My house is cleaner than it’s ever been !! I admit to being irritatingly OCD .

Time to chat to friends who drop by and not always be in a hurry .

Time to stand , admire , love , be around my beloved horses and dogs.  Just as I write this I have had to take a small step back from the real hands on stuff I love doing with the horses such has , strapping , putting the Equissage pad on , doing their stretch exercises gentle riding , because I have had a Porta cath fitted so the last three cycles of chemo don’t destroy the veins in my hands and arms . Once it has settled I can hopefully resume the hands on stuff again .

Time to cook which I love , though chemo has done the weirdest things to my taste buds and things I used to love are now disgusting and visa versa

Also some wonderfully superficial positives : weight loss , hurrah I can get into clothes I haven’t worn in ages ! Painted nails , who would have thought I have got to my late 50’s and never worn nail varnish , Becky paints them a different dark colour weekly , on the nurses advice it might help prevent the nail beds lifting ? Looking after my very very dry skin due to the chemo and my lovely friends who provide me with , recommend various lotions and potions , I personally recommend Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream , Aveno , Childs Farm baby moisturiser , Nivea sp 30 anti wrinkle cream , ESPA scalp mud for my bald egg head .

As I adore cut flowers being very spoilt with a constant supply filling the house.

I try to find hilarity in the downsides of the treatment of which are remarkably few and really try not to dwell on them , having a very childish and somewhat lavatorial humour one of the funniest is wind , some days I feel I could power the house with the gas emissions !

So into this Maelstrom  of newness and in a twist of extraordinary fate enters a new Horse in my life.
What I am about to write , state next ,will strike many as crazy , mad , nuts , fanciful ,however they are my thoughts and very strong conviction.

My much missed beloved unique pony stallion Harlequin has come back to me as Zarkander ? I have exactly the same deep deep connection , they share the qualities and have identical souls .

It is an honour and a privilege to have been entrusted with the care of such a special famous Horse and through this blog , will keep people updated on his new life and the progress he makes through it. His nickname is Gino and he will tells us what he wants to do though with his wisdom and depth he is definitely my therapy horse. I suspect like Harlequin he will be and exceptional showman , he might do some low level dressage, lots of hacking and being turned out with his new best friends Mole and Charlie.

Looking to the future this year , once the weather improves , I would like to have a few open days for Cancer and Racing charities , to show people the sort of work we do with the horses here at Harroway and in particular with the four stunning RORs that live here.

So it’s onwards and upwards and the light is starting to blaze at the end of the tunnel.  I shall endeavour to keep this blog updated on Gino’s and my journey together.