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  • A Laugh from Leicestershire

    This arrived in an email this morning.  It shows we understand a thing or three in Glasgow...!  (Caution, language hints at the "strong" so if easily offended, look away now.)  Thanks ST in Leics. for the smile.


    I was testing children in my Glasgow Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting into heaven.  I asked them, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big jumble sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?”

    “NO” the children answered.

    “If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the garden and kept everything tidy, would that get me into heaven?”

    Again, the answer was “No”.

    By now I was starting to smile.

    “Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave sweeties to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?”

    Yet again, they all answered “No”.

    I was just bursting with pride for them.  I continued, “Then how can I get into heaven?”

    A six year old boy shouted,“YE'VE GOT TAE BE F***IN' DEID”


  • Cooking up a Storm?

    It's getting to the time of year when everyone is (well lots of people are) posting Winter or Christmassy recipes on their blogs.

    So this is just to say that on 28th Nov at our evening service we are making mini vegan Christmas puds - recipe to follow once I've finished deriving it from various sources!

    This week I had a veggie friend to stay for a couple of days, so I made a veggie cottage pie (using vegetarian bricks and chimney pots obviously)...

    Prepare about 6oz (150g) red lentils by cooking according to the instructions on the packet

    Finely chop one onion (not too strong) about three sticks of celery and a couple of carrots and 'sweat' for about ten minutes in a little vegetable oil of your choice.

    Add the lentils and water they've been cooked in to the sweated veg. To this mix add either a veggie stock cube or a good splash of veggie stock concentrate and/or a teaspoon of marmite, some dried sage and some dried thyme plus S&P to taste; you might need more water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 mins.

    Meanwhile, dice some sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes (I used one large one of each; wimped out of purple mash for a friend who'd never seen purple spuds) and boil til soft then mash using butter or spread depending how V or V you are!

    Place the lentil mix in an ovenproof dish.  Slice up some tomatoes, any size, shape or colour and lay over the mixture then top with your mashed potato.  You can grate some cheese over the top if your diet allows it.

    Bake in the oven now or when it's getting close to tea time for about 20-30 mins at about 180C (Mark 5 ish).  Serve with veg of your choice... I used a selection of green things steamed for 15 mins.

    Serves 2-4 depending how hungry you are and how much extra veg you cook.  Keeps well overnight - no meat to give you worries - and freezes well too.


  • Body (of) Knowledge

    Academics love the expression 'body of knowledge' to refer to the stuff they know.  For medical academics and researchers knowledge of the body is an important part of the body of knowledge they accumulate.

    Yesterday I received the appointment letter for my pre-op assessment next January including a request that I allow the tissue they remove to be used for research or training purposes.  For me this was a no-brainer - yes, of course they can have the tissue.

    For me decision this operates at many levels. 

    From a purely selfish perspective I actively disliked the thought that part of me would simply be incinerated like so much hospital waste; yes I know that the tissue once finished with will be disposed of, but at least it will now serve a useful purpose first.  My Protestant ethic of usefulness clearly runs deep! 

    From a more altruistic and reasoned perspective, saying 'yes' allows people to learn more about this disease and hopefully move closer to finding better means of early detection and/or a cure for future generations.  I am truly grateful to the past generations who allowed themselves to be part of trials using various drugs and forms of surgery to achieve the treatment I am now receiving.  As I swallow my anti-emetics I am mindful of the countless people who endured violent bouts of vomiting when the drugs were new; as I am advised of side effects I appreciate the people who underwent trials and risked the unknown; as I psyche myself up for surgery next year, I am grateful for all the advances that will make that a less scary experience than it might once have been.

    If some good can out of this, if a future generation of pathologists can be trained to recognise this kind of cancer, if new research can be identified and undertaken leading to even better detection or treatment, if one day a cure can be found and the 'best' overall prognosis of an 80% chance of living at least 5 years one day be a distant memory, then that'd be great.  To play a small part in the healing of future generations from the consequences of a broken and disordered world seems a good outcome whether I end up in the 80% or the 20% (and only time will tell on that one).

    The body of knowledge keeps growing, bringing with it new knowledge of the body... and if the redesigned me can help with that, then so much the better! 

    Of course I respect the views of those who chose otherwise, for all manner of personal and religious reasons, but as we're all made of borrowed atoms and molecules anyway, and as our essence is so much more than the mere sum of our parts, for me it is the right decision to give an unreserved 'yes' when the question is asked of me next January.

  • Round the bend!

    Been a very long day with lots of delays but I got round the bend today.  Hurray!

    Met some more interesting people - some just starting chemo, some part way through, some new nurses and yet another oncologist as they needed a safety check before they drugged me.  Was well fed with choccy biccies and a corned beef sandwich as the only thing I could have from what was on offer.

    Had to explain to nurse that Sunday is a really bad day to send the District Nurse to do my blood boosting jab... hopefully next time they can manage a Saturday... we'll see.

    Good to be home before dark.  I'm tired by the duration rather than the drugs... though am sure the flop effects aren't far away.

  • Going Round the Bend - Hopefully

    Today is scheduled as my fourth dose of chemo - the two-thirds mark - but on Wednesday my neutrophil levels were too low (something that happens to lots of people) so I have a retest at 9a.m. Here's hoping it's OK as the implication of a week's slippage would mean a floppy birthday a month today (to the date not the day) :-(

    It's a drug change too - so last night and this morning I have swallowed large quantities of steroids which means if it stands still I might be tempted to eat it!  Evidently the new drug is derived from yew tree bark, which feels perversely apt for a 'vicar' who for almost six years had a Baptist graveyard on her patch and who as a young child used climb the yew tree in our garden (to the disquiet of my parents!).  This drug has slightly different side effects including the possibilities of bone/joint pain, peripheral neuropathy, plamar-plantar and of course falling off nails... sounds like the hill just got a bit steeper.  Last night I painted my nails blue to match my jumper and this morning discovered I could plait a cartoon fatness plait in my biggest headscarf!  What I look like I dread to think, but hey...

    Enough of me, what about the New Zealand miners... will they be as fortunate as the Chilean ones?  I think of their families waiting anxiously for news and hoping against hope.

    And it's Children in Need day.  Specifically I am thinking of children and teenagers with cancer today; some are treated in other parts of the hospital I'll be at today and some of them will be very, very sick.  I think of their families for whom  today has extra poignancy.  And children's and young people's hospices, offering respite and comfort for families where life-limiting and life-threatening conditions are part of daily life.

    So, all being well by this afternoon I'll be round the bend... but if I'm not I have the gift of a 'false plateau' week with good energy levels in which to prepare for the start of Advent.  Seems like 'heads I win and tails I don't lose after all.'