The Radio Times

Friday’s appointment involved a minor hiccup as the Radio machine was, in the radiographer’s words, “playing silly buggers”. She reassured me that it wasn’t zapping anything that it shouldn’t have been but it simply wasn’t doing anything. I was lying there in The Mask for about 10 minutes listening to a few Christmas songs while they sorted it so the overall length of the appointment was longer than usual. It’s a good job that I’m not claustrophobic!

By the way, my only clue as to the time that passes while I’m in The Mask is the number of songs that I hear. I accept that this is neither a standard nor wholly accurate time-keeping method but it’s the best that I can do!

Yesterday, a different radiographer took me into Room 6 (my usual Radio Rendezvous Room). She said I was wearing a perfume that she recognised and liked but she couldn’t remember the name, so I told her it was Black Orchid. There you go, Mr Tom Ford, that’s your second plug in this blog and I’m not even getting paid for it. (You might recall that Mr H had mistaken my perfume for a hip flask!)

Seven Wonders of the Squatter World

I read the other day that each “zap” of my radiotherapy is called a “fraction”. I asked the radiographer on Monday how many different fractions were being used on me and the answer was seven. She explained that the radiotherapy is not coming from seven different angles: some of the fractions are going in from the same angle but at different doses/concentrations. So there you go.

Seizin’ Good*

The Doozie of Thursday was followed by over 50 hours without anything other than flickers. Then, like buses, three came along at once (well, in less than 14 hours: early on Saturday evening and then at 4am and 8.30am on Sunday morning). The seizures are unpredictable to say the least. I’ve had nothing other than flickers since then so I’m probably due a few Doozies imminently….

Blowing Hot and Cold

Those who know me will know that I’m almost always cold. Heretofore, my internal central heating thermostat hadn’t seemed to work and/or my circulation was rubbish.  The only two times I’ve been consistently warm were towards the end of each pregnancy. Graham often had a T-Shirt and shorts on while I was turning the heating up and wearing my winter clothes. Even in Summer.

This has all been turned on its head in the last couple of weeks, when I’ve been warm to the touch (without a change in my core temperature). I’ve got the window open fully throughout the day and night and only have the sheet over me at night. Graham, meanwhile, is complaining of being cold and is sleeping in his dressing gown with the duvet over him! He’s taken to referring to our room as the freezer. Mam puts her cardigans on and sometimes gets under the duvet when she sits with me; there are “jokes” about her being frozen in position.

Therefore, for anyone who comes to visit, I would recommend wearing long johns and bringing a warm coat!

The Post of Christmas(es) Past

The current combination of radiotherapy and Christmas brought to mind the title of this post. It makes me think of Christmas back in the olden days (the 1980s). I think my parents only bought the Radio Times once a year for the Christmas bumper edition (at least, if they bought it at other times I certainly didn’t look at it).

Graeme and I used to go through the television schedule for the whole month and circle all the things that we wanted to watch. We did it every year and it was one of our family traditions that built up the excitement and anticipation of Christmas. Of course, it didn’t take us very long as there were only four channels to choose from!

I don’t remember being glued to the tv screens throughout the whole of the school holidays, though. The excitement of looking through the Radio Times was mostly in looking forward to the possibilities that the Christmas holidays offered. Except for checking that “Santa Claus: The Movie” was shown on Christmas Eve. That was crucial to the whole affair and it wouldn’t have been Christmas without watching it.

Until Graeme died, I still had excitement and enjoyed our family traditions (e.g., Graeme and I always decorated the tree and the first things we put on after the lights were our respective baby’s first Christmas mementoes). After that, it was too painful to consider celebrating Christmas in the way we’d always done. My parents and I therefore spent our first Christmas without him in Dubai, followed by a Christmas trip to Egypt the next year.

After I moved to Newcastle in 2008, we enjoyed a couple of low-key Christmases in a lovely cottage not far from Langley castle, where Graham and I subsequently had our Wedding Reception. It was still too painful to celebrate Christmas without Graeme in the house we’d had so many happy Christmas times with our boy but we didn’t need to run away from the whole thing.

When Graham and I hosted our first (and, to date, only) Christmas a few months after we got married, I was keen to create traditions in readiness for the family we hoped for. Since Jennifer was born, I’ve been desperate to recreate for her (and now Leo) the magical excitement and wonder I had at this special time of year.

For example, one of many things that made the build-up to Christmas special was our annual trip to see Fenwick’s Christmas window. I’ve taken Jennifer to see it for the last three years even though she won’t remember. At least, I’m hoping that she won’t remember last year’s spectacle as she was upset (real tears) that Santa was stuck in the chimney upside down and kicking his legs about. She was still talking about it in a distressed way for days afterwards.

Last year’s Christmas was somewhat overshadowed in the build-up by a trip to A&E with Leo from 8pm until 3am on the night of 23/24 December (bronchiolitis). Sleep deprivation and ongoing stress meant we were exhausted by the time the kids went to bed that night, and we of course hadn’t wrapped any presents. We briefly considered giving in to the tiredness and going to bed ourselves without wrapping. However, I was so pleased we didn’t when I saw Jennifer’s face light up on Christmas morning when she saw the wrapped presents under the tree.

It has been a mix of the old and the new for our family Christmases so far. The first things I look for to put on the tree (or around the tree this year with our tiny pink number!) are the baby’s first Christmas mementoes for me, Graeme, Jennifer and Leo (Graham sadly doesn’t have one, I’m not deliberately missing him out!).

I will stop there before I get into Posts of Christmas Present and Future. This section has already veered from its original purpose of explaining why the Radiotherapy is linked with Christmas in my tangential mind. Ah well, it’s my preblogative to go off piste every now and then.

JLS (Jennifer and Leo Summary)

J is very excited about Christmas. She is pretty confident that we will all get presents from Santa, except that she is not sure about Grandad because he is naughty and nice. He’s got a few days to make up for it!

Leo’s report from nursery came back yesterday. He’s settled in really well by all accounts. We are pretty sure, though, that “little mischief” is teacher-speak for “little bu@@er” but are nevertheless delighted with the overall report! He’s had four vaccinations today, including the MMR, so was feeling a bit sorry for himself and had a bit of a temperature before bed as expected. God bless Calpol!

I’m hoping in this instance Leo carries on being the opposite of Jennifer in almost every way. Jennifer had every side-effect going after the MMR vaccine, including suspected measles. Public health were involved as is standard for a suspected outbreak of measles, although J ultimately tested negative. We thought it would be a heck of a coincidence for her to contract measles a few weeks after being vaccinated….but then the name of this blog tells us that long odds are no barrier to medical coincidences in our family.

Would you believe I started this blog post just for a quick update thinking there was nothing much to say?!


*From the Seizures’ perspective, not mine!


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