Letter from the North

The scan results are in and Teresa is poorly – 09-Mar-2019

Sat 09-Mar-2019 

A rotten night’s sleep, slept till about 1:30am and then the stormy winds down here in West Cornwall kept me awake. When you are as noise sensitive as I am, it’s impossible. So, all day I was totally exhausted. That was a problem because I needed to make “significant” (thanks Teresa May for destroying the meaning of THAT word, progress on the next task of my assignment due tomorrow. 

Needless to say, I did not make significant progress (hmmm no surprise in either sense) 

Also, I had bad diarrhoea (that’s what woke me initially) and had to take the second Loperamide of the night (the first was when I went to bed). Diarrhoea always knocks me out, today was a waste of time. 

Teresa has a cold/virus that has knocked her for six, so I went and fetched in some wood while the sun was shining to avoid her being tempted to do it because “but Bean you are poorly” 

Sun 10-Mar-2019 

Well, slept a little better and feel a little better, but it still took me an age to get moving 

I managed a sort of draft of the task and sent to Teresa then crashed out for my afternoon nap. After I woke up, she’d looked at it, I did some minor titivation and managed submission, it’s rubbish, but fortunately these three tasks are 0 marks, meant to teach us a particular way of thinking academically. I don’t think it works for me, but you have to try to be sure, so I am trying and struggling. 

Otherwise I have tried to take it easy as I can feel all the signs of my own cold (probably picked up from Teresa) and need to try to fend it off as it’s the last thing I need! 

Mon 11-Mar-2019 

Well, feel rough but OK to work, so working. 

Teresa thought she was better yesterday (I didn’t) she is worse today and has accepted the need to have another flump day (she had one Saturday, decided she was cured Sunday and guess what, she is back to flump today. I keep telling her we both have to accept we are no longer the spring chickens who “fought” through a cold. Now we have to be sensible. 

Tue 12-Mar-2019 

In office, all ok, but had to Sainsburys on way home as Teresa still very poorly, so by the time I got home – exhausted, crash and … 

Wed 13-Mar-2019 

Teresa would normally insist on going with me to get the scan results but she has a nasty cold/virus and it would have been wrong to take that into a cancer clinic where people are immunocompromised, so I was on my own for the first time. Just for a brief time I am the healthier of us! 

So, got CT scan results. Yes, there is still a large cancer load but it has neither shrunk nor grown, so status quo. We are happy with that. Onwards the next three months. 

It is so easy to see no change as goodness, but all that cancer sits there like a coiled spring, one moment of weakness from the drugs and it WILL escape its clutches and be back to growing like topsy. 

Back at the beginning over a period of three months, half of which I was taking the drugs and half not, the metastase in my shoulder grew by about 1cm (from a size of 6 or 7cm) so when it grows, it GROWS. 

So, it’s more like the car is in gear the engine at full throttle and the clutch pressed and someday the clutch WILL wear at and then … 

So, yes, I am happy with no change but I know what a knife edge I live on, Of course I am grateful for every moment but I cannot pretend this is a happy ending. 

I recall Teresa’s father, oesophageal cancer, slow growing, nothing to worry about, except it happened to grow into a nerve controlling swallowing, a week later he was dead. Do not doubt that left turn instead of right hits any of us at any time and “hope” wont’ change it, all I can do is enjoy and live today. 

Poo (in case you thought I’d forgotten 🙂 ) is normal today! 

I also got the results of that task for my assignment, apparently what I did was OK, so onto the next one. 

Thu 14-Mar-2019 

Morning was normal, even poo was 


Had afternoon nap and woke up, still lying in bed, massive stomach cramp – I cried out in pain and had Teresa reaching for the phone and 999, it seemed to me to be the same massive pains I had in London late last year which were down to digestive distress.  So, I tried to explain that I didn’t think she needed to panic and kept talking as the pain crescendoed and then died down. All over in the space of a few minutes, but those minutes … The cramps eased, I started drinking my mug of tea and then quickly headed up to the loo. 

Oh no it says; I just needed a small fart. I knew better, we’ve played this game of bluff before and I waited, …, a few minutes or so later, “oh well, if you insist” and there followed a series of explosions and the truth was revealed and yes that pain was for an understandable reason. 

The cause, I’d had lentil and tomato soup for lunch, I knew lentils could be bad but, …, this was way beyond diarrhoea bad, this was frightening – all from a can of soup (probably)! 

Wiped out, but able to get work done, so plodding on. 

Fri 15-Mar-2019 

A reasonable day’s work, otherwise not much to say, fatigue as always, poo challenges, as usual, just a regular day in the life of dealing with (NOT fighting) cancer. 


Poor Teresa has felt awful for over a week now. Yes, it’s just the usual winter cold virus, but it seems to have been quite a strong dose and has knocked her more than she is used to. 

It has however given her a better insight into just how hard constant fatigue is, she struggled to be sensible and accept restrictions for a week. 

It  has given me the chance to look after her and make HER take it easy as opposed to here constantly worriting (a Teresa word) about me. That has been nice (apart from her being poorly that is!)

For me it’s a (rest of my) lifetime task to learn to manage fatigue and when that’s the case you aren’t fighting you are just accepting and finding your own path through it (same for poo, nausea, joint pains, …) 

The Bean, Pendeen17Mar-2019 


  • Kate Mole

    Dear Bean,
    Well, I suppose this blog could be viewed as a good thing (the scan results) wrapped up in a number of bad ones (everything else!)
    However, hopefully Teresa will be feeling better soon, thanks to your ministrations, and as long as you don’t eat any more lentils, you might at least not have that particular problem so badly again…..
    Stick to it. Keep plodding on. Your friends are with you.

    • Bean

      Oh I wish lentils was the only problem – any fruit, any vegetables (including mushrooms), lentils for sure and anything else when my digestive system is in the mood for poo!

      Started taking Vitamin C (with approval of oncology) just to fill in some of the gaps in my eating!


  • Linda Camidge

    Best wishes to both of you. As you say, the ‘left turn instead of right’ (the turn for the sinister, in fact) – it’s waiting for all of us, in one form or another. The human condition. Stay warm and cosy. Spring is just round the corner.

    • Bean

      Of course you are right Linda, death comes to all of us and we never know when. However some of us know more about it than we would like to 🙂

      • Linda Camidge

        Good point. Sorry if I sounded crass. I often do… 🙂

        • Bean

          Not crass at all, I am autistic, I love clear communication :-). I agree with you, it is something that up until now I had ignored, it is only my new perspective that forces me to consider what had always been true – we never know “when”.

          I do however lament that I now know it will be sooner than I had hoped for and that disappointment is harder when you have months, maybe years to contemplate rather than if it hit you without you ever knowing what had happened and/or had the time to regret what might have been.

          The upside is that I get “some” time to do now what I would have regretted not doing had I not known, …,

  • Write a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.