Amazon to All Gone!

Nutty posing and my over indulgence on the squash front.

Nutty posing and my over indulgence on the squash front.


This is by way of a post script really.  From the end of my treatment and particularly after my first annual check up I have been increasingly frustrated by my inability to find comfortable underwear to accommodate my lone boob and the myriad of protheses I have tried. The pockets in the bra cups always seem to big for the insert which then moved into strange positions during the day and the ridging from the many aspirations I had, (to try and get rid of the dratted seroma which went on for months), was so uncomfortable that by lunchtime I just wanted to get rid of the whole bra! When it came to the summer months, the perspiration beneath the prosthesis did not bear thinking about. Now I was never over endowed but I hated not wearing any support at all and so resorted to wearing the wonderful very fitted M and S vests which I had discovered  during the treatment. These were flattening enough that with the dexterous use of a scarf I managed to be relatively comfortable and appear not too bad a shape! But getting back to the summer months I positively boiled over. The vests are definitely winter apparel.

So earlier on this year I approached my GP about the possibility of having the remaining breast removed in lieu of reconstruction which I had already turned down. He thought it was a reasonable request and set up an appointment for me to see my consultant. There were a few raised eyebrows but I stated my case firmly.

“Well, I haven’t said no and I haven’t said yes” was the response! “But would you not prefer a a breast reduction? ”

“No thank you, it wouldn’t solve anything in the comfort department!”

“Could you not let it hang free?”

My  “Certainly not!” Was accompanied by guffaws from the nurses!

“Well there are procedures……….”


“You will have to see the psychologist To see if you are in sound mind.” All said with a very straight face! Now, there are many who know me who would have a good laugh about this as I do have several quirks in regard to flowers and dogs and possibly food too!

The upshot of all this was that I had my ‘mad or not’ interview and was deemed rational and sane. The operation was given the green light and two and a bit weeks ago now I had my right breast removed. All completely painless and straightforward, down to theatre at around 3.15 and back into recovery about 6pm I think. I was a bit woozy to be able to be totally accurate on that score. Victoria, my daughter came to collect me from the hospital around 7pm. She had  been to the funeral and memorial service for a dear man, Tony Crosse, my friend Dinah Shortt’s brother in law. I was so sad not to be able to attend myself  but the timings were just not meant to be.  He had been unwell for some time, slowly but surely regressing and retreating from all that was familiar, but wonderfully cared for at the Royal British Legion home near Taunton. Dementia is such a terrible thing. His family are scattered around the world and it was a real gathering of the clans.

I was treated to tea and toast and marmalade once on the ward and then allowed to get dressed about 8.30pm. I was determined to go home! I had been very proficient and left our supper all ready for cooking, but by the time I was released with my medication it was gone 9pm,  so I suggested that we go to Carluccio’s for a quick bite as it would be quicker than cooking when we got home! So we did. As a regular there I qualified for a free bottle of wine, but as I had been dosed up with pain killers we took it home with us and supped on sparkling water instead! I was at home and tucked up I bed my 10.30pm. I hardly used any medication at all as there has been no real discomfort

I was up and about by about 8am the next morning and Tor and I walked the dogs, Nutty and Wally.  Wally is Nutty’s first born which I delivered and who now is a cherished member of the Willis household……an adorable and very lively addition. We did not go far just to the May fields at Bere Regis and then came back to a welcome coffee before Tor sped off back to Kent and her family.

I must mention that I came home from the hospital with no dressings on my wound. It was all beautifully glued as last time. When I looked at myself in the mirror that morning, it was amazing how normal it seemed, so unlike seeing one breast which had always appeared so,unnatural. Having thought about it, as I was quite surprised at my reaction, I have come to the conclusion that as a child and young girl we see out chest as a flat area and seeing an adult chest minus boobs is not that different really and seems kind of familiar. Ok, no nipples, but it is a balanced body. Having one for the time I did was not a source of angst at all and my course of action was because of the discomfort I experienced, but I do feel far less ‘odd’ when unclothed.

I am progressing with the healing process,  although I have once again a small seroma and some leakage! The mattress topper and the duvet have already visited the dry cleaners! The GP surgery nurses have been wonderful dressing and re dressing the problem area for me. It is nigh on impossible to hold a dressing and wield sticky stuff to hold it in position with one hand on a leg or arm but try under the arm with the left hand and blue language issues forth as the sticky stuff sticks to itself and not to you!

I have now been checked by Mr Graja at the Breast Clinic and all is well. All the histology was fine, as I knew it would be, and the wound although still leaking a bit is fine.  I now have a stoma bag fitted to the leak which is far less cumbersome that the dressings and does not leak. I m to go to the surgery to have it emptied or changed as the need arises. As normal I find it hard to take it easy, especially as the garden needs its seasonal chop back but I am trying to behave. But I have made bramble jelly and today a spicy lentil soup with lots of wonderfully healthy items like turmeric in it.

I did not drive for a couple of weeks but had to go to see Toby, my son about a suspect tooth this week……an appointment which had been changed several times……so drove to Brighton to stay with him and Emma and the children and on to Eastbourne the next day for the appointment. Came home picking up wonderful squashes on the way which are now adorning my dining  room table. Had to get someone else to get them in and out of the car though……too heavy….. So frustrating!

I am feeling fine and raring to go but I must take things steadily and try to get rid of all this extra fluid sloshing about! Nutty is not all all happy about curtailed walks but is as forgiving as ever. She has just been the best over these last three years. So that is me up to date and feeling very grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses who have and are still,caring for me. In fact the Milton Abbas surgery has been awarded  an Excellence category  for its patient care in the recent inspection…….a sort of medical version of Ofsted! I cannot fault them.

My response to final questioning from my consultant was…..

“Yes, definitely I want to go ahead. It will be such bliss not to battle with my underwear and just think of the wonderful backless dresses I can wear!” All I have to do now is find one and also an occasion to wear it!



Thank you

This week's wedding bouquet

This week’s wedding bouquet

A summer mix

A summer mix

A little handbag I made at a recent workshop with American designer Francoise Weeks

A little handbag I made at a recent workshop with American designer Francoise Weeks

Geraniums and my lovely rusty urns.

Geraniums and my lovely rusty urns.

Just a word of thanks to those who have follow and read my blog over the last couple of years. It has been read in 41 countries with over 10,000 views! In the scheme os things in the blogosphere that is a tiny amount, but  for my little journal I find it amazing!

My final offering  a few flowers to brighten your world and a huge THANK YOU and good luck and good health to you all.

Catching up and rounding off



I feel really guilty that I have neglected this site for so long. The truth is that my life has got back to ‘normal’. Technically I am in remission but I hate that word so I prefer to say, in answer to enquiries about my health, “I’m fine”!  So I am now working again, a bit spasmodically but , as with buses, it all comes along together. This week I has two jobs back to back. The past few weeks have gone by in a flash. I have lost track of all the wild flowers which have bloomed and are blooming. Nutty and I began to take shorter walks as she got heavier with the expected puppies. We have spent a lot of time in the garden. It is the village Open Gardens next weekend and so lots of work to be done making sure everything looks as good as it can be.

i have seen brides and their mothers, fielded emails from a client with a severe venue conundrum and minded my hormonal dog! The culmination of which would seem to be that I have 2 weddings booked for next year, a wedding this year possibly in Azerbaijan (!), nd a kitchen which has turned into a nursery!

Nutty was a tad slow in getting going, but a quick journey in the car to deliver some flowers locally soon had her nesting and panting away nicely. She was a little uncertain as to the state of affairs for the first delivery but them got on with it all like a pro! She had four little boys and one girl – Walnut (Wally), Chestnut (Ches), Macadmia nut (Mac), Beech nut (Beech) and Nutmeg (Meggie). – all arrived in about  4 hours. All went well after I had assisted with Wally, her first born, but overnight he began to fade, so we all had a quick trip to the vet where he was put on a heated pad and tube fed. He travelled to the vet tucked down my tea shirt! ….with the rest of his siblings in a box in the boot and Nutty on the back seat as she kept trying to get into the box which was only just big enough for the pups! We came home with milk powder and a tube kit and I carried on with the feeds. He rallied well and after two feeds I needed help to hold him still while I inserted the tube. Very kindly, Val Darrington, from next door, came over to help. Bless him, he steadily put on weight. They had all been a good weight at birth apart from Wally who was only 172 gms, about 80 gms lighter than the others! He lost so much, going down to 138 gms!  I only needed the extra feeds for four days!. All this kerfuffle meant I missed Richard and Sarah Heald’s Turnworth Event as I dare not leave the pups and Nutty alone .Sarah had called in only the previous weekend and I had promised to go. Sorry Sarah… attention was taken up by my little red furry friend.

Tor and the children came down for the last weekend of half term and she helped with the last feeds. Tonight at nearly 2 weeks Wally is over 400 gms and really fighting his corner. His brothers and sister are well over 550 gms apiece now so he is still a lot smaller but so precious. Nutty is a good mum, apart from being determined to take the pups from their big box and nurse them on or in her beds! I found two on the landing this morning! She is eating me out of house and home! Toby, Emma and the children came this weekend and it I so lovely that all the grandchildren have seen the pups while they are so small. Their eyes are beginning to open today.

Poor Emma has gone to Bristol today with her step mum because Tony Candy her father is to have a triple bypass this week having had a heart attack  about 10 days ago. He had been in Yeovil hospital since waiting for a bed in Bristol. We heard today that he was on his way and so Emma has stayed on with Sue. I wish him well. I was so sorry not to have been able to pop over and visit him.he was so good coming over to take me to chemotherapy sessions during my treatment. I dare not leave the dogs.

Nutty having had her pups is no longer a puppy dog herself and so this really brings my post tag line ‘and puppy dog tales’ full circle! She has started a little ripple of her own now,as a post Tor put on Facebook has resulted in a friend from Orpington rushing down here to chose a puppy, and a second one getting in touch a couple of days ago about another of them!  Tor is having Little Wally as Sophie and Thomas are besotted.

So my little family is grown and already spreading their own little ripples. I am back in harness, slower and suffering a bit from arthritis in my hands and knees but feeling well. I think this is where my blog will close now. Writing it has been very cathartic for me and has kept my friends and relations ( sounds like Rabbit!) in the know and possibly given a bit of positivity to those affected in some way by breast cancer. I am back to normal….. Well what is normal? I am down to one boob and the scar area is still stiff and uncomfortable. I have not yet found a comfy prothesis but I will….. My mind set has never been changed though. Life is for living whatever it throws at you. There is plenty of it to live yet, plenty of flowers to find, dog walks to be walked, food to be cooked and eaten, ( like the crepes Mylo ordered for breakfast this morning!) places to see, birds and music to listen to, cricket and rugby to watch, money to raise, work to be done,  and new friends to make…….busy busy….. But I will make time to stand and stare and absorb this wonderful world for a long time yet.

Where did that week go?

The Bank Holiday was devoted to gardening and I finally got the north end of the patio sorted! Sounds palatial …..but all of another 2 metres. I moved a topiary variegated holly to a spot nearer to the greenhouse and did a Heath Robinson job on the drainpipe near the water butt in readiness for some climbing French beans! I hope they grow quickly because it is a bit ‘raw’ at the moment. I have planted a couple of geraniums which have survived the winter into the same planters as the beans for a bit of colour, hoping the eye will be drawn there until the bean flowers provide a bit of interest!

Every available place is crammed with my plantlets ready for sale! Watering is going to be a bit of an issue if it comes hot! I am excited to see little cosmos seedlings appear in the greenhouse. Tomatoes and cucumbers planted up now and next week there will be a reshuffle as the dahlias can go outside. It is a bit full in there right now.

I don’t know about March coming in like a lion….I think the climate change has muddled the months, because the wind was pretty terrific on Tuesday and Wednesday. All the beautiful cardoon leaves are shredded. The Nutster did not get a walk on Tuesday, as I could not face the battle with the wind. I saw my doctor that evening and am now trying a normal diet again to see if the slight improvement on the gluten free was the elimination of the gluten or that my insides are better healed after the chemotherapy effects. I must say the joy of a bit of decent bread is immense! The other little niggles I have have also had attention and so all is well and I am feeling fine.

I had lunch with Amy Ciorra at her house on Wednesday and she had made a scrummy sweet potato and carrot soup with wonderful seeded bread. Following that I had an appointment with the urologist at the hospital for a little camera investigation. Ouch! Not very successful and so I am now scheduled to have it under general anaesthetic sometime soon! I have been a bit uncomfortable since so I am not looking forward much to the after effects of the second attempt! Apparently I need dilation….don’t ask….just let your eyes water!

Nutty went off for a shampoo and trim on Thursday but came back only having had her tummy shaved in readiness for her puppies. She was behaving like the prima donna again! But better for her not to get stressed out. When Sarra Dellou brought her back she had extra passengers in her van – a couple of fox cubs she had rescued from a building site! They were so lovely. I am glad they will at least have a chance to a life and to take their chances. I am not anti hunt at all, but think they should have an opportunity to run free. She has now got another two. The mother was found dead. It was a wonderful opportunity to see them at close range. On enquiry as to their well being, the reply was, “hungry and smelly”!

I made a delicious bread and butter style pud with the remains of a pannetone and some lemon and poppyseed muffins. The pudding was too good to ignore and it barely lasted me two days! I have not had the heart to do much baking while I was on the gluten free and doing the diet. The weight is still stable I am happy to report.

I stayed awake as long as I could that evening watching the election results. I have a postal vote so did not have to go to the polling station during the day. It was from the time when I never knew where I would be on the appointed day. I eventually had to put the light out but happy in the knowledge that my suspicions that folk on their way to the polls would decide to let them finish the job they have begun in coalition.

Friday was nail day again. Butterflies this time! Lorraine Connelly really is the most amazing artist. I am sporting Red Admirals on each ring finger and they are in such fine detail. Thank you Lorraine, I love them. Nutty and I had a lovely walk in Duncliffe Woods afterwards. We just made it before the showers began. Loads of bluebells everywhere. I counted 31 flowering plants- signs that the season is progressing. I saw ragged robin in the water meadows by the woods and also a white ajuga, Bugle, which I have never come across before and I also saw a white bluebell and the first May blossom of the year.

More gardening when I got home after the showers but with less vigour. I think moving the holly was a bit too much on Monday so I am taking things gently. Nicky Hunter called to check through things for my fundraiser talk next Tuesday for the Hilton, Ansty and Melcombe churches. Everything seems to be in hand. My containers are all made ready, another job done during the week. Poor Chanell Cook, yet again could not have a good go at the kitchen when she came on Wednesday! It was still full of lichen twigs, bark and glue guns!

This morning, Saturday, I ironed, watered the greenhouse, put a few clothes in a bag and drove to Tor’s to baby sit while she a Wills go to the Rugby Club dinner and dance this evening. Tomorrow Tor and I are going to The Royal Court Theatre to a Woman of the Year event. It is her birthday treat. Half way up to Kent I had to stop for a 10 minute nap. I woke with a start remembering that I had left my bed unmade! I had a hottie last night and had not taken it out of the bed when I got up so, when I came to make it a bit later the bed was still a bit hot so I left it for later! Having packed my bags and taken them downstairs I had no cause to go up again and clean forgot the bed! Slapped wrist!

Trying to keep Nutty calm when we arrived was impossible. She was so excited! Sophie is on a sleepover so Thomas and I had a good chat and I read him a Winnie the Pooh tale. Nutty and I spent the evening cuddled together on the sofa watching a wonderful concert from Horse-guards Parade in celebration of the 70th anniversary of VE Day. They don’t write tunes like that anymore! I think I will retire now before the revellers return.

The Pudding


Nature study!

This last week I have been gardening fit to bust! I have finally reached the far side of the patio. All the pots are weeded, refreshed and the hostas are slug protected! The slabs have been swept and I am about ready for some sunshine to sit in and admire my handiwork! The forecast however is for rain and high winds….. thus I have refrained from putting out the hanging basket for another week. When I was not gardening, Nutty and I were out walking.

I have started counting the flowers in bloom again. A couple,of days ago I had a very meagre list although I did spot emergent orchid plants, Early purple and Twayblade. Today though walking at Bere Regis I had better lunch with flowers – Red dead nettle, Sorrel, Pink campion, Buttercups, Celandines ( yes they are still going!), Daisies, Chickweed, Dandelion, White dead nettle, Ladies smock, Herb robert, a Hawkbit (I forgot to look up which one!), Water crowfoot, Hedge mustard, Lesser stitch wort, Wild arum, and later I passed Bluebells, Wood anemone, Dog violets, Primroses, Dog’s mercury and Cowslips in a different place. The world is coming alive at last.

The Crab apple in the garden has showered my newly swept slabs with petal confetti . It is sad to see it fall, but here’s hoping there is more fruit this year. I think I was lucky if there were half a dozen fruits last year. I just hope the wild weather that is due won’t cause too much damage. I trust my blueberry bush will be OK too. There is a lot of blossom.

I had a great evening on Sunday at the 29029 restaurant in Sandford at Sarra Dellou’s birthday bash. I think there were 20 of us. Really good Indian and Nepalese food at a very reasonable price. It is definitely worth revisiting. I whizzed up to the garden centre earlier in the day to get more compost, walking Nutty briefly on the way back. It came on to rain and neither of us was properly dressed for the deluge. She came with me in the evening and patiently waited for me in the car. I think she prefers to do that, than be at home on her own.

Today I also prepared some containers for next week’s talk and mini-demonstration in Ansty. I thought it prudent as I am going to see Tor this weekend to take her on a birthday treat. It does not leave me much prep time. I will not be back until Monday afternoon. I wrote the notes tonight and will do the prompt cards properly tomorrow. I hope I am not too slow with the arrangements….it is quite a time since I did a demonstration! I have made a lichen covered box which is really inspiring me!

Tonight I watched a great programme about the war generation……that is me!….so much to identify with and amazingly there was a shot of Horncastle Road, Boston, from Rawson’s Bridge towards Cowbridge. You could see the pub in the distance….it was before the big house was built! I remembered the man who painted our house, Mr Sykes lived adjacent to the pub. I wish I could remember the name of the pub! All the memories of the people on the programme regarding the food and rationing and the snippets of music were wonderful. Esther Rantzen remembered scraping the ice from the windows! And so do I. Folk really do not know they are born these days. Miriam Margoles recalled having one fire and paraffin heaters elsewhere and the smell of the paraffin! I reckon we are a hardy breed. If it is cold, put on another sweater! We have apparently been going through austerity? I wonder how the modern generation would fair in the conditions we had between 1940 and 1955! There were wonderful scenes of children playing on bomb sites ….no health and safety then to barricade everything off. Kids then learnt to take risks and use their imagination to create games and dens and magical memories with minimal sweeties to boot!

The Nutster is stretched out breathing deeply. She has a bit more sleeping to do but is still leaping like a Masai warrior! No idea what her offspring think of her antics! Time for me to stretch out too.