Missed me?

They Never saw it coming

I love this sign. I saw it in New York on the subway. it's for a storage company. That made me laugh out loud (perhaps risky on the Manhattan underground) as even if the French aristocracy had anticipated the revolution I doubt whether they would have turned to a storage company to solve the problem. Here I am assuming the 'It' refers to the French Revolution and that like today they might need to downsize by putting their Louis Quatorze chairs in storage. The 'it' and the 'either' are both quite portentuous. What is the message - if we don't heed the revolution we will end up like he French aristocrats..ie headless? Our problem sadly here in the UK and in the US is not so much revolution as complacency. And for me that doesn't mean rushing to put my worldly goods into storage. Perhaps an ad suggesting we divest ourselves of possessions when 'it' happens might be a better message.

However I never saw the 'it' in my life coming and if anyone had told me I would get cancer I would have laughed in their faces but I wouldn't have rushed out to get storage. There is no doubt that the cancer is a watershed for me. I realise, with a mixture of bitterness and a harsh dose of reality, that I can't live my life as I did before. Then I lived to work. Now I need to work to live and achieve this mythical work-life balance. My mother, who had a unique way of reminding me of my fallibilities rang me one day at work and asked me what it would say on my headstone..'She worked long hours at the office?'...Harsh and by the way should any of you have to organise this for me I don't want a headstone and would rather go up in a firework after a brilliantly louche party.

But not yet. I am getting stronger and better every day but the lasting legacy of the cancer is heeding my progress a bit. My hair is growing and as my friend Franck said it now just looks like a bad haircut. In my more poetic moments I am sure I look like Jean Seburg in 'Jules et Jim' - but in raelity I look more like Paul Scholes. (Man Utd footballer with receding ginger hairline).

My chemo brain is abating although I am still struggling for words - less the polysyllabic variety and more the ordinary everyday words of one syllable. This may of course be my age as well - that slow progress towards infantile speech patterns. On the physical side I am definitely improving but the new drug I am on gives me terrible joint pain and is it causing bursitis in my hips and I now have a problem with my left arm. Apparently one in 20 breast cancer sufferers get a problem there after surgery. Mine has started off as cording, which as the name suggests means a tightening of your muscle cords, this has now morphed into something called 'adhesive capulitis' - in common parlance a frozen shoulder. 

It doesn't sound bad does it 'frozen shoulder' ? In reality it is agony. I can't lift my left arm above the height of my rib cage and if I reach for a mug in the cupboard or my bra strap behind my shoulder the pain makes me want to vomit or faint. The worst news is that there is nothing to be done. It usually takes 18-24 months for the condition to settle down and go away. Bloody hell. I am trying yoga and stretches but I can only do the movements lopsidely which makes balances and warrior position a little touch and go. 

Perhaps the 'it' of this ad is life after cancer. I had not anticipated feeling worse post treatment. 

I am off to get some storage and see if that solves it.


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Jane Young | Reply 21.04.2014 15.21

Dear Clare, Really sorry about the frozen shoulder. You might have more success with Tai Chi than Yoga at this point. Been doing it for a year and love it!,

shona | Reply 06.04.2014 18.46

Oh Claire, I to know the pain of a frozen shoulder & now had surgery. Different recovery process for all, if you need survival tips happy to help Sho xxx

Tina | Reply 06.04.2014 18.10

Nice to read new post, but at the same time sad that you feel pain, i hope it will pass soon. xx

Sophie | Reply 05.04.2014 23.18

Hi Clare. Good to 'hear' you again, although not good to hear you have such post-cancer physical pain. I hope it improves soon. Sophie x

anna | Reply 05.04.2014 15.10

Hi Clare
Good to read your latest bulletin but sorry to learn of woes. Always so upbeat even when its painful news. Do you still have headgear from bald days?

Fenella | Reply 05.04.2014 13.45

More Please xx - Fen

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21.04 | 15:21

Dear Clare, Really sorry about the frozen shoulder. You might have more success with Tai Chi than Yoga at this point. Been doing it for a year and love it!,

12.04 | 12:27

post scriptum
You are absolutely beautiful.. with or without hair. There lies a world's power and zest for life in your eyes

12.04 | 12:23

.. But now I KNOW a woman often looks more beautiful without hair on top. And people's reactions are less bitter than I thought.
Lots of love and all the best!

12.04 | 12:20

In February I shaved my head referring to an art project about memory. I was quite unsure what it would be like without any hair on the highest part of the body

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