When life hands you lemons…..

….make lemonade or preferably add them to a G&T.

Well it just has, but no matter how much lemonade or gin I drink it won’t change the situation or make it better.

We had survived the five long and difficult years when the AP was living with us, then we were planning how we would spend our time and Covid-19 came along. No problem we said, lockdown is similar to the years living with the AP except we didn’t have to cope with her intransigence. We came out of it all a little wary but determined to get more out of our latter years and then, wham! A curved ball came out of the blue and left us shell shocked.

The LSO has cancer, not any old cancer but a rather rare one, he has a tumour in his tongue. He’s never smoked, never been a heavy drinker but has enjoyed his real ales and equally fine wines, isn’t overweight and thanks to the two Jack Russells is pretty fit for someone of 76 years of age.

So how did this happen? The consultant says its basically the luck of the draw!

Well, all I can say is thank goodness the LSO is not a gambler.

It has changed our lives completely. The operation was a demanding twelve hours, during which the tumour was removed and the tongue rebuilt using flesh from his thigh then it was ICU for 5 days before a move to a HDU specialising in Head and Neck for a further 2 weeks. During these challenging months the LSO inevitably lost weight but did a good job of recovering, even on a liquid diet, gaining three quarters of a stone from leaving hospital until the Radiotherapy began. Then 3 weeks in, having had 15 sessions, the side effects began to appear. By the end of the 30 sessions he was suffering from severe burning and pain in his mouth, tongue and throat making eating and swallowing incredibly difficult, leading to further weight loss. Morphine has had little effect on the pain so Fentanyl patches were added for further relief. These too had little effect so it was suggested by the radiologist that these be doubled every three days. That was last night and things do seem ever so slightly better.

Apparently the side effects keep ramping up after the treatment ends though for how long no one knows because everyone reacts differently to this brutal treatment.

Where do we go from here? Well we can only go forwards and handle the situation with grace, positivity and remember that humour is a great healer. Although at the moment the LSO is struggling and I feel weary, utterly exhausted and just a little battered and just hope we can both find the laughter we have enjoyed as a couple for 58 years returning to buoy us up.

….and the AP? still sailing on at 104 years of age.

An obsession.

I am obsessed with anything to do with food these days. Since my last post which was some weeks ago last December, I have struggled to lose weight, going up a few pounds, going down a few pounds.

Nothing too dramatic; I put it all down to winter and the great greyness we are experiencing at the moment. I enjoy all the rib sticking, carb-laden and warming foods that make these days bearable so its not surprising that weight loss has come to a grinding stop.

I enjoy reading recipes but find myself being drawn to the glorious heavyweight casseroles, creamy, butter enhanced mashed vegetables, one pot roasts and heart warming classic puddings.

In those rare moments of clarity, usually at 7.30 in the morning whilst sipping a welcome morning cup of tea, I vow to be sensible and good that day. Drink plenty of fluids, eat carefully prepared low calorie meals and keep off the snacks unless they are part of the daily plan. By lunchtime I am doing well but after lunch the way is definitely downhill as I plan and prepare the evening meal. The weather outside is grey, damp and cold and I have just made some fresh bread. The house is filled with the glorious smell and my thoughts turn to stews with dumplings, partridge and guinea fowl casseroles, black pudding stuffed chicken breasts with crisp roast potatoes or a glorious, silky buttery mash and all the wonderful foods that are so satisfying that also brighten the day.

While I set the table I battle with the decision to have only a small plate, not a full sized dinner plate. Then carefully balancing the low alcohol G&T, feeling saintly, I fill in my daily meal planner on my phone, then the LSO calls from the utility room to ask if I would like wine with the meal. I hear a titter from the little devil sitting on my shoulder as with hardly a pause I reply ‘yes that would be lovely!’

Oh dear, well tomorrow is another day although we of a certain age, know that tomorrow never comes.

But I will not be beaten. I will stick to a small portion and a small plate, just no second helpings. Anyway, tonight is pan fried plaice with new potatoes and peas, that should work.

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