The Story Of A 29 Year Old British Girl Who Moved To LA To Make Her Dreams Come True; Only To Move Home To Care For Her Mother Diagnosed With Brain Cancer. Day-To-Day Thoughts, Updates, Love And Laughs (yes, I'm still allowed to laugh...)

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Last Blog Of 2013...(Unless I'm Emotional And Drunk Before Midnight)

Hello you beautiful one staring at the screen..

This is my last entry of 2013-unless I get drunk and emotional before midnight (high probability)

We had my Mum's cousin, M, pop in. She lives in Machester and grew up with Mum in Glasgow and owns one of the top Irish dancing schools in the world. She is hilarious, eccentric and dramatic, we love her. And she loves Mum-she turned up on Mum's doorstep last year after going through a rather colorful event in her marriage and stayed with Mum for months. M has never forgotten my mother's unending kindness.

We discussed family secrets, family stories that were never meant to be told and tales of our large sprawling Irish family.
The spontaneity is not usually welcomed by Mum these days,but I'm glad M ignored it and came anyway. Mum needed it.

My Aunt and Uncle will be coming over soon for drinks and parlor games (they're in the 70's) and my brother is calling at midnight our time from LA.

This year has been a life shattering one as I discussed in my previous scribblings. Many dreams have come true (The Emmy's, shooting the pilots) and nightmares have become a reality (the reason I am writing this blog) 

I want to say a massive THANK YOU to you reading this. By you reading these words, leaving me comments, sending me notes, I have a reason to get up; something to look forward to and to write. 
Please continue to follow me on this journey, I promise it will not be boring (!)

I never lose faith,I truly mean that. Please understand that that declaration is rooted in astonishment and utterly void of arrogance. This is perhaps because I think I may be mad with delusions, but good things will happen next year; I will cope with the nightmares and live the dream.

Monday, 30 December 2013

NYE Every Day

Call me a little slow, but only today did I realize that 2014 is a mere day away.

2013 has been a year that has found me letting go of my stable, (well tipped) position managing a restaurant in Beverly Hills to concentrate on acting full time, landed some great roles, filmed several pilots, partied, loved and laughed a lot. 

Everything became very still and very silent when I heard the news that my Mum had brain cancer and I was to return home and care for her full time.

I am not dreading tomorrow night, or the constant reminders that we should be out having FUN, but the anticipation of it all. I really have never enjoyed NYE, I tried to, I really have,but there is so much build up and pressure to make it an amazing night and that the night shall foretell the year to come.

We shall be going over to my Aunt and Uncle's for New Year's Day for dinner and celebration but NYE will be myself and my Mum in her house and I want to go to bed early, not pretend either of us have plans or hopes or goals for next year. 
We will be happy that we have that day, that night together and tomorrow is a gift. 

No New Year's Eve celebration will compare to the happiness that right now I still have my Mum with me right now.

L.B.C (Life Before Cancer) The Silent Life

Heyho Birdies,

The rain is lashing down and the sky is getting darker by the minute, so I am spending the most of the day reading, writing and trying to make myself useful.

Making myself usual has involved adding fuel to my increasing Twitter addiction and trolling YouTube.
I happen to come across the beautiful trailer for a film I was lucky enough to be a part of last year. I've kept in touch with one of the awesome make-up artists I worked with and we couldn't understand why it had taken so long to get word on release and post production.  I had been called in to do re-shoots, the majority of the film had been shot a long time ago, so what was taking so long?

Anyway, I found the trailer at last, that you will find below. The Silent Life is based on the life of Rudolph Valentino one of the icons of the silent era of film making. The undeniably beautifully shot film chronicles his struggles, his addictions,the astonishing highs and crippling lows of stardom. Stunning. Enjoy.

Friday, 27 December 2013

For You Dear Readers Something Odd And Beautiful


Today's posts may have been a tad miserable; yes-I know this blog is about my mother with cancer-BUT I made a promise to you, dear reader, that this will not be a "woe is me" blog-but hey, we all have our blue days.

Anyway, to make it up to you, here is one of the most beautifully odd song you may never hear (unless you click below) by this guy:

This song will most likely change your life ...or maybe only your night...anyway-enjoy!

I love you x

Crying On Your Own Time

I was sat in the pharmacy waiting for Mum's prescription for a UTI. I knew something was wrong earlier her speech had been a tad confused, she was barely drinking any water (as much as I forced her too) and she started to find it harder to get up.

As we were entering the Radiotherapy unit this morning she suddenly stopped and her knees just went and she looked like she was going down. Both my Aunt and I had a hold of her and at first I thought she was joking because it was so dramatic-she just started to collapse. As she went into the room for radiotherapy they got a wheelchair for her as she had another turn. Her test for a UTI came back positive and  I was happy. I was happy because I suspected it; and happy because these symptoms could be attributed to a UTI and not the monsters inhabiting her brain.

I'm teary today and I don't want to be. I'm teary due to my less than tactful uncle telling me I use the word "love" too much. Yeah, I get criticized for using the word "love" I ignored him and my Aunt stuck up for me as usual.
But then I cried as I sat waiting for Mum to finish treatment because I started to talk about my brother asking me when I'm coming back. I haven't worked in over a month, I have bills and rent and am relying on people coming in to see to my cat everyday-it's a bit too much for me today.

My Aunt gets emotional when I do so I try not to cry but I'm pretty worn out. I'm so worried about back home and feel I can't leave my Mum so what do I do? I don't have any solutions and the weeks constantly roll on and problems get bigger.

I will fight this-I don't want to be weepy and worried and I certainly don't want my Mum to see me upset. I'll cry on my own time.

My Nomination For The Liebster Award. Have A Read...

Heyho Birdies,

I am very honored to have been nominated by the wonderful A Touch Of Sparkle blog (  for the Liebster Award.

Here is a little bit about it and below are my answers to the 11 questions posed to me. Thank you again for reading-and fingers crossed!

*Leave your comments and tell me what you think! X

1. Three things you want to achieve/do during your life?
Good health, wealth and happiness.

2. Why did you start blogging?
The beginings of the blog began the day the doctor told us my mother's brain tumors were incurable. I needed an outlet, a way to explain the inexplicable. In turn, I came to the realization that I want to bring awareness to young people caring for a family members and the struggles they face.

3. The beauty essential you cannot be without?
A smile. Only joking, way too lame an answer...ummm..gotta be Vaseline. Multipurpose-you can use it for chapped lips, smoothen eyebrows and great for eyelashes when you don't have any mascara!

4. If you could be anyone, who would you be?
A writing partner to Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Steve Coogan, Larry David or Chris Lilley.

5. Favourite Christmas colour theme?
Gold and red

6. Are you a morning or evening person?
I do love the night and staying up until the technically, both.

7. Favourite place to buy clothes/shoes?
I'm a vintage girl. I love Buffalo Exchange in Los Angeles, all vintage and recycled clothing. I love to shop at vintage and second hand stores and then match with a great item from a good quality label. You are guaranteed not to be wearing the same as anyone else. 

8. Do you have a Christmas tradition, if so what is it?
To get drunk. Just kidding...kind of...ummm-pretty much always got to start the day with a Buck's Fizz and chocolate.

9. What is your favourite film?
Lolita. One of the most beautiful novels ever written and the film does a stunning job bringing it to life.

10. If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Cure cancer-An obvious one, but a good one.

11. If you could make one law, what would it be?
A paid vacation somewhere they've never been for everyone, every year.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas-Booze, Braids and Brain Tumors

Good evening dear readers,

I hope you had a great Christmas and you ate, drank and were merry.

I woke up on Christmas Day knowing I wanted to make this day great for Mum and for me. 
There was a thought the grazed my mind for a flash and then was gone. This thought that has been lingering for days and weeks has been held at bay and it is something simply too awful to utter.  Seeing my aunt speak of Christmas and my Mum's attempt at enthusiasm all reeked of this thought: that this Christmas would be my mother's last.

Disgusting and evil the thought, it would not enter my head this day. I wouldn't allow it.

I got up and made Mum breakfast in bed and proceeded to make sure Mum was looking great. Nails done, make up done and a beautiful green dress on. I got dressed and made sure I looked as though I actually made an effort.

Sometimes there is nothing more I like than to spend quality time getting dressed up, making the best out of yourself. Honestly, I'm pretty shit with makeup and hair and have never been a girl to mess with myself too much and falsify my look. I like the natural look, plus I have no idea about make up so I usually     end up looking like a clown if I try.
I can't remember the last time I had the luxury of, well, time-so I took Christmas as a great excuse.

We were going over to my Aunt and Uncle's house so I had made personalized gingerbread men and red velvet cupcakes and bought Champagne and vodka....I also prepped for the day by putting tinsel around M&M's cat who popped by.

We had a good time at my Aunt's and oh, how I have missed cocktails and just booze in general. 
I got Mum the most beautiful jumper I hope she wears.

Although overall, it was a great day, we ate, laughed and talked-something was desperately missing. 
As the days pass by I realize with such terrible sadness that parts of my Mum are missing. Her humor and quick wit remains, her pride is strong but delicate details and facets of her personality are gone or have faded. My mother would never have let me have a Christmas without a gift from her-this isn't about my need for something materialistic, it's about her care and love for me and putting me before anything like she always selflessly has. She would have thought it awful for me to wake up with no stocking and no present to open-that meant a lot to her to make me happy.
I'm happy with her, helping her-but seeing her not even registering that it was  odd I didn't have anything, was sad. She seemed somewhat confused by the day. She sat and laughed, but was more quiet than I've ever seen her. 

I know she knows what is happening but cannot articulate it. For example she will say to friends who visit,
"I have this thing with my head and they are we are going to the hospital doing the scan to fix it. It's bloody awful"
When in reality she has incurable brain tumors and is having radiotherapy to give her more time. 

She knows this, I know she is aware of the situation-the true gravity of the situation, but perhaps cannot articulate it. Or, perhaps, sometimes her brain does not connect words and thoughts correctly. 

I watch her sitting sometimes just gazing at something or going somewhere else in her mind and I wonder where she goes.

Don't get me wrong, my Mum isn't sitting staring into space all day dribbling in a chair! She is alert and talking and commenting and laughing but parts of the day-like on Christmas-I wonder how much she actually takes in and processes. She said she had a great day, we spoke all about family stories but there was a part of her missing-or perhaps she was just taking it all in.

There's time when I know she knows. I was exhausted one night and said,
"Are you ready to go to bed?"
She responded,
"It's only 10.30pm"
"You look tired, why don't you want to go to bed?" I asked
She quietly answered,
"Because I'm scared I won't wake up"

How, even if you had forever, could you prepare yourself to respond to a statement like that?

Monday, 23 December 2013

Radiotherapy Every Day Including Christmas Eve? Fuck You Cancer.

Or.. "Puck you Cancer!" If you're a Chris Lilley Fan.
If that makes no sense at all to you, go and watch Summer Heights High on YouTube-Chris Lilley is one of my comedy heroes....Anyway, back to cancer....

I hope you all had a wicked weekend and are full of the Christmas cheer. I am...trying. 
I put decorations up this weekend everywhere I could and Mum was directing me from her bed. When I say I put decorations everywhere, nothing was exempt-even fat, pissed off ginger cats...

Mum was really tired this weekend and sadly the full side effects of radiation are showing. Not only is she as tired as she's ever been but the hair loss has began.

Man, it really is awful. As though a patient doesn't have enough bullshit to go through. Their body is fighting and weak from battle internally and then the outer shell has to reflect that struggle with hair loss and sallow skin? Not fair mate, not fair.

I noticed Mum's hair loss as she took off her dressing gown and there was a mass on the back. Waking her up onSaturday it was on her pillow. I was nervous as to how she would react.
She has been very emotional of late, but as the brave Glasgow lass she is, with a shrug and a sigh she said, 

"Ach, it doesn't matter, I'm not bothered, honestly."

Honestly, the "honestly" was for my reassurance as she could see the thinly veiled shock on my face; but that's what mother's do.

I broached the subject of hair loss with her and in my ever daintly and ladylike manner saying, 

"Look Mum, cancer is bullshit, losing your hair is bullshit. But we can get you hats, you have more scarves than the female population of Paris, so we'll cope"

I was just brushing (gently combing) her hair now as we are about to leave for radiation and so much hair came out it was incredible. 
This was just the beginning.

I feel like I want to grab every strand and keep it in a box, so I keep every part of her that I can. I may still do that and end up the crazy cat lady who collects hair on the side...

Anyway, off to the hospital we must go then I am attempting to regain Christmas spirit by baking some gingerbread men later. 
Wish I could just get into the Christmas spirit by getting drunk on mulled wine instead. Oh well.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Phone Call With My Brother

My brother just phoned from LA to check in on Mum and let us know how his move is going.

He lived right around the corner from me in LA which was great, I saw him more, plus when either of us were away we could pop over to look after each other's cats. My brother rescued a cat a few years ago-no idea of its sex, but he named it Sidney. To say she is on the large side is an understatement...if you're ready to fall in love and see the fattest cat  in the we go...

We have tried everything to get him/her to lose weight. No go. She was living on the streets this large-perhaps she was ridding the city of rats and this is the outcome...Who knows. Anyway, she is a really sweet natured cat and I love her (I'm convinced it's a girl)

My brother and his girlfriend have been together a while and just got a place Hollywood, which is a good couple of miles from my house where my darling Johnny Cat (and now Sidney) lives. Due to the move I have to get a neighbor to help out with the cats and it is a chore for people to come in everyday and now my brother is further away, it's yet another worry on my plate.

Yes, I may sound like a crazy cat lady, but    Johnny is my pal, my buddy, my soul mate. When my Dad died and I couldn't leave my bed for weeks, Johnny stayed by my side every second. I miss him terribly and now worry not only about how lonely he is, but putting the burden on other people to help me out.

I'm telling you, beautiful readers, about this  because it's on my mind (and this blog has become my daily diary) as well as this being another example of additional worries carers have when they have to look after family members. 

Life doesn't stop when a person you love becomes ill. You wish it could; that everything would pause for a while so you can learn to breath again, but it doesn't. Especially if you have to move homes (or continents like moi!) you still have responsibilities, bills, jobs, relationships from your LBC (Life Before Cancer) 

My brother was asking me when he thinks I'll be back so he can figure out my apartment and Johnny. And like every question asked to me in my life today my answer is a resounding "I have no idea".

Johnny xxx

Friday, 20 December 2013

Someone Asked Me For A Light Outside A Cancer Unit Today

Yes, you read that right. 

Leaving Mum with Aunt and Uncle today, I went to another section of the hospital to grab a coffee and came back to a woman who shouted at me,
"Eh, love, do ya smoke? You gotta light?"
"Errm, sorry, no." I replied.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am an ex smoker myself and loved nothing more than having a drink and a smoke, and cannot stand people who condemn smokers as if they were shooting up in front of them. If you want to smoke, risk your health and pay nearly £6 a packet that's your choice; but seriously, outside a bloody cancer unit makes me sick.

As I walked back into the unit and saw the rows of people waiting for chemo and radiation and a particular man I see every day with a scar right across his skull-I couldn't help but think how many of these people are those cases you hear of  all the time. You know, the case of a person that has never smoked, rarely drank and by all accounts lead a healthy lifestyle only to end up with cancer; whereas the 40 a day smoker and boozer that lived well into their 80's.
Well, this is no urban myth. 
My uncle never smoked a cigarette in his life, home cooked meals every night extremely active hiker and was diagnosed 4years ago with kidney cancer and tumors on his lung. He's still fighting it today by injecting himself in the stomach and taking masses of tablets every day.

The woman who bellowed at me for a light today can do whatever she wants, but please show some respect and don't fucking smoke outside a cancer unit. Moron.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Curries, Vegetarian Worries and Have You Ever Seen A Two Headed Lady?

Good day beautiful readers,

On the way to the hospital for Mum's radiotherapy session today and unofficial 'Neighbors of the Year' M&M are taking us. Well, actually just M today. 

They are the most wonderful couple, they will do anything for us and have helped us out so much. M is taking us to the hospital to give my aunt and uncle a break today. 

M is originally from Pakistan and M (wife) is from northern England. They married in the 1960's and the mixed race couple were subject to a lot of stares and tutts, but it was water off their backs to these two.  
M (husband), is a retired doctor and M was a nurse in the same hospital and have been married (and divorced) and married again for over 40 years.Such gentle, beautiful, funny, intelligent people. And to top it off they raised 3 outstanding children. One solicitor, one top executive and one son who sailed through medical school with honors, only to then decide he wanted to be a pilot and now works for BA. Amazing.

How is someone so intelligent they can go through medical school with ease and switch to being a pilot (with just as much ease) before he's 32? Like I said, pretty fucking amazing!
Yeah, I know this is Ramsey Street...

Anyway, before we got in the car, M handed us 2 curries he made for our dinner. This is the second time he's done this-one chicken, one lamb. Problem is, I'm a vegetarian and didn't have the heart to tell him, and Mum won't eat lamb...I just can't tell them-anyone want something for dinner?

I take full advantage whenever I'm with M to ask every medical question I can think of. Today was conjoined twins.
Not to sound too much like Karl Pilkington (legend) but I do have a fascination with medical oddities. I was asking him about a case in America where a girl has two heads on one body. He didn't seem as interested as me...

Monday, 16 December 2013

Second Week of Radiotherapy, Ricky Gervais and Coachella

Hello lovely readers!

I'm writing to you next to a fire that cannot be hot enough as I continue to freeze my arse off in the UK. 9 years in Los Angeles certainly makes you forget the chill (or unbearable cold) of an English winter. Still, it's home.

Mum began her second week of radiotherapy today and she is wiped out from it. I'm glad she's sleeping and not trying to fight the tiredness.

As wonderful as the hospital is that my Mum is receiving treatment, I try to not be too aware of my surroundings when I'm there. The radiation warning signs, the machines, the glimpses into the dreaded little rooms that the consultants take you into to tell you whether treatment has worked or not. Ugh-I hate those rooms. The boxes of tissues on the doctor's desk always make my stomach knot. You know that no-one grabs those tissues to wipe away tears of joy.

Anyway, my darling friend from LA 'T' (who I've known for a few years and lives just around the corner from me in LA) just flew into London. Her father is English and has spent many years in London,so as you can imagine we have a lot in common. 
Plus-both T and I like nothing better than partying out arses off in LA, meeting new people wherever we go, going to as many gigs as possible and basically having as much fun as we are physically capable of. 
Here are some photos from our romp to Coachella this year:

Maybe I should label these photos LBC-"Life Before Cancer" hmmm???

T isn't only a 'party' friend, she is a good friend who has mopped my tears many times, been there during my highs as well as my lows and I love her. She is spending Christmas in London with her family and sent me a txt today saying:
"If you need or want company, I'll be on a train in an instant"

That's friendship.

On another note, you maybe remember my list of comedy genius' (that I WILL one day work with) from a previous entry, well, Gervais tops the list and yesterday he responded to one of my tweets. Yes guys, I made my hero laugh...see...

Now to get him to see my reel, headshot and treatment for my tv show...I'm getting there!

PS-Follow me on Twitter!!! @TheBirdWillSing xx

Friday, 13 December 2013

Morning Birdies...Feeling Mildly Blue-Must Stop!

Just woke up feeling a tad blue today, it may be the fact it is Friday 13th, complete exhaustion, a booming headache or the txt I got from my brother in LA saying my power bill is $200. 

He has been staying in my apartment and looking after my cat, my beautiful love of my life, Johnny Rotten (known as Johnny Cat to friends) and the power bill has been running up.

It could be any of these reasons, or the constant Christmas adverts which I usually love, but can see Mum is sad watching them as she doesn't feel she can do much this year. She will though. 

I'm going to set her up on so she can buy presents for my brother and his girlfriend and my Aunt and Uncle so she feels involved.
On Christmas Day which will be at my Aunt's house (after they cancelled their holiday this month to France and Germany) I will make sure she looks amazing.
Anyway, I just brought Mum breakfast in bed (so she can rest) along with her chocolate from our advent calendar on her toast. I'm classy like that... Elf Toast

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Radiotherapy,Stretching,Putting Glasses On Cats and A ReTweet From Jane Fallon

Good evening fine lads and lasses.

As I lay in bed I reflect on my day:
-Took Mum to her radiotherapy 

-Realized how unfit I am by trying to stretch out my 5'10" body that has been cramped into a single bed since moving back to UK

-Annoyed every cat that came to my Mum's house by squeezing them or trying to put glasses on them

-And tried to get Mum to rest.

Mum's tiredness comes and goes and as it is the first full week of treatment she may only get mild side effects. Her hair does look thinner on top, which is terribly sad to see, and I don't say anything.

Sometimes her short term memory is a lot better than the previous day; the steroids she takes daily are trying to relieve the pressure on her brain. But sometimes, like tonight, we were watching a true crime documentary (our fav subjects) and during the break I asked her a question about it, which she wasn't able to answer. 
Reminders like this about the severity of the situation pops up every now and then, but I try to let them go.

I will leave you, dear readers, on a lighter note; the ever so kind, talented author and HUGE animal lover Jane Fallon retweeted my tweet to her regarding this blog. It made me so very, very happy, THANK YOU JANE!
I tweeted her this photo of my darling Johnny who is being looked after by my brother in LA-I think it sealed the deal... X

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

And To Sleep...

..."Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleave of care"

One of my late father's favorite quotes. 
And as you can see, myself and my dressing gown are ready for the needles.

Missing LA...

...a world away. I heart you Los Angeles x

Back From Radiotherapy...

Just came back from Mum's 5th radiotherapy treatment. Staff were as amazing and friendly as usual, not any delays, straight into her treatment.

People reading this may not know that the actual radiation takes 5-10mins, so quick it's surprising. Being a 1/3 way through treatment we had to meet with one of the staff for review. He asked us questions about any pain etc. They whole time I couldn't concentrate as he was sniffing and wiping snot off his nose with his hand. Mate, you work in a hospital and you are talking to me; someone who will tell you to stop being gross and wash your hands. Luckily, it was quick and we got out of his office speedily where I ran to scrub my hands in case any germs came remotely near me, in that weird OCD way.

On a less gross note, Mum came out feeling strong and laughing about a story from my aunt regarding my grandfather's visit to the dr's when he was 80. 
It was back in Glasgow in the early 1980's and while waiting to get called in by the doctor,my grandfather asked my aunt if she had any change for the cigarette the the doctors. 
When called for his appointment the doctor checked him out and asked him several questions including, "how's your sex life?" My grandfather answer, "I'd tell you if I could remember the last time I had one". He was 80, good on ya doc.

Good Morning...Here's A Cat On A Cupboard

Good morning birdies. I think I slept over 8 hours last night-the first time in a while. 

Gone are the days of sleeping in in my queen bed waking up to Pete The Squirrel on the palm tree outside my window in LA...for now. 
I miss my bed,my house,my cat,my car and LA. But no point in dwelling, I'm here and doing what I should be doing.

I think the radiation is taking it's toll as I could barely get Mum out of bed this morning she was so tired, so I told her to sleep as I made her breakfast in bed.

When I speak with my darling friends here and in the states, I can't tell them everything about the situation, just basics of our day to day life. 
Things people forget or simply don't think about while caring for a family member is how hard it is to get daily tasks achieved. 

Just having a shower can be a mission. Firstly, I need to make sure Mum is dressed for the day and back downstairs, comfy and got everything she needs while I'm upstairs showering and getting ready. The thing is, I'm worried when I'm upstairs in case she needs me so I keep the bathroom door open and keep an ear open,scared in case I miss something. 

It's exhausting and worrying and I never want Mum to feel she is a burden on me, so I try not to be a complete spoiled brat and moan that I don't have enough time to moisturize.  But, dear reader, I feel the guilt when all I want to do is have a long, hot shower and spend as much time as I'd like exfoliating and moisturizing doing my hair and makeup; remember I'm still only 29...and human.

As my mother's house seems to be a haven for every cat in a 5 mile radius; a regular named Beanie (orange and white, fat, bully to other cats) slips into the house every now and then, and this morning I found him on top of the cupboard, next to the wok, head firmly tucked under the ceiling...

I think he may be losing his mind...join the club mate.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hmmm,Are The Gods Watching?

Perhaps I spoke too soon...getting Mum ready she got very sick, complained of pains across her chest and I put her to bed. As I was doing my best to not convince myself she was having a heart attack and freak out-the door bell went. 
At the door was a huge bouquet of flowers from her friend back in Reading whom she used to teach with. It was beautiful and made her smile. 

As I left her resting in bed I told her "don't shit yourself" Yes, highly inappropriate but she laughed and told me, "you be careful too..."

I bring the class to cancer care...

Workmen Are Here...Headache Is Increasing

Possibly the nicest workman in the county is here to install a rail on the stairs to give Mum more safety getting up the stairs. Mum rolls her eyes and dislikes any reminder that she is ill so isn't overly enthusiastic about it, but if it helps, we need it.

The little things like these serve as reminders of the situation and what mum has lost already (easy mobility) and you kind of want to avoid these to keep the blinkers on; but realistically we need it,so here it is.

Once again, praise the NHS, all free to get this done and the workman turned up on time and couldn't be nicer. The drilling has bored a permanent ringing in my head so I'm going to make Mum use it as she heads upstairs to get ready (me following of course)

I'm in a brighter mood today, ready to get shit done and write as much as I can. Of course I have to do the laundry, dishes, dinners and get Mum ready for her radiation appointment. Oh, how I feel like a housewife from the 50's minus the husband... and excluding the radiation...

A month ago at this time on a Tuesday I'd be glued to my laptop in a house in the Hollywood Hills with a cappucino in my hand organizing my clients life; now I barely know where my life is, however I KNOW I am doing the right thing.

Trying to make Mum wearing a color co-ordinated outfit (my LA influence looms large) is harder than it Mama will not be going out looking less than perfect. I decided.

Here's a photo of a cat that thinks Mum's house is his. He has bits out of his ears from cat scraps, an uneven pattern on his face and eats everything in sight-but I love him...

Monday, 9 December 2013

Another Day, Another Round Of Radiotherapy...Plus, My Annoying Attempt At An Aussie Accent

Neighbors of the year M&M took us to the hospital today for the first of a full week's treatment. Mum did really well even though all appointments were an hour delayed.

It helped that M decided to divulge her love of alcohol, how her daughter has power of attorney over her (which she needs to get revoked because she doesn't trust her soon-to-be son in law), and how she was pregnant before she got married...Definitely helps distract from the fact you are surrounded by people with cancer.

I could see Mum was trying even harder to put on an even brave face today because we were with M&M; she put on make-up for the first time since I've come back to the UK and it was great to see. I told her this is how she always has to be. Brushing her hair today I began to dread the day it will start to fall out, and already prep myself mentally for things I can say to lighten the mood, like I did when I first came home and saw my dad without hair after treatment. I need to make sure she keeps strong, she can't stop fighting this.

On a lighter note... my days now have changed so drastically and consist pretty much of looking after mum, cleaning, cooking and going to radiotherapy sessions; reading, writing and checking out new comedies is keeping me sane. Currently giving me all sorts of happy is Chris Lilley's genius.

I watched Summer Heights High a couple of years back and adored it. Lilley's subtle style and frighteningly accurate portrayal of a 16 yr old female high school horror, an egotistical, self absorbed camp drama teacher and the utterly lovable troubled islander boy, amazed me.  Very happy to discover his previous work 'We Can Be Heroes' and 'Angry Boys'. After my mates back in LA are blasting every social media outlet with their love for Ja'mie: Private School Girl I wanted to go back and see what else Lilley had done. Lilley has now definitely made my list of comedic genius' who I need to work with/want to marry/respect like no other.

The List 

Steve Coogan
Ricky Gervais
Stephen Merchant
Larry David
Chris Lilley

 When I traveled the east coast of Australia a few years ago I would annoy the shit out of my fellow backpackers with my highly affected (and probably highly inaccurate) Aussie accent-and now it's Mum's turn. I have no-one else up here to annoy the shit out of with my impressions so mum was lucky enough to hear me babble in not only my Australian accent today, but also my poor South African one. She's one lucky, lucky lady-as if cancer wasn't bad enough she has to listen to my multiple personalities bloom. I told her I'm simply honing my craft...

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's Mr Lilley, a 38 year old man, dressed as a 16 year old private school bitch...ahhh, I remember the days when I was one of them...a private school bitch-not a 38 year old dude...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

5th December 2013-Mum's B-day And 1st Day of Radiation

Life has great timing-today is Mum's 66th birthday and her first radiotherapy treatment. It really does seem like the gods like to wrap everything neatly together-even the shitty things.

She had already been fitted for the Hannibal Lecter style mask a few days earlier, which she wears during treatment that covers her entire head and face.  Dr T (consultant) was unsure if radiotherapy was going to be directed just to one area or entire brain-they are going with entire brain. Anything you hear from doctors at this point isn't pleasant and this news doesn't indicate a positive or negative-so just another step on this path that no-one wants to walk.

The hospital is amazing especially The Christie (chemo/radiotherapy section) staff are wonderful, place is spotless, all modern facilities. Although I was born, raised, and lived in the UK until I was 21, I forget how utterly wonderful it is that we get free health care. I spend a majority of my life in Los Angeles worried that if I need to go the hospital I would never be able to afford the health care, and here, Mum walks into a scan ($6000 easily) and everything is free. God bless the Queen/Parliment/2ndWW/Taxes (delete where applicable)

Radiotherapy was quick (15mins) and my Aunt and I kept her laughing randomly. It's strange laughing when you are in the most awful situations-I remember laughing just before going into my Dad's funeral at some random comment. I think it's also the way of the Scottish and Irish-we make light of even the most dire situations.

Coming home, Mum was same as usual, tired-me forcing her to take a nap/her refusing. At times like these, it seems the kindness of others can be the things that make you want to sob more than the reality of the events. M and M (Mum's exceptional next door neighbors) came to the door with a mini Christmas tree in hand, baubles and a star. Their kindness and thoughtful gestures can really encourage the tears to flow-but I put on a brave and excited face as Mum commented, "it makes me want to cry..." I responded, "we can't, it's so kind and wonderful-it should make us happy."  But I knew what she meant and echoed her sentiments in my head-the reminder of Christmas coming and the fact our lives are so crippled we can't even put a Christmas tree up, is heart wrenching.