Sunday, 30 March 2014

Teenage Dream

When I was about 16, me and some of the girls from school were OBSESSED with Paolo Nutini. I can't remember how he came into our lives, but I just remember that for a long time, he was all that mattered.

From having his poster on our walls to rating every other guy we saw on the 'Paolo' scale, we were obsessed. We saw him live a few times and watched so many youtube videos we almost started to understand his ridiculously thick Scottish accent.

I listened to him almost non-stop for 2 years and then regularly as time went on, especially throughout some of my cancer time.

Hopefully this will give some context to the ridiculous excitement of last Wednesday when I, Phoebe Elizabeth Drinkwater not only got to meet, but to CUDDLE Paolo Nutini. What. A. Babe.

Me and Daz (a fellow Paolo enthusiast) were lucky enough to get tickets to the Paolo Nutini night of the week of Teenage Cancer Trust Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall with a meet and greet, dinner and a hotel included!

We arrived at the hall about 4pm and met Paolo almost straight away. He was absolutely lovely, pretty chatty and made an effort to shake hands/cheek kiss everyone who was there to see him. We had some photo's taken (he even posed for the obligatory 'selfie') and just got to wallow in his beauty face to face!

Later on in the evening, before his set began, I was told that all of the Cancer Patients who were there (myself included) would be going on stage just before him to show the audience the people they were supporting and for us to have a bit of a moment.

Before we went on, we were standing in the corridor, having chats with my new bessie Roger (Daltry) when Paolo started walking up and down warming up on his guitar. We were right opposite his dressing room too, so we got to listen in to all his intense vocal warm ups! We then got led onto stage, led on by Rog and got to stand there while 5,000 people cheered and clapped and were just generally lovely! (Again, I took an obligatory selfie).

After all THAT excitement it was time to watch the Beautiful Paolo and WOW did he deliver! He was just incredible, with a fab mixture of old/new songs in a variety of mixed up styles. He finished my doing a solo acoustic version of Last Request which was simply stunning.

To top off the night, we were hearded back stage to leave and some how ended up being separated from the rest of the crew. We did however bump in the Rog and Paolo who were having a chat and joined in their pretty intense conversation about why this was such an amazing night and how Paolo was so thrilled to be involved. I said thank you to Paolo for being amazing and he gave me a big cuddle!!! I'm pretty sure my 16 year old self just dropped dead on the spot!!

Paolo was so very lovely and it was such an amazing, musical night to be a part of with Roger Daltry, Wilko Johnson and Lianne La Havas also doing a set.

Teenage Cancer Trust's Concert series is always amazing, but they definitely out did them selves this year. I don't think I can ever say thank you enough!!!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Making Music!

Happy New Year! 

2013 was a good one for me and I'm hoping 2014 will go as well! 

It has started well as last Tuesday, I started the choir which I've been planning to set up for a while now. 

Last summer, I approached the survivorship team at Castle Hill Hospital about setting up a choir for people will cancer, either going through it right now or in the past. I was keen to get something running that would give people a more positive experience from cancer and a more positive association with the hospital and staff involved, rather than it just being all about the treatment and pain and bad news, as well as the fact that singing is proven to be an excellent mood booster and anxiety buster!

We finally managed to get this organised, and started last week-so far, so good! 

We have attempted a few bits and pieces and I am so impressed at their enthusiasm and how quickly they are picking this up! 

I think our aim is to put some sort of concert together to raise money for Macmillan and with weekly this space! 

Monday, 2 September 2013

A Change Could Do You Good

So I'm writing this from a train seat on my way to London for a team meeting as part of my new job (!) as temporary Regional Corporate Development Officer for Macmillan Cancer Support.

During my cancer experience, I had alot of support from lots of different charities, and it really opened my eyes to the amazing, and often necessary, work that charities do. Since then, it's become somewhat of a career aspiration for me, to work for a charity, ensuring that the people accessing the charity, whatever it be for, are able to do so.

I have been volunteering for Macmillan since April this year, and several other charities at the same time, doing a mixture of fundraising, events organising, press appearances, data base organising and photo shoots. It's been busy but enjoyable and has ultimately got me to the point I'm at today!

My job, for the next 6 weeks atleast, will involve working with regional fundraisers in their corporate areas and ensuring that things run smoothly from that point of view. I've got a huge amount to learn, and it's going to be a massive learning curve, but I'm sure incredibly useful too! I'm also hoping that being busy will help to relieve me of some of the crippling anxiety I've faced recently!

It's going to be so different from university-getting the bus at 7.13 every morning, and spending all day being busy, but I am so excited to get going, to learn and to ultimately make a difference!

Watch this space...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Healing Nicely

So lots of people have been asking about how my scars look now, compared to the delightfully gory ones from when the operations first happened! Since its 2 years down the line (how long they say it takes scars to settle down) I thought I'd share!
Obviously most people see my arm on a regular basis, but here is a picture for those of you who haven't seen it lately:

I'm quite proud of how it's healed-I find most people don't notice it (unless they're just being polite!)
My thigh scar has pretty much gone!! (Kudos of you can actually see it!)

The scar that people don't really see is my underarm scar. I'm super pleased with how it's come along! I never thought that it would actually heal, but it did!

I didn't really do a lot to help my scars along, I am just very lucky and heal very well!! I bought a bottle of bio-oil when I had my ops, but I still have 4/5 of it left! I kept my wider excision moisturised, because they cut out the moisture-creating layer of skin, and used a bit of bio-oil occasionally, but mostly it seems that nature healed me pretty well :)
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Spring Has Sprung...Apparently!

So it's March! I really don't know where time goes...I swear it was Christmas last week! The weather is more like that of a December though, what with all the snow we've had this week! 

My operation results were good :) it was a reactionary lymph node (whatever one of those is) and there was NO cancer in sight at all, which was lovely :) 

This means...drum roll please...that I have OFFICIALLY been Cancer free for a whole year! A massive achievement, and a good mile stone to reach! 

It doesn't stop me from being obsessed with every slight twinge or ache, or being convinced that me being out of breath has nothing to do with the fact that my exercise regime is severely lacking and if my stomach hurts, it has nothing to do with the horrifically greasy fish and chips I had last night!! I guess that paranoia is something that comes as standard with a cancer diagnosis! I am all to aware of how quickly things can change though, and sometimes I think celebrating might not be the best thing, as if something bad happens, the fall will be even harder. 

I rang my nurse in a state of panic last week after receiving a letter from my (shoddy) Doctors telling me that I needed to contact them RE: a scan result. MY mind went into over drive, convinced that they'd read the wrong scan and things weren't looking good. Turns out that they had only just received the scan results from the scan I had in January, which had already been dealt with! So my slight breakdown was just because of their lax record keeping!! 

I really do need to change doctors... 


Friday, 25 January 2013

Cancer, Cancer, Everywhere!!

One thing that really gets to me about all cancer as a whole, is that you cannot catch a break from it!!

It is everywhere. On TV programmes, Radio programmes, TV adverts, internet adverts, news articles, bilboards, EVERYWHERE!! So when one is trying to catch a spare 5 minutes from thinking about cancer, they can't, because it is plastered everywhere!

For my birthday last year, we went on a night out to our Students Union, and I was so excited. When we got there, however, there were people 'raising awareness' for Coppafeel, the breast cancer awareness charity, and that just put a dampener on the whole night! A place I'd gone to celebrate my birthday was full of people talking about cancer, something it would have been nice not to have to think about!

I know that raising awareness about cancer, and raising money for help in research and support is important, and I don't suggest that these things are removed, it is just so annoying to have to deal with them every 5 minutes, especially when trying to have some cancer 'down time'!

My CT results were OK. There's no new spread anywhere, which is amazing, but the lump that was removed back in August was the wrong one (!) so I've got more surgery soon to get rid of that. 

I feel ok about it, it just brings up the whole 'cancer' thing again, and I've got better things to do, like write a dissertation!! 

More surgery means more photo's tho! So keep checking back for that ;) 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Happy New Year :)

Happy New Year everyone!!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas with your nearest and dearest :)

2013 is already looking like an exciting year, with lots of interesting prospects, as long as cancer keeps it self at bay!!

I have a CT scan tomorrow (Wednesday) so hopefully that should be able to put our minds at rest for a bit, but I've got the usual case of major scanxiety!! I had three separate dreams about it last night...

I am also taking part in Cancer Research's 'Dryathlon' to raise money for CRUK :) It's been a whole week now, and it's getting easier :) if any of you fancy sponsoring me, here's the link!

I hope to be able to give you some good scan-related news soon :)