Clare Wise

Saturday 23rd July

As promised, here’s an update by the broken-fingered one…

Not a great deal to report. Our lovely Kiwi mate, Gary, came over yesterday morning and stuck pins in Clare. He assures me he’s qualified to do this. Mainly neck and jaw. Clare feels constantly now as if she’s been given a big old dental anaesthetic, and a lot of the right side of her face is numb. She said the acupuncture helped.
Then we went up to the Hospice – or “Club Med” as we call it – to have a session with the physiotherapist there. Just finding simple movements that can be done to keep the various muscles functioning. There’s not a lot of muscle left on Clare now. We came away with a 4-wheeled zimmer-frame thing: complete with brakes and a seat – we gave it a gentle test-drive in the flat, and I think it’ll be useful. Probably most useful on the days we have to leave the flat, especially going into town to the Hospital.
Having been out and about yesterday, she was exhausted today, so has spent most of the day asleep – unfortunately not listening to the radio, where “Test Match Special” was keeping me afloat – England V Pakistan at cricket, for those of you not in the know. And a good day for England… I kept popping in to see her and feed her watermelon juice, banana smoothies and fizzy water.
She’s weak. She sleeps most of the day. Which I can only feel is a good thing – she’s at rest; she’s not in pain; she doesn’t have to keep abreast of Brexit…
Meeting at Club Med with her gorgeous doctor, Adrian, on Wednesday; and then a big session of MRI scans are booked in for Thursday. Adrian has given her some Valium-type pills, to calm her down, as she’s very anxious about an 80-minute session in the MRI machine. No fun at the best of times. And this isn’t the best of times.
I’ll pen a note on Thursday eve and let you all know the score. With Clare. Not the cricket, obvs…

July 20th Update

Sorry not to have been posting recently, but I’ve been a wee bit poorly due to embarking on a Clinical Drug Trial which, unfortunately, seems to have made me worse, rather than better.
I stopped it just over a month ago and am hoping that the Big Bad-Boy drugs are now coming out of my system.
I also realise that I owe a lot of emails and Facebook messages, let alone return phone calls, SMS, pigeon post etc. I am sorry that I just haven’t been able to do this recently.
Greg is going to update the blog weekly, hopefully, if he can remember, and doesn’t break any more fingers.
Unless you hear differently, I’m fine.

Typed with a broken finger by Greg


Apologies everyone for the lack of postings. I got back from India in late February to find out that the cancer had spread to my liver and so was taken off the chemo. My oncologist suggested I go on a clinical drug trial which i did for the last 3 and a half months. Although the idea was exciting in that it combined 3 different drugs that could cut off the new cancers from growing further, the truth was that the drugs were way too strong for me and I have been pretty poorly. I also hated being a lab rat.

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I have a chaste tree and a drongo in my garden

I feel like I have landed in an Edward Lear story. I have never heard of a ‘chaste’ tree…somehow I never expected trees to be rampant sexually or priapic (apart from in appearance). Anyway this tree is apparently Vitex Agnus Castus – which in its homeopathic form takes away any sexual desire – its an anaphrodisiac. Laughingly it is also prescribed to menopausal women…like we need anything to persuade us against sex at this time. The drongo is a big black fork tailed bird with a lovely song. Named by a ‘drongeur’ – of course the word has different pejorative meanings especially in Australia.

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To India and Beyond

The funny thing about being in a wheelchair at an airport is that the minute you sit down you clearly also don your cloak of invisibility. No one actually talks to you. They talk to the person pushing you (who unless it is a family member is a stranger you have met 5 mins before) ‘can she walk up steps?’…for example was what one personal service person asked the man pushing me. “I am here and reasonably coherent and can answer for myself” I wanted to shout but of course being the good english patient I didn’t scream at the top of my voice or even yell. I merely waited for him to look down and ask me. Have I bought into the helpless cripple routine already?

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A new design and almost a new me

Sorry it has taken me so long to update but I am a computer idiot and so had to be retrained in how to use my website. As Homer Simpson would say ‘Duhh”.

Anyway everything is almost ticketyboo. If it weren’t for the cancer I would be really well. I feel pretty good – have a new trendy pixie hair cut (courtesy of my sis in law) and have managed to make it through another birthday – 51 is such an ugly number – a horrid prime that is neither attractive nor useful. All it means is that I have made it into my 50s so I guess I should be grateful for small mercies.

I am now in a regular cycle of 2 weeks oral chemo and a week off and am about to start my 8th round. No idea how long this will all last – I guess until my body gets too used to it all. I am pretty mobile but hate the cold damp English Autumn weather. When people say they feel the cold in their bones I now fully understand the saying. My bones feel cold and that doesn’t seem to go away no matter how much I heat my flat. In an ideal world I would be a winter bird – flying off to warmer climes the moment the temperature wavered around single digits and arrive back here in time for the beautiful late Spring.

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new fab design

Karen McDonald and Grant Lee very kindly brought me into the 21st century by creating this new website for me. Its something I have been meaning to do for ages (like sorting out my filing…Greg!, and learning Hindi and writing a book) but here’s to a new start…onwards and upwards.


Went to the Royal Neurological Hospital yesterday to meet with an onco-neurologist, ostensibly to talk about my skull tumours and fractures in my spine. Thank goodness Greg was with me, otherwise I would have thought it was a bad comedy show and would have been looking for the hidden camera.

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Accentuate the positive

laughterA miilion years ago (figure of speech of couse as this is not an anthropological posting) Rose gave me a mixed tape. It was very much something we all did – if there was a boy you fancied you might do him one, or vice versa and each song always ended with the familiar clunk of the pause button on an old tape recorder. But they were very special. On one such tape Rose chose the Bing Crosby version of ‘Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative’ with the Andrew Sisters as Bing’s backing group. The song has been covered hundreds of times by popstars – most recently I gather by Paul McCartney. Anyway if you you tube the Bing version – there’s a very dodgy clip from the film “Here Comes the Waves’ where Bing is blacked up to sing it….that reminds me of when I introduced my Rwandan nephew to the fact that we were brought up watching Saturday night TV which included The Black and White Minstrels show…we thought it was normal for white men to black up to sing jazz songs! I can’t believe that this still happened in the 1970s in Britain. My nephew was both appalled and amused by clips on you tube from that show.

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What the oncologist said

My bones are looking a lot better – although the CT scan is very difficult to interpret as most of my tumours were ‘lytic lesions’ (holy…not God fearing but like Emmenthal cheese) which means that the bone looks like it has been eaten away. The chemo has made them sclerotic which means denser. They are easier to see and much less painful.

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