Thursday, 9 February 2012

Moley moley moley

Everyone remembers that scene from Austin Powers right? The one with the mole? Moley, moley, moley?! Too. Bloody. Funny.

Well, sometimes, it turns out, moles are not so funny. Sometimes they are cancerous and evil and scary.

So please, I beg you, get yours checked.

Cancer, even skin cancer is too big for me to talk to you about and even start to advise you on but I can tell you what happened to us.

S had a mole on his calf that ticked all of the A,B,C,D,E boxes (see below) and was sore to touch (one advantage of having an overly inquisitive toddler poking at you constantly, sometimes it hurts where it shouldn't). He went to the doctors and then the hospital and then into surgery all within about a fortnight. It was (can I get a whoop whoop for the past tense there, it's gone!) a melanoma. We are not out of the woods yet and there is another surgery ahead of us but, for now, the cancer is gone, because we found it early on in it's evil little life.

So have a look, a read and a wee inspection of your skin. Because you never know what you might find. It might just save your life, like our wee Will saved his Dads.

Things to look for...
  • Asymmetry – Melanomas are likely to be irregular or asymmetrical. Ordinary moles are usually symmetrical (both halves look the same).
  • Border – Melanomas are more likely to have an irregular border with jagged edges. Moles usually have a well-defined regular border.
  • Colour – Melanomas tend to have more than one colour. They may have different shades like brown mixed with black, red, pink, white or a bluish tint. Moles are usually just one shade of brown.
  • Diameter – Melanomas are usually more than 7mm across. Moles are normally no bigger than the blunt end of a pencil (about 6mm across).
  • Evolving (changing) – Look for changes in the size, shape or colour of a mole.
See your doctor straight away if you have:
  • any of the ABCDE signs
  • any unusual marks on the skin
  • a mole that is changing in size, shape or colour
  • tingling or itching in a mole
  • crusting or bleeding in a mole
  • something growing under a nail or a new pigmented line in a nail.
The earlier melanoma is diagnosed and treated the more likely it is to be cured.

I got all the above information from the Macmillan website which is a fantastic charity and a very easy to use website.

So Go. Get naked. Check yourself out. Please.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


Urgh. I bloody hated tag at school. Or any kind of sport like physical activity. I always thought that was because I wasn't competitive, had no desire to win. It took me until I was waaaay into my 20s to figure out it was actually because I am uber competitive and rubbish at sport. Not things that sit well together, turns out.

Anyway, this game of tag is different, mainly because I don't have to get up off my rapidly expanding pregnant ass and also because there isn't a loser in sight.

What has happened here is that Jamie from Chosen Chaos has tagged me in the 11 ques­tions game. The rules of which really are hidden in the name. She was tagged by another blogger (2 actually, that's popularity for you!), had to answer 11 (22) of their questions, pick her own 11 bloggers to 'tag' and write her own 11 questions for them to answer. Enter moi..

1. What’s the best con­cert you’ve seen?
Can I pick 2? The best concert for concert type reasons was most definitely the Take That a couple of years ago. The effects and drama were phenomenal and those boys, well, as men they brought out the teenager in me much more than they did 15 years prior!
The second one was a Pearl Jam concert I went to the day I found out I was pregnant with Will. We had done the test that morning and told no-one. Shaun LOVES Pearl Jam. I knew one song I think, maybe two but I didn't care. I spent the entire evening is a blissful daze of happiness at being with the most amazing man and starting the most amazing journey.

2. What are the must have pizza toppings?
I am not a lover of pizza as a rule but if I do eat it it must contain pepperoni. Pizza isn't pizza without pepperoni.

3. What’s your iden­ti­fy­ing mark… think Goldie Hawn in Overboard.
Ok, I'll admit it. I had to google Overboard. I have not seen many movies, in particular any that are deemed 'must see'. Pick a movie, any movie. I won't have seen it.
Anywyay google did not help me figure out what her identifying mark was but seen as the movie seemed to involve amnesia I am guessing it is a physical mark that she used? I have a very dark mole on my chin that people always tell me is pen. It's not pen. I have showered a fair few times over the past 20+ years and it has never come off. It's a mole friends, not pen.

4. When and what makes you feel pretty?
Shaun. When out of nowhere, often when I have made no effort whatsoever, just got out the shower or just getting into bed, he will say 'you look so pretty, can I take a picture?'

5. What’s your favorite meal of the day?
Breakfast. I always wake up hungry and I love breakfast. Toast, cereal, pancakes, eggs, bacon. Big or small I love it and it really is the best way to start the day - eating. Shaun's scrambled eggs and a coffee are the BEST.

6. Do you clean your house before your Mom comes to visit?  Why or why not?
Yes. Because she's my Mum. And because she says things like 'do you ever make your bed?' if it's not made ONE time. Or 'there is a lot of cat hair on your kitchen floor' if I haven't hoovered. Or, the worst, she goes around cleaning it for me.

7. What was your first car?
A Nissan Bluebird that had belonged to my Grandad. It was huge and I couldn't drive it for the life of me. My dad took me out in it one day and when we were pulling into our driveway after a less that successful 'lesson' I didn't stop and knocked down the wall between us and our neighbours. He says he has never been so angry and found something so funny at the same time. I still haven't learnt to drive.

8. When you finally grow up, what do you want to do?
I want to be that Mum with the house that all the kids want to come to. I want to make the best cakes, have the best activities, be the fun but fair one. I want my kids friends to feel comfortable here from age zero to adulthood. I want my kids to want to be here and to want to bring their friends here.

9. If you lived just by your­self, with no one else to care for what would you have for dinner?
Cereal or toast. My love of cooking is to bring happiness to other people, I have no interest in feeding myself other than for fuel.

10. You’ve just been offered an all expenses paid trip to any­where with any­one — where are you going and who are you taking?
I'm not going. I'd send my parents. I have been lucky and seen a lot of the world because of what they have done for me. It's time they got that chance so I'd get them a round the world trip that they could do as and when they wanted, in long bursts or short (as long as they were still around to babysit as when I need them).

11. What is your favorite quote?
Oh my. I LOVE quotes and have done since I was a teenager. It's almost too hard to pick just one but if I have to I think I will go with 'an eye for an eye and soon the world will be blind' - Mahatma Ghandi. I have a very good memory and a very (very) strong tendency to hold grudges so it is one I try and remind myself of. Be the bigger person and all that.

So here's the bit where I pass on the chain. Except I'm not. I wrote this post ages ago and it's been sitting here while I try and think of 11 questions worth of 11 fellow bloggers. I am giving up. I am going to step down from blogging for a while to concentrate on my (expanding any day now) family so I leave you with the above answers to Jamie's great questions. I really enjoyed answering them, writing about something fun and lighthearted. I hope you enjoy reading them too.

I'll see you when I see you.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Melodrama and Perspective

These are the two lessons I have learnt this week. Well, perspective is a lesson I have learnt, melodrama is just how I went about it.

I literally spent every day last week thinking I was going to be raising my very young children alone. I would frighten myself by realising I was daydreaming plans of how I would cope, where we would live, where I would work, who would watch the kids completely calmly. And it was this that would send me into fits of tears and panic. Not that I would have to do it, but that I was already planning it.

The surgery on Friday went well. The cancer was cut out and now we are awaiting further analysis to see how ferocious it is and if it is likely to have spread. The surgeon was fantastic and refused to tell us either way what he thought the prognosis without the evidence of the results was which was strangely reassuring.

And so since then there has been less melodrama and more perspective. We have talked a lot about what will happen on results day. About what is good news and what is bad news and what is somewhere in between. There have been less tears and more laughter. Less tension and more love.

Because you see, no matter what the news is next week, we now know what it feels like to think you are going to lose one another. To think you are going to miss out on the big things and the small things. To feel like you are going to raise children alone, or not see your children grow up.

And whilst I am not grateful or thankful for this experience and we quite frankly could have done without it, I am grateful for the perspective it has offered me. Us. I am so very appreciative of what I have today, of how loved I am and how much I love. And I really do value every minute we have together as a couple and as a family.