31. Rudolf rises from a town in transition

The time between surgery (17th November) and histopathology results with Mr X was approximately one month.  It was getting closer to Christmas and as I was recovering  well at home so friends, family and colleagues continued to visit – but the visiting hours on the Old Rectory Ward were not as free as Derriford – it was by appointment and on the understanding that the visitors would be making tea and coffee.

One of my longest friends, who sat next to me on our first day at Plymouth High School for Girls, came to visit me from Dorset.  She is a gem of a friend and very talented, a trained Physio, so had some ideas about my exercises, who is also a florist – an unusual combination.  She rearranged the lovely flowers I’d been sent (which my wag of a dad said had come from Weston Mill Crematorium and made the Old Rectory more like a funeral home, this is where the black humour originates I fear).  She made this Christmas Wreath for the front door (Note to CEO of Old Rectory Ward, Stoke Hospital Trust – maintenance team need to paint this door).

Friends from school also visited, including our Directors of HR and Finance – both ladies about my age, both very responsible and very funny as they brought me several books to aid my recovery including the Sickie and Mindfulness – neither make up our school policy documents… yet.   If you have not had a chance to read these books – do as they will make you laugh, which is of course the best medicine.

At the same time a Facebook friend sent me a link to a Rudolf sweater and this planted a seed for the very serious, a bit frightening, follow up meeting which would tell Nick and I what was to come next – there were four main options… chemotherapy, radiotherapy, endocrine/hormone therapy or no therapy.  It all depended on the outcome of surgery and histopathology.  No time to dwell on that as Christmas was looming, I didn’t have any control of the outcome so diversion therapy was a good option and a great Geography chum took me to Totnes in South Devon.

Totnes is not only a quirky interesting town in it’s own right it is also a town in transition which makes it even more fascinating to a pair of Geographers. The Guardian newspaper suggests it is Britain’s town of the future Guardian .  I think the Guardian may be right, it is not a clone town and  stopped a multi-national coffee shop chain from joining all the independent stores in the High Street.  On the high street there are vegan cafes, galleries and an admirable haberdashery shop called Stone Fabrics and Sewing Surgery.  The perfect place to devise Rudolf as sticky back tape, felt, red bobbles and googley eyes were all available for a very reasonable price.



Author: fionaosmaston

I live in Plymouth, Devon with my husband Nick and near my parents Sandy and Sheena. Our three children, Marcus, Phoebe and Miles are grown up. I am a geographer and love teaching Geography. My current role is as an Assistant Vice Principal in an inner city comprehensive school where I lead on coaching and initial teacher training. In August 2017 I was diagnosed with invasive lobular carcinoma and following a skin sparing mastectomy and endrocrine/hormone treatment I am now awaiting a final reconstruction. These views are my own and writing this story has helped me come to terms with where I am in this interlude of life which has been dominated by breast cancer.

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