Thursday, 4 January 2018

Good Times

We've had a good start to the year. No sooner than I had rattled off that last post than I was off  putting on a posh frock ready for our New Years Eve celebrations. It started as an idea to celebrate over a meal with our friends Alison and Steve, but it soon morphed into a buffet supper for sixteen of our mutual friends. Alison and I planned it together and shared all the cooking and preparation which made the whole evening seem effortless. We started at Alison and Steve's for cocktails and canapes and then everyone headed up the road to us for the main meal.


All our main course dishes came from Ottolenghi cookbooks so it was a feast of middle eastern inspired dishes, full of flavour and fragrant spices.

It is a wonder we had room for puddings but with roasted figs, sticky baklava, fruit tarts and chocolate cake it was hard to resist.


When midnight came we were all suitably feasted and ready to raise our glasses to toast in the new year.


It was such a lovely relaxed evening with good friends, good food and good conversation... a perfect start to 2018. Even the clearing up seemed effortless sharing it with friends. New Year's day was taken at a leisurely pace with a lovely dog walk in the afternoon, timed to miss the showers.


Since then Christmas has been packed away in boxes in the loft, the house feels back to normal and finally I feel almost back to normal too. It has been a good Christmas and a good holiday but there has also been uncertainty hanging over us for the past couple of weeks.

Two weeks before Christmas I went for a routine mammogram. Within four days I had a call back for further tests. After a week of worrying and not sleeping, three days before Christmas I attended a screening clinic for further x rays and an ultrasound resulting in a biopsy on a lump in my left breast. It was all a little surreal... especially sitting in the waiting room with Raiders of the Lost Ark playing in between tests. I was treated well and all credit must go to the NHS who do a fabulous job.The doctor reassured me that she thought that it didn't look serious and the biopsy was just a precaution. I was told to go home, enjoy Christmas and not to worry.

And mostly that is what I have done. We really haven't told anyone else because there seemed no point without any definite news. The worrying has come at strange moments, obvious times like the middle of the night but sometimes in the middle of crowds of friends... silly worries like "How am I going to tell people?", "How can I write my advent blog posts when I don't feel upbeat and jolly?" or "Will I be able to lift my sewing machine if I have to have an operation?" However I am relieved to say that I have been lucky because yesterday I got my test results and I've been given the all clear. I thought I would just feel immense relief... and don't get me wrong, I do, but I'm also feeling lots of other mixed emotions I hadn't expected. There was guilt that I was one of the lucky ones knowing there would be phone calls to other women who wouldn't be getting good news, there was frustration at feeling the way I have for the past two weeks and other feelings that I can't easily verbalise... more of an exhaustion.... I feel exhausted. In many ways it has felt really traumatic yet here I am now as though nothing has happened... just a small scar and some bruising, both of which will go, although the lump remains, so it feels like a fuss over nothing.

So when in my last post I said there  would be no resolutions this year it was mostly because I couldn't think beyond the next couple of days... not that there are any resolutions as such more just gentle plans or ideas. I had already said earlier last year that I wanted to concentrate more on my art and textiles and that is part of my plan for this year. Maybe rethink my social media presence... both my website and blog could do with an update, I'd like to grow my Instagram following and my Etsy shop, maybe send out more newsletters... but they are all vague ideas. Christina has written about all the things she would like to make this year and it made me think not so much about what I would like to make but more about finishing things I have started... this could definitely be a year to finish things or at least get rid of those projects that will never be finished.  Barbara has written about reducing our enviromental impact by cutting down on our use of plastics and that seems to me like that would also be a good aim for the year. Mostly though I shall be grateful for my good health and appreciate good friends, good food and good conversation!

25 comments:

  1. That's such good news about your test results (as you're aware, I've been on the receiving end of the opposite) and a brilliant start to 2018. Bring it on!

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  2. Such relief for you all! How close we all are to that fear of major changes in our circumstances. A strange mixture of optimism and anxiety can follow a worrying time like this. Thinking of you. X

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  3. I am really happy that your test results are good news! I am glad that you still managed to enjoy Christmas. Your Hogmanay party sounds like fun, way more civilised than our own mildly mad celebration at a friend's house.
    Thanks for the mention! Reducing plastic waste is always a good aim. It is difficult when everything is triple wrapped. xx

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  4. Your New Year feast sounds and looked wonderful. What a good idea to share the preparation and venues. So glad you are one of the lucky ones. I am not surprised you felt various emotions and hope you will soon feel like yourself again soon. I remember when my mother had a suspicious lump removed from one breast. We went to bring her home from hospital and she told me it was not malignant - I was the one who burst into tears! Sometimes we are so busy we forget how precious life is.x

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  5. Best way to start the new year, surrounded by friends esp with health issues. Whatever you plan for the new year, I am sure you will through yourself into it with your usual energy.

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  6. Agh, trying to post but it seems to be using my 13 year olds profile! Ignore the name it posts under, but its jo from thingsgandmade and wanted to say, glad you news is good and I am sure the new year will soon bring a project that you will through yourself into with the energy we all admire. X

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  7. Such good news Gina, I can only wonder how you felt. But now time to go forward positively. Hopefully a great year for you and any challenges you tackle. Thanks for the link back too. It all helps I hope. B x

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    1. Thanks Barbara. I'd like to think we could make an impact on environmental issues if we all do our bit. X

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  8. So glad your results were good. I had a similar experience about 12 years ago and despite the reassurance of the specialist staff, I was utterly bereft. My results were fine but the other two ladies were not and like you I felt guilt. You are all so glam bringing in the new year. I was in bed having been floored by flu. Best wishes for 2018 and lang may yer lum reek as we say here in very wet Scotland. Catriona

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    1. Sorry to hear you've been struck down with flu... there seems to be a lot more of it about this year. Wishing you well and a happy new year x

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  9. You all look so well polished! Well done for making the evening so splendid.

    I am sorry to hear of you fright and very pleased to hear of the result. Onward and upward!

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  10. Awe Gina you poor soul having that hang over you during the Christmas holidays ....I am so pleased you got the all clear but the distress must have been immense! Here's to a healthy new year and who cares if that jumper (or whatever) ever gets finished, you have your health and that is the most important thing.

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  11. What a difficult thing to fill your head while you try to go through Christmas time.
    I am very glad you have the all clear. But sure, you would be exhausted. So rest up a bit before you hit the road running.

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  12. So glad you got the all clear. All the best for 2018.

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  13. I am delighted for you that you have no more need to worry about the lump but what a terrible experience for you to go through, especially out of the blue like that. Yes, life is so very precious and after such shock you are bound to feel emotionally exhausted. I think you should have another lovely dinner party so you can enjoy it without the background noise of worry. You all looked wonderful. Have a healthy and less worrying new year and take it steady for a while while you finish processing what happened over Christmas. x

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  14. Gosh what an up and down end to your year and beginning of the next. Glad the news is all clear and I hope the emotions settle down soon. All the best in the New Year as you seek to clear through that backlog. Maybe we can encourage each other along the way, as I too have a back log of things to do and make. Let's pave the way to a clearer path - at least through our workrooms if not through life :D

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  15. So glad you got the all clear and what a good start to you year you had. Have a good one xxx

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  16. What an awful shock for you, thank goodness the results were an all clear. I hope you find the the time to treat yourself gently this year.

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  17. So pleased you got the all clear Gina. I can appreciate your mixed feelings as often how we think we should feel and the reality are often quite different. Take good care of yourself. It's lovely to see more of your work on Instagram.

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  18. Hi Gina - I can only imagine how stressful your wait was and happy for that all is well.l A relation of mine went through a similar situation over the holiday too and she was exhausted by the worry. Her biopsy did show a problem, though it has been caught very early and probably able to be addressed with limited invasion. Shows how important it is for us all to be resolute and go to those check-ups, do those tests.

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    1. It was stressful but now it is over obviously I am grateful for the outcome. I do hope your friend will be okay... and hoping you are okay too. It sounds like life is stressful at the moment. Xx

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  19. I can remember that ... waiting for the result of a test.
    It is also that shocking feeling that your body, which you took for granted, has let you down.
    Reminds me I am due for a mammogram.

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