This, forwarded by BFFE Angie O'Farrell, definitely goes into my top ten list of excellent blog titles - and pretty good blog too...have a look.
Well, back in time just to miss the flash floods in Whitstable.
Flash flooding hit Whitstable in Kent yesterday, leaving several streets knee deep in water. Businesses were disrupted and dozens of residents called the fire service to clear floodwater.
Having been caught in Tintagel, at King Arthur's Castle, when the worst ever floods hit that area, I'm just glad to be indoors in Hendon.
Stayed here - maybe twenty steps from the beach, and as one friend who came down said: "how many houses in the whole of England can there be that close to the sea?" So, despite the weather, gorgeous to look out to sea each day. The beach is shingled - a concept I never really understood before; why rocks when you can have sand? - and, apparently, they even have to import shingle to this receding beach from the Isle of Wight, but actually those smooth-honed, giant pebbles start to feel really supportive on rear ends after a day or so of sitting.
The Beacon House is stuffed with the owner's great book collection, so got immersed in Victoria Glendinning's biography of Vita Sackville-West. S-W's garden, Sissinghurst, is nearby, though we didn't manage to coax children there, even though they very patiently put up with one rainy day castle.
The biography - maybe the life, complete with anti-semitic asides - is really engrossing, though Glendinning writes in such a restrained way (it feels like she never comments, often leaves stuff out - like, what was the Murchison letter? Is she considered a great biographer?
It was only ever going to be a matter of time; thanks for this to Dalia...
A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband. She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded, " Rome ? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome . So, how are you getting there?" "We're taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"
"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser. "That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome ?"
"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome 's Tiber River called Teste."
"Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks it's gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump, the worst hotel in the city! The rooms are small, the service is surly and they're overpriced. So, whatcha' doing when you get there?"
"We're going to go to see the Vatican and we hope to see the Pope."
"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser, "You and a million other people trying to see him. He'll look the size of an ant. Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."
A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome .
"It was wonderful!" exclaimed the woman, "Not only were we on time in one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot. And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"
Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope."
"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait the Pope would personally greet me. Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me."
"Oh, really! What'd he say?"
He said, "Where'd you get the awful haircut?"
Yes, thanks Kate, aka Ms Baroque in Hackney - this is the IPC advertising 'screen grab' although you can't see it moving on the page in this still photo...but still, a blog triumph, managing to post it.
If you type the IPC magazine name into Google, e.g. Web User, you get to the magazine site, then click on anything to enter the on-screen magazine, and the whizzing, moving ad comes up!! Very exciting!!
And all this done by Angie o' Farrell...people are really good.
Sarah comes over to cut everybody's hair.
"So Sarah," I say, "what'd you think about mousse? 'Cos I'm doing this experiment, going round all the Hendon hairdressers and all the Hendon hairdressers are huge on mousse. Usually followed by hairspray."
Sarah chuckles. "It's funny, I had someone come round the other day, and she needed her hair to last, and so I got out this old hair kit, and there was this big mousse in it, and I pulled it out to use, but then it just felt a bit sticky and artificial, and I ended up not using it. It feels a bit old-fashioned now."
I pass it on...
Then we had a great time dissecting Victoria Beckham's hair - the stuff money can't buy! hurrah for feeling superior...and all in all it was a great haircut.
Here's an update on that IPC advertising from BFFE Angela O'Farrell, although I can't reproduce her "screen grab" on this blog yet, but I will try to keep playing around till I work out a way to do it.
Hope you're enjoying the sunshine. I just wanted you to know that your banner & skyscraper & MPU are running across a lot of our specialist sites (in total approx 1m users & about 15m page impressions), here's a screen grab from one of the sites just so you can see what it looks like. Hope it's translating into book sales!
As soon as I get a physical page, I'll send it to you!
Angela O' Farrell
TV Times, TV & Satellite Week, Soaplife
Like all the other cancer people I no longer take feeling well for granted. So a morning like today when I felt completely normal is just great, and I'm in my car singing away, hurrah, hurrah, I feel fine, I can cope, oh lalalalala, the other people just don't know how to appreciate just ordinary feeling great, tra la la la - you know, just like Winnie the Pooh.
Unfortunately, I'm singing this happy song in my car on the way to Mount Vernon for another dose of chemo, so only a few hours later I'm back in the car feeling a lot further under par (if that's an expression that works).
But the good thing is it's evening now, I'm back in bed, and any second now I'm going to make some hot tea and wholemeal toast slathered with cream cheese, and I have to tell you there is nothing more comforting.
It's always worth reading a piece, like this one below, that shows how an oncologist feels when this illness really strikes home:
Every day, oncology infusion rooms across this country are filled with our mothers and daughters spending time away from their families, work and everyday lives to receive adjuvant chemotherapy — and hopefully a cure — for invasive breast cancer. In spite of this considerable personal and psychological sacrifice, perhaps a quarter to a third of these women will eventually succumb to the disease.
On a recent issue of our Colorectal Cancer Update audio series, GI investigator Dr John Marshall tells us what it’s like to be the husband of a woman receiving adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer. What our listeners cannot see is the gaunt but determined look that spread across John’s face when he verbalized his realization that after years of prescribing chemotherapy, he knew nothing about it.
DR MARSHALL: My wife was recently diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer, and so we’ve experienced the fear, the treatment decision-making and the side effects.
She’s lost her hair — she looks very cute, but she’s lost her hair. She’s had mucositis, and we’ve learned about fatigue. Picking up the kids at school, and all the other things that have to be done, is now a lot more complicated. So I’m living it from that side, and I have to tell you, it’s made me a born-again symptom management guy.
Two months ago, I would have said, “A little bit of mouth sores? It doesn’t prevent you from eating? You’re good.” I would have let it be, but now I see what it means.
This experience is making me a better doctor and a better dad, and I have also been amazed at the number of people who have come to our aid. Our freezer is full. I have rides for the kids anywhere. The people from work, the people from church and the people from school have all come out to help.
You know the old saying, “It takes a village”? Well, it takes a village to get through something like this, and as oncologists, we’re only seeing the two people who show up in the exam room — sometimes the one person — and what we don’t realize is the pyramid of infrastructure that it took to get patients through that cycle, get them into the next cycle and get them delivered on time with counts and all of that.
We also don’t see the ripple effect of telling people bad news. I’m pretty good at telling people bad news. We all are as oncologists, but if we felt the ripple of every piece of bad news we gave and took it home, we’d go crazy. Particularly right after my wife’s diagnosis, every time one of my patients had a bad CT or every time a biopsy was positive, I was feeling the ripple, and it was really striking.
So I’m telling Mrs Jones that she has something going on, and I see in her eyes what I felt in my own heart just a week or two earlier. Before this, I knew what I was doing as an oncologist, but I didn’t feel the magnitude of what the dinner table discussion was going to be like that night.
Having lived it now, it’s sharpened that feeling. I know I can’t maintain that intimacy 20 times a day, but hopefully it will make me even better at being sensitive and making sure that my patients get all the information they need for that dinner table conversation.
DR LOVE: So you’re more aware of your importance as a physician?
DR MARSHALL: Yes. Absolutely. Having hung on the words of your colleagues as they talk about side effects, treatment and the like, you realize just how important those words are.
Listening to John’s story, I couldn’t help but think about the many other families with children who are also affected by this devastating affront to motherhood. This issue of Breast Cancer Update carries a strong message to those families and others that the finest minds of this generation of oncology investigators are on the case and are doing their best to move the field forward.
Throughout my career, I have spent considerable time interviewing clinical investigators across many different tumor types, and I have been struck by the disproportionately high fraction of women oncologists that breast cancer has attracted. The five faculty members interviewed for this program and the accompanying gallery of soldiers are just some of the many who toil day in and day out against the often merciless course of this disease.
It is not difficult to make the argument that a female physician might have an important advantage in understanding and empathizing with female patients. After all, breast cancer affects women almost exclusively and originates in an organ uniquely tied to self-image and femininity.
However, I suspect that women choose breast oncology as a career not because they can provide better medical care but because they understand the destructive impact this illness has on families and are determined to be part of the solution.
In that regard, it is the responsibility of every oncology healthcare professional — both men and women — to provide people facing this disease with the opportunity to join the fight and participate in the clinical research attempting to find the answers needed to keep our families healthy and whole.
Neil Love, MD
May 10, 2007
It's an editorial from the journal Breast Cancer Updates.