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My Carry On Flight Essentials

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My Cancer treatment

Bookings are now being taken up until September........

In a somewhat reckless move, I am currently booking events and making plans all the way through the summer, and right up until the end of September......maybe later if Jim gets a date to get his bloody ACL fixed - in which case I'll be drawing up plans for snowboarding next season.

Sod the notion that someone with stage IV cancer shouldn't look past their next scan (which is coming round at an alarming rate and I've got some scanxiety due about the middle of february) I am already planning past the NEXT lot of scans! 

Me, I'm currently all about the next thing to look forward to and then the next thing, and the next thing.

We might not be able to sod off on a 3 week trip around California again - ailing bank accounts notwithstanding, my treatment plan currently doesn't allow for us to leave Sheffield for more than 2 weeks at a time - but we are cultivating a summer full of fun and adventure. 

I currently have 4 beer festivals in the diary, a hen do (Sam if you're reading this, the stripper is confirmed!), some gigs, weekends away visiting friends a trip to Berlin, a trip to Copenhagen, a week in a chateau in France for a wedding, Glastonbury, a week sailing and various other fun events to be thrown in there too!

I have literally no clue how I am going to finance these trips (more to come on money and cancer I suspect at some point) but I feel like it's really important to have these things to look forward to. To not let myself, or Jim, become a slave to the scans, or the fact that at the moment I have to be at the hospital or doctors every other week. There's no point having all this treatment to prolong my life if it's not a great life, is there?

What do you think? I am crazy or doing the right thing? 





Blue badge fraud - and why I'm not committing it!

When you get an incurable cancer diagnosis, you can also get a blue badge*. Call it a perk of the job.

I've had mine since June and I'd say at least monthly someone asks me if I know I'm parked in a disabled space, or if they can inspect the badge, or asks me why I'm parked where I am. Given my nan has had her blue badge for a good 10 years and not once has anyone questioned her right to use it, monthly for 6 months seems a bit much.

I should probably start by saying I don't think I'm abusing the system, I mean I use it, but my blue badge rarely comes out to park in actual disabled bays. I've not really found a supermarket car park so big it's required - unless the car park is rammed and then, well, whats a lady to do? And I'll confess, I've also used it Meadowhall once too - in my defence, it was manically busy AND hammering it down. But I do use it regularly when parking in paid parking bays in town. It gives me free parking which is super useful, especially on my reduced income, and it's useful if you're just nipping into a shop but have a quid for the parking meter or I'm in the jewellery studio.

But something I've noticed is that parking attendants and old people seem to think I'm cheating the system. That I shouldn't be using it. That somehow I've got my hands on a badge through a back door, like the dodgy NUS cards we all had before we were allowed one, or those speakers we bought out the back of a van when we were at uni..... Trust me. I wish I had. If I could swap the blue badge out for my bloody health, I'd be all over it. But I can't!

I've had old men quizzing me in the M&S food carpark about why I'm using a disabled bay. Old ladies getting out of their cars to make sure there IS a blue badge on the dashboard. Car park attendants walking slowly past my car checking my credentials. And then, then there are the traffic wardens. They love to make sure that I'm not committing blue badge fraud!

A couple of weeks ago, on christmas eve, on the way back from treatment, I stopped off at some local shops and threw the car in one of the in a street space outside them. See, I'm doing my bit, shopping local. I'd popped to get some beer (a couple of big hitting DIPA's and some sours, if you're interested!) when Jim called to ask me to go get some bits from the cheesemonger across the road.

I popped back to the car with the beer so I didn't have to carry it far, then I jogged across the road for the cheese. When I say jogged, I mean I did that silly run you do when someone is letting you across in front of their car, not an actual jog, more like a strange start to a triple jump with a little shuffle at the end. I got some glorious cheese - one specifically for eating with a strong beer! The beer and cheese pairings were on point that night!

But when I got back to my car there was a parking attendant waiting for me, to check I'm eligible to use the blue badge. I'd seen him when I dropped off the beer, checking tickets, but didn't think much of it. But there he stood, waiting for me, asking me questions, quite aggressively about my blue badge, wanting to know what right I've got to be using it - wanting to know what's wrong with me!

I suppose I ought to be grateful I don't look like I need the badge, but jeez, it's getting old now, explaining that 'yes it's mine, yes I'm entitled to park in this spot, and no, not all disabilities are visible dontyouknow!' If it's a particularly judgemental questioning, like the one on christams eve, I can't be held responsible for dropping the 'T' word in there when I reply. I know it makes them uncomfortable, I can see it in their faces, but it makes me feel better!

It's just another fun side effect of this world I'm inhabiting. Being quizzed about my eligibility to what small perks there are to my current situation. I guess all it means now is I'm going to have to perfect a kaiser soze limp (also, side note - am I allowed to reference him, I just don't know)

*for those of you not in the UK, a blue badge is a parking pass that allows you to park in a disable space! Not to be confused with a blue peter badge - that is a whole different thing!

Fuck Cancer Pins are available now!

I've just realised I've not shared these awesome pins here, we launched them in November, but for some reason, I didn't get round to writing this post, but they definitely need sharing far and wide.

Emmie, the extraordinary lady I make the Fuck Cancer pins with, and I wanted to create something a little more accessible, knowing that not everyone can afford one of the necklaces we are making, so we started with pins. Ironically, they arrived on a day I was in the hospital having treatment so we turned my bed into a little factory line, and we'd sold a good few of them before they left the oncology ward, let alone made it online! 
The silver and the rose gold necklaces seem to be selling the best, so we started there with colours for the pins. One pin in silver and black, and one pin in rose gold and white. For a while, the rose gold pin was far outselling the silver, but I think right now, we're just about on equal sales. Which is to say we've sold over half of each of the colours of the pins.
At least £5 from the sale of each of the pins is going to Cavendish Cancer Care, a charity in Sheffield that supports people who are affected by cancer. Over the last couple of years, I've had counselling,  acupuncture and shiatsu through Cavendish, and every visit with them has been just magical. So raising money for them, to help them support other people is a no brainer! 

You can get your pins here.