vickygoestravelling

my journey to health and well being via exotic destinations

In which my leg improves slowly but sorely

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Champery is as pretty as a picture in the snow!

Champery is as pretty as a picture in the snow!

 Woke on Christmas morning to the sound of torrential rain! Not what the doctor ordered in a ski resort…

I had spent the majority of xmas eve chopping veg, preparing stuffing, making the cabbage, prepping the bread and apple sauces, and balefully eyeing our rather small goose. The boys go off skiing and narrowly avoid getting stuck on the French side – brings back memories of that terrible day I was waiting for Louise on her third attempt to leave London [her last xmas, 2010] and they got stuck in France and were not there to calm my nerves…had I known what a narrow squeak Tommy had getting here this year, with the English storms raging, I think I would have been beside myself. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Spent a very nice xmas eve chez cousins Christine, Diego and their boys, oysters and empanadas, their Chilean tradition. We did a rather fun Stealing Santa where you can steal someone else’s secret Santa when it is your turn! Tempers got rather frayed at one point…

Tommy on xmas day

Tommy on xmas day

Christmas morning itself is always a big reminder of Louise’s absence: she adored opening her stocking at the end of our bed, just as I adored finding silly things for her. The best present in 2010 was the burka I got in Oman, which she wore at lunch in France, just after they had been banned. We were doubled up with laughter at lunch and, later, when she skied down the mountain wearing it!

Louise in her burka on xmas day

Louise in her burka on xmas day

Tommy is just as big a child and he is thrilled with the contents of his stocking. As ever we gather on our bed and open our stockings in turn. I had some lovely extravagant gifts, Jo Malone, Molton Brown, edibles – felt very spoiled. All the smellies a girl could wish for and perfect for the pampering phase of my life.

The master chef!

The master chef!

After lunch – there was plenty of everything, even the goose – with Tommy playing sous chef to shouted instructions from the sofa, charades were called for and I remembered we had a box game. When I opened it I discovered scoring sheets in Louise’s handwriting, evidence of past fun. The shock of seeing her childish, teenage scrawl brought her absence into a palpable reality and my mood never really recovered.

Ross and me exhausted by xmas; the charade box is in the foreground

Ross and me exhausted by xmas; the charade box is in the foreground

In fact I had spent most of the day feeling queasy – a mixture of grieving and reaction to drugs – and so much food and drink make me feel worse, an unusual situation for me. On top of which my leg is hurting like crazy. In the end I leave the merriment and go to bed, but cannot sleep. Feel very anxious and vulnerable; the unspoken thought which I had been trying to banish all day now creeps into my head: is this my last Christmas? I wonder if others are thinking this as well; I try to gauge the meaning of those kind words and looks.

xmas lunch with brother Sasha, George and Beth, Hannah and Charlie

xmas lunch with brother Sasha, George and Beth, Hannah and Charlie

I have been trying not to think morbidly but what with my leg swollen and throbbing, it is hard not to imagine the worst. And all this terrible tiredness; and no matter how much I eat, I am still getting thinner… Is it just the price of healing or something more sinister? Only time will tell…

*                     *                    *

Wake up at 5 am on Boxing Day to the sound of the snow plough. The rain has turned to snow and there is at least 4-6 inches outside, and it is still snowing. Good news for the skiers and I can thus spend the day in bed writing and reading with my leg up. Which is now back to normal, thank goodness. They always say things are better in the morning.

Tommy enjoying the powder on boxing day

Tommy enjoying the powder on boxing day

I am pleasantly surprised that I do not feel envy as they kit up to go skiing, even on a gorgeous day with deep powder in the offing. Instead I feel a great sense of relief that I can snuggle up at home with a good book (The Luminaries), a jigsaw and Radio 4 for company. It makes me realise how much energy it takes to heal my wounds, both mental and physical. At least six weeks…

My latest worry is whether my leg will be healed enough to start the radiotherapy in January. Despite the sudden improvement in walking – I can now flex my foot with each step rather than advance with a fixed, stiff knee joint – the pain comes winging back, a dull ache combined with a terrible tenderness where my calf used to be. I suppose this is how an amputee feels. But it’s difficult to rest the back of my leg on anything as it is so sore. And by the end of the day, my lower leg is tight and throbbing despite being elevated most of the time.

I took the dressing off yesterday, and Ross removed and replaced some of the steri-strips. Pleased to see the bruising has gone down a lot and the wound is looking good. So good I am showing it to you!

the much improved leg!

the much improved leg!

Last tummy jab administered yesterday too, thank God. Stomach a patchwork of blue, yellow and grey bruises with long lumps marking the needles’ length! Think this is a reflection not so much of my lack of skill but my loss of tummy fat, resulting in the injections going into the muscle rather than subcutaneous fat. Wah! Only wearing the DVT stocking at night now.

Another week of rest before coming back, so I am hoping that these small improvements will gain pace. Meanwhile, fret not, I love being on my own; the day is punctuated with visitors, the evenings alternate with meals in and out, Tommy’s girlfriend Olivia has arrived and the family feels complete again.

Louise, xmas 2010

Author: vickyunwin

I am a writer and traveller. Our darling daughter Louise died on 2 March 2011, aged 21 (www.louisecattell.com) and I started writing as therapy. We never know how long we have on this earth, so I live for every day...in November 2013 I was diagnosed and operated on for a malignant soft tissue sarcoma in the calf, followed by 6.5 weeks of radiotherapy, so am embarking on a different kind of journey which you can follow here. I also have another site www.healthylivingwithcancer.co with my blueprint for health and well-being. My husband works in Switzerland so we flit from place to place anywhere else that takes our fancy

3 thoughts on “In which my leg improves slowly but sorely

  1. Hi Vicky Beautifully written blog – can pick up joy, sadness and fear – hang in there – sending you love and courage xxxx

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  2. Hi, i have reading out and i will definitely bookmarrk your site, just wanted to say i liked this article.

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