Mr Ben, meals out and the Moors

The chemo continues every two weeks, there is a “battle rhythm” that we have got into. Day one (infusion day) is a 7 hour treatment in hospital and the only day Simon has off work. This is followed by two days on a pump that he has attached to the Picc line. We know that on days 6 & 7 Simon struggles with side effects that also affect his mood and mental health.

We have just finished cycle 10 (cycle 26 in real terms), one more cycle and then the next CT scan to see how things are going. So yet again the anxiety of that result is looming already. We won’t get that result until early May when we see the Oncologist next.

The side effects of this regime are tiredness and also the effect on Simons skin. His skin is sore, splits in fingers and toes and the “mab rash”. There is not a lot we can do for this other than the emollient cream. The tiredness comes up on him quickly and so often I find him like this……

We had our routine appointment with the lovely Dr Sheriff this week, this is a “how things going” appointment. We are now long termers in the department now, we know the staff, whilst it’s great to be known it’s also a stark reminder that we have been with them for them for three years now. You get sat in a consulting room waiting for the Consultant or his Reg to arrive, this is when a game starts. These rooms have three doors in them and it’s a “guess which door” they will appear in. When Dr S came in Simon relayed that we had this which door thing going…… “Like Mr Ben” he says and so our consultation started on the many hats of Mr Ben and the music that accompanied the programme……

The past month has been incredibly difficult, it’s an emotional rollercoaster and through all of this we are trying to keep our careers going. Work is a double edged sword as in it keeps us going and living a normal (ish) life but also both our chosen careers come with stress and pressure where as we bring work home and often work evenings and weekends to keep on top of things. Our evenings, once work and dinner is done, tend to be a crash in front of the TV and watch random programmes, however, we’ve had a date night! I know a proper date night, getting dressed up, booking a table and having a meal.

It felt normal and good, and the food was great, we love the Cornish Arms in Tavistock and it didn’t disappoint. We need to commit to doing this more often.

So we are now at today…… for Spring it was unbelievably cold and Simon decided we need to go for a walk…… we are so lucky to live on the edge of Dartmoor and so a wealth of places to walk. This afternoon we both wrapped up (as if it was winter!) and took on Cox Tor, the wind was biting, but we paced things at a sensible pace and got to the top. Simons face says it all, shear determination got him to the top.

We are doing ok, carrying on and trying to live the best life we can. We keep each other going, I have his back and he has mine. When the going gets tough the Cowls get fighting.

It’s bowel cancer awareness month this month, if you are concerned about your own health then please get checked out.

Onward and upwards Mr C.



Music and Palaces and all things London


Easter what Easter (part 1)


  1. Laulonw5

    As always your strength and determination to beat this Bastard cancer amazes me. You are both an inspiration. Keep going. We went to the forest Inn at hexworthy. Lovely meal as usual. Xx

  2. Gill

    Hey both,

    I know you’re much younger than me and leaving your careers behind you is possibly something you can’t consider or even don’t wish to. Please don’t underestimate the part that stress plays in dis-ease. I too had a stressful working life and bringing up children as a single-parent added its own stresses! I put this stress down as one of the factors that probably contributed quite significantly to my cancer diagnosis. I took ill health retirement (I was 60 by then anyway so it wasn’t such a difficult decision for me – just not the way I had envisaged it!). I can honestly say it was the best decision I made. If there is a way you can lessen the stress levels in your life, then think carefully about your options.

    It seems a daft thing to say as I have the incurable version of bowel ca, but I am loving my life. I’m finding lots of new ways to help others and try and give Bowel Cancer as much awareness as I can.

    So here’s my message for bowel cancer awareness month…. 14,000 ordinary people die from bowel cancer every year. Around 40% of over 60s who receive a bowel screening kit fail to the return them…. I know they are not foolproof tests, but they could save your life. I’ve already managed to save one friend’s husband with a family history – he booked a colonoscopy and they found pre-cancerous polyps, now all removed easily! It goes without saying that ANY symptoms need to be investigated – especially if you have any family history.

    All the best to you both.

    Gill xx

  3. Jennie Wills

    Lovely to hear from, you both again. Keep the faith xxx

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