‘Galvanize’ (Chemical Brothers)


It was hard to know what song to choose for this blogpost as my range of emotions in thinking about it has been very wide – from sadness, anger, frustration, resignation, relief to hope and optimism.  I settled on ‘Galvanize’ by the Chemical Brothers as that is where I finally landed – I’ve accepted my latest setback and am now galvanising myself for my next treatment.

I’ve gone from my disease being ‘slow-growing’ and my doctors advocating a ‘watch and wait’ approach with scans every three months and further surgery being ‘a long way down the road’ to a much more active disease.  This has manifested itself in my abdomen being very distended (like a beachball) due to a significant increase in the volume of gel (which is how my cancer progresses).  Although it sounds very superficial, my initial frustration was wardrobe-related.  None of my dresses fit anymore and I’ve had to buy new very baggy, maternity-like clothes to hide my bump.  Thank goodness big sac-like dresses seem to be in vogue at the moment!  I’m not in any pain, for which I am thankful, and everything internally is still working well, but this is not sustainable.  I do experience a fair bit of discomfort from my size – shortness of breath, soreness when I have been sitting upright for an extended period of time, and I’m not able to jog anymore (which frustrates me hugely).  If we leave it to continue, my beachball will become a spacehopper and the gel will crowd out my organs.  I am also suffering muscle wastage as the tumour is taking all of my nutrients which means that my arms and legs have gotten quite skinny and I’m a bit boney, and that’s not sustainable either.  So, back to Basingstoke to my brilliant surgeon and the wonderful team of nurses for another horrendous op (and just typing this is making me cry).  I can’t believe that I will go through that again, but at the same time, I’m glad that we are doing something.

This latest news is almost harder mentally than my original diagnosis as this time I know what to expect and this time I’m going in to control the disease, not to cure it.  If I let myself dwell on it for any amount of time I start to have flashbacks of waking up with the ventilator down my throat, all of the tubes, drains, catheters, etc. the hallucinations from the morphine, the long nights lying awake in hospital and the horrific back pain that took so long to get under control.  On the positive side, knowing what to expect will help me to prepare better this time and I know that I got through it before and will get through it again.

This time I may get away with a 6-hour op rather than 10 as there are less organs to remove.  They will still have to open me up from breastbone to pelvic bone, so a similar scar to last time.  They will take out the gel, remove my colon, perhaps some other bits, do HIPEC (heated chemo) and give me an illeostomy.   That will take some getting used to, but lots of people live active lives with stomas, and I’ll manage.  I’ve been speaking to people who have had stomas and reading up on it.  I’m very grateful to people for sharing their experiences as it makes it much less daunting.

In terms of ‘galvanising’ myself, my wonderful husband has bought me a cross-trainer which I’m using as often as I can, I’m going for dog walks with friends, I’m trying to carve out time for mindfulness and relaxation and focussing on my new job (which I love), the 30% Club campaign and my cricket board.  As was the case the last time, having such wonderful support from family and friends and having a strong sense of purpose really fuels my resilience tank and will help me to focus on recovery after the surgery.

I’m scheduled to have the surgery on the 25th November so that I can be home in time for Christmas.   Hopefully a much shorter recovery this time!

And please do keep an eye on the blogsite for updates.  Trend will be taking over from the 25th November – all of your supportive comments mean so much to both of us.  It really helps to know that we have such wonderful friends.

15 thoughts on “‘Galvanize’ (Chemical Brothers)

  1. Nice photo Bren. You are an Amazing Strong Lady. I am so proud of you. So many people are there for you giving lots of support. I am there for whenever you need me and looking forward to spending time with you and family. Our family and friends are always praying for all off you. I keep praying for a miracle or a new discovery. Lots of Love Mummy xoxoxoxox


  2. Hi Bren,
    I just read your blog. Well done. I wrote a message but couldn’t post it. My thoughts and prayers are always with all of you. I keep begging God to get you through this and for you to not have so many problems with pain this time. You are such a Wonderful Role Model.
    Loads of Love
    Mummy xoxoxoxo

    Sent from my iPad

    Sent from my iPad


  3. I found you through the 30% Club campaign but I don’t know you. Wishing you the smoothest sailing possible and sending huge love to you, your family and friends. F*ck cancer.


  4. Hey Brenda … how amazingly brave of you. Am so glad we met in Dubai and though am flying to India to spend time with family – when back in London, will defo come over and see you … yes I have temporarily moved to London. Meantime “galvanise” and I support you whole heartedly for a easier, painless, and complete control over this awful disease. Big hugs, Mareena


  5. Dear Brenda

    Sorry to hear you need to have another large op – you’re always in my prayers and will continue to be – God bless you and thinking of you -knowing with family and friends you’ll get you thru this as you usually do – with great strength. Big hug Diana xx


  6. Sometimes it’s so hard to find the right words. I can hardly imagine how difficult it is to face all this trauma again and yet I know you will. I am thinking of you and hope you have all those tunes ready to lift you spirits. A thought for the days ahead xx
    “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
    ― Kahlil Gibran


  7. You do not know me but I feel I know you a little bit since I’ve been following your blog for a while, having been told about it by one of the nurses at Basingstoke, where my husband underwent the same operation as you for pseudomyxoma in October last year. I was very sorry to read your latest post and learn that you need another operation.
    You are AMAZING and I feel so humbled by your courage. I will be thinking and praying for you and your family on 25th November (I sense our children are the same age and at similar stages in their lives.) I shall also for pray the surgical team at Basingstoke who will be carrying out your operation on that day and all the nurses who will be taking such great care of you afterwards. Aren’t they all wonderful? Maeve was a particular favorite – my kids would laugh and say I had a crush on her (and, of course, they were absolutely right!)
    God Bless,


  8. My beautiful, amazing, courageous and wise friend… I am with you all the way through this.
    What you bring to life on this spinning speck of rock is magical.
    Thank you for being you and doing ‘Brenda’ so masterfully… the world is better for it!
    Love to chat soon. Babs xxx


  9. Dear Brenda
    This is such hard news, especially when you know what’s coming. As you say though, you do know what’s coming and that you will get back on form – Christmas is a good deadline. My thoughts are with you Brenda. Keep dancing, keep boxing and keep fighting.
    With much love, Lucy xx


  10. Your strength and determination continue to shine through, you truly are an amazing lady! I shall be thinking of you and your family in the days ahead, hope all goes as well as it possibly can over the coming months.
    Jacqui x


  11. Dear Brenda Teddy gave me the heads up you’d be having more surgery. I’m so sorry. And awed at how brave you have been through all this. We’re up in the Kimberley – close to where I came w Ted – so out of range for a few weeks. But our thoughts hopes and prayers are with you. We’ll call when we’re back Love in abundance to you all Riaz x

    A message from The Joint Studio


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