It’s all in my head

I think it’s time to let you into a little secret, dear reader: I wasn’t surprised, in the slightest, when I was first told I had breast cancer. Shocked, yes, but my first reaction was, ‘Well of course I have!’ Not because of the lumpy bits, but because of who I am.

I don’t really fit the typical physical profile of someone with breast cancer. I have a relatively healthy diet, I’m young, I breastfed both my babies for months, there’s no family history. But for many years I have subscribed to the idea explained in Louise L Hay’s amazing little book You Can Heal Your Life that all disease is ‘dis-ease’ – a sort of existential discomfort. In other words, stress and negative emotions make you ill.

Louise specifically suggest that anything wrong with the breast is connected with ‘overmothering’, and cancer is always linked with deep anger, resentment or bitterness. Now that I can identify with. I have always ‘overmothered’ DH and been a ‘good girl’, a caring person to others, sometimes to controlling and martyish levels. I’ve also struggled with actual motherhood and feeling good enough as a mother, from anxiety and post-natal depression with DD to overwhelming, seeing-red anger towards DS when he was a non-sleeping, refluxy, noisy baby and I felt completely out of control and loopy with no sleep. This random fury then became directed at DD and we had a rocky couple of years until she started school (there’s shouting at the kids and there’s going a bit mental).

And underneath all of this was deep, deep guilt and self-loathing about being a crap mother. I used to look at myself in the mirror and say the most appalling things to myself about exactly how dreadful I was, things I would never dream of saying to another human being. I put myself under such pressure and turned such powerful negative emotions on myself about how I was as a mother (while continuing to resent all the looking after I was doing for everyone else) that I’m not even slightly surprised I’ve got breast cancer. It was sort of inevitable when combined with my dodgy hormones. And I gather cancer takes about two years to get to the point where there are symptoms. DS was born two years ago. Go figure.

Western medicine accepts that a wide range of physical illness and disease is linked to stress, from stomach ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome to heart attacks. In other words, it’s psychosomatic. Is it too great a stretch to say that all illness is psychosomatic in nature? That’s not to say it is imaginary, but that I am not just a body, that the activity of my mind and my ‘spirit’ is inseparable from my body, and every thought and feeling I have manifests itself in my body. And strong, long-term negative emotions – anger, resentment, anxiety, depression, that sort of thing – will always have a physical effect sooner or later.

There’s some completely sensible, non-woo-woo stuff on this in the Cancer Lifeline Programme, a brilliant information source/workbook developed by Dr Rosy Daniel of Health Creation (if you or anyone you know has just been diagnosed with or is on the cancer journey, I cannot recommend this highly enough, by the way). This points out that the immune system is substantially weakened by prolonged stress, exhaustion, loneliness, being too nice and hiding or repressing our feelings, depression and lack of motivation, shock and trauma, grief, and lack of purpose or will to live. Apparently these factors decrease the number of circulating white blood cells by between 10% and 30%, and the remaining ones by as much as 50%. Having an immune system operating at a third of normal capacity can leave us vulnerable to the environmental and lifestyle factors that are recognised as contributing to cancer (and we all produce cancer cells every day).

I’m actually finding the understanding that stress has combined with hormones to precipitate this disease in me extremely helpful. Because if that is true, then the opposite is also true, and we all have the power to contribute enormously to our own healing by making some quite radical shifts in the way we are in the world.

Whoah! Isn’t that the most amazing thought? I’d much rather think of myself as being a co-creator or partner in my own healing process than a ‘patient’. Different experts in this area suggest different ways of harnessing this power we all have within us, from finding ways to process our emotions to visualisation of our recovery. A simple tool again comes from Louise L Hay – the repeated use of affirmations or mantras. At the very least, these have a strong calming effect and help you to feel more in control. The affirmation I have been using since before my diagnosis (yeah, again, it wasn’t a surprise) combines Louise’s ones for breast problems and cancer:

‘I am important. I count. I now care for and nourish myself with love and with joy. I allow others the freedom to be who they are. We are all safe and free. I now willingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my world with joy. I love and approve of myself.’

Like I’ve always said, cancer is my big wake up call. I’m a work in progress but I know I’m going to like the new, calmer, less stressy Pinchy a lot more than the old one. Because it’s who I actually am – the shining diamond at the centre of me, unhidden by the layers of crap I’ve built around myself for a long, long time.

If you’re interested in reading more about this stuff, I recommend:

Three Wise Men

I’ve had a bit of a strange 24 hours. Three people, in three corners of the world, sent me messages that basically said exactly the same thing. Like my very own Three Wise Men or something!

Yesterday I remarked to a good friend: ‘Have had bit of a black mogul field of a week but definitely now cruising the easy blue back to the bottom of the chairlift, where I will be resting with a vin chaud until the next trip up on 10th December.’

His myrrh-thful response (I’m running with the Three Wise Men theme here, you notice): ‘There’ll be various moguls, unexpected off-piste runs and the odd white-out, but just make sure you let all your family and friends (who love you more than you know) pull you up the button lift of life.  And don’t forget to do your bindings up (no idea where I’m going with this now).  Er, bend ze knees, and all will be fine.’

Then this morning I made a flippant remark on Facebook to an old friend who now lives in Dubai that I reckon my 40s will be my best decade ever, not only because my health will be a-ma-zing by the time I hit the big four-oh in three years, but also because I may finally be ‘thin, rich and successful’. His (possibly slightly tipsy) message back was as sweet as frankincense: I’m already successful, I look great, and judging by the responses to my blog, I’m very wealthy in terms of the love I am surrounded by from my family, friends and my other fabulous readers.

This echoed the Thanksgiving email I received yesterday from a very special friend who now lives in New York. I hope he’ll forgive me for this extract – it’s pure gold:

‘Of all the people I’ve met – which is quite a lot of people due to 20 years of socializing too much (read: drinking too much) – I feel like you have the most amazing circle of family and friends. This isn’t really a new thing, I had noticed before now what a great crew you’ve got, but it was brought home to me reading your posts and the comments that followed them. Because you’re such a lovely human you attract other lovely humans and you live your life in a very loving way where you’ve embraced all those people, and it’s amazing to read about the various ways that they’re embracing you back. Your attitude, the brave way that you’ve looked at this – your approach is sort of reminiscent of a war correspondent, even a travel writer, on a dangerous but important commission.’

Well, that’s me humbled. And honoured. And feeling that those missives from all three of my gorgeous friends around the world contained the same gift of wisdom: I am rich beyond my wildest dreams if I realise that love is the most valuable thing – indeed, the only thing – that matters.

So today I am counting one of my biggest blessings: the people I love, my friends, near and far, old and new, and my family, without whom this ‘dangerous mission’ through the badlands of cancer would be a lonely, dark and frankly terrifying journey. Collectively, you’re the reassuring voice on my sat nav encouraging me to keep going. Even though I don’t know what’s round the next bend, I know you’ll be with me every step of the way. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

It’s quite something, realising how much love there is surrounding me. I certainly didn’t know or appreciate it fully before my diagnosis – that’s another wonderful lesson I’ve learned in the past few weeks.

Right, back to that vin chaud, or as Alan Partridge would no doubt shout: ‘HOT WINE, Lynn’.

Reality bites

I breezed through my first chemotherapy day last Thursday. Came back from 11 hours at the hospital and four different drips (herceptin, then pertuzemab, then carboplatin chemo and then doxetaxol chemo) feeling absolutely fine. A bit tired as I hadn’t slept the night before (rehearsing the day, you know how it is when you’ve got something biggish coming up), but otherwise, feeling rather proud of myself.

The night before, DH presented me with my Team Pinchy t-shirt that he got my lovely aunt and uncle to print for me. I wore it all day and the nurses loved it. (We’re doing some more, £10 each with all proceeds to the amazing Fountain Centre complementary cancer care unit at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, so let me know if you’d like one.) Mummy was with me all day, and I was so well looked after by my own lovely research nurse Celia. She was a complete legend – kind, gentle, funny, and smart, and hugely reassuring.

The worse bit was the cold cap to try and prevent my hair falling out too much. That was fricking cold – a -5.5 degress bright pink cycling helmet hooked up to a cooler to keep the temperature constant for more than three hours. The first half hour was almost unbearable, after that I sort of forgot about it, though picking ice out of my hair at the end of the day reminded me of going face down into a snow drift in Val d’Isere.

But today is Day 5, if we count Chemo Day as Day 1, and it has to be said, I feel like crap. The euphoria of finally starting treatment and it being absolutely tolerable on the day rapidly dissipated when the side effects started coming, thick and fast, on Friday. Nausea? Check – and the anti-emetics made me feel how I imagine a heroin addict feels going cold turkey, like I wanted to crawl out of my own shaky, twitchy skin. I didn’t know what to do with myself, it was the weirdest feeling. Sore mouth? Check – chemo blasts the cells in your body that replicate themselves most quickly (hence hair loss), including all your mucous membranes, so the inside of my lips, mouth and throat feel like when you really burn your mouth and then have that horrible taste for days because it’s full of dying cells. Everything tastes disgusting. I get hungry but don’t fancy anything. Ice helps, a bit. Manuka honey, too (trust me to need the pricey stuff – a girl’s got standards to keep up!). I keep getting weird little aches and shooting pains in random bits of my body.

I’m beyond tired – proper feet-not-working fatigue. My wonderful M&D took the kiddies back to their place on Friday afternoon (described by my 4yo DD as a ‘mini-break’ !?). DH made me a day bed on the sofa and for the first time ever, other than a week or so after each of the babies were born, I have been forced to accept that I have to rest.  This is Brand New for me. As a freelancer, I didn’t even have maternity leave with either of them, cracking on with writing and editing and cleaning during their naps. I don’t find it easy to stop, sit down, relax, do nothing. I am always busy. There is always something to do in the house, for the kids, for other people, for my clients. But now I really have no choice but to do bugger all.

Also for the first time, I am starting to willingly accept help instead of my usual refrains of ‘It’s ok, I’ll do it, no thank you, I’m fine’. Some of S’s delicious homemade butternut squash soup? Yes please. DH cleaning the bathrooms, hoovering and doing the cooking? Yes please. Pops doing the ironing? Yes please. Lovely school mum friends popping into Sainsbury’s for bog roll and making us a lasagne? Yes please. I am learning to accept, with grace and gratefully, any and all offers of help and support.

I’m not used to this, at all, but maybe it’s one of my big lessons from this whole caaancer thing. I’m not alone. I don’t have to do everything myself. I don’t have to be superwoman. I don’t have to cope. There’s being capable and Just Buggering On (all good things in my view) and there’s being stubborn, anally perfectionist, and martyr-ish. One of the promises I’m making to myself, my family and my friends right now is that there will be a lot less of the Resentful Saint about Pinchy from now on. Which I’m sure will be a blessed relief for you all.

Right, I’m off to read some chick lit in front of the telly and try to ignore my mouth ulcers. Amen.

Bye bye long locks

I had my hair cut yesterday. It was long overdue for a trim, and was very long and endy. I’d booked Aveda’s junior stylist rather than one of the directors as usual, on the basis that this time next week it might all be falling out. In the back of my mind I was thinking I should have off more than usual, because even if it doesn’t fall out, the scalp cooling cap I’ll be wearing during chemo means it will still need handling with extreme care: no tying back, blow drying, products, hair cuts, no washing more than twice a week, use of a baby hairbrush.
Anyway, I got there and the stylist was fab, and I have come out with short hair for the first time since I was 17, when I had that dreadful cut in Salisbury. (Everyone’s had at least one of these: the haircut memory that makes you shudder.) My long red hair has always been one of my ‘trademarks’ and I was quite attached to it, so this is quite a big deal.

And guess what? I love it! I feel lighter, and it’s much less hassle. It’s quite liberating, letting go of something that you thought defined the way you look. I call this style ‘mum hair’, but actually it feels quite glam. DH, who has always loved my long hair, says I look classier (I’m now assuming he thought I looked like a straggle-barnetted crack whore before the Chemo Cut, rather than a flame-haired Pre-Raphaelite temptress…). Even better, DH had rung in advance and ‘had a word’ and they gave me a free manicure afterwards as a little treat.

Anyway, here’s the before and after shots – what do you think? (I should point out that the first photo was from my official Besparkle corporate shoot this summer with the fantastic Matt Pereira.)

Me, yesterday

 
Ta-dah!

 

I’ve got another photo too – my old school chum Fi sent me a box of cupcakes from Rebecca’s Cupcakes with my mantra on today. Such a lovely, thoughtful surprise that made me laugh out loud, thank you my gorgeous friend!

 So we are all set for tomorrow now. Had a great meeting with my research nurse Celia this morning, who is fast tracking me through all the last-minute tedium and will be joining us tomorrow. It’s a long day – 8am to 6pm – on the ward, cos they have to put four different drugs in, one after the other, with observation periods in between. I’ve seen the ward and there are a lot of comfy chairs next to drip stands, with a telly, so I should be fine having a little natter with the other ‘cancer victims’ (ahem!).

And there’s more good news: all my scans are back and they are all clear, so we know for sure the caaancer hasn’t spread anywhere else, which I was a teeny bit anxious about for some reason.

DH is on nursery and school drop off duty with the kiddies’ dziadziu (Polish grandpa) tomorrow, bless him, and he’s also booked the last two tickets for the new Harry Potter movie this Saturday night while the smalls go back to Salisbury with my mummy and daddy for a weekend minibreak.

Yet another blessing today: a lovely friend came over and did a hypnotherapy session with me so from the start of the treatment I can imagine the chemotherapy as a beam of healing light that simply melts the tumours away like wax or molten metal so they evaporate. Much more useful than thinking of the treatment itself as invasive or scary. Thank you L!

Anyway, wish me luck! Big hugs and kisses and very grateful thanks for all your love and support to all my lovely friends and family. The horses are champing at the bit, and we’re off on the second stage of this awfully big adventure. You’ll probably hear the strains of me shouting ‘fuuuuuuck caaaaaancerrrrr’ as the carriage shoots off.

Bring on the drugs!

We are GO for chemo this Thursday! Hurray! After a month of poking and prodding since the diagnosis of caaancer, I am quite excited about getting going on the next stage of my adventure. Objectively, this is weird: who the hell gets excited about chemotherapy? Shouldn’t I be scared or worried about it? But you know what? I’ve got a few tumours that need dealing with, and the best way of dealing with them is to blast them away with some very hefty, very expensive drugs.

I’m not a big one for reliance on pharmaceuticals. I don’t even like painkillers. But sometimes things get so serious that they simply are required. I’m a real believer in complementary therapy, but that means complementary to conventional medical treatment, not necessarily alternative to. (I’ve had two bouts of diagnosed depression in my life so far, and both times I used anti-depressants successfully alongside counselling/cognitive behavourial therapy to get my brain chemistry back on track.)

Never having had cancer before, there is the unknown, of course, in that I don’t know exactly how I’m going to feel on the wonderdrugs. I’ve been told to expect fatigue, ranging from mild to extreme, nausea (ditto), taste changes in my mouth that might throw my appetite a curve ball, bleeding gums and an absent menstrual cycle. Sound familiar? Yup, sounds pretty much like both of my pregnancies, which are recent enough to be vivid memories. It wasn’t much fun but hey, I got through it. No baby at the end of the next few months this time, of course, but the outcome expected by my medical team will still be a source of celebration.

I think the other reason I’m not fearful of the treatment is that I am incredibly grateful that it’s happening before surgery. When I was diagnosed, a couple of people seemed to assume that I would just want the cancer cut out immediately ie to simply get rid of the diseased breast. But I was so relieved when my team said they’d prefer to do chemo first, firstly because I thought that might feel terribly depressing, like mopping up when you’ve already had a body part removed (I am quite fond of my boobs and cleavage, actually), and secondly because it felt like I had time. Time to adjust. Time to get started on all my complementary therapy. Time for the chemo to melt the tumours away so the surgery doesn’t need to be so dramatic. And most importantly, time to learn.

Because one of the things I firmly believe is that all disease, illness and suffering happens because there is something for us to learn from it. That lesson might not be immediately clear at a time of distress, shock, pain or grief, but it will be there. I’m reading a brilliant book, The Creation of Health (subtitle ‘The emotional, psychological and spiritual responses that promote health and healing’), which includes the following passage on suffering:

‘Perhaps one of the greatest false goals of life is our belief that we can somehow manoeuvre our lives in such a way as to avoid difficulties. That is impossible, and living as thought it were possible is a belief that certainly leads to the frustration of desiring the impossible, It seems that a more realistic goal is to learn to accept the cycle of Life on its terms, striving to learn from the wisdom built into the natural momentum of conclusions and new beginnings. Rather than expecting life to be something it is not (an unchanging dynamic) it would seem that our tendency to suffer would be greatly diminished if we were able to recognise the spiritual wisdom inherent in the natural, continuingly changing processes of our lives’.

I’m starting to get an idea of the big life lessons this cancer is trying to teach me. And I know this understanding is helping me handle this whole experience, and is part of the reason that I have no fear about starting chemotherapy this week.

Plus there’s the fact that I get to spend a whole day sitting down, reading books and magazines, listening to music and lovely relaxing hypnotherapy things on my iPod and chatting to my mummy, who’s coming with me. Since I normally have two delicious, demanding small people to look after, as well as a husband, house and business, that sound like complete luxury to me! It’s virtually a day at Pennyhill Park spa without all the Russian oligarchs clogging up the sauna.

I’ll let you know how I get on – I may well be eating my words come Thursday night, but in the meantime, bring on the drugs!

Scantastic!

OK, it was bound to happen sooner or later. This past week, I’ve had a bit of a wobble. I dunno why. I don’t feel scared or anxious or fearful. I haven’t started feeling ‘why me’ or ‘it’s not fair’. I’ve just been feeling a bit down, irritable, rather tired, and not quite so able to cope with things not going smoothly. I’ve mislaid my little bubble of calm positivity. It’s probably in that drawer with the miscellaneous jigsaw pieces, hair clips, a chargers from a mobile phone I last used in 2002, bits of plastic crap from kids’ party bags, and dead batteries.

I’ve had enough of being scanned, injected, poked and prodded without any actual treatment, is probably what it is. On Saturday, I had a CT scan. This is the ‘Polo mint’ one, and it was to look inside my head, torso and pelvis. I was wearing a gown which managed to be voluminously huge and yet reveal every stretchmark at the same time. Then just after the platform started moving through the hole of the scanner, there’s this disembodied, slightly embarrassed, male voice from the safety of the radiation-free radiographers’ cubicle: ‘We need to remove your bra’. I was wired up via a canular to the contrast dye they inject into you, so couldn’t actually remove my bra – I just had to scrunch it up in my hand, desperately wishing it was a bright pink Rigby & Peller number instead of a grubby old M&S number.

Then yesterday I had a really quite horrible day. It started with an MRI scan. This is the scary claustrophobic tunnel one. Luckily (!) I wasn’t on my back, but on my front as it was a breast MRI. (Apparently better to see through younger women’s denser breast tissue than the mammogram or ultrasound scans I’ve had so far, to get a completely accurate picture of what they are dealing with). This involved lying face-down on a body-length foam cushion. With two holes cut in it for my boobs to dangle through. In a really narrow tunnel with my arms pressed to my sides. And the NOISE of the machine. It was horrendous, like nothing on earth, varying between the high-pitched screaming of the devil’s own choir and the rumbling you might get inside a satanic cement mixer. Although it did cover up the sound of Ken Bruce through the totally ineffectual headphones, so that was a bonus. And when I escaped, my squished ribs felt like every single one had been individually jumped on by an Oompa Looma for 40 sodding minutes. Ouchy ouch.

Then things got worse with the heart scan. They did one injection, sent me away for half an hour, then I was meant to have another injection before a 25 minute scan. I’d been told I would be out before 1pm, in time to pick DS up from nursery. Got back from my little tea break and waited for the next injection. And waited. And waited. Eventually, beginning to panic slightly, I asked what was taking so long. ‘Oh,’ said the receptionist in Nuclear Medicine cheerfully, ‘we’ve run out of the stuff for the second injection and they’re making up some more in the pharmacy.’ Run out? WTF??

To cut a very long and stressful story short, I had to dash across town in the car to pick DS up from nursery (still had canular in right arm, with handbag hanging off of it at one point, with all the poise and grace of Miranda) and DH had to leave work and meet me back at the hospital to take DS home. In the end, the whole thing took so long that I couldn’t even pick DD up from school.  I was totally stressed out by the end of it, and lost any last vestige of going-with-the-flowingness.

Anyway, today I had a lovely, normal normal normal day: doing actual client work instead of caaancer admin, dropping off and picking up the children at the right times, and even managing to flick through Grazia while DD watched the deeply educational High School Musical 2. No-one asked me to put on a paper gown. No-one injected me with anything. No-one subjected me to even mild doses of radiation. Bliss is highly comparative, don’t you think?

So, more tests and stuff at the hospital on Thursday and then, finally, we should be all systems go for starting treatment next week some time. I feel like shouting ‘Just. Give. Me. The. Drugs. NOW.’ I am actually looking forward to chemotherapy. That’s how weirdly warped life has become over the past month.

I’m fine, really. Honestly! I’m fine!

Someone I love told me yesterday that I should be ‘slowing down’. I got a little bit cross about this. Because actually, I’m not ill. I mean, yeah, I have this disease in my right boob and lymph, but I don’t feel ill. At all. I’m a bit tired, but then I’ve been knackered since DS was born more than two years ago. I think of illness as being when you cannot get out of bed with a cold so bad you’ve told everyone it’s flu (insert your own joke about man flu here).

This feeling of general wellness is one of the things that makes ‘having cancer’ so weird for me. It’s surreal, sitting there in endless waiting rooms for endless scans (of which more shortly) with a load of much older people who look much iller than me. And I’m there with plenty of hair (at the moment anyway) and my highest heels, just sort of dealing with it. I think some people think I’m in denial, because I keep saying how fine I am. (Slightly embarrassing doorstep incident yesterday when neighbour plucked up courage to come round and ask with the ‘sympathetic head on one side’ thing how I was. I said: ‘I’m fine’, and she said, ‘Oh!! Is it all OK then?’. ‘No, I’ve still got cancer, I’m just feeling fine about it.’) But I’m not in denial. I am in complete and utter acceptance. I don’t feel fear, or dread, or panic, or resistance, to the cancer or the treatment.

Someone lovely emailed me yesterday saying she supposed I felt ‘wretched’. Quite important not to second guess how people are feeling, because I don’t feel wretched at all. I mean, I’m obviously not looking forward to having chemotherapy. It sounds pretty ghastly. And the irony is that it’s the treatment to ‘get me better’ that’s going to make me feel like shit, not the cancer. And since my long red hair is one of my defining features,  I’m not really looking forward to the probability of it taking a gap year away from my head. Particularly as my head is childishly small. Really. Adult hats come straight down to my nose. So if I go baldy I will look like a total pinhead.

I will be slow when I need to be slow. When I have no choice but to slow down. On days when chemo has knocked the stuffing out of me and I just want to lie on the sofa with the new Flatout Bear my mummy bought me watching my favourite Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn movies. (Tho to be honest, it’s more likely to be Toy Story or High School Musical in this house). Right now, I am more interested in living, laughing, and doing. And if that means going to see that wonderful crazy healer in Essex again, let’s go! If it means watching back-to-back Inbetweeners, hurray! If it means going to Sussex to do the strange and intense The Journey process (I’ll do a separate post on this), fill the tank up! If it means a night out in London with an old friend for outrageously expensive cocktails at Skylon, get me on that train.

Because between these adventures, life is getting a bit frustrating. I now intimately know the layout of the Royal Surrey County Hospital. I was there again yesterday to sign the consent form for the new drugs trial, and my oncologist, the Tiggerish one, bounded in briefly to tell me that while the ‘in ducto’ calcium deposits are now confirmed by the biopsies as pre-cancerous, they are all in one contained area, so my lovely surgeon is confident we can avoid a mastectomy after the drugs melt my lumps away. Whoop whoop! (I said to him, quite genuinely, gosh, aren’t I lucky! And he raised one querulous eyebrow and said ‘Well, you could be luckier…’.)

And after the bone scan last week, I now have to have a CT scan on Saturday morning (the scary tunnel one! Not really the sort of thing I was looking forward to spending my weekend doing), and an MRI scan and a heart scan on Monday (more radioactivity. Note to self: avoid M&S so I don’t set the alarms off again) and an echocardiogram at some point. Tits, bones, heart – there is no bit of me that they are not scanning. I now know how the food in my Sainsbury’s trolley feels. And only after all the data from all the scans is back will I be able to start the chemo. So maybe next Thursday, possibly the start of the following week.

So in the meantime, while life continues to be a bit limbo-ish, I’ll carry on with work and the kiddies and the house and all the other stuff that keeps me busy. Haven’t even had time to start looking through the amazing Cancer Lifeline Programme yet. No time to slow down. I’m like Roadrunner, me. Meep meep!