Monthly Archives: August 2007

From one of Elaine’s students

Very reluctantly, Elaine has had to give up her online teaching, and tell her colleagues and students.

I’ve been very moved by this message from an 11 year old Japanese student, whose brightness I’ve heard about regularly from Elaine.

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“Dear Elaine,

I just heard about your cancer, and I was terribly surprised.

My mother feels the same way, and she has sent you the kindest regards.

I was looking forward to meeting you next Term, so I was disappointed.

But I would like to tell you this.

I want to thank you for teaching me, and tell you that there will be no teacher as good as you.

I hope and pray that you will be able to live as long as you can.

We will never forget you, and if (our school) one day becomes bigger, your name will always be remembered.

I think I have taken a great liberty in writing this letter, but I sincerely hope you will forgive me.

Yours sincerely,
Y . . . . .

P.S. My Dad.. father says he is sorry as well. And I have another word..

‘If you are sad, and want to give up, put your fingers to your lips and pull.
Look at the mirror, and smile to yourself. Remember, a smile on your lips, then there is peace at heart.’

Whoever said this, it’s very good… I myself have been encouraged with it.

May God Bless You.”

* * * * * * * * *

Apart from everything else, it’s so unfair that Elaine has to give up when she has so very much more to give.

Results day

After all the negative results I have had in the past few days it was great to have an uplifting one!

Yesterday, 16th of August, Morgan got his A level results from Greenhead College – six grade As! Yes 6 As in Philosophy, English Language & Literature, Medieval History, Politics, Sociology and General Studies. He took so many because General Studies is compulsory and he was so interested in all the subjects he was doing that he didn’t want to give up any of them. They give students their marks these days, and each subject was 94% or more.

He has always been an academic and intelligent person but the last couple of years at Greenhead have developed him so much and it has been exciting to see him discovering the joys of the intellectual life as we ourselves did so many years ago now. Morgan was interviewed by the Halifax Evening Courier and made today’s front page! You can read the online article here.

His entry into Greenhead coincided with the diagnosis of my illness which he has coped with so well. Here’s hoping to see him graduate.

I was rather annoyed with myself yesterday when about 5 yards away from the main door of the college I fell again. I have no idea why. I scraped my nose, burst my lip, have a bump on my head and felt as if my teeth had been knocked out. Fortunately they hadn’t been. My glasses will have to be replaced because of bad scratching on my plastic lenses. The dentist examined me today and said it looks like I have been “very fortunate” as he can’t see anything that needs immediate attention. Return in a fortnight for an X ray to see if they have fully tightened on their own. My elbows are also strained. Phoned for one of my Park Attwood Clinic appointments (See earlier post) where Dr. A who I spoke with said that she felt I should ask for a neurological examination as well. I know what she’s thinking and the idea of brain cancer too feels just too terrifying.

The Fall

Elaine wrote this yesterday evening.

Last night (I don’t quite know how) I slipped and fell down about 7 steps of our very steep staircase. It was very frightening as I saw the wall approaching & thought that I was going to go straight to the bottom but luckily I managed to use the stair’s hand rail to save myself. Very shaken up and with Chris’s help I made it to the sofa where I was aware that I had some pain at the back of my left knee but felt OK once the shock had worn off.

It was when I began to get up to go to bed that my real problems started. I was in such awful pain reaching my feet that Chris claims I made far more noise than during Morgan’s birth. Getting up the stairs was agony & I didn’t even clean my teeth because of the small amount of extra movement it would require to reach the sink in the bathroom. I needed to go to the loo in the night. It took me almost 5 minutes to get there even though it’s right next door to my bedroom.

This morning I called out our GP who said I must have an X ray because chemotherapy weakens bones considerably & he feared something might be broken. As he left I felt as if I couldn’t face much more. A broken knee in addition to everything else? I felt at such a low ebb.

The ambulance crew were a cheery couple who when they had skillfully manoeuvred me in a chair down the stairs were very chatty. O telling me all about his recent trip to Saudi and L about her recent grandchild. O and I had recently watched the same programmes on India and Pakistan as part of the 60th anniversary Partition commemorations. He had actually seen the closing of the border gates between India and Pakistan which formed the funniest part to us of the programme led by Sanjeev Baskar & told me that amongst the huge crowds which go to watch this ceremony every day you can always tell British born Indians and Pakistanis because they are the ones laughing hysterically at the Ministry of Silly walks goosestepping which the soldiers use.

I was seen very quickly, X rayed and told I didn’t have a break but a sprain in my knee. I don’t even need crutches just an elasticated bandage and painkillers both of which have brought tremendous relief. I have had my criticisms of Calderdale Hospital but have always found A&E there to be an excellent and very well run department.

Home again

I was delighted this afternoon when Elaine told me on the phone that they were discharging her and that I could come and get her. We arrived back home just after six, and Elaine’s vitality is very much better today than it has been over the past few days. There have been times in the past few weeks when Elaine was not up to talking with people so it is good to be able to hear Elaine’s socialising (we have a couple of visitors) nearly three hours after we returned home.