Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hope Cup Cakes and Candles

Good morning God,

It's always tempting to try to write about something that you are interested in or a part of. The temptation to compare your facts with other people's fiction overcomes the natural (and usually very necessary) fear of looking like an idiot (so what's new!) and when its about hospitables - it seems it's almost irresistible.

It is possible to separate the dross from the gloss when writing about the Royal Marsden without exaggeration or manipulation in any way shape or form, put simply - no dross - just pure gloss. Bright, sun-shining colours are present as pens, watch straps, hair bands - wherever possible and enable people to remember that in spite of the inevitable maintenance works at the front, back, sides and lifts - there is a Monet or Renoir beauty also hiding back there somewhere, well thumbed magazines are left nonchalantly lying around along with a loyalty card for the coffee bar (as just one more hint of the optimism that permeates the whole place)

Yes - I DO know what I am am talking about - this is my fourth week (I think) not counting the two or three days home for good behaviour towards the start of the month - and no - I am in no delusions about my disease or how vile, disfiguring and unpleasant it really can be. But I would want to echo everything good that was said about the Marsden in the guardian this week - and add some!

You see, they mentioned the patients, the brilliant but peculiar form of altruism practised by them, they pointed out how special and unique it is to have this facility on site - but they failed to mention some of the most incredible people I have ever met.

As a Methodist Minister, I get used to meeting saints (no really!!) But the staff of the Royal Marsden just astound me. They see ME - not the disease. They took the trouble to learn how to make me smile, how I like my tea and just how much ice makes a build-up milk shake actually taste like a milk shake.

This last fortnight I celebrated both my birthday and my 25th Wedding anniversary in the Oak Ward at the hospital trying out new treatments - so far no go..

For my birthday -there was cake, a candle and a song - for my Anniversary, one of the staff found a way of obtaining an anniversary card for me to be able to surprise my husband with, a doctor found a way of giving new signs of hope and two nurses were a step ahead of me in figuring out how we could enable me to sleep in spite of all the gadgetry sewn into my back.

I find myself wanting to ask those who put the TV commercial together to ask not just for £2.00 a month but for £2.00 + 2 smiles, or 2 acts of random human kindness as I am convinced beyond measure that the cure for Cancer lies as much in the attitude of the people who work here and the care that they show as it does in the chemicals they research and administer. These chemicals are incredibly expensive and although progress is fairly rapid, it does take time to solve the mutations that warp our cells. We have however known what warps our hearts and lives for a long time already.

Me? I'm going to try and take a leaf out of thier book - from the way I am greeted at the door, to the way I am wished goodnight, I will try and be worth the investment of the staff in me.


  1. thank you for such a positive post, my experience was not with the Marsden but with the Brompton next door, staff at these hospitals are amazing and the way they see you not the condition or disease is inspiring.

    Prayers for you continue

  2. Good to read this post, Angie. Blessings!

  3. Thank you so much for these thoughts Angela - your encouragement, your hope and your reminder of the things that matter most.
    With my prayers and very best wishes,

  4. So good to hear from you and to know you are surrounded by :living saints". Best wishes.

  5. But the staff of the Royal Marsden just astound me. They see ME - not the disease.

    I'm so glad that's your experience. That's as it should be, of course, but still A Very Good Thing. Keeping you in my prayers and thanks for posting.

  6. Bless you dear Angie and all those who surround you at this time.
    Keep smiling.
    Love Syb xx

  7. I just checked by on fb as was wondering how you were getting on.
    Happy Belated birthday Angie, and wedding anniversary to you and Brian.
    Reassuring to know that the care is good- I know it must be a privilege for the staff.
    lots of love x

  8. HI Angie many belated wishes to you both i am so glad you are being taken care of wonderfully well by some lovely staff love and blessings to you both keep your chin up Pam

  9. Happy belated birthday, Angie. I hear you're back home at the moment. Been thinking of you lots. You are such a blessing to us all.

  10. Well done. You did well, very well. Peace be yours

  11. It's very hard to imagine Angie is gone...gone but not forgotten. Death comes, sometimes, to the best of us.
    Rest in peace the arms of the Christ who loved you and who you served

  12. I had the priviledge to meet Angie in the Marsden, it hurts that she lost her battle against cancer. She was so strong, what a loss.

  13. Our angie may be gone but she is never I am almost 2 years later, and I still when feelinng low come here to "meet" up again and regain strength from her.. x

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  15. Angie was connected to our family through the Open University - my son was a student. Some 4 years later I find myself still thinking about her contribution. A wonderful lady.