Cancer unzipped, a commentary on social avoidance and horse control progress

Today I received something awesome in the post!

it’s a furry cancer cell (malignant neoplasm)

Photo on 2013-08-05 at 13.25  Photo on 2013-08-05 at 15.41

Photo on 2013-08-05 at 13.26 #3

As you can see the happy healthy cell is all cute and smiley – then you unzip it’s mouth and turn it inside out – it becomes a horrible miserable sickly cancer cell! of course this furry guy can be instantly cured by being turned back inside out (unlike ACTUAL cancer cells – the only way to deal with them is to excise or otherwise kill them 😦 )

Now I know I’m appearing to make light of a medical problem which will affect ~ 40-50 % of the population during their lifetime according to the latest statistics. I feel able to take this stance as 1) my gran has severe cancer (starting out as ovarian) 2) I’ve had a skin cancer scare (severely dysplastic – i.e. a mole which was growing / darkening and looking suspiciously similar in the biopsy to malignant ) and 3) I work in medical research, hoping to one day make some contribution towards the treatment of cancer or other debilitating, common or serious medical conditions. I also grow plates of cancerous (immortalized) human cells for some of my experiments, so I guess I have a slightly different view of cancer to a lot of people.

So I reckon this guy – the furry toy cancer is quite cute and I hope it’s the only cancer I ever get.

There is another side to my opinion though – cancer (by definition – dysfunctional, mutated cells that divide uncontrollably) happens all the time to everyone but under normal circumstances your immune system recognizes there is an issue and zaps the cells into oblivion so no harm done – cancer as we think of it happens when the immune system fails to recognize a problem with these cells and they grow to obstruct organs, hog nutrients and being an overall burden on your system. Did you know that just from ambient radiation you will be getting random mutations accumulating in your cells all the time throughout your life? no? It’s nothing to be scared of – its been happening since the dawn of DNA (hence evolution)! The only human cells which are safe from this process are your germ cells (eggs and sperm) fascinating huh? so even if you get a bad mutation at some point – you won’t pass it on to your progeny – very clever of nature that one 🙂

In other news, That dress dilemma I had resolved itself (thanks Petra !!) I went with zebra print cocktail dress and that was just right ( set me in between the neon pink lycra minidress and full length evening gown crowds). It was a bit weird because we only knew the ecstatically happy couple (oh lord! I nearly spilt half my glass of wine down one of their suits when they went in for an unexpected hug  – thankfully Id plumped for rose – phew). so anyway – the only other people we knew were our next door neighbours – ah you think that’s ok – or thats bad because either you get along well already, or you want to avoid them right – I mean, you’ve lived next to them for about 3 years now…so….

Actually – um – ha – you’ll find this funny – erm – we have  never had a conversation with them which extends further than ‘nice weather!’ or “hiya!” or maybe “how are you doing?” pleasantries only. Well we had no choice – after being told by the newlyweds that they were outside we kind if had to go out there too – cringing all the way thinking – oh god! how do we explain being so antisocial and what if they can hear us arguing through the walls or hear the guitar or my singing – erm

Well after the usual – hiya – how are you doing, isn’t this a lovely place etc I came out with something along the lines of “I’m sorry that we live right next to each other but don’t know each other at all – why don’t you tell us a little about yourselves” and off we went – it turns out that they are actually a really nice young couple – they like vampire movies, one is a teacher, the other an electrician and they really were quite good company for the evening and I am so glad that we were forced to socialise like that otherwise we probably never would! As it stands they are curious to see how my decoration went (apparently no-one else i the block has decorated…) and to be honest Id interested to see the lifesize model of K9  from doctor who that they have i their hallway! we arranged to swap some music and dvds and all is good. They even gave us a lift home in their suped up car (very cool and extremely careful driving too). What I find sad is that living in a place like this you really have to make the effort to get to know your neighbours – you see them in the bin shed or scampering up to their flat but really – that’s it! with no communal garden or anything its set up for isolated units entirely. Sad. but now a bit happier :0)

As for the horse – well you know I had some issue stopping the new horse Casper when we cantered the first time? well the second ride I went out feeling a bit apprehensive and only did transition work (no long distances of canter) as i wanted him to start listening to me! Well I got myself a balance strap (bit of leather that connects to the front of the saddle for emergency grabbing) which gave me a bit of confidence – I also tried to remember the techniques I learnt all those years ago for controling horses and tried some out. It turns out that Casper resopnds well to seat and leg commands – I can get him to speed up, slow down, stop, turn left or right without the use of reins…(that’s in a walk) so we did some more transition training – walk-trot-walk-halt-walk etc and then -walk-trot-canter-trot-walk-trot – just to check the brakes! and he was really responsive – great I thought! we had a few moments when he thought he’d try and take the piss – he wanted to go home and we were going another way – bugger that! he’s not in charge of the route plan! get on with you, you silly horse! when we came to a stubble field I thought – ok there is an entire field to try and stop him in and if we don’t slow down by the corner we can just go round and round the field until we are under control (as opposed to getting to the end of the bridleway where there was a concrete strip…) so off we went (with my friend watching with interest to see what we did!) and he went into tro and canter as asked but threw his head down (oh go! am i going to get bucked off?) but he just needed a cough – so we carried on but one the coughs ended he kind of charged a bit – really stretching his legs and running for glory – at which point I checked my seat – although reins were not loose, I was tilted forwards in the saddle and grippping with my lower leg – ah. I see – although hands were saying slow down, body was saying LET’S RACE! – so I forced my shoulders back, my seat back and exuded some calm, gave a few alternative squeezes on the reins and voila! a controlled canter! although slightly faster than I was used to on Monty, i knew my seat was secure even if the speed wasn’t perfect and when I asked him to trot, within a few strides trot we did :D. I’m so proud of us both getting used to each other – it was a great ride 🙂