Weekly Blog No 100 – Cancer Update. 

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Cancer Update.



Late January my GP/Family Physcian was getting concerned with me, regarding my symptoms. The Royal Free Hospital, London, UK requested some additional tests including the most advanced scan for my cancer. I have personally been struggling at times, when I have a bad day, I rest and when I have a good day I make the most of it. My body was certainly telling me my cancer had advanced but I had to have medical procedures to confirm that. Today, I went to the RFH for the results and the news was not great.

There was more progression of cancer both in my abdomen and liver.  Was I shocked, no I wasn’t because I knew. What was my reaction, well I smiled because now there was data to represent my symptoms. Weird reaction, I know but I’ve been here at least 5 times before, it’s old hat.  What happens now, my Oncologist wants me to have additional scans to examine the growth in more detail on my abdomen and liver, which is supposed to be in the next 2-4 weeks. However my scan is in 4 weeks with additional blood work. That gives him 2 weeks to discuss my case with other Consultants before seeing him again. He has proposed 3 treatment options but I won’t go into that yet until a final decision has been made. In the meantime, guess what, I have more meds, let’s just add a few more to my rather big collection.

I’m going to continue life the best I can and with no boundaries. I will update you in July when I have more news. I would like to thank the people who continuously support both me & Mr ZebraKat  ❤️

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Weekly Blog No 99 – Canterbury, UK

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Canterbury, what a beautiful place, especially on a sunny day. The city was overflowing with people consisting of locals, tourists and just a few foreign school children to add to the measure.

The city has an abundance of quaint shops and historic buildings. I was in my element; however, my body wasn’t prepared to do the shop tour. I did achieve taking photos of various buildings of interest and a visit to Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Tales

Canterbury Tales is one of the main attractions in Canterbury. Mr Zebrakat and I didn’t indulge in Chaucer’s famous tales. Geoffrey Chaucer wrote 24 stories in middle English between 1342 to 1400.  There were huge queues going into the building therefore it appeared to be very popular.

Sir John Boys House

One of the most photographed properties in the UK, alongside Buckingham Palace, London. The building is also known as Crooked House, Kings Gallery or the Old Kings Shop. A delightful askew building from the 17th Century. It has been reported that the building got its skewed-up appearance after alterations to the internal chimney that caused the structure to slip sideways. The story told is that additional attempts were made to rectify the problem, nevertheless that caused more slippage. The property is now structurally secured by a steel frame. Therefore the front door is built askew with its corners altered to fit the frame.

The building is not usually open to the public, as it is in regular use by King’s School. The building can be viewed from the street and you can see the photos below.

Canterbury Cathedral

Astonishing building and should be seen, if you are ever in Canterbury, without sounding to nerdy. The Cathedral is steeped in history and I managed to speak to a maintenance employee who gave us insight into the Cathedral and pointed out a couple of areas of greater interest.

There is no way I could write about the history of the Cathedral so I have obtained this info below from the Cathedral website to give you an overview through the centuries.

Through the Centuries

597 – St Augustine arrived in Kent and soon established the first Cathedral

1070-1077 – Cathedral rebuilt by Archbishop Lanfranc

1098-1130 – New Quire built over a Crypt (present Western Crypt)

1170 – Thomas Becket murdered in the Cathedral

1175-1184 – Quire rebuilt. Eastern Crypt, Trinity and Corona Chapels added (all as seen today)

1220 – Becket’s body placed in new Shrine in Trinity Chapel

1377-1405 – Lanfranc Nave demolished and rebuilt as seen today; Cloister vaulting inserted

c1450 – Pulpitum Screen constructed

1498 – Bell Harry Tower extended and the Cathedral largely complete as seen today

1538 – Becket’s Shrine destroyed by Henry VIII

1540 – Monastery dissolved by royal command

1541 – New Foundation of Dean and Chapter established

1660-1704 – Repair and refurbishing after Puritan damage

1834 – North West tower rebuilt

1954 – Library rebuilt, repairing War damage

 1986 – Altar of the Sword’s Point (Martyrdom) restored

 1988 – Compass Rose placed in the Nave

 2000 – International Study Centre (Cathedral Lodge) opened in the Precincts

Weekly Blog No 98 – Turner Comtemporary, Margate, Kent

Turner Contemporary

Along the beach was a modern building called Turner Contemporary.

The Turner Contemporary was showing an exhibition called Entangle: Threads & Making. It was showcasing work from 40 international female artists. The exhibition is due to finish on the 7th May 2017 and is free admission. Inside the building is a café and gift shop so that you can buy those unusual gifts.

This photo is of the elevator in the building, which is now decorated on all the walls, with this artist work .

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I took some photos of the exhibits and I apologise now to the artists, if my photos don’t do their work justice.

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The pieces were amazing and I did note an appreciatitive audience.

Weekly Blog No 97 – Margate, Kent

 

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Margate

As you know, I have a number of tests coming up, therefore Mr ZebraKat and I decided to go away for a weekend. Its been over a year since we have been away and we certainly needed a change of scenery. My next procedure was on Tuesday, therefore it was lovely to feel just like another tourist for a few hours.

I am ashamed to say I have not seen much of the UK for breaks or holidays, I always headed out of the country. Its UK’s bonus that my illness prevents me from heading on a plane to some exotic location.  Hopefully in the coming months, I shall attempt to explore more of the UK, forgetting my illness. I went to Margate, drove around Broadstairs & Ramsgate and visited Canterbury. Consequently I am going to cover over a few blogs. I am no way near even an amateur photographer but you will get the picture. Excuse the pun.

Margate had a lovely sandy beach and was pretty empty when we arrived, however on Saturday it was a different story with many visitors.

 

This beautiful building is now used as the Tourist Information Centre, the elegant building was built-in 1812 for Margate Pier & Harbour Company.

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Droit House

Dreamland is an amusement park, which was closed due to refurbishment. It’s a shame as there was a roller disco in the park and I would have given that a go.

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We had a light lunch in this 70’s feel Italian Cafe, the food & coffee was amazing, if I was to go back again i would call into this cafe.

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Cafe – High Street

The old town was a mixture of cute shops and buildings. I do love the period properties, you can imagine the history.

Period properties around the old town.

The Old Kent Market is a restored building of independent sellers selling food & crafts.

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Old Kent Market

Next we took a look at Morris Dancers outside the Turner Building. Morris Dancers are English Folk Dancing people and has been recorded in history since 1448. The Turner Building will be the next blog.

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Morris Dancing

Weekly Blog No 96 – Life Continues

I thought it’s been a while and I should give you an update and elaborate what I’ve been doing in the mean time. 

I’ve been missing in action for a while now because of the challenges of carcinoid cancer. It’s been an  ongoing obstabcle course and I’ve had to climb over walls, swing on ropes and jump through hoops. Only, my adventure is not the wonderful experience you would imagine. 

My new Family Physician has been excellent and on the ball referring me when there has been concerns and there haven’t been many. I had scans, tests and Specialist appointments. On one appointment my medication intake increased a further 5 different meds due to my symptoms. The medical hamster wheel never stops for me.  

Next week I have an endoscopy and the following week my GA68 cancer scan. My tumour marker blood tests that have always remained normal even though, I’ve had 3 cancer ops. My tumour marker result has done a long jump out of normal range with a personal best and doubled within 6 months. Well done cancer, what are you telling me now.

Here’s comes the honestly part. There has been occasions were I have thought is this my downward spiral. Do I seriously need to get my life in order before I decline anymore. My life was in complete order in Canada but isn’t so complete in the UK. It’s something that I need to address. I have ideas but it needs to be down on paper.  

I’m not the person I was and my life has changed so much. I miss work but I do understand why I can’t work. Furthermore I’m don’t have the freedom I once had but I’m also grateful for the freedom I do have. Going anywhere is a challenge, yet you have to try to get to places if you can and Mr Zebrakat is very supportive and never a whinge is heard.

I’m not a crier as a rule, however I did end up crying to Mr Zebrakat a few weeks ago when nothing would take the pain away. It was a Sunday too, so not everyone was accessible for assistance. On the Monday my butt dart nurse saw I was out of sorts and crossed the procedure line to get me assistance. A box of chocolates is in the waiting for my next visit. Thank you so much to my nurse and her diligence.

You do start to question things, for instance, is this it, or if your deemed to have an extended life, how can you possibly maintain symptoms like this every single day. I now understand why people want to throw in the towel. Trust me it’s very easy to comment on these things, when you haven’t physically experienced it yourself. Therefore please be mindful when discussing people’s health issues. I have personally made comments on people’s health in the past, saying I don’t understand why people don’t try more or I don’t understand why they are doing that blah blah blah. Speak to the person and get their prospective on the situation.   

Yes it’s wonderful having a life but no one wants to be feeling horrible everyday. We have all had a viral infection at some point and you feel so terrible. Imagine that feeling most days, it’s the only way I can explain some of the symptoms/situations. Don’t worry, I’m not giving up and my Specialist is working hard to control my symptoms.Thank you Prof C.  The reality is that I may look ok but truth is my life is tormented by my cancer. 

My priorities have changed in life, what may have been my 1 – 5 year goals have immediately become my current goals. I’ve been fighting this for 4 years on Mothers Days (UK), which is a wonderful achievement. Even longer if you count the years it was growing inside me before being diagnosed. 

I will continue to fight and challenge my body. I will keep reading and thank you to Auntie P for the continous supply of reading material. I will be lost in Victorian times for a while. Thank you to K for keeping me up to date in showbiz gossip.  

The house renovation plans are nearly completed for Local Authority submission, well done Mr Zebrakat. Roll on brick dust. 

The garden is now missing a silver birch tree, conifers and  a vine. Hello, fresly painted bird table and proposed space for veggie boxes.  I have sowed some seeds indoor seeds for bedding plants and veggies. A new skill for me and I’ve been learning from others and a big thank to Lady T for the beginners guide. 

I’ve also being working on Mr Zebrakat family tree and mine at times. His is my priorty, I’ve rechecked the facts that I have gathered to ensure that I’m following the right line. It’s amazing how people attach your family members to thier family tree. Clearly assuming that their family member is married to yours.You can’t make assumptions, you have to get the certificates to double check the info provided is correct. The Scottish certificates tend to give a little more info, like marriage date of parents and addresses making the trial a little easier, although I will be crossing over to Ireland now. I know with my family tree, Ireland is a little harder to trace and I believe a lot of records were destroyed by the British. However on a good note, Mr Zebrakat was able to reconnect with a 1st cousin through my research. #happydays.

Althrough i’m problematic times and I may question things, I’m still proactive in one way or another. I would to thank Mr Zebrakat, my family and friends for keeping me going, you know who you are. #specialpeople. 

Weekly Blog No 95 – French Bistro Evening 

imageLocally we stumbled upon a quaint little café with a friendly atmosphere. Every time we have visited the café, you are made to feel welcome and presented with gratifying food & drinks. When ordering a sandwich of your choice, you are presented with a side order of homemade coleslaw and baked crisps.  As I’m not a lover of coleslaw, I was surprised to be delighted by the flavour and could quiet happily eat a bowl on its own. I don’t know what the secret ingredient is, nevertheless they have definitely won me over.

Usually after my cancer injection, Mr Zebrakat and I treat ourselves to a spot of breakfast or early lunch. In January, we spotted that the café did theme night menus. In January, it was a Scottish theme menu, just after Burns Night but we didn’t go as we had other plans.  We decided to go to the next one in February, which was French Bistro. We paid our deposit unsure if we would attend due to me not being so well lately, however at least our place was reserved. Yesterday was ohh la la evening, so I made sure I got plenty of rest during the day.

When we approached the space we were enriched with French music, bunting of French flags, white tablecloth & blue & red confetti laid tables and finally dressed with a bulb of garlic.  We were able to bring with us a bottle of wine as the premises doesn’t hold a liquor licence. Here is the food menu.

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 The shared oven baked Camembert was amazing.

We both had the pan poached garlic mushrooms

Followed by the rustic French onion soup, Mr Zebrakat had the honey glazed duck a la orange and I had the coq au vin.

Then onto dessert, which was a selection of French style desserts

The evening was truly amazing with a great atmosphere. The food was impeccable and the service outstanding. We are going to try another theme night very soon.

 

Photo Credit : Food photos off Facebook page of the café.

Weekly Blog No 94 – Bullet Journal Update

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Sometime ago I mentioned that I was going to commence a bullet journal in Weekly Blog No 77. I failed my attempt after a couple of months and here’s why.

  • It was time-consuming drafting and redrafting pages.
  • At times my pages look quiet childlike and although they were organised, I didn’t feel professional when pulling out my bullet journal to schedule an appointment.
  • I was never ahead with my monthly calendars
  • I was constantly going backwards and forwards, flicking through with pages. As my monthly calendar was always between other pages.
  • I was becoming stationary obsessed for washi tape and colour pens etc

I want to explain to everyone even though this was not suitable for me, I do like the principal of a bullet journalling. I had no problem filling in the content of the pages, it was setting up the pages that was time-consuming. With the knowledge that I gained along the way. I have maintained a moleskin book for recording various other important information to me, which is my one stop shop.

I have listed books read including specific authors pages. Now when I’m out shopping I can remember, which ones I have read. I recently created a moving out list of tasks, which I’m able to refer too. I have a yearly record of energy bills etc so that i can track the costs. I have an instant list of medical appointments to refer too. Lists of birthday gifts given and received. All the things you don’t remember necessary or even log. Yes you may log some of this stuff in a diary, but youre not going to keep 2 years of dairies in your handbag to retrieve the information. As you see, I’m able to utilise my moleskin in a different way, all inspiration from a bullet journal.

I have seen some amazing bullet journals on social media and kudos to all those people for their effort, discipline and creative genes. Thank you to the bullet journal community.