Weekly Blog No 10 – Overcoming Reality.

True Quote

True Quote

This weeks challenge is overcoming reality of the situation and remaining focus.

A week today, I went to see my Oncologist to discuss the way forward. This was going to be a difficult meeting with my Dr due to my recent op and its findings. When I had my liver resection in January, I certainly didn’t expect to be back in hospital in May for an appendix op. I just wasn’t ready for further a operation, nevertheless I was truly sick of being a patient. 4 operations in 14 months, now I’m not looking for sympathy but the reality is when you have cancer you have to be prepared to accept the unexpected as you don’t have control over the situation.

This appointment was to discuss the facts of the current situation, the Oncologist informed me that my cancer had spread and net tumours were located in the mesoappendix. He informed me that the disease was progressing quiet rapidly, which I then asked “how long do I have”. He told me that I have years rather than months but it would be a good idea to start actioning my bucket list immediately as my health is deteriorating and I might be too sick to do activities in the not to distant future.

This was shocking news and no one ever wants to think they are dying especially so young. My immediate thoughts were, how do I tell the family and will I ever work again. My family are both in the UK & Ireland so not really on my doorstep and I do miss work terribly. It’s the 1st time, in 16 months I said “why me” and “how did this happen”. During this week I was experiencing the angry phase too ” why did doctors not detect my symptoms sooner” and ” why was I only diagnosed at Stage 4″ the final stage. I have since calmed down, nevertheless those feelings may come back again with many tears.

The bucket list, I gave it some thought previously and have considered things in the last week including taking ownership of some goldfish. My husband bought me the goldfish this week, which I will discuss further in next weeks challenge. I have came to the conclusion that a bucket list is so final and could be too much pressure. Why put pressure on myself when trying to deal with an illness just makes no sense to me. I will wing it, I will attempt to do things when I can and just make the most of life. This would not be everyone’s decision but Ive been very fortunate in life to have travelled and reach my own personal goals. I will continue to be the proactive person I am as long as my health allows me too. Live life to the fullest is my motto.

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Weekly Blog No 9 – Calgary Stampede 2014

 

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Calgary Stampede 2014

The Calgary Stampede is know as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth” and is an annual show held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada every July. The show events are rodeo, chuck wagon racing, barrel racing, funfair rides, food trucks and the list is endless. The show kicks off with a Stampede Parade consisting of many floats, bands and horses etc around the city. This year the parade was opened by William Shatner originally known as Captain Kirk in Star Trek.

The dress code for the period in the city and stampede is western wear, plaid(check), denim, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat. Everyone gets into the spirt around the city even holding stampede breakfasts. You basically can eat for the 10 days for free.

I was lucky to attend the stampede on a corporate event with my husband. We had access into the park, a meal & drinks in a corporate tent and front row tickets to the rodeo. It was a gorgeous day so we were able to walk around and see the market stalls in the BMO Centre, the cattle in the Agrium Arena and the funfair rides on the Midway.

I have attached some photos for you to see.

 

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Preparing the Horse

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Western Wear

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Stampede Girl Riders

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Cowboys & Cowgirls

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Cowboy Getting Ready

Copyright 2014 KMcG

Saddle Bronc

We are looking forward to the stampede in 2015 as we missed so much.

Copyright 2014 -KMcG

Weekly Blog No 8 – Trip to the UK.

UK Flag.

UK Flag.

Sorry I have missed a couple of weeks but I had to rush back to the UK for a family emergency. You are never prepared for the telephone call, regarding loved ones. The adrenaline kicks in and you go into “can do mode”. I was very nervous about the 9 hr flight due to the cancer symptoms that I have, I took every possible precaution to avoid any problems before, during and after my flight. I can’t tell you the relief that I felt when I landed in London Gatwick at 6.30am but I still had a further 2-3hr car journey to my destination. Extra meds were taken in order to make the journey so I only had a couple of pit stops.

There was hugs, tears and even gobsmacked moments, as no one had seen me since I was diagnosed with cancer and certainly didn’t anticipate me going back with everything that I had been through. I was fortunate to see family & friends, speak to people on the phone and even got ripped to bits by my brothers. There was tears and laughter all week but most importantly was my loved ones were on the mend.

I can’t tell you how emotional my week was on so many levels but going back was very therapeutic and the timing was right. In order to get home, I missed a very important oncology appointment nevertheless that wasn’t important at the time as I knew I could reschedule an appointment for my return.

Some of my observations made in the UK.

  • Some areas/properties look so run down.
  • Supermarkets are way too busy.
  • Food choices in supermarkets is still amazing.
  • Fish & chips are still up there for me.
  • Chinese food  is so much better in the UK.
  • Books and clothing is so much cheaper.
  • Lifts/Elevators in hospitals are crazy as you have to push the button to your floor before entering the lift.
  • Doctors still wear white coats.
  • Overpriced car parking.

I still can’t believe I made it back to the UK and I know that I made the right choice. Always go with your gut.

Weekly Blog No 7 – Run & Roam the Runway at YYC Event

Credit YYC Facebook.

Credit YYC Facebook.

This week, my goal was to go to “Run & Roam the Runway at YYC” event held at Calgary International Airport. I was one of the fortunate people to receive a ticket to the event attended by members of the public and employees. The event was a prevailing of the new runway at Calgary International Airport, which took 3 years to construct and has been in the planning since the 1970’s.

Here are some additional facts, regarding the runway.

  • Finished length is 14,000-feet long and 200-feet wide
  • Capable of landing the world’s largest aircraft: A380 and B747-800
  • The new runway will be as long as 140 blue whales
  • When the new runway opens, it will be 111 years after the very first airplane successfully took flight in 1903.
  • The runway and terminal expansion is the largest in the airports history
  • YYC has the most passengers per capita of any major city in Canada
  • You could fill an Olympic sized swimming pools with the 500,00 cubic metres of gravel used to build the new runway
  • The new runway will be the longest in the country

My husband and I went to the fun day on Sunday and the attractions included:

  • Vintage plane displays and aviation exhibits
  • Family-friendly activities, including face-painting stations, obstacle courses, street performers and much more
  • The chalk zone – showcase your artistic talent
  • Food trucks

I was lucky to experience a ride in a yellow school bus to the runway, in the UK we do not have that facility. If I was schooled in Canada only then would I have had the opportunity. I was able to stand directly under an Air Canada Dreamliner, all I can say is wow and huge. Furthermore I was able to stand on the runway in its amazing glory, that’s history in itself. When do you ever get a chance to stand on the tarmac, if I am on the tarmac/runway in the future,  it should only indicate that I am on a plane otherwise I’m in trouble.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and had the opportunity of meeting employees of YYC. Having cancer can inhibit your daily life and having the freedom to do these opportunities is sometimes restricted due to your symptoms. For the first time in a very long time, I had no problems with the assistance of medication and only 3 weeks after a major op. I would say that was a result: Kat 1 v Cancer 0.

Thank you YYC for a wonderful day.

Weekly Blog No 6 – Home Staging – Katjazzled

Sketches by Isabelle Max

Sketches by Isabelle Max

Whilst recovering from my recent op it allows me time to think,which is so dangerous. My greatest ideas always come to me in bed as soon as I wake up. I wonder if anyone else experiences this? I was lying in my bed one morning thinking about the bedrooms that haven’t been accessorized yet or should I say Katjazzeled (another play on words). In the UK, let’s just say vajazzel means decorating something with stones and sparkle.

We moved into our new house in December 2013 and our bedrooms have not been Katjazzeled as yet. My initial thoughts were I need to reconfigure furniture as something is not quiet working. This is menacing when I get into this mode because it always involves work for my husband, bless him. My first issue was our master bedroom because it has to much wood going on, what I mean by that is our bedroom has a mountain/cabin feel. Don’t be misled, I love wooden furniture and always incorporate it into our house. The other issue I had was in Canada/USA they love high beds and this is due to the box spring and mattress combination, which is clearly to elevated for me. You all know I’ve had a few ops, so nowadays I always find it easier to sleep in an English bed, a bed frame and mattress combination. My poor husband had the task of moving two beds, side tables and a blanket box. The outcome was I had 3 improved spacious bedrooms ready to be Katjazzeled.

The fun part is going to begin, I have to consider bedding, pictures and mirrors etc. I have a good base colour of cream walls and beige carpets however I need some injection of colour. I do have a passion for interiors as I started to train as an interior designer and later became a certified home stager. I should really explore this more because I get such a buzz walking around home interior shops. Only time will tell if I’m able to pursue this avenue assuming my illness allows me too. I know for sure, I would donate some of my income to carcinoid cancer in one way or another.

Weekly Blog No 5 – Medical Cabinet

 

 

image

 

After been rushed into hospital for another op, it seems that I have accumulated another 3 meds to my stockpile from when I was discharged. I thought it would be a good idea to check my medical cabinet and its contents when I got home. The realization is that the medical cabinet is not deemed a priority or even a daily task in most households but should definitely be reviewed annually.

I do consider myself to be organized because all my meds are stored in one place and not peppered all over the house in various drawers/cabinets. I was shocked to discover that I had unused medications, I needed to throw away expired items, and I had to replenish items from the medical cabinet basic list.

I have supplied a medical cabinet basic list so that everyone can check his or her cabinets or drawers. I would check with the Pharmacist to see if anything should be added or deleted from the list.

Medical Cabinet Basic List

Pain, Headaches, and Fevers
Aspirin
Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol)
Ibuprofen (such as Advil and Motrin)
Thermometer

Congestion, Colds, and Coughs
Cough medicine
Decongestant (such as Sudafed or Dristan)
Throat lozenges

Allergies and Itching
Antihistamine (such as Benadryl)
Hydrocortisone cream (for persistent itching)
Calamine lotion
Eye drops

Digestive Issues
Antacids (in tablet or liquid form)
Anti diarrhea treatment
Laxatives

Cuts and Burns
Gauze, bandages, and medical tape
Antiseptic for wound cleaning (such as hydrogen peroxide)
Antibiotic ointment for preventing infections from wounds
Aloe vera gel

Good luck with your medical cabinet.

Weekly Blog No 4 – Monthly Planner.

 

Monthly Planner

Monthly Planner

 

As a cancer patient or even someone with chronic illness your life can be full of medical appointments, whether it is blood tests, seeing your family doctor, undergoing investigative tests or meeting your specialist for a treatment plan/results.

As I am old fashioned at heart, you can’t beat a hardcopy monthly planner. I use a monthly planner, which shows over 2 pages so that I can track all my appointments. I also highlight them in pretty pink to make them more prominent from my other entries, like birthdays, alternative appointments and bill payments etc. My monthly planner can look like a sea of pinkness at times.

Last week I was hoping to have a week free of medical appointments in an attempt to do things with my husband on his weeks vacation. We were going to the garden centre to look at shrubs & trees, have tradesman finish final bits of work, review basement plans for changes, start rear yard fencing and even if possible do some fun things as well.

As a cancer patient you can suffer pain or side effects. No day is the same, nevertheless your life is not what it was in so many ways. Like any other illness you have to learn to adapt. On Sunday 18th May, I was experiencing some pain, which led me to hold my right side and at times i would also feel some nausea. The pain was progressively getting worst over the next few days leading me to do less activities. I was constantly seen smooching the couch so it was time to make a pink entry in my dairy to see my family doctor appointment for the following day.

When the doctor seen me and then touched me he sent me straight to ER (A&E in the UK). I was told it was a suspected appendicitis and I would go for a CT scan. After the scan, it was confirmed that I had a perforated appendix I was to be operated either that very day or the following day “Saturday” because I was a complex case. I was actually operated on the Saturday through an open wound and left with a jp drain from my stomach. I’ve had some ops in my time and this one has been the hardest yet. Appendix ops are usually a 3 day stay but I was kept in for 5 days. Sent home with various meds etc. I’m still waiting on the pathology report to see if it is Carcinoid Cancer affecting another organ. Fingers crossed.

My weekly challenge was to have a week free of medical appointments but I was just unlucky I guess. Pink will continue to flow in my diary.