Weekly Blog No 40 – Preparation for International Move 

International moving is a whole new learning experience, it can be stressful, joyful and expensive all at the same time.  This is our fourth international move. UK to Canada, Canada to UK, UK to Canada and finally Canada to UK. Some might even call us the boomerang Brits.

First you have to make the decision to move, people are moving everyday for different reasons, it can for family, employment, a change of lifestyle or seeking a new adventure. The move can be considered as stressful or a walk in the park but it’s down to the preparation. One thing I have personally learnt from the process is that there is never enough hours in the day. Ideally a 30hr day would be perfect rather the usual 24hr day. Here are some of the things I’ve had to consider.

Furniture & Personal Possessions

 Photo from the sale brochure of my home

Shipping can be very expensive and you have to make the decision, is it really worth all the cost. I have experience with 20ft and 40ft containers, however this time as I chose to do groupage (shared container) to keep costs down. Due to my own personal experience, Canadian furniture is to big for British dwellings, therefore I made the decision to sell most of our items. British furniture is cheaper than Canadian and more suitable for British properties. Although I did have beautiful pieces I’m able to let it go to keep costs to a minimum as I do have wonderful memories.

Live Stock (Also known as Lottie aka Velcro)

 

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This little bundle of cuteness also needs preparation. There are hundreds of people flying live stock and the cost is incredible.  You have to use a pet agent to fly with certain airlines and I have used the same company and airline 3 times. In order to fly Lottie into the UK you have to have a microchip, than rabies injection and tapeworm all within the proper time scales. If you follow the correct procedure you can avoid quarantine in the UK for 6 months.  Lotiie will be on the same flight as us, however she will be below our feet in the hold hopefully having a fabulous snooze.

Cars

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 We have manage to sell one car to our friends, however one week to go we are still are stuck with our biggest four wheel investment. Friends have offered to sell it on our behalf but cars are just not selling in the downturn. We have a plan B to sell it back to the garage and guess who has the biggest smile, not us.  We can walk away bearing no more cost and cutting all ties.

The Cancer Patient 

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I’m still recovering from spine surgery, earliest indications are that I’m doing well. Hopefully the spine specialist will have the same opinion this week when I see him on my post surgery appointments. My cancer symptoms are causing me horrendous problems, therefore I’m lucky to have my husband around. My family physician has given me a prescription to aid me through the flight. I have my cancer treatment this week so I have 28 days to get my next treatment in place.

Saying goodbye to my family physician was hard, I know I have mentioned him in my blog before but he really was a very compassionate person. The respect was mutual and I hope that I make the same relationship with my new GP. Thank you again Dr K.

I do believe I’m armed with all my medical notes and discs in preparation for the UK medical journey. The word nervous is not usually in my vocabulary but its rearing its ugly head. I’m nervous to be honest due to experience, nevertheless I’m up for the challenge.

Saying Goodbye 

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We have had a stream of visitors (friends) coming into say goodbye. There has been hugs and tears, yet I haven’t allowed myself to go there yet. If I do, I may never stop and I won’t be able to deal with the task in hand. Come next Saturday morning when there is nothing else to do, I will have tissues close by as I know that’s when it’s going to hit me.

My next blog will be in the UK, so this is my last Canadian blog. Goodbye Canada.

Weekly Blog No 39 – Canada to UK

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After recent events, my husband and I have decided to return to the UK.  I know that family & friends are excited  about our return, however we have many friends here in Canada that are saddened by our news. If you had asked me 9 weeks ago if I would return to the UK, I would have said no and laughed at you. Life has a way changing the direction you were travelling, some people don’t adapt to change nevertheless I like change. I’m a big believer of fate and this is one of those incidents that I think fate is involved 

Are we sad to leave Canada.

Yes, there is so much we love about Canadian life and to be honest there’s too many to list. I’m sure Canadian culture will play a big part in our lives in the future, from barbecuing to Canada Day. How could you possibly forget Canadian culture after living here for 6 years. Every international sporting event, I will be cheering both sides of the pond.

Are we looking forward to returning to the UK.

Yes we are, to be nearer to family and friends is huge, however we will miss our friends here who have become our Canadian family. They have been my emotional support since my cancer diagnosis and that is a gift to never be forgotten.

I do believe my life will be different in the UK, I feel like I’m just existing here from one appointment to another. In the UK, I will have more people who will be able to see me during working hours and even attend appointments with me on occasions. Should a miracle happen and my symptoms improve, I could maybe be able to return to work on a part-time basis, if not there is more opportunity for me to do activities to fulfil my time. I won’t have to rely on a car to go everywhere as most places will be within walking distance or public transport.

What are we both most excited about.

Family & friends of course, spending quality time together enjoying what the UK has to offer.  Travel was an enormous part of life before leaving for Canada, it was a case of people asking us, where are you going too now. Airlines in the UK, are considerably cheaper, offering more destinations making travel  more attractive. Although I could provide an itemised list, I would be here for hours.

Are there any concerns about returning to the UK.

Yes and no, health care is different in the UK, therefore it can be wonderful and frustrating at the same time.

What are we going to miss from Canada

I don’t think my UK bank account manager will be hugging me or asking if Lottie(dog) can come to our next appointment.

Beautiful scenery & open, clean and uncongested roads.
The phase “Have a good day”.

Speedy service everywhere.

Drive thru’s.

My Family Physician – I’m going to pack him into my suitcase, he doesn’t know that just yet.

Open plan houses, basement living,  his & her washhand basins, more than one washroom and upstairs laundry.

Lack of rain and blue skies.

Cheap gasoline/petrol.

More flexible business hours, for health care, shopping and banking.

Summary 

There are pros and cons to every country and I’m ready to deal with whatever is thrown at us.

Weekly Blog No 38 – Victory in Europe or VE Day

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On this day in 1945, 70 years ago both Great Britain and the United States celebrated Victory in Europe Day. The surrender of the German forces had been suspected after the suicide of Adolf Hitlers on 30th April 1945. On the 7th May 1945, Germany unconditional signed a surrender and on the 8th May at 11.01pm all active operations would creased. Germany’s  surrender brought an end to 6 years of hardship and war.

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This instrument of surrender was signed at General Dwight D Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims by General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army. At the same time, he signed three other surrender documents, one each for Great Britain, Russia, and France.

Winston Churchill officially announced  an “End of War in Europe” speech on the wireless and everywhere became a place of celebration. The Government allowed bonfires using only items of no salvage value to be burned. The Board of Trade until the end of May allowed  people to buy cotton bunting without coupons as long as it was red, white & blue and cost no more than a shilling.

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The streets were filled with tricolour flags and bunting and people worn either rosettes or ribbons. The people were rolling out into the streets to enjoy the atmosphere and merriment.

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A street party

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Canadian soldiers entertaining the crowd

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People dancing around the Clock Tower, Leicester

The Royal Family enter the balcony of Buckingham Palace later that afternoon to wave to the crowds. King George VI made the last official speech to the nation at 9pm and Buckingham Palace was lit by floodlights, the first time in 6 years

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Thunderstorms and rain brought the celebrations to an end, however people still had a rocky road ahead.  Rations continued on certain items right up till 1952. Men returned home with physical and mental disorders. Children returned to their family homes following excavation. Theses are only some of the things people had to endure with life after Victory in Europe.

We as people have to acknowledge and be grateful for life that we have. Without the war efforts, where would we be today.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Blog No 37 – Medical Week of Madness

 

The challenge this week was to continue smiling with my head held up high.

A  month ago I got a second opinion from experts in New Orléans, USA. A city steeped in history but a little scary at times, however renowned for carcinoid patients. I had a consultation with Dr Woltering and Dr Wang who are very well-known in the NET/Carcinoid Cancer Community for their expertise on my specific cancer. On arrival both Dr’s clarified my fears of what I had suspected for months and had previously questioned with Oncologist. Their recommendations where to have more surgery on the liver to remove tumours, review the bowel as its questionable and remove the ovaries for precaution. The outcome would be that my quality of life would improve and prolong my life. Now that’s a result.

My husband and I got some relief and renewed hope because my life is a constant struggle. Upon my return to Canada, I had an immediate appointment with my Oncologist, who was clearly eager to know the outcome of my recent appointment, it wasn’t how are you doing, it was more of a case what did New Orléans say. Upon telling my Oncologist he dismissed the extra tumours on the liver. He clearly got hung up on my ovaries, which to me was the least important feedback given. However he did accept the recommended medication proposals and he also acknowledged that my recent labs suggested more tumours. Now there’s a contradiction straightway you don’t have tumours but you do have tumours.

I have to be honest and say in the last 12 months, I have felt very frustrated with my Oncologist. I find that his actions are reactive rather than preventative. What I mean is, such as last May, I was rushed to hospital due to pain, which was dismissed by him and I ended in hospital. Having yet another emergency operation on my appendix and where neuroendocrine tumours were found. I have many examples but I think my post says it all.

Following my appointment with my Oncologist, he had arranged for a follow-up appointment with my NET Surgeon. She is an excellent NET Surgeon but her bed side manner has a lot to be desired. We have all dealt with doctors like that and we continue to allow it too happen, maybe because if you complain we all think it may affect our future health care. I did kinda of suspect how the appointment would have concurred as I had felt my Oncologist was singing off the same hymn sheet.  She is more senior and appears to be head of the Net Team so there is regular round table discussions. As predicted the appointment went terrible, there was 5 of us in the room , my husband and I, the surgeon and two resident doctors. To cut the story short she walked out the room leaving us all open mouthed wondering what just happened. Our appointment was meant to be 1pm but due a patient emergency we were waiting for over 2hrs and my personal nurse said I can rearrange your appointment to save you waiting as she was going into an operating room.  We agreed an appointment two weeks later given me to time recover from my future spine surgery, however on the way home we got a call asking could we please come back as she wanted to see us.  My cynical mind says she is clearly eager to know what her fellow professionals have recommended. We didn’t get back to the hospital until 4.45pm due to traffic, yet she was happy to leave us waiting for a further 30 – 45 mins before coming into the room. The appointment was horrendous and she came across both very patrorising and unprofessional. It was clear she had dismissed their opinions and I don’t know if it was just a case of professional rivalry or ego. 

I must say I do have the up most respect for her surgical abilities and everyone you talk too feels the same. I met another one of her patients in hospital this week, I didn’t mention my recent incident as I do believe in professional integrity, however the patient clearly said she was an amazing surgeon but her bedside manner has a lot to be desired. I don’t know if her manners have ever been questioned by the local health authority etc or is it just accepted/ignored because she’s an amazing surgeon, I think the latter.
I started to question things again, Why oh why, do we take what they say as literal, why do we never challenge them and why are they the only profession that we put on a pedestal. Any other professions we will challenge and seek alternative advice.  I have an amazing Family Physician who continues to deliver for me. My Spine Surgeon is amazing too and even said to me on Friday “let me worry about you and your spine issues not you” Lol. There are doctors and nurses who are very compassionate and treat you with respect. I like to be treated like I would treat you and that’s always with care and compassion. As an Engineer/Building Surveyor every client of mine was treated with the same level of service, my goal was for them to walk away with the results they required and to be satisfied. I believe that I did meet that as I had never received any complaints even whilst doing enforcement action of an unpleasant nature.

On Thursday I had my 4th lumbar spine surgery, I’m at home now resting and hopefully I will be pain free and have no more limping. My Spine Surgeon is going to check some other areas of concern through MRI’s and I will do my due diligence and keep a track on that too.

I will continue to fight for my life, what do I have to lose really.  We can’t prevent someone from getting cancer but we can put in place both reactive and preventive measures. I am here today with Stage 4 Cancer because doctors were diagnosing my symptoms to generic problems.  I have to take on some responsibility for not challenging them more over the years and allowing myself to be fogged off. I have an obligation now to fight for me, my family & my friends and I can’t/won’t allow doctors to continue to dismiss my concerns without justification. I have both visual/written evidence and I will use this to hold someone liable if I need to get the care that I require. I shouldn’t have to be fighting for my life and my care.

All I want is what I’m entitled too 🆗

Weekly Blog No 36 – Hoarder or Not

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My basement has been a long and tideous task, for months I’ve been working through boxes shipped over from the UK. It was a mountain of complete chaos, the floor was covered with paper, ceramics and boxes etc. I have worked for hours in the bottomless pit trying to organise, what seems like 30 plus years of personal possessions.

I don’t consider myself a hoarder, however here is the definition of a hoarder in the Oxford Dictionary;

A person who hoards things:

Is that me, maybe another definition for clarity. The Urban Dictionary explains a little further;

(Adj) A word that describes anyone that feels the need to find, collect, keep, pack ANY and EVERYTHING becasue they do not know how to throw things away.

I don’t feel the need to find, however I do have a couple of collections, my vinyl singles and LP’s. Keep, I may fit this category because when emptying the boxes, I found in my memory boxes that I have letters received from friends when I was 10 yrs old. I have 3 large tubs of memories from travel memorabilia, invites, cinema tickets, work ID’s, cards and letters. Pack any and everything maybe from one place to another but I don’t have a problem of letting go.

In the last few weeks I have parted ways with alot of things, items of furniture and home accessories. Therefore I don’t have to pack and keep everything approach, however I do have to find ways of storing/organising things better. I have boxes of papers that I have kept, yes I can scan them but is a scan copy considered legal if I ever needed to produce the original paperwork. This would reduce my paper loading in my basement so if anyone knows the answer, that would be great. Photos, I have a few boxes and again not very organised, now I can hear a few of you saying why don’t you store them on my computer. What happens if I lose my computer? Yes I could save additional copies on a memory stick but Isn’t it nicer to look at the hardcopies on a comfortable sofa than searching through your hard drive. Clothes, we all have a little bundle that we live in hope to fit into again, why do we torture ourselves, has anyone ever fitted back into clothes they use to wear and if you did were they still in fashion, maybe not on both accounts.

I’m sure we are all a victim of the above in one way or another, nevertheless I would say it’s very invigorating to let things go for someone else to enjoy.

Do you hoard things? Or have items that you can’t let go? Do you have tips in storing items?

Weekly Blog No 35 – I’m Back. 

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I don’t know where to start, I’ve been away for 5 weeks but it feels like months.

Life never prepares you for the emotions you feel when you’re faced with health issues, bereavement and your husband’s job loss. It’s how we deal with it that’s more important.

Bereavement, there is no words, but they say time is a healer. I know these words to be  true but only time with tell especially with loved ones.

My husband is still not working, nevertheless I love having him around. There is a downturn in Calgary and every week you hear of more & more lay offs. We do have a plan A, B, C and D and we are currently sitting between C & D. Staying positive is the key to success.

Health wise, well now that’s been a roller coaster of appointments, procedures and opinions. I will give you the shorter version of events, in my attempt to improve my quality of life.

I have some amazing friends that have the same cancer, yet they seem to have a life with what seems no limitations or restrictions. I’m so grateful for my care to date but for the last year I have become very frustrated. I have started to challenge things and even my family physician has done a lot of ground work due to concerns we both have.  Time after time tests are revealing things yet I’m progressively getting worse.  With this in mind, I decided I would go to New Orléans, USA to see experts specialising in this type of cancer. They were either going to confirm my existing concerns or that I have no immediate issues.

The experts were wonderful and their ability shun through however they validated my concerns. Armed with their findings, I took information to my care team on Monday and my concerns regarding additional tumours were dismissed. The recommendation of the experts was further surgery to “grab the suckers”, their words not mine and this would improve my quality of life.  I wouldn’t be cured but I would live again and enjoy life without limitations. I am meeting a neuroendocrine tumour surgeon at the end of the month so I am curious what she concludes. In the meantime, I had an MRI on my c-spine last Friday only to get a telephone call on Tuesday informing me my family physician is speaking to my spine surgeon.  I’m already having my 4th lumbar spine surgery at the end of the month.  The scan shows that I have problems on t-spine but I have a lesion on my c-spine (C3) that requires a further investigation. I am waiting to hear.

It doesn’t matter what the world throws at me, I’m still smiling and getting on with life. I really don’t know where I get the inner strength to handle everything but I do know that my friends & family admire how I take everything in my stride.

My immediate goal is to catch up on my fellow bloggers. Read read and read  ❤️

 

 

Weekly Blog No 34 – Life’s toughest challenges.  

 

  1. Health

  2. Family Breavement

  3. Job Loss (Husband)

I’ve been missing for the last of couple of weeks because of 1, 2 and 3 and need to get through this week and I will be back to normal.