Weekly Blog No 70 – My Unsung Hero

 

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This weeks blog is about the unsung hero. My No 1 unsung hero (as I have a few) is Mr Zebrakat aka J my husband. I am very biased to be honest were J is concerned. I guess I’m his number 1 fan.

J is always at my appointments and this week without fail he was there again supporting me. I’m never nervous about scanning and testing periods, however J manages to make them fun by his constant wit. He really is a funny man. He never complains about anything and he’s there to hold my hand, my coat or whatever I need. I always make sure I thank him to show him my appreciation although I’m positive he would  appreciate an Audi more.

I always say to him, your life is consumed by me, whether it’s assisting in some aspect or taking me to appointments. His response is, you would do it for me. That is true but no one wants to put someone in that place. J has never made me feel a burden or an inconvenience in his life.

I’m quiet unique that I am strong but J makes me feel stronger because of his support. I don’t know where I would be without him to be honest. I do feel we all have an unsung hero and mine is my husband.

Thank you J for always be there for me and please believe me when I say, I do appreciate every morsel of you. ❤

Who’s your unsung hero?

Weekly Blog No 69 – Reading Books

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Books are a marvellous pastime of mine. I do have my own little library and assortment of books from fiction to construction.

My personal library has been back and forth to Canada with me. I believe I brought back about 300 books on my return to the UK last year and I’m sure its nothing to some peoples collections. The UK retail pricing for books is outstanding compared to Canada.  I can buy 3 paperback books for the same price as one in Canada. I’m grateful to the UK for competitive pricing. I have since added more paper hoarding to the collection and seem to have added more in the 8 months in the UK than my whole 6 years in Canada.

I have attempted this blog like a Q&A scenario for a change

Who is your favourite author and why?

I have to say Dilly Court, she also writes under the name of Lily Baxter. I have only read Dilly Courts books to date. She has me completely immersed in her work from start to finish. She is consistent, I’ve enjoyed every book so far.

What was the last book you read?

“Ragged Rose” by Dilly Court published Feb 2016, so you will find it on bookshelves now. A story of secrets, heartache, poverty, love and 20th century history. Incredible read.

Which book are you presently reading? 

“Me Me Me” by Charlotte Crosby

The book is about Charlotte’s life as a child leading into her reality tv career on Geordie Shore. I know Charlotte is like marmite, you either love her or you don’t. I do find her hilarious and her one liners always has me in giggles. I would give her parents a trophy for their dedicated love & support for their daughter.

Your reading material does seem quiet varied?

Yes that is very true, my genres are from historical romance, autobiographies to true crime only to name a few. I would say that I consider myself diverse but not diverse enough.

What other authors do you read?

Katie Flynn

Maureen Lee

Pam Weaver

Rosie Goodwin

Gemma Townley

Danielle Steel

Your choice of authors seems more about historical romance?

I do enjoy cultural history, a lot of my reading material does involve the Irish, which I can relate to coming from an Irish Catholic family.  I am extremely passionate about history so by reading this material, I do learn something new too and widen my knowledge base.

You also said you read autographies too, why?

I love to read about life experience,  good or bad. No one has a perfect life. We all tend to make a lot of assumptions about things and people, therefore reading these types of books can broaden your opinion to be more open-minded.

Is there any books that you read recently that touched you in some way ?

Yes most definitely  “Sins of the mother ” by  Irene Kelly

OMG the book had me in tears, what an incredible woman on so many levels. She deserves happiness and her family too and I hope she is achieving that.

This is one book that I would give to people who are constantly negative about their life and don’t appreciate what they have now or had previously.

Is there any books you are waiting to be published?

Yes last year I read “The New Arrival” by Sarah Beeson MBE

Again amazing insight into nursing in the 70’s and how her career developed arriving in Hackney, London from Staffordshire. A dedicated nurse who writes about her career progression. The follow up book is going to be the next stage in her career.

Do you have a favourite book?

Yes, ” The diary of a young girl” by Anne Frank. It should be on every child/adults reading list.

Do you prefer a book or e-book reader?

I like a physical book but I do like an e-book reader when I’m on holiday for convenience. I could not bring myself to read all books on a e-book reader, call me old-fashioned at heart.

Are you likely to read a book and then watch the movie or vice versa?

No not anymore. I had read the book “lovely bones” by Alice Sebold. I bought the book after seeing it on Richard & Judy’s Book List, it was a great book. I was so disappointed when I had watched the movie. I’m sure if I hadn’t read the book and had just watched the movie instead, there wouldn’t have been an issue. I kept comparing the movie to the book. Following that movie, if I have read the book I won’t go see the movie or if I have seen the movie I won’t read the book.

Is there any books that have captured the world, which you haven’t read?

Yes Harry Potter collection, which has never caught my desire.

Another one is ” Fifty shades of grey” by E L James. I think I’m the only person that hasn’t read this book.  I just don’t have the craving to read this book although I have heard mixed reviews.

I am open to new authors or books, which you would recommend. Please send me your recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge No 68 – Flying Trauma

Flying what a challenge this can be for people with an illness. I have taken a few flights over the years and I can believe how I have got through some of my travel adventures.

Even with the assistance of medication, I still have trouble getting from A to B in a car. Now you have to use your imagination, when I explain to you how travel on a flight is for me is a challenge.  I’m at the starting point at home, therefore I have to transfer to an airport. this can be done by car, bus or train. If I had wings that would be lovely but I’m not that good. Unfortunately you dont have toilet facilities/washroom in a car and the likeihood of being stuck in traffic is very possible on the UK motorways/highways. You’ve already considered the time to avoid traffic and the distance to the airport when booking a flight. Holy smokes what happens if I did get stuck in traffic and no access to toilet facilities/washroom. What do you do? (I’ve yet to master that obstabcle).

Ive already considered if travelling in a car where I should park in close proximity of the terminal definelty don’t need another fearful commute from a park & ride transfer.

I arrive at the airport and I feel immediate relief that I made it, nevertheless straightway I have to rush to the toilet facilities/washroom. I develop a huge sigh,  I will be ok now I have the security of the toilet facilities/washroom but i still have to queue at check in. Jumping from one foot to the other like a 5yr old and repeating the following mantra in your head ” please get me through this queue. Whoop whoop I have finally made it, oh no i haven’t not just yet.

The next hurdle is like a rider in the Grand National Race, I  have to go through security and I can see there is queues of people. I have 3  choices, do you ask for assistance, utilise the  prepaid express line or show them I have a medical card.  I have tried express line by paying extra, I’m sure it  helped a little. I’ve also showed my medical card and it’s no use at an airport with non english speaking staff. Therefore along comes another mantra or me speaking to the universal “I will make this,  I will make this”. At this point, I give myself a pat on the back for wearing slip on shoes, no belt and no underwire in my underwear. Outcomes a screech, yes I got through the xray machine and no additional searches. Shear relief comes over me,  I’ve made it through and at this point I thank the universe.

Time for a little distraction, a look around the shops before boarding my flight or maybe some refreshments. In my case it’s time to sit and enjoy a flight detox for me.

I finally board my flight and warn the cabin staff that I may need assistance to get into the toilet facilities/washroom immediately. To be fair most of them have been really good and show some compassion but there has been one, who has said to me’ what do you want me to do. Its time for a little education, which doesn’t involve oxygen masks or life jackets. I’m very grateful for the cabin crew who have let me use the toilet facility/washroom prior to getting to the runway when needed.

On the flight there’s an eureka moment when the seat belt sign goes off. The feeling of a little bit of calmness knowing that you can get to the toilet facilities/washroom. I do plan my seating and I do.ensure that I sit near the toilet facilities on flights. I start to behave like a greyhound chasing a hare. The wc is my hare and I’m fixated watching the hare ready to give chase should I need too. There is way to many greyhounds chasing the hare on a flight and not enough of hares.

A flight is meant to be a relaxing & enjoyable experience but for someone with an illness like mine there’s a degree of constant panic, more so for me as my symptoms are not fully managed as yet. However much I like being in the sky, my body is craving land. When writing this blog, I was thinking why do i put myself through this torment. Do  never travel again and just stay in the UK. Do I just go on cruises out of the UK in order to get my fix.

Travelling is a big part of me, not so much since my cancer diagnosis. However there is always going to be obstacles whether it be symptoms, fear, lack of travel insurance or just being defeated. My illness has taken a big part of life already including some organs. I cant let it take everything that I
have strived for. Notwithstanding the enjoyment Mr Zebrakat and I have during our travels. I have to continue to endure the problems that come with travel until I can’t take it any longer.

Back down to earth again, as I’m about to land I’m starting with the mantras in my head again. I’m strapped to my seat so no more greyhound racing for me. I have approximately 20 minutes were I can’t move. This is when I start do a little riverdance and Michael Flatley would be so proud of my moves. The wheels finally hit the runaway and I am smiling with enthusiasm because I’ve made it. Whoop whoop.

Anyone who experiences medical issues knows exactly what I’m talking about and the difficulties we endure in making a trip. Congratulations to everyone who makes a flight/trip under these circumstances. Freedom is not available to everyone but if you can, take time planning to make  your trip as enjoyable as possible. Hopefully I have given you some tips in the precautions that I take and if you have any other tips please share them to assist other people.

Weekly Blog No – 67 Memory v List

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This week I attempted to make a list as my memory appears to be failing me, it has either being affected by cancer or its my current medication. My memory was as sharp as a tack and my brain was a magnet for words, numbers and photographic data. No one ever wants to accept that you’re losing your memory in any situation. It is quiet frustrating at times especially if it was a personal asset. 

Therefore to all you people losing their memory in one way or another, I do understand.    

They say there is 7 ways of improving your memory loss.

  1. Stay mentally active
  2. Socialise regularly
  3. Get organised.
  4. Sleep well
  5. Eat a healthy diet
  6. Include physical exercise in your daily routine
  7. Manage a chronic disease

I’m sure I could improve on some above items.

I was reading the other day that a couple of symptoms for dementia is B12 deficiency and hypothyroidism. I know that I don’t have dementia but as I have two of the symptoms for the illness due to my cancer they certainly need to be managed to avoid another illness.  

This week I drafted a list of 24 items with 2 or 3 tasks on each line in order to complete the item. This is just an example

Tax Returns – Tel HMRC to change personal details, scan receipts and email accountant with information. 

Yes I’m sure for some people they are very satisfied when they complete an item but for me it was hell. Personally I thought it just emphasised how much I had to do in order to complete one task. I know what was priority and what wasn’t. If the items didn’t get done so what, there’s always another day. I did complete all the items in 2 days but was it job satisfaction, hell no. I think I found my strength and weakness. Strength is what memory I do have and weakness is I hate lists. Will I use them again, yes I will have to if I want to remember things. Maybe I need to explore how to utilise lists better. Are you a list maker?  

Weekly Blog No 66 – Valentines Day

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Shops are peppered with the colour red, in forms of hearts, roses and cute little gifts.  Did you buy someone a gift today.

I know there is a mix of opinions, regarding Valentines Day, not everyone buys into the overpriced products for this annual day of love & romance. Not everyone believes in showing their love on this day and will argue that they would rather buy things for their partner throughout the year. I do wonder if these people who say this statement actually do buy their partners gifts throughout the year.

For me personally, I do believe its a day that you can make an effort to show your appreciation. You don’t have to spend money in order to show your appreciation, you can make your partner a special dinner, run them a bubbly bath, write a poem or go for a walk together. If you are happy to spend cash, you don’t have to go over the top, it only becomes expensive if you make it expensive with your choices.

Mr Zebrakat & I always provide each with a card and gifts, nothing too expensive but within our means. I think I can say this for both of us that we see this day as fun and a sign of appreciation to each other . I don’t believe this day should be about one person more than the other,  it’s about both of you as equals.

Mr Zebrakat deserves all the appreciation I can give him for his ongoing love, commitment and support. Unlucky for him his gift didn’t consist of 4 wheels, 4 doors, a logo of 4 rings and big shiny red bow. Sorry!!!!!

Audi

Happy Valentines Day Everyone.

Weekly Blog No 65 – Complacent

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I think we have all been complacent sometime in our life’s, whether its in relationships, work environment or daily routines. Personally I think I’m guilty of all of the above in one way or another.

Today I realised that I have become complacent again but this time with my health. I had got so comfortable with my cancer and didn’t appreciate the impact that it could change at some point. Let me explain, I’m very aware that my cancer can cause reoccurring tumours and I’ve had 3 ops to prove that. Furthermore I know my liver still has tumours and maybe some others elsewhere waiting to be spotted by the Gallium 68 Pet Scan. However in the last few weeks I have been getting swollen lymph nodes in my neck and the first course of action would be a scan. Its been a persistent problem for approximately 4 weeks. As I am due for a week of scans and tests at the beginning of March in London, it seems very sensible to wait.

On Monday, I returned to my Family Physician (Dr I), who I will say is lovely and I have fell on my feet again with my Primary Care Doctor. I thought I would never achieve the relationship I had with my Family Physician (Dr K) in Canada. Dr I, suggested that as I had to wait a few weeks for my scans that I should see an ENT Specialist. This was a sensible move as I have no sign of fever or infection. Today I was on the phone with Mr Zebrakat when the land line rang and it was Dr I. Never in a million years did I think it was my Dr, but she called to advise me that the Specialist felt that as it was likely to be cancer, I should be seen by my Oncology Specialist. I called my Oncology Team and I’m going to wait for my scans, however in the meantime, I have to go and see my Dr again and maybe have another type of scan.

Now anyone who knows me, knows I don’t waste time on worry, its wasted energy. Yet today I realise that I could have a secondary cancer. This is were I had become very complacent, never in the slightest had I or I will say I, would have ever considered the possibility of getting a secondary cancer.  What’s stupid about that statement is, that I know of people who have a secondary cancer. Did I think I was invisible.

Surely cancer should be enough to be on guard all the time. This is a lesson to everyone you can’t be complacent were your health or cancer is concerned. I will keep you all updated and continue to pass my time attempting to paint when I have the energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Blog No 64 – It’s My Birthday

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Its been nearly a month since I last posted, due to me not feeling 100%. Over the next month I will be going through a serious amount of scans and tests. Although I’m still feeling the effects of what cancer has to offer, I’m truly grateful to be here and celebrating yet another birthday. It’s my third birthday since diagnosis. Whoop whoop

It’s hard to imagine this time last year I was in Canada enjoying coffee and cakes with close friends. The previous year I was preparing for my liver resection. This year I’m preparing for scans and tests. 

What does the future year hold;

I shall attempt painting using watercolours and ink. I believe practice does make perfect. Trust me, i need the practice, it’s been years since I’ve held a paintbrush. Just to provide clarification it’s not paniting by numbers either. 

I want to see more of Europe and I’m just putting into place travel insurance to ensure that I have continuity of care if needed. The rest is taken care by J,  suitcase carrier, drinks fetcher, sunbed chaser, sun cream tech and of course he’s Bank of England for any future transactions required. Lol 

Just a final note in relation to my forthcoming scans/tests. I am usually a very positive and strong person, however i can’t help being concerned about the scan results this time around. I’m sure as time goes on you know that your buying time so it makes you more and more nervous, especially when you have issues.  I’m not ready for another op as I underwent 5 ops in 2 years. 

In the meantime, I will enjoy what today has to offer. Let’s just say,  I can use all of my 5 senses with the gifts that I have received so far. 😄