Weekly Blog No 139 – My Birthday

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

I’m falling behind again in my blogs due to symptoms. However I’ve made another birthday, how amazing is that. I have currently reached 5 birthdays since diagnosis, what an achievement.

Last year my birthday was post op, Mr Zebrakat decided to make my birthday this year a little bit more special. He had organised a weekend in London. Although it’s quiet difficult for me, I was up for the challenge. Who doesn’t like a change of environment and to feel normal again.

We stayed in a beautiful hotel in South Kensington adjacent to the museums. The hotel treated us like VIP guests. They also left me a bottle of claret, a gift box of spa products and a nicely handwritten card from the Hotel Manager. The hotel decor was stunning, the cleanliness was immaculate and the customer service was impeccable.

We went to V & A Museum, there is no way you could view all the exhibits in a day. The venue has 145 galleries, therefore an incredible amount of exhibits. From architecture, furniture to sculpture. Well worth a visit and a walk through history.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

On my birthday we went to see a West End show called “Thriller”. A spectacular show of Michael Jackson hits. The resemblance of MJ was unbelievable. The hits just kept coming and coming. The dancing phenomenal throughout the show.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

We also visited the Imperial War Museum, Lambert, an insight of war history. The museum exhibits WWI, WW2, The Cold War and the Holocaust and much more. I’m not sure if the Holocaust exhibit is a permanent exhibition but its anniversary is on my birthday, which I will never forget.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat
Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat
Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

One lesson that I had learned from Canada was we don’t explore our own country enough. In my past life, any opportunity for a break away from work. I would jump on a aeroplane and leave the country for sunshine & culture. Clearly forgetting that there is so much to see in the U.K. Canadians are fantastic at exploring their own country. I’m starting to realise now the U.K. has a lot to offer but it’s not always cheap. You need to shop around and grab online deals when you see them. It’s unbelievable that a city break in Europe is sometimes cheaper than a weekend in the U.K.

On our final day, we went to Harrods for breakfast. What a wonderful experience that was, the service was errorless. The food was of the highest quality, served on china. The tea set was silverware. The ambience of the room was art deco with background music of the rat pack. A divine experience on how the other half live.

Copyright © 2019 Zebrakat

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all my family & friends for cards, gifts, balloons and flowers.

To my awesome husband, for making memories, treating me like a queen and always putting me first in life. You are one of kind and I won’t let you forget that.

Love to you all.

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Weekly Blog No 121 – Mediterranean Cruise

@msccruises

@msccruises

Mr Zebrakat & I have just been on a mediterranean cruise. It was my birthday gift from Mr Zebrakat and we celebrated on the cruise 5 years since my cancer diagnosis.

If you are a sun worshipper, I wouldn’t recommend the month of March to do a mediterranean cruise. Although we were able to wear short sleeves, it was quiet windy and did rain a couple of days.

Mr Zebrakat chose MSC Cruises after we had watched an episode of Jane MacDonalds cruise Channel 5 programme. The cruise was an eight day cruise embarking & disembarking in Barcelona, Spain, however you could have embarked/disembarked at any of the ports. This is the first cruise we have been on were all the passengers have not all embarked and disembarked at the same location. The cruise involved 4 countries in 8 days and 5 ports.

This was the itinerary:

Day 1 – Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona the capital of Catalonia, the best port in Europe to discover the wonders of this vibrant region of Spain. Barcelona is one of the largest cities of the mediterranean coast. Establish the history of Gaudi and Picasso. Immerse yourself in the medieval and gothic architecture.

Day 2 – Marseille, France

Marseille the typical vielle ville (old town) of the French Riviera. Enjoy the old port, Palau’s du Pharo or Notre Dame de la Garde.

Day 3 – Genoa, Italy

This Mediterranean port will amaze you with elegant architecture from the 17th & 18th centuries. Take in the magnificent Cathedral of SAN Lorenzo consecrated by Pope Gelasius 11 in 1118 and completed in the 14th Century.

Day 4 – Civitavecchia, Italy

The port of Civitavecchi is one of the largest in Italy. Amongst the most important monuments to visit is the Fort Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port and the fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli. There is a host of bars and restaurants for a taste of seafood cuisine.

Day 5 – Palermo, Italy

The perfect chance to visit the regional capital of Sicily. The port of Palermo displays of Norman art and architecture, Baroque churches and medieval streets.

Day 6 – Valletta, Malta

The fortress city and the capital city of Malta. The city has historical and artistic heritage and over 300 monuments. Beautiful architecture with colourful balconies to houses.

Day 7 – At Sea

Day 8 – Barcelona, Spain

Mr Zebrakat and I only went off the cruise ship in Valletta, which I will blog about next week.

A total of 1798 nautical miles was achieved on the MSC Meravilglia ship. 19 floors, approx 4400 passengers and 1500 crew. 19 passenger lifts, a shopping promenade, thermal spa, water park and the list is endless.

Here is a few photos of the ship.

Weekly Blog No 120 – Latest Update – 5 Year

I recently informed you that I had a scan at the local hospital and I felt the Radiologist was basically blindfolded when writing my report. As suspected he or she was, my Oncologist reviewed the scans and informed me that I still have disease/tumours in the peritoneal, mesenteric and the liver. I know scans can be hard to review sometimes but even I knew I wasn’t out the woods. I must admit, I was hopeful that my previous op had eliminated all the disease from the peritoneal and the mensenteric . Never mind, the dandelions endeavour to take hold of my body but I shall keep attempting to eliminate them if the opportunity arises. I think this ‘Kat’ has nearly exhausted her nine lives.

On the 11th March 2013, I was rushed into hospital in tremendous pain with no suspicion of what was going on. Early that morning I was operated on, and later informed that I had bowel obstruction surgery. The surgeon sat on my bed informing me I possibly had cancer and I would have to wait for the pathology report. That day changed my life, nothing seems more important than family and friends at that moment. How was I going to break the news to everyone. One of the biggest things I’ve had to do in life and it started with Mr Zebrakat. This was the day that I decided to continue to be positive and whilst speaking to the universe, please give me 5 more years at least to achieve some things in life.

Well it was 5 years on 11th March 2018 and I was Genoa, Italy 🇮🇹. Let me explain, last week I went on a Mediterranean cruise, which was a birthday gift from Mr Zebrakat. It was initially booked to go on the day before my birthday so that we could celebrate on the ship, nevertheless my body had other ideas and he postponed the trip until March.

It made me nervous in many ways, even though I was feeling better. I still had issues that were still being addressed via medication. You can take all the precautions in the world but no one day is the same. I could be swinging from the ropes one minute and be considerably unwell within the next 5 mins. I’m sure anyone who has be fine one minute and sick the next will understand the rapid change in health. It’s not ideal but I have learned to live with it and to just take day by day. Mr Zebrakat of course makes everything more bearable and is never agitated or inconvenienced by my health issues. I’ve never known someone to be so chilled and who naturally goes with the flow. I guess Mr Zebrakat has adapted too and is grateful I’m still here. The story could be so so different as many of my cancer friends who were diagnosed the same time as me are no longer here. RIP all of you. 🙏

Unbeknown by Mr Zebrakat, when postponing the trip he didn’t realise that it was my butt dart week. It’s always hell going into it and hell coming out of it. As we had left very early on the Friday morning and my injection wasn’t due until the Monday, the earliest I could have had the injection was Saturday. Oh hell, what am I going to do was my thoughts. I did speak to my dear cousin, who’s a very experienced ER (Emergency Care) Nurse and who occasionally works on cruise liners. She gave me some invaluable advice. This is what I took from our discussion. 1. Make sure you take plenty of morphine with you. 2. If the butt dart was given by the medical team on the ship, it sounded like a lot of red tape. Therefore the responsibility fell on Mr Zebrakat shoulders with my guidance and no precious training of injecting intramuscular. I was a little anxious and of course he was too but he didn’t show it. Superstar ⭐️

I have to say my current nurse is lovely but I can feel the pain and have some blood on occasions from the injection. She has made my easier in many ways, crossing the line to get me assistance, therefore I’m reluctant to let her go.

Mr Zebrakat was so gentle, which is hard to believe when the diameter of the needle is like a nail, maybe a slight exaggeration. There was no pain and no blood and just a sheer relief from both of us. I think now that he’s ok with it, we will have greater freedom and not necessary be committed to being available for my butt dart appointment. Oh Mr Zebrakat, I forgot to tell you, the next one is due Easter Monday when the medical practice is closed.

Now this is the part I’m kicking myself about, I do consider myself to be very well organised. In fact I’m proud of my organisation skills and it’s a quality that Mr Zebrakat will always comment on. Well remember the good advice my dear cousin gave about morphine. Well I failed miserably by forgetting my morphine. This is a lesson for anyone taking medication, you must double and triple check everything. Mr Zebrakat said he never ask me, because he knew I was always so organised. Ha ha not this time and I paid for it too.

When my last morphine was dispensed by the chemist it wasn’t dispensed in original box. Yes it had the appropriate label on the white box but the contents were made up of left over packets. I know that is fine but when dealing with customs etc who have inquisitive minds it could look a little bit suspect. Therefore my plan was to take my morphine in an original box and the contents to be full strips of medication. Makes sense right, but I forgot to do it and brought no morphine. My cousin is most probably saying now, what did I tell you, I know lol. Well I went into withdrawal and tried to manage the pain with off the shelf pain meds throughout the trip. Being the tough cookie I am, I’ve got by but it did prove a couple of things to me. I can stop morphine when needed, clearly not the appropriate way. I’ve done it many times before including my recent visit to hospital, nevertheless I’m always put back on it for pain control etc. Holy smokes!!! when pain is not managed it is hell and withdrawal is diabolical. Lesson to everyone, double check your medication before leaving for a trip.

We knew that this trip, we would treat it like an all inclusive floating hotel. Not necessary get off the ship due to symptoms but enjoy what the ship has to offer and relax. We did theatre shows, fine dined, drank cocktails, enjoyed spa treatments & used thermal spa, watched movies, read books and went to the casino to have a go on slot machines. (We walked out the casino up in money). I will blog about the cruise next week.

I would like to send out a huge thank you London Luton Airport for assisting me with my illness. I managed to go through priority queues through security and the airline. A service they offer passengers who don’t require a wheelchair assistance but have an illness. I did feel a little guilty because I look ok but my symptoms are not. I actually did get a few stares from passengers and I’m suspect people just assumed I was a staff member as I walked passed them. When I got to the cruise ship, I had paid for priority boarding to avoid queues. You know and I know, queues at airports and cruise line boarding is always long and time consuming therefore priority boarding was a great start to my holiday. I do feel a sense of achievement for getting to the cruise and for being on the cruise.

Written whilst sailing across the Mediterranean Sea until next time. Love to you all.X

Weekly Blog No 116 – Goodbye 40’s and Hello 50’s.

I had previously mentioned in a blog that when I was diagnosed with cancer, I put out to the universe, to please let me reach my 50th Birthday. I’m glad to report, I made it. I do believe its a combination of a positive attitude and gaining a knowledge on Carcinoid Cancer.

The last decade was a mixture of excitement and emotions. We moved to Canada experiencing everything Canadian. Then I suffered with my spine and endured 4 surgeries. To add to the emotions, I was diagnosed with a rare cancer. Yet my husband & I continued to enjoy Canadian life with such amazing friends. 3 Cancer ops later it was time to go home to be nearer to my family in UK and Ireland. We have no regrets but my heart is still in Canada. Therefore goodbye to my forties and hello to my fifties.

Firstly I would like to thank everyone who has been telling me I look mid to late 30s. I have to thank my parents Irish genes for that one because its nothing I have done. I haven’t had any invasive beauty treatments or used any special beauty products.

Last week, I was fortunate to have friends come and see me throughout the week. We celebrated with bucks frizz, coffee and tea. There was chatting over a variety of cakes and fresh fruit. I do love a girly gatherings because there is no subject out of bounds and the room is always full of giggles.

Saturday was my birthday and I was showered with birthday cards. Every available surface was covered with cards of love. I got balloons full of helium floated in euphoria. I had flower arrangements, salt and peppered around my house. I was sprinkled with gifts of generosity. The house was full of bliss and kindness.

I’m so so grateful to everyone who made my birthday so special. My 50th Birthday is one I shall always remember. Thank you.

Love to you all. ❤️

Weekly Blog No 110 – Lottie’s 7th Birthday

Another year has passed and I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since I left my homeland Canada. I’ve talked about things that I missed from Canada before but I know my human Mum’s heart is still in Canada. I know she’s missing her friends dearly.

I guess I am too, I miss my furry friends Oscar & Monty. My crush was Oscar, he was tall, dark and handsome, just like what most woman wish for in the male variety. Monty was pretty submissive in my company but could give a great chase for a big dog. Oscar on the other hand was not only handsome but he had adorable ears, I would like to jump up and bite them. It’s not like my furry friends can jump on a plane and come see me nor I to them. Never mind, I will continue to dream about Oscar chasing me through the snow or rolling around the floor with me. Ahhhhh that’s love.

Oscar

Monty

My update is a couple of months late this year and now I am 7 years old. I’ve been looking after my human mum, she’s not been so good this year. I’m keeping my eye on her and snuggling up with her as much as possible. I’ve started to paw her like a cat to sit on her legs etc, it works every time. Who would have of known, I could act like a cat.

I’ve had some dodgy haircuts this year too, why is it so hard to produce the same cute hair cut. I’ve looked like a floor rug, someone clearly likes scissors and a sheep after shearing. The last cut has made my legs look longer and my body even shorter but not for the better. Paws crossed for a nice cut in 2018.

Guess what, we have moved again, this is now a permanent address, I think my human parents have a gypsy streak in them. I don’t know if I was coming or going. Finally I think they have settled down and I don’t have to deal with the previous neighbours cat crossing my garden. My current neighbours cat has more sense and avoids my garden, he knows my boundary line. However I do have a small human next door shouting doggie doggie, no!!! my name is Lottie.

The new home is cute, I don’t need a map like my Canadian home. Furthermore I don’t get the warm air heating like my Canadian home, its a metal panel fixed to the wall, I think the humans call it a rad. I did like warm air flowing through my fur, it was just like a permanent blow dry

Some of the items in this home verses the Canadian home, say for instance the shower in the U.K. is a like size of a laundry chute. Ridddddiculous. The bathroom hand basin is so small, an ideal size for a cats lick but not a deep filled bubble bath lol. My human parents are changing all those items and making great moves on creating a beautiful home.

Ive been to my human dads workplace on a few occasions and again I’m flooded with kisses and cuddles. They all want to take me home but there’s no way I’m leaving my human parents oh no. My human parents mean the world to me, nevertheless my human dad is still the soft touch in regards treats, let’s just say he’s putty in my paws every time.

I actually go to a dog sitters home when my human mum has medical appointments in London. My dog sitter is lovely and her human daughters and I’m showered with love and affection. The only problem is I won’t eat as I’m pining for my human parents. I know they are coming back for me but my anxiety gets the better of me. If only I could drink wine like humans, they always seem to be more chilled after a couple of sips.

I had better sign off now as I have to snuggle my human mum before she has another op this month. She’s a real superstar, you wouldn’t get me going under the knife 4 times just picking and chopping organs for dandelions(tumours). Them doctors keep dissecting her like a science lab class rat or a frog nowadays. She’s has scars like a patchwork doll but so so brave. I hope they take good care of her otherwise I will have to start sharping up my gnashers, enough said. (Disclaimer: I don’t condone violence)

Until next time and love to you all

Lottie. X ❤️🐾🐾

#letstalkaboutnets

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.

Weekly Blog No 93 – It’s My Birthday

 

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I’m happy to report I’ve made another birthday and I’m still in my 40’s. When you are informed by a doctor that you have cancer you certainly don’t anticipate celebrating many birthdays in the near future. This is in fact my 4th birthday since diagnosis, however my Oncologist did inform me in 2014, I have about 3 yrs to live so if his prediction is correct this is my last birthday. I can assure you im not treating this as my last birthday

My intention was to get some of my friends together for coffee and cake but I’ve not been so good lately, which is a shame as I do love, a girlie get together.

I was showered with cards and gifts from family and friends. I literally got everything  I needed and Zebrakat favorites. I have a stash of reading material. Some new authors and bibliographies to open my mind up to other people’s lives. Some music to pass the time away whilst doing chores. I shall smell beautiful from all the products that I received.  I can indulge in some online shopping too, the gifts were endless. Thank you to all those people who showered me with gifts.

My birthdays are not exactly celebrated like I used too. I have even been known in the past to be in some exotic location on my birthday consuming cocktails. I will continue to make the best of every birthday where ever I am, that’s for sure. ❤