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. ❤

Weekly Blog No 89 – My Reading Challenge  

In the last twelve months, I’ve attempted a challenge to read as many books in a year. My goal was 24 books and to experiment with some different authors. I have about a month to go and about 3 more books left to read.
Here is my list to date:

  1. East End Jubilee – Carol Rivers
  2. Pam Weaver – For Better or Worse
  3. The Kelly Sisters – Maureen Lee
  4. A Summer Promise – Katie Flynn
  5. The New Arrival – Sarah Beeston MBE
  6. War Baby – Lizzie Lane
  7. Without Trace – Lesley Pearce
  8. The Ophran’s – Dilly Court
  9. Sins of the Mother – Irene Kelly
  10. Too Close to Home – Susan Lewis
  11. The Buffer Girls – Margaret Dickinson
  12. Me Me Me – Charlotte Crosby
  13. Ragged Rose – Dilly Count
  14. Lights Out Liverpool – Maureen Lee
  15. Love Me Tender – Anne Bennet
  16. The Swan Maid – Dilly Court
  17. The Girl With No Name _ Diney Costeloe
  18. A Family Scandal – Kitty Neale
  19. Our Country Nurse – Sarah Beeston  MBE & Amy Beeston
  20. Finding Tipperary Mary – Phyliss Whitsell
  21. Polly’s Angel – Katie Flynn (Still reading)

I did read on social media the other day that a woman had read 70 books so far in 2016. Kudos to her, however 70 books is an incredible amount of reading. I have experimented with some new authors in the last 12 months, however my genre doesn’t seem to have changed. I have read a few biographies as you will see from my list above. It’s always a learning experience when reading about someone else’s life.

The books, I tend to read always have a historical and cultural element, which I find very intriguing. It certainly makes you appreciate the life you have today. I feel the only way I could beat 24 books a year, is if I stop watching television. I really don’t think that is going to happen. I shall attempt another reading challenge once this one is complete.

Weekly Blog No 85 – Cancer Update 

 

AWOL

I seem to have disappeared off radar but I’m very much here dealing with the challenges of health.

I’ve had tests, scans and even seen Specialists. It’s an ongoing cycle, which you learn to adapt too. No one prepares you for a full-time role in the delights of medical facilities. If I had known this was my life plan, I would have done a bit more travelling. I only had one continent to do and it was Australia. Never say never.

During this period of disappearance. I’ve had bed rest and when I am awake I enjoy the pleasure of reading. I’ve read a few books but one in particular got my undivided attention. Mr Zebrakat couldn’t even speak to me when I was reading this book.  Usually i am great at multi tasking, reading, listening to the television or radio and conversing with him. On this occasion bless him, he got nothing. The book was called “Finding Tipperary Mary” by Phyllis Whitsell. You all know I have a passion for Irish stories especially true stories. Thank you Auntie P.

Finding Tipperary Mary

I’ve had some friends over entertaining me. What enjoyment they are, you know who you are. I have to say they are the best medicine, I’m always giggling at something or some memory we had. I am always grateful to the people who put themselves out for me. I know I’m not always the instigator of communication nowadays. As it can be quiet challenging maintaining contact with everyone. I tend to be reactive than proactive. Therefore I do appreciate the people who acknowledge my illness and make the effort to keep up contact. To all those people who put themselves out for me. Thank you.

I know I’m on Facebook but sometimes I am just to tired to respond. I will always respond when I have a spike of energy. Please don’t think I don’t care because I do.

My biggest achievement this month is being able to visit 4 shops. I know that may sound nothing to some people but that is huge for me and without symptoms. The latest tablet increase has made a difference. The only problem is when I experience more freedom I get my back issues.  I recently had an MRI on my spine and even though I’ve had 4 ops, my spine is a complete mess. I am waiting for a Neurologist Appt, there appears to be a waiting list and I may not be seen until Oct. My GP Referral was made in July. I’m back to London for Oncology Ga68 scan at the beginning Oct.

I will continue to do what I can when I can. Whoop whoop to managing another blog.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Blog No 63 – Overview of 2015 

 

This year has involved a lot of change in one way or another, some of it has been good and some of it not so good.

Births 

Two bundles of joy came into the world this year, a baby girl and a baby boy. Children bring such happiness to everyone and with Facebook nowadays you can see their continual development.

Bereavement

Death was on the agenda this year, losing loved ones is never easy. It’s one of those situations that is faced by everyone in life and can’t be avoided. Nothing prepares you for not having access to those people when they are gone, you continue life as if they are always going to be there. Memories is all you have and they can never be taken away.

Returning to the UK from Canada

Although it is wonderful to be home and close to friends & family, there are elements that I miss. I didn’t think I would miss snow but in a bizarre way I do and wonderful blue skies. I knew I would miss my friends, yet I didn’t realise how much. Thankfully nearly everyone has stayed in touch so too my Canadian friends a huge thank you.

On a funny note, I didn’t eat a whole load of chicken wings or hamburgers in Canada, strangely I still can’t face them. I’ve been back 6 months and the thought of them makes me feel nauseated.

Emotions

Not a person to get stressed and many people can vouch for me, I feel that I have packed years of being stress free into 6 months here. An international move or selling a house is less bothersome and that’s saying something. I just have to learn how to avoid tense situations, however it can be impossible sometimes when other people are involved.

Health

I’m thankful to be writing another overview, my 2nd since diagnosis. I do believe it’s down to a positive attitude and medical intervention. I am not 100% and can see a decline in my health in the last 12 months. Yes there has been some physical changes in appearance but people say I look no different. I have to agree with them to a certain degree and that’s the beauty of Carcinoid Cancer aka the good looking cancer.

I hope it’s not deterioration but just a case of my symptoms not controlled in a better way. I wish that I could live a life like other patients, who are able to work or travel. I do accept co-codamol (opiate) as a pain relief although I do find it unacceptable as a solution for GI issues in order to give me freedom. I don’t want to be addicted to narcotics just to get to a medical appointment, visit family or to a supermarket. Despite the fact I don’t agree with the treatment, I’m grateful for the freedom. Some days I feel so ill, therefore I am determined to change that and invest in people who are going to take care of me. Unfortunately I have a miss mash of care at the moment, which raises stress levels hence watch this space.

My husband J 

Can’t praise the man enough, there is one thing you wish for when you have an illness is undivided love & support. I have the love & support, therefore I just need the science. If I could manufacture him and give him to all people who are need of love & support I would.

As many of you know already, J worked as a construction professional leading major projects on an international airport in Canada . J is no longer working on an airport but is currently working on various projects big and small advising Architects, Engineers and Builders. This was also my professional role and even though I’m happy to hear about his working day it’s gut wrenching. I still agonise for work as strange as this may seem to some people. I do wonder if J misses the buzz of airport life like I miss employment.

Family & Friends

Since returning home I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent time with family and friends. It’s like I had never left in the first place. Just in the 6 months, I’ve laughed so much as banter is big in the UK. Memories are being made and let them continue.

Cooking 

My cooking skills are going from strength to strength and I feel that is down to having the time and  fabulous supply of wonderful ingredients in the UK.  My kitchen appliance of the year is my slow cooker, it’s my one pot stop lifesaver.

Books 

I love books and thanks to competitive shopping in the UK, books are cheap. I’ve already read a stash of books but I’m currently reading two at the minute, one on my phone and the other is a hardback book.

Music

I love listening to the endless radio stations in the UK, in Canada I would only listen to one. I’m in CD heaven again and now I look like a CD hoarder, the choice here is amazing. I’ve fulfilling my pastimes again since being back.

Overall Summary

I’m grateful to be here another year and to be able to enjoy both the good times and bad times. I shall look forward to 2016 with as much enthusiasm as 2015. Thank you to all the people who support me and Happy New Year.

 

 

 

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.