Blog No 168 – UK Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK, therefore Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there. I’m unfortunately not a mother but I’m a Godmother and Aunt so I’m as good as a mother on another level. I got a beautiful card from my Goddaughter H for Mothers Day. Thank you H 💕

Considering I was living in Canada for years, I’m still tuned in to Mother’s Day being in May, I guess its hard to switch off. This year all mothers are in lockdown so I hope all children have been very creative. I’m sure more thought has to go into gifts and trying to make their day as special due to covid restrictions.

I’ve already spoke to my mother today and she is lavished with cards & gifts. She said she was going to have a relaxing day and have some chocolate.

To all those children who have lost their mother’s, I’m sure it’s a very hard day for you. Nevertheless, I’m confident that all your mothers are smiling as they’ve never been forgotten by their loved ones.

Can I include pets as my children, I’m sure there is a lot of people who do. My pets Lottie (dog) & Hamish (cat) have selfishly absorbed all the love today with cuddles and belly rubs.

I hope all new & old mothers have a wonderful day. Love to you all. 💗

Blog No 166 – Overview of 2020

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Happy New Everyone

Family & Friends

Thank you to friends and family for your continuous support. I have a huge amount of respect for people that consistently care and support Mr Zebrakat and I. Honestly from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for everything. Especially all the people who sent cards, flowers, plants, mags, chocs & sweets, biscuits and messages.

The year started with a trip to County Cork, Ireland to celebrate Aunt P, 80th birthday with family. It was was such a heartwarming celebration. Aunt P knows how to provide a party, we had it all, fabulous food, good company and magnificent entertainment. She’s a very courageous lady, she had literally just finished treatment for breast cancer and we were hopping on a plane. Thank you Aunt P for a wonderful time.

To my relatives in Ireland it was wonderful catching up with you all. We will be back when it’s safe to fly again.

Covid 19 played havoc with special birthdays, weddings and new baby’s this year. I’m sure these celebrations were as special as they could be.

Hamish & Lottie

Hamish has been part of the family now for 2 years. Lottie & Hamish are very much in a routine with toilet breaks, feeding and sleeping. Your more than likely to find Lottie at my side and Hamish sleeping on my bed blanket. I’m sure my neighbours must laugh at Lottie and Hamish when they are running into the house together from the garden. It’s quiet comical watching them following each other like sheep. They are known to kiss and lick each other first thing in the morning.

Hamish still looks like a lion and is slightly larger in stature to Lottie. Lottie can hold her own too, if Hamish tries to grab her. Pets are obviously very therapeutic.

Home

Copyright 2019 Zebrakat

We are still tweaking our current residence. It’s certainly changing in appearance and no longer represents a typical terraced house floor plan. We started in the roof space and now we are on the ground floor, working from the front of the property to the rear. I’m waiting for a replacement front door, which has been delayed due to covid 19. It’s been on the order since October.

I wanted to show you a cupboard that I’d designed earlier in the year and finally put into its place. I needed the unit to fit on a plinth in my guest bedroom. It’s made out of scaffolding boards. Anyone who knows me will appreciate I love a little timber in my decor.

The cupboard consists of doors, drawers and shelves. Behind the doors is some hanging space and some additional shelving. Its perfect for guests and now considered a new heirloom.

Health

I’ve already discussed my health in previous blogs. I’m glad treatment is over for now, I’m hoping my body gives me a little respite from medical appointments and health issues. I’m planning to continue as I do, live life and be happy.

Travel

Travel this year has been a bit of a washout, however I’ve still managed a few places. I was able to fly to Ireland earlier in the year, which was amazing. I’ve also visited Bath & York, both historical cities. Bath & York are full of beautiful architecture, fabulous restaurants and quaint shops. I would recommend both cities a visit, magnificent gems of the U.K.

Mr Zebrakat

Mr Zebrakat is working from home and on site as he works in the construction industry. It is nice having him around. On a positive note, covid had Mr Z at home when I was going through treatment. He unquestionably is happy he’s working and is one of the lucky ones still working.

Mr Z is undoubtedly been my tower of strength going through treatment and family hospitalisations etc. Thank you Mr Z for always being there as always as usual, what would I do without you.

Hobbies

Reading, I did about 66 books last year, so beat my previous years record. Watch out for my next blog for my annual list of books.

Covid has allowed me to frame up & hang some travel pictures etc. I’v also been filling up photo albums with old photos. I still have numerous to do but I’m getting there. I’ll then move on to filling up scrapbooks with memories and mementos.

Hopefully 2021 will no longer be a year of doom and gloom. We all need to be vaccinated and getting on with our lives. Love to you all 🤣

Blog No 165 – PRRT & Covid 19

What a year, with covid-19, I don’t think anyone is ever going to forget 2020 in a hurry. Did you achieve something positive through lockdown? I did, I hung up some pictures, sorted out my photo albums and filled them with lovely memories. If we hadn’t gone into lockdown those empty photo albums would still be there, looking empty.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones this year, as my cancer treatment continued in London throughout lockdown etc. The hospital had experienced numerous cases of covid-19 patients and precautions were put into place for the safety of staff and patients. I was required to have a covid-19 test locally prior to travelling to London. A negative result was vital in order for treatment to continue. I would like to thank all those individuals who were involved with my treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, London. Thank you so much.

My mother had a tough year after being diagnosed with a secondary cancer. Her cancer treatment continued locally throughout lockdown/covid 19 with a few hospital stays. We both had finished our treatments within 2 days of each other. She is doing much better now but she’s not still 100% as yet. She’s a tough cookie. X

PRRT treatment – everyone has a different experience but we all have similar symptoms. The treatment procedure is not that bad, the only symptom you may experience during treatment, is nausea. The medical team will give you anti nausea meds prior to treatment. They can also control the flow of treatment so you don’t experience nausea. The more treatments I had, the worse post treatment symptoms got for me. What’s funny is, I can’t face pasta since the last treatment. The thought of pasta in any form still makes me gag. I’m not sure I will ever tolerate spaghetti bolognese again.

I’m so relieved that we have finished treatment for now. We are 9 weeks post treatment and my bloods are still not to normal levels. They won’t exactly be perfect due to the cancer, nevertheless they still need some improvement. My Oncologist is keeping an eye on them for me, I’m in good hands. My hair has thinned a lot since treatment but it will grow back I’m sure. During my treatment my hearing was affected and it’s certainly not a known side effect. Yet it can’t be dismissed either. I’m also experiencing dizziness but we don’t know, if there’s a connection to the hearing or if it something else that is going on. I’m starting to get terrible migraines again so I’m monitoring that for the Neurologist. That’s the problem with an illness, it can lead to other problems.

My daily quality of life, I would consider has definitely improved. At the end of the day there is no cure for my cancer, therefore I wanted a quality life whilst I was living, that’s not too much to ask

The latest results following results following my recent CT & MRI scans was that I am stable. Stable means no new growth of cancer in other areas. This is a little questionable for me, because I only found out that I have tumours on my lungs whilst going through treatment. In my eyes that new growth but in their eyes it’s tumours over a certain dimension. I’ve obtained all of my records as I don’t like being kept in the dark. This latest scan gave me the dimensions of the new tumours in the lungs so I can monitor the growth. Even though I’m consider as stable surely the lungs is a new site of cancer, I have cancer in the peritoneal, pelvic area and liver and a couple of other questionable areas. My Oncologist is going to send me for cancer (Ga68) scan in April. This may give me a true reflection of what is really going on, although my scans don’t always reveal everything. I personally don’t think it will be long before I have another op on my bowel. You heard here first lol.

My ultimate goal with treatment was to improve my daily quality of life and I do feel we achieved this. I’m so grateful for my new found freedom in lockdown lol. Thank you to my friends & family who have always supported me through my treatment.

Just one more thing, I was giving support to another patient going through the same treatment. I will call her SC, she was a wonderful lady and I had found another loyal friend experiencing this same cancer. I have a few more cancer friends and ladies, you know who you all are. X SC was suffering from a lot of pain and I personally don’t feel she was getting the support she needed. Clearly there was more going on, therefore I was devastated to learn from her husband that she had passed away. I do believe that I’m still here because I do my diligence and I’m very persistent. I would say to any patient of any illness, go with your gut, and fight for you health. Rest in peace SC you will certainly be missed by me. X

Blog No 161 – Museum of London Docklands

This visit was a couple of years ago before a medical appointment. We went to the Museum of London Docklands.

The museum occupies three of the five bays of No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay. A Grade 1 Listed Building, built with stock brick with Portland stone architectural features. The northern elevations of the warehouse are in a cheaper plum brick. Five storeys and attic with a semi basement below quay level. Triple span hipped slate roof.

Here’s some of the Museum exhibits. I’ve provided photo’s and a little info.

No 1 Warehouse

Carts would of be used to move cheese, casks, boxes and bales of tobacco.

Trade Expansion 1600 1800

The stone fragment dated 1619 craved with the coat of arms of the East India Company.

London, Sugar and Slavery

Anti-apprenticeship banner dated 1813 produced by campaigners opposing to the imposition of compulsory apprenticeship on those liberated from slavery.

City and River

Painted wherry seat back dated 1824 middle right hand side. This is awarded to the winner of the 6th Queenhithe Waterman’s race and includes a painted view of Southwarks Bridge.

Sailortown

A pub in one of the streets and alley in the vicinity of the docks and river Thames.

Warehouse of the World

Wine labelling bench dated 1900 – 1939 on the right hand side. The Port of London Authority offered merchants a range of services including wine and sport bottling and labelling.

Docklands at War

Casing of an unexploded German bomb that fell on Millwall dated 1939 – 1945. In 1941 the basement of Bullivant Wharf, Millwall, was in use as an air raid shelter.

Sainsbury’s Study Centre

Sainsbury is one of the nation’s oldest food retailer’s. Sainsbury’s started in London in 1869 thats over a 150 yrs old. That’s enormous achievement and succeed through recessions and pandemics.

The museum offers free admission, however you can make a donation. I would thoroughly recommend this museum, it’s truly amazing.

Blog No 160 – Bath, Somerset

Last February, we went to Bath, Somerset for a weekend away prior to my cancer treatment. I’m truly embarrassed to say that I’ve never been to Bath. Although it has always been on my wish list of places to visit in the U.K.

I’m going to show you some photos in colour but the remaining photos in B & W as the weather was diabolical. The U.K. was experiencing Storm Ciara, so everywhere was very grey, windy and wet. Sorry about the rain droplets on the next photo but the weather was horrendous.

Royal Crescent

Bath is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. The Royal Crescent is one of the most desirable addresses in Bath. One of the greatest pieces of Georgian architecture in the U.K. 30 houses built between 1767 -1775. Designed by Architect, John Wood. The Royal Crescent is 538ft long and each building is approximately 50ft high.

The Royal Crescent has been a filming location for the following tv & film appearances. I have listed a few

  • Bridgerton (2020) Netflix
  • The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen (2011)
  • The Duchess (2008)
  • Persuasion (2007)
  • Joseph Andrews (1977)
  • The Girl with a Pistol (1968)
  • The Wrong Box (1966)
  • Having a Wild Weekend (1965)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo (1964)
  • The Fighting Pimpernel (1950)

It is believed to be the very first crescent built anywhere in the world. I’ve seen one in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, which is also a spa town. The properties are believed to be regency style.

The Circus just around the corner from the Royal Crescent was also designed by Architect, John Wood. The Georgian Houses form a circle overlooking a green space and were built in 1754 – 1768.

We then went to 25 Gay Street, Bath, now known as The Jane Austen Centre. Jane born 1775 – 1817 was a UK Novelist, she was known more for the 6 novels as below:-

Sense and Sensibility – 1811 Pride and Prejudice – 1813 Mansfield Park – 1814 Emma – 1815 Northanger Abbey – 1818 Persuasion – 1818

Jane only lived at 25 Gay Street, Bath with her mother and sisters following her fathers death

Some of the exhibits at the The Jane Austen Centre.

The Ivy Restaurant is a popular and famous venue in London for celebrities and the media industry in London. The restaurant provides you with excellent food and 5 star service. Furthermore, we hadn’t ever been to The Ivy Collection Restaurants before, however Cambridge is on the radar for our next visit.

Pulinery Bridge

Bath Abbey

Bath Roman Baths

Put Bath are on your list of places to visit in the UK.

Blog No 153 – PRRT During Covid -19

Hello Everyone

Sorry, it’s been some time since I last blogged. Life took over, covid -19 took over and PRRT symptoms took over. I don’t think anyone is going to forget 2020 in a hurry. I can’t wait to see what the history books say.

Let me start, by telling you I’ve had PRRT #3 last month and I will be having #4 is in October. My PRRT goal was to improve my daily symptoms and if it slowed down my progression that would be a bonus. I have been typical patient in respect of symptoms, hair thinning, pain, flushing and fatigue. It’s also true that your symptoms do indeed get worse as treatment goes up.

I was initially an in patient over 3 days but due covid -19 the hospital started to do the treatment as a day case. Personally, my preference is getting the treatment in a day but I don’t like the travelling home situation. On a good day it can take up 90 mins, nevertheless if traffic is bad it can take longer.

Once the treatment takes hold, I did endure tumour pain. As the tumours get inflamed, you know the treatment is on track. It can aggravate your carcinoid symptoms too, which intensifies your flushing or bowels. Lucky me, I was exposed to both. The next treatment had been delayed due to me sustaining bone pain. Therefore, we are allowing 12 weeks instead of 8 weeks I was doing, between treatments.

Covid -19, has been challenging for everyone and more so for many people. I personally think people has become complacent, ignoring the rules etc. I don’t understand people’s ignorance but I guess that will always happen through any situation. I would like to say thank you to all workers, key workers and the medical profession for working through a particularly hard situation.

During treatment and covid -19, my mother was diagnosed with a secondary cancer. She’s being tough, however she has suffered additional side effects and her chemo has been cancelled on a couple of occasions . She is fighting through the obstacles like a trooper. Mother & daughter going through treatment at the same time, just blows my mind. It certainly would make a great book.

I’m going to embark on my blogs again so please watch this space. Love to you all.



Blog No 151 – Being Vegan

I became vegan at the end of October to see if my daily symptoms would improve. Im happy to report, there is definitely some improvement. Mr Zebrakat became vegan at the same time and had noticed, he’s never hungry now, his sleep has improved and he feels fitter whilst playing football/soccer.

As I said previously, I actually became vegan to improve my daily symptoms. Years ago, I was informed that I have an egg white & cows milk intolerance. Therefore I had always drank my coffee & tea black. If I was to have milk in cereal etc, I would have rice or soya milk. Subsequently, I wasn’t good at avoiding milk or eggs in products. I didn’t always read the labels to dodge the products that I was sensitive too.

Being vegan eliminates animal based foods, like milk, eggs, meat, fish and honey to name a few. I’m used to buying alternative milk products although I had never tried alternative cheese or cream. Essentially vegan makes it easier for me disregard those products, whereas being vegetarian I would still be eating products with ingredients including cows milk, cheese or eggs.

I have been reading social media, books and magazines to gain more knowledge about veganism. I’ve certainly learned some incredible facts, however I’m not going to quote them just in case they are totally incorrect.

Tell me …….Why does everyone have an opinion about someone being vegan. It does make me laugh the questions I’ve been asked by non vegans and vegans. Your either nuts or not vegan enough. I believe being vegan is making a small contribution to animals and the environment. Any contribution is surely better than no contribution at all.

Did you know there is accidentally vegan products too. These are products that are created without intentionally being vegan. (Free of animal products)

Here is a few products that are accidentally vegan.

  • Walkers Prawn Cocktail Crisps
  • Jelly Tots
  • Fox’s Party Rings
  • Ritz Crackers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chinese Chow Mein Pot Noddle
  • Bistro Gravy Granules (Original)

Hopefully I will continue to feel the benefits of being vegan. Roll on PRRT treatment (cancer treatment) this month.

Blog No 149 – Cancer Update

Just before Christmas I went to London for more scans etc. Although my symptoms had been a mixed bag since stopping treatment, I was carrying on regardless. Subsequently I also tried to improve my daily quality of life. I went vegan at the end of October and Mr Zebrakat came along for the ride with no expectations. Believe me or not, we are both enjoying the change of diet. We are both benefiting from the change in one way or another, yet nothing can stop the pain but medication (Morphine). Fatigue and nausea etc can knock you for six too but that’s cancer for you.

On the 27th Dec, my Oncologist called me at home to inform me that my latest scans revealed more growth. Well that’s a surprise NOT. 😂 My Oncologist intends to commence PRRT in mid Feb. I’ve been chasing this treatment for over a year and now it’s finally happening.

How do I feel, well it validates my symptoms and concerns with my body. The specialised treatment has had some amazing results with Net patients. Remember this treatment is not a cure but can possibly extend your quality of life. This is my final trump card, hopefully it’s the best hand I have.

Addendum

I had a colonoscopy yesterday only for the Doctor to take 8 biopsies. I could see that I had additional growth in the colon. It was only 2 yrs since my last operation on the bowel.

Blog No 146 – Going Local

The Blitz Tea Room – Kettering, Northamptonshire

Last weekend, Mr Zebrakat and I took a short drive for some lunch. The Biltz Tea Room & Jazz Lounge had been on my radar for a while, therefore I was very curious what the building interior was going to be like.

The Blitz Tea Room is a family run business. The venue is located adjacent to the Kettering Public Library. The name of the venue, obviously gives you a little clue of the theme of tea room. Hence, I was expecting to see some 1940’s memorabilia, dark wood furniture and classic wartime crockery.

Here’s a couple of photos of the venue.

This photo is pointed to the ceiling to try and capture the sky, the planes hanging down and flags etc.

The menu was a ration book with a choice of sandwiches, omelettes and panini’s etc. A vast choice drinks in specialty teas. I took a photo of a page from the menu, which references Vera Lynn and Churchill both 1940s icons.

Mr Zebrakat chose a pot of speciality tea. He was given a special timer, which determines the strength of tea you like. The longer the timer, the stronger the tea. The milk was served in an old fashioned milk bottle. It’s a miniature size of the original size of a milk bottle. This particular size bottle was given to us as children in primary/elementary school. The sugar was served in cubes a wartime ration.

We both chose different sandwiches, which was served with salad & crisps served on cute flowery china.

We then indulged in fruit scone each served with raspberry jam and clotted cream.

Some of the venues memorabilia on the walls and display cabinets.

Although the food was wonderful, it was quite pricey. I would recommend you go and experience it yourself. There was a couple of parties there, clearly celebrating special occasions which is unique.

Blog No 145 – Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Another year has passed, yet it only seems 5 minutes ago we got married. It was such a perfect day we celebrated with family and friends.

We’ve done so much in our married life, I hope there is room for more adventures to come. Mr Zebrakat told me last night, wouldn’t it have been good, if I had taken you back to our honeymoon destinations. He said he was going to hand me flight tickets to Miami and then on to the Bahamas. I would have been shocked but it wouldn’t be the first time he had surprised me with a trip. I just remember the heat in Miami this time of the year was unbelievable temperatures. How I would kill right now for a blue sea, an ocean breeze and sand in my flip flops.

Instead my sister in law invigorated me with coffee aroma and sweet bakes. Basically speciality coffees, plain scones with butter and jam preserve. The last couple of days especially Tuesday, I was so ill, I feel like I’m starting to get a bowel blockage again as I have the typical symptoms. Them dam pesky tumours won’t leave me alone, they are always wanting a nibble of my fine dining.

Mr Zebrakat gave me a beautiful bouquet in our wedding theme colours and took me to a local Italian restaurant. We both started with drinks as neither of us wanted a starter. Our main course choice was the same.

Beef Involtini Stuffed with Parma Ham, Pine Nuts & Basil in a Rich Tomato Sauce with Linguine & Garlic Buttered Green Beans

And for dessert, the top plate is Rhubarb and Custard Semifreddo with Poached Rhubarb and Pistachio Cream

The bottom plate dessert is Elderflower Infused Panna Cotta with Raspberries & White Chocolate Crumble and Peach Syrup.

The meal was excellent. A very quaint restaurant in the town and even though it was a Wednesday night the restaurant was fully booked and they had to turn people away.

Mr Zebrakat thank you, thank you for absolutely everything you do for me. You are an amazing individual with the kindest heart and I couldn’t wish for a more dedicated husband. Happy Anniversary ❤️ Now leave me alone to continue dreaming about blue seas……..