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 126 – Cancer Update

This was my Facebook update for family and friends.

Unfortunately I’ve been a little quiet recently as I’ve been suffering with abdomen pain and a suspected partial bowel obstruction. I had a Pet Scan beginning of May, it was first one since last year. I did have a couple of CT scans in Feb, which revealed cancer in the abdomen. Well yesterday I went to the RF to discuss my current problems and the results from the Pet Scan. Although it was a great appointment with my Oncologist, he did kindly tell me “I was a complicated case”, my reply was “I did tell you I wasn’t straightforward”.

Now Im going to tell you the findings from the Pet Scan, I have cancer in the abdomen in various places, however there is something of concern on the left side were I have intense pain. Furthermore, I have additional cancer spread on the liver. Subsequently I will have CT’s to the thorax, abdomen, pelvis and liver in the next couple of days. The Oncologist will have a multi discipline team meeting to discuss my case. I may have to have additional tests before I see him again mid June. The proposal is a tablet form of chemo therapy or a clinical trial of Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy. This will be discussed in more detail, once he sees me again and I will explain it more to you.

My thoughts: Something has to done about the continuous progression, I do find that I’m constantly saying that I have progression to you all in my updates, however the fight goes on. Obviously my 4th surgery last Nov didn’t buy me time like I initially thought, hey ho there you go. If I have this chemo, there’s some nasty side effects that I don’t want to experience and PRRT is the last resort treatment for my cancer. However PRRT can slow down progression so its definitely a bonus. I will keep doing what I’ve been doing and that is trying to enjoy life. Life is so precious.

Sorry I haven’t done personal messages but there’s too many people to do and easier this way. 😍

Love to you all. ❤️

Weekly Blog No 117 – Suffragettes

Some historical facts about suffragette movement

Suffragette

A woman seeking a right to vote through organised protest.

Suffragettes campaigned to change the law, to grant women the right to vote. On the 6th February 2018, marked a 100 years since women were given the right to vote in the United Kingdom. Although the legalisation was passed in 1918, it was only for women over the age of 30 who could actually vote if they met the minimum property qualifications or were married to a man who did.

Not all suffragists were women, another term used for man and women. George Lansbury resigned as a MP, from the House of Commons over the issue. George was arrested at a suffragette rally in 1913 after speaking in support.

Suffragettes were imprisoned for minor offences for instance protesting, resisting arrest or smashing a window.

The suffragettes in prison went on hunger strike and were force fed, which was invasive, demeaning and dangerous.

The Royal Albert Hall, London was hired for suffragette rallies between 1908 – 2013. They were also the first group to be banned from the Hall due to disruption and costly damage.

Lady Nancy Astor was the first woman to stand for Parliament. The suffragettes were shocked that the first woman elected for parliament played no part in the suffragette movement. She should have won them round by fighting for woman causes.

Weekly Blog No 112 – Overview of 2017

It’s been a few weeks since my last blog, due to me recovering from my surgery. I thought I would count how many blogs that I did last year and the result was only 20 blogs out of potential 52.

My health evidently had an impact on me posting blogs this year. I will endeavour to improve that number next year, even if it is just by one. On a positive note, my followers have increased in numbers and since commencing my blog in 2014, the number of views is approximately 12k. Woohoo.

Friends & Family

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. Specifically all the people who sent cards, flowers, plants, mags, chocs & sweets, biscuits and messages.

I have to be honest though and say there is a few people on my radar who haven’t fully supported me and that does shock me. In my eyes that can’t be justified why but maybe in their eyes they can, who knows. I’m certainly not going to invest anymore time wondering why.

Lottie (Dog)

She has settled into her new home and loves the garden. Just like in Canada, she likes to sit in the garden facing the sun catching the rays.

She has adapted so well with all the changes we have put her through including the construction on the house.

Thanks to K who looks after Lottie when I’m on appointments etc. Knowing your pet is in good hands is very reassuring and I have gained a coffee buddy too.

New Home

We been here for a year now and the changes to the property are progressing. New windows, stone window cills, shutter blinds, roof lights, guttering & downpipes, new brickwork, forming a new bathroom, knocking walls down, new stairs to loft, chimney removed, new fireplace, loft conversion etc.

The list is endless and I have to thank Mr zebrakat, my brother and nephew for their hard work. Your help to reach our goals has been invaluable and is really appreciated by both of us. Obviously various trades have done certain things but they moderately have been done by family.

Health

I’m sure most of you have read Weekly Blog No 111 – Post Op Update. I’m now 6 weeks post surgery and doing ok. My wound is still being dressed daily by the district nurses and has a little way to go. I’m no longer in pain, nevertheless I am still contending with symptoms that are relentless. No medication at this moment in time is helping but hopefully that will change.

I still haven’t received my post op follow up appointment but my Net Cancer team are chasing it for me. I will have scans again just before the beginning of February before seeing my Net Cancer Consultant. Mr Zebrakat and I have a lot of questions for that appointment but I’m unsure if we will get satisfactory answers.

Despite the endless scans this year, I don’t have complete faith in them. I will continue to listen to my body, which has consistently given me warnings of tumour activity. I think 4 times on the surgical table makes me an expert in some respects. I definitely feel a lot lighter having less organs. Hopefully this coming year is going to be a more healthy year with less issues.

Hobbies

Well, I did have a successful year gardening. My first year of sowing seeds and planting cuttings did indeed produce various fruits and vegetables. I will attempt sow directly into my vegetable boxes next year to see if I am as successful with my crops.

My reading of books hasn’t stopped but I have been completing books at a much slower pace this year. This year I’ve been lucky enough to be in contact with a couple of authors whose books I read. I’m always amazed how they produce such wonderful work with an outstanding imagination. Were would we be without books.

Travel is on the cards next year and optimistically my health won’t prevent me from reaching those goals.

Theatre visits is a must, there is a couple of big shows in London I want to see. Who doesn’t love a musical.

Overview

This year has been quiet challenging, nevertheless I’m still here to tell the tale. I’m so grateful to the surgeon for making me pain-free and possibly extended my life a little. I’ve learned new skills in the garden and been covered in the bottomless pit of dust through building work. I’ve spent quality time with people I love. Furthermore Mr Zebrakat wins the award for husband of the year for his love and dedication as always.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Love to you all. ❤️<<
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Weekly Blog No 84 – Rio 2016 Olympics 

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It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years since the London’s Olympics held in the UK. London was a magnificent host and the country proved to be a huge success. This year the hosting nation is Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and has already provided an amazing opening ceremony.

Great Britain is hopeful for a few medal winners this year. Here’s a few of the names to watch out for and their Olympic metal history

Athletics 

  • Mo Farrah – 2  Gold Medals
  • Jessica Ennis – Hill – 1 Gold Medal
  • Greg Rutherford –  1 Gold Medal
  • Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Boxing 

  • Nicola Adams – 1 Gold Medal

Cycling

  • Lizzie Armitstead – 1 Silver Medal
  • Chris Froome – 1 Bronze Medal
  • Jason Kenny – 3 Gold & 1 Silver Medals
  • Laura Trott – 2 Gold Medals
  • Sir Bradley Wiggins – 4 Gold, 1 Silver & 2 Bronze Medals

Equestrian

  • Charlotte Dujardin – 2 Gold Medals

Golf

  • Danny Willett

Gymnastics

  • Max Whitlock – 2 Bronze Medals
  • Louis Smith – 1 Silver & 2 Bronze Medals

Rowing

  • Helen Glover and Heather Stanning – 1 Gold Medal

Swimming

  • Adam Peaty

Tennis

  • Andy Murray – 1 Gold & 1 Silver

Triathlon 

  • Alistair and Jonny Brownlee – A 1 Gold Medal & J 1 Bronze Medal

Good luck to all the sportsmen and sportwomen in Rio, 2016.

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Weekly Blog No 72 – The Grand National

Grand National

The Grand National is an annual steeplechase event held at Aintree, Liverpool, UK. The racecourse is approximately 4 miles/3 1/2 furlongs and 30 fences. The event started in 1839, therefore it’s not far off being nearly 200 years old. This annual event is older than some countries. I understand that this event is shown all around the world, however I have never seen it televised in Canada.

The Grand National Racecourse

The racecourse has some challenging fences including Bechers Brook, The Chair and The Canal Turn. About 40 horses run the race and the jockeys are mainly men, however woman are taking on the challenge too. I believe it was 1977 when the first woman jockey rode in the Grand National. The most successful placing for a woman jockey is Katie Walsh who came 3rd place on Seabass in 2013. The prize fund last year was estimated to be £1 million and the winner was “Many Clouds” a favourite to win this year as well.

KatieWalsh JockeyKatie Walsh

The Grand National is betting shops sugar fix for the year as non betters generate their one or only bet of the year. The whole nation seems to make a bet or will get involved in workplace sweepstakes. You can guarantee if you wanted to shop in peace and quiet with no queues this is the time to do it. Everyone else will be sitting in front of a television at home, work or a pub enjoying the atmosphere.

Friday was Ladies Day at Aintree, here is a photo of the fashion.

Fashion at Aintree

Have you made a bet this year?

I think “Saint Are” or “Last Samuri” to win and each way bets would be “Many Clouds”, “Holywell” and “Morning Glory”.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Blog No 50 – Oxford Canal 

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On Monday my husband took me to the hospital for my cancer treatment and blood tests. as we were there sometime discussing my current issues with my Net Nurse we had to rush home as there is about a 30 minutes commute to pick up Lottie (Dog) for her grooming appointment. As you can imagine after taking 2 pokes I was not feeling 100%, however I went with him for the fresh air as I seemed to be lacking the quality of outside air at this moment in time. Walking is an obstacle with my spine and GI issues…….all the fun of being a cancer patient.

Lottie attends a grooming shop in a semi rural area called Hillmorton Locks along side the Oxford Canal. This is one of those times when I kick myself for not exploring the area more in the past. It’s roughly a 5 minute drive from where I live now in Rugby and is only a 5 minute walk from where I previously lived. We get so wrapped up in our lives that we seem to dismiss what is right in front of us. Now that I want to explore, I cant due to my GI symptoms. Hopefully Oncology can get on top of everything so that I can reconnoitre.

The Oxford Canal was completed in 1790 and is 78 miles long in Central England. The canal goes through the counties of Oxfordshire, Northampton and Warwickshire, which connects to the River Thames and the Grand Union Canal. The canal was very important for trade between the Midlands and London, however the canal is more about pleasure today

oxford_canal_totalOxford Canal Map

Hillmorton Locks saw improvements in August in 1740 to ease the flow on the canal. By improving the locks there was an increase in traffic and a recorded 20,859 vessels passed through the Hillmorton Locks by 1842.

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Hillmorton Locks

Alongside the canal edge is the Canalchef Bistro offering a variety of drinks and food. Inside the Bistro is full of canal memorabilia and history.

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Full English Breakfast

The buildings next to the canal are early nineteenth century structures of red brick and slate roofs with architectural details.

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Blacksmith Cottage

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The bridge that links the canal side buildings and Hillmorton Locks.

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If you go under the bridge it leads to the boat yard

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Boat Yard

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A canal boat heading south.

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A canal boat moored at Hillmorton Locks.

images (1)Painted Canal Ware

An excellent example of British engineering and should be explored not only for a means of travel around the UK but for a possible holiday experience.