Weekly Blog No 83 – Movies

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Today as I’m starting to feel a little better than my NORMAL, so we decided to go the cinema to see Jason Bourne. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to leave the house due to symptoms. I managed to get through the whole movie without any serious symptoms. I am very tired but it is butt dart day tomorrow.

The cinema experience is very different in Canada, far more leg room, comfy chairs and amazing food choice. Unlike the UK, less leg room, semi comfy chairs, unlimited food choice and seriously overpriced. However Canada doesn’t do sweet popcorn it’s either salted or butter, which has never appealed to me or Mr Zebrakat. Armed with sweet popcorn, pick & mix and cold drinks, we were ready to go and watch some action.

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Matt Damon aka Jason Bourne has never failed in his action packed movies. Another great story and I’m sure he’s going to be back again at some point with another sequel.

 

Weekly Blog No 80 – Cancer Update

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I have not been keeping up on my weekly blog due to ongoing issues. My symptoms are relentless sometimes and can be from morning and continue throughout the night.

2 weeks today, I had a colonoscopy and I am waiting for the biopsy results. The bowel prep wasn’t wonderful but eating lighter meals for a few days before the procedure certainly helped. In Canada, you don’t remember the procedure that you had, which I thought was amazing. In the UK, even though the right drugs are given, you’re very much awake and you can feel some discomfort. I would love to be time machined back to Canada for this procedure. How can 2 country’s be so different. The GI Consultant knew I had a bad experience before in UK and he saw it, as a challenge to wipe away my bad experience. He was amazing and very compassionate.

The following morning I was seen by a Net Consultant not my usual Net Consultant and I will say he was greatly missed. Let’s just say fish & chips can work in harmony, where this one was more of a case of salad & chips, not so harmonious.

After digesting my salad & chips appointment, I did telephone the department and ask for a fish & chips in future.  I don’t need to be considering side orders if  it has no beneficial impact to my health or immediate care. You may think a side order of beetroot is good for me but it’s not advantaguous to me

I did walk away armed with medication and more investigations to be undertaken. I will start scans again next weekend, let’s hope there is a positive outcome

In the meantime, the Net Specialist Nurse arranged for a Macmillan Nurse to see me for symptom control. She was a breath of fresh air. More like caviar & chips lol. She has made further changes to my meds, including ones I already commenced last week.

She is arranging for a Specialist to see me at home to explore some more of my symptoms. The Macmillan Nurse is going to check in with me again early this week. I did thank the Net Specialist Nurse because local support is required when symptoms are ongoing.

My Family Physician has also referred me to be seen by a Gynaecologist on the request of the Net Team. I had a hysterectomy early 30’s but retained my ovaries. I’m having some pain in the pelvic area, we know  I have disease in the pelvic area so we going to investigate carcinoid ovary or it could just be a case of cysts on the ovary’s. Let’s see what happens.

Overall there are lots going on, I definitely  feel like I’m declining, however I look ok. Appearance is not everything. My medication represents a very sick person but it’s not out on show. Therefore there is no telltale signs. I like to think I just get on with it but having the Macmillan Nurse acknowledge your illness certainly makes you more aware that you really are ill and that is why these people are here. I will stress these visits are only for symptom support not end of life support.

Here’s a link to the Macmillan Nurse and the service they offer. They are the most compassionate caring people. My Macmillan nurse even  hugged me goodbye on out first meeting. She wanted to keep Lottie too but that wasn’t going to happen. Lol

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 60 – Food Discovery 

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Earlier this year, I did mention in Challenge No 27 that I was going to try to extend my skills in cooking etc. I wanted to eat less processed food, which I believe I’ve achieved. However there is always room for improvement.

My GI symptoms have not improved but I do think there is an element of underlying food allergies. I have previously been tested for coeliac in the UK & Canada and it has always came back negative.  Yet other tests have shown that I am gluten intolerant. I do have an allergy to the protein in cow’s milk, I’m not lactose intolerant, therefore I have refrained from cows milk in over 10 years especially in tea & coffee.  I’m a big fan of almond milk and I will use the product in cereal, puddings or sauces etc.

I will be the first to say I’m no saint, I don’t have the complete discipline in avoiding bad food for me.  When I say that, I don’t mean eating loads of cakes or chocolate. What maybe is considered as healthy to you its not good for me. For instance a nice chicken salad sandwich is a sensible option for most people but bread for me is not a good option, bang goes my discipline.

I have read & learned from other people’s blogs and gained  some fantastic ideas, which I’m working through. At present I’m making soups, this is my version of a root vegetable soup. Carrot, parsnip, turnip, onion, garlic and vegetable stock.

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I’ve recently discovered spiral carrots and cauliflower couscous, I have the carrots instead of pasta and cauliflower for rice.  Yum yum

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I shall continue to work on clean living & healthy choices, nevertheless Rome wasn’t built overnight. If anyone has information or recipes to share please do

Written in UK English.

Weekly Blog No 58 – Life

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It’s been a while, so here’s what has been going on.

You can never predict life and sometimes you’re faced with situations that you don’t expect. I think we are never ready for the unexpected in life, however we always manage to jump into adrenaline mode and get on with it.

Family Emergency Update 

My family member was in hospital for a month, I’m glad to report she’s doing ok now. She has a little journey of her own to travel but she will get through it.  Thank you so much to all our family and friends for your continuous support. 💚

My Update 

I’ve struggled for sometime with one thing or another and my issue is I never seem to get conclusive answers. I feel like I’m in constant
Continue reading

Weekly Blog No 53 – Lottie’s 5th Birthday.

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A message from Lottie

I would like to say a big thank you for my birthday wishes. I had a great birthday with lots of treats and cuddles.  I thought I would give you all an update of the last 12 months. I am still very cute with big brown eyes, I haven’t grown in size nevertheless I’ve put on a little weight. This is very surprising as I’m no longer able to eat Tim Horton’s Timbits or Dairy Queen ice cream from Canada. There is hardly any drive thru’s in the UK, only McD’s and KFC both venues never succumb to my cuteness for a treat in Canada so I have no chance here in the UK. I do miss my bank visits to see K, she was extremely affectionate to me and plenty of belly rubs, incurring no extra bank charges. Oh I nearly forget the airport with my human dad, I felt like a movie star there as everyone wanted a photo of me or with me. If only I could have charged them for the privilege, I would have been able to purchase additional boxes of Timbits.

Back to my treats, I was very partial to Timbits, a small round donut, which I could easily fit into my mouth. I would peel the outer skin before attempting to eat the inside. I got this trick from my human mum, I would see her strip off the layers off biscuits or sweets etc as she ate them. I have found a perfect dog treat in the UK, it’s like a chicken drumstick chew. If my human parents fetch me one from the dog treat cupboard, I will give them a playful dance, a few cute circles, a sassy bark and a raised paw for extra measure. My human parents will always respond with rubbing of my soft coat.

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As most of you know, I have left my native land of Canada and headed to the UK. I have to say I don’t miss looking over my shoulder for predators like coyotes. Here in the UK until this present day, I have merely had black ants to deal with climbing on my coat whilst basking in the sun. It’s funny to find something smaller than me and I can remove them by rolling on back and squashing them.

Let me tell you about my dog walks, they are so much more fun as I don’t have to have on my dog lead on when I’m in a human park, as there’s no such thing as dog parks or dog licences. I can run up to dogs, sniff, waggle my tail and play chase. As for humans they offer extra petting and comments like, she’s a cute puppy. Yes I know I am small and adorable but can’t they see that I’m fully grown. What do they say “all good things come in small packages”.

The British weather, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of the wet stuff they called rain give me snow any day. I’m like any other lady who doesn’t like to get her hair wet especially when I’m out and about checking out handsome dogs. It flattens my hair and it’s not cool when I look like a drenched rat.

Family & friends come over to visit my human parents, I love humans coming because I get oodles of attention. Ranging from cuddles, rocking, belly rubs and even kisses. I will reiterate a kiss if my belly gets rubbed as I thrive on such attention.  Even though I tend to follow my human mum around everywhere, my human dad is the soft touch in regards to treats. I simply have to rest my paws on his leg and give him my puppy eyes gaze and he just softens every time then leaps into action.

My human mum has a nickname for me is Velcro and I actually don’t know why. I think maybe she’s suggesting that I follow her everywhere and stick to her like glue. Maybe there is some truth that I do follow her everywhere but I love her and she is my best buddy. I do hate it when my human parents go out so in attempt to prevent that happening, I will shake and even vibrate. I have been known on occasions to even run and hide so they don’t leave me. In the end, what I thought was oscar winning dramatics doesn’t work nevertheless I do make them pay for it when they get home by jumping all over them until they pick me up and hug me.

My new home in the UK is smaller, not so many rooms and certainly less floors for my little legs. There is no hardwood flooring just a whole load more carpet, which is very cosy on my paws and a boundless back scratch. In the UK, there is a lot more animals on the huge picture box, you know the gadget what humans call a telly. I’m not a fan of them meerkats that are on before every episode of Coronation St, I’m likely to growl at them, freaky looking species with long tails and clothes. I would be far more entertaining walking on the cobbles and talking.

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My priority now is to look after my human mum, giving her loads of attention and snuggling into her like a fluff ball as she calls me.

Bye for now and god save the Queen.

Weekly Blog No 51 – Rugby World Cup 2015 

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The Rugby World Cup is fast approaching although I’m not a rugby game enthusiastic, I will watch the World Cup with interest. I guess that is considered a perk when you have cancer, illness allows you time to watch these events.  This year should be interesting as I live in the town where the rugby game was invented.

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Rugby Town Sign

The game was apparently invented by William Webb Ellis in 1820’s. William attended Rugby School and the story is, that he had a disregard for rules so when playing football  he picked up the ball and started to run and this is how it all started

William Webb Ellis Stature

William Webb Ellis Stature

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Rugby School

There is a rugby museum in the town called ” Webb Ellis Museum”, which educates you on the history of the game, the development of the game, players and the ball.

The winner of the Rugby World Cup will be presented with the William Webb Ellis Cup, which recently came to Rugby on the trophy tour

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William Webb Ellis Cup

I hope to see England win, however I think it will be New Zealand and I will be following Canada with interest.

Weekly Blog No 47 – The Struggles of Daily Life

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Life is becoming normal in the UK and it’s hard to believe we ever lived in Canada. We had an email from a Canadian friend last night and she said it was the long weekend this coming weekend.  I can’t believe how easy it is to forget the long weekends as they are not applicable in the UK. Nevertheless the UK does give its employees more annual leave.

I did miss writing my blog last week because I didn’t have the energy. I don’t seem to have the oomph to even read my fellow blogger’s entries, so please don’t be offended as I will catch up at some point. I am usually quiet active on social media and that’s gone to pot too. I have also resorted to granny naps in the afternoon and my little Lottie seems to enjoy them too. She is my little snuggle fluff ball.

Carcinoid cancer is so unpredictable and even though some similarities between patients, we all have a different journey. We learn from each other’s experiences, gain knowledge and sympathize with each other. It is a community of both love and support. We all empathise when someone goes through a troublesome time and provide support when needed.

I am a fact person and in order for me to understand something, I need all the information. This is how I handle my disease, if I have an explanation whether it is good or bad, I’m ok. Where does that come from I wonder, I don’t know if it is a skill that I have established through my working life or just a learnt behaviour. In Canada, I had a GP who understood that about me, he would always give me the information. Thank you Dr K. As for the UK, I am still learning all the time and I am not in a comfortable place about my illness as yet. However it is early days and I am still in the transition period of care. I’m not sure when that transition period is going to end at the minute. Patience Kat  😊

My symptoms are causing me so many problems, preventing me from doing things and incurring me being stab with very sharp implements. Just this week, I had 3 needles by the District Nurse, a cancer butt dart and bloods taken by the Specialist Nurse and to add to the mixture, I have to stab myself with rescue shots to aid my symptoms. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to be upbeat when you are struggling and then I get a reality check on life. I have to remind myself that I am still here and surrounded by love ones. I would imagine everyone is different and it is ok to have good and bad days. It is also acceptable to scream, laugh and cry, when you need too. The one thing that does make me happy instantly, is J my husband. He can make a blue day sparkle every time, with his personality. His Scottish humour is the best medicine ever and if I could bottle it to share, I would to make everyone’s day sparkle too.

Hopefully yesterday, I was the reason for discussion in the MDT meeting led by my Oncologist. I have many issues that have occur both in Canada and the UK that need to be addressed. I am waiting to hear the feedback and to see if I was even discussed in this particular meeting. My symptoms do seem to be progressing so my question is,  is my cancer advancing or can it be managed. My medication undoubtedly gives me the impression of advancement as it takes over my bedside table and refrigerator due to its excessive amounts. I guess only time will tell.

I hope everyone has a good week J

 

 

Weekly Blog No 43 – The Differences Between UK & Canada


In this week’s challenge, I thought I would try to explain some of the differences between UK & Canada services, since my return to the UK. Please note this is only my opinion formed from personal experience to date.

Health System 

Just when you think it’s straightforward, you start to get frustrated with protocol.  I’m due my next cancer injection next week yet I’m no nearer to getting the treatment I need.  I know when I’m in the system, I will be ok and I will have access to all relevant parties. I don’t understand why I’m the person who’s doing all the chasing between various parties to do their job. My symptoms are terrible and I need their help to improve my quality of life. NHS you will be the death of me yet.

A further update since writing the above paragraph this morning.

I was in touch with a fellow UK patient this morning and she gave me some great advice. With her guidance,  I reacted and contacted a local Net Nurse via email. I honestly thought I wouldn’t hear from her until tomorrow morning, yet she responded today. She’s arranging my injection for this week and getting me in to see a Net Consultant ASAP.  Thank you L.

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Very helpful in the UK, like Canada., absolutely no complaints but just praise for the service.

Banks

I’m going to send the UK bank management team to Canada for work experience.  UK banking you believe you are super efficient and provide an excellent customer service, let me tell you, that you are rubbish at execution. We had to speak to 5 different people to open an extra bank account at our branch.

Canada you get the thumbs up. One person and bingo it’s done. Our branch contact in Canada was both super efficient and customer focused, we miss you KNC.

Post Office/Post Man 

My experience to date has been on par with Canada, however UK you get thumbs up for pricing and delivery.  It is wonderful getting my mail through the door before 10.30am in the morning.

Cinema 

Pretty much the same experience although the food variety is so much better in Canada.

Supermarkets

British supermarkets are amazing and the choice is incredible. I think Canada learns you to make quicker decisions because you have less choice options. I swear I stood for 15 mins trying to make a decision on coffee.

Watch Repair Man

One service we struggle to find in Canada yet in 10 mins I had two watches replaced with batteries for £8 ($16).

Phamarcy 

I had built a wonderful relationship with my pharmacy in Canada and had found them to be excellent to deal with. In the UK, I will have to make the same relationship, however my first visit to an UK pharmacy was interesting to say the least. A woman was verbally abusing the pharmacist and then she continued to abuse a customer waiting for her meds. I turned to my husband and said “welcome back to the UK”.

I’m really happy to be back, nevertheless clearly there is pros and cons to every country.