Weekly Blog No 100 – Cancer Update. 

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Cancer Update.



Late January my GP/Family Physcian was getting concerned with me, regarding my symptoms. The Royal Free Hospital, London, UK requested some additional tests including the most advanced scan for my cancer. I have personally been struggling at times, when I have a bad day, I rest and when I have a good day I make the most of it. My body was certainly telling me my cancer had advanced but I had to have medical procedures to confirm that. Today, I went to the RFH for the results and the news was not great.

There was more progression of cancer both in my abdomen and liver.  Was I shocked, no I wasn’t because I knew. What was my reaction, well I smiled because now there was data to represent my symptoms. Weird reaction, I know but I’ve been here at least 5 times before, it’s old hat.  What happens now, my Oncologist wants me to have additional scans to examine the growth in more detail on my abdomen and liver, which is supposed to be in the next 2-4 weeks. However my scan is in 4 weeks with additional blood work. That gives him 2 weeks to discuss my case with other Consultants before seeing him again. He has proposed 3 treatment options but I won’t go into that yet until a final decision has been made. In the meantime, guess what, I have more meds, let’s just add a few more to my rather big collection.

I’m going to continue life the best I can and with no boundaries. I will update you in July when I have more news. I would like to thank the people who continuously support both me & Mr ZebraKat  ❤️

Weekly Blog No 96 – Life Continues

I thought it’s been a while and I should give you an update and elaborate what I’ve been doing in the mean time. 

I’ve been missing in action for a while now because of the challenges of carcinoid cancer. It’s been an  ongoing obstabcle course and I’ve had to climb over walls, swing on ropes and jump through hoops. Only, my adventure is not the wonderful experience you would imagine. 

My new Family Physician has been excellent and on the ball referring me when there has been concerns and there haven’t been many. I had scans, tests and Specialist appointments. On one appointment my medication intake increased a further 5 different meds due to my symptoms. The medical hamster wheel never stops for me.  

Next week I have an endoscopy and the following week my GA68 cancer scan. My tumour marker blood tests that have always remained normal even though, I’ve had 3 cancer ops. My tumour marker result has done a long jump out of normal range with a personal best and doubled within 6 months. Well done cancer, what are you telling me now.

Here’s comes the honestly part. There has been occasions were I have thought is this my downward spiral. Do I seriously need to get my life in order before I decline anymore. My life was in complete order in Canada but isn’t so complete in the UK. It’s something that I need to address. I have ideas but it needs to be down on paper.  

I’m not the person I was and my life has changed so much. I miss work but I do understand why I can’t work. Furthermore I’m don’t have the freedom I once had but I’m also grateful for the freedom I do have. Going anywhere is a challenge, yet you have to try to get to places if you can and Mr Zebrakat is very supportive and never a whinge is heard.

I’m not a crier as a rule, however I did end up crying to Mr Zebrakat a few weeks ago when nothing would take the pain away. It was a Sunday too, so not everyone was accessible for assistance. On the Monday my butt dart nurse saw I was out of sorts and crossed the procedure line to get me assistance. A box of chocolates is in the waiting for my next visit. Thank you so much to my nurse and her diligence.

You do start to question things, for instance, is this it, or if your deemed to have an extended life, how can you possibly maintain symptoms like this every single day. I now understand why people want to throw in the towel. Trust me it’s very easy to comment on these things, when you haven’t physically experienced it yourself. Therefore please be mindful when discussing people’s health issues. I have personally made comments on people’s health in the past, saying I don’t understand why people don’t try more or I don’t understand why they are doing that blah blah blah. Speak to the person and get their prospective on the situation.   

Yes it’s wonderful having a life but no one wants to be feeling horrible everyday. We have all had a viral infection at some point and you feel so terrible. Imagine that feeling most days, it’s the only way I can explain some of the symptoms/situations. Don’t worry, I’m not giving up and my Specialist is working hard to control my symptoms.Thank you Prof C.  The reality is that I may look ok but truth is my life is tormented by my cancer. 

My priorities have changed in life, what may have been my 1 – 5 year goals have immediately become my current goals. I’ve been fighting this for 4 years on Mothers Days (UK), which is a wonderful achievement. Even longer if you count the years it was growing inside me before being diagnosed. 

I will continue to fight and challenge my body. I will keep reading and thank you to Auntie P for the continous supply of reading material. I will be lost in Victorian times for a while. Thank you to K for keeping me up to date in showbiz gossip.  

The house renovation plans are nearly completed for Local Authority submission, well done Mr Zebrakat. Roll on brick dust. 

The garden is now missing a silver birch tree, conifers and  a vine. Hello, fresly painted bird table and proposed space for veggie boxes.  I have sowed some seeds indoor seeds for bedding plants and veggies. A new skill for me and I’ve been learning from others and a big thank to Lady T for the beginners guide. 

I’ve also being working on Mr Zebrakat family tree and mine at times. His is my priorty, I’ve rechecked the facts that I have gathered to ensure that I’m following the right line. It’s amazing how people attach your family members to thier family tree. Clearly assuming that their family member is married to yours.You can’t make assumptions, you have to get the certificates to double check the info provided is correct. The Scottish certificates tend to give a little more info, like marriage date of parents and addresses making the trial a little easier, although I will be crossing over to Ireland now. I know with my family tree, Ireland is a little harder to trace and I believe a lot of records were destroyed by the British. However on a good note, Mr Zebrakat was able to reconnect with a 1st cousin through my research. #happydays.

Althrough i’m problematic times and I may question things, I’m still proactive in one way or another. I would to thank Mr Zebrakat, my family and friends for keeping me going, you know who you are. #specialpeople. 

Weekly Blog No 95 – French Bistro Evening 

imageLocally we stumbled upon a quaint little café with a friendly atmosphere. Every time we have visited the café, you are made to feel welcome and presented with gratifying food & drinks. When ordering a sandwich of your choice, you are presented with a side order of homemade coleslaw and baked crisps.  As I’m not a lover of coleslaw, I was surprised to be delighted by the flavour and could quiet happily eat a bowl on its own. I don’t know what the secret ingredient is, nevertheless they have definitely won me over.

Usually after my cancer injection, Mr Zebrakat and I treat ourselves to a spot of breakfast or early lunch. In January, we spotted that the café did theme night menus. In January, it was a Scottish theme menu, just after Burns Night but we didn’t go as we had other plans.  We decided to go to the next one in February, which was French Bistro. We paid our deposit unsure if we would attend due to me not being so well lately, however at least our place was reserved. Yesterday was ohh la la evening, so I made sure I got plenty of rest during the day.

When we approached the space we were enriched with French music, bunting of French flags, white tablecloth & blue & red confetti laid tables and finally dressed with a bulb of garlic.  We were able to bring with us a bottle of wine as the premises doesn’t hold a liquor licence. Here is the food menu.

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 The shared oven baked Camembert was amazing.

We both had the pan poached garlic mushrooms

Followed by the rustic French onion soup, Mr Zebrakat had the honey glazed duck a la orange and I had the coq au vin.

Then onto dessert, which was a selection of French style desserts

The evening was truly amazing with a great atmosphere. The food was impeccable and the service outstanding. We are going to try another theme night very soon.

 

Photo Credit : Food photos off Facebook page of the café.

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 92 – Overview of 2016

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written a blog due to ongoing health issues but here’s an overview for 2016.

UK 

Been back in the UK for over a year now, we’ve got back into the swing of life. I have to admit my heart is still in Canada but I’m glad to be back. I haven’t driven for a year due to my ongoing symptoms, a personal choice but you never lose the skill of driving. Things can be easier in the UK, shops can be reached by foot or local transport. Food shopping can be delivered to your home. Medication can be delivered to your home by pharmaceutical companies. Basically most items can be delivered to your home nowadays by a simple click.

Friends & Family

An enormous thank you to all the lovely people who have been there for me & Mr Zebrakat. Your kindness however small or big, blows my mind and please know that I am truly grateful. I know nowadays I’m not the most proactive friend but if you know me well enough, you know that I care but my illness limits me. Consequently relying on people visiting me if they want too. Thank you for those people who have made that effort, it always brings a smile to my face.

Lottie (dog)

Lottie has settled into her new house, she loves the garden and her local walks. Lottie has clearly adapted to moving and hopefully this will be her last move.

New Home

Well we did it, we bought a home in a lovely town in Northamptonshire. A beautiful town retaining local facilities in walkable distance, which is a rarity these days.  The house needs  some work to meet our standards but we will get there. The construction plans are being drafted to be tweaked. However I was able to have Christmas dinner here for family and it was a lovely day.

Health 

Well what can I say, as time goes by my symptoms seem to progress. Even though I have some symptoms under control, there are more and more creeping upon me. This year, there has definitely been more bad days than good and life without a cocktail of drugs would be unbearable. There has been days were my pain relief has gone out of sequence due to one thing and another, no person wants to live with that pain, it’s insufferable. Let’s hope in 2017 there will be more good days than bad.

Hobbies 

I was trying to concentrate on hobbies last year. Cooking skills are still improving and still learning to try different ingredients. Reading has been non stop, I do love historical fiction. I’ve tried out new authors this year and I will continue that.  A friend bought me an OK Magazine subscription, therefore I’m able to keep up with showbiz gossip. Music, there is not day that goes by without music, love love love music. I also did some online courses when I was well enough to occupy my mind.

Theatre & Movies

I’ve managed a couple of shows and a few films. Attendance is not at peak times and always needs to be planned in one way or another. Going to see a movie is always therapeutic,  it’s  like adding normality to your life.

Overall a successful year and I will look forward to 2017. Freedom is going to be my goal this year. I wish everyone a Happy Healthy New Year.

Weekly Blog No 91 – Moving Again  

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We are moving again to a permanent nest in the UK. A cute mid terrace house in a market town within Northamptonshire. Finally I will be able to open our boxes from Canada, however I’m sure that we won’t be opening them all until the house is fully decorated.

My dream renovation list:

  • Replacement windows and doors in time, as we want triple glazing/sash style windows. Replace the current UPVC white external doors to either composite or timber doors to within keeping of the historic period of the property. Reduce the master bedroom window to its original size.
  • External decoration once the windows have been replaced
  • A loft conversion also known as converting the roof space to form a drawing office/craft studio.
  • Conversation of bedroom 2 by dividing the room into a main bathroom and en suite to master bedroom.
  • Form a walk in closet to the master bedroom.
  • Form a linen cupboard on the landing.
  • Relocate the boiler from  bedroom 3 to the laundry room.
  • Convert existing downstairs shower room into utility room (laundry room) and cloak room (1/2 bath). I may move its current location once I’ve opened up the space.
  • Rebuild the infill extension/conservatory to conform with Building  Regulations. (Building Codes)
  • Remove the rear external walls to open up into the extension to form open plan kitchen and dining area.
  • I may reconfigure the area to form the kitchen, dining area, cloak room and utility room.
  • Provide french doors to the patio area.
  • Open up chimney for a log burner in the living room (great room)
  •  Remove chimney breast in bedroom 2 to accommodate new bathrooms.
  • Provide new/extend existing lighting,.
  • Fit new fire & carbon monoxide alarms and possibly security system.
  • Replace internal doors.
  • Provide new plumbing were its required and possible replace/relocation of radiators.
  • Damp proofing work if required.
  • Full redecoration and flooring throughout the house.

Basically the list is endless, and I’m sure I wont have any money left for a long time but I can dream. I may start a blog showing my develops, it all depends on time. Wish me luck.

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.