Weekly Blog No 125 – I’ll Be Back Soon.

Happy Friday Everyone.

I’m just having some medical issues. My medical team and I working together trying to resolve the unexpected problems

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Weekly Blog No 124 – A Hard Week/Death


This week has been a hard week on so many levels. For a while, I have been experiencing problems since my last surgery in Nov. I suspect I have a partial bowel obstruction. I knew at some point I would get another bowel obstruction from either scar tissue or dandelions (tumours) but just not this soon. My recent bloods have recently shown high and low level readings, therefore my bloods etc were retested on Friday.

When speaking to my GP/FP about the situation he said “the surgeon wouldn’t operate again”. It’s not the first time I’ve heard such words and I’ve defined the odds. Nevertheless I think my surgeon would as he appreciates complicated cases and also the challenge. In reality the GP/FP and his thought process is right because I’m sure my abdomen looks like a plate of spaghetti with a few dandelions(tumours) thrown in for a pop of colour.

You all know my last op in November was not very pleasant for me and I am in double digits were op’s are concerned. I’m still super sensitive were any medical treatment is given to me, which involves a degree of pain. This week, I had hip injections to eliminate pain and boy did it hurt. I came out of the medical facility saying to Mr Zebrakat “why do I put myself through this”. The answer to my own question is, I have no choice. If I want to sleep at night, it has to be preformed. I’m also waiting for my surgeon/team to return my call, regarding a course of appropriate action to be taken. Let’s see what develops over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I have my PET scan the beginning of May.

Since the last op, my abdomin feels slightly distorted and even the open wounds have healed larger than a normal scar line. At this moment, I don’t necessary like what I see, nevertheless they are survival scars and no one is going to see them. After all, it doesn’t really effect me as they are just scars at the end of the day. Furthermore the scars are not on show for all to see, therefore I do embrace them as survival.

On a positive note, I have lost a lot of weight since my last op (that could be considered as good or bad thing). Now to me its a blessing in disguise unless told otherwise as I’m going back to my original shape. Obviously when the undetected cancer was growing, my body was just inflating from hormones secreted from the dandelions. Even back in the day my physical trainer from the army would see me twice a week to torture me. He could never understand why I wasn’t losing weight from the exercise regime I was carrying out. It was always an unresolved puzzle and I consequently learned to live with the matter of contention. Regardless of feeling ill at times, people nowadays can’t believe how good I look. They are seeing a slimmer me and I’m seeing a sick person. The biggest thing they notice is the weight loss, in spite of me living with ongoing daily symptoms. Nowadays my clothes can be purchased off the rack without even having tried them on. It is an excellent feeling whether you are sick or not.

This week, I was informed of two friends passing away from cancer. Both suffered from different cancers, yet they were both so brave in their own right. It’s been rough week emotionaly for me and their families. One of my friends, even though we had different cancers we had similar symptoms in some respects. It was like I was opening up the suppressed emotions of death. Don’t get me wrong I am realistic, I knew one day that I would die of the disease, still I was living in the moment. I think these emotions were brought forward due to my friends passing from the disease and me dealing with more symptoms with no possible outcome but death in time.

No one wants to be faced with death. I’ve heard the phase used before, we could all die tomorrow crossing the road etc etc still bottom line is that its unexpected, with cancer you’re dying slowing and not all of a sudden. Yes we all know we are going to die one day, however we don’t know when or how, it’s the unknown. Please don’t be alarmed I don’t think I’m there yet, in spite of medical aid, I know deep down I’ve exhausted that. Therefore organs have to start failing to work efficiently. I could use another one of my nine lives and live for years, who knows. Under the circumstances it would be normal to think this way. I’m sure I will again and again, nevertheless it’s gave me a kick in the butt to get my paperwork in order. I did have anything in order in Canada but I haven’t completed everything in the U.K.

Cancer and death thoughts are always going to dovetail with one and another. Even patients who are cured with cancer will have had these thoughts somewhere throughout their journey. People who haven’t had cancer and who know of someone who’s had cancer will immediately think death. Bottom line the thoughts are unavoidable.

Weekly Blog No 122 – Malta

As we were sailing into port, I was in awe of the beautiful country before me.

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Entering the port you could see the fortress city of Valletta, the lovely stone walls

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I could definitely see why so many people including Queen Elizabeth 11 formally known as Princess Elizabeth/Duchess of Edinburgh was in love with the country.

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Prince Philip/Duke of Edinburgh was stationed in Malta whilst in the Royal Navy. Princess Elisabeth was living on the island as a naval officer’s wife between 1949 – 1951.

Their home on the island was Villa Guardamangia a townhouse. My understanding is this building is in disrepair and the government are obtaining the villa because of its historical heritage. It’s the only residence outside the UK that the Queen has lived in. It would be an amazing visitors site.

After the Great Siege in 1565, the knights set out building Valletta the capital of Malta. Valletta was founded by and named after the Grand Master of Order of St John Jean de la Valette.  Valletta was to be not only a fortress city, but the cultural home to some of the finest works of 16th – 18th century Europe. Jean de la Vallette was buried in the city some three years later.

Mr Zebrakat & I did an open bus tour of the city and got a brief overview of the history. It would have been nice to have at least a couple of days in Malta to visit the places of interest. Malta is definitely worth a visit and here is some of the photos that I had taken.

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Weekly Blog No 121 – Mediterranean Cruise

@msccruises

@msccruises

Mr Zebrakat & I have just been on a mediterranean cruise. It was my birthday gift from Mr Zebrakat and we celebrated on the cruise 5 years since my cancer diagnosis.

If you are a sun worshipper, I wouldn’t recommend the month of March to do a mediterranean cruise. Although we were able to wear short sleeves, it was quiet windy and did rain a couple of days.

Mr Zebrakat chose MSC Cruises after we had watched an episode of Jane MacDonalds cruise Channel 5 programme. The cruise was an eight day cruise embarking & disembarking in Barcelona, Spain, however you could have embarked/disembarked at any of the ports. This is the first cruise we have been on were all the passengers have not all embarked and disembarked at the same location. The cruise involved 4 countries in 8 days and 5 ports.

This was the itinerary:

Day 1 – Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona the capital of Catalonia, the best port in Europe to discover the wonders of this vibrant region of Spain. Barcelona is one of the largest cities of the mediterranean coast. Establish the history of Gaudi and Picasso. Immerse yourself in the medieval and gothic architecture.

Day 2 – Marseille, France

Marseille the typical vielle ville (old town) of the French Riviera. Enjoy the old port, Palau’s du Pharo or Notre Dame de la Garde.

Day 3 – Genoa, Italy

This Mediterranean port will amaze you with elegant architecture from the 17th & 18th centuries. Take in the magnificent Cathedral of SAN Lorenzo consecrated by Pope Gelasius 11 in 1118 and completed in the 14th Century.

Day 4 – Civitavecchia, Italy

The port of Civitavecchi is one of the largest in Italy. Amongst the most important monuments to visit is the Fort Michelangelo, built by Bramante in the 16th century, the ancient walls of the old port and the fountain in travertine marble by Vanvitelli. There is a host of bars and restaurants for a taste of seafood cuisine.

Day 5 – Palermo, Italy

The perfect chance to visit the regional capital of Sicily. The port of Palermo displays of Norman art and architecture, Baroque churches and medieval streets.

Day 6 – Valletta, Malta

The fortress city and the capital city of Malta. The city has historical and artistic heritage and over 300 monuments. Beautiful architecture with colourful balconies to houses.

Day 7 – At Sea

Day 8 – Barcelona, Spain

Mr Zebrakat and I only went off the cruise ship in Valletta, which I will blog about next week.

A total of 1798 nautical miles was achieved on the MSC Meravilglia ship. 19 floors, approx 4400 passengers and 1500 crew. 19 passenger lifts, a shopping promenade, thermal spa, water park and the list is endless.

Here is a few photos of the ship.

Weekly Blog No 120 – Latest Update – 5 Year

I recently informed you that I had a scan at the local hospital and I felt the Radiologist was basically blindfolded when writing my report. As suspected he or she was, my Oncologist reviewed the scans and informed me that I still have disease/tumours in the peritoneal, mesenteric and the liver. I know scans can be hard to review sometimes but even I knew I wasn’t out the woods. I must admit, I was hopeful that my previous op had eliminated all the disease from the peritoneal and the mensenteric . Never mind, the dandelions endeavour to take hold of my body but I shall keep attempting to eliminate them if the opportunity arises. I think this ‘Kat’ has nearly exhausted her nine lives.

On the 11th March 2013, I was rushed into hospital in tremendous pain with no suspicion of what was going on. Early that morning I was operated on, and later informed that I had bowel obstruction surgery. The surgeon sat on my bed informing me I possibly had cancer and I would have to wait for the pathology report. That day changed my life, nothing seems more important than family and friends at that moment. How was I going to break the news to everyone. One of the biggest things I’ve had to do in life and it started with Mr Zebrakat. This was the day that I decided to continue to be positive and whilst speaking to the universe, please give me 5 more years at least to achieve some things in life.

Well it was 5 years on 11th March 2018 and I was Genoa, Italy 🇮🇹. Let me explain, last week I went on a Mediterranean cruise, which was a birthday gift from Mr Zebrakat. It was initially booked to go on the day before my birthday so that we could celebrate on the ship, nevertheless my body had other ideas and he postponed the trip until March.

It made me nervous in many ways, even though I was feeling better. I still had issues that were still being addressed via medication. You can take all the precautions in the world but no one day is the same. I could be swinging from the ropes one minute and be considerably unwell within the next 5 mins. I’m sure anyone who has be fine one minute and sick the next will understand the rapid change in health. It’s not ideal but I have learned to live with it and to just take day by day. Mr Zebrakat of course makes everything more bearable and is never agitated or inconvenienced by my health issues. I’ve never known someone to be so chilled and who naturally goes with the flow. I guess Mr Zebrakat has adapted too and is grateful I’m still here. The story could be so so different as many of my cancer friends who were diagnosed the same time as me are no longer here. RIP all of you. 🙏

Unbeknown by Mr Zebrakat, when postponing the trip he didn’t realise that it was my butt dart week. It’s always hell going into it and hell coming out of it. As we had left very early on the Friday morning and my injection wasn’t due until the Monday, the earliest I could have had the injection was Saturday. Oh hell, what am I going to do was my thoughts. I did speak to my dear cousin, who’s a very experienced ER (Emergency Care) Nurse and who occasionally works on cruise liners. She gave me some invaluable advice. This is what I took from our discussion. 1. Make sure you take plenty of morphine with you. 2. If the butt dart was given by the medical team on the ship, it sounded like a lot of red tape. Therefore the responsibility fell on Mr Zebrakat shoulders with my guidance and no precious training of injecting intramuscular. I was a little anxious and of course he was too but he didn’t show it. Superstar ⭐️

I have to say my current nurse is lovely but I can feel the pain and have some blood on occasions from the injection. She has made my easier in many ways, crossing the line to get me assistance, therefore I’m reluctant to let her go.

Mr Zebrakat was so gentle, which is hard to believe when the diameter of the needle is like a nail, maybe a slight exaggeration. There was no pain and no blood and just a sheer relief from both of us. I think now that he’s ok with it, we will have greater freedom and not necessary be committed to being available for my butt dart appointment. Oh Mr Zebrakat, I forgot to tell you, the next one is due Easter Monday when the medical practice is closed.

Now this is the part I’m kicking myself about, I do consider myself to be very well organised. In fact I’m proud of my organisation skills and it’s a quality that Mr Zebrakat will always comment on. Well remember the good advice my dear cousin gave about morphine. Well I failed miserably by forgetting my morphine. This is a lesson for anyone taking medication, you must double and triple check everything. Mr Zebrakat said he never ask me, because he knew I was always so organised. Ha ha not this time and I paid for it too.

When my last morphine was dispensed by the chemist it wasn’t dispensed in original box. Yes it had the appropriate label on the white box but the contents were made up of left over packets. I know that is fine but when dealing with customs etc who have inquisitive minds it could look a little bit suspect. Therefore my plan was to take my morphine in an original box and the contents to be full strips of medication. Makes sense right, but I forgot to do it and brought no morphine. My cousin is most probably saying now, what did I tell you, I know lol. Well I went into withdrawal and tried to manage the pain with off the shelf pain meds throughout the trip. Being the tough cookie I am, I’ve got by but it did prove a couple of things to me. I can stop morphine when needed, clearly not the appropriate way. I’ve done it many times before including my recent visit to hospital, nevertheless I’m always put back on it for pain control etc. Holy smokes!!! when pain is not managed it is hell and withdrawal is diabolical. Lesson to everyone, double check your medication before leaving for a trip.

We knew that this trip, we would treat it like an all inclusive floating hotel. Not necessary get off the ship due to symptoms but enjoy what the ship has to offer and relax. We did theatre shows, fine dined, drank cocktails, enjoyed spa treatments & used thermal spa, watched movies, read books and went to the casino to have a go on slot machines. (We walked out the casino up in money). I will blog about the cruise next week.

I would like to send out a huge thank you London Luton Airport for assisting me with my illness. I managed to go through priority queues through security and the airline. A service they offer passengers who don’t require a wheelchair assistance but have an illness. I did feel a little guilty because I look ok but my symptoms are not. I actually did get a few stares from passengers and I’m suspect people just assumed I was a staff member as I walked passed them. When I got to the cruise ship, I had paid for priority boarding to avoid queues. You know and I know, queues at airports and cruise line boarding is always long and time consuming therefore priority boarding was a great start to my holiday. I do feel a sense of achievement for getting to the cruise and for being on the cruise.

Written whilst sailing across the Mediterranean Sea until next time. Love to you all.X

Weekly Blog No 119 – Cancer Update

Cancer Update

Yesterday I went to London, to see my Net Consultant(Oncologist). My Consultant was being a host for two Consultants from another country. Therefore even though he asked my permission, which I agreed, the meeting didn’t go as I initially predicted. In principal, I did envision the responses to some of my questions. It was a very weird meeting in some respects as my Consultant was going in one direction but I wanted him to take another direction. My quizzical mind needed answers to my enigma.

He did advise me that they had debunked my body of tumours but I’m not tumour free. My liver is giving me a run for my money at the moment, which I believe to be tumour pain. The reason I can say this is, as a result of liver pain before I had a liver resection op, which involved removing tumours.

I had a recent local CT scan, which was totally useless as the Radiologist appeared to be blindfolded when viewing the scan to report. Therefore I’m going back to London for Ga68 Pet Scan for a better prospective. I had a series of bloods, some new meds and I will be back to see him again at the end of April. I shall look forward to seeing the results but as we all know, not all my tumours have shown up on any of the previous scans.

In the meantime, life goes on and I will continue to be proactive. I do believe the latest surgery has bought me time and I’m so grateful for that. ❤️

Weekly Blog No 118 – Winter Olympics 2018

This time 4 years ago, I was watching the Sochi, Russia, Winter Olympics in Canada. This year I’m watching the Pyeongchang, Korea, Winter Olympics in the United Kingdom.

Great Britain are not as fortunate in the Winter Olympics for medals as they are blessed in the Summer Olympics.

In Sochi 2014, Great Britain won 4 medals in total. One gold, one silver and 2 bronze.

Liz Yarnold – Gold – Skeleton

Men’s Team – Silver – Curling

Woman’s Team – Bronze Curling

Jenny Jones – Bronze – Snowboarding

I read in the media at the beginning of the Olympics, that Great Britain’s goal was to win 5 medals. I’m glad to report as of today, only day 8 of the Winter Olympics we have won 4 medals. One gold and 3 bronze.

Liz Yarnold – Gold – Skeleton

Laura Deas – Bronze – Skeleton

Don Parsons – Bronze – Skeleton

Izzy Atkin – Bronze – Skis Slopestyle

Congrats to Liz Yarnold for achieving her second consecutive gold medal in the skeleton. Hopefully Team GB will exceed their goal of 5 medals in this years Winter Olympics.