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 135 – Overview of 2018

 
Overview of 2018

Wow what a year, it’s been. I started the new year recovering from post op with an open scar. I had high hopes that I brought myself more time but that wasn’t to be the case. The cancer was very determined to grow and cause me ongoing symptoms. I took the stance then, that I was going to attempt to do things before I couldn’t do them anymore. Here’s an overview of 2018.  

January – Birthday Celebrations

In January I turned 49 and 4 quarters, it was an amazing birthday. I was lucky to be showered with flowers, gifts and cards and so overwhelmed by people’s kindness. The love shown to me was outstanding and still to this day, it blows my mind.

February – Scan-a-thon

February was the month that my scans started again and have remained  continuous throughout the year. It was also the month that my new bathroom was taking shape to the point I was able to use the facilities. I was no longer feeling I was showering in a telephone box unable to stretch out my arms. 

 
March – Sailing the Seas
 
March was my delayed birthday trip from Mr Zebrakat. A week on a Mediterranean cruise. It was lovely to have a week away  to relax. It was pretty much house arrest on the ship due to symptoms and of course I forgot some of my medication.  Never in my life, will I ever forgot to take all my medication again. Lesson learned for life. 
 
 
April – Welcome Hamish
 
As many of you know, we got another 4 paws to join the family. Hamish is a ginger tom cat aka Frank the Tank. He’s is still only just over 10 months old and he’s huge. He’s a great addition to the family. 
 
 
May  – Royal Wedding/Oxford
 
May was an exciting time in the U.K, as everyone was so hyped up for the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry & Meghan, the Duke & Duchess of Sussex. I remember the day very well as I had to travel to London for another scan. The roads were so clear as everyone seemed to be glued to the television watching the build up to the wedding. Meghan looked stunning and they looked so in love.  
 
We visited Oxford during the Royal Wedding. Oxford nicknamed it the ‘City of Dreaming Spires’. A city known for a prestigious university made up of 38 colleges. Honey coloured buildings of stunning architecture. A beautiful city and well worth another visit sometime. 
 
 
June – London is Calling
 
We went to London as Mr Zebrakat was attending an award ceremony to receive is fellowship membership. The ceremony was in a beautiful building and the event was exquisite. I’m so proud of Mr Zebrakat in everything he does and achieves. 
We took a quick ride on the DLR to Greenwich. Another hidden gem of prettiness and such a glorious day too. 
 
July – Renovations
 
The renovations have continued and the house is starting to take shape. The loft space, study area and store on the 2nd floor is ready for painting. The 1st floor, bathroom is complete minus a touch up of paint.  The master bedroom and walk in wardrobe is complete but we have to find our extra clothes, shoes and bags from storage. The linen cupboard shelving is nearly complete.  
 
 
Aug – Off to Weegie Land/Glasgow
 
We flew to Glasgow for a couple of days it was important for me to go with Mr Zebrakat to see places that where emphasis in his family tree. It was good for him to show me were he lived, went to school etc. We have previously been to Glasgow but it usually involves visiting people not this time. This trip was about him and for me to take things at my pace due to my difficulties. We had such a lovely time as it was 10 yrs since our last visit. 
 
 
 
Sept – Ibiza Sunshine
 
I don’t have a bucket list and I don’t want one either. I don’t feel the need to put pressure on myself to do things before I go. All I do know, is even though its hard for me to do things now, I need to push myself now before I can’t do it at all. 
 
I’ve had a lot of appointments etc and we decided to get some rest in the sun. Who doesn’t need some sunshine in paradise. I’ve never been to Ibiza and it was only a couple of hours flight so perfect for a mini vacation. 
 
I didn’t forget my medication this time and enjoy my days sitting at the poolside absorbing some vitamin d. I was all ready to begin scans the following week.  
 
October – Additional Storage 
 
I wanted to design some more storage and a bookcase in the area under the stairs. Who doesn’t have enough of storage for specific items. I have a lot of books and thought this area would be good for my paperbacks. I want to keep specific books by favourite authors but I’m also good at giving books to friends & family. I need to paint the bookcase etc but we haven’t chosen a colour scheme for the hall as yet. 
 
 
November – Petting Farm 
 
My niece had a sleepover so we took her to a local petting farm. I don’t know who was more excited me or her lol. I did love stroking and feeding the animals. Seeing my niece getting excited and Mr Zebrakat teaching her how to stroke animals. These are precious moments and it’s times like this, you do wonder how many more precious moments I will  have. 
 
 
December – Cardiff Christmas Market 
 
Mr Zebrakat and I took a trip to Cardiff before my spine appointment. There was a Christmas market on and we met up with friends who live in Wales. What a beautiful place Cardiff is, and the people are very friendly. We did an open bus tour, which is an excellent way to see key points of interest in the city. I would definitely return to this lovely place and beyond. 
 
 

 

Weekly Blog No 127 – My Life Continues

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Kat who dreamed of travelling the world but she was stuck down with a disease called cancer. How her life changed……

No one can prepare you for life with cancer, it’s an ongoing assault course. I don’t want pity but everyday its a challenge. It’s wasted energy, which I would have preferred to use in my career. Cancer was not my chosen career, however it is a full time job of manoeuvring through symptoms, medication, side effects, appointments and procedures.

My last blog, I did mention there may be more tests between appointments. Subsequently there was, I even had some scans last Sunday, ready for my Oncologist next week. Hopefully he will have a treatment plan, which may involve a clinical trial with PRRT. As soon as I’ve been to the appointment, I will update you within a couple of days.

I’ve also been to see my Neurologist, who would still like to stick a needle in my head. I’ve chosen the less invasive action of increasing my medication for migraines. Sometimes the medication is not so effective that the only solution is a drink of Coke or Pepsi. Don’t ask me why it works but it does.

Let’s move on to more happier events in life. Mr Zebrakat has been awarded a Fellow in the construction industry. There was an award ceremony in London and I couldn’t be more prouder of him. He deserves the acknowledgement for his contribution to the construction industry

Whilst in London, we went to the London Docklands Museum. I will do a separate blog for that visit.

Although going out is a challenge, Mr Zebrakat & I have adapted to my needs. Only now, did I had realise what precautions we actually take to make travel more accessible for me. It’s become the norm for us but there is a degree of planning & organisation. You learn to adapt very quickly and I’m sure it’s the same for any illness.

The story continues……….

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 61 – Christmas Decorations

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This year it has become apparent that putting up your Christmas decorations in the UK is getting earlier and earlier. It seems the annual ritual is more in line with the town or city switch on of Christmas lights, which is towards the end of November. Years ago people would put up their decorations approximately 2 weeks before Christmas, oh no not nowadays. Are you that person?

I haven’t put up a tree or decorations as yet, for number of reasons.

  • I don’t have a tree, it was sold prior to me moving back to the UK. It was a tree fitted with lights so the electrical fitting is not suitable for the UK.
  • My Christmas decorations are hidden in a mountain of boxes, known has cupboard jungle. Gone are the days your Christmas decorations either in the loft/basement.
  • Do I put decorations up in my rental accommodation or wait until next year when we have our own house.

Here’s my Christmas tree from last year, sitting in my front lobby/hall.

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Decorating for Christmas early wouldn’t work for me because I’m one of those people who can’t live with clutter. I consider personally 4 weeks to be more than adequate for Christmas decorations as 8 weeks plus is far to long. Following the New Year I am already considering stripping the mantle piece of Christmas things.

Christmas decorations through the decades

Its time to take a trip down memory lane with and Christmas decorations used over last few decades in the UK. I can only assume that other countries had the same trends or similar decorations.

Lets start with paper chain garlands, they were very popular when I was a child. I do remember making them at school with sticky back paper. I’m sure there is a few of us that remember them too.

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Balloons were used in the corners of rooms or at other key points. Gone are the days of blowing up balloons or even using balloons for decorating at Christmas. From paper chains to paper garlands, they were steamed from one wall to another and looped on the way. Balloons were used to hide the drawing pins holding up the garlands when pinned to ceilings or walls.

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If you didn’t used balloons, you may of had paper bells etc (lets call them dangles) in various colours.

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Christmas decorations were starting to develop into other materials, foil.

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Christmas tree decorations

Christmas tree decorations has also changed through the decades. Years ago as a child I remember getting the Christmas baubles out of cardboard sectioned boxes wrapped in tissue paper not like plastic cases that are purchased today.

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Christmas baubles have generally remained round shaped but have been decorated differently over the years. Here are some photos of different styles over the decades.

Christmas art
I think most of us made our parents a Santa or Christmas related picture using tissue paper and glue. This picture will bring back a few memories of your school days at Christmas time.

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I’m sure this weeks blog will bring back a few memories for us all, in one way another. Its good to see that we have maintained some basic Christmas traditions in form of a Christmas tree. I think its the older generation that tend to recycle their Christmas decorations from year after year. I feel the younger generation change theirs more frequently following current trends. I wonder how many of us have Christmas decorations more that 10 years old.

Are you a recycler, trendsetter or a bit of both?

Weekly Blog No 36 – Hoarder or Not

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My basement has been a long and tideous task, for months I’ve been working through boxes shipped over from the UK. It was a mountain of complete chaos, the floor was covered with paper, ceramics and boxes etc. I have worked for hours in the bottomless pit trying to organise, what seems like 30 plus years of personal possessions.

I don’t consider myself a hoarder, however here is the definition of a hoarder in the Oxford Dictionary;

A person who hoards things:

Is that me, maybe another definition for clarity. The Urban Dictionary explains a little further;

(Adj) A word that describes anyone that feels the need to find, collect, keep, pack ANY and EVERYTHING becasue they do not know how to throw things away.

I don’t feel the need to find, however I do have a couple of collections, my vinyl singles and LP’s. Keep, I may fit this category because when emptying the boxes, I found in my memory boxes that I have letters received from friends when I was 10 yrs old. I have 3 large tubs of memories from travel memorabilia, invites, cinema tickets, work ID’s, cards and letters. Pack any and everything maybe from one place to another but I don’t have a problem of letting go.

In the last few weeks I have parted ways with alot of things, items of furniture and home accessories. Therefore I don’t have to pack and keep everything approach, however I do have to find ways of storing/organising things better. I have boxes of papers that I have kept, yes I can scan them but is a scan copy considered legal if I ever needed to produce the original paperwork. This would reduce my paper loading in my basement so if anyone knows the answer, that would be great. Photos, I have a few boxes and again not very organised, now I can hear a few of you saying why don’t you store them on my computer. What happens if I lose my computer? Yes I could save additional copies on a memory stick but Isn’t it nicer to look at the hardcopies on a comfortable sofa than searching through your hard drive. Clothes, we all have a little bundle that we live in hope to fit into again, why do we torture ourselves, has anyone ever fitted back into clothes they use to wear and if you did were they still in fashion, maybe not on both accounts.

I’m sure we are all a victim of the above in one way or another, nevertheless I would say it’s very invigorating to let things go for someone else to enjoy.

Do you hoard things? Or have items that you can’t let go? Do you have tips in storing items?

Weekly Blog No 27 – Welcome 2015

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This year is all about self development and to achieve some new personal skills.

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Firstly, I want to accomplish some new cooking skills. I have purchased the tools, a kitchenaid food processor and food mixer. My goal is to use as many unprocessed ingredients as possible and develop some healthy dishes for me and my husband. I’m not trying to change my way of eating as a result of the cancer as I have previously spent thousands on natural therapies and treatments prior to my diagnosis. My opinion at the minute is not a good one in that respect, I have invested in my body yet I have an incurable cancer so I’m struggling how it was beneficial to me. I do believe eating sensibly is beneficial for your body but not as a cancer cure. Perhaps my line of thought may change over the coming year.

Secondly, I would like to explore music, i don’t know whether to learn a new musical instrument as I can play a few or continue lessons in music theory. I loved music theory at school and wish that my school had offered the subject as CSE/GSC(High School) qualification. The fiddle seems appealing or perhaps I will do both. Time to investigate where to learn the fiddle.

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Thirdly, I want to paint or craft in one way or another. Ideally it would be nice to earn some money from my existing skills.

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Fourthly, I would to continue my writing skills as I do enjoy to writing. I have been writing for nearly a year and the feedback has been wonderful. Thank you to my readers, I shall continue to write with enthusiasm.

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Fifthly, I would like to travel, nowadays this would be a huge achievement. I can’t help but hope that my cancer treatment will improve my quality of life thus allowing me to travel to see family & friends and to make new memories.

Hopefully in December, I will be able to inform my readers of my achievements. Do you have any personal goals his year?