Blog No 144 – Rome, Italy 🇮🇹

At the end of May, Mr Zebrakat and I went to Rome for 4 days to surprise our dear friends. Unknown to them, we had been in cahoots with their children to surprise them when they had arrived in Rome from Florence. They had travelled from the USA to explore some of Italy before boarding a Mediterranean cruise. We’ve never been to Rome and knew that if we took this trip we could kill two birds with one stone.

Our Hotel

Cakes served on the morning buffet

Street scene outside our hotel

After getting the necessary paperwork to confirm I was fit to fly. I had the tedious task of obtaining travel insurance. I have to be honest it’s hard work and frustrating. Firstly explaining your cancer, as there is too many assumptions made. Secondly being refused by companies that specialise in cancer travel insurance. Thirdly the rip off price that you get penalised for.

We haven’t seen our friends for 11 years. Shocking, I know. Our last meet up was Las Vegas in 2008, which I have to say was an exceptional trip. Time can just pass you by sometimes.

Our friends J & S had organised trips prior to arriving in Italy. Therefore we were happy to slot into their schedule, as it gave me time to rest between our meet ups.

Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps

We waited for their arrival in their hotel foyer. When they did finally arrive, we were both trying not to look too conspicuous in the corner. J was checking in and S took a seat. I approached S first and I will never forget as long as I live the surprised look in her face. Then came the hugs, the words to the effect of “OMG, I can’t believe it ” and then tears of joy. J turned around and thought it was a coincidence that we were both in the same hotel until we explained we came to surprise them. U.K 1 – USA 0. It was a fantastic feeling to surprise such a beautiful couple and in a magnificent city. Rome is a very charming european city and has a very unspoilt feeling about it. The city steeps in history and there is plenty to see.

Our hotel was around the corner from the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. We did an open bus tour for about 3hrs, we went around twice as there was so much to see. Did Mr Zebrakat and I see everything, no we didn’t so we may have to go back again someday.

Thank you J & S for a wonderful, emotional and rejuvenating time.

Weekly Blog No 38 – Victory in Europe or VE Day

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On this day in 1945, 70 years ago both Great Britain and the United States celebrated Victory in Europe Day. The surrender of the German forces had been suspected after the suicide of Adolf Hitlers on 30th April 1945. On the 7th May 1945, Germany unconditional signed a surrender and on the 8th May at 11.01pm all active operations would creased. Germany’s  surrender brought an end to 6 years of hardship and war.

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This instrument of surrender was signed at General Dwight D Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims by General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of the German Army. At the same time, he signed three other surrender documents, one each for Great Britain, Russia, and France.

Winston Churchill officially announced  an “End of War in Europe” speech on the wireless and everywhere became a place of celebration. The Government allowed bonfires using only items of no salvage value to be burned. The Board of Trade until the end of May allowed  people to buy cotton bunting without coupons as long as it was red, white & blue and cost no more than a shilling.

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The streets were filled with tricolour flags and bunting and people worn either rosettes or ribbons. The people were rolling out into the streets to enjoy the atmosphere and merriment.

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A street party

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Canadian soldiers entertaining the crowd

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People dancing around the Clock Tower, Leicester

The Royal Family enter the balcony of Buckingham Palace later that afternoon to wave to the crowds. King George VI made the last official speech to the nation at 9pm and Buckingham Palace was lit by floodlights, the first time in 6 years

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Thunderstorms and rain brought the celebrations to an end, however people still had a rocky road ahead.  Rations continued on certain items right up till 1952. Men returned home with physical and mental disorders. Children returned to their family homes following excavation. Theses are only some of the things people had to endure with life after Victory in Europe.

We as people have to acknowledge and be grateful for life that we have. Without the war efforts, where would we be today.  Thank you.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Blog No 35 – I’m Back. 

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I don’t know where to start, I’ve been away for 5 weeks but it feels like months.

Life never prepares you for the emotions you feel when you’re faced with health issues, bereavement and your husband’s job loss. It’s how we deal with it that’s more important.

Bereavement, there is no words, but they say time is a healer. I know these words to be  true but only time with tell especially with loved ones.

My husband is still not working, nevertheless I love having him around. There is a downturn in Calgary and every week you hear of more & more lay offs. We do have a plan A, B, C and D and we are currently sitting between C & D. Staying positive is the key to success.

Health wise, well now that’s been a roller coaster of appointments, procedures and opinions. I will give you the shorter version of events, in my attempt to improve my quality of life.

I have some amazing friends that have the same cancer, yet they seem to have a life with what seems no limitations or restrictions. I’m so grateful for my care to date but for the last year I have become very frustrated. I have started to challenge things and even my family physician has done a lot of ground work due to concerns we both have.  Time after time tests are revealing things yet I’m progressively getting worse.  With this in mind, I decided I would go to New Orléans, USA to see experts specialising in this type of cancer. They were either going to confirm my existing concerns or that I have no immediate issues.

The experts were wonderful and their ability shun through however they validated my concerns. Armed with their findings, I took information to my care team on Monday and my concerns regarding additional tumours were dismissed. The recommendation of the experts was further surgery to “grab the suckers”, their words not mine and this would improve my quality of life.  I wouldn’t be cured but I would live again and enjoy life without limitations. I am meeting a neuroendocrine tumour surgeon at the end of the month so I am curious what she concludes. In the meantime, I had an MRI on my c-spine last Friday only to get a telephone call on Tuesday informing me my family physician is speaking to my spine surgeon.  I’m already having my 4th lumbar spine surgery at the end of the month.  The scan shows that I have problems on t-spine but I have a lesion on my c-spine (C3) that requires a further investigation. I am waiting to hear.

It doesn’t matter what the world throws at me, I’m still smiling and getting on with life. I really don’t know where I get the inner strength to handle everything but I do know that my friends & family admire how I take everything in my stride.

My immediate goal is to catch up on my fellow bloggers. Read read and read  ❤️