Blog No 145 – Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday we celebrated our wedding anniversary. Another year has passed, yet it only seems 5 minutes ago we got married. It was such a perfect day we celebrated with family and friends.

We’ve done so much in our married life, I hope there is room for more adventures to come. Mr Zebrakat told me last night, wouldn’t it have been good, if I had taken you back to our honeymoon destinations. He said he was going to hand me flight tickets to Miami and then on to the Bahamas. I would have been shocked but it wouldn’t be the first time he had surprised me with a trip. I just remember the heat in Miami this time of the year was unbelievable temperatures. How I would kill right now for a blue sea, an ocean breeze and sand in my flip flops.

Instead my sister in law invigorated me with coffee aroma and sweet bakes. Basically speciality coffees, plain scones with butter and jam preserve. The last couple of days especially Tuesday, I was so ill, I feel like I’m starting to get a bowel blockage again as I have the typical symptoms. Them dam pesky tumours won’t leave me alone, they are always wanting a nibble of my fine dining.

Mr Zebrakat gave me a beautiful bouquet in our wedding theme colours and took me to a local Italian restaurant. We both started with drinks as neither of us wanted a starter. Our main course choice was the same.

Beef Involtini Stuffed with Parma Ham, Pine Nuts & Basil in a Rich Tomato Sauce with Linguine & Garlic Buttered Green Beans

And for dessert, the top plate is Rhubarb and Custard Semifreddo with Poached Rhubarb and Pistachio Cream

The bottom plate dessert is Elderflower Infused Panna Cotta with Raspberries & White Chocolate Crumble and Peach Syrup.

The meal was excellent. A very quaint restaurant in the town and even though it was a Wednesday night the restaurant was fully booked and they had to turn people away.

Mr Zebrakat thank you, thank you for absolutely everything you do for me. You are an amazing individual with the kindest heart and I couldn’t wish for a more dedicated husband. Happy Anniversary ❤️ Now leave me alone to continue dreaming about blue seas……..

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Weekly Blog No 141 – Giving Back

Last month, I had a meeting with a gentleman who’s trying to drive awareness of cancer in the construction industry. His father had passed away from cancer and he wanted to give back by starting a new charity.

I had made contact with him to see if I could participate as my mother, as well as other family members and myself have all experienced cancer. I know first hand the devastation cancer has on a family and all that goes with it.

I’m hoping that this charity will be able to advise people affected by cancer, where to obtain the additional support, whether its financial, emotional or physical.

One of the biggest impacts of cancer is the financial burden, no-one is ready for the financial loss that you find yourself in. A loss of income is hard, unless you have a critical insurance policy. Not everyone considers such a policy because of the additional monthly costs, whether you’re employed or self employed, it is something that people should consider.

There are organisations that offer additional support and provide you with the tools to access further guidance or assistance, which you maybe wouldn’t be aware of. For instance, if you are a cancer patient, you’re entitled to free prescriptions. These are little nuggets of information that you may not be aware of, however it’s one less stressful item to worry about. Free prescriptions actually save me a minimum of £1700 a year, which doesn’t include my cancer treatment costs.

Hopefully this charity will endeavour to reach out to both trade people and professionals affected by cancer, provide some onsite medical screening within work time that can be followed up by a GP or Consultant. Promote cancer awareness, especially skin cancer. There is so much this charity could do, therefore I hope that I, can make a difference to someone’s life.

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.

Weekly Blog No 131 – Cancer Friendships

Copyright ZebraKat 2018

When you start researching the disease, you start to develop friendships with people who have been diagnosed with Carcinoid Cancer around the same time as you. They’re also learning the implications of living with rare disease, therefore you start to gather knowledge from each other. Even though you can live miles apart, there is a special bond that is hard to describe. You share information and support each other through thick and thin. You’ve formed a friendship like a pen pal or should I say a cyber pal. The friendship can progress to private messages, cards or even telephone calls. Through illness we unite and friendship blossoms.

Nothing prepares you for when they die. You feel the heartache that their family and friends are going through. Nevertheless you feel a sense of loss, a friend who has travelled your journey with you. Furthermore there is a niggling thought in your head at each passing. Is your time on this earth coming to an end soon. I don’t think that there, isn’t one person on this journey who doesn’t have the same thoughts.

This year, I have witnessed a lot of friends who have departed to hopefully a symptom free resting place. I have many friends who continue to travel my journey with me. I would like to personally thank you for your continuous support. There has been many friends that I haven’t been able to thank personally, because it was too late.

Make sure you thank your cyber pals, let them all know you are grateful for their support and guidance. To all my cancer friends that have passed, you will be forever in my thoughts. ❤️

Weekly Blog No 129 – Mary Berry’s Fruit Scones

Photo Credit Mary Berry

The other day I attempted to make fruit scones to have with jam and clotted cream. I chose Mary Berry’s recipe and added some photo’s of the different stages.

I also used mixed fruit instead of sultanas and used 100ml of milk and 50ml of cream. Thank you to P for the tip of using cream for a softer scone.

Ingredients

• 75g (2 1⁄2 oz) butter, chilled and cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing

• 350g (12oz) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

• 1 1⁄2 tsp baking powder

• 30g (1oz) caster sugar

• 75g (2 1⁄2oz) sultanas

• About 150ml (5fl oz) milk

• 2 large eggs, beaten

Method

Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 200°C/425°F/Gas 7). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

Put the flour and baking powder into a large chilled mixing bowl.

Add the cubes of butter, keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible.

Rub in lightly and quickly with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Add the sugar and sultanas. Pour 100ml (31⁄2fl oz) of the milk and all but 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg into the flour mixture.

Mix together with a round-bladed knife to a soft, but not too sticky dough, adding a bit more milk if needed to mop up any dry bits of mixture in the bottom of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly knead just a few times only until gathered together, then gently roll and pat out to form a rectangle about 2cm (3⁄4in) deep.

Cut out as many rounds as possible from the first rolling with a 6cm (21⁄2in) cutter (a plain cutter is easier to use than a fluted one) and lay them on the baking sheet, spaced slightly apart.

Gather the trimmings, then roll and cut out again. Repeat until you have 10 scones.

Brush the tops of the scones with the reserved egg. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until risen and golden.

Remove and cool on a wire rack.

Cooks in 10mins.

Approximately 10 Servings.

Weekly Blog No 128 – Cancer Update

Cancer Update written Thursday 21st June 2018

Today I was prepared to discuss either chemo or PRRT as a treatment plan. Subsequently we did discuss them both and here is the outcome. The chemo, he felt was not suitable for me due to the side effects on my body. I think I had actually come to the conclusion already and had mentioned it to a few friends. The PRRT treatment, he is not going to proceed with this treatment at this time.

Even though the CT scan didn’t show up the Pet scan findings, the MRI did. There is multi tumours on the liver and disease in various places of my pelvic region. On my last appointment, the Consultant took various bloods and informed me today that he was concerned with the results. My liver function bloods have been rising since my last op. My GP highlighted the issue back in January, however everyone thought the cause was my recent op. Yet the results continue to rise making the results questionable. There is some other bloods that are troubling him too, for instance my thyroid. As I wasn’t under an ENT Consultant for my thyroid, he phoned someone in-house to seek advice and it was decided to increase my dosage of thyroid meds. There’s a lot of ambiguous results and he is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Today he’s taken another 7/8 tubes of blood. If he is not satisfied with the results, he is going to organise a liver biopsy to see what is going on. I nearly fell of my chair because I had one in Canada prior to my liver resection op. I was very awake watching him do the procedure. The pain after the procedure was so horrendous that the doctors had to give me some powerful drugs. The Consultant did inform me that the team in London are very good so not to worry.

Follow up, he has organised another scan for 4 months instead of the usual 6 months. He wants to monitor me more closely. I should be ecstatic with the news of no treatment at this moment in time but i have a mixed bag of emotions. I’m happy that there is no treatment but sad at the same time, as no further treatment means no improvement in quality of life.

There’s no light at the end of tunnel but I’m still chasing the light.

Love to you all ❤️

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.