Friday, 18 December 2015

An early Christmas present from Dr.B

Yesterday, exactly 6 years to the day ....... (17th December 2009) I was given another early Christmas present from my consultant Dr. B. 
Yes folks it's time for me to jump on the Myeloma bandwagon proper again. The Proteins have shaken and spun to 15 and Dr. B has his thinking cap on and has given me a six weeks appointment in which time he hopes to have worked out my treatment regime.
In cricketing terms 5 years post SCT is a damn good innings, but I still feel a bit stumped. There are a few tests ahead, but hopefully I'll be batting for a few more years yet.
Well at least I get to exercise my funny bones again....... BLACK HUMOUR HERE I COME AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Christmas is coming!

I know that statement is a tad obvious, but yesterday I made my Christmas cake. I didn't bother last year as I seemed to be the only person to eat it previous years. The idea of Christmas has me jumping about like a kid, I am enjoying the build up, knowing that the actual day will be tinged with sadness, okay a lot of sadness. I miss my kids on Christmas Day more than any other day of the year. The being woken at 5 in the morning to be asked if it was time to open presents, the excited looks on their faces. The fun and games, the TV was banned. We had a very relaxed "eat what you like" policy, no slaving over a hot oven, a large buffet of food was laid out and everyone just helped themselves to what they fancied. Times change, I know that. One is working, two have new families who they spend the day with, one is far away and the last can't decide where she wants to be. I just hope I can get them all together for the now traditional "Italian Extravaganza". I won't bore you all again with the details, you can read about it here or even here

Mike says the same thing every year, "let's spend next Christmas somewhere sunny" and every year we have the same discussion about what I should cook! This year it will be turkey and all the trimmings. We invited one of Mike's oldest friends and his new wife over for Christmas Day. We didn't want him spending another one feeling so depressed he wont even get out of bed! 

Talking of Mike I was very remiss in not updating the blog on his discharge from hospital last week. He seems to be on the mend, he is certainly a lot better than he was even last week when he came home. 

I hope you don't mind me boring you all dear readers with my Christmas preparations, Mike is sick of listening to me already!!! :)

My fantastic 5

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Happy All Hallows Day

I have never celebrated this time of year. Not as a child or even with my own children. It is only recently that the children in the area have started to trick or treat. A few managed to catch me in between visits to the hospital, I suspect a great many more called while I was out.

Mike is slowly getting better, the antibiotics took a while to kick in and at one point they wondered if it was a viral or fungal pneumonia rather than bacterial. His blood pressure has returned to normal, he now has to try and get the IV fluids they pumped into to him back off during his regular dialysis. 

I really can't complain about my lot, there are others who are far worse off. Still, I find the loneliness difficult to cope with, I have my online friends, people who send me lovely messages of support, but few who are close enough to hug. My disappointment in my own children is difficult to deal with, especially as I have always been there for them.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Lonely old dog lady.

I practically have a crystal ball. I am going to be one of those batty old ladies with a pack of dogs, well a couple at least. I'll have no friends as no-one will want to visit my house as it stinks of dog. The only people I ever meet will be other dog owners and even then it will be a cursory "good morning" as we pass in the park. All my pension will be spent on toys and clothing for my dogs, oh and the occasional bottle of gin, "mother's ruin" you know!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Further news

I am back from visiting Mike. They have moved him from Accident and Emergency to a proper ward and his "abdo." pain has been diagnosed as pneumonia, which is what we said it could be this morning!

Mike is relatively comfortable, I have taken him a new pair of jim-jams (his usual ones have long sleeves no good for cannula or dialysis access) , new slippers (why does he never have any when hospital beckons?) and his own feather pillow. He is on a high dose of codeine so he's nice and drowsy! 

His BP is still very low, but they are reluctant to pump anymore fluid into him for fear of doing more damage as his kidneys can't process it.

I'm going to settle down this evening with a good book, a gin and tonic and just relax, I need it.

Wet salty tears.

That's what I have right now rolling down my face. I had hoped that the first blog entry in months would have been done by Mike, with tales of daring-do. I spoiled that last night. I was going to delete the entry, but I have decided it is more valuable as a record of just how desperate things can get. 

The tears are also tears of guilt, I have had to leave Mike in the hospital. Mike had arranged for something to be collected today, I said cancel, he insisted I come home and deal with it. Just as well as I was starving. Mike has been admitted with what the doctor is calling abdo. pain but what Mike says is pain in his ribs. Hey ho, you say to-may-to and I say to-mah-to. His blood pressure is extremely low for him and so despite his usual reluctance they have him on very slow IV fluids, Tazocin and painkillers. He managed to get Entonox in the ambulance, which he thoroughly enjoyed. 

I was a bad caregiver last night. I gave him paracetamol and a bottle of water and went to sleep. How did I know it wasn't just man 'flu?!? :)

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Too much to handle.

I don't know what happened but I want my life back. The life I had before kidney failure came along and spoilt things. Five days a week are spent doing home dialysis. Five days of me doing my best and Mike desperately trying to let me. It is difficult trusting an untrained person with your life.
I want my life back. I want Mike's life back. We don't have a life anymore.
Tonight Mike is ill, a simple virus. It's the straw that has broken this camel's back.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

21st Century Garden August 2015

A day late I know. The garden seems to have become a tangled mass of weeds and plants that have gone to seed, I know how they feel. The weather has been unpredictable at best, it usually rains on the days when I'm not busy doing other things. I might be making excuses too, I've been in a not gardening place. :(

There is some produce to see however:

Yes that's an apple, one of two which magically appeared! 

The peas have got a second wind, while the beans are intent on world domination.

 The sunflowers we planted are almost as tall, they add a splash of colour and hopefully will provide Autumn food for the birds. 

 Talking of wildlife, it seems a rather enthusiastic leaf cutter bee has taken a couple of rooms in the bee hotel. 

The leaves are now turning brown.
I seem to be flower mad this year, the snap dragons are beautiful and popped up in a whole range of colours. 

This morning I captured a bee visiting. 
Flight of the bee!

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Snappy dragon.

Have you ever wondered why you wake up in a particular frame of mind, or in my case, mood?  I sometimes go to bed with my head in a good place only to wake with a cloud raining on my parade. It is almost as if a dream has left a stain like the ring from a cup. I have learnt over the last few years how to "cope" when it happens, at least most of the time. The exercise I get from my three outings each week has of course helped, the jogging is coming along nicely. I am still very slow, but I am told the important thing at this stage is not speed, but the stamina to keep going for longer, speed comes later. I haven't lost any weight, Mike says it might be because the fat weight has become muscle weight. I feel much fitter, so I'm happy to keep going even if I'm still as heavy as a hippo. 

Yet my mood over the last week or so though has had me snappy, anxious, and tearful. I have been going out for my run, but I have been reluctant to venture out at other times of the day. I am prone to panicking too. The other day Mike couldn't find his keys, he took the spare set and rushed off to dialysis. I then turned the house upside down, rushing around like a headless chicken, even though I knew I should calm down and stop fretting. I just couldn't stop myself. 

Snap dragons. 
I will with time, and a bit of kindness from myself and others, find myself in a good place once more. I always have before.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

This One Is For Eric.

A month ago when I started my new fitness regime I could barely jog for the 60 seconds requested by the podcast, so I repeated week one. 

Week two came along and the 90 seconds had me gasping for air, the 90 second recovery walk seemed to last about 30 seconds, so week two made a second appearance. 

I am now on week 3 (my fifth week) and the podcast has me running* for 3 minutes, walking for 3 min. running* for 90 seconds, walking for 90 seconds and then repeat.  

Today I decided that I would run to my local shop. I was inspired by a chap called  Eric Gelber who is currently running 135 miles through Death Valley and beyond. I managed to run / jog 0.7 miles in 7.5 minutes. I know it isn't far. I know it isn't fast. I know that I am 40 pounds (nearly three stone in old English) overweight. I know that I am PROUD of myself for making such massive progress. I am off my couch and on my way! Every time I feel I can't go on I think of Eric and his "Just a mile to go" message. 

*For running it might be appropriate to say jogging through treacle, but I am moving!!!!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

21st Century Garden July 2015

Good morning everyone, where has the past month gone? I'm pleased to report that I am on my fourth week of jogging, I don't run for long yet, but it is getting a tiny bit easier. Any way back to the garden.

The peas are finished, I have harvested the last of them and put them in the freezer to enjoy over the winter. 

 The first beetroots are ready too, those got made into a delicious salad.

The first of the early potatoes are up, we will eat them baked in their skins with chilli this evening.

All around the garden we still have plenty going on.


Bell pepper

Dwarf French beans

More French beans
 The young beans make a wonderful salad along with roasted hazelnuts.



Do you remember the photo of the beans last month? Well the runners have taken to the sky, it is actually 6 inches above the trellis!
Runner beans

Runner bean flower

Courgette / zucchini
Last month I showed you all how beautiful the rose arch is looking, the pond has matured beautifully too. 

It would appear that "everything in the garden is rosy."

Monday, 29 June 2015

July Jog

Over the last fifty-two years the nearest I have come to sporting prowess is walking to school. As a child I spent more time reading a book than running around. My youngest sister could run faster than me almost as soon as she could walk, I remember her chasing me with a carving knife around the flat we lived in after I had done something to upset her. I can't remember what it was I did, but I do remember it was me who got smacked and locked in the wooden larder that stood in the hallway. 

At school I was the kid who was picked last for the team games, netball, hockey, rounders (a bit like baseball for anyone outside the UK) and whilst I was happy to sit and make daisy chains during the summer rounders matches, standing around in my games kit during the winter was no fun. At primary school sports days were kept short by selecting the best children for each type of race, more daisy chain making for me, my youngest sister provided the proud mother moments in our family. 

The one thing I have always done though is walk. Between the ages of  seven and eleven I walked half a mile to school, a lot more than many kids today. During the summer at secondary school I would walk the two and a half miles to school, spend the hour and a half lunch break walking round and round the buildings and fields and then walk the two and a half miles home. I might not be built for speed, but I did have endurance. Endurance wasn't something that my school valued though when it came to sport. In fact I'm not entirely sure how I was viewed by my peers or teachers. Possibly the fact I came from a deprived area lead them to believe I was something I wasn't. It took me a few years to realise, but when we were doing a biology survey of the environmental effects of pollution on lichen I actually heard two teachers discussing which areas were to be covered "we'll have to send Lorna to Horseley Fields, no other parent will allow their daughter to go there." So I was sent, alone, with just my clipboard and paper.  I later learnt that Horseley Fields was part of the red light district. 

I remember after the first London Marathon in 1981 I told a friend that I fancied running the following year, they laughed at me. I never considered running again. 

I have continued to walk. I walked while pregnant, I walked with prams, pushchairs and baby carriers with children on my back. I walked them to school and then walked to do my shopping.  I love walking, sometimes I think I could be the Forest Gump of walking. 

So after a life-time of life only running for a bus I have decided I need to stretch my wings and try a bit of running. The NHS reckon I can get from Couch to 5K in just nine weeks. Maybe it will take me a bit longer, but my aim is to be running 5K around the park by the time the Wolverhampton Marathon takes place on Sunday 6th September. I might not be entered for this year, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be up to a half marathon by next year. 

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

21st Century Garden June 2015

I'm a couple of days late, it isn't always easy to get onto the computer, life and Mike get in the way.

The 'P' garden is doing well.



More peas

We have a possible "funny vegetable" entry.

Weird courgette.
The onions and carrots are looking promising, although who knows what is actually going on below the surface. For all we know, the carrots are presently being munched by carrot fly or slugs.

The tomatoes are starting to flower, possibly a bit late, but without a greenhouse, I think there is very little more we can do.

The dwarf french beans and runner beans have made an appearance.



The new raspberry bush has got its first fruit, much earlier than the old one which we practically destroyed trying to move it from spot to spot (Mike's idea!). It has started to recover now, but we thought it was dead and bought a replacement.



The Japanese quince is looking good, hopefully it will hold on to the fruits and I will be able to make quince jelly again.

The garden is maturing beautifully. Who remembers this wooden arch from 2011?

I was going to put a photo up in July, but it looked so beautiful this morning I decided to show you all a month early, I might just repeat myself next month. The photo is obviously from the opposite side as we put a shed up on the concrete pad.

The borders are full of flowers that the bees love. 

Foxglove, with bee runway.

Love-in-a-mist / Persian Jewel / Nigella Damascena

The bee hotel now has eleven little bees waiting for next spring to arrive, with adults still making their homes in it.  

I love my garden, I just hope I can hang on to it.