Big boys do cry

Being at home permanently since March 12th has certainly given me time to think.  There has been many a lonely hour to reminisce.  Its been lovely to look back and remember events that have gone by, places I’ve  have visited, people that have came into my life and made an impression; left their mark.

In my 54 years of life its been happy, eventful and surrounded by a great many beautiful caring characters.  From the moment I have been able to comprehend I was showered with love.  As I grew up I was always shown kindness,  the family philosophy was treat others as you would like treated yourself, I will never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself.  Yes these days as I am getting less able and I  will pay someone to clean, paint  or fix something  – I’m sure these tradesman appreciate the work.

Getting back to my time to think.  When I was sitting putting my feed on I was thinking about when part of my job included listening to people and their problems, how they were feeling.  I encouraged them to talk about their feelings.  Express exactly how they felt at that particular moment and how to deal with it.  I would gently persuade them to chat and through time just by talking they would soon realise what made them happy and what made them stressed and sad.  We would work on the positive aspects of their everyday living and help them get back to a happy place.   One thing that did happen to several people is that at some point during their journey was they would face an emotional encounter.  Regardless of their gender, age or size they would talk about whatever may be bothering them, or perhaps on the contrary what has made them very happy that day and then suddenly the voice would go quieter,  and that emotional encounter would take place; the real journey had begun and I would consider my work as continuing success…. Looking back at how a lot of us are feeling at the moment, frightened to show our emotions, a lot of people get told to be quiet, not talk about their feelings, not cry.  If they do cry many are met with Now come on, stop that crying, pull yourself  together.   Stacy Solomon on Loose Women was talking on ITV and said her mum used to vacuum when she was crying, to hide the fact that she was.  All very sad.  We need to be allowed to show our emotions.

I still remember one particular chap when I was working, he was your average build gent, and a father of three, he felt he was failing all round, his family, his work, his health, and most importantly himself.  Of course he wasn’t.  When he got to his emotional encounter he quietly sniffed away the tears and continued to talk, shortly afterwards he described blurry vision and tears threatened to spill from his eyes.  He wiped his eyes so much they were red and swollen. I handed him a handkerchief and said let the tears happen,  please don’t be embarrassed.   His lips trembled, an involuntary whimper escaped his lips as tears spilled over the sides of his eyes.  He looked over at me, his face shouting out help me and please listen.  His body wracked with an onslaught of sobs and tears.  The tears raced down his cheeks.  He cried for a few minutes.  When we discussed events he explained how relieved he felt and thanked me for getting him there.  We still had a way to go, however, the big lesson learnt was not to these suppress emotions;  and deal with them appropriately – the basic emotions are happiness, fear, surprise, sadness, anger and disgust.  The message from this experience I took was most definitely people gain from expressing their emotions, getting upset, talking about their problems; a problem shared.  Big boys do cry.

 

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I most certainly do know being home on my own and having this time to think I also have to to shed a tear and I have probably cried more in the last few weeks than I have done so for quite some time.  Although I do have to say my life is made so much better by those folks that message me and ask how I am, who give me a phone and have a natter.  Please drop an email or a text or give a quick call to your pal or your mum, brother or sister, etc.  I have noticed there are some folk that I only get texts if I send them one first, would I get one asking how I am if I didn’t send them one?  Perhaps I would, maybe I wouldn’t!!! But one thing I do know there are some folks in my address book that we send messages to each other regardless, sometimes I’m first, sometimes their first.  But one thing I do know we deeply care about each other and look out for one another.  You guys know who you are; I love you.

Hold your hand everday

As the pandemic continues.  We are still in lockdown.  Life continues to be on a different path.  Real life physical human beings I see; my husband of coarse, I live with him and so very grateful we have not only been lovers since 1982 but best friends.  My nurses; to tend to my gastrostomy tube, change dressings, etc, etc.  And see anyone from a distance at the door when they deliver parcels and mail.

Modern technology has saved my sanity.  Steve and I having a long lie on Sunday morning, it’s 9am and my mobile telephone has that distinctive ring.  I know it’s a FaceTime call.  Simultaneously Steve and I say know who that will be.  I click the phone and can hear the joyous tones.  ‘Morning, what are you doing in your Bed Granny’?  ‘Having a got chocolate’ is my reply.  We are having a three way conversation between our house (Steve & I) , Stuart & Alexandra, and Teeny & Grace.  It’s fab, we all blather loudly, the girls can’t believe we are still in bed. It’s Sunday, I say in my defence.  They have us laughing.  Along the hall we can hear the dogs.  They can obviously hear the girls talking and they are excited.  Can we see Buddy and Bella please.  I toddle Along the hall.  Bella is actually smiling.  They are pleased to hear the kids.  Morning Bella Boo, Morning, Buddy Boy, says Alexandra, miss you,  the labradors tails start to wag frantically.  Grace calls on Frieda the cat.  Alexandra asks ‘Granny can you go out the back and say morning to Birdie please’.  I go see the beautiful black lionhead rabbit.  The girls are ever so happy.  Right that’s enough I say, granny is wiped out now.  I sit on the seat at the table very happy and blether away .  I maybe can’t see them all in the flesh, however a video call like this makes the world worth living.   We all chat say what’s been happening and what the plans for the day are.

Both girls had plans to play in gardens.  Alexandra said she was going to be drawing and colouring in later.  Grace was going to be playing games.

 

Hold my hand and Smile Each And Everyday

Alexandra drew round her hand in her notebook,  she tore out the page.  Left the page for me with the drawing.  She said I can hold her hand anytime.  She said on a FaceTime call to me Granny I would just love to hold your hand everday

 

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I was so chocked up, it’s difficult to believe Alexandra has just turned 4 years of age.

At this difficult time in this crazy world we need to be grateful for what we have.  Make the most folks.

Alexandra and Grace:

Such Kindness over the Easter Weekend

As we all know and expected this Easter Weekend is somewhat very different.  With most of us being in isolation and being asked to stay at home.  I expected to feel lonely and miss the activities that I had been expecting to do and the people I was looking forward to seeing. However, there were a few folk that did some very nice act of kindness towards myself, Steve and my labs which made me feel very special, loved and happy.  Certainly not lonely at all.

 

Just before Good Friday, my nurse was in to service my gastrostomy tube and change my dressings.  As well as check on my well being, and see how I am doing.  As my nurse was leaving that day she left an Easter card for Steve and I and doggie treats for Buddy and Bella – all in a lovely Easter bag.

 

I got a special FaceTime from my 4 year old granddaughter Alexandra to let me know she had drawn pictures for us.  She had done a special rainbow for our window and would post it through our door.  Her dad sent a text of her holding the picture.  I was so excited to get it.  Words cant explain how much we miss seeing her,  She usually visits every weekend and when you are used to seeing a grandchild on this regular timing, this lockdown period feels like lifetime.  She is my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  I was in hospital for 12 weeks with sepsis and hardly saw anyone however I felt poorly and had no sense of time on many days.  This is different.  However, with the technology we have and keeping a positive attitude we can get through this.  Chatting on FaceTime and sharing what we have done throughout the day makes me smile, we laugh and sing, I just love my FaceTime time.

 

 

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We have had a relaxing Easter weekend.    Writing, gardening (for Steve) some tv and lovely quality time together with the labs.  I was in the Wetroom putting on my creams when I heard Bella ‘friendly barking’ so I ignored her.  Half an hour later I went through to the kitchen to put on my feed.  As I reached for the pump I noticed my mobile phone had several notifications.  As I sat down to read them, I noticed one was a message from Danielle.

Danielle has been my friend for at least 23 years.  We have been through a lot together.  I know if I message Danz and ask can you please come here she will come.  I have been there for Danielle emotionally and I know she will be there for me.  Again I am so grateful for technology so we can chat ad text.  So what did the message say?  It said.  “I’ve  left something at your front door xxxx”. What was left?

 

The most beautiful canvas, of course it is zebras.  And cakes for uncle Steve.  He will love them.  Tonight I will light one of Natalie ’s candles and give her an extra special thought, not that she is ever far rom my mind.

A massive thank you to my special people this weekend, you are what keeps me going.  You all know me and what makes me tick.  Why, perhaps its because I love you guys let you into my heart and you know what makes me happy.

Why zebra?  Neuroendocrine cancer is rare.  Zebras are rare.  When doctors are getting trained they are told

  • when you hear hoofbeats.
  • Look for horses not zebras

Many charities and people with net cancer adopt the zebra as their mascot.

 

My beautiful rainbow picture all coloured in.  Up in my window showing with pride.

 

 

Natalie Ann’s Candles

 

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The Arrival of The Coronavirus

We are approaching the end of March 2020 and this weekend we should be away with friends from the The Dunedin Chapter  ,

I so enjoy being part of this group.  It is our biker family.  From the second we joined we felt part of something.  A warm welcome always awaits us, a support network is available in variety of ways.  Help with the physical Harley Davidson motorcycles; buying, servicing advice, etc.  Things to do; runs, rallies, etc.  Friendship; many friendly faces, great companions, lots of advice, etc.  Socialisation; we all get together and have meetings, weekends together, nights out, lunch meetings, breakfast clubs, chippy runs, etc.  All in all I love belonging to The Chapter.  We are now on to our second Harley Davidson, I have been on motorcycles since I was under 5 years old,  on the back of my brother when my feet couldn’t reach the footpegs.  I have been a pillion to my hubby since I was 17 years of age and I’m now nearly 54.   We have had motorbikes the majority of our married life.  Fifteen months ago we thought we would dip our toes in the water and visit West Coast Harley Davidson for a look at the bikes and what they had to offer.  before we knew it we had  decided it was time to get ourselves a Harley, it was a little Street Rod.  We thought best start small  and not break the bank.  Just to see how we would like the ‘Harley way of life’ and boy do we love it.    While we loved the wee bike, it was just that, too small and So a few months later we traded it in for a beautiful fatboy low.  We got this one at Edinburgh Harley Davidson

This weekend a trip to Aberdeen had been organised by our Harley Davidson enthusiastic friends.  We were all getting together to stay a night in a hotel and have a night out and raise money for the air ambulance.   The plans were, to take a drive up together on the Harley Davidsons if the weather was warm enough and I was feeling up to it, if not take the four wheels and book in to the The Craighaar Hotel in Aberdeen

 

I was so looking forward to going to Aberdeen. Due to my health, the neuroendocrine cancer, the carcinoid syndrome, the treatment I need and the fact that I get fatigued very easily I don’t go out that often.  I find life difficult, some days a general task feels like I am walking around with a 25kg bag of sand on my back.  Needless to say I am very familiar with my own surroundings and am used to being in the 4 walls I live in.  I can be home for three weeks without crossing the door.  My district nurses come to ‘service’ my peg.  Change my dressings, administer my octreotide injection and deal with any other at home health condition I may require. They are wonderful and I couldn’t do without them.

Although I am used to spending time at home on my own, with the company of my two Labrador’s within my four walls I do spend quality time writing, which I enjoy a great deal and I have embarked on a course which I love the challenge.

Suddenly the world has been hit by an eerie storm, one which we have never seen the like before. The human race has been struck down with Coronavirus.   The arrival of the Coronavirus is here.  For a great deal of folk it has been fairly harmless, however for many it has proven deadly.   To find out a little about coronavirus visit – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

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Countries such as Spain and Italy are ahead of the UK and have many deaths and have put in strict measures. Here in the UK, we have had to take on a different way of life. Schools have been closed, where possible people are working from home, people are instructed to stay home unless exercising, which is only once per day. Social distancing has been put in place, with everyone to keep 2 metres apart. All these measures have been put in place to try and Stop the spread of Coronavirus. This virus is escalating and getting out of hand, we need to self isolate and stop it. Many people have it, are in hospital, some very poorly and on Ventilators. It’s all such a worry. People are wearing gloves, masks and using hand gel in abundance. Hospitals are running short of ventilators. There are more people needing the machine that the country has; something has to be done.

A team put their heads together – staff from formula 1 Mercedes , staff from University College London hospital (UCLH), and a team from university college London to adapt and improve existing CPAP in a process known as reverse engineering.   Basically they have helped create a breathing aid to help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care.  You can find out more at the following – Mercedes F1 team helps create breathing aid

Life has become very strange for many people, our country is in lockdown, bars, cinemas, restaurants and many shops are closed.  Public gatherings are banned.  Plus many more other measures are put in place.  Some people feel sorry for themselves and are sitting at home whining and moaning, complaining they are bored and wishing they could get out of the house.  Whilst its understandable that they may be bored, sitting at home when they are used to working several hours per day and keeping busy.  Or going out and having fun, playing sports or going to the cinema, etc.  However, these restrictions have been brought in for our own good and it won’t be forever.  We should take time at home, learn a new skill, cook, draw, do a bit of gardening, enjoy reading a book, do some knitting or sewing, play old fashioned board games.  And most importantly our thoughts and prayers should go out to people that are in ICU beds in hospital, on ventilators, fighting for their lives.  This virus not only attacks the vulnerable like me, or the elderly like my 87 year old father, it sadly took the life of a young lady of only 21 years of age with no known underlying health conditions, it also took the life of a 54 year old doctor, the youngest person to die has been 18 years of age.

I did read a couple of pieces of good news the supermarket Asda is donating £5 million to   fareshare and  The Trussell Trust to help the country’s most vulnerable people through COVID019  Asda will prioritise access to stores for NHS staff as of next week every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8am – 9am in larger stores.   Well done Asda

I know the next few weeks are going to be very trying for us all.  The NHS are doing a fantastic job in looking after the patients in the hospitals, at home, etc.  Carers are looking after the vulnerable the best they can.  Supermarket staff are stretched and pushed to the limits at times, the shelves look like its christmas, with the exception its not happy, clappy cheerful customers, its frightened folks walking into the unknown.

For me tomorrow Ive got my district nurses coming to do my dressings, service my tube and give me my two weekly octreotide.  Tomorrow the nurses will be gowned up, masks on.  Whatever will my labradors Buddy and Bella say, they won’t be getting their treats for mummy being a good girl and getting a very large needle jagged into her.

First Person with Net Cancer that made me smile :)

Over 6 years ago I went to an information day hosted by   Scotland’s Neuroendocrine Cancer Charity; The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust  I went on to go to support meetings every month.  There is a group of us that have became friends and a firm support to each other, which is lovely.  Some days its good to be able to talk to someone that you know really understands how you feel and you never feel patronised when talking to each other and at times you really need that ‘I know how you feel’ conversation’

The first person I saw at the information day was such a lovely chap and his wife.  He was  smiling from ear to ear and guiding all participants that were going into the conference.  Despite having never meeting the man before you couldn’t help smiling back, he had the kindest gentle smile.  He would stretch out his very long arms and direct  you into the room.   We have became friends very quickly and seen each other at most meetings.  There is a nice core number of us that try and get together and blether and spend time together.  I have had help organising the tea party and we all went out to the theatre, day out on the barge, a night in my local pub, singing songs and doing magic tricks and said friend getting up and helping out with rope trick – oh boy we  had so much fun.    Norman was twenty years older than me and called me the youngster.  I felt he looked out for me in a way when we sat together, it was his nature.  When I organised the tea party, and my goodness what a lot of work went into it, he said, now young lady before we open the doors to the public you get half an hours shut eye.  Sometimes he would quietly talk and other times he would stretch his long arms like a giant and bellow what he wanted his audience to hear.  Norman’s first words to me were always and how are you today my dear, is life treating you kindly?  He would have that big grin on his face and it would warm my heart.   Although Norman was his own man, him and his wife came as a pair and they were very much together.  One of those most beautiful relationships each partner knows when the other has had enough and needs to leave, when they are tired, hungry etc.  They have the best tales to tell from their travels on holiday.  They separate across the room and yet communicate with just a glance and before you know it they have made a decision and you are saying cheerio to both of them, see you next time.

This blasted life limiting illness  at times imprisons us in our houses, makes one feel so ill you can’t do a thing, medication, hospital appointments, etc become a way of life – however, meeting each other and sharing some of the good and the bad really helps me get on with my journey.

I found out sad news last week, my pal passed away.   Norman was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer 13 years ago.  I feel privileged to have known him and spent time with him and Margaret for the last 6 years.  I was diagnosed with carcinoid syndrome 10 years ago, whilst a sad occasion like this leaves one thinking about our own mortality, I count every day as a blessing and am happy with the treatment and care I’m getting from my consultants, doctors and nurses.

Today was Norman’s funeral, unfortunately with the coronavirus the world has gone a little crazy.  We are on a lockdown situation and are living under certain restrictions.  Funeral services are allowed to go ahead, however are restricted to immediate family.  I was able to watch the service on a live podcast.  I sat in the comfort of my own home in front of the open fire and watched Norman’s funeral service.

Norman Boe was The First Person with Net Cancer that made me smile 🙂  and I will miss him so very much.   Thank you for being my friend.

“Go my friend and enter into eternal joy and peace, dance with angels in eternal light and love”

My Shining Lights when the going gets tough!!

For most of us life is hard enough.  We all run along in the treadmill of life in our own way. Me, I try and make the best of it even on the bleakest day.  The last three weeks have been a struggle.  My father is in hospital, he has had life saving open heart surgery, his surgery was fairly extensive; a triple bypass, a valve replacement and a pacemaker.  He has been in intensive care, moved onto high dependency and now graduated to the specialist cardiology ward.  He still has a long hard journey ahead of him.  My Papa is made of strong stuff, he will fight all the way.   I am finding it hard, seeing him lie in the hospital bed looking so frail and lost when I am so used to seeing him going around the family home like a busy bee.  To let you understand my Dad is not one for sitting down, as you would say he has a ‘glass ass’.  He likes to keep busy, making sure everyone is looked after when they visit him.  There is always coffee and a sandwich on offer.

Ive been feeling a tad worse than usual over the last few weeks too.  On the medics advice Ive increased my steroids.  Whats keeping me going and giving me strength?  Love.  From particular special individuals: my hubby Steve, my sons Tony & Stuart and my granddaughters Alexandra & Grace.   They are my shining light, all of them fill my heart with warmth and love.   They light up my life even on the darkest days.  And make me smile – Always.  I love them so much and am so grateful to have them in my life.

 

 

 

First Steps To Writing A Care Plan

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I had an appointment at the Western General Hospital with a consultant I have never seen before.  The Team she is with is The PACT Team.  This is Patient Experience and Anticipatory Care Plan Team.  The main purpose of the meeting was to discuss my health problems and for the consultant to take notes and later write up a care plan which can be accessed by A & E staff and out of ours doctors, to better understand my health problems and my preferences.  Once the plan is written up a copy will be sent to my consultants, my GP and myself.

 

It was rather a daunting experience, chatting about any possible imminent admission to hospital.  The consultant was lovely, and she explained everything.  It gave me every opportunity to talk and ask questions.   We discussed what brings me into hospital and what is best for me and what staff would benefit from knowing.   She asked me some very personal questions and I gave her truthful answers.  It was easy to chat to her, she was kind and caring.  She turned the computer screen round so I could see what was type written about me.  There it was in black and white: various medical conditions that affect every day life.  Just for a moment it was once again like hitting that brick wall.  I looked at the screen the words were a blur.   Seconds later we were chatting…………

 

Do I think I will benefit from the care plan?  Hell, Yes!!  The Doc took note of all the problems; e.g. carcinoid syndrome, profound hypoglycaemia, labile blood pressure,  gastrostomy feed tube (leaks), poor co-ordination, photosensitivity, hydrocortisone replacement therapy, lanreotide injections every 21 days etc. etc, etc.  And she made a note of what staff need to have available for me.   Fingers crossed Im not in anytime soon.

 

Hospital Visiting Experience

Depending on what I’m in hospital for and how poorly I’m feeling has an awful lot to do with how many visitors I can tolerate, or need, and who these people are.   When I was in The Royal Infirmary with sepsis after getting my gastrostomy tube fitted the first week I felt really ill, was in high dependency and only had Steve visit, when I started to feel slightly better my boys, brother and sister visited too.  As I progress, my nieces, nephew, cousin, godson and friends visit.  My goodness just shows you how long I was in hospital, the amount of visitors I had.  The chatter kept me going, news of what was happening in the outside world keeping me informed and entertained.  Although I do have to admit, on the days there were between three and five visitors at my bedside I found it quite difficult.  I was tired and couldn’t keep up with the conversation.  One to one I can handle, more than one voice in my lug and the noise is scrambled.  I find myself lying back and letting my visitors converse between themselves.   What some folk don’t realise is both talking and listening can be very tiring.  A twenty minute conversation can deplete me of all my energy.  Leaving no resources in reserve for later.  Even for someone as gabby as me a day of complete silence can be a necessity to get those reserves firmly back in place.  Not all days are like this, Some visits are much needed and a total boost, they are the brightest part of the day and when I share some of my most intimate statements.  It’s the actual blethering that builds up my energy, gives me that extra oomph. 😀😀

 

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My last hospital stay was only a couple of weeks ago.  I was in Ninewells, Dundee.  I was feeling a tad rubbish and tired.  I was in a friendly room with another five ladies.  My first visitor was on the Sunday night.  It was my friend Susan.  We hadn’t seen each other for quite a while.  It was so fantastic to catch up.  There was so much to talk about.  Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer just four months ago.  She got the diagnosis two days before Christmas.  Courageously she has fought this awful disease, had her breast surgically removed.  We had so much to talk about.  We chatted away, shared experiences, talked about our children and spouses.  Laughed out loud that the others in the ward knew we were happy to be together that evening.  The wonderful thing was that when either of  us said we understood how the other was feeling we really did know how each other felt.  We trust each other’s judgement and certainly don’t feel put out by offering advice.   Susan made jokes about ‘feeling a right tit’ – I bantered back and we laughed loudly.  You could see the other patients in the ward looking.  They obviously heard our entire conversation, after all I take after my mother talk fairly loud and there’s not much distance between beds.  There were two ladies in particular wondering is it ok to laugh?, should I join in at all?   They were intrigued in what we were discussing.  On the odd ocassion you could tell there was a thought that popped into their head,  surely Elizabeth shouldn’t be saying that, or That lady visiting – is she joking.  Susan has chosen not to go for reconstruction surgery.  However, she has picked up her new boob.  It sits perfectly in her bra.  And from the outside with a bra and tshirt on you wouldn’t know which one is the new addition.  She proudly stood hands a kimbo whilst I admired her new figure.  We discussed how it looked and felt.  What a fantastic option it is for a woman in her early 50’s.  She did get offered surgery with build up breast at the same time as the mastectomy.  This would have meant several more hours in the operating theatre and longer recovery time.  For Susan she made the right choice.  She is comfortable with her body.   Her hubby is supportive, loving and caring and her daughters have been just grand.  Friends have rallied round and supported, helped out and visited when required.   Susan is upbeat and doing well and has already gone back to work.  We talked about all this too at the visiting.  As we blethered, one of the other patients came over to my bed to talk to us for a couple of minutes.  Jan has leukaemia, I think it helped her to see us joking and laughing.  Taking a happier outlook on life no matter how bleak things can seem at times.  This was one of those days that the visitor most definitely recharged my batteries and gave me that zest for life that we all so much need.

 

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The Pups Birthday

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Bella feeding the contented puppies

 

The 1st of March 2015 was a rather eventful day in our house.  Our loving Labrador, Bella gave birth to eight puppies.  Ever faithful Buddy looked on as she delivered each individual pup.  One year on and we are still in contact with five of the owners.  We hear how they are progressing.  It is a wonderful feeling to know that you helped delivered these little guys into the world and now they are part of another family.  We get to know what joy they are bringing to others and what their role is now they have left the nest.

 

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Buddy looking after Gunner before he leaves the nest

 

 

March 1st 2016 celebrated their 1st birthday.  I sent a message to the families to say happy birthday to the dogs and hope that they were well.  I got messages and pictures back.    It makes me feel good to know that the dogs are loved and well cared for.  And I am more than happy to be in touch and have made new friends through our dogs having a litter of puppies.

 

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Kai eager to get to his birthday cake

 

 

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Kai’s Birthday cards

 

Kai had a birthday party, with dog friends invited.  Kai got presents, cards and cake.  A lot for a one year old dog.  ‘a couple of the pics from Kai’s party. He had a great time, ran rings around everybody. Was hard to get some pics with the bedlam going on. He had 3 doggy friends in all going bonkers lol Wee Millie the cocker spaniel is knackered.  He’s totally spoilt but we love him to bits.’ Kai lives with a lovely couple who keeps up updated on his progress.  He is a lucky boy to be in this family; well loved and will always come first. You can tell by just looking at them that they were meant to be.  Kai fits into his home so well. He sits on the sofa, looking around like lord of the manor.

 

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Sandy went to live with a couple with a little girl.  He is loved to bits by the family.  I got a message that said ‘Hi Elizabeth we are all doing well.  Nobody can believe that Sandy isn’t one yet because of his height.  He has the square nose like his Daddy.  We will have to bring him to see you all, but will ring first.  This photo was taken at Halloween, he loved his spider, it only lasted a day.  Sandy loves cuddles and up at the school he barks if people don’t come over and pat him.  He’s a case, he patrols the back garden and barks if he sees something he is not happy with.  He loves the trampoline, you should see him and Aimme jumping on it, they are great pals’

 

Jake is a lovely Labrador that lives with his human parents (who love him very much) and two pussy cats.  He is a cuddly dog, who loves to be pampered and snuggled in.  He is like his parents and is quick of the mark in running around and playing with toys,  but equally likes to lie in and if you didn’t know them better you would think they were lazy and thought they were lying there all day.  Jake likes to tell you what he wants.  His folks sent me a message with a photo of him sitting up straight and it said  ‘that is the baby telling you he wants this’ and then a photo of him outside.  Clever dog.

 

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Jake sitting waiting to go gout for his walk

 

 

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Jake standing ready for the off…..

 

 

 

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Gunner and Brandy playing at the Beach

 

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Louise & Gunner

 

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Gunner & Keith

 

Gunner, is the only fox red Labrador exactly like his daddy, some of the others have similarities, but Gunner is a dead ringer for Buddy.  Gunner has gone to live with Louis & Keith, they have a boxer bitch, Brandy and a couple of cats.  Gunner has fitted in perfectly.  Louis and Keith have become our friends.  They pop down to see us, with and without Gunner.  Louise and Keith came to see me in hospital, they couldn’t bring Gunner so brought a beautiful framed photo, this fair cheered me up and let the staff see one of the beautiful dogs Bella has given birth too.   Its been a win win situation.  Louis and Keith take Gunner and Brandy on lots of outings, the dogs enjoy lots of walks .  Gunner is also getting trained to the Gun with Keith.  Merely as a hobby, both man and dog appear to love it.  Gunner is very protective like his Dad and follows Louise around the house and sits and waits whilst she has a bath, etc.

 

Harley, had a lovely birthday.  He got a cake and presents, as you can see in the photographs.  Harley left us at 6 weeks old.  He gets well cared for by Sally.  He has another Labrador as a companion, his name is Cooper.  Sally has taught Harley well, he does what he is told, gives paws on command, rolls over, does all sorts of wonderful tricks.  Harley loves long walks and running around with some of his other furry friends, but I think most of all he likes to get very wet and muddy: just to keep Sally on her toes.   We have kept in close contact and I get kept up to date with all his progress.  Sally has brought Harley back to ours for a visit.  They have visited to meet up with Gunner and had lots of fun with their parents, Buddy and Bella.  And they have visited for a quieter visit, just Harley & Sally.  Where Harley has had a cuddle and played with Buddy and Bella for a while.

 

harley              harley1

 

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It was a big decision for us to breed Buddy and Bella last year.  Would we manage with the pups with the way my health is the way it is?  How busy Steve can be for work? We talked about it at great length.  Then decided to let nature take its course.  They mated on 1st January 2015 and Bella gave birth on 1st March 2015.  I’m not going to say it was easy.  Once the puppies got to the three week stage and they were needing weaned onto porridge, it began to get a bit of hard work.  But the first three weeks, Bella kept them clean, fed them and to be honest you hardly heard a peep out of them.  When they started eating the porridge they were like little gremlins – yum yum yum.  Got to say though, all well behaved, and kept to their own bowls.  The key was organisation.  Steve’s cousin, Anna, from Suffolk, came to stay with us for one week, she was a great help, washing floors, feeding pups, etc.  Steve and I had most of the feeding and cleaning down to a routine, Steve did all the manual heavy work.  I will admit it was hard work, however it was worth every minute of it.  The cuddles from the little puppies, the joy and warmth we get from both Buddy and Bella.  When the day came for the new owners to pick up their pup and take it home, you could see how excited they were, the looked at the puppy all doe eyed and eagerly told us of the items they had purchased for their new addition and how they could not wait to get home and show them their new bed.

When my phone texts or I get an email to say how well one of Bella and Buddy’s pups are doing I feel a sense of warmth and a big grin comes across my face.  My dogs are special to me and I’m so pleased their children are have a special place in the hearts of the people they live with.  I’m so happy we had a litter of puppies.   The company of my own dogs, the new friends and hearing how the pups are getting on and developing into fully grown dogs is great for me.  There are days I don’t feel well enough to go across the door.  The contact with others, communicating, happy stories – it all makes the world a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emotions 😀😁😂☺️😘😈

Im so happy to be home.  I feel free from the clinical walls of the ward.  When I walked into our home on the Friday evening I really hoped to myself this would be it, I would be home now till out patient appointments.  Certainly no more in stay hospital visits for a while.  I missed my home life. Since October my abode was a hospital address – it felt like a lot longer and I am feeling like things in my life are slipping me by.  Life is hard enough for everyone.  When you have a chronic illness you learn to live your life as a different ‘normal’ but when you have a chronic illness and something else is thrown into the mix – such as I was in hospital for all those weeks, or worse still when I also was so ill with the damn infection I didn’t know what day of the week it was.  Life gets even more difficult and complicated.
As human beings we all have difficulties to deal with in everyday life,  and it’s all difficult in its own way.  And sometimes one problem can lead to another.   Steve and I had our sons in our early twenties,  we had to be careful with money when they were toddlers, however, we did our best and they always knew they were loved.  We learnt a lot from that period in our life.   Some people have relationship problems.  Others it’s their job.   I personally believe the biggest stress on a person, relationship or a family is illness.  It can put a terrible emotional stress on anyone at a moments notice.  It can cause such upset and anxiety.  Anger.  Financial stress.  The worst feeling in the world can creep up on you: loneliness.  

 

Who gets lonely when sickness strikes?  Whether I’m at home or in hospital I have people around me – it’s still possible to feel on your own when you are surrounded by others.  At times you just feel no one understands how you are feeling or what this damn disease does to you.  I may be talking to someone and they hear my voice but are they actually listening to what I’m saying.    Whilst I was in the hospital I missed my home and my family terribly .  Although everyone in the hospital is in the same boat –  at times you can feel rather isolated and alone.   For my hubby loneliness came in the form of actually physically being on his own.  The duration of my hospital stay.  Steve was at home on his own with the two Labradors.  His routine was taking care of himself, the dogs, the business, and running back and forth to the hospital to see me.  He never felt he had enough hours in the day.  He never once complained about being tired but you only had to glance at him to see he was exhausted.   As he walked into the ward in a sluggish manner rather than his long confident strides, he had dark circles under his blood shot eyes. And as we discussed our day’s events he yawned several times through the conversation; quite unlike Steve, who is always usually full of beans and ready to take the lead.  After visiting at 8pm Steve would leave the hospital with my washing and head for home.  There would be plenty to keep him occupied.  Something on TV, house chores, the dogs, paperwork, returning the answer machine messages.  Steve would text me as soon as he got home,  quite often we would send each other several messages back and forth and chat as if we were in the same room,  one evening Steve video called me whilst I was in the hospital , it was great whilst I was in my hospital bed  I was also in my front room. Watching my dogs reaction as they heard me call their names was fantastic.  Steve and I are used to doing most things together.  So the reality of it is when Steve came home from the visiting he did all the necessary – but longed for it not to be needed.  And me to be home.  He said the old cottage was quiet and empty,  and despite him having so much to do he was bored.  Steve sent me a text one evening and in part of the contents was the words  the house is lonely, cold and quiet without you……..I miss you.   These words helped me get better quicker.  They made me feel wanted and I knew exactly how he was feeling.

The knock on effect of illness is huge –

well meaning people get in touch to ask how everything is.  Which is lovely, however, sometimes the added pressure of calls and texts can take its toll, other times they are just what you need.

Financially:  I could go on forever – extra trips to hospitals, parking, fuel, Washing, time of work – or no work at all.  Need I go on.

Upset and anxiety.  There are days you just want to cry, everything and anything you feel or say is wrong  for that moment.  That day you can’t  put your foot over the doorstep.

Anger.  😁

 


I feel I’ve been fortunate I’ve never been too angry.  Always tried to turn a negative into a positive.   And thankfully anxiety is not something that has got a hold of me.  I take every day as it comes and what comes with it.   I have learned to treasure what I have in life.  Be grateful for all the good things I do have, and believe me there are many good and happy events surrounding me.   Sure I can’t do everything I used to be able to do.  And certainly I don’t move around as quick as I once did.  I have adjusted my lifestyle accordingly.  What we used to do in a day perhaps takes us a week.  The outing, the trip to the shops and the visit to friends was once done in one day now I have to do things in stages and they will be spread over three days with a day or two in between for a rest day.    My pace of life has altered accordingly  – slowed down considerably.  Steve and I have wonderful Sunday afternoons together. And evenings by the fire chatting.  We take time for each other and converse.  And it’s wonderful, I love it.  ❤️❤️.   We perhaps now see things, do activities and sit and talk like we would never have imagined.  So while it can be lonely and stressful there are still many plus points.   For me I can honestly say that after all these years my hubby and I still really do love each other.  We have two sons, we love very much and we are grandparents .  My thoughts – life is for living and enjoying.  Sure it can be hard.  But isn’t it difficult for everybody at sometime.  I believe if something is worth having it is worth fighting for – such is life.