My Labradors are content at our holding. Buddy never really leaves my side, goes wherever I go, literally with me into the bathroom, etc. The clever clogs knows when my unusual body is playing up and despite having my peg feed on my blood sugars drop and he comes to my assistance. He knows when my heart is banging so hard I can feel it pounding. Buddy is a wonderful assistance dog to me, my right hand boy. He wanders around the house, pads up and down the long hall. If I was to put a pedometer on him I could imagine his step count each day just in the house, never mind the garden would be pretty high. Bella gets a free reign to. They love their runs in the back field, especially with granddaughter Alexandra. However, when my sister Hazel said she had booked www.unleasheddogparks.co.uk for Buddy, Bella and her young border collie Jed I never anticipated what was in store – a fabulous afternoon at the dog park
Unleashed dog park is only literally a three minute drive from our home in Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland. It provides a wonderful safe environment to let your dog run free and get plenty of exercise. There are great quality equipment for the dogs to play on, a sensory area, a sandpit.
The massive bonus for us is you drive your car into the field you will be using. With my health the way it is, I’m certainly not up to walking my babies a long walk. Places like the dog park in my area are just perfect for a treat. They enjoy running around as they do on our wide open fields but with the added extras of the sensory garden, the equipment to climb on. A fabulous and safe place to train or treat your pampered pouch.
My only disappointment was photography is a huge passion of mine and I neglected to take my Nikon camera with me I took all my photos on my phone. Don’t get me wrong I was really pleased with the results on my Apple
Since March 2020 life has been a funny old world for us all. The arrival of Coronavirus and the devastating effects it has had on us. Many of us have had life changing situations and learned to live with a new normal. We have lost people we love, heartbreakingly not been able to be with them in their hour of need. Staff have courageously battled on through conditions many have never seen before. For all the dedication of workers, volunteers, families, friends, loved ones, etc I thank you. Without the help and love of others it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now sitting writing this on this Thursday morning in April 2021 in my sitting room, I feel a whole lot more positive than I did this time last year. The vaccine is going well. Yes we are concerned about blood clots, but that’s a whole different story and I believe the benefits outweigh the risks. The restrictions are lessening here in Scotland.
My District Nurse, Jennifer was in yesterday she commented how peaceful and relaxing our home is. I told her yes with my carcinoid syndrome fatigue is a huge problem as well as nocturnal diarrhoea so quietly listening to music and writing is relaxing and helps a great deal. Buddy and Bella help too. Snuggling up on the sofa with my Labradors can be just what the Doctor ordered.
The stressful year has affected us all. For me the best way I cope is having my glass half full not empty. Taking the dogs to the dog park such as Unleashed helps blow away the cobwebs. It benefits both the human beans and the K9s.
If you haven’t been to a dog park before and you are swithering, give it a try, Buddy is ten years old, Bella eight and my sister’s border collie, Jed is only nine months. They all had an amazing time. Got home tired out and I’m sure they are looking forward to their next visit.
We are only half way into the month of March and already it has been filled with emotion. Despite feeling very unwell, burst balloon in my gastrostomy tube, more district nurse visits than normal at home; I have spent time with all 4 of my siblings, we have pulled together and gave the love back that was showered upon us as we grew up. February was difficult and March became emotional, in this year 2021 I certainly will not forget this month, with so many memories – most definitely a memorable month of March.
Just a few weeks ago my Daddy Bear admitted he wasn’t feeling too good. Mid February, we brought a bed downstairs and the GP came to his home to see him. My sister, Hazel and I were there. The news from the GP wasn’t good and Dad didn’t have long; she reckoned a couple of weeks. The GP arranged for the District Nurses to come in to Dad. They would visit every morning and then assess how often the visits on top. As one of five we arranged a timetable so Dad need never be alone. He had constant care. The team of district nurses were fabulous, their care second to none. The support they offered was outstanding, they brought endless supplies. Our uncomplaining Father they said was a privilege to care for. They also commented on what a superb system we had in place for looking after ‘our Bertie’
The service from the NHS we can not fault. The District nurse thought it would be a good idea to get a hospital bed for Dad, he would be more comfortable on an air Mattress and it would be easier and safer to attend to him with adjustable height and the ability to raise his head, etc. Nurse Wendy telephoned for the bed at 11am, it got delivered at 2pm that day, and the nurses came at 2.20pm to transfer Dad from his own bed to the hospital bed at home. Service with a smile.
When I was home and getting treated by my district nurse, she asked how I was and how I was coping – we had a good chat. In the conversation I mentioned where my Dad lived and the area the District Nurses covered. My nurse knew the nurses personally. She had worked with them and commended their great work, she told me my Pops was in excellent hands and they would take great care of him. And that they certainly did.
The district nurses, Mari and Wendy asked if we would like extra nursing help. This came in the way of Marie curie Nurses. They were amazing. Came in twice a day to care after Dad. Nothing was too much trouble for the delightful angels that came to assist with Dad’s care. However, they not only looked after our Father, it was very apparent they were there for us too.
Knowing Dad didn’t have long left on earth I wanted to treasure every moment I could with him. With my health I’m not normally up and ready to go first thing in the morning. And during current restrictions I have been home and not seeing anyone. However, this situation put a different light on things and gave me an inner strength. I would get up in the morning, take off my night feed, get into the Wetroom and get myself ready to go to see my Dad. Getting washed is one of the most essential exhausting activities for me. Turning on the shower, getting washed, sitting on my stool, looking down at my bright red flushed feet. Getting washed exhausts me and brings on a carcinoid syndrome flush. Right from the tip of my feet, all the way up my legs, over my trunk, up my neck, leaving me with a bright red face. My heart thumping; I can hear it banging in my ears. I lie on the floor till it calms down. Meanwhile my skin begins to dry. I climb up on the stool and get myself dressed. Put on my creams, including my Dundee cream. I go to the sitting room where hubby, Steve has done all my meds. Take them for the morning. Put on my feed. Sit for a rest to get some energy built up. And then all set to go to spend some time with my amazing Dad. My brother Albert will be there in the morning too to meet up with the nurses along with me.
We only got just over one week to care for Dad. It was the most precious time and a privilege to be part of. I thank the lord for blessing me with enough stamina to go to the folks; our family home, and be with Dad in his last days. The love I have for my parents pushed me to go on. After the love, security and safe feeling my parents surrounded me with I would give them it back ten fold.
The love and dependability my parents gave me always made me feel safe at home. This is something I have always strived for. To make sure my children feel safe and secure and that they can always come home. After Dad passed away these words struck a heart string or two:
Sometimes I feel lost
Remember I love you, and
Love brings you home
Who was our Dad? He was a caring, loving and kind Dad, husband, Grandad, Great Grandad, brother and uncle. He would give us kids his last. For Dad his family is everything. He taught us well, brought us up grand and fair. He worked very hard and built up his own business. We always had a car and we were the first folk in the street to have a tv. Mum was the love of Dads life, they loved to travel and enjoyed many trips abroad, including their beloved Germany, especially the Rhineland. They loved to take trips in the car , taking the grandkids out on adventures. When Mum died Dad gave up driving, he said he no longer had a co pilot to go out on journeys with him. Dad never got over Mum’s death, like me he just learned to live with it. Our folks not only provided a loving secure home for us five, but offered our children, and their children a place to come whenever they needed. They welcomed our friends, Mum chatted to them, offering a sympathetic ear and Dad could be found in the kitchen making a sandwich or ten. When it came to parents I reckon we hit the jackpot.
It is going to take me some time to as they say get my mojo back. When alone I find myself thinking of something that reminds me of my very happy childhood, or the assistance as I went to university, having my children, moving home, going into hospital, getting treatment, need I go on… and I am reminded of all the happy times I have had with my folks and then the sudden realisation that this will never happen again. My heart sinks and I am filled with dreaded fear. I have to believe that my folks are at peace, I was well and truly loved and so very privileged to call Helen and Albert my parents.
As the days are getting shorter, temperature is dropping and the amount of ideal biking days for someone like me are few and far between. I find myself having more time to sit by our beautiful open fire and being grateful that I can reflect on events over the last few months. And hopefully look forward to what the world has in store for us all as the shortest day of the year will soon be here and then the days get longer, we have a vaccine thats getting rolled out for Covid. Since April I have only been out of the house for essential visits, such as the hospital. In total, I have been out of the house a total of 9 times since April. When the restrictions were relaxed I went out with with hubby and some friends from The Dunedin Chapter, under strict social distance for a Harley-Davidson® bike ride. At the beginning of September I took the position of Editor with The Dunedin Chapter, I so enjoy writing about the motorcycles, events, editing members articles, etc. Despite the fact I love being on the Harley-Davidson® I have got to admit I have benefited from having quiet time, time for me and certainly endured More writing and less riding.
The last few months have been fairly stressful health wise. Lavita – my gastrostomy tube has been playing up. I was in utter agony with my last change. The lump on my shoulder is giving me some grief and the pain in my humerus at times is unbearable. I remember 24 years ago I was at nuclear medicine with my Dad, he wasn’t feeling well at all, and he the pain he had was eleven out of ten. The consultant said to him I can clearly see you are in a lot of pain, however you are not complaining. My Dad said to him, I just close my eyes and take myself on a journey, close out the world and try and dream it all away. It doesn’t take it all away but it helps, my Dad told him. I took this with me that day. On the days I feel I can no longer cope, I think of my Dad and his journey.
While I am on my mind journey I can relax, take time to myself. I can think about what may be in the spring. Hoping to get out on our Harley. Have the boards put on the back for my little feet for comfort for those longer rides. Get the Nikon out and take some photos of our beautiful country. As usual the medics have been looking after me; appointments that cannot be met in person have been on the telephone or video call. So I am fairly confident as and when the weather breaks and getting out and about restriction levels allow us to travel around safely I will be able to ride pillion with my hubby.
The one benefit of being at home is I have been able to write a lot more. I find pleasure in writing for myself and other companies and organisations. Working as Editor for The Dunedin Chapter Scotland HOG® #9083 I have just completed my first quarterly Newsletter. I have been humbled at the amount of caring messages from members. Lovely emails and texts saying what a great Newsletter, so kind. Working on Newsletter was hard work, working to deadlines, fitting around others, editing folks work; taking out some parts that I know they would really want in but know that I was tight for space – all in a days work for the Editor. Yes there was lots to do, it took many hours, a lot of the time it was at an hour I haven’t been used to tapping my fingers on the keyboard on my beloved Apple. However when its a subject you are passionate about, the folks sending in articles are lovely and most importantly the team you are working alongside are supportive. It makes me feel proud to be party of a warm and friendly happy Harley Family.
After my appointment at The Western General Hospital in Edinburgh my hubby was patiently waiting for me. He picked me up in the convenient pick up drop off area outside the hospital. We usually go together, however do to Covid, I was restricted to going myself. We made our way out of the hospital grounds and got ready for our Drive through Edinburgh.
As we drove along Crew Road there were works getting done and the road was closed towards orchard brae forcing us to turn left. We made our way along the road and passed the police training college, saw a couple of dogs in the field and then passed Broughton High School, I had a memory of going to the old Broughton High for health promotion talks, and remember proudly going to the police college with Arthur, when he got a commendation award; what a lovely day that was.
Driving through Stockbridge. The sun was shining, there were hanging baskets flowering beautifully outside many of the elegant Victorian and Georgian houses. This bustling vibrant area on the water of Leith is filled with speciality and charity shops, and delightful cafes and pubs. I love Stockbridge; the new town is my favourite area of Edinburgh. If I lived in Auld Reekie this is the locality I would choose to live in.
Cruising along George Street I saw the changes that were happening over time. What establishments are still here, and what has ‘disappeared’ from the high street. The Standing Order was the first building that jumped out at me. All over the world there will be many well known financial institutions that are now coffee shops, or pubs or restaurants, somewhere for folk to sit and chat. Rest their weary bones and share a story or two along with a drink.
As I headed to Southside Edinburgh, I passed a block of flats that were on a corner site in Newington area. This site used to be a Ford Garage that my sister worked in the accounts department. My friend rented a bedsit on the main road when we were at university.
Gosh Helen finished up at the Garage over 40 years ago and Jennifer rented the bedsit in the mid 1980’s. Jennifer visited me yesterday I was telling her about my journey and reminiscing, we started chatting about her accommodation hunting when she came down from Calendar to study in Edinburgh…….
Jennifer and I met at uni, we became friends the first day of term and have been stuck with each other since. Jennifer came down from Calendar and needed accommodation, the uni gave her some recommendations. She came to my parents armed with this A4 piece of paper. We were going to the addresses. My brother Albert dropped us at the first place on the list, it was near the shopping centre, he would go shopping we would view the room. Oh my goodness; the room was ok, very basic, shared facilities which werent so nice, and the room mates were less desirable. So lets just say this place was a big fat no. We tried a few other places on the uni’s recommendation. Absolutely non suitable. My Mum brought out The Scotsman. https://www.scotsman.com We looked in it, there was an ad for a Letting company in Home Street, Edinburgh.
Off we went to Home Street. We walked in to this office with a white haired lady with 2 dogs surrounded with so much paperwork. I actually felt like I was going for a seance. I can tell you Jennifer and I felt frightened, why we didn’t know. The business was ‘real’, the staff were genuine, informative and very pleasant. And they had dogs, something I especially love. I think it was just the fact that the white haired lady was rather eccentric. The room had a creepy feel. However, the lady was very kind to us, she explained what properties she had on the books and what she thought was suitable. She explained locations and terms of payment etc. She thought the room at Newington would be suitable, told us there were already some young ladies in the building and the location is lovely. Big bonus, the landlord was a really nice man. We were sold. Sounded ideal for Jen.
We made our way from Tollcross to Newington. Met by a raven headed gentleman. True to her words. The whole property was in good condition. The bedsit on the ground floor had its own kitchen, it was ideal. No sharing, no messy dishes, etc. Jennifer decided to rent it. As friends it was ideal, not too far from uni and only about 3 miles from my parents house.
Many properties have changed hands over the years and places we have got comfortable going to are no longer there. However, many of these alterations are good news and society is reaping the benefits both socially and economically. As the saying goes out with the old and in with the new.
Lavita has been my lifesaver. For those who don’t know Lavita is the name of my gastrostomy feeding tube. Artificial feeding is a way of life for me; feeding tubes, syringes, dressings, huge deliveries of feed by my lovely drivers from Nutricia, etc. For the last few months I have been having a bother with my tube, my nurses have been coming in, giving the usual service, changing water in balloon, etc. However, I have had a lot of leakage (losing water from my balloon ) I have been in an awful lot of pain and three times the balloon has burst. Lavita has been a leaking gastrostomy tube.
Last week I went for a ct scan with contrast at the request of my net consultant. He is worried because my 5hiaa is elevated, I’ve lost weight, been getting a fair few infections and I haven’t been feeling well at all.
This week I have been at the hospital to see one of my consultants. He was able to speak to me about my ct scan and finally shed light on why I have been loosing water every week. And perhaps why I have been in so much pain. He asked me to get onto the couch, he Kindly helped me up, he assisted me off with my shoes, I couldn’t bend down comfortably from the couch and get my shoes off, he could see that so bent down and took my shoes off for me.
I lay flat on the couch and he said Mark requested the CT scan for a totally different reason the problem we are going to discuss and he started to explain what the radiologist reported on the CT scan. The report stated the balloon should be sitting in my stomach, however it is sitting in my jejunum. The doctor decided he would reposition it there and then. Are you ok? he said, I nodded, my tummy was aching. Just breathe in he said to me, and I will get this adjusted and make you more comfortable. He gave a very firm tug on the tube and turned it around, he pushed it into place and gently twisted it round. He pulled the disc tight up to my skin and said the tube needed to be at 4cm. And to check and adjust it several times per day. He is hoping now that he has pulled the balloon back up into my stomach that I won’t leak water any where as much as I have been. Some weeks, my nurse puts 20mls of water in when it comes to the water change there is only 7mls of water in the balloon.
I got myself decent, he helped me off the couch and onto the chair beside his desk. We now had time to discus what he did, how my gastrostomy tube looked on the scan and how I was feeling. How am I feeling? rubbish, hope to feel better soon….. My doctor did me a drawing of how the tube should be and how mine was when I got the scan. He told me I should get blood tests today; the nurses with a bit of a fight took my blood.
Today I got an email from my other consultant; my endocrinologist; a fantastic net specialist. The one that ordered the CT Scan. He said he was shocked when he read the report that my balloon of my gastrostomy tube was in my jejunum. He asked how I was feeling and said he was relieved that I had seen my other consultant Alan and that he had repositioned it. The prof said he is hoping that the leakage will slow down now that I have had my tube pulled up. The prof is amazing, he is caring and always makes sure I am pleased with the service I am getting. He helped set up the Charity/support group, http://www.taect.scot that I now rely on and admire immensely. Gives up his Sunday for Net Cancer Day for an information lecture. All the patients and staff talk very highly of him.
I feel privileged to have very caring consultants that look after me so well. Especially take time to email me out of hours, or give me a call and ask how I am. Thats what I call service.
So as usual life goes on, and as my half full glass is starting to waver I feel my flushing increase. As I struggle in the Wetroom with a shower, turning off the water I sit on the stool provided by my occupational therapist. I look down at my mottled feet as I struggle to get my breath. I used to get just a basic carcinoid flush – the face and neck; a red rash. However, now when I am utterly exhausted I experience a full body flush, from my toes to the top of my head and believe me it’s not pleasant. At times it coincides with palpitations. Steady thumping, loud familiar beating that I have become accustomed to. Net Cancer with carcinoid syndrome requires regular Carcinoid Syndrome Investigations.
When I last saw my NET specialist I had bloods taken and was asked to pee in the usual container for 24 hours. He telephoned me a couple of weeks later. He asked how I was feeling. I told him the truth, I am struggling some days more than usual, he said he isn’t surprised. My results are elevated , well a tad more than elevated. He recommends an early echocardiogram and a ct scan with contrast of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. I told him I’ve been having problems with the peg; the balloon bursting and the nurses putting in 20 mls of water on The Monday, the following Monday only 9 to 12 mls of water left in the balloon. He said he would get them to look around the peg site whilst in ct scanner.
Within 10 days I was seen at East Lothian Community Hospital in Haddington for my echocardiogram. Steve drove me right to the door. There was masks, hand gel and gloves provided on a desk. At the reception desk the receptionist directed me to the appropriate area. Just a very short walk down the corridor and I was there. Waiting area 3. Five minutes later a lovely radiographer called my name. She had her mask on and escorted me to the room. She asked if I had an echo before, I said I had. She explained exactly how things would go today, helped me onto and then told me how to lie on the couch, put my left arm up and hold onto the handle. This lovely lady made me feel completely relaxed. She talked me through the whole process. Despite the procedure taking around 45 minutes it was painless and actually dare I say it relaxing. Echocardiograms are a necessity for people with carcinoid syndrome. Since many of us get carcinoid heart disease.
Seven days after my echo I was at The Western General Hospital in Edinburgh for my CT. I got a letter explaining it would be best if I entered the hospital alone. Detailing exactly where to go and what would happen. When I entered the main building, again a table with gloves, gel and masks. Off I went to the desk of main X-ray. Approximately 24 inches from the reception desk there was tape as a marker to stand at. I held up my letter and the receptionist scanned it from afar. I took a seat in the spacial distance waiting area. A warm friendly face came to me with a jug of contrast. Yes you do have to drink all this I’m afraid, but you have an hour to do so. Hour passed, Jug drunk, radiographer took me to the CT area. I sat on the big blue chair. She looked at my arms, which one is better? Take your pick I said. She tried the right, got in, blood bounced back into the syringe, vein collapsed. Tried the left, nothing. I will go get someone else she said. I told her it wasn’t her fault, getting into my veins is always a problem, the phlebotomist usually uses a butterfly to take blood. Unfortunately today the cannula needed to be on the bigger side, the solution that was going through whilst I was getting my scan was going to be thick and sticky. After a second try the next radiographer finally had better luck. Time for my CT scan. Escorted to the room, the pleasant ladies assisted me on to the scanner, hooked me up and the donut did its business. The familiar voice of breathe in and hold. Then the solution going in. No matter how many times I get this scan, know this is going to happen I still have the same feeling; strange taste at the back of my throat, oh my that hot flush feeling and then the thinking that you have wet yourself. All finished. A lovely young gentleman came in the room, helped me of the scanner, escorted me out the room and took me to the waiting area. He asked if I was ok, I was shivering and pale, I explained I’m always freezing. A nurse came with a blanket and wrapped it round me. Pampered or what!! He told me I would have to sit for 15 minutes before getting my cannula out, just to make sure I was ok. I was; a jolly nurse took it out. I set up my peg feed and resumed my body back to normality.
I met my hubby at the entrance of X-ray and we made our home. When I got home I was ready to put my feet up for the day. In the evening I checked my emails, one from my net consultant checking in on me. I let him know thats the scans done. He sent a reply back. Wonderful service from our NHS. Especially during these difficult times. Many tasks have become a new normal for some. Maintaining social distance, offering masks, gel, gloves, etc and keeping everyone happy and getting things right is an extremely difficult job. For this I Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without my district nurses, doctors, consultants, hospital staff, dieticians, occupation therapists, pharmacist etc My family and I would find life impossible.
Well these last couple of weeks haven’t been the best. Yes the restrictions on lockdown are gradually easing and we are getting to meet up with others, most folks are being careful and abiding by covid regulations. For example, wearing face masks in shops, keeping a safe distance from others, washing hands, carrying hand sanitiser. I’ve not been feeling on top of the world. My nurse has been coming in and she has got to know me pretty well. One look at me and she knew there was something wrong. Two months ago I had the burst balloon in my gastrostomy tube and I felt that I hadn’t really gotten over it, the entire tube has been changed twice due to problems of it bursting in my tummy and extreme pain.
Last Wednesday I just wasn’t feeling good at all. Evelyn my district nurse came in to service my tube. She looked at me. Elizabeth she said, You are looking a shade of grey. How are you feeling? I pathetically winced and answered her back, Oh my, I feel absolutely shocking. In fact I feel like I have been kicked in the tummy by a horse. My solar plexus area was excruciating, everything and anything was an effort, to do the simplest task took maximum effort. Evelyn got down to business and attended to my tube. She could see that I was experiencing a lot of discharge from my stoma site. Time to change your tube again early…………
And so down to business instantly. Oh my goodness it was absolute agony, I could feel the saliva run down my gums, feel chest palpations banging in my ears; throb throb throb. The perspiration beads running down my head, I could feel my hair getting wetter. Finally the tube pulled out. It was gunky. Changed for another size 18 French tube. The gunky tube sent to the lab at the hospital. Skin covered with creams etc. Dressing on. In the afternoon the phone rang, it was the doctor, asking how I was, I told her how awful I felt. Antibiotics were prescribed. I need to get either IV antibiotic or antibiotics that get put into a syringe and put in my peg. I got a sledgehammer set of antibiotics and told to double my hydrocortisone replacement therapy. This medication for one week.
Following Wednesday I get my tube dressed and my octreotide injection; my two weekly expensive injection in the bottom. Not feeling on top of the world but feeling much better than last Wednesday.
Thursday my NET specialist telephoned me. We discussed how I’ve been. Long and short I’ve to get a CT scan and an echocardiogram. He is concerned since my last results were in the high region.
To blow the cobwebs away on Thursday evening I had a lovely trip as a pillion passenger on my husbands Harley Davidson Fat Boy Lo with some of our friends from The Dunedin Chapter. https://www.dunedinhog.com My hubby organised the mates run. It was a great wee run for a mid week trip in the evening – Two Palaces and a Castle.
We met at Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh. https://www.royal.uk/royal-residences-palace-holyroodhouse Holyrood Palace is situated at the bottom of the Royal Mile with a beautiful view of Arthurs Seat. It is the official residence of The British monarch in Scotland. The drive through the park towards the palace was beautiful. Arthurs seat the extinct volcano makes a stunning backdrop for many photograph. The loch has swans and ducks is attended by lots of keen visitors. Many folks choose to jog around the park and I can see why they want to run on this lush green grass. We wait at the gates of the Palace until all friends get together. Once we are all on board. Steve talks to everyone and lets them know what the route will be. Next stop will be……
Our capital city: we had a beautiful drive up through the park, round by the commonwealth pool and through some sights of the city. As we drove along George IV Bridge we passed Grey Friars Bobby, we turned left at the lights and up The Royal Mile. All ten harley davidson motrocycles drove carefully over the cobbled streets of Edinburgh and into the entrance of Edinburgh Castle. The sun was shining, the roar of ten bikes exhausts; music to my ears. As we drove through the entrance you could hear the vroom vroom echo. There were people up the castle enjoying the views over Edinburgh, as we entered they turned their heads and watch us come in. By the look on their faces you could see this was not an everyday occurrence for most of them.
After a stunning view of auld reekie from the castle and a quick presentation of a very small cake (one that fits in the day pannier of the Harley Davidson) to Hazel to say Happy 60th lockdown Birthday sister. We were on our travels again. We were heading to our destination. Fifteen miles west of Edinburgh, we were heading to Linlithgow. We took our way through the town, down the Mound, along Queen Street. Along Davidsons Mains heading to Barnton, on the outskirts of the city approaching the beautiful view of the forth. We took the A904 from Queensferry to Linlithgow. We found an excellent place to park. I sat at the benches and had a lovely chat with my friend Colin, whilst most walked down to an excellent fish and chip shop and got some tasty fish and chips; on location between Edinburgh and Glasgow the evening meal came with a choice of salt and sauce or salt and vinegar. Great food was had by all.
Well its been quite a while since we have had limitations due to coronavirus. For many of us life has became a new normal, there are folk that listen to radios and watch the news on the tv in the hope for lifted restrictions. In the passed weeks restrictions have been gradually relaxed to allow us to see one another, within certain restrictions. I’ve been at home with my dogs and what I have wanted most is A Walk With The Dogs.
We are blessed to live in the country. Surrounded by beautiftul country side and not see a person, shop, house, or car for miles or hours. You may think that after being cooped up in the house you are desperate to talk to someone, alas no. The beauty and tranquility of our surroundings brought the most fantastic memories flooding back. Such wonderful thoughts and recollection of amazing trips with the boys, paddling our feet in the water and building a dam. For this walk I had the perfect company; my beloved husband and faithful labradors. They were just what I wanted and needed on this midweek evening.
We took a drive to St Mary’s Loch and Megget Reservoir. One of our favour places to walk the dogs in the evening , not a person in sight. At St Marys Loch there is a lovely cafe, that is usually open during the day, serves not only a great cup of coffee and cakes, but does great lunches too; fills the belly of many a biker with delicious homemade macaroni, curry, lovely sandwiches.
St Mary’s Loch is a lovely spot to sit and have a rest after a walk or drive. The drive to the loch is pleasant whichever way you are coming from, either Edinburgh, or down south. The loch is the largest natural loch in the Scottish Borders, its 5km long and 1km wide. It lies on the south side of the A708 between Selkirk and Moffat and is only 45 miles from Edinburgh, well worth the drive. The loch was created by glacial action during the last ice age. Why is the loch called St Mary’s? There was once a church dedicated to St Mary which once stood on its northern shore. Unfortunately only the burial grounds are now visible.
St Mary’s loch is fed by Megget Reservoir. The Reservoir is in the valley in Ettrick Forest in the beautiful Scottish Borders. The 259 hectares reservoir is held back by the largest earth dam in Scotland. The reservoir collects water from the Tweedsmuir hills.
The drive to St Mary’s loch was a fun packed one. Steve and I were singing songs in the car like a couple of teenagers, the dogs were panting in time to the music. They look out of the window and you know they remember every last stop and treat they had the last time they were in the car. As we drove through Innerleithen they got excited in anticipation, thinking we would stop at the ice cream shop and treat ourselves to a cone. No such luck, shops closed. Buddy’s face fell like a sulking child getting the wrong toy, However, the elation when we opened the boot and they got out into the open space. They ran about 10 yards, both of them came right back to me, Buddy gave me one almighty slobbery kiss so hard on the lips he almost knocked me over. Their way of saying we love you guys. You could see the happiness on their faces. Buddy my ever so handsome Fox Red Labrador and Bella, Golden Labrador; she is sensitive. Both dogs are very loving.
On the road from the loch to the reservoir it is narrow and somewhat uneven. It is a fairly steep incline to get up to the reservoir. As you are driving you pass some beautiful scenic landscapes. The road can get a little hairy at times and you have to remember what goes up usually comes down. Lets just says we were going slow enough to take in the enjoyable scenery.
The dogs reluctantly jumped back in the car and we too grudgingly took our seats in the car and made our way on the scenic five and a half mile journey to Talla Reservoir, just one mile from Tweedsmuir in The Scottish Borders. Talla Reservoir is an earth-work dam fed by Talla water. And is supplemented by water from the Fruid Reservoir nearby. It was opened in 1905. To assist in bringing the materials for its construction, the Talla Railway was built.
Second exercise of the evening and the dogs were very happy, tails wagging franticly. Big labrador grins on their faces; all labrador owners will know exactly what I mean. And if they could talk they would be saying thanks ever so much for coming here, we know you love it, so do we. There was a bird chirping its head off and yes it though Bella was going to go chasing it and have it for dinner. Bella wouldn’t. She would be more inclined to go get it some food or give it a cuddle. She has such wonderful mothering instincts, but the bird didn’t know that and it was quacking its head off so we moved on and left it in peace.
We had a wonderful time, it was peaceful, the dogs really enjoyed. Scenery was beautiful. Weather was dry what more could you ask for.
Time to jump in the car yet again. One last pit stop to do. It has many childhood memories for me, lots for my children. Was the route my uncle Allan took me on when I was learning to drive. We did many charity cycles, predominantly The Borders Push for Testicular Cancer. We were now travelling the 22 miles Talla Reservoir to The Meldons. As we took the right hand turn, signpost “Eddleston via The Meldons” and started climbing the narrow unmarked road. Buddy couldn’t contain his excitement, tail wagging, and his quiet panting sounded like an anonymous heavy breathing caller on the telephone. “Nearly there sweetheart” I said to him. Bella licked his ears. At last we arrived.
The drive down to The Meldons was more than a pleasant one. Looking out of the car window as Steve drove and we chatted, there was so much going on. Sheep in fields, birds flying in the sky, so many different hedges, trees, etc. Various crops growing in fields, an array of different colours. We didn’t pass one car on the road. But then it was midweek and after 8pm by this time.
The dogs jumped out of the car as if they had never been out all day. Bella loved the water and paddling around, Buddy not so by this time in the evening he didn’t want to go in the water. Instead he was on a rabbit trail, nose to the ground and sniffing around and around very happily.
As I gently plonked my bottom on the heather and sat down to check how much feed I had left in my backpack, after all we had been out for quite a while. Great I still have at least over an hour on my pump feed to run. Sitting on the cushioned purple heather I looked around. Such happy memories came flooding from over the many years, lots of fun and many trips to this lovely location with family and friends. Sadly some people that are no longer with us but the reminiscence carries on and I will always have wonderful thoughts and memories. This is one of our happy places. For us a go to place.
As most of my regular readers, friends and family know Steve and I are proud owners of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. For the last year we have been very happy members of The Dunedin Chapter http://www.dunedinhog.com
I mentioned the motorcycle club in a previous post. All folks have welcomed us with open arms into the body of the Kirk. For us it’s been a lifesaver. Gave Steve and I new people to meet, places to go. Steve, can go out ride the bike Without me and meet up with others, and when I’m up to it we go out together and boy what fun we have.
The Chapter isn’t all about riding bikes mind you. They do a great deal of charity work. Easter egg runs, Santa runs, fundraising for The sick kids, Kats Mission, need I go on. I am very proud to be a member.
TAECT promotes awareness of neuroendocrine cancer and offers support to all those affected with cancer, net tumours, carcinoid syndrome; patients and their families/friends/carers. Have regular support meet ups all over Scotland. Health information days with drs and nurses giving up their time to offer advice.
Last weekend the chapter had a dinner dance in Grangemouth. Edinburgh Harley Davidson kindly donated a couple of leather jackets and many members donated raffle prizes. On the night, Ben and Hilary went round the room with raffle tickets to sell to us party members. Drew the raffle and there were many happy faces. A very big well done to all the folks who donated and another massive well done to members for buying raffle tickets. £830 was raised for charity.
The Chapter decided to donate the £830 to one charity. That charity is one that has given me so much support, particularly over the last couple of years. Without their kindness and support at times I would have been quite lost and lonely. This charity is Scotland’s only neuroendocrine cancer charity – The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust. http://www.taect.scot
As most of you will know TAECT works very hard at promoting awareness of neuroendocrine cancer and offers support to all those affected with cancer, net tumours, carcinoid syndrome; patients and their families/friends/carers. The charity has many regular support meet ups all over Scotland. Information days take place with consultants, oncologists, drs, nurses giving talks and offering advice.
I would like to say a big thanks to the two groups I belong for different reasons. However, both make me feel very welcome and let me be ME, no one notices my gastrostomy tube, makes comments about me not eating, etc. Its wonderful. Riding on the back of a harley davidson with a peg feed isn’t always the easiest. But we manage. Life is for living and I want to enjoy and spend as much time as I can with my wonderful hubby and hear the roar of that Harley Davidson Fat Boy ………… nothing better
Prof Strachan asked me to go see Prof Seckl. That day came, on walking out of the room after seeing Seckl I felt like I had hit a brick wall. He was lovely, my kind of guy; told me how it was. And certainly left me under no illusions. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Many treatments, meds, sepsis, infections, peg insertion, trips to London hospitals under the care of the wonderful Prof Martyn Caplin, etc, etc.
Living with this disease is so difficult. Every day produces a challenge and no one day is the same as the other. My carcinoid syndrome can be very unpredictable and difficult to live with. The palpations, flushing, diahrea, chest pain, weight loss, sudden drop in blood sugar, malabsorption, photosensitivity – need I say more. All these symptoms have a knock on effect.
The day my consultant Mark Strachan handed me the card with details of The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust it was a lifesaver. What fantastic support network and great friends I’ve made. Cancer Patients, their families, friends get together for net natter meetings. Share like minded conversations. We know what each other are going through. The charity runs information days by health professionals for both patients, families, friends and health professionals. I’ve made some brilliant pals, sadly a few of them are no longer with us. And boy does it hurt that they are no longer here. Two of ladies in particular I miss terribly. Thats the reality of the group. Our condition is incurable and its inevitable it is going to happen. While its hard to meet folk, get close, and know they are going to leave. Well I guess that it will happen to us all one day. And I would rather have a great time getting to know these lovely folk, sharing some time, even if it is short – shorter for some than others. When we do meet we have fun; go to the pub; have a magic show, ride on a barge, go to the garden centre, go to the theatre. I just know I would have struggled to have gotten through the last couple of years without the chat and support of my cancer buddies.
Whilst I get support from the group. I get an excellent support network from my nurses. they are absolutely fantastic and I’m sure I would go completely bonkers if they didn’t come in before lunchtime and deal with my gastrostomy tube, dressings, give me my octreotide, etc etc. Oh as well as giving my labradors treats. Buddy and Bella love Nurse Evelyn very very much.
My family & friends – you guys are amazing, as always. I couldn’t get through the day without you. It isn’t only the big things like taking me to the hospital, helping clean the house, etc its the love, a smile, touch, a simple text or WhatsApp, a short phone call – no there is no such thing as a short phone call with me – that really helps me feel better.
Since I was a child I have always love motorcycles. My brothers had bikes and I loved to ride on the back of them. When my boyfriend, aged 18 got his first bike I was soon on the back. We got married, day of our wedding to get a pair of shoes for our wedding I jumped on the back of the bike, nipped into Edinburgh and bought a pair. Day before giving birth to our first son I was on the back of husband Steve. Thirty two years later, husband and two sons, Tony and Stuart all have bikes. Steve and I have changed direction and we have gone for a Harley Davidson. We have joined a Harley Davidson Owners Club – best thing we have ever done. Days I feel rubbish Steve can go out on the bike and be with the guys. We have made many new pals. Its like a big family. Who are they? The Dunedin Chapter Scotland. They have just celebrated their 25th birthday. I go on the back of the Harley Davidson with my peg feed on. Couldn’t get on it any other way. Need my sugars to stay up. Its fun, I can put all the worries to the back of my mind and enjoy the thrill of the ride. Meeting new people is great. It doesn’t have to be exhausting I can sit on the bike and get off, join in when I’m up to it, go to a hotel for a rest and if I like or come home and sleep for the week. Its worth it. Its actually really good to be exhausted and sore and say you have actually done something. Most days I’m fatigued and sore anyway. When we want to go somewhere thats a distance away I use my disabled persons railcard and Steve drives the bike, we meet up at the location. It works. We only joined the club in February and already we have met many lovely folk and have been welcomed into the body of the kirk. Steve goes on regular rides weekly and meets up with the guys. Enjoys quality time being ‘Steve’ .
Life is for living and while I am still here I want to make the most of it and spend time with my family and friends. That includes quiet time with my hubby, time with family and friends and time with Ann Edgar Charitable Trust and The Dunedin Chapter. All help me cope with the dark days, the pain and sickness and the most awful days I just feel I can’t get out of my bed. Thanks Guys.