London, the city that keeps me alive more ways than one

My first memory of London; I am 11 years of age and in London with my Mum and Dad, we are passing a lamppost with ER printed on. Dad says “Biscuits look at that Elizabeth Reigns, you work hard sweetheart and you can be a boss too” My folks always gave me the encouragement and love needed to go forward in life. They helped me feel safe and secure. In 2012 I took the train with my hubby to London, this time not for a holiday but to see the expert Professor Caplin at The Royal Free. Despite needing diagnostic tests and treatment for incurable stage 4 neuroendocrine cancer and carcinoid syndrome Steve and I found time to explore new avenues. See museums, art galleries, The Tower, take in a show. One thing I am most certain of London, the city that keeps me alive more ways than one is my most favourite city.

Since 2012 I have been and continue to travel up and down the train tracks between Edinburgh and London. Had countless appointments with the Prof, attending clinics, grateful for but not particularly enjoying gallium pet scans, various treatments, glowing like the Readybrek kid, setting of alarms here there and everywhere, and many many blood samples on ice and some taken in special light conditions and immediately put in a Black bag. So tired that when I escape from the delightful cancer team we go to the West End show – We Will Rock You. A musical I have wanted to see for some time, the first half I sit, smile and sing along, the second I sleep right through, with the audience loving the show, singing at the top of their voices. The staff at the UCL Hospital and The Royal Free in London have been outstanding and for that I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

The last year we have had a year of corona, crisis and challenges. But let us not forget that the breakthrough of the vaccine has allowed us to start to come out of lockdown and find some sort of normality, try our best to get back to work, start socialising and enjoy life.

Steve and I in London with the Fatboy

July 2021 we decided not to go to London tandem but to go with my sister Hazel and her husband Alan. The boys rode the Harley-Davidson® motorcycles down and Hazel and I took the train first class from Edinburgh to London Kings Cross. I have always wanted to ride pillion over Tower Bridge. As well as having a fabulous 4 days Finally got my wish. Riding over Tower Bridge was as good as I expected, it was very busy, both lanes used, cyclists going as fast as us. Beautiful red double deckers travelling along with smiling faces looking over the Thames. Black cabs going no where fast. All of us sitting in the two lanes travelling along at 10 miles per hour, superb for me as a pillion taking in the view, people watching, loving the sights. Gathering my thoughts.

We crammed in what we wanted to do, Steve and I have done lots before including The Tower, The British Museum, various parks and lots more. This trip was to be relaxing, however there were a few places we wanted to tick the boxes. Namely Ace Cafe, The Bike Shed and Warrs Harley-Davidson®

Alan and Hazel

very popular arrival at Ace Cafe

Inside Ace Cafe

A selfie at Ace Cafe

Friday morning we gathered our bearings had a doddle around on foot, enjoyed some squares such as Russell and Tavistock Square, walked through St James’s Park, had lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe, Picaddily Circus, saw some of the sights on foot and then took a taxi back to the hotel looking forward to Friday night on the bikes.

We teamed up with our Sena Communication kits and rode the Harley’s up to Ace Cafe on Friday night. Friday night is bike night. Oh boy what a fabulous evening it was. There were car park Marshalls when we arrived, 20 minutes later I could see why. The entire car park was full of bikes. I’ve got to say anyone we spoke to was so welcoming and friendly. We first off hooked up with 4 young lads with Harleys. They don’t belong any Chapter, just friends riding their bikes. Went into the cafe for a cola and a scout around the shop. Came out and if possible it was busier than before. A familiar Harley fist bump came my way from Gerry; a member of The III Rivers Chapter, there were two members together, they welcomed us into their abode; great guys. Looking out onto the road there were motorcyclists doing wheelies up and down the road, burning tyres. Revving their engines, screaming up and down. So loud, vibrant and exciting. Gosh it makes a girl’s heart fair beat. One of the highlights of the evening was the calm Great Dane in the sidecar, sitting watching all going on taking in everything. What an unforgettable night.

Saturday we took the bikes for a tour of London, did what I’ve always wanted and rode over Tower Bridge, drove through Marble Arch, passed St James Park, Covent Garden. We followed our Harley-Davidson® noses to London’s Dealership Warrs. The Dealership is fabulous, as well as great bikes, superb range of accessories and clothing, they have a museum including Evel Kineval’s bike. Not to mention their very helpful outstanding staff; Holly and Edwardo. They sponsor the HOG Chapter Chelsea and Fulham. We met a lovely Chelsea and Fulham Chapter member at Warrs : Steve. He came with us for a tourist ride round London. Then the five of us went to the amazing Bike Shed, terrific experience from start to finish. As we arrived we were shown where to park, the great think is you can ride the bikes right in and ride passed tables as folks have a drink. Undercover safe parking, so secure you can leave your helmet on the seat of your bike. The staff warmly greeted us, we were an hour early, she asked if we could be fitted in would be like an earlier table – hell yes! We toddled the dozen steps to the shop, treated ourselves to a t shirt and some patches for our cuts, had a good look round, amazing bikes. There is a barber shop too.
Our table was ready and the food did not disappoint.

As always I enjoyed my time in the big city. Our final evening after packing and getting organised we ventured round to quiet Bloomsbury for a cocktail.

Steve, Hazel and Alan at London Eye

Steve and I in St James’s Park

Warrs

Fist Bump

Pick up the phone – Its good to talk

Well one month into 2021 already. Its just turned February. For some its a dark month and many folks find it a lonely difficult time, with thoughts and reflections going through our minds. This year we are still in restrictions, a great deal of people have jumped from one personal crisis to another. There has been so many difficult situations for our fellow human bean to cope with over the last year; we have been tested in more ways than one. I have known a fair number of family and friends who have over the last year fought life threatening coronavirus. During this pandemic many people have faced fear, anxiety, poverty, hardship, social isolation, unemployment, etc.  Now is the time to take notice of who has been helping who, and most importantly does anyone need help. Remember when we used to pop in for a quick chat, or go out for that drink, meet up at lunch time, or a run on the bikes. That person is possibly lonely a missing seeing everyone and could do with a jolly good chat. Do yourself a favour and as the scout or girl guide leader would say do your good deed for the day; Pick up the phone – its good to talk

I think we can all agree that this has been an unusual year.  It has been a difficult time for everyone at some time and we have all be faced some sort of challenge and uncertainty.  I don’t think anyone thought we would still be facing these kind of restrictions in 2021.  Covid-19 has dominated our lives and health.   The NHS and the care staff have taken good care of us since the start. They are dedicated and like true troopers put patients before themselves, work long hours; doing their best to make us feel as comfortable and secure in these strange and difficult circumstances.

From my personal experience my team of medics all the way through this pandemic have been ultimate superstars. My net specialist emails in between appointments to check up on me, make sure how I am doing. My nurses come in to my home changing my dressings, changing the water in my gastrostomy tube weekly, administer my octreotide treatment at home fortnightly, change my entire gastrostomy tube every 8 weeks (however due to problems such as infections, burst balloons, etc its been happening after 5 weeks, 1 week, 3 weeks). My nurses will also come to my home if I have any problems. They are wonderful; my net specialist telephoned me last week when he was on the phone he commended the nurses and said the work they did and how well they looked after me, helping keep the amount of infections down and most certainly assisted in keeping me out of the hospital. The amazing supportive Community Enteral Nutrition Team (CENT) call me regularly. Usually Kat or Marion visit me every two months. They weigh me, check on my peg feed and we discuss how my feeding regime is going. We talk about my quality of life, what is going on with my appointments, my body and everything thats going on in my life. They are very supportive and always at the end of a phone. I can pick up the phone and give them a call any day, if they can’t pick it up and talk to me when I call. Their secretary June will answer, take a message and one of them will call me back, chat with me and sort out any problem that may be going on. They report to my dedicated Net specialist (The Prof), my hard working GI consultant, who works hand in hand with the Prof, and my GP. Letting them know if anything needs changed, such as my frequency of feed, etc. Remember my GI consultant, he is the chap who did the creative drawing when he kindly saw me bang in the middle of covid restrictions and did a wee procedure when my gastrostomy tube fell further into my intestines than it should have. He has to have sense he has labradors.

For some people this will have been a long and lonely year. For others it will have gone quickly and nothing much will have changed other than the physical restrictions, such as supermarkets, going from one district to another, closure of shops, establishments, etc. This time last year I was looking forward to going to Dunedin Chapter’s AGM meeting and annual dance; this is the Harley-Davidson® club that my husband and I belong to. The AGM was actually the last meeting we all got together for an official meeting. Now that the vaccine is getting rolled out, you never know…………. I miss the blether, the friendships, get togethers. However, right now its for our own good, and we have to wait until the appropriate time. A while longer to make sure we are safe is better in the long run. So in the meantime be content with sharing a conversation on social media or a text, email and most definitely a natter on the phone. When director of Dunedin Chapter Scotland HOG® #9083, Stewart Willox phones me and says I won’t keep you Elizabeth, and we are still blethering 20 minutes later. I’m sure the poor chap’s ears are bleeding.

I have been very fortunate over the last year and would like to says thanks to the folks that have kept me going, I wrote an earlier post on being thankful for my smartphone and posts being grateful of support during this pandemic. However, I would like to echo this and let everyone know I more than appreciate the texts (yes minister friend Janice, even the early morning Prayers), WhatsApp’s, emails, social media messages; every piece of contact helps prevent the feeling of loneliness, it makes me appreciate what I have – a circle of human beings around me that care. I so love the photos I receive in texts of my grandchildren, it brightens my life and lightens my heart. Marion and Tony send me the most beautiful photos of Luna, she was born in lockdown, we were privileged to see her Christmas Day and have only seen her via technology since, thank goodness for gadgets. We have round robin texts between Tony, Stuart, Marion, Laura and Myself; all checking in, keeping up with the news and sharing photographs. Pre lockdown both my sons were at our house regularly and our home filled with laughter and cheer. Now our lads call regularly, they FaceTime with the kids which is fabulous, I get time to talk to the boys and chat away with the babes. Nearly 5 year old granddaughter Alexandra loves chatting away at anytime. See how they are developing, here all their news. Never tire of hearing their news, listening to Tony telling of his uni work, and whats going on in the world of government policy at Edinburgh University , or chatting with Stuart as he drives home from a hard shift at the hospital where we talk about all sorts. My sister Hazel and I text message each other every day just to check in. We blether on the phone often, and its never a short phone call. My friend, Jen, we met on the first day at university in Edinburgh when we were both 18. We’ve been firm friends since. We chat every Friday morning at length. I so enjoy these calls and have to admit they help keep me sane.

The last year for me has been difficult I won’t deny it. I have been over the threshold approximately half a dozen times and most of those occasions have been sheer necessity. I so miss being able to ask Steve to drive me over to visit my Dad. I miss going to my support meetings with The Ann Edgar Trust; so miss seeing the friends I’ve made and the support I get out of going. So for now I’m still content with my calls and other means of communications. My daily WhatsApp messages from Louise lets me know I have a loving caring friend, Stephen cracks me up with his comical wit on WhatsApp, he sends me not only messages to ask how we are doing but jokes, photos to make me laugh; he arranges online quizzes that we take part in on zoom. Lindsay Lou messages me with photos of the kids and tales, I so miss seeing them, suddenly Glasgow feels like the other side of the world.

I’m sure you have been affected this passed year in some way. Whether its physically or mentally, we have all been touched one way or another. Family and friends are important, keeping that line of contact is much more beneficial to some than others. What I have taken from this year is, yes it has been trying, but we have to remember restrictions are put in place for our own good and to save lives. During this pandemic a great deal of people have been diagnosed with this awful virus and sadly numerous folks around the world have died from it. Receiving messages, seeing familiar faces on my silver screen, receiving cards from my sister regularly by post, chatting on the phone, sharing news or a problem or five. I realise how lucky I am to know I am loved and cared for. Next time you pick up your phone to look up your social media pages or online shop, why don’t you give your family or friend a text or better still a phone call. It is so lovely to hear a friendly voice, share a chat; find out whats been going on in YOUR family/friend’s life. If you are going to do something nice today and think of others; do a good turn, please don’t say you don’t have time, life is good and far too short. Share something nice that happened today with someone. Please Pick up the phone – Its good to talk

Santa Steve on his Harley-Davidson®

We may have differing opinions at the moment. Has the Government made the right call? Is the NHS doing a grand job? Should the kids be going to school? What really should be happening at Christmas. However, I think we can all agree to that regardless of our point of view everyone is needing a little festive cheer. Steve and I thought it would be a lovely idea to introduce to our community Santa Steve on his Harley-Davidson®

My husband and I don’t have the easiest of lives as many of my blog readers know. We have been through a lot in our nearly 55 years of life. Although the we both say we feel very lucky in life to still be in love after getting together in 1982. Absolutely blessed to live in such a fine county as East Lothian, even better that we have managed to secure a house in Boggs Holdings, Pencaitland and bring up our sons there, and now enjoy the sound of our grandchildren. The area is one of beauty and community supportive. Community spirit is important to Steve and I and we wanted to do something.

Since the start of the restrictions we haven’t been out on the Harley-Davidson® very much at all. In fact I have been at home and have only left the house on 7 occasions since April, and three of them were essential hospital visits. Steve has managed to take the bike out runs as and when social distancing allows; which has been great. We were talking about this and realised many people would be like me and would not have been out very much at all this year. Now as Christmas is approaching, children getting excited and looking forward to seeing Santa. There are many places parents cannot take their wee ones to see Santa this year due to the restrictions.

Steve and I are members of an organisation – this is the Dunedin Chapter is where many of us Harley owners get together and go runs together, etc. Seriously, a lot more to it than that. We love it. With the Chapter on Saturday Steve was going on the Santa toy run in Edinburgh – this is a charity run to drop off presents. He decided it may be a good idea to post on facebook to our local Pencaitland page would they like a drive by from Santa Steve in the afternoon after he had finished his charitable run with The Dunedin Chapter. Soon he got replies, Yes please.

I emailed the local police station, who were fantastic and called Steve right back that day. Gave him the authority to drive through the village. Bike dressed up in tinsel and lights, Steve in Santa suit. He left our home and I posted on Facebook he left. He drove through the village.

Steve was met with smiling faces and waving hands. I checked on Facebook; there were comments – where is “Santa Steve ?” “I’ve text you….” soon photos and videos were put up. And then comments of thanks.

The community spirit in the village brightened my day and lifted my heart. Thank you to all the children and adults who came out to see Santa Steve. I hope you all enjoyed Santa Steve on “Fattie Scot” : the Fatboy Harley-Davidson® dressed up in tinsel. I know he had a great time driving around the village and waving at you guys.

Merry Christmas and wishing all the best for 2021.

We had many many comments including:

Superstar Steve!

Thank you so much, Lots of excited wee ones thrilled to see Santa

Even us ‘big yins’ enjoy seeing Biker Santa around the village! well done and thank you! Merry Christmas

Fabulous idea, great fun, thanks for bringing some joy round the village

Thank you so much for doing that, absolutely magical. My little one won’t stop talking about you! Really cheered us up on this bad news day

Very happy kids (and me) even though the tiny tot was a bit unsure

Thank you for visiting Huntlaw Road! My daughter was very excited to see you

Thanks to u for visiting Limekilns

Thanks very much for doing that…… highlight of our kids day (mine too if I’m honest)

You looked and sounded the biz! Thanks for making the effort Steve

My kids were delighted!!!!!!!! thank you so much

I think we were your first at The Boggs, Thanks so much the kids absolutely loved it

Thank you very much, we saw you from a far and there was mass excitement at our house!

Thank you it was brilliant, such a lovely thing to do

Thanks from Pringles Place. My kids loved it

Thank you for coming by the Green! My 5 year old daughter was DELIGHTED to see you!! Merry Christmas Santa Steve

Lovely Steve

Well done Santa! A much needed bit of cheer!

Thank you the kids were delighted, at this time anything that brings a smile to a kid’s face is well worth it

Such a lovely kind thing to do for the kids! Thanks so much Steve. Merry Christmas to you

Thank you my wee granddaughter Mia was chuffed to get fist bump at Queens Drive

Saw you from the window at old farm court & really appreciated it! You’re a star and sure all the little ones loved it. Merry Christmas

My kids at Woodhall loved it! Thank you very much

It was fab

THANK YOU

Thankful for my smartphone

As we approach the latter months of the year I have become more and more grateful for technology. In particular my Apple laptop, smartphone and iPad. Whether, it has been a FaceTime GP call, a hospital appointment or a chat with a family member, my iPhone has been invaluable. When the lump on my shoulder caused my home nurse concern, first a photo taken from my phone, emailed to my GP, then a FaceTime call so she could see it, then decided it did warrant a GP visit and examination. Fabulous camera on the phone, such great photos you get from it. I’m so Thankful for my smartphone

I have my smartphone linked to my MacBook and my iPad. When I take a photo or put an entry in the diary on the phone it goes into both the laptop and the iPad too. I love to take photographs. Photography is a great passion of mine. One of the most relaxing activities for me is to pull out my Nikon camera and shoot some images. However, if I am standing at the back of the house watching my beautiful 4 year old granddaughter and our labradors taking my phone out of my pocket at an opportune moment to capture a memory. This week is my octreotide treatment week, belt and braces, it’s in the diary in my phone; alarm set on on phone to go off 40 minutes before my nurse is due, so I can take it out of the fridge. It’s much easier to administer and more comfortable if it’s not too cold. Nothing worse than a freezing cold substance going into your hip area. I don’t have much fat or muscle on me as it is. My make up is pretty bony now and the thick needles are getting kinda sore as they go in. But what I have to remember is no pain no gain. If it wasn’t for these injections I probably wouldn’t be here today. They reduce the rate of bowel motions incredibly, I no longer look like a Ribena kid all day long and its pretty well proven they slow down the growth of net cancer. All in all bloody good job I would say. And most certainly worth the pain in the ass they give you.


Buddy and Bella with Alexandra

Since the middle of March life has became very different. The arrival of Covid-19. Lockdown, restrictions to the way we live, finding a new normal. For the time being at least.

I use my phone and iPad to have chats with my family and friends. Not only your traditional blether but the most fabulous video calls. We laugh, sing, play games; a telephone call has never been so much fun. On my laptop and iPad I keep in touch with friends from my support group, TAECT we have general chats, quiz days, information talks. I also keep in touch with my motorcycle friends at The Dunedin Chapter. To take part in quizzes, talks, chats, etc we use Zoom

Technology has been my lifeline over the last seven months. I haven’t had many visitors. I have only visited my dad on two occasions since March. Going out of my front door doesn’t happen very often and seeing people in the flesh is something of a novelty at the moment. Ive taken to talking to anything that looks interested and stands still long enough to listen; for instance yesterday morning I was sitting on the sofa wrestling with my slippers, the table lamp to my left was my conversation buddy, mind you I got the right kind of answers, I guess he agreed with me, I got a silent reply I took this as an acknowledgement of approval.

My other method of keeping in touch with family and friends is social media platforms. Linkden Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are the ones I use. Fabulous for keeping in touch, sharing information, posting articles, photos, etc. I use the messenger to chat. I also use WhatsApp. A good way of communicating with chums. We share stories, snaps, etc. A great way of cheering each other up especially when the mood is low.

Whilst my technology is great for communication and keeping me in touch with the outside world whilst I am shielding. The laptop, iPad and phone also have been used in more than I thought they would be.

During these difficult times many banks have closed their doors. Leaving many of us to online bank more than we used to. Me, I have banked online for what feels like a lifetime. My health before covid forced me to make changes, so I guess I have found it fairly easy to adapt. I use my laptop, iPad and smartphone to bank. However, I have to admit the app on the smartphone for the Natwest Bank https://personal.natwest.com/personal.html is so easy and convenient to use.

I use my Phone to order shopping, order my prescriptions from the GP, order the feed needed for the month from Nutricia to keep me going with through the gastrostomy tube.

Checking emails and going online is so easy with my smartphone. One click and Im there. Its so easy to download apps. https://www.apple.com/uk/ios/app-store/ There are so many different apps, something for everyone, from games to weather. Have a look, and give something new a try. It really does brighten your day.

When I first got a mobile telephone it was for work, it was to answer calls and check up on how MY patients were doing. That feels like another lifetime ago. Now I use my smartphone as a tool, to go on the internet, check my emails, send messages, take photographs, occasionally let my granddaughter play a game, oh and of course make a telephone call.

Sponsoring a hearing dog

A couple of years ago when my granddaughter then 2 had her first playdate at our house with my very close friend, Danielle’s daughter, Ella both girls played and had fun like all toddlers do. However as young as Alexandra was at the time she was caring and compassionate enough to notice that Ella was different from her. Ella is deaf, she has cochlear implants. Little did I know this first playdate would lead to us Sponsoring a hearing dog.

The girls at that young age played in the sitting room with toys and formed a bond. Two years later they are running up and down my hall laughing and shouting with dolls in their hands. When Ella left with her mum and dad Alexandra asked me about Danielle and us being friends. I told her we have been friends for a very long time, and told her you look after each other no matter what when you are good friends. I told her Danielle sends me messages and phones me to ask how I am. She visits. We all have fun, and now brings Ella to come see her. We spoke about Ella’s deafness, she said it must be horrible not being able to hear everything all the time Granny I am so sad for her. I told her not to be sad and look at how happy Ella is with her family and when she plays at ours. I think this helped.

It was raining on a Saturday afternoon and Alexandra was visiting with her Dad. She likes to be like Granny and type a story on the laptop. I had been on social media just prior to her going to use my laptop. She takes a seat beside me, she patiently waits till I close my pages. On the timeline of my facebook page there was an advertisement for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Oh look Granny, a Labrador like yours, but its black, says Alexandra. This stops me in my tracks. I look at what she is noticing. I close the page and let her type away.


Alexandra checks the new puppy over


Later that evening I go on the site Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and sponsor the black Labrador Winnie. This money will go towards training the puppy and will help change a deaf person’s life.

The Box of Gifts for Sponsorship



Ella and Alexandra


Alexandra & Ella


Ella & Alexandra ready to go in the garden


Alexandra now has a beautiful little cuddly pup with the familiar maroon jacket on. As soon as she opened the box she looked at all the paperwork quickly, lovely photos Granny. She quickly takes out the cuddly dog, runs along the hall and comes back with a stethoscope we need to check this puppy over. She loves the idea of having a notebook book and pen, so like my Mother. The certificate and postcards are brilliant. Alexandra has already looked up the website and seen other photos of Winnie and progression videos, her out walking, etc. It’s fantastic. Helping the charity, putting a good dog to work and most importantly helping someone who needs it – match them up with a dog and giving them valuable lifelines at times, for example Winnie will alert her new owner if the smoke alarm is going off, if there is a sound coming from the baby monitor.


Alexandra in her scrubs


Puppy gets his jags

I know how much I value my labradors. My lad, Buddy knows when my cancer is misbehaving. When my blood sugar has dropped too low. If my heart rate is wonky. Carries my feed items. Bella the companion Labrador, she is a treat to have, carries clothes to washing machine. Carries items along our 40 foot hall. Some days it can be a long walk for me.

If you have ever thought about sponsoring a dog I can highly recommend it. As someone who depends on a dog I know how valuable they are. I also live with a hubby that has issues with his eyes. He has had 10 surgeries to his eyes for detachment to his retina. He really is extraordinary. He pushes himself. Tries hard, still works, has a wonderful vision in life.

Acts of kindness during Covid restrictions


Our new normal way of life can be difficult to live with at times, but we have to remember it is for our own good. People in various areas have different rules. Depending on where you live, what you do for a living and how your health is determines what you can and cannot do. What has made my life so much easier throughout this difficult period are Acts of kindness during Covid restrictions https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

In the last few months I have sat back and read my social media pages, looked at what my ‘friends’ have written. Some posts have been entertaining and cheered me up, others have been sad and have made me grateful for what I have in my life.

Since the beginning of the restrictions I have been privileged to get thoughtful gifts, letters by post, flowers, texts, telephone calls, emails, FaceTime calls, etc. For this I would like to say thank you.

My most wonderful husband has been an ultimate star throughout. He has worked running his busy business as well as chasing after me, catering to any whim I may have. I try my best to be self sufficient, but I will admit I need by knight in shining armour to take charge in times of need. Steve has done such lovely cheer up things; my most favourite jeans started to get worse for wear, he sought out online not only a pair of my likeable Levi 501 in waist 23, but even managed to get the extra short leg – boy was I beaming. I’m always a freezing cold human bean – so delivered a pair of slippers wool slipper boots with a rubber soul from Denmark Oh my goodness my feet are so warm now.

My children, Tony and Stuart, their other halves and my grandchildren have been ultimate stars. Telephoning, FaceTime calls, texting, sending photos, etc. Nothing better than an excitable FaceTime call telling me all about their day. Love getting the progress news how the university is coming along. Getting texts saying morning Granny how are you? hope you have a good day, love you xxx. Make me feel so loved and warm inside. Video progression of the grandchildren makes me smile, sometimes laugh, always warms my heart and most definitely helps for not getting the visits like we used to.

Faithful Buddy

My sister Hazel sends me letters and cards by post. Its so lovely when I hear the postman drive up our chipped driveway, the crunch of the stone chips as he stops. He get out as usual and puts the mail through the door. Faithful Buddy goes with me to get whats arrived. I recognise my sisters writing, in the envelope is a card and some beautiful photographs of my grandchildren, myself, my lads, and my Dad. She tells me how much she misses coming to see me, our sisterly blethers on the sofa with the dogs at our feet. Some days thats just what we all need to hear. To know how much we are loved.

Cards from Hazel, flowers from Louise

Friday is chat with Jenny day. We met the first day at university and have been firm friends since. I so miss her coming over to visit at the moment with the restrictions being on a tighter leash at the moment. Fingers crossed they will change for the better and she will be able to visit soon. We could meet up outside, but for me its too cold. So for now, texting, whats app and Friday chat day will suffice.

I message and get messages from my sister, Helen and brothers Albert and Brian. We chat regularly keep each other up to date. So miss seeing my Daddy Bear.

One of the grand puppies


On top of the people already mentioned, there are an array of family and friends that have been supportive, giving me a phone, dropping a text, sending a message, etc, etc. Examples include My niece Lindsay sends me the most loving messages and photos of the children, love that girl right over our rainbow. Long time sister pal Liz and I talk on the phone and send each other messages. Sally, little toots from http://www.salspals.co.uk sends the most wonderful cheer up messages and photos of Harley boy. Louise messages me every day, love the photos of Gunner and Harris, received beautiful lilies the other day from her. I miss her popping in for a cuppa and us having a natter. Every morning I get a text message from minister friend Janice. We share other messages throughout the day and a couple of times per month we chat on the phone. Janice is inspirational and caring. Diane and Mark have been keeping me updated with stunning photos of Buddy and Bella’s grand puppies.

Social media is a great point of communication for any of us. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes looking down ones timeline to find out what’s going on in the outside world. I enjoy sharing information and have fun & banter with fellow members, from our Harley Davidson group at The Dunedin Chapter http://Www.dunedinhog.com. I have made great friends at the Chapter. Steve and I have missed out on going to bike events this year, however we are keeping up the chat with our buddies on Facebook I also get support from Scotland’s Net Cancer Charity, http://www.taect.scot for now they offer zoom meetings, online chat, quiz, Facebook page. I really miss seeing my pals, we text each other personally too and catch up on each other’s news. There really isn’t any need to be lonely if you are willing to work at it.

There was an act of kindness that touched my heart at the beginning of August that will stay with me forever. My nurse Evelyn that comes in to the house is an absolute trooper. All the nurses that come to the house are fabulous. My amazing nurses change my dressings, tend to my gastrostomy tube, give injections, flu jabs, my octreotide treatment. Health wise they do anything and everything. One day at the end of July when I was chatting to Evelyn I told her I thought I would look online and see if I could get a washable colourful cotton face mask. We blether about all sorts of things, sometimes it’s good to talk away from health, not about me, just about life, having some fun, ‘the doing things’ . The following week Evelyn came to our house. It was a Wednesday, full service day. Gastrostomy checked, balloon water changed, dressings changed, etc. And then a big beauty of a needle for my octreotide treatment. After everything was done and dusted. Evelyn lifted her jacket under it was a present. Beautifully wrapped and in a lovely little presentation bag. This is for you, she said as she handed me the bag. I eagerly looked in. The most delightful handmade cotton face masks. Matching children and adult ones. And ever so special to me zebra ones. What an absolutely thoughtful gift. Someone who is working full time in such a strained and stressful environment, in these difficult times. Taking time out to make the masks touched me. Made me feel very happy. They are useful, look great and I really like them.

My granddaughter Alex and me in masks made by Evelyn

Since March life has put on a different hat. We have had to learn a new normal. I’m a glass half full gal. I so appreciate the people in life that have made my life so much easier by the generous acts of kindness during Covid restrictions. Please remember when you are sitting on social media watching a video, or your feet up glued to a soap opera on Tv – think about dropping a mate a text, or give them a call just to say hi. Five minutes out of your day can make someone’s a really special one.


































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Bagged his first munro

Several months in since Covid first hit us. Our way of life has changed and we have began to look for a new normal. Living life at a different pace. Shopping, working, educating; finding a way that works for us to go about our business safely and hopefully happy. Social distancing – meeting with others safely. Trying our best to get that balance of seeing others, getting out in the outdoors but making sure that we are safe at the same time. We live in the country in our delightful detached cottage, no neighbours, not a street light on our little single track road, not even a cats eye. However, what we have noticed is an increase in people walking passed the house. Obviously they must be taking their daily exercise and what a lovely place to do it. There has been a lot of awful news since covid hit the headlines. Since the middle of March and the big lockdown happened, I feel there has been a lot of heartache and we have had many sad and tragic events to deal with. Couple of weeks into September and I got a message which made me smile from ear to ear, it was to let Auntie Lizzie know that 10 year old Louis Bagged his first munro.

I was beaming, a very proud great auntie. Louis had climbed Ben Chonzie with his Dad Stephen. Lindsay, my niece, and Stephen are fabulous parents. Okay I am biased, but they are. The three children all have handled the situation with coronavirus very well, they very much missed school and the youngest one Patrick started primary one and eldest Sophie started high school. Big year. For some time they could not attend church and that was another blow to the family. Louis is my son, Tony’s God son. All three children normally attend some sort of activities. Louis in particular loves to go to the football and support Celtic with his Grandad and Dad, he enjoys boxing and training at the local club. All this has been taken away. Lindsay and Stephen have not been down trodden. I have been sent the funniest videos. They have set up assault courses in their garden. The children ran round the course and one of the parents would set the stop watch. Their dog Lubo would join in. Fantastic family fun, while gaining exercise, stopping the boredom and learning a few things at the same time – pulse rate, etc. The children soon got the exercise bug and they began family walks, cycles and adventures. Until one day Stephen asked Louis if he would like to train to climb a munro. He explained what a munro was. He told him that a munro is a mountain that is over 3000 foot tall and that there are 282 across Scotland. They decided to attempt to climb Ben Chonzie together. Which they did. They took the dog, had an amazing day. I am so proud of Louis, to climb a munro is difficult, it takes stamina, this young chap was 10 years of age when he bagged his first munro.

Louis and Lubo at the summit of Ben Chonzie

And so the munro bagging continued. My son Stuart and fiancé Laura climbed Ben Chonzie. They had a wonderful time, it was unusual for them to be without the children and only have Hudson, the fox red Labrador with them. You can normally see them out cycling the bikes with the children in tow. Or all of them walking in the forrest all set for an adventure. How I love to get FaceTime calls telling me of the adventures they have had cycling along the forrest track or taking the dog a walk. So young and full of energy. I’m sure when 4 year old Alexandra’s legs are up to it she will be mad keen to get up a Scottish mountain. Get the camera out and take the most superb photographs of our beautiful country and amazing scenery.

Ben Chonzie

Stuart & Laura – Ben Chonzie

Laura & Hudson

A wee bit about Ben Chonzie. Gaelic name Beinn a’ Choinnich – meaning mossy mountain. Situated near Crieff in Perthshire. The great Scottish solitary mountain reaches a height of 3054 feet and rises between Strathearn and Loch Tay. Its a super first climb with a fairly straight forward heather clad route of 9 miles, which tends not to be steep but with rather more moderate inclines and leads to beautiful open country, which is ideal for this current situation when we are needing to social distance. Plenty of space for everyone, even the dogs.

All this talking of climbing has taken me back to pre neuroendocrine cancer days. Life before carcinoid syndrome and days with super duper energy when running up a mountain was Childs play. In the year of 2000 my husband Steve, my brother in law Alan, my sister Hazel (Louis’s gran) and quite a few of our friends were led up Ben Lawers by our friend Gordon Macleod. We raised quite a few quid for cancer charity that weekend. Great fun was had by all. It was the first May bank holiday weekend, I can remember sliding on the snow, what great fun we had. Lovely evening at the Kilin Hotel that night too, the Irish whisky after dinner I can recommend. https://www.killinhotel.com

Alan, Hazel, Steve & Me at the summit of Ben Lawers Year 2000

Louis loving his first climb

Leaking gastrostomy tube

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.

My gastrostomy balloon had fallen into my jejunum.

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.

The Drawing by my consultant