Tuesday, May 22, 2018

My New Nest....

I have been living with my brother Russell  and sister in law Tracy for 6 months now, they have been absolute life savers and I often think what I would have done if they had not had welcomed me into their abode plus basically looked after me for the last six months, there really are no alternatives especially with 2 dogs in tow. Im not too bad at the moment and can look after myself but for most of the time I have been incapable of doing so.

I have been living in the third bedroom, and like most English houses the third bedroom tends to be on the small side.  Niece Kimberley moved into her own flat with her boyfriend Chris a couple of months ago, so it was decided I would move into her old bedroom which was a much bigger double room.   The old room was to be polite in need of a bit of TLC, I didn't expect Russ or Tracy to do it even though they wanted to, I physically cant do it so I advertised for a handy man to do it. I picked a winner straight away, he turned up on time to give me a quote and straight away I could tell that this guy was a good un.  He started on a Tuesday morning and was finished early Friday morning. The room was re painted, new wall paper on one wall a new light fitted and new carpet and underlay.  I chose the new furniture and bed and they were delivered on Friday as promised.  Tracy chose the light fitting, the wallpaper and curtains plus the bedding, there was no chance of me getting that right.

The room looks and is superb and I am loving it. 




The three doggies all love it too although Bombo is the only one who can jump up on the bed.


Sunday was another cracking day so we decided to go and watch Kimberley show jumping. We left a bit late and got stuck behind a tractor for 10 minutes plus took a wrong turn as we got close to our destination. The result was we just about spotted her doing her round, she clipped a post anyway so jumping wise it was all over. 


It was a huge show with loads of stalls selling horsey and other stuff, one of the stalls sold hats, I have been after a wax hat for ages to match my waxed Belstaff jacket.  The first one I tried on the sales lady said was very popular with the ladies...whoops. The second one was just perfect and even the colour matched.  They also sold good quality straw hats so I bought one of them, I need to protect my head from the English sun plus it is the ultimate accessory to go on the rear parcel shelf of the Jag.


Monday was my big scan day at Charing Cross hospital plus I had an appointment to see the neurosurgeon in the evening as my head was starting to cave in !!

First up was an MRI scan with dye. They had to fit a canula to inject the dye, it took a lot longer than normal  as my veins are a bit buggered after having so many needles and was actually a bit painful.

I'm used to the MRI scanners now but still find it such a primitive machine and cannot believe that they cant make one that is just a bit quieter and doesn't vibrate so much.   I can see why some people have to be sedated before having one. I actually sleep when I'm in the thing which is about 30 mins.  Straight after I had a CT scan but they couldn't get the dye through the canula.  I had to have another canula fitted, after four attempts and two different nurses they got one in, my arms were like a bloody war zone.  

Next up was a quick visit to the oncology wing where they took my blood in anticipation of chemo next Friday.   Next Friday morning at 10.00 am I have a meting with my oncologist who will give me the scan results and will decide whether we go ahead with chemo that day.

I really dont know what the results are going to be and I am certainly not getting my hopes up, I know I cant be cured but am hoping to get a bit more than the  9 months to a year scenario!!  I have noticed a few more little pains starting under my ribs and also a bit of a back ache so whether the little bastard is starting to spread who knows. Apart from that I have been feeling pretty good. I am eating much better, the sore throat has finally gone. My biggest problem at the moment is extreme tiredness which is OK cos I just sleep, and in my lovely new bed its very very easy to sleep. 

I headed back to Milton Keynes via the tube and train and was home by 17.00, I then jumped into the car and drove to Harpenden to meet the Neurosurgeon who removed my brain tumour back in December. As I mentioned earlier my head was starting to cave in around the site where the tumour was removed.

He is a lovely man and quickly assured me that all was OK and it was just the skull and plate  adjusting , as the tumour had gone and the brain was no longer swollen  it was just filling the gaps so to speak. It was also made worse by the fact that post op I had the bad infection that made a bit of a mess of my skull so that also contributed to the dent!  All in all he thought I looked great and as he was in the loop with my chemo and treatment etc thought I was doing very well considering all the bloody awful side effect I have been having.

Today was a day of rest where I did very little apart from walking the dogs around the lake with Kimberley and chilin in general. 











Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Good Chemo and Amazing Meetings !!!


If there ever can be such a thing I have had a good chemo session. Im now into my 11th day since my last session and so far have had no major side effects. This is the first time it has happened since all this crap started at XMAS 

I still feel tired and my taste buds are well and truly rooted, but all in all I'm pretty good. The oral thrush is just about gone but my throat is still sore making it hard to eat, typically a bacon sandwich takes about an hour!  But it is getting better and I'm sure in a few weeks it will be back to normal.

I think im up for a scan next then its the big decision on whether they give me more treatment or just leave it alone and watch to see what happens.  Im hoping for the later and have a nice break from any treatment.

Pic below is me being pumped full of poison, I arrived at Charing Cross at 10,00 and got released at 18.00 ....its a long day!




I was joined most of the afternoon by Pat who is  mine and Elaines friend and old neighbour from Sydney.  

She and her hubby Martin have been on a mega trip to South America and Pat was on her way back to Oz via the the UK.  It fitted in with her time table so we had a good long catch up in the chemo ward.

They were our neighbors for yeas plus Elaine and Pat worked together at Roche and I played for the same football club as Martin.  



Next up was going to watch niece Kimberley showjumping.  It was a glorious day made even better by Kimberley winning both of her heights, she is a very good show jumper.




It was a lovely day for driving the Jag too.


Then it was time to buy a caravan, we have been looking for a while and a private one came up in Milton Keynes.  Its an immaculate van and although second hand is like new.


The plan is that I can take it away to various parts of the UK this summer and worst cases scenario if I was taken ill I could go home and  brother Russell would pick up the van.

Russell and Tracy will also use it when they want.

Being a private buy it came with lots of extras all  including an inflatable awning and basically everything you need to take off touring.








Talking of the Jag I noticed that although the tyres had plenty of trad on them the sidewalls looked perished, the previous owner only put a few ks on the car and it sat for a long time, so bugger the expense I had four brand new tyres fitted. I'm not taking any chances of getting a blowout etc especially towing a caravan!

A good friend from Manchester sent me two tickets to see West Ham V Man Utd, as my nephew Liam is a mental West Ham fan it only seemed right to take him along.

I booked a nice hotel near the ground as it was an evening kick off and I didn't fancy getting a late night tube and train back to Milton Keynes.

On the way to the hotel I literally bumped and I mean bumped into Sandra off of NB AreandAre at Euston station.. we first met Sandra and Barry back in 2010 in Sydney and they were a big inspiration  for  us to pack up work and start a new relaxing life on a narrowboat.  This was when they were on their boat NB Northern Pride and were going back and forwards from the boat and to NZ. They still live and trade off of a narrowboat, we last met them at a boat trade rally in Stone probably about five years ago.  What are the chances eh ??



We arrived in the hotel on Wednesday afternoon about 13,00 so after checking in we grabbed a cab and went to a couple of classic old London pubs on the Thames.

One of which was Sir Ian Mckellens pub The Grapes which is located at Limehouse 


Gandalfs staff sits behind the bar on display.




The game itself was pretty crap but we had a fun time.


Summer continues to be nice and warm, so me and Kimberley chilled out on the hammock for a while.


I also took  Bombo to the Three locks pub and used him as a pillow whilst I had a sleep by one of the locks!


Last weekend we took the caravan up to a local site so we could check that everything worked as it should.

Its a really lovely van and indeed everything did work as it should.

Tracy did an excellent job in buying bedding that matched the decor of the van, I slept like a log in my new bed.

We even put up the awning, such an easy job, 20 mins and its done.


The weather was awful on Saturday, but Sunday and Monday were superb, this was my view from the bedroom window, just as I like it....no people!


Whilst walking around the site I bumped into another couple of old friends....Joe and Lesley who were the original owners of our boat Caxton which we bought off of them back in 2012 !!  

They are now out of narrowboating and are into motor-homing and are making the most of it with some big trips around the UK and mainland Europe, yet another what the moment !!

Lesley will kill me for putting the photo up as she had just got out of the shower...still looks lovely to me xx





Finally the sad bit....Yesterday would have been our 11th wedding anniversary,  I still miss her like you wont believe and often think to myself how different my present life of  living with this fkin disease would be, because I would be her priority 24/7 because that's how she was.

So I will finish this post with a few photos from that wonderful day in Las Vegas 11 years ago.





Happy Anniversary to Me xx



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hospital Again And The End Of An Era

Its been an awful long time since I did a post and an awful lot has happened, and once again some of it has been truly awful !!

I wont wobble on for too long and go into great detail so this is the abridged version !

Russell and Tracy had took off on their mega hols leaving Kimberley to look after her favourite uncle.

I picked up the Jag  on Tuesday and got it home.

Wednesday I started to get a sore throat, problem was this was the sore throat from hell, It was like I had swallowed a hundred razor blades, I went to the GP but managed to see a nurse who said I have oral Thrush !  I thought thrush was some girlie problem with their downstairs area!  Have some Nystatin that will sort it out.

Did it hell, I was in total agony, water was like acid, ice cream burnt me, I couldn't eat a thing I couldn't drink  I was in total agony again and went to bed to try and forget about it all and just hopefully die. 

On the weekend I started being sick and realised this is pretty serious,  Monday morning sis Jackie, niece Hayley and Kimberly all came to the house and rang Charing Cross hospital....Bring him in straight away... like now !!

Kimberley drove whilst I sat in the passenger seat puking into the sick buckets!

Straight up the the 15th floor, welcome back Paul your room is ready....within the hour they had stopped the puking and had me on a drip,  I was suffering from malnutrition, dehydration and my kidneys were on the verge of packing up.

All this from a bloody sore throat that once again was a side effect from the bloody chemo!

Cutting it short I was on a virtual constant drip had two blood transfusions and slowly started to recover.

The weather was lovely and I actually could see the Thames from my room. 

I was due some visitors from Spain, Jay and Eva were coming over for a few days and wanted to pop in and see me.  They were coming on a Saturday but I felt quite good  so decided to walk down to the Thames embankment.  Next thing  Jay rang they are in my room....they soon came down to the Thames and we had a good catch up.


They walked me back to the hospital where we bade farewell.

Jay took a great shot of me and my best friend Eva, the photo sums up our special bond we have even though there is a 41 year age gap.  She is such a special person in my life xx



After eight days in hospital I was released....

Thankfully they had fixed me up yet again.

It took me a fair while to recover at home especially with he sore throat but gradually we got there.

I felt well enough to drive up to Braunston to-catch up with Sue and Andy who have returned from Spain and are back into cruising mode. 

Elaine's dad died a couple of weeks ago and Tuesday was his funeral so knowing Elaine would have wanted me to go so I got the train up on Monday.

It was a well attended funeral, as Burt was a born and bred Macclesfield lad so a lot of locals were there.

The wake was at Burts local pub and was well turned out with lots of people, I managed to stay all day and then went out again at night, it was a long day.

I popped around for the last look of the house that Elaine had lived in for a lot of years and one that I had visited on numerous times.


I took a pic of Elaine's old bedroom door, still with her name and doll on it. 

It was sad to walk out of it thinking I will never step foot inside it again.

Im now back in Milton Keynes and am going to London Friday for another chemo session. I am so hoping that I have no effects this time !!!  It would be a nice first.

Other News.....

The Spanish Jaguar sold very quickly.

My flat in Sydney sold for a lot more than I wanted which was a bit special.

Perhaps I'm just getting a little bit of good luck which has been sadly lacking for a long time.





Friday, April 13, 2018

The Importance Of Family

Its now been exactly one week since my last chemo and what a week it was.   It was a reduced chemo dose because of all the terrible side effects I have been having. I was accompanied by sister Jackie and niece Hayley.

The chemo was all done by 15.00 and I felt really good so we decided to head off to Oxford Street as I wanted to buy a jacket from a designer shop, which makes a nice change from the charity shops.

We walked to the tube and I felt really good and only getting slightly out of breath.

It was lovely to go to designer shop and be treated like a king, the service was fantastic.

Rather than catch a tube or bus back to the hospital (where the car was parked)  we jumped in a London cab, it was the cleanest cab I had ever been in, it was white rather than black as he also used it as a wedding car.  The fare back to the hospital was £19.50, I gave him £25.00  but he said that's far too much and gave me a fiver back, I said that's the tip, he said no thanks you keep it !


By now it was getting a bit late and was rush hour time so rather sitting in traffic we decided to eat in London and head home a bit later.

We went for a walk through Hammersmith with moi wearing his new jacket !

I love it.


We spotted a nice little Thai restaurant but it wasn't due to open for another hour so we popped into a pub for a swift half or two.

We nearly stuffed up as by the time we went back to the restaurant there was only one table left, it was rammed.

The waiter/waitress was a full on Thai Lady boy and the food was fantastic.

Because it was a Friday evening the restaurant was full of workers from local businesses and the hospital.

I witnessed an amazing site whilst in the restaurant......not one person was on their bloody phone, they were talking to each other, it was a lovely thing to watch.


It was a really strange surreal day, we had a fantastic day out in London but in the middle of it all I had some chemo.

Saturday morning I went car hunting with brother Russell, I need a car as the others all work so in the daytime I'm home alone. I thought about getting a little Fiat 500 or something to buzz around then thought to myself, Im not going to be around for too much longer so why not treat myself , and treat myself I did, I bought a beautiful Jaguar XF . It is stunning although I am a bit worried about the cream leather interior especially with the dogs and the amount of mud around at the moment...It can be cleaned!




At the moment Im home alone, brother Russ and wife Tracy have taken off on a 3 week holiday to the states and a cruise to Hawaii, Im not quite alone as my niece Kimberley has moved back in to keep an eye on me.

This of course brings me back to the to the title of the blog ...The importance of family.

I was talking to Kimberley , she said to me what would you have done if you didn't move in with us?

It really made me think, what would I have done, Im not to bad now and can cook, and clean etc, but I also know that Im going to get a lot worse and will probably end my lovely life in this house.  Also I have been here since the beginning of November, what would have been the alternative, Spain would have been impossible, the dogs have been looked after, which was always my biggest concern I have been chauffeured around to various hospitals by family.

I am so so lucky and I still cant imagine what I would have done without them, I owe them big time.

I had some more sad news this week, Elaine's dad died in Macclesfield hospital, he was admitted about three weeks ago after collapsing at home but unfortunately never came out again.


Love your family people xx




Thursday, April 5, 2018

What a Difference a Week Makes!

Last Thursday I visited the lung oncologist in London and I felt like death, she gave me some new drugs including the good old steroids, some anti depressants and anti emetics....What can I say....WOW!!

Its been a transformation, my taste buds are back, I have been eating for Africa, having a good drink as well, not excessive but its so nice to taste a nice glass of red wine! 

I know its all down to the drugs, but it feels so good to have a zest for life again.

Unfortunately it all came back to reality yesterday when I received her latest report through the post, when you read it in black and white that you haven't got long to live it is very sobering.

But there is nothing I can do about it, so Im just hoping that the chemo I start tomorrow will hopefully give me a bit more time, I know it cant be cured but a bit more time would be nice.

As I said earlier its been nice to get out and about going to nice restaurants and bars again.

Another high was catching up with my old mate Paul Young who I worked with in the 70s at Vauxhall Motors.

We have always kept in touch since then, moreso lately since his wife succumbed to brain cancer just after Christmas, she was only 52!!

The photo taken below was taken in 1984 when he was touring Australia, I chauffeured him around Sydney in my little Suzuki Sierra as well as attending his sell out shows and going to the after show parties.



He came to the house in Milton Keynes bringing me a mega Lindt Easter egg and flowers for Tracy.

Me, Tracy, Paul and brother Russell

He still looks like a rock star, bastard still has all his hair! 

Tracy was a fan back in the day, and was melting on the floor!!!

Hopefully we will keep in touch and I will be able to go to some of his gigs and see him perform.

Tomorrow its off to Charing Cross to start chemo....

Wish me well XX