Thursday 19 December 2019

Last working day of the year WOOHOO

Last day of work for the rest of the year today WOOHOO
I’m in the office and it’s a little like the Marie Celeste …. A few people here and there but it’s definitely not busy here today. It is surprising that there are so few people here because we have a celebrity visitor for the grand opening of the new office - Olympic gold medallist and sports personality of the year winner Mo Farah. I really don’t like taking selfies and thinking I’d probably look like a beached whale next to him because he is super skinny LOL I went for a head shot in the end!!

My car has to go into the Ford garage on Saturday so they can look at why the ‘oil change required’ notification is coming on every time I start the engine. We all agree that when it’s only 9 months old and has only done 6,200 miles this is not ‘normal’ behaviour for the car and that since I’m going to probably rack up 1,000 miles over the course of the next 10 days it needs to be looked at. They’re giving me a Transit Connect Van for the day so I can get around while they look at it.
Christmas shopping is nearly done – just like that a late concerted effort and we seem to have cracked it. We have a Christmas tree up, the house looks quite festive and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.

K9 Pleasure Park is pretty swampy as it is at this time of year; the dogs are going to be renewing their acquaintance with the bath a lot more often over the next couple of months.
So this next bit might not make much sense at all but I’m having a workplace assessment for a nice orthopaedic chair done and the lady is taking photos of me which I’m sure are slightly less flattering than the one with Mo taken earlier and I’m certainly less picky about the quality of them or how many chins I have on them LOL

It would appear I’m getting another monitor for my desk too
Right I’m done for the year – I’m out of here J

Tuesday 10 December 2019

4yrs 6mths 3wks - I passed the test YAY

4 years 6 months and 3 weeks
Apologies for the longer than advised absence, the training course was super intense, but I passed, I’m now a certified ‘Green Belt’ Six Sigma person – I need to pick a piece of work and put it all into practice and be assessed on it to be a practitioner but I’m certified or certifiable depending on your viewpoint I guess.

Our dishwasher randomly died on us a couple of weeks back, we had 10 days of having to do stuff by hand which was surprisingly not the ‘end of days’ scenario I had envisaged, but the novelty of a night time bonding session over suds and tea towels certainly didn’t last long. Fortunately the replacement has now arrived and been installed and harmony is now restored (apart from the bit where Gareth still walks past the dishwasher to put cups and glasses next to the sink – why do men do that??? I guess I should just be grateful that they mostly gravitate towards the kitchen LOL)
The office move has now happened, we are in our shiny new premises in Reading and despite being 1/3rd of the distance from home of our old office – it takes twice as long to get to because I’m going in the same direction as pretty much the entire population of Berkshire each day now – I foresee getting out of bed earlier and earlier until I beat the worst of it.

We’ve ordered a new bed base which is being delivered on Friday, hopefully this will help with some of the back pain I’ve been having for the last few months – I don’t think it’s anything MS related (January MRI and Neuro review will confirm or deny this suspicion) It’s more likely to be that the old bed slats are too bendy and by big fat arse is sinking too low and making me into a ‘bed pretzel’
What else ….

Well honestly not a huge amount if I’m honest, certainly nothing exciting that makes my lifestyle look glamorous and sexy. I’m not attending any awesome Christmas parties; we have no family near us to visit with before the big Christmas drive around the country and we’ve been rubbish and not planned anything with friends. We suck so much at being social.
And then there’s the Christmas presents ….. still shooting a solid ZERO on that one ……

Thursday 21 November 2019

4 yrs 6mths - 'Dog-Art' and 4 day weeks

Ohhh but I’m liking this 4 day week game, it’s not sustainable throughout the year, but oh  my how nice is it to have a longer weekend. I wonder if I could get away with working 8-6 from home 2 days a week and 8-5 in the office for the other 2 days and do away with Fridays forever J
A fantasy, but an enjoyable one none the less.
So what has been going on in my world, well Hoops didn’t happen before the rainy season for Bella the dog field is a swamp and the course is cancelled until the British weather returns to being less ‘moist’
Apart from Work there’s really not been a whole lot of exciting stuff happening at all, we’re just bumbling along and enjoying life. Even our weekend visit to Costco didn’t happen this weekend just gone.
Lots of Lurking and chilling out.
It was officially freezing this morning, properly freezing not a little bit of ice but sheets of it all over the car. The heated seats are on, the heated windscreen most appreciated (Gareth’s not so smug about his sunroof at this time of year when I can clear my windscreen and have a toasty warm bum and back with a touch of a couple of buttons)
Dog Stuff is all here, our epic life size lamp and mini Weagles have all arrived safely, Gareth thinks I possibly have more than one screw loose in my head for the number of custom dog things I order, especially after the thieving wood carving order a couple of years ago and the months of dealing with the police.
Still no big lottery win - £2.60 and a free lucky dip was somewhat smaller than I’d hoped for and certainly not going to fund my retirement plan.
I’m on a training course all week next week with work, Lean Six Sigma for 5 days straight with a big exam at the end. I’ll apologise in advance for no update next week, it’s unlikely when I get home in the evening that my thoughts will turn to updating here, I’m more likely to be snoozing until it’s time to sleep in the bed.
I had my bloods done yesterday and the results are back, I’ll pick them up on the way home and update them later on today or perhaps tomorrow. They’ve even been checked already and are ‘as normal as expected’ LOL
So here we go ‘dog art’


Wednesday 13 November 2019

4yrs 5 mths 3wks - long weekend and injury updates LOL

Today is ‘virtual Monday’ of my working week, I had Friday and Monday off so a lovely 4 day weekend for me.

Gareth started his new job yesterday and is no longer making claims of being ‘unemployed’ and bragging at me.
Christmas ‘planning’ has been completed with Aunty Kathy although I suspect Gareth hasn’t put the appropriate plans in place with his folks so it could all go to pieces at a later date.

Our work move to new premises is picking up speed and they’re planning a desk assessment for me which will hopefully result in my having an allocated desk at the new office which can be lowered and raised for those days when I’m using ‘Bob’ to allow me to pull up fully to my desk and not bash ‘Bob’s’ arms to pieces on the desk. (time has been spent this morning supergluing the 2 pieces on that have been bashed off in recent weeks)
Winston’s Xanax has been working pretty well on his anxiety at the fireworks being set off nightly (17 days continuous of fireworks every bloody night so far L)

The burn on my chest has now healed and the scar is pretty minimal, hopefully some sunshine next year and it will disappear completely. The bruising on my back and arse is slowly getting better although I still feel like my left butt cheek was kicked by an angry mule.
So the 4 day weeks until the end of the year

And today it’s Virtual Tuesday or Real Wednesday depending on your viewpoint. I haven’t got round to hitting post yet and I have no excuse other than ‘lazy’ I’ve really just come home and binge watched old episodes of Hawaii Five 0 with the occasional episode of MasterChef the Professionals thrown in.
After all this time and the worries with Winston and anxiety, yesterday because we were both at work I had Gareth spray an Adaptil Pheromone spray near Winston’s bed and on the blanket in Bella’s crate. Winston slept up stair in the back bedroom all day rather than by Bella’s crate and when doggy day care came, both times nobody was up and barking hysterically. I’d ordered a collar with the same stuff in it which was destined to go round Winston’s neck, but it’s now on Bella’s neck instead. We’re wondering if he’s stressing because she’s stressing and if the pheromone stuff calmed her down so he is less stressed ….

We might be quite mad, but heck we’ve tried everything else so what do we have to lose?
Apart from that it’s all pretty great here, hope you’re doing well xxx

Tuesday 5 November 2019

4yrs 5 1/2 months - Being a human 'thundershirt'

Monday - ARGH ….. my blood results have been back at my doctors since last Tuesday and they can’t seem to give them to me. When I call the surgery and ask to be put through to ‘test results’ it’s now being answered by the reception team who keep telling me ‘we don’t have the training to just read them out’ EDIT at 15:30pm – they’ve thrown in the towel, they’ve printed it all out and asked me to pick it up on the way home as ‘you’ll understand it more than we do’ LOL
On a bright note – I’ve managed a whole week without injuring myself J

The work Christmas ‘doooooo’ has been announced – a Thames river cruise event. The perfect reason for me to decline. I’m not good with going to work ‘fun’ things at the best of times, I’ll turn up for a meal and leave before anyone has too much to drink. The thought of being trapped on a boat is my idea of hell. Don’t get me wrong I have some wonderful and lovely colleagues, but I don’t like going out with work people where there is a lot of drinking involved.
Firework season is now in full effect, poor Winston is getting Xanax again for the times when the ones being set off are continuous, so Halloween, Friday, Saturday (for the late halloweeners and early bonfire nighters) then the 5th for bonfire night then next Friday and Saturday for the late bonfire nighters ….. a couple of weeks quite then the big corporate Christmas do fireworks will be going week nights for the first 2 weeks of December, another week off then new year – poor boy will be a gibbering wreck if we can’t keep him calm, as it is I just sit there hugging him to me, protecting him like a 'human thundershirt' L

It’s Thursday this is still sitting on my screen and I haven’t published it, but on a bright note I do now have my blood results – turns out they were right they make perfect sense to me and the printout was updated in a couple of minutes to my spreadsheet. After all the fuss getting them I was expecting there might be something weird … not so perfectly normal and dull with my neutrophils only a little over and my monocytes back in the normal range for the first time in a long time. Even my thyroid is behaving J
Last night was Gareth’s leaving drinks in London, an emotional affair because like me he works with some lovely people and he’s going to miss them. He finally made it home at 01:30am fairly sober all things considered (but then he did have to take the slow train from Paddington so he had a good hour and a half journey to soak some of it up) It’s going to be very different when he’s in the new role but in a good way I hope.

Gareth’s last day is Monday and then he has some time off until he starts the new job which he definitely needs, just some time to chill out and clear his head down, perhaps a visit up to his folks too.
I’ve also discovered that I have 12 days of annual leave left this year to use. I can only carry over 5 days (apparently I can also ‘sell them back’ but I’ve looked through the guidelines at work on how to do it and honestly it seems slightly more complicated and have more loop holes than world peace or Brexit so I might not bother. In the interim the other days work out nicely to only doing a 4 day week for the rest of the year J (awaiting guidance from Gareth on how I should use them)

EDIT – nuts it’s now Tuesday (again) and I still haven’t hit post for this
Weekend was quiet, work is – well – work, Gareth is now bragging up a storm about being ‘unemployed’ and he can stay in bed – Only for 4 days dearest and then you’re gainfully employed again.

Look out for some pictures next week I’ve been ordering customised art of our pets again and I’m hoping to have the dog models arrive today / tomorrow and the 2ft tall Bella sculpture holding a working lamp arrives at the weekend ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Blood results (finally) for your enjoyment xxx

Tuesday 22 October 2019

4yrs 5mths - accidents and injuries I'm such a clutz

Hi peeps

So what’s been happening, why has Tracy been so crap at updating of late?

Well true to my usual form I’ve been injuring myself again – repeatedly!!!!

·        The right ankle injury is something I simply can’t explain, I went to bed (sober) and woke up and it’s massive …. Almost twice the size of the other one and really sore to walk on especially anything resembling stairs. I have asked Gareth did he dangle me out of the bedroom window in my sleep and he’s denied it ….. so I have no idea how or what I did to it.

·        The fall …. I managed to fall between the dining table and the window sills in the extension (this did involve some wine) I have bruises up my back and to both shoulders.

·        The 2nd degree burn to my chest this morning involving me being very clumsy and splashing myself with the red hot cup of tea I’d just made myself is the latest one.
I’m a disaster zone of self wounding. I can’t blame the MS for this, I’ve been like this my whole life as I’ve said before the broken bones the landing on my head, it’s really good and valid that Gareth holds his breath each time I use a big sharp kitchen knife when preparing food.

I’ve come home and am alternating antibacterial gel (because we all have about 50 of them in various places around the home, in our pockets, bag and cars) and some Solarcaine on the burn – Solarcaine stuff is amazing for burns, sunburn, chicken pox scabs (I kid you not takes way the itch and no scratchy means no scars) and YES it worked on my infusion rash when I had rounds 1 and 2 as well. I keep it in the fridge so it’s always awesomely cooling especially on burns J

Apart from that life has been pretty relaxed and enjoyable having sampled the Just Fresh grocery delivery we’ve now also given Gusto a chance – helped by massive new customer discounts. It’s been enlightening, there’s nothing new or ground breaking in what we’ve had, it’s just been really different and it has given us some new options on things to add to our evening meals. Sometimes you just get into a ‘rut’ doing the same things over and over again and it’s given us some new ideas, just new things to try and to do.

Gareth and the furry ones are all great and life is great (if somewhat ouchie)

I’ve made no progress whatsoever towards the C-word preparations but this weekend looms and I can always get started then

Hope you’re well xxx

Thursday 3 October 2019

4 yrs 4mths 2 wks - ARGH ..... 3 weeks no updates BAD TRACY

I’ve had a couple of migraines over the course of the last couple of weeks (hence me missing updating the blog last week) which hasn’t been fun. I get them when I’ve been stressed for an extended period of time and to be fair with the recent scare for me and Amber’s stroke, I think it’s all been a bit much. There’s also an outside possibility that it could be new glasses related so I’m experimenting a little with when I wear them.
The weekend birthday celebrations with lovely Polish food were awesome, we only knew 2 people attending, but by the end of the evening we knew everyone and they were lovely people.
The dogs are doing great (it’s Bella the Whoppets 2nd birthday today – doggie birthday cake later) and Amber whilst still looking a little like she’s been on the Gin is loving her walks and her food and smiling.
The Rugby world cup has kicked off and I’m looking forward to lots of the matches, hopefully the England Team will be better this time (we didn’t make it out of the group stage in the last world cup which was here in the UK L) the opening game against Tonga was a good start.
Oh dear and another week has passed, and now I’ve missed 2 weeks of updates. I’m really sorry about that. I even missed my monthly bloods after turning the alarm off with a migraine in progress.
Things are getting interesting in our house, after 6 years Gareth is moving on to a new role which he’s very excited about. I’m still pinning my hopes of early retirement on winning the euro millions and becoming an animal rescuer.
Tomorrow it will be 6 years since I lost my mum, my head is trying to play the ‘time lapse’ thing where as the minutes and hours tick by I remember everything that happened in the lead up and afterwards, but I’m remembering the good things to drown it out. So far so good.
Oops … now it’s the day after tomorrow.
Yesterday was okay, a teary read through my Facebook memories and then just getting on with it. The time lapse stopped on Tuesday and left me alone.  A couple of days of takeaways have done nothing positive for me other than let me chill out and relax a little.
The weekend is looming, I’m waiting for the postman to deliver me a nice cheque which I have plans for (that work that Gareth promised to do in our en-suite back in January hasn’t started yet and I did the ‘nag at 6 months’ thing and it didn’t work either so it’s time to call in a professional) and I’m thoroughly over having to shower in the other bathroom down the hall each day.
So that’s all really life is good and normal and MS is an afterthought – the way it should be xx

EDIT and sadly Gareths 'baking bug' seems to have died of neglect :-(

Wednesday 11 September 2019

4yrs 3mths 3wks - Men who Bake have more sex appeal

Amber did have another stroke in the early hours of last Thursday morning, this one has been a big one and she has spent the weekend trying to learn how to walk again. It’s taking longer this time for her to pull out of it. After wondering what we would do over the weekend it turned out that it was mostly about the dogs. It was Saturday afternoon before we saw her wonderful Beagle smile again. It’s so hard to watch but she’s recovered from the others so we have to give her time and as long as she is happy then we will keep going. It’s that open how long is too long thing though.

Gareth has spent the weekend making loafs of bread. We had an ‘accidental loaf’ last week when making pizza dough, I think Gareth accidentally made the ‘Serves 12’ quantity so he shaped the leftovers into a loaf and threw it in the oven. Out popped a perfectly formed, beautiful loaf …….. And it was an accident. This prompted 2 further ‘deliberate loafs’ and predictably they were again perfectly formed, perfectly baked and delicious …….
I have a ‘patchy’ history with bread making there has been a single lovely focaccia and quite a few okay ones as well as some absolutely disastrous sour dough attempts. I don’t include things like Wheaten Bread or Soda Farls in my bread disasters they are nice and straight forward and I can make them well (although I now suspect Gareth might make them far better than I can). Gareth’s adventures in bread making for next weekend are already planned and I’ve already started ribbing him about him applying for Great British Bake Off next year.

I feel no anxiety that he is great at baking and I am crap at it, the results are lovely and tasty and doing bugger all to help with me losing some chub and get into better shape. I’ve always said if we could apply as a couple we’d make a half decent MasterChef contestant.
We also did a lot of what I call ‘adulting’ – that grown up responsible thing, cleaning the house, vanquishing the laundry basket, mowing the grass and stuff. Being this organised doesn’t come naturally to either of us. We’re both pretty resistant to being grown up so it takes quite a bit of effort to motivate ourselves into behaviours like this and it’s usually a pretty grim experience where we’re doing it because we have to not because we want to and it makes us both grumpy. This weekend we did what we needed to and it was okay especially when I called time on ‘Adulting’ and said it was time to stop.

(Side note – for me, Adulting doesn’t include cooking – Sunday dinner of Roast Chicken with potato broad beans and gravy was absolutely epic and not a ‘chore’ at all it was enjoyable and resulted in an awesome meal)
We have a friends birthday coming up this weekend, an introduction to the local Polish community and food which we are very much looking forward to, and there is a Gin and Rum Festival in Reading on Friday which I’m trying to convince Gareth he should drop me off at and come and pick me up later (he thinks I’m joking but I’m taking his ‘yeah alright’ response as agreement that he’s providing a gin and rum drinkers taxi serviceJ)

One last thing, the dog training, it’s working ….. it’s such a short amount of time, but we’re seeing improvement and more confidence from Winston. He’s not reacting to things as much and he’s just relaxing. Odd to think that loving him so much and wanting to be affectionate all the time is actually viewed as weakness by him and make him think he needs to be in charge. The book is by the trainer Nigel Reed if it will help, I’m listening to the Audible version. There’s a pretty extensive YouTube archive of him that shows how he trains.
Ohhhh ohhh and anotherone last thing ….. if you like Gin you have to try Aber Falls ……. The Welsh are getting seriously good at making some very fine spirits and Liquers. I’m blaming Amazon Treasure Truck for this recommendation – I got text last week with the Orange Marmalade was on offer. Gareth was working from home so he ordered and collected it later that day. Oh my …… a small glass, an ice cube and I was in heaven. I then discovered that they also do a salted toffee and a coffee and chocolate so it would have been rude not to taste test them. They’re lovely, just an ice cube with them for me, they don’t need more although I’m sure if you wanted to they’d be lovely.

So a significantly more positive post from me this week hope you’re well xxx

Thursday 5 September 2019

4yrs 3mths 1wk - Reflections and blood results

The morning after the weeks before

This week has felt really strange, after the stress and worry of the possibility of bad things, the relief of the bad things being counted out, holiday and countless other minor things I’ve felt a little directionless as to what I should be doing.
If I’m not fighting something, organising something or avoiding something, well what should I actually be doing? The possibilities are endless and randomly my mind is blank apart from the little voice in my head saying ‘there’s a pile of clean laundry at home that needs to be put away’ ….. Hardly exciting is it?

It’s mid week, the weekend is coming and again there’s a blank space, nothing planned, just a space where ‘stuff’ can happen but I genuinely have no idea what ‘stuff’ that will be and no ideas as to what I even want to do. There are some blocks to what is feasible while we are still working with Winston on his insecurity, but we are actually getting somewhere with that now. Gareth and I are both applying some good practice to our interactions with all the dogs and it seems to be paying dividends quickly.
So I guess that’s the weekend plan – going over repeatedly the lessons with the dogs reinforcing over and over again the lessons that need to be learnt. I’m sure by the end of the weekend we’re going to be quite mad but the dogs I’m sure will be much happy with their humans. I’ll update on that as we go.

It’s also getting to that stage where I should probably start thinking about the ‘C’ word – not the bad health one, Christmas ….. good grief how on earth did it get round to even close to that time of year again. I’ve said it before but goodness knows time seems to speed up the older you get, birthdays and Christmas’s feel like they happen so much closer together.
I guess it doesn’t help that having been so crap at planning in the past I’m trying harder to be less crap by starting the preparation earlier, this is adding to the ‘things coming around faster’ feeling because I’m ‘getting into it’ sooner. I’m really not helping myself am I LOL

Amber couldn’t get up this morning, she had stronger tremors that she’s had recently and couldn’t get up. Gareth had to get up and carry her down the stairs. By the time she was downstairs she seemed to have got herself together and wobbled off down the garden to get things done. I’ll keep an eye on her and see how she does, but it’s always there in my head that her time seems to be getting short. This is probably reinforced by having overheard our neighbour find one of their rabbits had passed away in the hutch during the day – simply awful to hear how heartbroken they were and the little voice in my head saying ‘you’re next’.
Perhaps that’s another reason why I feel a little directionless right now – I’m waiting for the hammer to fall. It seems like a long time since there’s been nothing to do except just live my life and without something to focus on perhaps I just genuinely don’t have a clue how to just ‘do’ life these days.

That sounds quite depressing, but honestly it isn’t that way at all. I’m enjoying life and love and happiness.  Bob’s in the car, his battery has been flat since last weekend and I haven’t needed him for anything I’ve wanted to do. That the training is paying dividends is rewarding and it gives me hope that we can have the dogs out with us for more positive experiences and worry less when we want to go out. Gareth and I are enjoying our time together and it’s stress free and happy. I’m looking forward to the end of the year and seeing our family and catching up with everyone and hoping that I get gift choices right for everyone and that we have a lovely time together.
Perhaps it’s just that I’m not used to normal anymore and need to learn how to do ‘normal’ again.

I’m not always focused on how to ‘live my MS life’ anymore. Yes I have MS, that’s not going to change any time soon and although I wish there was a magic ‘fix it’ button it doesn’t dictate things these days so it’s not overly intrusive. It isn’t ‘me’ though.
Its getting harder to update the blog simply because there’s no MS news, it just is …… I feel like this has become a strange online  diary of a person who happens to have MS and less helpful for people reading it. I wonder what I’m actually contributing these days other than an enormous feeling of wellbeing to those reading that at least their lives aren’t as mundane as mine is and genuinely wonder why people read it (unless it’s helping with insomnia on which case enjoy your snooze because this one is quite likely to send you into  a deep sleep)

Anyway in other news …. Monthly bloods have reflected something that Dr N pointed out to me about those blood results being too high. Both he and my GP had said that the root cause could be related to smoking. His blood results and my most recent monthly ones both show an improvement pattern which reflects their comments. Having not smoked (much) before tests one of the readings has dropped (barely) into the normal range and the other is coming back inline. My thyroid has dropped into the low end, but I suspect that might have something to do with missing  dose of meds while I was on holiday – it only takes one missed dose for it to nosedive and 2-3 weeks to get it back to where it should be.
So here we go a little later than normal because I was away, here are my August results.

Stay well and enjoy life xxx

Tuesday 27 August 2019

4yrs 3mths - post holiday and an unexpected concussion

Yup you read that right - Mrs Accident prone had yet another self-inflicted injury to deal with.

This one was a 'coming back from the bathroom in the dark, slipping as I tried to sit down on the bed, missing and then using my face as a brake by smashing it into the bedside table.

I swear one of these days I'm going to end up doing something 'unfixable' in one of these incidents.

Fortunately as we have established over the last few years of my ramblings, my head seems to be ‘well padded’ and ‘quite bouncy’ given the number of times I’ve ended up bouncing off it.

Gareth did ask that I try to limit the number of times I do this to myself as he’s starting to expect people to be asking awkward things like ‘Are you sure that she did that to herself, walked into a door you say …….’ *whistles*. In his position I’d be similarly concerned, however so many people I know have actually witnessed my clumsiness and the injuries that result from it that Gareth is fairly safe.

Anyway what I’m taking an awfully long time to get round to saying is that the face smash, the resulting shock and me shaking like a shitting dog for a couple of hours while Gareth kept asking should he call me an ambulance – well we slept through the alarms on Friday morning and I missed my appointment with the Haematologist …… this is now rescheduled for this Friday morning so no news on that front yet apart from what I've previously shared about all the scary words coming back as negative.

Gareth ended up driving to Watchet after it became quite clear I had a minor concussion and under no circumstances should I be behind the wheel of the car whilst feeling very sick and dizzy.

The house we had rented was absolutely awesome, so comfortable, well done, even the welcome package with drinks and biscuits for the tired traveller. The beds were huge and comfortable and it was everything we would have hoped for with a secure garden for the dogs. We were a couple of minutes’ walk from pretty much everything in Watchet, umpteen pubs and places to eat, everything was dog friendly, shops, cafés, pubs even the museum. It felt like going back in time – in a good way – relaxed, a slower more sociable way of life where people talk to each other in person, over a drink. We sang sea shanty’s and ate ice cream and it was just so bloody lovely that I could see myself living there.

So if anyone needs a lovely relaxing time by the sea I can highly recommend this place.

We made it home in good time on Friday with the long weekend ahead of us, so pretty epic all things considered. Sadly we didn’t do anything fun or exciting, we just chilled and relaxed for 3 days and kept reminding ourselves to stay in ‘Watchet mindset’

Back at work today, it’s nice to see everyone and catch up, but I’d rather be beside the sea.

Hope you’re well xxx

Thursday 15 August 2019

4yrs, 2 months and 2 weeks - how to wear yourself out so you can relax

Ouch … sorry I’ve just realised I didn’t post an update last week. I’d love to say it’s because life has been so great and exciting that I didn’t find the time, but sadly that would not be true.  It’s all been rather meh’ if I’m honest, after the good news that the bloods so far haven’t shown anything cancer or leukaemia related it’s all be a whole lot of waiting for this Friday when I go back to see Dr N before we make our way down to Watchett for our holiday with the dogs and Aunty Kathy.

We had visitors over the weekend with awesome BBQ food enjoyed by all, but oh my did we drink too much – I mean way too much, I had the hangover from hell and felt ill all day on Sunday, sleeping most of it and mentally I’ve signed the pledge (for a little while anyway – until next weekend probably)
We’ve taken Winston off the Prozac that the vets put him, it seemed to completely destroy his confidence in pretty much everything and whilst he wasn’t barking himself sick he would sit and shake like a leaf and whimper when we wanted to leave the house (I’ll never forgive those previous tenants next door who have made him afraid of being alone in his own home – absolute bastards.

And it’s now Thursday – I started this in Monday, I go away tomorrow – I might even have clothes to wear if the sunshine holds and the monsoons from earlier this week don’t return. I have to pick up cat food on the way home for Murphy so that Michelle has enough for the week, make sure instructions are all written up and that we have everything sorted for the morning. I’ve not planned this very well at all.
It’s just as well really that we are only in the UK because I’ve not prepared at all, I had a stye come up in my eye on Tuesday and it’s only jus draining for a while there I literally felt like I’d been punched in the face from it. Yet more eye drops every 2 hours this time 24 hours a day for 36 hours before I could come down to every 4 hours while I’m awake.

And I’m tired, good grief I am tired.
I know it’s stressing about tomorrow (even though I’m convinced it’s going to be fine) the weekend didn’t help overdoing things, I spent Wednesday night getting up and trekking to the fridge for eye drops eery 2 hours, and I haven’t packed or prepared properly at all. Patterns – that’s all it is, one thing leads to another and another and my body just throws up the white flag and says no.

Bloods this month will be later than planned since I’m not coming back a day early from my holiday to get stabbed, they will be fine though.
I’m sorry this is a rubbish post, but I’m tired and stressed getting ready to relax (yes that sounds ridiculous I know)

Hopefully a better post next week from holibobs xxx

Thursday 1 August 2019

4rs 2 month blood results and some awesome news

The wedding at the weekend was beautiful, Mr and Mrs Ward had a perfect day she looked beautiful and he didn’t look too shabby either J A wonderful celebration of their love and ties to the Royal Navy.
A little shopping, some lurking and relaxing and sadly the weekend was done, it was Monday again and suddenly it’s time to go back to work again (for 1 day before a couple of days off for our wedding anniversary)

I had a call from the doctors on Monday morning saying that they would like to talk to me about how the MS is going (apparently it’s un-nerving them somewhat that they see me for other stuff but apart from a monthly ‘stabbing’ the MS thing is awfully quiet). Rather than take up an appointment slot, Dr B is giving me a call on Friday for a chat.
I’ll have news for him that I received on Tuesday – BIG NEWS (unless his post has reached him – my copy arrived by email from the secretary the day it was produced) Below is the content of the letter regarding the tests the haematologist has done.

29 July 2019
Dear Miss Doust

I have reviewed your blood results which were performed following the previous clinic consultation.  The full blood count was entirely unremarkable with normal levels of neutrophils and lymphocyte counts.  The blood results sent for genetic markers to rule out an underlying cancer of the white cells including JAK-2 V617F and BCR ABL have both come back negative.  The ultrasound scan of the abdomen was entirely unremarkable.
I can chat with you about these results and the rest of the investigations when I see you in clinic next week.

Yours sincerely
Dr N

Laughing at the 'Miss' on the letter ...

There has never been a time in my life where I’ve been over the moon to be described as ‘entirely unremarkable’ TWICE and the double negative on the genetic tests is brilliant. This really was the Best Anniversary present ever. We had a wonderful meal at Menu Gordon Jones in Bath – I have to say that was simply stunning and everything we had hoped it would be.
A couple of days at home with the dogs mid week completely blew both mine and Gareth’s minds, we kept thinking it was the weekend, looking at diaries for what we were supposed to be doing on Monday when actually we needed to be looking at Thursday. Confusion as to why Saturday Kitchen wasn’t on the TV, that the shops were open after 4pm.

I’m back in the office today and working from sofa again tomorrow and then the weekend realy will be here J
Anyway this month’s bloods are in, less concerned about the monocytes and neutrophils now that the big C and the L word look to be off the table.

Hope everyone is staying cool in the warm weather xxx

Friday 26 July 2019

4yrs 2mths - sunshine and romance

4 years and 2 months since all this Lemtrada treatment began. I have set of bloods number 50 being drawn this Friday, I’m hoping that with changes that have been made over the course of the last month that perhaps this might reflect in my blood results in a positive way.
I’m completely knackered today, the heat last night and the epic thunderstorm certainly made sleeping somewhat more difficult than I’d hoped it would be. The dogs wouldn’t settle, roaming the bedroom and trying to steal each other’s sleeping positions then grizzling at each other. The flashing lightening lit the bedroom up every few seconds and the thunder was spectacular but also bloody loud. Everyone at work is snapping at each other because of the heat or just sitting there fanning themselves and watching the clock to escape to their air-conditioned cars - I’ve managed to stay firmly in the second camp and not have a ‘Hulk Smash’ moment.

Typical British I guess, weathers crap we want it to be better, weather good we moan it’s too hot and What The Forecast says it’s 29 degrees out right now (Celsius for those who use ‘other’ measurements).
I’m also wearing contact lenses today – one of the last 2 pairs in the world I own – I’m practicing for the wedding at the weekend. Funnily enough, I can see perfectly with them – no needing reading glasses for small print or laptop work, seeing glasses for moving around. I can just ‘see’ which is lovely. The little voice in my head says don’t stop just keep going, but that eye injury scared me so much. Apart from anything else, no glasses and I now hate my new hair colour and want my long hair back L so tonight is ‘colour stripping’ night to deal with problem number one and for the growing it long again – well that’s just time.

So it’s now Thursday - I wrote this ^^^ yesterday and didn’t hit post

Today it’s even hotter than yesterday the car said 37 degrees when I got into it and came from the office to finish the day in the comfort of our significantly cooler home J I’ll be telling people I live in Spen-Vegas soon J
Very much looking forward to next week, it’s our wedding anniversary on Tuesday we both have Tuesday and Wednesday booked off work, we’re off to Bath on our Anniversary to Restaurant Gordon Jones for what I’m hoping will be a pretty epic ‘Surprise Menu’ – really there is no menu, just dishes that come out to you.

8 years we will have been married, the longest thing I’ve ever done in my life except being a daughter. We’ve had a great time, there have been hard times, sad times, and downright scary times but we work well together and haven’t murdered each other LOL. In all seriousness, I love him more than ever; I couldn’t imagine my life without him and am incredibly grateful that he puts up with me J
So a week of love, wedding and wedding anniversary coming up and hopefully a nice ‘normal’ blood result tomorrow J

Stay well xxx
EDIT Again
It’s now Friday ….. sorry about that J xx

Monday 22 July 2019

REMAP - helping make life easier for the disabled in the UK

MakeAbility is the name of the game for REMAP, a UK based charity with access to a wonderful group of people who help 'Make' custom things for the disabled.
I had a chance meeting while waiting for an eye test a couple of months ago with a lovely lady whos husband is part of REMAP Berkshire. I was in Bob juggling my handbag, phone, umpteen glasses cases that wouldn't all fit in my handbag and a cup of coffee and making a bit of a mess of things. She asked doesn't my chair come with a cup holder which would make life easier and I pointed sadly to the shattered fixings of my last cup holder on the side of the chair that I hadn't quite got round to removing after destroying it misjudging Bob's dimensions on a doorway.
She explained to me that Remap custom make things for the disabled that simplify life and to be honest I felt a little like my cup holder need a little too trivial (even if getting something that fitted on the front where the only available connection was the end of a bit of pipework with a locking screw.
A phonecall and  a couple of emails later and a lovely man called Peter came to my house inspected Bob (helped remove the old shattered fixinf for me too) took some measurements (even measured my Costa 'Cup for Life') made some sketches and said I'll let you know when it's done.
A week later, Peter with back with what I can ony descibe as 'The CupHolder that will outlive us all' It's steel, perfectly sized, sturdy and locks into Bob's piping - because I'd mentioned that I'm quite prone to bumping stuff, it's even got a rubber bumper on the outside edge to protect stuff I bump into from my super tough cup holder (my desk has a rubber bumper mark on it from the few times I need Bob at the office).
I made a donation to Remap to say thank you for the wonderful thing that they did for me - it might not seem much but having the use of my hands and not trying to wedge a cup of boiling liquid between my thighs as I moved around - well it was a big deal for me a huge one.
Remap have done a little 'case study' for their website with {SHOCK HORROR} a photo of me in it
Please take a look around at the rest of REMAP's site while you're there - it's not just Berkshire it's national. If you know anyone who could do with a little something to make their lives easier that you just can't seem to get anywhere, give them a shout, their talented engineer volunteers can probably whip you something up that's perfect just for you.
Shout out to an absolutely epic organisation and the wonderful things that they can make that are perfect for us.

Thursday 18 July 2019

The day after the ultrasound

Ultrasound is over and done with, the lovely Radiologist, Archie said things look quite good in there

       they were looking for: Hepatosplenomegaly is a disorder where both the liver and spleen swell beyond their normal size, usually due to an infection such mononucleosis.
Archie said neither my spleen or Liver are enlarged and that for a 47 year old specimen that has taken a bit of a beating over the years the liver looks in good shape (is it strange that I’m quite proud of my liver)

So Dr N is on holiday this week but back next, the blood results are still pending (apparently they’re growing asparagus in them or something weird for the Genetic testing)
I sound so calm and relaxed about it, but Gareth’s googling really frightened the hell out of me on Tuesday, I was stressed, twitchy and incredibly nervous. When it was all over and done and I could finally have something to eat, I stopped at KFC on the way home

– big mistake
2 bites of my Zinger sandwich sitting at a set of traffic lights and I was throwing up into the KFC bag (fair play to the bag it did a good job) as all the stress and nerves decided to unload themselves all at once.

Everyone at work knows this is going on, the disappearing to hospital, blood tests scans etc all happens in working hours and needs to be explained. I haven’t mentioned this to family and friends though, I simply don’t want anyone else to have to worry about this while the investigations are ongoing. Once it’s done and there’s either a confirmation that there is something that needs to be worried about or I can tell everyone that there’s nothing to worry about – then I will ‘come out’ about it. As it currently stands that date is August 16th – holiday day.
Living more healthily is really nice. Waking up, feeling refreshed, no brain fog and breathing more easily.  Gareth being on board with this and participating in it is also a big thing, in the past it’s been a bit undermining to have someone continue to do all the stuff you’re not doing any more and it feels like you're having it waved in your face.

Actually on that note – the being an ex-smoker,  if anyone’s interested or cares about how I’ve finally managed it.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of the Alan Carr book (not the squeaky comedian) – The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I’ve tried to read it in the past, couldn’t get past the first few pages if I’m honest, incredibly difficult to read for the repetitiveness. The Audio-Book however from Audible is great, just stick the headphones in and listen. It makes so much sense and it’s a little NLP in that it repeats the message over and over to get your head into the frame of mind that you’re ‘giving up nothing’ that you’re freeing yourself from a drug addiction and that you’re happy to be doing so.

Not much of an update I guess, but something else ruled out so that’s good J
Much love to everyone and thanks for putting up with me xxx

Tuesday 16 July 2019

4 yrs 1 mth 3wks - Scary blood part 3 Rise of the UltraSounds

Blood bit is further down where the blue writing is ..... this post was created over 2 days

And there goes another week. I’ve been a good girl taking care of me and so far there is nothing to report on the Haematologist front. The next appointment is on August 16th at 09:40am - a month tomorrow and as Gareth reminded me is also the day our holiday starts. Fortunately all we need to do is drive down the M4 to get to Watchett and being there for 3-4pm is infinitely do-able after the appointment. Another bonus for deciding to stay home this year J
The weekend was nice and relaxed, a little Oxygen therapy, some shopping, dog walking, the obligatory weekend Rib Of Beef on the BBQ followed by England winning the World Cup (cricket) in one of the most incredible games I have seen in my life. It really was one on the last ball of the Super Over. Edge of the seat, nail biting stuff and just to add a little spice – I had £1 on England to win J (my idea of what constitutes gambling is pretty pathetic)

I’m also a very short haired brunette now (dammit video ….. will sort it) I had my hair cut on Friday and decided that it looked pretty crap in boring blondness for a little while I even considered jet black hair but the traumatised memories of 15 year old me with black permed hair looking like a bad Kevin Keegan drag act reigned that impulse in J
Dog care for the wedding at the end of the month is sorted – it’s confirmed and paid for and Megan the lady who is taking care of them is lovely so we can relax and just look forward to it.

I’m going back to my 16:8 eating regime properly this week, with no cigarettes and almost no booze this should be pretty easy to manage. I’m sitting here at my desk at work toying with the idea of making my 8 hours that I can eat 12:00-20:00 today which will allow me to have lunch and dinner ….. I’m not entirely sure a cheese sandwich and a packet of crisps at lunch time is going to help in this effort though J
AAAND it’s now Tuesday – I started typing this yesterday and never got round to hitting the ‘post’ button

Something different has happened in my dull, dull existence now …..
it’s got me more than a little alarmed.

I’ve had a call from the Dunedin Spire Hospital this morning saying I need to come in for an ultrasound. It’s an abdominal ultrasound that is being done, but the request was for it to be performed by a specific person who I couldn’t  see until next Wednesday - not helped that I know what her specialisation is and Gareth’s been googling and shared what he found and has (not literally) scared the shit out of me.
Now I have an appointment tomorrow morning at 11.20am to get it over and done with.

Message left for Dr N’s secretary to call me back ASAP – I want to know what’s being looked for and where we are on results so far – all of a sudden that appointment with Dr N on August 16th seems much too far away L
Watch this space

Tuesday 9 July 2019

4 yrs 1.5mths - Bloods behaving badly - ongoing

Monocytosis, Neutrophilia and Leukaemia – 3 very scary words.

It's really very odd to have a conversation about these things and it's not just the things in general, or about other people, but to be talking about you.

They’ve taken a lot of blood samples from me – some for in house tests and some which have gone out for genetic tests and will take about 4 weeks to come back.

I’m fairly chilled about it all if I’m honest and not straining at the bit to get all the results back ASAP. This could of course be that I’m in denial or I’m being an ostrich and sticking my head in the metaphorical sand – until it comes back I don’t have to deal with it – and I’m honestly expecting it to come back and say it is lifestyle related and can be managed.

^^^ this might sound like I’m trying to play things down, but when I saw Dr N on Saturday morning, he started with the comment ‘as a haematologist I have to tell you that your blood results spreadsheet is absolutely brilliant and even without the Dr’s referral letter I looked at the sheet and knew immediately why you were coming to see me’

Everything is there on my Blood spreadsheet – it’s been there since day 1 and I hadn’t noticed


·       They were both over the high level on my pre-treatment baseline bloods that were the first entries I put into the spreadsheet.

·       Both my Monocytes and Neutrophils were regularly pushing and exceeding the upper levels since BEFORE I had round 1 of Lemtrada in May 2015

·       It’s there on my spreadsheet – it’s been there for years

·       For some reason I hadn’t marked either up as red or amber before this morning.

(I'm going to upload the updated tracker showing in the bad behaviour now to the 2 facebook groups so you can find all the new pretty red and amber highlighting)

So whilst my request to get this looked at was as a result of me raising the concern about the recent trend – actually it’s been going on far longer than the last 12 month and this makes me less concerned about it because if it really was something more horrible then I’m pretty sure it would have become evident before now.

Both Dr P and Dr N have both said this could be related to my having smoked throughout this period of time - well that has changed now and hopefully will show in the next lot of bloods I have done on the 26th of this month when my regular monthly bloods will be drawn.

I’d already massively cut down on the alcohol I was having, but I’m now depriving it of even more - not completely, but weekdays nothing at all, weekends very little. This has 2 benefits, I’m not damaging the non-smoking effort, and my calorie consumption has significantly decreased thus also helping with weight loss efforts. I’m having homemade Asparagus soup for lunch and a freshly prepared salad for dinner tonight.

Funny (not funny) how things like this really focus the mind, all those things I’ve talked about every now and again on here along with my propensity for procrastination and then laughed and said ‘here I go again’ or ‘oops again’ now seem so very important when in reality had I been more diligent before then discussion might not have been needed.

Really looking forward to the wedding at the end of the month in Portsmouth – it’s going to be an awesome day and very special indeed. Dogs are sorted for the day (nearly – confirmation tomorrow) and just need to get the finer parts of outfits sorted (the theme is Red, White & Blue)

Our holiday is 5 weeks away now, I’m really looking forward to just getting away for a week, it will also be awesome to see Aunty Kathy for the first time in an age (I’m such a rubbish niece)

Winston is being swapped onto a different med tonight so see if we can take the edge off his anxiety about …. well pretty much everything.

Apart from being crushingly good, healthy, sober and as dull as hell …. Well that’s pretty much it I’m back to being crashingly boring, no exciting tales of epic nights and shenanigans, just a whole load of not a blasted lot at all. Sorry about that L

Much Love T xx

Tuesday 2 July 2019

4yrs 1mth 1wk - scary blood thing

I’m overweight, I smoke(d), I drink, I don’t do lots of exercise and it’s not often I manage the full 5 a day of fruits and vegetables …….. I’m the poster child for all that nasty stuff we’re advised will happen to us if we don’t become gym bunny teetotal vegans – so please bear that in mind when reading through todays post J

I’m writing this because I need to, but I’m not entirely sure I will actually post it – I might wait a couple of weeks and then post the outcome rather than the ‘in flight situation’
But then I did promise right from the start of this to always post everything, the good, the bad and the downright blah …

The quandary
By writing about it now it is going to make people’s minds race and wonder – but then goodness knows mine is doing a fair amount of that too and I said I would be honest and share so here goes ….

I saw Dr P yesterday about those neutrophil and monocyte counts that have been over the high level for the last 12 months. I’ve been referred to an haematologist – I’ve also played the BUPA card since in my opinion, I should not be taking up a space in an NHS queue when I don’t need to and making someone else wait for longer.
The intention is to rule out nastiness. A quick google search will tell you what high levels of each of these can be caused by.
To save you the effort of google,
-        one has ‘can be the C word’ response as the top result
-        the other has ‘can be the L word’.
Dr P was quick to say if it had been either of these for the last year then he’d expect me to be in a right ‘shit state’ right now (my words not his because he’s far more polite than me) so we’re in the process of ruling out nasties and investigating why my bone marrow is cooking up a recipe with too much seasoning.

I had googled prior to the appointment,  so the L word being part of the conversation wasn’t a complete shock,

it’s distinctly uncomfortable to have someone use that word in connection with yourself. Anyway the appointment with the specialist is on Saturday morning at 09:50am when I’m sure I’m going to get poked at and blood removed.
I must stress (and it might just be me being weird) that I’m not massively stressed about this, it’s all okay and I’m expecting them to tell me that it’s nothing more sinister than that I smoke(d) and need to eat more veggies …..

I put my last cigarette out yesterday after 2 weeks of listening repeatedly to Allen Carr’s - The Easy Way audio book I was ready to do it – 2 weeks of analysing every puff, the taste, the feeling, the smell, my heart-rate, ability to fall asleep and just thinking about each one – He’s right when you actually think it through you’re not giving anything up at all – its kicking an unpleasant, nasty addiction which I don’t even like, so I’m now officially a Non Smoker and I have had a big smile on my face J
It looks like I’ve sorted out the dogs for the end of July and mid-august holiday in Watchett is getting closer.

The garden is now done (well it needs mowing), but sadly I haven’t done the video – sorry about that – I’ve just texted Gareth to remind him to remind me that I need to be reminded to ensure I remember to do it J (try saying that 5 times really fast J)
Amber has had another stroke over the weekend, smaller than her previous 2, but her balance has really worsened over the weekend. She’s still herself and happy and Beagling everywhere but sometimes it hits right in the heart that time is becoming shorter and ‘when the fun stops – stop’

I guess that’s all I can say for now, will report more when I have more, and Gareth replied to that text I sent and said he’d film the video at K9 tomorrow night when we walk the dogs.
It’s all going to be fine J
Hope you’re all having an awesome one xxx

Yikes 2 posts in a month

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