Monthly Archives: March 2017

Sore knees

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Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th March

This Saturday afternoon was mainly spent by me grovelling around in our loft (hurts your knees that does!) I was making some space so that we could transfer boxes from Gary’s loft to ours. When we had to move for the first time in 20 years in 2014 (that was another really horrible experience to go through 😟) we were having to rent a smaller house and also were not allowed to use the loft space there :/ so we needed to find other storage places for some of our boxes. It was mainly Robyn and Leah’s things that I had kept from when they were little. It was fun to be able to have a quick look through before we stacked them back up into the loft again. Brought some memories back 😢

This was followed by a late afternoon trip into Banbury, where we seemed to eventually end up in Pizza Hut! πŸ•

On Sunday we went for, what is getting to be a bit of a regular, family walk πŸ˜‚ Myself, Leah, J&H today. I took them on a walk similar to one that I had recently been on with a friend a few weeks before, we passed the garden centre on the Banbury Road, through fields and woodland which eventually brought us out into the nearby village of Over Norton, then we made our way back through some very muddy places

and through the cemetery (so we said a quick hello to mum and dad 😰) and back up into our town where we were due to meet our other sister Lynda in CaffΓ¨ Nero for a catch up β˜•οΈ (and when Robyn had finished her gym session she joined us too, obviously not wanting to be left out of anything that might be going on!)

That weekend was soon over ⏱

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Wasted journey

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Thursday 16th to Friday 17th March

Because I had been out all day on Monday and I knew I was having a busy day tomorrow, I didn’t make it into volunteer this Thursday. I had many jobs that needed to be done and some odd jobs that I needed to get sorted in town. Then I walked to our just out of town supermarket to get a couple of extra miles in for my walking challenge and called in for a coffee at Nero’s on my way back through the town. A lady came over and sat by me and started talking. She said she had recently moved into Oxfordshire from Birmingham and she said she had gone back to visit for the day on Monday. I asked her which part of Birmingham – it was Kings Norton. I explained that we had driven through there on Monday as well when we were on the way to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She then said that her daughter was a nurse in one of the operating theatres there! Can you believe that? Small world 🌎

Evening walk.

(Update on our friend Alex – We had heard that she was having some problems since we saw her on Monday. Thinking of you Alex, you can do this πŸ’ͺ)

I started work at 9am this Friday so that I could finish at 1pm, which would then give me a bit of extra time to get home, get ready, pick up my car and drive to Oxford as I had an assessment meeting to attend for an allowance that I receive.

Its easier to use the Park & Ride to get into the City Centre. So I was on the bus on my way into Oxford when I received a phone call from the Advisory Service to say they were running late with their appointments and I might not get seen today! Oh right, what was I supposed to do now? I was already travelling on the bus. So I decided to carry on and make my way to the Assessment Centre and was prepared to wait to be seen. I waited for an hour, then the receptionist came out and told me that in fact the assessor was still writing the report for the previous appointment and it was definitely not going to be possible for me to be seen today. I couldn’t quite believe this as they state clearly on the letter how very important it is that you attend. Couldn’t the assessor continue with my appointment as arranged and then write the reports later?! Obviously not.

So annoying. I had changed my working hours and made the effort to get to my appointment as they had requested. And now I’m just going to have to go through it all again when they send me the next appointment through. How much extra costs have they made for themselves? Double the travel expenses which I think I can claim for a start 😀

I got back just in time to have a very quick shower, got ready and then went straight back out to our local theatre as Gary wanted to go and see I’m sorry, I’ll read that again. I had never heard of this before or had any idea what it was all going to be about 😏 but it was nice to have a different type of evening out.

Look at this. Taihang Grand Canyon in Linzhou, Henan, China. I would like to climb it! It’s a national tourist spot. Its famous cylindrical ladder is 88 meters tall.

Wow 😳

Medication

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Monday 13th to Wednesday 15th March

Monday. Clinic day. Robyn was taking me to Birmingham today πŸš™

It was a nice day. I managed to persuade Robyn to come for a bit of a walk around the outside of the hospital with me, but then she got a bit tired and fed up with it so she went to find and save our usual ‘picnic bench’ inside the atrium while I carried on walking for a little bit more! Lunch on the picnic bench. Then we had a very quick meeting with the QE fundraising lady, as hopefully she might be helping to promote my #walk1000miles challenge.

I have set up a Justgiving page now, as I thought I might as well try and raise some money while I am doing all this walking anyway. If you would like to help me and donate to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity click on the logo that you can see in the column to the right of my blog. That would be just great πŸ™‚

Time for my clinic appointment. So my liver’s doing well. My consultant was pleased. Apart from the one result, which seems to have responded to the Ursodeoxycholic Acid tablets I now take, which also kind of adds to the fact that PBC may be back :/ It’s now the medication I have to take which seems to be causing me my problems. The tacrolimus I have to take to suppress my immune system so that my body doesn’t reject my liver, is upsetting my kidneys. I think as a result of that my blood pressure is high. I am taking Amlodipine to lower my blood pressure, but this now seems to be causing my legs and feet to have fluid retention, which is uncomfortable. I have too much uric acid in my blood, this may be because my kidneys are not filtering enough of it. I take Allopurinol to try and help with this. Too much uric acid in your blood can lead to gout, which is maybe the cause of the pain in my feet. Nerve damage was also mentioned as a possible cause of this, and there is a test that can be done for this which I may have πŸ€”

So – I have to change my blood pressure medication in two weeks time to Losartan Potassium to see if this stops my fluid retention. Then I have a separate appointment with a kidney consultant coming up in April, it’s all timed so that they will be able to then check how my body has reacted to these tablets, see how my blood pressure is doing, and I guess they will be able to tell me in much more detail just how my kidneys are doing with everything. So it seems like I just have to put up with my fluid and foot pain for a bit longer (not easy when you are trying to #walk1000miles 😳) and I just need to keep taking the Urso and hope that it keeps PBC a little more under control for a bit longer too!

Thank goodness it was now the time we had been waiting for all day. We were going up to the ward to see our friend Alex, who has just had her third liver transplant. She was in hospital at the same time as me, and unfortunately has become so very ill in the two years that have passed that she already needed another new liver 😫

It was good to see Alex looking so well. I think I was still down in intensive care a week and a half after my transplants 😏 It was just great to see her.

Back down to pharmacy to pick up my tablets and then we could finally head for home. A long day.

Tuesday, work. Then I walked down to my friend Jackie’s house to have a cuppa with her β˜•οΈ and I finally got to give her birthday present. Then after a while we ended up taking her dog Alfie 🐢 out for a little walk too.

Wednesday, work again! A sunny walk with J&H and today Leah was able to join us too. She wasn’t at work today as she had been on important business! More on this to follow at a later date …

Dog blood donors needed. Yes, really! Have you ever thought about this? I know I haven’t. Pet Blood Bank – ‘Similar to the human blood service, dog owners kindly bring along their much loved canine companions to give blood at one of our many sessions across the country’.

I 😍 this. Urm – Robyn???


And these –

are drawings 😱 Very clever.

1000 Thank Yous

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Thursday 9th to Sunday 12th March

A piece of artwork was being opened this Thursday in Gloucestershire Royal Hospital to recognise the generosity of organ donors and their families. I had been invited to attend this ceremony as my ‘thank yous’ to my two donor families, I am very chuffed to say, had been chosen to be included πŸ˜€


As it was my usual volunteering day (and a bit of a journey to get there) I felt I wasn’t really able to attend. I wasn’t really happy at all with that decision. I do hope I can get over to see 1000 Thank Yous some time soon as from what I’ve seen I think it looks great.

When I got back from Oxford later in the afternoon I joined J&H for part of the walk they were doing, then I came back, had a quick snack and then went back out again for my evening walk.

Friday. Just work.

My feet were really hurting a lot this morning while I was sat on my checkout. I guess I had walked 7 miles yesterday which probably didn’t help. But sometimes they do seem to bother me more than others πŸ˜–

You may remember that last year I went to a couple of meetings with the local PBC group. One of the lady’s from there came into the shop this morning (her daughter actually lives in my town!) She seems to be one of the lucky ones though as she has hardly any side effects.

‘PBC is a progressive condition, which means the damage to the liver can get steadily worse over time. The rate at which PBC progresses varies between individuals. In some cases, it can take decades.’

And my version of it led to transplant! 😱 Strange isn’t it?

There was a visit from baby James to look forward to later today though. He is just the cutest baby πŸ‘Ά 😍 Here he is all snuggled up in Leah’s bed!

By the way, do you fancy some stir-fried ice cream?! 🍨

Saturday ended up with an unexpected trip to a garden centre. That’s what happens when you go out for a drive, just for something to do for an hour or two πŸ™ƒ

Then it turned out to be a curry Saturday. I can’t tell you just how delicious it was. Green beans in mustard seeds, sweet potato in the curry itself and this time garlic mushrooms too πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

Sunday was another family walk, even with Robyn too this time. We started off by walking along the side of the main roads outside our town, which is not great. The cars go SO fast. There are paths to walk on but they are right next to the roadside so when the big lorries go past you almost get sucked in! At last we made it to the much nicer part of the walk, along part of a footpath called the Saltway (an ancient track) which passes by the edge of the local golf course and Glyme Valley Nature Reserve and then back down Glyme Lane into the town. 5.89 miles. Here we all are looking oh so glamorous 😏

In the evening Gary treated me to a roast in Bitter & Twisted. I chose the shoulder of lamb which came with roast potatoes and green veg and a sweet potato mash. Absolutely lovely it was!

Blimey I’ve eaten well this weekend!

On our way home we saw Robyn sat with her friend Kayleigh in another pub, so we called in and gatecrashed their peaceful chat! Sorry 😐

(Some of my 50th birthday photos have now been uploaded on to my Photos page for you to have a look at if you so wish πŸ‘€)

Pigs

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Monday 6th to Wednesday 8th March

Guess what time my appointment at the dentist was this Monday?

2.30 πŸ€— Yes it seriously was. 🀣🀣🀣

I was very scared to go as I haven’t been for a long time and I am scared of having appointments with anyone now which may end up with them having to give me some kind of treatment that will hurt 😏 Thankfully I had Leah to arrange my appointment, she booked it for the nicest dentist and made sure she was the nurse for that day so she could look after me! Good news – it turned out that everything was fine.

So I combined this trip with a long walk around and about the town, a quick Caffè Nero visit and got back just in time to meet Julie and Hannah to go straight back out for another walk! where we came across these lovely pigs 🐷 that came across to see us and were very keen to pose for pictures!

And after a morning at work on Tuesday, back out again for another walk with them, 5 miles this time πŸ€— (I think J&H have now decided to join up to #walk1000miles too πŸ‘£)

Wednesday was a day off from walking, and from work too! I went over to visit my friend Deb who lives in Banbury. When Robyn and Leah were much younger I was a childminder. I used to look after no end of children at various different times and days. It was hard work but a lot of fun. I looked after Sian (Deb’s daughter) from when she was a tiny baby. I think it was from 8am to 6pm, so at the time she became part of the family really. Sian is now at college!!! Anyway it was nice to catch up with Deb β˜•οΈ

Could you do something amazing like this man, who donated a kidney to a stranger. They are now best friends and meet up regularly. Brilliant πŸ™‚ 

We only need 1 kidney and we are born with 2. Why not ‘share your spare’?

Rainy weather

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Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th March

There was no walk happening this Saturday ☹️! I went shopping, bought a pine bookcase and saw a rainbow! 🌈

But on Sunday I managed to get Leah, Julie, Hannah and Gary all to come out for a walk with me πŸ€— Three and a half miles we did!

We did get very, very wet.

But then finally the sun did come out.

We walked down to the old Bliss Tweed Mill which is in our town (my mum used to work there years ago but it has now been converted into apartments), along to Pool Meadow (we used to spend lots of time there with friends in the school holidays when Robyn and Leah were little, playing in the stream and eating picnics in the sun), then up around the back of St Mary’s Church and into town, where we all trooped into CaffΓ¨ Nero (a bit damp and rather muddy) for a well deserved mug of tea β˜•οΈ

Myself and Gary then followed this by going to listen to some live music in a hotel in a nearby village. We even had a very quick game of Pairs while we were sat there as someone had left a pack of cards on the table! We had a nice evening.

Just to say that Dr Thomas Starzl has very sadly died at the age of 90. Starzl performed the world’s first liver transplant in 1963 and the world’s first successful liver transplant in 1967 (the year I was born!) Thank you Dr Starzl πŸ˜€

No pancakes :/

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Monday 27th February to Friday 3rd March

So two years ago this Monday, I was having my second liver transplant. Just the beginning of my crazy and difficult time πŸ˜– I find it quite tough at times when I think back, I have some weird and bizarre feelings about it all.

I didn’t seem to do anything at all to celebrate it this year (apart from Robyn, as always, who spoilt me with a card and present 😘) I just treated myself to a Costa before going to an appointment with my original consultant in the Horton Hospital, Banbury. So I updated him with things and also told him the fact that because of some of my recent blood results, PBC may be back in my new liver. He always has a feel of my tummy (which is something that Birmingham clinic consultants never do). Amazing how they can feel some of your internal organs through your skin and can kind of assess how they feel to them! And I told him that I am starting to get fluid build up in my legs and feet 😩 I don’t know if this is a side effect of the medication I am on for my high blood pressure or something else. Of course it wasn’t too bad when I showed him, so he told me to just keep an eye on it. He makes a note of everything on my file and always writes to my GP and I always have to have my blood taken there, but he doesn’t adjust my medication or anything. As I still haven’t been discharged from the doctors in Birmingham yet, that is all still left to be done when I go to my clinic appointments there. I seem to be getting double the care!

I called in to see my sister and her husband on the way back home to give them a piece of my birthday cake. So I stopped for a quick coffee and chat and also picked up a couple of the boxes that have been stored there while we were in the process of moving. Now to find more places to store even more junk!

Shrove Tuesday – pancake day. Off to work and then no pancakes to look forward to either 😞 I think this is the first time for many many years that we haven’t joined in with the pancake tradition. We usually make our own mixture and we always have to toss them before we can eat them (being careful not to drop them on the floor as Jake 🐢 would be ready and waiting underneath). This year Robyn was out at her boyfriends for the evening and because of their different complicated diet ‘restrictions’ no one wanted to eat any anyway, and me? I’m just simply not into food right now! πŸ˜”

Wednesday – just work. And then Leah cooked this for me πŸ˜‹

And I actually enjoyed it (considering I have no appetite at all at the minute).

I heard on Thursday morning that a friend had just undergone her third liver transplant. I couldn’t stop thinking about her πŸ€” I knew exactly where I was going to walk to when I had finished my volunteering today. I walked into nearby Headington so that I could take a photo of this (just to send as a bit of fun to hopefully brighten her day just a tiny bit when she woke up in Critical Care).

I have been wearing some different boots which are a bit of a looser fit and I found were a bit more comfortable on my broken toe πŸ˜• but I haven’t worn them on a long walk before, so they started to rub my feet … I ended up with two blisters as well as a sore toe ☹️ Silly me. Oh well it was worth it to get the picture I wanted.

In the evening instead of a walk this week, I went for a carvery meal in a local pub with the usual walking group to belatedly celebrate my birthday with them.

Friday was just a hobble to work with my very sore feet 😨

My #walk1000miles challenge has suffered a little this week. I’ve not really been able to go out on any little extra walks which I like to try and do (I made an exception on Thursday of course). It hurts my toe too much. I am not happy about this.

And just in case you might be lucky enough to visit London soon! why not have a look at where you might still be able to see some Banksy artwork.

OUCHY!  😞

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Saturday 25th to Sunday 26th February

This Saturday I was being treated for my birthday to some time out with my friend Nina πŸ˜€

But for some reason while I was getting ready I seemed to decide to walk into the leg of Gary’s bed and I heard a crack πŸ˜– It seems like I had broken my toe. It hurt a lot 😰

And what bad timing! I hobbled around to finish getting ready in time for Nina to pick me up and take me to Oxford.

Nina treated me to an afternoon tea, served with a glass of prosecco πŸ₯‚It was lovely.

We also went into a couple of shops, wandered around (well I was very much hobbling) and went into the Covered Market where we saw these lovely unusual flowers.

And yes, they were real 🌹

We sat for a while and had a drink and then we went to see a musical show called Wonderland (based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass).

A nice day.

And all of that was followed by a little shopping trip to Banbury on Sunday and a visit to my sister’s. But my poor toe was very bruised and hurting πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

Doris πŸŒͺ

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Thursday 23rd to Friday 24th February

My mind was still in a funny state on this Thursday morning. I just could not get myself into the right frame of mind to go and volunteer. I don’t think I would have been much use to anyone πŸ˜•

I had a sudden urge that I needed to take myself out for a walk. So 9.30 in the morning and off I went. Out into Storm Doris πŸŒͺ


I decided to go on a slightly isolated walk. I was a little bit anxious but just went for it! Then I thought to myself that maybe I should let someone know where I had gone just in case I got abducted!!! No one at all knew that I had gone walking, they would have all just thought that I was volunteering at the JR 😏

It was a tough walk. The wind was SO strong πŸ’¨ I was being blown about all over the place. It was quite scary at times. I did think to myself that I must be mad going out for a long walk on a day like today. But weirdly it was also quite enjoyable.

I had heard from my sister Lynda at the beginning of my walk, she was coming into town to pick up some tablets and did I want to meet up? A good excuse for a Caffè Nero visit!

I just finished my walk in time to meet. I was exhausted and felt completely battered by the storm. I had walked 5.43 miles πŸ€— So it was really good to have a nice mug of tea (especially as I had left the house this morning before I had a chance to have anything 😏)

Eventually I got back home and set myself to do some much needed jobs.

Then I went back out for another walk in the evening. Thankfully the storm had died down quite a bit by now.

Friday was an uneventful day just spent at work. But I think the two reasonably long walks yesterday had left me very tired and I was suffering with my feet πŸ˜•

Thought I would share this with you all –

Telling off

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Monday 20th to Wednesday 22nd February

I had to go for an X-ray on my feet first thing Monday morning. Just to see if it shows anything up that may be causing the problems I’ve been having with them πŸ€”

The rest of the day was just spent pottering about the house as I was feeling quite dizzy at times. I really wanted to go out in the afternoon for a walk but I wasnt sure if I would be okay while I was walking about on my own so in the end I decided I had better not. Very annoying. I also wasn’t really fit enough for yoga, even more annoying :/

Just work on Tuesday. I found today quite difficult. It was two years ago today that I got my call to say they had found me a liver, so two years ago tomorrow that I had my first transplant 😩 It just brought everything back to me and I kept thinking a lot about my donor and family. I tried to be good in the evening and made myself some food to eat, sweet potato and roasted veg – even that ended up as a bit of a burnt mess 😳

I had a day off from work on Wednesday. I wanted to keep my mind occupied and also use the day wisely so I was determined to get back into sorting some more boxes of junk out, I eventually got into the swing of this and so once again I didn’t get to go out for a walk. I think I did reasonably well, despite all my thoughts still being very much elsewhere, I got a couple more boxes ready to go up in the loft (which Tom helped me to do later in the evening, along with finally putting the Christmas decorations back up there πŸ€—) I also came across some photos of Robyn and Leah when they were little and various ornaments that people have given me, I think I’ve discovered that we need to get some new furniture now so I can actually display some of my things rather than just stacking them all in a box up in the loft for no one to see!

I then decided to be extra efficient and thought that I would immediately hang up some of the photos that I had found. Well that didn’t turn out to be a good idea. I was attempting to hang a photo of Leah as a very cute 1 year old, I was looking up trying to hook the string over the nail and it fell … right onto my nose and face. ‘OUCH’ it hurt – a lot. A lump immediately appeared, that soon went down but I have been left with quite a bruise on my forehead and nose (for me to receive many comments from people about over the last few days) Sore πŸ€•

It seemed to be all go in our house later, Tom was doing the hoovering and Robyn was in the kitchen doing some washing up and then cooking the two of them some pasta 🍝

I had to pop out to the surgery to get a blood test. The uric acid level in my blood was going to be tested again. I am already on tablets for this. Apparently if you have too much uric acid in your blood it can lead to gout (a type of arthritis) so my levels are being checked again in case this is the cause of my foot pain. I can’t complain that their not trying to help me can I?

When I got back I was allowed some of the leftover pasta!

I noticed that the oil light had flashed on and off in my car again when I was on the way to the surgery. I had noticed this before so I thought I would text Gary and tell him. (I’m not very good with cars so normally I just get Gary to sort these kinds of things out for me if I can 😣) He came round and found that my car did indeed need some more oil, it was almost empty apparently – I got a good telling off 😰

Please could I have some nice things happen to me …

Perhaps I could have one of these ‘crazy hair day’ styles done to cheer me up a bit. Their very good but the kids would need to have a lot of patience to sit still while you’re doing them wouldn’t they!

 

Aren’t these just brilliant. Their actually painted rocks! These are two of my favourites but have a look at these other painted rocks too, fancy a new hobby anyone?!