Time flies when your having fun, and I certainly have been, my feet have hardly hit the ground for longer than a few days since my last blog, hence the title. It’s been mad, literally, talk about making up for lost time… After spending a good few months on my backside before, during and after my PRRT treatment I went into overdrive. I have followed up a busy July and August, with three European breaks, a presentation on PRRT, a 50thbirthday weekend and party, two concerts and a NET Natter all in the space of 8 weeks. Also, along along with 6 other patients; Sally, Bethan, Lesley, John, Craig and Mark I have become a volunteer Ambassador for the NET Patient Foundation, So to say I am shattered is an understatement, and the busy whirl is not quite over yet.
The first and last of the breaks, the 50thbirthday and one of the concerts had been in the calendar for along time, and my challenge was to fit the rest of my other engagements in around them. I kicked off the start of September with a short break in Albufiera in Portugal with some old friends I used to work with, we are in a lottery syndicate and meet up regularly, but have never been away to together. So last Christmas we decided it was time to give a few days away together a try, and when the time came we were all really excited, but it didn’t start well. I used the assistance lanyard at Birmingham airport to help me get through check in and security without have to stand for to long. What should have been straightforward turned into a bit of a nightmare, I have used it at Manchester before and since without any problems, but Birmingham was a different kettle of fish altogether.
We were flying with JET2, who I have also flown with before without any problems. I was insured, had my fit to fly certificate, but instead of saying I did not want to discuss why I had my lanyard (which I am perfectly within my rights to do), I was honest. I won’t go into the nitty gritty, but I did explain to them that if I wasn’t well enough to fly I wouldn’t have even been at the airport. I did complain when we got back as I felt they discriminated against me and I eventually got a response which they think is an apology, but it is not. In fact I think these days most customer services have forgotten how to write a proper apology, I was going to take it further, but to be honest I cant be bothered, the best thing to do is just take my business elsewhere.
The rest of the break though was great, the weather was lovely, we had a very nice villa with a pool, thanks Nat:-) We walked a lot, Nat, Lisa & Debbs very bravely went paddle boarding in the sea, which was it was a bit choppy on the day they went, but they survived to tell the tale. We relaxed, we walked, we ate lovely food and more importantly enjoyed each others company and laughed a lot, it went far to quickly. We also have a new catch phrase, but as I don’t swear in my blog we will keep it just between us!!
I was tired when we got back, but thankfully it wasn’t to bad as the holiday had been very laid back, and travelling is always tiring, but with the help of my painkillers, heat-packs and a couple of days sofa surfing I was feeling ok. Just in time to go away again, this time it was on the train and a trip to Chester for the start of my friend Lisa’s 50thbirthday celebrations. The weather was kind to us and we were in a great set of apartments just by the canal and within walking distance of the town centre. Those of us that arrived first ventured into town for food supplies, a bit of clothes and along the way sampled a couple of cocktails. As people were arriving at different times on the first night we had take away and a pajama party, which was great fun.
The next day I was a bit sore and tired as I had stayed up maybe a bit later than I should have done, but we had a lazy morning which gave me chance to calm things down with painkillers and my trusty hot water bottle. After a late breakfast we got our glad rags on and wandered into town for an afternoon birthday meal, and a bit more shopping for some. This was followed by a visit to the Botanist for a quick cocktail before going back for another pajama party, this time with cake and champers and a few games. It was all very relaxed, and we had a good laugh, I would also like to say a big thank you as well to Louise for organising not just us, but everything associated with the weekend, it was no small task, and she did a brilliant job.
I was now moving into overdrive, the Monday after Chester I was on the train again, travelling to Bristol for my first job as an Ambassador, to do a patient based presentation for a company called IEL, who are part of the team that make PRRT treatment possible. They wanted to hear about the patient journey, from diagnosis through to PRRT and beyond. This was a first for me, and yes I was nervous, I have done lots of presentations to do with my work, but talking about me was a whole new challenge. I put together a presentation and some notes, and basically went for it. As it turned out I had no need to be nervous they put me at ease straight away, altogether the presentation with Q&A took about an hour, and it went in a heartbeat. There were about 30 people in the room and included office, sales and medical staff, it felt very relaxed and laid back, and there was lots of questions afterwards. Thank you Diana for inviting and looking after me so well, I had a lovely dayJ If you would like to know more about IEL and their role in the delivery of PRRT please follow this link.
On the Tuesday it was time to get in the car to go to Birmingham, as along with my husband and brother-in-law I was off to see Muse. This was an extra special treat as I had given up my ticket in May to go on a yoga retreat, so getting a second bite at the cherry was great, it was brilliant I enjoyed every minute of it. Needless to say though on Wednesday I was beyond tired and my guts were really quite sore. So it was time to take it easy for a few days, before the next round began.
On the Friday it was Lisa’s official party, and all the food prep was done at mine, we have done it many times in the past, but this time I had to leave the rest of the gang to it. I knew I couldn’t push it as we were also going away on holiday on the Sunday. The party went well, and it was good to see people we hadn’t seen for a long time, but we did probably stay up a bit too late, so it was just as well we were not going away until the Sunday. Saturday afternoon we packed and dropped the dog off as we had an early start Sunday morning, and the weather was dreadful, but luckily we were going to the sun, back to Portugal in fact, and Lisbon; which has been on the wish list for a while.
We flew from Manchester this time, and there were no problems, it all went very smoothly. Our hotel was right in the centre and was very nice, although I will say that the décor in the rooms had more to do with aesthetics rather than practicality, there were no drawers and I couldn’t reach the hanging rail. The bed was comfy though, and we didn’t spend much time in the room anyway. We definitely made the best of our time there, it is so easy to get around, lots to do, great food and friendly people. We did the castle, natural history museum, the oceanarium and Belem, we made full use of the transport system and walked lots too. I especially loved the Portuguese cat made from rubbish, and there is still lots more to explore too, so hopefully we will get back there at some stage. The only down side was that for most of the trip I had a bladder infection, antibiotics sorted it out, but I knew that when we got back I would need to rest properly again. My bladder has always been my weak spot, so even though I was having a great time my body was warning me that I needed to take serious notice of the signals it was sending me, I needed to rest properly as well as taking medication to keep the pain under control.
I also came down with a head cold when we got back, so I was off my feet for a few days and although not pleasant gave me the time I needed to rest up properly before the next round of activity began. Before my next trip we had a NET natter, I always enjoy these as its good to catch up with everybody and talk about our ups and downs with people and indeed friends who understand, as well as being able to welcome new people to let them know that they are not alone with this. We also had a presentation from Diane Leopard, a lady who has had her own cancer battle and lost a family member to Neuroendocrine cancer too. It was a very emotional and thought provoking talk where she uses pictures and poetry to chart her own journey and feelings. I met Diane via our local Penny Brohn facebook forum, and if you would like to see her presentation and find out more about her journey please follow this link.
After the natter I had a nice quiet week to look forward to, which I made the most of, and apart from doing a bit of housework, finishing knitting a jumper for our grandson Arthur and reading I did nothing. Then before I knew it, it was time for a trip to Barcelona, a hen do for my best friend Bridgette’s daughter Lisa. It was a big hen, there were 26 of us all together, and her bridesmaids did a great job of organising us all, it was no small job. We had great accommodation with a good view of the La Sagrada Familia, and lots of things were planned to keep us out of trouble. The first night we stayed in and played games and generally got to know each other, then on the Sunday they played a version of Wipeout, I missed this as I wasn’t well enough and spent most of the day in bed, which was a shame as the pictures showed that they had a great time. I was back on form though for the second day, and after having some time to explore the Las Ramblas, we had a live drawing class, and yes we did have a nude male to draw. But it was all done in the best possible taste, I will not however be sharing my output, I have never been known for my ability to draw and the class did not change that, but it was great fun:-) I am now have the lovely couples wedding to look forward to In December🥂
Once I got home I had a lazy day to myself before going down to Leamington Spa for an Ambassadors meeting, and it looks like there are some exciting projects coming our way, and possibly more travel. However, the dog is not very impressed with me, as he is not getting his usual walks and play dates. With depleted energy levels I am not much use to him at the moment, so its just as well he has a great ability to sleep the day away.
My last trip was this Saturday just gone, a birthday present from my son, and one that I think he will find hard to top. I was lucky enough to go and see Cher live in concert in Birmingham with my son, his best mate Nam and her mum Isabel, it had been a long wait but boy were we excited. Her show, energy and voice were brilliant, it was definitely worth the wait. There were a few bumps before we got there, firstly I went to the wrong holiday inn when I got off the train but when Derek told me that they had nearly done the same thing too I didn’t feel such a numpty. Then we after we had eaten we went to the wrong arena and had to jump in a taxi to get us back across town, to be fair it wasn’t clear on the tickets, and we arrived before she came on. It all added to the memories of a great concert and weekend.
Thankfully though I can now take a couple of weeks to re-charge, and boy do I need it. Living with pain everyday is one thing, and I can control this the majority of the time with medication and my collection of heat packs when needed. I am convinced though that the last few weeks would not have been possible if I had not been lucky enough to receive PRRT. It has made a big difference to my ability to do things once again, and as I do not know how long these benefits will last I intend to do as much as I can when I can.
“I’m not afraid of dying, it’s time I’m afraid of…” Interstellar 2014