Saturday, 30 November 2019

Not dying yet

Thanks for comments.  It appears Mum's not at end of life/palliative care stage yet, according to the hospital.  The reason she was moved to the cancer ward is that she needed to be put in isolation in a side room, and the cancer ward was the only place that had one free.  Mum's had diarrhoea with blood in it, and a minor nose bleed, and they were worried about infection.  She's had a comfortable night, with no further bleeding, and seems ok apparently.

The hospital say their aim is to get Mum back home when she's strong enough, with a more robust care package, and she's to have a hospital electric bed delivered too.  She's certainly having lots of aids and help given to her now (not before time, sis had to struggle and push to get anything before) - last week she had a new mattress delivered for her existing bed, some special thing to alleviate/help prevent bedsores.  She already has carers twice a day and the district nurse coming every other day, so I don't know what 'more robust' means, I dare say we'll find out in due course.

I seem to have settled into a pattern of sleeping for 4 or 5 hours initially, without waking up (or at least going straight back to sleep if I do wake up).  However, I wake up between 3 and 4 am every morning and find it impossible to get back to sleep, so end up getting up and going downstairs.  I'm grateful for having several hours of sleep most nights though.  My guts seem to have settled down today, thank goodness, I've been doubled up with pain the past few days.

We actually have a week next week with no medical stuff for either of us....amazing!  All we have on the calendar (so far) is to take Betty to the groomers on Tuesday.  I won't know what to do with myself.  Well, I think I'll take the opportunity to get on with some more cardmaking, I haven't done much lately, other than the odd one here and there when required.  I've got some new watercolour pencils I'd like to experiment with....will be interesting, seeing as I've hardly done any artwork or drawing before, don't even know if I can draw!  Will watch a few tutorials first.

I'd ordered another bottle of CBD oil from a reputable online company with very good reviews, it was supposed to come via 48-hour tracked and signed for delivery.  It didn't arrive, so I got in touch with the company, who were very apologetic and arranged for another bottle to be sent, on next day delivery.  It duly arrived the next day.  Several days later, the originally ordered bottle turned up (it had the original order date on the package) - goodness knows where it had been.  I asked the company what they wanted me to do with it....they said to keep it with their compliments.  How nice of them!  So I now have 3 bottles of the stuff, enough to keep me going for months.

Friday, 29 November 2019

No Black Friday shopping here!

Nope, there's nothing we need or want to buy.

Thank you very much for comments.  Mrs LH, I only take half the recommended dose of Metformin, higher amounts don't agree with me so I've told my diabetes nurse I'm not going any higher.  I do take BP tabs, a low dose, as I have moderately high BP (with all that goes on in my life, I'm surprised it's not through the roof).  I flatly refuse to take statins, it's on my medical notes that I won't have them, personal choice but as far as I'm concerned any possible benefits are outweighed by the side effects of brain fog and muscle weakness/pain.  My cholesterol is higher than the medics would like, but not by much.

The hospital tests have diagnosed that Mum has a lot of fluid around her heart, she's on industrial strength diuretics and they want to put a catheter in, which I think she's resisting at the moment.  Sis had a phone call late last night to say the hospital were moving Mum from the assessment ward to a cancer and haematology one....why that particular ward we don't know yet, sis and bro should find out today when they go up shortly.  We do know she's got kidney cancer, which is not currently being treated, only managed with painkillers.

Husband's out this morning, so I have a couple of hours to myself - well, with Betty, who's no trouble at all.  Going to plan a few more healthy meals.

I'm having a lot of gut trouble again, clearly stress related.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

It's that rollercoaster again

Thanks all for the supportive comments.  Mrs LH and guusje, thank you for saying I didn't look particularly overweight in my lovely birthday shirt....all I can say is that it's extremely flattering and covers a multitude of sins!  One of the reasons why I chose it....along with the sparkly cuffs.

The osteoarthritis and trochanteric bursitis aren't really worrying me - I've been coping with the pain without medical help for the past year, and in any case, the CBD oil is taking the edge off the pain.  The liver stuff is worrying, though.  I wish I'd been told more about it when it was first diagnosed several years ago - a different GP at a different surgery.  Had I been given more advice then, I might have had the incentive earlier to lose weight and thus the NAFLD might not have got worse, as it has.  Still, better late than never I guess.  Coincidentally, the same GP also told me years ago that I was pre-diabetic, again without telling me anything about that....I didn't realise the significance of it at the time, didn't even really know what it meant.  And of course I went on to develop full-blown T2 diabetes.  With the benefit of hindsight, I should have asked for more information at the time of being told these two quite significant things.  I think GPs are much more inclined to discuss things fully with patients nowadays.

Joy and Janice, my GP said that the liver problem is likely to be the cause of some of my gut problems, but in her opinion they're also due to stress.  Funnily enough, having felt very well for the past couple of weeks, yesterday morning I wasn't well at all, hadn't slept much, awful gut pain and even considered going back to bed mid morning.  I didn't though, as I was waiting for news about my Mum.

Having gone home on Monday, after 3 weeks in hospital, Mum is now back in hospital again.  The district nurse went to her yesterday morning, and immediately rang my sister and arranged for an ambulance, as Mum had gone downhill rapidly.  She was seen by a doctor in hospital and had some tests, they're of the opinion that she now has quite severe heart add to the heart murmur and atrial fibrillation she already has, along with kidney cancer, a badly ulcerated leg, diverticulitis, constant UTIs and early dementia.  She's been put on oxygen and IV antibiotics and is once again being kept in for however long it takes.  Elder brother drove up there yesterday, he and sister are sitting with mum at the hospital as much as possible.  Poor old thing, it really is a rollercoaster for all of us, we do wonder how much longer it can go on.

Had a bad night again last night, felt so unwell I went to bed around 8 pm but didn't sleep very well again.  Consequently I'm knackered now, but at least my guts seem to have settled down.  Obviously the stress of the visit to the GP and the implications of it all, along with worry about my mum, is getting to me.  Perhaps I need to up my CBD oil dosage (they recommend you start off with a low dose and add more gradually).

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

NAFLD, OA and other initials lol

I went to the GP for my scans results yesterday.  Firstly, she said that my missing ovary is probably just hiding....she confirmed that they do shrink after menopause and it becomes much more difficult to see them, as they're small to begin with and obviously even smaller after menopause.  She said it would be more concerning if it was enlarged, and the fact that it's not visible is not really significant.  So that's that.

There are no signs of cancer.  I have multiple small gallstones, but I've had them for years, they don't appear to have grown and don't cause me any problems.  However, I do have NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease), which was first spotted when I had an ultrasound several years ago, at the same time as the gallstones were found.  At the time, the fatty liver was merely mentioned as being something that diabetics frequently have, I was given no real information or advice about it.  According to my GP, however, it's got worse since, to the point where I now have to have regular scans, every 9 months or so.  I also need regular blood tests (I have them anyway) to check my liver function.  She said if the next scan in 9 months shows any further worsening, then I'll need a liver biopsy.

The GP said there's no treatment, but I must lose weight and that in itself should stop any further progression.  If I don't, then I may end up getting liver fibrosis or, worse, cirrhosis.  

I didn't really take it all in whilst she was telling me, but woke up in the night thinking about it and came downstairs and googled, as you do!  And it's scary.  We generally associate cirrhosis with heavy drinkers, and men at that (George Best and Paul Gascoigne spring to mind), I never really knew that you could get it even if you're female and don't drink (I hardly drink alcohol).

There's a new nurse at our practice, I've seen her once and she's quite evangelical and sergeant-majorish about diabetes and weight loss.  The GP has booked me in to see Nurse Rose, she clearly thinks Rose will scare me into losing weight! (Probably just what I need).

I also mentioned my hip and back pain to the GP, first time I've ever told a doctor.  She examined my hips and said it appears I have both osteo arthritis and trochanteric bursitis in my right hip (people normally have one or the other, apparently, but not me to be different!), and simple OA in my left hip (oh well that's alright then haha).  I told her about the CBD oil, she said to carry on with it and see if I get any further improvement....if not, to self refer for physio (she gave me a referral form), at which time I may need xrays and steroid injections.  Once again she said that losing weight will also help with the pain - I'm not stupid, I know that, which is one of the reasons why I've not seen a doctor about my hip pain before.

A lot to take in.  Losing weight is not easy, I've had a weight problem my entire life.  And it's harder during winter when I want rib-sticking stews and dumplings!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Everything's good (fingers crossed!)

Thank you for comments, I do appreciate them all.

The CBD oil continues to surprise me, I'm still sleeping very well.  For the last couple of days I've woken up around 04.00 and not been able to get back to sleep, but have had several (5 or 6) solid hours of sleep prior to that, which is fantastic.  I really had forgotten what it's like to sleep well and wake feeling refreshed, that almost never happens to me.  The other best thing is that the oil is having a positive effect on my hip and back pain.....the pain is very much reduced, which I find quite astonishing.  The stiffness is still there, and my hips (particularly my right one) still click audibly when I first get up, but not much pain, even throughout the day when I've been busy in the kitchen.  I'm genuinely astounded.

I've noticed (as has my husband!) that it's having a positive effect on my mood also....I feel calm, happy, chilled and relaxed, despite stressful things still going on.

Speaking of which....this afternoon I have my GP appointment to get the results of my scans, and to see what she says about my missing ovary, if anything.  My stomach troubles haven't been nearly as bad the past few days - whether that's anything to do with the oil I wouldn't know, although I wouldn't have thought so....other than perhaps reducing my stress levels and therefore my guts aren't tying themselves up in knots.  Perhaps all along it's simply been a case of IBS due to the huge amount of stress, although if it is that, I must say I'm very surprised that IBS could be so painful and debilitating.

Mum came home from hospital yesterday, having been there for 3 weeks.  She was brought home by ambulance, and the hospital had been in touch with her care company and arranged for the carers to come out to her at 6 o'clock, and for the district nurse to come in three times a all went quite smoothly, for a change.  Mum is much better than she was, but we're under no illusions that it will last, unfortunately.  

I've decided I'm not going for my annual diabetes review, or to the opticians for my 2-yearly check up.  I had an HbA1c (diabetes blood glucose) test along with the armful of blood tests the GP ordered a couple of months ago, and it was fine, no change from the last time I had it done.  I also had my feet checked by the specialist podiatrist last week, so I don't feel I need a review at the moment.....the nurse would only be doing checks I've already had done so I don't see the point.  I don't feel my eyesight has changed much since my last sight test, my glasses still seem fine so I don't think that's necessary either - although I will go for my annual diabetic retinopathy screening when it's due, which is usually around Feb/March.  We've both had so many health appointments lately, both GP and hospital, and I'm just a bit fed up with it all.  I've got the dreaded boob squashing next month, I'll go for that.  And hopefully that will be it for this year!

Incidentally, the mobile mammogram unit this time will be in the carpark of the local hospital - normally it's in Morrisons carpark.  Somehow it will feel better having it done at the hospital, even if it is still in the carpark rather than in the building itself.  Having your boobs roughly manhandled and squashed whilst you're standing in a supermarket carpark (albeit in a big mobile unit) with shoppers all around you is a bit of a surreal experience - ok, stupid I know, it's not like they can see me!  It just feels weird....

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Feeling good....and a disclaimer

And yet another good night's sleep - and the pain in my hips and back is definitely less pronounced.  I am astonished, frankly - I was willing to give the CBD oil a go as a last resort and didn't really believe it would do much good, but it is (well, for me anyway) and I'm a convert.  

Janice, I see you're in Canada.  I've this morning googled about the legality of THC here in the UK.....basically, it's not legal here, as yet, except for 2 specific types which are licenced only for use with 2 medical conditions - MS and certain types of epilepsy.  To be legal here for purchase for anything else, CBD oil has to contain less than 0.2% THC.  No UK company has a licence to manufacture the oil for medicinal purposes - as yet, and as such, they're not allowed to make any medical claims for it, it has to be sold as a food supplement.  

DISCLAIMER  I've googled all this information, whilst I am now a firm believer that CBD oil is working for me, that's not to say it will work for everyone else.  I don't recommend that anyone else tries it unless you've done your own research first, and please check if it's legal for you to use (whether it contains THC or not) in your own country - if that is important to you.  

I'm feeling quite happy this morning (perhaps that's down to the oil as allegedly helps with mood swings also!), haven't looked out of the window yet (not that I could see anything anyway, it's still very dark) so have no idea what the weather is like, rain is forecast - just for a change!!  It doesn't seem to be cold - oh, that reminds me, we've got a lot of air in our central heating pipes, there was a right noisy racket coming from it yesterday evening.  Husband will have to have a go at bleeding the radiators today, or we'll have to get the engineer in if that doesn't cure the problem.  

I'm going to do a freezer inventory and try to rearrange the big freezer today, it's amazing how quickly it gets messy (I blame husband, he has a tendency to just shove things anywhere there's a gap, meaning I can never find anything when I want it).

Friday, 22 November 2019

A sort of challenge

Not quite such a good sleep last night, but still heaps better than my usual.  And my back and hip pain is less - still firmly there, but not as pronounced and sharp as usual.  I think at the weekend I'll try increasing the drops.  So far it looks like it was money well spent.

Thank you for comments, I'll answer some of them.  Julia - no the corn was underneath my heel, it seems to have gone completely now after the podiatrist dug it out.  He said as a diabetic I shouldn't use most of the commercial creams or plasters available (they contain an ingredient that may damage my feet), but should go back to him if I get another corn.  Janice - no I don't think I want to try the family and friends would say I'm loopy enough already 😁.  Is it legal?  Not that it would bother me, per se, if it's not....except that my brother is an ex-policeman and would probably frown on it! (he's already jokingly mentioned that he hopes it's not THC!).  Cherie, husband's not having any tests on that day, it's purely a consultation, and in any case, when he's not been able to drive after tests or treatment in the past, it's always said that in the letter.  I can't drive anyway!

I've been giving some thought to money saving this week, as previously mentioned.  I've decided to do a sort of challenge - well, more of an experiment.  We're well stocked up with food - fresh, frozen and dry goods - so I'm going to plan meals using everything we have and see how long we can go before I need to go shopping again.  The thing we'll run out of first is fresh veg, but we will still have plenty.  We do have a basketful of onions which will last for weeks, loads of leeks in the garden, about a quarter of a sack of potatoes, and 7 or 8 huge home grown butternut squashes, it's the green veggies that we won't have.  There's lots of frozen veg though, it might not have the same taste or texture as fresh but it's still as good nutritionally.  Our home grown apples have had it now, didn't store well at all.  But there is plenty of home grown frozen fruit - apples, strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrants, plus a couple of bags of frozen tropical fruit.  I just need to get out of the mindset that fresh is always better than frozen.

If we run out of anything, then we'll just go without, I'll try to substitute something else.  I think once we've run out of milk or cheese then we'll have to go shopping, can't do without either of those.  Got several cartons of milk in the freezer, though, and quite a bit of cheese in the spare fridge in the utility room, so it should be a good 2 or 3 weeks at least before they run out.

It'll be a good mind exercise (and good discipline) for me to see what meals I can come up with using what we have.  And of course if we don't go shopping, then we won't be spending anything.  I'll have to go mid December ish to get stuff for Christmas though, not leaving it till Christmas Eve!

*Addendum - I'll document menu plans, recipes etc (which may get more 'inventive' as time goes on and stocks run out!) on my food blog.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

A minor miracle

Well, I reckon it's a bit of a major miracle actually.  For the third night running, I've slept very well....that's unheard of for me.  No exaggeration.  It must be the CBD oil....if all it does is help me sleep but does nothing for the pain, it's worth every penny.  Having said that, this morning for the first time, the pain in my hips and back is not quite so pronounced - still there, but I would say the edge has been taken off it.  And this is on a low dose!  The idea is you start on a low dose and gradually increase it, to a level where it does what you want it to.  I'm gobsmacked, to be honest.

I went to the hospital yesterday (our second home!!) to see a specialist about my foot recap, for some months now I've noticed reduced sensation and some pins and needles in the sole of my right foot, underneath the heel.  I mentioned it to my diabetes nurse and she said it could be a diabetic thing, so referred me for it to be checked out.  Turns out it is due to diabetes.  The specialist podiatrist (a very jolly Asian Brummie who could talk the hind legs off a donkey) said it's not significant at the moment and if I keep my diabetes well controlled then it shouldn't progress.

I had what I thought was a verruca on the sole of my left foot, so showed that to him....turns out it's not a verruca, it's a corn (no idea what the difference is, I just know it was painful).  He scraped and dug around in it with what appeared to be a sharp craft bloody hurt I can tell you, although as he was continually chatting and shaking with laughter at his own jokes, it did take my mind off the pain somewhat!  Anyway, the pain was worth it as it doesn't hurt to stand on it anymore.

The next health thing is my GP appointment next Tuesday, when I get the results of my gut and womb scans and find out what the next step is.  I'm so over all this health stuff now, fed up with it all.

One thing that's a bit worrying.....husband had a letter giving an appointment for him to see the urology consultant on 10 December.  It says in the letter he should take a family member or friend with him into the consultation 😳

I would go with him anyway - but we've never been told that before, and of course we're wondering why it said that - what are they going to tell him?  Could it be because they're going to say he's got prostate cancer?  If it is that, well it's one of the more treatable cancers and is slow growing.  We know someone who has it and the hospital aren't even treating him - they say he'll die of old age before the cancer gets him (mind you, he is 88 and in fairly good health otherwise).

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

More sleep! And plans

For the second night in a row, I actually slept very well....woke up 3 or 4 times (normal), but went straight back to sleep each time, which is definitely not normal for me.  I feel so much better for it.  So I would cautiously say that the CBD oil seems to be having a positive effect on my insomnia.  Can't say the same for my pain, it's had no effect at all on that as yet, but it's early days.  It's a pity that the stuff tastes so vile, but that's a small price to pay, and having a drink or sucking a mint after I've held the oil in my mouth for a minute soon gets rid of the taste (so stop being a wimp, woman!).

I've been thinking about holidays.  In previous (more affluent) times, and before we had a dog, we'd go away for a week 2 or 3 times a year, with long weekends in between.  Well, we can't afford that many holidays anymore, and now we have the lovely Betty, our holidays have to be tailored for her.  We've decided we can't have caravan holidays anymore, or even chalet/lodge holiday park hols.....whilst they're fairly cheap, that's pretty much the only thing in their favour.  The accommodation is too small, certainly with a dog, and the lack of an enclosed garden is a bit of a problem - Betty likes going outside for a sniff around, even in winter, but we can't let her out if there's no garden.

So it will have to be cottages from now on, which cost more.  Which means fewer holidays, and saving up more in order to afford one in the first place.

Food shopping is the biggest area where I can make savings.  I am pretty good at economising on food shopping, but it's only ever short lived....I need to do it on a regular and more permanent basis.  I'll give it some thought over the next few days and see what I can come up with.  

The other thing we've had a bit of success with recently is selling a few things on our local neighbourhood social media pages.  It's a bit frustrating, you get loads of enquiries (some of which are quite abrupt and rude - manners cost nothing people!), some even say they want to come and look, but then either don't turn up or you hear nothing more from them.  We've discovered that it's best to be totally realistic about what people are likely to want to pay for things (not a lot to be blunt), rather than trying to sell things for what you think they're worth, or what you'd like to get for them.....the reality is they're only worth what people are willing to pay.  So if we ask a cheap price we're likely to be able to sell the item quickly.  And any money is better than no money and having the thing cluttering up the garage or spare bedroom or my utility room.

So the plan for the near future is to try and save as much money as possible, for a holiday next year.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Feeling good after a great night's sleep

So had my first night after taking 2 doses of CBD.  Now, I'm not expecting it to work (if it works at all) after just one day....apparently it could take several days, or even a couple of weeks, to start working.  However, I actually slept pretty well last night.  Went to bed around 10 pm and went off to sleep almost straight away although, to be fair, I don't usually have too much trouble getting to sleep when I first get in bed anyway, and I was particularly knackered.  Woke up around midnight needing the loo, then went back off to sleep pretty much immediately, which is highly unusual.  And I stayed asleep until just before 4 am, which is my normal waking time, and that again is extremely unusual, normally I don't sleep ANY night for more than an hour or so at a time.  Couldn't get back to sleep so got up, which again is usual for me.  So I actually had about 5 or 6 hours good quality sleep last night, and feel much better for it already.  No reduction in the back or hip pain, but I'd be surprised if there was after just one day of using the oil.

So a good start....if all the CBD does is help me to sleep then I shall be very happy with that - coping with pain is so much easier when I'm not dropping with exhaustion too.

Had some gut problems yesterday, which I suspect were to do with a not very nice shop bought pasty we had for lunch.  We were out at the time and hungry, that'll teach me.

As I was up early, I got the washing (bed linen and towels) out of the machine (it gets done overnight on the cheap rate leccy) and put some in the tumble drier, the rest went on the washing line outside when it got light.  Whether it actually dries remains to be's sunny but very cold and very little breeze.  Beautiful sunrise this morning, the sort of cold, frosty, crisp and sunny morning that makes you smile.  I've also made bread dough, plus pastry for the mince pies that I'm finally getting around to making today.  Am about to make the Christmas cake too....well, just a rich fruit cake really, husband doesn't like marzipan or icing so I don't use them.  The cake will be fed with booze and stored away until Christmas though, or he'll eat it straight away.

Monday, 18 November 2019

CBD oil

CBD (cannabis oil, or cannabidiol to give the correct name) seems to be the latest 'trendy' thing, I guess it's seen as being a little bit naughty or brave or 'alternative' if you admit to using it, even though it doesn't contain the actual 'naughty' bit of the cannabis plant.  Well, seeing as it's now legal to use for certain medical conditions and you can buy it in Holland and Barrett, not that naughty anyhow.  But does it actually work, does it give relief for the (many and varied) conditions and claims made for it?  Well, hopefully I will soon find out.

I've never used any kind of recreational drug in my life, never felt the need or even thought it a good attitude was always why take something that just might make you ill (or even kill you), for the sake of a few minutes of feeling 'high', or even just keeping up with your peers. 

My hip and back pain is constant now, makes walking difficult and painful and is keeping me awake at night more and more.  I can't take anti-inflammatories, paracetamol does nothing, codeine makes me terribly constipated.  I will be seeing my GP next week, but in the meantime I'm exploring other alternatives.  I buy heat pads and stick one of those on my back sometimes....they do give a bit of relief, but to be really effective for all my pain I'd have to wear at least 4 at once - 1 on each hip and at least 2 on different areas of my back....not really practical and too blooming expensive.  I have a TENS machine, but it's a cheap one and I'm not convinced it works all that well.  I do also use one of those wheat bags you heat up in the microwave, or a bag of frozen peas wrapped up in a towel.  All of these things offer a bit of temporary relief, but they're all dependent on me sitting or lying down (other than the heat pads), I can't use them whilst I'm standing or moving about.

I know a few people who use CBD oil, including one who gave it to their dog, all for different conditions and they all swear by it.  I'm very open-minded, but I do think there's probably an element of the placebo effect about alternative therapies....if you think or really have faith that something will work, then it probably will.  Taking Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea to ward off colds is a case in point - I take them in the winter and swear by them (haven't had a cold for a good couple of years or more), yet others, including some experts, reckon they don't work.  Positive thinking is a great tool.

Having done a lot of research last week, I decided I'd like to try CBD oil - what have I got to lose? (other than money!).  I ordered a bottle last week, from an online company who have an extremely good reputation and 100s of excellent reviews on Trustpilot, it's due to arrive the latter part of this week.  However, following one of the worst nights ever last night, when I hardly slept at all due mainly to horrible pain, I decided to buy a bottle from Holland & Barrett this morning (that's a health food shop for overseas readers).  I've taken my first drop (it's disgusting, but I don't really care about the taste) and will take another when I go to bed, as it's supposed to help with insomnia as well as pain.  I'll report back in a couple of weeks, to say whether or not it's doing anything for me. 

Coincidentally, it's being reported on TV today (it was even on Countryfile last night) that a farm here in Somerset is growing medicinal hemp, although they don't actually have a licence for producing the oil yet (apparently no UK grower does so far), only the seeds and stems for other uses....I didn't catch what, had a couple of family texts that distracted me.

Do any readers have any experience of using CBD oil themselves?  I'd be really interested to know.

Last week I had reminder letters for my 2-yearly eye test at the opticians, and my annual diabetes review.  This morning I've had in the post an appointment letter for my 3-yearly breast examination, and my first-ever over 60s bowel cancer kit.  Seems like every single bit of my body is up for examination right now!

Sunday, 17 November 2019

It's a 'thing'!!

Thank you for all the comments, I am glad there doesn't seem to be anything - cancerous, might as well say it as it's always on everyone's minds.  Well, not that he could see anyway, although he did stress he couldn't see my right ovary clearly.  As for the missing left ovary....I did some googling (as you do) and apparently a missing ovary is a 'thing'!  Who knew?!  And for some odd (and unknown) reason, it's usually the left one....and some women even have their left kidney missing too.  How odd!  50 and counting, did yours ever reappear?  If I genuinely don't have a left ovary....well, I've got to 60 without it being a problem or even noticed before, so it's presumably insignificant.  I've never been pregnant (being the world's least maternal woman), but I know even missing an ovary wouldn't present a problem with having kids anyway - my Mum only has one.  She wasn't born like it, she had it removed, along with her Fallopian tube, after an ectopic pregnancy, but still went on to have my sister and younger brother.

So now I'm left wondering what's causing my gut problems and general feeling of being not well.  It can't just be gluten intolerance, as I get severe problems after eating pretty much anything.  But - and here's a mystery - not all the time.....sometimes I can have no reaction whatsoever after eating something, but eat the same thing the next day and have terrible gut pains and severe diarrhoea and feel really sick, there seems to be no pattern to it.  Then there's the bloating - sometimes my abdomen blows up so much I have to change my clothes as they become too tight and I look like I'm several months pregnant.  And I constantly feel under the weather, haven't felt really well for months now.  Nor do I think it's all down to stress....yes we have had several stressful things going on for the past year or so, but I don't feel particularly stressed at the moment.  Last week was quite stressful, but I'm over that now.  I don't have any gut problems this morning (so far!) but do feel like I've gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson, and have even worse backache than usual, although I think that's to do with the scans on Friday, the hard couch and the positions I had to lie in.  Well, hopefully more investigations will find out the cause.

I had a list of things to do today, but most of them won't get done, I just don't feel like it today.  I've managed to sort some washing out, prep cauli and broccoli and make some carrot & parsnip rosti cakes (luckily I prepped the veggies for those yesterday) to go with the roast chicken dinner, but that'll be it, husband will do the cooking and serve it up.  Now I'm just going to sit and read for the rest of the day.

Brenda, why did you want to know how far we are from Bristol Univesity?  We live about an hour's drive from Bristol.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Something's missing!

Thanks for comments on buying locally produced food....very interesting.  I'm sure more people would be happy to buy local produce - if the growers themselves would sell it to us.  

My hospital appointment yesterday went off alright, with no hitches and very few traffic problems - well, it was a different time of day for a start, a less busy time.  I only just sat down in the waiting room when I was called in almost immediately, despite being 10 minutes early, so that was a good start, and we managed to drive home afterwards in the normal amount of time, no hold ups.

It was a man doing the job - it's funny, every time I've had to have any kind of intimate or personal examination, it's been a man doing it.  Not that I'm bothered about it, I'm not - they're doctors, they've seen it all before, they're just doing a job.  It just seems funny that even when there are mostly women doctors doing the job at the time I attend, I can almost put money on it that I'll get the one male doctor there!

Anyway, he was very friendly, kind and thoughtful, putting me at ease (not easy when you're naked from the abdomen down in front of a man you've never seen before) and explaining what he was doing every step of the way.  I had a very thorough ultrasound scan of my entire abdomen, stomach and sides, and all my pelvic area, followed by an internal examination by camera of my womb and ovaries.

To cut a long story short, he didn't find anything sinister - he said I have multiple smallish gallstones (some bigger than others) and a fatty liver, both of which I've known about and had for years and thus far have given me no problems.  He said there didn't appear to be anything worrying in my womb, but he couldn't get a clear picture of my right ovary, either with the ultrasound or the internal camera.  And, somewhat surprisingly, he couldn't see my left ovary.  At all.  I asked if it meant I didn't actually have one?  He said he couldn't answer that....apparently the ovaries can shrink a bit after menopause, but he'd never heard of one shrinking to nothing!  He'll submit his report to my GP and said she will most likely want to order further investigations and tests, in view of there being no immediate concrete evidence of a cause of my gut problems, and of course the missing ovary.  Not that I suppose a missing ovary, if indeed it is missing, makes much difference to me at my age!

So it seems nothing sinister going on, which is good, but that means I'm still none the wiser as to what's wrong with me, and still no treatment in sight.

Friday, 15 November 2019

Buying and eating locally produced food

Sue in Suffolk is doing an 'Eat local' challenge this week, very interesting.  Eating seasonally and as locally as possible, or certainly British rather than imported food, is something I feel quite strongly and passionately about.  But it's not always very easy to do, surprisingly.

We live in a tiny hamlet, literally surrounded by farms....mostly livestock (dairy and beef cattle, pheasant, chickens, some lamb), with some arable, growing mostly food for livestock.  However, we can't buy any produce, be it meat, eggs, milk or veggies, from any local farm - it all goes to market, none of the farms where we live has a farm shop.  One of the locals, who works at one of the farms, keeps a few lambs in their garden each year and sells them for meat....we enquired how much for half a lamb recently - £95 for a half lamb - what?!  We could buy half a lamb from a butcher (and it would be local lamb) for around £70.

There are a few farm shops around, however, they're not what I would call good old fashioned proper farm shops - more fancy posh places catering to tourists....selling as much high priced booze, gifts you never knew you needed, cards and designer pastas/sauces as locally produced food.  And what local food they do sell is incredibly expensive.  As Sue has mentioned, the prices for the local foods are probably what we should be paying for high quality, tasty home grown food produced by farmers who love their animals and love what they do.  However, when on a limited income - as we are - we can't often afford to buy it.  Examples are eggs - the farm shops round here sell local eggs for about £1.20-£1.50 for 6.....we can buy 15 free range eggs in the supermarket for £1.80 - and I use a lot of eggs, so supermarket it is.  Meat, cheese and artisan bread are around 2 or 3 times the cost of supermarket goods, so again the supermarket wins.  Most of the time.  I do buy some local produce in farm shops on rare occasions, and the taste (of meat in particular) is vastly superior....I just have to buy and use less of it.

There is one farm shop that is the exception to the rule....they sell sacks of locally grown potatoes, onions and carrots very cheaply, so I do get those.  However, their meat and eggs aren't all that cheap....I suppose it's swings and roundabouts.

I'd love to buy more local food....I just can't afford to.

Thursday, 14 November 2019


Husband is very uncomfortable and sore this morning, understandably, he's also peeing some blood....the hospital said he might, and he did the last time he had a cystoscopy.  Hopefully it won't last much longer.  He also says he feels like he's had a poker shoved up his bum (which he did have, effectively), so sitting down is a bit uncomfortable for him, he is sitting on a cushion to make it easier.

My guts were terrible yesterday evening and through the night, compounded by the stressful day, no doubt.  Hips and back are so painful I can hardly move without groaning today.  Once my gut issues are identified and sorted, I will have to see the GP about my hips and back - I've not even mentioned them to her thus far.  I know one of the things she'll most likely say is that it will help if I lose some weight.  I'm not stupid, I know my excess weight doesn't help, but I've never found it easy to lose weight and with my now very limited mobility, lack of exercise makes it even harder.  I can't walk 100 yds (metres!) without almost sobbing with pain, I got rid of my exercise bike because it hurt my hips so much to use it, I stopped doing yoga last year because it was becoming increasingly painful and difficult to do the floor poses (and it's a bit embarrassing having to be helped up off the floor by the slim, fit teacher!).

Pain has never really bothered me too much, I can take it - but this is constant now, and increasing in severity, and getting difficult to ignore.  I've had back trouble ever since I slipped a disc playing tennis when I was 19, the pain used to come and go, I'd have a flare up for a week or 2, have a session of chiro or osteo or physio and then would be pain free for several weeks or months.  For the past, oh I don't know, 8 or 10 months I suppose, it's been constant though....I'm sure it's because my hips are so sore that I'm walking or standing funny (not that there's anything laughable about it) and it's throwing my posture out, thus making my back hurt constantly.  I don't relish the thought that I might need a hip replacement op (Cherie's experience was a bit worrying!), but if it helps get rid of this persistent pain then it will be worth it, I guess.

Guts are still churning and sounding like an active volcano this morning (even Betty keeps staring at my stomach) so am not eating breakfast, I know from experience eating will only make it worse.  So I'm just sticking to my Redbush tea with soya milk....I hated that at first, now I really like it, it's amazing what you can get used to if you try.

I've put everything for a lamb stew in the slow cooker, we'll have it tonight and again tomorrow night, will save me cooking dinner when I get back from the hospital and stews always taste even better the next day.  I'm about to make a cauliflower and blue cheese soup for lunch, using a tub of bacon stock from the freezer, husband's making a grain and oat loaf to go with it.  Hope my guts have settled down by then, as no doubt I'll be a bit peckish by lunchtime.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

One down, one to go

One hospital visit done and dusted, what a performance.  Didn't take us too long to get there, but once there, it took 35 minutes to park the car and then walk to the Urodynamics department, which was at the furthest end of the building, just about as far away from the car park as it was possible to get.  And then the same walk back to the car.  

Husband's tests went fairly well, the verdict is that he is actually retaining even more urine in his bladder than was first thought, up to a pint apparently (how he can hold that much I don't know!).  His bladder isn't contracting as it should to eject the wee, and his enlarged prostate is squashing his urethra, restricting the flow, so a double problem.  He now has to wait for a letter with the consultant's thoughts and recommendations.

The journey home from the hospital was horrendous - on a good day it should take just 35 or 40 minutes, but it was rush hour and absolutely hurling it down with rain (just for a change!!!), visibility was so poor we could hardly see in front of us.  The traffic was diabolical, it took us 2 hours to get home.

Husband is sore and uncomfortable (as he would be, having had pipes shoved up both his willy and his bum, at the same time 😲).  My hips and back are killing me after all that walking, including up and down stairs - the department was on the first floor of the hospital and we had to park our car on Level 3 in the multistorey.  We're both really tired, husband from the stressful driving and me from lack of sleep, I was awake and downstairs for a couple of hours last night.  And I've got a belting headache.

And we've got to do the same thing all over again on Friday, for me 😏  At least the department where I have to go isn't as far to walk.

Early night I think.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Rollercoaster is up at the moment

Thank you for all the comments, husband is ecstatic that his infection's gone, after all these months.  More so because it means he can have the tests prior to his op.  

50 and counting, thank you for the clarification.  And haha Julia, I don't  normally wear socks, preferring bare feet (I get hot feet) but perhaps I ought to!  I'm not worried about the scans at all, no kind of medical examinations bother me really.  I am a bit concerned about what they might find, though, but whatever it is, it can finally be treated.  My gut trouble has been going on so long now, it's become a way of life.  It is a nuisance at times, though, as well as being very painful.

I'm having a cooking and baking day, have just sat down for a cuppa and short break.  It's sunny today (would be wouldn't it, when I have a planned day in the kitchen!), although showers are forecast later - in fact, showers all week.  The galeforce wind that was howling all night seems to have dropped a bit, thank goodness, and it's not quite as chilly today as it was yesterday.  We had hailstones last night, made the lawn look like it was covered with snow, Betty loved it - she dashed outside once the hail had stopped and was running round the lawn with her snout to the ground, snorting and licking the hailstones up.  Bonkers, she is, makes me laugh every day.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Really good news for husband

Husband went to the GP this morning to have his latest wee sample tested for infection, having had a 7 day course of a strong targeted antibiotic, followed by 3 weeks of a low dose maintenance one, as instructed by the consultant.  Guess what, he's finally free of infection, for the first time since early April!  I've said all along that the fact that he was only ever prescribed usually a 5 day antibiotic course (sometimes 7, but not very often), followed by a period of 2 or 3 weeks taking no antibiotics, meant that the infection was never cleared up and the break of no meds allowed the bugs to multiply.  I even said it to the GP, who did agree but was more concerned about antibiotic resistance.  What do I know, I'm not a GP! (but seems I was right 😜).

Anyway, the important thing is that it means husband can have his bladder and prostate studies on Wednesday....he wouldn't have been allowed to have them if he still had a UTI.  This is the next step towards him having an operation to clear the blockage in his prostate...finally.  Hooray!!

I'm going on Friday to the same hospital for the ultrasound scan of my abdomen, and internal camera/scan of my womb and ovaries (sounds a bit like filming a pornographic movie! 😲  Hope there's no camera crew, as a (male!) friend suggested 😂😒).  My appointment is at 12, I have to have a full bladder for the abdomen scan and an empty one for the womb exam.....or the other way round, I can't remember which!  I'm also not to eat anything for 6 hours beforehand, which is slightly problematic.  As a diabetic, I'm not supposed to go for too many hours without food or my blood sugar may drop dangerously low, so I'm going to have to get up very early to have some breakfast before 6 am.  I get up early anyway, I'm always up before then, but never usually eat anything until 8 or 9.  Ah well, it's only once, it'll all work out.  At least we can have a quick lunch in the hospital restaurant afterwards.

This week and the tests for both of us have been a long time coming.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

All sorted

Thank you for all the comments, it is good to be home (our house seems so much roomier!).  The rollercoaster with Mum continues, unfortunately, it's affecting us all.

It's been a nice day, sod's law of course, windy and chilly but no rain and plenty of sunshine.  Not that I've seen much of it, been busy all day unpacking, putting everything away and doing 2 lots of washing, catching up with some banking, putting yesterday's dry goods shopping away, then chopping loads of veggies for roasting for today's dinner and tomorrow's soup.  Everything done now and I can sit (after serving up dinner) and watch a bit of TV, the Strictly results show - oh I do like Kelvin!  Those biceps, lovely firm backside and nice beard....what's not to like?! 😉  And he can dance!  Not so keen on his partner Oti though, I should think she's bossy and scary.  I like Michelle Visage too, such a strong confident woman.  I think it's time Mike and Katya went home, he's nowhere near as good a dancer as the rest, and Katya just irritates me, she has a face like a slapped arse sometimes, especially when the dance off couples are announced.  It's the last episode of the WW2 drama tonight, World on Fire, that's been good, if quite harrowing.

Husband will watch anything, totally indiscriminately, he does the man thing and sits there with the remote control in his hand, constantly flicking through the channels, drives me mad.  Especially when he drops off to sleep within 5 minutes and the damn TV's left on some crap car or running around the country buying antiques programme! 😒 Whereas I only have the TV on if there is a particular programme I want to watch, I'd much rather have music on.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Birthday holiday

Yes I enjoyed it....with reservations.  Would I go again, to the same place and at the same time?  No.  Nice place, just too small, particularly with a dog.

The chalet was warm, comfortable and well equipped with quality furnishings, particularly the bedrooms. Lovely comfy bed (although I still didn't sleep any better).  Really nice to have a dishwasher - we haven't had one at home since the last one packed up and I couldn't justify getting another when it's just the two of us and I'm home all day.  But it was so lovely just to be able to stack all the dirty dishes out of sight until the end of the day, and then not have to wash them myself, real luxury as far as I'm concerned. I hadn't realised just how much I miss a dishwasher.

Peace and quiet, despite being behind a pub, we heard no noise whatsoever, and most of the other chalets (just 12 altogether) were unoccupied.  Lovely country views....when it wasn't dark and dismal because of the near constant rain.  Lots of rest, relaxing with a book and music on the CD player....because the tv was broken for 2 or 3 days.  Well, it wasn't broken, it turned out to be operator error, husband couldn't get it to work....the owner came and sorted it the first time, but even he had trouble getting it working.  I was just glad of the peace and quiet - at home if husband is in, then the tv is on, whereas I rarely have it on myself.

We did have several lovely meals out.  Our friends were also on holiday, staying in a beautiful barn conversion nearby, we met up with them for meals a few times.  My birthday was made really special, husband cooked my favourite breakfast of smoked salmon with scrambled egg and cream cheese whilst I opened my cards....some lovely ones and not a single rude one! Then we went over to our friends, who really made a big effort - they'd even put up birthday decorations. Best friend M cooked a gorgeous roast lamb dinner (my favourite), followed by cake with candles (just 6, didn't want to burn down their holiday cottage 😂) and a glass of bubbly. It was such a nice day.

My brother and SiL came to visit on our last day and the six of us (our friends included) had a nice lunch in the very old pub here, we had a lovely time.

The main disappointment was the weather, it rained and rained most of the week, meaning we couldn't go out walking or sightseeing and certainly no beach walks for Betty. We did venture into Bideford Thurs morning, when the forecast was for showers on and off...well they lied, 5 minutes after we got out of the car it absolutely hurled it down with hailstones and we got drenched, poor Betty was whimpering, so we gave up and went back to the chalet. Thank goodness it was warm and didn't leak!

We've had a nice time but I don't think we'll be in a hurry to go away in November again.

Oh, and mum's been in hospital again all week, very poorly with a nasty infection, breathing problems and possible mini stroke, so that's been on my mind all the time.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Tuesday (I think!)

Thanks for comments, and apologies for any errors - I didn't bring my laptop, only my little Amazon fire tablet. It's more of a reader type thing really, not so good for typing on, but it suits my purposes.

I'm having a good time, husband and dog not so much - the huge amounts of rain we've had have made things difficult.  Far too wet to go out sight seeing or walking, but betty still needs to go out. Which falls to husband - selfish it may be, but I just don't do walking in the rain, he's not so bothered about it, he's got his waterproofs. Betty's not overly keen on walking in rain so they're only short walks.  So she's full of pent up energy, meaning she's bounding around and mischievous - not a problem at home but challenging in this small space!  We went to visit our friends in their holiday cottage yesterday, not far away....It's a nice place, lovely big kitchen diner, betty had a lovely time running around the room (don't think she sat down once) and playing with friend M, who she loves.  Took her ages to settle when we got back to our place though, she was so excitable. She's always like that after she's seen him 😒

We had a lovely lunch out with them in a beautiful newly done up (dog friendly) posh foodie pub.  The food was fabulous, literally the best chips we've ever had anywhere, and quite reasonably priced for an obviously upmarket place.

Weather forecast is supposed to be much better today, so we'll go into bude, we like it there.

The tv doesn't work again  this morning so husband's not too happy, although it doesn't bother me.  I assume it could be to do with the awful weather.  The owner's already been over on Sunday to sort it out, bit  reluctant to get him here again, he doesn't live on site.  Still, there are loads of dvds here so husband could always watch them.

Monday, 4 November 2019


Our holiday bungalow (well, the owners call it a bungalow but it's a chalet really) is nice, small but well equipped with quality furnishings, and warm. The bed is lovely and comfy....not that I'm sleeping any better, unfortunately.  It's got lovely countryside views - when it's not shrouded in mist and murk from the damn rain!  We've had a lot of rain, it's absolutely hammering down right now, biblical amounts of it, hence why I'm up and typing this, even husband and dog are awake, although both still in bed (not the same bed I hasten to add).  I'm sure this has been the wettest does rain quite a bit here in the West Country, but not usually this much...there are times when you wonder if it's ever going to stop.  Apparently, it's forecast to be a nice day tomorrow.....we'll see!

It's very quiet here, despite being behind a pub, I'm enjoying the peace and doing a lot of reading. Not been in the pub yet, it has an excellent reputation for food though and is very dog friendly, so we'll be eating lunch in there at least once.

I just wish we could get out and about a bit more, we like this area a lot, having been here lots of times over the years. Maybe tomorrow, if the forecast is true.

Husband cut down our broken clematis and honeysuckle covered arch before we left home on Saturday.  Sad to see it come down, but we couldn't run the risk of it collapsing and injuring someone.  We did eventually come here late Saturday afternoon after all, the weather was pretty horrendous on the way and I didn't feel very well at all, but fortunately have felt better since.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Best laid plans....

Not a good start to the first day of our holiday, it's a raging storm out there, chucking it down and wind gusting up to 70 mph.  Betty took one look out the door and thought 'bugger that, I'm going back to bed'.  Even she can't hold her bladder forever though, she'll have to go out shortly whether she wants to or not (husband doesn't fancy it much either).  We have an arch over our front gate, one of those plastic things, it's covered in honeysuckle and clematis.  The wind is rocking it badly, husband says part of it is already broken, he says he'll have to try and get out there to deal with it before we go....we don't want it collapsing on the postlady!  He doesn't know whether he can fix it, I've said don't bother with trying to do that, just pull it down in view of the weather and lack of time.

I had a terrible night, downstairs for a couple of hours or so, horrendous gut problems, so don't feel good at all.  In fact, seriously contemplating not going until tomorrow instead - that's the first time I've ever thought about delaying the start of a holiday.  Will see how I feel, and whether the weather improves, in a bit.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Almost ready for the off

November already, this year's flown by.  It's 3 am and I can't sleep.  For various reasons this has been a really hard week, I've got things on my mind that are keeping me awake, have cried lots of tears this week, was bawling my eyes out earlier.  I've also felt like shit (apologies for the language, but it's very appropriate) for the past couple of days, been very unwell.  I don't want to wish my holiday away before it's even started, but roll on the week after next so I can have the scans.  Betty can sense I'm not right, she keeps coming and resting her chin on my knees and staring up at me with her lovely big eyes, she always wants to comfort me (at least someone does!  Ignore me, I'm feeling very sorry for myself right now).  I don't know what I'd do without her.

I'm more or less ready for the off on Saturday, just the clothes to pack in the case (they're already all laid out in the spare room) this morning and fresh food in the coolbox tomorrow, pretty much everything else is done.

Husband doesn't want to set off until after lunch tomorrow, he said he wants a nap first but I think it's more to do with him wanting to watch the rugby before we go!  Whatever, it's not like we're going far, only to the next county, and the journey will take less than 2 hours, we can't get into our accommodation until 4 pm anyway.  I would have preferred to go early and spend the day in Bude perhaps, but so be it.

A few birthday cards have arrived (thank you TA, I know one of them's from you! xx), I'll take them with us so I can open them on the day.

Not sure whether I'll be blogging whilst away, or even if I'm taking my laptop, I might not, will decide tomorrow morning.  The one thing I'm definitely not doing next week is cooking!  I've made a few ready meals to take with us, and we'll be eating out a few times too, I've been putting money aside for weeks.  There's a pub close by which is dog friendly and has a really good reputation for food.

Hope everyone has a good week x