Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

Not so good news on the Cancer Drugs funding front In England

For the second time this year there had been financial cuts announced for treatment for NET patients in England. Firstly Everolimus, now PRRT.   You can read more on the net patient foundation site at

http://www.netpatientfoundation.org/2015/09/prrt-withdrawn-from-the-cancer-drugs-fund/

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For Reflection & Fun

Alongside this blog, I have another site. It will have daily postings of quotes, photographs & music. The posts are lighthearted and fun.

Please feel free to look at the site; comment, share or follow. It can all be seen at http://www.aquotesmileandphoto.com

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I hope you enjoy the site.

The photo taken above was taken in Ibiza in May 2015.  You can great hotel deals by clicking on the Hotels Combined link below.

 

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

The Blind Leading The Blind……

The Monday after Steve’s retina repair surgery we have a busy day ahead.  Steve’s vision is highly compromised and the next weeks recovery is crucial.  Steve gets up and puts in his eye drops, he has three different drops to put in.  I would help, but unfortunately it would more than likely send him back in to the ward.  My fine motor skills are not good.  If I was to attempt to put a drop in his eye , it would probably result in a poke in the eye.  For Steve it’s a stressful enough time without a shaky hand coming at your eye offering to try and get drops in.  Me, it’s time to detach from my feed pump and flush my tube.  Then the usual creams etc.

steve gets the cereal for us and I make the coffee.  Bad move.  I have ‘blank’ moments, between these and the poor coordination I managed to burn my arm.

9.30am there is a familiar knock at the front door.  It’s my nurses.  They are here to do my dressings, check my tube, general well being, etc.  I cannot emphasis enough what a support they are.  At first I wasn’t quite sure about the need for nurses to call in.   However, they have proven their worth on many ocassions; offering help and advice as well as practical treatment.   They are friendly, easy to talk to, skilled and I have confidence in them.   One big bonus is the nurse giving me my lanreotide injection every 21 days at home.  The three to four days before my injection my diahrea gets worse.  When I travelled to the health centre to get my injection there was always the risk of needing to rush to the loo on my travels.  So  I would go prepared rather than be in a blind panic I may shit myself in the car.   The nurse does not just treat me and leave, there’s always time for a quick natter.  Blethering about TV, cars, etc.  They will Chat to Steve, or one of our sons if they are around.  Our lab buddy is especially fond of one particular nurse.  On this day, we are discussing the logistic problem of getting to the hospital this afternoon for my outpatient appointment to discuss how my NG tube is working out.

We have a rest between nurse leaving and going to hospital appointment.  I’m saving my energy and Steve needs to lie down as much as possible to help with the recovery of his eye.

We arrive at the hospital.  The walk from the car to the building is short and no steep hills.  However, Steve finds the walk challenging; the alternating heights of pavement to road is difficult.  Drain covers are awkward, as are the high kerbs and changing surface on entering the hospital.  One bonus was the hospital does have a zebra crossing in the grounds – the large white parallel rectangles give confidence.

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We are in the consultation room with my doctor and dietician.  We report there has been good news since we had our last meeting.  The NG tube and daily ten hour overnight feed has helped keep up my overnight blood glucose levels.  Since I have been on the feed I no longer need to shuffle along the hall during the night on my bottom.  My blood glucose level now tends to be higher than 1.8 and I can manage to get to the bathroom without the fear of passing out.  Pre NG tube I would get to the bathroom – usually shuffling along on my ass, the room was swooming and my through the night snack would include a supply of Glucogel.

We discuss how I have been in general and how we are managing as a family.  The doctor agrees the NG tube is necessary.  My doctor wanted to see what the benefits artificial feeding would be for me.  Now he suggests I get a peg feed fitted surgically.  This means an operation and a general anaesthetic.  I cannot get it fitted endoscopically.  He says that would not be a good idea – it would be going in blind with the possibility of hitting tumours and causing problems.  I am scheduled to meet up with the surgeons and get the surgery within two months.

I will admit I feel fairly apprehensive – having an operation, the surgeons routing around in my tummy and getting the peg fitted.   I’m not always the best after an anaesthetic.  It’s that whole coming around and feeling woozy.  I guess it’s the ‘out if control’ that I don’t like.  Although I do know getting the peg feed should be worth it.  I have faith in my clinicians to make the right call.  Whilst I am bit vain, it will be good to have a less visible to the public feed tube.  Also I’m sure there will be much less chance of me aspirating with the peg.  I’ve only had one real scary time with the NG tube – when I woke up and felt as if I was drowning.  Believe me it wasn’t a pleasant experience.  There has been a few not so good moments – being sick – trying not to wretch.  Let it happen – even though it’s awful, not only can you taste the vomit, and feel it running down your nose, you feel it in the tube too.  When the sickness has stopped, the clammy hands have dried out, time to flush the tube – firstly make sure it’s still in the tummy, check oh level and then flush the tube.  Twenty minutes later and all is well.

This means Steve and I will both have surgery within one month of each other.  Some would say quite a lot to cope with.  For us it will just be another event at the ranch.
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Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

Taking care of each other: as always

Wednesday:  8am the day after we arrived home from the wedding down south Steve was on the phone to the doctor surgery to get an appointment.  His eye was still troublesome.  He described the vision out of one of his eyes like looking through a very dirty window.  He said it was murky.  Good – he had a consultation for that day.  He saw the new young gp at our practice.  He looked at Steve’s eye, asked all the appropriate questions.  Told him he couldn’t see anything in his eye, gave him a prescription for antibiotic drops and advised Steve it would be a good idea to go along to the optician and get them to have a wee look – no real urgency, but don’t leave it too long.  Steve came home phoned the optician, spoke to their receptionist, told them what had been going on, she gave him an appointment for an eye examination the following afternoon.

Thursday:  both Steve and I woke up tired.  We did our usual routine.  My feed pump/flush, skin care, meds.  Steve did his eye drops, meds.  Breakfast.  Dogs.  Nurses came in for my dressings, dealt with my NG tube.  Despite not feeling like it Steve went out to work for a few hours – lifting the heavy ride on lawn mower into the van, cutting grass, hedges, weeding.   At 3.30pm Steve went the optician.  She didn’t have very good news for Steve,  two thirds of his retina was detached.  She recommended he did not drive, keep his head as still as possible and go straight to the eye hospital in Edinburgh.  Steve being Steve, said he couldn’t leave his work van in the car park so he drove home first.  Got changed out his work clothes then we headed to the hospital.  The drive into Edinburgh was tense.  Steve looked pale.  Both of us were scared of the unknown.  We chatted on the journey, shared our fears.  We thought we would have to wait in the emergency department.  NO.  We were sent straight to the ward on the second floor.  The nurse led us to a consultant waiting for our arrival.  He fully examined Steve and then explained to us what was going to happen.  He leant over a picked up a large model eye and talked it through in detail the operation Steve needed urgently.  Steve looked at the doctor and said I only have two questions:  will it get better on its own?  When the doctor said no, quite literally this operation was to save Steve’s sight.  Steve said well question number two isn’t really a question its a request.  The operation – will I get put to sleep. I would really appreciate a general anaesthetic.  The doctor explained for this type of surgery the eye needs to be as still as possible so a general anaesthetic is advised.    Another doctor came in to speak to Steve and have a look at his eye.  Whilst he was the other doctor and I had a good chat.  He said he appreciated how ‘nervy’ it is getting treatment/operations on the eye.  Particularly of this scale.  I said to him, my Steve is no cry baby – he has been through cancer twice, had three gruelling weeks of radiotherapy and all through that he coped remarkably well.

Friday:   for me – up very early; made the decision to have half an overnight feed, get up at 5.30am, bath, skin ritual, etc. all in preparation for going to the hospital to be with Steve before his operation.  At the hospital, we spent a quality hour before the nurse whisked Steve away and it was time for me to go back home.   The nurse handed me a piece of paper with the direct line phone number to the ward – I took it from her and held it as if it was a piece of priceless China that would smash if I dropped it.  I placed it into my jacket pocket and guarded it with my life.  The nurse assured me he was in very capable hands and I could telephone anytime.  The drive home was very lonely without my soulmate.  Not to mention the car was very quiet, if you think I can talk – well steve can fair blether too. I arrived home, got into my pjs, linked up to my feed pump , put on a movie and snuggled in with our Labradors.  Steve and I text each other back and forth before his surgery.  He wanted to know I was home safe and was all linked up to my feed ok, I wanted to know how his pre med was going – we exchanged texts until I got a text from Steve at 10.20am to say that was him heading to theatre.

12 noon my feed finished.  The dogs were as unsettled as me.  Clock watching certainly does make the day go slower.   Nearly 1pm – I phone the ward – Steve is back from theatre – everything has gone to plan.  I want to go see Steve for the afternoon visiting – first thing I need to do is make sure I eat plenty.   The last thing I wanted was my blood sugar dipping.  I got two ensure drinks down me and a fortisip compact before having a bowl of cereal.   I packed some extra t shirts and shorts for Steve and put in the bag sweets and his favourite oasis juice.    When I arrived at the ward Steve was snoozing.  His operated eye had a patch on.  As I approached the bed he opened his eyes.  I know the footsteps he said.  We were both as pleased as each other to see one another.  Steve was in a lot of pain and would be for quite some time.  I didn’t stay too long the first visit in the Friday, went back in the evening  for a couple of hours.

Then I went home . Had something to eat.  Smothered my body in three layers of Cream for my skin.  Took my Meds.   Then the usual pump feed ritual; hooked up for ten hours of continuous feeding.  I didn’t want to sleep in our bed on my own, so I camped on the sofa with the dogs and TV for company and comfort.   I missed my cuddly hubby.

Saturday:  rather than getting woken by my Feed pump beeping, I awoke to the familiar noise of my iPhone getting a text.  It was from Steve, letting me know what kind if night he had and asking how I slept and asking how I was feeling.  Steve was getting home later that day – best news ever.  Big downside.  He is going to need three more further operations.  For the immediate future we are taking life gently and a day at a time.

As soon as we are able we are going onto the Hotels Combined site below and booking ourselves a relaxing couple of days away.  Somewhere not too far from home – a pamper day or two sounds fabulous.   Click on the image below if you want to see great prices for hotels UK and worldwide.

 

Save on your hotel - www.hotelscombined.com

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

Five weeks on and travelling 400 miles again……

July was met with a busy time including travelling to Suffolk to celebrate the wedding of steph and Levi.  Five weeks later and we are returning to the same family – Adam (steph’s brother) is getting hitched to Elodie.

As usual it’s like a military operation to get organised to travel anywhere these days.  Outfits chosen, suitable clothing packed in the case.  Check and re check I have all my medication, creams, pump, milks, first aid kit, etc.  And my companion bear – Hans.    Could not possibly travel all that distance without my bear.

The nurse comes into our home on the morning we are heading down south.  This is to check how I am and to do my dressings before heading off.  My skin on my face, particularly where the tube had been resting has become agitated and red – some improvisation is needed: I’ve a cushioned dressing between the tube and my cheek now to prevent further damage.  My nose where the plaster goes is getting red and a tad sore too.  It’s all a little cumbersome but feels much more comfortable.

The day we travelled down was warm.  Sun cream, hats, oakleys and the essential good playlist on the car hifi.  Two hours short of our destination we make an essential toilet and coffee stop.  On walking back to the car Steve gets stung by a wasp.  In the matter of seconds his arm swells like a balloon.  Fortunately we have cream with us to put on his arm.  His singing is less enthusiastic and driving slower – I can tell his arm is very sore and he has been affected by the little blighter.  We arrive at our destination.   Anna has a lovely dinner on.  We all tuck in and have a good natter.  An hour later I’m more than ready for my bed.  Pjs are on, feed pump is set up and all tucked in for the night it’s been a long tiring day.



Friday is the day before the wedding.  Long lie, quiet morning then visit John and Sam in the afternoon.  In the morning Steve rescued a bird,  I was in my element taking photographs.  Visit to John and Sam was lovely – really enjoyed it.  In the evening Adam, the groom, had guests over – some friends, his cousin Megan and her husband Jason from  Canada.  Guitars were played, songs were sung, laughter filled the room.  It was so lovely to see so many smiling faces.  When Steve gets in bed he sees some flashing lights out of one of his eyes- we check the room – I assure him I can’t see any.  Perhaps he is going to get a migraine.


So it’s Saturday and the day of the wedding.  It’s also our 29th wedding anniversary.   I can remember our wedding day so clearly.  We have had our up and downs, but I have to admit I am happy to say that I still love the bones of that cocky young lad I met in high school who became my best friend, my lover, my husband, our two sons father, my rock.  I can hear Steve talking about the day we got married – me on the back of his Honda cb350 the morning we are getting married to get a new pair of shoes.  Four years ago I managed to get the very same bike for his silver wedding present.

This is Steve touching up his precious 25 year old bike.


Ahh such beautiful memories.  Beep beep bong – that’s my 10 hour feed finished.  Time to get up out of the bed.  Disconnect myself from the pump.   Get some boiled water.  Draw it up the syringe.  Flush my tube.  Deteach the tubing and the empty bottle from the pump and stand. Dispose in recycling.  Put pump on charge for later.    Steve comes back into the bedroom armed with a welcomed cup of hot juice for me and to let me know he is heading out with the groom party for the ‘boys breakfast’.  Just take your time he says you have been up several times through the night – last night was one of those nights that the bowels were in overdrive, the feed pump had a mind of its own and went off a couple of times…… I looked at Steve all dressed in his black watch kilt – yes I still love every inch of you.  Probably more so than the day we married.   The good news is Steve didn’t get a migraine, although his eye feels murky.  He wants to eye drops – not like Steve at all.   Fortunately our bedroom has an ensuite so off I toddle to get washed, apply my oilatum, then my diprobase cream over my whole body, then the factor 50 ultra sun sense sun cream.  Phew – lie on the bed and have a wee rest.  That’s one of the things that gets me the most – is the exhaustion.  Words can’t describe the feeling of fatigue.  I don’t like to sound like a moaning Minnie.  It’s amazing how applying some cream to your skin can feel like a work out.  I have taught myself to do things in stages and where possible out of the public eye.  Ten minutes later and I’m ready to put on my Dundee cream (this is special sun reflectant coloured cream prescribed by a hospital in Dundee.  It matches my colour tone, it reflects the sunlight and stops my skin burning.  My skin reacts even in winter sun for as short as time as five minutes and can peel and blister when the light has shone through glass if I am not protected.) – the cream comes in two colours; coral pink and beige, I mix them together and apply it like foundation.  Once it’s applied it looks great.  Gives a healthy glow even on the peakiest days.  Look at the watch – I’ve got a quiet hour before I need to get dressed.  Anna and the girls are away to get their hair done.



Ta da we are all ready for the wedding – and what a lovely day it was too.  I managed to stay till 10pm.  But when Steve caught me sleeping at the table for the third time he insisted it was time for us to retire to our beautiful hotel room.  I didn’t take any persuasion.

The Sunday and Monday were spent fairly leisurely, which was lovely.  Feet up when we wanted, fun conversation, nostalgic conversation &  some TV.   Just what you need in preparation for a 400 mile journey home.   Steve still kept rubbing his eye.    He bought eye drops and put them in.  He assured me he was ok, I wasn’t convinced.    Looking forward to getting home and seeing our lads and our Labradors.  And not to mention getting Steve’s eye checked out.