Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Uncategorized

Fatigue

We all get tired.  Sometimes we will wake up after a nights sleep and feel like we could go back to bed again for another session.  Or sitting on an afternoon the eyelids choose to close and we need that little cat nap.  Examples of tiredness like this is common and normal.

 

fullsizeoutput_480

 

 

Since the diagnosis of the carcinoid syndrome I have noticed that little cat naps in the afternoon have been getting more frequent.  And lasting much longer.  I then found at times the least amount exertion and  I was tired, a tad more and then really tired, and then shattered.

I spoke to my net specialist about being so tired and he got me to describe how I was feeling, when, etc.   For those of you that know me you will know this will have been a big long winded story coming from my mouth.  So I went on to describe how I felt on one of these days.  I gave the prof an example, after putting on my creams (all over my body) I would then walk along our hall of our cottage, on walking back my legs would start to feel like a dead weight.  I was walking as if I had iron boots on.  My body felt as if I was taking a giant step for mankind,  when actually I shuffling along the hall. All my energy was getting used up concentrating to try and get from the bathroom back to the sitting room.  Gripping onto the familiar radiator.  Phew made it back to my secure safe mauve sofa.  Despite the thumping heart, jelly legs and utter need to close my eyes, I feel triumphant.  Not a big task for most, but on days like this I am pleased with myself.  Now time for some shut eye.  The conclusion from my docs ; fatigue.

Fatigue. As time has gone on I can honestly say it has became more of a problem and a darn sight more exhausting.  However, accepting it and managing everyday life is the way to go.  It was our anniversary, we jumped in the Audi convertible, a sunny late afternoon in August.  Drive into Edinburgh, we drove to?;  surprise surprise our fav restaurant Cafe Rouge for Steve to get a Steak and I enjoyed sipping a cool mixed berry spritz. Twenty minutes in the restaurant and I feel Steve gently kick my foot under the table.  Biff you are dozing off,  says Steve.   I jump up sorry, think I need to order a set of matchsticks.   Words can’t explain how bad I felt.  You would think there was glue on my eyelids pulling them together.  I was scared to talk for the dread of yawning.  Imagine, the person I am most comfortable with in the world and yet at that moment I felt awkward for the fear of closing my eyes. It was our anniversary, a date night; we hardly go out and I certainly didn’t want to ruin it or disappoint my husband.    I focussed on the room, we chatted about our day, and a few other things.  It was then time to go to The Show at The Edinburgh Festival.  Steve had got us tickets to see a live show.  It was amazing.  The music was wonderful,  we both sang our hearts out.  Turned out to be a great night.

I was at a Net Natter Meeting.  Hosted by Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.  Our Net Cancer Support Group.  You can find out more about the charity at http://www.taect.scot.  I haven’t been for a couple of months.  Barbara, Margaret, Muriel, Eric and I were talking about exhaustion and fatigue.  Eric was telling us how if he tries to do something in the garden the pains in his legs are awful.  And how the fatigue can suddenly overwhelm him.  Barbara and Margaret have similar experiences.  I told them I had been to my GP last week to get my GTN spray, while we were chatting she was very good at explaining about  fatigue and people with cancer.  In many surveys or asking  a person with cancer, fatigue is one of the worst symptoms that a person deals with .  We were sharing stories about how difficult we find things and the need to rest.  Muriel looked over at Eric smiled, turned to me and then said, think I better go easier on .  We all gave a laugh.  The friendship and sharing experiences at the group help a great deal.   I got home from the meeting after dark.  And no denying I was tired.  Next day I was shattered.  But its good to have  reason for being exhausted.

Advertisements
Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Uncategorized

Friendship: that stands the test of time

IMG_0307           Friends.  We all have them.  What does

friendship mean to you?   How do you define a good friend?  I guess we would all have different answers. What’s important to me does not necessarily sit high in the rankings for you.  We also have friends and ‘friends’.  There are those that will be by our side for the rest of our days and there are work chums, social meet up buddies etc.  There are friends we will never meet in person; social media hook ups, pen pals.  We can build up great relationships and share common ground, learn all about their country, etc.  The support that can be gained from a friend that you will never meet in person can be invaluable.   The fellow patients and carers/friends/family that I have met through the support network charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust has been just fantastic.  We meet , talk about all sorts, support each other and friendships have developed.  To be honest I never thought I was one for sitting in a room full of sick folk, that want to chat about their condition, but actually making the effort to go out on a chilly evening, have a blether and a cuppa and most of the time a jolly good laugh. I usually always go home in a much better frame of mind and feeling a whole lot better than when I woke up that morning.

 

For those of you that have read my blog you will know that family is the most important thing in my life.  I’m the youngest of five.  The closest to me is Hazel with a 6 year age gap.  The other 4 are closer tother in age.  Mum and I developed a great friendship, from a young age she took great interest in activities at school etc.  I remember running home from school eager to tell her all about my day.  Mum and I spoke every day, even when I got married.  Perhaps it was just a short phone call, but the blether would take place non the less.  Mum died 5 years ago there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and miss that conversation.

 

IMG_0306

 

I have talked in previous blog posts about friends.  As someone who can no longer drive and with numerous problems such as fatigue, hypos, pain, etc.  Friendship is extremely important.  Now as adults, I’m no longer that kid hanging on to my sister Hazel’s skirt and we are great pals with wonderful support.  Support and help has came in different ways from different ways .  Two friends that I value, really care about and have been particularly helpful over the last year are Sally and Louise.  My  husband, Steve, is  the best friend you could ask for.  We spend a lot of time together and never seem to tire of each others company.

There is a pal that I haven’t spoken about in my blogs.  On leaving high school I decided to go to university in Edinburgh.  on my first day I met this quiet country girl from Callendar.  We hit it off instantly.  At the end of year one I decided to leave auld reekie and study in the city of discovery, Dundee.  This in no way hampered our friendship, we remained friends through studying in different cities, marriage, the birth of both of us having our sons.  Both of us are god mother to our first born.  Tony now 30 and Scott in his 20’s, my how time has flown.  Jennifer was sitting on my sofa a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon chatting away with Steve and I.  Just the three of us, it could have been 34 years ago, with the exception of some of the conversation subjects.  Amongst other things, We had the 4 lads to talk about, Tony, Stuart, Scott and Cameron.   Over the years Jen has been a great loyal friend.  Someone I can trust, share a problem or a secret with.  In the early 1990’s when I needed breast surgery, Jennifer came early in the morning to give me a lift to the hospital, physical and emotional support before the op, just what a pal needs. While my poor hubby was rushing around with two youngsters.  When Steve was getting his radiotherapy a trip to  the country club for one week was organised by Jennifer, really appreciated it.  Since this diagnosis, Jen has been a great pal; known her place.  Text enough, but not too much.  Visited when I’ve been ‘ill’ in hospital.  visited us at home but kept away when she thought we need space.   You know your pal is your pal when you don’t feel you have to put on a face, or tidy up for them visiting.  You aren’t embarrassed if you can’t afford the bill and you can tell them.  We are made of similar cloth and I’m definitely not afraid to say anything in front of Jennifer.  Still a pal after all these years.  Thanks.

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Uncategorized

Its The 10th of The Month Woo Hoo !!

For most people the 10th of the month won’t mean very much.  But for us folks lucky enough to be involved with The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust  (TAECT) up here in Edinburgh we have chosen to have our Net Natter get togethers on the 10th of the month.   The meetings don’t only take place in Edinburgh, amongst other places folk get together in Aberdeen and Glasgow.

NET Natter Meetings are informal support meetings which offer an opportunity to meet with others in the (reasonably) local area who are affected by Neuroendocrine tumours  and carcinoid syndrome – patients, carers, friends and family.

I’m particularly looking forward to going to this support group today.  Since I haven’t seen most of my chums from the group since I organised the music event to raise money for the charity in November.  Its these guys that understand how I feel at times, take time to listen.  Don’t get me wrong not that other friends and family don’t offer love, support and give great advice at times , but the mutual understanding of fellow ‘netters’  is rather unique.

Since I have been involved with TAECT I’ve had a fairly bumpy ride; in and out of hospital.  The usual scans and blood tests.  Trips to  The Royal Free Hospital in London.  Nasal Gastric tube insertion.  Gastrostomy tube insertion.  Sepsis, with ten week stay in hospital.  During all this, amongst other things, the guys I’ve met at the meetings have messaged and telephoned me to see how I am.  Visited me at home.  Visited me in hospital.  Helped me organise the successful tea party.   And much more…….

Since November our life has been pretty hectic.  My hubby, Steve, who always supports me, is by my side regardless.  Has had 5 operations on his eye to try save the sight.  Steve has had a detached retina.  It has been problematic and not gone the way it should.  Here we are in April five operations later and hoping that he will only need to wait another 8 weeks and then get one more surgery.

Needless to say we have found life fairly difficult. After surgery Steve is restricted in driving, after one week as long as he doesn’t get double vision and he can pass the vision test he can drive.  This helps a great deal, both physically and emotionally.

Tomorrow morning I have Evelyn my nurse coming to the house to change my dressings and service my peg feed. It will be so good to say to her that we have been to the Net Natter meeting.

 

 

 

Netty-in-Kilt

 

You can find out more about The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust here

 

 

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Uncategorized

Making The Most………

Wow its been a while since my fingers have tapped out a post.  To say I haven’t jotted down anything would not be true.  However, everything I have written recently has been very personal and Im not quite ready to share these thoughts.

It’s the beginning of July the last post was published in March.  Quite a lot has gone on in my life in the last 4 months.  The puppies have all grown, and gone to new homes.  They have left a footprint on my heart – they were jolly hard work but oh so lovely to have.  We kept one from the litter.  A stunning young lady.  We named her Bess.  And yes she is turning out to be just we hoped; a great combination of mum, Bella and dad, buddy.   Bess is already taking note to sit and wait when nurse Evelyn is attending to me.  She is intrigued in all the help that a grown up Labrador parent can be.  

We had the honour of attending and celebrating Sophie’s first Holy Communion in May.  What a wonderful day that was.  Alexandra and Grace were ever so happy to get into their dresses and drive through to Glasgow.   What a day to remember.  So happy, full of laughter and love.  Quite a memory.

Sophie trying to beat Stuart’s time completing the rubix cube. 

Sophie with Alexandra and Grace at her Holy Communion Celebration.

I felt far from my best in the last few months.  Seen my consultant, dietician, several hospital visits.  My wonderful nurses come to the house and cater to my needs.  I’ve lost weight which is a bit of a bummer.   My gastrostomy tube snapped which was slightly annoying- lovely staff from the hospital came out straight away with a new part.  Now that’s what I call service.   There has been a fault with the batch – there has been a run on broken tubes 😂 

On the 10th of each month I get the chance to meet up with net cancer patients.  Through the charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.  We have a great time blethering away, sharing stories.  10th June my sister hazel drove me to haddington to meet up with the others for a coffee on a Saturday afternoon.  July 10th Steve and I went in style on steves BMW motorcycle to the evening meeting.  The meetings help me a great deal.  They give an opportunity to talk, share experience and most important be YOU.   Looking forward to the next one.  

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome · Uncategorized

Our Support Group Has A New Website

When a patient with carcinoid syndrome, Ann Edgar and Endocrine Consultant, Professor Park Strachan,  got their heads together a very much needed charity was set up in Scotland:  The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.

The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust (TAECT) is Scotland’s only dedicated charity to help and support those affected with neuroendocrine cancer and tumours and carcinoid syndrome.  It’s other main aims are to educate and promote awareness.

The South east of Scotland already has a wonderful support network set up.  We regularly meet on the 10th of each month.  We try to have a variety of meetings to cater for all walks of life and age.  Sometimes it’s lunch at Lauriston Farm, or a quiet drink at a bar in Edinburgh.  We have all met at a fellow patients house for afternoon tea and enjoyed lovely sandwiches and cakes.  June is a craft fair with home baking to which general public can attend, and July we are going to a garden party at Barbara and Alister’s house.  Looking forward to the home baking and beautiful gardens as well as seeing the lovely friends I have made.  It’s certainly not doom and gloom, the room is always filled with laughter.

Steve and I attend the meetings regularly and look forward to going to them.  We have genuinely made some lovely friends.  It’s good to be able to say you actually enjoy the company of the others, I have missed some due to being in hospital with this damn infection.  I can honestly say there isn’t anyone that wallows in self pity or looks for sympathy.  We are a mixed bunch with lots of stories to tell.  There is always someone willing to offer some advice without being pretentious.

Yesterday 26 May 2016 a brand new website was launched.  And I think it looks pretty cool. All comments are welcome.
You can see the website at http://www.taect.scot

Please have a surf, the site has useful information and I would love to know what you think of it.

 

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

Where Did The Month Go?

Already its the 26th of January.  Not many days left and it will be February.  For me January has mixed emotions.  The 24th of the month is my beloved Mother’s birthday.  She passed away in the August – the first birthday she wasn’t here for was her 80th.  She was so looking forward to turning 80.  My Mum loved life to the full and all of us that surrounded her.  There is not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t think about her.  We share many conversations about Mum and many a time we talk as if she is in the next room and is going to walk in at any time.  I guess I wish this to be true.

I have had Steve for company a few extra days this month.  I’ve had a visit from my friend Louise, visit from Jennifer & Scott.  Hazel has been down a couple of times.  Both our sons, Tony and Stuart have visited and stayed for dinner.  These visitors keep my spirits up, and turn my frown upside down, make me laugh and share stories.  The clock hands appear to move even faster than normal when visitors come to Nisbet

image

Steve has taken me to visit my Dad on a few occasions this month.  A couple of times I’ve seen my brother Brian and his wife Margaret at Dads.  I’ve also met up with my brother Albert and niece Chiara and my sister Helen &  nephew Brandon, and on the last visit to see my Dad I saw Lindsay, Stephen, Sophie, Louis & Patrick.

We have managed a couple of social outings – entertained by The Domestics at The Dalriada in Edinburgh and met up with Susan and Ian from Dumfies and Galloway for a couple of hours.  We also met up with folks affected with NETS.  The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust is a Scottish Charity – it offers NET Natter Meetings once a month – which has became fairly popular.  The meeting on 10th January was busy and a few members were keen on the idea of helping out at a craft fair, raising awareness of NETS and carcinoid syndrome and funds for the charity.  One of the members, Barbara,  brought along a peg doll she made, we have since called her Ziggy Zebra.  This inspired me to make a zebra fabric memory board.

I haven’t been feeling too grand the blasted peg is still leaking, and when I say leaking it’s a tad more than a dripping tap that’s for sure.  It started to get bad nearly two weeks ago and get really painful again, my tummy is swollen like a football and the discharge a putrid offensive smell, resembling our septic tank.  My nurse took one look at it and said get the doctor to look at this young lady.  The GP saw me that day.  She took a swab of the discharge and blood tests.  It was a Friday – I felt awful.  I had a quiet weekend at home.  Monday morning at approximately 1130am the telephone rang, it was the GP, I have had the lab on the phone.  She said.  Both your swab and blood tests have shown you have an infection.  I will write you a prescription for antibiotics and get it to the chemist for you for today.  We had a discussion on the phone how I was feeling, etc.

One week later and the discharge is not any better.  Infact I will go so far to say it looks worse and the pain at times is far more than sore or uncomfortable its aching and sometimes almost unbearable 😦  My nurse is in regularly to change my dressings and see how I am.  How long the nurse is in to see me varies.  It depends how I am both physically and mentally.  All the nurses are always very thorough and look after you very well.  On some days the nurse gives you the lift you need.  This particular day she advised me to go back to the GP. Back down to the surgery for another appointment.  Doctor agrees it looks worse that the last time she saw it.  She thinks the best plan of action is another week of antibiotics in the hope it will lift the infection.  Fingers crossed it does.  If there is still smelly discharge once the antibiotics are finished – go down to the surgery and get it swabbed.  I started the second week on Tuesday, today is Friday – I have had 2 of 4 doses today.  No difference yet.  Really hope it clears up over the weekend.

It was lanreotide week second week of January so on one of my nurse visits she gave me my lanreotide injection.    This helps stop me shitting myself and cuts down the flushing on my face and neck.  My next injection is due this coming Wednesday and the nurse I like doing the injection best is off on annual leave.  I know I will be in very capable hands – but I cant help wondering who I will get.  I can see it now –  On that day –  my treatment injection will be laid out ready for the nurse to administer.  Bella will hear the car, think she knows who it is, wag her tail, run to the door, when she sees its someone else, she will run with her tail between her legs up the hall and onto my bed….

Despite this nasty recurrent infection its not all doom and gloom for the first month of 2016.  Steve and I have booked a week in Ibiza in June,  when my community dietican was here at the house for my 4 weekly home visit a few days ago we discussed how she can help with giving me a letter for the airline/travel company explaining the need for my pump, syringes, feed, etc.  I will also get it translated into Spanish. She is easy to get on with, very friendly and makes me laugh.

We also have Lindsay and Stephens wedding to look forward to.  This is a festival wedding – it is in June.  The week after we come back from Ibiza.

Steve and I will both will be celebrating our 50th birthdays:  Steve in June, Me in August.   We are having a party for Steve.  I like to go to a party  -just don’t like to have a party for me.  Its our 30th wedding anniversary in August.

Before all these wonderful things in the summer.  I’ve got to rid this infection, hopefully the hole will close up round the peg site.  I would love to get some more energy if possible.  I have a hospital admission in March in Ninewells, Dundee for 5 days for my photosensitivity.  Dundee is the only hospital in Scotland with a photobiology unit.  I am also scheduled to see Professor Martyn Caplin at The Neuroendocrine Tumour Clinic at The Royal Free Hospital, London. in April.

This week coming is busy enough: nurse coming in to do my dressings on Monday, Wednesday nurse is coming do my dressings and administer my lantreotide injection.  Steve has the eye pavilion hospital for a check up after his retina eye surgery.  Thursday – I have an appointment with my endocrinologist, Professor Mark Strachan.  Think I will have a rest on Friday.

Its been a mixed month.   At times I have been feeling really rotten and no matter where I have been I could lie down on the floor and lie in the foetal position.  There is nothing too much I can do about how I feel physically.  All I can do is take it easy, rest up when my body tell me to.  Mentally I try and keep myself upbeat and on top of things.  What’s the best remedy if you feel low mentally?? For Me  Keeping busy helps.  Going to Nets Scotland AECT Net Natter Meeting and talking to others. Having a warm bath. My biggest love of all – taking photographs.  Writing.  Baking.  I’m very fortunate, I find it easy enough to talk and say how I feel.  Its natural for everyone to feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders at some time,  its how we deal with that weight that matters.

Nets/carcinoid Syndrome

First Net Natter of 2016

Its a very wet Sunday in January.  The rain is battering against the window of our cottage as I rattle my fingers on the keyboard.  Nothing is going to dampen my mood today.  My devoted Labrador has his paw gently resting on my foot.  His gentle snore is almost in time with my feed pump whirring away as it installs nourishment into my belly.

In a couple of hours I’m going to leave the cosy sitting room and brave the weather.  Why?  To meet up with fellow patients and their friends and family.  This time one of the patient’s are kindly giving up their ‘front room’ for us all to have a blether and a cuppa.  What’s this known as – Net Natter.  We get together through the Scottish Charity The Ann Edgar Charitable Trust.

Netty-in-Kilt