The Widow and The Wolf

9 03 2015

I am truly sorry to anyone who follows my blog and has not yet heard of Alistair’s passing. He slipped peacefully and fully prepared in to the next world in the early hours of Friday 20th February having fought an honourable battle against the curve ball. Detail is not needed, suffice to say he laid down his armoury with grace, bravery and his head held high. His heart full of love, his words full of kindness and his Spirit champing at the bit to fly as high and as free as an Eagle.

In our Western world Death seems to be something to be shied away from, the elephant in the room, something to be terrified of. Something that is not spoken about openly, something that brings only pain and grief.  And, more often than not something that has been too over medicalised, over hospitalised, over professionalised and something that has not escaped the net of capitalism.

In reality though, Death is none of these things, it is simply the renewal of Energy, the continuation of the wheel of life and the weaving of a rich tapestry of threads that, though invisible to the human eye, resonate on every single level of our energy field. Alistair and I embraced this, honoured it and recommitted and reaffirmed our love to and for each other throughout his dying months. We held each other, wept together, commiserated on the things we would not get to do, one last holiday, one final outing in his buggy in to town with Archie, one last cuddle. We also laughed together, a lot. We planned for his transition from this world to his Souls release to a Higher Plane and we prepared me for my life on Earth here without him here physically by my side but remaining joined in our harmonious marriage holding metaphysical hands across the different Planes of the Universe. What an incredible journey for us both.

When his transition from this life to the next came, I can truly say it was an amazing beautiful thing. Our living room was filled with peace, with love, with a deep stillness that still envelopes me today. We had decided together that Alistair would stay here with me for a good few hours after his passing so that I could personally tend to his final earthly needs. What an honour for me to wash away the last hint of his illness, the last suggestion of pain from his battle weary body. It seemed to me to be the most natural thing in the world to do, to lovingly anoint him with his favourite Patchouli Oil from the Krishnas in India and to dress him as he was most comfortable, as in India, a Lungi, a tie dye, his Mala beads and his favoured Hindu Temple scarf.

True to form and staying as real to our beliefs as possible we had planned over the past few months for a gentle slow paced unfolding of the days following his passing. A sacrosanct time for me, gently allowing myself to adapt to this inevitable time in my life. Neither of us wanting me to be caught up in the dreaded hustle and bustle of the early days of loss. More for me to be true to my emotions and depth of feeling at the physical loss of my Soul Partner.

Alistair’s love and the love we had for Alistair was richly celebrated at Our Warriors Farewell at his sisters home on the hottest day of the year so far. Very fitting that Alistair’s A Team (me and Gillian) had our final tribute of work for Alistair together.  A folk band, a bonfire, homemade food, words of love, a dove of peace richly blessed by family and friends. And those who couldn’t be there did there own farewells including the release of a beautiful posy in the Dalyan river. A beautiful celebration of love and light held on the Hindu festival of Holi which celebrates Love Colour and Harmony, such synchronicity must surely be acknowledged.

I realise now that the main players of my blog, started nearly 3 years ago, are no longer here; Gladys awaiting resale having served her purpose honourably and Alistair, free as an Eagle continuing his journey as it was written in the stars.

So that leaves me and our dog, a great big white wolf of a dog who has been loyally by our sides through some of the most difficult times of our lives.

I have met a very strong and capable woman in myself over the past few years, I have coped with a journey that previously I would not have thought myself capable of walking. I hold my head high in honour of my devotion to Alistair and I will not falter now. I gave my word to Alistair that I would not fall apart and that I would cope, my word is my bond.

I have a strong sense of peace deep within me and I look forward to continuing my lifes journey guided by my soul mate and as ever the never failing support of The Universe. I also have the best children, the best family and the best friends. Thank you all for your unfailing support and love for me x

 

 

 

 





And now there is love…..guest blog written by Gillian

1 02 2015

So as a tough tough day drew to a close, a day that had been preceded by quite a few tough nights, a message popped into my gmail from my sister in law… and here it is. Thank you Gillian for your appreciation and your unwavering support and understanding xxx

 

And now there is love….from Gillian Covey Rhind

As I write this brief guest spot to Rebekah’s wonderful blog, life is at its toughest and most challenging for this amazingly stalwart and resilient duo. I cannot promise to wax lyrical as well as she does but I wanted to add a further perspective to her followers as she has so little time now.
This most ardent and wholehearted journey is reaching its final conclusion and Alistair is now racked with the physical and emotional consequences of this life leaching disease.
Every day is a massive challenge for Alistair and Rebekah; quality of life has reduced exponentially for both of them. I sit in awe observing their love and strength as they journey this road together. You will have followed, as I, their gusto and research through every possible alternative schema in the madness of ‘what is’ deemed acceptable and unacceptable in cancer  treatments.
Its been a revelation to me as I was partisan to 20 years of the NHS medical model of treatment in my nursing career. I did care very deeply about my patients and I went on to teach thousands of students about what it means to really care and ‘be’ with the patient.
However, I realise I was really just intellectualising the process and whilst I had a big heart, I have watched in recent months how most of the healthcare staff don’t really get it or even give a shit. Not even a flying fuck in some cases and I have seen Alistair bare witness to the most extraordinary lack of care and understanding which has left me feeling ashamed. This doesn’t include the most amazing oncologist, Luke, who has been the Oasis in the desert.
Some of his treatments which were supposed to be helpful, were actually just breaking to the core, resulting in weeks of physical distress and loss of dignity.
Rebekah has turned out to be the very best nurse that I have ‘never’ trained. 24/7 she breaks her back to provide for every emotional and physical request and need, and for this and more I honour and respect her. She is also as mad as a hatter and I love this about her and more. My sister.
Alistair, my darling brother, I am heartbroken to watch his deterioration in body and yet I am in continued awe of his great spiritual greatness and his ability to proliferate sage like advice and guidance to the family. Always thinking of others and guiding us through his painful journey, he has continued to support and adore all of his children and grandchildren.
As we as a family continue on this journey, I ask all of you who read these blogs to think of the attachment that you have with each member of the family and honestly and wholeheartedly ask yourself what you can offer them emotionally in the way of support.
I for one am desperately broken by the forthcoming loss of my darling brother and I know that each and everyone of us feels the same.
This most brilliant man, who has loved and guided so many people through his years of nursing, counselling and healing, needs all of your good wishes, prayers and love sent.
Alistair, my big brother who has watched over me for 44 years, I love you more than you’ll ever know.
Rebekah – you are simply epic and I honour you.
Gillian xxx

 





Boofys and Battleships

18 12 2014

My Dad; Frank Arthur Hall 20th April 1930 to 17th December 2014

Sadly, my Dad passed away yesterday morning. Of course he had been poorly for over a year, stuck in a bed on his own apparently unable to walk, in a nursing home away from his wife, my mum. That’s no way for anyone to exist. Especially not Frank.

But up until that time he had managed really well, his loyalty and fierce protection to my mum in preventing any interference from “outsiders” regarding her ‘never spoken of’ dementia touches my heart. Their daily (sometimes twice) walks to the social club were legendary and Dads delight at having his children and Grandchildren visit never dimmed.

He and mum loved to dance and even latterly, with his poor old back crippled in pain he would try for a jive or a bit of a rumba. His busking ability on the piano was always welcomed and he gently encouraged Alistair out of his shyness to the point where the two of them would busk along, Dad on the keyboard, Alistair on his guitar, mistakes and missed notes making not one jot of difference.

His ability to fix anything on the planet with epoxy resin earned him the title “The Resinator” and this fixing talent didn’t stop there. As a child we caravanned  and spent many weekends away at some little club site or the other. Looking back I suppose money was tight and so savings were sought and boy did he find them! His ingenious ideas and end products delighted him and embarrassed me in equal measure!

Imagine the scene (circa 1976-1980) caravan club members ( all a bit Margo and Jerryish from the Good Life) with all the mod cons and latest accessories out of the club book magazine: roll along water carriers, extending wing mirrors, vent boards (not quite the right name but something like that) to stop the eddys , anti snaking devices and many more I’m sure.photo-10

And then there was us! Dad made his own accessories, all of them!! Where other cars had these nice neat extending mirrors that discretely clipped on, our car had some big old mirrors most likely resinated onto a bit of teak he had lying about it the garage and then bound round with a yard of thick elastic from the sewing box!

The water carrier (always the children’s job on such holidays) was made out of mums old shopping trolley wheels with a plastic carrier and some crocodile clips. Worked fine when it was empty but always came a cropper once the weight of the water was in it.

The vent board, a particular favourite of Dads was a bit of wood angled onto the roof of the car and held in place with some angled brackets and as his piece de resistance was painting it to match the colour of the car. So clever, but a child’s eye view doesn’t always appreciate the cleverness or the creativity, I’m ashamed to say at that point I wanted us to join the Margo and the Jerrys!

photo-9His skills were without doubt incredible. Every year in the 6 weeks holiday he would build us our own extra large paddling pool: wooden ladders and planks of woods wrapped in sheets of plastic became the sides, the old red tarpaulin the body of the pool and without fail a set of step ladders with a piece of boarding wrapped in plastic attached to it and a hosepipe attached by jubilee clips became the water shoot.

Dad was the only person I knew to make up strange words for things and then use them in everyday conversation as if everyone knew what they meant. I mean why would you call turkey Grenklin and then offer everyone Grenklin sandwiches as if it was the most natural thing in the world. IMG_2826

 

And his Boofys were legendary too. He Boofed me as a child and he Boofed all of his grandchildren, we all loved it, even that pre Boofy anticipation when you knew you loved what was coming but had a moments nervousness of the slight discomfort that accompanied it. If you’ve never had a Boofy, let me enlighten you. Take one portly bellied man, take a small child and hold at arms length and then with much strength pull the child in and Boof them off your belly!!! That belly of his played host to all manner of entertainment, his painting a face on it and making his belly button sing Ying Tong Didle I Poe springs to mind!

He was a good kind man, a good dad and a good Grandad, for me and my children. I know that Kirt will have his memories of playing endless games of Battleships and Squares with his Grandad. And Candace will remember always her Grandad being one of the first to slide all the way down the stairs on a nylon sleeping bag, made even more hilarious as her dad had just told us to stop it as someone would get hurt!

For a man who could be quite serious at times he certainly had a knack of joining in the fun. Thank you Dad, for all that you did for us with a kind open and generous heart. Thank you for teaching me all that you did and thank you for making those god awful piano lessons just a touch more bearable by sitting in the armchair away from the piano and out of sight of the old bat of a teacher with your glasses upside down on your face and your tongue poking out!!!

Rest in Peace Dad you’ve more than earned it x

 

 





This is how it is

3 11 2014

Tricky sometimes to stay true to the promise I made when I first started this blog two and a half years ago. The promise being that I would always be honest about life. I realise that the story has moved on from “Living with Gladys” as we now live conventionally in Saffy within brick built walls so its more about living with medically incurable cancer.

Telling it as it is seems tricky though because it could cause upset to the last person I would want to upset, the man himself, cancer pants Alistair. So in my honest ramblings this evening I want to make it clear that Alistair is in no way a burden to me and I will do this a thousand times over for him day in day out until he is either healed or released from his pain and dis-ease.

As I have mentioned in previous posts though, its tough going. Never again will I neglect the role of the carer in any situation. It puts me in mind of my dear old Dad, crippled with bone metastasis from the prostate cancer that we all thought had gone away but stoically looking after my Mum who had developed some form of dementia. There are countless people silently, bravely and humbly looking after their loved ones, never giving a thought for their own needs and sacrificing their own lives for the good of their loved ones. So please, I am no saint and I am only doing what thousands of other caring people are doing. The only difference here is that I’m a bit of a big mouth and share it for the world to read on a blog!

Cancer though like most chronic dis-eases wreaks havoc.

Of course primarily for its unsuspecting victims who must find the courage, bravery, strength, determination and spirit to overcome the physical, emotional and psychological assault courses that it creates on a daily basis. The strength and courage to heal, to strive to recover and to accept perhaps things that would have previously been deemed unacceptable. Alistair, you must hold your head high with pride at the tremendous strength of character you show on a daily basis to rise above one crises after another. One blow to your body after blow. Your poor body struggling as the cancer has claimed more of your physical self than seems fair for any man or woman to have to bare. So no competition here for who life is harder for, let me make that clear.

And then there is the havoc to our everyday life. Gone are the days of carefree Alistair and Rebekah time. Alistair is totally dependant on me, for everything almost. Its almost impossible to leave the house for a relaxed afternoon pottering about. So forget that our children are grown and we can have our own coupledom, thats sort of gone out of the window.

Before I leave either for work, college or on the rare occasion pleasure I have to make sure all eventualities are covered, snacks, meals, drinks, gadgets and gismos all need to be in easy reach. The commode, just in case (thankfully since the radiation flair has calmed down this is rarely needed), meds obviously need to be arranged and sorted, dry body brushing to overcome the lymphodema created by the radiation really needs to be fitted in. Pee bags need washing and the pee bottle needs constantly emptying and cleaning. Bedding needs changing at a rate of knots previously unheard of! Juicing is essential, the Budwig muesli needs making, the dog needs walking and training!!!!!!!!! And then when I do get out Ive got half an eye on how long I’ve been.

Then there’s the emotional ups and downs. When Alistair is in tears with pain, or afraid, or losing hope or just pissed off and down.

Then there is this weird half life when the morphine has sort of switched him off but he’s semi awake.  Asleep but awake, hard to explain but really weird to be around. Lonely really even though I can see him right there in the next room!

I miss my friend, it seems ages ago I had him truly how he is.

It feels that my smile has worn off a little bit, i feel weary a lot of the time.

Im thankful for all the support and help that we get, my sister comes every week to pray with Alistair, he loves it. My niece and nephew in law pray for us both and I know it helps. Im sure too that my many friends offer their own prayers for us in their own ways and believe me I am truly grateful for every single utterance that is given. As tough as this is.. it would be tougher without your love and prayers and faith friends.

Im hopeful that things will improve and I hold that hope in my heart everyday, but I’m also grieving for what I have lost in my relationship. Hard to write equally hard to read Im sure especially for you Alistair x

But I write this with a  loving heart, a hopeful heart and a heart that still cherishes all that I have everyday, and despite all that I have written, I still have a lot to be grateful for. x

 

 

 

 

 





Tough Times

8 10 2014

Well, its been a while and to be honest quite a tough time!

Looking back since even before we left Gladys, we seem to have  been in crises.

Poor Alistair has become really debilitated and is almost housebound, he is in pain and relying heavily on Morphine to get him through each day. Life for him has become an assault course simply getting from the bed to the bathroom and in to the lounge to his chair. Going out is an even worse assault course as the “freehold management committee”  in the flat that we rent, in their wisdom and great sympathy, voted unanimously against us putting a temporary ramp outside to help Alistair get up the 3 antiquated front steps! I hate it when people say they are sympathetic but actually don’t have a flipping clue.

Amazingly we did manage a weeks break up in the Highlands, Alistair, Archie and I took a 2 day drive way up North to one the most beautiful places I have ever been. It touched my soul, simply breathtaking. We caught up with our dear friends ‘ The Twedds’ and even managed to get a few of Alistair’s old chums from his school days along for a mini reunion which was just lovely. We had rented a little tiny wooden cottage with views over the Loch. Good job for those views as bar 2 rides out in the car thats all Alistair got to see! I am so thankful to his lovely sister  Gillian and Uncle Paul who, crazy as they are, drove all the way up to stay with us for 2 days! Uncle Paul’s strength was like the best man hoist in the world and as ever Gillians love, nursing skills and general lariness were welcomed with open arms. They came laden with food, blankets, midgey spray and the biggest array of dressings from Boots that you could possibly imagine. The dressings over the Nephrostomy sites had been causing no end of problems, the tubes leaked a couple of times and Alistairs skin was getting inflammed and he had an allergic reaction to some of the tape! What a bloody nightmare.

Added to that, we hadn’t actually realised how much we relied on the disability aids we now have in our flat ( riser recliner chair, one of those old granny toilet seats thats about 10 feet high, a frame around the toilet with grab rails and a little perching stool at the sink). Without these things it made the daily assault course even worse. Still now, we can both weep when we remember Uncle Paul coming through late one night (well hang on, late by our standards, it must have been almost past 9pm) when he heard Alistair groaning with pain trying to get out of the chair. He literally held out his arm and in one swift movement that in that moment held love, compassion, strength and support, rescued Alistair from the sofa that had held him hostage. That moment was poignant because of Pauls love and because here was my man, a great big man who’s strength has been eaten up by the cancer inside him. We cried, lots.

So it took it out of us, the weeks holiday, but it also nurtured us, fed our souls, Archie and I walked along the Loch side every day and I found a barn just round the corner packed to the rafters with old china, nick nacks and other types of preloved goodies ( or, toot as my sister in law would say). Those who know me well know that I was like a child in a sweet shop,I went in there everyday, it really cheered me up and the lovely thing was that you just wrote in a book what you had taken and left the money through the cat flap!

On our return we had a couple of hospital appointments. One was really positive, our lovely oncologist gave us the news that there is no further metastasis, thats always good to hear. He also arranged a 5 day course of radiotherapy to try to target the pelvic lymph nodes that he suspects are causing the pain and disability. I’d said to Alistair while we  were waiting to see him to try to keep what he wanted to say succinct as he has a tendency to go off track and take an age to get to the point. When we went in and Luke asked how things were, Alistair duly said “oh well perhaps Rebekah should tell you she’s got the notes  as I tend to go on a bit”  In response Luke said ” Oh no thats fine I love a story Alistair, carry on and by the way, why are some of your eyelashes white”. Great guy, nothing more to say.

Quite a juxtaposition with our second visit that week with the consultant urologist. We had hoped he may have given us news that the pee bags could be done away with and internal stents could be put back in. We had a long wait (2 hours nearly) and a kindly nurse had clocked that Alistair was looking greyer by the minute and looked in danger of toppling off of his scooter. So we were ushered to a side room with a recovery bed in it.

Cue the smarmy git! Young gittish guy in his very dapper suit, obviously another medical guy with his own agenda and no ears! Within 20 seconds of walking in the room he said ” I’ll write a letter recommending chemotherapy drug”!!!!! Well what was he going to write a letter about when he didnt know anything about us. He walked all over our beliefs and values, discredited all the research we had read and basically in a smarmy git type way said “go home with your pee bags and make the best of things with the time you have left”!

No surprise Alistair took to his bed. His spirit went as low as I’ve seen it go and he said he felt like ‘Sad Sacks form the raggy dolls. So this is a clinic we will not be attending again. At this stage we will pick and choose very carefully whose hands we put ourselves in.

So where are we: Radiation began today, its a big ask getting him there and back every day, not in terms of me taking him but physically getting him there. But we are hopeful it will help him walk again and as a dear friend of mine said,  thats not much to ask is it.

We are back on the Budwig programme, introducing elements of the Gerson programme and doing all we can to counter the insult on Alistair’s body from the radiation treatment itself.

I thank the universe for all that we have and I ask for healing for  the man I love x

 

 





Lonely, afraid and a tad angry!

6 08 2014

I thought long and hard before writing this particular blog as I knew it would be tough to write and probably hard to read. But I remember when i first started out on this blogging lark, I promised I would be honest. So I can’t just pick the good bits out because they are more palatable or easier to hear.

So here i am again, the small panic attack that made its home in my solar plexus whilst we were in Germany  just a couple of months ago has now moved into my stomach and is held in place by a metaphorical Kilner Jar with a big seal and a couple of metal clips. The emotions in the jar have the makings of a fairly substantial emotional wreck soup; fear, pain, worry, stress, tiredness, grief, sadness, loss and a good measure of aching for my soul mate.

I find myself on a perpetual roller coaster at the moment, not quite knowing whats going to be around the next bend and how long the straight bits will be straight until the next drop comes.

What’s difficult right now is keeping positive and hopeful when Im watching the man who has reached right into the depths of my heart and allowed me into his to love him unconditionally having such a struggle with his physical self. His poor body is having such a hard time, it is having to go through so much pain, so much difficulty in moving, his kidneys struggled again and now he is having to adjust to living with pee bags as his ureters have been bypassed in a procedure called a Nephrostomy.

A rare complication of prostate cancer is a metastatic spinal cord compression. Funny (not in a ha ha way) that its called rare as at this moment both my poor old dad and my darling husband both have the same complication. The medical consensus is that this is causing the mobility problems that Alistair is having. Basially his 2nd Lumbar Vertebra is a bony mass of prostate cancer cells and they are pressing down on the nerves in the spinal cord causing nerve pain and difficulty in walking, Left to its own devices it will render Alistair paralysed.

So currently he is in Addenbrooks receiving radiation to his lumbar over 5 days to ease the swelling and help him to remain mobile. The said nephrostomy also took place a couple of days ago as a matter of urgency.

Its been a hard time for Alistair also to be surrounded by all things medical (and please there are absolutely no complaints here, the majority of the staff have been absolutely amazing, the care second to none and all in all a very humbling experience). But, he of course has had to fight his corner to be heard, to have his own views taken into consideration and to keep his core strength from being ebbed away by the cycle of intervention. The other thing that’s tough being on a cancer ward is that very sadly there are a lot of very very very poorly people all around him, that will inevitably pull him down, so he’s had to dig in really deep and find his strength. But, his celtic ancestry and his soul family has not let him down. I must admit he had me really really worried tonight, those widows weeds were nipping at my ankles again. But, I just had this text from him that beeped in on my phone as I am writing this blog: ” Big Bears got the Ball again, Im not going anywhere” 🙂

So, hope comes back in, fear recedes to the back burner and the evening can steer through much calmer waters. He also has been put under the care of a pretty alright Doctor- who was honest enough to say that he wouldn’t want chemo either – we both admire that level of honesty so we are both quite happy to be under his care. Thats actually quite a big move for Alistair too.

I sometimes don’t know how i manage, but having these people around me carry me through: I am so very grateful to Candace and Kirt who have loved me so very dearly and looked after me emotionally especially during these past 9 days. My sister Kates constant love, support and prayers have no doubt enabled me to carry on day in and day out coping with a situation that I never dreamed I could manage. My beautiful niece Sophie who quietly cheers me on and I’m sure prays continuously for us. Gillian and Uncie Paul are like the International Rescue team and we would be completely lost without them. And Hannah, always there for her dad, offers help, brings food and always does all she can for her dad.

I also know that there are many messages of hope, love and support coming in daily for Alistair and me and we both feel really blessed and thankful for these. We have both spent many years helping others and a great many of our clients are now helping us in may ways.

So thank you from both of us, and we pray for love light and healing from the Universe. x

 





Joy and Pain

21 07 2014

Its been a while, and as ever, things have not been quiet! Im sure the needle that weaves my life’s rich tapestry must be the size of a giants darning needle so huge are the events that I am in the midst of.

We have been blessed with the birth of Pippin and Roy’s first baby, a beautiful little boy called Charlie, delivered at home at the most serene and peaceful birth ever, by the birth goddess mother Candace, no pain relief (hypno- birthing at its best), an amazing birth plan and surrounded by total love from Roy, Doula Steph, me and her lovely midwife. Although things got a little harem scarem directly after the birth and Charlie needed to spend a week in NICU he is absolutely fine, a wonderfully precious boy and he is bringing huge amounts of joy, pleasure and love to our life. He is a little star and my heart soars every time I see him 🙂

I look on in wonder at how Pippin has taken to being a mummy, so natural, so calm, so full of love for her son and it touches my heart to see Roy cherishing both my daughter and his son. We are lucky indeed.

Its been really sad for me and Alistair that he has missed out on so much of this precious time in our life, whereas previously he would have been able to be a huge part in what was going on, now, due to his very limited mobility it has been virtually impossible for him to be hands on. I am experiencing first hand the tough and difficult times the ‘well half’ of the couple faces when ill health makes itself an uninvited guest in a relationship.

I will never again overlook the journey of the spouse, believe me, its hard, tough and calls for great strength and love. I know for  all  family members its painful, terribly painful to have a loved one experiencing illness, but, once their visits are over and they make their way home albeit with heavy hearts, they go back to their lives, to their partners, to their families, to their worlds that still function, their worlds that still have normal everyday activities, holidays, days out. All the things that I know I took for granted that we did together and now for the time being, we don’t have. The life of the “well half” of the couple takes on a whole new shape and I have had to adapt to that shape since our return from Germany. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a complaint, not by any means. I am simply communicating a view that up until this point in my life I had never really understood.

For the past 5 weeks or so Alistair has been receiving high dose vitamin C and local hyperthermia at the lovely clinic in Sussex. He’s really enjoyed the treatment and the calming totally loving atmosphere of the clinic. It has been quite draining for him although his sister and brother in law have been amazing and their support and practical help has been invaluable.

Things went a bit pear shaped at the weekend. The pain Alistair was experiencing seemed to crescendo (brought on we think by his inability to pee AGAIN) and it got to a point where he just couldn’t take it anymore – he’s a big man, a brave man, a strong man but this brought him to his knees. Gillian and I had first hand experience of how the new(ish) 111 non emergency service simply doesnt work. We made a call to 111 at 8pm saturday evening, asking for a GP to visit Alistair at his sisters address. Once we got rid of the monkey (first point of contact at 111) the clinical specialist was brilliant, assessed the situation appropriately and said it would be flagged as absolute priority and someone would be out within 2 hours………

We called again at 10:30, oops the system said it had been logged by the appropriate provider but it appears not to have been logged at all. Nobody knew about us yet.

12am, spoke to some old dinosaur GP, a buffoon it would seem who only had a mouth and no ears apparently! He didn’t see this as urgent, he’d worked in the NHS for 40 years (like we gave a shit), he only came on duty at 11pm and didnt care that we had been waiting for 4 hours already. He would be out but he had others to see first so no idea how long.

You should have seen the pair of us, up at the window every time we heard a car like a couple of kids waiting for something really exciting to arrive! We had equipped Alistair with a Walky Talky ( a proper one, you see at Gillian and Paul’s why wouldn’t you be able to lay your hands immediately on a set of Walky Talky’s). Well that squeaked into action at one point and broke the waiting monotony. Alistair had managed to dose but had woken to ‘moth gate’! The windows had been left open and a lamp light on, great open invite to all the moths in the neighbourhood to hang out.

So we amused ourselves by watching endless TV, narrowly avoided buying knitted jar covers form the teleshopping chanel and expected at any moment to either get a phone call from the GP to say he was outside or hear the door buzzer go and let him in. Oh and we drank endless cups of tea.

About 18 phone calls and 12 hours later, yes you read that correctly…12 HOURS… still no GP, well not in Sussex anyway, we found out that the buffoon GP with no ears did visit, but in Saffron Walden where we were not! And, his 40 years experience in the NHS hadn’t taught him to call the number that he had to find out why we were not answering his knock at the door. I think at this point hysteria had almost set in!

A lovely GP did finally turn up at 0930, almost 14 hours form our first request. She was very apologetic, agreed with the rest of the country that 111 single point of contact is pants and administered some heavy duty pain killer to Alistair. I haven’t pulled an all nighter for a long long time, about 17 years I think and in those days there would have been plenty of alcohol to help the hours go by. Still, we had Boarder Control Australia eh Gillian  and I also watched Oceans 11 for the first time which my children will tell you is not my sort of film (I didn’t realise until the end though that they were actually robbing a casino)!!

So, Alistair is back home now with me in Saffy, so we can be together for a while until his treatment resumes again and we have actually had amazing service today from our local GP and the district nurse. We are getting some ongoing care from MacMillan (looks like I will definitely be hosting a fundraising coffee morning for them now..please come) and Alistair is more comfortable and in remarkably good spirits again.

So as I said, its been a while and things haven’t been quiet! And I haven’t even mentioned the ongoing saga of my poor parents enforced separation!

Until next time 🙂

 

 

 





Buckle Up & Hold on Tight

4 06 2014

Ready for the roller coaster ride readers, its been worse than the worst ride at the worst theme park ever (and I hate theme parks and rides at the best of times)!

We got to Germany to begin Alistair’s treatment at the clinic. A strange feeling of utter relief that other people were now holding the reins and taking the strain and being in an environment that supported our holistic values, but mixed with sheer horror at the reality of the situation we were in and the ravaged sick souls that were around us.

Most of the people in the clinic (from elderly all the way down to about 9 years old) had been through the staple triangle of the Western treatment model, you know it so well from my ramblings by now, but lest you forget, its the holy triune of Chemo, Radiation and Surgery. Some had been brought to their knees by the treatment, some had gone just a few rounds and got off that particular merry go round, no longer willing to believe it is the only way.

But the point is this… these people are still sick. And this is because what the medical model has to offer quite frankly is brutal , out of date and near to useless except for a couple of particular cancers that do respond to chemo. But, believe me, it is kept rigidly in place by the powers that be because A; they have nothing else to offer and B; its a cash cow.

And right now I feel I have every right to express this view because Alistair is being directly effected by this appalling situation. And you know what, the whole damn lot involved in the biggest scam in health treatment are going to be hoisted by their own petards.Simply put there will never be a Western cure for cancer because its big business. In all the years that they have been looking for a cure and pumping billions into their evidence based research, a cure is still no nearer and more and more people are getting sick. Cancer now affects 1:2 men and 1:3 women. Some 100 years ago it was something like 1:133! And they will be hoisted because they have created their own monster. There is a refusal to invest decent money into properly carried out research into ‘alternative natural interventions’ so there never will be any evidenced based research that supports these methods. Their way isn’t working- you can see through the fudged figures that are churned out in support of the holy trinity of Western intervention  (remember my friends there are lies damn lies and statistics) and they have blocked the way for alternative intervention.

But, how lovely to be around medically qualified, highly trained Professors,Doctors and Nurses who know a different way and didn’t look at us as if we were just a couple of nut cutlet munching hippies without a single brain cell between us.

Alistair had been so so sleepy and fatigued for such a long time, he was really sick on the 2nd day of our journey to the clinic and to be honest slept almost entirely for the next 2 days, waking only to have IV’s of various antioxidants, local hyperthermia and magnetic field therapy. He woke when prompted for a few rounds of blood tests and woke to be given his cannabis oil ( yes, got it more or less as soon as we walked into the nurses station and asked for it) and finally he woke albeit grudgingly for an ultrasound to his kidneys. They were worried about his iron levels and considered a transfusion but it crept up minimally so they held off, but, what they didn’t hold off on was his kidney function.

Less than 48 hours after arriving we were sent as a matter of urgency to a local hospital where within30 minutes of arriving Alistair was in theatre to have stents put into both kidneys. Alas, what should have been a 20 minute procedure turned out to be over 2 hours of the surgeon trying to get the stents in place via his urethra, but the prostate was so big from the cancer that even after a resectioning (cutting away) of some of the prostate, nothing was getting through.

The Doctor came to tell me that the operation had not worked and that it was now critical, Alistair was in kidney failure.

They brought him up to the ward for a short while (a room shared with a lovely 85 year old man, everything you could need all provided, sparkling clean and flowers allowed in vases) wired up to drips and catheterised. The Dr’s explained that the only hope we had was for another Dr (turned out to be a Professor) to try to insert the stents intra abdominally using pictures from a CT scan and guiding them in via the image on the TV screen. If this didnt work Alistair would be on dialysis.

To be honest it almost surpassed anything I have ever been through- you can I’m sure imagine without me going over the detail. It was equally distressing for our children, our family and our friends all of them feeling afraid and unable to help so far away.

I know for a fact that back in the UK a tide of prayers, requests to The Universe, Shamanic healing, Angel prayers and all manner of different spiritual networking went on, holding the intention of Alistair’s surgery to be successful and for dialysis to be avoided. And bloody hell, what a relief when they wheeled my beautiful husband, my rock, the person who makes my life truly complete back up on the ward with a stent in each kidney and no longer in kidney failure.

The poor old soul, he now had another 2 bags to add to his collection, the kidney waste was being drained externally from his abdomen, not nice for him, but, one of Alistair’s well used sayings sprang to mind ” In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king”. He wasn’t on dialysis.

I must admit I unravelled a bit after this. I just managed to hold it together on the ward, a lovely Dr found me a hotel to stay in, the ward staff ordered me a cab (can you imagine this in a UK hospital) and I just managed to keep from needing the waaambulance in the taxi. After which the flood gates opened and I broke. Gillian, Candace and my sister Kate metaphorically picked up the pieces for me.

36 hours later and Alistair was back in surgery, thankfully, the Professor who had carried out the abdominal stents was on a mission to help Alistair not be left with external waste bags. And his mission was a success.. no drainage bags, both stents placed via his abdomen using keyhole surgery directly into each kidney. How amazing.

At some point along this hair raising death defying experience Alistair actually hit his rock bottom. He’d had enough. And do you know I couldn’t blame him, not one bit. I prayed and prayed with all my mite to all the sacred things that I believe in and hold dear to me, that my best friend in the whole wide world would get better and be healed. But, sitting quietly in a beautiful garden in the Old Town near to where I was staying (turned out to be the beautiful town of Wetzler) I found the courage to acknowledge if it wasn’t his time to be healed that I would somehow find the grace to honour that.

The makings of a small not fully formed feeling of panic made its home in my solar plexus for the duration of our stay, receding each time I saw Alistair and then as if set by my own watch, returning when I was once again alone.

So, what should have been a 24 hour stay and a relatively simple procedure turned into a 5 day stay and a life saving series of operations. By Monday his blood parameters (showing kidney function) were all good, slightly elevated still but moving in the right direction. So we were discharged back to the clinic.

Treatment continued pronto but, under the guidance of the Professor who runs the cancer clinic we decided to return back home ahead of time in case of any kidney related emergencies. We have to pick up with a new urologist at Adenbrooks and figure out getting these stents changes every three months or so!

We will return to the clinic in Germany once things have stabilised for Alistair but in the meantime we have been referred to one of the Professors colleagues (another German Professor) who runs a clinic in Sussex where we can pick up with many of the treatments we were having in Germany, especially the Hyperthermia.

Its good to be home, to be close to the children and our family (and Archie our dog son) after such a truly frightening time.

And Alistair, Alistair has found himself again, his day of giving up came and went and although he is exhausted and weak he is determined more than ever now to fight, to live, to breathe and to continue to soak up all the love and light this life for him has to offer.

Thank you to all the lights that shone brightly for Alistair in his time of need x

 

 





The Love You Bring and The Love You Leave

19 05 2014

This is a beautiful quote from an amazing client of mine, who, under different circumstances would probably be a really good friend. She put it so simply when, moved by Alistair’s story, she said

” Its made me realise that the only thing important in life is the love that you bring and the love that you leave”. So beautifully simple  isn’t it, and yet, don’t we all complicate life so much; to achieve more, to earn more, to get more, to be liked more, and on and on and we lose sight of this simple truth, that all that is important is the love we bring and the love we leave behind. Thank you for teaching  me this lovely lady.

This is so poignant now in our life.

To be honest, we don’t now what the future holds in terms of longevity for Alistair. From the medical model we know its not much and not too long. Not a particularly cosy thought for either of us. Remember though that from a holistic point of view and a healing point of view anything can be healed, and healing has so much more to it than a physical aspect. Both Alistair and I are experiencing healing on many levels each and every day and our strength is growing, in spite of a physical weakening presently for Alistair.

That lack of energy sadly stole our long awaited family holiday to Turkey this year. I was really sad and really pissed off, not with Alistair but with yet another loss that the curve ball had bowled me. For more than a year now we have lost completely the highly cherished physically intimate part of our relationship. This is of course due to the chemical castration caused by the Hormone treatment- never underestimate all that your hormones do people- and again think before you glibly say to someone oh just take the medication- all medication has a powerful effect on your finely balanced and finely tuned system.

More recently due to Alistair’s lack of mobility I have lost for a while my companion, you know, popping to the town for a wander, going to the pictures, just mooching about for a few hours looking at trinkets and treasures in some second hand oldy worldy barn.

And then theres my dog walking buddy, our precious times talking about all our weird and wonderful and completely bonkers ideas and also his hopes and fears around his fight to save his life.

And my chef too, when we cooked together I was usually relegated to commis chef and porter while Alistair added his and that to his cooking pot that would ultimately end up with the best tasting curry, ever.

And a family holiday, Kirt, Gillian, Paul (sister and brother in law) George and Abby (nephew and niece) had all been looking forward to some quality time together. Poor Kirt is now holidaying all alone in Turkey as I type!

Sounds trivial I know in the grand scheme of things, but you know these times have created the rich pattern of our relationship, the pattern embossed on the paper so to speak.  Candace once said to someone, ” Oh no Mum and Alistair never get sick of each other they  live and breath each others company 24 hours a day”… so true. And unless you are in this situation they are not things you consider losing, I never did.

So I was pissed off and also really in need of a break ( or so I thought). So, either bravely or stupidly I took  12 days away on my own and flew to Turkey for a somewhat shortened holiday. I suppose I needed to do this for several reasons. I genuinely needed to recharge my batteries. Theres been a huge amount going on for quite a while. My poor mum and dad still in separate homes and my dad with a terminal diagnosis of metastatic prostate cancer, so visits twice weekly visits to fit in. Keeping our therapy practice running, working through my college course, exams and deadlines, packing up and moving home and looking after my best friend and soul mate.  I must stress here that I wouldn’t have it any other way, I am Alistair’s wife, his friend, and he can trust and rely on my devoted attention 24 hours a day come what may, it is not and he is not a burden or a nuisance and I know that all that I do is offered with an open heart and a willingness to serve him. And, I was weary and needed a break!

And my daughter knows me so well. Mums not going because she’s tired, she told a friend of hers, she’s going to make sure she can manage on her own should she ever have to! Such an incredibly wise young woman, whose love and support has helped me through every step of this journey. Oh and I think its the first time Ive mentioned here, but sorry if I’m repeating myself, she and Roy have their first baby due in 6 weeks – that is very exciting  news, another little life blessing us with its goodness joy and love.

So Turkey, alone, with just me and my thoughts! Not bad, Im quite fine in my own company, I like myself well enough not to get on my own nerves!

I spent some time with my lovely Turkish friends Kenan and Yeliz and also Cevkiye the owner of the beautiful little boutique hotel Dalyando, she s so lovely, and please check out Hotel Dalyando in Dalyan, its well worth a visit. I ate well, slept well, got a little sun (weather was a wee bit iffy) and I learnt a lot.

I learnt that no matter how tired I feel, how weary I am, how much I think I need a break… I need to be right next to Alistair much more than I  need a rest. So, 12 days shrank to 7 days and I got myself home to my special space right next to Alistair. And isn’t that what my lovely client taught me ” all thats important is the love that we bring”

And love, has also brought us to the point of being able to go to Germany next sunday 25th May for Alistair to begin 3 weeks of treatment to slow the progress of the cancer that has started to take him over.

The clinic offers us hope and we are thankful for ever single donation we have received, every singly prayer that has been whispered, every incantation and the belief of the masses in Alistairs ability to heal and be healed that have culminated in us being able to go for the first part of t he treatment and enough money raised for at least 1 follow up out of 4.

With our hearts open, we count our blessings every minute of the day, and thank everybody for their blessings to us x

 

 

 

 

 

 





Hope

24 04 2014

Well, its certainly been a busy week for us after the curve ball news last Thursday.

The Universe worked its magic again and as hoped for, we moved into our beautiful garden flat on Good Friday. Our army of helpers also worked their magic and, within the space of a few hours, the furniture was arranged (Alistair’s seat as ever came in first only this time round we all decided he had good reason to sit watch the whole move unfold from the comfort of his sofa), the kitchen unpacked and organised (thanks to my beautiful radiantly expectant daughter) and the bed assembled (thanks to uncle paul) and generally made like home. We are so blessed, our family members batted not one eyelid at changing their plans, clearing their diaries, driving for miles out of their way and generally being bloody brilliant all round to both of us. Thank you guys so much we appreciate all that you do for us.

We spent Saturday literally weeping and generally needing the wambulance in gratitude for our new home. I found Alistair wondering around, in and out of the garden, back and forth in the flat almost in awe and overwhelmed with gratitude. It feels like its meant to be. Ive sort of hoisted myself by my own petard there as I often say to my clients “because something feels like it, it doesn’t mean its true”. However, I feel in this instance it is true 🙂

So, Easter Weekend was spent mostly with family, a flat warming of sorts, lots of laughter, lots of love, lots of joy and a sprinkling of tears.

That sprinkling of tears though became a river of tears as this week unfolded. An ex client of Alistair’s who is high up in the echelons of charity work heard about the curve ball, and together with Hannah, spear headed a crowd funding campaign to raise the funds necessary to get Alistair to Germany.

They worked so hard between the 2 of them and, by late Monday evening, the campaign “Save Alistair” went live.

My goodness, humankind, ladies and gentleman, is well and truly alive and kicking. The kind affirmations, sincere good wishes and messages of hope that we have received have been amazing. I am not surprised, Alistair is truly a great man, but like many great men, he doesn’t see himself in the same light. He is private, unassuming and never in his wildest imagination believed that people would vote for him in droves. But they have, they are doing and I have no doubt they will continue to do so I am sure until the target is achieved. £30,000 to send him to Germany, for a chance of survival, to beat the odds and continue to bring joy, love, warmth and healing to those that love him and those that need him.

So, I hope that this blog post will reach an audience far and wide and that the members of the audience will hold Alistair in their prayers, in their own private spiritual beliefs, to believe in his ability to heal and if they are able to do so to contribute to the “Save Alistair” campaign.

The link is:

http://gogetfunding.com/project/save-alistair#/project_details

You can also follow on the Facebook page, Save Alistair.

And please, keep sharing this link, share it every day, tweet it, email, text it, and help to Save my man; loved by many and nowhere near ready to leave us x

 

 

 

 








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