Multi Coloured Blog Swap

Picture 13

This post has been provided by Ellen from Shimmer and Tulle as part of the Multi-Coloured Blog Swap Carnival. A chance to swop blog posts from around the country and in my case the world! Mine is over on Michelle's Mummy from the Heart, go take a look!

And even better the post I have the honour of posting is for a a recipe.......of my most favourite thing in the world! 

Straight over to Ellen
Today, I will share with you a recipe for an AMAZING cheesecake that has always been a crowd pleaser. Straight from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese company.

Vanilla Mousse Cheesecake

prep: 20 min
total:6 hr 15 min
servings: 16 servings

    40 *NILLA Wafers, finely crushed (about 1-1/2 cups)
    3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
    4 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened, divided
    1 cup sugar, divided
    1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. vanilla, divided
    3 eggs
    1 tub (8 oz.) **COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed

1. HEAT oven to 325ºF.
2. MIX wafer crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.
3. BEAT 3 pkg. cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.
4. BAKE 50 to 55 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool completely in pan.
5. BEAT remaining cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer in large bowl until blended. Whisk in COOL WHIP; spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate 4 hours. Remove rim of pan before serving cheesecake.

And in my opinion, what is vital to the success of your cheesecake --- add one egg at a time and don't overbeat, just till blended and not yellow-y egg color. Also, when about to serve, let relax outside of fridge for about 15-30 minutes
I love the name of Ellen's blog and it's got a great feel about, get yourself over there and take a look at her other posts, something for everyone.

While you are at it, go and take a look at some of the blog swapping going on over at Trouble Doubled who has taken the time to organise all this, no mean feat when you see the numbers involved! 

Did some research on alternatives
* Nilla Wafers - looks like ladies fingers maybe a good alternative or digestive biscuits.
**COOL WHIP Whipped Topping - looks like dream topping maybe a UK alternative.

Meal Planning Monday w/c 27th February

It's Monday and it's meal planning! Weight loss is going a bit screwy at the moment, another pound on this week. Got nothing to do with all the chocolate I have been consuming! No, nothing at all. It's got to be muscle from going to the gym every day to strengthen up for the kidney removal. You'd agree?  Please agree......, please!????

Either way, I've still got to eat so onwards and upwards for this weeks meal planning and if mine don't float your boat, you can always take a look over at At Home with Mrs M for more menu options.

This week for our delectation we have:

Slow Cooker Gammon, Slimming Worlds Chips and Egg (Syn Free) Didn't have it last week!
Spicy Meatballs and Spaghetti
Homemade fish cakes with ratatouille
Sausage Casserole with pasta..............

I started to write this, then lost my planning mojo, sat at the computer for a while and thought sod it! Just go shopping! 

I normally check what I need from the cupboards, sit down and think what I fancy, then go shopping. Today it wasn't floating my boat. So I was a maverick and ....... just went shopping, no list, nothing, nada.......scary! 

It could have been messy, but I only spent £63 and have got all of the following planned

Beef Stew (will be eaten over two nights as I still can't make a small one!)
Slow cooker gammon with roasted sweet potato, aubergine and tomatoes
Chilli con carne and rice
Ranchero Pie
Mince and onions with leeks, cabbage, carrots and sprouts
Piri Piri chicken with roasted vegetables
Stir fry prawns and vegetables with noodles
Seafood risotto
Butternut squash soup
Homemade fishcakes with beans

WOW! 10 meals, will be carrying some of those over! This way I've got more a choice over the next few days, which is what I need and a chance to enjoy cooking what I feel like.

Am also venturing into the world of Lemon Couscous cake, every tried it!? Nope, me neither, but will let you know how I get on!

Take care and don't forget to let me know which meals take your fancy by leaving a comment. Comments make me a happy blogger!!! :)

My brother's need is greater than my own....Part 3

I was overwhelmed by the suddenness of the crying and hadn't managed to slam up the protective walls in time to stop. So was sobbing while checking e-mails (I know, very weird but I find if I carry on, like I'm not, then it stops) when I spied the next email from my brother. Just in time! I didn't stop crying but changed the reason to laughter. So in the spirit of sharing, here it is! 

Settle yourself down, its a long one, but worth it!

Subject: FW Hello

Hi Fay

Mum and dad said that you had a date for your operation and that it was still a couple of weeks away.  They also said you were still having a tough time of things so after explaining the problems of having only one chicken that actually lays eggs I thought I’d send you another e-mail detailing how tough my life is at the moment.  Boy, talk about how the grass is greener…   you don’t know how lucky you are!  Okay so maybe you've got some things tough.  But how about number (4) eh?

(1)   The Situation: Part of the lure of having a large’ish property of one and a half acres to offset the amount of grass mowing I have to do was the fact that I could make my own archery range.  This involves a long stretch of grass that is kept short so that arrows cannot bury themselves in the grass and get lost.  It also involves me building what the medieval folks called a “butt”.  It’s basically a large earthen backstop that you can catch arrows onto without them snaking off into the neighbour maize crop.

Modern archers use an expensive back net or hay bales but not being made of money or hay bales I built a “butt” about the size of a living room armchair from cutting turf and piling them up one on top of the other.  This was apparently how it was done back in the day as evident by the ditches around surviving medieval butts .  After a couple of months grass would have grown good and deep and held the whole thing in so that I could then add to it to make a butt as tall as a man and a couple of meters wide.

All good.  Except then we got some alpacas.  Alpacas are South American creatures of the camel family that like to graze short grass on mountains.

The Problem: In lieu of the Andes or what ever they thought might be a mountain my “butt” has substituted for the best place to graze and so they have eroded it to such an extent that one side has collapsed.  The problem is that this garners no sympathy for Juliette or anyone else as “butt” has so many connotations with “bum” I might as well be referring to Tom the cat as a “pussy”.

I say angrily “those alpacas have eaten the sh*t out of my butt” and I get greeted with laughter.  

“My butt has collapsed on one side,” I say to my nieces and nephews and they grin politely but for them and their New Zealand Americanised ways, I’m talking about “my arse”. 

Therefore I get laughter rather than sympathy for my “butt”.

(2)   The Situation: Sam has taken a liking to be driven around in his car seat to get to sleep.  Him being 16 months old rather than a teenager makes this still socially acceptable and I’ve found that taking corners at speed that produces G-force beyond his mundane life of two foot high plastic slides and primary coloured playground equipment means his oversized toddler head uses up more energy than it normally would, he therefore goes to sleep quicker.  Result!  Particularly if I chose a road worthy of the title “bendy”.

I have taken to driving up Maungakawa Road and in to Maungakawa Reserve which if you’re up on your Maori you would know that Maunga means “mountain”.  Wall-to-wall S-bends abound often with slopes and drops that if the road is not taken correctly our Honda Odyssey would plunge into the semi-tropical trees and end up something that like a lost World War II bomber in the jungled-vined tree tops of Burma.  This obviously hasn’t happened yet and nor do I intend it to.

For one the only radio station you can get up there appears to be “The Breeze” which plays “easy listening” tunes.  Their tag line is “You’ve got a friend in The Breeze” and I can’t help thinking that leaving a friend in the breeze usually meant leaving them “twisting in it”.  As they’ve been hanged. To death.

This would actually be kind of apt now I come to write about it should I miss a turn and only have the one radio station on offer.  So I take it back, sorry “The Breeze FM”, I salute you.

The Problem: When you get to the top of Maungakawa you drive a few miles along a ridge before hitting a place called Te Miro and come back down a road into something approaching sea level what with your ears popping and what not.

The problem is that the roads along the ridge are gravel because they’re so far from civilisation and so I get to take even the slowest of corners sideways, the theme from Top Gear or Top Gun or even Top Loader sometimes playing in my head all because I had a Playstation in my twenties rather than settling down and getting a mortgage and family like a normal person.  

When Sam stops being able to get to sleep because of his massive over sized toddler head comes back into proportion with the rest of him then I’ve no excuse to burn rubber up there.  A sad day indeed.

(3)   The Situation: I have recently started taking Juliette’s older sister’s boy Paul, to my monthly SCA archery sessions.  This is because he’s seven and a boy and so is keen to hear about stabbing knights in the eyes, slitting throats and giving one third of his spoils to his company captain (although he was troubled by the concept of a third).

The SCA stands for the Society of Creative Anachronisms and although I was a founder member of a longbow archery club back in England I had my reservations about the SCA because they’re American.  American often equals Disney and Oxford Comas and things that don’t sit well with the well educated and well balanced folks but all that disappeared when I saw what the SCA New Zealand had and what they’d done.  In England I’d have re-enactors fairs to be able to buy stuff.  In New Zealand unless you order it from the US at high cost everything was made from scratch and from what was to hand.  These people are highly knowledgeable and practical with it.

So when Paul said he wanted a belt dagger I said I’d make him one that was blunt like a butter knife so his seven year old self wouldn’t get into trouble but was still historically accurate.  Historically metal in the medieval period was scarce.  Look around you now and you’ll find metal every where but back then the most prolific mine would have produced enough metal in a year to keep the average metal processing plant now in business for a day.  So when it comes to knives the handle and guard would have been made from wood while the tanged blade would have been made from the precious metal.  If you make the cross piece from wood it would’ve snapped like a pencil so they made if rounded and called it a bollock or ballock dagger.  This was from the Old English for “ball” although the Victorians call them Kidney Daggers.  You can Google them right now if you like.  Try Google Images,  I’ll wait.

The thing is everyone six hundred years ago would have had one but Hollywood chooses not to show them because they looklike dildos.

There’s no getting away from it.  DILDOS. DILDOS!
Too Rude for this blog!

The Problem:  I’m making a bollock dagger for my nephew.  Now looking after a 15 month old isn’t taxing sometimes so often I’ll have a project on the go that I can work on while Sam rolls balls or chases chickens and what not.  I’ve now carved the handle for a bollock dagger that I’ll add to a blunted piece of metal I’ve already cut.

The problem is that I know I’ll be sanding down the dildo shaped handle when the rural post man will turn up.  “What’s that then?” he’ll say.  “It’s for my nephew,” I’ll reply, “He’s, er, he’s seven.”  “That looks rather like a dildo,” he’ll say in his head and then quietly call the police.

(4)   The Situation: Juliette hates farts.  The word “fart”, the sound of me farting, I might as well be saying something worse involving her mother or sisters or dead grandmother which involves digging them up and doing things.  The sound of me farting while on the toilet repulses her.  Probably more than me pinching off my daily loaf.  Yeah, she’ll read this and already she’s going into her happy place to avoid the crudity of the word “FART”.

The Problem:  For the past four years I have been training Eva up (who is five in July by the way) in the pleasure of the “pull my finger” gag.  Whenever I have felt a “brew” I have asked Eva to pull my finger in the hope that one day she might see this as normal and one day might turn to her mother, offer a finger and ask her to “pull it.”

This has never happened.  Ever.  EVER!

Once the cat was sharpening his claws on the furniture and so I nudged him with my foot.  Next thing Eva is trying to kick the cat across the room because she was copying me.  Kids copy everything you do, except this!  This one small thing!  FOUR YEARS!  It’s time for a payoff Eva, it’s time for some pay off…

As I hope you can see there are some things worse than cancer.  My butt for one.  Please think about popping over by the way, it would be good.  I’ve just listed four worries but I have several more if you’re interested.

Love Mark

I think I will be encouraging more of the same, what more can an older sister do, but help out her brother. His need is so much greater than mine......:)

If you'd like to read the previous e-mails click here Part 1 Part 2 

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Crochet Slippers....easy peasy!

I managed to not only follow a pattern but also make something which wasn't a scarf or woolly hat! 

Am pleased to present my first pair of slippers!
What do you think?
I found the pattern at Zoom Yummy, where there's lots of yummy arts and crafts! I think I'm a little bit in love with this site! 

I'm now off to make another pair!

PS I wasn't asked to publicise this site, I just think credit where credit is due! 

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 8 #R2BC

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart
Time to link and post my reasons to be cheerful for the week with Michelle from Mummy from the Heart I am going to take a leaf from her posting and keep things simple. At the moment it would be very easy for me to over analyse and get bogged down in the details; in the process trigger anxiety and stress. 

So what is making me happy at the moment;

I've just been for my first ever reflexology session, which was offered free through The Mustard Tree, the Macmillan Centre attached to my hospital. I enjoyed it, booked another session for next week.

A large bar of chocolate and a cup of tea has my name on it. Looking forward to the taste sensations filling my mouth.

My kindle is fully charged and ready to go.

Am crocheting slippers instead of scarves! Will post a pic once I've got them to actually fit my feet (they are surprisingly **big, so I'm adapting the pattern) (UPDATE all done, here you go!)

I'm not crying, at the moment. This may change, but I'm not crying now!

The radio is on and I'm enjoying the pop music.

I believe I will find myself again soon

** The slippers, not my feet

Carrot and Ginger Soup

Recipe Shed 
This soup is delicious and from the Slimming World little book of soups and one I would recommend! Ideal to link up with Keith of Reluctant Housedad recipe shed infamy!

Serves 4
Ready in about 35 minutes

Syn Free

Low calorie spray

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 celery sticks, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloved, peeled and chopped
1.5cm piece of root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 litre of vegetable stock
600g carrots, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
fat free natural yogurt and chopped parsley to serve

Spray a pan with low calorie spray and cook the onions, celery, garlic and ginger for 2-3 minutes

Add the stock and carrots and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the carrots are tender. Season well

Leave it to cool for a while before blending until smooth.

Serve with a swirl of yogurt (in my case a blob!) and a sprinkle of parsley (missing from mine!)
I was delicious, warm and filling, just what you need on a cold evening. I love ginger and actually put a little bit more in than the recipe called for, so maybe experiment!!

Big Fat (funny) Fail

The doorbell rang on Monday and there was a smiling man at the step with a large box in his arms. Once I signed and opened it I found these lovely flowers inside
They were from Jessie, my daughter's best friend from primary school. They didn't go to the same secondary school, but were very close, practically living in each other's houses! I probably haven't seen Jessie for over a year as she has moved to Manchester and Amy is now in London. So I was very touched by the gift.

I asked Amy for Jessie's mobile number so I could send her a text to thank her. This is what happened! 
Whoops! Not only a wrong number, but also a typo! 

Big fat funny fail!

Maybe Tomorrow....

I'm not myself at the moment. I can't seem to stop crying and feeling sorry for myself. This isn't me. I am the person who copes and gets on with things. I'm the person who deals with it. And I don't like it.

Everyone I have spoken has said its okay to feel like this, totally understandable, however I am finding that difficult to accept.

I seem to be fixated on the operation date, for me its the next stage in the process (and I love a good process) And yes, I am a control freak (or I like to say a typical Virgo!), I know that!! However I also know I can't control everything. 

I've spoken about the Serenity Prayer before 
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

I understand what I can influence and what I can't and let the other stuff wash over me (I think I would be basket case otherwise) 

There are a lot of things I can't control in this situation, I've worked through things and realised I can't influence when a date is scheduled. I will trust the medical profession are working on this and won't make me wait unnecessarily.

But I am still emotional, why do I keep on feeling like this?

The one thing I can control is me and how I deal with things. Crying and the 'why me's' are normal and have a place. However long term, for me, its a waste of energy. Shit happens it's how you deal with it which makes a difference and this is what makes me, well me. I deal with things well. But at the moment, I'm not me.

I feel Guilt, with a big fat capital G.

Guilty for not being able to concentrate at work and letting people down there. Guilty for not feeling able to function properly at home and look after MrC. Guilty for being ill and putting my friends and family through this. But today I realised I actual feel Guilty for not coping. Why can't I be the strong person I am normally, the person who gets on with things. Shit happens, its how you deal with it which makes a difference.

And that fact is, I'm not dealing with it, I'm not even coping! I'm not in control of my emotions, they are very much in control of me.They are swirling around and intruding on my life, I don't like it. I'm not functioning very well.

And it's this, which is the problem; not the fact I have a tumour, not the fact its probably cancer. It's the realisation, the dawning that I'm not in control of myself and my emotions.

So in the spirit of shit happens, its how you deal with it which makes a difference, I need to accept, lose the Guilt guilt, open up to things, go with how I feel. And maybe tomorrow I will feel better, there is always tomorrow to look forward to.

Wish me luck! Oh, and have some man sized tissues to hand at all times.

Meal Planning Monday w/c 20th of February

It's Monday and its Meal Planning from At Home with Mrs M. I'm a bit late this week, because I had convinced myself I would be going for surgery, but as that's not happening I've had to plan my meals! As usual, all Slimming World friendly and as syn free as possible to give me lots of treats! 

In no particular order this week we are having:

Homemade meatballs and spaghetti (syn free)
Baked potato and green salad (syn free)
Spinach and cottage cheese lasagna (syn free)
Slow cooker gammon, pineapple and wedges (syn free)
Cottage pie and vegetables (syn free)
Slimming World chips with eggs and tomato spicy salsa (syn free)
Carrot and ginger soup (syn free)

(Wow! Just realised its a syn free meal week! More treat food!)

Pretty standard, the only new thing for me is the soup, which I will be blogging later in the week, so check back then if you are interested! 

As I'm working from home at the moment (I love my company!) I'll be able to cook lunches fresh, so noodles, rice and peas and fresh fruit salads are going to be in abundance.

If you need any further inspiration (if my menu isn't enough :P) then get yourself over to Mrs M and take a look. But of course, don't forget to leave me a comment and make a blogger very happy

My brother's e-mail : Part 2 the egg addition

Following on from the last email from my brother, I got another from him earlier today

Subject: FW Hello

Hi Fay,

I spoke to mum and dad today and heard you were in a bad way.  I 've spoken to Juliette and we've agreed that if and when you good enough to travel there's a bed waiting here for you if you want to get away.

Granted you'll have to shell out a couple of thousand on air fair, put up with at least 25 hours of flying and a two hour car journey from Auckland down to Cambridge but when you get here there's a four bedroom house, a comfy bed and as much home brew as you'd want.

If it's a holiday you're after Matamata is half an hour away which if you've seen Lord of the Rings is where Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings is set.  Yes, we live in Hobbiton country.  Indeed with the green rolling hills and Hobbit like hairy toenails on offer by me and the locals there can be no better place on offer.  Alas we can't offer much in the way of nightly entertainment except a cushioned seat to read books and the world wide web to illegally download Grey's Anatomy and Sherlock Holmes in hi def, but we live a simple life all the same.  We have twelve chickens of which seven are cockerels and they're happy to surround the house at 5am to crow and wake you up.  We have one laying chicken who has gone broody and decided to hide her eggs somewhere else but when we find out where there will be a fresh single egg daily.  You'll have to fight Eva for it but she's four and half & so you'll have the height advantage.

Perhaps don't come in our winter though as the house has but one wood burning stove.  It has two settings, freezing or the burning heat of the Sun.  I'm trying to get the setting's right for the whole house but so far my research has proved fruitless.  You are of course welcome to chop wood;  it is a most pleasing exercise once you get past the potential for lopping your toes off.  That sounds like a joke but I've got a steel capped pair of boots with a dent in already.  You can of course come when ever but be warned about the winters.  If sometimes gets down to freezing at night here which leaves a slight frost on the grass.  Crazy weather!

You can hire a car or borrow one of ours for day trips (here the car is insured not the driver) of which we can offer both the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand and the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand.  These offer oceans, sand and horizons in spades.  To the north we have Auckland which is okay if you like international large cities with record high towers offering glass floor views and award winning restaurants, but we prefer the Waitomo Glow Caves and Rotorua to the south.  Look them up ... if you're not expecting too much than you'll love it!

The bottom line is there's a pillow here waiting for your head to indent it.  There's a niece and nephew you've either haven't seen for a while or never met yet and they'll love your mad aunty ways and ability to baby sit while their mum and dad go out on the lash.  Plus don't forget about the home brew.

Mark xxx

P.S.  It'd be really cool just to go outside and look up the all the stars we never got to see living in a city.  I went outside tonight and there's millions but I haven't anyone with the same experiences to share it with.  Sure there's Tom the cat but he came with the house and he's so f*cking blazè about everything.
I asked him this time if I could blog this e-mail. His response?

Sure blog it if you want to.  Just leave out our address at the end in case someone wants to come round and steal our eggs.  I mean egg.

Love Mark xxx

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'Brave Face? Anyone got a spare one?'

I tweeted the title of this post earlier today and then felt maybe I shouldn't have. Maybe putting a brave face on isn't the done thing, especially when I'd said earlier in the week, proudly and bravely 'I'm Back'

But do you know what, I don't think there is anything wrong with putting on a brave face, its no different to paying special attention to how you look. 

How many of us have agonised over the outfit to wear for an important meeting or interview? The appraisal with the boss? Or a teacher conference to attend, where we think we are going to be told our little dear is not as delightful to teach as they used to be (No?! that just me?) 

Wearing the right clothes can create a good impression on others but also give us confidence. As Shakespeare said

'Clothes Maketh the Man'

It's the same as 'putting on your face' in the morning to meet the world, that layer of carefully applied foundation and maybe kick ass red lipstick to say look at me, I'm okay. And if even you are not, the layer, the layer of confidence in the way you look, can rub off and start to affect how you really feel. Practice that confidence and the 'can do kick ass attitude' and you begin to believe in it too.

And that's what I meant when I said I needed a brave face. I just needed some help to face the world. I needed to slap the veneer of positivity to me. This is what will build me up, bolster and point me in the right direction; to keep going and feel better and create the attitude I need to experience this stage of my life without turning into a total basket case!

So not only did Shakespeare say 'Clothes Maketh the Man

Friedrich Nietzsche also said 
'What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger' 

Both statements are applicable and equally interchangeable! 

PS - Any excuse for a pic of Joseph Fiennes! 

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 7 #R2BC

This week's Reasons to be Cheerful is being hosted by Claire from Seasider in the City, so don't forget to get yourselves over there and show some love! 

I've managed to get my mojo back and wrote about it yesterday (I'm Back) Not feeling so great today though ( I'm not as bad as I was with this post I am not a patient number ) but at least I know I can be normal! 

My company have suggested I work from home while I wait for an operation date. Monday I couldn't face work at all, I felt I was letting everyone down and because my brain isn't in a good place, I was also stressing about mistakes I could make. So to be able to take it easy, work from home and be available if anyone who is taking over my workload have questions, is amazing and very compassionate. 

I've decided to use the waiting time to get fitter (well as fit as three possible weeks will allow, better than nothing!) So booked for a one to one session with Les at my gym to improve my workout. He was brilliant, very kind, compassionate and understanding. He's put together a gentle programme to build up my core strength with 8 exercises, low weight, which I complete as a circuit. Plan to visit every day and am sure I will see results very soon.

I'm getting a lot of love and support on Twitter and Facebook which is keeping me going and I have also recommitted to the Serenity Prayer to stop myself getting so stressed about things I can't control! Long may it continue!

Take care everyone and here's to another good week and hopefully the news next week I have a date to get rid of #tedthetumour

I'm Back!

And what better way to celebrate my 20,000 tweet but with a blog post!

The news last week of #tedthetumour on my right kidney, was unexpected but deep down I still believed when I saw the consultant, he'd say it was benign. So 90% chance of cancer knocked me for six.

I've spent the 5 days since, feeling very sorry for myself, swinging from hysterical crying and wailing to total bitch mode and the myriad of emotions in between.

But this morning (following a 12 hour sleep, jealous??) and the fact I've managed to secure a Bupa consultant appointment (it's not till next week, but at least I have two avenues now for getting an operation date) I feel my positive mojo is back. 

I'm back!

Crying, wailing and generally feeling sorry for myself are useful in 'the moment', however it wasn't helping long term. It was sapping my energy and not accomplishing anything worthwhile. I was acting like a person I didn't want to be, someone I didn't even actually like.

And I'm not being naive, I know the likelihood of it being cancer is high, but I'll worry and focus on that, when I need to.

The Serenity Prayer which I've mentioned in post's before is really helping.

                                               God grant me the serenity 
                                               to accept the things I cannot change; 
                                               courage to change the things I can;
                                               and wisdom to know the difference.

It's concentrated me onto what's important, and being as calm, centered and positive as possible will help in the long term.

Meal Planning Monday w/c 13th February

I missed last week's meal planning but think I had a good excuse! But in the spirit of 'keep on going' I'm back on the proverbial horse. (Have actually decided because I've a few weeks wait before Operation #Ted I'm going to use the time to lose some more weight and get a bit fitter)

So onto this weeks Slimming World menu plan and in no particular order:-

  • Homemade carrot and coriander soup (Syn free)
  • Spicy beef (in the freezer) with roasted vegetable couscous (Syn free)
  • Roasted vegetable soup with brown roll and salad (Syn free if the roll is HE)
  • Faggots, potatoes and vegetables (6 syns)
  • Butternnut squash risotto and vegetables (Syn free)
  • Bolognaise with pasta (Syn free)
  • Dry fried eggs, slimming world chips & beans

Lunches will be a lot of leftovers, but have also bought some lower fat super noodles which are syn free and very warming (just right for this time of year!) and plan to mix with tinned bean salad, salad or roasted vegetables.

Managed to lose a pound last week even though I comfort ate.....a lot! It could be #Ted the tumour causing the weight loss, but the pounds that do come of will make life easier when I get a date for him to be evicted for good!

Don't forget to get yourself over to the truly wonderful and recently revamped site of At Home With Mrs M to see other people linking up with Meal Planning Monday.

I am not a (patient) number

I am not a (patient) number (or statistic) to be recorded and put onto graphs to hospital management. 

I've entered a system, which I want to understand, a system of checks and 'service level agreements' and 'deadlines' but the more I investigate, the more questions I ask, the more I feel me becoming that which I don't want to become.

My 'project plan' or 'timeline' so far

Wednesday 1st of February (DAY 1)

9am - Ultrasound appointment at radiology where a 'something' is found on my right kidney

6pm - my GP calls and explains it is a tumour and tells me about the two week window for treatment. A CT scan appointment will be coming through to confirm the ultrasound findings

Thursday 2nd of February (DAY 2)

11am - called with a date for the CT scan, booked 9.40am Sunday 5th of February

Friday 3rd of February (DAY 3)

10.30am - speak to my GP to confirm the details from our call on Wednesday night (I may not have been taking it all in!) Confirms the timings for treatment, it must start at 14 days from diagnosis

Sunday 5th of February (DAY 5)

9.40am - I have CT scan. The Radiologist explained the results would go to the multi disciplinary team or MDT (a group of experts made up of Oncology, Radiology and Eurology) for them to make a decision on whether treatment is needed and if so, what. The next meeting is scheduled for the next day, Monday 6th of February

Tuesday 7th of February (DAY 7)

Called with a consultants appointment which is 9.40 on Friday 10th of February

Friday 10th of February (DAY 10)

I have my appointment. Up to now things have made sense, I can see the next steps clearly from the information I have been given. But now things change.

My consultant, Mr S, explains I have a tumour, which has a 90% chance of being cancer. I will need an operation to remove the kidney. I go into 'ask questions and understand process' mode.

I'm told 'The next steps is for the MDT to meet and agree the exact treatment plan, operation date will be set after that. It will be sometime in the 30 days after that MDT meeting'

But that's ok, the MDT met on Monday didn't they? (DAY 6) 

No they didn't

'don't know why you were told that

'They will be meeting the following week on Friday 17th of February (DAY 17) They meet every Friday afternoon'

My operation date could be anytime between MDT decision date (DAY 17) and 30 days later (DAY 47) which is 17th of March. Thats 47 days from when the tumour was found.

But hold on, I was originally told, 14 days from the 1st of February but that has extended to 47????? What's happened? Why is it 47 days?

Ok, I may have misunderstood my GP and the 14 day deadline, that is quite possible.

And I get that the consultant, MrS has 30 days from MDT decision on what needs to be done (how can you book a slot when you don't know the extent of the surgery?) however I am struggling with the other delay:

The MDT actually meet every Friday afternoon, why isn't my case discussed the day of my appointment, Friday 10th of February? MrS met me in the morning, the team meet in the afternoon, simple surely? The hospital has had my ultrasound and CT scan since the Monday, they knew I was coming in on the Friday, so you'd put me on the MDT meeting, yes?

Which is actually 37 days

It feels like a whole week of wasted time, 7 days of my case being sat on a desk or computer.

But also, the cynical side of me sees this as an 'extra 7' days to meet 'targets'; that I wasn't included on the MDT that day to give extra time, to ensure targets are met.

Don't get me wrong, I am not blaming anyone I have met or will meet as I go through the 'process' or 'project plan' They are doing a difficult job and if they could give me a date the next day they would.

I'm just saying something doesn't feel right, it feels like figures are being manipulated, I've become a number, a patient number, a part of the system. Too much emphasis on the report, the number and the person. The scared person, the woman, the wife, the mother, the daughter, the sister

And its not a good feeling