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Portugal Holiday – the ups and downs


Hi guys I hope everyone’s doing well. I havent the in the blog-post in quite while, but I really wanted to share some things with you.. some super great and some pretty crappy..I’m writing this from Portugal I’m on holiday with my husband and children as well as my parents and my dad’s mum, my nannan, so the kids great nannan.

This holiday is only been possible thanks to my parents generosity, to say we are grateful is the biggest understatement I don’t even know how to put that into words but we are having the best time.

Before we left…

If you have medical needs, like me there is quite a lot to be organised before you go away, for example your medication you need to make sure you have enough of everything and a medical letter to confirm you are prescribed them, especially important if you have stronger medications as some in countrys it may be a banned substance. (I think Turkey has a ban Codeine banned for example).

I’m very lucky that I have a awesome medical team at my doctors surgery, and a wonderful GP who helped me prepare for my holiday.

So we had 7 day holiday booked so I needed 7 days worth of all my meds, but my doctor said it was sensible/ advisable to take an additional 7 days just in case of delays or other problems. (Similar advice can be found on the Pinnt website too.) That in itself could be quite a lot to organize for most, but if you have liquid medications then the physical size and weight of them makes it difficult. G was great and helped me work out how much we needed of each medication for example

Senna I take that twice a day 20ml each time.

So…. 20ml x 7 = 140ml PLUS 140ml = 280ml

We did this for all of my medications and gave the numbers to my doctor who wrote a fantastic letter explaining everything, including dosges etc and very importantly that I would need to keep all of the medications on my person at all times. This is for a few reasons, firstly if I have it, it cannot end up lost luggage, or stolen. Secondly incase I need to take any meds especially if there is a delay, you may have seen the on the news the guy who had Parkinson’s and was delayed without medication LINK here .  

As My two of my medications control drugs one of them is sort of in that category (pregabalin), nothing we cant handle though.

Then we have my nutritional supplies this is for me ensure compact, flexitainers (empty bottles for pump), the tubing known as giving sets) and syringes. Again we did the maths and my GP added this to my letter. This didnt need to be kept with me but would most definitely use up my baggage allowance cause it weighed 17kg. So I spoke to TUI who added additional baggage for me …I will do a video on how to arrange this and special assistance at airports etc.

We arrived in Portugal and wow it is beautiful and the Villa is amazing once we found it..lol a we went the scenic route

Mom and Dad have been great, from making sure there was a downstairs bedroom to making sure beaches are accessible to somebody on crutches, plus finding shade from the sun as it has been an excessive 35° here most days so it’s been bloody hot. To help me cope with this I’ve added electrolytes to my fluids each night (dioralite) when I have my feeding pump running because I’ve been trying to play catch-up. I don’t reply it’s been bloody hard. 

I have pushed myself each day but have desperately tried not to let it impact on the next day – and to be honest I have done pretty well. Food wise I have tried to take part in meal times but have found it pretty hard I’ve ordered children meals and picked at that, so that I looked and felt part of the family activities. I’ve also managed to hide my chokes and coughing fits……. I have learnt over time to suppress the choke\panic reflex and I just throat clear if I can or calmly ask G to help … it something I’m actually pretty proud of – the main reason I’ve don’t it is panicking makes the choke worse but also being a mummy I try and not scare the kiddo’s . 

I have slept til 9 or 10 most days and with having the pool here we haven’t had to go out to entertain the children (they’re no allowed to go in the pool without an adult on poolside)

Thursday we had our big trip planned so Wednesday I had extra fluids and feeds overnight and slept in in prep for the big trip. 

Thursday we went on a boat trip to see the Caves and Dolphins (the dolphins were a bit shy),  getting to the marina was a 15 to 20 min taxi ride then there was a bit of a walk to the marina where we had lunch and drinks. I was pretty glad to have a sit down and drink cause it was massively hot – we weren’t due to depart till 4 and had hoped it would be cooler by then …WRONG it was still at least 36 degrees….  but because our party had my nanny who is in the 80s and children (and of course me) we chose a boat that had some shade. 

This is who we went with Ocean eye they were brilliant and we DID see some dolphins .. actually me and Daisy saw them first which was awesome and then standing on the boat (folding on for dear life ) whist it sped over the ocean was such and exhilarating feeling – the wind through my hair – it was AWESOME. 

We got off the boat and found a taxi I WAS EXHAUSTED…. seriously knackered – my speech was shit and I was nodding off at a seconds notice, we arrived at the restaurant and I did my usual order a children’s item, and wow it went tits up!!!! 

Almost immediately I choked on the food, and spat it out, and had some drink.Despertaly thing to hide it as a member of our party is *grossed out by my peg and all things related ) I then tried again and this time I couldn’t trigger a swallow so I was doing my chin tucks and NOTHING – I had to spit it out. But in my desperation to be normal I forced some food down and BANG I had food stuck in my throat- cue coughing fit – I did keep calm it enough to walk outside and have a further coughing fit  followed by a visit to the toilets to vomit – I had managed a grand sum of nothing. and was left feeling totally crap and embarrassed (yes I know they’re family and probably don’t care – but I DO… ). The NEED  to look and feel normal is still as strong as it was 6 years ago – I don’t think it will ever leave. 

We came home and the pain of the day hit me and it was a 9 out of 10 – so bad that I needed G to help me go to the bathroom and wash up before bed.  Its not often that I need G to help me with EVERYTHING down to my underwear. I then needed putting to bed, and we made a makeshift fixed sleep position with a duvet from the cupboard and various pillows and cushions. 

I had my max meds including the liquid one PLUS we used the lidnocane patch that we purchased over here in Portugal (I will post about these seperatly soon). 

I woke several time cause of pain and took today very slowly – that said I would 100% do it again – I think sometime we need to take the hit … I  know its coming but we don’t let it stop me …. some might say it’s daft to do it but you know my mantra “fuckit”.

any who this is my penultimate night here and I have had several vodka and cokes so its bedtime. 

sending love to all who’ve managed to read this to the end you are amazing and Iove you lots.. keep fighting whether its cancer, a long term illness or another battle  … you are strong. 

feel free to message me anytime 

mrswiggy.sw@gmail.com

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Triple therapy and update!


My goodness it’s been so long since I’ve updated and I’ve done quite a lot where to start. As you may know I’ve moved again and I’m now based in Aylesbury which means a new doctor. I had to find a new Mr Moss let’s find someone I can trust and someone who would look after me, thankfully I have! there is absolutely fabulous doc he’s a black Mr moss if I’m allowed to say that, Mr Fasamade. I’m only seeing him every 6 months or if I’ve got a problem which is fine with me. Although we do have a small hiccup at the moment, due to radiotherapy damage I need to have two teeth extracted and unfortunately when you’ve had radiotherapy your bones in the area of radiotherapy do not heal they are notoriously difficult and so it’s not something that we’re taking lightly. I’ve been put on something called triple therapy, which is a cocktail of drugs to try and prevent something called osteoradionecrosis and which can be very dangerous and so we have to keep everything crossed that its not going to happen. The extraction is on the 17th of September, I may have that wrong but about then. So if you could keep your fingers crossed I’d really appreciate that because I am going into it pretty nervous. Its obviously going to be more difficult because of the radiotherapy but also my mouth is still very very sore and tender and having someone extracting your tooth is my stuff of nightmares, but it needs to happen. Here is a picture of the medication I’m on I have to be on it for seven weeks before my surgery and 5 weeks after ive healed from surgery.

Now you might have seen my post regarding me hoping to be peg free in 12 months! This is something I’ve wanted for for a long time and I’ve wished for and hoped for. Unfortunately realistically it may never happen I still have to rely on it for extra fluids and my medication at the very least, there are days that my mouth is so sore I can’t eat food so I need to top up with special drinks and formula. But I’m no longer pump feeding overnight which in itself is a huge milestone. Being hooked up to a pump overnight was not only and nuisance but it made my bed a hospital bed it made me feel like a patient.

I’ve been keeping pretty well recently I’ve been out of hospital most of the time with only a few little hiccups to do with my feeding tube and I had a bout of abdominal pain which we think was down to the feeling tube. So overall I think I’m getting stronger I feel stronger I’m even crafting making and sewing again now and I’ll pop a few pictures of the things I’ve made recently just show off.

The pendants have forget-me-not flowers in that have been dried in them, they are my absolute favourite.

Anyways I’m going to sign off for now ttfn

As always feel free to message me xx

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Triple therapy and update!


My goodness it’s been so long since I’ve updated and I’ve done quite a lot where to start. As you may know I’ve moved again and I’m now based in Aylesbury which means a new doctor. I had to find a new Mr Moss let’s find someone I can trust and someone who would look after me, thankfully I have! there is absolutely fabulous doc he’s a black Mr moss if I’m allowed to say that, Mr Fasamade. I’m only seeing him every 6 months or if I’ve got a problem which is fine with me. Although we do have a small hiccup at the moment, due to radiotherapy damage I need to have two teeth extracted and unfortunately when you’ve had radiotherapy your bones in the area of radiotherapy do not heal they are notoriously difficult and so it’s not something that we’re taking lightly. I’ve been put on something called triple therapy, which is a cocktail of drugs to try and prevent something called osteoradionecrosis and which can be very dangerous and so we have to keep everything crossed that its not going to happen. The extraction is on the 17th of September, I may have that wrong but about then. So if you could keep your fingers crossed I’d really appreciate that because I am going into it pretty nervous. Its obviously going to be more difficult because of the radiotherapy but also my mouth is still very very sore and tender and having someone extracting your tooth is my stuff of nightmares, but it needs to happen. Here is a picture of the medication I’m on I have to be on it for seven weeks before my surgery and 5 weeks after ive healed from surgery.

Now you might have seen my post regarding me hoping to be peg free in 12 months! This is something I’ve wanted for for a long time and I’ve wished for and hoped for. Unfortunately realistically it may never happen I still have to rely on it for extra fluids and my medication at the very least, there are days that my mouth is so sore I can’t eat food so I need to top up with special drinks and formula. But I’m no longer pump feeding overnight which in itself is a huge milestone. Being hooked up to a pump overnight was not only and nuisance but it made my bed a hospital bed it made me feel like a patient.

I’ve been keeping pretty well recently I’ve been out of hospital most of the time with only a few little hiccups to do with my feeding tube and I had a bout of abdominal pain which we think was down to the feeling tube. So overall I think I’m getting stronger I feel stronger I’m even crafting making and sewing again now and I’ll pop a few pictures of the things I’ve made recently just show off.

The pendants have forget-me-not flowers in that have been dried in them, they are my absolute favourite.

Anyways I’m going to sign off for now ttfn

As always feel free to message me xx

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The expert patient


I think I’ve written about this previously,  but my GP actually called me this the other day. I was at the doctors, as I am almost weekly at the moment and my Doctor who I respect massively said “well it’s easier when you have an *expert patient*” now, I know why he said this but I can’t help feeling like I’m a nuisance to them, I hate the fact that the doctors and support staff recognise me and say hi Stephanie when I go in, the logical part of my brain knows that they are just being polite but the anxious overthinking part my brain feels as though they are fed up of seeing me, these feelings were made worse in the last couple of weeks let me fill you in.

So on the 3rd of January my peg tube fell out due to the balloon springing a leak. I went to Stoke Mandeville Hospital as I’m supposed to and had to get a new tube inserted. This time there was a problem the hole had started to close so I needed to have a RIG placed

**A radiologically Inserted gastrostomy is a technique whereby a narrow plastic tube is placed through the skin, directly into your stomach. Once in place the tube can be used to give you liquid feed directly into your stomach, to provide nutrition.**

 

As soon as I came round from the procedure I knew something wasn’t right I had pain unlike anything I’ve had before which turned out to be free fluid and air in the abdomen which of course got infected I ended up staying in hospital for almost 3 weeks. Even once home I felt that something wasn’t right and i was having temperatures and abdominal pain (upper left) .  I’ve been back and forth to the doctors for various antibiotics, which seemed to work for a while but then the pain and infection would rear its ugly head again. I’ve been back and forth to the hospital and we couldn’t find out what was going on, and why I wasn’t getting better!

On the 24th Feb I went in with massive temperatures which we couldn’t control at home. I was kept in for 24 hours for IV antibiotics and they also checked the placement of the Peg which was fine (as I had told them it was). On this admission something went wrong! As I was signing in at the reception of accident and emergency at Stoke Mandeville Hospital,  the woman behind the desk could not understand my surname and kept writing it wrong telling me I wasn’t on the computer,  so I wrote it down in capital letters clearly. She still got it wrong! which I simply cant understand (its not like it was rammed). it might not seem that important but it meant that the blood test results and the swabs that were taken were under a different name, and therefore were not checked.  This proved to be a real problem as they showed I had a extremely serious infection which needed treatment. I continued struggling on trying to convince myself this pain was in my head and that I should just man up.

So this week I had to see the duty doctor (GP) as the second or third (lost count) lot of antibiotics had stopped working and the pain was increasing AGAIN, she wanted to get me admitted but I begged to stay home, she agreed on the condition that I see my regular doc after the weekend (cue crazy voice thinking/saying things like *back again!* and I felt rather anxious) but I did agree to come and see Dr P.

Well Dr P took one look at me and knew I wasn’t good, he wanted me seen at the hospital so off I went.

The docs and nurses had 8 attempts at getting blood and after each failure they called a more senior person.  I was in the waiting room for 13 hours in total! 13!

Whilst there Dr P called and said you need to go and tell your doctor your swab results are back it’s MRSA! (in my peg stoma site infection centred on stomach wall its thought) Bloody marvellous that’s just what I wanted to hear!  

The problem was these results were under the misspelt name so didn’t show up on my arrival!

So I tell the doctor and things finally start happening, I’m told that I will need a  PICC line and I will need very strong antibiotics at which point I told them I was not staying hospital. There are several reason for this, the first being the children, it upsetting for them and disruptive and of course I miss them  on a more practical level we would need before and after school club to cover hubby’s working hours and we simply cannot afford this. Thankfully with the persuasive powers of a specialist nurse “L” they agreed to let me go in for IV antibiotics and come home in-between doses. this is obviously needed but if I am being 100% honest I’ve simply had enough! this isn’t normal I can’t help but to ask why? why is all this happening to me? of course I put on a front and pretend that I am fine with all this, but it underneath I’m not fine I’m struggling mentally and physically and practically. What I want is someone to come and scoop me up take control and deal with all my s*** because I feel like I want to run away, but that’s not gonna happen. I now have 2 medical devices “in” my body – my feeding tube and a PICC line, I know the PICC wont be there forever but its just another thing to make me feel ugly. I wish that I just got colds or sore throats but NO I get pneumonias and MRSA. Its exhausting and I genuinely feel alone in this – making friends is hard especially when you are as unreliable as me – not through choice – some days I’m just so tired that if I don’t have a nap I could fall asleep at the wheel on school run (not that I would drive if I felt that tired).

I’m going to come back to this tomorrow but for now it mega late and I need to be asleep