Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Top 5 celebs I'd like to have a Rootbeer with!!

The title is actually 'Top 5 celebs I'd like to have a beer with' but I'm teetotal, so I feel it's appropriate to amend it slightly.
What a great night it would be if I could round up my top five and take them to a lovely Devon pub for an evening. Who would you take?

Well, without a hesitation or second thought my number 1 would be, the glorious Dawn French. What an intelligent, funny and all round great person Dawn is. Invitation would be in the post pronto.


2nd would be Richard Armitage. He wouldn't even need to speak, just sit there and look smouldering. I'm sure he would have fabulous tales to tell about his various roles. I would ask him to say "Look back. Look back at me."


3rd Phillip Schofield who is lovely and would be a laugh too.


4th is Stephen Fry  for his all round intelligence and funny anecdotes.


5th is Miranda Hart who is another brilliant, funny and intelligent woman, who would be fun to spend time with.
I think all in all the evening would be a mix of laughter and lust. What Fun!!

Getting My Groove Back

I was spending some (far too much) time on Twitter today, when I saw the following Tweet:
 Sarah 


@ 
 I've commented on your  piece. Such a great idea . Loved your autumn post too - my fav time of year

I went onto the blog link Kate On Thin Ice to have a little looksee, and here I am, joining in the #groovingmums bloghop.

I feel somewhat too old to be joining in with all the lovely young mums, but, I am still a mum, and, I still have some of the same issues, and had most of the same issues when I too was a young mum.

Kate asks two questions to help along the way....

1. What song would be best to play a lot whilst attempting to get your groove back?

2. What can you do to make your body feel better this week?

Well, as for me. the music one has to be cheery and 'up', it wouldn't help me if it were a sad or sappy song, nor one that made me feel melancholy or emotional. So I choose an fairly old one.... Love Today by Mika.   On that note (pun intended) where is Mika these days? 

I tend to be an easy recluse and stay in alone too easily. It seems that all of my friends who I like to go out and spend time with are all working and so I can easily be alone for large chunks of time. While that's OK most of the time, and I do keep busy, it can lead to a feeling of isolation. I'm not great at getting out there and meeting people. I'm quite shy and have poor self esteem a lot of the time.
However, I can make my body feel better this week by going for a walk every day and getting out of the house.
I haven't eaten or drunk chocolate for over a year and that makes me feel very good about myself.
I do push myself out of my comfort zone sometimes with my business, and always feel much more positive afterwards.

Don't forget to join the bloghop if you'd like and Tweet about it too using #groovingmums

Have a great week. x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Health for all?

I consider myself to be a very lucky/blessed person on the whole. That's not to say I've had a charmed, rose petals strewn across my path, cartoon birds and animals coming in to do MY housework, life. No, far from it sometimes, but I have been fortunate to have three lovely healthy (for the most part), happy (for the most part) children.  They had the accidents, bumps, cuts and grazes, Chicken Pox, ear infections, tummy upsets, viruses, same as others. We were sometimes in and out of the Dr's surgery more often than I care to think about.
Matthew was born with a bladder infection and was in hospital at 10 days old and successfully treated for it. It never ever occurred to me that this was anything special, just the norm here....a person is sick, they go to Dr or hospital for treatment and that's that.
Not so for everyone on this planet, unfortunately. When I was in California for a year, I took Dan to get his vaccinations and while we were in the waiting room, a Mother and Grandmother came in with a very tiny baby. They spoke in Spanish to the receptionist and asked for the baby to be seen by a Dr. They were told they had the wrong insurance and should go elsewhere. They were visibly upset, and a bit bewildered as they left the office. The Grandmother soon returned, and, crying and pleading asked for someone to please see the baby. I felt sickened, truly awful and ashamed that this was happening. I wished I had brought cash with me instead of my one cheque folded up and already made out for the sum of $65.00 for Dan's treatment. I would have gladly given them the money to have that poor little child looked at.
Right there in that office, I quite hated the American 'health' system. I told Dan that "This would never happen in England. It just wouldn't."
I came home to England with a whole new appreciation for our health system, where anyone gets treated according to need and not according to insurance of the 'right' kind. I'm proud to belong to a caring society like ours, no matter the critisism it sometimes gets.
But what about the vast amount of children who are in impoverished circumstances around the world?
Save the Children are tackling this very issue, but governments can do more to aid them in this.

1. Please Sign The Petition We can help in such a simple way.

2. If you blog, write 100 words about what healthcare or health workers mean to you. Link up with Mummy from the heart  link to a number of other bloggers, and encourage them to do the same.

3. Tweet about it, Facebook it, Google+ it and talk to people to get more supporters.

I'm passing the baton to:
CraftyMama
MilesMusings



Saturday, 17 September 2011

Pride and Prejudice

I, like many others, am completely in awe of Jane Austen and her wonderful books. My favourite is Pride and Prejudice with the gorgeous hero Fitzwilliam Darcy. Not even the awful name of Fitzwilliam can put a dampner on my feelings for Darcy.
What is it about Darcy which makes so very many women go all unneccessary?
Cherry Potter wrote in the  Guardian newspaper 'Why do women fall for Mr Darcy' http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2004/sep/29/books.gender
Lady T makes an entertaining and intelligent insight into why women fall for Mr Darcy here.... http://funnyfeminist.com/2011/03/28/the-real-reason-women-love-mr-darcy/
For me it's a mixture of the confident man wrestling with the tortured soul, the smouldering looks which hide the desperate desires, the restraint of feelings for propriety, the language, and the costume. I don't know what it is, but I do love those high boots!!



I love the films too, with the Kiera Knightly/Matthew McFadyn coming in at 2nd to the BBC version with Jennifer Ehle/Colin Firth who are the best Elizabeth and Darcy, in my opinion.

Colin Firth is the finest Darcy of them all.

Just as enchanting is the Lost in Austen [DVD] with Jemima Rooper as a thoroughly modern heroine and Elliot Cowan as a smouldering Darcy. Jemima throws a new and sometimes hilarious spin on the original.
A bit more about it here...



I would just love to read the book from the perspective of Darcy, much the same as the Author Stephanie Meyer has begun with Midnight Sun, retelling the Twilight novel through Edward's perspective.
Perhaps someone will take up the challenge and produce a fine fanfiic.

Today I came across the novels by Victoria Connelly The Perfect Hero A Weekend With Mr Darcy Dreaming of Mr. Darcy which have great reviews, so I will be getting my own copies as soon as possible.

It is completely wonderful to be whisked away from everyday life, and immersed into fantasy where there are such men as Darcy to behold. books are just the best.

The annual Jane Austen Festival is something which I would love to go to, and will set as a goal for 2012.
More details here: http://www.janeausten.co.uk/jane-austen-festival/

How about making a Regency gown and joining in the fun?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Man drawer!

Have you seen Michael McIntyre's sketch on 'the man drawer'?

Just in case you've never seen it.

I just wondered if my husband is a record breaker for the man drawer, because he has 1 large man drawer, 1 small man drawer, a filing cabinet with a man drawer, a part of the garage which is a man drawer, part of his workshop which is a man drawer, and now.....He's just purchase two, yes two small sheds which will also be man drawers!

And it's always the same when he needs a gadget, gizmo, lead or switch or something.....he spends a day trying to find the blasted thingamabob, and ends up having to go out and buy a new one anyway!

I have to try and clear all the junk by stealth, because dear hubby is tremendously possessive over the most obscure things. He seemingly can't bear to part with anything.

How can I help to rehabilitate my dear heart to clear his drawers and not be a hoarder? Ha Ha Ha that'll be the day!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Heartache and Hindsight

Hindsight really is a wonderful thing!  Oh, how I'd have done things differently if I could have just known then what I know now. Let me share the painful experience I had yesterday...
Paul and I took Matt to Exeter to collect his exam results. we were nervously excited in anticipation of his getting good grades which would enable him to achieve his goal, which was to gain entry into the 6th Form of Torbay Boys Grammer school.
He opened the letter in the back of our car, Paul and I both watching intently. He began to read, trying to keep a poker face, but, then his facial expression was unmistakable. Something was wrong! "What the?" He exclaimed, and I looked at the letter....Maths A, Science AB, French C, Geography D, English literature E, English language E, History F. Oh My Goodness! How can he have E's for English?? History I expected because he disliked the syllabus so much and didn't want to 'waste valuable revision time on it'.  But English? No, this couldn't be right. He had a B in his mocks, and was confident that he had improved on this grade. He felt that the exams had gone really well. He read books voraciously and loves writing, so what on earth can have happened?

We drove back to Torquay, where he had to go and report his grades to the staff there. I waited for him in the car, feeling sick to my stomach about the whole thing.
While I was waiting, a boy got into a car beside me, and announced to his parents that he had 5 A*, 5 A and a B. His parents immediately launched into a telling off for this poor guy. I heard him say, "I revised. You know I revised..."   I put my windows up, so I couldn't hear any more. I felt sorry for that kid....I felt sorry for my kid.
Matt came back, got into the back of the car, and said, "No". I looked at his dear face, trying desperately not to crumple into tears.  We were supposed to be going to see Gwen next, to see how she is faring with her chemo. I knew Emily would also be at home, and she would have done really well in her exams (and well deserved too), which would be hard for Matt to deal with because he was so crushed about his own.
"Shall we go home?" I asked.  He nodded his head, tears brimming in his eyes.
What do you say in that situation?  You can't make it easier, you can't soften the blow. I tried to think about what we could do, and to think about plan B, C or D.
Bless him, he went straight to his room and didn't want to talk. He thanked me for taking him, and waiting for him, then gave me a kiss on my cheek. I had a lump in my throat, trying to keep the tears down, myself.
I sent a text to family members telling them the distressing news. All of them were sweet and supportive.
I searched the internet for OU courses which had originally been Matt's plan B. There were a couple of maths courses which he could do, starting in September and October.  I also looked at Exeter College, at the International Baccalaureate in particular, which is what he'd have been doing at TBGS if he'd have gotten in.
NO, he couldn't do this because English C or above is required. I looked at A Levels.....same thing! It hit me then, that this is a HUGE deal. With such a poor English grade he is severely limited in what to do next.
I called the school where Matt sat his exams, and requested the English papers be remarked (cost of £45.00 each) and for the scripts to be returned (cost of £12.00 each) so that we can see what happened. The remark will take about 10 days.
I emailed the Principal of his school Interhigh.co.uk explaining what had happened, and asking if it was possible for the mock exams to have been marked too generously? Could it have given us a wildly distorted idea of Matt's true level?
The Principal, Paul Daniell rang me and confirmed that the mocks had been marked, if anything, a little strictly.  He was pleased that I'd asked for a remark, and the scripts. He offered to speak to any college to give them a character reference, and to confirm Matt's level of work and achievements.
I went into Matt's room and told him what I'd done, which he was glad of. I asked him to phone Exeter College and speak with them, and explain what had happened, and ask if there's any chance they would accept him on level 3 courses despite the English result.  He did so, spoke with a lovely lady called Anna who said that his exam portfolio was very unusual, and she'd confer with some colleagues and call him back.
Meanwhile, Matt ignored his mobile phone and all the texts which came in, and avoided Facebook.
I spoke with Paul, with Chrissy, with Dan, with Andy and with Gwen. Everyone was so lovely, we all care so much about Matt, and want to help him go forward.

I spent a good long while thinking about choices which had taken us to this point. Choices which I believed strongly at the time were the right ones for Matt, but which now, I questioned.
Matt had been bullied in his previous school. It was clear that the school were not going to effectively deal with the situation, and meantime, our son's health and confidence and self esteem was suffering. We took the decision to remove him from school and home educate him. There were supporters and disagree'rs in the family but we felt that we were absolutely right to home educate.
A while after that we enrolled Matt in an online school where he'd have lessons each day. This worked very well for us, and Matt thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. He was entered for  IGCSE exams (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) through Edexcel which are linear exams taken at the end of the two year course. Compare that to the modular exams which others take, where they study a module, take an exam at the end of that module and can retake if necessary and then submit the best of the two towards the final result.
I now questioned this whole decision because my lovely son who has worked so hard, but has not achieved what he wanted and was capable of, now has to modify everything because of that. I feel that I have failed him. I feel that I should have kept him in a school, should have been made of sterner stuff, and should have thundered and railed upon the school to sort that damned bully situation out. My goodness to read their prospectus and anti bullying statement makes me furious now, but I SHOULD HAVE BEEN A THORN IN THEIR SIDE making them live up to what are essentially empty vacuous words.

Still, that's all if's and buts. and it doesn't change the now.

Anna, true to her word, did call back and encouraged Matt to apply online for Exeter College, adding an email supporting statement to it, and hopefully he'll get an interview where they can evaluate and decide. He will probably resit the English exams in January if the remark comes back unchanged.  We hope that he will be accepted, and can continue towards his ultimate goal which is to attend Cambridge University reading Maths.
Matt applied late last night just as he was advised. He then gave me a hug and quietly said "Goodnight mum, from your retarded, thick son." Then he went to bed.
Heartbroken, I cried.

Someone once said 'As a mother, you are only as happy as your saddest child.' I felt that to be true last night.

My niece did very well and got 9A* and 3A's  very warm congrats to her. x

I'll update as to what happens, when it happens.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

OXO and Walton Family Musings.

When I was a little girl there were two families I desperately  wanted to be part of.
First: The Waltons. I loved the dependable, kindly wise Daddy Walton. Oh how I wanted him to be my daddy! I also loved Livvy, nurturing, teaching, gentle, fair and firm Mummy Walton. Oh how I wanted her to be my mummy! I wanted to sit at that wooden kitchen table and be a part of the mealtime conversations, and I dreamed of calling out "Night John Boy".....et al.
Actually I can see that there could be awkwardness if I were in the family because, young as I was - I had a mighty crush on John Boy. He was kindly, good and caring, he said "Darlin'" in such an awesome exotic accented way (to a 10 year old, anyway). He would have written waaaaay cool love letters to me....


Second: The Oxo Family with the wonderful, quietly confident Linda Bellingham, cooking something deliciously mouthwatering.
I so very much wanted to be like her. The attractive mum, bringing something marvelous to the dinner table, the awesome super-goddess type, adored by her husband, watching her previously noisy family tuck into the meal in rapturous silence.

My own married experiences bear little resemblance to the two ideals I had in my mind. I learned very quickly that the ONLY way to have such successful family meals is to have a script and a paid actor/actress family. Real life was more, much more, what is the word? Barbaric? Hopeless? Crushingly dispiriting? Yes all those will do quite nicely.
I felt more like poor Ria from the show Butterflies....
Do you remember her cooking disasters, and the hopeless mealtimes?

Mealtimes with little children is often like feeding time at the zoo, with tantrums, tears, spillages, pouting, throwing of food - and that's just me!! No, seriously though, it can try the very best of us.
Then, it seemed that when the kids were good, my husband would do or say something to upset one or both or everybody! He had a knack for it, which, actually he is still able to do with our grown up children and grandchildren too. *Sighs* ah well.

One of my children would call pretty much everything I cooked 'gunge' and refuse to eat it. So he grew up on cereals and Marmite sandwiches! This is the same child who would eat anything put in front of him at his friend's house.

Two of my children have a strong dislike for potatoes in any form! How weird are they?! That was a challenge to say the least. And the pitiful faces which I beheld as they painstakingly poked and picked out any sign of onion in a meal.
I once served up a little salad on each child's plate along with the main dish, to which one of their friends looked up at me and said, "I don't eat flowers." He was a turkey drummers and oven chips kid, which is fine.

I persevere as much as I can, because I still want to be like Livvy and Linda, and add to that Nigella for good measure. Sometimes it's been successful and it has filled me with joy, and sometimes it's been a disaster and it's filled me with despair.
Now I have grown up married children who enjoy most of what I cook with the enthusiasm of starved athletes, especially my son in law, who really loves his food. I also have a teenager who will eat mostly anything (bar the potatoes) and lots of it, because he's always hungry. It's my grandchildren who follow in their parents footsteps, causing chaos, not liking stuff and spilling stuff.
But that's just how it is.....it will end, and it will happen to them too.

Friday, 19 August 2011

What's In My Handbag?

Do you remember how much fun it was as a little girl to turf out all the contents of your mum/nan/auntie's handbag and have a good old rummage around?
I found it very irritating when Chrissy would do this to my handbag and wind my lipstick right up into the lid squishing it everywhere.
or did you have fun as a little girl filling your own little handbag with all manner of borrowed stuff to feel grown up? My little grandaughter reminded me of this a few days ago when she had, amongst other things, my engagement ring and a variety of utensils from the kitchen cupboard.

Britmums are giving us all the chance to have a little nose into what others are carrying in their handbags, as well as showing what is in our own.

I'm currently using a rather large handbag (I'd really like one that is huge inside and teeny outside, just like the one Hermione Granger uses in the final Harry Potter movie) and there's quite a lot in it....
From left to right: Allways pad, purse, knitting, baggu bag, handcream, mobile phone in case, sunglasses,empty crisp packet, keys, Trago mills receipt, button in plastic bag, two pens, lipstick, safety pin, Utility Warehouse business cards.

Name: Deb
Number of children: 3
Blog: http://www.whatdebloves.blogspot.com
Also known as @DevonDeb
Photograph taken 19th August 2011

I usually have a hairbrush and my Filofax in there too, but not today for some reason.

You can nose around other peoples handbags at the What's in your handbag site.


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Our Family Holiday 2011 Duinrell, Netherlands.

I'm a luxury hotel kinda Gal if truth be told!  However, this year we were on a tight budget for various reasons and agreed to join our daughter Chrissy and her family on a camping holiday. Camping? Me? Oh how we laughed! Well, I didn't laugh, but Paul and Matt laughed plenty.

My dad and stepmum have recently bought a 10 year old Fiat 590RL motorhome which they were generous in offering to us for a week.


So hohoho off we go.....we packed up the motorhome with the stuff we felt we'd need, and on Friday 29th July we headed to Dover for our Seafrance ferry crossing.
We thought (naively as it turned out) that allowing eight and a half hours to travel from Newton Abbot in Devon to Dover was plenty. BUT, as we hit the first hill, we discovered that we could barely do 30mph!! This was brutally brought home to us as we passed a double decker bus at the bottom of the hill as it pulled in to let passengers off or on, and then as we approached the top third of the hill the bus overtook us! This was not a good moment in our opinion, and we began to worry that we hadn't left ourselves enough time to get there. I have to say that we are used to being in the outside lane in our car, comfortably passing whatever we want to pass,  so finding that we could only reasonably stay in the slow lane only venturing out to overtake, say, a hearse or pony & cart, on the flat or downhill, was, to say the least, a shock for my husband.
We re-named the motorhome from FreeSpirit to this.......
Yes, snail! No offense mean't to dad or Carol, but it was how we felt.

2nd part of this serialized post will be here Friday 26th Aug.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Dieting And Self Esteem

I wanted to blog about my trials and successes regarding weight, but now that I sit to actually put it into words, I find a huge emotional struggle to pull out some parts of my life which are probably best buried deep and left alone. Maybe this will prove to be a valuable kind of therapy for me.

It all began when... at the age of seven, I went to live with my Nan, Step Grandad Reg, Auntie Pat & Uncle Malc, and my Grandad George. My brother Gary was just five at the time. We were both average sized little kids when we arrived, and in the spirit of kindness and I think feeling sorry for us, we were shown love in the form of food treats. This had a pretty immediate affect on both of us, and soon we were children struggling with all that obesity brings with it...bullying, mocking, low self esteem.

Nan was told by our family Doctor to put us both on a diet and so it began....
Unfortunately for Nan, her diligence in following the diet to the letter for us, was being undermined by our Auntie who would bring us comics to read and packets of sweets at bedtime. As I recall we loved bags of Revells and Galaxy Counters, and Maltesers.

Result? No weight loss at all, and rotten teeth. But dear reader, don't judge Auntie harshly because she genuinely wanted to be kind to us, and she was and is a generous giving person and this is how she shows love.

It wasn't until we were in our teens and Gary started to lose considerable weight (I tried on a pair of his new cords and they wouldn't go above the middle of my thighs! This motivated me to follow his example)and I joined in with him. He was following a diet sheet from the Doctor which was a pancreatic based one.

We were both successful, and I was a small size 10 by the time I was 15. I still remember the joy I felt when I tried on some new clothes and the assistant (in Richards clothes shop for those old enough to remember) said that what I was trying on was too loose, and brought me a size 10 to try. I could not believe it when it fitted.

It's a funny thing, but I never felt slim, I always knew that I was slim because of the size clothes I could wear, but when I looked in the mirror, I never ever saw it. Gary says he was the same.

Fast forward a few years and I'm married with a darling little daughter and the weight is going back on and my self esteem is declining. By the time I'm twenty four I'm a size 18 and have been dieting for five years. I tried the F Plan, Slimming World and weight watchers. I even went to a beauty salon and had some weight loss electric treatments. My self control was rubbish and so was my view of myself.
My husband was vocally critical about my weight and thought he was helping to motivate me. He believed he was supportive, but my view was that he had taken on the role of a strict parent. Unfortunately my self esteem diminished further, and my feelings for my husband were damaged and I felt terribly hurt and miserable in an ever downward spiral of self loathing. This lasted for about ten years. (I'm very happy to report that my husband ceased to do this and has been supportive in ways that help me since then.)

Over the many years I have tried The Cambridge Diet, The cabbage soup diet, Lipotrim fairly expensive from the doctor and it made me have palpitations and feel terribly ill. I paid for diet pills to reduce my appetite, went to Rosemary Conley diet club, went back to slimming world, tried calorie counting, went back to weight watchers, tried Slim Fast, tried Limmits biscuits, tried food combining.

The lowest point for me was when I was age 38 and a size 22/24. It was Christmas eve and I stayed in the ladies loos after the Christmas carol service because I didn't have the confidence to speak with people. Truth is I felt like I'd rather not exist, than be like I was anymore.

So in January 2001 I went to St Anthony's hospital in London to have a Swedish Gastric Band fitted by the surgeon Alberic Fiennes. I had been through the tests, the interview and the Psychiatrist evaluation to ensure I'd be ok with the surgery. It cost somewhere in the region of £6,ooo.oo which we were able to find because we had sold our home and moved into a rental house.
I didn't really care whether I died on the operating table, I was so miserably wretched to be me. Apart from my husband, no one else knew anything about it. I was fearful of their reaction to the fact that I had resorted to surgery, and couldn't lose weight on my own.

See www.surreyweightlosssurgery.org.uk for more information on the surgery.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adjustable_gastric_band for information on how the band works.

Gastric banding was fabulous for me for quite a while, and it was great to really, consistently lose weight and buy clothes in smaller sizes. I reached a size 12 comfortably and was so happy to be able to buy clothes anywhere. I felt that I'd never ever go into an Evans shop again!
There is a downside though. As the weight comes off I had to return to London for Mr Fiennes to fill the band with fluid thus tightening it and reducing what I could eat again. I still was not learning to eat properly, my diet was still pretty shocking, I lived on chicken soup, Wotsits and chocolate buttons....anything which dissolved into nothing and was easy to bypass the band.
With the band, you have to chew everything to virtually nothing, because if you swallow a small lump of anything, it feels like you've swallowed a golf ball. It hurts and it would take me between 30-60 minutes of feeling painfully sick, before it would all come back up. If I felt stressed at all, the band would seem to feel tighter and I couldn't eat at all, or at least very very tiny amount.
Reflux became an increasing problem, which would be at it's worst at night. I would wake up spluttering and coughing because foul acid had come up my throat and into my lungs. Gaviscon was always in reach and I slept propped up on pillows more and more.
Eating out was virtually impossible, as was eating with friends because I was embarrassed at how long it took me to eat, and how little I could manage. I know that one family in particular was terribly offended because I ate so little of their meal.
I didn't like the loose skin I felt I had on my upper arms and on the front of my thighs. I became quite self conscious of this. I also didn't like my face, somehow it didn't feel like it was me.
Lastly, my hair was in poor condition for the first time in my life.

What I did love was being able to wear clothes every day which I knew were going to fit and not feel tight. I loved feeling 'normal' and of being confident that I could fit into any chair without my hips wedging in uncomfortably.
I enjoyed walking and my stamina was much better.

I thought I knew better than Mr Fiennes, and I didn't go for my regular check up because I felt it was too expensive for the quick 10 minute appointment, which took me over 4 hours of travelling to get to, and then the same back again. I hadn't seen him for about 9 months.

I was having trouble with the band feeling very restrictive for several weeks, and was not able to get much food down at all. Then one Friday night I couldn't even get saliva down. I knew I was in trouble because I would vomit roughly every two hours and bring back all the saliva.
I stayed up all night, unable to sleep because of it.
Eventually on Saturday morning I went to the A&E department of Torbay Hospital for help. I thought if I explained exactly what the problem was, they would remove some of the fluid from the band and I would be alright again.
How wrong I was!
I had a card with me issued by Mr Fiennes which explained what to do if certain symptoms appeared. I was supposed to call St Anthony's immediately, but as I said, I thought Torbay hospital would do.
I gave the card to the nurse and the Doctor as I explained the problem. Neither bothered to read it. I explained that the band had for some reason tightened completely and that nothing was able to get through, it just pooled in the 'pouch' above the the band and then every two hours came back up.
I was prescribed an anti sickness injection!
Luckily for me, the nurse who came to administer it was my nephew's girlfriend's mum, and so she knew me. I explained it all to her and she told me I didn't have to have the injection. I explained to her that it would be useless anyway because I wasn't being sick, as such.
Eventually, after seeing several doctors, none of whom seemed to understand even though I tried to explain, I was informed that there was nothing they could do for me, but that I would be put on a drip and on Monday I could travel to London to see my surgeon.
I was terrified. I knew I would not be alive on Monday. THIS WILL KILL ME! I didn't know what to do. I was alone in the hospital, feeling extremely vulnerable. I asked a nurse if I could possibly use the phone and I did what I should have done in the first place...I called St Anthony's and explained it all.
Mr Fiennes phoned back and was a complete hero. He saved my life, no word of exaggeration. He demanded to speak with the Consultant, and from my bed I could hear the argument going on. Mr Shrinivas didn't want to perform the procedure....Mr Fiennes demanding that he must because I would not make it otherwise.
One of the nurses came to tell me that the doctor was trying to arrange an ambulance to take me to London for Mr Fiennes to operate.
Once again Mr Fiennes refused, impressing on the Doctor the urgency of him performing the procedure. I knew that my life was in peril at this point.

Eventually the consultant agreed to help me. I was asked to explain how the Huber needle was to be inserted to withdraw the fluid. There was a group of five or so trainee doctors around me as well as I explained how Mr Fiennes did this. The Doctor tried several times, but no fluid came out.
He went back to consult on the phone with Mr Fiennes.

It was then explained to me that this procedure would be tried again in an operating theatre where they could access an x-ray machine to show them if they were in the correct place. If this didn't work, then I would be given a general anaesthetic and the band would be removed laparoscipally if possible, and by general surgery if not. risks and 'what if's' were discussed and I went to theatre feeling very scared with a real sense of "I might not make it through this".
I expressed my concern to the anaesthetist that the saliva pooling in 'the pouch' above my stomach would likely come back up once I was unconscious, but was told not to worry, I was in safe hands.

It is truly terrifying to be wheeled into an operating theatre whilst conscious!
I could hear my heartbeat increasing because of my nerves. I could hear the Doctor on the phone to Mr Fiennes....it seemed that he was going to talk the Doctor through this.
Procedure was repeated as before but unsuccessful again.

I was given general anaesthetic. My last thoughts were of my beloved children *Blackness*

I came around coughing and having my back slapped whilst on my left side. Voices saying that I'd vomited and it had gone into my lungs, so was brought around quickly to cough it out. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought I TOLD YOU!

General anaesthetic given again. *Blackness*

I woke up in ICU and was told that the operation had gone well, the band was removed laparoscipally and I was OK. I felt such a wave of relief and gratitude. Grateful to be alive, and grateful for the band to have been removed from my body. Grateful that I hadn't suffered any lasting damage.

I made a solemn promise to God and myself to improve my self esteem and my treatment of myself and never ever diet like I had in the past.

The gastric band and my negligence in seeing Mr Fiennes nearly cost me my life.

I know that had I not phoned Mr Fiennes that day, I would have died. He saved my life, as did the consultant who eventually performed the operation.

I have spent the years since trying to be gentle with myself, being grateful for more time on earth with my family, and reminding myself that I am more than just my body.
I remind myself as often as I can that I am a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, who loves me, and I love Him.

I wish I had spent the money on self esteem therapy rather than surgery in the first place.

I now eat high fibre, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, wholewheat bread, lots of veg and fruit and I drink lots of water (Nikken AquaPur is our filter of choice).

 So, how am I now?  Well, I'm still very overweight and when I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window for example, my immediate thought is of how much I don't like what I see. I have to work hard at reigning in the negative thoughts. I don't have 'ugly days' like before where I wouldn't want to go out and be around people. I don't loathe what I see in the mirror, but I don't love it either.
I haven't eaten chocolate in any shape or form since September 2010 and that is a huge accomplishment for me.
The weight is starting to come off, and I'm happy about that, but not desperate. I never weigh myself, I rely on how my clothes feel.

My self esteem is a work in progress and I have a long way to go still.
I am grateful for a husband who loves me whatever shape or size I am, and children who love me irrespective too.

I cringe when I see or hear the cruel and hurtful things people say about obese or overweight people. I worked in an office a couple of years ago and one woman kept saying things like "Why don't they get their ******* faces out of the trough?"  And I often wondered why she felt the need to vocalise it so often in my presence. I just put her in my negative, ignorant, stupid people, file!!

This is me when I was losing the weight with the gastric band fitted.

This is me today.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Family links

It seems perfectly proper for me to begin with a post about some of the loves of my life, and so I present my lovely Grandkids to you….

Butter wouldn’t melt!

My days are simply joyous when I can spend them with my family and particularly these lovely little rascals. Lucy, Joseph & Sammy live a 5-6 hour drive from me, so time with them is rare and very precious. I’m privileged to look after Mia three days a week whilst Mummy works, which has allowed me to build up a lovely bond with her.

It’s amusing how Chrissy’s children are large and blonde, whilst Dan’s children will all be little and dark. I wonder who Matt will marry to give me a rainbow of Grandchildren.

I had a very close relationship with my Nan because at age seven I went to live with her, along with my little brother Gary who was five. Our parents divorced, Mum left and went to London to live, Dad remarried and pretty much didn’t want us around, however we were made to visit every Sunday.

Nan was a truly remarkable woman, she was fifty seven years old when we went to live there, working three jobs and the most widely travelled person I know. She was and still is such a strong role model for me even though she passed away in 1987. I’m still amazed at how she would go to work early in the morning, then come home and get us up and ready for school, returning to work once we left, and then doing late night cleaning after we were in bed in the evening. She continued to do this for quite a while, then dropped to two jobs because she felt it was important for somebody to be home during the day and she didn’t like the idea of children ever being in the home on their own.

Here is a photo of my beloved Nan.


My wedding day Sept 1982

Even now, I can’t see a picture of her without feeling a tremendous tug of grief deep within me for not having her around. She wasn’t one to show affection with hugs or kisses, but I always knew she loved me and my brother. She could be a tigress in protecting us when it was necessary.

So, I want to be a fab Grandma to my little lovelies, and be a great example to them too. Of course it’s different because they are not likely to live with me long term, but nevertheless I hope they will love their Grandma like I love my Nan. I’ve a lot to live up to.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A new beginning

I decided on a whim, to delete all the previous posts and completely start again with my blog. I want it to be more personal and creative and also to show my faith as well, which I usually say virtually nothing about. I feel that a change is happening within me and I'm going to just go for it.
Paul, Matt and I  spent yesterday at The Spa Hotel, Tunbridge Wells. It's a gorgeous hotel with beautiful grounds and friendly staff. Paul and I were there for some business training, hosted by Keith Bassi, Kenny Liggett and Fran, which was great, we thoroughly enjoyed it. It's always a joy to meet with happy, positive like minded people.
Matt lay in the shade of a huge tree enjoying the new book I had given him - it's the 4th in the Tunnels series. It was incredibly hot even in the shade, which is so unusual for this country.
Once our training was over, we travelled to Lingfield and stayed overnight in the Temple accommodation centre. I love it when we get time to spend together, it is so precious, making valuable happy memories.

This morning Paul and I had the privilege to spend some time working in the Temple, giving service to the Lord whom we love.
 I had a little time to sit quietly and give heartfelt thanks again for prayers answered in that Gwen's cancer has not spread from the bowel. I continue to pray for Gwen's complete recovery and of course, successful surgery very soon.  I also gave some deep thoughts to my parenting and how to best help each of my children, and how to be a better example to them. It was a good time for me.

We had lunch together with Matt, then headed home. It's always great to have time away, but it is also a happy experience to return to our little home. My heart always feels happy when I see the Devon sign and I know we are once again in our beautiful county.

Paul had an appointment to see a potential customer of utility Warehouse this evening, which is encouraging as we are building up a really good business and we can see that it will be relatively soon when he can hand his notice in at the Hospital, and leave a job which he dislikes.
As for me, my motivation for working really hard in the business is very different, but I'm very focused and determined to be successful like Shannon Griffin and Susan McKenzie and Lisa Ware, who are my Utility Warehouse businesswomen inspiration. They are awesome.

Whilst I've been working on my blog I've had the news on the TV and I just want to comment on the upcoming strike on Thursday by Teachers and Civil Servants.  I don't agree with striking on the issue of the pension reforms which the Tory government is having to make. The strikes and violence in Greece is having a very negative effect on their country as their government also needs to implement austerity measures to try and recover their country financially.
It's quite right and fair that the public sector workers should be treated the same as private workers. Equality is important. I just don't understand the strike attitude at all, and my feeling is that they should be grateful they have a job, or they should go and find something else. I do not have patience with the ridiculous, short sighted, selfish attitude. Look at the bigger picture.