Monday, 18 August 2014

What to do with my time now?! --> New look blog!

Firstly, I hope you like the new look to my blog.. in a bid to do something more interesting with it, I gave it a bit of a revamp, new background and colour scheme etc. I'd love to be able to design it all myself from scratch and not use the standard templates etc, but I know my limits!! Also, I get distracted (and bored) very quickly so I stuck to just these changes for now so something actually got done!

So since the wedding and honeymoon, I've felt a little like I have no purpose... I had so much going on in the run up to the wedding.. with post op recovery, wedding planning, honeymoon planning and moving house.. now everything just feels kind of flat! I'm feeling SOOO much better health-wise that when I'm just sitting around the house 'taking it easy' I'm bored very quickly and feel I should be doing something more worthwhile.

Mid June I had a clinic which was also a bronch/biopsy day. Clinic went well and I was taken over to the ward to be prepped for the bronch. As normal it wasn't a guarantee thatit would proceed to biopsy, but I just kind of felt that this time, I was going to be staying over night. I had a selection of sweeties and tv/films on the hudl and was ready for a night in Pappy. I went down to the 'bronch room' and had to wait a little while for the previous person to finish up. There was an upset girl talking on the phone just to my side, and without trying to listen in, I found out she was a fellow CFer who had had a bad clinic and was facing the prospect of having an admission, which was obviously a surprise to her... once she was finished on the phone I just felt I had to try to console her, and we got talking. By the time I was called through for my bronch she'd stopped crying/swearing and I hope I reassured her a little. She at least took my mind off the upcoming bronch (I didn't feel nearly so anxious as I had done previously, but this distraction really helped!) All went well, and once I'd recovered back in my room I found out they had done the biopsy so I was staying for the next 24 hours for monitoring until the results came back. The following afternoon I got the news that the biopsy was all good, with no signs at present of rejection, and the infection that has been lingering in my right lung, is still present, but looking far better than the last time they went in. All in all, very encouraging and it led to them stopping 2 lots of nebs and then making a plan for reducing other meds bit by bit. Woop! During this time with the team, I asked about getting information about my donor... I kind of felt like I got put off somewhat on this occasion, so I thought I'd leave it and try again at the next clinic!!

The end of June I took mum out for an early  birthday treat... we went to Chantry Park in Ipswich for a 'boyband' fest. Mostly for Backstreet Boys, but there was also 5ive, Scouting For Girls, McBusted, Diversity and some young American group who were pretty shite and very forgettable! We had a super fantastic day. It started off a little on the damp side and we spent the first few hours trying to huddle under the umbrella and cover up with the blanket as much as possible... by mid afternoon (around the time that 5ive were finishing up their set) the sun started to break through... and by the time that Backstreet came on to do their 45 minutes or so all clouds had departed, the sun was out, and raincoats, jackets, brollies etc were all discarded and we could have fun in the sun with our boys! It was awesome to see them performing so close (we were in the gold circle, only a few rows of people back from the stage) and as a lot of people were there for McBusted, we had a lot more space to sing and dance during BSB as they took that time to go get food or drink etc. All in all a fabulous day... just made us want to go on the BSB Cruise even more :(

The following weekend Glen and I went to Northampton for his birthday flight simulator experience... his birthday is September, and this was LAST year's present because he was rubbish and hadn't got round to booking it, then it got cancelled and ended up being in July. The drive there was simple and pain free.. We arrived super early though so sat in the car eating our sandwiches and generally killing time. When it eventually got to a suitable time to turn up, we went in. The reception area was decked out like an airline lounge with the desk made to look like cabin furniture etc, cool if you're a sad plane geek like me! Glen got talked through his introduction about what was to happen, and they decided what 'routes' he would be flying. Then we were taken through to the simulator. It was really cool and made to look like an actual cockpit. I sat behind the 'captains' seat and was able to watch everything throughout. Although I was obviously interested in how Glen did with taking off, navigating and then landing, I couldn't help but be nosy and spent a lot of time looking out the 'windows' at the scenery and everything around... Yes I'm a sad plane geek! I admit it :)

Having got our new house finally ours, the next job came furnishing. So having ordered stuff we eventually got it delivered... Only to find that 2 of 3 units were either damaged or wrong (and this was just the bedroom, not counting the stuff for dining room!) Long story short, we are due to get the last item for our bedroom next Tuesday then hopefully we can finally have a proper bedroom! I have enjoyed the flat pack building... I find it like a more physical jigsaw which is cool! Although I do get annoyed when packs don't include something pivotal... If this wasn't the case we would have had our over-bed unit sorted at least!

Glen and Bella having cuddles
So, back to the not knowing what to do with my time/being bored... Since we move we've been debating whether we should get a new furry baby... After honeymoon I started frequenting doggy rescue websites (and even physically went to a couple) After visiting to get one dog called Stella (a mongrel) with Judy, we realised that going to a general rescue kennel wasn't the best way of dealing Judy with the prospect of a new friend... so we re-planned. I went with mum to pick up her greyhound from the kennels after her holiday and asked if I could look at their ones needing homes that matched our thoughts on what Judy might like. I met 2, a boy and a girl, but fell for this lovely little girl called Keeley. I took a picture and sent it to Glen, then we went home to think on it. The following weekend we took Judy (and Glen) to meet Keeley and hey presto, we decided to get her. I waited until the end of the following week to bring her home as I knew I'd be out a couple days that week and it wouldn't be fair to expect a new dog in a new place to behave all day being left. The following Friday, mum came with me and we picked up our new furry baby. We renamed her Bella as neither of us liked Keeley, and she didn't respond to it. She seems to be used to Bella now, but the recall is quite difficult to drum into her. We had a few teething problems, mostly her crying through the night, and Judy not liking having to share her house and humans! We're getting there slowly, and most importantly, we haven't had any fights between the girls and we're generally getting to sleep through the night now! I'm getting to take lots of lovely long walks with 2 beautiful girlies now... although Bella isn't used to such long ones and she struggles sometimes to keep up with Judy and I!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Busy Few months... pt 3

First off... I've surpassed 2000 blog views now... thank you to everyone who has read my ramblings! I didn't honestly think that all my crud would be interesting to ... well anyone! :D

So, obviously I'm now a married lady! 9th June was the magical day that I thought would never happen... both through the groom's reluctance to actually propose, and also through ill health! When we set the date back in January, I was on oxygen 24/7 and wasn't even on the transplant list so I assumed my day would be ruled by my medication and rest periods. Little did any of us know that the plans being made for a small/light dress, factoring in rest time for me between key things and trying to source/make something pretty to 'hide' my oxygen canister and tubing weren't going to be needed.

After my transplant, (as already explained) I changed my dress due to being able to wear a different style (and also heavier, fuller dress), but I was also able to actually plan a full day, including a proper first dance and not needing the consider rest periods. The day before my wedding, Mum and I went to stay in a B&B a few minutes away from my venue. We had my make-up/nails lady come meet us there for a bit of a girly afternoon sat in the pub lounge. We both had our nails done and discussed the plan for the following day with regard to make-up. After Cat had done our nails, mum and I went for a walk around Burnham-on-Crouch. It's a lovely little coastal town and the sun was shining so we had a really nice wander pre dinner to chill out. We returned to the B&B for a very leisurely and pleasant dinner. We were both fairly tired having had quite a full on weekend (the Saturday for me was about getting everything together- picking up the dresses, sorting out bags for taking away, including medications for both the wedding and the honeymoon, and generally trying not to freak out too much that something had been missed... and a trip to the local Medieval Oyster Fair- which mum was helping a friend out on a stall) By Sunday evening, we were both ready for sleep... luckily the beds were lovely and comfy and despite imagining being awake to all hours, I fell asleep pretty easily. 

Wedding day had arrived! We woke up and had a fabulous continental breakfast in the pub downstairs, then got our stuff ready to head to the venue. My best friend (and bridesmaid) arrived closely followed by the taxi to take us all down to the venue. We had a fun mini tetris like game trying to get everything and all of us into the taxi but we did it! When we arrived at the gates, they were locked, and my hairdresser was already sat there waiting. So I had to call into the venue 'hi it's Karen, the gates are locked'... 'sorry, who?' at this point inside I wailed... my wedding day, and the venue didn't know who I was!! Arrgg! So I repeated who it was, slowly and carefully reminded them 'I'm getting married here TODAY'... a few seconds of silence, then recognition dawned and she apologised and come flying down the driveway to open the gates!

The morning then passed in a bit of a flurry... mum, myself and Zoe were all down to have hair and make-up (of sorts) done so we had a nice rotation going on. My aunt also wanted her hair to be done by Heather after we'd all been sorted out. My cousin turned up as photographer, and accompanied by his wife they set off round the grounds taking lots of piccies before everything was set up. They also took photos of the getting ready process (as did Zoe between getting herself ready). The weather was a bit of a worry, as when we woke up, it was grey and murky... being coastal it was a strange 'almost' mist which was being forecast to turn into big storms and heavy rain by the evening... brilliant!! After about an hour of being at Creeksea, Zoe said she thought the sky was brightening and the clouds breaking up... so she then spent the rest of the time int he cottage running between the door on one side, and the windows on the other with a running commentary about what was happening in the sky!! By the time it got to ceremony time, it was brilliant blue sky, with an occasional fluffy white cloud, lovely warm (but not hot) sunshine... a perfect early summer day! About an hour before the ceremony it was time to get dressed, firstly I helped Zoe get herself sorted into her dress while mum got into her posh frock. Now both my key helpers were sorted they both helped me get into my dress. Somehow, between it coming out the dress carrier and getting onto me, it ended up with numerous soot like marks all over the skirt... this sent me into a proper bridezilla swear-off... my dress was ruined!!! Mum and Zoe zoomed into a frenzy of brushing at each individual mark and got 99% of them off, and my cousins wife said she couldn't notice anything... but I knew where each bit was. I took a bit of calming down from that!! I came out the room to see my dad, and the the registrar turned up for the official pre-ceremony chat. She chucked everyone out to talk with me privately to check I still wanted to go through with it (duh!) and to get all the official questions done for the certificate. Everything and everyone was ready to go! As we came out the cottage and got ourselves prepped to head to the orchard, a spied a few last minute stragglers running from their car, still tucking in shirts and tying ties... Once I found out later who this was it didn't surprise me in the slightest!! Zoe had a minor panic about the speed of walking in, and when she should go etc, but a quick talking to by my co-ordinator and we had things sussed. Numerous photos later, and we were good to go... cue the music!!

So I hadn't felt nervous at all in the build up... even when the music started I felt fine... until about halfway down the aisle it hit me 'omg mum, now I'm scared!' It was a lovely ceremony in the orchard, birds tweeting, sun shining, everyone either smiling or crying... and despite the fact that I was happy, there doesn't seem to be a photo of me not looking grumpy or terrified! At one point Glen had a spider crawling up his chest, it was quite distracting, and so i had to bat it away... but it could have easily looked like I was about to slap him round the face! Fortunately it would appear that no-one but Glen noticed this! And then we were married!! Woop!
Mr & Mrs Mills

Our Disney themed Cake

I won't bore you with all the ins and outs of the rest of the day. If you were there, you know how lovely it was, and if you weren't there... then you missed out! lol. Anyhoo... there was much dancing, much merriment, the food was glorious, music and company great. Had I of taken 18 months-2 years (the standard for wedding planning) I don't think it could have turned out any more perfect! The reception marquee looked understated, but awesome with my Disney balloons and simple homemade place settings, the wish tree table looked cool once people started adding their tags on, and the cake... OMG! It looked fabulous and tasted divine!!

The Wish Tree
The Reception Marquee

Table Decorations
 At the end of the evening we said our goodbyes to everyone, packed off the last few people into their taxis and then we retired to the bridal cottage where we very quickly both flaked after such a full on day! 'The morning after the day before' we were greeted to a fantastic breakfast spread laid on by magical silent fairies while we slept. We had tea, coffee, juice, toast, croissants, cereal, yogurts and all sorts of locally produced condiments etc... Glen not being much of a breakfast person had a little, but I tried my best to make it look like we'd had a fair bash at devouring the food! Once breakfast was done, we had to load up the car and safely get everything home again via a stop off at first the travel lodge to collect dads suit to return, and then the cake lady's house to return her cake stand. We eventually arrived home as man and wife (I didn't make Glen carry me over the threshold seeing as we've lived together for so long it felt a bit daft!) No rest for the wicked as we had to drop the dog and Glen's mum over to hers, finish getting the bags/car ready for our honeymoon adventure, do some food shopping AND go and be nosy at a house fire (and fire engine/ firemen) across the green!

Early Wednesday morning, we were up... Glen making sandwiches and me doing last minute nebs and medical packing. By 7.15am we were on our way to France! We got to the EuroTunnel port on time, to find that our train had been delayed by half hour, so had some time to kill in the terminal. After a while it was time to board the train and Glen had completed his part of the journey. Mid train journey we swapped places and it dawned on me that I would a) have to drive off the train, and then b) drive in FRANCE!! Needless to say, I managed both without incident... although every time we passed a lorry it made me shudder for some reason! We got a little lost at one point, but it only added about 10-15 minutes onto the total journey as Glen quickly jumped onto his phone with GPS to get us back on track... it could have gone horribly wrong if we hadn't done that so soon. 
Disneyland hotel
We arrived at the Disneyland Hotel, unpacked the stuff out the car and rocked up in reception travel worn and sprouting bags from all places to find a huge grand room, with giant staircase... I felt SOO out of place at that point in time! We checked in, found our room (very impressive) I did a quick neb and we were out into the parks! Our first point of call was to figure out where we could eat, as we figured we should eat and get an early(ish) night. This plan didn't work out as we couldn't find any of the restaurants we could use our meal plan in that had spaces. We eventually laid ourselves on the mercy of a lady in the Blue Lagoon restaurant (attached to Pirates of the Caribbean ride) and she got us a table booked for 9pm. So we had a couple of hours to kill so hit some rides. We returned about 8.30pm hoping to get in a bit earlier as we were both pretty knackered. We were seated a short while later, and had probably the best meal of our entire trip. Every thing we ate got a noise of enjoyment which surpassed the last... neither of us could pick a favourite part of that evening... the food, environment and staff were all stunning! We returned to our room and collapsed.
My Flaming Creme Brulee in Blue Lagoon
We spent most of our time doing LOTS of walking, lots of ride riding... and it would appear from the number of photos, lots of eating!! I ended up coming home the heaviest I had ever been  (since then I have surpassed that weight briefly before I realised I had to control my eating somewhat!) We tried different types of food, and enjoyed a variety of different experiences to what is available in America. Overall, the 'Magic Kingdom' park could have been mistaken for Florida (we had very Orlando-esque weather for the first few days) but the 'MGM/Hollywood Studios' park was seriously lacking in atmosphere. So much was lost by it being in French (I know it was in France, but the staff made little effort to play their roles or inject any enthusiasm into their jobs) We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, would probably return in the future, but not for so many days, and certainly NOT be there over a weekend! Although, our next Disney foray is definitely going to be a 'proper' honeymoon to Walt Disney World in Florida... We treated this as a mini-moon as it was planned pre transplant and several things would have been done differently if we hadn't thought we'd be travelling with oxygen and a very poorly Karen!!

Glen enjoying a doughnut
Me with the Spring Flowers display
Our journey home was pretty uneventful, although we were getting a bit squeaky with timings for reaching the terminal in time for our planned train... made ten times worse by the fact it took us over an hour to get from the first point of the terminal through both of the check-in booths... but which time we'd obviously missed not just our train, but the one after! Luckily we were allowed on the next one and only ended up back in England about 45 minutes later than planned! The rest of the journey was fine (although I was incredibly tired!) and we arrived home safe and sound!