Blog Header

Blog Header

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

July news from home and a health update

At the beginning of the month my brother was here and in amongst going off MoHoing, he helped a bit with the varnishing. All the windows had peeling varnish and the house was looking very tatty, as nothing got done last year. My brother is not scared of heights so was quite happy to varnish the highest lintel - K was happier to be down the bottom of the ladder because it bounces when he goes up it! Now most of the house has been done and looks a lot better.


In chicken news, poor Davie has Scaly Leg Mite. I haven't encountered that ailment before, so had to do some research to find treatment. It seems that dunking their legs in vegetable oil, or smearing them with vaseline, seems to be the most popular. Either literally suffocates the mites, but you have to keep up with the treatment because just like fleas, there's a breeding cycle of x amount of weeks (I forget right now and can't be bothered to go googling again!). Plus it's necessary to sprinkle insecticide powder or diatomaceous earth (the latter I don't have but mean to order some) around the shed/coop to kill any mites lurking there.


As for Randy, Sue who was his original breeder and who rehomed him after the fiasco here, has let me know that she has had to put him down. At first all seemed well and he seemed calm and happy with his new flock of hens. Then one day he attacked Sue for no reason whatsoever and caused her injury. She wasn't bothered about herself but feared for her old Labrador who wanders around amongst the chickens. It wasn't a good idea to breed from a cockered with aggressive tendencies either. So he's history now.

In butterfly news, I was really pleased to spot a Lulworth Skipper on the Verbena, as I've been watching my lavender for them, which is where I have usually spotted them. They are tiny and only the female has light coloured markings on her.


I found a Swallowtail cat on my bronze fennel and it's funny how they are much more yellow than those who munch dill. There is also a really daft caterpillar who has decided that the (umbrella) base to the bird feeder on the lawn is a good place to pupate. I wonder if it will be eaten by a bird, or will those danger colours work to protect it? Those colours won't still be there once it has pupated though. I'll keep you updated as I can see it out of the kitchen window!


The Chiffchaffs like the fennel too, and flit about after insects. I can watch them through the living room window as they can't see me unless I get too close.


In pond news, first of all, the moorhens have only been around sporadically. It's been two years since we had any nesting here. However recently the food we put down for the ducks by the beach was disappearing at a rate of knots and we were being shouted at by hungry ducks when we went outside! The mystery was solved, as after several times of seeing five 'somethings' gliding away into the undergrowth, and thinking they might have been juvenile moorhens, it seems we have Mrs Mallard and her four nearly full grown babies living here!!! This last week I have managed to see them a few times as they are getting a little braver, but it's amazing how five ducks can hide themselves so well on a pond as relatively small as mine.

There hasn't been a lot of dragonfly activity, but there have been tons of damselflies! I see several species of blue ones but can't ID them all unless I get reasonably close up photos. The ones below are White-legged Damselflies (Platycnemis pennipes) and they have been mating and ovipositing like crazy. Good, all the more damselflies in future years!



This bee was sleeping on a leaf on a plant in the pond.


In veg patch news, it continues to be a mix of complete overgrown mess and floral wonderment. And I have some potatoes! There are three plants which must have come from tiny seed potatoes that got left in the soil two years ago. Hopefully they will be Desirees, the red potatoes. Soon it'll be time to harvest them so I will find out.


I have been to the Melodious Warbler Walk twice, on warm sunny days, to look for butterflies. Being a farm track the verges don't get cut like beside the roads. There are a good amount of Skippers but the vast majority of butterflies are Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, and its teeming with them.


A bit of Skipper ID advice - below is a Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris), and its antennae tips are red.


And here is an Essex Skipper, with black antennae tips.



I have seen quite a few Dingy Skippers but I just seem to miss getting any decent shots! This is the best I could do.




A female Brimstone.


I managed to capture a male Brimstone as it was flapping its wings open.


As you all know what colour male Brimstones are by now, then may I present one of my images in monochrome...


... and to make up for that lack of colour, here's a blast of clashing colour! There's even a free hoverfly thrown in for good measure.



Health Update


So what's this about, you might wonder? Well it's the results of my most recent blood test and shows the state of both my red and white blood cells. Ignore the numbers, what is special is that there is NO BOLD on the page!!! I've been seeing bold for about 18 months plus, as bold signifies the results outside of the normal range. I've been anything but normal obviously, so to see that my body must finally be throwing off the chemo poisons and getting back to normal is a cause for celebration. 

There is other good news, and some not so good. Whilst the neuropathy in my fingers has got a lot better, my feet are not doing so well. There hasn't been any change for several months and just lately it feels like they are getting worse, particularly my right foot. It feels like it's being held in a vise - it's a bit like if you tie up shoe laces way too tight, but I can't undo them to relieve the pressure. However I can feel with my toes and the soles of my feet much better than before, but that also means that walking barefoot, like on a beach, is difficult - every tiny little pebble that is bigger than sand grains is like walking on barbs for me. Not so great when bits like that get between my sandals and my feet! Unfortunately I now feel too much and my feet are mega sensitive. Even light fingertips can feel like I've been pricked by something sharp. It's very disappointing as it's been a year now and I don't know what I can do about it. Except wait and hope for the best. :-/

OK it's time to be cheerful again, and that is precisely how I feel. Three months after taking them and my antidepressants are working properly! The last few weeks I have felt happy - someone else told me that when she took them there was no sudden change but that one day she realised she felt normal again, and that's exactly what has happened to me! I feel human again as my sense of pleasure has been returned to me. And not just when away from home, but finally at home I can walk around the garden and take pleasure in the little things again. I haven't quite got full vim and vigour back (that will probably take many months and not just to do with the depression, but still getting over the illness) but I've been pottering about the garden doing jobs that need doing, although I'm still putting off housework! I do feel much more energetic than I was. I now have the utmost sympathy for anyone suffering from depression having been there myself. It's hell.

I have also started doing exercises as we are off on holiday next month and I want to be able to do some hikes without collapsing in a heap! Believe it or not I've been back on my exercise bike - yes I can manage to sit on it - it's not exactly comfortable but like many seats, after a while the nerve damaged bits sort of forget that it's uncomfortable.

I ordered some new swimming cossies as my old ones were ancient anyway and wouldn't fit me now. I also have to think about hiding the bag. So I've got some brilliant swim shorts from Lands' End and a sort of swim skirt that I bought from an ostomy supplier - that one comes up above the belly button and is ruched so hides a bag very easily, and has a pouch thingy to put it in and hold it in place. The swim shorts show a bit of the top of my bag but that will be covered with the tankini tops. However I went wild and ordered a bikini top too - it's kind of large and retro looking so looks great with either the shorts or swim skirt for a 50s look. Apparently that's quite trendy these days! I'm feeling so chilled these days that I couldn't care less if I show a bit of bag top - who is going to notice anyway? I'm far more self concious about my flabby cellulitic thighs! (Another really good reason for getting swim shorts.... oh and doing exercise).

All that brings me to more good news. I already have a supply of mini bags which is for when I go swimming on holiday, but I am wearing them more often now. That is because the last couple of weeks I have been self irrigating! My first two sessions were with my stoma nurse who has taught me how to do it. Basically I am giving myself an enema through my stoma, and getting rid of the contents of my colon. That gives me a couple of days (cross fingers) where no, or little, poo comes out of my stoma, meaning I can feel much more confident about going out and about, no worries about leaks, no discomfort, no more bad smells, no more having to go to the loo just to 'fiddle about with' my bag even though I don't need a pee. Anyway so far it seems to be working great now I am getting the hang of how my body is functioning and how much water I need to use. Hopefully if it continues to go well and I am confident enough I can wear just a stoma cover/plug which isn't much bigger than a large plaster. Being poo free will be a godsend on holiday as if we are out all day in the mountains, away from the MoHo, then I won't have any worries about having to bag change 'behind a bush'! I will, however, have the fun of irrigating in the van's tiny bathroom, and the accompanying smells emanating throughout the van. Hey ho, K will just have to get out of bed and go and sit outside! :-)

22 comments:

  1. What wonderful news on the health update and as always love your photos. With Love, Virgil

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Virgil, I always appreciate your comments. xx

      Delete
  2. Love the pics and Love all the wonderful health news BUT best of all is hearing that you've got the depression under control. My antidepressants are finally working as well! It's great to feel alive again right?!

    New swim wear sounds lovely. Don't forget the photos ��

    Love you. Tell K hello for me. Hugs & Kisses from Oregon

    April

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi April - thanks very much and I'm so happy to hear that you are feeling better too! xx

      Delete
  3. Loving it all, we only have the two skipper species commonly seen here, mostly small.

    The swallowtail cat is a lurid monster!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are the two most common ones that I see at home and it's not often that I see an Essex Skipper either! The cat is now a chrysalis. Cheers Simon. :-)

      Delete
  4. Glad to hear things are turning a corner for you MMM :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Mandy,
    Thats a neck aching job varnishing lintels at the top of ladder, I did it at our last house.
    Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, its been very good year for them here as well.
    Thanks for the reminder about the Skippers, I have to look that up every time and still dont always get it right.
    Glad to hear that every thing is going well health wise.
    I will be looking out for the Swimsuit shots.{:))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roy - it's strange because I have not seen lots of Gatekeepers at home like I normally do, but up the road on brambles and knapweed they are everywhere!

      I can remember the skippers but blue butterflies and damselflies are hard work. Good thing I hardly see any blue butterflies then. ;-)

      Cheers, and you'll be waiting a long time for the swimsuit shots! :-)

      Delete
  6. Great to hear about your depression lifting and all the news from the garden. Managing the stoma will become second nature with time. I hope you are both enjoying your MoHo and who knows, we might even see you in this part f the world as you get more adventurous....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Ian. I'm sure you are right about the stoma - practice makes perfect! We are going to take Mary MoHo out for a spin next week, just for the day, as she's getting itchy feet in her cupboard. We are going as far as the Ebro Delta and up in the Pyrenees, so quite adventurous. One day we will visit your neck of the woods! :-)

      Delete
  7. Great to hear all the good news on the health front and you sound so upbeat :) Beautiful photos as always especially of all the butterflies and that wonderful Swallowtail caterpillar. Seeing quite a few Gatekeepers over here but not so many Meadow Browns. Still seems a poor year for butterflies :( We did go to Ryton Organic Gardens last weekend and again, apart from the "Whites" very few flutters around but there were loads and loads of bees :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Caroline. Butterflies are picking up here but generally it's the same old same old (apart from the skippers which are always exciting and never same old.... ). I'm really looking forward to seeing some mountain species and Mediteranean species! I'm glad you are getting a few but it's always disappointing isn't it? Maybe it will be a good autumn for them for you. xx

      Delete
  8. So enjoyed your post...the photos are beautiful and educational! Glad you are feeling better, with positive reports! Hopefully the feet neuropathy will also improve with time. Your house is lovely...ours is just the plain 1950 American ranch!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juliet, how's things? Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed my post. I am lucky to live in a beautiful old house, though if I saw your ranch I would probably think it was'exotic' as it would be so different! :-)

      Delete
  9. Really uplifting blog post to read Mandy.

    As an ex pathology technician I actually understood your haematology report! Your white cells are steadily increasing which is great news.

    Hope you have a great holiday and get to wear all this new swimwear.

    Philippa xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Philippa. Yes it's been the white blood cells which have been slow to improve; the red ones were OK about 6 months or more back. I have been watching every two months (actually my blood test for my thyroid condition) and waiting for the day when I was back to normal! :-)

      I jolly well hope I do get to do some swimming (or sunbathing) as we have booked a campsite by the sea with two swimming pools, for a week in the middle of our trip. xx

      Delete
  10. A wonderful blog post, Mandy with some lovely flutterby shots to remind me about summer. Are you still using the She SX-50 for those?
    So glad to hear of your improved blood results and positive attitude about your recovery and coping with your bag. It's fabulous that the antidepressants are working for you too so you can enjoy the garden and all its buggy residents.
    Have an awesome holiday! My sister has just headed off with a caravan in tow up north and so far seems to be enjoying their trip very much. Vans are so much more luxurious than they used to be and they seem to be quite comfortable; even with their own solar power supply.
    I look forward to some holiday shots in the future. Travel safe!
    Kim x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kim, thanks for taking the time to visit and comment! Yes, the SX50 is still my butterfly, dragonfly and bird camera. My Lumix is my landscape/scenery/people/towns/flowers camera, as it's much better quality. It's Ok for birds too but only has a 400mm zoom.

      Funnnily enough since writing this post my happiness level dropped some so I wonder if it will be like that on the tablets, a bit up and down? Well I can't expect to be euphoric all the time. Still it was nice to have a short period feeling normal contentedness. I expect that will come back, and I don't feel that bad. Anyway I am feeling better physically as I do exercise and get out walking.

      I will be sharing some holiday shots on facebook and other social media when I get access to wifi. Thanks Kim! xx

      Delete
  11. Catching up, and so glad to read your good news.
    Different issues to a mastectomy costume (but I don't swim so never bothered with that)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many thanks Diana. I've just had a clear CT Scan for my one year post cancer checkup. The swimming cossies got used I am glad to say and no hiccups, only I have to think about dissolving glue so not to keep getting in and out of the water mutliple times without having a check in the loo! :-)

      Delete