Where to begin?

As I said before, there is so much to say. I think it would be overly ambitious to try to put it all in ‘one final post,’ as Wendy put it. I think that Wendy’s story isn’t over yet, so you may have to put up with a few posts from me. And besides, as soon as I hit the ‘publish’ button I will think of something else.

I feel quite dazed. This journey began back in January, and sadly became more and more difficult. Towards the end, Wendy had become progressively more dependent upon us. We had little time to ‘stop and think.’ When Wendy finally went to sleep in the early hours of yesterday morning, my feelings were so mixed. I was relieved that her suffering was finally at an end. But someone like Wendy leaves a huge void.

Wendy fitted that classic description of someone who could ‘light up a room.’ She was vivacious, enthusiastic, funny and passionate. She had an enormous heart and gave of herself endlessly. I feel truly privileged to have spent fourteen amazing years by her side. They have been fourteen years filled with love, joy and fun. What has been wonderful about the blog is the way in which some of her personality transferred onto the pages. You get a real feel for the kind of lady she was, and as a result, you have taken her to your hearts even if you didn’t know her.

I have read and received so many tributes to Wendy via these pages, Facebook and in person. So many that I just haven’t any chance to respond to them all individually. Please know that I read them all with pride and gratitude and your words move me.

I have also been moved by the way in which she has been treated by nurses. I understand now what kind of a special person it takes to be a nurse. During the last days she was tended by nurses in Ward 10 at Stoke Mandeville who have left me in awe of the way they could look after so many patients, and yet still smile and tend to my wife’s needs patiently. They pulled out all of the stops to get Wendy home when it became clear that nothing else could be done medically. Wendy’s wish was to spend her last days at home and they made it happen for her.

We discovered a wonderful charity called Rennie Grove Hospice Care (formerly Ian Rennie) who supply nurses to help with end of life care. I cannot tell you how many times they were there for us when we needed them. In Wendy’s last hours she was tended by Ian Rennie nurses with such tenderness and respect and I am so grateful to them.

Wendy also had some true, special friends (you know who you are) who have been there for us in the difficult days. Whether to just come and sit with her, or run an errand or help in so many ways, you proved your true friendship to Wendy.

She had the good fortune to be employed by a really special company. BHS have helped and supported us as a family in so many ways that they didn’t have to do. They stood by her and repayed the loyalty that she showed them in ways that are truly remarkable. These included buying her a special bed and offering to pay for carers to stay at our home. They also made it possible for her to attend the company conference, and senior people have visited Wendy at home and in hospital. Finally, they fully backed and funded the Bostin Bums calendar (I do hope that you have one).

While I feel a deep sadness right now, I also feel tremendous gratitude. Wendy and I packed a lifetime into fourteen years. She truly was a wonderful wife, and I have also lost my best friend. The years that we spent together I will never forget, and the love I have for her still burns inside me. I have been blessed.

Many of you have asked about Wendy’s funeral arrangements. I know that so many of you would like to come and pay your final respects, and you will be very welcome. Fortunately, we talked about this and Wendy wrote down her wishes for me.

Wendy’s funeral will take place at All Saints Church, High Wycombe at 3pm on Wednesday the 9th of December, followed by a committal at the Chilterns Crematorium in Amersham. As this is quite late in the day, we are planning to offer people refreshments before the service instead of afterwards. This will allow people with long journeys to arrive relaxed and refreshed (we will provide more details of this in due course). She has also chosen her favourite hymns, so please arrive in good voice! Finally she has stipulated NO flowers apart from the single arrangement that she has requested and we have ordered for her. She would love it if instead you donated the money you would have spent to her two charities: Beating Bowel Cancer and Rennie Grove Hospice Care. You can do so via the links on the blog, or hand your donations to the funeral directors on the day.

Wendy is also survived by her mum Judith, and two children Richard and Rebecca. They have all shown incredible dignity and strength throughout this journey. I am very fortunate to have gained these people in my family through Wendy. They all need your love and support too. We will stick together, and I will continue to regard them as part of my family forever.

A few days ago, Wendy said to me ‘I’ve lived a lifetime with you.’ I feel the same way. I have so many precious moments to look back on. We were lucky, we learned the importance of picking daisies when we had the opportunity. If you have an ambition, don’t put it off – do it soon. None of us know what is around the next corner, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Whether that’s swimming with dolphins or riding a motorbike naked in the sun. We picked our daisies and you must too.

Steve

The struggle is over

This morning, our beautiful daughter, wife and mother lost her struggle with bowel cancer.

Wendy asked me to write a piece for you all when this time came, and I will. There is so much I want to say, but I will need a little time.

For now, please forgive the short update and grant us some time to come to terms with our loss.

Steve

 

Finally at home!

Evenin’ all!
Rebecca here again!

So, it’s been a stressful couple of days for all of us but I thought I’d update the blog.

So mum returned home on Tuesday, which is great because that is where she wants to be. We are happy to have her finally home. It’s funny to know that her love of the McDonalds Mocha Frappe hasn’t disappeared she still asks for them!! Richard and his friend Tom helped put mums part of the bed downstairs in the dining room where she can have a lovely view of the outdoors in the daytime and peace and quiet for when she needs to sleep. So thank you boys for helping with that much appreciated!!

At the moment mum is still very tired and weak due to the medication she has to take and from the spread of the cancer. But knowing she gives us a smile here and then tells us she is happy to be at home and in our company :).
Also she can watch I’m a Celeb and Strictly on the TV instead of the laptop woohoo!

Today we had Rita, Amanda and Janine come over to visit mum I’m sure she enjoyed seeing your lovely faces! Thank you Rita for the help earlier!

Now I’m going to be honest with you all as I know mum always on the blog would share her problems, worries and just have a general talk with you all. It’s very hard for all of us family and friends of my mum. To know that this is the stage we are at now after all the strength she has shown throughout this year since being diagnosed in February. My mum is one in a million, a true hero. I’m so proud of all the donations from everyone to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity. To know even though we are still on this path everyone has been so supportive and helpful in their own ways and if it wasn’t for those people we as a family would have been lost.

It’s worrying, frightening you feel helpless at times as you don’t know what you can do to help. It’s even with the smallest of things for example I can’t lift my mum up the bed as I’m not strong enough to so I feel helpless with that, luckily my brother is very strong and has helped with that so that’s good!
Knowing that we take everyday with our heads held high with all the thoughts swimming in our minds is exhausting. But knowing people are there if we need them really helps, just a small message, a call to ask how we are takes us away from those thoughts. So thank you to those people.

It’s very difficult to know what fate has install for us, but we as family and friends have joined together through this and have come out on top and created so much!

Have a nice evening, speak soon!

Rebecca xxx

 

Quick update from Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Rebecca here with a quick update from Mum, who is still in Stoke Mandeville Hospital. I am writing it for her as she tells me what to write.

She is getting stronger everyday. If this continues, mum may be allowed home if medically possible.

I’m sure when mum is home and settled she will continue with her much loved blog and connection to you all.
Mum knows you are all thinking of her, but she still needs some space for a few more days. She appreciates the messages from you all.

 

Rebecca xxx

Weekend and Wendy update.

Hey all, Rebecca here.

I am the postie today (if you call it that) as Steve has the man flu.

On the Saturday Steve headed to the Isle of Wight’s BHS with the Beating Bowel Cancer calendars. They made Steve feel very welcome and managed to sell loads in raising money for the charity.

WELLDONE TEAM WIGHT!!

Here are some photos of the day:

While this was going on our family friend Nicky Jones came over to help my nan with the patient haha (I was in London). Thankyou very much Nicky it was really appreciated!

So the update on my mum (Wendy), she is still recovering from the chest infection and has been taking the amoxycillin to help this. Today she has started to drink a protein drink called Ensure Plus chocolate and strawberry flavours yum yum! It’s great that she likes them and we can finally see her getting the needed vitamins.
At the moment she just needs to relax and rest as much as she can so she can fight the chest infection. The nurses are due tomorrow to do the blood tests and a general health check.

Last night, a reader of the blog a lady named Sue dropped by our house to deliver some food for my mum which was really generous of her, so thankyou Sue very thoughtful of you! :)

Also, a BIG BIG BIG THANKYOU to everyone who has continued to read the blog. It’s lovely to know there are a lot of people supporting the family and my mum in their own ways. I know it’s been a bit slow recently but hopefully things will get back to normal and I’m sure mum can’t wait to start it up again!
A big thankyou to those who have also brought our calenders, all the money given goes to raising money for Beating Bowel Cancer is amazing! We have raised £6,689.00 that is amazing!! It’s all down to your generousity and support!

Rebecca xx

 

Wendy Update

So on Wednesday night, Wendy discharged herself from Stoke Mandeville. They had done a CT scan which did not appear to show any spread of cancer to her liver, which we were obviously very glad to hear. Also she appears to have beaten the blood infection (sepsis) that she had had.
On the downside, she has a nasty chest infection and is feeling very weak. She is taking amoxycillin for this, but it is expected to take several days to work. She will have new blood tests on Tuesday, and in the meantime the plan is to rest up at home.
Readers who have been concentrating will know that she was planning to be on the Isle of Wight at the weekend, but she simply isn’t well enough to travel.
As I know Isle Of Wight store have been great supporters of Wendy and Beating Bowel Cancer, I plan to make the journey by myself tomorrow and turn up with the calendars. Secret Biscuit Agent will also be there. The planned launch time is 3pm and the local press will also be there. Only 200 calendars will be available – so make sure you don’t miss out.

Steve

Wendy back in Stoke Mandeville

Just a quick update. Last night we noticed that Wendy had become jaundiced. The Ian Rennie nurse, Suzanne arranged for our GP to come out. Then I received a call from Stoke Mandeville to say they weren’t happy with her blood tests and I should take her back. The jaundice and increased liver function markers can be a side effect of the antibiotic, but because she has bowel cancer we cannot just assume that. She will undergo full tests including a CT scan in the morning to pin down exactly what is going on. In the meantime, she will stay in Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Steve

Another good day :-)

Long may these good days continue hey! So last night I had to sleep on the Dream Machine chair as I gave up trying to sleep upstairs. Not long now anyway until the Dreams bed arrives and I can finally sleep with Steve again after months apart :-)

I slept for 4 1/2 hours which again is fantastic for me. The day planned, shower dressed and off to the Post Office to post Uncle Peter’s Calendars to Australia as promised, so Peter you should get them soon :-).

Returning home before 11 am as my treatment is planned everyday between 11 am – 1 pm. Intravenous drugs done, they also took bloods to check my white blood cells. Now all being well my treatment at home should stop on Thursday depending on the blood results. If they are okay all treatment at home  finally stops and off to the Isle of Wight we go :-) If more treatment is needed then the nurses have confirmed  that I can still go but they will have to contact the District nurses there for treatment to continue. So it’s all  fingers crossed that my blood results come back okay.

As mom and I returned home for the 11 am treatment my Cousin Nicky, my Aunty Shelia and Danielle arrived for their planned visit. It was so lovely to see them, just to have them here again was lovely and we all enjoyed 4 hours together. I was knackered after the visit and had to rest again but it was so fabulous seeing them I wish I had the strength to have continued to chat as I know we could have talked all day to catch up.

I should have taken a photo of them in the Daisy Den, which they love  but I didn’t and as  we ran out of time they also didn’t get to go in to the ‘Love Tub’ but we did get a photo all together in the dining room.

IMG_5023
Me, Danielle, Aunty Shelia, mom and Cousin Nicky :-)

More good news  is that DFS are delivering the new furniture early and it will be here on Thursday not Friday as planned and finally in the evenings we can be together as a family again :-)

Back to Calendars and as I thought they were on sale in High Wycombe BHS thanks to Mary from 9 am this morning. The other nominated stores are:

  1. Kingston Upon Thames x 100
  2. Staines x 100
  3. Bromley x 100
  4. Harrow x 100
  5. High Wycombe x 50
  6. Chichester x 150
  7. Isle of Wight x 200
  8. Woking x 50
  9. Uxbridge x 100
  10. Hanley x 100
  11. Merry Hill x 200

No other BHS Stores will have stock of the Calendars so if you don’t have one close to you then you can always still order them  through the blog, just follow the  link.

Thanks to Jacqui and James at BHS Head Office these stores will have stock by Wednesday and as they already have the promotional packs, thanks to Leanne then Calendars will be available and on sale for you all on Thursday :-) happy shopping. The process in stores in that it will have to be cash only, so you have been warned, go armed with your £7 cash.

So finally a massive thank you to BHS and the Head Office team for making all this possible by paying for the total print run of these Calendars as it’s appreciated so much, we couldn’t have done it without you.

 

 

 

 

A Great Day at Last :-)

Apologies for this very late post of the day but better late than never hey! And if you don’t read it tonight then at least you will have something nice to read on your way to work to brighten up those Monday morning blues. It’s so late that my editing team have all gone to bed so if there are any mistakes the complaints department is just me I’m afraid lol.

So I slept upstairs last night as planned, I tried to sleep lying down but that instantly sent my back into a spasm of extreme pain. 5ml of morphine later and I sleep sitting upright, I slept for almost 5 hours, wow. So up and awake at 5 am. My usual routine of feeding the ungrateful rescued cat, Tia and Molly Moo has been so all over the place for weeks that I think they have just given up on me and turn up when they like.

So drug taking starts at 6 am, with stomach protectors, just enough time for those important two coffees and a least two fags, lovely. So there I am sat in my Dream Machine Chair and it suddenly hits me, gosh I feel so well. Compared to yesterday and the awful 7 1/2 hours to get the pain under control, I have woken with background pain but that’s normal but what is different is that I feel so healthy. This is massive for me as I can’t believe that the patch of Fentanyl has made so much of a difference, it’s just amazing. What a pity that they don’t like to give them out due to the cost, can you believe that? Thank goodness for the Ian Rennie nurses who ensured I was given it. The best thing about them is that they will not cause me to be constipated unlike the 24 hour morphine which I was on that caused the constipation.

Now we have to talk poo for I moment, sorry but warts and all remember. Last week I went to A&E to check that there was no medical reason why I can’t go to the loo. After X rays it was confirmed that there was no medical reason at all but the results showed a massive build up of poo which just wasn’t moving. No wonder I couldn’t eat as there is no room left.

I have taken enough laxatives to shift a complete bowel blockage with no luck and then I started doing enemas at home for both for the small and all of the upper bowel and had some movement but just not enough. Dr Weaver gave me some special laxatives and he said that they take time to build up in the system but they were good.

So drugs taken I was enjoying my now two yoghurts for breakfast when I suddenly had stomach cramps and the need to go to the loo, wow I thought after weeks of no movement is this it! Now the problem that I now face is that I have very little stomach muscles and I am not used to pushing at all. So first go to the loo, not too bad and was happy what I had passed. I had at last gone and thought that would be it. Well without too much detail it went on and on and on and on. As soon as I thought it was over it started again. I was exhausted. I was so happy that mom and I had a mini celebration coffee and a fag, well I just had the fag but I was so pleased. I thought that would be all of it for the day, as there couldn’t be any more, could there?

So the day was planned for a short trip out to Homebase to get the last bits for Daisy Den and then off to Staples so that Steve could send out the Calendar sales ordered online in time for delivery as planned. So off we set. Homebase went well as did the trip to M&S for their wonderful stuffing for the roast pork dinner planned for tea. However in M&S I needed the loo again and had to go to the staff loo as I was so desperate, not a nice position to be in, it’s just embarrassing but the staff were very friendly and opened their staff toilets for me. We got to Staples and whilst their website advertises the Calendar envelopes, did the have any? No sadly they didn’t. So more expensive envelopes purchased but you lot are worth it :-) However again I needed the loo, we asked a young assistant if there were disabled loos and he just said “No sorry” so we found a female assistant who again let me use the staff room facilities, thank you to this lady as I was so desperate again and so embarrassed. So here is Steve with your deliveries which have already been posted at the main sorting office this evening and they will be with you all on Tuesday morning as promised. Uncle Peter I will post yours tomorrow Air Mail to Australia :-)

All posted :-)
All posted :-)

Then I had a donation from a very good and precious friend of mine Louise Lowe from school who has donated a massive £500 Beating Bowel Cancer, Wow I was blown away by her generous gift, now apologies for the grainy photo but Louise is on the left of me and Sam Bennett is just there for her good looks :-) Anyway thank you so much Louise, your donation is appreciated so much.

IMG_4384

 

 

 

 

 

I then had an email from James at HO with some photos of the conference evening where Jo and Region 9 presented me with all my goodies. This picture came from Jo this morning with a card to say that the picture completed the gifts, wow and thank you Jo and to all of you on Region 9 and my BHS Family.

IMG_5022

BHS694 (1)
Jo surprising me with a bag of goodies
BHS693 (1)
Me looking completely shocked with all the presents from Jo and Region 9

 

And finally for today’s happy post here are Rita’s candles as ever and prayers said. Thank you Rita and everyone else who prayers for me as it is appreciated so much

IMG_5020

 

 

 

 

 

Catch you all tomorrow and love to you all xx

Oh and I forgot to say that Mary from our local BHS Store came round for coffee and cake today, it was so lovely to see her. She has the High Wycombe 50 Calendars plus the promotional pack so the Calendars will be on sale from tomorrow if I know Mary she will be on it first thing tomorrow, so happy shopping to all you High Wycombe supporters :-)

Plus I made another two sales today which I will add to the Just Giving page now. One sold to Mary and the other to the District Nurses who came today to give me my antibiotic treatment and was so impressed with them that she had to buy one :-)

Okay that really is it and catch you all tomorrow xx

Calendars and I couldn’t cope

Again sorry for the delay in today’s post. Lets start with the good stuff first shall we. So today the Calendars finally arrived, I was so excited to see the finished product. I’m so proud of what Steve has achieved. The quality is amazing. He has opened the online shop on the website, you just have to click on the photo to access it. The orders placed today and thank you for those will be posted out to you on Monday 1st class, you won’t be disappointed trust me.

IMG_0831
Click here to order yours!

I made my first sales and have sold 6, that’s £42 :-) I’m so proud that the fund raising has gone over £6k and when these hit our Golden Stores I know the product when seen will fly out. Again this couldn’t have been achieved without BHS exclusively funding the printing. What an amazing company I work for, I’m truly blessed.

So last night after a day of just background pain in my back which I’m used to and class it as a 2 or 3 out of the scale of 10 all nurses use. I got ready to sleep in my Dream Machine Chair. I was so tired and ready for sleep. For no reason at all my back went into extreme pain which I just couldn’t control. After an hour I had to take 5ml of oral morphine as I just couldn’t cope and I didn’t understand why. With morphine inside me. I slept all through the night, yes a miracle for me I know but when I woke at 6 am I was again in so much pain. I have to follow a daily routine of drug taking starting with tummy protectors and then I can’t take anything for an hour. So those taken I would now class my pain at an 8 and I’m scared, I feel like I’m going to faint, I’m all alone and feel like I’m going to pass out with the pain. I take two paracetamol, as this doesn’t effect the tummy protector as that’s for any Nurofen due to the high dosage that I take. I manage to get to the back door to get some fresh air and and I have to keep asking myself my name, trying to keep conscious. I moved into Steve’s office chair and with the back support it helps. Mom wakes at 7, I’m so pleased to see her. So now I can start taking stronger drugs and mom helps me. Nothing takes the extreme pain away, still rating it as an 8 and as the morning wears on I get even more into trouble where I would rate the pain as a 9. I take another 5ml of oral morphine and it doesn’t touch the pain at all. Steve called the Ian Rennie nurses team. I take another 5ml of oral morphine and again it didn’t touch the pain. Ian Rennie were with me with 10 minutes, the wonderful Suzanne. She didn’t need to ask how I was she could tell as could my poor loved ones that I was in trouble. She called the emergency Doctor to get some injectable medicine in me other than that I knew I may need to go back into hospital, The District nurses came in to do their treatment to me but by now I couldn’t even speak and don’t even remember the treatment being done. I just sat completely devoid of life, trapped in extreme pain. It took 7 1/2 hours for that pain to start to come down. I have been given a Fentanyl patch which should kick in tonight at around 10 pm. From 3 pm onwards I was able to function.  My poor loved ones again so worried about me and I just couldn’t hide it from them at all. It was just awful for us all.

So where am I now? Well I’m okay and I enjoyed watching Strictly Come Dancing, wasn’t Peter Andrei  amazing? He deserved to be top of the leader board :-)

Rita as it’s Sunday tomorrow please say prayers for my loved ones. Karen and for Frankie as ever. All the wonderful Ian Rennie nurses out there who as a charity were so wonderful for me today.

And finally I had a wonderful present from Jo at Region 9, the final gift from all their presents from conference. It’s a Daisy hand stitched picture which is just so beautiful. Now Daisy Den is now completely full. As much as I love all the special presents being sent to me, no more gifts otherwise I will need to get an extension, lol.   Love to you all and I’ll post more if I can tomorrow. xx