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Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Cup runneth Over...

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~John F. Kennedy

   I grew up in Alaska which breeds tough women. Les calls me his Alaskan Grizzly. I learned early to be independent and rely only on myself for survival; to make no excuses, and accept none; to do whatever it takes to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other.
   I grew up in an extremely dysfunctional family, surrounded by violent alcoholism. In Spenard where we lived part of the time everyone knew what a "Spenard divorce" was; it involved alcohol and guns and someone would be dead or seriously injured at the end of it, negating the need for divorce attorneys. I witnessed several by the age of six, including that of my own parents--after my father "gambled my mother" in a Cribbage game and lost.
   Those gunfights one sees in western movies which appear so thrilling, are terrifying when the men facing each other with guns are your father and step-father and they are shooting at each other in a crowded bar--over you.
   There are relations in my family who would cut out my heart and eat it for dinner and never even say thank you for the meal. So I learned to be fiercely independent and never to trust others at a very young age. It is not inherent in my upbringing to ask for help...
   So imagine my great surprise and delight at the help which has been forthcoming from all over the canal system.To quote another boater whose blog I loved to read and miss dearly, Mo on NB Balmaha said once in a post "Boaters are lovely people aren't they?" Yes indeed they are!! I have discovered that 2000 miles of navigable canals and rivers with boaters stretched out thither and yon does not mean one is alone. Help is only a blog post away.
   While my beloved daughters, son-in-law and friends in North America are too far away to do anything but despair at the past three months of unfolding events involved with Les' health care, their phone calls, emails and FaceBook posts have nourished my soul. 
   Over here on the canal in the space of a week I have been blessed by emails, phone calls, and texts from boaters across this network who have empathized, raged, advised, written letters and contacted officials, organized rides to Watford for me, offered entertainment options for Les, and oh so many other things. Thanks are due:
To Mike Griffin-NB Albion Mills and the community of boaters here at Cow Roast for offering us space to moor up, and for keeping an eye on NB Valerie when we are not here. I know our home is safe because this community is keeping an eye out and the peace of mind it affords me and Les is priceless. 
To Mike Wall-NB Indpendence who has offered me a ride to Watford on Monday. Bless you Mike!
To Maffi-NB Millie M. who breasted up, took me to dinner, offered to stay on, informed other boaters of our situation and is acting as a go-between for those who wish to help Les and me. Maffi doesn't just take care of the environment by picking up the garbage others leave behind; he takes care of friends with the same care and commitment. If there is a golden heart medal then Maffi deserves it. 
To Sue and Ken Deveson on NB Cleddau for their love and friendship since I arrived in this country and for their quiet practicality and fine companionship; for meals with laughter, boat laundry done at their home, retail therapy and moral support. To say we love you both dearly is an understatement!
To Andy and Tina Elford-NB Ytene, dear friends of Les since his early boating days, they folded me into their friendship with open arms and loads of laughter. Thank you both for being steady friends, always there, checking up on us and making sure we were okay. We love you both very much.
To Tom and Jan--NB Waiouru for contacting the hospital CEO as someone with professional knowledge of risk management; for the loan of a mini-pad loaded with movies for Les to watch, and for practical assistance with preparing my Leave to Remain paperwork and insight on the Citizenship exam which I must undertake in the next couple of weeks. With everything else going on I've been too scattered and exhausted to focus and my time is running out on my spouse visa. All must be dealt with properly before December.
To John and Jackie-WB Pippin for an open ended offer of diesel, coal, and wood delivery whenever we may need it, and for friendship that is golden.
To Heth-NB Takeitteazey for moral support and practical blog writing advice.
To Angela Walsh-NB Bright Eyes for the offer of rides to Watford and fresh beet root for Les' juices when he returns home from hospital.
To Jacquie Leek-NB LikeDucks2Water--for for phone calls, commiseration, moral support. Girlfriend you are a gem and I love you gobs and bunches!!
To Pip and Roger-NB Windsong for moral support and practical advice. 
To Carol and George Palin-NB RocknRoll/WB-Still Rockin' who have been a soothing voice of care in the midst of the storm.
To Doug and James-NB Chance, for absolutely making our week with a visit on the way down to London and for offering any help we might need. Thank you for bringing us laughter!!
To Joe and Leslie-NB Yarwood for using their personal and professional contacts to bring Les' unbearable situation to the attention of Jeremy Hunt, MP and Secretary of State for Health.
To Neil and Kath--NB Herbie for stopping to check in with me and for an offer of help with whatever is needed.
To Sarah--NB Chertsey for her incisive stock taking of this situation and her prescience in copying our blog posts and saving them.
To Colin-NB Black Pearl--away in Afghanistan, sending us his support for our fight against cancer from the front lines of a war zone.
To Jo and Keith-NB Hadar who've offered moral support from the start; the same for Mike and Phil--NB Garnet who befriended Les via the blog all the way form Canada.
Nev and Rachel Wells--NB Percy, for moral and practical support in dealing with the system. 
To Ian and Irene Jamieson-NB Free Spirit, who've faced cancer and its treatment in this country head on and come out the other side. Thanks for your personal courage, excellent example, moral support, and Irene--Goddess bless you for your magnificent photos of nature. I go to your blog every day to see them and they nourish my Witch's soul. Witches worship nature and nature is our cathedral. Your pictures allow me to do just that when I cannot find the time or energy to seek out nature around me. Thank you for helping to keep my soul alive. 
To all those who follow our blog from all around the world: Michelle and Barry, Mick the Mechanic, Carol Ives, Ian and Karen-NB Tacet, fellow American Valeri Jack--NB Stardust, Carrie and Derek Bird-NB Uccello, Sue and Vic-NB No Problem, Graham and Jill-NB Matilda Rose, Beryl andDave-NB Sokai, Kevin and Harry-NB KevinTOO, Tony and Helen Porter for the offer of assistance and whose boat name escapes me--sorry; Chris amd Jennie Gash-NB Tentatrice; Geoff and Mags-NB Seyella for blogging about Mag's recovery from a stroke and for the chin up hug! If I missed someone please forgive me...the list is long because we are so very blessed by each of you. 
To all those cancer survivors and people who have faced cancer with a loved one. Thank you for sharing your stories of courage, love, and loss; for opening up to me with your experiences of traditional cancer care and the effects both short term and long term with which you now must deal; thank you for your courage in the face of the scourge which is this awful disease.
To Bryce Lee in Canada who is my "pen pal" as we used to say in grade school, only its email pal now. Thanks Bryce for sharing your horrendous ordeal with me, and for your continual offer of moral support, comfort and encouragement. It is my great privilege to share what I know with you and I look forward to hearing about the effects of Gerson and fresh juice on your recovery from cancer and its treatment. Your courage humbles me.
To those who've written me by the many, many dozens thanking me for sharing my personal cancer experience, and why I chose alternative cancer therapy, and who have been grateful to find credible information regarding the same. Micheal Gearin-Tosh was living proof; his friend and colleague Beatrice at Oxford University was living proof. My friend Gail M. is living proof. I am living proof...and we are not alone; we are legion.


Pip said...

Jaq, no thanks necessary - we're glad things have been addressed now - i was in the process if getting advice from a friend on the 'inside' but it seems that everything she has suggested is now being done already. Hope it all goes smoothly from now on.
Pip & Roger
nb Windsong (not nb Chance!!)

Mike on GARNET said...

Really glad to see that things seem to be improving.
It is my belief that you may be able to request future "procedures" be performed at another location, Can't substantiate that, as it was in the text of the appointment letter I had, which was retained by the receptionist when I checked in. There is another letter at our "land address", but I have not got that here, appointment is in April, no rush on that!
Good luck, keep feeding 'im good stuff.

nb Bonjour said...

Jaq and Les,
we wish you well and send our best wishes for Les's recovery (we have family experience of bowel cancer). We've just added you to our bloglist having read Waiouru's post yesterday. Keep your chins up and good luck with your exam and its daft questions
Debby and Dave

KevinTOO said...

Hi Jaq, thanks for including us in the list, but we really don't deserve to be there, so far we've done nothing worth mentioning.

However, based on the fact that you have an open invitation to send up a flare (or give us a call, it's easier) we'll be there as and when you need us.

Big Hugs,
Kevin xx & Harry xx

Ian and Karen said...

Jaq, we can't believe all that you have had to put up with and can only begin to guess at how hard it has been for you in this foreign land, and watching Les in so much distress. Well done facing up to the problems and dilemmas with such stoicism and determination, a real expression of your love for Les.
Much love and hugs, Karen x

Sue Hunter said...

Hi Jaq. Reading this blog with tears in my eyes - and yes - boaters really are lovely people, and I'm so lucky to be living amongst them. Glad to hear Les is feeling a bit better. Chin up. Sue NB Beefur

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Pip,
Thanks for looking into whatever you could do to help. I do know you are on Windsong--I don't know what happened there, my brain skipped a line as I was typing. It's been corrected!

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Mike,
Hopefully Les will see your comment and seriously consider changing hospitals and surgeons for the future procedures. As for feeing him the good stuff--as soon as his guts begin working properly again I will do just that. Thanks for keeping up with us via the blog and emails. I hope we can catch up in person with you and Phil sometime soon. Stay well and take good care of yourself.
My love to Phil,

Jennie said...

Hi Jaq, I am just playing catch up, so have only just caught up with things over the last few days. I am another who read your posts with tears running down my face. Words cannot describe my horror at what Les and you have been subjected to. I am glad that things are looking better and hope that Les' recovery continues.

I too thank you for the mention which we hardly deserve we have been unable to do anything practical to help you both. I wish we were close enough to do more.

Take care and please send Les our love and very best wishes. You are indeed a goood 'Grizzly' - keep fighting! Good luck with the exams - I am sure they are the last thing you need right now.

Jennie nb Tentatrice

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Debby and Dave,
Thanks for your support. We will add you to our blog roll too. I feel loads better about the exam now that I've spoken with Tom on NB Waiouru.

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Karen,
Thank you. It is no more than he--or anyone ill in hospital--deserves. Besides, I waited 52 years for Les to find me and we've only had two years together. I am greedy--I want many more and I will do whatever it takes to ensure we have them.
Much love to you and Ian,

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Sue,
I haven't had a chance to do more than glance briefly at your blog but I know you've both been away. Welcome back and thanks for the virtual hug!

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs