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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Medical update

On Friday I saw a different consultant/surgeon and he talked of many ways to treat my cancer. Monday is when all the consultants, oncologists, cancer nurses etc  meet to discuss cases  view scans and lay down treatment plans for each of their patients.
So by Tuesday I should know the recommended plan for myself. Good news is it has not metastasized so surgery first might be my route.

Anybody out there recognise this LED torch? We recently had a sort out on the boat and found it in a small basket underneath a small booklet.
Now we can only assume we visited another boater and they lent us the light to see our way home.
It has been a long time since we were aboard another boat after dark so trying to remember is hard.

These three had no qualms about coming aboard one even fed from Jaq`s hand. We think they are young Mandarin Ducks. They originate from China and the male is quite colourful.
One way to stay cool on the Thames.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Boats on the River Thames

Just a few pictures of the hundreds of different boats along the River Thames. Even though our trip was suddenly brought to an end we certainly enjoyed it. When things return to normal we hope to finish the trip perhaps this time from the Oxford end.
Nice to do a normal non medical blog.
Ovaltine had a factory on the Grand Union Canal and had a fleet of their own boats.


Steam boat NUNEHAM built for Salter Bros in 1898 and converted to diesel in 1948. In 1983 she was bought back up river having worked the London end and is now back as a steam boat doing regular trips with a 5 piece band. Scroll down the link page for some old pictures and lots of info.

Built 1911 and restored in 1986 Suzy Ann can be hired from the National Trust at Cliveden House on the Thames. First hour £250 ($375) Subsequent hours £140 ($210). Price includes steerer and waiter with up to 12 guests Food and drink is an extra. We shared a lock with this boat with a group of Americans aboard enjoying food and drink. Every where I turn there seems to be an American!!!!

The Royal Barge Gloriana built for the Queen`s diamond jubilee. It`s 94 feet long with 23.5 carat gold leaf used to decorate it. Obviously under it`s electric drive as I can`t see the liveried rowers that supplied the power when the Queen went out recently for a cruise on the Thames.

ALASKA has had an interesting life since being built in 1883. Jaq loved this one being her place
 of birth and is now the second Alaska we have spotted the other being a narrow boat on the canal system. Again some great stuff on the link page.

Sales details HERE

Look at the face of rusty head. Maybe she has had enough of all the men playing boats.

This one is of narrow boat dimensions and is steered from inside. You can see the steerer just forward of the curtained windows. No sign of a tiller but I believe it stays on the river so perhaps this is the preferred option with plenty of river width.

Boats for sale  U.S. readers add 50% and you have a rough $ price

Royal Barge Gloriana hits bridge.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What a Change an E-mail Makes

Thursday ended with our plans made to cruise and an acceptance that the medical world had gone on holiday. So we stepped back and took a deep breath, ready to wait for an appointment during the first week of September.

Friday came and we found ourselves the attention of two other consultant/surgeons. The first phoned and showed a lot of interest in how I felt, listening to the complete history from day one of my illness. After about 20 minutes he talked of perhaps seeing me Tuesday/Wednesday to set out a time plan for treatment but needed to read the file and look at the MRI and other test results first. He phoned back an hour later saying he felt an appointment after next week would be sufficient.

Now within the NHS there is a group called Patient Advice and Liaison Service which I knew nothing about. Jaq found it on the web and e mailed them Thurs evening about our concerns of a long wait because of holidays etc.

The next phone call was from PALS asking what was/had happened and how they could help following the earlier consultants call. My only request was for an appointment within the week and not at least two weeks hence. Hours went by and then yet another consultant, or at least his secretary, phoned offering an appointment next Friday. Thirty minutes later PALS phoned to ask had an appointment been made and that if any other concerns arose during my hospital treatment I was to contact them. This seems a very good service that enables the patient to have someone within the hospital looking over the shoulders of the inner workings of the NHS.

Plans are the same regarding a cruise. We have good transport in the area and family close by for help to keep appointments.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thoughts? Feelings? Meditation? Rumination? Speculation? Reflection?..................Lets just call this post "hello everyone"

Mmmmmmmm....Well first again a big thank you for all your support.

Not sure what my feelings were just a couple of hours before starting this post. They ranged from disbelief to astonishment with a lot of fear mingled in. Loneliness has never been an option thanks mainly to Jaq but your good wishes certainly play a part.  My feelings now have changed because sometimes you have to sit up and accept "it is what it is" so now stand up and look for your route through "is".

So let me go back a week or so. The 13th was the MRI, 16th was the CT scan, and the 17th I had the Endoscopy. Over that 4/5 days everything seemed to be going swiftly although the 17th was not a good day with the enterologist confirming  the growth spotted by the consultant's initial exam was cancerous.

He said the partial obstruction of the bowel by this growth was the cause of my inability to dispose of waste in the normal way. Just like turning on a tap and expecting water we just take it for granted that what goes in will come out. I suppose in the absence of anything different occurring we just take so much for granted.

Anyway not having heard anything this week, we phoned the hospital only to find out the consultant/surgeon was on holiday. His secretary was also away and calls were taken by another department who made a note for the secretary on her return Tuesday next. After putting down the phone down my feelings went into overdrive. Sitting for 2 hours or so with all these thoughts going through my head my old self suddenly came through the haze of thought mist.

Solo boating for many years before I had the good fortune to fall in love with Jaq, I was always quite laid back with sayings like `what will be will be` and `there`s always tomorrow`. The latter was used when waking up to rain.

With the former in mind I decided the cancer will do what it`s going to do until the surgeon removes it. Unless any of you are handy with a scalpel then I`ll wait. My thinking is that it`s been growing in there for probably a long time and is unlikely to suddenly double in size in 2 weeks and if it does then `what will be............ If the worst happens then A and E (Emergency room in U.S.) will soon get me sorted with an emergency surgeon.

With my "there's always tomorrow" saying, the surgery can be done another day even though I did have thoughts of it being next week.

Now all these thoughts are coupled together with the fact I have no pain, just discomfort, and the fact that as long as I take a laxative everything leaves my body like a tap opening leaving no chance for Mr. C to shut things down which has in the past caused me enough pain  to bang my head on the bathroom wall. You do not want to experience that my friends. So until the time arrives for surgery Jaq is being wary of what I eat and is putting me on some herbs but I`ll let Jaq tell you.
Of the 640 pounds of goods I shipped from the U.S., a lot of that weight included books. When I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I read every book available in Neill Public Library (Pullman, Washington) which I thought was relevant to my situation. My university degree taught me how to engage in comprehensive, sound research methods. 

A few of the books that I purchased and used, in the order I found them are:
Living Proof: Medical Mutiny by Michael Gearin-Tosh
The Gerson Therapy by Charlotte Gerson and Morton Walker D.P.M.
Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer by Donald R. Yance Jr. C.N., H.M., A.H.G. 
Essiac: A Native Herbal Cancer Remedy by Cynthia Olson with Dr. Jim Chen and Christopher Gussa

After reading "Living Proof" I knew if Gerson worked for Michael Gearin-Tosh (deadly myeloma--death within 2 years of diagnosis with standard cancer therapies; he was still alive and healthy 15 years later) I too could survive. I used the Gerson Therapy combined with Essiac with the addition of Blood Root tincture to great success. I also took Modified Citrus Pectin and Chlorella and a host of other supplements required or recommended by Gerson.

One can find a load of info on the 'Net about Essiac--some of it accurate--and a lot of it inaccurate. The book above is the most comprehensive, accurate book about this Ojibway medicine used for thousands of years to heal cancer. It has undergone trials by Canadian nurse Rene Caisse under the supervision of several physicians. Rene refused to release the formula to any pharmaceutical companies because she knew they would appropriate this information, slap a copyright on it and sell it to suffering cancer patients. The formula belongs to the First Nations Ojibway tribe first and foremost, and Rene was adamant it should be freely available to anyone with cancer. 

When Caisse released some of the herbal product to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the U.S. they completely disregarded her instructions (after all she was A. a mere woman and B. only a nurse) and froze the samples prior to administering them for the trail. It didn't work and as a result SKCC takes every opportunity to inform the public that Essiac is snake oil. Yet President John F. Kennedy's personal physician used Essiac exactly as Rene Caisse instructed and healed himself of stomach cancer. I am a trained medicinal herbalist and I knew Essiac would work for me.

Modified Citrus Pectin--Every time we peel an orange there is a white pith under the skin which most folks discard. It is contains extremely potent chemicals which inhibit the ability of cancer cells to "stick" to other organs in order to form tumors and new growth sites in the process of metastases. In its natural form, citrus pith is a long chain of molecules which means our stomachs cannot process it and make use of it as one needs in this instance. Bio-chemists have shortened its molecular biology to create a short chain capable of being digested and used by our guts--a tasteless powder called Modified Citrus Pectin. 

Chlorella is a one celled green algae food product that is highly nutrative. It improves immune function in people undergoing cytotoxic cancer therapy (chemo and radiation). Chlorella increases macrophage activity, activates both T-cells and B-cells, and has shown anti-tumor effects. Chlorellan, a substance found in Chlorella, stimulates interferon production. Chlorella is also a whole food which stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria providing a probiotic effect, strengthening gut flora and resisting disease. 

A friend of mine was a nurse at a major Oncology Unit on the West Coast of the USA. She told me that she has seen many hundreds of patients come into her Unit--come and go and return again as they moved through chemo and radiation therapy and/or their cancer progressed. Those who survived and recovered nearly always used Chlorella as a part of their treatment.  

Finally and for free: cancer requires an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment in which to thrive. Deep breathing to pull as much oxygen into one's blood stream as possible helps. And DON'T eat sugar--at all! Cancer requires glucose for growth which is why there is no exhaustion like that from cancer. Those cells never die and they steal every bit of sugar/sucrose/glucose they can find to do replicate and grow. Don't feed the disease!!!

One fact is clearly known about cancer: no one survives it without healing their immune system. One can treat the symptoms of this wretched disease and sometimes remission will occur. Without healing one's immune system cancer always returns. These herbs and products have been ordered and will be delivered tomorrow. 
Now I don`t know how you all feel about alternative treatments but all the reading I have done recently turns me right off Chemo and Radio therapies. My feeling of my short research is that a lot of medical folk out there feel it kills more than it cures. Not sure how all that poison going in to your body can be doing good. It is supposed to attack the cancerous cells but it can`t differentiate between the good and the bad so the way I read the medical people is it just wipes out your immune system so I follow what Jaq is saying.

I am interested to hear your opinions. Like smoking and stories of uncle Bob smoking 40 a day and living till 96, the "chemo sorted me" stories will come up. As we know there are always exceptions but generally lung cancer is common among smokers with few reaching 96, and from my readings chemo fails more than it works. Part of my deep thinking tells me I should avoid every medical aid other than surgery. 

So our minds are of one in that we will cruise on and when the appointment materialises we will turn around. Canal and River Trust have visited and are aware of our situation. They will issue overstay permits wherever we need to moor if we contact them as things develop.

Too much reading about the subject, too many thoughts and worst of all a lot of "what if's." I banished such thoughts from my life years back as they just stop a person from doing anything. Anyway just some of what is happening here on the good ship Nb Valerie.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." ~ Denis Waitley

   Les had an endoscopy yesterday and we met with the gastro-enterologist afterwards. The diagnosis is rectal cancer. Les' paperwork is in a fast track pipeline and we should be hearing from the surgeon's office this week about an appointment with him to discuss surgery dates, etc. With help from two of our children we've moved the boat to an undisclosed location for some "us time" and we have everything we need at the present. And most importantly, we are NOT alone!
   We wish to offer our heartfelt thanks and gratitude to our family: children, grandchildren, in-laws, outlaws, cousins--you all know who you are and how much we love each of you on both sides of the Atlantic.
   To our friends and blog readers we say--how lucky are we!! Faithful, helpful, supportive, loving, kind, generous, humorous, amazing. Across the world and all along the canal we have heard from you with such loving support and care! 
   Last but not least we have infinite gratitude for each other. Both of us have faced cancer before. We have walked the cancer path for loved ones; Les for Val, and me for my mother. I have walked my own cancer path twice and beat it with unwavering commitment to my health, nearly every penny I had, and a world class education that taught me the value of proper, good research. 
   Across 5000 miles we found each other and we will face whatever life throws our way shoulder to shoulder and hand in hand. Les is my heart and I will fight for his life like I fought for my own.


Thursday, August 15, 2013


This mooring just a short distance downstream of Marlow lock was beneath the trees. The front was tied to a tree and the centre line to the tree left of picture. As for the stern that was past any solid bank side and was only accessible from within the boat. We spent 3 days here relaxing on our shady exclusive mooring.

 Less than a mile from our last mooring and having passed through Marlow lock this is Marlow suspension bridge. The church on the right and the weir to the left make this a very picturesque scene.

All Saints Church

Something has captured Jaq's attention--

we stopped on the bridge and took in the view. Something calming about moving water.

 Just one car at a time through the arch.

The bridge was designed by William Tierney Clark and built in 1829. He also designed a larger version that spans the River Danube, connecting the towns on either side: Buda and Pest--Budapest. In the 1950`s Marlow bridge had a major overhaul and now is restricted to local light traffic only.
Marlow High street. Now Jaq would want me to mention to our U.S. readers that the striped lines across the width of the lanes is known over here as...a zebra crossing; not a pedestrian cross walk as in the States but a far flung description of what the marks resemble. We also have what is called a humped zebra crossing, a term which makes Jaq positively hysterical with laughter.  
Good idea. In times of flood the boat is kept away from the bank and rises with the water.
The view from our front deck. The council owned park moorings next to the trees on the left are £11 ($16) per night. Where we are the first 24 hrs are free.

 This guy turned up late and asked if he could moor alongside for the night. Jaq ended up with two bottles of good quality Red wine, handed down to us in an Armani bag. The owner just used the boat for short trips along the Thames he said so I guess it is just a rich man`s toy. They were real nice considerate people.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cars along and IN the Thames

You wander along through life and things catch your eye but such is the way our lives are on full speed we tend not to take a photo.
When you become a person of leisure the camera gets more use. Of course travelling helps the discovery of these eye catchers not necessarily by water although as you will see being on or near water helps. If it had not  been for the water connection then these photos would just be sitting on a disc among thousands of others I have taken over the years.

Volkswagen Notch circa 1964. Seen one for sale at £10k here and another across the pond at $18k

A novel way to advertise your product, cover the company car with artificial grass.
1903 Ford model A sold for a base price of $750(£500). Extras available were a rear seat or a choice of roof in rubber or leather. Between 1903-05 1750 were made, I wonder how many survived.
Pictured in a car dealers in Marlow they both belong to the showroom owner.
1914 Model `T`   The first rolled out of the Detroit works in 1908 and in the next 19 years Ford produced 15 million vehicles with the Model `T` engine. I think it was this one that has several times taken part in the London-Brighton rally. Over 500 vehicles are expected to take part this 117th year. On the link under introduction you can read the history of the London-Brighton rally. Probably London`s cheapest (free) attraction.
Ok here`s the water connection. It`s based on a Suzuki and comes with a Boat Safety Scheme certificate, I kid you not!  Check out the Dutton  web page and the links towards the bottom of the page, some interesting reading.
It went straight past Nb Valerie. 
But reached the slipway before I arrived. 
For sale from the same maker LINK.  Price seems reasonable but perhaps the insurance might  be high and maintenance is not available just at any garage. Boys toy for sure. I wonder how a BSS tester would get on if you moored on the canal and called him for a test.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs