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Monday, June 18, 2018

The Wool Anniversary

"As long as I live, you will live, as long as I live, you will be remembered, as l live, you will be loved." ~Anonymous

Our wedding day, Kamiak Butte, Washington
     The 18th of June is our Seventh wedding anniversary; my second without Les. Time does not dull the pain of his death. The necessary demands of life cause it to recede into the background while one grapples with the activities of daily living. The moment I think of Les and our life together, memories rush over me and the pain of my loss returns with a force that bites deep and takes my breath away. This is the other side of the coin of what it means to truly love someone and give them your heart. 
     I am struck by the depth of love in Les' eyes as he looks back at me when I took these pictures and now, nearly sixteen months after his death, I sometimes find myself caught in a memory-moment. A piece of music will come on the radio and suddenly Les is here like a hologram, doing his crazy little dance he used to do for me, or someone on telly will make a statement and I can hear Les' voice clearly in my mind replying sarcastically. Occasionally on the news coverage of a football match a team makes a goal and I hear Les exclaiming excitedly, "Go on boy, get it in! Yes!!!" Sometimes in the very still small hours of those countless nights when I cannot sleep, I hear Les say, "I love you Jaqueline Marie Almdale Biggs."

Taken on the back of NB Valerie in May 2011 during my pre-wedding visit.
Les showing me the ruins of the motte and bailey at Berkhamstead, May 2011.
Dancing at our wedding reception at Chrisi and Keith Kincaid's farm, Pullman, WA July 2011.
Les relaxing on the back deck of Cloudhouse--our home in Pullman, Washington. June 2011.
Les and our Grandson Connor at Laird Park, August 2011. We took a picnic and spent the day with family, swimming in the river under the hot summer sun.
Les reveling in his catch on a never to be forgotten boating trip on the Snake River in Washington with friends Roger and Joe, August 2011.
Les posing with the statue of the Station Master in some small Washington State town. We were on our way to Seattle for a three day honeymoon before flying back to England and NB Valerie.
Les trying out our friend Karen's Segway, Pullman, Washington, August 2011. Wearing her flowered helmet was part of the deal!
Cheeky Les at the tiller in March 2012 on our way to Llangollen.
Les waiting for me at Burland on the Llangollen canal in 2012. I was returning from a walk to the Burland country Store for a Saturday paper and the best pies we ever ate.
The Bluebird of Happiness stretching his wings as we hiked to the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey near Llangollen, March 2012.
Les in paroxysms of delight over a freshly baked chocolate Kahlua cake, May 2012.
Les giving me a mock-sexy pose on the Audlem Flight,Spring 2012.
The quintessential Englishman with his brolly, on the grounds of Dunham Massey Estate, Bridgewater canal, July 2012.
One of the countess times we stopped to score wood along our travels.
Les loved chopping wood. It gave him a great sense of accomplishment and appealed to his deep sense of thrift--accumulating a winter heat source for nothing more than a few hours labor. I loved helping him stack the wood on the roof, bark upwards, in neat sections to dry in the summer sun.
At our daughter Sparky's apartment in Portland, Oregon, November 2012. Our daughter Jesse in the background decorating cupcakes for her sister's wedding the next day.
Daughter-in-law Kelli, MOBs, daughter Sparky, FOBs, November 2012.
Les and his girls after the wedding, November 2012.
Les warm and cozy in his new LL Bean down jacket, on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, Idaho, November 2012.
Bliss! Portland, Oregon, November 2012.
Teaching Les the joy of playing in the snow, January 2013, Blisworth.
Wakey-wakey baby! Les before his morning tea, 2012.
I love this picture! Les having a moment, April 2013 moored up above Walthamstead Lock, the Lea and Stort navigation.

My boys (Les and son Kevin) cleaning up after a spaghetti lunch with family aboard NB Valerie, March 2014.
Les posing on the Lapworth flight, September 2015. It took me 10 months after his liver surgery to get him back to this fit state.
My baby making kissy lips at a kissing gate on the Wendover Arm, 2015.
Les was always happiest at the tiller of our boat, cruising through life at 2 MPH.
Look at the love in his eyes...Granddad with Kiernan and Kiera, Campbell Park, 2015.
Granddad in a happy moment, August 2016, at Cowroast, with our grandsons Teo and Battu.
Les, our grandson Jack, daughter-in-law Bev, and me, Cowroast, August 2016.
Me and my shadow, always.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Why I have Been Quiet for Awhile

"The more serious the illness, the more important it is for you to fight back, mobilizing all your resources--spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical." ~Norman Cousins, American political journalist, professor, world peace advocate, author (Anatomy of an Illness).

     I have been seriously ill for months now, waiting for an "immediate referral" for a colonoscopy and CT scan which finally was scheduled after two and half months. My symptoms were so eerily like the ones Les had for six months before he went in for a diagnosis that I have been sick with worry about the possibility of colorectal cancer. I am still waiting for biopsy results but the main diagnosis is Crohn's Disease and a return of Diverticulitis, which I was originally diagnosed with in 2008, requiring the removal of most of my descending colon and a bowel resection. After a diagnosis of Ovarian cancer in 2008, I was diagnosed in 2009 with stage III metastasized ovarian cancer and then Sarcoidosis--an Auto Immune disease which can manifest as acute or chronic. I have the chronic version. So of course I did what I always do then faced with life altering events; research. As someone who is allergic to more than a dozen well known and prescribed pharmaceutical drugs, such as Paracetamol, NSAIDS, Betalactans, Glycosides, and Gentamycin among many others, and for whom ingesting Antibiotics is a sentence in hell with side effects occurring in 48 hours that most people only experience after taking the drugs for 8-14 days, I learned to engage in rigorous research before agreeing to take any medicines or undergoing any treatments. I chose an alternative treatment for cancer called Gerson therapy and it worked. I delved into the depths of learning about Auto Immune diseases (AI) and discovered that as of 2009 there were sixty four known AI diseases and they are all treated the same way: massive doses of the cytotoxic chemotherapy drug Methotrexate and corticosteroids such as Prednisone, neither of which offers any cure for the sum total of sixty four AI diseases. They offer only momentary relief and come at a great price in terms of quality of life and long term survival. According to an article in the New England Journal of Medicine , titled Methotrexate for the Treatment of Crohn's Disease, "Patients treated with corticosteroids continue to have both complications of the disease and chronic toxicity from the therapy."4-7 (NEJM 02/02/1995; accessed online 06/03/2018). So Methotrexate is used to wean patients off Prednisone, somewhat like using Methadone to wean addicts off of Heroin. Neither drug provides a cure and often slows an illness down only for a short term if at all and the side effects of both are truly horrendous as far as I am concerned. Prednisone offers these life altering side effects: liver toxicity, neuropathy, optic neuritis, massive weight gain, dark facial hair growth in females, muscle wasting and weakness, trouble healing, fractures, moon face (common in cancer patients receiving steroids. Les developed it in the months before his death), abnormal fa deposits around the face, head and neck, adrenal insufficiency, heart failure, neutropenia which can lead to Sepsis, Inflammatory bowel disease (why use it to try and dampen an IBD such as Crohn's then?????), immuno-supression leading to chronic infections, and the list goes on. Methotrexate side effects are bloody vomit, joint pain, sores in the mouth and on the lips, blurred vision, shortness of breath, yellow eyes and skin, boils and acne, pericarditis, painful psioratic skin lesions, pancreatitis, neutropenia, Herpes, Pneumonia, Sepsis, osteoporosis, vertigo, Lymphoma, Leukemia...and the list continues. 
     So why are these pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for the host of varying AI diseases? Because no one knows what causes the onset of an AI disease. All that is really known is that for some reason the host's immune system refuses to shut off and rest. Instead it attacks the host body and causes an AI response. The other item my research uncovered the fact that if one develops an initial AI disease, one is six times more likely to develop a second or third AI disease than the general population will develop an initial AI disease.
      So what you may ask, Is Crohn's Disease? It is an attack by one's immune system on the intestines and colon causing massive inflammation, swelling, bleeding and serpiginous ulcers that creep across the tissues causing pus formation and necrosis (tissue death). This inflammation can often reach the rectum and cause terrible fissures and bleeding hemorrhoids. When one's digestive system is under such an attack it can no longer provide adequate nutrition, hence the reason my hair has been falling out by handfuls and I've had a white coating on my tongue that no amount of brushing will remove and why I have felt utterly exhausted. I usually cannot sleep for more than five hours at a time and I have been this way since I was a small child. I now find myself sleeping four hours at a whack, waking up to try and do a few things, after which I have to lie down again and sleep. When the digestive system stops functioning and we keep putting food inside it, the results are excruciatingly painful. I have not been able to eat any solid foods since May 7th when I ended up in the A&E for six hours after which I was told there was nothing they could do for me. I was prescribed codeine for the pain and sent home. I have lost over a stone in weight and dropped almost two clothing sizes.

Right so, what do I intend to do about this? I've found a very good protocol called Listen To Your Gut. In 1989, Jini Patel Thompson was weak, malnourished, and wracked with pain from a serious bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease. Skeletally thin, she was unable to eat almost anything without suffering intestinal bleeding and cramping. Despite their best efforts, the medical profession was unable to help her. Jini was taking 13 pills a day, and her doctors told her that she would never be able to work, have children, or live a normal life. After years of feeling tortured by her inflammatory bowel disease, she literally decided to heal herself, or to die trying. Refusing surgery, she began a seven-year mission researching and experimenting with home remedies and natural treatments for gastrointestinal illness. Over time, Jini discovered eight key steps that nearly everyone with a colon or bowel syndrome can take in order to heal their gastrointestinal disease, and has been drug and surgery free since 1989.
These eight key steps are:
Providing bowel rest using a liquid diet for 6-8 weeks with homemade natural yogurt and Solgar Whey to Go! Whey isolate shakes, poached eggs, avocados, steamed potatoes and steel cut oatmeal.
Killing off the disease-causing bad bacteria and fungus in the gut with Oregano Oil
Re-populating the gastrointestinal tract with good bacteria with the use of (7-10 billion BFU's) probiotics
Healing intestinal inflammation and ulceration with Oregano oil, Udo's choice Oil, Ubiquinol
Resolving nutritional deficiencies with an IBS diet and Omega 3 capsules
Detoxing your living environment
Addressing the emotional factors underlying your disease
Balancing your hormones

I've read in-depth about this protocol and I have faith that this is something that will work for me. As I discover more information on diet, supplements and protocol I will post more.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs