Friday, September 14, 2012

Onwards & Upwards To The New Season

I have been continuing with my healthy living and lifestyle and my swimming has been getting better all the time I am now doing 50 lengths per session and am now aiming at improving my stamina.
On my last swim I was able to swim 30 lengths without stopping and am hoping I will be able to get better with time. I am still not swimming the crawl much, the odd length or two during the course of a couple of hours but this is something for the future when I get more strength.I seem to be stuck with 50ish lengths at the moment as sessions last about 2 hours and it is hard to do more in the time. But as I have been told that a mile is approx 65 lengths I hope I will be able to get to this distance soon as my speed increases.

I am still doing well with my diet and it is apparent now that due to my weight loss I will be adding a hole in my belt as I am finding it hard to keep my jeans up now and I'm in danger of losing my modesty if I don't tighten my belt up soon.
The healthy eating (low fat ,low calorie and high fibre) combined with the use of a pedometer has allowed me to up my daily walking and monitor by how much it is increasing. I have yet to to embark on a gym regime at present because an old spinal injury that I found out had got worse again after a recent MRI is playing up. I am hoping that the swimming will help it improve it and then I shall  start to use a static bike and some weights to train with rather than the treadmill.

There is one outstanding issue that I an hoping will get sorted this month that is the persistent intermittent swelling of my right lower leg.This was a slight problem since before the transplant but has got worse since. My Doctor at Harefield feels this would benefit from a abdominal CT scan to see if there is any reason for it happening,therefore I will be going into hospital for a overnight stay to get this done at the end of September.  I will need some hydration and medication overnight before the scan to protect my Kidneys as they will be using contrast dye for the scan and this may affect my kidney function.Hopefully this will provide more info as to the cause and possible treatment for this annoying issue.

Finally it is next week when the new season of my my Camera Club starts on 20th September, and I have been getting some practice in with a photo-walk around the  Rutherford Appleton Laboratory 
STFC Rutherford Appleton laboratory
This is the second year that it has been run and it was a chance to walk around the facilities, learn about the work they do there and take photos there is a chance to enter the photos into a competition and have them published. If you are interested you can see last years winning entries at this page                                    STFC Photowalk competition
I will try to post some pictures that I took there on my next blog post

Monday, September 10, 2012

Kirstie's Big Breath Bike Ride

I have just returned from Harefield Hospital where I was happy to see a friend of mine Kirstie Tancock complete a epic 180 mile bike journey from Exeter near where she lives to Harefield Hospital where she received her life saving double lung transplant.
She completed the ride with a team of supporters including her husband and they arrived in Harefield at just before 17.00 after three days of cycling!! You can read her blog "2nd Chance @ life"   it is on my blog roll

I thought That I would share some of the photos that I managed to take while I was there. I will be sending some of these to the LLTGL website  and to Kirstie  Kirstie is a advocate for LLTGL.
The end of a very long road as Kirstie arrives at Harefield Hospital

Kirstie & Stu her husband in blue LLTGL vests

The whole team who competed the ride

 I would like to congratulate Krstie and all the people who joined her on her ride raising money for a great set of charities including Harefield charitable fund, Live life then give life, CF trust and East Devon cystic fibrosis quality of life fund.

One thing I would like to add is if you would like to help there is still time to make a donation. Sponsor Kirstie and the team so they can achieve their target of £3000

Kirstie's Big Breath Bike Ride

 If you have been inspired by This blog post to join the organ donation register Click here and help someone live a new life after your death, please tell your loved ones about your wishes so they don't have to guess!  you may regret it later if you don't 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Seaside Memories and New Beginnings

I have been away for a while but I am back now.
My mums death was still in my mind but I resolved to leave the issues of the estate and sorting out that will still needing doing until I returned to Oxfordshire.
Managed to get a couple of weeks by the sea with  Liz's mum in Hastings. The weather was kind to us,but although things conspired to disrupt our holiday, like my Bi-pap machine braking down just before we left!
We managed to get some much needed rest bite from events that had been happening before we left.But I found myself remembering past holidays with my family in Devon and the Isle of White now that both of my parents have gone and I felt a bit lost and alone.
With the Olympics happening at the end of the holiday I thought I might get a picture of the Olympic torch relay in Hastings, but unfortunately we were travelling the night when the torch came into the town so we missed it. I managed to watch it go through my local area but more importantly a friend of mine who had a double lung transplant just before mine was nominated and carried the torch though Reading

Also competed in the British Transplant Games and got Gold an inspiration to all those who have been transplanted  

While away I was happy to find out that that the Red Arrows were to fly in Hastings as part of the town's  Pirates Day This was an attempt to break the world record for the most pirates in one place. They were successful with 14,231 pirates gathered on the beach, dwarfing the Cornish town of Penzance's previous figure of 8,734, allowing Hastings to reclaim the title it previously held in August 2010.
I was really happy I was able to use my new camera to get some shots of the Red Arrows when the performed over the sea and have included a photo for your enjoyment.

I was also able to get to the pub on a couple of nights while I was in Hastings it is not something I do much and haven't had a drink for a long while prior to this but I spent a lot of time in a pub called the "pig in paradise" on Hastings seafront while in there I was happy to find out about a friend of mine on facebook who had been called for her transplant at Harefield Hospital  Kimberley Liane Kneil
 who writes "Being Kimberly" in my blog list. Thursday 26th July 2012 she went to theatre to start a new life thanks to a selfless donor and their family and is now doing really well as this photo taken yesterday shows
Just shows how a transplant can transform lives 

Other good things have been happening... 

Since I have have been back from my holiday I have started a weight loss group that is supervised by dietitian and psychology and will run for a year. During my first couple of weeks I didn't lose any weight but I   did committed myself to go swimming as one of my activity goals.This is something I haven't done in over ten years. I was a bit apprehensive at first, being overweight and having all the scars from various chest drains I had before and after the transplant I felt self concious.But as one of my goal post transplant was to swim again "What do I want to do when I get new lungs" 

I went with my son and did it.
It was a bit hard at first as I was still not confident with my new lungs in the water but although at first I couldn't do a full length, after a while I was able to swim using breast stroke and did a few lengths although I had to rest after each 25m.

Things have improved since then and I am now losing weight slowly and swimming twice a week I am one doing One Kilometre per session (40 lengths) not bad after my first month and only 8 sessions :-) I am able to do 2-3 lengths before resting I am doing the crawl a bit, but this is something I will have to work on as I find this hard on my lungs at present and have to rest after one 25m.

I had a good visit to Harefield and was seen by kidney consultant who told me my renal function was solid my blood pressure was great and told me to come back in 6 months I was also given a clean bill of health by transplant doctor and three months off clinic.While I was there I had the chance to meet Kimberley whom i spoke about earlier who was waiting to be discharged and I also meet another Lung transplantee called Dave Southam I follow on Facebook. It is always good to connect with fellow Tx ers and meet them in person.

My brother and I have been continuing to sort out the aftermath of my mothers death and one thing that brought it all back was my birthday on the 30th August. I wished that she had been there to celebrate it with us. But  I am sure that she was present and watching over us as I spent a quiet night in with the family. 
We had a Chinese take away and everyone enjoyed themselves.I will be going out at a future date with my wife for a hot Indian or Thai meal and a drink as the kids don't care for very spicy food.

One other person I thought about was my donor a 45 year old who changed my life and allowed me to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday with her before she died, see my children complete there secondary education and move onto college and start to live the next 50 years of my life healthy and happy.
I will always be eternally grateful to him and his loved ones for allowing the donation of his lungs to help me live a new life! 
If you would like to help someone live after your death and you haven't already done so, please
Then let your loved ones know what your wishes are so that they will know what to do. 
Spare them the uncertainty you may regret later it if you don't do it                

I have resolved to to spend the next year of my life on revisiting my life again going to places that I went as a child with my parents,now they are no longer with us:(
I  particularly want to visit Brixham,Paignton,Totnes where I holidayed as a child.Visit my family, cousins in Bournemouth and up north and  my Uncle in the Isle of White.I really hope that I will also be able to go to Glastonbury festival next June but there are some logistical obstacles to overcome to achieve that!
But I do intend to fulfil my list of things to do with new lungs and hope that I will be fit enough to do some fund raising and find some voluntary work or employment.Then I hope that I can set myself new challenges to push me forward to greater achevements.
Watch this space because great things are coming I feel sure!!!