Thursday, 25 June 2009

Busy Bee.

I feel like haven't blogged in ages, well last Sunday I did, but apart from that lol. I am approaching my summer holiday from university in 4 weeks but I am going to be so busy. I actually feel exhausted just thinking about it so I apoligise now if I do not blog as much as I would love too. So here is just a small update.

  • Firstly, I got this (^) in a fortune cookie yesterday. I really hope it comes true. I don't really believe in such things but if it can happen in Freaky Friday then it can happen to me :) lol.
  • I start my next placement on a Cardiac ward on Monday for 4 weeks. Then it is summer time for me! I am really looking forward to it and I have heard good comments about their teaching!
  • The weather here in England has been glorious. I am absolutely loving it...I mean I got my fan out for the first time today. It's hot!
  • In summer I always have a craving to read loads! I am currently reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. The movie is coming out here soon and I have to read the book before I see the film.
  • I treated myself yesterday for the first time in ages by booking tickets to see Taylor Swift (again!). I adore her music. I love the fact she is a real musician and writes her own songs. I find it so much more relatable.
  • My new job starts a week Sunday! I am going to be a district nurse assistant. I am really looking forward to it but it means I am working everyday for the next 15 days. I am going to be tired but well worth it. I love meeting new people!
  • I am psyched for this weekend. I am going out to my favourite club ever. I havent been there in ages and it will be the last time for a while that I get to wear my glad rags!
  • 52 days and counting until my holiday to Turkey with my friends - I can feel the beach calling me now!
  • RIP MJ - I just cannot believe the king of pop has gone. I just adored his songs!
  • I need your help - I am going to a super hero party on the 25th July and I have to make up my own super hero and power. I need your ideas, any?!

Are you up to much lately?!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

I think across many parts of the World we are celebrating our Dad's! Although I am not great believer in the Hallmark holidays I do feel it is important to acknowledge it. I do not think on my blog I have mentioned my Dad an awful lot so this is for him.

I love the above picture because I love how my Dad is looking at me. He still looks like that now just without the tash and maybe a few more wrinkles. Oops did I just say that?!

I'll be very honest and frank about my Dad and I. We do not have the best relationship and I think that is largely because we are so alike! I hold a lot of resentment for him because he is not in a lot of my childhood memories because he was always working. Sometimes I just felt like my Mum did the majority of the parenting and workload - well actually she did. I just felt that when you have 4 children together they take more priority over working all hours or the pub with your mates.

In saying that since I have grown up I do hold a lot more respect for him. I have seen him come out of his shell a lot more and I love seeing how happy he is when he is about to go on holiday with my mum or to the theatre or meal with friends. I really like it when he asks me 'How was your Nursing today Bec?' and I tell him a couple of sentences and he replies really jollily saying 'that's great, well done!'

I know he cares. He cares a lot, he just has a very funny way of showing it sometimes. In fact, one of my favourite memories was last year, (okay maybe not the best memory as I explain this lol), when I had the most excruciating abdominal pains in the middle of the night. I was in agony and hysterically crying and my Mum got up to rush me to the ER. My Dad got up as well and he was rushing around in search of money. I was like seriously your phaffing around looking for money when I feel like my intestines are going to explode?!!!

Then later that day when the morphine (wonder drug!) had kicked in my Mum came back with all these magazines for me. I told her thank you but she said I should be thanking my Dad. He had been so scared that all he could think to do was make me better and so he gave my Mum money to get me some magazines to read as I was recovering. It is really very sweet...

My Dad loves football, gardening, BBQ's, meals out, Harry Potter, Wilbur Smith books, hates being the passenger in the Car, loves cheese on toast and steak. He missed many parents evenings but always made time to read his kids reports. He loves holidays, cookery shows, reading the paper, suduku, laughing, late nights, 60's music, hearts guitars and the beach.

If I had to pick a favourite memory of my Dad it will be the time he gave us all nicknames and believe me they have stuck! ! Mine was Boo-Bum because apparently I went through a phase of only wearing my Nappy and a top when I was a baby. I would scream the house down if a pair of trousers came near my bottom! Now I am just Bec! I do love my Dad and I admire many things he has done like giving up smoking cold turkey, changing his career because he was unhappy and mostly just asking us if we are okay. We may not have the best relationship I have always desired but I am lucky to say that I have my Dad here with me.

What's your favourite memory of your Dad?
Happy Fathers Day, Dad! I can't wait to graduate with you watching me in the audience next July! :)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!

Happy Birthday To You.

This fantastic lady is celebrating turning another year older today. My siblings put our money together and bought her tickets to see The Jersey Boys in London in July. She loved them! My Dad is taking her on holiday to Portugal in 2 weeks as well. Plus, we are going out tonight to eat her favourite food - Noodles. She really deserves to have a brilliant day as she has been such a hero to us of late!

Happy Birthday, Mum. Have a great day and we love you!

Love, Rebecca, Nicola, Rach and Phil xxx.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

another life lost

I think it is pretty fair to say that we have heard and read the sad and beautiful story of Audrey Caroline Smith and Isaac Timothy Delisle. They left this Earth too soon, far too soon. However, their stories that they have so beautifully woven has made me so much more aware...but reality really hit me when I arrived at work today.

Earlier this year a work friend of mine, Imogen, found out she was pregnant. She already has two beautiful girls Tierney and Isla but wanted to round off her bunch in the hope of having a boy due in September. We were all over the moon for her, especially as our other work mate Paul found out he was going to be the baby's Godfather!

Due to my Nursing training I had not been at work for a while and it was my first day back today and I noticed Paul was awfully subdued. Little did I know it was because his Godson had passed away the night before.

On Wednesday Imogen and her husband Andy went for their 20 week scan. Imogen had been saying the baby had been moving around less but as their scan was due this week she didn't worry so much. She was more enamoured with the idea of finding out the sex of her baby - who wouldn't!

The good news: it was a boy! It was what they had hoped.

The sad news: He had spina bifida and trisomy 18 - known as Edwards Syndrome.

After spending all day at the hospital having appointment after appointments on what to do they decided to carry the baby to term. They just hoped for a miracle - it was all they could have hoped for. However, things took another turn...

Yesterday afternoon Imogen had cramping and then her waters broke. She was rushed to hospital and told she had gone into premature labour. When asked if she wanted medication to try and stop the contractions Imogen and Andy refused. They wanted their son to do what he wanted to do. Paul explained to me that Imogen had the beautiful idea that Lockland just couldnt wait any longer to meet them!

At 23.42 on the 12/06/09 baby Lockland Andrew Dunbar was born at 21 weeks and one day into this world. He arrived in a 2 pound 10 ounce handsome body and only lived for about 4 minutes. However, Paul said that when he spoke to Imogen this morning she could not get over how beautiful he was to hold and stare at. She said he had the cutest red birthmark on his bottom and she adored the fact he had thick jet black hair like his Daddy!

I do not have any pictures to show as I only found out a couple of hours ago and this is as much of the events I have gathered. Yet, the fact that he was a little beauty is enough for me to share :-) (all babies are!). Imogen will be undergoing genetic counselling soon and they are currently organising a memorial for him. Lockland's two older sisters have been told that he is walking their pet dog Barney in heaven as no one else could do it.

Paul was just devastated as he told me and he just could not understand why it had happened. Imogen has always said to us that her biggest fear in life is losing her children and that happened last night. I am just so gutted for her and cannot even contemplate what she and Andy are going through.

Imogen and Andy have lost their first son. Tierney and Isla have lost their first brother. Paul has lost his first Godson and the world has lost a 2 pound 10oz angel who will always leave his footprints stamped in this world.

Please join me in sending your thoughts, prayers and wishes to the whole Dunbar family and baby Lockland. We all miss you so much.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Song from your Childhood.

This past week would have been my Grandparents 55th wedding anniversary! Wow - I can just about manage a year with my relationships lol. However, for the past 14 years they have been unable to celebrate with each other due to my granddad's untimely death in 1995.

I was chatting to my Gran this past week and she was talking about the various songs that reminded her of her husband. I always remembered my Granddad singing all the time to me from nursery rhymes, to advert tunes and more importantly disney songs! I grew up in love with the disney films (although Bambi went too far when his Mummy died!).

My favourite disney film is Alladin (The little mermaid is a close second) because of the songs and the fact my Granddad used to sing them all the time to me! And you name it 'A Whole New World' was my favourite song and scene from the movie!

Don't you wish we could all be whisked away like that? As I was explaining to my Gran about how I loved it when my Granddad used to sing this to me all these memories just came flooding back. I remember the Christmas before my Granddad passed away he took my sister and I to the see Alladin in pantomime. He booked the seats late so we were at the back. The trouble was I am partially deaf so I couldn't hear it but when 'A Whole New World' was sung he lifted me off my chair and whisked me to the front so I could sing a long and wave my arms. I remember it so well!

Also, I remember vividly when he took my older sister to a theme park and there was a ride called 'The Magic Carpet' - I was not impressed and at 4 years old I genuinely believed my sister flew on a magic carpet and I didn't! My Granddad was not my friend that day lol but the following weekend he told me he had a supise for me. He took me to the staircase and at the top was a duvet sheet, he sat me on it and told me to hold on tight to it between my thighs with my legs in the air. I let go and sped down the wooded stairs like a magic carpet. To this very day I play that game with my young cousins - it's my only excuse to play it lol!

Isn't it amazing how you can get so many memories out of just one song?

This song was by far the song of my childhood, so what's yours? Any great memories that go along with it!? I'd love to hear.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Thank you.

Today Nicola, Rachael and I ran Race for Life in Guildford Park.
On behalf of us three to all of you who sponsored and encouraged us. Thank you for helping us raise a brilliant £310.10 towards finding a cure for cancer. You can still donate here. We had lots of fun and a video will follow of our day soon :-)
Together we will beat Cancer.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Racing for Life.

Yesterday I had the priveledge of meeting a man, who only for a couple of minutes, has impacted my life forever. He has given me his consent and blessing to share his story in the hope that even the smallest difference can be made. As for Mark, it is too late as his 31 years of life is coming to an end.

You may have heard this type of story before. However, I still feel compelled to reach out and share with you all. Mark this is for you and I do hope I have done it justice.

Two years ago I decided to do my Nurse's training. I decided to do something that was worthy, made an impact, stretched my thinking and allowed me to learn a whole new scope of skills. However, there was one thing I did not expect when I doned this student nurse uniform for the first time.

The incredible stories I would hear and become apart of.

Whenever I meet a patient for the first time I always try and have a small coversation with them so I can understand their illness and background. I much prefer it to reading their medical notes because they know their own body and their issues. Yesterday I had the blessing of meeting Mark. He was 31 years old with Liver and Colon cancer. He has 3 weeks to live and now receiving palliative care instead of medical treatment as there is no cure. Before our meeting I was told to go on my lunch break but I vetoed that idea when I saw Mark looking out of the window and smiling infectiously to himself.

I just felt compelled to go and smile with him. He was sitting and smiling out of the window at the cars going past on the roundabout. He was so silent but he was very aware of my presense. We didn't converse for about a minute but it was comfortable. I will tell you something I loved about Mark from our first meeting. He didn't know me but he sure had an uncanny ability to read my mind. He intricately knew what I wanted to say but too afraid to place into words...coherent words at that.

'I'm not afraid you know, Rebecca. Why be afraid of something that is going to happen to all of us?'

I did not know what to say or let alone how he knew my name until I realised I was wearing my name badge. In fact, I had lots of reasons for why he should have been afraid because even though death is coming for us all it doesn't mean we are ready/expect it at 31 - does it? Mark asked me (he was so sweet!) if could speak more to me. He explained how he had a moment of clarity when he was looking out of the window just then to the outside world he always thought he would be apart of for much longer.

And it was at this point in time where I just silently cried to myself. My heart hurt but my mind just soaked up and savoured all that he said. I could repeat it over and over again, so I will. This is Mark. This is his message :-).

In the midst of knowing that sooner rather than later my closest company will be the bugs in my grave I know that I have led a decent life. A happy life. I am thinking a lot at the moment of my wonderful partner, my beautiful three year old daughter, my family and incredible friends. Yes I am 31 and yes I desperately do not want to leave them. But those people and my job are my biggest achievements in creating 31 years of pure happiness. As I saw the life moving steadily outside today, and it may have only been cars or birds crapping on them, I have prepared myself for this eventuality. I know your're sad, aren't you?'

Too right I was sad and it wasn't even me with the disease. I agreed with what he asked and let him carry on. I was in complete awe of what he was saying. Not because he was a 'dying man' but because he was a living man speaking on behalf of everyone in his predicament. I just could not take my ears away from his words.

'I really wanted the treatment to work, Rebecca. I desperately wanted to show to everyone that I had beaten cancer. My family and medical team's treatment and support warranted that outcome! My little girl deserves to have her Daddy around for much longer. My mind still wants to do all the things that a 31 year old wants to do - but I can't. Yet, I am okay with that because there are so many success stories out there and that was why I was just smiling then. I have just been unlucky, exceptionally unlucky! Instead of being the beacon I wanted to be in shining out about my defeat against cancer. I want to now be a beacon of light to prove that people still can.'

I lost it and I really tried to hold it together. Instead, I had the patient taking care of me. It was lucky the door was closed because God knows what people outside would have been thinking. I had known Mark for just ten minutes and he had probably taught me more than I could have ever asked for in a whole month. I mentioned I was doing Race for Life this weekend and he hugged me so belatedly. I could not have wiped the smile from his face if I tried.

As he hugged me he whispered: 'See what I mean about the beacon of light? You can run for people with cancer and who are about to be diagnosed with cancer. 31 years of age has no bearing on whether you survive or not. It's how you get your message across, that's what matters.'

Mark has been given a couple of weeks at the most to live and we joked that he better stretch it out until Saturday because I am running for him - for everyone. I would ask for a miracle but more importantly I am setting out to achieve what he has wanted to do since he was first diagnosed to when his cancer was defined 'incurable.'

'It's how you get your message across, that's what really matters.' This Saturday I am running Race for Life. A run that is designed to raise money and awareness to find a cure for cancer. Having the blessing of meeting Mark this week has driven me further to do this more profoundly. I have nursed far too many cancer patients and I know the word cancer is said far too often and scares people far too much.

If you would like to help me then please do by sponsoring me on this link (thank you Colette!), doing a post to raise awareness of the run or any other ideas are welcomed! I would be utterly grateful. Here is the link. It may have been too late to have saved Mark but the money raised over the years is paying for treatment to extend life and it allowed Mark to celebrate his little girl's 3rd birthday last week! Amazing!

I am going to finish off Mark's last words to me as I exited his room. 'You know in the adverts when they say. Together we will beat Cancer? It's true. We can't do it on our own and I just don't want it to be too late for someone else. Give me something to smile about when I'm flying above you.'

Mark, I am never going to forget you. Thank you so very much for telling me your story and dreams. Oh and the next time a bird decides to poop on my Car. I think I can vouch that your the one who concocted it.

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