It’s official…

…Deborah Bone, Clinical Lead and Service Manager has been terminated. Cancer has stolen my identity and status. I am just left with Deborah Bone. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, niece, sister , aunty and a grandma and that is going to have to do for now. I shall have to practice at being better as those.

Just for the record I hate cancer.

Deborah x

A fresh start

Today Colin and I shall start our new regime of trying to do a couple of hours work every morning. By work I mean something that will bring in some sort of income. Over the last 7 months or so our lives have been dictated by my illness. Even today our day will be broken up by a visit to my occupational health department. But I must try to get back into some sort of routine that isn’t dictated by visits to the hospital or me feeling to fatigued or poorly to do anything. The literature tells me to take it slowly as my body has been so abused by the number of toxic chemicals it has had thrown at it that it could take sometime before I feel anything like normal again. I am fed up with waiting and I am not sure what the future holds but I can’t sit around waiting for something to happen.

I am officially in remission so I must make the best of the time I have before I am forced to get back on the Cancer bus again. Life isn’t cheap though and if we are to enjoy any sort of standard of living both Colin and I must earn a wage of some sort.

I had a lovely catch up with David, the chief exec of my trust. It was so good to hear that he was putting the welfare of his employees top of his agenda. I was very touched by his visit and felt lifted by his kind words that gave me some hope for the future.

So I had better get myself up and started. These last few months have made me a little lazy and honestly I could quite easily turn over and go back to sleep for an hour or two. It is hard to imagine that less than a year ago I would have been awake by 5.30am and in work by now.

Take care

Deborah x

Today….

…I have a visitor coming from work. I am really looking forward to catching up on how things are going. I really miss work. Don’t get me wrong when I am feeling much better being at home is quite a luxury especially when the weather is so hot. I am still awaiting the results of me being able to retire early so that I can make some decisions about my future.

Yesterday I enjoyed my last ( at least for the time being) visit to the hospice. It is where I have been going for my free reflexology sessions. They have really helped me to feel relaxed and cared for. I have come to learn that the hospice is there to help me live when previously I saw them as a place for the dying.

This has got me thinking about what have I really learnt about the NHS from the other side. The list below is based on my experience only.

You have a choice about the hospital you want to receive your care from and you can ask for a second opinion
Being treated at a hospital specialising in your particular illness instilled me with more confidence.
– Environment matters! UCLH Cancer Service has taken great care in ensuring a bright, modern and spotlessly clean environment in which to receive your care. I was particularly impressed by Level 2 where I received my chemotherapy. I think the environment also had a good effect on the staff who worked there.
– The care I received from the nursing teams couldn’t have been better. I was treated as an individual with the utmost respect at all times. The admin staff I came in contact with we’re equally as good. Nothing seemed too much trouble. I saw a few different doctors during my care but they were all as equally caring and knowledgable about my particular case. I felt listened to and encouraged to play a part in my care, discussing different options along my journey. Not forgetting Janet, my trial co-ordinator who has been there at the end of the phone or email, explaining things I might not have first understood or just acting as a listening ear.
– The Macmillan Service has been faultless and extremely helpful to me at times of distress. The UCLH Cancer Centre have their own Macmillan service with staff at hand to listen just when you need it. It has a walk in centre and as soon as you enter the rooms someone is there to greet you and offer you a cup of tea. Relatives and friends are also welcome, this really helped as we all tried to get our heads around the latest news and how to manage with having cancer.
– Closer to home I have also received excellent care from my local Palliative Care team. This included visits and telephone support from my nurse, Louise. She very quickly ensured the drugs I needed were available at the times I needed them, co-ordinating with the hospital and my GP practice. Louise was always highly professional but at the same time friendly and very caring, this instilled both Colin and I with confidence at some very difficult times. Our local hospice doctors and therapists have also been there when we have need their support.

So all in all I have been very impressed by the treatment I have received from our NHS services. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is never going to be easy but it is made so much better to cope with, knowing that these services are out there.

I am trying to rack my brain for any areas that I think could be improved but I must admit it is a bit of a struggle. Perhaps the strength and withdrawal symptoms of the patch I am currently on could have been better explained to me prior to me starting on them. Also the patient portal, which is a fairly new service offered by UCLH, needs some further work as I gave up trying to look up my appointment times or checking up on my results. It was often out of date or the information was wrong or not available, but I expect these are just teething problems.

The sad thing is I don’t think everyone with cancer is as lucky as I have been, to be near to a specialist hospital with an excellent reputation, or perhaps are aware of all the other services available to them locally.

So yet again I am one lucky girl.

Enjoy your day

Deborah x

WOW what a night!

Firstly I must apologise for the delay in posting but it has taken a couple of days to come back down to earth.

July 13th, was an evening to remember. It all started the day before as Production Plus an amazing events company, arrived to put up the staging, lighting and most importantly the disco ball. As the Friday evening drew in, some lovely friends, Ann and Patrick, arrived with bunting and some waterfall lights to make the set look even more spectacular. Tables and chairs were put out and the scene was set and who knew what would happen on the night of the party.

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Well the evening party to celebrate my 50th and raise money for Myeloma research, really couldn’t have been any better, as friends and family arrived laden with their picnics. Seeing our relatives from Sheffield was very special to both Kate and I, as was catching up with Jarvis, his sister Saskia and mum Chris. So many happy memories were shared and all seemed well with the world. As a surprise, friends and family had all learnt one of my most favourite songs and flash mobbed it for me. I wasn’t quite sure what was happening as a friends husband pulled me on to the dance floor but as it slowly sunk in to my alcohol filled head, I felt very honoured that new and old friends and family had all learnt my favourite song, ‘I hope you dance’ and were singing it especially for me. Then to top it all my childhood friend, Jarvis, took to the stage and sang Disco 2000 along with the amazing CC Smugglers, to me, for me, about me. How could that happen? I will never forget that moment for as long or as short of a time I have left on this planet. Thank you David for this footage.

http://www.facebook.com/l/IAQHaue9qAQHvBsnWsxH5MtxGLRbpMo60TZl_m2YQAYBubw/m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=FV_lzerVqDI&desktop_uri=%252Fwatch%253Fv%253DFV_lzerVqDI%2526feature%253Dyoutu.be

I am not sure how to express in words my gratitude. Thank you to you all just doesn’t seem enough but it’s a start so here I go, please accept my apology in advance if I leave any one out, it certainly won’t be intentionally.

To start with…

Thank you to you all for coming along and helping make the atmosphere just perfect. It was especially good to meet and make new friends some who I have made contact with through the Myeloma network and others from neighbouring villages.

Thank you to my soul mate Colin, loving sister Kate. mum Jill and best friends Sue and Angela who have not only helped to make the party a success, but who have been by my side every step of the way, witnessing the pain and tears, sharing the laughter and just holding my hand both literally and metaphorically. Without you this journey would have been even harder to bare. You have lifted my spirits when I have felt lost and supported not only me, but Colin and each other. I know this won’t stop here and I have confidence that you will be with me forever I love you all so very much.

A special thank you to Sue and Angela who contributed the wine for the party and to Kate who payed for the Porta Loo’s meaning even more money could be put in to the charity fund.

Thank you to my two lovely daughters Pollyanna and Jem who continue to make me proud. And to my lovely grandson who made, whoever met him on the night and the day after, smile. Thank you Pollyanna for contributing the sweets and nibbles and for buying so many raffle tickets!!

To my lovely brother Toby and his partner Jo for contributing the luxury Fortnum and Mason’s hamper to the raffle.

And a very special Thank You to Sebastian my lovely nephew who I love with all my heart, not only for all his contributions to the raffle but for flying over from Los Angeles to be with us all. Not to mention my rather extravagant sunglasses!

To the rest of my family, Charles and his friends, the family from up north, Jack and Jeremy who shared their time with us all, either before, at, or after the party.

Thank you to Production Plus for providing the staging and lightening at no cost, and a special Thank You to Andy who gives the best of hugs and for his and Vicki’s generosity .

Thanks to Ann and Patrick who put together the finishing touches the night before the party.

To Barbs and Jo who organised the flash Mob, and especially to Barbs for organising and chopping (with help from Kate and Kendra) all the fruit for the Pimms and strawberries for the desert. And to Jo who arrived very early on the Sunday morning and who had cleared up much of the mess before most of us got out of bed.

To Heather for all her help with buying up Costco’s and to her and her husband from
www.hertsfireplacegallery.co.uk
for providing the fire in a box which is a great idea for your garden especially on chilly evenings.

To Sonia and her son for lending us bunting and putting it all up.

To my very caring and thoughtful sister in law Lorna and her husband Gig, for helping in so many ways before, during and after the party. Along with Sophie who made all the cup cakes and helped with the raffle.

Thank you to Colin’s parents who also helped out before, during and after the party. With a very special Thank You to Keith who spent most of the evening taking pboto’s and filming the event. I can’t wait to see them all. He really is a fantastic photographer.

Thank you to all the other people who contributed raffle prises.

A very big Thank You to my good friend Allison who has not only been a great support to me but who baked me this amazing birthday cake, each flower was handmade. We rather reluctantly cut into it on Sunday and it tasted as good as it looks!

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A big Thank You also goes to Allison and Chris’s son Nick who very kindly contributed his time and skills to sort out all the electric’s in our barn so we could plug in the lighting and freezers

To David Mills,an amazing singer and I hope now he won’t mind me calling him friend. So many people commented on how good he was and he finished off the evening perfectly as the night drew to an end and we sat by the bonfire attempting, rather unsuccessfully,toasting marshmallows. If you need a singer for a party, wedding etc drop me an email and I will pass on his contact details or just google his name etc and you should find him on YouTube.

Another big Thank You to the CC Smugglers who really made the night especially when they backed up Jarvis Cocker and sang Disco 2000. They are such a talented group of lads but not only that, they are really nice guys who generously gave their time up for free so that we could raise even more money for charity. You can get hold of them or buy their CD by visiting their web site or Facebook page. Just follow the link below.

http://www.ccsmugglers.co.uk/

Thank You to Jarvis who not only turned up to my party with his mum Christine (or Aunty Christine as we used to call her), his son Albert, and beautiful girlfriend Kim and his sister Saskia and her very handsome son Felix. He actually, now this just made the night, sang Disco 2000 on our stage, at our house, to me. Now how cool is that! It was lovely to catch up and I was very grateful for my gift of a frame filled with old photo’s of us all as kids playing together. Thanks Aunty and thank you Jarvis for my book which I shall treasure forever.

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Thank you all as well for all the gifts I really didn’t expect to receive. To start with on Friday I received a parcel of a lovely teapot and selection of tea’s from Wendy and Sharon. It is perfect as both Colin and I love our cuppa, but after thanking all the Sharon’s and Wendy’s at the party, all of whom said it wasn’t them that sent it I am at a loss of who it came from ?

In my excitement cards got detached from presents and I am not sure who to thank for what. So I must apologise but a big THANK YOU to you all. I do know that I got the most amazing bouquet from Natasha, and a lovely basket of goodies from my good friend Julie Nash. I also received a lovely photo frame, candles, chocolates, slippers and foot creams, a perfect leather bound journal which I can’t wait to fill and a hamper of all my favourite things from my gorgeous cousin Mathew and his lovely wife Clare. Both Colin and I can’t wait to meet up with them again sometime soon.

July 13th really was a very special day. It was made special by all who were involved and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

I hope to be able to add more photo’s and video footage very soon. If you took any photo’s or film on the night I would be very grateful if you could send them to me at deborah.bone@mac.com

Thank you once again to all you lovely people

Deborah xxx

My experience with the NHS

Somebody has asked me recently if my treatment was any better because I worked for the NHS.  The answer is NO, for a start not all of them were aware of where I worked.

My treatment throughout this whole process has ranged between good to excellent. The best part was being treated within a specialist hospital. The Univercity College London Hospital (UCLH), has it’s own cancer centre. It is a fairly new building, opening about a year ago. The building was well thoughtout and the environment is spacious and airy with plenty of natural light coming in. It makes for a good place to work, (I asked one of the nurses) as well as a relaxing place to visit as a patient. This makes a difference to the staff and they all seemed very calm, professional and caring. The service I received there was excellent. If I am being really picky, there are a few areas for improvement I suppose. The hospital has a patient portal system. This is a website where you can log in with your hospital number and find out when your next appointments are and leave messages for the people you are working with. This is fairly new and does seem to have some teething problems. The information is often wrong or out of date. I think, like any data base, it’s only as good as the information that is fed into it. So often I would be told of an appointment time by my specialist nurse and that would then differ from the information on the system, so I soon learnt not to trust it. Other than that my treatment has been faultless. All the doctors I have seen have been professional and friendly. I felt that I have been treated as an individual and have been given time whilst my wishes have been heard and respected. The nurses have also been excellent, nothing has seemed too much trouble and they have always done their best to make sure I have understood the procedures I have had to undertake. I have also been given excellent written information which I have been given time to digest and then I have been asked if I have had any questions. When I had my harvesting done, lying there for six hours allowed me to observe the nurses practice. They were short of staff the day I was there, and extremely busy but even so, I observed them to always wash their hands and put new gloves on in between each patient they attended to. They were professional but friendly at all times and a credit to their profession. Janet, my care co-ordinator and a research assistant, working alongside the doctors on the trial, has always been very supportive and ensured appointments were made at the most convenient times to allow for the journey time we had to make. At all times she kept us fully informed with the appointments and procedures I needed to undertake. For example yesterday I received an email from her explaining that I would need another bone biopsy carrying out. She asked if I would rather be sedated or not, clearly explaiming the pro’s and cons of both. She then said she would organise the appointment for after the party.

Locally I have been supported by the palliative care team, working for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust. Yet again my treatment has been excellent. The nurse assigned to me was at all times extremely professional but also friendly and approachable. Nothing was ever too much trouble as she supported both Colin and I through some difficult times. She arranged for my medication to be changed and ready promptly for collection at my local GP practice, co-ordinating with my GP and the hospital. Louise also managed to set up more appointments with my psychologist when she recognised the need. My psychlogist was also extremely professional but helpful and accommodated my needs by visiting me at home and then organising appointments at the local Hospice. The support I have received at the Hospice has also been wonderful, with the doctors there spending 45 minutes listening and working alongside both Colin and I to plan the best course of action to holistically manage my pain. They also have and still are providing me with regular reflexology sessions.

So looking at the health service from the other side I couldn’t feel more proud. I was a reluctant patient and making the transition from nurse to patient was a difficult one, but at all times I have felt confident and comfortable with the support and treatment I have received.

 
Thank you to all of you who have been involved in my immediate care.

Deborah x

What a great team…

…we make. First we smash those cancerous cells to smithereens and then we go and grow enough baby cells for at least two transplants. You really can’t ask for more than that. For those of you wondering what happens next, I have an appointment for an echocardiogram and one with the consultant on July 11th. I expect then to bo booked in for another MRI scan and bone biopsy. These are tests that are routinely carried out but are also more important as I am taking part in a clinical trial. They will measure how many cancerous cells are left in my bone marrow and the damage that has been done to my bones. I already have several bone lesions but the consultants for one reason or another have been reluctant to let on where exactly they are. I have been very lucky with my cancer as it was spotted through a routine blood test and prior to me having any symptoms. For many other people the diagnosis is often spotted after a broken bone often in the neck or back.

My stem cells are being put on ice. That is because I am on a trial that will monitor how long it will be before I require a transplant. They reckon from between 18 months and two years, but I am counting on a good ten years before the little blighters start reproducing again. It is for this reason that I will be closely monitored and the reason why, unfortunately that your never without the constant reminder of your disease. It’s not like a cancer where a bit can be chopped off and then you are monitored for a few years and then if all is Ok you are off the hook. Myeloma sticks with you lying dormant like a sleeping dragon waiting to be woken again to breathe its fire. You need to learn to live with myeloma, make it your friend really, and set up some sort of pact. If I don’t poke you, you will leave me alone. Hmm maybe that’s more like an ex partner than a friend!

Oh well apart from the odd appointment to remind me, I want to pretty much forget about the whole thing and start living again. My first task is to ween myself off the enormous amount of drugs I’m taking so that I can enjoy a drink at the party.

Thinking about the party I have a few personal errands to run. Luckily our lovely old motorhome sailed through its MOT so we shall bring her home today and may take her out for a spin. I have been told to take it easy for a couple of days and my cancer co-ordinator said I should allow 3 months post cancer treatments to be back to my normal self. Well they don’t know me very well. I have just about had as much as I can stand of all of this sitting around. However I will take it easy for a day or two, I don’t want to rupture my groin!

Thank you for all your messages of support. When I talk about this having being a team effort, I mean this in all sincerity. Those of you who have provided support in the way of just reading the blog and letting me know you were on the same team helped immensely. The brain and the body are intricately connected and positivity of thought is very necessary. That is not to take away from the amazing skills of the medical teams playing their part in my recovery and present remission status.

Bless you all

Deborah xxx

A trip out…

…to Brooklands museum in Surrey was enjoyed by all. I had the chance to sit in the Wellington and mum was able to share her father’s diary with some very interested historians. We all (Mum, Colin and I) came back on board the motorhome for lunch and then an afternoon nap before Mummy crept out to meet up with Kate and Martin again.

I really would like to get to the bottom of my pain, yesterday it wasn’t too bad but as soon as I sat down on the sofa it returned with a vengeance. Well I am bored of talking about it now, never mind having it.

Late last night I was very tearful and Colin found it hard to console me although he did a good job by changing my state and taking me back downstairs. I had received a lovely email from the chief exec which reminded me of who I used to be. I don’t like what I see in the mirror. It is the party and then a holiday to France that is keeping me going, but I am afraid only just. I am sharing this with you not that I at all want you to feel sorry for me (I do that enough for myself) but because it helps me to see it in writing and try and sort it out and to share with other Myeloma sufferers, that its Ok to feel down sometimes. Just because I don’t recognise the person in the photographs from only a few months ago doesn’t mean it’s not me. I just need to reinvent myself somehow. If I hadn’t suddenly realised that I have to go up to London for an echograph today, I would get on with my book then look forward to becoming Deborah, a recognised author, of children’s mental health books.

I wish the sun would come out again, perhaps it’s saving itself for the party.

Best Wishes

Deborah x

Postponed

I am sure other myeloma friends will be able to relate to how difficult it can be when you build yourself up for a procedure and then it doesn’t happen quite as planned. Don’t get me wrong, I can thoroughly understand and I am grateful for, my consultants decision to postpone, which he made with my very best interests at heart, but it is still very disappointing. The harvesting of my stem cells doesn’t come without its own complications, and the first few hours of yesterday afternoon were spent with Jude, my new harvesting expert, who excellently and very patiently took me through the procedures and processes of what to expect over the next couple of weeks. This included the possible side effects of the large dose of chemo and how this and my daily injections worked with my bodies own systems. The chemo is given to kill off my grown up blood cells encouraging the bone marrow to produce the stem cells which are baby blood cells that have yet to be given a job, i.e. become white blood cells, red blood cells or platelets. Timing is of the essence in collecting the stem cells so special blood tests are carried out to establish exactly what stage you are at. The process can cause bone pain especially in the pelvic area where the biggest mass of bone marrow is. Imagine a piece of bone marrow stuffing itself with baby cells pushing themselves against the sides, ready and eager to come out. My special stem cell collecting machine needs to collect these at the point when they are ready to burst out like a fountain, too soon and there won’t be enough in there and too late they will have already burst out into my blood stream. Both the drug I inject myself with and the bodies own system will be promoting the growth of these new baby cells because the chemo has killed off all or most of my grown up blood cells, this is why at this point I am Neutropenic, meaning I have a very low red and white blood cell count making it easy for me to pick up nasty bugs and then harder for my body to fight infection. Because of this I have to be very careful in ensuring as best as possible I don’t pick up a bug from other people or certain unwashed or uncooked foods. It all makes so much sense now and both Colin and I are very grateful for Jude’s excellent use of drawing and metaphors to help get the message across. Whilst with Jude, I also got to see another patient in the full throws of harvesting with blood coming out of one arm and being put through this amazing machine and then fed back into the other arm. So you can perhaps imagine how I felt after hearing all this and confirming all my dates, I then go to see the consultant who thinks we need to postpone the whole process! The reason for his decision is that my peripheral neuropathy has reached such a peak and the side effects of the next chemo could make the pain worse, that it is best to wait until my pain subsides a little. The good news is that he is at least hopeful the pain will reduce if not completely go away. I also discussed with him the idea of possibly retiring due to ill health and although he said he couldn’t decide for me, he thought this was a sensible route to take. Unfortunately with Myeloma it is never a clear picture as to what will happen next and within what time frames. Some people come through the transplant well others don’t come through it at all. There is definitely one clear thing and this is that, at this moment in time, there is no cure for myeloma and it won’t go away of its own accord. So I might as well enjoy the periods of being well, inbetween the times when I will be requiring some sort of health interventions, doing something I enjoy with my husband and family rather than spend these times working at fighting somebody elses health battle. Especially when I am ill and requiring more treatment again I will be back on half pay and after another six months on no pay at all.

Still I don’t have to make any sudden rash decisions I am just chewing over the fat and thinking what is the best for us all, like I said yesterday I wish I wasn’t in this bloody position in the first place but I am, so that’s just that!

I may just stay put today, in my conservatory bed looking out on this magnificent view whilst writing another chapter of my book.

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Best Wishes to you all

Deborah xxx

You are never too old or ill….

…to go camping even if it is in the conservatory.
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It is so romantic and exciting decorating the place with candles and snuggling down with a hot chocolate. Colin and I are so lucky to have found each other, we never bore of each others company even though we are spending much of every day together nowadays. All of this makes it so much harder to bare to think I have a life limiting disease. I just need to make the most of the time I have and this is why I am considering taking up the option of retiring early due to ill health. Especially if I am only going to get half pay when I am off sick which unfortunately I am bound to be again and my entitlement to full pay runs out in June. Having said that, this is a very difficult decision to make. I have spent the majority of my life working in mental health, passionate about making a difference and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. If I take the option that gives me the biggest lump sum which is the most sensible offer to take, I will never again be able to work in the NHS. At least I will be leaving on a high I suppose. I have designed and developed a service to improve children’s mental health that is working very well even without me there. I know we have long waiting lists but really that’s only a sign of our success and if properly funded in the future this can be addressed. But I would be losing a hell of a lot, I have built up lots of friendships with my colleagues and genuinely feel cared for and respected by them, but there is my husband and family to think of. I have given over most of my time to my job over the last fifteen years at my husband and families expense, often working late into the night and at the weekends. I need to think realistically and that means facing the likelihood that I may not reach retirement age. If I do retire early it will be a struggle to make ends meet but we will have each other and I am sure we will manage somehow. I am so ANGRY that this blasted disease has put me in this position but it has, I just have to accept it and learn how to live with cancer.

Today I get to go up to London again for some tests, a two hour meeting with the Harvesting Nurse so that she can explain the side effects of the treatment I have to endure next and gain my consent, and a consultation with the doctor. I have a list of questions prepared and will ask his advice on taking early retirement. I have been avoiding the ultimate question but I think I need to take a deep breath in and ask in likelihood how long do I have.  Even thinking and writing this down brings tears to my eyes and again begs the question why me? I haven’t done anything wrong and all my life I have only wanted to help people, it just seems so unfair. Sorry rant over, I suppose this is what this blog is all or at least partly about. Getting it all out in the open, letting go of my feelings and sharing them with those of you kind enough to listen and read my blog. Thank you again for sticking with me through the thick and thin.

Talking about happier times I have a party to get sorted. So far only five people have purchased their tickets. The idea behind you paying for your tickets now is that we get to know numbers. So please do purchase yours and if you haven’t received your invite and payment details send me an email please. If you don’t like paying using bank transfer send me an email and let me know you are definitely coming and we will sort something out. It is only just over six weeks away. Thank goodness for those lovely people who helped to clear the barn out. I must now get on with making tablecloths, decorations etc. I think we need another party committee meeting I am starting to panic a little, all quite unnecessarily I am sure.

Well I had better get out of my camping bed before the postman or someone else turns up and wonders what’s going on, not that I am really that bothered!

Have a good day and like I say over and over again do try to appreciate it, time is the most precious resource around so spend it wisely.

Love Deborah x

And the winner is…..

..wait for it

Deborah Bone Role model of the Year Hip Hip Hooray.

I told you yesterday it was going to be a good one!  The evening started off with Bucks Fizz and canapés. Colin, Mum , Kate, Sue, Angela and myself all huddled around a table as we watched more and more people arrive. As soon as 7pm arrived we went into the beautifully laid out main room and found table number eight. Unfortunately tickets had run out and poor Sue and Angela were relegated to seats at the back of the room, but they were happy enough just to be there and share in the experience. The venue was perfect and we enjoyed a light ploughman’s supper before listening to a local young girl, Roxy Searle, sing a couple of songs brilliantly. The evening was hosted by the very handsome (just thought I had better pop that in as he is likely to be reading this post!) Sky Sports F1 presenter, David Croft. Actually he did a very good job keeping us amused throughout the evening especially when it came round to the raffle. There were twelve awards to be handed out throughout the evening from, Young Achiever to a Good Neighbour Award. For each award the winner was announced by the award sponsor and then to a room of applause the winner came up on to the stage to be presented with a glass trophy and a framed certificate. The other short listed candidates were then called up onto the stage to receive their certificates before returning to their seats. But there was no quick get away for the winner. They were interviewed by Crofty (as he is known in the blurb provided) for what seemed like an eternity. At this point I was almost crossing my fingers that I wouldn’t win. I wasn’t looking my best having struggled to find something that fitted me to wear, which Crofty kindly pointed out, having read yesterday’s blog, and I blamed it on the tablets although secretly I knew it was far too many cream cakes! When the Role Model of the year was announced I listened to the few words spoken about each of the shortlister’s (ok I know there isn’t really such a word but there is now) and was quietly confident that at least one of them were more worthy of the big prize. But then it happened out came my name and up I shot waddling towards the stage drugged up to the eyeballs (legally of course) with a glass of Bucks Fizz to add to the mix, wondering if I would remember anything I would say and thinking this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Of course crafty old Crofty had read all of yesterday’s blog and reminded us all of bits that I had written. All quite embarrassing because I couldn’t remember a word of it. However I filled any possible silences with references of Russell Brand and Jarvis Cocker, of course Crofty hadn’t read that far back. It all seemed to be over pretty quickly and I returned to my table to see the tear stained and proud faces of Kate, mum and my darling husband Colin. It wasn’t too long after that, that the evening came to an end but not before the raffle. This consisted of two spectacular prizes, a rather large left over chocolate Easter Bunny and a night for two at the very exclusive Ibis Hotel in the heart of Stevenage. Well you know by now how I love a raffle, and the proceeds were going towards the Hospice I am frequenting nowadays, so we just had to buy a strip or two. I am however rather glad to say that this time we weren’t so lucky to win one of these elusive prizes but Crofty did an excellent job of making the process very amusing by trying to get the Stevenageimage councillor to point out the tourist attractions in Stevenage. So the evening ended with hugs of congratulations with Sue and Angela and a smooth drive home from Kate who herself deserved at least one of those prizes or at the very least the two night stay in the Ibis!

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For full coverage of my winning speech I will try to upload the video Kate kindly took and share the embarrassing moments with you all.

Yesterday was good but I have a funny feeling today is going to be even better. Roll on Postie we are awaiting here whilst snuggled up under the duvet.

Enjoy your day, you too Crofty.

Love Deborah x