Christmas news and New Year wishes


Ali and smart croonerWell hello there! How are you? I can't believe it's a fortnight since I last wrote, but I didn't want the year to slip away without getting in touch one more time :)

Thanks so much for all your Christmas messages and cards – I loved reading through them, and hope that, for all of you, this last week has been exactly what you wanted. I hope too that for those of you like Liz, little Alfie, Mary, Susan, Helen and Alpa, your health improved so that you were able to enjoy at least some of the festivities.

Christmas seemed to start earlier in our household this year as we bought and decorated the tree on the 7th December. We found this great place last year, and so went back again, but decided this year, in our wisdom, to buy a more traditional spruce…

I have to say it's made the room smell fabulously festive, but I think my fears about the needle drop were compounded within a couple of days, but as long as no-one touches it or sneezes anywhere near it, we may just make it through until New Year's Day.

As I was working on the night of our QVC Christmas party, Colin very kindly arranged for us to have our own 'works do', and booked a special Christmas riverboat evening on the Thames to Windsor. What made it even more exciting for me was the Michael Buble tribute act (pictured above) who sang his way through ALL my favourite melodies and was word and note-perfect!  We had a great time, and were still dancing as they moored the boat! 

Making snowmen Help in the kitchenThat weekend Lucy and Simon came to see us with Henry and George, and we made Christmas biscuits and a chocolate cake (which actually looked more like the clays you throw for a pigeon shoot..!), but they enjoyed themselves and so did Lucy and I :) 



In the classroom OrangesI saw Lucy the following week, on her last day of term, when I drove to her school, and spent the morning with her tutor group making these Christmas oranges. Lucy makes one for me most years, as I did for my mum before that, and, for some of the children, it was the first time some of them had actually made something to give as a present…I know their mum's will have loved them :)

Having just been promoted to second in English, although she's only been at the school for four months, I was incredibly proud to be there with Lucy and to meet not just the children but the headteacher too. Good times :) 

Panto picAgain, sticking with tradition, Colin and I headed off to Newbury on the 22nd December to see 'Jack and the Beanstalk' – a panto in which our Danny was appearing as Simple Simon. He's my neice Verity's boyfriend, and so as many of us as could cram in the car bowled up to see him and had a ball :)  There were only six people making up the entire cast, but they were brilliant, and kept the 200 strong audience fully entertained.

What was particularly nice was that they had a left an open area in front of the stage so that the children could leap around and dance and join in when they wanted to, and they did!  I loved the audience participation too, and it took me back to the early 90s when my mum and I and my three went to see The Chuckle Brothers in panto. Laugh? I nearly embarrassed myself! Thank heavens for pelvic floor exercises! :)

Like so many families, once the children get older and move away there's always a logistical battle over Christmas to work out who is where and when, but this year we got too see ALL Colin's and my children (except Lucy) on Christmas Eve, and they stayed overnight so we had breakfast together on Christmas morning.

At homeColin had devised some hilarious games, including Bush Tucker trials, which the kids loved, and even I joined in with! So much laughter and hilarity my stomach hurt, and the visual memory of Pass the Orange will stay with me forever… :)

Sam, Jack and his girlfriend Hana stayed for Christmas lunch, and this year we'd ordered a boned, rolled and stuffed turkey from the local butcher, which was delicious. I served all the usual things with it, but caused Sam some consternation when he saw all the giblets…"You mean we're going to be eating turkey neck gravy?!"… which indeed we did, and yes, he loved it :) Sadly I didn't get Jack in the photo, but here are Lucy and Sam.  

I was spoiled rotten with gifts this year, including a beautiful dress, cashmere jumper, jewellery and books from Colin, and amongst the things the children bought me were theatre tickets, a new iPad cover and a static cycle stand so I can ride my bike indoors without moving!

I got a fig tree from mum and a lovely antique wooden chest from Jenny, plus so many other things it would be rude to write them all down!  What also cheered me was how well-received the presents I bought were. I got mum the Centigrade feather and down coat in plum, and she LOVES it, and I gave Jenny the Diamonique watch I had designed and she was almost tearful :)

The antique Dansette record player I had found for Colin has been playing our old 45s for most of the last week, so that was definitely a winner :) I hope that you were also spoiled and I look forward to hearing about your Christmases too. 

I'll write again with the rest of the holiday news after New Year, but I just wanted to let you know that I am back into hospital on the 8th January to have further surgery.  This is to hopefully resolve the uncomfortable problems I have with my tummy and finally rectify the implant issue on the left.

As it was our busiest time at work prior to Christmas I wanted to wait until the New Year before I took time off again. It seems trite to be even writing about this when we lost so many friends and colleagues to various forms of cancer this year…four in total, and, with the exception of one wonderful man who fought for 10 years, we were all diagnosed within six months of each other…

This Christmas it's been hard not to think of the families, wives, husbands and children who have all had to cope without the people they loved…and for me not to feel lucky yet sad at the same time.

I know too from reading your comments on this blog, that many of you have struggled this year and lost those you love, suffered ill health, and had to cope with family issues. I hope so very much that 2014 will a better year for you all.

Stay strong, spend as much time as possible with those who make you happy, and always let those around you know you love them :) Thank you for everything you've given to me this year in terms of love and support, and I look forward to hearing from you when you have a moment.

With my love, Ali xx


  1. Elaine sallis December 30, 2013 at 2:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    So glad that you had a lovely christmas. Thank you so much for the card. We had a lovely day on Boxing Day when Adam and Jodie and their families came. Christmas Day was quiet but we both enjoyed it. I hope the surgery makes you feel more comfortable and that it will be the end of surgery for you. You have been so brave through all life has thrown at you. You are a role model for us all.
    I hope that you and the members of Ali’s. Army have a happy new year.
    Love Elaine

  2. Julie December 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    What a lovely blog as usual and so glad you had a lovely Christmas with your family. Ours was very low key but so glad to have two weeks off work.
    Lily kept us entertained including surprising everyone on Christmas Eve by saying “Santa can’t exist, it’s impossible for him to travel so far in one night” – she’s only three as you know.
    I was also spoilt with so many presents including more Clogau Gold (surprise, surprise)and a lovely present from Lily too.
    I hope you and the family have a happy and healthy new year and that everything goes well on 8th January.
    Will keep you informed with things happening this end especially as the scan is in January so will let you know the outcome.
    Take care as always
    Julie x Lily xxxxx

  3. Mrs Janet Jones December 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm -  Reply

    My Dear Ali, so glad you had a lovely Christmas with both yours and Colins family, sounds like you all had such fun together. We spent some time with Alfie at their home and then we went onto Emma’s parents house there was 18 of us altogether, it was so well organised plenty of food for everyone, we met Alfies great grandparents, who were so lovely, so we all got to spend time with Alfie on his first Christmas. what a lovely day. My favourite Christmas present has to be a bright yellow gardening kneeling pad with the words ‘ Worlds greatest gardening grandma’ a present from Alfie, what a clever little baby he is! We are all still praying his operation has been a success , we have another couple of weeks to find out. Tomorrow, New Years Eve , will be spent at the hospital having my radio isotope x-ray. So I will pray that all will be well with that, not sure when the results will be, not too long to wait I hope.
    To Jilly, wishing Annie continued good health.Lovely to hear from you Liz I was thinking about you,sorry to hear you haven’t been too well, hopefully you are feeling much better now,and something can be done about your back soon.
    I wish you well with your operation Ali, and hopefully that will be the last of it for a while.Take good care of yourself Ali, and I wish all of Ali’s army A Health ,Happy, New Year, Love Janet xx

  4. Chris Page December 30, 2013 at 4:55 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali
    I’ve just returned from spending Christmas in Spain with my parents. I didn’t get many presents, as I’m buying myself a Kindle Fire in the sales, but Mum and Dad took me to their new outdoor shopping centre in La Zenia to buy me some new clothes from ther absolutely ma-hoosive Primark. A Primark paper carrier bag is the new must-have accessory on the Costa Blanca! Christmas Day itself was torrential rain, but we had a lovely time regardless. I also discovered a fabulous new treatment for the scar tissue on my leg, which was caused by my fight with Cellulitis earlier this year – it’s an olive oil-based moisturiser called “OLIVA”. I thoroughly recommend it if you can get your hands on some. It has softened the rhino hide skin on the back of my leg in just one week. It’ll take some time to show the full effects, but I’m more positive about my leg now.
    Looks like you had a fab Chrimbo!
    Chris xx

  5. Cath December 30, 2013 at 5:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Your festive time sounds great. We had a pretty quiet one but were with mum and dad for lunch on the big day (give hubby a year off!). Got lots of nice stuff but the main highlight was my family time.
    Dad is doing well and has beaten the 90% target (proteins were 32 and now at 3.1) so he will have a stem cell treatment in February. He needs to go to Leeds first for the stem cell collection as well as the normal pre operation heart and lung tests. Fingers crossed this knocks the myeloma into remission.
    Hope your treatment in January goes well. Much love for 2014,
    Catherine xx

  6. Polly Light December 30, 2013 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    A lovely blog again Ali – you bring such solace and comfort to those going through a very difficult time with ill health and the worry of cancer and cancer treatments, I wish you the very best of luck as you prepare for your surgery in the new year, and pray that 2014 will bring you great happiness and very good health for you and your family

  7. Karen December 31, 2013 at 3:02 am -  Reply

    Bless you Alison, what a lovely blog, written by an even lovelier lady! Just wanted to say have a very happy and healthy 2014 xxx

  8. babsq x December 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali Happy, Healthy New Year x I will be thinking of you on January 8th. Hope all goes well and this is the last of operations. Here’s to you and a Healthy 2014! babsq xxx

  9. Liz, Lancashire December 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm -  Reply

    Sounds like a great Xmas for you with all those goings-on. Very busy but all lovely memories. I so hope the surgery will be the last lot you need and finally sort the pain and discomfort out. Fingers crossed! Thank you for the good wishes, too. Since I last wrote I have had my pain relief altered by a Macmillan nurse I got hold of (bit unexpected at this time of year) so hope these will keep me going til we have the next treatment planned! Janet – thank you for your wishes. I hope the bone scan was ok and the results will be fine. I always find the bit of having to lie still for the scan is the worst bit. You inevitably want to scratch your nose or get cramp!
    Well, to everyone reading this I wish you all a calm, happy and healthy 2014 and may it be a lot better than 2013 (it’s been a rubbish year for so many, I know).
    Love from Liz x

  10. Mary Morphy January 1, 2014 at 2:15 am -  Reply

    As it’s 1.31am on 1st Jan 2014 as I am writing this I can say Happy New Year. A quiet one for me and celebrated at home with a large glass of baileys and some cheesey balls watching gorgeously lovely Gary Barlow on T.V…oh yes I know how to party!!
    I am so pleased you managed to accommodate your wonderfully large family amicably at Christmas and delighted to hear that you were spoilt rotten as you deserve. I hope you liked your Christmas bauble and that when you put it on the tree the needles didn’t fall off!
    Thankfully my tree is still upright and attached to the radiator which is still firmly on the wall. I have taken down most of the decs to my daughters horror but left the tree up as we have tree presses later today..a new years day tradition in my family. We all buy two presses for two people..all picked at the value of ten pounds I do the pressie shopping for my mum in law and husband/kids I generally end up knowing what I have as I bought them but I know its a good pressie…this year I have a nails inc precision pen and a bare minerals lip gloss.
    The weather was terrible before Xmas day and we had planned to scatter dads ashes on the beach weather permitting. However mum, who had been out with me and my twin sister Denise to a local garden centre, announced on the way home that she had changed her mind and didn’t want dad scattered on the beach because she didn’t want him ending up in France….as yet dad is still tucked up safely in the drawer of his bed and mum isn’t sure what to do!
    So everyone was at mine Xmas day..ten in all. Me, hubby Jon, Jack, Chloe, sister Denise, sister Lucy plus her sons Andrew and Harry plus mum in law. Jon is an only child so his mum is with us wherever we end up..jons dad died suddenly 18 years ago. Well at 5am I was sorting out the kids sacks and stockings and had a teary ten mins quietly thinking of my lovely dad..6am Chloe arrives downstairs in a state of pure excitement..very early for someone who is 14 in three weeks..and totally wanting to open her presses. I opened the Baileys and Chloe opened a small was a freebie with her Lego emporium(a bit like Harrods) and she expertley built a Xmas tree, reindeer and sleigh whilst waiting for her brother to wake up. She lost patience at 7am and bellowed happy Xmas at him until he stirred. By 8am presses were finished by the kids so I had another Baileys as it was going to be a long day and opened mine. Gatineau from mum in law, the Liz Earle and Laura Geller Tsv’s from hubby plus money, windguard umbrella, l’occitane and mini boom bass speaker in bright pink for my phone. Fabulous gifts thanks to QVC.
    Everyone arrived at various times during the day and the plan to eat at 4pm was perfect. A great dinner …even though I say so myself but a minor blip…no one bought cranberry sauce!! We had a long walk before pudding judging the Xmas lights in the surrounding neighbourhood voting either tacky or tasteful then while some watchd TV me Denise, Lucy and Andrew played scrabble..I won for the first time ever. Mum had a wonderful day and that was what was important. Boxing day we went to my sisters…table tennis before dinner which became very competitive resulting in minor han d and eye injuries but another great family day.
    Well I have food to prepare later so must get some sleep however rain is falling outside in buckets..happy new year. Hope operation goes well. Will be thinking of you. Much love Mary xx

  11. Pauline January 2, 2014 at 1:11 am -  Reply

    Hello ali,
    I love reading your blog your a perfect role model for anyone going through the cancer journey your loving and funny all rolled into one. I wish you all the best for 2014.

  12. Christine Collins January 2, 2014 at 10:07 am -  Reply

    Hi there Ali,
    So glad you had such a wonderful festive season. Iain & I were at Shirley & Colin’s so had a great time there with them & of corse, Lucy, Callum & Polly, our grandchildren. We were there for Hogmany too,it was fabulous – the kids entertained us well with Lucy playing her fiddle, Callum on the guitar then his bagpipes too. Polly, age 9 danced ALL night,they were great. A first foot arrived with guitar too & what a hooley we had!! Thanks all for that.
    You were asking how our Jingle Jam @Gleneagles went. It was abs super, total afternoon tea & great entertainment by the 3 super west end singers who sang on the stage but also walked roun the tables singin to us all. If you get the opportunity go,it’s great. Mind you,even afternoon tea or breakfast there is worth every penny as treat.
    My new centigrade coat arrived just 2 days after the TSV was shown. Perfect timing for the weather we have had. It has performed just exactly as you said it woul Alison. So thank you for your advice and honesty for it certainly is waterproof, having tested it to the limit.
    Anyway all the best for your surgery and pray that it does all you hope for.

  13. Rhona Fenton January 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm -  Reply

    I will make this short for just now, but wanted to wish you, colin and all the family, you and colins family a very Happy new year and all the very best for 2014, hope it will be a better year for you all! loved reading all about your Christmas sounds like everyone had such a good time, we all had a lovely time and were all spoiled with gifts too, but unlike Jenny I didn’t get your amazing watch :( but cant complain as I got spoiled from everyone even our Alison surprised me with one off Kelly Hoppen’s bed spreads which I love how lucky am I? don’t know how long your silver watch will stay in stock as I have a birthday in April ha ha! for now I want to say hope all goes well for your surgery and we will be thinking off you and you get the result you are hoping for? stay strong Alison sending you all our love as always Rhona xx

  14. Carol. Chard. January 2, 2014 at 7:24 pm -  Reply

    Good luck Alison with your surgery. I will be thinking about you. With love Carol Torquay

  15. Barbara Corbett January 2, 2014 at 8:17 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year Ali hope ever thing gos ok for you . And hope this is the last time you have to have a op .you are very brave I know how uncofortable it feels to have all these ops Take Care Love Barbara xx

  16. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:39 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, You are more than welcome to the card, and I’m glad it got to you in time for Christmas :) I’m glad that you had some family time on Boxing Day, and I hope that this new year brings you all you wish for… talking of which, I thank you for your kind wishes, and will keep you in touch with my progress over the next few weeks, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:41 pm -  Reply

    Julie, that must have been lovely to have two weeks off work, and I hope that you will be feeling totally rested by the time you have to return! Your Lily is a hoot isn’t she. Sooo smart and just three years old :) How lovely for you to get the things you love, and I very much hope that this new year will be a good one for you and yours. Keeping everything crossed for the scan results too. With love Ali xx

  18. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:44 pm -  Reply

    Janet it sounds like you had a wonderful Christmas, and thanks so much for sharing it with us all :) Alfie’s first Christmas with so many generations of his family must have been delightful – I hope you took plenty of photographs! It’ll be a couple of days since you had your X ray, and I would imagine they should have the results for you within the week. I too am praying all will be well for you – please keep in touch. Thank you for your good wishes – this time next week – my op will be behind me too, and so I will be on the road to recovery :) Happy Days. Take care Janet, and may 2014 be a better year for you than 2013. With love, Ali xx

  19. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:46 pm -  Reply

    Dear Chris, How lovely for you to be in Spain for Christmas, although it sounds as though you had the same dreadful weather as here initially! The huge Primark sounds fun, and I have to say that the last time I was in Oxford Street nearly everyone was carrying one of those paper bags! Glad to hear you’ve found something to work on the back of your leg.. I’m sure given a few more weeks it will help even more. Happy New Year to you and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

  20. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm -  Reply

    Dear Cath, so pleased to read about your Dad’s results – such a relief for you all I am certain. My friend’s sister had her stem cell collection last year, and it all went well, so I hope the same for your father in February. I am glad that you were able to spend Christmas Day with your parents, and hope that this year will be a better one for you all, with love, Ali xx

  21. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Polly you are a sweetheart, thank you for your kind words and wishes, and I hope that 2014 will be a good year for you and yours too, with love Ali xx

  22. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm -  Reply

    Karen, and the same to you too. Let’s hope this New Year will be easier for us all – I have a good feeling as it’s an even number! :) Wishing you a healthy and happy one, love Ali xx

  23. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm -  Reply

    Liz you are such a trooper.. so glad that you managed to get your pain relief altered, and hope that this will keep you comfortable until your next op.. I too have everything crossed for Janet, and like you find the worst part of those scans the keeping still! I always think I’m going to sneeze! :) Stay in touch, and thank you for your kind wishes. I so very much hope that 2014 will be a healthier and easier one for you, with love Ali xx

  24. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm -  Reply

    Mary I raise a glass of Baileys to you! Thanks so much for filling us all in on your Christmas, and although it sounds as though it was incredibly busy, like me, you prefer a houseful :) So glad you got the gifts you love (I hope you didn’t have to buy most of them yourself!) Considering the number you were catering for the fact you only forgot the cranberry sauce is amazing! I forgot the crackers and the cranberry! Loving the sound of the competitive table tennis – my Colin would have loved that :) Hope you’ve had some of the sunshine today, and that this New Year will be a good one for you Mary, and definitely a healthier one! Take care, love Ali xx

  25. alison keenan January 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm -  Reply

    …Pauline, you are so kind – thank you :) Lovely to know that you enjoy the blog, and I hope that you will be able to keep in touch with me and The Army throughout the year. Happy 2014 to you, love Ali xx

  26. Sue Radford January 2, 2014 at 10:40 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    WISHING YOU AND YOUR FAMILY A VERY HAPPY AND HEALTHY NEW YEAR! Really enjoyed your blog. Glad you had a great Christmas – I did too! Hope all goes well for you on the 8th – will be thinking of you and sending positive thoughts.
    My very best wishes to all in Ali’s Army too. For those of you who have had challenging times, I hope 2014 will be a much better year for you. Thinking of dear little Alfie.
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  27. Jilly January 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali and everyone – I think my New Year wishes have gone into space but here I am again wishing all of you a very Healthy New Year (and Happy but healthy is more important) and hope that all results of any tests or treatments are the good news that we would want to hear but if there is anything that is not so good then we are all here to hand out the hugs and warmth that Ali’s blog gives us. Just think Ali the sooner this latest op is over the sooner you will be back to fighting fitness once again and any discomfort will be gone. You cope so well with what is thrown at you and are an insperation to us all – thank you for being here for us.
    Lovely to have your pictures once again and to hear what yo have been doing over the holiday time.
    Our New Year’s eve normal bash was cancelled because friends were not well but we will have it on Sunday – so for the first time in 40+ years we were been just the two of us and it was lovely – chilling out doing a jiggy and then watching tv until the midnight hour – brilliant – then New Year’s Day the gang arrived for the day. I am back to work now but at least it has only been for two days and then the weekend!!
    How special for you Ali to be able to go to school and help Lucy with the oranges – and how special she must be to be promoted after such a short time at the school – very well done from our house here (she must take after her mum!). Spending time with her will be one of those special “put in the box of memories” to keep forever.
    Your kitchen table looks rather like mine when I have eveything out to bake – and when grandson is here to help me it really does get messed up!!! but then cleans just as quickly and what enjoyment we all have.
    Annie and I with dogs and grandson have had a lot of good long walks during the holiday and it has been super. One of our last ones in the same area was before she had her op so we know how well she has come on since then and all that she has gone through.
    We will be waiting to hear how you get on next week Ali and really do wish you well – put the white light round you when you go down and you will be looked after. Also Janet and little Alfie and hope that we get the news that he is on the road to better eye sight and everyone not feeling too bright at the moment hopefully you will all pick up soon.
    Big hugs to you all – Love Jilly xxx
    P.S – Bay trees are doing well Ali!! how funny indeed that we both have them.

  28. Beth January 4, 2014 at 5:58 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Every time I read your blogs I always think of what a thoughtful and caring person you are! I must be feeling a bit emotional as by the end of it, I felt a bit teary – it might be hearing that you were prepared to wait until the New Year to have your op. I’ve mentioned before that I had breast cancer back in 2005, I am one of the lucky ones as not everyone of course survives cancer, regardless of its’ type. I had to have reconstruction twice as the first time, the implant didn’t like being in me and then I had the DIEP (tummy tuck). I’ve given this detail as I just want to say that I know what it’s like to just want things right and I sincerely hope that the op on the 8th Jan goes well for you and your tummy discomfort and the implant situ are rectified.
    Now onto the fun stuff – I am so glad you had a lovely time baking with Henry and George and the photo of you and Colin well I think that made me well-up as you both look so contented. (I have a wonderful “other half” so promise it’s not envy!)
    All the very best to you for the 8th,
    Lots of love,
    Beth XXX.

  29. Gill January 4, 2014 at 6:10 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, lovely to read your blog and glad that you had such a lovely Christmas with your families.
    I hope that your op is a great success and you will go on to have a fabulous 2014. I will be thinking of you on 8th and sending positive vibes your way.
    We had a very quiet Christmas as my eldest daughter and her family couldn’t come until 28th. We made up for it then though, with our 7 year old grandson and our gorgeous granddaughter, who was one year old on New Year’s Eve. It was lovely that they were here for that and we had a manic, hectic day!
    Very best wishes to you and all yours, and Ali’s Army of course!
    Love, Gill. Nottingham xx

  30. Magda Chetty January 5, 2014 at 7:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Happy new year. I know I have been bad and not kept in touch for a while, but like Liz said, a lot of us had a rubbish year. Will 2013 was full of hospitals and doctors visit, and an operation, so I am looking forward to a healthy 2014 for myself and everyone. After my OP in October I could not eat much for weeks, but thank God by Christmas I was well enough to enjoy some of the Christmas food. And I was lucky to get a few great presents, one of them was a diamonique ring my husband seen you wearing and loved it and ordered it for me. He also booked me a cruise with my girlfriends in February from Dubai, can not wait.
    Good luck and I will be thinking of you on January 8th.
    My best wishes, Love and prayer to you, Liz, Alpa, Helen and everyone in the army, all the best for 2014.

  31. Alpa January 5, 2014 at 11:43 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Thank you for a lovely blog and photos :) So glad that it was time spent with those you love. I did put up my Christmas tree very late on Christmas Eve. I didn’t want to, as the day before, my Dad lost his sister 10 days after they left India. Although they did spend time with her when they were there, it has been a shock for them, especially my Dad.
    My Mum said she hoped I would put up my tree, as it would cheer me up a little and brighten things. I’m so glad I did, as I found it very comforting to see. We always have a beautifully decorated Christmas tree at home. Although mine was very simply decorated, it made me happy to see. I have not been sleeping and found myself cleaning the bathroom on Christmas morning before taking my shower! It was the one day I hoped not to do anything like that, but it didn’t work out that way. Never mind!
    I talked to my doctor at the beginning of last week, as I didn’t want it dragging on into the new year. He insisted he could not believe I could not go and see him. I was told if I could not go, then to call an ambulance and go to hospital. I said I had already done this four times before. He is well aware that the hospital said he was to see me and he simply did not want to know. He then wanted me to wait another two weeks and go and see him again if the pneumonia had not cleared up. I thought that having pneumonia for over 2 months on top of a depleted immune system and worsening neurological problems is serious. Apparently not. I was told that he gets to decide what is serious or not. This, from someone who knows nothing about ME and is too apathetic to inform himself is too much! I will have to try and get myself there at some point as I have no choice and he has refused to do a home visit
    It’s the same with every doctor I see, Ali and between them, they have mad me very sick. The UK is known as being one of the worst places to have ME. Given that it is not recognised as a neurological disease here, that is not surprising. People have lost their lives and still no one wants to know. If there was no medical care here, that would be one thing. It seems that because I have ME, I am not worthy of any medical care at all. It really got to me when I couldn’t sleep again a few nights ago. I did remember your very comforting words that somewhere there is someone who can help me, I just have to find them. I’m going to email an independent ME charity I know and ask if there is a proper doctor I can register with.
    I still don’t have the results of the MRI scan from the end of October or test results from June. I have given the hospital 28 days to provide follow up letters/test results. If they don’t, I will make a complaint. The letters I asked to be amended have still not been done and one was sent out almost 6 months late! They have had over 5 weeks provide the correct information and still nothing. I will persist though!
    I hope you received my Christmas card. They were mailed in time and some seem to have arrived before Christmas and others before New Year! Also sent you a little something which was delivered and signed for on Thursday at QVC. It’s just to say thank you for being you and for bringing us all together on your wonderful blog. I hope your operation goes well. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and hope this will be the last one for you.
    Lots of Love to Debz, Una, Helen, Sue, Jilly, Elaine, Mary, Susan and all in Ali’s Army x
    Take care Ali,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  32. Mrs Janet Jones January 6, 2014 at 11:33 am -  Reply

    My Dear Ali, just to let you know I will be thinking of you as you have your operation on the 8th. I pray this will put things right for you and you won’t need any more operations. I am hoping to get my scan results on Friday, so will let you know how I get on.
    Take good care Ali, love and hugs Janet xx

  33. Judith Lennon January 6, 2014 at 6:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    I am late reading your blog but have at last had five minutes to myself. Great blog as always and again what a busy bee you have been. Do you really have time to go to work!!!!!! Like you I have been into school and often get involved with various activities, as a helper, with other mums and helpers. It’s great fun and I love being involved with the children. My husband has also been involved with school and particularly as a certain person around Christmas time. He loved it and particularly the faces of the children – he was quite moved.
    My grand daughters Christening went well and she behaved beautifully, having been mesmerised by the twinckling lights on the Christmas tree at the front of the church. It bet you all had tremendous fun playing Colin’s games. We had a lovely Christmas and particularly enjoyed the grandchildren. Money cannot compare to the joy children bring us. As the weather has been horrible today I decided to clean my house – no comment except it now looks so much better. I do hope your next operation goes well for you and I will be thinking of you and wish you a speedy recovery. Fingers crossed this will be your last. Look forward to hearing how it all goes when you are up to writing your blog. Take care special lady.
    Love and thoughs
    Judith xx

  34. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv January 6, 2014 at 7:19 pm -  Reply

    thanks for the card alison hope you and your family had anice xmas and new year
    i had anice xmas and new yearw ith family glad it is all over for another year.

  35. Daria Edwards January 6, 2014 at 8:30 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison,
    Just a short note to wish you well and hope that the surgery resolves the problems you have had.
    Please take the time needed to recover fully, your health must come first.
    Wishing you all the best (take a Charlie Bear in with you!,
    Daria x

  36. angela white January 7, 2014 at 2:40 pm -  Reply

    hi ali I just want to wish you all the best for tomorrow I hope it all goes well and it turns out how you hope it to be iwill be thinking of you tomorrow take care of yourself and sending lots of love to you xxxxxx

  37. Tricia Coulson- Wood January 7, 2014 at 7:25 pm -  Reply

    Alison I wish you all the love for a complete and successful operation. I hope your pain control is better than last time, I am sure it will be.
    .I am into my own post op recovery, it’s amazing how the time drags when you are waiting to heal and wish for a (normal) life again.
    my daughter Jan has returned to work yesterday, (part time) 4hrs a day, she has had seven months sick leave which I feel is not enough as many of you well know that massive radical surgery followed by six double chemo therapies wracks your whole body. her immunity is still depleted. am I overreacting ?.
    once again I along with lots more of us will be thinking of you and giving all our positive vibes towards you..
    Love to you and everyone. Tricia.x

  38. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:32 pm -  Reply

    Dear Christine, How lovely to read about your Christmas with you children and grandchildren – what a talented family you are! Loving the sound of the fiddle playing, guitar and bagpipes! Perfect for Hogmany too as you rightly said :) I am really glad that you also received your Centigrade coat in time for the dreadful weather, and that it is cosy warm and waterproof! Here’s hoping it’s a little less worse now, and that you and your family all enjoy a healthy happy New Year. Thank you for your good wishes too, love Ali xx

  39. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Rhona, have made a note to self remind you of the Diamonique watch closer to April, so that you might be lucky and get one for a present. I can tell you that I’m to start a regular Diamonique show every Thursday from March, so you’ll have to call in! :) Wishing you, your Colin, his family and yours all the very best for the New Year, and thank you for your kind wishes for tomorrow – just off to finish packing my case :) With love, Ali xx

  40. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:36 pm -  Reply

    Carol, I do hope the weather has improved for you in Torquay?! it looked quite frightening on the news…! Thank you for taking the time to read the blog and to send me your good wishes – I’ll write again soon, and let you know how I get on. Love Ali xx

  41. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:38 pm -  Reply

    Barbara I’m sorry to read that you too have had to undergo a fair amount of surgery, and hope very much that you are now all better :) I am fingers crossed that this is the last major bit to be done, and know that if it goes according to plan, I’ll feel a great deal better in every way. Happy New Year to you,
    Love Ali xx

  42. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:40 pm -  Reply

    Happy New Year to you too Sue!! Thanks for your lovely message, and I am very glad that you too enjoyed your Christmas, and may 2014 bring you all that makes you happy :) Thanks also for your positive thoughts – I will keep in touch, love Ali xx

  43. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:44 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Jilly, and thank you for writing again to me. I think it’s my fault for replying late to your previous comment which was on the previous blog! It was lovely to hear from you though, and I am pleased to hear that your New Year’s eve just the two of you was such fun! Colin and I were to have been alone, but my dear friend Jo, who’s birthday is on New Years Day was able to join us and stay over, so we opened her presents just after midnight, and raised a glass of fizz – perfect! I am glad that the weather was kind enough for you and Annie to get out there and do a fair bit of walking. It has been pretty wet here, so I have been cycling on my static stand, and using the cross trainer, to wear off the mince pies :) Jilly, I hope that this year will be a good one for your entire family, that Annie continues to grow stronger and fitter, and that the memory of these last years dims with time. Sending you my love, Ali x

  44. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:47 pm -  Reply

    Bless you Beth, and I am so glad to hear that you remain well, nine years after your diagnosis… I’m pleased too that inspite of all the setbacks with your reconstruction, it has worked for your now. I’ll let you know how I get on, but I have a good feeling this time :) It’s lovely that you have kept in touch through the blog, and taken the time to write… I think it’s a rather emotional time of the year for many, but dry your tears, tomorrow is always a better day :) With love, Ali xx

  45. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm -  Reply

    Gill, very many thanks for your positive vibes and kind thoughts for tomorrow – I will of course write and let you know how I got on. I’m sorry that your family weren’t able to join you until the 28th December, but it sounds as though you more than made up for it then and over New Year. I bet the little ones loved being with their Nanny and Grandad, and at 7 I am sure your grandson will always remember his New Year with you both :) Happy New year to you and yours, love Ali xx

  46. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Magda, and thanks for writing as I had been wondering about your tummy op and how you’d got on with it. I’m sorry it took so long for you to feel better, but delighted that you were well enough to enjoy some of the Christmas fare! How kind of your husband to buy you one of our Diamonique rings – which one was it? Very exciting and generous too that he has booked a cruise for you and your girlfriends in February – you will have a ball! Love to you too Magda – stay well and enjoy this healthier and happier new year, Ali xx

  47. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alpa, I am very glad that you did feel able to put your tree up and that it had the desired effect… so many mixed emotions for you, and of course your ill health which shadowed so much of last year. I think the fact you are searching out an independent ME charity is a very positive thing, and I am certain those with a specific interest in the condition will be far better equipped to help you. Please keep in touch and let us all know how you get on – and DO push for your scan results, or ask for another scan! Seven months and no information is appalling. Thank you for your lovely Christmas card – I did get it when I was back at work on New Years Eve. I am a little concerned about the gift though, as I haven’t seen anything, but will mail my manager and ask him to have a look. That was really very thoughtful of you and is much appreciated :) You take care Alpa, and I’ll be in touch, love Ali xx

  48. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 10:01 pm -  Reply

    Janet you are kind- thank you. I hope too that this will be the last major surgery, and I can then crack on with things and become less interesting to those in the medical profession! :) I am keeping everything crossed for your scan results, so please do drop me a line on Friday, and I’ll keep checking the blog. I’m sure it’ll be OK :) Love to you too, Ali xx

  49. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 10:04 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Judith, never mind me being busy, it sounds like you’ve had a packed Christmas and New Year! Having talked to my sister and of course my Lucy, I know that schools are not just busy, but happy places to be at this time of the year, and your husband should be very proud to have been that special person!!! :) A christening at Christmas – how magical! I hope you took lots of photos, and that the memories you made with all your grandchildren will be ones you can relive throughout the year. You’re right, the joy the children bring is priceless…. Must go and finish packing my bag for tomorrow – been putting it off! Thanks again for keeping in touch Judith, and for your kind wishes – I will of course write again and let you know how it all went. Happy New Year to you and yours, love Ali xx

  50. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 10:06 pm -  Reply

    Martin, I am glad that you got your card in time for Xmas and that you had a good Christmas. Great too that you spent New Year with your family too! You’ve probably gone back to work for a rest! :) Happy New Year, love Ali xx

  51. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 10:08 pm -  Reply

    Daria – what a pretty name! – thank you for taking the time out to write, and for your kind words… I will keep in touch and let you know how things are. Colin is my ‘bear’ and he’s taking me in, but a Charlie bear would be good to keep me company overnight :) Take care, love Ali xx

  52. alison keenan January 7, 2014 at 10:09 pm -  Reply

    And lots of love to you too Angela – and Happy New Year! I hope that 2014 will be your best yet :) Keep in touch, love Ali x

  53. Jilly January 7, 2014 at 10:42 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Just a quickie to send lots of love for tomorrow – we will all be thinking of you and just want to send a hug. Take care love Jilly xx

  54. Sue Radford January 8, 2014 at 5:22 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    It’s now 5.20p.m. on 8th January, so you must have had your operation by now. I really hope all went well. Have thought about you several times today. Now, after all that you’ve been through you can put everything behind you and enjoy 2014, which I know will be a great year for you!
    Love from Sue Radford xx

  55. Alpa January 9, 2014 at 1:38 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    How kind you are, thank you :) You are one of the few people I know who truly does understand all the things that are left unsaid, bless you. I have been keeping you close in my thoughts and prayers and very much hope that your surgery has gone well. So pleased that your own bear aka the lovely Colin was able to take you in.
    I have found an independent ME charity, who campaign for bio-medical research into ME, which does not exist here. They don’t accept any funding from the government and don’t subscribe to the usual attitude here. It was set up nine years ago by parents of children with ME. Every year since then, they organise an annual biomedical research conference in London, which allows the latest research to be presented from around the world. This is in contrast to the other ME charities here, who all have a vested interest in maintaining things as they are. Money and politics have a lot to answer for!
    I am pushing for my scan results and will do so until I get everything that is meant to be sent out to me. I have also borrowed the word ‘appalling’ as my ‘unacceptable’ was a tad worn out. I remember asking for the results again at an appointment a few months ago, which were clearly on my hospital file. I was told, ‘it’s not necessary for you to have your results’ Madness! I’m still trying to get an amended follow up letter from over a year and a half ago, that the secretary at the time refused point blank to send out to me. I have decided that if the doctor wants me to see a neurologist, I will ask to be referred to someone different. There’s simply no need to be under the care of a neurologist who took a few years too many to make a referral to have the blackouts investigated, treats ME patients with contempt, and doesn’t send out results.
    Glad you received the Christmas card. Sorry it did not get to you in time. I called Time to Spa yesterday, as your gift was sent directly from them. They contacted DPD, the courier and confirmed it was delivered on 2nd January at 12.07pm. I don’t know if your manager knows of a ‘Craig’ maybe at reception/wherever deliveries are signed for, who is authorised to sign for deliveries? This is the person who signed for your gift. The only other information we have is that two other orders were delivered from the same company at the same time. I hope your manager is able to find it. If not, they will send out a replacement and have asked me to keep them updated.
    Lots of Love to all in Ali’s Army x
    Tricia, wishing you all the best during your recovery. I hope Ali or one of our friends here will be able to set your mind a bit more at ease about Jan going back to work x
    Magda, thank you for thinking of me. How lovely to have a cruise to look forward to. Hope you are slowly starting to feel a little better x
    Take care Ali,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  56. Mrs Janet Jones January 10, 2014 at 3:29 pm -  Reply

    My Dear Ali, I hope as I write this you are now at home resting in bed after your operation. Hope all went well for you, and I pray you won’t need any more operations. I know Colin will be there looking after you, so I know you are in good hands.
    I went to see my GP this morning for the results of my scan,it was as you suspected getting old!! Thank God no cancer was found, I have osteo arthritis in my shoulder, back, knees and feet, so I will just have to get on with it!! I am going to try some pilates and see how I get on with that.Get plenty of rest Ali and take care. Love and hugs Janet xx

  57. Liz, Lancashire January 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    Hope all has gone well, Ali. How soon can you escape?? Having met Magda’s husband a couple of times, I can confirm he is a sweetheart – very thoughtful and caring. My partner and him got on like an absolute house on fire and shared so many interests. Often involving skips, cars and such men things so that was great. Hope to get out to see them again this year.
    Alpa – sorry you are having all these ‘paperwork’ issues on top of everything else. Makes it all a lot more tiring.
    Tricia – I had 8 lots of chemo, then surgery and radiotherapy and had a year off work. I was fortunate to be able to afford that but was shattered even after a half day. I’m sure your daughter will try to get back to normal asap but she will have to pace herself.
    Janet – how are you? Hope the scan results wait isn’t too stressful.
    I do hope none of you have been too badly affected by the weather. My heart goes out to anyone flooded. Although I live by the sea and it was windy and a high tide, the sea defences held and we were fine. Spectacular viewing from the window!
    Keep well everyone and a speedy recovery, Ali. X

  58. Jilly January 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm -  Reply

    Hello Ali
    Just thinking of you this Saturday evening and hope that you will by now be feeling somewhat brighter and able to get about. I should think the past few days have just gone by so quickly but lets hope that by now you are on the road to recovery and hopefully the worst is now behind you. If you are not at home this evening perhaps you will soon be and then you can really start to recover. But just take your time – you have been through so much and need some R & R.
    Hope all is well in your household Janet and the results have been better than you could have hoped. It is always such a worrying time – not only having the scan but then having to wait for what seems an age for the results. Horrid and we all know just what you have been going through.
    Alpa so good to hear that you have found a group that understands what you are talking about and how you are feeling with your M.E. Shocking that you are still waiting for your scan results – do push for them and then you will know where you go from there. How rude to say they are not necessary for you – they are your results and you need to know what they are – good or bad. When I was very young I put three professions on a pedistal – Drs, teachers and lawyers (don’t ask me why because I just don’t know) – well I married a teacher, work in a law firm and know just what some Drs are like (not all) so off that pedistal they came one by one!!
    Also just checking to see how Tricia is and hope that by now you are recovering well from your op and that Christmas was better than you could have thought a few months ago.
    Onwards and upwards Ali’s army and where necessary one step at at time. Love Jilly xx

  59. Alison Keenan January 12, 2014 at 11:42 am -  Reply

    My dear Tricia, I do hope that altho the time is dragging you are now recovering well post-operatively? Try not to worry about Jan, as I am sure the part time hours will be the perfect start for her, and if she’s anything like I was, she’ll be keen to get back to ‘normal’ again. If she starts to struggle she’ll know tot wake it easy.. Your body tends to let you know! Thank you for your good wishes. All lines out this morning, two blood transfusions have helped, and the nurses have been fab keeping on top of the discomfort side of things. It all looks to have gone really well tho and I’m Hoping to be back home this afternoon :) will be in touch but thanks for writing, love Ali xx

  60. Alison Keenan January 12, 2014 at 11:45 am -  Reply

    Jilly thank you for your hug – it was much appreciated :) very pleased with the outcome but surgery not without it’s setbacks so a return to theatre for me, and subsequent blood transfusions but feeling much chipper now. :) will write when I’m more with it! Love Ali xx

  61. Alison Keenan January 12, 2014 at 11:46 am -  Reply

    Dear Sue, am hoping so too. Feeling a lot better, and pleased with the outcome :) home hopefully today. Love Ali xx

  62. Alison Keenan January 12, 2014 at 11:48 am -  Reply

    Dear Alpa just w short line to let you know I have all your Time To Spa goodies with me in hospital! Because it was an Elemis gift I assumed it was from them! Bless you, you are very kind and generous and it has even so much appreciate these last five days. Sending you lovexxxx Ali

  63. Elaine sallis January 13, 2014 at 1:53 pm -  Reply

    Dear ali
    Glad to hear that it all appears to have gone well,despite having to go back into theatre. I hope this operation will have sorted your discomfort out once and for all. Make sure you get plenty of rest. I know you will be well looked after by the lovely Colin .
    Love Elaine x

  64. Jilly January 13, 2014 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    Oh Ali you have been in the wars again – so sorry to read about that but good to see that you are improving now and very good to hear that you are feel the op has worked. Not just one blood transfusion but two!!! you must have felt so awful. It will be such a relief for you to get home (not just for you but for all the family) – even though the nurses have been brilliant by just being home it makes you feel so much better and then you can really start to recover. It was lovely to hear from you and know that you are up and about.
    Tricia don’t worry about Jan being back at work – by her just going to work she must be feeling better in herself and by doing normal things which are away from health issues it will be perfect for her. I know when Annie went back she felt wonderful – yes she was tired but just being normal for the first time in months was great for her and also to have nothing to do with hospitals was even better. Today when she called she said she had been for a very long walk with the dog and felt so good and not tired – she has built up to this but it was lovely to hear her say it. Jan will know just what she can and cannot do and she will be fine.
    Janet more delighted that you can imagine with your news. We all know just how traumatic it is waiting for the results of any tests. Now here you are good to go which is fab. It is horrid that when one has had cancer any further normal sort of illness sparks the worry that it may have come back. Now we just need to know Alfie is well.
    Looking forward to hearing how you are getting on Ali (make sure you don’t do too much too soon!!) and the news from everyone else. It is so good to have you all here. Love Jilly xx

  65. Alison Keenan January 14, 2014 at 9:59 am -  Reply

    Dear Janet just opened my iPad and read your response! FANTASTIC NEWS! Happy to grow old with you :) I’d checked yesterday and was speaking to colin just this morning about you. Personally I think Pilates would be great for you. I too have arthritis in my hip,and degenerative disease in my spine and I know that core exercise is the best way forward although I do still like to run :) you take good care, and thanks so much for letting us know you are well love Ali xx

  66. angela white January 14, 2014 at 11:02 am -  Reply

    hi ali im glad to hear you are home and I hope everything is going well you poor thing having blood transfusions! I hope you are getting plenty of rest and im sure you are being well looked after! you have been in my thoughts and I hope things will be easier now take care ali lots of love to you and all of ali”s army xx

  67. Alison Keenan January 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    Elaine that’s very kind of you, and yes I have very hope that this time all will be well, I have to admit to getting very weary with it all just before Christmas, but am looking forward to being up and about soon. It’s a beautiful day today, and colin brought me breakfast in bed which was kind, take care and I hope you can enjoy the sunshine, love Ali xxx

  68. Alison Keenan January 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm -  Reply

    Morning Jilly, and as I have said many times, we definitely seem to women of the same heart! Great advice for Tricia whom I very much is getting stronger each day, and lovely to read of Annie’s continued return to strength. I would kill to get out there for a walk today ! It’s beautiful, but am contenting myself with windows open and jumper on in bed :) Colin is going to wash my hair which will make me feel more human, and then off to see the surgeon tomorrow for the greed unveiling. I’ll be in touch again, but do enjoy the sunshine while it’s here. Much love, Ali xx

  69. Jilly January 16, 2014 at 1:34 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Ooooh lovely to get your hair washed by Colin – that will make you feel so much better in yourself – funny how a little thing like clean hair can make all the difference when we have had an op or just not feeling too good.
    Hope that the unveiling has been a success and you and the surgeon are happy with how everything has turned out – you are so very brave and I want to just hug you.
    Missing seeing you on tv but we can cope knowing that you are at home and recovering.
    It is raining here today and I may have to put my red wellies on to walk back to work after lunch!!! (have my heels in work though!!)
    Looking foward to hearing how you are doing but don’t forget just that “one step at a time” for the moment – perhaps small steps this week and bigger ones next.Love Jilly xx

  70. Tricia Coulson- Wood January 17, 2014 at 11:58 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali, Jilly,Alpa & all the girls and boys, I am moved to tears by all your strength and support.I feel such a wimp. .I find reading all your replies to Ali very moving. I honestly think Ali you are a really strong women and your capacity to overcome such massive treatments and support all of us at the same time is truly remarkable.
    I can say honestly I was a my wits end when I found your blog.,without you and all of your supporters i dont know if i could have remained sane, Mainly because just six months before my daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer I had suffered a heart attack and the strain of her diagnosis and treatment was causing me such anxiety i could not cope physically and mentally with it at all.
    That is why i owe you all so much, you are unique in your abilities to help others and each other.
    My daughter is doing much better than I first thought and when she arrived at work at the naval medical centre where she is based all the doctors, nurses and staff lined up and clapped her in. Needless to say she was and i was when she told me in floods of tears once more.
    I wish you good healing and love to you and Colin ( my hubby has looked after me really well).My recovery is a little slow but I am getting there. Love to everyone, Tricia x

  71. alison keenan January 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm -  Reply

    Dear Angela you are a sweetie :) Thanks for writing, and yes I am taking it easy – not much else I can do at present as I’ve now come down with a chest infection! On anti biotics though, so am sure all will be well… Stitches and difficulty breathing not the best of bed fellows! :) Do hope all is good with you :) love Ali xx

  72. alison keenan January 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm -  Reply

    Hi Jilly, had hoped to have written a new blog this week, but have come down with a chest infection that has made me feel pretty ropey, so am hoping to feel up to it on Monday :) The surgeon has done a wonderful job and I finally look relatively feminine again – tummy too is much improved. Stitches needing to stay in for another week, which puts everything back, but have to admit to being very lazy and staying in bed most days :) Love the idea of red wellies – I have beige and fern patterned ones! Glad you have your heels for work though – very important to put best foot forward :) i hope you have a great weekend, and will be in touch asap. Love Ali xx

  73. Alpa January 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm -  Reply

    My Dear Ali,
    Thanks for writing. I’m so pleased you like the Elemis and someone was kind enough to bring it to you. One of the lovely girls at Time to Spa helped me with that, as I couldn’t quite decide what to get! You are always so kind and thoughtful and it was just a little something to say you are very much appreciated.
    So sorry you had to go back to theatre and have two blood transfusions. You poor thing :( I hope the appointment with your surgeon went well and you are resting at home and taking it easy. It sounds like you are being very well looked after by Colin, bless him. Jilly is so right about how having clean hair makes all the difference when you’re not well. For some reason I find it incredibly tiring to hold my hands above my head to wash my hair!
    There has been another death in the family. This is the fourth death in less than a year. My Mum’s late brother’s son had a massive heart attack a few days ago. Very sad, he was only forty-nine which is young. The funeral was on Saturday. That makes what has been going on in my life seem very insignificant. Someone said to me they have no idea how people cope with tragedy in life or health. For me, people find a way to cope as there is no alternative.
    I have to find out if my doctor has made a referral for the chest x-ray which was meant to be done at the beginning of January. I also have to make an appointment to see him. The pneumonia has not cleared up almost three months later and flu symptoms have started again. Pain meds also need to be changed. They provide no relief, are causing an allergic reaction and most recently make me feel like throwing up! I’m not meant to change them until I have the tests to investigate the blackouts. Given that I have been waiting for over a year and that has been chased up, I can’t continue with something that does not work. I would love not to need any pain relief but constant severe pain does not allow that. My previous doctor had no interest in that at all. Hope that Invest in ME can advise me on a decent doctor. It would be good to be treated like I’m not crazy! Apart from that, I have on going back and shoulder problems due to an untreated fractured scapula. As the damage has already been done, I was thinking of looking for a chiropractor when I can, to see if they might be able to help at all.
    Jilly, thank you for thinking of me and for making me laugh. I now have visions of teachers, lawyers and doctors all falling off their respective pedestals! When I was very young, I put people on pedestals although that has changed. My dad went into teaching (instead of qualifying as a lawyer) and then into business. My sister is a teacher and I have two years training left to qualify as a lawyer. Over the last year, after having to instruct a lawyer, I have seen the other side!
    You are certainly right about not all doctors being the same. In Oxford, I had a very good doctor but since moving, the doctors/consultants/hospitals I’ve had experience of have been out of control. I thought exactly the same as you about my scan results and will persist until I get them. I also have to deal with getting incorrect information on follow up letters/medical records corrected!
    So pleased that Annie is getting stronger and very glad to see she has such a loving and supportive family around her. Love the sound of your red wellies. I do so miss going out for walks and just being able to get up and go where I like when I like x
    Liz, thank you for thinking of me. You are kind :) I hope your altered pain relief is helping. Yes, very tiring to chase up paperwork but it seems to be the only way to get this done. It’s impossible to keep up with day to day things, let alone anything else. Right now there is a growing mountain of paperwork that needs to be addressed. I have been trying to pace for close to 20 years and it just does not work for me! x
    Tricia, thinking of you. Hope your recovery is going ok and you are being well looked after. Best wishes to you and hope in time Jan will feel stronger x
    Janet, such good news! Although I had to stop a few years ago, I found reformer pilates really did strengthen my core and my body felt stronger (if that makes sense) Before that, I used to do regular pilates which was also good. Thinking of you all and baby Alfie x
    Lots of Love to Debz, Una, Helen, Magda, Sue, Elaine, Mary, Susan, Marg and all in Ali’s Army x
    Take care Ali,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxxx

  74. Barbara Corbett January 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali sorry to hear you have not had a easy time again and then a chest infection hope you are feeling a little better each day . Glad you have some wonderful care from colin and you take care . Every one is looking forward to seeing you when you are well again Love Barbara x

  75. alison keenan January 20, 2014 at 10:27 pm -  Reply

    My dear Tricia, I am sure the girls will agree with me when I thank you for your honesty and your also your kind words for the support you have found through this blog…. I had no idea you had been through so much, and am so glad to know that you and Jan are both coping incredibly well with this tough period in your lives. I am sure you must be very proud of Jan, but you should also be incredibly proud of yourself… the body isn’t always as strong as we need it to be, and yet you have come through an incredible ordeal and are still moving forwards. All I can say is all I feel… the bad times are behind you, of that I’m sure. Stay strong and positive and in touch with us all… you are what makes Ali’s Army what it is :)…. So Proud. With my love, Ali xx

  76. alison keenan January 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm -  Reply

    Gosh Alpa, it doesn’t seem to get any easier for you… I was so sorry to read that you’d had another death in the family, and someone who was so young too. I always struggle with the fact that you are unable to find help with your pain control… I know when my Sam was in hospital it was paramount to his day that the pain he struggled with was kept under control. I wasn’t allowed home last week until I had my pain at a level that was acceptable… the fact that you have to live with this kind of discomfort isn’t right.. I just wish there was something I could do to change it. Bless you for supporting all of us, inspite of all that you struggle with, and thanks for keeping in touch. Sending my love to you, Ali xx

  77. alison keenan January 20, 2014 at 10:35 pm -  Reply

    Hi there Liz – I managed to escape just five days in, and I have to admit to being very well looked after which was a bonus. How lovely that you and Magda, and both your respective partners got on so well – I too hope that you will all be able to get together again very soon. I am still fighting a chest infection, and have anemia from the transfusion but can truthfully say I’m getting stronger each day. Can’t do a lot mind, but am resting more than usual which I know is helping. Sending you my love and admiration for all that you contend with, and hope to hear from you again soon, with love, Ali xx

  78. Christine Collins January 21, 2014 at 10:36 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Sounds and looks like you are still in the fighting zone,please keep that thought with you. I so admire your spirit, please keep it up. Don’t forget,as Lena Martell sang “One Dat at a Time” & of course each one brings something different. All the very best to you and your family and friends.
    Yours aye

  79. Jilly January 21, 2014 at 1:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    You poor thing not only having the op but fighting a chest infection – that can make you feel so low just by itself – never mind it coming after the op. Very delighted to hear that your surgeon has done a wonderful job though. How good is that and once you are feeling stronger you will be able to look at the new you and go forward from there. You have had so much along the way but come out fighting all the time – a credit to your mum, you, Colin and family – so very well done.
    How about doing a jigsaw if you get fed up watching tv etc – we have started a new one and just get engrossed in it. Everyone who calls in has to check it out.
    Tricia I had tears when I read about Jan going back to work. What a reception for her – and you. I too would have put my op on hold until I knew Annie was better but you are where Jan gets her strength from. I also could not have managed without the support from Ali’s blog and I kept dipping in and out of past blogs when Annie was going through her treatment. Perhaps you could do a jig saw as well – you cannot concentrate on anything else when doing one and that is why we like them – you also have to sit down!!!
    Alpha go back to the Drs and demand results of your tests etc. Pheumonia does take a good few weeks to clear but you need to keep having check ups to make sure the chest is clear.
    Just wondering if there is any news on little Alfie. Big hugs for him.
    So onwards and upwards and Ali just take your time in getting back to your full strength. Love Jilly xx P.s Raining again so red wellies back on for my walk to work!!!

  80. Alpa January 22, 2014 at 12:02 am -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    Bless you for your kind words. I’m so sorry to hear of your chest infection and anaemia from the blood transfusions. I’m not sure if you are able to take an iron supplement? One that was recommended to me is Spatone, a natural liquid iron supplement which also comes in different flavours. I am glad that you have been resting though :)
    To be honest Ali, the pain has been intolerable. It’s just one of the many signs of dysfunction of the central nervous system. I can not think of one system in my body that works properly anymore. More things are going wrong and existing things are much worse. I simply can not find anyone here to treat anything at all. I think my only chance is a specialist outside the UK. I doubt I could afford it but at least I can try. I am in good spirits though, as not being in good spirits would not help at all :)
    Tricia, I am so sorry for all you have been through. I had tears in my eyes when I read that. For me, you are an incredibly strong and brave lady. Not only have you gone through all you have done, you have also supported Jan in very difficult circumstances. Although I had been following Ali’s blog from the beginning, I only started to write a few years ago. I too was at my wits end. Ali and the girls have all helped to keep me sane. I would have been lost without their support and kindness. In my case, almost without exception no one wants to know. As it will not change, I try my best to ignore it. Better that way! Love to you and Jan x
    Lots of Love to all in Ali’s Army x
    Ali, hope you are soon feeling a little less worse.
    Take care,
    Lots of love, Alpa xxxx

  81. Alison Keenan January 25, 2014 at 10:00 am -  Reply

    Dear Barbara thank you for your kind words, and I am being well looked after by Colin and trying to rest up. Just been given an additional 4 days of penicillin as chest infection still lingering, but am sue they’ll work :) I hope you’re in good health! Love Ali xx

  82. Alison Keenan January 25, 2014 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    Christine I know that Lena Martell song very well, and it s definitely the only way to go – one day at a time :) thanks for taking the time out to write, and do keep in touch love Ali xx

  83. Alison Keenan January 25, 2014 at 10:12 am -  Reply

    Jilly you have a lovely way of putting things, and always make me smile. Have had anti biotics extended just to completely clear the infection, and am taking it easy this weekend :) I keep thinking I’m better than I am, but the old body lets you know when it’s had enough! :) I must admit that I don’t own a single jigsaw but loved them when I was a girl. My friend Jo was given a giant one last Christmas and it took her weeks to continue. I have begun watching The. Musketeers and am enjoying The Bletchley Circle, but don’t watch much TV really. I have just finished a great book – Me before You – and have started Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach who wrote The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which I loved the film version of. Hopefully the next two weeks will go quickly and I will be back at work before I know it. Love to you and Annie, and I bet you look great in those red wellies :) love Ali x

  84. Alison Keenan January 25, 2014 at 10:16 am -  Reply

    Alpa I hate to think of you in pain, and hope very much that your constant searching will unearth the right specialist for you, and that they will be able to help. Did you ever try the ME Society? If it does mean you have to go further afield with your search, I hope it won’t take too long. As you can see from the comments on this blog, the are many people who are supporting you and wishing you well, myself included. Take care, and thanks for keeping in touch, love Ali xx

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