Do You Remember What Happened in 2020?

The year started well as I looked back on the previous 10 years and what a decade it had been. We have travelled to Denmark, 2009 and Australia, 2014. Both my boys became adults. I gave up work, went back to work and started my own business. Achieved a First-class degree in Education, 2018. Cared for mum through dementia and cared for my youngest son through Cancer. Had our home rebuilt after a van crashed through the front. There have been ups and downs and we have survived to face another decade ahead, all while coping with depression. Here’s to 2020

Wednesday 1 Jan 2020. We started the year with a drizzly but lovely walk to Pennard Castle on the Gower Peninsula. The castle was built in the early 12th Century and over looks the stunning Three Cliffs Bay. 

Pennard Castle and Three Cliffs Bay, 

Gower Peninsula, Wales. 

Monday 13 Jan. It is not the size of the dog in the fight that matters but the size of the fight in the dog. It is 10 years ago today since the unfortune crash on the house when a minibus van decided to park itself in our front hall. 

I have also messaged my local community town band about possibly joining their practice sessions as I can’t afford lessons. The band leader replied to say they welcome new members & almost all are learners. A true mixed ability of levels 2-4 so I should fit in okay but oh my gosh I am so nervous.


Wednesday 15 Jan. Oh my goodness I have joined the Town Band. I was so nervous last night but everyone was so kind and welcoming, although I was rather out of my depth. They played Pirates of the Caribbean and I almost cried, I was so lost, like a rabbit in headlights. 

Saturday 18 Jan. Hubby and I went to Aberdulais Tin Mine and Waterfalls Falls today. It was a stunning walk and day out. 

Aberdulais Tin Works and Falls, 

Neath, South Wales

Monday 20 Jan. So I have been feeling unwell since Christmas with a nasty chest infection and today had a chest x-ray today for a query Pulmonary Embolism. Naproxen prescribed whole we wait for results although not helping yet as chest pain is so bad. (Looking back now was it COVID perhaps before we knew what was to come?)

Saturday 25 Jan. I have now been to two Town Band practice sessions. Everyone was so kind & welcoming and I was impressed with how much I was able to join in playing Clarinet 3. On week 2 I attended the development band practice first which was beneficial re-learning how to follow a conductor & play in time with correct dynamics. Then at the main band I was able to keep up & follow even when I couldn't play so that I was able to join in when I could. 

Saturday 1 Feb. We went on a day trip to visit Gloucester and especially the Cathedral. Monday 3 Feb. Xray results are all clear. Severe chest infection. 

Gloucester Cathedral

Thursday 6 Feb. Hubby has ordered me a new Clarinet. I have never owned a new instrument. I have chosen a Buffet Prodige, it is still a student model but an upgrade to my second hand B12 and I decided I don't need or want a wooden instrument as I have a wooden barrel and bell. 

I was feeling a bit down after Band yesterday as I am struggling to keep up but I have taken copies of some of the pieces to practise at home and I am playing in my first concert in March which is why I have upgraded my set up now. 

Monday 10 Feb. My beautiful new Prodige clarinet arrived this morning and I am in awe at how amazing it plays & sounds straight from the box. I love the case almost as much too. Playing in my first concert on 22 March at the Nation Botanic Gardens of Wales. I am really looking forward & have another possible concert in September too. 

Thursday 12 Mar. Mum's care home has decided to close to all visitors until further notice due to the Coronavirus that the WHO declared as a Global Pandemic yesterday. 

Coronavirus - Covid19

15 March

I am taking no risks regarding Ryan. We as a family have made the decision to actively distance ourselves socially and we are doing all we can to ensure he is safe. 

The ultimate aim of herd immunity is to stop disease spread and protect the most vulnerable in society. However, this strategy only works to reduce serious disease if, when building that immunity, vulnerable individuals are protected from becoming ill, for example through social distancing. If not, the consequences could be severe. Not enough is known yet about the virus therefore we don’t yet know if this novel virus will induce long-term immunity in those affected as other related viruses do not.

We have spent the last four years fighting for his life and I don't care if people think I am over reacting, I make no apology. If I cancel plans and events please understand this is my reason why. Stay safe. 💗

16 March

Press conference advises to 'shield vulnerable for 12 weeks'. As Ryan is still having Cancer treatment he is on the critically vulnerable list so we have decided as a family to social distance to keep Ryan safe. Duncan has been given permission to work from home and I have heartbreakingly messaged the Town Band to pull out for now. Hopefully we can ride it out and be back to normal soon. 

17 March

As a family Hubby, Ryan and I are socially distancing as best we can for the next 12 weeks. I have cancelled my engagements and events and hubs has been given permission to work from home. Both he and Ryan are in the high risk categories for COVID-19 and as I am Ryan's carer I need to shield him and hubby by limiting my exposure to the virus too. Stay safe and keep well. 💗

18 March 

So schools have to remain open for children of key workers, but what about school staff who in high risk categories or have vulnerable children or elderly parents at home? Are schools staff themselves classed as key workers, can their young children still attend school to allow the school staff to be in work? Some parents can work from home, with the operative word being WORK, how are they to be child carers as well? No CGSEs or A levels exams this year. These are unprecedented times. There is no ideal solution to any of this and we must adapt and survive as best we can. Stay safe and keep well. 💗

19 March

The take away message from today's press conference is that if we all play our part to socially distance and self isolate where needed we may be able to "turn the tide" of the curve within 12 weeks. Can we do it? 

Of the 2,626 confirmed UK cases, 65 are known to have recovered. I am sure there are many more that have had the virus and are better again now, but were not tested. Stay safe and keep well. 💗

20 March

Further closures of business are being enforced as people need to listen to the advice and social distance themsleves as much as possible. I believe there will be a full lockdown as seen in other countries. Do we really want to get to that point? Please stay home if you can and help to save lives. More funding has been announced for businesses and individuals so I have added the UK Government website below for more information. 💗

23 March

I knew it was coming and I still want to cry. 3 week lockdown begins tonight. Please stay safe. 

24 March

I’ve pinched this from another 'momcologist'! I can’t lie, even though we’ve done it before I’m really struggling with this isolation but I must keep strong and keep reminding myself why I’m doing it all AGAIN. 

So, what we are going through as a nation is a tiny snapshot of how oncology families live for months and years. Losing jobs, struggling to juggle finances, avoiding germs, avoiding crowded places, keeping distanced from other people, not being able to go to school, not being able to have visitors or visit family/friends.  Living an isolated life. 

One huge difference between that and what we are currently dealing with is your child/loved one isn't fighting for their life - yet, if we don’t change our ways! To get through this all we have to do is stay at home and enjoy our families. Enjoy a break from our busy busy lives and protect our loved ones. 

❤ Life will get back to normal again. We will savour everything we took for granted. Our family and friends will mean more to us than ever. We will realise there is a deep well of kindness in our communities. We will get through this. ❤

27 March

Thank you to Teenage Cancer Trust South West and South Wales for telephoning us this afternoon to check on how we are doing and to ask if we had any questions regarding Shielding that we must now do for the next 12 weeks, as Ryan is on the extremely vulnerable list. 

It was reassuring to know we doing all the right things and that Ryan is being well looked after. They said they would call again next week to check everything is okay before we go for his regular immunotherapy treatment on Friday 3 April in Cardiff. 💙

3 April

Sat in an empty UHW Cardiff Hospital concourse (there is 1 other person) as I am not allowed onto the Teenage Cancer Trust Ward while Ryan has his cancer treatment. First time in 4 years he has gone alone. Strange times.

7 April

I have always believed Doctors, Nurses, and health care providers are the real heroes. They have saved Ryan's life four times now, with Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy, treatment for sepsis and a life saving emergency surgery forb Peritonitis. My biggest hero is Mr Darwish the surgeon and his team that operated for over 5 hours and gave me the news at 2am that they had tried their very best and that Ryan possibly had a maximum of 2 days to survive. It was 50/50 but the vast medical team in critical care saved him. I will never be able to thank the NHS for all the have done and all they continue to do. 💙

26 April 

Still in Lockdown but we had a campfire and cookout in the garden and had a fabulous family day. 

Lockdown Garden Cookout

The World has changed as we know it. 

Sunday 3 May. Where to begin? What an incredible, unbelievable time. As a country we have been in Lockdown since 23 March and as a family we are required to shield for 12 weeks as Ryan is on the extremely vulnerable list. Duncan now works from home and we only go out to shop and take Ryan for treatment. Owen has stayed living in Swansea and I miss him so very much. My dad, brother, sister and I have video calls every other day to keep in contact. Shielding eases at the beginning of June. 

Wednesday 13 May, I had a telephone appointment with my GP as I could no longer cope with my peri-menopause pains. In fact I feel dreadful at ovulation as well as erratic menstruation. She was amazing and prescribed Mefenamic acid in addition to the Tranexamic acid that I already take. She also recommended that I start Evening Primrose Oil too. She was reluctant to prescribe mefenamic acid as there was a warning on the system that I had some in 2012 and reacted to it but I don't remember that at all. I promised I would be careful and honestly it is good stuff. I am not in any pain and the combination of drugs has really helped the heaviness of my periods. I do hope it lasts. 

Thursday 11 June. Sadly I have had to stop taking the mefenamic acid. I have reacted with a large patch of painful itchy skin rash. 

Friday 19 June. Took Ryan out for his first driving lesson we decided it was a good time as there are little to no cars on the roads and we went to a local industrial estate that was total empty. He did really well and only stalled twice. 

Friday 26 June. Took Ryan for Pembrolizumab #49. The hospital concourse was much busier which made me a little anxious. Tried taking Mefenamic acid again but a MAJOR reaction. 

Sunday 12 July. Lockdowns have eased so we took the time to have a wonderful day out at Henrhyd Falls as a family. 

Henrhyd Falls,

Neath, South Wales

Making the most of Lockdown lifting for Days Out.

Monday 13 July. Eldest son had to complete his final year of University remotely but today has achieved a First-class (hons) in Mechanical Engineering. To say we are proud is an understatement. 

Friday 16 July. Pembrolizumab #50. The traffic on the roads is definitely back to normal. 

Sunday 19 July. A glorious day with Hubby at the South Wales Miners Museum, Afan Fforest Parc

Saturday 8 August. Lovely visit to see the Helvetia wreck at Rhossili Beach although Ryan and I found the walk back up from the beach to the car park tough going, especially Ryan. 

Friday 28 August. Pembrolizumab #52. LAST ONE. The staff took lovely photos and cake as I am still not allowed on the ward with him and my head is wrecked. Limbo time once again. Has it worked?

Sunday 18 October. A glorious day out at Pentregwenlais Quarry

Afan Forest Park

Rhosili Bay

Pentregwenlais Quarry

Here We Go Again...

Friday 23 October. LOCKDOWN BEGINS FOR 2 WEEKS. 

Saturday 28 November. Ryan has been in remission for 3 months. Longer than he managed last time. 

Saturday 19 December. WALES LEVEL 4 LOCKDOWN. 

Sunday 27 December. Ended the year by smashing my Android tablet beyond repair. 

Let's hope 2021 is better.