Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12

Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12
I sailed the last leg (8) in 2012 - USA,Nova Scotia,Ireland,Netherlands & UK. Travelling 4,000 miles, approx 22 days at sea, with 4 races in this leg.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Canada 2010

The long awaited blog from my trip of a life-time to Canada from October last year, which I started writing in Nov'10. I have been so busy since returning and finally...here it is..happy reading :)

Wednesday 20th

Well this is it!! YippY!! The day I will be flying to Canada :) Last night, was almost impossible to sleep and maybe got a couple hours if that. It was hard saying goodbye to my parents and didn't want to cry, guess they also felt the same. Something, I have yearned to do and concerned about the long flight and how my lungs would cope for this duration. My fear of my lungs collapsing or picking up infection in the plane and getting sick again. However, as my taxi waited - I just hugged my Mum & Dad goodbye and said "behave" to lighten the atmosphere. So, in the taxi and away I go...

I arrived at Heathrow airport with all mixture of emotions, like 'OMG......reality says later today I will be in Toronto, gulp'. But, nothing runs smoothly in reality. My flight was delayed and I was finding it hard to stay awake and relying on coffee's to keep me going. Coffee literally to keep me upright! I was at the airport for 7 hours before we were told, time to board.

However, for the first time in 12 years the pilot informed all of us, that the front tug to remove the wheel on the airplane wasn't able to be released!!?? So, manually a handful of men were trying to elevate this away and another hour I spent cooped up inside the plane!

Argghhhhhhhhh!!! My nerves at this point were all over the place, I just wanted the plane to go and feel that finally I'm on my way to Canada. Waiting for hours and feeling like a zombie and anxious as ever.

"We are ready for take off"...................................... !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (pilot announces)

Up up and away...WOW...in the clouds and here I go, gobsmocked, speechless, emotionally overwhelmed, excited.......it's going to happen.....please lungs keep me going until I get there. I was going to arrive early evening, but, now it will be about 11pm and I knew when meeting Sandra, instead of being bubbly I would be a ball of exhaustion. Sandra is a lovely lady, that I have been speaking with over the years via an USA Website-click here for link . The website was set up by, Nelson Freytes for transplantees all over the world and has been a great source of support/networking for me across the globe.

Finally, the plane landed and I met Sandra, and as I expected I could barely string 2 words together..but was greeted with 'Tim Hortons' doughnuts and crashed out at a hotel that night in Toronto.

Goodnight Canada....I'm so excited, but, will look forward to greeting you properly and speaking to my friend properly when I awake...watch out!!!! xx

Thursday 21st
Is this really happening? I am awake in Canada...WOW....early morning and on form to finally have a proper chat with Sandra over breakfast. Today, we discussed plans for the day & night and all systems were a go - go!! First stop going to the CN Tower and taking a lift to the top. However, probably wasn't a good idea going into a lift facing the outside all glass surrounds...saying "I'm scared of heights" think I went blue..hahaha..but was amazing once there. Beautiful views of Toronto city and I even tried walking on the glass floor - where you can look down thousands of feet through your feet!!

It's quite bizarre how media follows me or I get into the media...by which I mean after reaching the bottom of the CN Tower..upon leaving Sandra saw a film crew and a famous TV Breakfast Presenter was there called, Frank Ferragine. So....Jussie did her magic too and got talking to Frank and the camera man, and here is the proof :)

Here I am inside Toronto's famous Art Gallery of Ontario - taking an abstract form - always the artist ;)

I was informed before leaving the UK, that Sandra had a suprise for me......what!!??? It was driving me crazy,hahahahaa.......and that night we arrived outside a theatre, to which my suprise, was to see a show called, 'Wicked'. A truly fantastic show and a great way to end day one :)

After the show, it was time to get back to Muskoka for a couple nights, and experiencing my first snowfall in Canada - a snow blizzard that Sandra unfortunatley had to drive through. But once in Muskoka no snow whatsoever! We arrived at Sandra and Al's home 1.30am and definitely ready to flake.

Friday 22nd

Good morning! I'm ready for more adventures and us girlies went into Gravesend, a lovely scenic part for lunch and lots of photograph opportunities.
What I have noticed is that shopping is nothing like in the UK, whereby our shops are next to each other and for many streets. Here, shops seem to be in a block of maybe 5 shops (always very large stores), then you need drive another long distance to get to another block of for example 5 stores. It is not possible to walk and a car is definitely needed!

The evening was a last minute decision to go to a casino and watch a show. Ooooh how exciting, I have only ever been to a Casino once before (student days) and thought would gamble $20 dollars only. Haha, big spender!! Upon arrival, I was asked for ID, how old was I and the security didnt believe me at first. Guess I was flattered :)

Once inside, I decided to have a wonder in a gift shop, and Sandra met her other friends joining us for the night and telling them about my ID incident. No sooner was Sandra informing them, I came back and got stopped by another security asking for ID! What!! I couldn't believe it, staff there thinking I was like 18 or 21...but I'm like late 30's..LOL. Drama over, and time to watch the performance of a French Canadian singer from Montreal called, Roch Voisine.

Roch Voisine ..... hello handsome...drool, oh, yes - good music too!!

Saturday 23rd

Today was a day I was very much looking forward to, to meet a few people I have been chatting with via the internet/emails. A lovely lady, called Bree who also had a double-lung transplant, and a couple of ladies with LAM disease, Kelly and Beryl. A lot of work has gone into getting all of us to meet and where, time etc and fabulous that reality was about to happen later today.

We all met at a very quaint little restaurant for yummy foods, chat, laughter, and talking heaps. truly wonderful that this happened. After, the meal there was another event to celebrate 'Thanks Giving' with other Canadian transplantees. More food and laughter, chats, and making new friends. Many people have been an inspiration for me - for being years post transplant, and it turned out I was an inspiration for these people, so relatively new with their transplants. I am only 4 years in, but I remember when I had my transplant I met someone also 4 years post, and was like 'wow'. At one point we all sat down in a circle and went round saying a little bit about us/our journeys. Everyone has a different story to tell and it is amazing and truly wonderful to hear how organ donation DOES change lives!

Here we all are - all alive thanks to the gift of life!

That evening, Beryl offered to let Sandra and I stay over at her house, what lovely hospitality and very much appreciated too! Then to wake up to breakfast cereal, followed by tasty scrambled eggs. Then back onto the road for my next pit-stop.....

Got to get in a Tim Hortons photo, their equilavent of our Starbucks!

Sunday 24th
Time to change over and meet Sharon (and her husband Steve) to go onto Niagara Falls - Yippy!!!!! Sharon and I used to run at a weekly ladies running group in the UK, then Sharon imigrated back to Canada. Such a shame to say goodbye to Sandra ,but, we had already discussed perhaps meeting up again before I return to the UK.

So..part 2 of my journey begins and a drive to one of the wonders of the world! Everywhere is a long drive, so sit back and lets go adventure trailing.

Great chat and giggles getting there catching up on all our news, and finally arriving at the most highlighted part of my trip. I first went up into the Skydome to overlook Niagara Falls and yes, take lots of photos. Simply amazing and awe inspiring, words perhaps won't do this feature any justice and photos merely demonstrate the beauty being here. Next, we all walked along the Falls and took a boat ride called, Maid of the Mist. Then we were told, it was the last boat trip into the Falls of the season and the last but one going out!! Wow, how lucky were we all, going and seeing this and dressing up in sexy blue raincoats ;)

I must admit I wasnt sure whether I wanted to go on the boat, and Sharon convinced me that it would be a great experience. I am so grateful I listened, as I was blown away not only from getting soaked, but, by actually going under the Falls. WOWie!!! Again words/photos could never really explain how emotionally amazing and breathtaking it was. At times, I was overwhelmed and delighted that my donor was allowing me to breathe and happy to be here.

How could I not get a photo of me with the Hershey's Choccie feature.

Here are some more photos, which I hope you all enjoy and try to imagine how incredable Niagara Falls really was.

The evening, was a trip to cross the border, with a stop at customs, then into the USA to eat/shop that night, and stay at a hotel. It was a very late night by the time we all had eaten and shopped at Wallmart's.

Monday 25th
The next day we shopped at the Niagara Falls Outlet...a girl needs and must shop!! It was quite nice to be in USA for the day before crossing back again into Canada. I had fun looking at all the designer stores at a ridiculous reduced price compared to Canada and the UK. After a few hours checking out the stores I ended up treating myself to the latest running NIKE trainers, a jumper and one of those stylish 101 ways to wear a garment from DKNY. Yum Yum clothes and shoes = one happy Jussie :)

Now back across the border to Stirling to Sharon and Steve's home out in the lovely piece and quiet. Goodnight world xx

Tuesday 26th
Feeling refreshed for a new day filled with horseriding and badminton ...oh what fun fun!

Here we all are ready to go horseriding with Sharon, Steve, Lisa and I. Then I played some locals at their weekly badminton doubles games in the evening, and won 2 games out of 4. I couldnt carry on after that as was simply exhausted and a lil breathless after all that competing.

Wednesday 27th

Quad biking four wheeling few a few hours of fun today , thru paddles, rocks, woods, hills, bumps

Woohoooooooo!!!! There was no stopping me - I totally loved this, and if I the had opportunity to do this here in the UK...I would be first in line! Adrenalin driving fast (but still had to stick within speed zones) and racing through massive muddy puddles - such a wild kid at heart.

Then back in the evening for Sharon's casserole - yum! Then over to Lisa to meet her hubby, Phillip + kids. The evening was rounded up with an evening walk with Sharon with such wonderful views and memories hard to forget.

Thursday 28th
Question: How much shopping can a girl do in one day? Answer: When her feet hurt from walking ;) and you thought I was going to say, when the money runs out (and that too).

Well, today was a busy day shopping and visiting The Mohawk Territory (The Indian Reserve), Belleville and also designing T-shirts (never any rest for an artist). A real mixed bag type of day too - experiencing another culture in The Indian Reserve and trying on some traditional clothing whilst there. I was also amazed by their drive through 'smoke' shops and like driving through to get a MacDonald's burger. Not that I eat MacD's, but so you get jist - I couldn't get my head around this concept, very bizarre!

Next stop to Belleville, for shops and yummy food pit stop, whereby I indulged in a peanut butter stack cake. WoW...sugar levels through the roof, even for sweet tooth me, I just couldn't handle it!! Haha officially a cake drop-out...after a few more mouthsfuls - I called it quits! Nice, but just way too rich for me.

Whilst out, Lisa bought some blank orange T-shirts for her children for Halloween and asked me if I could design a logo/design on them. How could I say no :)

So with a felt tip marker I drew on some jack-o-lanterns and "BOO" on both backs of the t-shirts. Naturally, I signed my name at the bottom of the orange fabric..hahaha...and I was happy to do so and enjoyed doing this.

So...now for the evening and onto meet a lovely lady named, Micky a cancer survivor. So, inspiring for me to meet and hear other people's journey with health issues. But, I felt so tired and sleepy, maybe even exhausted too from such a busy day. So, the normally bouncy, chatty Jussie turned into a little quiet curled up ball.

During my time in Canada, I have met many wonderful people and sorry if I'm not mentioning everyone, as names may seem meanliness to you. But, for me an important part of my memory, and guess its plenty enough to know I met great lovlies during my vacation.

Goodnight time ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz

Friday 29th
BANG! BANG! Jussie's shooting!!! But, first another trip to Belleville and shops...hold up, thats no longer interesting....lets get firing Miss Jussie.

Amazing experience and not something I would be able to do in the UK or even have contemplated of even doing. Steve organised this for me and a variety of guns were brought out, bullets, target point, ear-protectors.

The guns were - .357 ruger magnum revolver, shot gun, .22 semi automatic gun and a .22 rifle

Lara Croft and any kind of superhero/women - watch out Jussie the Terminator is on the war path!!!! I was actually scared to use one of the guns due the large force of the pull back and let the experts do this part whilst I watched. The smoke as you can see after the bullet is quite intense and yes...its a loud Bang! This was quite an exhilerating experience - and added to all the rollercoaster of a ride whilst staying in Stirling (Ontario).

In the evening was Phillip's Birthday and we were all invited around for cake :) Another top day and with that time to sleep.

Saturday 30th
Busy day - off to check out Pickering market - to say it was massive, would be an understatement! An indoor market in large warehouses joined together. I have been searching for a Canadian sports top, as I like the style/logos and finally got a great bargain on a bright blue and white T-shirt (for the Maple Leaf Team).

Back at the house and time to get all spooked up, and with a quick turnaround to get ready. Hey check me and the ghouls out ;)

Time to celebrate Halloweeeennnnnnnn!!!!!! The Canadians love their Halloween and it was great to enjoy in the festivities here.

What an amazing house party and fab fancy dress outfits by all who attended. Great Halloween foods - and spooky games played. Even an outdoor quiz and clue games rewarded with chocolate at the end. Over and out for now.......to be continued....

Sunday 31st
A day to chill before going to dinner for a roast meal and all the trimmings, quite yummy indeed. Then for me to house sit giving out candy and crisps to Canadian kids - whilst everyone else went out trick or treating. It was too cold for me, hence happy to give treats out, so many kids approached the door...I daren't say trick...lol. I wasn't guna allow any tricks, and judging by the kids goody bags full to brim - not many neighbours must have done either ;)
Short and sweet entry and a nice breather to carry on into the new next day. What will it bring......

Monday 1st November
All packed up, and time to say farewell to Sharon and Steve, an amazing time and great hospitality for full action packed, fun and chilling out time in their area. Going back to Toronto today for my last few days - to see more of the city before back to home sweet home. I was meeting up with Sandra again for more adventures and last minute eats, and more tours of Toronto.

And, here we go - first stop to catch a ferry to Ward Island - and WOW - amazing views as the ferry left Toronto and all the high rise buildings could be viewed from a distance. Like a postcard snap shot. Quite a blissful day too - slight chill, but the sun shone for me to get some awesome photos! Happy days :)

Then back off the ferry, and time to check out 'The Eaton Centre' a huge shopping complex on many levels. Great architecture on the inside too...I surely could get lost here - shopping and indulging on apples coated in choc,candy,toffee and anything and eveything and sprinkled with all sort of heavenly toppings...MMMmmmm....drool factor!

No rest for the wicked, and now onto dinner 'Green Jeans' for a full on Canadian meal feeling full to the brim - now time to go to the cinema. Still with me? hahaha....

'Hereafter' movie with Matt Damon, which sadly I didnt rate at all and infact thought it was rubbish. A little cheeky episode happened after and somehow ended up watching another movie 'A Funny Story' but left 1/4 way through as quite late, and I was simply exhausted from a long day.

Tuesday 2nd
Today was a busy day visiting the 'Hockey Hall of Fame' followed by lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe for the ultimate burger :)

Here Sandra and I are wearing 'Donate Life' jumpers designed by Holly Werlein who is also actively promoting organ donation/awareness in her country. Holly has a facebook link to advertise the clothing range which is available to purchase click on this link Holdols Transplant Wear

The evening agenda was to devine a heavenly ultimate dessert to the Eaten Centre again at 'Green Jeans'

Calling out all fork lift trucks please - I can't move...require removing from the building - stomach overload!

Wednesday 3rd
Last day In Toronto before returning to the airport - for homeward bound. Aww, I feel quite sad but also I have a feeling of soon I will be home, back to reality and for life to resume where it left off.
Sandra made sure that it was still full on and spent my remaining hours meeting one of her friend's, Karyn who is waiting for a liver transplant. We spent a couple of hours at her home chatting and exchanging stories and I hope Karyn gets her life-saving gift soon.

Then final stop was to meet Sandra's parents and they were truly lovely people. And thats it! OMGosh........next stop the airport :(

When Sandra dropped me off I was actually quite emotional and didn't want to cry. A holiday of a lifetime about to finish. How my lungs were still breathing and no lung collapses, and I did it!!! I am still alive to tell the tale...just got to get home safely..lol

I knew for the return flight it may be worth to try and upgrade if seats available to the next level - not like business class/first as out of my league and had little funds left. I did try enquire on the phone system and it was too much money even for basic upgrade...but worth one more shot checking in. I was greeted by a lovely lady and I was the first to check in. I was still very emotional and the lady may have thought I was mad......as suddenly I got on one. For those who don't know me I just started babbling away and probably didnt stop talking. The helpless look on the lady's face - but nevertheless I just continued saying things like "Wow...love Canada..1st time here..amazing..nearly cried whilst at Niagara Falls..breathtaking.....then briefly said I thought I would never make it from having an illness/transplant......blah blah..back to Wow...Omg...sad to be going home" I'm sure you get the gist...hahaha.

Then the lady said what happened to you - do you mind I ask..so said all I've endured...15 lung collapses, surviving weeks in a coma, having a double-lung transplant..this being a dream trip that never knew if ever would become a reality and I was pretty teary eyed by this time. So emotional..such a mess...lol

I had already paid my last monies left for a mini upgrade - yay! and as I walked away with my new ticket, the lady said, "I have upgraded you again to business class...now go away before you make me cry" I was gobsmacked and thanked her profusely and walked away in shock and couple tears running down my face...... This happens in films - not real life!

I then proceeded to the business class lounge with free food, booze (shame not an alcholic..was help your self), fresh buffet foods, hot meals, snacks, cold foods, any soft drink, infact was like a mini supermarket - and all FREE!! Then free laptops to use with wi-fi, luxury armchairs, the most biggest blingest chandelier I've ever seen. Free newspapers/magazines....I was amazed at how fantastic this really was, and something I could never ever pay anyways in my lifetime. I wanted to ask a posh looking lady and some business man to pinch me (thankfully I didn't). I just ate, smiled, sat in awe until we were called down for boarding.

Boy oh boy.......here was me walking into business class with a bed and first class service WOW! What an amazing end to a simply breathtaking holiday........I could also have had a full cooked brekkie, shower, beauty treatments once landed in the UK...and hope my collection from the airport would be late. No chance...hahaha..I land...phone rings.."I'm here" typical!!

The flight also included a free Elemis overnight beauty kit - amazing choice of food with a menu, and also fed, taken my pills..recline time to sleep for the overnight flight.....

And now here I am dazed, tired, confused I'm back with my parents for an overnight pit-stop before I return to my base.

Thursday 4th

Back in my home....unpacking...washing...uploading photos...reminiscing..still in awe.....WoW WoW WoW and all thanks to my donor who lost his battle, but signed to be an Organ Donor. This wonderful act - saved my life and gave me this opportunity. I love my second chance to still be here, I loved my holiday! Thankyou to all who made it happen, my parents, friends and new friends made for life - your kindness and hospitality will remain close to my heart and I appreciate everything you've done for me.

Until the next blog installement..watch this space.... xx

Monday, 23 August 2010

British Transplant Games

I'm starting with the necessary link before you read my news. In memory of my friend, Joe Doyle who died waiting for a transplant, leaving behind his wife and adorable 4 children. Gutted is an understatement about how I feel about this, especially as I visited him just 2 weeks before his sad departure to the angels xx

Click here to Save Lives :)

Thursday 19th
Early start today, and ready for my friend Jason to come and collect me and drive us to destination -Bath. A short pit stop..coffee/sandwich and onwards we go. I was quite nervous and excited, another year past and time to catch up with friends made from last year. Also, the fact that I was competing in my first competition this day too. My goal for 2010, was to learn Squash in 6 months and compete at the Games. With the little tuition I've had and self practice....I was told an unrealistic time frame....but you all know me, never say never!!

I have to be honest, this sport I have found the most challenging and making me obviously the most breathless upon already being breathless,haha. But...I just don't care...I just want to keep going and pursuing. I played a few matches and really enjoyed them all. I still feel I have a long way to go to keep up playing tactifully etc. Here I am with Liz showing me how to work out who plays first serve.

And would you believe it....below is me with an actual medal in Squash - bronze medal..woohoo!!!
Photo courtesy of Garvin Besson (of the medal) Thanks.

Also, at the same time the medals were being awarded...Channel 5 News (5 O'Clock) was being aired on a piece about me.

I filmed this 2 days before I left.....and I hoped it encouraged more people to sign up!!

After collecting my bronze medal in squash, it was a quick turnaround to get ready for the Opening Parade through the city of Bath. Shame..that the weather was an absolute wash out....rain rain and more rain. But, all the hospitals across the UK still got ready for the march with hundreds of umbrellas/rain coats and as many smiles as we all could still muster.

The parade ended up inside Bath Abbey with speeches from representatives of Bath/the Games...and finished with a song written and performed by an artist in aid of the Transplant Games

Friday 20th
Today was a lazy day and I should also say a 'fat' day as all I seemed to do was eat!!
The morning started, with a treat of a cooked breakfast, which was cold and not very appetising at all...bah...

After that, I spent the first part of the day with my mate, Martin with whom I met at the Games last year (heart transplantee).
Walking around the town and
taking lots of photos of lions..which was a special commission..and everywhere we walked...we were like "OH another lion..photo!!". After a while...I actually confessed, that I was 'lioned out' and didn't/couldn't have any more piccies of them ;)

So...walking.....getting soaked also in the rain...stopping for a quick 'Leonardo's' chocolate feast...scoff scoff. Chill time then at Wagamama's Restaurant...more food, then another pit stop for tea..Oh la la.

I was hoping to actually visit the Spa's in Bath...but with the constant on/off rain..and unclear skies, it was a no-go. There is a jacuzzi on a roof top, where you can see the whole of Bath whilst relaxing in the Spa. Next time!! I would to re-visit Bath to go there, and also the infamous Longleat too! (Martin in pic below)

Returning back to Campus..some friends said they were going out for a curry in the evening, and would I like to join. The thought of any more food was just too much to bare. But......I did join intending just to have a snack. Two onion bhaji's later and a chicken tikka masala/lemon rice. Help.....fork-lift truck needed to carry me out/back to campus.

Saturday 21st
A bit of a crazy manic day arriving at the Badminton courts, and no one knowing what time any of their matches would be. I was hungry!! When you eat more the day before, you are always more hungry the next day!! - but, in theory I had enough fuel to feed 2 after my scoffing yesterday.
But, at same time...didn't want to eat incase was about to play. Yet...also didn't want to feel weak from not eating. Oh la la....I decided to eat my sandwich and hope my first game would be much later. Big fat NOOOOoooooo...my name was called out, typical. So sandwiched up and heavy stomach...here we go.

I ended up playing about four matches...one game was so close 14/15. I was running here,there, and everywhere. Puffing in parts - but loving the adrenalin too.

Badminton Doubles......with an end result achieving a Silver Medal :)

Here I am with the Harefield Badminton winners, "Ogi Ogi Ogi...Oi Oi Oi..." :)

In the evening was a group meal with Harefield and St.heliers Hospital teams..70 people approx!! We all bombarded Garfunkels in Bath town centre...mmm...lush food and treated myself to a waffle toffee crunch...yum!! More indulgment...but after all that running about, do you blame me ;)

Sunday 22nd

Well here it is D-Day again..athletics day! Long Jump at 9am, 100m sprint 11.40 am and 200m in the afternoon.

3048 - Hey that's me above with my parents and a couple of friends (including, Fran all in black clothing), who has kindly been helping me with my training. Pushing me when I would say...pleassseeee NO more......but, I'm glad Fran did push me.

So, my first event was very early, admittedly I was quite stressed, having to register and be walked to where the sand part was (health & safety reasons). With about 5 minutes to find a toilet and be back in time. Pah......my first jump was the best and won me a Silver Medal (Yay)..the others were pathetic and got shorter and shorter. I didn't have much recovery time..so a little puffy..perhaps still stressed. But I'm not complaining.......

At the long jump

So a little time off before the 100m sprint race. OOoohhhh tough competition - kidneys and a now a liver girl!! This really is the most important out of all my events that I have been competing in. One that I have never won or even run past any girl that has had a kidney transplant. A dream that I dream of winning Gold, and feeling how fantastic that be....just a dream.

All of us ready at the start...then there is a problem with the gun...my nerves build and build. We are told to go back and wait for the starting gun again. Geesh...........and after maybe 5 minutes back at the line. 'On your marks...get set....BANG!!!!!!! of the Gun'

ROarrrrrrrrr here I am running for dear life, determination to get to the finish and no idea what/who/where anyone else is around me. Puffing and puffing.......YAY over the finish line and told I had WON!!!??? OMG!!! What!! I couldn't get my breath back for absolutely ages and Natalie (our Team Manager) was trying to talk to me/to ask me to do relay race. I just couldn't reply for a bit - soz Nat. I was almost in tears/so emotional...WOW.....and such a close race I was informed.

Apparently, I led to start with, and then all the girls flocked up right behind me...and I escaped by 1 second ahead!! WOW again, so happy and in shock...I Did it...I've DONE it, I've achieved my dream!!! Woohoo!! It has only taken me 4 years of determination and training to achieve this. Sorry if I'm rambling on so much...just this is a BiG deal for me, and if I never achieve gold in the 100m sprint again...I will always stay happy - knowing that once I had my dream fulfilled :)

200m opted out, too exhausted and totally done in from all the other events since Thursday. Infact, it didn't bother me...as in my eyes...I went out with a bang and nothing more I wanted to do or could anyways as shattered beyond belief.

I had the most amazing opportunity to meet with Jason Gardiner, MBE,Patron and Olympic Champion...I briefly told him my story. And he apologised as his eyes welled up....aww

And below is a group shot of 10 medals that I have achieved from both the earlier European Heart & Lung Transplant Games (6), along with these recent British Games (4 medals in total).

The evening was the Gala night - yummy foods, Baileys, dancing..less than 4 hrs kip.... Oh la la....party time it was!!! Always such a great night for everyone to dress up, let their hair down (so to speak), relax & unwind..eat, drink and be merry. A great social atmosphere full of fun and plenty of emotions - saying farewell until we all meet again next year. Not much more to say here, think I have written enough for this phase ;) x

Monday 23rd
Home sweet home, konked out 2hrs soon after got back - feeling like a zombie. So, there we have it.....all done and dusted. Another year of transplant games........another year still feeling grateful being alive and breathing. Long may this feeling stay. Good health to all who read this and lots of happy smiles to each of you. xxx

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

GOLD!! (Norway+Sweden) thrills

No matter what happens to me...this will always be History/Legacy for me & worth every battle I fought along the way!! Organ Donation IS a wonderful thing!! Not a donor..now's the time to do it, thanks xx

Sign the Organ Donor Register Here

Go Team GB Jussie

All glammed up here, and the photo actually taken from the last night in Sweden (gala night). Here I am proud to be alive and represent GB in the Transplant Games for heart and lung transplantees across Europe.

Friday 25th June
I was up 3.30am, although my alarm was set for 4am....excitement kept me buzzing through my whole day of travels to reach my first destination, Lillehammer in Norway.

For some reason even though I set off in plenty of time to the airport, there was a long queue for baggage drop..and a rush to get to gate 59 in time. I walked past 'Pret a Manger' leaving behind a cafe latte I was desiring and a scrummy sandwich to have on the plane for breaky.

So...hungry and flustered and finally onboard....here I was, all set to GO GO!!

I arrived on Oslo Torp Airport and had a 2 hour wait for my train, then a 4 hour train ride to Lillehammer. To meet up with the lovely Nina (who I met at the Euro games in '08). My first meal was Mexican Tacos - yum!! Then out to walk their dog who is diabetic!! For 45mins around the woods/houses. By 10pm (9pm UK time) I was totally zonked! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday 26th June
Good Morning Norway - Jussie is ready for day 2!

Amazing breaky with fruit, Gubrandsdalsost (caramel cheese), and then onto a museum, Norsk Jern Banemuseum based from the ice age - to modern living today in Norway. Amazing to learn about culture of previous times and see actual people (hired) to live and demonstrate how they lived in schools, farms, houses from rich to poor quarters. An insight from 1800's to 1900's.

Then next to Helvete - Mountain of Hell!
I had no idea what I was letting myself into........all seemed straight forward.....simple...walk down a mountain. Oh nooooooo.....simple to start with with stairs leading the way down with protective barriers. Then, onto the rocks - climbing, balancing on loose stones..large...small....my body formed all shapes to get over each rock. It was a little adventure and fabulous getting to the bottom seeing the waterfalls through the mountain, and getting wet walking over a slippery ladder at one point to explore further higher up.

I have to say, that I was actually exhausted and returning upwards was much harder. Getting breathless in parts and using my hands to climb over all the rocks. I knew what it felt like to be a dog moving about on my hands and knees and even though I struggled in parts, I truly LOVED this experience! AWESOME!! And when I finally reached the top, I recieved my Helvete Certificate "you have survived a return trip to Hell".

Then in the evening, here we are (Nina and I) at a wonderful complex where people can board and view the stunning views of Lillehammer, whilst eating the BEST Thai cuisine. Click on the link below to view this wonderful place, I truly recommend this as a place to stay!
Strand Mountain Lodge

Sunday 27th June
Last day in Lillehammer and then onto Sandvick to stay with Truls and Hilde. But first, they kindly travelled to where I was staying with Nina and Olav, and we all spent the day together. It was non-stop adventure all day :)

1st stop to an art gallery, right up my street with all abstract and funky pieces of art. Then onto an Olympic Museum - detailing history of the sports over the years, which was very interesting. They were also selling medals......my Norwegian friends were offering them to me. The only snag, that they were chocolate! Haha...but I said...no.....want the real things when I get to the Transplant Games.

Then onwards into a cable car up a mountain with breath taking views and back down....a short drive to another destination to have lunch on another mountain top.

Time to rest yet? Oh no, next trip to Olympia Parken:- chair lift and entrance to the ski jump tower and a simulator experience. I tell you what, I have never screamed so much in the simulator experience to that demonstrating a professional ski person and in a Bobsleigh. In comparison, the bobsleigh wasn't that bad.....but I know I could never be a professional skier. I was actually quite frightened, and screaming so much - I was actually crying. I wanted to press the emergency stop button, but, didn't want to ruin it for my friends. However, I practically fell out of the simulator afterwards, feeling rather yellow...and my curly hair somewhat frazzled!! After a while, the shock wore off, and I was ready for my next adrenalin rush ;)

And that was a chair lift to the top of a ski jump tower, and instead of the cable car down, decided to walk all 954 steps to the bottom! But, after all my mountain climbing the day before, my legs were hurting a little and about halfway down, I started limping. Oops....no one could save me, so slowly and exhausted in pain, I made my way down. Many stops to get my breath back too - as all this was tiring on my lungs. Not only that, I was getting shakey leg spasms making it harder to go down each step..what a mess I was,lol. But, I was delighted to finally have "touch down..Jussie has landed".

Nina was filming me (which I was unaware) and we said it could be posted on You Tube, but that people would get bored - and look for a fast forward button, to see me actually walk down the steps quickly and not step, stop, step, stop!

So, shattered and tired, a 2.5 hour journey now to get to Sandvick.....but, I couldn't rest in the car journey, and was non-stop talking..........hahahaa......do I ever really take a breath?

Monday 28th June
My last day in Norway, and to spend the day in Oslo..yippy!! It wasn't quite as successful for a little time, as I fell ill and that was from some food I ate on the day. The downside to taking so many medications, is that some foods may not agree with my body and normally this reacts in me almost immediately.

Putting that aside, I was very happy to finally meet, Thomas a friend I'd never met,but chatted with through Facebook for 3 years, who lived near to Oslo and came out to meet me and Truls for part of the day. We all went to the Opera House for coffee, then a walk around the fortress of Norway..then lunch all together.

Then my 'little blip' and time to wave goodbye to Oslo and rest up, until I felt better again. Within a few hours, I felt better and not wanting to waste any time, went out again! This time, to a large shopping centre to check out the Norwegian fashion......a girl MUST shop!!

Then after that, onto a famous sculptor park - which was pretty kool. You may have noticed that I am wearing a T-Shirt (and Truls) that says, "Cystic Fibrosis..Get if Off Your Chest" and I was wearing this to help raise CF awareness whilst in Norway + Sweden. For an amazing lady, called Lorraine Barnes who does so much for this lung disease, and her two boys also have CF.

Tuesday 29th June
Woohoooooo!!! Wakey Wakey......time to go to Sweden and travel with the Norwegian Transplant team via coach. I arrived 8am in Oslo and finally arrived in Vaxjo, Sweden at 5pm. Many laughs along the way travelling with all the Norwegians - and thanks for letting me gatecrash your coach ride ;)

It was a long day on the coach and great to finally get to Sweden and meet up with a few other British team members/family/friends and enjoy a chilled meal in our hotel. Bedtime.

Here with new friends made from Norway, Elizabeth (left) and Yina (right).

Wednesday 30th June
Today was the first main day, the Opening Parade of the European Heart & Lung Transplant Games through Vaxjo. A total of 22 European Countries competing :- Belgium, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia & Switzerland!!!

So off we all took over this little city in Sweden and paraded our own country flags, cheering from the crowds coming out to watch and clap as we past. Such an amazing buzz + atmosphere and hard to describe that in words....but it was electric!! :)

We Rock!!! Great Britain!!

A representative from each of the 22 European Countries on the stage, with their countries flag.

Thursday 1st July
Today a free day for me and a nice stroll around the city Of Vaxjo and a look at the beautiful Cathredral. A little bit of shopping also taking in the glorious rays. Ahhh blissful day - simples :)

Friday 2nd July
Being an athlete is not fun when your alarm wakes you up at 6.25am, I thought I was on a holiday ;) Today, the day of the Badminton doubles and single competitions....oooer. Healthy breaky , shower, sports gear on - thanks to my sponsors at Anglia Inspection Services
I was feeling a combination of nerves, shaking, excitement and all over the place with emotions. I guess a good feeling as its not every day you get to compete like this. I played against women from:- Netherlands, Sweden and Finland. At one point, in badminton doubles my breathing was quite bad...and the opponent said to me, "will your breathing get any better?" I said "no"...then she continued to thrash me - taking gold and leaving me with a still very content - Silver medal.
It was an enjoyable day, and I remember advice from one of my coaches saying...'take your time to get your breath back and do whatever you need to do' (Steve Williams - Squash coach). To which, I had many water 'sip' stops and when it was my turn to serve....I inhaled very deeply quite a few times....to everyone else, it may looked as if I was just focusing..hahaha (yes and no).
And, I got silver in badminton singles :)

Here is the Great Britain badminton team :)

Saturday 3rd July
So, today another "me" day and I had booked myself on a walking tour within the town, and was out for about 2 hours. By the end, I was feeling slightly frazzled by the heat and my curly hair - became a mass of afro sizzling! The weather was amazingly SO HOT and after my walking tour, I returned to my home and completely konked out!!!
I didn't want to do too much after that, as tomorrow was my BIG day for all the main athetics that I was competing in. So, an early night on the agenda......ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 4th July
THIS IS IT!!!!!!!!! Yikes....gulp...more nerves...more excitement...deep breath...breathe Jussie breathe ...come on!!!!
Today, I was competing in
100 4xrelay race
long jump
I cannot express really on here, how emotional I was feeling. Every day for me and any transplantee is a bonus and one that I relish. I do not dwell on any doom or getting ill again or rejection (though, I would be lying if I said it didn't frighten me sometimes). But, I do still get blips along the way (especially recently in February...but a fighter I am...and I will always fight to live!!). Yer baby!! :)
All, I have trained and worked up for - this was really it!! Gulp. My first event, was the 100m sprint against 8 other girls. My heart was beating like a zillion miles per hour and on the bang of the gun.......I ran like never before. Determined to do well and I did - wow!! Got a PB (personal best) in my time of 18.07 seconds and that is about 2 seconds faster over the years. Just before, I left for the games, I was able to run this in 18.56. So....I was gobsmacked I sprinted even faster. I came joint 3rd (bronze) with Jan another girl from Great Britain (who had a heart transplant). But, when I go and compete in the British Games in August...I will competing against her...ooooooooHHHhhhhh
It may not seem fast or a big deal to you,but with 60% lung function still - I am well happy with that achievement. I must also stress, it's not all about winning...as I've said many times before...being ALIVE is the real medal!! But, hey.....I'm not complaining getting some bling along the way..tee hee.
400m sprint......geesh this is really hard for me, so I just jogged 300m and Jan actually said to me about then "how are you doing" me "breathless" and I was puffing away as best as I could. Then, I don't know what overcame me as Jan and another girl were ahead of me. I just wanted to give it one last push
ROARrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! and I pushed my lungs and ran my heart out and lungs and whoshed past Jan to take silver. Flip......inhale....inhale.....breathe.......after a while I was ok again.
Then long jump and I took GOLD!! WOW!! My first ever gold medal in 4 years! Happy days :)
And the relay race team - to which we took Silver.
Thats it...over and exhausted.com was I!! But, no time to chill, as needed to get ready for our last night in Sweden to eat,drink, and be merry!! Woohoo!!

Here I am in a funny shape after one long jump attempt..haha

Bronze in 100m sprint with Jan too

The GB athletics team :)

The GB team with family & friends too, love this group shot of us all :)

And here I am with Jade an overall champ and who had a heart transplant at just the age of 3!!

Monday 5th July
Goodbye Sweden...goodbye heart & lung games (until 2012).
Home sweet Home journey to begin the next set of transplant games...... August (19th-22nd) for all transplantees (not just heart & lungs) that recently competed with - but the kidneys,livers etc... I love them all :)
I hope I haven't bored you all with my lengthly blog....it has taken me weeks to do and choose the best pics to tell the story.....peace,happiness & smiles to everyone. Mucho lovo until the next write up x x x