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.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

3 months & Australia awaits

Well hello everyone!!!

My  life has rushed past and it's been like a roller coaster. I'm updating over the last few months since my last journal on Rat Race (May) +  Brentwood half marathon (March). To which I wrote a combined and lengthy blog. I always have the intention to do short journals - but somehow the words keep flowing and this one is probably worthy of a cuppa and a few dunking biscuits or a glass of something nice ;)

My life has been consumed with working, voluntary work, radio slots on BBC Essex as a newspaper reviewer, training, hospital visits and much more.  A change in medications since two infections were found in the bronchioles of my airways requiring me to take nebulisers twice a day permanently.

It's bizarre as I was feeling more breathless since before the Brentwood half marathon in March and even from the year prior. Not to be grim...but I was bringing up black stuff from my lungs and blowing out the same also from my nose. I did query this last year but as no changes in my lung function or changes from x -rays/tests at hospitals...nothing was done. I guess, it's get to the point when we say we know our own bodies, and I KNEW this was wrong! But, nothing was still found or the fact I was unable to give a sputum sample on demand. I did keep pushing at hospital and had a scan of my sinuses and lungs and yet nothing was found. So, technically on paper I was deemed fit and well. Yet, I knew otherwise. Finally, I managed to get a sample to my hospital and to cut a long story short was informed that I actually had two infections:- pseudomonas and candida.

I remember I was told a long time ago if I ever had pseudomonas that I would need nebs indefinitely. I guess now 8 years post transplant (July 9th this year), that I have been lucky even with my blips on/off. I was hoping it would be a short term thing - but when I was informed, it was not so.  Ok, so be it was my initial reaction - not a lot I can do about it. I did start on antibiotics straight away for about 2 weeks before I started the nebulisers. It was not a smooth journey and it did cause me a lot of stress getting the right machine/drugs to go with it. And getting this agreed via my GP/Hospital a bit of a battle who was going to supply me the medications. Blah Blah........ after bursting into tears at hospital as I was showed what to do and realising wearing a mask reminding the days I needed a mask for oxygen. It initially was very overwhelming. However, I know how I roll - fall down, then bounce back up!

And I did! After getting a portable nebuliser machine and the medications and bits needed to make one of the drugs (needle/syringes) the only way was UP. It's like brushing my teeth - just an additional routine to my life now with the other aspects I need to do. Moving forward some weeks now - it's all good. It is a nuisance sometimes to do, but, if it keeps me alive longer and helps my lungs, then YES I am going to do this!!

Above a photo of the new drugs and bits needed to nebulise in the morning and night. And below  a no make up selfie wearing one of the masks whilst inhaling salbutamol to open up my airways before  mixing the colomycin the main drug to help my lungs.

So putting the aside my blip and now the ongoing nebs - time to relay some amazing news. My journey is always filled of gratitude daily and July this year I celebrated 8 years post my transplant! I still feel like every day is a blessing and I wish I was able to thank the man who agreed to organ donation and gave me life after his.

It was really nice to have some friends and my family at a local restaurant for good food and fun. I had arranged party bags for all the guests and a very special cake was made too. It was a shape as double lungs!
Let the fun begin....
The cake is all mine :)
I wanted the lunch/afternoon to be enjoyable for one and all and as well as the party bags/fun there were hats, masks, and masks to create your own designs on. I also planned secret missions and informed people prior to my function. Thankfully my friends don't mind a giggle and all succeeded extremely well. For example one friend I asked to get up and sing a song about fish, another to say she worked in a chicken factory plucking chickens and do an impersonation of one. They were hilarious........something I guess you had to be there to see it.

and who is behind the masks ;)
So I have updated on my health and my 8th year party - now to update with my usual fitness shenanigans. 

I have maintained my fitness with the usual Essex Boot Camp and various things here and there and recently I did a challenge called, The Nuts. I initially signed up for 21k with 100 obstacles in each lap. Basically repeat the lap (7k) 3 times. However, I only wanted to do two laps but it had sold out. So went for three knowing would do two ;)

However, on the day it was more about having fun and I could have gone round a second time, but after over 3 hours I was feeling content. I didn't really want to over push and allowed myself to settle for this, then freshen up and wait for my other friends to finish.

working it ;)
Upside number - Oh dear read below.....
I asked when this number transfer was being done - if it was the right way up and told yes. Urm....I felt so stupid when saw afterwards that it so wasn't! Oh well - some of the people helping/working said not to worry when I would be upside down in the mud - then I will be the correct way up. Haha!! Think I will just stay upright as much as possible ;)

Here I am with some other booties:- Rhian, Mandy, Hayley, and Carly. All clean happy and smiley.

The being clean didn't last long and I probably got the muddiest that I have ever been doing any event. I tried much before and even some water obstacles - which I normally struggle with as the coldness of the water affects my breathing. So looking like a sludge of mud and rinsing some of it away from entering the streams/rivers..the final captioned photo is here underneath. 

When I got home the mud was stuck like glue to my body and hair, but probably the best facial and pampering mud treatment I've had too.

Now all that is left to mention about my final arrangements for my trip to Australia competing as an international guest in their National Transplant Games. After many car boot sales and an empty/de-cluttered flat and funds raised - I am ready for this venture. I will be competing in:- shot put, discus, 3k fast walk, lawn bowls, 100m sprint and 4 x 100m relay race. I haven't sprinted for about 3 years and a challenge to myself if I could do this again. I gave up as my breathing recovery afterwards was horrendous. I have been 50/50 about sprinting again, but my mindset is now that I am and I will! I have only practised twice doing a 100m sprint but with training building up to this again over the last 4-6 weeks. I realise it is not long but my general fitness with the bootcamp has surely helped me. And as they say, what will will be. I am by no means the fastest sprinter but even if I get a PB that is GOLD to me. Being alive is a winner too, anything else is a bonus. 

This is the furthest that I have been post my transplant and with two long haul flights to get into Melbourne. The quietest my social networking will ever be ;) but when back on wi -fi ......you will hear from me.

I guess that's a wrap and my next journal will be the chapter about Australia!!! So, keep well everyone and smiling. I will also be thinking of some of my friends whose health is not the best and some needing transplants. I realise I am lucky at the moment and things could change, but, I am doing what I can to keep raising awareness of the beauty that is Organ Donation. xx

1 comment:

  1. Hi Justine! Came across your story and blog. Want you to know how much of an inspiration you are. You're amazing and I will pray for you to keep living and loving life the way you are. This is a horrible disease, and I hate that it exists. I never knew it did until I started googling my symptoms of bronchitis and pneumonia during pregnancy. You are obviously very loved from Heaven as well as here on earth to have been given those healthy lungs. What an incredible story of courage and strength. THANK YOU, AND GOD BE WITH YOU.