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Primary, Secondary & Paediatric Lymphoedema Online & in the Community

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Hand Sanitisers - Fire Risk?

Last week I posted in good faith a poster on #handsanitisers #firerisk and whether hand sanitiser was combustible. I had received the poster from a reliable source within the health care community I belong to and it had an NHS logo. The article had been mentioned in several overseas news outlets and a brief mention on one of the Midlands news channels. Two members of one of the social media groups I belong to questioned the validity of the poster therefore I removed the post. After removing the post, I wrote to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Communications team and asked them about the validity of the poster and whether hand sanitiser left in cars would become biodegradable. I would like to thank the WRFS Communications team for their reply posted below. I hope this clarifies things, regards Gaynor

"Please find some answers from our Fire Prevention Team below:
Outside of the UK there have been a couple of fires that have involved hand sanitisers - the initial reports originated in media articles in the USA.
Following these incidents, the NHS issued an internal message to front line staff highlighting what they believed to be a potential risk. This information you have been sent has now been retracted following further investigation, evidence, and advice. The possibility of alcohol-based hand sanitiser gels causing a fire in a vehicle is very low.
We can reassure people that these products will not combust if left in the car, even on the hottest day. We would advise people to ensure they store their hand sanitisers in vehicles safely, which includes keeping bottles closed and out of direct sun light, such as in a glove box or in the boot of a car. This will also ensure the contents do not deteriorate.
The poster is saying that "hand sanitisers left in a car in high temperature could become combustible". The risk associated with hand sanitisers being kept in vehicles can only become apparent when it is in contact with a spark or a flame, not through intense heat even on the hottest day. The advice is to keep hand sanitisers away from sparks/flames or anything that could act as a lighter to ignite it, because the alcohol content is flammable.
I hope this information helps."
 
WFRS Communications
Fire Service HQ
Warwick Street
Royal Leamington Spa
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service

Taking a Break

Author:  Gaynor Leech Founder of L-W-O

 

 

Noticeably short blog, hopefully from next week I will start easing back into looking after the L-W-O community.  I hope you are all well.  As a family we have had a difficult time recently and my priorities will always be my family.

Hubby has been quite poorly, and he had a couple of days in and out of hospital with them running tests.  Unfortunately, because of these unprecedented times I could not be with him and I think the stress of it all got to me.  Thankfully he is well again but living with CHF each day is different. Although support group has been exceptionally quiet over the last 16 weeks my workload just kept increasing and there have been lots of exciting things going on in the background that I will be sharing over the next few weeks.  I need a part time admin assistant with social media experience and a head cook, bottle washer and cleaner extraordinaire both voluntary - both unpaid.  Will I get any takers? Oh well I can dream.

 

If I have not answered your emails or messages, please be patient I will get to you


Thursday 18th June I signed up to do the Eurodis Digital School Webinar on Social Media and this has given me lots of inspiration but it has also made me think whether to get rid of or streamline our social media that is not as active. Successful social media groups rely on the members to drive it forward to keep it active if that does not happen then then there is no point me putting my time and energy into keeping it open.  We will see.  The course also explained in detail about the Facebook algorithms and why we have had trouble with the way Facebook now operates therefore, we are not seeing the growth we once did.  Interestingly Facebook is still considered to be the best place for groups like ours to operate, followed by Twitter and Instagram.  My personal Twitter, and our L-W-O Twitter accounts have grown to over 800 followers over the last few weeks and my LinkedIn account I suddenly have 161 followers the last time, I consciously looked it was around the mid 70's. 

Sunday was Father’s Day and we were visited by five of our Grandchildren which was brilliant, and we were able to sit outside from 11.00 am – 3 pm in the garden before the temperatures dipped.  It is lovely to be able to see them again after such a long-enforced break I have missed each, and every one of them so much.  Still missing my hugs.

Sunday evening settling down and our world tipped upside down when my eldest son phoned to say that our 16 old granddaughter had gone into anaphylactic shock and her life was in danger.  However, the ambulance arrived within five minutes and due to the skills of the paramedics who saved her life and got her to resus and the work of the resus team she has survived and is safely back home.  Nobody can give us answers to why this happened, and there will be lots of investigations and tests over the coming weeks.  She will have to carry an EpiPen for life.  Ironically, this is the granddaughter who wants to train to be a paramedic.  She is waiting on her GCSE results which are being assessed differently this year and in September she will be going to 6th form college to do her A levels.  A big thank you to the paramedics and GEH for the excellent care my granddaughter received.

I do my best to support other lymphoedema organisations through me paying an individual membership and I will happily signpost our members, followers, and supporters to these groups to do the same.  If there is any other way, I can support them by promoting their work, and events I will.  Whether you are a registered charity or an unregistered charity like L-W-O working within the legal guidelines set out by the Charity Commission the financial challenges this year are tougher than I can remember and I have been volunteering in one capacity or another for over 40 years. This year more than any other year I have had requests to put links up across our social media to support various fundraising events for other organisations, and in the past I have had no problem with this but this year for the sake of our own financial health that is not possible.  If you can support us by making a donation I would be grateful.

I have enjoyed the rest and barely touched my laptop  

Lesson to learn

I must remind myself frequently – "you are a volunteer"
 

 

 

 

Impact of Covid-19 on Lymphoedema


"Please find the results of a poll carried out in six different closed patient groups, on Facebook to investigate the impact of the Covid19 lockdown on patients with lymphedema (all types but not lipodema). This was very simple, using the poll option of Facebook. No names were collected - only the results. While the groups are in local language and tailored to those countries there can be some patients living in one country while answering the poll in another - but it would be very few cases.

The question in the poll was: "During the Covid19 lockdown period, has your lymphedema gotten worse, better or has there been no changes?" Patients could then opt to elaborate with the reasons for their answer. 471 results were collected.

It was quite worrying to see that 48% said their lymphedema was worse and so perhaps we, as patient associations, need to do more to help the community with self-management techniques."  Big thank you to Pernille Henriksen for collating this Poll and writing this, piece and thank you to the European countries that took part.  For more information contact: theLympha@gmail.com

This is what L de Linfa lymph wrote

Self-Isolation Week 12

Author: Gaynor Leech, Founder of L-W-O

 

 

What a strange week this has been. After 11 weeks we are beginning to ease out of lockdown and in our case almost total self-isolation.  New rules apply as we enter the second phase of an alien new world.  This blog will concentrate on things I have read this week all related to how we protect our selves over the next few months, some of this will be tongue in cheek but much of it will be about the concerns of patients and how our Health Care professionals (HCP’s) are preparing to receive patients or clients.

Many moons ago when I organised an event or public gatherings the only thing, I had to worry about was if there was disabled access and where the fire escape routes were.  Slowly over the years Health and Safety has become an industry sometimes at the expense of common sense.  The big buzz words now are 'Risk Assessment' and yet this term was first introduced into legislation in 1992 Management of Health and Safety at Work regulations.  Sadly, risk assessment not only affects our working lives or venues we attend it has now crept into our daily home lives.

Sunday 31st – Hubby spent the day tidying up outside making sure a one way system was in place for when we have visitors to our garden, he lit the smaller of our two barbecues (braai) so that we he can make sure its ok for when our friends come around tomorrow for a braai.  I sat and read in the garden, it was such beautiful day and by the time I came back in the house I looked as if I had been on holiday to some exotic destination as I had a healthy glow.  As always, I took sensible precautions and I am thankful that I rarely burn.

Monday 1st June - The day was quiet, I also shared a video of Laughter Yoga which received mixed reviews, one of our members reported that their local support groups had organised  a live session with invited guest last year and although quite a big group apparently the patients were negative and apparently the organiser only received one positive review.  Which is sad because these sessions can be fun.  On a separate post one member reported ‘leaky legs’ but seemed to be coping well as this was something she had experienced before.

One of my friends has a birthday today and they asked could they come to us for a braai although they have a lovely garden it is easier for social distancing in our garden.  The afternoon was spent sanitising everything and I reflected on how language has changed since I was a child.  In those days you did not sanitise anything you used disinfectant and lots of bleach and if you wanted to kill anything off you used carbolic soap. How language and the way of doing things has changed. So, what does a socially distanced braai entail?

  • Strongly consider your guest list – yep only two – our friends have been in self isolation like us
  • Separate entrance into garden – yep – used to be called the tradesman’s entrance - or back gate
  • Ask guests to bring their own cutlery, plates, and condiments – really?  Yep
  • Have a one-way system around the barbecue – yep – no problem
  • Only one person should handle barbecue tongs – yep – got two one for each couple
  • Serve food on plates from a distance – yep bought their own food – just the meat to cook – managed not to get anything on the floor from a two metre distance 
  • Set out seats two metres apart in advance - but not face to face – yep – no problem
  • Sadly, no birthday hugs but lots of chatter and a glass of champers to toast our friend
  • Not allowed indoors – what about the loo? Luckily, we have a down stairs loo all doors left open direct route – separate coloured hand towels – to be put in the washing machine at minimum 60oc after their visit  - yes I could have saved work by putting paper towels out – but really?

We started at 5 pm and sat out until 9.30 by this time it was too cold to sit any longer but despite all necessary precautions we did have a good time even if it felt at times like -

“ Round and round the garden”. Remember the nursery rhyme?

Tuesday 2nd June – Absolutely delighted on checking my email inbox that I have received an email from BLS to tell me I have received an educational grant to go to their conference in October, this will be my third conference. 

I was asked today if one of our polls could be presented at a Vascern meeting together with Danish, Italian, French, Norwegian polls and Manuela Lourenco Marques, would be presenting her Portuguese poll.  I have seen the results and look forward to sharing them with you soon.

I spoke to my local Macmillan friend who told me that there is no face to face contact, communication is all via video or by telephone, to date she has made over 1200 calls.

Wednesday 3rd June – Today I published the new webpage on Arm and Hands movement this is part of our #getmoving series.  I have also been playing about with mood boards to see if these can be used as the basis for our future videos in partnership with PhysioPod.

L-W-O members are beginning to ask questions as to how treatment and clinics will differ from pre Covid-19 times.  Several of our members are still shielding in the strictest sense and are very reluctant to be venturing outside or into places where they might meet others.  I asked the question “Have you been contacted by your lymphoedema clinic?”  This is the result from our poll:

 

The above results are interesting 143 members took part. As many of us have taken to video calls as a way to communicate I was puzzled to find that this method of communication was not used.

These comments were written in post are not unexpected.  The top comment “What service?”  Followed by “There are no services in my area”.  Real fears are developing in our community from patients who are being warned that,  for the foreseeable future appointments will be emergency only.  Also, there is a suggestion that patients might be asked to measure their own hosiery, older patients do not necessarily understand metric measurements. 

Thursday 4th June – Today was a day of rewrites on the website its now taking shape and as I work through each series, I am beginning to see things more clearly.

Face masks are now mandatory in more outdoor settings.

Friday 5th June – One of our new members asked, “I just got a cat and I was wondering if I should be worried about getting scratched?” She also asked about the risk of infection.  The members that responded generally felt she need not worry, to take sensible precautions and to treat any cuts or scratches immediately. 

I have watched over the last few weeks how HCP’s, therapists who have not been redeployed in the NHS or other settings have been preparing for a return to receiving clients or patients.  Having undertaken risk assessments in the past I know how stressful putting these in place can be and they will all have a risk assessment in place prior to lockdown.  Several therapists have undertaken online courses over the last few weeks either to improve their skills or courses linked to Covid-19 risk assessment. I will ask all of you to spare a thought for the work and the risk assessments that are currently being rewritten.  

 What is likely to be the new norm with your appointment or treatment?

  • Your clinician will be wearing face mask, gloves and a visor
  • Handwashing/hand sanitiser will be priority for both clinician and patient/client – do not be upset if you are asked to wash/sanitise your hands on entering or leaving premises
  • You will not be able to take your partner/friend into a treatment room
  • There will be very few soft furnishings more disposable coverings on couches and seats
  • Use of paper towels
  • Be prepared to take your own drinking water, disposable cups might be available that glass of water at the end of your treatment will not
  • Be prepared to take your own hosiery appliances
  • If your treatment time seems shorter than normal, please remember your clinician will have to sanitise the room after you leave and before their next appointment
  • You may receive telephone call 24 hours prior to your appointment to see if you are well enough to attend
  • Do not be surprised if you are asked to take your temperature prior to your appointment or on arrival of your appointment

These guidelines have come from the Federation of Holistic Therapists and are subject to changes.

Finally, I checked in with our membership to see if they were ok and wished them a good weekend. I decided I would not touch the laptop until Monday morning…

Saturday 6th June – Yesterday I said I was going to stay off my laptop until Monday, any queries would come through to my mobile if there was an emergency.  Cue the lovely Mary Fickling who having looked at the mood board on deep breathing I had sent her earlier in the week decided to create the video. We both spent the morning, and a good part of the afternoon being creative, there was lots of toing and froing but the results are amazing, and Mary has successfully added to the PhysioPod website a guest blog, take a look.

I am well and truly done for this week

I love the point when your tired everything is funny

 

Self-Isolation Week 11

Author:  Gaynor Leech Founder of L-W-O

 

 

You would have thought in the world of lockdown and self-isolation that groups like ours would go very quiet as people have other things to worry about and while our membership has been quiet the organisational side of L-W-O has been very busy indeed.  I have enjoyed the phone conversations the online interactions and the business organisations who have asked ‘how can we help’?  Asking for help and especially asking for a donation is not my strongest point and I do cringe when it is necessary to do this.  This week we received a donation from one of our Twitter followers who also gave us a donation last year which I am grateful for but equally grateful for her comments and support throughout the year in Tweets.  I have also been invited to write articles that might be relevant to a couple of organisations on lymphoedema and our support group.

Sunday 24th May – and we are finally settling into a new Sunday normal of staying away from social media and getting use to talking to family and friends via What’s App or phone but otherwise away from technology, reading and watching trash TV it will be interesting to see how Sundays change from next week.

Monday 25th May – Spring Bank Holiday like no other not able to go out as there are no events either local or nationally and once again thankful for our garden where we were able to spend most of the day.  One of our members had a nasty fall over the weekend and spent three hours Bank Holiday Monday at a walk-in centre waiting to get antibiotics for the rapidly developed cellulitis and an all too familiar story of only being given a seven day course.  The good news was the doctor in her words was “Fab” and ordered an X-ray to make sure there was not any gravel in the wound.  Her relief was that she did not have to go into hospital for intravenous antibiotics.  She continues to argue with her local surgery that because of the amount of times she has cellulitis she should have emergency antibiotics at home, to no avail.  These posts always produce lots of discussion with members reiterating that 14 days supply of antibiotics should be given and referring to the cellulitis consensus document produced by BLS and LSN.  Members of the Lymphoedema Support Network (LSN) will have received the Medical Alert cards as will a few members from our nurse advisor or their own clinics the majority have to print off the information from the links we provide across our social media.  Membership for LSN is £15.00 p.a.

Tuesday 26th May – Hubby and I decided to tackle our ridiculously small home office which is dark and has very much become a dumping ground when we both need to tidy up quickly its also next door to his workshop which creates machine dust and gets traipsed through.  My preferred work place is our conservatory I have a long work top, lots of light and a great view of the garden which gives me inspiration plus I find it very calming as it doesn’t feel as if I am working.  We shared to the group the British Lymphology Society (BLS) Standards of Practice for lymphoedema services.

We also shared the survey on Remote Patient Monitoring from Sally Kay who is preparing for the next phase of the research into lymphoedema and exploring the best way to measure the fluctuations in swelling. If you or somebody you know has lymphoedema, please could you (or they) complete this quick survey? Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) are trying to find out whether a small portable measuring device would be of use to people with lymphoedema.  It was interesting to see how our members reacted to this survey and how strongly they felt that:

  • Patients needed to spend more time with educated clinicians who know about lymphoedema
  • That health care systems around the world are not funded properly or have enough therapists
  • More support is needed on the NHS or from whichever health care system you belong to globally
  • The importance of patients fighting to make their voices heard

What I liked about the response to this post was that there was no ranting but reasonable, educated discussion from members who have lived with lymphoedema for most of their lives.

Wednesday 27th May – I re-shared the Overview of Paediatric and Primary Lymphoedema produced by the European Reference Network. One of our members queried swollen lymph nodes and as she is still receiving cancer treatment the general advice was to contact her consultant or BCN.

Thursday 28th May – Delighted for our members as the International Lymphoedema Network have made a series of informative videos that now include three Genital Lymphoedema videos. Did you know that you can become an affiliate of the International Lymphoedema FrameworkIt is free to join.

I have continued to restructure our website and as most of our members access the website from their mobile phones the pages are now looking good and I have received some lovely compliments while it may need a few tweaks the #getmoving series targets a specific area like arm and hand or head and neck plus more categories.

I was delighted to be invited and sponsored to join MLDUK I attended their conference in 2019 and it was one I thoroughly enjoyed being friendly and informative.  Organisations like these do not normally have a membership for non-medical people like me however MLDUK has a friend’s membership which is £15.00 p.a. for anyone who is interested.  This kicked off some discussion on our email signature which I am delighted to say resulted in the following:

 

It would also be remiss of me not to mention that British Lymphology Society also have a friends membership which is free to join for those of you who are not health care professionals but want learn what happening in our community.  It is so important for those of us living with lymphoedema to have access to organisations like this whether it is to use their resources or receive their newsletters to feel we are very much apart of the lymphoedema community.  I also fully understand that not everyone can afford memberships when you are on tight incomes or no income because of your lymphoedema or other health issues.  I will continue to raise awareness through posters, presentations across our social media and website.

The best news of all is that from Monday 1st June we can start to meet in groups of up to six people in our gardens or anywhere outside.  More than happy to stick to gardens and while social distancing will apply as will hand washing and sanitising surfaces sadly no hugs, I will take this, so I am an incredibly happy bunny.

Friday 29th May – Started the day with a telephone conversation with one of our friendly supporters and look forward to the possibility of a new project in a couple of months’. The rest of the day was spent on the website.  Friday evening me thinks the neighbours are not waiting until Monday it is a lovely evening and I can hear lots of chatter and laughing.  Oops some friends have stopped by to say hello.  Did we, or didn’t we? I could not possibly say.

Saturday 29th May - A neighbour from a few doors down has been baking a lot during lockdown and sharing her lovely creations on Facebook.  This morning she knocked on our door and brought us two lovely cup cakes with fresh strawberries on top yum yum, but how thoughtful to think of us.  We have had an incredible amount of support from family and friends offering to shop for us, checking in on us to see if we are ok bringing us cookies, cakes, Easter eggs and supporting us the best they can and we are both so grateful to all those who have shown us so much kindness.  However, I was talking to a neighbour around the corner who is looking after her elderly mother and I was saddened to hear they had not received any support at all. 

What have we learned this week?

This week has all been about working partnerships, the kindness of others.  It has been informative educational but most of all its been about our lymphoedema community and how much more we can achieve when we all speak with one voice,

 

“Individually we are one drop; but together we are an ocean.” – Ryunosoke Satoro
 

Self - Isolation Week 10

Author: Gaynor Leech Founder of L-W-O

 

 

This has been another crazy, busy week, creative, productive and one that has absolutely flown by. Yet is has not been stressful or tiring which you would have thought it might have been.  Routine and structure have gone totally out the window, but the end results have been absolutely worth every minute.

Sunday 17th May – a rest day, catching up on some reading with my feet up and apart from cooking Sunday Roast a quiet day.

Monday 18th May – busy trying to finish off the weeks blog, it does not look as if it will go out today, oh well “what will be will be”.  Hubby has gone off to golf, they are only allowed to play nine holes either the front nine or the back nine.  He returned to golf for the first-time last week, they had to contend with dog walkers and joggers on the greens as people had not realised the course was open, none to happy about that.  They are allowed to play a two ball and social distancing was maintained although anyone who understands the etiquette around playing golf will know a lot of hand shaking usually takes place so once or twice some of the members needed to be reminded that couldn’t take place. 
 

The 18th – 24th May is Mental Health Awareness week and the theme is Kindness.  I did not do a lot to promote this because as part of our ethos of self-care L-W-O encourages our members to not only be kind to each other but importantly to be kind to themselves.  

Tuesday 19th May – I finally managed to get last week’s blog published.  Interesting post below on our children’s group today from Pernille Henriksen European Patient Advocacy Group (ePAG)

“There seems to be opposing opinions to the effect, benefits and usefulness of MLD (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) as compared to compression (bandaging and garments). Or that MLD is not warranted in the maintenance phase as opposed to the reduction phase. However little to nothing is known about this for children with primary lymphoedema and their patients/carers.

Please let me know your opinion?

  • Were you taught to do this by a clinician?
  • Are you encouraged to do this by a clinician?
  • Do you do this regularly?
  • Do you do this with or without bandaging?
  • What kind of effect do you see or are looking for?
  • volume reduction, volume maintenance, pain relief or pain management, stress/anxiety relief, aid in mobility, aid in range and motion …

The answers were informative, and our parents gave great insights with a range of answers those that took part appear to use MLD or a combination of MLD and bandaging. Those children who are under St Georges have received good instruction on how to self-care for their children and encouraged to try new methods like Kinesiology Tape.  MLD or massaging before bedtime helps the children relax so that they might have a calmer night.  At this time, most of our children are under the age of five one parent made this comment. “I can say good MLD before wrapping and sleeping makes my child very relaxed.  It may reduce his pain, but I will only find out once he starts explaining everything more clearly (too young now)”.

Thank you to Pernille for this question and our parents who responded.

The weather is warm and sunny not a day you want to be indoors. We travelled the scenic route to the butchers and stopped off to see two of our grandchildren on their doorstep while we sat in the car.  There is such a perplexing rule in place now as part of lockdown.  One of us can go to the local park and meet one other member of our family or a friend, this means a drive to the park, a walk through the entrance dancing two metres around everyone who has the same idea. Then in my case I would need to find a seat and sit two metres apart from whoever I am with and anyone else can come and say hello and you hope they will adhere to the two metres apart while they are talking to you.  Is this still not a risk factor?  However, I cannot invite one member of my family or a friend (they usually come in twos) who have all been in self-isolation for 10 weeks to come through my back gate and sit in my garden two metres apart in this beautiful sunny weather. I ask myself “when did you learn to swear so much”?

Then off to see one of my younger Granddaughters who will be seven tomorrow with a present and card.  While we sat in the car, she came out with her little sister who is 18 months old and they chatted away and played with a ball and said hello to anyone who was in the street.  The little one blew kisses when we left, and I struggled to fight back the tears for all the hugs we have missed over the last 10 weeks.

Time to check in on support group. You might remember or not when we started this lockdown journey I had to decide whether to keep our community strictly all about lymphoedema and I took the decision that for the time being other subjects would be allowed.  Late afternoon I posed the question to our members “What has been the most positive activity you have achieved through lockdown”? I was not disappointed, we had 58 comments and I was thrilled to see how busy they had been.  Gardening seems to be one of the main activities, with members starting their own vegetable patches, growing vegetables from seed for the first time.  Lots of cooking including with young children. One member proudly stated she had read a ‘whole book’.  While others were pleased to have saved money because they have nowhere to go out to spend.  My favourite was the member who has worked on her online business and in her own words “it has taken off”.  Members posted art, photography and one member posted this lovely comment “This is a really lovely post, not just here in the comments.  It is really good I love it.  Made tears come to my eyes”.  Thank you to this member for your lovely kind words.

Wednesday 20th May – The weather is beginning to ‘hot up’ we published our Lymphoedema Summers poster with tips and advice on how to protect our members.  Last week I said we were going to start a partnership with Mary Fickling from PhysioPod UK whereby I would provide the tips from our posters, she would then convert them into a Vimeo video, I would write a short introduction and then they would be published on the PhysioPod website and Vimeo channel and I would add them to our You Tube channel and between us we would promote our joint work across social media.  So, the process begins, watch this space to see how we get on.

I had a few teething problems with the website today I have been learning more about Hex Colour Codes and have finally managed to get our website Header the same colour as in our logo.  Trying to design a new Footer has been a nightmare and although I made some changes it was not quite what I wanted to do however, I am not disappointed as I have added a couple of new features.  In 2013 I started the website with five pages we now have 54 and the last 10 weeks I have removed pages, added new pages, shortened pages to make them easier to read and I am now in the process of improving page navigation.  Our Home page has a new look, layout and information and I have made it easier to contact me via the website with a brand-new Contact page.  Several other pages are under reconstruction and over the next few weeks they will be promoted via our social media platforms.

Thursday 21st May – Today we put out our second poster on how to get a Cool Nights sleep while living with lymphoedema.  A day of ‘toing and froing’ working with Mary as we worked through Lymphoedema Summers and the Cool Nights videos.  New skill learnt as I discovered how to down load a Vimeo Video to our You Tube channel. We have had our You Tube channel for three years and probably not made the best use of this forum.  When I look at the earlier videos I did and the ones going out now there is a huge difference and while I might take longer than others on all things techy, life for me is all about learning new skills.  Click on the You Tube link and please subscribe the more subscribers we get the more incentive I will have to produce more lymphoedema awareness videos.  A very productive day.

Friday 22nd May – The two new videos are up on Vimeo and the PhysioPod website Lymphoedema Summers and Cool Nights inspired by the posters I produced.  It was great fun working with Mary Fickling and I am looking forward to working with her in the future.  The website has two new pages and the Holiday Care page has been shortened, even in it does not look like it now.

Saturday 23rd May – has been a play day as I have been looking at options to expand L-W-O’s reach.  Watch this space.

What have we learned this week?

That sometimes you can get away with breaking the rules you set yourself, breaking free from routine can be exhilarating, creative and productive.

 

Coming together is beginning: Keeping together is progress; working together is success.” by Henry Ford.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Self-Isolation Week 9

Author: Gaynor Leech, Founder of L-W-O

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 10th May – was a quiet day just the two of us, hubby pottered around while I took a day away from social media, to recharge my batteries after last weeks busy week. A day to remind myself that what I do for L-W-O is as a volunteer, a day for some ‘me’ time.  I cooked a lovely Sunday roast but having cooked everyday for the last nine weeks without a break I am beginning to say, “when this lockdown is over, I will never cook another meal”. I bet I am not the only that is saying this.

In the evening we settled down to watch our Prime Minister talk to the nation about the next phase of easing lockdown and like many of our friends we were left confused and angry by the new message to “stay alert”.  The consensus being that we all felt that lockdown should be for another three weeks as friends of our age understood it would be for twelve weeks, and we were looking at the 16th June before easing would start. 

Monday 11th May – I posted a mini poll and asked the question of our adult support group.

 

 

A 128 members took part and nine members who said that their lymphoedema felt better, this seems to be the ones who are not working and would normally be on their feet all day one member posted “At the start it did wonders with not being on my feet all day but now I am less active (trying to keep active) can’t wait to get back to work”.  It was encouraging to see that members working from home have done their best to keep up with exercise routines with Zumba being replaced by Pilates and many of them going for a walk.  Both our European members and UK members are missing swimming and the aqua exercises that they would normally do.  Initially there was a suggestion of members putting on weight when lockdown started.  An abundance of Easter eggs, home baked cakes and chocolate cookies from our grandchildren did not help us, even though they were nice.  The consensus was as they adapt to different exercises then they are now reaching their pre lockdown weight, including me.

 

Tuesday 12th May – was a day to catch up and share some of the articles I had been reading. As you might know I do huge amount of reading on lymphoedema and the lymphatic system but I do not post articles willy nilly and tend to only post articles that my non-medical brain can make sense of.

 

Wednesday 13th May – I asked the question of our adult group “When diagnosed with lymphoedema were you told not to do an activity that, you now know is a myth?”  We had 119 comments, and this was interesting so here are a few that created the most discussion.

 

  • No hot tubs and saunas
  • Hot tubs and saunas but no longer than 10 minutes
  • No shaving of legs with a wet razor
  • No tattoos
  • No Dettol baths
  • To be careful around pets
  • No gardening

 

This question also sparked lots of discussion on the importance of skin care and how this must be our priority.  I was pleased to see that the above list was shortest ‘do not do list’ I have seen in a long time.  One of our expert patients gave a detailed description on what could happen if you are bitten.  What did come out of this discussion is that some members are still being told there is nothing can be done for them therefore, given no advice. This is were groups like L-W-O do become useful.  What we need more than ever is a consensus to work together to make sure our community is all singing from the same song sheet. This leads very nicely to the following video from Professor Pillar “Why do GP’s and HCP’s need to learn about lymphoedema?”

Thursday 14th May - Today is this support groups 6th Birthday the time has flown; my life has changed beyond all recognition. Each day brings something new, and rather than slow down as a 'pensioner' I am busier than ever and just recently I have talked to somebody new everyday as L-W-O makes new connections The future for the L-W-O community is looking good. No longer do I go to bed at night wondering whether I have done the right thing. I have never been afraid of constructive criticism, but I no longer worry about the derogatory comments that sometimes come my way.

 

The British Lymphology Society has produced a survey aimed at Health-Care Professionals (HCP’s) The Covid-19 Impact Survey as there are serious concerns amongst patients and HCP’s that services may not be reinstated after lockdown is lifted.  Please take part.

 

Friday 15th May – this was fun or not I tried my hand at editing one of our YouTube videos after working out how to do this I successfully managed to edit out some dead spots on one video feeling chuffed with myself I thought I would try my hand at another, oh dear not so clever, not happening will have to try another day.  Throughout lockdown I have been looking at ways to improve the L-W-O website and successfully managed to disappear the whole of the Healthy Living Series, thankfully I found it all again. The hosting package seems to have added to some new features so I will have to be careful which buttons to push.  Running the website and keeping it up to date and relevant is a never ending learning curve, but I do enjoy seeing the results.  We receive no official funding towards website costs and and I rely heavily on the generosity of our members, followers and supporters so if you can support us by making a donation, no amount is too small and all donations are gratefully received.

 

Saturday 16th May – is always the hardest day because we cannot get out and do all the things we would do before lockdown.

 

What have we learned this week?

 

I guess this week for me it has been about the L-W-O support group  through lockdown it has been my life-saver, which has kept me busy away from the TV and all forms of negativity.  However, it is much more than that, it is the sense of understanding that our members have for each other.  Not just the support they give each other but the friendships that have been forged.  Everyone of them has a story to tell they need someone to listen, there are those that are baffled by lymphoedema and how its altered their lives but it is also encouraging that the members who have lived with lymphoedema for a long time are willing to support each other. Asking for help is not always easy and my friend Nemo has written a very thoughtful blog  ‘Lessons in asking for help’.

 

Support groups like ours are valuable and I sincerely hope that services for those of us living with lymphoedema will not be cut once lockdown is over.  I know what it is to have a rubbish day, a day when you would rather not get out of bed and you must push yourself just to start the day.  The resilience and support our members give to me and each other is awe inspiring.

 

Encourage, lift, and strengthen one another.

For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all.

For we are connected, one and all. –  Deborah Day

Self-Isolation Week 8

Author:  Gaynor Leech, Founder of L-W-O

 

 

This has been a surreal week, I have spent lots of time reading various articles, despite the lockdown forged new friendships, remembered with quiet reflection, then celebrated VE day and as a community had two incredible opportunities put forward for L-W-O.

Sunday 3rd May – I was thrilled so see one of members who has put a lot of effort into walking found that her most swollen foot and gone down considerably that her shoe was loose.  When one of our members has a problem, I do feel their pain, but I am equally happy and delighted with their success.

Monday 4th – Hubby did our usual shop, but for the first time I got to go to the butchers. Yippee.  Who would of thought that would be such event?  Our local butchers are five minutes away in the car however it took us quite a long time to get there as we took a detour through the country lanes.  This was the first time in eight weeks that I had been out of the house for any length of time and the sense of freedom was amazing.   It was nice to see the meat and vegetables we were buying and for such a small shop I was impressed with the social distancing put in place.

Tuesday 5th May – I had a surreal day, an unplanned day.  It started at 8.30 am chatting to one of our supporters by 12.00 pm, still in P.J’s (not something that happens normally) an amazing opportunity had opened up that I couldn’t begin to imagine when I eased out of bed.  One of the aspects of running L-W-O is the amazing people I meet whether that person is one of our members or one of the many professional people in our community.

One lovely person I became acquainted with in 2017 via Twitter is Mary Fickling Director of  PhysioPod UK Limited Mary has been a big supporter of ours, sharing our posts, sometimes offering advice and becoming a valued friend.  We met first at a conference in 2018 and again at the MLD UK Conference 2019 together with her sister    Julie Soroczyn, Managing Director of PhysioPod.  Mary liked the gardening video I did and asked questions on why I was told not to do gardening and where did my passion for gardening come from?  I wrote a short piece for her and the result of which is now on the PhysioPod website with a lovely piece about L-W-O.  At the end of Wednesday morning Mary and I discussed a collaboration that relevant lymphoedema videos would go on their Vimeo channel.  Presently I am working on the video formats for Instagram as they are different to our other social media formats.

Eventually, I toddled upstairs for my shower, ideas buzzing around in my head thinking when I get back to my laptop, I must plan. Well we all know what thought did.  My bum had barely settled on my office chair when I received a direct message from another of our supporters who is a Clinician and Therapist and could we talk via telephone.  We spoke for two hours, about lymphoedema our community, the successes and most of all our frustrations.  I am looking forward to further conversations over the next few weeks as to how we can help each other but also, I hope this will give L-W-O more clinical information that can be added to our website.  By now my poor old head was in explode mode, so for the rest of the evening I watched trash TV and managed to clear my head before bedtime and thankfully, slept extremely well.  Big thank you to my hubby for keeping me in tea and coffee all day as even he understands the importance of staying hydrated.
 

We also shared a post on Manuela Lourenco Marques from Portugal, patient advocate, L-W-O member and the European Patient Advocacy Group (ePAG) Deputy Co-Chair for the Paediatric and Primary Lymphoedema Working Group (PPL WG).  Manuela shares her journey living with primary lymphoedema, what it means to her being an ePAG and participating in the PPL WG.

Wednesday 6th May – was a noticeably quiet day across our social media, which I was thankful for and quiet on the home front as well.

Thursday 7th May – A change of pace.  I am very lucky to belong to two local community forums the one especially has worked extremely hard on encouraging people to get involved in VE day, with local streets being decorated and the most amazing knitted/crocheted poppies decorating lampposts in their village.  My immediate local area has been vocal in coming out for the Thursday evening NHS Clap, and are calling for people to have a picnic in their front gardens while practising social distancing.  We did not think we had any bunting, but we found some and our eldest DIL found us some red, white and blue bunting.  Now the question, would we be able to get the neighbours to come out and picnic on their front gardens?  I designed, printed 30 plus leaflets and hubby posted them through letterboxes on our stretch of the road.  I had three who said yes immediately but we would have to wait and see.

My son with my youngest granddaughter in a baby seat and my six-year-old granddaughter came up to see us on a bike ride which made our day. In the evening hubby decorated the outside of the house with union jack bunting.  My youngest son asked how I got up on the roof to put the bunting up. Really? Me on a ladder, he should know better, I did my usual and supervised hubby, my days of climbing ladders or even a step-up stool are over because my balance is terrible

 

Incredibly happy today to welcome two new members to our children’s group.

 

Friday 8th May – Thrilled to see one other neighbour had put bunting up. At 11 a.m. there was the silence to observe and a time for quiet reflection.  Still not sure if anyone else would join us for a picnic in their front gardens, on the leaflets I had put the time 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.  Lunch time our afternoon tea arrived from the pub and it looked lovely, it is the first time in eight weeks we had treated ourselves.  Although our children and grandchildren have brought us treats like home baked cakes, chocolate cookies and Easter eggs, we have been spoiled.  Three o’clock and I sat and listened to Churchill’s speech.  Hubby took our small garden table and chairs out to the front of the drive.  One by one neighbours started to appear and I counted 12 households had come out.  This was a success for our normally quiet street.  With social distancing in mind we all got to have a chat, we met new neighbours and found out the names of those we did not know.  One of our neighbours is a musician and he brought his speakers out and we had music all afternoon.  Considering the restrictions, we were under we had a fantastic afternoon.  We finally wrapped up at 7.30 p.m., the afternoon ended with a promise when we can celebrate properly, we will get together and have a proper street party, but do not think that will be until next year.  Time for a tidy up before settling down to listen to the Queens speech.

Saturday 9th May   – I make no secret from a non-medical point of view that I believe genetics play a big part in how our bodies react and the traits we inherit so, I read this morning a fantastic article on Obesity: A Disease of the Brain?  All my life my weight has seesawed started to get out of hand at the end of my first pregnancy. Having tried most available diets between the 70’s – 90’s it was only when I started to become comfortable in my own skin and started to say to myself “this is me if you don’t like it tough” then things improved.  In both my maternal and paternal family, we had people who were either stick thin so you could see their ribs and then there were those who were exceptionally large.  I have always fallen in the middle.  From 2010 – 2015 my weight ballooned whilst taking Tamoxifen, nothing I did made any difference.  Once I stopped taking the Tamoxifen, I made a conscious decision to go back to how I ate as a child, in my own way I had worked out that if I had my main meal of the day. in the middle of the day, my weight held steady if not reduced. This was also the time I reverted to small plates and my meal plan became three meals a day breakfast, dinner, and tea in that order. However, being retired gives us freedom to eat when we are hungry in other words there are no set timings.

Those that follow me will know that gardening is a big part of my life and therefore eating the right amount of fruit and vegetables was never a problem, nor was the exercise. By using smaller plates, it took me six years to lose six stone.

Am I skinny?

No.

Am I considered obese by the medical profession?

Yes.

Am I happy with me?

Yes.

 

“It’s time to stop shaming and blaming people for their weight and start treating obesity for the chronic, relapsing disease science says it is”. I fully understand that being obese isn’t good for lymphoedema and I fully understand that we need to keep the lymphatic system moving and as the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump that the only way is to get moving, we need much more research and understanding.

Looking forward to next week as L-W-O website and Community page are in their seventh year but next week our biggest success which is our support group will celebrate its 6th birthday.  Lots of things have changed, as a community we are evolving and on a personal level the changes to my life have been massive.

 

What have we learned this week?

 

The importance of community whether a neighbourhood that comes together to celebrate an event like VE day or us staying home collectively to beat Covid-19 or our lymphoedema community working together to support each other so that we can all speak with one voice. We still do not know what the future holds for our lymphoedema community, will lymphoedema clinics be re-opened?  Will services resume? Or will services be drastically reduced?  When lockdown is officially over, and social distancing becomes a distant memory we will all need to keep advocating to get lymphoedema recognised and make sure there is support for those living with lymphoedema.  As the building blocks are put in place for us all to move forward our community must work together to make sure that progress is not stifled and we don’t stagnate.  This week I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes.

“A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

—Margaret Mead

 

Week 7 Self-Isolation

Author: Gaynor Leech, Founder L-W-O

 

 

Sunday 26th April - It is hard to describe how the weeks are panning out, like many others around the UK at times we have been lethargic, we seem to both be constantly tired and yet apart from the usual aches and pains that might keep us awake overall we are sleeping particularly well.  We are struggling with knowing what day it is, we know today is the 26th but is it a Sunday or a Wednesday? Who knows it is becoming more and more of a problem as days blur into one, from conversations with friends and family we know we are not the only ones feeling this?  We are both thankful that we have plenty to do and extremely thankful we have the space to spend some time away from each other by one of us being in the garden or another room. 

Monday 27th April – Hubby is doing the essential Monday shopping on pensioner hour, not the best day for fresh food but by far the quietest day, and apart from the daily walk we are staying in.

However, the urge to want to break free is getting stronger

 

Our adult social media is becoming quieter by the day and even my email inbox is drying up. Not sorry about the emails. Last week you might remember that on Monday morning one of our expert patient members posted this interesting article on temperature and skin discolouration and the relevance to lymphoedema possibly indicating cellulitis.  It has been since reported that there has been a small number of children (fewer than 20 cases) that have shown different skin manifestations resulting in “multi-system inflammation” with flu like symptoms. I understand in the UK this was first picked up in the North London area but yesterday the 26th an alert went out to all GP’s. When I first posted this article on skin manifestations neither our German family or our member who is the Co-Chair ePAG PPL (Paediatric and Primary Lymphoedema) had heard this. I should add here that we were not the first country to discover these skin manifestations however, there does appear to be some variations of symptoms on Covid-19 between countries.

Our Children’s support group has 85 members, this is made up of 76 families and we have nine members who work professionally in the lymphoedema community or have strong interest in Paediatric and Primary lymphoedema.  In 2019 I was invited to become a Patient Representative for the European Patient Advocacy Group and this has helped immensely with access to information for our families and those living with Primary Lymphoedema.  Our Children’s group is the quietest of our social media groups.  We have families whose children have variations of lymphatic malformations.

Tuesday 28th April – I spent the day on my family history the new website layout is coming together nicely and I have 13 family member pages that now have a structure and the photographs to go with them so feeling chuffed to have taken this hobby up again. Once the website is fully up and running, I can then go back to researching our history.

Wednesday 29th April – I posted the poster below on support group that shows that a Northern Italian Hospital had found the following skin manifestations.  This post generated a few comments.  One of our Mum’s reported her son had had chilblains the previous month and nobody could find out why. In her research she found the following article published by The International Journal of Dermatology by the online Willey Library on the 24th April where a group of dermatologists had been treating urgent cases from home via an application made available by the Spanish Academy of Dermatologists and Venereology.  The research was conducted on a mix of age ranges.

 

 

I was then reminded by one of our support group members of a rash she had which started in March that took three to four weeks to clear up.  She experienced tingling in her chest followed by cold sores and mouth ulcers.  When you live with a disease like lymphoedema you understand unexplained side effects can appear and disappear and most of the time you will explain it away as your immune system being down. Stress can also play apart.  However, was this anything else?  Then talking to my daughter-in-law she reminded me back in January Ezmae-Kate my great granddaughter who has a lymphatic malformation started with a high temperature, followed by snotty nose a nasty cough and was covered in a rash that nobody could explain.  The Mum who reported her young son had chilblains said nobody could explain why.  I am not for one minute suggesting that these where related to Covid-19, neither am I suggesting this has anything to do with lymphoedema but it does make you wonder as the skin rashes and chilblains were not something that would normally happen.  What we do know is that living with lymphoedema we do have compromised immune systems.

Thursday 30th April – The British Association of Dermatologists published this press release on the Spanish research which is far easier to follow for a non-medical mind like mine.  Skin problems can be a side effect of lymphoedema both our adult and children’s groups are asking for help after using hand sanitisers.  The use of hand sanitisers has dried my skin, made my hands very itchy and they did start to crack.  For me it is soap and water and moisturising as much as I can which for now has solved the problem.  Please remember most hand sanitisers are highly flammable so keep them away from a naked flame.

I am a great believer in dry skin brushing so I was thrilled to see some of our parents use this as part of their children's skin care. Instead of the type of brush I would use, parents use a soft baby hairbrush. Some of our parents like to massage their children's feet during the bedtime bath while the child's feet are under warm water which they say is helpful to aid sleep but also it helps reduce pains the children experience at night in their feet.  There was also an informative discussion on whether a child should be given pain medication at night, and while some parents where reluctant to do this, some of our parents felt when necessary this should be given.

Friday 1st May – Today I was informed that a short feature written last year on my lymphoedema diagnosis has been published on the 3M Science Applied to Life website you will find this on the page highlighting the Diagnosis of Oedema and this includes a holistic assessment of lower limb oedema.  I never cease to be surprised that people are interested in my lymphoedema journey.  The hot topic on support group today was exercise, talking weights, circuit training and YouTube exercise videos lots of good tips and suggestions.

Saturday 2nd May – Very quiet today, we have just been pottering about, watched a little too much TV me thinks.

 

What have we learnt this week?

 

The importance of mental health and the continuation of self-care  When we were advised that self-isolation and lock-down were on the horizon I had a decision to make as whether to keep L-W-O Community a Covid-19 free zone or to allow other problems to be discussed should they arise.  I took the decision for the sake of our communities mental health that, we would allow other issues to be discussed but in doing so we would try to keep the groups informed and positive.  For instance, on our children’s group we posted lots of activities that including learning, being creative and fun exercises.  On our adult group we have posted inspirational quotes, posters to make you smile and a few fun exercise videos.  We all need a smile and a giggle, and as well as our #staysafe #stayhome #handwashing messages we also need to say it is OK to have a wobble, or cry in these unprecedented times but lets find a way to support our communities mental health.   Here are tips on Mindfulness.

 

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” Mother Teresa

Self-Isolation Week 6

Author: Gaynor Leech, Founder of L-W-O

 

 

 

I would like to thank everyone who contacted me to say how much they loved last weeks Lymphoedema and Gardening video.  One of the questions I was asked was "When did my love of gardening start?" The easy answer is at a very early age and probably started with my Great Grandad Fred who loved gardening.

Sunday 19th April – very much a non-day news wise, although it has become about the ‘blame game’ on how Covid-19 has been handled. How is it everybody has become an expert?  So much rubbish being spouted.

So here is my two penneth worth. Hubby and I are incredibly grateful we have no relatives in a care home, we know from experience that there are good ones, but we also know that there are some poor ones. Sadly, deaths in care homes have been under reported and the toll is horrific. I understand everyone is blaming this on an underfunded social care system by government, which it is.  What about the care-home owners being held responsible for the exorbitant charges of amounts between £2000 - £3000 per month and could be higher depending on where you live?  Yet the care staff are underpaid for the work they do.  Looking after the frail and elderly when they can no longer look after themselves must become a priority in the UK.

Monday 20th April – L-W-O support group over the last six weeks there have been questions on the effects of lymphoedema -v- Covid-19 and whether those of us who live with lymphoedema are at higher risk. The simple answer is ‘NO’ we are not at greater risk and are friends at LSN have produced a particularly good leaflet which please do read.

I had started to wonder about skincare and Covid-19 as every time I watched the news when patients were being interviewed I had noticed how skin was blotchy looking and initially had put it down to high temperatures.  On Monday morning one of our expert patient members posted this interesting article on temperature and skin discolouration and the relevance to lymphoedema possibly indicating cellulitis.

Tuesday 21st April – This morning we shared the Juzo care app which is available for download via Google Play Store or the Apple app.  This very handy app is on my phone it has two sections one for HCP’s and one for patients and is highly informative for those living with lower limb conditions and in need of compression hosiery or wraps.  I must add at this stage that all the compression manufacturers are working hard to keep supplies going. With the power of technology many have stepped up a gear to produce well informed articles on taking care of lymphoedema and wound care.

Our eldest son dropped hubby’s prescription off, our son is not working as he works on the construction side of exhibitions and conferences throughout the UK and Europe.  All his work this year has been cancelled; postponement was not an option.  If social distancing is likely to stay in place until Christmas or the end of the year, then exhibitions and conferences will find it very hard to maintain social distancing, for him work wise it looks as if the rest of the year has been written off.
 

Wednesday 22nd April – Some of our members have been sharing their activities and taking pictures of their walks which, I find uplifting.

As the weeks go by they certainly get quieter and hubby is finding it harder to keep busy, possibly because he can’t get to browse for the tools, paint goods he needs to do the jobs he would like to do or finish.  I give him his due he does his routine exercises in the garden, three times a week as given to him by the heart clinic. The exercises are on a sheet of paper pinned to the shed door, each exercise is two minutes duration, followed by a walk.   On the other days he just goes for his permitted walk.  I am relieved that he has managed to keep busy even more relieved he is retired.  For 50 plus years he worked in construction the mentality of those working in this industry is that if you have or cold or flu you work, if its wet or snowing you work through 12/14 hours days were common, in our younger days seven days a week.  The longest he worked was on exhibitions 70 plus hours was the norm and on one occasion he did 107 hours in one week, so he would never have coped with not going to work.

The amnesty on political party fighting now appears to be over and things are getting nasty again not helped by negative news reporters asking ridiculous questions.

Thursday 23rd April – St Georges day and Facebook in their infinite wisdom have decided to remove many of the posts as it is not in keeping with their policies, so If you live in the UK its OK to be proud of being Irish, Welsh or Scottish but you are not allowed to be openly proud to be English.  On checking this out apparently this was a glitch in Facebook's algorithms and three posts were removed; Facebook has since apologised. The other Facebook removals are posts of music I have a friendly acquaintance who is doing regular music from his shed to cheer people up, he clearly states he doesn’t own the music but they block him, threaten him with account removal.  One of our close friends is exceptionally good at Elvis Impressions and has a good voice.  On a Thursday evenings during clap for the NHS he has donned the gear and gone out to entertain the neighbours. What did Facebook do?  Allow the video to play but muted the sound.  Really!

Friday 24th April – One member posted about receiving a text from government saying she was at high risk of Covid-19 and that they must stay at home until the end of June our member asked whether this was a scam but I see several members on the cancer groups are asking the same question.  On this occasion not a scam.  However, there is so much fake news about, and I am regularly being sent private messages about do not open this or that.  Please, please do not be taken in and before littering mine and all your friend’s inboxes with utter nonsense, check out the information first via Snopes or the one I use  That’s Nonsense.

Saturday 25th April – Saturdays are our worst day because it is always the day we would go out, have lunch or visit places and people.  Today was Anzac day and there is always a tinge of sadness because my great uncle Tommy signed up for the 15th Bn Australian Infantry Force and was killed at Dardanelles in August 1915 aged 20, he was my great grandads brother so I grew up with the stories of this conflict.  My great grandad died in 1955 when I was four, but I have fun memories of him, and this was probably where my love of gardening started.   My great Nan who was a big influence in my life, lived on until 1975.

 

What have we learned this week?

 

No great insights to offer this week other than the importance for all of us to keep busy.

.

"Keep busy at something: a busy person never has time to be unhappy."

~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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