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I'm Carole, living in London, happily married and mum to two amazing boys.I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Rectal Cancer in April 2010. Surgery took place in November 2010 and I now have a permanent colostomy...Spinal mets were then diagnosed in October 2011...In January 2012 I was told of further spread to the hip area (multiple lesions)..My life expectancy is now 6-9 months. Walk alongside me on the last part of my experience with this..

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Fighting the Flu Bug.......

First post of the New Year - Happy 2011 :-)

Our year here kicks off with numerous people struggling with flu symptoms. My sister Sarah and her partner Manolis have both been laid up for days now, along with Djamel who's really suffering at the moment.
He usually shakes off bugs pretty easily but this one is proving to be a bu*ger at the moment.

He first went down with what seemed to be a tough cold about 10 days ago but then he managed to shake it off Christmas Eve....yesterday he woke up full of the cold again, along with joint pains, headache, vomiting, temperature and awful cough. Sarah has been kept awake all night long with the cough...so far my parents seem to be avoiding it.
I developed symptoms on Christmas day and felt worse on Boxing day but I've managed to get rid of it without developing the additional symptoms (joints/temp/cough)....

Funny thing was that everyone was worried that if I got it, I'd really struggle due to the recent surgery - but it's been the opposite way round. I recovered before anyone else - now who wants to say my supplements don't work?

This flu thing is spreading like wildfire here in London and I presume it's pretty much the same for the rest of the UK right now? Just about everyone you speak to had someone in their family struck down with flu either just before or during the Christmas holidays....I spoke to my brother earlier and he's also got it now along with his two boys....

Hope everyone gets well soon.


  1. I hope everyone picks up soon - there's nothing worse when a bug like that does the rounds in a family. Well done you for fighting it off so well!
    Just wanted to wish you and your poorly family a very Happy New Year, Carole. Not sure what 2011 holds for us all - no doubt there'll be some challenges! - but I hope it has many positive things in it too.
    You're sounding so much more upbeat in the last week or so. Keep it going gal - you're doing so well.
    Much love to you all
    Shents xxxx

  2. Hi Carole
    It's worth considering the flu jab, though if you are going to get it from family you probably would have by now. However it would protect you for the rest of the flu season from everyone else, particularly if you have to go the doctor surgery or hospital outpatients.
    If your family have coughs quite quickly after the intial symptoms it may be Swine flu rather than seasonal. They will feel pretty ill for at least a week and the cough may remain for up to 4 weeks. As long as it's a dry cough it can be treated with cough soothing remedies. If it gets rattly or chesty or involves shortness of breath then check with the GP
    I had a Swine flu jab last year though turned down the seasonal flu jab as it would have meant 2 jabs and people were panicking more about the Swine flu. I was working in a pharmacy, confronted by all the coughing, spluttering and handling money offered by people coming in with flu symptoms. I used anti-bacterial hand gel a lot, and stayed well.
    This year I've taken the flu jab again, which is now a combined Swine flu/seasonal flu. Family have had the jab too, as they both have 'asthma' on their medical records. So we hope to escape it.
    I'm avoiding visiting friends in hospital at the moment, as they dont want us 'outsiders' taking in flu or vomiting bug germs.
    Hope you stay well and Dj perks up soon.

  3. Even the risk of catching the flu bug wouldn't prevent me from dropping by to wish everyone a speedy recovery and then to wish you Happy New Year and for one and all to enjoy the very best that 2011 can muster for us to enjoy.

    With love and light from

    David [xxx]

    P.S. Poached pears in spiced wine and port simmering on the hob in my new cookware.... thanks Carole

  4. So glad you shook off the flu so quickly,I bought masks in Boots that they had in for bird flu and wear them under my scarf when i go out.When we went to Stratford a couple of months ago there were a lot of Chinese tourists and they all wore masks,we would be far too sensitive to do that.Strange.
    Hope everyone recovers soon.
    Love for 2011 xxxx

  5. Hi Shents,
    Like you, unsure what 2011 holds for any of us but as you say no doubt they'll be some challenges along the way. Let's hope they're all winnable ones - I don't mind a challenge but I'm not a good loser :-)

    David, you're not that far from me and hopefully we can organise something when the weather is warmer (and we're all flu free)
    Read your blog about your Tramadol experiences, I found they made me really quite spaced out and definitely more tired. Good painkillers but they don't come without side effects for sure.
    Keep your spirits up - and keep cooking :-)

    Dj was only saying today why don't we wear masks like they do in SE Asia. Told him we're too vain to cover our faces - wonder if they get epidemics in countries where the majority of ladies wear face veils?

    I fairly sure I've had the same bug as everyone else - just I made a rapid recovery and didn't get all the main symptoms...well, I did, but much milder.
    I wouldn't have the flu jab - unless I developed some type of breathing problems - I was offered it recently and refused.
    Think it's a really good plan not to visit hospitals and take in germs at the moment, I'm always surprised at the amount of people that don't follow that simple rule.

  6. Hi again.

    The thin surgical type masks sold in places like Boots are generally thought ineffective against the tiny viral flu droplets. Particularly as the longer you wear the mask the soggier it gets with your own exhaled breath! Does make you feel a bit more protected though.
    The only effective mask for the flu virus would be to wear a P2 respirator mask with valve (like a DIY mask when using machinery that churns out a lot of dust) and we'd feel pretty silly in the supermarket wearing that!

    Apparently the most effective way to prevent transmission is hand hygiene. You touch a door handle with the virus on it, then touch your face and bingo you transmit the virus. If you are out and about these 'dry' gels are good when there is no water or clean handtowels.

    The flu jab takes a few days to bring you up to immunization level, so having the jab after onset of symptoms won't protect you.

    Last year I thought long and hard about it, researched the pharmaceutical company making it and what vaccine was used in other countries etc etc. Having had seasonal flu on previous occasions I realised that the sicker I was getting the harder it was becoming for me to shake it off each winter, meaning I usually ended up on antibiotics and respiratory inhalers. I decided that any side effect risks of the Swine flu vaccine would outweigh how ill I could potentially be if I caught it.

  7. If it's any help to anyone, being 'high risk' with diabetes, I've had the seasonal flu jab every year for about 20 years now. Last year I also had the swine flu vaccine and this year the combined flu jab. And I'm still alive!!

    Doesn't stop you getting flu, per se, but if you should get it you'll generally have a far easier time than you otherwise would. I can't remember the last time I actually had flu ... and I've worked in a hospital for 10 years and spent the last 3 in daily close contact with hideously germ-ridden people on my daily commute to work!

  8. Hi Lou,

    Last time I had proper flu symptoms was 20 years ago - I weighed up whether I had the confidence in the SF jab and decided I didn't need it or want it.
    BUT if I had breathing problems, then I would.

    Think it's a case of weighing up potential side effects against level of protection and chances of suffering severe reaction to either flu or the jab.
    Me, I'm healthy, so I don't need it :-)))

  9. I remember when you had flu. I don't think I'd ever seen anyone looking quite so ill in all my life at the time. I wasn't convinced you weren't going to peg out on us . . . and I'm pretty sure James came home from school each day with a certain amount of trepidation at what state he'd find you in!! Seem to recall the doctor later admitted that it had gone to pleurisy or pneumonia and it had been touch and go for a few days, but he had decided that, on balance, you were better off left at home. Just goes to show what a tough bugger you are really, doesn't it?

    Can I say 'bugger' in your blog? xx

    PS Word verification for posting this is an apt 'bonfixid'!

  10. I've sure got my teeth into this one!....

    Between October and 31 December 36 people died from Swine Flu, 12 of them in the last week of 2010. All bar 3 of the people who died had not had a flu jab.
    As of today, 4th January, there were 738 patients with flu in intensive care beds. That’s 738 who might have not needed those beds if they had been vaccinated. That’s 738 people with a life threatening illness that doesn't have a vaccine who currently don’t have access to an ICU bed.

    Viral vaccines prime the immune system to provide protection from disease without subjecting the person to the disease. They act on the virus before it penetrates the body cells. The flu vaccine is an inactive vaccine. (MMR, which so many are concerned about, is a live attenuated vaccine). The flu jab takes 7 days to give partial immunity and about 2 weeks to give full protection. The knowledge how to make the vaccine has been around since the 1940s, so we’re well practiced at making it.

    I saw one estimate recently that with the schools going back and people back to work the flu is expected to peak in about a fortnight. So having the jab today won’t protect you immediately if you go back to work tomorrow. Typically our flu season extends to April.

    If you get the flu, or develop breathing problems this winter after getting the flu, having the vaccine after the start of infection has no effect. More likely you would be offered Tamiflu to lessen its severity. If you become someone with a respiratory condition before next flu season then you would be offered the jab as someone in an ‘at risk’ group. Anyone receiving cancer treatment is already in an ‘at risk’ group. We readily protect ourselves and our kids from polio, diphtheria etc, but are probably far less likely to catch those than flu.

    The more people who get vaccinated, the less the virus spreads. For the NHS its got to be good news if fewer people need intensive care beds over the flu season.

  11. Hi Fiona,

    Ummm, not really sure what to say to your post apart from if people feel they want/need the jab then of course they should get it...

    Not everyone who comes into contact with flu suffers severe symptoms, some people fight things without vaccines with ease..well, actually *a lot* of people do... It's up to people to make their own decisions I think

    I decided against the flu jab for my own reasons and if I were unlucky enough to need an IC bed, I'd be as entitled to it, without feeling guilty, as the other person laying there with a heart problem caused by bad diet or smoking (for instance)..

    No-one wants to use up NHS resources but jabs aren't for everyone - despite what they say. Some people react badly to jabs, they're not one size fits all.

  12. Hi carole,

    Just to wish all of you a happy and healthy new year. Great to hear you sounding so much more upbeat in recent posts.

    I did email you just after Christmas. I hope I've got the right email address still.

    Lots of love from us all


  13. Hi Clare,
    Thousand apologies, I DID receive your email, got distracted and forgot to get back to it..:-(

    I promise I'm on this right now.

    Happy new Year to you all as well Clare...xxx

  14. Happy New Year Carole! and I hope you are feeling better!!!! :-)

  15. Will you get and update this blog please. I've grown tired of reading the same post and replies for the last 8 days now. It's not all about you, you know!!! ;o


  16. Lou...you are SO demanding :-))

    I will be updating my blog, maybe later this evening or maybe tomorrow - all depending on how I feel...but know I'm only doing it because you forced me to (sticks tongue out)

    Crabbymonty - Happy New Year back to you and yours...I love your blog - found it through Lisa's - great reading and pondering stuff on there.
    I like the way you write (and think) :-)

  17. are you getting better now? Pei Pa Koa (http://www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm ) is one of the few Chinese natural cough remedies that have been scientifically studied. it's something like herb plus honey, and it's sweet, thick and black in color. If you have a cough, look for it! It used to be one of my favourite natural cough remedies.

    if your cough persists, seek professional help such as traditional Chinese medicine physicians - I have had very good experiences with them.

  18. Hi Gillion,

    I have/had cancer not a cough....but thanks for the tip to 'cure' coughs :-)

    My favourite remedy is good quality honey, fresh lemon and a large shot of brandy. Works well for me :-))