02-Aug-2015 Happy Birthday

Posted August 2nd, 2015 by jivauk and filed in jiva

birthday-cake-Jimmy“Will you still need me,
Will you still feed me
When I’m …?”

Yup, Jimmy has reached the ripe old age of 64.

Are we going out for a meal? No, Jimmy can’t eat more than 3 or 4 bites.

Maybe a glass/bottle of wine or a dram of something stronger? No, Jimmy’s not allowed alcohol.

So how do we celebrate?

Well… birthday cake from Jim & Allyson (Wigfield) and ginger wine from Mike & Hazel (Jessop). That’s the thing about good friends, they are always there to help find a way through when things seem difficult. We are grateful to many wonderful people who have been so supportive and understanding and kind… some local, and some further afield (you know who you are).

And we have each other, without which we could not be so upbeat.

While positive thinking may not be able to cure the cancer, we believe our positive frame of mind has helped us reach this far and is a contributory factor in Jimmy actually making it to his birthday (yes, initially there were dark times when we wondered would we be here together to celebrate).

So, bring on the dancing girls… on second thoughts, maybe not…

Suffice to say “Happy Birthday, Jimmy” – and hopefully you will raise a glass, then down your favourite tipple in celebration.

Life is good, so celebrate while you can.

There is no medical update this week – no change, things are relatively stable.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

26-Jul-2015 Forty Six Years On

Posted July 26th, 2015 by jivauk and filed in jiva

What do you do when you wake up in pain, and the world around you seems filled with uncertainties and many dark shadows?

26-july-purpleWell… if you’re Jimmy, you take your scheduled dose of painkillers, look around you and – even before the painkillers kick in – you smile because the love of your life is right there beside you. Yes, there’s an inevitable sadness in knowing that it can’t be like this for very much longer, but check today’s date.

July 26th. It was forty six years ago to the day that we first met, on opposite sides of the net playing a mixed doubles tennis match.

As Jimmy recalls “It’s a shame we weren’t on the same side, that meant I couldn’t give her a hug at the end of the match… but it did mean I could gaze at this beautiful blonde-haired girl on the other side of the court. And yes, my tennis partner and I did lose that match… I was mesmerised.”

It was over a year later when we first got together (in the meantime Jimmy had gone out with the tennis partner, Val’s best friend Gillian, for a little while). Some time after that we got engaged and then, the year after, Val went to work for the BBC in London leaving Jimmy heartbroken (probably all for the best – in those days Jimmy was insecure and possessive to the point of obsession)…

… and then…

… and then…

… and then… thirty years later, New Years Eve 2001/2002, while looking to re-connect with that best friend of years back on Friends Reunited, she found Jimmy.

Soon we were emailing regularly and speaking every day on the phone. Weeks later we were back together, living in a small flat in Marie Curie Drive in the west end of Newcastle. And the rest is, as they say, history. Thirteen years filled with love, happiness, music, everything that we could possibly want… except longevity. But we’ll settle for those thirteen years over any amount of years of a lesser existence. We’ve experienced more in those thirteen years than most people will ever find no matter how long they live… and we are truly grateful.

Life is good, albeit a little short for some…

Health update

An increase in day to day pain – perhaps the dosage of painkillers may need to be upped, albeit more morphine will probably lead to even more tiredness and loss of concentration. But what will be will be – and reduction/relief from pain has to be a prime consideration.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

19-Jul-2015 Bittersweet

Posted July 19th, 2015 by jivauk and filed in jiva

There are days when you just want to cry – to cry with joy and love, and to cry with sadness and anger… we did all of this at the same time last week.

A review of jiva had just been posted online at the Care Home UK website. Read the review below:

recommend_stampI would like to let everyone know we have had jiva at our care home in Sunderland twice over. They are such smooth, relaxing singers and our residents absolutely adore them. This really is something different for the residents of all care homes. They have that something special when they perform and it is so uplifting and gentle for all in attendance.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you both very much for the moments and look forward to many more in the future. The time you spent afterwards with the residents meant a lot to them and they love you for that. We all look forward to your return for another special performance.

Kindest regards

We were thrilled to know how much our visits meant to the residents – we remember the place and the people well… not only the performance but taking time afterwards to chat and share a few words over a cuppa and a biscuit together. Tears of joy and love most certainly.

But it was tinged with an indescribable sadness to know that we will not be back there to catch up again, and an anger at this *&%$£! cancer that has stopped us in our tracks. Why Jimmy? Why now? Like cancer, anger can be so destructive – and we have no time in our lives to let negative thoughts get the better of us. Difficult though it may be at times, we’re concentrating on the joy and the love and the memories we’ve shared.

Health update
No major change… a little bit of weight loss, and a bit more pain, but it’s being taken care of as best as possible.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)

12-Jul-2015 Better Late

Posted July 12th, 2015 by jivauk and filed in jiva

better-late-elephantFirstly – apologies to those who assumed that no blog on Sunday meant that Jimmy’s condition had deteriorated rapidly. It never occurred to us that so many anxiously await the blog for news and health updates. We’ll try not to scare you too much and hope to be able to stick to our Sunday publication schedule (so much so that Jimmy is writing this bit on Saturday night). The truth of the matter is that we were ultra busy and a lighting strike on Friday night / Saturday morning took out our internet connection and most of our phones too.

Well, the phone situation isn’t resolved – it’s going to cost us an estimated £200+ to get a BT engineer out to check everything over and re-install our downstairs extension (the phone line point of entry to the house is upstairs in the study/office). The base unit (downstairs) for our cordless phones has been fried so we’ve bought a replacement and are awaiting delivery before we do anything.

We’re still without our superfast fibre broadband connection. PlusNet quickly sent us a new router which Jimmy configured so our internal wired and wireless networks now work perfectly well which means we can get to those of of our files that are stored on our network servers and we can print via our wireless printers (and the router has cute little indicator lights ON THE FRONT so we can tell which bits are working and which bits aren’t without crawling around beneath desks). But still no internet, so we can’t reach files stored in major cloud based services (at least, not from our everyday workhorse PCs).

A further call to PlusNet confirmed that the the problem appears to be that the BT modem isn’t working properly (we told you that was the case in last week’s blog), and over the next three working days we’d be contacted again – hopefully a new modem will arrive (which Jimmy is quite capable of installing), or a BT engineer will arrive with said modem to plug it in. We’re not holding our breath – Friday was the following working day, so that leaves Monday or Tuesday… but somehow we’re not very confident of them hitting their deadline. And, of course, all this means no desktop PC internet. So, like last week we’ll have to resort to copying stuff to the tablet and doing the blog update from there. Ho hum.

The problem with the new TV soundbar has been resolved – the TV is fine, the soundbar is fine… and that only leaves, yes you guessed it, the cable. Twenty odd quid for a duff optical cable. Luckily we had a spare which the engineer installed for us (in fact we had two spares) – hey presto! It works! At that stage they were about to ship us a new cable which we could keep as a spare but, no, we asked for, and we got, our twenty odd quid back and we still have a spare cable… Result!

And what of Le Crueset? Not a peep. We would have expected a replacement pan by now, or a set of pans as a gesture for the inconvenience caused and the time taken. Don’t they know that each pan has it’s designated place in the hierarchy and has it’s own specific use?

We were just about to write about Wimbledon (we’ve watched a lot of tennis recently), and the sportsman/sportswomanship, and the joy of the game, the entertainment etc… when… Val’s mobile phone started to ring.

Who could that be calling at 11:30 pm Saturday night? None other than Julia, calling us so we can listen to Anthony John closing his Bromsgrove set with our very own “One More Song”

One more tear, one more smile

Who knows what tomorrow may bring

Friends will always meet again

One more song to sing

How brilliant and how thoughtful is that? To let us hear all those voices joining in… there’s nothing to add, is there. There is nothing more that words can express…

Health update

We started Jimmy’s new painkiller tablets with one per day to ensure there were no adverse reactions, then we increased that to two, and now he’s on the expected dosage of three per day. The pain seems to be kept at bay mostly, so that’s a positive.

Jimmy & Val (jiva)