Sunday, 30 December 2012

Getting so much better all the time

Up at a reasonable time after my first decent nights sleep since Cycle 8 started.  I am sure it is the steroids as yesterday was the end of the reducing dose of dexameth and last night I slept from about 11:30 through until 5:00 and then went back to sleep through to around 8:00.  A decent night sleep makes the day feel so much better.

Think I have overdone it this morning though.  I have sold the Subaru and needed to get it cleared out and load the spares in to it.  As Chris plans to drive it home I also wanted to check the tyres and stuff.  Carrying wheels and a compressor up and down the drive and hoovering out the interior may have been too much for a man on chemo to take on.  I had to have a 'little sit down' after I finished.  It is all sorted now though and ready to go.

I will miss it, even though I haven't driven it since June, just sitting in it this morning reminded me why I love em.  It is the third Impreza I have had, I must have done about 300,000 miles in Imprezas and I love them nearly as much as a Land Rover.  When you want to be an old man cruising up the motorway, you can, when you want to nip across town, you can, and if you want to hoon it down a B road wagging the tail on every bend, you can.   On top of that, apart from servicing, you never have to do anything to them.  On the down side, £250 a year tax and 24 mpg if you are careful. 

They are also very strong.  I am convinced this one saved my life when a man in a Rover Coupe tried to run me off the road.  It will be the end of an era, I have had Subaru Imprezas for all the time Lauren can really remember.  This could be the end to family motoring.  Mind you, I have had Land Rovers that long too, so she will be alright.  

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas Take Two

Well Christmas Take Two was great.  Lauren and Ian turned up early, unheard of.  Sharon and I were still over at Mum's so Lauren and Ian joined us briefly.  We all called into Sainsbury's to stock up on a few essentials and so Ian and I could have fish finger rolls for lunch (could be a new Christmas tradition).

After lunch we opened all the presents.  Thanks to everyone for the presents.  Lots of lovely stuff, books, toys and food.

The nausea was hanging around so I took some drugs, hope you read this Ali as you were nagging me not to suffer. The drugs worked and I cooked Chicken and Chorizo Paella for tea.  We had tapas style starters and fruit cake for afters, possibly another developing Christmas tradition.  

After a couple of days resting and not doing much I now feel a lot better than I did in hospital.  Rang my Dad today, he doesn't sound too happy or well and with Mum waiting to see the doctors at the Falls Clinic things don't seem good for either of them.   Why do we have to get old?  I would love to have been mid twenties for 60 years and then just stop.

The weather is getting to me, Sharon was looking at January holiday destinations earlier.  There is a possibility I may get a break in treatment in the new year before they operate again and I could really o with some warmth and sun.  What's Tenneriefe like?  I have always suspected it is full of all day breakfast cafes and Watney's Red Barrel bars. Anyone know anything about travel insurance for cancer patients?

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Films watched and PC setup

Watched Happy Feet and Toy Story2 whilst we setup Lauren's laptop. Windows 8 is probably great on a tablet, but on a normal machine the tiles interface is clumsy and hides so much stuff deep in it's tiles, like control panel.

We decided to open one present each. I now have Jamie's 15 minute meals cookbook, so watch out for more culinary delights on the blog. Nausea seems to have backed off, had a couple of ryvita and cheese for lunch, have been roasting chestnuts on the woodburner and eating those and I have just eaten jacket potato and cheese for tea. Let's hope it stays like that.

I'm free!

Chemo finished just before 9:00. The girls turned up to collect me soon after and then we waited 2 hours for pharmacy to open to get my Filgrastim injections.

Every one there does their best with the resources the have available.

This cycle has had more nausea than previous ones. Ali wanted to fill me with extra drugs but, much to her frustration, I refused. Sorry Ali.

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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

It's Christmas

Christmas at the Hotel Churchill.
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The picture

It will only put them there if I attach them. Chemohead.
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It's Christmas

Santa bought me a present I the night, some hankies and a bar of soap from M+S. Had a couple of drip alarms and peestops but overall a good night.

Been watching telly this morning, strangely Dave had the same episode of Top Gear that BBC2 had last night. So I had to watch some BBC repeats on BBC.

Lunch has been delivered. I tried very hard and have managed to eat about half. Pictures attached but as usual I have no idea where blogger will put them.

Sharon is due here about 2:00 and Lauren and Ian are coming in later.
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Monday, 24 December 2012

All systems go

Christmas Chemo is about to start. Arrived at Hotel Churchill just after 12:00 having agreed that as arrival time with Becky at 8:00 this morning. Went through all the usual paperwork and Friday's bloods showed a high phosphate level. That meant we had to contact the Prof before starting. He said take more blood and check again. So blood was taken, sent to pathology and an hour later the results came back. Phosphates down to an acceptable level so I am now waiting for chemo to be plugged in.

In the mean time the PICC line dressing has been changed as it had a kink in it and we struggled to get blood out. Just had the first lot of chemo and the PICC line seems fine, so it has worked.

Sharon has gone to get me a TV card. She is treating me to £10 worth of telly. I don't normally bother with it when I am in, but it's Christmas and there might be something good on.

Merry Christmas blog readers.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Portland Pictures

As promised here are a couple of pictures from Portland Bill this morning.

Home before Hotel Churchill

I knew one day I would spend Christmas in a hotel being waited on hand and foot. Just didn't expect it to be Hotel Churchill and accompanied by chemotherapy.  HoHum.

Great weekend in Dorset.  Frank cooked us a huge Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding, mince pies and cheese and biscuits.  He had a great looking bit of Stilton, but us Chemo victims aren't allowed mouldy food.  Proper family do with us, Frank, Lauren and Ian, Mike Jess and Ash.  We pulled crackers, wore silly hats and generally had a good time.

Went out to Portland Bill this morning before coming home.  I took some pictures and will try to post them later, but I can't get them off my blackberry at the moment as I have an out of date version of the software on my netbook.  Good journey home, in convoy with Lauren and Ian to Oxford when they stayed on the A34 to head home. 

All set for tomorrow, bag packed, need to go to Sainsbury's for some supplies.  I will ring the ward at 8:00 to see what time they want me there.  Sharon is dog walking at 8:00 so we will be on an early start anyway.

Saturday, 22 December 2012


Not sure what happened there   It appears blog posts are like buses, nothing for a while then 3 come along.   Posted the Dorset post from my Blackberry in a patchy signal area and it seems to have sent it 3 times.  I have now deleted two of them.

Popped out this morning to see Tess and Ian, coffee and stolen, yum it must be Christmas.  Caught up on lots of family news.  Lauren rang to say they were in Dorchester and would meet us at Tess and Ian's, so they caught up with us too.   I then went with Lauren and Ian across to Rampisham.  Lauren had bought a fabulous flower arrangement to put on her Nan's grave.  We did a quick tour of Dorset on the way back through Maiden Newton and Compton Valence.  Sharon went straight back to her Dad's to help peel veg for tea.

Normality is good.  Got very emotional in the car on the way down yesterday talking to Sharon about graves and funerals.  I am not planning to die, but I feel better having had the conversation.  Driving did its stuff and normality returned with the concentration of the A34 and A303.  Not feeling great about 3 days in hospital, but it will be over in no time and normality will return soon after.


Saw Dr Pratap at The Churchill yesterday. Routine stuff before the next cycle of chemo. Also discussed how chemo will fit around the next operation. Basically it all depends how long the wait is for surgery. They won't open me up until 5 or 6 weeks after chemo. So if the surgeons waiting list is short this will be the last round of chemo. If the list is long there will be another round of chemo.

Left the hospital around 2:00 and drove straight down to Dorset. Very quiet on the roads, the only busy spot was Salisbury, which we hit as everyone was leaving work, but I have seen Salisbury worse.

Its very wet here, so I doubt I will be able to see how fit I am with a walk at West Bay.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Drinking whisky

I have drunk 3 bottles and this PICC line dressing still won't come off. Have I misunderstood?
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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Where is the week going?

Did a mate a favour on Monday and went to Stoke On Trent to pick up an engine for him.  Really enjoyed the drive, had to take a lunch break and shut my eyes for 20 minutes, but it was an easy drive.  Kept me away from daytime telly and got me out in the daylight.

Had a scan on Tuesday at The Nuffield.  It was an MRI scan, never had that before, evidently the surgeons like to see them before going in.  Hope they got good pictures.   The young lady doing the scan said it was very noisy and she could play me some music, I said I would sleep though it.  She said again, "it is very noisy".  They played me some awful country and western compilation CD and I nodded off in no time.  When the scan finished I was in that really deep sleep you get sometimes and she struggled to wake me up.  So I still don't know what an MRI scan is like as I slept through it.

We went to see Jude, Bella and Sam on the way home to leave them some Christmas presents and eat mince pies.  Sam has discovered computers and specifically, the Cbeebies website.  Jude has found an incredibly effective way of limiting the time he spends on it.  However he will soon discover that the laptop needs to be plugged in and switched on for the battery to stay charged.

Not up to much today.  It is Banbury Academy Carol Service this evening at 6:30 and I am looking forward to some Christmas tunes and a mince pie.  Was hoping to make the most of this good week before the next round of Chemo but Christams seems to be getting in the way :-)   I have postponed Christmas to 28/29/30th December as I shall be staying at Hotel Churchill on 24,25,26th.  Maybe I can have two Christmases! 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

What happened to lazy Sunday afternoon?

Up earlyish as Sharon was off out dog walking. Got going and went and did Mum's shopping. Got home and started sorting out the Christmas newsletter and email lists. Lauren turned up and I had to do some Christmas shopping with her so out again. Then out in the car to get the newsletters printed and buy a birthday present. Also washed Sharon's car for her. Then I felt very tired. Came on suddenly, like it did in the early Chemo cycles. A sit down and a coffee and I felt better but have been tired and lethargic since.

Sharon did roast lamb for tea and we opened a bottle of wine. Haven't done much since then other than sit on the sofa.
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Saturday, 15 December 2012


Early start again and earlier than expected as Lauren rang and asked us to pick her up from home.  Puts a bit of single track cross country dash onto the route and I was driving.  Missed a turn in Cropredy and had to go LWRT, but we got to Cambridge in time to use the Park and Ride.  Plan B was I dropped the girls off and then went and parked.

We were in the hairdressers by 10:30, the girls were having a colour and Vince said I had 2 hours to spare.  Walked round the Grafton Centre and then walked across to the city centre.  Can't tell you on here what I bought, as it might have been your Christmas present.  I was going to go back via King Street  and have a beer in The Cambridge Arms or The Champion of The Thames, but I decided there would be nobody I knew in either, it's 22 years since I have been in, and drinking on my own would be sad.  So I walked back via Boots and got 3 meal deals for our lunches. 

Back at the hairdressers for 12:30 and in the chair 10 minutes later.  Not sure if I have done the right thing, I have had my beard trimmed and what little hair I have cut back to a number one.  It is the first time I have had it cut since chemo started, it seems to be growing again but what is growing is very soft and fluffy.  Lets hope it recovers after chemo.  Lauren has gone for a very stunning mahogany colour and an angular bob.  I think it looks very Jessie J.

We called to see Mark and Pam, Mark was in bed when we got there.  He's not a well man and it appears the new medication is no better than the old stuff.  He did get up and once he woke up he seemed quite good.  I hope there is someone in the NHS somewhere who can work out what the problem is and cure it, or at least bring him some normality.

Left them about 5:00 pm and I drove back.  I love driving, it occupies my mind and stops me from thinking, but whilst I am doing it my mind seems to process everything in background and I feel better after.  Did about 200 miles today having picked up and dropped off Lauren and I feel great for it.  Home via Sainsbury's for petrol and a bottle of wine to make chicken and Chorizo in a white wine and cream sauce.  Eaten washed up and now watching strictly on the digi recorder thingy.

Lots of running around and jobs to do tomorrow, so off to bed at a reasonable time, but I have had 2 caffeinated coffes today, so I might not sleep.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Rain Rain Rain

Early start to the day, the District Nurse was here at 7:55 as arranged.  Line flushed and dressing changed we were on our way to The Churchill to see the Radiotherapy consultant soon after 8:30.  Took the Polo as it floats better than anything else.  It was very wet out there.

Consultant appointment was running on time and fairly uneventful.  I wasn't expecting much today as they don't know when radiotherapy will start and wont until the surgeons have operated. Radiotherpy wont start until the scar from the operation is well healed.   We went through the process, how the planning session works and then how long the treatment lasts, talked about side effects and that was about it.  Sharon and I came straight back and went and did some Christmas shopping in Sainsbury's so we had presents to take to Cambridge tomorrow.

I popped in to see Mum, the doctor has been and can't find anything wrong with her, she took blood and will see if that shows anything.

I then took the Land Rover over to see Andy.  We went across to pick up his daughters truck from the garage.  It was raining so heavily it was a struggle to drive.  Driving home about 7:30 pm was very wet with standing water almost all the way.  But, the Land Rover just ploughed on through.  Driving it always makes me smile, it always feels like an adventure, it always feels like it will cope with anything, it always feels like it will go on for ever.  It is guaranteed to cheer me up.  Feeling really good this evening, looking forward to a trip to Cambridge tomorrow.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Pleasant cople of days, with some stress.

Not been very active, but also haven't been a couch potato.  Brian came to see me yesterday, he wanted a decent run in his new Freelander2 and drove down from Cheshire for lunch and a cup of tea.  Was really nice to have a visitor, we chatted cars, politics and education.  Thanks Brian.

Went into town on Tuesday in the hope of getting some Christmas shopping out the way.  It never happened, Amazon/eBay here I come.  Walked round town, which was a fair trek and my legs felt it so much that I had to go to BHS for a coffee and a sit down, oh and a donut for energy.  After the shopping expedition I decided to take the Polo for a run as the water that leaks through the battery box into the footwell had frozen and I couldn't bail it out.   A 20 mile run round warmed it through and I bailed it out when I got home.

Today I have been trying to get my electronic Christmas card sorted, write the Christmas newsletter and send out the Christmas emails.  I failed miserably.  I was interrupted at lunch time by a call from my sister to tell me Mum had fallen over again and the wardens were on the way to help her up.  Mum had asked that the careline didn't call me, because she thought I was busy and didn't want to be trouble.  I left it a while and walked over.  The wardens had got her up, put her in clean clothes this time and she was happy.  Went and had a word with the wardens, they were very worried about how pale she was and the fact that she wasn't very coherent when they got there.   Mum didn't want to go to A+E, so I rang the doctor.  The doctor decided that it wasn't urgent and a home visit tomorrow would be the best option.  So the doctor is coming tomorrow.  I will be at an appointment with a radiotherapy consultant.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Multi-discipline team have met

Well the meeting went ahead this morning and they discussed me.  As a result the surgeons want an MRI scan before they open me up again, which I should get an appointment for before Christmas, the surgery will take place after Christmas, Chemotherapy will go ahead over Christmas and my appointment with Radiotherapy will go ahead on Friday.  At least I know what is happening now.

Dr Pratap rang me this evening to tell me the outcome of the meeting, which was good of her and has cheered me up a bit.  I hate not knowing what's going on, even if it's not good, I'd prefer to know.  been on a real downer today and struggling to find the motivation to do anything.  Not surprising, the main thing I have to do is sort my tax return out.  You would think HMRC would give cancer patients a tax return holiday wouldn't you.  Anyway, felt pretty down, managed to get going and went to sort out Mum's medication she had run out of.  Got back, was eating some lunch and had a call from the careline, Mum had fallen over, nothing serious and the Warden was on their way over to help her up.

Mum had fallen over on her way to the loo.  She had waited on the floor for the warden, been helped up and put back in her chair.  The Warden seems to have failed to notice that Mum had been to the loo whilst on the floor waiting to be helped up and left Mum in the chair in her own excrement.  The Warden also got stroppy with me for turning up, saying they can handle it and I don't have to go running over.  I hadn't gone running over, I had finished my lunch and walked over, I don't run anywhere at the moment.  Got Mum cleaned up, fortunately Sharon turned up and helped, the combination of Chemo and cleaning up was challenging my anti-sickness drugs.  I am going to fall out with the Warden over at the flats soon.  I could do without her grief at the moment, she still hasn't managed to get Mum's front door fixed and laughed when Sharon got shut in the bin room because the door handle there doesn't work.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Simple things

Up lateish after a night of bad dreams, not much sleep and rumbling digestive system.  Got going and Sharon and I went to do Mum's shopping for her.  Had an outbreak of chemohead at the checkout and couldn't get the pin number right, tried 3 times and then had to give up and use another card as it locked me out.  Amazing how something I have known for years can suddenly get re-arranged in my head.   Had to ring the bank to get the pin unblocked, why do they ask such stupid security questions?  How many of you readers know the amount of the credit to your account last Thursday?  What chance does a man with chemohead stand?

Also walked round to the Post Office.  As a man on ESA benefit I am entitled to 36 stamps at 2011 prices.  Don't get excited, all cards will still be electronic, but I will have enough stamps to last a year.  Mum is also entitled as a pensioner, so we got hers as well.  Had some lunch and I then had an outbreak of lethargy.  Made a load of newspaper logs using the dry log maker, but it seemed to take ages and isn't exactly hard work.  Watched a bit of telly.  Sharon went and stocked up our supplies and then cooked tea.

Just come back from the King's.   It is Oliver's 17th birthday.  Seems strange not to be having a party for him, as there have been some over the years the best definitely being the Harry Potter party where we played indoor Quiditch in Church House Bodicote.  I probably wouldn't have coped with Indoor Quiditch in my current state.

Off to bed soon, let's hope it works better tonight.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Fair ta middlin

Considering I came out of chemo on Wednesday lunchtime I feel pretty good. Don't feel so good about the conversation I had with Prof Hassan on the phone earlier this evening. Looks like they will be opening me up again to remove whatever it is that showed up on thee scan. Final decision to be made at a meeting on Monday.

Been across to see Mum a couple of times and to Sainsbury's, but other than that I haven't done much other than watch telly. I have cooked tea Thursday and Friday though.

Quiet weekend planned.
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Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cycle 7 home again

Had to have some serious water loss drugs this morning as I has retained 4.5 kg of water over the treatment. You can imagine the outcome, more frequent peestops.

Treatment finished about 1:30. Sharon arrived about 1:45, home by 3:00. Had some lunch and then watched a bit of telly. Lauren came round to see me and Sharon came home from work about 5:30.

Now laid on the sofa watching tele. Don't feel too bad.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Round 7 Day 2

Not a bad day. I am attaching the view from my suite. I have been watching the tower crane on and off all day and a red kite that hunts in the green space that runs along the side of the hospital.

Been a bit off a slow day with bag changes taking a while, I think it's very busy in here. They have extended up to 30 beds, not sure staffing has increased a lot. Must be a reflection on the number of people with cancer and the problems of getting some of the patients back home with support and care.

It really is so much easier in a single room with my own bathroom. Been very tired this afternoon, snoozing in the chair. Will need to put the lights on soon but I am enjoying the dusk at the moment.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Round 7 Day 1

Checked into Hotel Churchill just after 1:00 pm. Rang just after 8:00 am and they said to be there about 1:00. So mooched about at home for the morning, Sharon went dog walking and then into town to do some Christmas shopping.

On arrival I was taken to bed 44 and the lovely Becky turned up with everything organised. The Doctors took a while to do the maths and chemo started for real about 4:30. Becky had arranged a single room for me, thought it was because I am her favourite but actually it was to save her having to walk all the way down the other end of the ward :-). Moved in about 5:30, there is something so nice about playing the radio without headphones.

Now tucked up in bed with a double drip pump filling me with chemo. Will probably be on the 2hr peestop schedule with the amount of fluid going in so its an early night for me as breakfast will be here around 7:00 and sometimes they come and take my blood pressure around 6:00. Night all.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Lazy Sunday

Late rising, but we used to stay in bed until Ski Sunday started sometimes when we were young, so maybe 10:30 was early rising.  Went across to see Mum and spent an hour going through my brother's India blog posts with her.  Had a bite of lunch and then we went out in the Land Rover to see Andy and Cheryl.  Ed was there as well, so a good catch up.  Realised I haven't actually seen them for 6 weeks, just spoken on the phone.  I also haven't moved the Land Rover for 6 weeks.  Tyres were a bit square and the handbrake stuck on, even though I left it off.

Home and roast dinner is going in the oven, decent square meal before hospital food starts.  Preparing myself mentally for 3 days at Hotel Churchill, hope I get a single room.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Gradually coming to terms with yesterday's news.  Basically it means I am in the same place as I was in May this year only then I didn't know I had cancer.  So I am no worse off than when this all started, the current tumour may be something else, experts are meeting on 10/12 to discuss me and I will know what is happening after then.

Cheered myself up earlier by sticking  the 3 pictures Sharon took of Chichester Cathedral together.  I think they make a great picture and Autostitch is a great little utility for those of us that don't have those up to date cameras and phones with Panorama mode.

Have decided on a quiet day in today.  Got to go and get some food for Sharon to survive on whilst I am at Hotel Churchill, but other than that I am not doing much at all.  Sharon is busy getting jobs off her ever over ambitious list.  I have thrown all lists away.