Wednesday, 30 January 2013

3 days at a time, becoming a habit!

Look at it like this, if I am only posting every 3rd day, it's because I am busy and having a good time so I don't have time to post on here.

Fairly lazy day Monday, paid my tax bill and did a few other odds and ends.  Felt pretty good all day though.  Sharon was in and out all day making the most of her day off.  I'd like her to be able to get a few days off so we could go away somewhere whilst I feel good, but not sure it is going to happen.

Tuesday was a trip out, went to see a friend of a friend in Cradeley Heath.  Funny bit of the Black Country where residential estates and industrial estates exist right next to each other.  Pleasant trip though and good to be out and about.

Today I have been to a school meeting in town, had a wander round the shops and picked up a prescription.  Went out for a drive this afternoon, just to get some daylight and fresh air really.  Have wasted the rest of the day browsing around the web.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

3 days to catch up!

FRIDAY was a good day.  Good to go to a couple of school governor meetings and have my brain together enough to be useful.  Also good to be doing something other than vegetating.  Lauren and Ian came for tea and stayed the night so we could make an early start to Cambridge on Saturday.  I thought for a while about what to cook for tea and in the end decided on a curry extravaganza, Turkey Biryani and Lam Rogan Josh with Spinach and Peas.

SATURDAY and an early start to Cambridge for a haircut.  Ian volunteered to drive, very pleasant to be driven.  I took him on a walking tour of the city centre whilst the girls had their haircut.  Popped into see Vince just as he was finishing Sharon's hair and he put the clippers through mine.  Not sure I should have taken it all off as drastically as I have, will it ever grow back?  Vince says it is much softer than it used to be and I think there is more of it in the areas it still exists.  Lunch in Starbucks and then we called to see Mark and Pam briefley before we drove home.  I still love Cambridge as a city, walking round it bought back many fond memories, mostly of pubs.

Went over to Andy and Cheryl's about 8:00 pm to help Andy celebrate his birthday.  Cheryl had cooked some fantastic food, in a 1970's theme.  Fondue to start, Beef Bourginione as main and Lemon Syllabub for afters.  All was amazing, dessert especially so, I eat 2 and a half portions :-).  Got home about 2:30am. 

SUNDAY got off to a very slow start, long time since I have got up after mid-day.  Haven't done much, roast is in the oven and I think it will probably be an early night.   Looking forward to week 3 in the cycle and some normality.  Would really like to hear the date for the next round of surgery so I have some idea how long of normality I have.

Why have all these people invaded my house.

Gemini has staked her claim on the chair and won't be giving it up. Saturday night celebrations.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Got off my bottom

Decided I had to get going today. Reasonably early start, was expecting Martine and Angus for coffee on their way back from the dentist to Guernsey. I had decided beef and ale pie would be good for tea and popped to Sainsbury's for some odds and ends and a bottle of ale. Back in time for M and A, quick coffee and Martine said she was taking Andy out for brunch for his birthday and I was going too. So I got togged up in my thermals and fired up the Land Rover. Martine followed in her 206 hire car, Angus came with me. We thought the back road would be more fun, after all we were in a 4x4 and Martine is a rally driver. Road was still covered in snow and quite icy, but fun.

We went and admired Andy's wood burner and then went to the Heyford Community cafe for brunch. A very good brunch it was too, interesting tea cosies.

Ran around and did a few jobs with Andy and came home about 3:30 so as not to overdo it and to be here when Lauren came round. Got going in the kitchen and created Beef+Ale pie, Apple tarts and mince pies. Very nice it was too.

Busy day tomorrow, school meeting with Sir Tony Baldry MP in my capacity as chair of governors. Early night tonight then. Pictures will be as random as they always are when posted from my blackberry.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Fatigue set in

I have been very tired and lifeless for the past 2 days.  Haven't felt like doing much at all, have hardly left the front room and my sofa next to the woodburner.  Don't think the snow is helping.  Been out a couple of times, but it is a struggle and I fell asleep on the floor earlier this evening. Usually by the middle of week 2 I am looking for things to do to stop me getting bored, but this week I am happy being bored.  Want to snap out of it tomorrow and see if I can find some enthusiasm for something.

On the positive side, we have passed the 10k pageviews point.  Today's stats

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history
Might open a bottle of champagne.

Monday, 21 January 2013

What a waste.......

Started sorting out my netbook this morning. Have windows and all my software back and am waiting for 31 updates to install before I go to bed.

Drove down to Oxford in the Land Rover this afternoon, to see Mr George the surgeon. I wouldn't think it possible to spend 20 minutes with someone and know less afterwards, but that's what happened. He started the appointment by saying we may have had a wasted journey as his colleague has already scheduled a date for surgery. He didn't know the date. He did examine me, but I got the impression he was only doing it to make me feel better about battling through the snow to see him.

Got back and went and did Mum's shopping. Then cooked paella for tea. Simon called in to see me, glad to see he has got over the flu. He always cheers me up. He doesn't like Miranda but we laughed our way through mrs Brown's Boys.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Fairly relaxed start to the day. The steroids have worn off, blood pressure is down to 141/89, which is good for me. Didn't feel like anything strenuous at all so I set about converting some music files on a computer.

Walked over to see Mum this afternoon and have started looking at repairing my netbook. It started playing up about 6 weeks ago after some downloaded software stared installing all sorts of browser add ons and I cancelled it. It has gradually been getting worse. Looks like I am going to have to back up all my data and restore to factory settings, but chemohead and hospital appointments tomorrow put me off of doing that tonight. A job for later in the week. Won't be going far in the snow.

Busy saturday

Ian made an early start clearing snow off of vehicles so we could get the Land Rover out. About an hours effort in total, including pushing and jump starting the Land Rover which hasn't moved for weeks. Why are jump leads always broken when you need them? Repaired the leads and eventually got it going using the Polobanger as a starter battery.
I have lost all my strength. I couldn't squeeze the jump lead clamps and we struggled to move the Land Rover with 2 of us, I used to be able to push it on my own. The work bought me out in a huge sweat and I had to stop for a break between moving it and starting it. I think we enjoyed ourselves though.

Once we were up and running we went round to Ian's Grandad to check he was OK. The hilly residential areas of Banbury are great fun in the snow. Then took Lauren and Ian back to theirs for clean clothes and some bits and pieces. The main roads were fine and the side roads usable. Glad I've got a Land Rover though.

Watched a bit of telly and then went to the chip shop for tea. Quiet evening in, recovering from the exertions.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Friday chill

The district nurse came on Thursday, so I was free all morning. Wasted it by watching the Rhod Gilbert Man with a flaming battenberg tattoo DVD. Very funny and just what I needed after 3 days at hotel Churchill and a day at home.

Lauren and Ian decided to move in so they weren't snowed out of Banbury on Thursday night. Lauren got sent home from work at lunchtime and so did Sharon. So they were at home. Lauren and I watched Jesus Christ Superstar on DVD. I saw the original West End production in 1971ish, had the album and still know nearly every word. Lauren wants to go and see the stadium production in Birmingham next March, but like so much, that's beyond my planning threshold. I am sure if we buy tickets and I can't go someone will use the tickets.

Ian and I cooked sausage hotpot for tea and very nice it was too. Sausage, Apple, Cider, Cheese and Potato with cinnamon. Ate that, the girls washed up and we watched the TinTin feature film.

A day full of not very much. Little activity and with the steroids still going, I was fine. Not sure how long it will last, blood pressure is still a bit high, but falling weight is back down to 111kg. Last of the steroids today so we'll see how tomorrow goes.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Lazy Day

Well I may be a day late out of hospital but the pattern seems the same. Felt pretty good, always do until the steroids wear off. Been a bit tired, but we were up for over an hour in the night getting out of hospital and getting home.

I have watched some tele, worked through the 60 or so emails in my inbox (I had already deleted the spam). I cooked tea for us and Lauren and Ian who have come for the night to avoid having to travel to work in the snow tomorrow. Now on the sofa watching Question time and hoping the steroids will let me sleep.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Midnight flyer

Well 2:30 am actually. I'm on the way home after my gorgeous wife came back to the hospital after her meeting, spent a few hours dozing on a fold up bed and is now chauffeuring me home.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Up and running

Chemo arrived at 10 and was up and running by 11. Ifosfamyde has just finished so 12 hours of Mesna and rehydration. That means a 2:30am discharge is possible. Anyone fancy turning out at that time or shall I get Sharon to pick me up later?

The ifos is giving me terrible chemo head. Very drowsy and can't concentrate on reading or doing anything.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Lost chemo and.......

It isn't lost. It was never here because it wasn't "taken off hold". The chemo has to be taken off hold at least the day before it is needed. It appears this wasn't done. Therefore it isn't here and it won't be here until tomorrow. Knowing how it works it won't get here until lunchtime, there are fifteen hours of treatment to go so I wont be out until Thursday.

This will also put me a day behind with everything getting over it. Just want to cry.

Lost chemo

Just found out that my next lot of drugs has gone missing. What happens now, nobody seems to know. Almost certain it will mean major delays though.

Not impressed.

Drowsey Day

Up at the usual Hotel Churchill bin emptying alarm call time of 6:00 am. The 21hour stint was about half way through. Not a bad night with 2 hour peestops and a chemo change.

Today I have read a bit, dozed a bit and listened to some radio. Sharon and Lauren turned up just before 5 and are going fairly soon as Lauren has a dance lesson.

Should be out of here first thing tomorrow if all goes well.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Welcome to Hotel Churchill

Rang this morning and asked what time they wanted me there. First answer was 9:30, second answer was 10:30 and then we agreed we would get there when we got there. Arrived at the hospital about 11, but they were queuing for the car park so it was 11:30 when we got to the ward. Guess what, the chemo hadn't arrived yet.

Becky came and did a 'Sister Audit'.  Hope my feedback is useful and can help them improve.

By 4:00 pm everything was underway. Sharon had gone just before then so she could drive home in the light without ice. Since then everything has seemed a bit slow. I read and listened to my ipod for a bit but other than that I have been snoozing.

Off to bed soon to try and get some sleep around peestops and drip changes.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Climbed up the Stairway To Heaven

Up fairly early as Sharon was off dog walking.  Had a leisurely breakfast and then went and did the shopping so Sharon can keep going whilst I am in hospital this week.  Really needed to do something today though and I needed to be near water.  Had thought about going to the seaside, Portsmouth is the nearest sea and that is 2 hours away.  Didn't fancy 4 hours in the car (or the cost of the fuel) so had to compromise and go for a nice bit of canal.

The picture is taken from the middle, the lower locks are further apart than these higher ones.  They call it the Stairway To Heaven.  It is a piece of 1930s engineering which replaced much earlier narrow locks.  I reckon it is a bit of a folly, it must have taken years to build it, it was finished in 1934 and the canals fell out of use in the 1950s.  But it is an impressive folly.  21 locks in total with a cafe at the top.  So a bit of a walk and coffee and cake, great way to spend a couple of hours, got some daylight, took some photos and generally had a nice time.  

Off to Hotel Churchill in the morning.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Pleasant Wintery Saturday

Late start to the day having been up until 1:00 am having a good time.  Got going and did a few bits and pieces.  Popped over to see Mum and had some lunch.

Really needed to get out and do something, asked Sharon if she fancied a walk and she suggested Kirtlington Quarry Nature Reserve.  I haven't been there before and I was impressed.  It is a great piece of industrial archeology that is gradually returning to nature.  The walk down and the climbs back up reminded me how unfit I am at the moment, had to have several breaks on the steps and my legs ached after about half a mile of walking.  But I'll get better first and get fitter second.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Busy fewdays

Well I said I needed to do stuff this week and I have. Caught up with friends and been to London. Still got a weekend before cycle 9 of chemo, guests for dinner tonight and who knows what saturday and sunday.

The district nurse (The Lovely Leanne) was in this morning to change my PICC line dressing and flush the line. I got all excited and told her this might be the last time. Cycle 9 is planned to be the last cycle before the operation.

Went to see Dr Pratap this afternoon on the regular pre-chemo check. She disillusioned me and said the PICC line will stay in at least 4 weeks after chemo and may stay in until after the operation. It is really starting to itch and gets very sore round the edges
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Thank you all very much

Just been having a look at my blog statistics and I want to say thank you to everybody that has contributed to them.  Knowing that people out there are interested, rooting for me and thinking of us all really helps.  Thank you.

Here are the stats

Pageviews today
Pageviews yesterday
Pageviews last month
Pageviews all time history

Yes people have viewed the blog 9000 times since I started it.

Busy Day

Feels like week 3!  Went out in the Land Rover this morning.  It hasn't moved for 5 weeks, the handbrake has seized off as I left it off when I last parked it up.  No amount of pulling the lever puts it on.  Not sure if I will find the energy to take it apart and fix it this week, in which case it will wait until the end of the next cycle.  Went to see Andy, haven't seen him since before Christmas, have spoken to him on the phone.  He is in a bad way with a damaged shoulder and his back playing up.  Hope the NHS can work as well for him as it has for me so far.

Back home for lunch.  Needed to think about everything the consultant had told me and get the timings sorted in my head and after it buzzing around for a bit I decided to go for a drive.  40 minutes in the Polo round the wilds of Banburyshire seems to have sorted it out and I think I have got my head round what is going to be a scary experience.  When I had the first op, I knew nothing of hospitals and still hadn't even spent a night in one.  I know so much more about them now.  The unknown doesn't scare me so there was nothing to worry about the first time.  I thought there wre things to worry about this time, but what the hell, it's just another adventure is my conclusion from a drive this afternoon.

Then spent a very enjoyable, and productive couple of hours at a school governors training course.  I now know a lot more about The Aspirations Framework and how it applies to school at all levels.  Also starting to see how much impact it is having on students and staff.  Look forward to the impact showing in academic results soon too.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Bit disturbing

It's a bit disturbing when you have a lump in your groin and on the surgeons door it says "Mr Critchley Hand and Plastic Surgeon". But, as Mr Critchley explained, plastic surgeons specialise in reconstructing things, I have already had one chunk removed and when he removes more, reconstruction will be required. He also warned me of something else, which is way too much information for you blog readers.

Went down to Oxford in the Polo and used the park and ride. Home for lunch and then into Banbury to spend Sharon's Christmas vouchers in M+S and Waterstones. Currently sat outside the M+S fitting room whilst she tries on half the stuff in their sale.

Want to do things this week.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Quiet weekend

A late start to both days, slow to get going, but once going, kept going.  

Spent Saturday morning sorting out Lauren's Clio door mirror.  managed to get the old damaged glass to go back in and then buy a sticky new glass to go over the top, so that's sorted for a tenner!  Much better than the £120 Renault want to fit a new mirror.  Kept going all day, Sharon and I did the shopping and I popped over to see Mum.  All in all, fairly active and no tiredness.  Lauren and Ian came round for tea and we went all Mexican with Sharon's Special Enchilladas.  Had a bottle of cider with it and felt nice and mellow.

Sunday was a bit less productive, spent most of the day in front of a computer catching up on some school governor stuff and catching up on all the motoring forums I am a member of.  Peeled the veg for tea and have to admit, I could happily have a little nap now.  I am going to keep going though as I don't want to be awake at 5:00 in the morning.  Need a reasonably early start though as I am seeing the surgeon at 11:30.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Bit of a weird day for week 2

Up early as I was expecting the District Nurse between 9 and 12. As it happened she turned up about 12:30. I spent the morning tidying up my hard disk and sorting out the last few bits of tax paperwork.

After my PICC line dressing was changed and the line flushed I went across to get Mum some fresh vegetables. Felt very tired and was struggling to concentrate. Felt better after a sit down at Mum's. Had taken the car over as it needed filling with petrol so I went for a short drive. Felt better for some fresh air.

Walked down to the doctor's. Only went to see my GP to update her on the current situation and talk about sick notes. Walked home and sat on the sofa. Ran out of milk and had to go and get some.

Fell asleep on the sofa.

So, a bit of a weird day for the end of week 2. Normally I am over the fatigue by this stage, but not this time.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Who could be down with this going on

How could I possibly feel down with this going on?  Maisie, Mist and Lauren decided to share the sofa but it is impossible to get comfortable.  I think Lauren will lose the battle for space.

Fairly active day yesterday, I needed to get out and about having been hardly anywhere since Christmas Eve.  Drove over to see Lauren for a cup of coffee, came home via the car was to clean the Polo as I couldn't see out of the windows.  Chris came and took the Subaru at lunch time, sad to see it gone but relieved it has gone.

Busy day today as well.  Finished of my 2012 accounts and completed my tax return online this morning and then went and picked Lauren up.  We have had a trip into town to sort out my banking, walk round some shops and drink coffee.  Pleasant afternoon.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

What a great day

Big family get together today with The Whiting Northern branch calling in for lunch on their way back oop north. Also joined by my sister and family and Mum. So 12 people and 3 dogs, a large piece of gammon and a chicken accompanied by jacket potatoes and salad.

It lifted my spirits. I was on a real downer yesterday and spiralling towards oblivion. A couple of little things kicked it off and my chemohead reaction to them made me feel even worse. I think the added, normal, anti climax that is new year contributed.

The sun was shining when I got up and there was lots going on. Lifted my spirit and a house full kept me smiling. Penny has left her dogs here whilst they go to Devon for a couple of days, so they will keep me amused. Mistie(smaller grey lurcher) found some fox poo to roll in. My sister had read that Tomato Ketchup gets rid of it. We now have a tomato smelling lurcher.