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.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Not good news.

Just back from seeing the consultant, who has the images from my scan but not the full report.  However, one of the radiographers had been down before I saw him to draw his attention to the two bright areas in my groin, which means either they didn't get rid of all the cancer cells when they operated and it is growing again or there is some post operational infection.  He is also concerned about my right kidney which also showed some abnormality and that correlates with the lower back pain I have been getting.

Very down about it at the moment, so I am getting it out of my system by writing.  Sharon is checking it from the sofa to make sure I get it right.  Round 7 of Chemo is going ahead on Monday, so 3 more days at hotel Churchill, hope they have my usual suite available.  Need something fun and exciting to do this weekend, any ideas anyone?

My brother is out in India doing voluntary work at the moment and he is blogging as well, so if you fancy a change from the world of chemotherapy and cancer have a look at

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Quietish day

Late start as we had a lie in. Walked across to the doctor's to pick up my prescription and took it to the pharmacy. Penny (my sister) turned up to do Mum's shopping and called to see us.

I read piles of documents in preparation for this evenings School Governors meeting and went out about 4:30 to chair the meeting. Home about 7:30, ate tea and Simon came round for a chat.

Was going to bed early as the District Nurse is due at 8:15, but I have started watching Question Time so it will be late. Consultant at 1:00 tomorrow, let's get a decision.
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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Home again Home again giggety gig.

After breakfast we walked across to Chichester market, bit of a disappointment, markets aint what they used to be.  Then we went up to Chichester Cathedral, had a wander round, amazing building.  Back to the car about 11:30 and drove down to the sea at Selsey.

Proper sea, not like the creeks and harbour of Portsmouth.

Took a picturesque cross country drive from there to Winchester, via the South Downs.  Some fabulous views and at one point a section of something very rare nowadays, open road without another car in site.

Used the Winchester park and ride, had a wander round town and then walked out to the Cathedral Christmas market.  Coffee and cake in the coffee shop and then a walk round the Christmas Market.  After that we met neice Jess and took her for a pizza.  Jess said it was the first hot meal she had eaten in a couple of weeks.  Student life must be such fun.  Walked back down, got the bus and drove home.

Think I have done really well over the two days.  Walked loads, driven loads and generally felt pretty good.  My walking is slower than it used to be and stairs aren't easy at the moment.  Think that is mainly a lack of fitness from doing so little through the chemo.  Got a bit dehydrated today, making it up now and should sleep well tonight.  Came home to a letter confirming my appointment on Friday and one with Radiotherapy on 14/12.   Yipee?



Two early bird special breakfasts for £10 including tea and coffee in Chives cafe. Good start to the day.
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Tuesday, 27 November 2012


Got to The Churchill to find a huge car park queue. Left Sharon to park the car, which took her ages, and went in to The Department of Nuclear Medicine. Checked in, sat down in the waiting room and as if by magic a radiographer appeared asking for me.

Straight into one of their little nuclear bunkers to have a vein pierced. Took 3 nurses 4 attempts to get a vein they could get the nuclear tracer into. Evidently one of the effects of chemo is making it more difficult to get a vein. Sat covered in cotton wool and micropore for 90 minutes whilst the tracer spread, then into the scanner.

I fell asleep in the scanner (again!). Over in about 30 minutes. Went to the cafe for a toasted sandwich and then hit the A34.

We were on the top of Portsdown Hill by 3:30. Fabulous view out over Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. Went down from there to the Travelodge and checked in. World first, the Travelodge heating was on in the room!

Now sat in Rosarios restaurant in East Wittering. We have shared Chicken and Chorizo in cream and wine, steak kebabs, deep fried courgette and aubergine with potatoes in a peppery tomato sauce followed by Profiteroles. Excellent.
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Monday, 26 November 2012

Quiet day at home

Taken it easy today in preparation for a couple of busy days. Got a PET scan in the morning and then we are going to the seaside. Well actually a Travelodge between Portsmouth and Chichester. Then on Wednesday we are planning to go to Westminster Cathedral Christmas Market.

Posts and pictures of everything but the scan.
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Sunday, 25 November 2012

Pleasant weekend

Went grocery shopping twice on Saturday, once for us and once for my Mum.  Watched the Grand Prix qualifying and didn't do much else.  Didn't have time to do much else because we didn't get up until late. Our Su7nday lunch guests cancelled and for a while I considered a trip to Bristol to watch/marshall on the Allen Trial.  Sharon talked me out of it and she is probably right, I wouldn't have coped with being outside that long and I certainly wouldn't have been running up any hills.  However, thanks to all who provided info and especially to Michael (ClassicalGas) for the offer of detouring to pick me up and driving me to a section to help Marshall.  It means a lot to me that so many people are out there listening and supporting in whatever way they can.  Also thanks to Richard for his email, I will reply.

Today our guests had to cancel because Samuel has Chickenpox.  Wish I had Chickenpox, so much easier to deal with.  So we had an unexpected free day.  We braved the flooding and went to Moreton In Marsh for lunch and a bit of a mooch.  Excellent toasted sandwiches in Tilley's Tea Room.

There is a Wellington Bomber museum on the edge of the town, I have been driving past it for 20 years and have never been in.  So we went there.  If you are planning to get there, go quick, not sure how long the curator will keep going.  He told us he joined the RAF as a Wellington mechanic in 1940.  Lets say he was 16 then, he is 88 years old.  The museum is about the size of our front room and is stuffed full of pictures, manuals, a Merlin engine and allsorts of other memorabilia.  The highlight of the visit was when we left.  The door had been blocked with sandbags to keep the flooding out and making it difficult to step in and out.  The curator insisted on stepping outside before me to help me step over the bags by holding my hand.  He didn't just do it for me, he did it for all 5 of the people who left when we did!  What a gent.

He is also a skilled engineer.  Here is his model of a 1930's AutoUnion racing car made entirely from scrap metal.
 I know they look like tyres, but they are actually concentric washers welded together.  The aerodynamic foil running behind the drivers head is an old wiper arm.

Drove back via Dover's Hill and had a walk to enjoy the view of the Vale of Evesham, could see all the way to the Malverns.  We then went across through Shipston on Stour and braved the floods back to Banbury.  I think the wading depth on the Polo is probably about 18 inches, it coped with everything today.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Cycle 6 Week2

The uncertainty has been getting to me this week. If we were on plan A it would all be over, if we were on plan B I would have 4 more cycles to go. But I think we are now on plan C. Radioactive PET scan booked for Tuesday results to be discussed Friday and decision about Cycle 7,8,9,10 to be made. Still haven't heard from radiotherapy.

Helped Lauren to change the wheel on her car on wednesday. Had to have a lie down afterwards. My arms ached, my back ached and I was out of breath. I look forward to recovering fully from this chemo, well except the vinchristine finger and toes.

Been to Coventry this afternoon to see a man about a cylinder head. Had a new District Nurse this morning. She noticed the PICC line entry point is a bit yellow, so I have to keep an eye on that.

Busy weekend with guests for lunch on Sunday and Sharon is off work all next week. Not really got a plan for next week yet apart from my scan and consultant appointment.
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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Feeling more human

Well some sleep and rehydration has got me back to feeling near normal.  The fatigue is still there and the brain is a bit fuzzy, but I feel a hell of a lot better than I did at the weekend.  Was going to go out for a walk at lunchtime, but I will get soaked, mi9ght risk it anyway, perhaps a picnic and a stroll somewhere.

Starting to get a bit twitchy about round 7.  Wish I had a scan appointment letter so I knew that would be done before the next round.  I suppose it is just a case of wait and see.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Update on brain

Maybe I am not ready to drive. Simon has just been round And called me a miserable git for not responding when he flashed and waved at me this afternoon. Didn't notice him at all.
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Quiet weekend

Not done much other than play with computers and watch telly. Some of the cycling from Glasgow was good. Bit unfair giving that old bloke an engine though when all the others have to pedal.

Appetite is good and everything is starting to work again. Went for a short drive this afternoon to check the brain would cope and it did. Waiting for the lamb to roast for dinner, bit more telly, then bed. Had a short nap this afternoon.
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Friday, 16 November 2012

It's done my head in proper this time

Worst Chemohead yet.  Found myself halfway down the garden this morning in my socks, forgot to put my shoes on and didn't notice.  My head has been really fuzzy, concentration impossible, simple things a challenge.   Clearing a bit this evening, probably the Magner's Cider I had with the sausage hotpot.

Slow start to the day, then about 9:15 I  remembered it was Friday and the District Nurse was due at any time between 9:00 and 12:00.  Fortunately she didn't turn up until about 10:30 by which time I was showered and up.  An uneventful dressing change and flush.

Went and did Mum's shopping, good job I had a list as my brain wasn't capable of doing it with the list, would have been a disaster without.  Had lunch with Mum and came home with her bank card in my wallet, brain failure again.  I was going to be really lazy and drive and do the shopping, but I didn't think I was safe behind the wheel.

Had  brief sleep early afternoon for about an hour and then didn't do very much at all until cooking tea.  Now sat on the sofa watching Children In Need.  It's very difficult listening to them talking about people dying of cancer.  Also had news that one of my fellow school governors has lost his battle and died from lung cancer this week.  Staying positive is a big challenge and I am just about managing it at the moment.  I really want a date for my PET scan and some good news about what's happening next.  Not knowing if Chemo will carry on, how well it's working and what's next is doing my head in.

Nothing planned for the weekend, see how I feel.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


Well actually I was home yesterday about 11:45 but fatigue and nausea took over. Felt well enough to sit on the sofa, perked up enough to eat a jacket potato for tea. Fell asleep on the sofa a few times as the steroids wore off and perked up for a few hours when the second dose kicked in.

Sharon is off to London today so I am awake early and feeling OK at the moment. I am sure some porridge will set me up for another day on the sofa.
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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Becky reads the blog!

Just been having a chat with Sister Becky. She has not been working over the weekend and Monday so she had a read of my blog post to see what state the ward was in before she came back! She also said I have had an enormous amount of chemo drugs through me and she thinks I have done incredibly well.

Moved beds today. Out of my radio active bunker into a 4 bed ward. First time I have been the oldest on the ward. That changed this afternoon though after a bed swap. Also the first time I have been in a 4 bed ward and chatted to anyone. Thanks Jake.

As for the food, managed a jacket potato and cheese for lunch but couldn't face an evening meal. Had a can of ginger beer, some jelly babies and a kit kat, much better than food and Martine told me to eat what I feel like when this all started.
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Monday, 12 November 2012

Hotel Churchill

The hotel is very busy tonight. This means I am in a room used for high dose radiotherapy. I have my own lead screen and free television. There seems to be some confusion over the bathroom though. One nurse has told me not to use it another said it was Ok to use.

There was a quality control problem with the chemo drugs so start was delayed. No idea what time I will get out on wednesday. The picture is my bathroom door.
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Sunday, 11 November 2012

Round 6 here I come

Back from Dorset mid-afternoon. Trip to Sainsbury's to stock up on goodies for a 3 day stay at Hotel Churchill. Not looking forward to it, but I think I have the resources to survive the stay.
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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sunny Day In Dorset

Had a long walk round Bridport this morning. It was market day and there was a farmers market. We also had a wander round a couple of the antique (junk) and vintage (2nd hand) emporiums followed by hot chocolate cake in one of the hippy cafes.

Went from there to West Bay for a stroll round the harbour. Managed to avoid buying a portion of chips, but it was difficult. Had a short sleep when we got back and sat and wached some tellie. Legs ache, back aches and I am starving, Frank has a roast in the oven so things are looking up.
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Friday, 9 November 2012

Been to see my consultant.

Had an appointment with Prof Hassan today. Went armed with a list of aches pains and numbness I have had. He gave me a good going over, tickling my feet and legs with a tissue to establish how serious the numbness was and pressing my back to see what pain there was. Outcome, a PET scan has been booked, Vinchristine has been stopped for next round and we will be reviewing what happens next on 30/11, before cycle 7. He says I have done unbelievably well to tolerate the amount of chemo I have had so far. He was worried about dose levels when it started as he is used to dosing 19 year old boys. He seems to have successfully poisoned me without finishing me off completely.

Went across to the rally school yesterday lunchtime to catch up with everyone. Nice to see them, but it wore me out and I fell asleep on the sofa in the evening.

In Dorset this weekend so updates will be at the mercy of connectivity.
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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Out and about today

Had a phone call from a friend last night to see if I was up to driving to Coventry for him.  He had some bits he needed dropping off in Coventry and couldn't get away to do it.  So I did it for him.  Left home about 10:00 and was back by 3:00, which included half an hours wait to get a cylinder head skimmed during which I had lunch and forty winks.

Legs are still aching and I think the Vinchristine has got to my feet.  Must talk to the consultant about it on Friday.  Apart from a brief nap at lunch time I have kept going all day, and I feel pretty good for it.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Had to recover today

After yesterdays full on day I was a little fatigued today.  Managed to go to Sainsbury's with Sharon and do the weekly shop and managed to watch the Grand Prix from yesterday, but other than that I haven't done much at all.  feeling good though and planning to get out and about a bit tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Faaaaantastic Day

Well maybe thats a bit of an overstatement, but it was better than good.  I have driven 90 miles, walked a couple of miles, watched an hours motorsport (not the Grand Prix!) and taken Sharon out for lunch and to IKEA.

Up fairly early to go to the Falcon Motor Club  Guy Fawkes Trial.  Decided yesterday that if the weather wasn't too bad and I was feeling OK, it would be fun to drive over to Dunstable and stand in a field for an hour or so watching people try and drive preposterous motors up grass slopes, that's Trialling.  Well the weather was too bad but with the right kind of clothing all weather can be overcome.
Sharon says she enjoyed it, but she was cold and wet. The rest of the trial pictures are here.  I think lunch in The Chiltern Visitor Centre and the walk round IKEA were more attractive to her.  Driving the 90 miles in the Polo was fun, chucked it round the roundabouts of Milton Keynes.  Doesn't matter what you do, you can't induce understeer, it doesn't have enough power!

Doing so much without needing a nap or a lie down has done wonders for my mental state and maybe even my fitness.  I need to get moving this week and get out and about and do some things.  Feel much better when I am occupied, driving and getting out and about does wonders for my confidence and I feel so much better.  So, things to do.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Children make me smile

After a fairly quiet week I was expecting visitors on Friday, Rob, Jude, Bella and Sam.  I had been thinking of getting the Scalextric out for a month or so, but the thought of a 50something bloke playing with his Scalextric on his own was just sad.  However, visitors with a 4 year old boy, excellent excuse.  We all spent an hour on Friday morning squealing, laughing and having a good race.  Well actually Rob had one go, Jude had one go and the kids spent the rest of the time in charge of the controllers, trying different cars and having fun.  I didn't even get a drive!  But I did have all afternoon to play after they went............................

Video on facebook

Week 3 of the cycle is about to start, physically I feel good, emotionally and mentally at the moment I feel fragile.  I know it's just a change of timescale and plan, but I am so disappointed it is going to hang around into next year.  Those extra few months seem a small price to pay if it works and kills the cancer cells, but something inside of me just wants to get on with life.  After all, none of us know how much we life we have left and I would like to get on with mine.   The whole avoid infection, take it easy, don't overdo it thing is starting to get to me.  I am bored, I need to do something, finding things to do that don't involve risk of infection, over exertion and being careful is not easy.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Few quiet days

Not done much. Slept quite well and plenty of it. Late starts, not much other than a walk here and there. Had bone ache Tuesday but it had gone by Wednesday.

Currently sat on Lauren's sofa waiting to hear that Sharon is on her way so we can start cooking. Chicken and Chorizo paellla, bought my own pan and ingredients as it was a last minute plan from Lauren.

Been a bit down emotionally since coming out of hospital last week. I think the 10 cycles and going on into next year has taken its toll. I have gone from next cycle being the end to being just over halfway and I never did anything! Will find some resources in there, need to do something interesting at the weekend. All ideas welcome.
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Monday, 29 October 2012

Fair ta middlin

Long lie in and not great when I got up. Stomach spasms and fatigue. Did manage to drive down to pick S+L up from town, but it was a struggle. Ate some lunch and felt a bit better but had to have an hours sleep about 4:00. Done nothing other than watch telly. Off to bed now.
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Sunday, 28 October 2012


Extra hours sleep, lie in and I still feel exhausted. Not done anything much at all. Feeling a bit yuk emotionally and physically.

But Sharon is roasting lamb and baking a cake, so things are looking up. Last cycle I was starting to feel much better by the weekend. This cycle I felt pretty good Thursday and Friday and not so good at the weekend. I am sure things will pick up this week.
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Saturday, 27 October 2012

Good day

Up early, Sharon was off out dog walking. Went to Deddington farmer's market for a mooch. Took the camera because the light was so nice.

Wore myself out walking round the village and had to have a sleep after lunch. Probably helped by the woodburner roaring in the front room. Spent the afternoon watching England thrash Wales at Rugby League, strange game. Got up long enough to walk over to Mum and deliver her some faggots from the market.

Sauscinni for tea. Still got the washing up to do. Not planning much else.
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Friday, 26 October 2012

Feeling good

Fairly quiet day yesterday. Popped out to see The Colbournes over at Mums and walked back via Sainsbury's with Lauren. I had lit the wood burner in the morning so it seemed a shame to move away from it.

I have seen the district nurse and been out in the Land Rover today, so fairly active for week 1. Feeling pretty tired at the moment as it wasn't a good night, bloody steroids. The dosage is down today and I am feeling like I could sleep for England. Let's hope it doesn't wear off before bed. No sign of hiccups since about 3:00 pm.
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Not a good night at Hotel Churchill.

But I was finished on the drips by 12:30 but departure was delayed by the lack of filgraston injections. The ones pharmacy delivered yesterday had gone missing and after much chasing we went to pharmacy on our way to the car park and were home by 3:15.

Have had something to eat, watched some telly and am soon off to bed. BUT the hiccups are here so may be on my own.
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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Round 5 Day 2

Never got my early night. A combination of circumstances meant it was 11:30 by the time I got to sleep. Woken at 3 am by someone trying to take my blood sugar level. Fortunately she realised she had the wrong man before she drew blood. Bag change at 4:00 am and wake up call around 7:00 from the cleaning staff.

Breakfasted by 9:00 and then disconnected for a shower. Reconnected by 10:00 so treatment continues. Seen the pharmacist and she is getting me some difflam throat wash, so that will save £5.50 in Sainsbury's. Should be able to get my GP to prescribe some for later weeks as well. My free prescriptions card turned up last week. 5 years of free prescriptions.

Frances came in to visit this afternoon. Good to catch up and find out she knows all the district nurses from her arm injury time. She has been staying away from me as she has been full of coughs and colds since the beginning of school term.

Lauren and Sharon are on their way down to see me. They won't be here long as Lauren has to get back for dancing lessons at 8:30.

Blood pressure is up. Fluid retention in action. Doctor has asked to see my data from home recordings to see if my medication needs changing. Sharon is bringing them in.

Not likely to get an early night tonight either as the rehydration will finish around 8:00 pm then 3 hours of chemo, then more rehydration starts. And rehydration will mean pee breaks every few hours. So not much sleep again.
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Monday, 22 October 2012

Round 5

Rang hotel Churchill just before 9 to see what time they wanted me in. They said not to get there until 1:00ish as beds were scarce and chemo drugs wouldn't arrive before then. So Sharon and I did the shopping in Sainsbury's.

Left home about 11:30 and arrived in the Churchill car park about 12:20. We went round to the parking office and got a new car park pass, this one lasts up to January. Then we went to the cafe and had some lunch. Arrived at the OWLS desk about 1:10. Still no beds.

Sat in the quiet room and did all the admissions paperwork and saw a doctor. Still no chemo drugs though. Got a bed about 3:30 but still no chemo drugs. Chemo drugs finally arrived around 5:30. Now hooked up and being poisoned.

Think it will be an early night. Feeling tired and there will be a change every few hours and pee breaks as there is a 21 hour rehydration. Such fun.
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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Quiet day

Up early considering we didn't go to bed until nearly 1:00 am. Had to do the washing up after we got back from the gig. Walked Luckydog with Sharon.

Went across to Mum's and told her the chemo news, not sure she really took it on board. Did her shopping and then went back again to pick up some bits to survive on whilst I am in hospital.

Then I sat on the sofa and watched the final round of the BTCC. Great racing from Brands Hatch in the pouring rain.

Simon has just been round to catch up. He offered to pick me up from the hospital if it helps. He's a good mate.

Off to bed now. Haven't organised anything for tomorrow, I will do it all in the morning in a panic. Not looking forward to my mini break at Hotel Churchill.
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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Coming to terms with Friday

Sharon and Lauren went to Cambridge for a haircut. I stayed at home as Luckydog isstaying for the weekend.

Put a new rear wiper on Lauren's Clio. Not a fabulous piece of Renault design as the old one had an alloy centre that had corroded onto the motor spindle, but a bit of dremeling and some ingenuity got it apart.

Had a nap after lunch and then prepared tea for us and Karen and Kevin. K+K turned up about 5:15, we ate about 5:45 and then went down to The Mill to see The Blockheads. 35 years of touring as a band, in their late 50s and early 60s but still full of energy and the best jazz/funk band I know. They played all the hits and some of their recent compositions.

Feel an even stronger affinity with them now than ever before. The original drummer, Charley Charles, died of cancer. Sharon and I came back from our honeymoon to go to the benefit gig at The Roundhouse. And of course, the legendary Ian Dury died of cancer. I am going to beat it though and go to more Blockheads gigs. Even if I do have to stay on the chemo 'til Christmas.
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Sh*t Happened

Well I was all psyched up for this being round 5 of the chemo and it all being over in 6 weeks.  Then I went to see the consultant this afternoon.  It was Professor Hassan, the expert.  He said that clinical trials indicate that rabdomysarcoma is best got rid of with lots of maintenance chemotherapy.  When we started he wasn't sure if a man of my age would cope with this as all the clinical trials and experience is with children and young men.  Remember, I am one in a million and he has never seen this type of cancer in a man of my age.  I have been so resilient that 'we' have decided that I will have a series of maintenance doses.  Basically this means that I will continue with chemo until the new year with two nights in hospital every 3 weeks. 

One dose would be due on December 24th, but he has said we can skip this one.  Radiotherapy will then commence in the new year some time.  I have to say, I am devastated.  I have been planning everything around it all being over in 6 weeks and now I have the rest of the year to look forward to.

I say 'we' decided.  It was a bit like the PICC line discussion, when a leading world authority says it is the best way forward, I wasn't about to disagree.  It has risks, it can have adverse impact on my heart and my bone marrow, but he reckons I am coping with that.  The heart scans show that the treatment so far has had no impact on my heart, my blood tests show that my blood recovers between treatments, so here we go.

The blog will continue for much longer than originally planned.  I will come to terms with it, but at the moment I just want to cry, and have been. 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Good day today

Had a lie in and a slow start. Was desperate to get out in the good weather before 3 days at Hotel Churchill next week. Was going to walk around Burton Dasset Hills but then I remembered something about it being Stratford upon Avon music festival this week and there being buskers in town. So I had a mooch round Stratford upon Avon and coffee and a cake in Costa. Probably walked too far, but hey ho.

Got home, called to see mum and Chris from the rally school turned up for a cup of tea. We chatted in the kitchen whilst I cooked stroganoff for tea. Planning to retire to the sofa for the rest of the day.
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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Regular Readers

A few pictures here that go back to some previous posts.  They are from my day out with Rob, Jude, Sam and Bella in the Land Rover and I am wearing my new hat that my brother bought me.

Today I popped up to Kenilworth to the new Goodfoot office for a coffee and a catch up with Jeremy.  I then popped into Kenilworth library for a look at the definitive map.  It didn't have any routes on it I haven't already found though.  On the way back, on the M40, the Polo exhaust fell off its rear mountings again.  Fortunately my safety wire from the previous fix meant that I kept the rubbers on and it didn't fall off completely.  Managed to botch it up and then called in at Simon and Pete's workshop to borrow a trolley jack and put it right back on.  Lasted all the way home and it is still on at the moment.  Planning to take it and put it on the ramp at Andy's tomorrow.  That way if it needs major  welding I am in the right place.

All in all a good day, but I am a bit tired now.  Off to bed.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Good day

Sat on the sofa enjoying a cheap french brandy and some dark chocolate. Went out this morning to do the food shopping and have been around the house for the rest of the day. Sharon went out for lunch with an old friend and they both came back home for a cup of tea. Ed rang me and filled in all the details from The Jersey Rally that I had to miss last weekend. All in all a pleasant day, kept going throughout. Must be week 3.
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Good day

Sat on the sofa enjoying a cheap french brandy and some dark chocolate. Went out this morning to do the food shopping and have been around the house for the rest of the day. Sharon went out for lunch with an old friend and they both came back home for a cup of tea. Ed rang me and filled in all the details from The Jersey Rally that I had to miss last weekend. All in all a pleasant day, kept going throughout. Must be week 3.
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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Just when you think it's getting better

Was up late waiting for Sharon to come home safely then up earlyish this morning, so maybe I was just tired.   We popped into town to go to The Royal Photographic Society International Print Exhibition and then to pop into Waterstone's to pick up some more reading material.  Exhibition was fabulous, would like to have seen the prints better lit, but considering the number of prints and the size of the space they did pretty well.  Bought JackKerouac's On The Road and Dave Gorman's Game.

Got home and had to sleep on the sofa for an hour.  So maybe I am not doing as well as I thought.  Frustrating really, want to get on and do things but when I do I wear myself out.   Off out to the workshop with Si in the morning to see if we can adjust the Polobanger suspension to make it sit a bit more level and improve the lift off oversteer.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Fair to Middling week really

I have just realised that it is Friday and I have been quiet since Monday.  That about sums the week up, quiet.  I have had a sore throat and no voice for most of the week, I am bored and fed up but daren't go out and do things in case the sore throat and voice turns into something nasty.   So I have been holed up at home, venturing out for a drive occasionally to enjoy the last of the autumn sun before the grey of winter arrives.

The District Nurse has just been to change my PICC line dressing.  She was amazed at how well I look and, once again, confirmed that a positive mental attitude is the best cure you can have.  I have struggled to stay positive this week, but that is mainly the boredom of it all.

Been relieving the boredom by playing with the Spotify music player this morning.  Started by looking for a Rocket From The Tombs version of Sonic Reducer and also found their version of 17.  That got me thinking and I searched for 18 and kept going until I got to 40, I will continue at some point.  The years toll (to be continued) is a link to the playlist if you fancy something different, I have been my usual eclectic self.  Found some very nice stuff in the searches.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Fair to middling

Not a good day, not a bad day. Mid afternoon nap and a sleep on the sofa this evening. Off to bed now at 10:15 pm. Had pains in the lower back all day, god knows what that is. Let's hope tomorrow is better.
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Sunday, 7 October 2012

It's Canal Day

Had a lie in until about 10:30 and then made a slow start. Caught up with a couple of friends on the phone and in person at lunch time and then drove down to town to have look round at Canal Day. Sharon had been working on the council's local plan exhibition all morning so I met her and we had a mooch round.
Watched the Morris Dancers, love the gothic looking Border Morris. Lauren and her dance school had been thrown into chaos by the Canal Day organisers inability to plan, but someone stepped in and save the day, moving them to the same arena as the Morris Dancers and adjusting the schedule.

Had a very nice pork roll and a water buffalo burger for lunch. Saw some lovely narrowboats and generally had a good time. Only thing missing was a couple of pints of Hook Norton, but I had the car and I've not been well you know.

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Sunday Morning

Planning a lazy start to today. The week 1 sore throat has arrived (Difflam to the rescue) and I over did it yesterday. Mind you, over doing it improves the sleep. Went out like a light for more than 8 hours.

BTCC on the telly today and I might get brave and take a trip to Banbury Canal Day.
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Friday, 5 October 2012

Good day

Even without much sleep I have kept going all day. Nothing strenuous, just playing with a computer transferring vinyl to mp3, having my dressing changed and cooking steak hot pot for tea. Running out of energy now, hopefully the reduced steroid dose will let me sleep.
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Thursday, 4 October 2012


Got to sleep around 4:00 am. Woken at 7:00 am by hiccups! District nurse due at 9:00, dressing change and PICC line flush. Lauren has her manicurist visiting as well, make sure I get te right one.
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Still awake!

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Steroid time

It's one am in the chemo house and the steroids are keeping me awake. Took them at 10 and 3 today as I was late getting going, but there is no sign of sleep at the moment.

Should have gone out for a long walk today to make me tired but my muscles are so out of practice I struggled to get across the road to the pharmacy. Should I be working out to keep some muscle or should I be taking it easy? What's best for me?

Sleep would be good, but no sign of it.
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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Hiccups AGAIN!

Had hiccups on and off all afternoon and evening. Calmed down about 10:30 pm so went to bed with Sharon. Awake around 2:15 am with hiccups. Moved into front bedroom to leave Sharon in peace. She says I went back to sleep and was snoring and hiccuPping. Awake again around 5:30 no hiccups so went back to bed with Sharon. Hiccups off again now at 7:30 am.

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Got home just after 10:00 am. So much better having a single room and reduced chemo regime. Nowhere near as tired and have managed to eat better today. Cornflakes for breakfast, crispbread cheese and olives for lunch and a cream soda float and jelly babies for high tea. Looking forward to Sausage and jacket potato for tea.

The rehydration routine keeps you on the move every 3 hours so I didn't have a great night. Topped up with an hours sleep on the bed with the sun streaming in the window to keep me warm after I had showered.

Lauren has just called in to see me so if anything exciting happens I will post again later.
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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Round 4 Day 2 Part 2

Nice quiet day of Chemo therapy, the joys of a single room.  Have to admit my mental/emotional state is much better in here than it has been in the 4 person wards.  That may also be because the chemo regime has changed, no Doxorubithingy, the one that makes you pee red.   Haven't looked at the other side effects of that one recently but I know one of them made you prone to depression.

The alarm is going off on the drip at the moment, the Mesna has finished I think.  Becky is busy doing someone else at the moment, but she will be along soon, in fact she has just arrived.  Forgot to say earlier, being looked after by 2 Beckies (correct plural?  What is the collective noun for Beckies?) today

Nausea levels are about the same as last time, the anti sickness medication has stayed the same.  Really can't face much food, but cant take steroids on an empty stomach as they give you ulcers.  So a rock and a hard place, eat and feel ill, don't eat and face ulcers.

Latest calculation of finish times says hat I should be done about 7:00 am tomorrow!  The removal of Doxorubithingy has taken 8 hours out of the schedule, currently on 3 hours of Ifosfamide and then 12 hours of re-hydration and Mesna.  So could be home for breakfast if I can get a lift off Sharon at that time of the morning.

Day 2 in The Hotel Churchill

I know part of this is because I am in a room on my own, but this feels like proper care. Ali came in to say goodbye at the end of her shift and Becky came in to say hello and explain what is going on today.

Fairly good night considering there were 3 bag changes on the drip. Was feeling very nauseas last night before I went to sleep, much better this morning, I have managed banana and corn flakes for breakfast. Have now looked at the lunch and dinner menu for today and don't fancy any of it.
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Monday, 1 October 2012

Got a bed!

Well I now have a single en suite room at The Hotel Churchill. Chemo is underway and everything is looking good for a reasonable finish on Wednesday.

Ali is on tonight, so all will be good.
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Round 4

Arrived at Hotel Churchill at 10:15 this morning to find they don't yet have a bed for me. Junior Sister (see I corrected it Becky) Becky sent me away for a coffee so she could have her breakfast and then there might be a bed.

Went for a coffee and when we returned at 11:00 there still wasn't a bed. So we are now sat in a side room with no bed. Chemo will start, bed or not and a bed should become available during the day. If it doesn't I will sleep on the sofa in this side room.

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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Roast Dinner

In preparation for 3 days of hospital food my father in law has knocked up a roast dinner. Apple and blackberry pie.
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I suppose its a fitness thing.

In Westbay. The weather is sunny but chilly. Must be autumn.

Anyway back to the title. Nine weeks of chemotherapy, sitting around doing nothing and feeling rough have hit my fitness. I have had to leave the girls to walk to the end of the sea wall whilst I sit on a bench. If I walk that far with them I will run out of strength before we get back to the car. Let's hope strength and fitness come back, even at my age.
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Friday, 28 September 2012

Uneventful Consultant Visit

Well my trip to see the consultant this morning was uneventful. She hadn't heard of hiccups as a side effect before. Other than that she hasn't had the echocardiogram report yet (from Monday) and she sent me for a chest xray, to pee in a bottle and for blood to be taken. So cycle 4 will start on Monday.

Did a few odd jobs this afternoon. Just eaten a very nice Chicken Byriani (well cooked Sharon) and then we are off to Dorset.

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Great Day

Felt good when I got up this morning.   Felt even better when Martine (Lymophoma victim, chemo sufferer and my main attitude guru) turned up.  She is in Banbury with her son, Angus, for a couple of days because orthodontists here are cheaper than Guernsey even after you pay the ferry.   She needed to go to Marton to pick up some rally car bits and see Andy Baker, so I went along as co-driver and sat nav interpreter.  Whilst we were drinking coffee in Andy's workshop we got a phone call from Andy Corner, who Martine was staying with, saying his parts were ready in Tamworth and we were already half way there.  So on to Tamworth.

Martine had promised Angus and me lunch at The Long Itch Diner, but that's the wrong way for Tamworth and we had to make do with Burger King at Corley services on the M6.  Had trouble finding the place in Tamworth but got there in the end.  Got back on the M42 to find the M40 closed between Warwick and Banbury and tail backs going miles north.  I needed to be back in Banbury by 4:30 for a governors meeting at school so we took the scenic route across country.  Henley in Arden, Stratford Upon Avon and back to Banbury via Sun Rising Hill.  All went well and we were home by 4:35.

Quick turn around and straight off to school to chair the first meeting of The Banbury District Aspirations Academies' Governing Body.  Really strange comparing my mental state with the meeting 11 days ago.  Much more in control of my mind, moods and mental faculties.

Overall a great day.  Off to hospital tomorrow morning to see the consultant and discuss cycle 4, then home for a while until Lauren finishes work and then off to Dorset until Sunday.  Then cycle 4 starts.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Strange Day

Felt just on the bad side of OK first thing but got going anyway. Once I was up and about I felt better and checking my temperature and blood pressure said there wasn't anything wrong. Had some breakfast, felt OK. Got hungry around 1:00 and felt really grotty. Had something to eat and felt fine.

Sharon wasn't due home from work until 7:00 so I knocked up a beef casserole as I knew she would be late and that would be OK however late she was. Got hungry again about 6:00 and felt pretty grotty again, nauseas, tired and wobbly. Sharon got in about 7:15 we ate and I feel good again.

So, hunger=grotty, full=OK. I guess my body needs fuel. I have been eating very well, but weight is staying at around 103kgs so my body must be doing something with the calories.
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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

This is supposed to be the good week.

Popped into town this morning to buy Mum a new cooker and go to the bank. Got home and waited for the plumber to come and service the boiler. After he went I sat on the sofa and fell asleep. Since eating my stomach sounds like a coffee percolator and I am full of wind. Also had a bit of a sore throat.

Maybe things are getting worse as the treatment accumulates.
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Monday, 24 September 2012

Not such a fun Echocardiagram today

Loyal readers will remember that the first Echocardiogram involved an attractive young Australian woman rubbing gell on my chest in a darkened room.  Today involved a half hour wait (how do NHS appointment systems work?) and a Russian woman with gell and heavy hands.  Anyway, no results until I see the consultant on Friday.

We went from the JR into town for lunch, very pleasant sausage baguette in Georgina's in the covered market.  The plan was then to go to the Edward Lear exhibition at the Ashmolean.  Unfortunately the Ashmolean is closed Mondays.  Ooops.

So we got the bus back top the car and came home.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Funday Sunday

Great day today. Popped over to see Mum, her oven has broken, so that's Tuesday used up, getting it sorted.

Then off to lunch with Rob, Jude and familia. Sharon had bought some chocolate frogs that had instructions for making paper pirate hats on the wrapper. So me and the kids made them. You Wouldn't think 6 sheets of newspaper could create so much fun. I wore mine throughout lunch.

Then we went out for a ride in the Cotswolds in the Land Rover. Had to leave Sharon behind as I only have 5 seats in at the moment. We drove some of Ickneild Street, a couple of other ancient roads, 3 fords and boiled the Kelly Kettle in Guiting Woods. Not totally adventure travel, but fun for a Sunday afternoon.

On the way home we decided to accept Lauren's invitation to join her and her friends at The Easington Pub Quiz. They go every Sunday and had decided to draft in parents to help with some of the questions from before they were born. They needn't have bothered as we were rubbish and they scored worse than they normally do. But it was fun.

JR hospital in Oxford tomorrow for an echo cardiogram. To see if the chemo drugs are damaging my heart. A cheering thought, let's hope they aren't. Do you think 2 pints of Adnams Explorer will show up?
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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Busy couple of good days

Had a very good couple of days.  Been feeling good physically and emotionally.  Decided to take myself on a trip to Leamington on Friday.  I wanted to go to the model shop there and have a closer look at some of the radio control rock crawlers.  I have had this hair brain scheme in my head to build a radio control scale Land Rover.  My idea was to combine one of the cheap kids 1/10th scale toy Land Rovers with a radio control rock crawler chassis.  Unfortunately it comes in around £300 to do it and the rock crawler chassis is the wrong wheelbase, so that will have to be shelved for a while.  Shame as I have the time at the moment.

Anyway, had a walk round Leamington and a toasted sandwich and a coffee.  Drove a few miles and generally had a pleasant time.  The exercise meant I slept well as well, helped by a large brandy before bed.  Sharon was working this morning, so we were both up at a reasonable time.  I got going, did the Sainsbury's shopping, cut both lawns and polished the Polo.  I know, polishing the Polo could well be polishing a turd, but it looks better for it, the dents really shine and I hate red paint when it goes pink as it oxidises.

Supposed to be going to lunch in Chipping Norton tomorrow with Rob, Jude and family.  Taking the Land Rover so Sam can go for a ride in it after lunch.  Lets hope tomorrow is a good day too.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

It is so good when the steroids wear off!

Part of the Chemo treatment involves a steroid called Dexamethazone or something similar.  This is quite a big dose during the Chemo which then has to be run down, evidently if you stop it suddenly your blood pressure drops so low you can die.  So after Chemo there are 5 days of running the dose down.  It then takes another day to clear out.  So what, I hear you say, well I am pretty certain that it is Dexamethazone that stops me from sleeping properly and, as a result, makes me feel so lethargic during the day. Oh and my voice comes back, so I don't sound like Darth Vader anymore.

Last night I went to bed just before 11:00 and apart from a mid night bathroom stop, slept right through to 8:15 this morning.  Sheer bliss, I feel so much better today!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Quiet Day

A good day, but inactive and quiet. I have felt pretty good, I haven't needed any anti sickness drugs, I haven't had to sleep, just haven't felt like doing much. I did pop over to see Mum and went to Sainsbury's for bread for lunch. But over than that I have been on the sofa or at the desk.

Maybe tomorrow will bring more enthusiasm.
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Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A Good day at last

Was up for a couple of hours in the night, too hot, stomach churning and generally restless.   Didnt feel like getting up at 8:30 when Sharon went off to work, so I switched a computer on and cleared my inbox in my dressing gown.  The post lady turned up about 9:00 with the Land Rover seat cushion I ordered on Sunday afternoon, amazing service.  That enthused me to get going and after a shower I got going removing the seat base and covering, fitting the new base and refitting the cover.  Now have a very comfy seat in the Land Rover.

Was motivated to keep going, so I packed a few bits and went off up to Burton Dasset to take on some sun.  And sunny it was, even the Polobanger looks sexy in the sun.

Enjoyed the fresh air and sun for an hour or so and then had a long route home enjoying the climb up Sun Rising Hill.  Got home and prepared and cooked beef casserole for tea, just about to eat it.  Then a sit on the sofa with Sharon and Derren Brown on the telly.

A good day.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Still here

Did Mum's shopping on Sunday, apart from that, not much else.  I was tired and having hot flushes. 

Better day today, very busy and I have been feeling good.  Late start, Sharon went dog walking and I had a lie in.  Went across to The Brodey Centre at The Horton for a meeting with a Maggie's Charity benefits advisor. It doesn't look like I am entitled to anything other than ESA, but it was worth checking and once we start to eat into our savings I now know when I can have other benefits.  Came home and enjoyed some lunch went nd filled up Mum's medicine box and then went up to a meeting at school.

The meeting was hard work mentally, it's weird how your brain gets lazy and addled by the drugs.  Concentrating was really difficult and I have lost some confidence.  But it was good to get out there and I need to push myself to keep going or my brain will just pickle.  I think I will need another quiet day tomorrow though.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

is it earlY or late?

Didn't do much on Saturday other than sit on the sofa and pop to the supermarket. Well when I say pop, it felt like a major undertaking for a basket of stuff.

Anyway ran out of awakeness about 10:30 pm and had to retire and have now been awake about an hour. It's just gone 5;00 am and I can't decide if I am up late or awake early. Did I have an evening nap or is this Sunday wake up time?

Is 5 hours sleep enough?
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Friday, 14 September 2012

Had to sleep in the spare bed

One of the drugs I am taking gives me hiccups.  Last night I was hiccuping from about 9:00 pm until we went to bed and it didn't stop then.  So to let Sharon get some sleep I retired to the front bedroom.  Got up in the middle of the night and they had gone, went to the bathroom and thought I would join Sharon in bed and they started again.  So all night in the front bedroom.

Not done much again today.  I did go for a short walk and across to see my mum and Lauren called into see me.  Other than that I watched some telly  and surfed the web.  Haven't had to sleep at all.  Hiccups have just started again. 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Better day, but not a good one yet.

Today was much better than yesterday.  I have slept a lot, but the nausea isn't as bad.  Didn't sleep much in the night, so I didn't expect to be raring to go today, but I also didn't expect to sleep for 2 hours this morning and then 2 more this afternoon.  Lets hope I need the sleep and manage to sleep all night as well.

Managed to eat 3 meals today, which is a huge improvement on yesterday.  Don't seem to be able to face tea or coffee at the moment though, so keeping my fluids up is proving a challenge.  Have been on the Vimto and Ginger Beer today, not together of course.

Planning to watch a bit of telly and sleep well.  Lets hope it all goes to plan.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Feeling really sick today and have been since I woke up. Managed half a bowl of bran flakes for breakfast and have just had a packet of crisps for lunch but I am struggling. Haven't felt this bad before hope it goes away quickly once I get home.

Talking of home, we seem to be on for a 6:00 pm departure if all continues to go well. Ali did a great job in the night with the changeovers and the last lot is a double bag 12 hour stint that went on at 5:20am. So all I have to do is keep it going in and I could be home by 7:00.

Thanks to all who have been thinking of me. Has kept my spirits up this visit.
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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Cycle 3 Day 2

Well Chemo commenced yesterday about 4:00 pm.  Not a bad night, few bag changes and peebreaks but slept in 2 hour chunks for about 8 hours in total between 9:30 pm and 8:00 am.  Feeling pretty good at the moment, have eaten bran flakes and fruit for breakfast and just had coffee and biscuits. So things are looking good, I have slept, I am eating and all is going well.

Managed to get disconnected long enough to shower and Sarah and Catarina did a great job of changing my bed after that.  Now up and in the chair trying to sort out an echo cardiogram  appointment that has been made for the day cycle 5 of chemo starts.  After 3 calls to a busy tone, I got through and have re-arranged to an earlier date so the results should be available before the consultant appointment.

Everything seems to be working well in The Churchill today, so lets hope everything stays that way and a good stay stays that way.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Seconds away, ROUND 3

Stayed up late last night watching the Grand Prix highlights.  Wasn't really interested in it, but going to bed would just bring today closer.  Haven't been looking forward to Cycle 3 starting, I have felt so good for the past week and coming into the Churchill to be filled with poison has not been filling me with enthusiasm. 

Got here about 10:45, the delightful Dawn is in charge of me today and she was very efficient and went and found the PICC nurse before she did anything else. That got the PICC line installation underway nice and early.  So I now have a fresh PICC line in my right arm and have been x-rayed to check the end is in the right place, waiting for a doctor to examine the x-rays and then Chemo commences.  If it gets underway in the next hour or so I could be out by mid afternoon Wednesday.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Late night Sunday

Didnt get time to blog yesterday, was too busy having a good time.  We were in Dorset enjoying the sun until about 3:00 pm then we rushed back to Banbury for a wedding reception.

Great time in Dorset.  Cooked breakfast to start the day, then Sharon helped her Dad to prepare lunch and I left them to chat and peel.  Then Sharon and I went out to Portland to have a look at Champ harmonique.  I recorded some sound and took some pictures that I am planning to edit together and will post later in the week.  It was superb and I could have spent all afternoon there but we were short of time, so an hour it was.  Fantastic views over Chesil Beach, excellent wind powered music and wonderful reactions from the other people there.

I drove all the way down to Dorset from Oxford and I drove all the way home on Saturday.  That is the furthest I have driven since the Chemo started and I know that for the next two weeks there is no way I could do it again.  Lets hope things are good enough in the third week for me to take on that kind of task.  I did have to half half an hours nap when we got home before going out again though.

The wedding reception was for Charlotte who works with Sharon and was atBrailles Golf Club.  Really nice venue, disco had a great laser show which kept me occupied and chatting with Sharon;s colleagues was fun.  Excellent food too, I've never had Pork and Stuffing rolls with chips at a wedding reception before, excellent choice.  Thanks Charlotte and Carl.

Had a bit of a lie in this morning and then went out and put the Polo exhaust back on.  Glad I read the Club Polo forum on Saturday morning.  Putting the new rubber mounts in boiling water before trying to fit them worked.  Made them softer and stretchier, they were dead easy to get on.  Then we went and did Mum's shopping and picked up a few bits for me to survive on in hospital and had some lunch.  After lunch we popped over to Lauren and Ian's to go for a walk up Burton Dasset Hills.  I am so unfit, I only just made it to the top.  I guess it is 3 days in hospital followed by 7 days of inactivity.  Must make the effort to at least walk a bit.

Went a bit flat when we got back.  Apprehension about Cycle 3 starting tomorrow put me on a bit of a downer.  Didnt much feel like eating, but forced the enchilladas and salad down as it will be the last decent meal I get for 3 days.  Was just settling down in front of the telly and feeling pretty grim when Simon turned up.  He always cheers me up and has lifted my spirits enough to get me blogging and will go to bed happy.  Thanks Si.

Thought you might like a picture of this infamous Polo to finish with.  Night Night.
Oh and no it hasn't got a bag of concrete in the boot, that's the new suspension.