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.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Internet has arrived in Portesham!

Who would believe it?  After years of no mobile signal and only neighbours secure wireless networks a BTOpenzone has appeared.  So an extra large blog from what has been an eventful day.

Got to the hospital about 9:45 for a 10:00 appointment.  Got to see the consultant about 10:30.  Not much from the meeting other than everything seems OK and treatment will continue next week.  Then had to get some blood taken, which should be fairly easy.  Waited 20 minutes and discovered the oncology vampire is a phlebotomist and phlebotomists cant take blood from a PICC line, so yet another hole in the arm.  Then off to the Day Therapy Unit to have my line flushed and the dressing changed.  This caused BIG trouble.  The staff nurse was sure the line had started to come out.  I was pretty sure it hadn't moved.  After much consultation from several nurses, comparison to my notes and an opinion from the PICC team who put it in, they decide it had moved.  They then started to pull it out so it could be used as a MID line for the treatment next week and discovered it was blocked with clotted blood.  So they took it right out.  That means the first job on Monday will be a new PICC line, which cant be done before 11:00, so Chemo wont start much before late afternoon.  This off course means I might not get out until Thursday, but hey ho.

Anyway, once we got out we popped round to the Maggies centre to see whats on offer.   Really good chat, that revealed I am entitled to FREE prerscriptions.  Just have to see my GP and get a certificate.  Have also made an appointment to see one of their advisors in Banbury to see if I am entitled to anything else.

Then we set sail for Dorset, via GSF to get the exhaust mounts for the Polo.  I got my bank card out to pay for them, expecting them to be £8 or £9, they were £1.86, had to find some change.  Drive to Dorset went well, about 3 hours to Dorchester then 20 minutes to get round Dorchester!

One of the side effects of the Chemo is strange nail growth.  Mine have gone very strong, we managed to cut most of them in the week, but my thumbs and index fingers were too tough for the nail scissors.  Sharons dad, Frank, has been cutting his neighbours nails for her, she is also on chemo, so I asked him to do mine.  He went out to the shed and came back with a pair of tin snips.  I thought he was winding me up, so I got the neighbour to come round and she confirmed, that's what he uses, so I let him at them and it worked.  He also gave me new nail file to finish them with.

We had some tea and Sharon and I popped upto West Bay to see the sea.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Still feeling good

Up early and went to a farm sale with Andy.  Great fun, nearly bought some storage boxes, but they got more expensive at each lot, should have bought the first lot.  Andy bought some useful stuff and I wen back with him later to collect it.  Saw a beautiful ancient Diesel tank, look at this for character.

Got a phone call from the hospital asking if I can change my appointment to 10:00 am tomorrow.  So we are off to Oxford early tomorrow and plan to carry on down to Sharon's Dad in Dorset for a couple of days.  Blog posting will stop as the internet hasn't got to much of Dorset yet, even for mobile phones.

Have felt better the past few days than I have since the Chemo started.  Unfortunately I am sure that will all end on Monday when I go back for round 3.  But hey ho, I will be half way next week and in the second half the week after.

Had a lovely phone call this afternoon from Tracey at Pharos today.  Haven't spoken to them for ages, havent worked for them for years, but one of my blog posts had got to her via LinkedIn and she rang to offer support.  It is so good to know so many people are thinking of me.  Next week in the middle of the night in The Churchill hospital I will need your thoughts.  Thank You.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Out and about

Wasn't up very early today. Once I did get going I didn't do very much with the morning.

However, this afternoon I have been over to Village Farm and spent a couple of hours in the passenger seat of a tractor spreading hay. Then I did the maths required to set up the seed drill ready for the sewing of the rape. Two lots of division that required a calculator. Would have been easier if the manual wasn't in French, German and a language not totally unlike English. It bore a nagging resemblance to English but clearly wasn't English. We worked it out in the end and when I left Andy was trying to work out how the rest of the drill technology works.

I am determined to make the most of this good week, back in hospital Monday.
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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Strange Day

Bit of a strange day. Was up early and feeling good, but I never built up the enthusiasm to do much. Spent some time on a computer clearing my backlog of emails and sending out meeting notifications for governors. Then I just chilled out.

Lauren came round at lunchtime and we watched two episodes of Only Fools and Horses. She still laughs at it and these episodes were older than her.

I cooked sausages and roasted vegetables for tea and we completed it with the cream tea Lauren and Ian had sent us from their holiday in Devon. Maybe tomorrow will bring more enthusiasm.
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Monday, 3 September 2012

Up Early

Was up at 7:15 as I had to be at school for 8:30. Today was launch day for Banbury Academy. Russ Quaglia ( had come over from America for the occasion and Steve Kenning of was also there. As I am Chair of Governors and am on a good week I thought it would do me good to go. And it did. Lots of people pleased to see me up and about and probably the most human contact I have had for over 6 weeks.

Got home about 10:30 and did Mums shopping for her. Had a spot of lunch and then wired the manual fan switch in the Polo. Feeling pretty good at the moment so I am planning to make the most of it and enjoy the week before I go back into hospital in 7 days. I am over a third of the way through and getting next week out the way will put me half way through.
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Sunday, 2 September 2012

Been out to play today

Been out to play today.  Felt better today than I have since Chemo started.  I was expecting yesterday's outing to have slayed me, but I was up around 8:00 and full of energy, so I have been out to play for a few hours in the Land Rover.  Also cut the front and back grass.  After that I was shattered, but I would have been when I was well, so that's OK.

I think the removal of the Vinchristine top up doses has enabled me to recover from the chemo to a more normal level.  Which is good.  So I am looking forward to a more normal week.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

It's still doing as expected

Went to Cambridge today with the girls. Wore a white tee shirt under my black paisley shirt. Why this fashion information I hear you ask. Well I have just taken the tee shirt off and it's full of hair! I didn't have mine cut today as it hasn't grown at all since round 1 of chemo. So my chest hair must be falling out.

Bit sad about it, never had much, all the hairs had their own names and I have maps of when and where they grew. Now they are all just leaving me.

Look on the bright side, Prof Hassan said if he made my hair fall out and made me feel sick the chemo was doing its job. Does anyone have the technology to spin human hair into yarn and knit it or shall I just throw it all away?
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