Thursday, 31 October 2013

It was all going so well, and is again now.

I know many will have seen the pictures already on facebook, but I have to share this with blog readers.  Here is Martine's Tribute to yesterdays great escape from Chateau Churchill

Some people are clearly too talented with a sharp knife.  Must be all the nipe and tatty peeling.

Started today off fairly well with a bit of a lie in and a shower.   Lazed around in my new suite with Sharon popping in for a hug between jobs.  She went shopping whilst I was still snoozing and we had pain au chocolate and lemon tea as breakfast in/on bed.

Lauren was round by lunch time as she has an ICT test tomorrow for her NVQ.  The past exam papers we have found say it isn't an ICT test at all, it is a how to work Microsoft Office test.  She has just suggested as she left this evening that she tells them she will only be able to do the test if they supply an Apple Mac.  We went through the questions and updated her knowledge of Excel absolute addressing, values, formats and stuff.

Penny, Ray, Elliot and the dogs came over to see us, they had been to do Mum's shopping and spend some time with her then called on us for a cuppa.  Really nice to see them, Elliot always makes me smile.  He seemed a bit shocked by my oxygen tubes and hacking cough, but took it all in his stride.

Sharon, prepared biryani for tea for about 7:00.  I went upstairs for some drugs and a survey of the bathroom about 6:30.  Came down with Lauren about 6:45 and went straight to a dinning room chair.  After a few minutes in the chair I was uncomfortable and moved to stretch out on the sofa.  Then some one got hold of my tumour, my left hip and my left leg and put 10,000 volts through them.  I have never felt pain like it.  It hurt more than my car crash, more than any sporting injury I have ever inflicted on myself and more than I ever want anything ever to hurt again.  I thrashed around, crawled up stairs and thrashed around more.  It was agony.  Sharon rang triage, they assessed me and said they would ring back, I got worse, Sharon rang them again.  They said to take more Oramorph pain killer, call the emergency doctor service, get limb function checked, get them to see if nerve blocker was required.  I took more Oramorph and that took the edge off enough to stop me writhing about and to calm my breathing back down.

It was really weird, I was flat out on the bed, my toes were spasming, my knee was bending and my foot kicking, but it wasn't me doing it and I couldn't feel a thing from my thigh down.  I my groin and hip the pain was excruciating. The emergency doctor turned up and I was so relieved to find it was one of my old GPs who has retired and just moonlights a bit.  I needed a friendly face and some caring words.  He examined me, and concluded that the tumour had trapped the nerve group that operates the leg against my hip bones in my groin.  The relaxation of the morphine and the thrashing about had freed them back up.  He checked me over and we chatted about what to do if it happens again and things settled back to normality.

By 9:30 pm I was back downstairs and tucking into biryani with a nice bit of carrot cake to follow.  Lets hope that overcomes the morphine's constipation impact.

In Some Ways The Best Night Ever

And in some ways the worst.

We got home from Château Churchill with Lauren doing the getaway driving. She was on the speed limits all the way and we avoided the end of Oxford rush hour by going the back way. It still used the oxygen bottle up to its red reserve mark on the dial. That doesn't make the range on one bottle much then.

Ian was at home and cooking tea, little bit of steak and a few chips. Bliss. Lauren and Ian have been fantastic support. They have cooked for Sharon and had snuck round to install a telly and square round the front bedroom for me and my Oxygen. We had discussed the fact that I could live upstairs in the front bedroom with the bathroom on hand and Lauren and Ian just made it happen. At the moment I can do the stairs, as long as I take it gently, but I don't want to be running up and down them all day.

I went to bed in the double bed with Sharon. We played around with the back rest and I thought it would be fine. However, about an hour after we went to bed I had to move to the front bedroom. I know it sounds mad, but I was scared in the dark, the anxiety was making my breathing shallow and that was affecting my oxygen levels. I stood up for a while, then sat on the bed and then sat up in the bed, soon felt better. I left the bed side light on and have dozed pretty well all night.

I guess I will get used to the oxygen system and sleeping with it on, but in the dark last night it just scared me. I was anxious about getting tangled in the pipe, the 'nose specs' falling out and Sharon getting bashed by the bed frame. It is never dark in hospital, there are always lights in the corridor and outside the window. At home, last night, it was DARK.

On my own, in the front bedroom, with a bedside light on I felt safer and dozed a good nights doze. That also meant I wasn't bouncing around next to Sharon, so she had a fairly good night too.

So, some good, some bad and things will get better.
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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Home Safely

Lauren made a great getaway drive and when we got home Ian had steak and chips ready.  I would say much better  than hospital food, but that's not much of a compliment.   On the sofa, tele on, wifi on.  Bliss.

Getting an escort from the resistance.

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Escape Vehicle Ready.

S+L have just arrived. New wheels ready to go.
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The Moon is in the right phase.

It is all coming together. Transport is about to leave Myrtle House armed with the wheel chair and oxygen. Nurse Cassie has got the contraband from Pharmacy and secreted it in her cupboard. Once darkness falls the plan will activate. Chemoman is returning to base. Escape from Château Churchill is go. All stations stand by in case assistance is required. Codeword Morphine. Response word Clot.
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Update to plan update.

Oxygen installed. Just the pharmacy process to overcome now. Anyone know what the moon is like tonight???
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Plan update.

Oxygen Engineer is due at home between 2 and 4 pm. Proff Hassan is coming down to see me sometime today. Escape to Myrtle House may well be on. Plan is to use tunnel B and dress like local Polish in blue polo shirts with G4S logo. I have been up all night dyeing and embroidering. If we can make it past the car park barrier we should then have a clear run to Kidlington and from there we can use the cover of the hedges to Myrtle House. Let's hope there aren't any NHS checkpoints and the air ambulance isn't out hunting for patients.

Not sure who is getting out with me tonight, hope it is Lauren or Sharon. Andy's evasive driving skills are better, but he can't find the car park.
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Tuesday, 29 October 2013


This might be a bit of a ramble as it is 4:25 am and I am enjoying the cocktail or Oromorph and Paracetomol. I think there may be future similar blogposts I seem to wake up at this time.

The troops mobilised yesterday, and if all goes to plan I will be at home in my own bed tonight. All seems to be dependent on an oxygen installation engineer and, of course, The Churchill Pharmacy. Wouldn't it be ironic if I managed to motivate so many people into helping me achieve my aim and pharmacy declared they have run out of paracetomol so I can't go home.
It looks like I have reached a major milestone in this cancer process that I was dreading. I think I have probably driven my last drive. I would have liked to have known it was coming and done it in a planned way, I might have been a bit more larey. I think it is appropriate that my last drive in 500Tie was me doing a motorsport aquaintance (Wayne LeBailey) a favour. He had been running as course opening car in Jersey in his fabulous MK1 Escort when it dropped a valve. He appealed, by the wonder of facebook for anyone travelling near Brackley in the UK to take it to Sharon and I were still on Jersey when he appealed so we met up and I bought it back for him. Being too pathetic to lift a cylinder head out of the car I ran it over to Brackley in 500Tie. A fun drive under blue skies.

The final drive looks like it will be the drive to Oxford last Tuesday to go and see West Side Story. A sedate pootle, 4 up, in Sharons Alto. It's a great little car but it really let's you know you have passengers.

I have loads of ideas for the AUTOBiography, I just want to get home and get writing/dictating.

This Oxygen business could have a huge impact if I have to think inside NHS boxes. An oxygen condensor is being installed at home. This will have a pipe on it that will allow me to move around the house. I then get 2 portable bottles to go out and about. A portable bottle lasts 90 minutes. I think there is a 48 hour leadtime on bottle delivery.

So let's start with an oncology visit on Friday.

Travel time to Churhill 1 hour.
Waiting time and appt. 10 minutes to 3 hours.
Travel home. 1 hour

All goes well, 2 bottles, clinic running late, 4 bottles. Fortunately it is a Hospital so they can plug me into their Oxygen main when I arrive, so it's just 2 bottles.

I asked about popping to Dorset to see Frank. "Oh no problem" said the respiratory nurse. "You give us a couple of weeks notice and we get an Oxygen Condensor installed at his house for you". Then of course there are the 6 bottles for the journey there and the journey back. I wonder how much that costs the NHS then? And with the way appointments work and my health is, how do I plan 2 weeks in advance?

Lauren and I did a bit of research yesterday and found portable Oxygen Condensors that will deliver the 4 litres I need and cost between £3k and £4k. Discussions will be taking place with Macmillan asap. I will buy the bloody thing and Macmillan can have it for others when I am gone.

Right my battery is getting low (on the blackberry) and I really ought to go back to sleep. The drugs from 10:00 pm are wearing off. The coughing has started and I can feel the pain coming back. Next dose 6:00 am.

Morning Blogreaders. OiOi.
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Things are moving along.

Had a meeting with a doctor, the palliative care nurse and my ward nurses. The doctor seemed a bit shocked at my determination to get home, but once she got over the shock she bought in and everything is underway.

I have demonstrated to the physio that I can walk up and down a flight of stairs. I love the way the physiotherapist's uniform is designed to look like athletics gear and they get jobs like making sure old gits like me can make it upstairs to the bog.

Occupational therapist has just been in and talked about stuff to help at home. Looks like a pee bottle and a frame to keep me upright in bed are top of the list. She offered me a perching stool to use in the kitchen and bathroom but I said not to bother as I have one in the garage I use sometimes when working on cars. She is also getting the paperwork for a blue badge. NO ANDY YOU CANT TAKE ME EVERY WHERE WITH YOU TO MAKE PARKING EASIER!

Expecting the respiratory nurse to come and see me. If she can sign it off before 6:00 today the oxygen can go in tomorrow, otherwise it will be Thursday.

Things are looking up.
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I stand corrected.

Attacks of double vision work just fine for speeding discharge. The nurses had a bit of a panic and chased the oncology registrar to come and see me sooner rather than later. The oncology registrar saw me whilst the oxygen is full on and the paracetemol still working and I dismissed everyone of her objections to letting me out with my carefully thought through replies. In the end she resorted to saying that the system can't get oxygen to me at home quicker than 24 hours.

So we are aiming for discharge tomorrow.

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Just seen a man in the bathroom.

I just glanced in the bathroom mirror whilst dressing after my shower. What I saw made me look again. This is the first time in all this cancer malarky that my self image has had a serious update. Until this morning I have always seen the same happy go lucky, fairly strong and active Graham. Today I saw a tired elderly looking bloke with slightly grey skin struggling to stay upright next to his portable oxygen supply.

This has just been compounded by an attack of double vision whilst the nurses were changing my canular dressing. This is evidently a symptom of oxygen depletion and I am now back on the oxygen mask instead of the nasal specs as the mask can deliver more oxygen. Situation to be reviewed in 30 minutes, but vision is back immediately and I feel a lot better again.

Unfortunately I don't think this going to help with me getting out sooner rather than later.

The nurses wanted to cheer me up this morning so they made balloons for my oxygen stand.
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Monday, 28 October 2013

Scan Results

Dad said I needed to make sure everyone new it was me that was posting, but I'm fairly sure my lack of grammatical correctness will give away that it isn't dad!

Dad started to get a pain in his chest after coming back from his scan, which around half an hour ago he decided he better tell the nurse about. She came in to do an ECG and told us that they had found a blood clot when they scanned him. She said that she thought a doctor would come and talk to him soon but in the mean time she was going to give him another injection of heparin and put him on a higher oxygen level.

I feel that even though the news isn't good news at least now we know what we are dealing with and that there is some hope of being able to do something about it. Fingers, toes, arms and legs crossed that the injections do some good.


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Microblogged with a facebook status yesterday but I know some blogreaders don't facebook. So here is an update for everyone.

Finally gave in on Sunday and rang the oncology triage service. The breathlessness, sore chest and tiredness hadn't got worse but they hadn't got better and I needed help and an answer.

Triage said it would be best for me to come to Hotel Churchill, they didn't have any of the oncology ward en-suite singles with the spa break option so I started off in the triage assessment area and have ended up on Blenheim Ward with the head and neck injuries.
The triage doctor said it was one of three things.

1 an infection
2 a blood clot on the lung
3 the cancer getting worse.

My temperature and sounding of my lungs seems to have eliminated the infection. They have put me on a blood thinner in case it is a clot, took a chest xray last night and have promised a scan today. Usual observations going on. Macmillan palliative care nurse came to see me, I explained I really don't want to be here and the only thing they are doing is giving me oxygen. Got to thinking and researching, I can by a blood oxygen saturation monitor for about £20, I bought a blood pressure monitor (the same as my GP uses) for £30. Andy has big bottles of welding oxygen. Me being at home ringing in my observations has to be a better way.

If they notice something when they observe all they do is ring The Registrar. If a really big emergency occurs suddenly I am a bit nearer help, but the oncologist told me this morning that things don't change suddenly with cancer. So they choose to keep me in one of their expensive beds when I could be at home eating decent food and watching decent tele hugging my wife on the sofa.

Here is another weird NHS thing. Caffiene isn't good for us. So every 2 hours I get offered tea or coffee! If you ask the eastern european delivery agent if they have herbal tea she says "ah you want tea". However my nurse and the ward housekeeping manager work together like The A Team and have been down to the staff canteen to get fruit teas and some biscuits. The biscuits came with a selection of chocolate and vanilla sponge fairy cakes sealed in plastic wrappers and use by dates of mid November. I wonder which health giving gas they are sealed in to make sure their diabetic contribution isn't lost with age?

The nurse has just been in to see what type of cannular I have as Xray want to know before they scan me. I can guarantee the porter will turn up at the same time as Sharon.
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Saturday, 26 October 2013

When will the good day come...........

Have spent most of today asleep. I had a really bad night with coughing and breathlessness. It is a viscous circle, you are breathless, you get a coughing fit and can't breathe, which leaves you breathless. Every coughing muscle I have aches. The only way I could break the cycle in the night was to go and sit in the bathroom with a bowl full of hot water steaming.

I did get up for a shower mid morning, but it wore me out and I went back to bed. Then my brother rang and I woke up for a bit, but that wore me out so back to bed. Eventually got up about 4:00, fell asleep in front of the rugby. I have eaten a bit, but not much and I am starting to feel tired and cough again.

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Friday, 25 October 2013

No better physically, but lifted mentally

I have felt pretty grotty all day today.  I got up and had a shower, then had to go back to bed to recover from the effort.  I left a message on Dr Pratap's answerphone about 9:30 and she rang me back around 12:30.  Had a great conversation and established that I get a break from chemo from tomorrow until Friday.  We talked about the breathlessness and the blood results from yesterday.  I am not anaemic, which is good news, but they may have found a chemo drug my body won't tolerate.  The toxicity will make me breatless and tired.  So we are stopping tomorrow, seeing what happens next week and reviewing next Friday at the appointment I already have.

I hope I feel better.  We can then look at reducing the dose and other strategies.  I also got  a copy of the letter from my oncologist to my GP.  It doesn't tell me anything I hadn't already heard but seeing it all together and reading the tone makes it sound even worse.

We popped across to Mum's and Sharon went and did her shopping whilst I went through some boxes of photos looking for pictures for the Auto Biography.  I have found a few and Sharon is sat on the sofa looking for interesting stuff in our photo albums.  I haven't felt like writing today though.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Bad days too many

This morning I was tired and breathless. As I go to bed I am tired and breathless.

In between I have slept on the sofa, spoken to my Macmillan nurse and been to my GP. Sharon was very concerned about my breathlessness and tiredness. She read the chemo side effects leaflet and was concerned I might be becoming anaemic. So I rang triage at The Churchill. Jo was very helpful and instead of the 'get straight in here' I expected she said to ring the GP, get them to listen to my chest and take bloods and talk to the oncology registrar if they were concerned.

Rang the GPs and got an 18;10 appointment having explained it all to a very helpful and understanding receptionist. Sharon gave me a lift, but an accident had closed the road so I had to walk the last bit.

The doctor needs some patient care lessons from the receptionist. It wasn't my usual GP, she said there was no point taking blood as there was no one to take it to pathology and she seemed to have no understanding of how the oncology triage system works. She wanted to know why they hadn't taken blood when I phoned them earlier! Blood over the phone, there's an idea.

I told her I would take the bloods over to pathology. She complained my veins were too small and then had to go in both arms before she got enough. I had to remind her she was supposed to listen to my chest too. She did that and then offered me some antibiotics. I asked if she thought I had an infection and she said no, so I declined the antibiotics. She said it makes some people feel better if they get some antibiotics.

The walk across to the pathlab left me exhausted and sore. Sharon picked me up from there and we went home. For tea.

I have added anothe post on but I am not sure if this link will work posted from my blackberry.

Hope tomorrow is better.
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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

For Jimmy and Sue

and anyone else who enjoys reading my drivel.

Yuk, Yuk, Yuk

This new chemo is slaying me.  Sat around all day yesterday doing nothing much.  Went out in the evening as we had tickets for West Side Story in Oxford.  I thought the walk from the car to the theatre and up to the circle was going to finish me off.  Feet and legs were numb in the cramped seats of the circle, fortunately I got to stand up through the interval.  You could get DVT up there.

The performance was brilliant.  I have always liked West Side Story, good tunes, good story and meaningful content.  I was a bit surprised that they finished with Toni being shot and there was no musical finale.  The MD ran straight from the pit to the stage and they all took curtain calls but the orchestra were packing up and on their way to the pub.  I used to go to West Side Story when it was the late show at The Arts Cinema in Cambridge.  A group of us used to go when it was a good film rather than late night horror.  Saw Easy Rider several times, Duel once or twice, West Side Story several times and many obscure foreign films and American B movies.  West Side Story often became a 'sing along' performance as most of us had been to the pub before hand.

Today I have been feeling grotty.  Didn't rise from bed until around 11:00.  Walked over to Mum's.  On the way there I was beginning to wonder if I was going to make it, breathless, sore and woozy headed.  Sat down with her for half an hour and took a very slow trip back.  Had hoped to take the carb off the Skoda and start stripping it, but just the effort of finding the tools and taking the wheels off the engine cover was beyond me.  Shame really as Ian was looking forward to double driving the OMC autosolo on Sunday at Silverstone, but I think we are too late for an entry now and there is no way I will get it done or be in a fit state to drive competitively if the chemo carries on like this.  I do hope things get better.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Good weekend, bad Monday

We had another great weekend in Dorset. Went straight down after my hospital appointment. Was a fairly good trip, even if we did hit Salisbury rush hour.

Lauren and Ian came down much later and had booked the Weymouth Premier Inn. We all breakfasted together at Sharon's Dad's. We were planning to go into Weymouth but the newspaper were predicting crowds of 15,000 for the beach moto-x. So we went to Lyme Regis instead.

I like Lyme Regis and we walked all the way along the prom from the town to The Cobb. We called in at the amusements, there was no table football table so Ian and I were forced to win a game of 2 a side air hockey instead. We also stopped in a cafe for cake an hot chocolate. I am fed up of green tea, no sugar and loads of green veg. The scan results show the tumours have still been growing after a couple of months of strict diet. So I have taken the advice of my oncologist and am eating what I fancy. I fancied hot chocolate and apple and fig cake.

We walked back and the girls went up the hill for a look at the shops and Ian went to get the car. I had reached my limits of exertion. I get very sore internally if I walk too far and very breathless if I go too fast or uphill. The steroids were also getting to me with some bursts of tunnel vision and feelings of anxiety. The vision thing I can do nothing about, the anxiety I know is the steroids and my brain is strong enough to deal with it.

We got back to a typical Frank roast dinner followed by pumpkin pie, apple pie and treacle tart. I just had apple pie.

Sharon and Frank wanted to watch Match of The Day, so I went off to bed and left them to it. The steroids also upset your sleep. It is a bit like caffeine, I slept, but never very deeply and only in short bursts.

Sunday was wet and miserable. Frank had organised a family lunch at the Victoria Inn. It was pleasant, well priced, pub grub. The company was excellent, the conversation fun and we were the last to leave around 4:00 pm. We called in to see Tess and Ian before popping back to Frank's.

I came home with Ian and Lauren as Sharon has meetings today with solicitors and social services about the will she is executor to.

I woke up at 8:00 this morning and took my chemo. I was planning to get up about 9:00 and take my steroids with breakfast but that plan went wrong. I thought it was just gone 9:00 when Graham T rang me, but when I came off the phone it was gone 10:30. I felt very sick, so I guess the steroids do help combat the impact of the chemo. Lesson learned, take the chemo, eat, take the steroids.

Feeling a bit better now, don't know what I fancy for lunch, don't feel like doing very much. I am cooking chicken and chorizo paella for tea, Lauren and Ian are still waiting for their cooker to be delivered.

I know facebook friends saw the picture yesterday, but I think it is good enough to share with all the blog readers too.

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Friday, 18 October 2013

Jersey and Oncology

Sunday was the usual Jersey Rally recover and rest day. We hung around the hotel all morning showing people the pictures I had taken, drinking tea and catching up with friends. Then we popped down to say bye to Martine, Chris and the boys in the ferry queue. Chris' car looked very sad with it's blistered paint and melted brake master cylinders. It appears the master cylinder had sprung a leak and dripped onto the exhaust manifold, causing a small fire. Fortunately, being a rally car, it had plenty of extinguishers and Martine was nearby with more extinguishant in her car.
We went for a drive from the ferry and explored some of the south coast bays and headlands. Had afternoon tea half way up St Ouen's Beach. Then we went back to The Merton, which seemed very quiet with most of the rally crews having flown and ferried out or gone home on Jersey. We decided to take the easy option and eat in the hotel restaraunt. At £20 each it was OK, but nothing special.
On Monday we went to The Durell Conservation Trust. Sharon is a member and that meant we got free entry. It wasn't the greatest of weather for animal watching, but I could have spent all day watching the Gorillas and Orangutans. The Gorillas are huge, muscular and so gentle. I am sure they could kill you if they wanted to, but they look like they could hug you to death too. After the zoo we worked our way along the North coast and ended up in the Cafe at St Catherine's Breakwater for fish and chips. Watching the sea is so relaxing.
After a trip into St Helier, Tuesday was a bit more south coast, including the War Memorial and a walk round St Aubin with luch in the gallery Cafe. Then we drove up the West coast and across the North, stopping at viewpoints, bays and headlands. It is like a coastal geography field trip all in about 20 miles. We ended up back at St Catherine's Breakwater, walked half way along and back, watching the sea. a drink in the Cafe to warm us up and back to The Merton. We ate in the hotel 'American Diner', Jersey Joes. Here we found another table footbal table. It is a good job we didn't discover it when we arrived on Thursday as we would have put our life savings in it and not gone out. I beat Sharon 6-4 and then let her have another 5-5 draw.
Wednesday was an early start so we could breakfast, pack and get out of the room by 10:00 am. We then explored some more south coast ending up back at the War Memorial looking at how rough the sea was. It wasn't going to be a good crossing. 500Tie ended up in the bows, on a ramp again and the crew were puting 2 straps on every car because, and I quote, "it's going to be rough". I didn't think it was too bad, I have had worse Sunday crossings in the past, but it did rattle everything of the shelves in the duty free shop and send people bouncing from wall to wall as they walked about. We got off the ferry in Weymouth, got something to eat and were home about 11:30 after a blast across the Dorset and Wiltshire countryside and onto the A34. An MGBGT with a 120 bhp engine, a moonlit night and open country roads. Bliss.
Thursday was spent recovering, doing some shopping and feeling like a wreck. Enjoying yourself is so much hard work!
Today I have been to see my Oncologist. She was armed with blood tests and scan results. I asked her at the very beginning "is there any good new" she smiled her caring smile and said "No". The pazopanib chemo therapy is having no impact according to the scan. The side effects are so risky and damaging that it is best to stop it if it is having no effect. So it has stopped. So we are now going to try Cyclophosphamide. I think this is going to have more of an impact as it comes with steroids. Regular readers will know how much I love steroids. Fortunately this steroid isnt dexmath, so maybe the impact won't be as bad. Dexameth does my head in.
The scan also shows that the tumour in my kidney is growing and there are 4 traces of cancer cells in my lungs. My liver function is back to normal, but there are cancer cells showing in my liver as well. Like she said, No good news. Today is the first time I have really felt I can see the end. Until now I have felt fine, the chemo has been bearable and I have still been hoping I can beat it or a miracle will occur. When I came out of the Churchill today I felt very flat and very sad.

I don't think it had been helped by the pharmacy experience. Dr Pratap said I could go round to pharmacy and pick up the new chemo drugs. The conversation went like this:
"Hi, Graham Whiting, Dr Pratap has just prescribed Cyclophosphamide for me."
"Have you got anything with your Hospital number on it?"
"Yes, here is a blood test envelope"
Pharmacist taps computer and looks at screen. " That isn't ready yet"
"OK, how long will it be?"
"Do you know the process?"
"Does anybody?"
"That was a question"
"OK, no I don't know the process"
"Well the doctor is supposed to make you aware of the process"
"OK, maybe you need to tell the doctors that they need to do that"
"We will, your prescription has only just been written, it needs to be screened before it comes to us and we can pick and dispense it, that's the process"
"OK, how long will that be?"
"I don't know, I don't know when it will be screened, I don't do the screening"
"OK, who does know that and where can I find out please?"
"You will have to wait whilst I phone and find out"
"OK, but I don't have long to live and I like to make the most of what I have left, how long will it be?"
"Take a seat."
5 minutes later
"I have contacted my colleague, it will be screened and with us in about 20 minutes and available about half an hour after that."
Sharon and I went and got some lunch and went back an hour later, the prescription was ready for collection. Why do I need to know the process? Why is it her colleague's fault or the Doctor's fault? All I want to know is how long will I have to wait? Why are all the pharmacists so anal? Everytime I have been delayed at The Churchill it has been Pharmacy who have held me up. Search back through the blog and see the Pharmacy issues.

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Sunday, 13 October 2013

Great Weekend

What a great few days.  We travelled down to Dorset Wednesday evening and stayed at Frank's, got up early and on the ferry from Weymouth to Jersey.  We were at the front of the ferry queue and 500Tie ended up at the top of a ramp in the bows of the vessel.  I asked them to strap her down as steep slpes and 35 year old handbrakes aren't a good mix, evenin flat calm.  It was a good crossing with only one rough bit.  Martine, Chris and the boys joined the boat in Guernsey with both their rally cars and it started to realy feel like it was Jersey Rally time.

Off the boat, checked in at The Merton and then took a drive up to the cafes of Gorey.  I hadn't eaten all day and Sharon hadn't eaten since breakfast so we were starving.  Had excellent curries in Louise's Cafe.  Popped back to The Merton and then went up to Scrutineering at The Jersey Showground.  Scrutineering was the usual chaos with lights being 'adjusted' and Andy scraping tthrough noise testing.  I helped sticker the cars with the rally sponsors stickers and it felt just like the good old days.  Both cars straight through scrutineering and Sharon and I celebrated by having chips for supper from the catering van.

Fairly slow start to Friday, everyone else had gone off early, but we enjoyed a bit of a lie in.  We had worked out where the stages ran and picked a spot just up from The Showground we could walk in to and watch.  Must have been a good choice as the official video cameraman chose the same spot.  Unfortunately there was an accident in the stage during the first run and we didn't see the second half of the first run as that and the second run were cancelled.  That meant we stood for an hour and three quarters in the cold without seeing a car.  But it was worth it.  We walked back to the car and then drove back down to Gorey via the first of the night stages where the roads hadn't been closed yet.  We drove it in the light and it scared me.  At one point there is a three wire fence at the side of the road and then a 200 foot drop to the sea.  I suppose in the dark you can't see that.

We had planned to eat and then go out and watch some of the night stages.  But, after a superb meal, we came out of the restaurant into torrential rain and howling gales, so we decided an early night was a better idea.  From all reports, we made the right decision.  I put the cover on 500Tie in the car park, but when we came down Saturday morning it had blown off and, luckily, was on the floor in front of the car.

We were up at a reasonable time and drove up to Greve De Lecq.  The stage here runs down the hill to the coast and then off back up the hill and you can see loads.  The sun was shining, the cars were flying and all was great.  There is also a cafe with a table football table, I was 4-1 up when I stopped using my midfield and Sharon scraped back to a 5-5 draw.  My wrists aren't as strong as they used to be, I can still slap a ball all the way down the table from my full backs, but it doesn't rattle the glass anymore.

We called in to the service area on the way past.  Whilst we were there Dan came in with what he said was a bent rear hub pin.  He had in fact bent the entire rear beam and the boot floor.  The service boys burst into life, I passed spanners, hammers and nuts, but we were beaten by the clock and couldn't get the damaged repaired before they ran out of time and had to retire.  Shame really as Dan was flying and in 3rd place when he retired.  It was really frustrating to be there, but of so little use.

Our spectating point for the afternoon stages was great for parking, but not so great for viewing.  It was a 90 degree left hander, but you couldn't see the approach and could only see them leaving from half the available space.  Was still fun though.  We saw Andy through once, but he didn't reappear.  I texted him and he called to say they were sat in a field at the side of the penultimate stage with a broken driveshaft.  Another great shame as he was in 4th place and only had 5 miles to the finish.  That's motorsport.

We went straight back to The Merton for a break before the Awards Dinner and a drink.  The dinner was great, so many familiar faces and close friends.  I managed to last until half past midnight, but Sharon tells me I was in bed and asleep by the time she put the light out.  It had been a long, hard, enjoyable day.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.  I would have loved to have stayed up all night on Thursday helping Ed and Chris fit a replacement engine to Chris's car.  I would have loved to have been in the service area for every service panic.  I would have loved a few pints on Saturday night.  But I can't do any of those, so I have loved just being here, the company and watching the stages.  Chris and Martine have had to get an extra baggage allowance on the ferry home for their trophies, so some of the rally family had some success.  Highest Placed Lady, Highest placed Guernsey Crew, First in Class.  Not bad considering Chris had no engine at 6:00 pm on Thursday and the car caught fire on the way to the ferry this afternoon!

Monday, 7 October 2013

The Insurance Industry Strikes Again

We are going to Jersey this week.  Nothing is going to stop me.  I was going to go uninsured.  Regular readers will remember that earlier in the year Sharon and I were going to escape to Barcelona until we found out that my travel insurance would cost more than the 4 days in Barcelona would.  Several companies refused to cover me and at that time I didn't have a terminal prognosis.  We decided to go to Cardiff instead, it's got sea, culture, a castle, mountains and everything else Barcelona has.

Just for a laugh, and because I am curious, I started looking for travel insurance for 7 days in Jersey.  I answered all the questions honestly on about 15 different specialist insurer websites following links from Macmillan and Cancer Research UK.  More than half immediately threw up a response of cover not available.  Those that did produce a quote ranged from £1900 to £2500.  None of them listed Jersey or The Channel Islands as a specific region, so being reasonably good at geography I went for European cover.

Whilst laying in bed this morning deciding if it was going to be a good day or not, my mobile rang.  It was Sophie from Insurance Choice, who had refused to cover me online yesterday evening.  She thought she might be able to help.  She started talking about cover and it became obvious she didn't know of my terminal prognosis, so I told her.  She went quiet, said she was sorry to hear that and then said "I think we have a company who will cover you, what is the best quote you have had so far?".  I told her £1900, she said she would have a look round and if she could significantly reduce that she would ring me back.

About 20 minutes later she rang back, she thought she could get cover for around £200, she needed to check some details of destinations and health, which she did and said she would ring me back.  She rang back with a quote of £43.  I said "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is".  She agreed and then explained why it is so cheap.  The insurer she had found who will cover me considers The Channel Islands to be in the UK, so to them, this is domestic travel insurance, all the online quotes would have been giving me European cover.  She has emailed me the policy and I have looked through it, emailed it to Sharon and she has had a look and it all looks good.  Waiting for Sophie to ring me back so I can give her my credit card details.

So, once again the insurance industry confounds me.  Cost reduced from £1900 to £43 with a few phone calls and some clarification.  Lots of effort put in by a brokers sales person to sell me something ridiculously cheap compared to my first quote.

I think today is going to be a good day.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sorry I haven't blogged

It has been a really busy week.  I have been busy getting the Skoda ready for The Edinburgh Trial, which was yesterday.  Unfortunately we had to retire about a third of the way in with a blocked carburettor.  I took it off and cleaned it out, but by the time I had done that the course closing car had passed us and we had to retire.  After cleaning it we got her going again, I drove round the car park twice and all seemed well.  Then we loaded up with the intention of heading for home.  Got two hundred yards and she died again, I have no idea where the muck is coming from, it appeared to be grass seeds. I could understand that in the air side of the carb, but how do they get in the fuel jets and past the two inline filters?????

Had a phone call from Dr Pratap on Friday evening at the end of her clinic.  My blood results from this week show that my kidneys still are not working correctly.  I have a scan booked for Tuesday so she can have a look at what is going on.  She wanted to see me this Friday, but we are off to Jersey for a few days, so we have agreed to meet on 18th.  I doubt it will be good news.  The pazobanib isn't having any immediately apparent side effects, but it didn't last time either.

We went to Banbury Canal Day today.  As I wouldn't be able to walk into town and back we decided to go on the bus.  Sharon sat next to an elderly lady who was happily singing outloud.  Then on the way back Sharon sat on a seat that was soaking wet with who knows what.  The joys of public transport.

Not sure what technology I will be taking to Jersey, so blogging may be a bit sparse for the next 10 days or so.  If anything exciting happens at the PET scan on Tuesday I will let you all know.