Swallowing My Pride

I’ve no idea where to start, so much has happened since my last serious blog (I’m discounting the one hastily written from my hospital bed on my mobile phone). I can hardly take in what’s happened myself, so I can hardly expect anyone else to do so. One thing for sure is that we’ve definitely turned another chapter, and no matter how you look at it, the pages behind me are numerous, and those left to read are getting thinner. It’s hard to tell, things happen so quickly, and this latest episode has made me realise just how quickly things can deteriorate to the extent that what seemed like a simple collapse in the street, resulted in doctors fighting to save my life, pumping random antibiotics into me in the hope that one of them would strangle the infection that was rapidly taking over my body. My stoma was spurting out blood like a garden hose pipe with a kink in it. Of course, when I arrived at hospital by ambulance I thought , at most, I’d be there overnight just while they checked me over and things settled down. As it was it was eight days before they discharged me. The initial diagnosis was colitis, my white blood cell count rising through the roof caused by the infection that was rapidly making it’s way through my digestive system. Almost coincidentally, a CT scan revealed a deep vein thrombosis in the major vein in my liver. Life threatening in itself. Doctors were at first reluctant to give me clot busting drugs all the time my intestines were bleeding, but they eventually decided to do so after speaking to The Christie. I now have to inject myself every day with super clot busting drugs in an attempt to stop it happening again. This is going to become increasingly difficult as the tumours in my liver now strangle the portal vein. During my stay at the Salford Royal, I was transferred to The Christie to discuss my situation with the oncology team. Hospital transport was arranged courtesy of Arriva who have now taken over responsibility for this service. The driver arrived in plenty of time for my 8.30 appointment, arriving on the ward at 7.45, plenty of time to make the short journey. However I had not taken into account the brainless journey planner at Arriva who sent the driver to the other side of Manchester in the early morning rush hour to collect another patient,extending the expected 15 minute journey to two hours. Needless to say the planned chemo for that week was not going ahead. They were in no doubt that the colitis was as a direct result of the last chemotherapy. The thrombosis ? Likely to be caused by the tumours in my liver. Surprisingly I learnt that the reason for Mr. L not wanting to carry out surgery to remove the tumours was not solely down to their closeness to my portal vein, but due to the ‘acute lung injury’ I suffered after my last liver op. The anaesthetic team did not consider it safe for me to undergo another operation, my lungs cold just not take it and they were not prepared to take the risk. This situation is not likely to change in the foreseeable future, hence the reason for heading down the chemotherapy route.

After a rather longer stay in Salford than originally planned I’m pleased to say that I’m now home, having been discharged from hospital following an eight day stay. Armed with yet more medication. Take two twice daily, take one four times a day, take one tablet daily, take one three times a day. Inject once daily. That’s all on top of what I was taking already. By the time I’ve worked out when I’ve got to take what, there’s no time to do anything else during the day. Perhaps the worst are the iron tablets, not to be taken one hour before or two hours after drinking coffee……..as someone who drinks nothing but coffee, that leaves me a five minute window at about 3am in the morning. Of all the crisis I’ve faced over the last 3 years, this was the most unexpected. Okay, so some effect from the chemotherapy could have been expected, but not the eventual diagnosis and outcome. Far to many times I’ve referred to other cancer patients who have gone from being relatively well to a critical condition in a matter of days, and I think I can put myself in that category now which is very frightening. It’s brought home a few home truths. I’m not invincible ! If I ever had any control over this disease, it’s gone now, which has un-nerved me to say the least. It’s very difficult to get answers when you are lying there in A&E as they pump you full of different antibiotics to try and control the infection that had taken hold of my body so quickly. I’ve said it many times, it won’t be the cancer that gets me in the end, it will be some stupid infection, and this very nearly was the case on this occasion. This time I got lucky(again), next time it might not be the case. Part of the luck on this occasion was that I chose to go out on that Sunday afternoon. Some people have questioned whether I should have been out and about so soon after chemotherapy, but the flip side is I could so easily have stayed in bed, dropped off to sleep for a couple of hours, and just shrugged things off as feeling a bit rough as the infection took over my major organs. By the time I realised something was wrong and I wasn’t getting any better, it could have been too late. At least when you collapse in a busy street someone is going to do something about it. Of course I was not alone, and it was more of a gradual collapse than anything dramatic. Stop for a rest- lean against a wall-sit down- lie down- roll around in agony. A kind of Holby City collapse in slow motion. The ambulance couldn’t really do anything for me due to the many contraindications and blood pressure falling through the floor. It must have been at least 20 minutes before they gave up trying to find a vein and decided to get me straight to hospital.

The reaction to chemotherapy was unexpected. I coped well with previous courses, and expected the same this time. Nothing could be further from the truth. Over two weeks since chemo ended and I’m still suffering. Swollen face and chest, covered in acne. diarrhoea, continuous for two weeks, the remedies the hospital provided having no effect on slowing this down. My mouth is sore enough to prevent me eating anything of substance, meals being replaced by the ever faithful high energy drinks I relied on so much during the early stages of this disease. Fatigue at a level I’ve never known before, and itching so much that my legs are left red raw. My second cycle of chemo was planned for last week, but even I knew there was no chance of this going ahead. Normally I would be reluctant to quote what I was told, for fear of being accused of exaggerating, that is until I read the exact same line in The C List. (see previous blog entry )

“If we continue with treatment this week it may kill you”

You sign the forms of consent before any treatment begins, and you read all the possible side effects , including “death” , but you don’t really expect them to apply to you. Chemotherapy has been suspended until 2nd June, by which time I hope I have overcome some of the side effects above. We’ll then consider what to do next. Always at the back of my mind has been Glastonbury, and for the first time, some doubt that I would be able to make it. I could not see me coping with the vastness of the place, getting from A to B. However, I have been convinced to bite the bullet, swallow my pride and hire an electric scooter for the duration of the festival. I must thank the disability access team at Glastonbury, who have been so helpful, and have put up with me changing my mind and needs on numerous occasions since first seeking their help. I’m also delighted that we have managed to get Lewis and his girlfriend Kirsty tickets in the re-sale, (many many thanks to Lela xxx), so Lew and Kirsty will be joining M & I, which will make it that little bit extra special. Thanks also the Fair Mobility for all their help in getting me wheeled up for the festival – I really couldn’t have made it without you. [  www.fair-mobilty.org.uk ]

I’m pleased to report that I have been able to get out for each of the last two days, exhausting yes, but feeling so much better having done it. It seems a long time since we set off for that festival in Salford. Only 4 weeks until Glastonbury, and I’m hoping to be able to fit in 2 cycles of chemotherapy before that. I hope the adjusted doses will be kinder to me than the first one. Finally, and most importantly, I have a load of people to thank for all the kind things they have done over the last few weeks. M of course, it goes without saying but I’ll repeat it anyway. All those people who stopped offering help whilst I was waiting for an ambulance. North West Ambulance Service. All the staff at the Salford Royal, I’ve been in a lot of hospitals over the last three years, and without doubt, you are up there with the best of them.  Pat & Clive, always there without fail. Those involved in retrieving my car (I’ve still not told that story) Glastonbury Access team and Fair Mobilty (see above) and everyone who has sent their good wishes, it really does mean a lot.

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Posted in 5-FU, Be Clear On Cancer, Be Loud Be Clear, Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer UK, Cancer, cetuximab, chemotherapy, Colitis, Colorectal Cancer, CT scan, Deep Vein Thrombosis, Fair Mobility, Festivals, Glastonbury, Glastonbury Festival, Health, Liver, Manchester, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, Never2Young, North West Ambulance, Oldham, Port-a-cath, Portacath, Portal Vein thrombosis, Rachel Bown, Saddleworth, Salford Royal, Stage 4 cancer, The C List, The Christie | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dirty Old Town

I’ll make this as brief as I can, and for reasons that will become clear, you’ll have to accept my apologies for being unable to check spelling, grammar, format etc. etc.

I find myself in Salford, the lesser known of the two cities that commonly become referred to as Manchester. Salford is a city in it’s own rite, having all the things it needs to be regarded as such. Cathedral, university and the rest. Anyhow, last Sunday we came to attend the Sounds From The Other City Festival, the plan was I was going to write about it, and we would both enjoy the occasion. It would also be my first opportunity of seeing a Scottish band that had been rattling the rusty chains of the hype media, Neon Waltz. I had a tenuous connection with the band, I know one of their Mums (someone is going to hate me for saying that) and I had already exchanged text messages and arranged to meet and say hi after their appearance.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare, parked the car (another story that still has plenty to run) and I was making my way to the festival office to collect my press pass. I had finished my first cycle of the new chemo regime just 36 hours before but I was feeling OK. OK except I was a little short of breath, and M suggested I stop for 5 mins, there was still no rush. 5 mins became 10, which became 15. OK was becoming not feeling too good, standing became sitting on a wall, then the pavement, then became lying on the pavement. Neon Waltz became the waltzer and Salford began spinning at break neck speeds as M dialled 999.

And so, here I am, 7 days later and I’m still in Salford Royal. I’ll go into the detail of how things progressed when I’m not squinting into a mobile phone but the result is colitis, probably a side effect of chemo, on top of which an emergency ct scan revealed a deep vein thrombosis in my portal vein in my liver, probably caused by the cancer. All rather scary, and have to consider myself very lucky that the DVT was spotted just in the nick of time.

So for those of you wondering where I was, here I am, and very grateful to M and the Salford Royal. I’m due to be transferred to The Christie on Monday morning where we begin the process of deciding what to do next. Watch this space.

Oh, and the title….refers to the song about the Other city. I’ll certainly have memories of Salford from now on.

Posted in Cancer | 3 Comments

What A Marathon

News reports on the Boston Marathon this week reminded me it’s 12 months since I had the second of my lung operations. It was the night before my op as I listened to the radio trying to drop off to sleep when reports of the bombing started to come through. I must have slept well that night because it was a couple of days before I realised the extent of the carnage that took place. Following my operation I spent a day in intensive care, and another on HDU before I was transferred back to the ward. At the time I thought I was approaching the end of my cancer journey, yet hear I am 12 months later and I don’t seem any nearer the finish line than I was when I was first diagnosed back in 2011. What a marathon !    Aside from the commemorations for those who lost their lives in the bomb blasts last year, this years Boston Marathon also made the news because of BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth’s tremendous efforts in raising money for cancer charities. Not only has she completed the Boston 26 and a bit miles, but this being just a week after completing the London Marathon. Her efforts follow the news of her colleague, George Alagiah being diagnosed with bowel cancer. We don’t know the precise details of George’s diagnosis, but I wish him well. We need to get the message across to people, early diagnosis saves lives ! George is 58, still relatively young to be diagnosed with what is still considered to be an older persons disease.The NHS bowel cancer screening tests are only offered to people over the age of 60 ! Ridiculous. Increasingly more and more younger people are being diagnosed, a point being drummed home by Bowel Cancer UK with their #Never2Young campaign.new-logo1

Regular followers of my blog will know of a number of victims who have lost their lives to bowel cancer whilst still in their twenties, so so tragic, and we can’t let it continue. April is also Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, and is marked by the Beating Bowel Cancer charity ‘Lift The Lid’ campaign.  BBC_logo       My own consultant is on the medical board of Beating Bowel Cancer and is making the keynote speech at their Patient Day, today (Sat 25th). I don’t know how he finds the time, but it shows the measure of the man in that he is prepared to devote his own time to bowel cancer charities. Please take a look at both of the links (click on logo) I have posted above, to see if there is anything you can do to promote or support the work of either of these charities and support their respective campaigns. It really does make a difference.

As for my own progress, I’ve signed all the consent forms prior to commencing another course of chemotherapy on Wednesday. From that you will gather that surgery to remove the tumour on my liver is not an option, at least for the time being. North Manchester Hospital haven’t really said much more than they recommend more chemo and they will look at the situation again in a few months. The poisons on the menu are  Cetuximab, and a cocktail of Irinotecan, Fluorouracil and folinic acid. A couple of anti sickness and steroid infusions will be thrown in for good measure. Once again the  Fluorouracil will be given over 46 hours, which will mean a chemo pump will be accompanying me for the duration. That always makes comfortable sleeping -NOT !!! I won’t be having Oxaliplatin as part of the regime this time. It was stopped after a couple of cycles last time I had chemo due to severe side effects, which I’m still experiencing now. Whether there were any benefits from this additional drug I’ll never know, but it’s certainly not worth risking again this time. I’ll be having a port-a-cath fitted on Monday so that the chemo can be delivered straight into a major artery. I had a different device last time, a hickman line, but am pleased to be taking part in a study trial comparing the benefits of the two different devices. I was randomly selected to get the port-a-cath, which has many benefits to me personally as it will make festivals a lot easier, and is much less likely to get infected. At least there are some benefits to chemotherapy this time.

I’m not sure what to think of how things have turned out yet. On the one hand I’m relieved not to have to go through more surgery on my liver. It’s exhausting and dangerous. Yet it’s the best treatment where it’s possible. One the other hand, chemotherapy, it’s exhausting and dangerous. Chemo is an ordeal in itself, and I’ve been warned that I may get more side effects this time due to the accumulative effect. Initially, it will be over 6 cycles taking approx. 3 months, with a scan towards the end. Whether surgery will be possible or even necessary at the end of it all I’ll have to wait and see. I don’t think I’ve got over the disappointment of being in this position yet again, and I’m anxious over what the coming few months will do to me. I don’t feel anything like as well as I did last time I started chemotherapy. I’m tired, nowhere near as strong and I’ve had 4 major operations since then. Thankfully my treatment schedule fits around Glastonbury week, so at the moment there will not be any need to postpone any of the planned treatments. However I’m only too aware that a slight infection or adverse reaction could put this schedule in jeopardy, and dates so far confirmed may go out of the window. Whatever happens, it’s certainly going to make for an interesting if not different festival.

Apart from numerous visits to hospital this last few weeks, I’m glad to have been able to get out to a couple of gigs. I’ve been recruited to write for silent radio, a Manchester based music website, which pleases me immensely, and should take my mind off other things that are going on. I was lucky enough to interview Brody Dalle last week (if you don’t already know who she is you might not be interested) which was a bit of a scoop for me personally. What a lovely lady she was too. Head over to silentradio and you can read the interview, plus a couple of reviews I’ve written.

http://www.silentradio.co.uk/04/10/live-peggy-sue-09042014/

http://www.silentradio.co.uk/04/24/live-brody-dalle-22042014/

http://www.silentradio.co.uk/04/24/interview-brody-dalle/

 

 

 

Posted in BBC News, Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer Awareness Month, Bowel Cancer UK, Brody Dalle, Cancer, CAVA research study, Cava trial, cetuximab, charities, chemotherapy, Colorectal Cancer, CT scan, Festivals, Fluorouracil, Folinic acid, Glastonbury, Glastonbury Festival, Health, Hickman line, irinotecan, Lift The Lid, Liver, Manchester, Manchester Academy 2, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, Never Too Young, Never2Young, North Manchester General Hospital, Oldham, oxaliplatin, Peggy Sue Band, Picc Line, Port-a-cath, Portacath, Saddleworth, Silent Radio, The Christie, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

The C List

You can’t understand how much I don’t want to be doing this. I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be writing,and I’m not even sure why I’m writing it in the first place. It’s become everything I didn’t want it to be, a dialogue of ‘bad, better, worse’. Line after line of what’s wrong with me. It can’t make interesting reading any more can it? OK I’m sick. Sick of writing this, sick of cancer, hospitals, sick of the emotional torment, the travelling, treatment, I’m sick of being sick and the realisation that I do need help in doing the simplest of things around the house or even going out.

I’ve not been well for the last month, temperature, sweating, tiredness, nothing I could put my finger on. Yeah OK so my back (and leg) has been giving me immense grief for a long while, but that has always been chronic and ongoing. I’ve never liked having to use a stick but now I can’t do without it and can’t stand for anything more than a few minutes without being in immense pain. That’s depressing enough on it’s own. I saw the oncologist last week as planned, not Dr S, he was away addressing a conference overseas, Dr M this time, his usual stand in, I’ve met her on many occasions prior to this appointment. I’ll deal with the important results from the PET scan in a minute, but first the casual comment that the scan showed inflammation in both lungs.”Do you have any pain? Have you been unwell” I wasn’t going to mention it, but yes, I haven’t been well, and pain, well the last few nights have been very uncomfortable, my chest has been hurting. With that she listened to my chest and sent me away to the other side of the hospital for an x-ray. Half an hour later I was back, with confirmation of an infection in both lungs. It seems the high dose opiates have been masking the infection to the extent I wasn’t really aware I had one. 

Now to the PET scan. They are concerned at a few areas in each lung, but the infection is making it difficult to be sure of exactly what it is that’s causing concern. So a quick course of high dose antibiotics and a request for an urgent CT scan of my chest in the hope that the infection has died down a little. Now the bomb shell ! Another tumour on my liver, and another suspected behind it. The confirmed one is 2.5 cm, quite large in comparison to what has already been removed and seemingly growing quickly. I could feel the blood draining from my face as it must have turned as white as a sheet (if you’ve got white sheets that is). I had been half expecting something not quite right. I saw the colorectal surgeon just a week before and there were a few comments made that made me think something had shown up on the scan. How he would let Dr. S deal with the follow up scans, and that I would be closely monitored in the coming months anyway. I wasn’t prepared for what I was hearing though. All I could think about was more surgery, I don’t want more surgery. Twice I’ve had liver surgery and twice I’ve ended up in intensive care. The last time was a little too close for comfort. They can’t re-open the same scar again can they? The tachycardia I had last time, not again surely? Another 3 weeks in hospital…No. Another epidural? That hurts ! All sorts of things were rushing through my mind, too much to comprehend, too much to think clearly. I immediately assumed surgery would follow, but what if it’s not possible this time? Where is the tumour located? What if there are further tumours on my lungs? I left pretty dazed, more disappointed than upset. I walked the length of the hospital again to the pharmacy, to pick up the antibiotics.

By pure coincidence I had earlier learned of a friend who had been admitted to the Medical Assessment Unit after an adverse reaction to chemotherapy. I took the opportunity to call into the ward to say hello, but really it was a case of me taking the opportunity to gather my thoughts and calming everything down in the tumble dryer that was my brain. My friend is a breast cancer victim, now being treated for a recurrence of the disease in the glands in her neck. Somehow you can say things to a fellow patient that others would not understand. Nothing medical or technical, just “things”. They know what to say, or maybe more importantly, what not to say. Or when to say nothing at all. There I was supposed to be supporting a friend, when it was me who needed the support. I was so grateful for the coincidence of ‘same time, same place’. 

The Oncologist phoned me yesterday (Monday) to see how I was, whether my chest was any better, or worse. She was disappointed that the ‘urgent’ scan won’t be until Wednesday, but at least the results will almost immediate and Dr S can make a judgement when he returns. I’ve since learned that the liver MDT has already taken place, correspondence having arrived at The Christie in the intervening days between my appointment last week and now. That means the MDT was taking place as I was in clinic, and seemingly I am the only one not yet to know the outcome. I’ve also since learned that the scan I’m to have tomorrow is a CT angiogram pulmonary, which again would seem to suggest something a little more complicated than a simple chest infection. Dr M promised to come and see me when I go for my CT, so presumably I’ll either know more then, or I’ll have an appointment to see the main man at his clinic on Thursday.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-C-List-Survived-Bowel-Cancer/dp/1780286791/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396976510&sr=8-1&keywords=The+C+List

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/simpleSearch.do?simpleSearchString=Rachel+Bown&typeAheadFormSubmit=

Twelve months ago I was angry, or at least feeling guilty that I was beating this disease whilst others around me were dying. Now it’s the opposite, all I’m seeing is people around me, diagnosed, treated and cured within 12 months. Here am I over two and a half years later still struggling, and no end in sight. Social media can be cruel at times, almost gloating at me with every celebration of another person declared free of this disease. Of course I’m not angry with them, I’m angry with cancer, angry that it won’t leave me alone. Social media isn’t to blame either, without which I wouldn’t know the incredibly talented Rachel Bown, my cancer buddy, who’s own diagnosis I have literally been following for the last few years. I was diagnosed with the same cancer as Rachel just a few months after her own diagnosis, and I’ve followed the same treatment path all along the way. Chemoradiation, bowel op, chemotherapy, both lungs, 2 liver op’s. etc. etc. It seemed that every time Rachel was diagnosed with yet another tumour, I was to follow. This is where our paths now veer separate ways. Rachel has become a great ambassador for bowel cancer charities, her blog is followed by thousands and tomorrow (8th April) she will be appearing on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, to discuss her book The C List: How I Survived Bowel Cancer. Do try and tune in if you can, if not record, but either way, go out and buy her book which is an account of her diagnosis and treatment and how she beat bowel cancer. I guarantee it will be a wonderful read, regardless of the subject, and better still, it will raise awareness and valuable funds for bowel cancer charities. I’m certainly hoping that after this current ‘blip’ I’ll be joining Rachel on the road to recovery and remission. 

 

 

 

Posted in Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer UK, Cancer, chemotherapy, Collapsed Lung, Colorectal Cancer, CT scan, Fentanyl, Health, Hepatectomy, Laprascopic surgery, Liver, Liver resection, Manchester, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, North Manchester General Hospital, Oldham, pneumothorax, Posterolateral Thoracotomy, Rachel Bown, radiotherapy, Springhead, Stage 4 cancer, The C List, The Christie, Thoracotomy, Uncategorized, Video Assisted Thorasic Surgery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Unexpected Item in the Bagging Area

After almost 36 hours of continuous sleep I thought I’d better drag myself out of bed. I’d been dreaming of Bakewell Tarts for some reason. I could elaborate on how the latest mixture of morphine has been affecting my sleep and dreams but instead all I can muster is a bakewell tart. My temperature has been consistently high for three days, no apparent reason, but obviously it’s been contributing to the excessive sleep. Other than an hours exertion in the garden the other day I’ve done nothing to make myself ill. I’ve been struggling with sleep for weeks, ever since the changes to my medication. I’m still falling asleep whenever I stop doing anything. Whether it’s sitting down in an armchair or resting my head on a pillow, I’m asleep in seconds, then awake again 30-40minutes later. A pattern that repeats itself throughout the night, not a sequence beneficial for a good rest. I haven’t watched a full TV programme in weeks. I’m grateful for the many repeats so I can watch them in sections over a period of two or three days, often starting with the finale and ending with the start of the programme.

However, Bakewell tart it had to be. The thought I had awoke with. Not just any old Bakewell, as a Derbyshire lad it had to be at least near the real thing. There are so many that use the name yet bear little resemblance to the proper tart or pudding as it should be referred to. Tesco individual tarts at least try to adhere to the original recipe, so I dragged myself out of bed to drive the mile or so down the hill to the Tesco Extra that would satisfy my craving. I’m sure the ‘Extra’ refers to the extra stress that this particular store puts on me. The stress starts in the car park and ends at the checkout. Somehow the directional road markings are only visible by myself, as I narrowly avoided two collisions before I had even made it to the ramp that would take me to the first level. At least there was some safety in parking your car on that level in complete daylight, even if it does mean a long hike from the disabled parking spaces to the store entry. Clearly Tesco value parent & child customers much more than disabled ones. At least it means that it’s the parent & child spaces that are rudely occupied by single minded shoppers as opposed to the disabled ones. Somehow, the woman who insisted in blocking half the shopping aisle with her trolley and vast reach across the shelves to ensure that she alone could reach anything on the shelves, had the same shopping list as I had. Everywhere I went she seemed to be blocking my way, totally disregarding the fact that she was preventing me either shopping or even passing her vast presence. By the time I had reached the far corner of the store where the bakery was I had lost the will to live, never mind the will to complete my shopping. By now I was throwing anything into my trolley, mostly items I didn’t need, whilst ignoring all the essential items I had listed. The longer I stayed in the store the higher my temperature became. I could feel it rising as the beads of sweat gathered on my brow. By the time I had given up all hope of completing the shopping I came for I couldn’t even face the human contact that was required at a manned checkout, opting for the self service that I loathed so much. Surely it couldn’t be an ordeal with a basket of less than 20 items, including 3 packs of bakewells. Too much to ask of course. “Unexpected item in the bagging area” rang in my ears time after time. By the time I had returned home I wished I hadn’t ventured out, and so exhausted again I returned to bed to sweat it out for another 18 hours.

I honestly thought I’d be sitting here telling you how I was bringing this blog to it’s natural conclusion. I had expected the precautionary MRI scan to be just that, and that the clearer images from the MRI would allay any fears of anything more sinister going on in my liver. That’s not the case, “unexpected item in the bagging area.” To add to the uncertainty, they don’t know what is going on and don’t want to rule anything in or out other than there is an abnormal area of growth in my liver. To say this is a disappointment is a bit of an understatement. I’m not jumping to any false conclusions, but when you’re talking about the liver, any abnormality has to be taken seriously. The Oncologists seem as confused as I am, but keep stressing that the pathology after my last op showed clear margins when the tumour was removed. That is at least a glimmer of hope, but after two scans exactly what is going on is still not clear. And so I go for yet another scan, this time a PET CT scan. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/PET-scan/Pages/Introduction.aspx That’s the radioactive one, and this will be my third. Will this be the one that gives a clear image of what’s happening? The scan is on Tuesday, and I’ll have to wait a further two weeks for the result. I’ve had my fingers crossed for so long now I’ve got cramp in them. 

Posted in Bakewell Tart, Be Clear On Cancer, Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, CT scan, Fentanyl, Health, Hepatectomy, Liver, Liver resection, Manchester, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, Morphine, MRI SCAN, Oldham, PET CT SCAN, Saddleworth, Stage 4 cancer, The Christie, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Little Bit More

OK, so I can’t get away with just posting about the winter Olympics. Even if there is nothing really to update. Well nothing out of the ordinary anyway. I’m getting used to the fentanyl, just about. I’m falling asleep at the most inconvenient times, including part way through eating my dinner the other day. I’m assured my body will get used to it, and the lethargy and tiredness will gradually diminish. As an analgesic it’s great, much gentler on my digestive system, which was the original intention. On the downside, it doesn’t mix very well with alcohol, although my tolerance for alcohol was pretty low in the first place. I can live with that. 

Visits to The Christie continued with an investigative procedure involving a camera and my urinary system. I won’t go into detail, but it felt more like a full BBC outside broadcast unit than just a camera. It proved nothing more than what was already suspected, damage from surgery. I also had my MRI scan, nothing new, same procedure. Not a problem having an MRI but I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to them. Other than that it’s waiting time again. Waiting for the results from the MRI. Another 10 days or so before I go back to see Dr. S for those results, so until then…that’s all folks. 

Posted in Cancer | 2 Comments

Sochi…So What !

Two weeks of torturous monotony, same routine chipping away like a chronic pain. Day after day, the same every morning, afternoon and evening. At last it’s over. I’m talking about the Sochi Winter Olympics of course. What did you think I meant? It’s not the games themselves, they’ve been quite enjoyable. It’s the TV coverage I object to, or to be more precise commentators and presenters. It started two weeks ago with the slopestyle bronze medal win by our very own chalet girl. Did you know she was a chalet girl? You can’t have missed it, at one point I thought that was her surname, Jenny Jones-Chaletgirl, it was tagged on to every mention of the 33 year old ‘chalet girl’. Are we supposed to think that this poor girl has been scraping a living as an alpine cleaner. If she really is just a cleaner then surely she is in line for the British Empire Medal, which is what cleaners and lollipop ladies get isn’t it. Instead she’ll probably get an MBE or CBE and a guest slot on A Question of Sport. so far she has competed in athletics, 400m, long jump, cross country and gymnastics before settling on snow boarding. Some might say get a proper job. Oh she has. A chalet girl.

According to the mayor of Bristol, Jones is set for a celebratory homecoming to mark her achievements when she returns from Sochi. I did wonder why the mayor of Bristol was in California before realising that Bristol is claiming her as theirs due to he once living there before running away to become a chalet maid at 16. By all accounts she spends the majority of her time at her California home, when she’s not snow boarding, surfing or being a chalet maid. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Jenny did great, I loved the snow boarding events, great entertainment, and surely it can only enhance the chance of skate boarding being in the next summer Olympics. All those skater dudes rolling around the Olympic village would be good. Much better to see their long flowing hair and pants round their hips than the stuffy official track suits everyone is made to wear now. They are made to wear them aren’t they? Surely they don’t wear them every second of every day by choice?

 slopestyle

If , or when, skate boarding is made an official Olympic event, perhaps the BBC could find commentators that don’t irritate the hell out of just about everyone who got up early on a Sunday morning to watch Jenny win her well earned bronze medal. I believe their names were Ed Leigh and Tim Warwood. We were treated to such memorable commentary lines such as ;

Leigh : I can feel the pulse in my lower intestines

Warwood : That’s not your pulse Ed

Other comments included “She’s got a face that could help bread rise”, “Look at the stomp on that” and “Riding switch is like writing left-handed while wearing a chip hat and being attacked by seagulls”. They were joined by friend of ‘Jones’ as she was affectionately called, fellow boarder and failure (she was knocked out in earlier rounds) Aimee Fuller who’s only contribution was to scream and shout non-densities throughout the final rounds. The lowlight of their entire contribution was their celebratory screams and wallows when Austrian Anne Glasser fell during the final run, ensuring Jones the bronze medal. What would David Vine and his stiff upper lip colleagues from previous games have made of that. I’m assuming Fuller will be better occupied demonstrating her improvement at future games to spare us the agony, but please BBC, spare us the agony of the Chuckle Brothers Leigh and Warwood from any future events of any kind.

Next up was Lizzie Yarwood and her hilarious and ingeniously named band of followers (I.e. family) the Yarny Army. I didn’t really get to see any of Lizzie’s great efforts to oven tray down a tube of solid ice, but apparently she was the best and fastest of them all and won our solitary gold medal. Well done Lizzie. It seemed that I was destined to be going round and round the M60 whenever Lizzie was taking part in her event, but as with everything the BBC covers, I did manage to catch glimpse of the many repeats of her exploits. The commentary team did at least seem a little more professional than the chuckle brothers, although it did seem a bit unfair to suggest that poor Lizzie had the perfectly streamlined body for such an event. Considering that competitors lay face down on their skeleton sled, it’s not so difficult to imagine which part of the anatomy formed the aerodynamic form that was so helpful to her event. 

So all was well with Lizzie, she came across as quite an amicable lady, who had made a great effort to achieve her gold medal goal. Shame then really that others wanted to jump on the band wagon. It wasn’t long before her local MP Tim Fallon saw the opportunity of publicity that would deflect from his real role as villain and chairman of the conservative party. Even before Lizzies’ medal had the chance of stopping swinging around her neck he was calling for a gold post box. Won’t that be a bit heavy round her neck? The post box idea idea is just preposterous. If I remember rightly, and it wasn’t that long ago, the gold post boxes were to mark gold medalists in the London Olympics. The key word there is LONDON, they were marking the coming of the games to London. On the basis of Mr Fallon’s reasoning that we should recognise the effort and achievement of all gold medalists, perhaps we should go back and paint post boxes in the home towns of Harold Abrahams, Chris Boardman, Linford Christie…. goes on, well maybe not on and on, it’s not a very long list when compared to some other countries If Sochi wants to paint a few post boxes gold then that’s fine by me. Personally I would drop the idea because the boxes I saw (and there were plenty of them in Manchester) looked as though a team of offenders serving a community service order had stood on top of a step ladder and poured a tin of gold (ish) paint over the top. I’ve not seen such sloppy paintwork since Neil Buchanan was last on TV with Art Attack. 

Yarnold grew up in a farming family in West Kingsdown, near Sevenoaks in Kent. I’m surprised it’s even got a post box left ! Her mother, Judith, said she had not realised the gold post boxes were only for the 2012 London Olympics. Really! That’s funny, I’ve been spotting gold post boxes around the country for years, in fact I thought all post boxes were gold. Where the hell has Mrs. Yarnold been posting her letters then? Apparently there has been huge public support for the gold post box campaign. What that means is that there has been a Facebook campaign. You know, those posts, designed to make you feel guilty if you don’t ‘like’ or ‘share’ this post then you’re really not a very nice person. In actual fact I already ‘like’ cancer, alzheimer’s, bronchitis,early menopause, bruised toes, itchy feet, PMT, PTSD, OTT and many other inflictions and diseases….oh, and red post boxes. Leave them alone, they’re hard enough to spot as it is.

Now, at last we’ve got to curling, you thought they’d got away with it didn’t you. Well they nearly did. I started off liking curling until this last week. It seemed a nice genteel sport I could take up, if I could find a rink within a 100 miles of me. I know, I checked every time I was urged to check out the website promoted by the co-commentator. In fact there is only one curling rink in the whole of England. The ‘one’ nearest to me is in Wales. There is a campaign for more curling rinks in the rest of the UK, and perhaps this is a campaign in readiness for the onset of Scottish independence. What is Team GB going to do if Scotland does achieve independence. In fact what is Scotland going to do? Where are they going to get their funding from? Surely the National Lottery won’t become National Lottery and Scotland will it. And more to the point what will Team GB be? Will it be TeamGB minus Scotland? Or maybe Team Not so GB? If you think that was just an attempt to be funny then you’re right. I’ve just about had enough of curling to last me a lifetime. Never, in the history of sport have we achieved so much by not actually winning. It all started off so well, it was 12 years since we won gold at curling, and Hazel ‘I’m your favourite aunty’ Irvine even dug out the exact same ‘lucky’ jumper she was wearing on the very day we did so. Has she really kept a jumper 12 years? Well she is Scottish I suppose. Perhaps it was unfortunate that the majority of curling fell under Aunty Hazels shift, but slowly, morning after morning her sanctimonious drivel (hurry up and finish your porridge and pack the kiddies off to school) wore me down. We started with two teams that wouldn’t settle for anything less than gold, and ended with two teams that would accept anything going. I could put up with the constant yelping that accompanied every stone that made it’s way down the rink, that is until the teams got fewer and fewer and we were left with only two teams on the ice and the realisation that the majority of the yelping came from very own poison dwarf. Her with the big blue eyes that started the games with such hope, and ended at being able to pierce their opponents with such venom that the ice nearly melted. The celebrations at defeat were astonishing, Aunty Hazel, having built them up as certain gold medalists , could not could not contain her excitement at ‘our girls’ winning bronze .No wonder none of ‘our girls’ could crack a smile. But there was still hope for the boys. So much hope that the BBC cleared all of it’s schedules to switch from BBC2 to BBC1 to accommodate the men’s final. Did they not think we are capable of reading the TV schedules, we had managed to find BBC2 for the previous two weeks. Or was it a ploy to drive those of you who can’t resist ‘To Buy or Not to Buy’ to the ice in an attempt to cure your property obsessions. As it turned out the men’s team were annihilated by their Canadian counterparts. It would have been embarrassing had it not been for the men’s skip David Murdoch, accepting defeat with such grace and thank god, a smile. But the overall winner has to be Steve Cram. The former middle distance runner parachuted in to oversee the commentary and accept the endurance award at having to commentate on so much…err defeat! He did however win the competition that surely was running among fellow broadcasters to see who could get the word ‘skip’ in to commentary the most times.

And so tomorrow Steve Cram will go back to his athletics, Aunty Hazel back to being a play school teacher, and Messrs. Leigh and Warwood to CBBC. I on the other hand go back to normal daytime TV. Now what’s on. Operation Hospital Food with James Martin…now there’s a change.

 

Posted in Aimee Fuller, Curling, Dave Murdoch, Ed Leigh, Gold Post Boxes, Hazel Irvine, Michael Fallon, Olympic Games, Slopestyle, Snow Boarding, Sochi, Sochi 14, Steve Cram, Tim Warwood, Winter Olypics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

You Shall Go To The Ball

Another, wet dreary miserable Sunday afternoon. I shouldn’t complain, considering the terrible weather and flooding in the south west. It’s a scenario I do not find difficult to imagine, many times I’ve stood at the top of Glastonbury Tor, gazing across the vastness of the Somerset Levels. Centuries ago the entire area was flooded, until the land was reclaimed for agricultural use. Fortunately the area surrounding Worthy Farm where Glastonbury Festival is held remains dry. Pilton, some 7 miles away from the town of Glastonbury is on the eastern edge of of the levels and is saved from the destruction of the current floods. Those of you who have been following my blog for some time will recall the many discussions I’ve had with my oncologist on the subject of the festival. After many months of discussion I finally convinced him that he would love the festival, and we both went through the trauma and disappointment of failing to secure tickets for this years festival. I’ve been keeping it quiet, but, aware at my own disappointment at missing the festival for the first time in 15 years, he wrote a letter to to the festival organisers outlining my medical history and pleading my case that I should be given special consideration and be granted tickets for 2014. I won’t go into detail, but apparently, I’ve been having a pretty rough time over the last couple of years, and if anyone deserved to be going to this years festival, then it should be his patient…me. The letter was sent off and I pretty much put it to the back of my mind, until I received a telephone call a couple of weeks ago from the disabled access team for the festival. The letter had gone to Michael Eavis, who had passed it on to them asking them to arrange for me to be able to purchase disabled access tickets. I need not remind you that the festival had been ‘sold out’, the entire allocation of 130 000 or so tickets having been sold within half an hour of them going on sale last October. The company responsible for the sale of tickets phoned me last week and am pleased to be able to report that ‘I shall be going to the ball’ ! I don’t have to tell you just how delighted I am. I had almost given up hope of going this year. But it does restore my faith in mankind, particularly my oncologist, and of course, Michael Eavis and the team at Glastonbury Festival. You will remember the recent passing of my friend Hazel, a regular attendee at the festival, and how I vowed to get there this year in her memory. I can’t help but think she somehow had a hand in this, and so Hazel I will be there, and thinking of you every minute of the day, celebrating as you would have done.

I saw Dr. S, my oncologist a week or so ago. Mainly to get the results of my recent CT scan, but also to thank him for his kindness and generosity for writing the letter to Michael Eavis that secured my festival tickets. He was delighted that I’ll be going to Glastonbury. It just backs up what I’ve always said about him, he’s a very very nice man. He’s a bloody good oncologist too, one of the best, and I’ve always trusted him impeccably. And so I was not too concerned when he told me he wanted me to have another scan, this time an MRI of my liver. This is not unusual, I’ve had numerous, but normally when there is a suspected spread of cancerous cells. He assured me he didn’t think this was the case, but the CT scan was, in his own words ‘inconclusive‘. Maybe the CT scan was just a little too soon after surgery, meaning that the images of my liver were not clear. My MRI appointment is scheduled for 6.30 pm. Now I know that early morning/late evening and weekend appointments are reserved for urgent cases, and so this has cast a little bit of concern on my part. If nothing else it means the waiting for a conclusion goes on. Every cancer patient will tell you that the waiting is the worst part. We’ll just have to wait and see…again !

I had a hastily arranged appointment with Mr.S (colorectal surgeon) later the same morning as my oncology appointment. My hospital records were securely packaged up for me to take from one side of the hospital to the other, now considerably heavy. I was seeing Dr. S to discuss the problems I had been having with blockages in my colon. I hate seeing doctors when symptoms seem to have cleared up from the time the original appointment is made. It’s like turning up to see your GP after waiting a week for an appointment to say ‘ I had a sore throat!’. On this occasion I need not have worried , by the time I saw him my symptoms were worse than ever, the pain in my abdomen was so bad that I could barely let him touch me. There was no way I could hide this and he could see that. He had seen the CT scan, and arranged for an immediate x-ray. He is almost certain that my problems are the result of adhesions and a bowel that has still not recovered from being pushed aside during my recent liver surgery. The colon is an organ that does not react well to being interfered with and often shuts down in such circumstances. There is still time for improvement and my colon resuming it’s normal function. As far as adhesions are concerned, surgical intervention is no guarantee that the problem will be resolved, as further surgery at this stage might result in……further adhesions. Surgery would also involve further interference with my colon, which would yet again cause it to go into shut down mode. So for the time being it is going to be a case of sticking to a diet of particularly bland food and, wait and see. More bloody waiting.

He did however call for one of the consultants from the palliative care team to come and see me, in an effort to try and combat the considerable pain I was in. The doctor was down within 20 minutes to discuss my condition, examine me further and try to find a way to ease my pain. She was wonderfully considerate and understanding, and the first thing she did was to go back up to the ward and get me a large dose of Oramorph (morphine). She has also tweaked the levels of some of my many medications in an effort to reduce constipation. You wouldn’t think that something as simple as constipation could cause so many problems, but when you’ve already had a large chunk of bowel taken away it can become a serious problem. One major change was to my painkillers, taking me off oxycodone, replacing with the considerably stronger drug Fentanyl. This drug is delivered through skin patches over a period of 72 hours, so I will have a permanent patch on my body to be changed every three days. Further appointments were made for me to see the stoma nurses, and colorectal nurse specialist in the afternoon, and so it turned out to be a long day at the hospital. It was eight hours from the time I left home to me returning exhausted at the end of the day. However it was worth it even if I am still left waiting for results, yet again. Far better though than having to wait for a series of appointments had I been treated elsewhere. It’s a considerable advantage being treated at The Christie where I can see 3 consultants, 2 specialist nurses and an x-ray all in one day and arranged at such short notice. 

I’m hoping tomorrow will bring an improvement in the weather so I can get out. Apart from hospital appointments and visits to the local co-op for essentials I’ve not been out since the new year. I did go out for lunch a couple of Sundays ago when my sister and bro in law visited, but that was a quick trip out as a passenger. I need to get out the house and try and resume some sort of normality. Lew and his girlfriend Kirsty are coming next weekend which means I need to do a proper supermarket shop, and I might venture into Manchester as I need shoes. I must have 20-30 items of footwear, trainers, boots, casuals, but no shoes at the moment. Footwear is the sort of thing I buy on impulse, hence the reason I’ve got so many so it will be interesting to see what I come back with from a planned purchase! Then I suppose I’d better start planning for Glastonbury. 

Posted in Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, Cider Bus, Co-Op, Colorectal Cancer, Constipation, CT scan, Fentanyl, Festivals, Glastonbury, Glastonbury Festival, Glastonbury Tor, Health, Liver, Liver resection, Manchester, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, Michael Eavis, Morphine, MRI SCAN, Music, Oldham, Oramorph, OxyNorm, Palliative Care, Pilton, Pregablin, Saddleworth, Somerset Levels, Springhead, Stage 4 cancer, The Christie, Uncategorized, Worthy Farm | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

I’m Okay…

…or is it ok ? I know the difference is important to some people. I’m finding it increasingly easier to say I’m ok rather than try and explain to people the reasons why I’m not. ‘Oh you’re looking well’. For gods sake, take a look inside, I’m bloody not, neither physically or emotionally. I’ve been tearing myself apart for weeks, dealing with the effects of cancer, and what is going on in my personal life. The two are entirely separate and yet inexplicably deep rooted in each other. No matter how much some people want them to be treated separately, I can’t.

Huf Huf Huf !!! Pull yourself together man.”

If anyone ever tells me they like men in touch with their emotional side, I think I’d punch their lights out right now. You would have thought by now that I’d be hardened up, used to the emotional roller coaster that seems to come with cancer. There have been far too many sad events recently, and these have coincided with a period where my colon has been behaving far from satisfactorily. In fact it’s worse than at any time since a huge chunk of it was ripped out leaving me to deal with the day to day complexities of having a colostomy. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t difficult when everything is working, dare I say it, okay, and to be fair, I’ve had almost two years of it working fine,and not causing me any problems at all. But the last three months have been far from fine. There seems to be a brick wall half way across my transverse colon. I had a colonoscopy last October, which didn’t find anything significant to cause the problems I had been encountering up until then. But since my last operation the brick wall seems to have been shored up, and no matter what I eat or do seems to be causing me pain. I can go days and days without any movement in my bowel, and I then have to deal with the after effects of the potions I’m taking in order to get things moving again. No sooner have a few bricks been chipped away, a new blockade appears, twice as strong as the one just obliterated. A day of vomiting and a temperature of 38 degrees convinced me I had to seek help, and I’m seeing my colorectal surgeon again on Thursday after a hastily arranged appointment through my stoma nurse. I’m not optimistic, I know he won’t be able to give me an on the spot solution, but at least I’ll be listened to.

It would be easy to blame cancer for all the faults and failures in my life at present, but that’s just clinging on to faint hope that I can pass the blame onto something else. I don’t even put up a decent fight. I don’t have the right to be depressed. It would be easy to blame my depression on others. Is this what they mean when they say “stay strong”. It always seems so crass at the time. “Urgh Urgh”. That’s that sound on that TV programme, you know, the one when they get it wrong. That sound seems to be ringing permanently in my ears at present. Surely I deserve a few “pings”. I know I don’t have the right to feel alone when I cut myself off from the outside world. Perhaps I just don’t want to face up to reality. I can’t pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. It may seem that I am ungrateful to the few people who have been determined to keep in touch with words of encouragement, or even just understanding. I am truly grateful when that email or text message arrives, or the phone rings, even if I don’t sound it.

I look out of my window and see the first green bulbs breaking through to give a hint that spring might be on the way. At the same time I’m listening to the weather forecast of ice and snow coming in the next 24 hours. In a way it reflects my own feelings, everything is in place for recovery, we just don’t know what the conditions will be like in the future. My meeting with the colorectal surgeon on Thursday coincides with an appointment a few hours earlier with my oncologist. Thankfully, both are at The Christie. I had a CT scan last week, the first since my liver op last November. I’m not anxious, compared to what else is going on in my life this seems small fry. I know many of you will find that difficult to understand, but that’s how I feel. Whatever they find, or don’t find from the scan I’ll deal with. I know from experience that an ‘all clear’ only represents the position on the day of the scan. That can be short lived. Of course I’ll be delighted with an all clear, the thought of more surgery at this time fills me with dismay. But even then I’m sure I’ll deal with it…I’ll be okay. 

Posted in Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, chemotherapy, Health, Manchester, Oldham, The Christie, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sad Times

I’m struggling to know what to say, but feel under pressure to update this due to the many messages I’ve received asking how I am. I don’t really feel in the mood for writing, but not doing so only seems to cause concern to others. I don’t want to drag it out, but both medically and emotionally I’m having a bad time. I’ve been ill since Christmas and it’s getting me down. Nothing serious, just not coping with what this awful disease has done to my body. Emotionally, I seem to have reached an inevitability that has been much harder to deal with than I could ever have imagined. On top of that I heard the news of the passing of a very dear internet friend. Don’t laugh, it’s possible to have close internet friends. It’s no different than the old ‘pen pals’. I’m not alone in grieving for Hazel, a fellow stage 4 bowel cancer victim, she was a marvellous support to many hundreds of others.

Hazel and I had two things in common. Bowel cancer and our love for Glastonbury. We were in regular contact, but by no means daily. Not even weekly at times but always kept in contact, and if we didn’t one or other of us would be asking ‘why?What’s wrong?’. Hazel had been coping with the disease for many years, she was far more poorly than anyone really knew, something she hid so admirably to protect her three beloved young sons. I knew that things were not going well for her, but with Christmas and things , I hadn’t really kept up to date as I would have wanted to. Yesterday, without any reason, I asked a mutual friend if she had any news of  Hazel. The news wasn’t good, but if there was anyone who could deal with it, it was Hazel. In the early hours of this morning I heard the awful news of Hazels passing away just a few hours earlier. If you could see the amount of tributes that have been posted on the internet today you would understand the high regard Hazel was held. She touched so many, and the speed of her passing is so shocking that it has left so many of us speechless. She leaves a huge gap in so many lives, and an even greater legacy. My own words were that if my children were half as proud of me as her boys would be of her, then I would leave this life a happy man. But I haven’t seen a better tribute than this one…

“RIP beautiful Hazel, the lady with the widest smile, a wicked sense of humour and massive social conscience. But most of all incredible caring mum to 3 boys. So terribly sad to loose yet another to this awful bowel cancer and so soon. Feel so shocked and sad.”

It seems almost impertinent to add anything more today, but it is a blog after all,and I don’t see my mood improving in the coming days, so here’s a brief update. 

For a number of weeks, probably since, and as a result of my recent surgery, I’ve been having terrible problems managing my stoma. I’ve been having blockages and the pain that goes with it, followed by explosive episodes of diarrhoea. I’m sorry, there’s no other way of putting it. I’ve been going (or not going) from one extreme to the other resulting in some difficult situations on many occasions. It’s not helped by the amount of medication I’m on, and dropping this pill or taking that pill is adding to the complications. I’ve been on high dose steroids for a month in an attempt to give my immune system a boost which has left me unable to sleep for anything more than an hour at a time. I’m sitting here shaking which is probably as a result of that. 

I saw my liver surgeon just prior to Christmas, he seems happy with his work. My liver is functioning well, although obviously I’m still very tender around my abdomen.

“You had me worried for a few days there”.

Those were his words in relation to my stay in intensive care. Well Mr. L, I was a little worried myself. I saw Dr. S, oncologist, last week. I’ve a CT scan lined up in a couple of weeks and once we get the results from that we’ll decide on what pathway is next.

I’ve spoken to each of my children in the last few hours which has lightened my mood a little. It really does make the world of difference to me. Lew and his girlfriend Kirsty are coming up in a few weeks which at least gives me something to look forward to. Other than that I’m sorry if I sound a little depressed. I am ! Events over the last few weeks have hit me hard, and the last 24 hours even harder. Sometimes you think you are coping, and then something happens to make you realise you are not. Despite all the progress that is being made in the treatment of cancer, don’t ever let it convince you that the effects of it don’t continue to be devastating. It’s times like this when Hazel would come into her own with her wisdom and advice. Missing you already !

In the end, writing this has, to some extent, helped me put things in perspective. I’m hoping my next entry will be a little bit more uplifting.

Posted in Beating Bowel Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Cancer, chemotherapy, Colorectal Cancer, CT scan, Glastonbury, Glastonbury Festival, Health, Manchester, Metastatic Bowel Cancer, Oldham, Saddleworth, Stage 4 cancer, Steroids | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment