Wednesday 24th August 2011

Planning Treatment

The Southampton General Oncology Department Clock

Flowers from Judith

Best Wishes from People at Architecting the Enterprise
  I am hoping for a relatively uneventful day.

I am still waiting for notification of start of radio therapy. I am now getting more pain from my hip, so it looks like that is needed.

First task of the day is to return to my GP, to register all the drugs I have been prescribed, so that I can get repeat prescriptions of some nasty combinations that would not normally be allowed. The visit to the GP has been successfully completed. He did tell me that I have a fracture to my hip, so it is allowed to hurt.

I have been advised to keep walking to reduce the risk of blood clots. The doctor did encourage me to have a bottle of morphine in the fridge, especially for bed times.

I think I need a bigger tray for all my medication!

Sue has some shopping to do, so I am comfortably established in Starbucks for an hour or so. A nice cup of coffee, what more can I ask for? Actually free Wi-Fi would be good, so I get signed up for a Starbucks card which gives me just that.

Progress. I have the first appointment in Southampton to plan my radio-therapy session. 3:30 this afternoon. Things are beginning to move. We were a bit concerned about finding the right place, so we left plenty of time. In the event the directions we were given were very good and we found the oncology department by 3pm, half an hour to spare.

Now that treatment is starting, things do seem to be more real. But, a real problem, no Vodafone or 3 signal in the waiting area!

After another CT scan, I am now tattooed with targets for the radiation machine. I have one mega blast of radiation planned for Friday. I don't know ... I wait 4 months for a CT scan and then 3 come along together.

Today the Hitachi  scanner was very much bigger than the one in Basingstoke, where I had to be carefully positioned to get my shoulders through the scanner.

Seems we have just escaped from Southampton before the real traffic build up.

More progress. I now have an appointment in Basingstoke at 9:30 am tomorrow at the haematology department, presumably to plan and possibly initiate my chemo therapy sessions.

Earlier in the week I was concerned about having to wait. It seems that the medical team are delivering on the plan they outlined last week, which gives me a great deal of confidence.

All of a sudden, everything is getting real. Part of me wants to put off treatment and pretend that everything is fine. However, untreated, these tumours are continuing to grow, so realistically the quicker we can start treatment, the better.

Judith Jones, the CEO of Architecting the Enterprise, came round to see me bearing flowers and gifts, more than a 2 hour round trip. I haven't spoken to her face-to-face since May. In common with everyone else she was the bearer of upbeat wishes. Thank you, Judith.

Back to the mundane, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner. During dinner, we got good news. Our son, Chris, is trying to buy a house. Today he was told that his offer had been accepted.

Back home and for the first time today, my hip is pain free. A good end to the day.

Communication and the role of IT

The ability to communicate with people and in particular access to the internet are playing an important role in helping me remain positive.

Of course, I have a good PC set up at home, but mobile communication is particularly important, because I am spending such a lot of time away from home.

It seems that lots of IT capabilities have come together to provide me with everything I could ask for.

(1) A primary tool is my tablet computer (a Motorola/Google Xoom). This gives me full E-mail and internet access, via public hotspots and two 3G enabled mini wifi devices on different networks. The combination of light weight and long battery life are ideal

(2) I am using a very simple app .. Inkpad .. to maintain my blog.

(3) I have thousands of photos loaded to a site called Smugmug, in the cloud, available on demand. It is great to be able to look at pictures of my kids when they were young and now my three grandchildren, together with some of the wonderful places I have been lucky enough to visit. I really ought to be more selective in the photos I upload, but that takes a long time and internet bandwidth is good enough to search with thumbnail sheets.