Thursday 25th August 2011

A searchlight at the end of the tunnel
An answer to prayer
  An answer to prayer.

Not a good night. It is 4:30am and I haven't yet slept. I started off twisting my hip getting into bed and then developed cramp. Hopefully, moving around a little and then a tot of whisky will help me settle for a couple of hours.

Meanwhile, the weather sounds foul, with torrential rain. I am filled with important questions like "Will I get my feet wet on my hospital appointment today, if I still can't get my trainers on?"

Deep philosophical questions.

Meanwhile, the news has just broken that Steve Jobs is standing down as CEO of Apple because of ill health.

Time to go back to bed and try to get a little sleep. I did sleep for about an hour, but by 6:45, it was clear that I was not going to sleep any more, so I got up and had a refreshing shower.

There had to be a bad night sometime. Maybe, I'll sleep a lot better tonight.

I am getting used to arriving for hospital appointments and nobody actually expecting me. Everything is moving so quickly that arrangements are made by phone and don't always seem to make it onto the computer. The same happened this morning. I am actually registered on the computer, but no one seems to know who I am here to see.


The reason for this appointment was to transfer me to the haematology department.

It seems that the original diagnosis was **wrong**.

The biopsy I had last Friday, showed that the source of my cancer is Lymphoma, not my bowel.

This is still not good .. I have a fight on my hands, but unlike the combination they thought I had, it is curable!

I am still having the radio therapy tomorrow to reduce the pain on my hip. The good news is that this kind of cancer responds better to radio therapy.

The not so good news is that it will do nothing to sort out the fracture in my hip. I have to live with that and it will cause pain. I'll take that!

More not so good news is that the chemo therapy they use for Lymphoma is much more aggressive than the stuff they were planning to use. I will have worse side effects.  I'll take that!

I take this as a wonderful answer to all of the prayers for me over the last week. As Lydia from AtE said "In God everything is possible".

I am finding it really difficult to control or even describe my emotions at the moment. Obviously there are periods of total euphoria. I have a great chance of seeing my grandchildren grow up! Then there are reality checks when I realise that I am still seriously ill and I have a real fight on my hands.

No, I am not having radio therapy tomorrow, they have decided to start the chemo tomorrow. Looks like I will be in hospital over the weekend. There is an urgent need to start the chemo therapy and it should reduce the pain in my hip.

Last week, I was in a ward. Today, I am in a private side room, with en-suite facilities. I think I will be able to cope!

It is going to be a busy afternoon. I have to have a bone marrow biopsy and an echo cardiogram before the chemo can be administered tomorrow.

I have to be monitored for side effects over the weekend, especially impaired kidney function. I have signed up for a clinical trial of a new experimental drug.

The first real down-side. We are going to have to cancel our Panama Canal cruise in December. The chemo therapy will not be complete. I'll take that!

We are covered by insurance, so will book something when the treatment is complete and I feel up to it.

I am now settled in my room, with a working internet connection via my 3 MiFi device.

The first test of the afternoon was taking bone marrow samples; not the most pleasant of procedures. However because of the fracture in my hip, the doctor decided to give me diamorphine to allow me to lie in the correct position. That has left me in a very relaxed state, which I am sure reduced the pain of the bone marrow procedure.

The next test was an echo cardiogram to make sure that my heart is up to the treatment. This was very uncomfortable because of my hip, but seemed to be fine. So now it is all systems go for the chemo tomorrow. The machine they use is just like the machine they use to scan developing babies. Sue observed that I seemed to be developing aliens!

Now to more mundane problems. I may have en suite facilities, but the toilet has just been switched off, so I am going to have to change rooms. There was already the sound of a cow trapped in the pipes and then the toilet flush started to run continuously.

Oh dear. Late evening and I have severe pain from my hip bone. Tried the liquid oramorph. Made no difference at all. Now waiting for a doctor to prescribe injected morphine. Hopefully that will make the difference. So, I have had an injection, lets see whether I will be able to relax and sleep now.
I do believe that some of the pain is now diminishing. I think the main problem is the impact on my fractured hip of the man handling involved in the bone marrow aspiration and echo cardiogram.

I have been thanking God for his gift of hope and everyone who has been moved to pray for me. That seems to be bringing me some peace and relief from pain this evening. This is still going to be a long and disturbed night. It is now 11pm and in 2 hours the nurse is going to have to change the saline drip into my arm. It is important I get fully hydrated before the chemo drip starts in the morning.

Even this late at night, I am still receiving messages of support from very unexpected sources. That will help give me the strength to cope with a night of pain. 1 3/4 hours until the change of IV bottle, maybe I will be able to sleep for a while now.

No, 1am and I am still awake. There is no way that I can actually lie in the bed tonight. The emails are still coming in and I have just finished reading Mark's Gospel from end-to-end, something that all Christians should try to do at least once.

I think I hear approval for another morphine injection. That should help damp down the pain again, but I think I will stay in the chair. I can keep the weight off the area that hurts. The time taken to get doctor's approval does at least consume some of the night hours. I am sure that things will feel a lot better in daylight. But no doctor's approval, just the liquid oramorph this time. Another litre of saline plumbed in. Will take 8 hours to transfuse.

3am. Time is passing. Everytime that I doze off, the saline drip manages to kink and the machine buzzes demanding attention. Still can't lie down and put any weight on the back of the hip bone.