Wednesday 31st August 2011

Everything Going Well - Goodbye Hair

  Another good night. Lots of trips to the loo, but I got back to sleep almost immediately.

I have to go back to the hospital today for a check-up. The first job is to get blood tests, so I have to join the queue in the pathology department.

We did get a phone call from Jenny last night. They got back safely from New Zealand and importantly, had relatively easy flights. They got a bassinette for Sammy on both long flights and the other two children slept quite a lot. Jenny had not heard about my change of diagnosis until she actually got home. They obviously had a wonderful time in New Zealand and promised lots of photos when they come to visit. Jenny sounded very tired. I was really pleased that she phoned.

This morning while I was lying in bed, I started to calculate timescales. As long as the chemo therapy proceeds as planned, I think Sue and I may be able to travel to The Open Group conference in February next year. On a purely mercenary front, that will allow us to use the tickets from the flights I cancelled yesterday, when I cancelled our December cruise. More importantly, it will give us the chance to get back together with all the people who have been praying for us and sending inspirational messages.

While waiting for my appointment this morning, I ventured out on my own to buy a magazine. Interesting challenge. If both of your arms are in use with crutches, how do you carry a magazine? Well, how do dogs carry newspapers? I could be seen slowly lumbering across the foyer of Basingstoke Hospital with a copy of Railways Illustrated gripped in my teeth!

My check-up went as well as it could possibly have done. The blood test results were fine and it seems that the mass of my tumour is already softer and more diffuse. Obviously, these are still very early days, so I mustn't get carried away.

Every appointment seems to generate at least 2 more. I will need to spend most of tomorrow afternoon at the hospital having a lumbar puncture.

Dr. Roy stressed the need for me to keep mobile, despite the problems with my hip, to minimise the risk of blood clots. So after lunch, I walked with Sue to our local shop, a round trip of all of 300 yards, but much further than I have done in the last couple of weeks. I got into a good rhythm with the crutches and managed it with relative ease. There is some discomfort from my hip, but it started to disappear as soon as I sat down. I guess that means that I should try to push myself a little bit further every day. The lumbar puncture gives me a good excuse for tomorrow. It was only 300 yards, but left me wiped out. I sat down for a few minutes to watch Laura Robson in the US Open Tennis. Seconds later, I opened my eyes half way through the second set.

On Monday, I reported on a visit from a friend from St. Mary's who has a daughter with a long-standing infection. Today we received some limited good news. When she had her dressing changed, the wound looked clean. One small step, but in the right direction.

The most dramatic event of the day - I have just had most of my hair cut off. The medical staff warned me that I will lose my hair and suggested that I take pre-emptive action, to avoid leaving clumps of hair around the house. So, Chris, who keeps his hair short, came round with his clippers and virtually all of my hair is now gone.

You can see before and after pictures. Very short hair will also be an advantage if I end up with side effects and don't feel up to a shower. Big shock, without hair, I look exactly like my dad. I must remember to wear a hat in the sun, otherwise, I will get sunburn.

This has been a very good day, so we have plenty to thank God for in prayer when we go to be this evening.