Wednesday 14th September 2011

Check-Up Day - All Systems Go for Next Chemo

Another good night.

Today is check-up day, so I will spend around 4 hours at the hospital getting a blood test and then a check-up. If all is well, the second dose of chemo will be administered tomorrow. My hip is a little uncomfortable this morning. I probably slept in a position that was not quite right last night.

Apart from the hospital, we don't have any major plans. I have to help Sue organise the entries for an upcoming Schools Swimming competition. Once the season starts, the competitions come along very frequently. I have three upcoming meets in the next 3 months, that I have traditionally been responsible for. Currently, I still feel fit enough to at least do the set up and process the entries.

This schools competition is heavily oversubscribed, so Sue's challenge is to decide which swimmers to reject.

It is beginning to feel like autumn. Sue drove me to hospital in bright sunlight. This was deceptive. With very little hair left, my head felt quite cold. Leaves on the trees are starting to change colour.

The blood tests seem to be going more quickly than last week. Hopefully, I should not have more than 30 minutes to wait. I spoke too soon. We have been here 45 minutes and everything seems to have stopped (and, I am getting thirsty .. Costa Coffee calls). Someone has just gone in .. 3 more people ahead of me. Overall, I had to wait about an hour. There should still be time to get the results in time for my appointment.

Those of you reading the blog, will probably have noticed that I write more on days when I have a lot of sitting around. I get time to think, and time to ramble about anything that comes into my head.

I am still amazed at the number of people who continue to send me encouraging messages by e-mail. I didn't know that I had that number of concerned friends. If you are reading this blog, thank you. I really appreciate the feeling of being in contact with you. I am trying to at least acknowledge everyone, but I know I don't quite manage it.

I am continuing to lose weight. Today, I am 12.5 stone. I don't think this is a problem and I really do feel comfortable at this weight. So, the amount I am currently eating is not a problem. I can look forward to a nice Panini in Costa after my check-up.

The check-up was fine. Dr. Roy really is a lovely man! On examination, the doctor could no longer feel the tumour around my bowel. That apparently is really good news.

There were one or two minor problems:

I have a sore near the base of my coccyx . I need to be careful to make sure that the skin does not get broken .. where it is brings a big risk of infection. I also have a cough, which is probably an infection, so will need a chest X-Ray.

That prolonged my time at the hospital today. I needed to wait for an X-Ray and then go back up to see Dr. Roy.

The doctor actually seemed as concerned by these "minor" issues as everything else. I must remember to mention everything. The next phase of my chemo will go ahead tomorrow as planned.

I asked about the other growths that showed up on the original scan. They are probably also lymphomas,  but I won't know until I have a follow-up CT scan at the end of the month. There is still apparently a chance that I have dual-pathology (two different cancers), which would not be good news. That is something to pray about.

The X-Ray did not actually take very long and through the miracles of modern technology, the image was sitting on the doctor's computer when I got back. Yes, there seems to be an infection, so I have a course of antibiotics .. yet more tablets.

I also asked about the problems I have been having with blockages in my digestive system and retained wind. This brought the first bad news of the day. Broccoli is back. The advice I originally got about having a low residue, low fibre diet was over the top and will lead to the problems I have been having. So a little more fibre and lots more green vegetables are called for. It does mean that I can have Weetabix for breakfast some days.

It seems almost impossible to predict how I will feel day to day. This afternoon, for example, I had no problems sitting at my PC.

Two great examples of the support we are getting from the St. Mary's Church fellowship:

This afternoon, one of the ladies from the church brought us round some prepared meals, which are a Godsend on days when we spend many hours in hospital.

Peter Warne delivered to me a copy of a book that he finds extremely helpful in building his relationship with God.

Not only am I getting spiritual encouragement from the church, we are also getting very practical help.

Overall, I have had a good day. Before I go to bed, I have to make sure that my electronic devices are charged, so that I can make use of the time tomorrow when I am on a drip.