Friday 16th September 2011

A Beautiful Day - All Going Well


A reasonably good night, but my hip was aching by about 7:45 when I got up.

Today, I have 4 more hours at the hospital in prospect as I return for a lumbar puncture to inject the last of the second dose of chemo into my spinal column. Last time, this procedure was almost painless, so I am optimistic for today.

A retrospective on yesterday's treatment. It took 6 hours but was not in any way unpleasant. It was tedious watching liquid drip slowly for hours on end, but not unpleasant. It did not involve any pain, other than the stiffness of sitting connecting to a drip for 6 hours and when it was finished, I came home feeling very much the same as when I went in. Maybe, I am lucky, but it did seem that the other 5 people being treated at the same time had similar experiences.

Today's plan looks as if it will work out well. Sue already had a plan to go out to lunch with a group of swimming teachers from Bluefins. The timing of my appointment means that she can drop me off, go for lunch and pick me up afterwards. That will give me time to get something to eat in Costa Coffee at the hospital after the enforced rest after the lumbar puncture (in my case, 2 hours flat on my back). Apparently, this is needed to minimise the risk of headaches.

The hospital session turned into a bit of an ordeal. The lumbar puncture was fine .. once again, I hardly felt a thing. However, there was no bed available, so I had to lie for 2 hours on a hard treatment table. I had to lie flat on my back. My hip did not like it at all, and after 30 minutes was throbbing. However, once I got up, it eased immediately, so no actual damage done.

While I was waiting, I realised that I was wishing away 2 hours of my life until I could get off the treatment table. I really don't want to be in that position. After what I have been through in the last 4 weeks, every moment of my life is precious to me.

Good news. My treatment is progressing well, so the frequency of check-ups is being reduced. Apart from a blood test a week on Monday, I don't have to return to hospital for almost 2 weeks. That will enable us to get back to a more normal lifestyle.

I asked what is likely to happen to my hip in the longer term. The fracture will heal, but because there has been lymphoma on the bone, there will always be a weakness. If I fall, the hip will probably break again. So, I think I have to come to terms with the fact that my skiing days are over .. too risky. More cruises perhaps?

As planned, my follow-up to the treatment this morning was a panini in Costa Coffee at the hospital. Thanks to a bright red cushion that goes everywhere with me, I was wonderfully comfortable and happy to check a few emails while Sue enjoyed her ladies lunch. A little fib to Sue: I told her that I arrived at Costa half an hour later than I actually did, so that she didn't feel rushed. It gave me an excuse to have a cream scone as well as a panini.

I was still feeling achy and stiff when we got home. Rather than just sitting down, I decided to go for a walk in search of a suitable photo which showed the lovely sunlight and leaves just beginning to turn. I found a tree in the middle of the roundabout at the junction of Hackwood and Grove Roads. By the time I got back, I did need to sit down with a cup of tea.

I am now being reminded that the first few days of the chemo cycle places heavy demands on my kidneys. This means lots to drink and lots of exercise going up and down stairs to the loo. The pause button on my Sky+ box is being used much more than it used to be.

I am getting a lot of feedback from people who are obviously reading this blog.

- Several comments about the pros and cons of broccoli.

- People agreeing with Sue that I can't wear brown suede shoes to a formal dinner, while someone else commented that if it was OK for Ken Clarke to wear Hush Puppies, then brown suede is OK for me.

- Helpfully, one person pointed me to an online retailer ( that specialises in shoes for swollen feet, with a money back guarantee. Shoes ordered; hopefully problem solved. Now tomorrow I need to rent a DJ.

- I am also getting pointers from fellow Christians to helpful bible passages to study.

- My apologies if the photo of the big tube of red stuff brought back memories of their own treatment. (For others, there was not an enormous needle on the end of the syringe, it was connected to a cannula in the back of my hand, going into a vein via a tiny needle).

Please do keep the feedback coming.