Wednesday 28th December, 2011

A disorganised hip and confused bowels!

I had a hospital check-up, so Sue and I had to leave before the Jackson's departure for Worthing.

As usual, the day started with a blood test. There was virtually no queue, so we then had 2 hours to wait in Costa before my appointment in the haematology department. That give me lots of opportunity to catch up with email and maintain this blog.

When we go to the haematology department, I was not expected. I did have an appointment card showing the time of my appointment. In the event, I saw Dr. Roy about 20 minutes earlier than I expected.

The blood test showed normal levels, so I can gradually stop the precautions against infection, such as sticking to boiled water. I can also gradually stop most of the medication I have been taking to counter the effects of the chemo-therapy.

The follow-up consultation after my scan is set for 16th January. I asked again about my planned trip to The Open Group meeting in San Francisco at the end of January. Without seeing the results of the scan, the consultant was not prepared to give me an answer, but expects to be able to give me the go ahead.

I was still suffering from discomfort and pain from my hip and my bowels. I got interesting answers.

A "disorganised" hip

For the first time, the consultant showed me pictures of my hip from the CT scans I have already had. I was very surprised. When I was originally told that I had a fractured hip, I pictured in my mind, an X-ray of a bone with a clearly defined break. Dr. Roy used the term "disorganised" rather than fractured and when I saw the picture, I realised what he meant.

The scan of my pelvis showed a nicely defined white bone mass on my left and on my right .. virtually nothing! There were a few fragments of white bone, but large gaps where bone should have been. So, I had disconnected pieces of pelvis held together by the tumour. The second scan a couple of months later showed that the tumour had reduced in size and there was some limited regrowth of bone, but still quite large gaps. The scan in January will determine what treatment is required next.

The message from the consultant was that it would take a long time for the bone to grow back and there was a chance that it would never fully recover. In the meantime, I should expect pain and expect to take painkillers so that I can continue to sleep at night and move around in the day. So, my morning morphine tablet has been reinstated.

"Confused" bowels

In terms of my digestive system, Dr. Roy used the term "confused" and confirmed my view that all of the drugs I have been taking and in particular one called Vincristine have an impact on the digestive system. My system should become more regular as the drugs are cleared from my body over the next few weeks. The longest "half life" of the drugs I have been taking is 30 days.

After the check-up we (Sue, Cathy and I) went to Pizza Hut for lunch. I was now getting close to the time when I can no longer use the excuse that red wine is the safest drink in terms of risk of infection, but kept to it today.

After lunch I got my Christmas present from Sue, a new PC. My old one was getting increasingly unreliable, often needing several attempts to boot up, probably because of a hard disk that was failing to get up to speed.

I was unsure whether to get another laptop or a desktop system. In the end, I decided that a desktop takes up too much space and found a very nice 17.3" Sony laptop with lots of memory and a fast 64-bit processor on offer.

Setting it up to the point where I could do constructive work took about an hour and another couple of hours allowed me to install virtually of the software I need. I still keep all of my data on an external portable drive to facilitate the use of different computers at different times, so what I needed to do was to set up a compatible software environment.

We had a pretty lazy evening, watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, which took virtually all of the evening.