Thursday, 31 July 2008

I keep slipping more and more with my blog posting. I guess I'm just a bad person.
Well, I've been back into work this week. It's both good and weird. Good in that it feels like life is returning to normal and weird in that I'm not stuck on my own with no one to talk to appart from my stupid cat (sorry animal lovers, but he is stupid. I also caught him peeing on the furniture in the lounge, which didn't help his reputation [got him kicked out in fact])

Yesterday, I had to go in for a blood test at Wexham Park hospital. As usual there was a massive queue but as my test is for chemo related stuff I get fast tracked. Go fast track. So, I go in, hand over my blood form and a couple of minutes later I get called in. As I walk to the blood letters lair, I can feel the eyes of all the people who have been waiting hours burning pure hatred towards me.
It was a different vampiric blood letter today. A young lad, who was trying to talk in a very professional manner (must have just finished his training). He spiked me with the needle and all was good, as blood started coming out, but as seems to be happening more and more often, it just stopped (anyone know why?). A few years ago I got into fencing (with the sword, not the big wooden things that surround gardens). The blood letter reminded me of a fencing drill. With the needle still under the skin he did a classic disengage, thrust and parry. The blood started running again (thankfully. The thrusts were a tad unpleasant). It then stopped again and he withdrew most of the needle, shifted it a bit and then thrust it back in and in and in, I thought it was going to emerge popping out near my shoulder. I thought of gagging but the blood started flowing again and he finished filling up the little blood pots. I bid them fairwell and exited, ignoring the boos from the other people still waiting.
Being a bit of an idiot, I agreed to meet my mate Adam for a couple of beers. I felt really tired, my ankles had swollen (it's a good look) and my legs and back were giving me some grief (not sure why). I walked in and was ready to give up, when the pub came into view. I forgot to mention, I hadnt eaten all day because my tum was playing up too (any part of me still working normally?), so thought I'd better eat something. A few nutritious chips put out that fire! I struggled through 2 pints. I had previously built up a pretty sturdy drinking reputation and alcohol tolerance over the previous 20 years and now I was reduced to this. Oh woe is me!

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Mmm, sexy stockings baby

Howdi ho y'all,
Quite a low key day today. Woke up, not quite feeling 100%, bit of a sore throat and general malaise, but I got on with things, dropped the kids off and then came home. I had to go to the local hospital for 11.30 to be measured up for compression stockings! Ooh, joy and rapture! I get to ponce about in stockings for a while. Who knows where this could lead? One day stockings, the next suspenders and by tuesday week a pair of Jimmy Chu's with 5 inch heels and a diamonte covered bag. Nice!
I got to the hospital and sat in the corridor to wait. Two old dears were already there, complaining. One had been waiting for over an hour and a half and considered the whole episode to be "disgusting" and "unacceptable". The fact that her appointment was at 11.15 and she was only 10 minutes late in, in the end, was not considered. The other dear just nodded, occasional talked over the top about her grandson, who apparent could unravel the very mysteries of time and space, if all she said was to believed. Fianlly another old lady was pushed up in a not too happy looking wheel chair. There she was parked and abandonned. As she interjected in the other two's conversations, it emerged that she had, in order of mention: fell and broke her arm and leg (ouch!), had a minor stroke, had a major stroke, had and beat cancer, got some blood clots and of course a variety of different other minor ailments. I was shocked and humbled by her list. Also, what really freaked me out was when they listed the siblings and children of theirs that they have outlived. A tragic conversation to hear. I really felt for the pain and crap they had been through and how they had come out the other side. Made me want to kick myself for my original mocking view of them and the stereotypical old lady moaning thing. Still, they could whinge for their country.
Anyway, I was finally summoned in, they had me roll up my trouser legs and got out the tape measure. A few measurements later, I was released and told my beautiful new hoisery would be ready in two weeks. I can hardly wait. I hope they do a fish net version, I reckon I'd look the money.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Go for blood and nearly get locked away

Well, I've just got back from the hospital and it was touch and go whether they were going to let me out again. I went in for a blood test and a cheeky CT scan of my sinuses (as part of the ongoing investigation into why I keep getting a temperature and getting ill). Had those, but my stomach has not fully recovered since leaving hospital last time. It's generally grumbly and not being very polite and after I eat it has the audacity to hurt. Most un-british like of it. So, I thought, as I was there and as I felt a bit under the weather anyway, I'd pop in and see the doc and see if they had any amazing ideas. They didn't but as my temperature was 37.7 they were umming and arring about incarcerating me again.
"I've served my time, damn it! ", I protested.
"Guards! Take him down", was almost the reply. Instead, they checked some more results and as nothing was untoward, they let me go with a caution.

Oh yeah, the blood test. It only took two goes this time, but it was the lord high supervisor doing it, who is normally top of the pops and gets blood quick and with prowess. I guess my leather veins are a force to be reckoned with. Hopefully, I will leave a legend behind me, which trainee blood letters can be scared with by their supervisors.

Friday, 18 July 2008


Tired seems to be the name of the game this week. It is the week after chemo, so tireness is usually on the cards, it's just that this week especially I've had trouble hauling my lilly white ass out of bed. The worst part is that my wife has been ill too. I know she was properly ill because she didn't go into work and that never happens. She will drag herself into work if her legs were on fire!
So, that meant between us we had to get the kids ready for school etc and dropped off when all we wanted to do was roll over and sleep. Then, when they got home, the same thing applied. They wanted to play and we wanted to find a small hole to crawl into and sleep!
I'm noticing today, I feel slightly more energised and my wife is back at work (coughing and spluttering though). Roll on the next few days as my body rediscovers feeling awake and active (please)

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Hospital, Chemo, Hospital again

So, I once again had a high temperature, had to go to A&E, wait around for hours, get xrayed, tagged and poked, I was admitted. My temp went up to 39, then after numerous different anti-biotics it dropped down to normal.
I was in from Tuesday till Friday (Chemo day) and seemed pretty good on friday, so they said to go ahead with chemo 8 of 8 (yes, final CHOP). Chemo went okay and I was told that I could go home but had to come back in on saturday and sunday for an anti-biotic injection. All good.

So, I went home, came in on Saturday. Felt pretty good for a post chemo day. I then went in to hospital later and they took 3 goes to get a canula in, ow, then I did the anti-biotic and went home. Then Sunday came along. Not so great. I woke up and felt rubbish. Spent all day in bed with my stomach doing loop-the-loops and feeling ill. I checked my temperature and it was 39, so it was back to hospital. They still had my bed free, ready for injections, so back in I went. There I remained until today.
Free again, free again! The taste of creamed potatoes still is stuck in my mouth and the smell of disinfectant lingers too, but I'm out and feeling okay. So there you go. Chemos done, got a Rituximab to have in 3 weeks and then my first scan. No more CHOPs, hooray and hurrah!

Friday, 4 July 2008

TGI Friday?

It's Friday and it's nearly 4.30. I went to hospital for 9.30, joined the queue for blood letting. I then waited. Waited a bit more and finally did a bit of waiting. Was then invited in to be drained of the beautiful red life sustaining fluid known as blood. I sat in the chair (imagine an electric chair, but without the wiring. Oh and they don't strap you in. At least, I've not seen it happen) and they fastened on a little strap at the top of my arm and pulled it tight. Then they prod your arm, hunting down the most juicy looking veins. Recently, it has taken them a few goes to get all the blood they needed out of my dried up leather veins, that is, they have had to go prospecting, drilling in extra holes and looking for blood. Not fun. I mentioned this to my current vampire, I mean blood letter and she said, "yes, some of the nurses have difficulty finding good veins but we are too well trained for that. We wouldn't need to go in 3 times". She laughed, I guess amused at the nurse's lack of blood letting skills. This time I thought I was in luck, as the first blood container started to fill up, but then it sputtered to a stop. Oh no, I thought, not again. She withdrew the needle slightly, rooted around for the vein. Ow. She poked and rooted, then tried rooting and poking but to no avail. She look at bit sheepish and explained that she'd need to try again on the other arm. Well, at least two attempts is better than three. I'm happy to have one less hole poked in me. She moved the tourniquet to my other arm, poked some veins, found one that was a bit tender and jammed the spike in. I winced a little bit and she raised a professional eyebrow at the wussbag sat in the chair. The next container filled up, she unplugged it and plugged in the final one and....doh! the blood flow stopped. Stupid veins, I cursed. I didn't want a third spiking, but it was looking like one was in the mail and heading my way. She laughed awkwardly and went into root and poke mode again. Apparently, she hadn't learnt yet that when one of my veins says "no" it means "no". She did the poke and root routine a few times, to my discomfort, finally giving up, smiling unconvincingly and announcing/muttering that she had better find another vein. Whoopee! Third time better be a charm! She found another vein, with her supervisor looking over her shoulder, nodding and pointing and having the occasional vein prod too. "This looks like a good one", she stated and without so much as a "sharp scratch coming" announcement, she rammed home number three. Resulting blood flow: nada, zilch, nil. I started to giggle. I got a dark look. I carried on giggling. She rooted and prodded and thankfully, this time the root/prod method brough home the bacon. The last container filled up and I got a third bit of cotton wool and sticky tape slapped over the new hole. She quickly slipped away with the blood containers and I headed out.

Next, I had to wait around until the blood tests were completed. This takes about an hour. Not sure if it really takes that long or if the blood test people are in cahoots with the car parking people and get a cut of the extra hours car park fee. Maybe I'm being paranoid, but those blood testers all drive Jags and wear hefty Rolexes, so who knows.
When hanging around, waiting in hospital, there are loads of fun things to do. You can see how many people there are that look worse that you do. That can be fun. You can see if you can find the oldest edition of Home and Garden magazine in the pile available to read or just simply sit and make random grunts and squeals and see how many people you can get to move away.
After an hour or grunting and squealing, a nurse ambled by and whispered a list of mispronounced names. Thankfully, mine is quite hard to mispronounced (although she did try, bless her). I followed her, to another queue and was shortly invited in. There I was given some more tablet, but thankfully told that I don't need to keep injecting myself with Fragmin. Yay!

I forgot to mention that I was in hospital on Wednesday too. Tuesday night I was feeling unwell (again) and my temperature was high (38). I theory I should have gone in to A&E that night but being a belligerent git and having not long escaped from hospital and feeling not too bad, I decided I'd go in the morning, unless I got worse. Typically, my wife was away on a course and my little one decided to try and fall out of bed in the night and to wake up later after having a nightmare and be a bit freaked out and crazy. Basically, I didn't sleep too well. Anyhoo, my temp wasn't too bad and I was alriht dropping the kids off to school and child minder. I then zoomed over to the ma-in-laws and she dropped me at hospital. There, I, guess what, that's right, had a blood test (which took two people and three attempts) and then got to loiter and wait around for an hour, see a doctor, get a prescription for some GCSF (as my neutrophil count was below 1) pre-filled injections (so I can do it myself), wait 40 minutes at pharmacy whilst they took the box out of the fridge (or whatever they do) and then got home in the afternoon.

Anyway, Wednesday aside, back to today. As I had been coughing (and still am) they sent me for a chest xray (all clear, no problems), saw my bone marrow was lobbing out lots of immature neutophils, so my counts should be going up and was allowed to stop those injections too. Hooray, no injections for a week or so. I've also noticed that my blood clot symptoms have almost gone. My arm is no longer swollen, my hand doesn't look like a boxing glove and the veins on my chest and neck have subsided a fair bit (although they are still a bit prominent). All good signs.

So, on to next week. I'm back in work on monday, although I have to go via the hospital and give them some blood. Hopefully they get it first go. Wednesday is another blood test and then Friday is chemo number 8, the last one! Oh, preceeded by a blood test, of course.
So, once chemo 8 is out the way, I then get to wait until I feel improved and there will be a scan. This is where the anxiety or scanxiety will kick in. These are the scans that will show that either a) I can rejoin the ranks of the healthy, once again free to mock the afflicted and laugh in the face of danger or b) nope, sorry buddy, primary treatment hasn't killed the critter dead, so it's on to the harsher stuff. Brace yourself Mildred, this may sting a little. So, even though it's a good few weeks away, I can feel the vague hintings of scanxiety a tap, tap, tapping at my door.

A less whingy post next time, I promise!