Friday, May 28, 2010

Blobs galore

Well I got out yesterday, final chemo over and it was earlier than ever thanks to pump never breaking down, so Stewart whisked me off into the countryside for a wonderful lunch; to say it was better than I would have had in hospital is like comparing a clinch with say Johnny Depp and ooh I don't know .. Benny Hill. This morning I have finally unpacked my hospital bag and the case we took to France which up to now has been blocking the bedroom floor and spilling out its contents so that I could just pick out something to wear each day from the emerging layer; all is now tidily hanging up and I have even filled a bag for the charity shop full of work jackets and tops I will never squeeze into.

The reason for this small burst of activity I presume is that I am still on the steroids they give you to stop you retching every 5 minutes; it's almost working and because I was given news in the hospital. Well I suppose you could call it news more like more information and none of it that good I am afraid readers. In fact I am thinking of renaming this blog the blob blog and you will see why.

The mysterious Mr Gurevitch turned up at my bedside with Gloria the nurse. He, you will recall, is the sarcoma surgeon who had shown an interest in my thigh; well who can blame him, it used to be a thing of beauty but unfortunately now I find is just an item of medical interest. His first appearance I think was to get an idea of the sort of person I was, because when he came back a few hours later (Stewart had stayed on to be with me) he was armed with computer, surgeon assistant and a more senior nurse. It was the computer that was the most useful and he very carefully took me through my latest scans. These were taken a few weeks ago, when I had already had three lots of chemo but we don't have anything to compare them with from just before the chemo as scans weren't done then. It's almost academic because it wasn't a pretty picture. The lungs were much as I would have expected; lots of blobs but none of them growing massively; he then took me to my liver, two blobs about 1.5cm but then at the bottom a much bigger and messier one, about 4-5cm; then a bit further down a 6cm blob attached outside of my bowel, nestling against my pancreas. He moved onto the MRI scan of my leg and here was another large messy blob, again about 5cm, sitting in my thigh muscle. I had no idea that I was nursing blobs so large, or so many of them. We talked about surgery and in a nutshell he said he wouldn't operate on the bowel one; it was too risky; the leg one was more operable but really he didn't think I should put myself through any of it; it would be painful, need relatively long hospitalisation and the other blobs would still be there doing their worst. In addition at present I am relatively well if you look beyond the chemo reactions. I am inclined to agree with him.

So I am planning the summer and intend to make it as wonderful as I can, in France of course once I have had the next scan, which might show some reductions who knows. How do I feel? different definitely. I knew before that I had too many blobs to make it to my three score years and ten but thought I might just get to see the 2012 Olympics; now the prospects look shorter I think and the facts are clearer. I do feel doomed and it's not pleasant. I think its all terribly unfair.. but madly I suppose, I still can't stop looking forward to the sun, to good meals, friendship and to all that the world is offering me and mine for as long as I am well enough to enjoy it all. Let's hope I can stretch it out.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A sea of lactic acid

David Coleman (for those of you who live outside the UK or are very young he was a sports commentator famous for Coleman Balls ups) used to say at the end of very long races when an athlete just couldn't go any faster and got passed by some smart arse who'd kept a bit of energy spare, "he's swimming in a sea of lactic acid". I had no idea what he meant but it was quite graphic and that is exactly how I feel but not after 10,000 metres, literally after 10 yards of very slow walking.

It's the chemo I know and what it is doing to my blood cells or maybe my lactic acid if I have any; I can only hope it's slowing leio down in the same way or maybe doing for him completely for a while.

Tomorrow I go in for my last installment of the poison, I fancy it about as much as I fancy running 10,000 metres but it has to be done. I know in my bones I will be facing new poisons further down the track so it doesn't feel like the absolute last but I will try to make it a cause for celebration and find the energy from somewhere to celebrate.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

LIfe or limb

Google is a wonderful thing; if not a little patronising. On return from the abortive trip to France there was a message on my answerphone from someone called Gloria from the hospital; never heard of her but I called and got Helen instead. It seems that a Mr Gullervitch or someone wants to talk to me about a possible operation on my leg to dig out the new sarcoma. I said yes and then tried to google him to see if he deserved to get anywhere near my thigh.

I typed in gullervitch surgeon birmingham and it came back - Did you mean: gurevitch surgeon birmingham? OK clever clogs I suppose I did but how did you know you are just an engine; a load of digital numbers, wires and circuit boards and thingies.

I told Jess about the appointment last night when I left my Greta Garbo hermitage briefly for Harry's 5th birthday and she asked if I would let them cut my leg off - she doesn't beat about the bush my daughter! She was surprised when I said No I didn't think so as for her it would be an obvious choice life or leg, she'd choose life. As I'd still have God knows how many blobs in my lungs and would be a pretty miserable unidexter, I would not.

Let's hope Mr Gurevitch, thank you google, will not be offering me the choice but just doing a bit of lipo and sarcoma reduction on my battered thigh. We will see what we will see.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Round trip

We got to our lovely little house in France and then we turned round and came back again. I was OK at Sam and Julie's in Northern France except things were a bit nightmarish in the toilet department; I slept most of the way down France; was miserable in the Aire where we stopped for lunch but I put that down to the fact that I chose lentils rather than chips with my fish and that a bloke on the table next to us felt it necessary to hand me a card that told me that God loved me or Tu est aime; Dieu a dit: Tu as du prix a mes yeux, tu comptes beaucoup pour moi et je t'aime - I must have looked bad and I didn't have the energy to ask him if my sarcomas were a love gift of said God and that merci but he could shove his card up his derriere.

Got to Maumont at about 5ish; and just wrapped myself in a blanket and shivered and slept the evening away. The next morning my temperature soared over 38 - the danger point; it was a bank holiday in France and anyway I just handed over all decision making to Stewart and he opted for driving back as quickly as possible. We left at 10 in the morning and I was in the hospital in Brum by 10 at night; having slept all the way back this time. Toilet nightmares explained by the fact that I had raging thrush; a vile set of hemorrhoids and a serious urinary infection. I can frankly say that none of my four baby births or three lots of major surgery come near the screaming agony of going to the toilet over the past few days.

I am out now after another big blood transfusion and IV antibiotics. I am still feeling dozy but discomfort (lovely euphemism that) is gradually going away. I feel a Greta Garbo moment coming on however; one of the big reasons for getting away was to wallow in the peace and quiet, not to have to put a brave face on or make any sort of effort. I want to take my hat off when my head itches and not worry that someone will turn up and see the full bald horror. So for a while I say to my best in the world family and friends, I love you to bits, you are wonderful, I wouldn't offend you for the world but can we all pretend that we made it to France and stayed there and we are not at home. We will let you know if we need help.

I find that Greta and I share something in common around the eyebrows as well as wanting to be alone, because I have to draw mine on now and clearly those beauties of Greta's are not the real thing. I have a horror however of looking like the dentist around the corner who has a full head of hair so can't have any excuse for the terrible job she does on her brows, she should stick to cosmetic teeth in my humble opinion but then I am just a nasty anti-social ne'er - do - well like the beautiful Greta so why listen to me?

I will keep blogging when I get the energy.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's all a mess

I feel I have a lot in common with the UK body politic today. It and the body Jean Trainor are both in an almighty mess and facing an uncertain future. Inside me cancer cells are trying to duplicate themselves at ridiculously exuberant speeds while chemo drugs try to halt them and at the same time knock for six at all my healthy cells, meanwhile leio keeps popping up and getting a grip leaving looming lumps and bumps all over the shop.

In the country we don't know who is going to be in government, what poison is being hatched up behind closed doors and who of the nasty little gremlins will be in charge in the end. And we must do it all quickly, not take a good respectable month or so as the Germans etc do because we are at the beck and call of the markets it would seem; ah yes the markets and political expediency- the cancer cells in the body politic!

Quick update: Back at home and knackered by night up watching nothing happen in the election; feeling as OK as poss and hoping to escape to France on Tuesday

Monday, May 3, 2010

On parole

Sorry for delay in posting friends, I was out on Friday but have had wall to wall visitors since then and on Saturday had a night away at my brother and sister in laws after a superb meal at a posh country house. I am back in tomorrow so it's just a short parole but they are going to inject me with some magic stuff with the next chemo to boost my white blood cells and netrophils so maybe I will be on a shorter sentence next time.

I did manage to watch the last election debate whilst in hospital and the clear winner in my view was the Great Hall at my alma mater; didn't it look superb. I happen to know however that it has the wost acoustics in the Western world so no wonder Nick looked a bit sweaty and David D had to keep repeating the questions, it must have been nigh on impossible to hear anything. And I was worried about David, the man is well over 70 and he had to stand up for the whole hour and a half and then go on and do Question Time. Having paid him for a couple of days work once which nearly bankrupted the organisation I was working for, I know he will have been paid well but really they should have given him a chair.

Stewart will have to proxy vote for me on Thursday, I think I can trust him especially as I have decided to stay with the old team despite it being a busted flush and having let me down badly. Hopefully I will be home for the night long vigil of waiting for the results and listening again to David D who will at least have a chair this time.