Thursday, 27 June 2013

A mixed bag

Picture from here

I saw Mr Oily (the oncologist) yesterday.  The appointment was both good and bad. 

Let’s deal with the grot first.  A few days ago I found a new lump in more or less the same area as before.  Mr Oily says it’s a ‘thickening’ rather than a lump but it does need watching.  Hopefully it’s just scar tissue but there’s always the possibility it’s a new tumor.  I will add it to my list of things to worry about, probably a few notches above my concern about how to keep my new cream sofa clean when there’s a very dirty three-legged cat in the house.

This was a good day.  I don't always manage to get a throw on the sofa before Cyril makes his mark.
I’ve been getting quite a lot of pain in my side, maybe due to the (possible) cancer in my ribs.  However, I have now been prescribed vast quantities of top strength co-codamol.  Hurrah for drugs.

On a happier note my blood tests and heart tests are all tickety-boo.  Mr Oily said that the flu-like side-effects I had after my first dose of the trial drug, TDM1, are pretty standard and now he is confident that this chemo doesn’t have an effect on the white blood cells, he advised me to take paracetamol as a matter of course for the first couple of days after treatment.  So hopefully, I won’t feel quite as vile after my next dose of new swamp juice next week.  I’ll let you know either way.  There is no escape.

Also, I think, maybe possibly touch wood, that my breathing has improved.  I’m certainly coughing less and the other day I walked to and from the supermarket (a 15 minute round trip), something I haven’t been able to do for ages.  Who’d have thought that going to the supermarket would ever be a cause for celebration?

In other news Cyril (the three-legged monster cat) loves his new carpeted cat tunnel.   

 He comes and goes at all hours of the day and night and likes to mark his return home by miaowing incredibly loudly, often at around 3am, to let us know he’s home.  I’m wondering if I can fit him with a silencer. 

My new kitchen is still a source of delight and wonder to me.  In fact I have just been sneaking my recycling into next door’s boxes (it’s kerb side collection day) as I don’t want to litter my lovely kitchen with recycling containers.  Not only do I think this marks me out as just a little bit bonkers but I also reckon I have lost any chance of a neighbour of the year award. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Hot stuff

Picture from here
I started on the drug trial, TDM1, last week.  As it's a trial I had special treatment in the chemo unit.  There was a lot of attention, questioning and watchfulness from an assortment of nurses at regular intervals during the infusion.  Of course this is a Good Thing but, being an unreasonable git, I still found it annoying as it interrupted the intensive research I like to carry out while I'm on the unit.  That 'research' being the cover-to-cover reading of the type of celebrity gossip magazine I'm too snooty to buy but will happily consume in private if given the opportunity.  It also meant I had to be crafty about discarding the boiled sweet wrappers from the communal sweetie jar.  I think patients are meant to have one or two sweets not, like me, chomp their way through a hundred weight of the things and then come out with a sandpaper tongue, a major sugar rush and wonder why the NHS is short of money. 

Anyway, part of the irritating  info from the nurses involved possible side effects.  I did pay attention but have to admit I was thinking 'yeah, yeah, whatevs' as warnings were given, after all this chemo is known to have less side-effects than many others. 

It wasn't until a couple of days later when I stood simultaneously sweating and shaking in the supermarket that I wondered if the ice-cold/clammy combo was entirely normal.  There followed two days of grotty bed-bound  flu-like symptoms including an iffy temperature, a pounding head and everything aching.  

Fingers crossed that the cancer cells are feeling even worse than I did.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Kitchen capers

        Picture from here.  Artistic embellishment by moi

The building, re-wiring, decorating etc at Discombobulated Towers is finally finished.  Sis no 1 and her cat, Tuppence (the ginger ninja) can breathe a sigh of relief as I, the other-half and the three-legged monster cat have returned home after a prolonged (and much appreciated) stay at her house.

Stupidly we didn’t take any pictures of the old kitchen before work started but take it from me it was a dark, dank dungeon of a place.  But now?  Ta dah!

Cooker is cream, washer machine is white - Argh!

Flowers from the builder (probably included in his bill)

And, just for my mate M, look our co-produced artwork once again has pride of place (don’t worry I won’t tell anyone about how you bullied me into creating this masterpiece).

Please don't go thinking this refurb was a painless experience.  It took twice as long (or more) than we expected, went over budget and involved a dust up with a 'kitchen fitter' who could no more fit a kitchen than I could crochet a teapot. 

I always used to sneer, as I watched Grand Designs, at people who almost always spent loads more than they intended on their dream homes, took months and months longer than expected to complete building and ended up close to a nervous breakdown.  Now bitter experience has taught me better and I will watch the programme wearing my humble trousers in future.

However, all the trauma is behind us now and I can bask in the fantastic-ness of the new kitchen - it's not for cooking in you understand, just for looking at.  

Our small garden has taken a pounding.  It was used by the builders for storage space.  So while it used to look like this:

It now looks like this:

Which means that when Cyril went out for the first time since our return he couldn't resist rolling around in the sandy red grot and ended up looking like this:

I should at this point mention that I've also got new sofas.  One is cream coloured.  I sense a difficult evening ahead.

Normal non-refurb whinging will be resumed tomorrow when I start on chemo again - the drug trial TDM1.  Please keep everything crossed that this is the chemo that zaps the buggers!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Arse biscuits!

Picture from here

Today’s news can best be summed up by the immortal Father Jack.  Arse Biscuits!  If you’d like further details read on. 

All my test results have come through. 

Unfortunately it looks extremely likely that the cancer is in my bones (as well as, as I already knew, in my lungs).  The bone scan revealed two suspicious areas on my ribs (on both sides of my ribcage).  I've been getting pain in those particular areas, but was hoping it was due to excessive* hoovering.  There is a very small area of doubt about this (the cancer, not the hoovering) as the CT scan doesn't show anything on the ribs.  However CTs are better at showing stuff in soft tissue rather than bones, so it'd be daft to pin any hopes on that.  The results only came through today.  The research nurse (my new best friend) rang and told me (as requested by me).  Mr Oily (the boss oncologist) is off today but she will show him the scans tomorrow.
On the plus side my heart is OK and my brain is clear. Also on the plus side, the spread to my bones does not stop me going ahead with the trial drug.  In fact I start on Tuesday.  Here's hoping it packs a punch and bops the buggers on the bum.

In the meantime I am drowning my sorrows in Chablis, and I have to say it’s working a treat.  However, I may not be a delight to be around tomorrow morning.

There is no escape from the kitchen refurb report, but I’ll spare you until next time.

*when I say ‘excessive’ hoovering, I mean, of course, any hoovering.