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Life Blog – Back on Track With The Chemo

A few weeks ago my PICC line got infected which resulted in a short but er… entertaining stay in hospital. However, when I then went back a week later to start my treatment again, it turned out that my white cell count was still too high and  so the treatment was postponed for a further week.

Yesterday I had my bloods checked again and the scores were much better including my CEA (Cancer Indicator) score which had gone down even more to a very acceptable 1.7.  This news this morning gave both of us a great lift and it made us realise how the delays in getting back on track with the treatment had been preying on our minds. This afternoon then I went to the hospital to receive my Avastin and the chemotherapy tablets that I am now to take for the next three weeks. All was good and I got the treatment.

However, from leaving work at 1 pm, I still did not get back home until just before 7 this evening. Yes my treatment does involve a lot of waiting around! Without, my PICC line, I have to have a cannula inserted in my hand to receive the Avastin. This has resulted in three war wounds in my hands before  they finally found a vein! Anyway who cares, we are back on track with the treatment and it has all been timed perfectly around our May European driving holiday which we are now both looking forward to immensely.

So that’s it, all is good in our entrenched battle with the Big C, and the next blogs that come your way will all be about our road trip and holiday adventures and shopping in Venice! And too right girlies I am well going to treat Lady P to something nice while on holiday!

 

Take care x


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Life Blog – The Dramas of an Infected Picc Line

The Dressing

The weekend just gone was socially a rather brilliant weekend but it was compromised by me having the headache from hell. I woke up Saturday morning excited as we were heading to Cardiff to see our old buddies Aston and Debs and to be fitted with a Morning suit for their up and coming wedding. As well as the excitement though, I also awoke with a banging headache. I get this sometimes if I have slept awkwardly and by the time I have showered it has gone. This one though persisted. I took some paracetamols and got on with things.

The drive to Cardiff is always a joy for us, cross country and lots of fun whatever the car. Half ten. Be there or Be Square. so at half ten we arrived at Aston’s and after a lovely cup of tea – and let’s linger on this, it was really lovely – we set off for the fitting of the suits. Aston was done so it was just me and Debbier’s brother Michael – who is giving her away. The fitting went well, and I’m satisfied that I am going to look smooth jazz for the wedding. We dropped  Michael off as he had to get back to… well he had to get back.

Aston and Debbie then treated us to a lovely lunch at The Captain’s Wife, at Swanbridge Penarth, which we all really enjoyed. Lots of fun lots of laugh and excitement. Heck there be a wedding brewing! After lunch a walk around Cardiff Bay heading to the Dr Who Exhibition. Sadly though it was colder than we had anticipated and we all froze on the walk there – me especially and this headache just raged. Aston and Debs could see that I was close to death (what I mean is they could see that I was a frozen mard-arse who was feeling miserable with cold) so they got  a taxi back to their uber cool Nissan horse with a white star on its head (If I’ve lost you Wikipedia is your friend). My headache raged still and late afternoon we caved from a lovely day and headed home.

I was concerned by now as I never get headaches and nothing was shifting this. My thought was my blood pressure was up.

Sunday morning and a Ground hog moment. I woke up excited and with a raging headache! Same old headache but different adventure. This time The Morgan Factory up the road from us was hosting a Pistonheads Sunday Service so 300 examples of serious automotive metal descended on the Morgan Factory to enjoy breakfast and a mass  fuel injected love in!  We loved it and you can read about this on AutoBeast here.

Mid- afternoon and once more I was done for this headache was mahoosive and we bailed while I had a lie down.

Monday morning, I got up for work and showered but this just shattered me and took so long that I knew I was beaten,  I seemed to get hot flushes too to go with the headache.so I bailed out of work. I had to go to the hospital in the afternoon anyway to have my bloods taken for the new chemo I was starting Tuesday. I decided to go earlier, I had my bloods taken and mentioned the headaches and my suspicions about blood pressure. He checked those and of course they came back with the very healthy score of a twenty five year old international playboy as they always do!  I was confused. He stuck something down my ear. Blimey I thought, “Don’t leave your tongue hanging out when you pull your confused face, he is now looking for brains” . Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t but he found a temperature in proper money of 102degrees Fahrenheit! My sphere of emptiness then was on a slow simmer to boiling point! Virtual alarm bells went off everywhere and that was it, I was not going home. I got rushed off to A & E. God knows why as it ain’t quick in there. Clearly the wait in A & E was some kind of induction, a preparation if you like for the bigger waits that would follow. So four hours later, I’m in a cubicle in A & E. Let’s just say that A & E has people in it, all walks of life, all kinds of ailments. It’s sad, it’s tragic, sometimes it’s happy, but you never, never want to be there. If you do want to be there then you are at the wrong place – a psychiatric ward would better suit.

An hour later they had a plan for me. It did not involve going home, it did involve a chest x-ray and at this point 11.30 pm, Peanut decided she was going home. Hell’s Bells, there I was all alone, no Peanut, no Teddy Bear, no jim jams, hungry as a horse as I had missed my evening meal, and only the undie pundies that I stood in! Yep you guessed it Mr Beastie was well scared. Oh and did I say that I had a headache?

3 am in the morning, I was moved to a proper bed in a ward and everything. The male nurse looking after the ward was brilliant and settled me into my new bed swiftly and offered me some NHS Jim Jams. Really guys? Mr B in NHS jim jams? It never happened! I settled to sleep, rocked to the world of Zeds by some slow repetitive noise from across the ward where he whom we shall call Rupert resided.

I was woken half an hour later by the voice of the male nurse, “Don’t pull on that Rupert,  it’s a catheter.”

I devoured breakfast and Mrs P came to rescue me with everything I needed from home. Actually, it was clean undie pundies and socks. No jim jams, no slippers, no teddybear, no shaver, no shaving foam, and no blooming comb! “Hello Darling how wonderful to see you,” I said and I meant it. Well I was pleased and I hadn’t looked in the bag Lady P brought!

Upshot of my diagnosis was that my PICC line was infected, it needed to come out and I needed some industrial strength antibiotics (Domestos) injected intravenously into my body. 35 seconds later they turned me into a pin cushion as they looked for a vein. I resigned myself to being there the rest of the day. Later on my PICC line went in a painless 3 second op, which involved a nurse pulling it out of my arm!

Poor Rupert, bless was really not well. He was something over 80 and drifting in and out of consciousness. In the afternoon, I kid you not he started shouting for “Pussy.” He was really shouting and this entertainment lasted an hour at least. I never found out who or what “Pussy” might have been.

Peanut left me at about 6.30 this day, to take proper care of the cats. Ok, I had no Teddy, or toiletries, but I was a stronger man. I knew I was being fixed, I was able to show compassion for Rupert, I was confident that the new dawn would arrive not only with socks and undies, but with shavers, toothbrushes, man stuff.  I spent the evening finishing off a damn good read – The Lost Daughter – by Lucretia Grindle and browsing the internet checking out man toys, before heading to Zed land about 9.30.

Now I never knew that Rupert was married. Until lights out, At which point, he accosted every nurse that went within 5 metres of his bed. He was upset, she hadn’t visited he demanded the nurse ring his wife and insist that she visits him tomorrow, or… Well I wasn’t sure what “or” was but it was something serious. It was 11.30 for Heaven’s sake. Same thing at 1 pm, but “or ” was the refusal to take any medication. Never did find out his wife’s name, but a tad after 12 we had another brief “pussy” incident. 2.30 and he was really shouting and adamant that his wife must turn up tomorrow and see him “face to face”.

Sleep was eluding me. I turned the iPhone on for a while. I specced a Rolex Milgauss watch. Nice. Peace broke out. no I was wrong he had another holler at another nurse. I do hope his wife’s name is “Pussy!” I fought back, he would not beat me. At three thirty I specced a Porsche Cayman S. That was nice, I almost smiled. I drifted off and my zeds were the gurgle of a Porsche exhaust.

A noise like a fart woke me. I looked up. The male nurse was there. “You have emptied your bowels Rupert, lean over I will have to clean you up.” I don’t remember the order of these but there were two of these  incidents in the night. The Night nurse was very patient, very kind and compassionate. I admired him. Paperwork work though was not his forté.

Another nurse, another rude awakening with the same demands about his wife. Out came the iPhone again. I was fed up but kind of interested, in that infectious soap opera kind of way, but  the story was just the same. My head was not improving, This was mentally and physically exhausting. I looked down at my iPhone seeking relief in man toys. Why was my Google page showing a page full of links to “The Perfect Murder”?

Finally, finally Morning. Peanut was early as she was working in the hospital, saving lives and stuff (mine probably) so it was a brief hello but a bigger bag and a wash bag too. We kissed quickly, and P adorned her Super P Cape and dashed off to save the world. I checked the big bag. Undie Pundies, socks. Consistency, I like that, I taught her that, I know I did. But wait a shirt too! I was impressed. A wash bag. Yes, a razor, yes foam, yes a toothbrush, yes toothpaste, yes deodorant. No comb, no hair styling wax! Disaster Day Two Darling and if I escape from here today people might see me. No worries, I had a cap in the Opel GT. I relaxed before the fairy in me had even took over!

I rushed to shave before breakfast and with every stroke of the bluntest razor I have ever applied to my face, I fell in love even more with Peanut. Bless, she was so worried about my mental state in here, that she thought a sharp razor was not something I should have!

I demolished breakfast and felt soo much better with my clean chin and my, my well my lovely clean hair!

Confirmation came that I was being discharged today. My enthusiasm clearly affected the doctor doing the rounds. He was actually touched by my joy. Poor man must deal with one miserable Rupert after another! Then a long wait began and my spirits fell as I became impatient. I realised they were keen to discharge Rupert too, but there was a problem. I heard one of the female nurses speak to Rupert, “The Doctor wanted to discharge you but you haven’t had a bowel movement for a week.”

Rupert spluttered that he had last night. “No I don’t think so Rupert, it’s not recorded on your notes. We will have to give you an enema.”

I toyed with the concept of natural justice for 35 seconds and decided I was a fervent believer. I packed my small bag, collected my tablets and was discharged with a huge smile on my face.

I collected Peanut and we emerged from the hospital to an enchanting sunny day and a heady smell of delightful wallflowers planted in the beds outside the door. The smell of disinfectant was gone, faces were smiling and I felt as I so often do,  like Miranda emerging from the cave, ” Oh brave New World that has such people in’t!”

Author’s Note: Obviously the characters and incidents in this blog are of course completely imaginary and bear no relation to any living individual or any real incident that might have occurred. Oh and so you understand, I do not exist either!


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Life Blog – The CT Scan Consultation at The QE

Mr Beastie trying a Renault Twizzy for size!

Last week was a fun week for consultations. First there was the consultation at Worcester with the Oncology consultant on Tuesday, which was long and er… interesting and my ongoing treatment was outlined. Then on Thursday I went up to Birmingham to see the liver consultant at The QE. He was a really lovely chap and basically said there was little point in seeing him any more as surgery was not at this point an option. Fair enough, makes sense. He was a compassionate man. As we left he put his arm around me, gave me a man hug and wished me all the best for the future.

Now I love a man hug, can’t beat ’em. I’m comfortable in my own skin. It is not the sort of thing that would make me rush out and buy a chrysanthemum Yellow TR4. However, a man hug from your liver consultant is in a whole different league. It is black and white, it is clear cut as surely as hearing the football scores being read out on Saturday afternoon. Yep that man hug told us the score all right.

But you move on. You muster. You grab your bird and snatch a hug. You fill your head with whatever it takes to smile. Mrs P got on her mobile and paid the deposit for a new MINI Paceman! Well that did the trick! Specs, colours, mods, how, when why? Yep a new Paceman is certainly something to think about!

And from there our week just went into top gear. I went straight back to work, got on with the job. Peanut went home and started discovering old bits of red vinyl that she could use to mod the interior of the Paceman! I check often, but honestly she ain’t a bloke!

For the weekend her Son Duncan came up from London. We had a great Friday night chewing the fat over dinner and then on Sunday we went to Cheltenham and formally signed for the car. We were pleased very pleased with how that went. To celebrate, or well just for the heck of it, we went for lunch in Cheltenham at the Daffodil. This is an old art deco theatre that has been turned into a restaurant and over lunch on Saturday they had a singer and small band, playing jazz. It was all just ever so Darling and we loved it. A pal from work Steve also joined us for lunch and it really was avery pleasant way to spend a few hours on Saturday afternoon. We will definitely be going there again! And the more the merrier!

Then on Sunday we dragged Duncan with us to Shelsley Walsh for a car club breakfast meet, which you can read about here.

So last week saw us have two consultations, which meant two very sobering reality checks. But the bounce back was swift and Sunday morning meeting so many old pals was just so much fun. Yes this war with the Big C is very strange indeed, there just seems to be so much fun knocking about in our lives and have I told you about me walking behind Mrs P  as we made our way out of the Daffodil restaurant on Saturday? Boy that was some sexy sassy walk the girl did in her pretty red dress!


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Life Blog – Latest CT Scan Consultation

Beastie

This morning I had a consultation post my latest CT scan. A restless sleep last night was assured therefore.

Anyway, the upshot is that the 6 chemotherapy sessions that I have just completed have done some good. There is no cure, there is no miracle, but things have either shrunk back or remained stable. After discussing different options the plan going ahead is to continue with the “wonder drug” Avastin on a three weekly cycle and continue to supplement this with more chemotherapy. This time though instead of the two week chemotherapy cycle, it is going to be a slightly different chemotherapy that is taken daily in tablet form. This hopefully will remove the peaks and troughs of tiredness that came with the previous chemotherapy.  Doubtless then this time I will just be shattered all the time but hopefully not as much! To be fair, while I have had a few bad weeks with the last chemo due to picking up some nasty bugs, overall the quality of life has been excellent and in truth we are leading a very enjoyable and busy life. Our first holiday for this year is looming soon and the chemo and Avastin treatment is being timed to work around this, so we are slowly getting excited about our upcoming holiday.

Before that though we have several busy weekends ahead, kicking off with a visit from Peanut’s son Duncan this weekend, followed by some fun in Wales the weekend after with our pals Aston and Debbie, and then followed by an Easter visit from a very old and dear pal of mine Jane. Yep we ain’t resting on our heels that’s for sure!

 

Oh and aren’t the bright nights so very welcome?