Life Blog and More…


Life Blog – The South of France

In truth this has been a very tough week. First there was the fiasco of The PICC Line breaking in my arm and the subsequent operation to remove it. A tad stressful for us both but we got over that. However, on the Friday of our departure for the South of France one of our two beloved cats Alfie, got run over and was killed. To be honest we have not got over it and it has hung like a shadow over our holiday. Then I have been quite poorly on holiday with back and tummy pain so much so that we had to abandon our two day break on the Porquerolles. This morning I had rallied a bit and we just decided to head home. I think we need to see our other cat Ola and I just feel a bit stare dealing with pain at home. So tonight we are holed up in The Beaune Hotel in Beaune, a delightful place we have stopped at several times now. Beaune is a prosperous and picturesque town about halfway between St Tropez and Calais. We will finish our travels tomorrow.

We are both a bit sad as we can both see now that the Big C is getting a hold and I am beginning to fade. Sometimes the smiles are forced and Mrs P just wishes she can fix me. She can’t but she does smooth my path so very much. When the chips are down she finds extra energy like now getting me home and doing nearly all the driving. 

Tomorrow will be poignant. Happy at seeing Ila and sad knowing Alfie is not there.



Life Blog  – Lonsurf And The PICC Line

After much deliberation and consultation we have decided that Lonsurf chemotherapy is the way forward and repeating the SIRT is not. Something to attack my cancer in all places is needed, or so thought my consultant. So that is the way we have gone. 

I have had the first ten days of chemo and am now in the fourteen day break period before recommencing with my second cycle. So far so good, with no real side effects and I am feeling well.

Don’t get me wrong I’m still on morphine and this is tiring me so my consultant has suggested that I once more try lowering the dosage. I will give this a go as maybe I don’t need as much now I am on chemo.

Yesterday I saw my consultant routinely and he was happy with my blood results. All was good and I popped into the chemo ward so that they could remove the PICC line from my arm. This is a line in my arm that runs through blood vessels into my chest and it makes the administering of liquid based chemo so much easier. However, as my chemo is now tablet form and as it has been in for 18 months it was time for it to come out. This is a routine procedure done by a nurse and takes about two minutes. I was excited about this as on Friday we head to our apartment in the south of France for a nine day break and this means I will be able to swim with Peanut!

The nurse was free to remove my PICC even before I had my consultation and both of us thought we might get away early as a consequence. The nurse removed the waterproof plasters and line lock. She asked me to take a deep breath in and when I slowly breathed out she would pull the line out. On her instructions I breathed out, she pulled on the line and it snapped! About an inch of it had come out and the rest (about 18inches) could not be seen. 

The nurse put on a brave face but she was worried. This had never happened before. An X Ray was quickly arranged which confirmed the break about an inch from the original entry point of the line. A good wait later I had my consultation which was good except that clearly I would have to stay in hospital until they could remove the line. The plan was for some vascular surgeons to nick my arm find the line and pull it out. 

I waited in the chemo suite with Peanut and shortly after 8 in the evening a room was found for me. Peanut had already nipped home to get me some pyjamas and now she saw me safely tucked up in my room before leaving for home getting herself some fish and chips on the way home.

Two surgeons came to assess me at four in the morning and decided it could wait till the morning.

Things happened quite quickly after that. The head vascular surgeon visited sometime after nine. Assessed the situation and decided to crack on with things. 

Very quickly I was in the operating theatre having local anaesthetic put in my arm. This stung. This stung a lot. My thin veneer of calm tranquility wavered as I started holding my breath a lot and noted my heart beat had increased. A bit of poking around with my arm ensued and they hit a nerve. My arm jumped sharply as what felt like an electric shock rushed along my arm to my fingers. The surgeon apologised and rewarded me with more local anaesthetic. At least it didn’t sting as much this time.

This went on for several times more and the PICC line remained stubbornly hidden. A somewhat surreal conversation ensued between us about my upcoming holiday in the south of France. It was punctuated by suppressed gasps and convulsions from me as more electric shocks followed. 

Finally, reinforcements were called up and an image intensifier was used to pinpoint the line. The line was found. More local anaesthetic was given and the poking began again. The line was found and the atmosphere in the theatre changed. It was like a goal had been scored.

Shortly the line was removed and shown to me. This had been my life line for eighteen months and at the end it came out kicking and screaming. I was so pleased as now I knew I would swim once more with Lady P. I thanked them all and was wheeled back to my room.

I phoned Peanut to come and get me and started to dress. Then I realised that once more I needed P. My left arm and hand was completely numb and I just could not fasten my shirt buttons.

Peanut arrived in record time. Hugged me. I needed that and then finished dressing me. All was well once more in Mr Beastie’s world.


Life Blog – You Wait An Age For A Bus Then Six Come Together

On Monday I went to work but had developed a cold over the weekend and had a very hoarse voice. By the afternoon I was exhausted and my back was aching a tad. 

I had been trying to reduce my morphine dependency from 20ml twice a day to 10ml twice a day. Last night this strategy failed  catastrophically as I was hit suddenly by sharp pain in my back at about ten at night. I hit the oramorph hard taking some every hour and by about 5 in the morning I had beaten the pain. It was a tough seven hours though, being sick and in pain, having hot flushes and my cold worsening. Still by breakfast I was pain free just exhausted.

Earlier on the Thursday The Churchill Hospital in Oxford had rung and following on from s previous conversation organised a pet scan for Wednesday. This was with a view to looking at the plausibility of repeating the CIRT procedure. 

This afternoon we saw the consultant at Worcester who gave me the new Lonsurf chemo tablets which I start on Thursday after the pet scan.  Now one treatment might conflict with the other but we have edged our bets on the CIRT not being viable but for now options remain open.

Overall then I remain pretty well 90/100, but I tire quickly due to the morphine and it is worrying me that I have missed more work than I would wish to. Still it remains all systems go for our holiday in France at the end of the month.

Anyway thanks everyone who stops by, says hello and wishes us well, it is a great tonic to us both and helps reinforce our belief that this is a wonderful world to be a part of. Simple pleasures can so easily be found. For instance, I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me donning my new grey trilby in this picture. Similarly, Mrs P has a new perfume Diamonds and Rubies by Elizabeth Taylor – not expensive – but I love catching it’s scent on the breeze as she passes.