Sunday, 20 March 2016

Just remembered its 4 years!

Well it is actually more than 4 years and all is going well. 
There has been a program on TV recently following people with cancer. It is all a bit surreal, just as if it had never happened to me however certain scenes during the program give me flashbacks to my own experience, whether it is the effects of the chemo, the breaking of the news or the humor that a minority of patients have throughout the ordeal. One particular scene where a man stated that he and his wife endured the illness together triggered a demon to come back out of the woodwork from our past experience where I was accused of tackling the illness alone and not wanting the support form Susan or anyone else for that matter. A Selfish act on my part! Apparently! And I can understand that point of view but that's just me!

My most recent visit to the Northern General Hospital on the 3rd of April went well with the Nurse led clinic. A quick feel around my stomach suggested that all was well. It would still be good to get a CT Scan just for peace of mind but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. Provided nothing develops then I will be discharged next March. Side effect wise - I still have a certain amount of neuropathy in my fingers and feet and occasionally have issues with urgency for the loo however provided I'm active and eating well it is not a problem. Beer is the irresistible bad boy but I'm prepared to suffer the consequences the following day. 

So what has happened since my last post? Well I have been very active!
  • I've Kayaked the River Wye which involved paddling 30 miles a day over 3 days and camping.





  • I was made Vice President of the Fell and Rock Climbing Club, an honour that I could not refuse for such a prestigious club.

  • I joined the Bassetlaw Triathlon Club - a superb bunch of motivated individuals who are now good friends

  • I've competed in the Clumber Park Duathlon in March

  • Cycled the Tommy Simpson Memorial ride over 80 miles

  • Rode 100 miles in the Amstel Standing Cycle Sportive around Nottighamshire

I Competed in the Nottingham Sprint triathlon on the 28th May 2016





And I've done some climbing

Friday, 10 April 2015

3 Years On

It has been over 3 years since I was diagnosed and 2 years since Bob, my stoma was put back to his rightful place. So how am I and do I have any after effects from both the treatment and the operation?
Bob as he was - Surprised he was not so awful?
Well I must confess that my plumbing seems to almost back to normal although my visits to the loo are maybe a little more frequent - it has taken time but there is hope and it does take effort to find the right diet and way of life for you! I still suffer whiffy "Jam Tarts" which I cannot hold after a session on the real ale so occasionally temper this some Carling lager which avoids the problem. I still have some numbness in my fingers and feet but I've learnt to live with it and hardly notice it any more unless I'm climbing. And the burning smell that I used to get? Well I still occasionally get that when I'm in a warm atmosphere. 
My last visit to hospital for my nurse led clinic was on March 20th which was more of a chat than anything. I asked about CT scans but there's no more unless I have a problem, only a blood test followed and that's about it.

Still active, climbing in the Peak District with Graham below.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

September Follow Up

It has been a fairly benign few months on the health front concerning the cancer and related treatment. I found it hard to sum that sentence up because someone in my situation could assume that once the op was done (well the second one!!) the cancer was gone or was it? Did the chemo sort it?Or do I still have it? Well we just don't know but after this length time the chances are that hopefully it is gone. It is not something that I think about too much unless I get some unidentified niggle like I had four weeks ago when I had a prolonged spell of back pain which developed after a run and migrated into my right side - It has gone now, after several days of exercising but the doubt is always there which must be typical of everyone at my point in the journey.
So as I mentioned I'm still running, doing some runs of up to 12km and I even ran the Sherwood Pines 10k, mid back-back! I came in 217th out of 450. I've also been Climbing, Kayaking and today tried to see what a Sprint Duathlon would feel like by cycling 27km and running 5km.
Sherwood Pines 10k
Climbing with Anne at Birchin Edge

Kayaking with Dave Wright on the River Idle
Wednesday I was at  NGH for a nurse led clinic. My CEA levels (tumor markers) had been reading well within the "Normal" range on each visit so I had one question which depending on the answer would give a certain amount of confidence in assessing my long term prognosis.  Noting that some people are 'Non Secreters' where their cancer does not secrete the marker, My question was "What was my pre op CEA level?" If I was a Secreter then my level would be high pre op, which would then drop after the operation if the cancer had gone. "We don't have a record for a pre op level!!" So my CEA my mean something or absolutely nothing since we don't know whether I'm a Secreter or not!!
I suppose it sums up the whole ordeal, I did have blood tests at Thornbury for diagnosis but obviously none of the notes got transferred!
So it is another scan in March and then maybe discharged into the care of our local Health Center.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

How are we now?

It has been a busy couple of weeks which should be a good gauge of my health and ability to lead a relatively normal life. I'm now off the Fybogel completely and I'm doing OK with my loo habits. Since I have less internal storage, long gone are days when I could sit and get that feeling of relief that normal people get so I spend time in a morning to do as much as I can however I have noticed that if there is a loo near during the day I will be tempted to use it and if there isn't one then it doesn't bother me too much so it is in part something of a mental problem. I know that I will never be back to normal but near enough.

So what have I been doing that's a gauge? I've had eight days in the USA, five in Philadelphia with work and with a free weekend with two full days in New York sightseeing. New York was great with me managing on the first day to get up the Empire State Building, Liberty Island and around Ground Zero. Rather than using transport I walked from Time Square along Broadway and 5th Avenue to all the sights. Day two I spent in Central Park.

After only two days at home I was off to walk Hadrian's Wall over six days, camping en-route.The numbness around my toes from the chemotherapy gives me the uncomfortable feeling that my socks are scrunched underneath whilst I'm walking but I managed OK. (I'm working on a write up on my other blog for this)
I suppose that all of that is all a little less than normal isn't it?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Another Milestone

It is two years to the day since I had my double operation to remove my tumour and as I type this I would have still been on the slab for the second time in a day. So its not only a notable day in that respect but also in another in that have had my CT and Blood test results through by post. The letter said
"It is Good News, It shows no signs of cancer related problems in your chest, abdomen or pelvis. In addition to this I can report that your CEA blood level was normal at 0.8"
I know that everyone was worried so a call to my Mum and texts to Anne are first, then I'm inundated with texts.
Well at lrast I can start buying some new socks and underpants now I know I will get plenty of use out of them!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Trouble for not Telling

I had a  scan on Monday followed by a clinic on Wednesday so 2 visits to the Northern General Hospital in a week. The problem with this is that Susan was away on holiday for the week and I hadn't told  her that I was going to outpatients on Wednesday otherwise she would have cancelled the holiday. So Monday I arrived at the radiology department and was immediately called in to get a canulla inserted ready for the scan (Thorax and Abdominal CT Scan with Contrast)  Whilst in the waiting room my pal Helen, who now works at the hospital came and sat with me for a quick catch up, typically I was called in shortly after she arrived. So Wednesday I'm back but this time to Outpatients and I'm not sure whether it is with a Consultant or Nurse. Since I hadn't had my blood test results from December then a Consultant would mean bad news so it was a bit of a relief when it was a nurse. December's blood test results were OK at about 0.8 and as expected the CT scan results had not come through and wouldn't be available for a couple of weeks. I'm told that they have me for another year for checks which will involve another colonoscapy, scan and blood tests after which I'll be passed on to my GP. Before I leave there is more blood to give.to check my CEA levels (Carcinoembryonic Antigen). Looks like I'm also in a survey and follow up study of cancer survivors for which I will be interviewed maybe later next week..
It's Friday today and I'm about bollocksed - tired out that is! It's been a rubbish week at work with so much stress but hey someone has to do it. Susan came home from her holiday and non too happy that I had not told her about the clinic appointment. Ah well never mind

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Two Years On and Going Soft

I have just had a date for my two years post diagnosis scan which is on the 3rd of March, two years and a day since my initial exploratory colonoscopy. I have been feeling a little rough lately with recurring colds and various unusual (unusual for me!) abdominal aches and pains which always creates some doubt as to where I am on my journey. With the lighter nights and mornings I'm now feeling much better, more alive, mentally happier and content. I just love the fresh air, walking to and from work. Maybe I'm going soft because I used to love winter climbing, the danger and the adventure but I'm already looking for the warmth, not scorching hot but just bright sunshine on my face with a cool breeze. We recently visited Hadrian's Wall and an awe-inspiring Angel Of The North. I'm now weaving Corn Dollies ready for visits to bronze Age sites in the hope of "Good Karma" Am I dancing yet? No!!! I've not totally lost the plot!