Saturday, 30 June 2012

Caught in a Trap

Saturday 30th June
It had been a fairly benign start to my latest session with no tingling effects from the Oxilaplatin and very little else until Wednesday of last week, then the sick feeling began and the tiredness set in, It must have been bad because I even called off my Thursday session with the lads at the Parish Oven quiz in favour of an early night. The following morning I even struggled to get up for work, staying in bed for another hour. Sue did an expert job of changing my PICC dressing before getting my arse out of the door and off to work. Work is manic at the moment, so busy it's unbelievable therefore It's a good job that I have a good team around me. I couldn't manage in my current state of health so both Pat, Kevin and Jason are diamonds, working as a team, helping me with the workload (or is it the other way around - me helping them!) I couldn't wish for better.
Even now (Saturday evening ) I'm still feeling a little sick and it still smells like the house is on fire so I'm still not over it yet. My moral is a bit lower than usual because it just seems like I don't have any time off whilst I'm feeling well enough to enjoy that time. I'd love to have Monday off  but it is Month End and reports need compiling as well as gathering other data for the boss. The stress is immense and it's never ending.
As you can see it is easy to get caught in a trap by going back to work. Good intentions of not doing too much, having time off when I need it all take a back seat when it comes to the needs of the company and most of all my perception of what others may think of me for not turning in and taking a back seat whilst others do the lions share.
I suppose the plus side to this weekend is that I haven't missed out on anything since the weather has been rubbish especially in the Lake District where I should have been on the FRCC Geological Meet.
Maybe the record breaking bad weather this year is coming out in sympathy for me so that I don't feel like I'm missing out! If that's the case then I must be special.
Today I have had a ride out on my own just to gather my thoughts, having a stroll besides the River Trent at Gunthorpe. I'm also reading up on what foods will help me through this difficult phase, all of which are reported to be common sense foods like, Fish, fruit, veg, cereals and nuts. Disappointingly it looks like cancers need glucose to thrive so it looks like my sweet tooth may be a problem or alternativly my sweet tooth may have a problem.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Session No4 and a Third of the way there

24th June
It all went pretty smoothly on Friday. The Day Ward was exceptionally busy but the best bet is to chill out, not get stressed and accept that you are in for the day. Sue did not come with me this time since I persuaded her that it was a waste of her day and that it was not a good idea because she had a chest infection. The thing that you notice the most in the treatment suite when your are sat in those big easy chairs is the number of electronic drip alarms that are sounding due to either line blockages or signaling the end of the infusion. It is never ending with the nurses scurrying around resetting alarms and rigging up new drips. I even found out how to set mine pumping again if it had stopped when the line kinked. You bugger You! The time passed quickly after talking to Lionel (a lung cancer patient) and doing a little work on my laptop. I wish I could get interested in a book but can't find one that grabs my attention enough. Back home the lower dosage is noticeable because I can still drink cold water and touch things in the fridge without gloves.In fairness I don't feel a deal different with the exception that the constant smell of burning has returned.
Saturday I was awake by 03.00 and eventually got up at 04.30 and watched the last of my current collection of Game Of Thrones on the laptop. Later we went to Clumber Park where we accidentally stumbled on the 40's weekend. Everyone involved was dressed in  40's gear and there was displays of old army vehicles and loads of folk walking around dressed in period military uniform. Highlight of the day was a couple of  flybys of  a  Spitfire.
Sunday Morning- I'm already thinking that maybe they should have given me the full dose this time around since I'm feeling well, but we will just have to see how the rest of the week pans out. Sue will disconnect my canister tonight provided it is empty and give my line a flush.. Self help wise I'm taking Vitamin B Complex which I have read helps blood cell development and 75 mg Aspirin which I have also read that there is evidence that it can greatly reduce the chance of cancer cell metastasis to other parts of the body and inhibit tumor growth. Aspirin does seem to be a wonder drug for almost everything from pain relief to reducing heart attack and stroke risk and now cancer.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Bad lad Dale?

21st June

Me Pig Headed?
On Sunday evening (17th) I had a temperature of 37.7 which may have indicated an infection however I chose to re take the next morning prior to contacting Weston Park. Anything above 37.5 should be reported immediately but I'm not wanting to be known as wimp that squeals every time something isn't quite right.  Monday morning it was back to a normal 36.4. This was followed by stomach ache and loss of  quite a lot of fluid through Bob and I also had a gammy discharge from around my PICC. Tuesday morning it was still the same so I gave in to common sense - Yep time to call WPH who wanted to see me straight away along with a night bag just in case I needed to stay in.
The first telling off came from the Staff Nurse on Ward 2 who began with a swift whack around the head with a pillow followed by the "why didn't I call us on Sunday night" questions. You know the nurses there have a fine etiquette. A clean and re dress of the PICC, blood samples and swabs to check for infection followed however things looked better once the crust was removed and the PICC pipe was cleaned. I finally got to go home with penicillin in hand 7 hours after arriving having waited 5 hours for the results of a second blood test.
This afternoon I was back again for pre chemo blood tests which I hoped would be OK. Helen (my bestist favorite person at WPH) spotted me in the waiting room and came over to ask me what had happened. I later saw her along with the consultant, when they explained that my low platelet count of 40 ( a minimum of 70 was needed) was the reason why last weeks session had been postponed and that for the next session the drugs would be reduced by 20%. Helen then spoke to me alone explaining that a lower dosage would not make any difference to the outcome and that it was the consistent, fortnightly frequency that was important, so I need to be well enough to keep on schedule.
A second bollocking of then week followed when she asked why I had not reported in with the high temperature. My excuse of "It was 11pm" didn't wash "Oh I forgot, everyone here at Weston Park goes home or to the pub at 11, yeh there's no one here" she replied. Helen certainly has a way of putting things in a nutshell continuing to describe some self sufficiency tactic that she had conjured up when she was ill to save bothering anyone. I won't go into detail but it was a fine example of pig headedness that was not dissimilar to my own character..To compare notes of daftness I described how I thought up a way to disconnect my own PICC, redress and flush it literally single handed by using a wooden kitchen spoon to hold the line whilst I pulled the old dressing off. How stupid is that? But for those that know me, I'm the one that sorts out everyone else's problems - not the other way around and I'm not up for being a burden on anyone when I can do things on my own. Unfortunately I don't think that the discussion will have much impact on the way that I deal with things in the future. You just cannot change inherited characteristics with a discussion. Maybe I'm just not scared enough of the consequences or I'm choosing to ignore them, hoping that it just won't happen. Climbers do this all the time, 50 feet above a belay with no gear! The only way to deal with it is not to think about it otherwise you will get scared and fall off.
Anyway none of this has stopped me from going to work and my bloods are up so I'm up for my 4th session tomorrow.

Sent from my iPod

Friday, 15 June 2012

New Game Plan Needed?

New Game Plan Needed?
Sometimes you think that you are Immortal and indestructible, you know you are not but you think you are, if you know what I mean. This also goes for recovering from chemo sessions, just because you are mentally strong and tough does not mean to say that physically you can recover quickly enough for your next session. Session No 3 took some time to feel better however feeling better is not necessarily a reflection of what is going on inside as I found out yesterday when my blood results came back. It looks like my either my red, white or platelet count is low so I need to wait another week before I can try again. I've a feeling that because my nose has been bleeding slightly that my platelet count is low. I'll try to find out later today since I need to collect a prescription and PICC dressing supplies from the Daycare ward.
So do I need a new game plan? Am I working too hard, doing too much, not sleeping enough or not eating the right things, or a combo of the lot?
I'm certainly my fathers son, Abdul The Bull is what they called my Dad when he went off on one, strong as an ox but soft as muck and the loveliest man you could ever meet. We miss him so much. And yes he would be handling this exactly the same as I am now, but that does not mean to say it is right.
So where now? Ease off work, do less and eat smarter? I know that I can not resist pushing myself, I'm awake early this morning typing away on this blog and since my treatment has been cancelled I will be off to work, but just for the morning. The forecast is dire for the weekend so at least that will temper things back a little and reduce any temptation to push myself physically. So there is no doubt I will be reasonably inactive over the next few days which may give me a chance to rest up. Being house bound will bring it's own problems however since I'm surrounded by sickness with both Sue and Anne having nasty colds and the waiting room yesterday at the hospital was full of people coughing. If I last 6 months without catching something it will be a miracle. So as you can see I'm a disappointed, deflated unhappy bunny at the moment, who's not as tough as he thought he was BUT the good news is that as if by magic the slack in my PICC line has gone back into my vein. Time to get up and get ready for work.
Update 19.20
I called in  for a pint Tetley's Smooth at the Parish Oven on the way home from hospital and also had 1/2 of medicinal Guinness. For tea I have had Lamb's liver and onions with Mash all of which should put some lead back in my pencil and boost my iron levels. Let's hope it does the trick

Sent from my iPod

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Keeping Active

10th June
Wet Woodland Leaves taken with a misted lens

I've just completed a post on my other blog noting yesterday's outing to the Staffordshire Moorlands area of Peak District. Yes my red blood cells are getting a pasting which was evident during the ascents of any steep incline on the hills we walked as I gasped for breath like a 90 year old. But that morning was the best that I had felt for over a week so it was important that I make the best possible use of the good times whilst I'm  mid cycle. As Graham rightly says "The good days are precious". Wednesday to Friday I could easily have stopped in bed and not gone to work, I felt that bad, but getting my arse out of bed, showered and smartened up for work did make me feel better.
Anyway back to my day out hill walking, It rained ALL DAY, the views were limited and I was soaked to my underpants but I enjoyed the company and the day immensely. 
Back home Sue changed the dressing on my PICC last night once I had showered and everything went smoothly however I think the line has come out of my arm slightly. Must have been the scrambling and the short rock climb that I did yesterday, that she does not know about. (She will do now though). anyway everyone knows what I'm like, push until it hurts or goes bang. Well if its not hurting then its not working. My forearm where the cytotoxic leak my have taken place is also looking a bit better so that is more good news.
Today I've washed and polished my car and been reproofing my waterproof jacket and trousers, which I promised myself I would do after yesterdays soaking..
Back to work tomorrow with my responsible management head on. I suppose I must be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character or is that Worzel Gummidge the children's character that changed his head.
I should have a few days feeling well before it starts all over again on Friday. Just a further note that my thoughts at the moment are with my old pal Steve D - If you are following this blog then Good Luck Tuesday xxx
Dave White on the climb that I soloed

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Post Chemo Cycle No 3 Update

5th June
This is the forth morning in a row that I have woken before sunrise, so it is either the chemo or the steroids that I have to take for 3 days following the cycle that are affecting me. Notes on the steroids made comment to possible side  effects of Suicide or Euphoria but apart from the insomnia all that I am finding is that I'm no longer getting a flicker on. The sickness feeling is noticeably worse this time around but I am managing to keep everything down, plus I have noticed my stoma weeping blood which is another common side effect for an Ostomist on chemo or should that be Optimists. Anyway "If it's not Hurting then it's Not Working" that is what I think. Another strange effect I have noticed from the beginning that I have not read about is a constant smell of burning which is altering my taste so I'm imagining that it is those little bastard cancer cells catching fire. Just to update on the suspected  cytotoxic / extravasation leak my arm, the pain has eased however the vein seems to have shrunk and the skin is showing signs of wrinkling. there are some fairly nasty photos of extravasation on the internet so let's hope it does not progress any further.

All Planted Up
We spent most of yesterday shopping for bedding plants and then planting them in between the showers. Shaun did us proud with a gift of Marigolds, Pansies and something else, so we just needed a top up of a few extras like Begonias and Geraniums.Anyway they are all in now however I was certainly knackered after the digging and bending.
Today I'm hoping to get the lawns cut and then make a Lasagna for evening meal and maybe pop out to Tickhill to buy a garden seat and mini greenhouse so I can grow some of my own winter pansies. If we get all that done today I will be amazed especially if I go back to bed.
Mel Middleton has been in contact so hopefully by Saturday I will be feeling like having a walk or even a scramble, having already got my eye on a combination route in the Peak District. I'm hoping I can get a few other mates interested in the outing too. If we get out I will post the outing on my other Blog
It's now 06.00 so shall I go back to bed or get the mower out?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Chemo No3 - For Jonah - Bearer of Bad Luck

1st June
Yes I think that as an infant I had been wrongly named since Jonah is more apt especially for this part of my life. Almost from the start in the Day Ward (09.30) did things go wrong. Firstly my drugs were late since I had had an afternoon slot yesterday for blood tests and a consultation. This meant that the prescription was not sent to Pharmacy until this morning. then secondly it appeared that my PICC line was blocked as the nurse attempted to flush it. This was resolved when the PICC nurse came and finally got it flowing through. Once hooked up to the Oxilaplatin I mentioned to the sister that my arm was still sore from the first infusion over a month ago which was done through a cannula in my forearm.I mentioned it to the doctor yesterday who said it was Phlebitis. The whole area is inflamed and very sore when touched or exposed to cold. Closer inspection is suggesting that there may have been a leak of drugs through my vein into the surrounding tissue and that dependent on which drug it was (5FU or Oxilaplatin) things would either settle down with medication in the first instance or potentially result in tissue damage in the second. So at 15.15 when the "In House treatment" was complete and after being hooked up to my portable canister I was packed off with steroid cream and anti inflammatory drugs in an attempt to ease the inflamed arm. Yes it is a 6 hour job so the whole day is basically written off.
Back at home I'm already feeling the tingling in the throat and hands when touching anything cold and my legs are cramping up but otherwise I'm fine
I think that next time I will take a rabbits paw, horse shoe and Graham Duckmanton since he is the luckiest man I know. Anyway on the plus side in 48 hours my treatment will be a quarter of the way there. 3 down 9 to go.
Browsing the internet for a lucky picture I came across this one
 Now that's what I call LUCKY