Archive Page 2

25
Jun
11

up the middle and turn left

I had a different title for this post yesterday and should have written it down at the time as either the chemo or the other drugs they give me seem to play with my short term memory, but I like this one which was the extent of our plan for a weekend caravaning trip. I have been started on yet another drug, amlipodine, which is for high blood pressure, something I have never knowingly had, but seems to be a side effect of the trial drug, regorafinib.

The time between my hospital visits seems to pass far too quickly but I have crammed a fair bit into the past two weeks including completing the judging of the Glasgow Institute of Architects student awards at Strathclyde University following from our visit to The Mackintosh School of Art the week before, a day out with Lanarkshire Business Group at Hamilton Races, my first CT scan since I started treatment and a weekend caravan trip up North not mention squeezing a bit of work in too through necessity.

I have landed in a 4 person ward again. They other patients are nice enough but as I had mentioned before there are draw backs. One noticeable one this time is one that snores pretty much all day and all night, I am sure I have my moments but nothing on this scale! Another thing I will grump about is toilet etiquette and in particular the leaving of floaters and hair in or on the toilet, I know folk are not well but even when I was at my worst and in a room of my own I wouldn’t want someone coming across that! some of the banter is real strange too, I wouldn’t like to elaborate too much as there is always the possibility that someone will read this and recognise who I am talking about but some folk can talk some amount of ‘floater’.

I was hopeful when my treatment started about 5pm this time around but this hope was soon dashed when a few hours later, just after I had seen a doctor, I noticed a numbness in my right arm where my drugs are being infused. I had a bandage over the area as it keeps the tubes in place and out of the way of harm so hadn’t realised that for about 6 inches up my arm a swelling had started, it was only when this crept beyond the area of the bandage that I got a bit of a fright. I hadn’t seen anything like it and I am hardly exaggerating when I say it looked like the bottom half of my arm was Popeye’s. What had happened was the vein my infusion was in had blown and the chemo was effectively building up under my skin. My I.D. strip was on this arm and had stretched so much it was cutting off my circulation and my hand was turning blue. I jumped for the nurse call who quickly acted and removed the drip and provided heat packs to dry and dissipate the swelling. This made for a bit of an uncomfortable night but has slowly reduced and it is almost back to normal now. I lost about 2 hours before being hooked up to the drip on my other arm again so will probably be a late escape tonight.

Last Wednesday I had an enjoyable day at Hamilton races with Lanarkshire Business Group. I have been a member of the group for a few years now and have gained work through involvement as well as meeting some great people. I had taken the role of vice chairman and was just getting into the swing of it when I fell ill. This applied to my role of convener of the education committee of the GIA, another role I was beginning to really get my teeth into.  Lanarkshire Business Group is always looking for new members so please have a look at our site and contact us if you are interested in coming along. I have been unable to attend much recently but have been overwhelmed by the support and well wishes offered by everyone there.The race day was great even though I didn’t win anything at all. It was a long day and I was feeling really tired around 5 but found a second wind and stayed out for a while longer.

lanarkshire business group race day June 2011

Last Thursday I was back at Rosshall Hospital for a CT scan. The CT basically shows up the extent of tumour growth or spread. It is one of those big donut shaped machines that I am put through after drinking what is called gastrografin which helps the image show up better. I knew I would have to wait until the monday morning to hear the result and was quite anxious so my my caravan trip was a welcome distraction. The result of the scan seems to indicate that growth has halted which is great news.This would indicate that the treatment I am on is having some effect. I would have preferred to hear that there had been a reduction in size but this may have been too optimistic after only 6 weeks. Generally scans are taken at 10-12 week intervals, but I get more due to being on a trial, so it may be after 12 weeks there is more sign of a reduction hopefully. I see my surgeon again in august and I want to fully understand what the possibilities are for further surgery to remove the areas of cancer which is the only way that I can ever get to a stage where I might be able to reduce or stop the treatment I am on and maybe have a chance that growth wont recur which will eventually happen without surgery or advances in treatment. I am looking into surgical techniques developed for conditions like mine which are at very early stages of development but if I can keep on track with treatment and keep getting stronger I can work towards trying to get accepted for this.

Martin and Jason are two great friends of mine that I first met on what I remember as a sort of introduction day for students starting the part-time architecture course at Glasgow School of Art in what must have been 1992. Martin infamously asked after the introduction day if we wanted to ‘go for a coffee’ which soon turned into something a bit stronger and from there our friendship has grown over the past 20 years. Martin being the real family man of the trio bought a caravan a few years ago and we started talking about taking it somewhere for a weekend trip some time ago. We met up in Glasgow a few weeks ago to do some meticulous planning and just came up with the idea of ‘heading up the middle and turning left’ which is effectively what we ended up doing.

martin, me, jason and molly

My vision of heading for the hills and basking in June sunshine sipping wine next to a river were soon dashed, I should really know better by now. After a supply stop and an 8 peice £4 breakfast at one of our ‘friendly’ supermarkets, we headed north past perth and and took our left toward loch tay stopping only briefly in Aberfeldy and some tea and coffee at the wonderful watermill cafe and bookshop, well worth a stop if you are passing through. Once reaching Crianlarich we headed north again towards Glencoe. A quick pit stop and pint in the Kinghouse and it was decided to head along Glen Etive and find a pitch. Undeterred by the ‘unsuitable for caravans’ signs we pressed ahead to find a spot to stop for the night debating along the way the pros and cons of each potential site we spotted. eventually settling for a roadside spot close to the river and near some stunning waterfalls. We ditched the caravan and scoped the area taking pics of brave deer and lonely trees along the way despite the incessant rain.

I took shelter in the caravan to try to get a heat while watching and gloating at the other two putting up the awning before we settled down to some food and a well deserved drink or two. A small break in the weather the next morning allowed us another photo stop at the Buchaille Etive Mor, probably one of the most pictured peaks in Scotland and featured in most Scottish scene calendars every year. It was my first Munro of many and a very enjoyable climb with hugely rewarding view from its peak. A high start and not a long walk in makes it very accessible although there is some steep scrambling required to get onto the ridge wich is spectacular once you get up there.

The Buachaille Etive Mor

A visit to the Glencoe Visitors centre by gaia architects along with some tea and cake was followed by a forest walk while the weather held. I hadn’t walked very far at all due to the fatigue I suffer but with taking my time and the fresh air I was able to get along. It is frustrating being in a place were I have climbed extensively over the years but everything seeming so out of reach right now. With the forest path I always know how far i have gone and how quickly and easily I can get back. I used to go off walking on my own without worrying about how I would get back but now I always need an exit plan!

The heavens opened as we finished the walk and we took shelter in the climbers bar in the clachaig. In the past you could camp in the field next to the pub and it was always busy on a saturday night with a mixture of climbers and bikers partying most of the night after spilling out the pub. The area is fenced off now and only official campsites encouraged. I can see the environmental benefit of this but there is some magic lost.

As the rain persisted, so did our stay in the pub sampling the huge range of real ale on offer and getting a good feed before our retreat to the caravan. I had a bit of a kip when I got back before a night of poker and banter and a relatively early night. A few years ago we would have lasted till the daylight hours, especially at this time of year. As expected the sun came out the next day as we were due to leave but we had a bit of time to explore the near by waterfalls and experiment with some more long exposure shots.

etive falls

Headed back to reality via crieff for some lunch and eventually got home on Sunday at a reasonable time and a good sleep, not that molly wasn’t comfy but you can’t beat your own bed sometimes. Plans are afoot for our next adventure already.

Due to the tracking on my arms from the chemo infusion it has been agreed that I will get a pic line inserted which is a semi permenant point were I can get my treatment plugged in. The real advantage to this will be that I should be able to get a portable pump that I can take home rather than being in the Beatson every fortnight. I will still have to come in as an outpatient to get part of my treatment but the part that takes 46-50hrs, I will be able to take home. The pic line will resolve the problem with tracking as it goes into deeper stronger veins an wont show up on my skin. Until I get the pump I don’t know how mobile I can be with it but it sounds reasonable enough and will help get a bit more normality back, so everything going well, hopefully I will be writing my next post from my sofa!

11
Jun
11

up north

Back writing this in the beatson on my fourth round of treatment. I have felt pretty good the past 2 weeks since my last post and hope that is a good sign with my first scan since treatment started next week. I have spoken to my consultant about the scan and what they expect to see which will hopefully be a complete halt in the growth of the tumor or a reduction in size preferably. I had more reflexology and a back massage. The treatments really take my mind off everything even if it is just for and short while.

It is has been my intention to make the most of the weekend I am not getting treatment and with the stunning weather we had last friday I booked a last minute room in Stonehaven on the east coast near Aberdeen. I drove all the way up with the roof down which is the first time it has been down for quite a while. I booked dinner at the well recommended Tolbooth restaurant on the harbour. It was one of those meals that was close to perfect with its stunning setting overlooking the harbour, the food which just got better from course to course and a lovely bottle of lomond pincushion. After crab cakes on noodles and then a wonderful cod on couscous the highlight was an apple tart which is best described in the pic below.

amazing pud

There was a great atmosphere on the friday night, everyone was outside the bars chatting and enjoying the night. It was a short walk back to our bayview apartment and I was ready for a good sleep after our meal and I was looking forward to the rest of the weekend. Unfortunately when I got out in the morning for a walk on the beach the weather had turned back to typically Scottish and was actually quite cold in stark contract to the balmy night before.

It is a short drive from stonehaven to Dunnottar Castle. There is a clifftop walk but I wasn’t feeling up to it, especially in the weather. Dunnottar castle  is an amazing cliff top setting which I have seen many times in photos and the reality did not disappoint. Again, with the poor weather and the amount of climbing involved we decided not to go right up into the castle and took some pics from the clifftop a short walk down from the carpark.

me at dunnottar castle

After the castle we headed to Aberdeen to try to do something indoors. I had a bit of a rest in the hotel while Julie scouted the shops and somewhere to eat. We headed to the art gallery which was near the hotel where I was quite impressed with the collection which included a Francis Bacon, pope I, which I never knew was there. One of his pope painting sold recently for around £15m and roman abramovich bought another of his works for $50m. There is a good range of other works ranging from classical works to recent contemporary works. Dinner was at the Foyer which was a bit disappointing after the meal in Stonehaven.

Francis Bacon. Pope I (1951)

I took the opportunity to have a look at the new university library by architects schmidt hammer lassen. I thought it was closer to completion as I was keen to see the interior. The building is certainly a departure from the granite buildings of Aberdeen and looks impressive from the architects visuals.The facade seems a bit arbitrary although it is a bit different from the bar code elevations which have dominated this style of glass facade in our cities for far too long.

aberdeen university library by schmidt hammer lassen

Headed back home on sunday via Montrose, Edzell and Brechin before being disappointed by the lack of being able to get a bridie on a sunday afternoon in Forfar!

After a great lunch with some friends in the always wonderful Cafe Gandolfi last week, I met up with a couple more friends that night to plan a short caravan trip next weekend which will probably take up a bit of my next post. I have enjoyed getting back  out and meeting people again and hope to catch up with as many people as possible.

I was back judging the student awards at the Glasgow School of Art on this week and will be at Strathclyde this week. It is a great opportunity to see the degree show and there was a huge range and quality of work on show. An example of one of the winning students work is shown in the pic below which is a proposed performance space building along with viewing tower in Venice. I was particularly impressed by quality of the model making which we are very keen on in our office.

venice project by Kieran Sheehan, GSA 2011

At work I am progressing a planning application for an office building in Glasgow and we have some domestic work keeping us busy also. Some good news coming through on a commumity project we have been working on for some time and that will hopefully move to the next stage  soon. I have not been in the office as much recently and doing a bit from home. This is mostly due to appointments etc but also the fact that I need to rest when I can.

Right now I am looking forward to getting out tonight, last time I had to watch the first half of the champions league final in here and caught the end at home. It was all over for man United before I got home though. I also have an invite to the racing at Hamilton next week from Lanarkshire Business Group which I have been the vice chairman of although I havent been active with them since my illness, it will be great to see them all and catch up. Also have my caravan trip to look forward to with my fellow architect friends Jason and Martin, who knows where we will end up, tune in next time to find out!

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28
May
11

summer?

Well, when i say summer, it doesn’t really feel like it but it does make it a bit easier being stuck in the hospital when the weather is miserable. May is usually a great month weather wise, just when exams are on. I always remember being tempted away from the drawing board by a cold beer in the sun!

I am now on my third cycle of chemotherapy. I have no idea how it affecting the tumor but on the whole I am feeling not too bad so far. I get a scan in week 8 and this is the end of week four. I am planning not to read too much into the first scan as it is still early days. I don’t expect something that may have been growing inside me for years to suddenly grind to a halt. I have experienced some side effects although these have been fairly minor. I had a strange tingling sensation through my hand while running it under the cold tap and felt this again when I got out of hospital last time in the cold outside. I need to really wrap up and avoid this. This is a fairly common side effect and avoidance is the best policy. It can be felt drinking cold drinks too so I have to avoid going in he fridge and freezer and eating or drinking anything directly from it. I am also getting phlebitis in the veins where my chemo is being infused. Some people react more than others and I am getting it fairly noticeably. They have changed the infusion to my right arm this time and we will see how that goes. If it continues they will put what they call a picc line in which will go to a deeper vein, however, I would worry that this vein wouldn’t recover well each time as I wouldnt be able to see what condition it is in. I have been watching for hairloss but it is hard to tell if it is natural at my age or accelerated by the chemo, there was a fair bit as I rinsed my hair in the sink this morning. I am not keen to lose my hair, not from a vain perspective, but the fact it is the one thing that people will notice that says I am on chemo, not because I am embarrassed about it, because I just want to live life as normal as possible. I do have plenty of hats though! Apart from all that I am still feeling fatigue from time to time and it seems to hit me a few days after coming out of hospital but I have just been dealing with that. I seem to sleep early at night and get up early in the morning which is why I am writing this at 6am!

I have been doing lots of research before splashing out on a new lens for my camera with money and vouchers I received for my 40th. I eventually went for a 35mm 1.4L, a good quality alround lens which I will spend the summer using. Now I know how the treatment is effecting me I am making plans for getting about a lot more on the free time that I have. I have a list of places to go and lots of offers of places to stay and folk to visit and I plan to get as much done as possible with the camera in tow. I have begun to print and frame pics and going to have a go at selling them at an art fair or something similar in the near future.

I have a room on my own again this time and I do much prefer it. I like to think I am a fairly sociable person, but as I said in my last post, listening to others stories and seeing them suffer can get to me although I know I shouldn’t let it. It is natural empathy though rather than self pity. Having a room all set up with a tv and my computer well linked to the internet (my new dongle is faster than my home broadband!) as well as having the use of the friends of the beatson upstairs make my few days here a lot better. It gives me time to sit and do things like this, read, update my websites, watch films and music and rest. I was getting frustrated about the waiting around before, but now I understand the processes and I am prepared, I can just take it in my stride and try to treat it as a little break every fortnight.

I ventured out to watch the Scottish Cup final last Saturday, it turned out to be a great day out and the first time I had been out properly socialising since my treatment started. It was an early start at 2pm and we ended up going for a meal at cafezique, a wonderful place in the west end of glasgow. I felt great up until about nine o clock and then I began to feel really tired. A mixture of red wine and a large meal had me flagging badly. Having usually been the last one wanting to go home things have certainly changed but I am sure as time goes on I will get used to it and will get stronger as time goes on. The advantage though was I was up bright and early on sunday and didn’t lose half the day unlike some others!

it's not the drink, honest! lismore, glasgow

I have been passing the redroad flats a lot coming in and out of glasgow and have been interested in the slow dismantling process. There are mixed reports of when they are going to blow them up although I heard that as they are steel frame they were going to be completely dismantled. They have been a feature in north glasgow for years and it will be a bit strange to see them go. I know a lot of people wont be sad to see them go, I just always think it is a bit of a waste and not enough has been done to investigate the real problems of the blocks and alternative uses they could be put to. They will be demolished and I suspect replaced with a mini suburban house farm rather than good urban city development. I did spend a lot of time staying in the high flats in nearby sighthill and like to think I have a good knowledge of the problems in these areas but the architecture is only part of the problem of these government sponsored megstructure experiments. I prefer the type of development around the new gorbals in Glasgow, it has a more urban feel than the developments going up around the north of glasgow although I did love the mega city one Sir basil Spence Hutchesontown blocks that made way for it. There is a real mish mash off styles around the gorbals, some good, some bad and some definitely ugly but it is at a scale suitable for a city and set out with wide landscaped streets and well defined private/public space. I have less experience of living in this area but know a few people who do and haven’t heard anyone complain.

red road, may 2011

red road, may 2011

I am hoping to be out of the beatson in time to watch the Man United v Barcelona european cup final. I watched the 2009 final between the 2 teams at lunch time in a sports bar in the centre of seattle, that time Man U were out played and outclassed, I think it will be a tighter game tonight although I find it hard to see past barcelona with messi playing for them. I must admit to having  soft spot for barca after going to see them play spartak moscow many years ago with players like stoichkov, romario and koeman playing for them. This time my venue isn’t so exciting but I will be just happy to get home in time for kick off!

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15
May
11

helicopters

It’s funny, there are several things that have happened or happening that I used to care about passionately. I haven’t lost my passion, it is just being redirected. We had Scottish elections last week and for the first time since I was legible to vote, I didn’t. I have no excuse, I just didn’t bother, or couldn’t be bothered and just didn’t care. I would always be the first person to pull people up who didn’t bother and I still think everyone should vote or if they don’t they have no right to complain about the government. With what is going on in the middle east, north africa and china where thousands are dying for the right to vote it makes it even more shameful. I think in this day and age it should also be possible to vote online, the voting process is antiquated and a much higher percentage turnout would be achieved by making the process easier. There should also be much more accessible and understandable guides to each of the parties and candidates, what they represent, what their policies actually mean etc.

I have also stopped getting worked up or angry about things that are out with my control. I used to get annoyed when I lost out on projects, coming up with reasons why we haven’t been selected, blaming the bureaucracy involved or the senseless pre-qualification process. I just don’t care anymore, I won’t waste my time getting upset about it and will just continue to go for the projects I think would suit us and if we get them great, if not, i hope they get the right person and not just the one that can tick more boxes than the other. I was lucky enough to get to interview stage on a project very recently, I can’t ask for any more than that. It is a chance to put over exactly who you are and what you can do face to face and you are not just another name on a sheet of paper.

On May the 22nd 2005, I watched celtic capitulate to Motherwell and hand the Scottish Premier league title to Rangers. To say I was a bit upset would be an understatement. Today, I hoping that Rangers meet the same fate against Kilmarnock where they need to win to secure the title if celtic beat Motherwell at Parkhead. I have supported celtic all my life and would love them to win the title today, but, I cannot see myself getting as worked up as I did back in 2005 although i would love some rangers fans to feel that way. It is not just the change in my life perspective due to having cancer, it is the embarrassment to Scotland of the treatment of Neil Lennon which has tarnished my love of the game. I have listened to people tell me that Neil Lennon brings on the treatment he gets by his own actions. Someone even went on to explain how he is related to known IRA members and this is justification enough. It is also wrong that I actually feel uncomfortable speaking about the situation knowing that this is an open blog that anyone can read and may hold my comments against me, that is how ridiculous it is getting here in Scotland.

I am just out of my second chemotherapy session. The first night on Thursday was a bit uncomfortable. I had the chills and was sick twice, the first time I have been sick since getting out of hospital 8 weeks ago so it was a bit worrying for me. Blood was taken to ensure I haven’t picked up and infection but my temperature settled during the day and the rest of the treatment went ok. I took advantage of the excellent Friends of the Beatson with reflexology, an indian head massage and a haircut. I actually nodded off during the reflexology which was fantastic and really takes your mind off the chemo and most other things which is great even if it is for just a short period. It is a welcome break from the ward.

During my first chemo session and when I was in the Royal I was lucky enough to have a room to my self. This time I was in a 4 bed ward. There are pros and cons to both. It was me causing the disturbance on the first night being sick so I can’t really complain about anyone else. It was good at times to have some company and share experiences. It is good to be able to talk openly and frankly to other patients, some stories more encouraging than others. I cannot deny that it can be grim in there but I need to not let that effect me. It is a horrible disease, a seriously horrible disease and the sooner they can find a better way to tackle it the better. This is not a place to share the stories I heard, they are often very personal and generally quite tragic, there are many positive stories but mainly for the inpatients these are less common.

I have totally changed my diet now in order to do everything I can to combat the effects of the chemo and keep up my fitness levels to help my body fight. Now I have had 2 sessions I have a better idea of how I need to adjust my life to accommodate it. I am beginning to experience more of the side effects. I was running my hand under cold water yesterday and had the strangest tingling right through my fingers. It wasn’t like pins and needles, it was more like if you stuck your hand in the coldest deep freeze ever. It passed quickly but was quite weird. I think the sickness on the first night was a bad reaction to the chemo but I also suspect they may have missed one of my meds before hand which I will double check next time. It was a few days before I felt the fatigue really set in and I will watching that this week and making sure I don’t over do anything.

When I arrived home last night I had a letter from Lanarkshire NHS for a referral to the Monklands which is for the endoscopy I was supposed to be getting back in February!!! A bit pointless now. I also now have a Blue Badge which will make life a lot easier. Although I am mobile there are times I can’t walk very far after the chemo in particular and sometimes when out I need to get certain places pretty quickly! Maybe a bit too much information but I am keen to record these things to mark how i progress over time.

No mug shots this week but here is a pic I took on a quick visit to the museum of modern art in Glasgow. The main hall was shut due to the installation of a a new exhibition, the British Art Show which starts on 27th May and will also be at the Tramway and the CCA. May be worth a look if you like that sort of thing.

Glasgow Museum of Modern Art

29
Apr
11

one small step

7 weeks after being discharged from Glasgow Royal after my initial operation which discovered the tumour and disease in my colon I am sitting back in hospital today. This time I am in the beatson cancer centre in Glasgow receiving my first dose of chemotherapy. The chemo is being administered intravenously continuously for 48 hours and has been going for about 12hours now and I am feeling ok so far.

It is my 4oth birthday today, not a great way to spend your birthday but it was made up for by the surprise party thrown for me last saturday night. I was suspicious that something was going on for a few of reasons, one being that I would normally arrange going out with some friends myself but was persuaded not to with the chemo starting. I more suspected a small surprise dinner rather than all the friends and family that turned up. Julie did an amazing job organising it and I suspect she had a few helping hands.

Me with my great friends David(lef)t and Stephen (right) and my younger brother Huggy 40th Birthday Party Liquid Ship

I had a great night and anyone seeing all the pictures will notice I hardly had a smile off my face apart from one where I look like I am sleeping standing up! I don’t know where I found the energy, I was completely shattered by the end of the night but loved every minute of it and thanks to everyone for all the cards and presents. To complete a wonderful weekend I spent sunday afternoon having dinner with my family.

Now sitting in hospital I woke up angry this morning. I haven’t really had this emotion yet. I am angry about a number of things but not really the obvious ‘why me’. I am angry about certain aspects of life that have suddenly been put in a new perspective for me. Most people wonder from time to time about how old they will live to, where they will end up, where they will eventually live and build their career and family around creating this. I feel like that has gone for me. I need to think differently now. I always played the long game. I spent 11 years in higher education  to eventually become an architect. I am hugely proud of this achievement and of the work I have done since qualifying. It was all about building for the future though, what future wasn’t certain, I just always had to be pushing in the right direction. It allowed my to have a great house, a nice a car and a fairly comfortable life but I don’t think this has ever satisfied me. Maybe if I had kids I would have been more content with life and plodded on not taking any risks just to ensure my family was comfortable and I would have a reasonable retirement.

I have so much to do as well as fight cancer. I want to continue to work and have no reason at the moment not to. I love my work, it is part of me, I just need to adjust my life to accommodate it in a different way. I am lucky with the projects, clients and staff I am working with just now but it has taken years to establish and I want to keep the momentum going of the good work we have done to date.

I need to look at how I run the rest of my life, I need to make the most of it, stop putting things off, nothing gets done putting things off. I was inspired by the attitude of my friends Tracey and Aitken who recently moved to Australia, talking to them only the other day they have an attitude of making things happen, putting themselves in the place they want to be under their own steam and I have never heard them blame anyone else for something not happening for them.

I have some time today. I am not the invalid I felt last time I was in hospital and I have eaten more here in one day than I did in 2 weeks last time. I can do a bit of work from here but I have always had a rule of not working on my birthday and that certainly applies today more than any other. I am stuck to my drip but I am able to get a treatment from the fantastic Friends of the Beatson later today and looking forward to visitors later and maybe more cake!

happy birthday to me!

Just as I was finishing this my nurse came in and sang me happy birthday 🙂

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21
Apr
11

somethings rumbling

It’s been a few weeks since my last post partly due to my computer being in the i-store getting fixed and partly due to making up for spending so long lying on my backside. It has now been confirmed I am definitely starting my chemo therapy on the 28th of April and will spend my 40th birthday in hospital. It’s kind of ironic in that when I fell ill back in January that I thought I had plenty of time to sort it out before my birthday! The treatment will involve 2 days every fortnight as an inpatient at the beatson and looks like being a thursday-friday. Hopefully this will work out that any aftereffects can be dealt with over the weekend after and I can make the most of the weekends inbetween.

I was at Rosshall today getting an echocariogram and a ct scan as baselines for my treatment courtesy of the drug company. The first difference you notice entering rosshall is the lack of folk hanging about smoking outside and the carpeted foyer! It was interesting to watch my heart on the computer screen and everything was reported as ok. When I was seeing my oncologist consultant she told me not to worry if the CT scan showed my tumour getting bigger, I said I wouldn’t know as I hadn’t seen it. She offered to show my previous scan but i couldn’t bring myself to look. I don’t know what it is, but I really don’t want to see it right know. Maybe after my first six weeks and my next scan I may have changed my mind but I don’t know if I can face seeing it right now. I feel so much better now it is easy for my to think there is nothing wrong and if I see it I will just visualise it in there all the time, growing inside me. For anyone interested in the technical side of things there is more detail on here.

The weekend after my trip to Gleneagles, Julie and I took a drive to Campbeltown to visit her gran. It is a long drive there but I am comfortable driving now and actually feel it is quite therapeutic when not in the city. We were lucky with the weather (and a small win on the national) and I particularly enjoyed spending some time on the beach near the new Dunes golf course. There are miles of unspoiled sandy beach there with almost no-one else for miles around. I braved a paddle in the ice cold water but as some of you know, it would usually not have taken much for me to have dived straight in. It may seem silly, but something as simple as standing in the water, looking out at the sea and feeling the waves against my cold peely wally legs was one of things I thought about when i was lying in hospital and one of those moments that you want to go on.

machrihanish

Thanks to one of my friends, I was invited along to see Peter Kay’s sold out show in Glasgow on Monday night. I love comedy and phoenix nights and jumped at the chance. I was a bit disappointed though but i really seemed to be in the minority as the crowd where going wild to him playing air guitar on a shovel for half an hour as his finale. I couldn’t help thinking if someone tried that on Britain’s got Talent they would be booed of in seconds. I don’t think I like the idea of arena comedy either, it is just to big and not intimate enough, you really would be aswell watching at home as many will once the dvd comes out in time for christmas. In contrast, I watched, American: The Bill Hick’s Story the next night. I don’t think 2 comedians could be further apart. For anyone who doesn’t know Bill Hicks, Denis Leary was maybe bigger here in the UK for a while due to his MTV and film appearances. Leary has been accused of ‘borrowing’ much of his material from Bill Hicks. I was a bit apprehensive watching the documentary as I knew that he died of cancer at the age of 32 in 1994. It was really heartwarming hearing his friends and family talk about finding out he had cancer and how they felt about it and dealt with it. It was also scary seeing how it seemed that he tried to deal with his condition by himself and really immersed himself in his work, in fact, producing what most people consider his best work.

I have now successfully put on over a stone since leaving hospital and I am back to trying to eat healthier although I did have rather good fish and chips for my dinner and a mountain of chocolate eggs to go through! I have also started posting photos on my flickr page again including this one of Gigha on the trip to Campbeltown.

gigha

I put together my own photo site last year, www.jmcphoto.co.uk, but i haven’t done that much with it this year. I have printed and framed a good few with the intention of trying to sell some but really haven’t made enough of an effort yet although I have had some interest.

Holiday weekend is now here, i am feeling great and i have no more consultations or hospital visits until Tuesday. I will be back to work next week before my treatment to finish a couple of tenders we are doing (fingers crossed) and my next blog will more than likely be put together in the beatson next week.

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09
Apr
11

in limbo

gleneagles 02 april 2011

My title isn’t meant to be negative but just reflects the fact that now I feel fit enough for the chemo I am keen just to get started! I was due to start this week (6th April) but following consultation on taking part in a clinical trial I won’t start treatment until 20th. I have been told to build up my strength and enjoy myself until then! The trial will involve 3 separate drugs all administered intravenously which will mean I will be an inpatient for a few days at the Beatson every 2 weeks. Although I will be an inpatient I will be able to work to a certain extent but I am keen to set myself a task and maybe even get to write the book I have been thinking about for a while.

I have had a busy time since my last post including hospital visits, consultations, a weekend away and doing a bit of work.

My early 40th birthday treat , a night at Gleneagles Hotel including dinner at Andrew Fairlie‘s was just what I needed. It is really expensive and extravagant and probably a bit of a one-off but it really was good. Downside was that I couldn’t use the spa facilities which I usually love. I did treat myself to a few glasses of wine which went down really well.

dinner at andrew fairlies

The weather has taken a turn for the better and it almost feels like summer today. I will be 40 by the end of this month and looking back at the post I made at the end of 2010 I still intend on doing all the things I said I would in my resolutions although they may take a bit longer than I thought at the time.

I actually enjoyed my first proper visit to the pub this week of 2010 to watch the football, after new year I had hardly ventured out at all and had no will to. I had usually came home from work and collapsed on the couch and not moved until I had to. The feeling of looking forward to going out, even if just for a few hours, is great to have back and hope it lasts when the chemo starts.

I am really eating well again and enjoying every minute of it. My weight has crept above 13stone now which means I have gained about half a stone since getting out of hospital and my little character on the wii no longer turns into mr blobby when I stand on the balance board to weigh myself!

Another consultation with oncologist on Monday and a visit to the nurse to see if my wound is improving, it is taking some time to heal but just in the area where I am bending over or stretching to get up and down.

I have a few pounds on the national today, lets see if my luck is changing……….:)