Thursday, 27 September 2007

I'm here!

Day one and nothing unusual. Been here 8 hours and still waiting to receive some chemo - a record for even the Royal Marsden. Didn't get my PICC line in my arm till 5.30pm after trying both arms, but still waiting for doctors to sign it off as ready to use.

Oh, as I speak (sorry, type) , my chemo has arrived. Due to have Carboplatin for an hour, Etoposide for 2 hours, then another 2 hours of Etoposide, then 4 hours of fluids. Looks like I won't be getting much sleep - my pump sounds like an industrial hoover and I'll be woken every 2 hours.

On the plus side I have one of the bigger rooms on the sunny side of the building. The TV has an integral DVD player rather than the usual video player, I have an internet connected PC in the room (which has Skype and I have a web-cam attached so you can see what a state I'm in) and the chicken and mushrooms for dinner was quiet palatable.

Feels like I've been here before - though 3-4 weeks full-time is a bit different to Mon-Fri. Tired already so will update in the morning.

Well, its morning now. 1 days chemo finished and I'm feeling OK, apart from the effects of the broken sleep. Back to measuring my fluids in and out - I wonder if I'll beat my record of passing 1.1 litre - which was a problem at the time as the container was only 1 litre.

Note for visitors (that's if anyone manages to find the place, and then isn't overcome by the strange combination of antiseptic and hospital kitchen smells that hits you when you walk in the entrance):

1. You have to wash your hands (I realise thats going to be unusual for some of you) with antibacterial gel and put on an apron before entering my room.
2. I'm not allowed to eat fresh-fruit so no grapes please!

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Last Supper!

Thanks to all who surprised me at the meal last night - great to see you all to celebrate (?) my birthday and spoil what I thought was going to be a quiet romantic meal with just Michelle and I - it felt like my last supper, though thats officially tonight. Lasagne, and I'm cooking!

It's surprising how much rubbish there is to sort out when you realise you are not going to be at home for three or four weeks. I've cooked up 21 meals for one which should keep Michelle going for three weeks. I'll likely be on a liquid diet in a week or so, that's intraveneous, not Guinness.

Luckily Alicia, our au pair, arrived from Spain on Saturday to take care of Lauren (and Michelle). Michelle and I have adopted involuntary hand movements to accompany our protracted English prose as we try and explain to Alicia how to cook an egg. More worryingly is she didn't seem to know what paella was.

I'll be packing this evening, not that I'll be needing much. No doubt I'll be taking sufficient electronic gadgetry to blow their ring main. Gerry, I may need to enlist your help hacking onto the hospital wi-fi network. Knowing the Royal Marsen their password will be 'password'.

Thanks to all the kind offers of visits, most of which dissipate once I actually explain where the Royal Marsden is. Still, I guess you can book 'rent a visitor' on the internet if I get desperate.

I'll hopefully be able to get online and keep you up to date, otherwise watch out for smoke signals eminating from south London.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Counting the days...

....well I would be if I wasn't too busy with work!! (I have to say that in case Chris is reading this...)

Having some pre-chemo tests on Monday - check if I have a heart and it has all the right bits and ditto my kidneys. I guess I'll omit to tell them I'm planning on hammering them at the weekend in honour of my XXth birthday. God knows what two pints will do to them!

Then I've got to have a permanent line put in - either in my arm like last year or a Hickman line which goes into the main vein in my neck (going for the jugular) and then runs under the skin downwards and pops out in a port on my chest. My vote is for one in my arm - reckon a Hickman line will ruin the profile of my pec's when wearing a shirt!

..and yes Pete I have some funny southern friends definitely think my northern friends are a funny lot...!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

A Date!!

My recent scan showed no real change (which with my history I took as good news!). Still two small nodules on my right lung, one of which I think is benign. No evidence of any new tumours or spread! Tumour marker has come down to 44 so the tumour is responding to my chemo.

The 26th Sept (2 days after my birthday) has been scheduled for starting my transplant - I was offered the 19th Sept but didnt fancy spending my birthday in the Royal Marsden. I'll have 4 days of high dose chemo, then 2 days later I'll have my stem cell returned. Usual chemo side effects but a degree worse. The chemo will annihilate my bone marrow so my blood count will be very low for 10-12 days - apparently without the stem cells transplant it would take 6-8 weeks for my blood to start recovering. So I'm looking at 3-4 weeks in hospital. Visitors welcomed unless they've got the sniffles or a small baby!

Meanwhile, reckon I'll get on and do some work..!