Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Day 69 - Head and Neck clinic results

Well today is rather strange, it is 6 years to the day that my father died but here I am celebrating being given the all clear from Head and Neck clinic. I have to return in 2 months time, which means it is my second month cancer free.

I left the room wanting to cry, full of pent up emotions and nervous energy I walked out and drifted around the hospital corridor not in celebratory way but a sense of huge relief sweeping over me.

I tend to put cancer to the back of my mind now and try and live for the moment, it is something which makes me look over my shoulder everyday but not for too long.

Just as I shed a tear for my dear dad this morning, they get shorter every year as time makes a great healer.

Keep attacking! N

Monday, October 24, 2005

Days 61 - 68 - Head and Neck clinics

Today is my second head and neck clinic. The last week has flown by, I been to London, looked after the children and returned to gym all with no ill effects. The mouth ulcers are going and quality of life has improved no end in the last 7 days.

I feel I have my old energy back and after having my medical assessment before joining the local gym, my blood pressure was on the slightly above average not suprising when you consider the summer I have had. Most of which was spent on my back either in my bed or a hospital one.

I have not worried about my visit today I suppose more to do with being busy than over confidence. I remember saying after I had done a huge walk in May before I knew I had cancer saying "there cannot be anything wrong with me if I can do this walk" I never ill before and its the same now. Of course my shoulder hurts, of course my mouth still reminds me of the RT and chemo however my general health feels quite good. I am keeping my fingers crossed but will find out today.

N x

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day 55 - Day 60 - Life goes on- some thank yous

Well it is nearly a week since I posted here. Why the delay, well I suppose it is about having something witty, fun, or morose about my own condition to say.

I had another week of work and spent time in London. I witnessed Beaver Cars in action on my long train journey and managed to have a row with queue jumpers at the Odeon trying to get into see Wallace and Gromitt at the Odeon. Having the energy to challenge is a sure sign I am getting better!

I am very tired each evening, it is a different sort of tired my body aches and the yawns cause me problems. Yawning can be quite dangerous, you see I have no muscle structure on the left side of my neck so a yawn tears at operation lines and tends to cause the left hand side to freeze imagine doing driving. I have your whole head goes into spasm and you cannot move it looks hilarious to onlookers but its bloody painful and a tad dangerous at 70 mph, ok 55 mph in the camper! I lied.

I have however never taken cocaine for the record! Just in case I get called on the stand for election in teh next few months.

I can deal with the tiredness = sleep however there has been a marked change in the last week. Since RT finished I have been dribbling at night getting away without having a dry mouth, however in the last week there is no saliva left in my mouth. I tend to awake about 4am with a dry mouth it has no fluid in it at all and your throat, tounge and mouth feel like they have seized up like an engine with oil. I combat it with water, oral saliva replacement gel, but these tend to only work about for about 3 hours so my sleep is broken and when I wake up it is very uncomfortable as my lips are coated with a white film and prising my lips apart is quite difficult. Throw in my sore shoulder from the operation and the first 30 mins of waking up are pretty poor.

Things have improved on the ulcer front I am checking it everyday it seems to subsiding and the only problem I tend to get with it is during those dry mouth nights where it is exposed to air and boy does it remind me it is still there.

So things are generally good at the moment. I have lots of thanks to say to people and I am not sure how to say them and show I mean them. So over the next few weeks I will cut down the postings to three a week, unless anything dramatic happens - like my next Joint Head & Neck Clinic on the 24th Oct! I will however be saying thank you to lots of people for being my friend, loyal and there for me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Day 52/53/54 Cornwall

I cried when I left Cornwall, not because it was pouring with rain but because it holds so many happy childhood memories for me when we were a family and I was protected. It was West Cornwall I fell in love with many years ago, playing with gay abandon in the sand dunes and rock pools and hoping my children will have the same experiences.

I cried because I did not want it to be the last time I ever saw West Cornwall. I get like that fear of the unknown always in the back of your mind a slight doubt will the cancer return. I am taking the children at the end of October back, so why the tears? Who knows John Peel use to cry after Little House on the prairie and Sheila use to comfort him, so if its good enough for Lord Peel its good enough for me.

The break was well deserved, no driving and very relaxed.

I struggled at meal times mainly due to "new English menus" which does away with gravy or sauces with meals and leaves a dry dish to attempt to squeeze down with lashings of water or in my case beer. Ok it was not lashings but 2 pints one night, which took me three hours to drink whey hey!

They are trying to extend the Tate gallery in St Ives into the car park, destroy sea views of local residents if they cannot extend they will have to close, so the Tate story goes. After paying £5.50 to view 6 pictures of local St Ives artists, and 2 floors of a radical Berlin artist whose name forgets me, but 10 years ago in less politically correct times I would of called Helga I struggle to see what all the fuss is about. The main reason for extending is so that they can cater for more people in the overpriced cafe, which took 30 minutues to serve up a fairly bog standard cafe mocha, all for £2.50. I have often wondered how the beast of Porthemoor Beach was able to get planning permission in the first place considering it has all the beauty of a hermit crab without its shell!

One of the exhibitions was a 16mm film of a working revolving cafe in Berlin. The camera was stationary and the cafe revolved around. The pictures were blurred and did not even show you the view from the window!

It is not the first time I have beed perplexed, or ripped off by Tate modern in St Ives, the secret is find something else to do if its raining in West Cornwall!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Day 48/49/50 - Normality

It is Day 51 and this afternoon I am off to Cornwall for a short well earned break.

I survived my first week back in London. I ma working from home today which takes a little of the physical pressure off what has been a tiring week. My main concern was my voice standing up the rigors of full time work. I have been able since Sunday to find enough potions to keep my horrific tounge ulcer at bay to enable me to eat, drink and talk. I must admit with the various cocktails of potions quality of life was pretty poor.

I must admit I did not expect the welcome back I got. People who I had hardly known shaking my hand and hugging me, there was a genuine welcome for me which was very emotional. I felt safe, well looked after, comfortable which in a city such as London is a blessing.

I am off to Zennor later today, still yawning, still tired but I am sure a couple day in South West Cornwall can only be R&R after all treatment finished 51 days away and still the after effects of chemo and RT linger on.

N x

Monday, October 03, 2005

Day 46 - Beavers!

When starting in business naming your company is always difficult, its easy if you are called Mr Sainsbury or William H Smith but I must admit naming a company has always been a challenge to me. That’s why I admire the owner of the most inappropriately named taxi company in the South West. The award goes to “Beaver cars” of Sherbourne.

Now can you imagine calling Beaver Cars after a good night out at the Sherbourne Conservative Association tombola and charity race night, only to be greeted by the taxi co-ordinator at the other end of the phone saying “Beaver here how can we help” Now you would think you had one glass too much of Mrs Beekeepers home made sherry. Now Dorset is not known for its legends but I suspect there are no wild beavers within 5000 miles of Dorset or in Zoological gardens in the County but for some reason the people who started the company decided to call themselves Beaver! It’s not even a clever marketing tool. If you’re a taxi company call yourself Aardvark Taxis to get yourself the first listing in the Yellow pages, but Beaver cars in a small sleepy Dorset Town I am sure there is some answer to this amazing piece of mystery. I think there is some pun that relates back to the sexual connotations of the alternative word for Beaver, but I have yet to work that one out.

How do I know all these interesting facts I hear you ask. Well it’s looking out the train window en-route to London. I have started back to work today and travelling to London. We are lucky in the West Country there are 2 routes to London from Exeter one can take. The London Paddington route which can be only 2 hours on a fast train or the London Waterloo route, which calls at a mammoth ten stations before depositing me three plus later in South London. I do prefer the latter route it has a more gentile, sedentary and relaxed view of life about it. The route is patronised by a more elderly population than the Paddington route and stops at such hip places such as Yeovil, Sherbourne of course and Andover.

I call it the elderly line, I did not realise how many old people actually lived in East Devon, Dorset and South Somerset. However, regardless of their age they still manage to indulge in the tactic of surrounding themselves with books and papers to bag the table of four and make discouraging noises to prevent young whipper snappers parking myself next to them and upsetting their neatly arranged piles.

The train journey and my fellow occupants reminded me of the Alan Bennett story where he said you cannot imagine Ryan, Brittany or Jordan being in an old peoples home suffering from incontinence and forgetting their name. Only Gladys, Walter or Ethel find themselves in old peoples homes.

I enjoy rail travel my day dreaming of Beaver cars and old people has more to do with my 1st real day back at work, one which fills me with trepidation and joy both at the same time :)