Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Score: Winter-1; Immune System-0

Last night bought back all sorts of memories and not many of them good.

In a short space of time after getting home last night, my nose started to run and my head started to hurt.  Damn it, I've got a head cold! 
Last year, everyone stayed clear of me, so I avoided any colds & flus.  This year, I don't even know where I got it from, but I'm feeling all sorry for myself as a result.

So, last night was spent running around after my nose (fortunately I had a stock of tissues to call on) , then when I went to bed, the routine started to resemble the heady times of last year - up to the loo almost hourly, struggling to get comfortable, blowing my nose seemingly endlessly and eventually having to sleep on my back in an elevated position.

On the plus side, at least I know this is going to pass in the next couple of days, whereas last year, the routine seemed to be without end.

The one obvious lesson - take your immune system boosting pills Russell.  They are sitting on the table, but I just kept forgetting to take them.  Won't do that again.

And the obvious observation - my immune system is still a tad "delicate", so I'll need to continue being careful.  I will admit I thought it would probably be almost back to normal by now, but I was obviously wrong.  

I'm actually at home now trying to shake off the cold - in the past, I'd have just continued going to work (and share it around).  This time however, and as much a precaution for myself as anything, I left work at lunchtime and don't intend going back until I'm feeling better.

Hearing Test Outcome

I had my hearing test on Monday morning at Hutt Hospital and it was interesting to see the differences between Hutt & Wellington.

I've had 2 hearing tests at Wellington now and I must admit the equipment, etc looked pretty old.  Don't think that altered the result, but it seemed to somehow fit with the fact they are situated in the oldest part of the hospital.

Hutt, by comparison was a bells & whistles environment.  The gear looked newer and I was actually in a separate sound proof room for this test.  Some of the tests were also different in that they added additional noises to "confuse" my ability to hear the beeps and tones they had me listening out for.  And the results were printed out on a proper printout, not just handwritten!

End result - my hearing in the upper registers is definitely not what it should be, and that confirms what the second Wgtn test had shown.  Mr Morrisey didn't have the results of the Wgtn tests, so he couldn't confirm the loss was indeed treatment related, but I'm pretty sure the Wgtn before and after tests did show a significant drop from one to the other.

Now it's another waiting game for him to get the Wgtn records and then make a decision (possibly another 3 months before I see him again).  He was talking about getting Mr Hamilton to start the ball rolling with lodging a medical related ACC claim.  I may have to stump up for part of the cost for hearing aids (if they are deemed necessary) as good old ACC will play the age/degeneration card.  As in so many other aspects of this journey, a small price to pay for still being alive.

Oh, and Mr Morrisey suctioned my left ear to remove some debris and wax - a strange experience, but meant he could confirm both ear drums are A OK.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Body Tweaks

As I've discussed before, my body is still making adjustments post-treatment. While I've come to terms with or made allowances for most of these, some still catch me by surprise.

In my last post, I mentioned that something was afoot and since then, to be honest, something else has also surfaced.

Newest first.  As a result of the radiotherapy, the hair follicles along my jawline (ears to chin) and under both sides of my jaw got nuked.  This meant that as far as growing facial hair went, I was limited to effectively a goatee style.  I have no desire to grow one by the way, but one other side effect was it meant there was less to shave each morning.  Seems those days are coming to an end.

Over the last week or so, the jawline hair - both sides - has made somewhat of a comeback and now requires daily attention.  While I can cope with the additional effort required, it has caught me somewhat off guard as I was led to believe the hair follicles were nuked for good. This then raises the question of what else will/might come back?  I've already mentioned the changes in my hearing over the last few weeks, coupled with this I'm now wondering what else is going to burst back into life.

Which leads me nicely to the original comments about something being afoot.  While it is early days yet, it seems that I may possibly be recovering some of the saliva glands as well.  I'm playing down this possibility / significance as there may be other factors at work that are behind this, but regardless, it is indeed an interesting development.  

What I've found recently is I have a slightly lower reliance on my water bottle (is it a seasonal thing due to the colder weather?) and have even ventured out on short trips without it!  I can also now eat 2 pieces of garlic bread - might not seem a biggie to you, but given the problems bread has caused up until now, this is actually quite an achievement.  My mouth also seems to be "retaining" moisture better - I don't have to rely on the water as much to stop it being dry.  Given most of my time is spent in an office, the change of outdoor temperature can safely be ruled out as an influence here.  I also seem to be very slightly more tolerant of meat that is "turning" from being moist to slightly dry.

All little things sure, but I'm also having less middle of the night bladder issues - this means I'm getting close to six hours of uninterrupted sleep at night.  Is that weather related? Is my lower water intake the reason, or is something else also starting to return to normal?  My diet has changed slightly over the last couple of weeks as well, so is that having some perverse impact?  

I don't honestly know, but needless to say I'll be monitoring things with interest over the next week or two.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

An Unexpected Side Effect

You'd think by now I would be pretty much aware of all of the lasting side effects of the last year, I know I thought I was.

Well, I got a wee surprise today.  I went to buy a new pair of shoes and it seems that along with my waistline, my feet have also gone on a diet and I now take shoes a 1/2 size smaller than before.  Bugger me, wasn't expecting that.  Also, in some cases I needed a wide fit, whereas now I'm a standard fit.

This hasn't really come to light before now because I was quite happily wearing shoes I already had and they seemed to fit just fine.  I'll potentially disappoint the females out there - I do not see this as a reason to rush out and buy heaps of new shoes just because of that.  I'll happily continue with replacing them on an "as required" basis.  I will however check all my existing shoes to make sure I don't wear anything that has become too loose and therefore uncomfortable.

While I'm at it, I have been somewhat remiss in not updating the blog for a couple of weeks now.  In all honesty, things have been ticking along quite nicely of late.  My weight is staying stable, I'm feeling a bit stronger physically and my stamina seems to hold up to longer, more frequent exercise as well.

I'm still aware I'm not 100% in some areas, but the list seems to be either slowly diminishing, or I'm adjusting somehow so some things don't hinder me as much and I move on.  Life is all about adjustments now, and as I've said before, I have to admit many of them are good ones despite the "background".

Oh, and the 27th of May was rather an "auspicious" day.  In fact one could say it was one of 3 x 27th's that day.  Confused?  In the mail on the 27th, came the details of my next clinic appointment - 27th July, and joy of joys, my hearing appointment - the 27th of June.

The hearing has been a bit "strange" of late.  I was watching TV yesterday and in an instant, the whole sound level just changed.  I'm used to the ringing, etc in my ears now, but imagine if you can,  listening to something with a lot of treble notes (making it sound a bit "rough"), then in an instant it becomes bass note intensive and strangely quite clear.  Sorry, best I could come up with as an example of the extent of the change.  It was rather short-lived though and the ringing, etc is back "to normal".  
There are times when I struggle with the fact that although my hearing has been affected, loud noises still "insult" my ears.  Weird.  Never mind, only a couple of weeks to go and hopefully I'll have a better picture of the way forward.

There is also something afoot in another area that is quite interesting, but I'll keep that under wraps for another time to see if it is an apparition or something more.