Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The gang of 7 clinic appointment this afternoon went very well.  It went the way of others before it - everybody was happy with where I'm at.

Mr Hamilton got another good look at the offending tonsil and it seems I'll be "excused" the quarterly nitrous induced trip to the dentist now as a result of this new found ability.

I had another blood test to check the thyroid level.  At the last clinic in April, Mr Hamilton decided they should keep an eye on my thyroid levels as it seems they can get screwed around with the cisplatin / radiotherapy (another side effect to consider - great).  Given my energy levels still aren't back to a level we'd all be happy with, he thinks maybe the thyroid level is a bit wonky, so the test today will be compared to the "base line" one they took last time.

The gang of 7 was actually the gang of 8 today with quite a few new faces.  Four of them had a poke and prod around my neck/throat and there were a few anxious moments when one of them thought there was something of potential concern.  The majority decision however was it was merely the result of the tissue damage from the treatment (the scarring, etc that the osteo is trying to loosen up).  Whew!

My weight has indeed stabilized and Paul the dietitian was happy with my progress / variety with regards my eating.  As an aside, peanut slabs have returned to my menu, sort of.  The standard 50gm slab is still too much to handle, but the new snack size ones are a three bite luxury.  While even that presents some issues, they are worth it, yum.

So, another tick in the box thanks to the experts, and almost instantly all that apprehension I had been feeling over the last few days disappeared.  The only reason I can think of why this visit made me so anxious is that it is effectively the anniversary clinic.  August 16th is the anniversary of my last treatment, and by my logic that makes it the day I beat this thing.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll be more relaxed / accepting  come the time of the next clinic.  Here's hoping.

In the meantime, it is onwards and upwards and I'll just keep on pushing myself to find my new limits.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Jitters Are Back

It's now only a couple of days until my next gang of seven clinic and, as has become the norm, the jitters are back.

It doesn't matter how many positive outcomes I get, come the time for these clinics, I always hunker down into a state of "fear" and doubt.  By now I should be accepting of good news - I've certainly had enough of it over the last year - but I just can't overcome that latent concern that as some stage things won't be as rosy at one of these visits.

I shouldn't be worried really.  After all, my last appointment with Mr Gillingham delivered a clean bill as far as he was concerned, and Mr Morrisey gave me a good poke & prod while he was doing the hearing test a month ago - he was also happy (and given he was the one who confirmed the diagnosis, that does speak volumes).  My weight seems to be staying pretty static (clothes may maketh the man, but they also screw around with the result if you don't remember to wear the same clothes each time you step on the scales - and you've got to also remember to weigh yourself at the same time of day ), my eating has settled down and levels of energy continue to creep upwards.  Sure the immune system is still a tad dodgy, but you can't expect miracles, especially at this time of year with all the winter weather challenges.

So why do I still feel apprehensive about Wednesday afternoon?  I honestly don't know.  At this time in the cycle, I end up kicking the PMA into overdrive to compensate for this "negativity" and each time I think I've got this under control.  Three months later and inevitably I'm going through it all again.  With each passing cycle, the odds of bad news surfacing lessen, but my concerns don't.

I'm putting it down to it just being a perfectly normal reaction that any survivor of a potentially terminal disease will feel.  Maybe it has something to do with not accepting you've beaten the odds.  Oh well, it's only for another couple of days.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Life Is Full of Ups and Downs

know, it's somewhat of an overused saying, and I almost used another one - Life is like a roller coaster, but managed to resist (for now anyway).

Wow, it's been a couple of weeks now since this head flu knocked me around and quite honestly, I'm still not 100% over it.

The Codral Cold & Flu pills I was taking had some effect on drying up my nose, but they also had a downside - they really dried my mouth out overnight.  It took me a day or two to realise why my throat was so dry, so I stopped taking them and low and behold, the dryness abated after a couple of days.

By that stage, fortunately I was feeling well enough to "risk" going drug free and by and large, I have coped well.  As I said earlier, I'm still trying to shake the remnants - a goal not helped by the current cold snap that seems hell bent on keeping me sniffling for weeks to come.  Fortunately I've still got my nasal spray, but there is another down associated with that.

You see, I've started getting blood noses again.  Today was a pearler - I blew my nose when I got up and spent the next 10 minutes trying to stem the flow of blood.  All day I've had to resist giving my nose a good blow, and when I've succumbed, it has largely been blood as opposed to "nasal congestion".  It normally settles down after a day or two, so just another fun thing to deal with.  Fortunately, the bleeding nose is not too frequent an occurrence, but inevitably, the timing is inconvenient.  Taking nasal sprays during these times just doesn't really work.

Another up and down.  Melissa, my osteo, is making good progress with getting my upper left quadrant loosened up and working again.  The range of movement is certainly improving and my posture is returning to a more normal upright stance.  Great, but thanks to my cold, I've gone backwards over the last couple of weeks.  Seems when the system gets blocked up, the muscles, etc in the upper torso contract.  Hmmm.  And to add salt to the wound, I've also been getting headaches caused by all of this.  I initially blamed my new pillow, but after being beaten up by Melissa, my sleep pattern has now returned to normal.  Well almost.

Just before the cold took hold, I'd started to basically sleep through the night again. Wow, was that great.  It took a couple of nights to actually accept it, but it was one of those changes I was happy to embrace.  The damn cold soon fixed that.  My liquid intake has increased again during the time I've had the cold, so I'm up during the nights again.  I try to convince myself this extra flushing is good for me, but I'd quite honestly rather have the sleep.

So, as you can see, things are a bit up and down at the moment.  I think the ups are starting to overtake the downs (muted yippee) and given it is now only a month before the anniversary of my treatment ending, I'm not going to let these "annoyances" hold me back from moving forward.

Despite all of this, there is one overriding positive - it is life itself.  This time last year I was still engaged in an all out war with cancer and the fact I've come out of it the victor sure as hell trumps anything else being thrown at me - see, the PMA lives on.