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Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Day....

The day started at 08.30 with stockings being opened...main presents wait until after dinner and Queen's speech.

Then at 09.30 we met up with the Third-Space crowd in the bandstand in Matlock Park for the usual Christmas Service. All had a piece planned but Fran decided to leave hers as she could see I was starting to struggle.

It was two notes for all to ponder...not necessarily there at the bandstand but anywhere the mood took us. I found the question about 'What would we think if everyone were celebrating our birthday in such a huge way?' rather amusing as I personally would see that the majority were not celebrating as I would like them to. I then thought of what Jesus would think about the way we as Christians and Atheists celebrate his birthday...would he be mad at the way it is celebrated..probably not mad, but I bet he would be a little dissapointed at the way much is made of whether or not a great Christmas is had by what presents are received!

The other one is, what would we be doing with our lives if Jesus had not been born...for one there would be no Christmas and we would not be called Christians...how many of us would believe in God as he still exists whether Jesus did or not. This one will take me a little more time to ponder...

Wendy's item was simple but made the biggest impact I thought...she had a shepherds crook, parcel labels and pens...we were to write as many names as we needed to of people who we wanted to bring before God at their time of need. Looking at those labels as they flickered in the wind was very thought provoking...

I did say to Wend that I expected my name to be mentioned at least 6 times on the labels and whilst I knew my name was there it doesn't need a label to show me how hard my family, friends in Matlock and friends globally are praying and thinking of me. I often see people in town that I know from one of the 10+ churches in our circuit, they stop me to tell me that they prayed for me that week. There are too many people to thank personally but you all know who you are and how much it means to me...I really do believe in miracles and whilst I seem to be struggling that little bit more this year than last I know there is still many chances for me and Christmases to be experienced.

Since being told that I have inoperable cancer I have been a little more reckless than usual with my driving...often pulling to a stop at Matlock train station with a hand-brake turn...to Charlotte's embarrassment. I am pleased to say that Fran has brought me a stunt driving experience for Christmas. I would never drive in a way that would be dangerous to anyone else but experiencing driving on two wheels and spinning the car round doing a proper hand-brake turn is a dream come true...I will let you know how that goes...I have to book soon as either surgery or chemo will slow me down in Jan-Feb next year.

Anyways...I slept from 10.30 til about 2pm when Fran called me for dinner...It wasn't the usual size, stacked up but a pretty picture of perfect portions...she knew I wouldn't be up to the big roasts of old so it was perfect!

Spoke with Catherine and the grandaughters and look forward to seeing them all next week. Just had a cuddle from Charlotte and she has made me a nice hot cuppa which I am drinking before trying to get some sleep after sleeping most of today :-)

My thoughts are with so many out there but special mentions have to go with Carole, Lisa and Deb...will speak with you all next Christmas!

Much Love

Tony xxxx

Monday, 19 December 2011

Cold Turkey at Christmas! (2)

Not so simple as I thought - Trying to stop 160mg+ of Morphine per day is not an easy task....yesterday I was climbing the walls, sweating and very, very tired. I even had to leave Fran in Church in the middle of the first prayer of which I offer sincere apologies to our local minister David.

In the afternoon I was due to meet our great friends for a Carol concert in one of our local pubs....I was so looking forward to it but spent the time in bed trying to sleep off this horrible feeling. More apologies for not turning up.

I have tried taking 60mg a day but still feel pretty rough. I missed a call from Dr P this morning so will give him a call tomorrow. I am sure he will give me his usual brand of sensible advice to get me sorted.

God Bless all,

Tony xxxx

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Cold Turkey at Christmas!

I am going through something I never thought I would....

Three weeks ago I stopped my Amitriptyline (75mg per day) and went on to a less sleep inducing Nortriptyline (25mg per day). I was told that I was able to increase the dosage by 25mg upto the 75mg if the pain got too much.  The expected burst of pain didn't materialise so my logic thought maybe I didn't need the 25mg of Nortriptyline either so I dropped that from my daily regime.

I then got to thinking that if I could do without the Nortriptyline what about the Zomorph and Oramorph?

As the Oramorph was only for breakthrough pain and as a boost if I was driving (even down to the shops) this was ceased last week.

As for the Zomorph (Morphine) I was taking 80mg twice a day so last week I reduced it to 60mg twice a day. Amazingly the pain didn't occur so I left it until yesterday morning and stopped taking the Morphine completely.

It was whilst sitting in the bath last week that I spoke with Fran and an original theory by the palliative care doctor started to make sense. What if the pain wasn't solely down to the ulcer and general swolleness of the scar tissue in my colon. It seemed likely that it was wholly down to the chemo and biological warfare. Mr S the surgeon noted that whatever the swelling was in my colon was, it had reduced!

So tonight after not much sleep last night I believe I am going through withdrawal symptoms...not quite the cold turkey of a hardened morphine addict however the constantly runny nose, the agitated arms and legs and the inability to concentrate seems likely to be due to the lack of morphine!

There is no pain in my bottom which has blighted my life for the best part of the last year and at times has terrified the family due to my screaming and crying in seriously unbearable pain...and in a day or two the mild withdrawal symptoms would have subsided!

Much Love

Tony xxxx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Todays appointment with Mr S

The day started well with a calming prayer in the examination room whilst I waited for Mr S.

However when I heard Mr S asking his nurse to get the KY Jelly I knew it wasn't going to be a fun appointment!

Anyway - not so bad as after the internal examination Mr S concluded that the lump had reduced in size. I also discussed my requirement to chuck pain killers down my throat had reduced quite a bit since I started my chemo rest which concludes that the chemo was a central cause of the pain on my ulcer.

I no longer take the Amitriptyline and have reduce my morphine tablets by 25% and will be looking to take back some more control over the next few days. As you can imagine you cant stop reasonably high morphine doses in a single day otherwise withdrawal symptoms would occur.

Even if the pain is being eliminated and hopefully attributed to the chemo and bio treatment the ulcer and fistula are still there to be dealt with, however I am hoping the treatment may not be so drastic.

As there could be a suspected reoccurence of the original bowel cancer I am to have a detailed MRI and a CT scan.

So, sort of good news, personally I don't like not being off chemo so long but quality of life is far better for the moment so maybe a consideration for the future....we'll see!

Much Love to all, but a special mention to TonyB who lost his battle a short while ago.

An additional special mention to Carole (Dizzie), Lisa (Loopy), Deb (Kentmum) and Tanya who are all experiencing their own struggles and remain with humour!

Tony xxx

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Next appointment...

Not long ago received an appointment letter from Mr S's clinic. I am to see him next Thursday 15th December for an initial meeting where we will review details.

I am sure the surgery to remove the ulcer and part of my large intestine alongside fitting me for a stoma wont be before Christmas as assume it is too late to slot me in. Although if it is, Fran and I have discussed and I will accept the date and get it over with!

Kind Regards to all, will keep you up to speed after Thurs.

Tony xx

Monday, 5 December 2011

Update - 05th December 2011

Hello All,

I had a review with my Oncologist today after my CT scan a couple of weeks ago. I have also had a break from chemo after 16 Irinotecan and 13 Avastin, it was having a real effect on me and hurt me so much in my leg bones and muscles that I was having trouble walking. I am pleased to say after a 6 week break I am feeling so much better.

The results of my CT scan showed that all the cancer impacted areas were stable - therefore the lymph glands in chest and pelvis and the tumour in my liver are all doing okay...Not being shrunk or disappearing however they are not growing either and that is not bad for a year (since last Oct 2010). They have noted several spots in my chest of about 1mm each however they are not sure these are significant so will just continue to keep an eye out.

The intense pain that I have been feeling in my backside is well under control with morphine etc - the pain is caused by an ulcer situated on the join where the original tumour site was. The whole area is not looking good and could potentially hide cancer cell activity. My surgical care team decided that the best course of action would be to operate and remove a reasonable section of my colon, thus clearing the ulcer and all other rubbish. This would also remove the need for so much morphine although a downside is that I would need a permanent colostomy/stoma - I considered this option long and hard and as I am taking a break from chemo it seems the right thing to do (I cannot have surgery whilst on Avastin as this would stop the healing process and blood clotting)

It has also been discovered that I have what is known as a fistula between my colon and my bladder - pretty gross, this is where the body decides to build its own link between organs, that link is not necessarily good and is a direct result of the chemo - the surgery should help to clear this up also.

I will let you know when the surgery is, hopefully soon and I will make sure I don't spend 7 weeks in hospital this time!

Much Love to all,

Tony xxxx

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Living Healthy After Cancer

I was approached by a gentleman called Trevor Bradshaw who requested to be a guest speaker on my blog.... Having read his article there seems an almost logical approach to living as a survivor of cancer and I reckon as someone who is suffering from cancer. There is no evidence to say healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle will cure cancer however you will feel a lot better for the suggestions in the article....I am on a health kick whilst resting from chemo (it was hurting me more than the cancer) and I can honestly say I have never felt better so am prepared for what is to come as best I can be.....

A cancer diagnosis and the related treatment can leave many survivors feeling betrayed by their body. Survivors might also live in fear that the cancer will return or that they might never regain their previous good health. It is essential for former cancer patients to live a healthy lifestyle following cancer treatment in order to regain strength, improve mood, decrease anxiety levels, and even reduce the risk of recurrence of the cancer.

Nutrition and eating habits are an important aspect of staying healthy. During cancer treatment, many people are unable to eat a healthy diet and may even have negative reactions to food following months of nausea and vomiting. However, healthy eating is one of the best ways to regain health and restore the body’s lost nutrients.
 

The recommendations for a cancer survivor’s diet are very similar to the recommendations for the general public. The patient should eat a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. In addition, eating a diet free from chemicals and processed foods can offer further protection from the negative effects of the standard UK/ American diet.
 

Plant-based diets are shown to be imperative in lowering the risk of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A whole grain, low sugar diet based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is a healthy option. In addition, it is recommended that all people, and especially cancer survivors, research appropriate dietary supplements, including vitamin D and Omega-3 oils.

In addition to diet, an exercise regimen can help the patient regain lost muscle mass and lower the level of fatigue the survivor feels. Exercise can also improve cardiovascular functioning and lower the patient’s levels of anxiety and depression. Because the cancer patient may not have had the energy levels to exercise during treatment, beginning very slowly with even ten minutes a day of light walking can help. Gradually build up to daily exercise of at least thirty minutes each day. Be sure to make exercise fun and motivating by choosing a favorite activity and getting friends and family involved in daily workouts.

Every healthy lifestyle also involves reducing risk-taking behaviors. A cancer survivor should make every effort to quit smoking if he or she smokes, avoid illegal drugs, and lower the level of alcohol consumed. Avoiding exposures to smoke, chemicals, and toxins can also help to keep the body healthy.
 

Finally, the cancer survivor should make sure he or she has a strong emotional support system. Following cancer treatment, the patient may face depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress. Finding a support person or therapist to speak to, as well as learning stress management techniques can help the patient maintain positive mental health, as well as physical health.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Please support Chemo patients!

http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=70&ea.campaign.id=12513


Macmillan are putting their weight behind efforts to stop DWP make cancer patients undergoing chemo attend work related interviews. 


Please copy and paste the link above into your browser and if you want to help please fill in your details for this petition....two minutes of your time for this important cause!


Cheers


Tony xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

CT Scan today

Hi All,

Quick update...

I sort of had my CT scan today and am hoping it works okay. Firstly you drink about a litre of water then when that has passed into your system you are taken to the CT scanner. At Chesterfield they have a portable one on the back of an artic lorry with all the high tech that is needed. Before they scan you they have to put in a big cannular so as to inject some contrast liquid to assist your veins showing up on the picture.

Unfortunately it took about 30 minutes for the cannular to be put in my arm and then when it was time to inject the contrast liquid it went into my arm instead of into my vein so made my arm swell up...

Thankfully some went into the vein so I will have to wait for the scan to be properly reviewed to see if it needs to be retaken!

Oh well, stuff happens... :-)

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Decisions, Decisions...

Fran and I have been having a chat today as to the decisions I am going to have to make. There is no more time to put them off...

As most of you know I have an ulcer just inside my colon on the site where the previous surgery to join the two areas together. As I am taking a breather from Chemo the side effects have started to slow down a bit so the primary area of concern is the pain in the ulcer. The pain is pretty much under control but it is frustrating for me that had I not developed the ulcer I would be feeling pretty good.

The reason the decision is crucial in my current treatment plan relates to the fact that I shortly will be at the point where I have been off Avastin for 6 weeks, which I need to be before any further surgery can be effected. Avastin prevents wounds healing and new blood vessels developing which are needed for the healing process.

Therefore the decision relates to should I have surgery on the ulcer to remove a reasonably sized section of my large colon, thus removing the ulcer and any further need for pain relief that I am currently taking. The surgery would unfortunately leave me with the requirement for a permanent Colostomy at the same time as removing the current pain and pain relief drug regime.

It all sounds sensible but I still have the memory of the last similar surgery I had in January 2010 which put me in hospital for 7 painful weeks due to complications instead of the usual 1-2 weeks. Also due to a stitch falling out of my colostomy the output came out below the skin line so the colostomy bag leaked constantly leaving the area very sore. However I do understand there are ways to ensure this time things will be better.

I am to have my CT Scan next Weds 16Nov to check progress of the Chemo, we will review the results which will determine how long the rest from Chemo will be, so lots to consider.

I am sure with prayer and Fran's help the right decisions will be made.

Much Love to all

Tony xxx

Thursday, 3 November 2011

The latest - 03rd November 2011

Hi All,

I have returned from my oncologist appointment today...Dr F my usual oncologist was not around so I spoke with a lovely registrar instead. Sometimes when you see a registrar and not the person who sets your mind at ease, your heart sinks a little but today she did a great job!

I took Fran with me today as my mind is a little wobbly and she helps to fill in the gaps :-)

The outcome is as follows...

Due to the fact the chemo is finally started to take its toll we agreed that a breather from the treatment would be in order....we haven't decided for how long..that will be determined after the results of my next CT scan are in and reviewed - The CT scan is due in the next couple of weeks after-which I will make an appt with Dr F via her secretary.

The symptoms I am currently exhibiting apart from the usual are blood in my urine, burning pain when having a wee (could be another infection). Difficulty walking and standing, night sweats (Fran reckons it could be the menopause)...Severe tiredness, multiple occurrences of severe diarrhoea which leaves me dehydrated (I have a supply of diaorylite).

The brilliant Macmillan Nurse H has just called me to let me know that my blood test has come back clear apart from a slight raise in white cell count. I am to call her Monday to get the results of my murky sample I dropped off today....I have already had two lots of anti-biotics ...I will update you on Monday as to the results etc.

So hopefully the rest from the chemo (Irinotecan) and biological warfare (Avastin) will allow me some normality although don't want a rest for too long and allow the nasty cancer to grow!!!

My prayers are with my dear friend Carole who has been following my illness in a similar direction for the past couple of years...unfortunately a cancerous lump (secondary) has been located in her spine which is currently being investigated...she is a brave soldier and quite often shows me the way in this dark tunnel we travel in!

Much Love and Prayers to you all

Tony xxxx

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Way Back When - 2001

I really wish I had kept my fitness regime...this video was taken in 2001 -  I went to an inter club Karate competition to help our strong team warm up....Darren Pettifer hurt his back after winning all his fights to help 


our blackbelt team reach the finals...due to Darren having an injured back I took his place...

Due to my size I was never as agile as some but my size came in handy when this blackbelt was obviously 

backing off...He won in the end and I gained some valuable experience!



Saturday, 24 September 2011

No 15 Irinotecan - No 12 Avastin

I had my next lot of treatments yesterday afternoon at Weston Park Hospital...The team there were wonderful, it only took two gos to get the cannula in and then off we went.

My plan for this month as with every month is to eradicate if not completely wipe out the cancer.  I have been praying hard as I know those out there that have a spare prayer are doing so also. In order for the medical team to move onto the next stage there needs to be a marked reduction in the tumour.

There is not an option to operate I have been told, in any of the areas, however SIRT is still an option on my liver. Also there is the option of a miracle cure if he sees it fit that there is more for me to achieve on this world.

I feel pretty good and although I went for a spin today shall now be resting up easy for the next few days.

Although I feel okay I feel somewhat guilty expecting others to pray for me when there is so much and so many needing prayer in this world....However I so want to live and when I hear that there is not a lot the medical world can do that is when I get frightened that I will die from this terrible disease.

It has been going for so long - Dec 24th 2009 it was confirmed, Oct 2010 it was rediscovered in my Para-aortic lymph nodes, in my pelvic lymph nodes and with a tumour in my liver. My tumour in my liver reduced to 2.1cm and my other areas  remained the same, At my last scan all remained stable with the next scan coming up in a couple of months, I am aiming for complete cure and a miracle.

I am in gods hands and thankful to him for my journey so far - our relationship has been fraught at times but I am aware he still is with me.

Much Love

Tony xxx

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Another set of treatments bites the dust!

I have on last Friday completed No 14 of Irinotecan and No 11 of Avastin. I think we have the after effects under control in fact I know we do. I do heavy sessions of EFT eft-changeyourlife.co.uk before hand. We concentrate on the chemo etc doing its job and not getting diverted or diluted to other parts of my body. I have acupuncture several days after the chemo to cleanse my liver and lymphatic system. I also take two lorazepam an hour before the treatment which is usually during the hours drive to Weston Park Hospital in Sheffield.

Whilst having the treatment I listen on my ipod to positive affirmations which are a series of beautiful music with sounds of the sea and subliminal messages regarding relaxation, healing cancer etc.

At my Oncologist meeting on Thursday I requested further information about surgery on my liver...My oncologist politely noted that due to the cancer spread in my pelvis and chest I would not be a viable candidate for liver surgery due to the size of the operation balanced against the other areas. It was however agreed that would be considered strongly for a procedure called SIRT (Selective Internal Radiation Therapy). At present WPH do not have the facility to carry out this procedure however after the next cycle of chemo culminating in my CT scan they should have the facility by October of this year. The times work well as they can judge the size of my liver tumour and be in a position to make an informed decision whether to carry out SIRT or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_internal_radiation_therapy

I have a good feeling about SIRT namely because it is a hot topic within the press at the moment and because three separate people in my life have read and forwarded article about this subject...Thanks to Carol for the link in Metro, Wendy for the artice popped through my door and mum for the pointer to the Review Sunday magazine from the Mail on Sunday...I love the fact you are all looking out for me and that the omens for SIRT are strong...fingers crossed and prayers being said for my next scan.

Much Love to you all

Tony xxxx

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

What's happening?

Today I feel very low....Not quite sure how I am going to move forward although I am sure in a day or two I will feel my same positive and happy self. Just things are feeling quite tough at the moment.

I need to rest which I am doing, I am just so sick of this cancer...it has been nearly 2 years and I need a break from it...just a rest where I am not thinking of where this may lead.

I will be okay just needed to sound off and maybe the planned break away with Fran and Charlotte for just a weekend will do the trick. xx

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Hair today gone tomorrow!


Just so those that see me don't get a shock the following is what has happened over the past couple of days...

Much Love

Tony

Yesterday - baldy patches showing











The best way was to neaten it up!











Going out attire!



Chemo experiences

Hello good buddies

I am home from Weston Park from my chemo...like I have said before we are usually so negative about chemo when in fact we should embrace the treatment.

This may not happen with everyone but before I started on my recent treatment, I would not think of justifying to the masses...

What I do is advertise amongst family, friends  and to do a mixture of the following to make you feel better:

Drink plenty of water/fruit juice
I drink Green Juice, (bag spinach, Stick of celery, 2-3 granny smiths, 6-8 carrots, piece of ginger, 2 pots of wheat grass) makes for one powerfully green juice shake - I split it into 3 cartons and have at intervals throughout the day so it is not too much at any one time!

Now there may be some of  you are sceptical and believe all cure should be done via a doctor or through the will of god, However I feel it is quite obvious that those around me see that my vitamins and minerals are keeping me strong. It is gods will that has lead me to the path that I am on and yes there is still the 'why me' conversation to continuously have with the man upstairs!

I have found praying particularly difficult at the moment but I have every faith normal service will remain soon!

My hair is a bit patchy - but not bad after 14 Irinotecan and 10 Avastin, all nutrician will continue until my body gives up and at that point we will change medication.

Much love in mind, body and spirit.

Tony xxxxx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

CT Scan Results

Today I had my CT scan results during my regular oncologist meeting. She said good news, your cancer is stable in all areas. Therefore whilst I wished for a reduction in my liver, pelvis and chest areas, they have remained stable so good news.

Off for chemo tomorrow, will update you early next week to how I get on...thanks for the support.

Much Love

Tony xxxx

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Quick Update!

Went to the palliative care clinic today...no results to my CT scan last Thursday although not expecting any as yet.

Pain is the main topic as this is where I go to talk through medication etc. The pain from my ulcer/scar tissue appears well under control and as long as I don't let myself become constipated after chemo (due to steroids and anti-sickness drugs which are given alongside chemo) then I am okay.

Dr M did mention that Mr S (my surgeon) would like to take a more in depth look at my colon under general anaesthetic to see what is underneath the scar tissue as he has only taken a a biopsy from the ulcerated area. He is happy to wait for a while as ultimately the treatment would be the same as I am on now. It may however make a better case for the removal of the offending piece of colon and the permanent colostomy...something to think about!

So all in all a good visit, I will update again when I get the results of the CT scan which should be in the next week or so....I have requested that my Onco emails or rings me rather than wait for the clinic (mid August)...you all know how I worry!

Much Love

T xxxx

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Post Chemo

You know what, I am lying here on my bed feeling pretty good..My conversations with God this morning is one of thank fullness for being there with me and Fran.

After all that has been done in the weeks before chemo paid off...I felt slightly jaded after the chemo...it seemed to take ages, mainly putting the cannula in - it took several goes but I wasn't worried, I felt strangely relaxed.

I slept quite a bit and drank lots of tea...I decided against the sausage, mash with onion gravy. Carol, the beef stew with dumplings was not bad so didn't  miss out. We left the hospital at about 9pm and came home...

I woke this morning at 06.30 and felt pretty good I have said my prayers and spoke about the individuals in my prayer book...I have a little red book where I write the names of those that have requested to be included or that I feel need that little mention...

So this morning I woke, not to the usual thick head but one quite clear...I had my porridge with flax seeds, blueberries, weight watchers half fat cream, teaspoon of honey and some strawberries from our garden...writing this I am painting a picture of an idyllic life, and of someone who is at peace with the world....that is a true picture as having cancer doesn't have to be all doom and gloom and self pity. Someone told me that your energies need to be balanced in death as it is in living, this will lead to a peaceful and calm life and on the opposite side a peaceful and calm death (I am not planning on going anywhere soon, just as a note). So with everything I am doing and the ultimate connection with God comes calmness. I have my moments as I am sure you are aware but today is a good day!



With breakfast, I have an admission to make...I had a small glass of Jack Daniels and Coke at 10am, not something I am going to make a habit of but something that felt right and okay to do....so no frowns out there from my many friends!

As and aside I have come across this beautiful piece of music It is called Time to say goodbye with Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman...as previously noted I am not planning on saying goodbye for a while, just this music is lovely....


Much Love to all of you out there.

Still thinking of you Rose and David!

Tony xxxx

Friday, 22 July 2011

Preparing for Chemo

Dear All,

Today and previously I have had negative thoughts of chemo...we all are aware of the terrible side effects which vary from session to session. Whilst we understand that chemo is a necessity it is not something we enjoy - until now.

For the past 3 cycles I have recently been changing my thoughts of chemo - instead of being scared of chemo and thinking of it as a bad substance invading my body, I have been thinking of it as a lifegiver as something that is purely good for me.

There are different ways in which I do this which may help others....I pray and thank the Lord for the discovery of chemo and the medical staff who study Oncology and Nurses who administer the drugs. I use EFT with Frances and Acupuncture to improve my blood flow. Everything is aimed at assisting the tumour reduction...I even visualise them being reduced to nothing/scar tissue. I visualise and talk out loud of the chemo going straight to the cancer cells, to where it is needed and not being diverted or diluted...I don't want the chemo wandering off and giving me bad side effects when it should be focusing specifically on the cancer in my body.

With my CT scan yesterday and chemo today lets see how my positive affirmations work - to be honest if they don't cure me completely I would much rather have a balanced and calm mind than a constant negative and unbalanced mind...So either way I win!

Thanks James for the concern, I promise to update my blog more regularly and also thanks to the ladies on Cancer Chat who have been checking up on me and to friends and family who constantly send me love via facebook etc.

Much Love

Tony xxxx

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cancer Support Groups and Their Benefit - David Haas

I have been approached by David to present his interesting article via my blog...

Few illnesses are quite as devastating or life altering as cancer. Those affected by cancer are often overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, depression, pain and uncertainty. Cancer survivor groups can be an invaluable resource for such individuals. Survivor networks consist of people who have survived cancer, or are in remission or are presently undergoing cancer treatment. Many survival groups also include members of the cancer patient’s immediate family and their close friends.

Cancer survivor groups are often organized by region and by type of cancer. For example, an individual being treated for mesothelioma would find information on mesothelioma life expectancy, treatment options and other issues, with a mesothelioma support group, while someone with lung cancer might find the same information with a lung cancer support group. The groups are often structured in a manner that allows people to find and connect with others in their same area.

The prime purpose of such groups is to extend peer support to other cancer survivors and to those struggling to overcome the disease. The goal is to provide information, companionship and support, both emotionally and physically. Members can help each other understand what to expect, what to look forward to and how best to move forward with their lives. One of the prime examples of such a support network is the Cancer Survivors Network organized by the American Cancer Society.

The goal of the network is to help cancer patients and their immediate families cope with and manage the disease through the treatment and recovery phases. The network allows people with cancer to search for and find others in a similar situation. It allows them to communicate with each other via personal blogs, message boards, chat rooms and direct contact. The network offers a service call Road to Recovery that provides cancer victims with free rides to their treatments. Members of the network also often provide free lodging for those who need to travel away from their home for treatments. Like other survivor groups, all of the help and support offered by the Cancer Survivor’s Network is available for free to members. Numerous other support groups offer similar help for people trying to overcome cancer. These support networks are often a lifeline for victims that can offer them solace, information and the reassurance they need to overcome or cope with the disease.

By: David Haas

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Doing just fine!

I had my chemo yesterday afternoon and all went well. Well enough to allow me home and after sleeping for nearly 12hrs I am awake, albeit a bit groggy.

Thanks for the thoughts and prayers, they really do work.

Praise to the lord with much love

Tony xxx

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It is all good news!

Hi everyone,

I did start with a title, Good News and Bad News but decided that ultimately it is all good news however bad it may sound to some!

I am back from my palliative care clinic and now have the full picture. The best news ever is that the pain is being caused by an ulcer with a sloughy area (means that it is not healing like it should and is a bit mucky). To some this may not sound like good news but for me who until then had suspected cancer had returned to my bowel, it was brilliant news.

The only way to clear the ulcer is to remove this piece of my bowel which would mean me having a permanent colostomy. Not particularly great news but again better than the cancer having returned to my bowel.

My choice at this moment in time is to not go for the surgery due to the fact I would have to wait for at least 6 weeks before and potentially 6 weeks after chemo - this is due to the Avastin I am taking every 3 weeks as it doesn't allow for wounds to heal. So no chemo for 1 1/2 - 3 months is not an option for me at the moment. I have other things to consider that will give the ulcerated area a chance to heal. My palliative care registrar agreed that if the pain is under better control there is no real reason to chance not having chemo for 3 months.

Of course my cancer would love not having any chemo for a number of weeks - it would have a chance to grow, I am not about to let that happen.

Thanks for all the support

Much Love

Tony xx

Monday, 27 June 2011

Don't borrow trouble until trouble comes!

The above saying is one that I use quite a lot on the cancer research website - basically means why waste time worrying until you know all the facts!

Like I said a saying I use a lot to advise others but one that I am finding particularly difficult to heed my own advice...

I had a call this afternoon from my surgeons secretary...she noted that there was a chance of me having my colostomy reversed and I had to correct her that it had already been reversed...After a few moments and shuffling of paper, I was advised that I would gain the results of my bowel biopsy and the suggested plan of action at an appointment that I already have planned with my palliative care team at 16:00 tomorrow. I was further advised that Mr S wanted me to know that if I took the surgery option????? there was an appointment booked in my name for a surgery pre-assessment this Thursday.

If I take the surgery option (for whatever reason) this means a stop on chemo so I have some serious thinking to do when I know what I am up against. I understand that I will get the full facts tomorrow and I still have faith in my care teams however I do wish I hadn't had that phone call as my head is most certainly borrowing trouble!!

Much Love

T x

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Goodbye dear friend.

A dear friend from the cancer research chat room lost her battle Thursday night. The word 'battle' is liberally used when we suffer from all kinds of illnesses and I can say with conviction that Rose fought her battle with cancer bravely.

Rose helped me and hundreds of others on cancer chat when she was struggling herself - goodbye dear friend.











Much Love

Tony xxxx

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Ouch that hurt!

Just a quick update...

Still not sleeping much so spent much of last night watching a US series called The Wire...recommended by my mum...I am hooked, It is set in the inner city areas of Baltimore and shows life within a police unit and their opposites within the drug gangs. Not your usual shoot em up as it gets under the skin of both sides and kind of reminds me of a modern day Hill Street Blues.

Anyways I went for my Sigmoidoscopy this afternoon and as Mr S had done one previously in clinic I opted not to have the sedative but to have the Entonox (just in case).  Pretty stupid of me as last time I didn't have this incredible pain under investigation...

Mr S had to take a couple of biopsies and said that he knew the area he was focusing on was the right one due to my immediate reaction. I screamed whilst he snipped a couple of bits off to be sent away...they really don't need much!

He is going to rush the biopsies through and noted this was because I was in the middle of treatment...usually it would take 4-6 weeks however he hoped to have something back within a week. The red/sore patch could be the result of radiotherapy damage or a reoccurence....we will know more shortly..

T xx

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Spoke too soon!

Like a fool I forgot the big constipation causing injections of anti-sickness, atropine x 2 and steroids, also the tablets given to combat the side effects would be too much for my current levels of laxatives....I should have included some powerful movicol to the mix... I was so pleased with they way this cycle was going that it went out of my mind.

What resulted next was me screaming in both low and high pitched screams with the most incredible pains.

Oramorph and 8 sachets of movicol and by this morning I am thankfully back to normal....The worst of it though was the thought of Fran and Charlotte listening and knowing there was absolutely nothing they could do.

As you all know I have major pain issues in my sigmoid colon and back passage which thankfully the recent MRI scan didn't show anything suspicious. My brilliant surgeon Mr S at Calow spoke with my palliative care team and has decided to take a look with a camera, called a sigmoidoscopy. That is booked in for next Thurs 16th. He has arranged sedation as he is aware as to why I am there and doesn't want to cause undue pain with cameras poking about. Mr S is doing the procedure himself and then we will talk straight away as to what the issues are. 

When I read on the cancer forums as to the levels of care some get, mine is a golden example of the NHS and how they all communicate...I have my Oncologist and Macmillan nurse at Weston Park, I have a community Macmillan nurse based at the local Ashgate hospital, The palliative care team at Calow, my surgeon also based at Calow and not forgetting Limegrove surgery with their brilliant doctors and the district nurse team that call me by phone once a week...I couldn't ask for more.

You will all be pleased to know all is well again - I have learnt another little tip for all out there going through the same or similar, when you have your chemo and supporting medication, please discuss increasing your laxitive regime for a few days with your care team.

Much Love

Tony

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Praise the lord and all my good friends!

I went for my chemo after Prayer, EFT (eft-changeyourlife.co.uk), Lorazepam, good conversations with friends and family alongside support from my facebook and cancerchat buddies and a good lunch (I recommend Fried egg sandwiches pre chemo). They all helped enormously as I am absolutely fine....all of this helped me change my mindset from chemo is harmful to chemo is good for me...

I spoke with my mum, Wendy's texts and Barbara despite only having bowel surgery a week ago came for a visit with Graydon. My Aunties Chris and Colins emails always help... My HR manager also called to review status which was good.

I had a bed booked on the ward as I still have problems sitting and they also booked the bed for overnight as a precaution. It turned out the bed available was a side room just for little me....quiet and peaceful..Due to the sedative I slept for most of the 8 hrs and managed to eat dinner at 6....sausage, mash, peas and onion gravy...it was such a contrast from last time.

And this morning I woke feeling slightly strange but able to go downstairs for breakfast and a cuppa in the lovely warm conservatory with Fran.

There are many of you out there needing prayer and there is enough to go around...if you are going through a particularly rough time, whatever your beliefs let me know and I will add you to my prayer book....I may not remember or be able to pray for you every day but you should take comfort that you are in my little red book.

All Good

T xxxx

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Always look on the bright side of life!

Firstly I would like to welcome my dear friend Barbara home after surgery, prayers continue for positive and favourable results. 

As for my latest, I have now developed a perforated septum which is a medical term for a hole in my nose between my nostrils. It is a side affect of Avastin i.e. constant nose bleeds and an itchy nose. The bright side is that some people pay good money for such a hole:












I have also met with my palliative care team at Calow who were really helpful...they will be looking at my pain relief in more detail and adjusting in small increments in order to improve things.


Finally I sat and ate at the dinner table for the first time in 2 months and rode my motorbike to the chemist yesterday.


Wish me luck for the chemo next week, I have Lorazepam to sedate me and a hospital bed for comfort...what on earth could go wrong!


T x

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I am Home...

Chemo did not down too well this time on Friday....straight after it had finished I was overwhelmed by the worst nausea I have ever come across. It was that bad that I spent the night at Weston Park, being sick several times.

I came home yesterday at about 4pm still feeling really sick which carried on until lunchtime today. I hadn't eaten from Breakfast Fri however I still continued to be sick which is the worst!

The Doctor reckons I need some medication prior to my appointment to calm me down as that has worked previously so we will try that again.

and now... After half a tin of mushroom soup and a slice of bread and butter I have started to feel better. Back to normality I will settle down watching TV.

Much Love to all.

Tony xxxx

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Update!

Hi All,

Had my Onco appointment this afternoon which both Fran and I agreed went really well.

Dr F and my Weston Park Macmillan Nurse were really on the ball...Dr F's first statement was that I was a bit of a puzzle as they couldn't find a cause for the pain. She read the MRI scan report out that noted some scar tissue which was expected....

I am to be referred to a pain specialist to talk through my current medication and we are to monitor the circulation problems which cause everything in the pelvic region to go purple when I stand.

In order to assist my inability to sit for more than 5 minutes I am to be booked in for an overnight stay in future to have my Irinotecan and Avastin as the day case unit only has a limited amount of beds therefore I cannot be certain to get a bed - best to book me in overnight. I will be able to relax better too so good all-round....they also do a great breakfast at Weston Park :-)

My CEA level is up a bit to 5.1 from 3.8 although Dr F noted this could be because of the inflammation in my backside so again something else to monitor.

Home now watching Deal or No Deal lying comfortable on my bed....things are not perfect not by a mile however we have a plan and a good team who seem to know what they are doing.

Much Love to all

Tony xxx

Monday, 16 May 2011

Good News - too true!

I received an email from my Oncologist today which notes the following:


On review of my MRI scan they couldn't find a cause for my pain.


Some scarring was observed which is expected from my previous treatment but there is no evidence of cancer recurrence or of any abscesses in my pelvic area.


So sort of good news and the bad news i.e. Good news they didn't find anything sinister and bad news they didn't find an abscess and a potential end to my pain.


My oncologist is going to refer me to a pain specialist who will look into my current pain management and I am hoping a way to enable me to be able to walk and stand for more than 10 minutes.


So blog readers, praise the lord that I do not have a recurrence of my cancer in my pelvis and the go ahead that I can recommence my chemo and biological treatments which is ultimately the best news.


Much Love 


Tony xxxx

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Next steps

Hi all,

The MRI scan to attempt to find out where the pain in my pelvic area is coming from is booked in for next Wednesday 11th May.  Once I have the MRI scan they will be able to tell if it is an abscess, as suspected.

I have been told that if it is found to be an abscess they will book me in for surgery fairly quickly which I am praying for. One part of me wants them to find nothing and for the blame to be on scar tissue although deep down I want an end to being bed ridden and free from pain.

Also I want it to be sorted out asap so that my 'postponed' chemo and bio can be restarted and my main treatment can continue.

God bless all,

Much Love

Tony xx

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Passions

I have just finished watching The Passions (In BBC's own words: The BBC's ambitious dramatisation of Jesus's last days in Jerusalem)

It is an amazing depiction and although the whole story has meaning for me there was one scene that stood out. Caiaphas the Jewish High Priest was being consoled by his wife for the decision to put Jesus before Pontious Pilate, the Roman Governor and Jesus's subsequent death by being crucified...

Caiaphas' wife proudly said "It's over, It's over because of you."  

Little did she know that this story was far from over...here I am 2000+ years later watching the DVD

Amen

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Day 504 - Dragging on a bit...

Hello All,

Things are dragging on a bit - I am personally finding it a bit wearing to put on a happy face although through it all there are still some good events to smile about.

Better to be dragging on than the alternative...

As many of you know I have spent the past 3-4 weeks on my bed and we have now taken the edge off the pain by getting the right mix of pain relief.

I had my Oncologist meeting today attended by my Macmillan Nurse, the lovely H. As the only position I am comfortable in is lying on my side I could not sit in the waiting room so had to take up three chairs lying on my side. H walking past noticed and called me and Fran through into the examination room where I could wait for my appointment and be more comfortable.

After discussing the pain relief we moved on to finding out the source of the pain.... Dr F noted that the pain doesn't add up to being cancer related as the pain has increased quite rapidly. The last CT scan several weeks ago showed no growths in that area...therefore an MRI scan is the next step. It may be an abscess or something similar which makes sense due to other things I am experiencing.

Dr F has decided to postpone my next course of chemo/bio in case the MRI shows up anything that requires surgery, sounds like a sensible approach...that will be a space of 7 weeks between sessions so should be okay.

That's it for now so will wrap it up with prayers and much love for Barbara, Carole, Mike and Lisa for their challenges ahead.

Much Love to all,

T xxx

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Gone but absolutely never forgotten!

Our dear friend David whom I met on the Cancer Research website several months ago sadly lost his battle to cancer in the early hours of this morning.

People use the word inspiration too lightly at times however David was a true inspiration to all who came into contact with him....his final log on my blog on 02nd March was to wish me a Happy Birthday..we planned to meet up in Matlock for a couple of bottles of beer and a good meal with the gang and when I am well enough I plan to do that in his honour and raise a glass...

David 02nd March 2011

"Many Happy Returns big fella - have called in the cavalry to my hospital bedside with suitable provisions to enable a belated toast - Boddies seems to be going down well!"



At rest without pain now 'Big Fella'

Much Love

Tony xxx

Monday, 11 April 2011

What's Up Doc!

It's been a while... 

I have started to type several times in the past couple of weeks but as some very close friends of mine are going through their own challenges, couldn't find the words. They all know my personal thoughts and prayers are with them. xxx

Now a quick update on me...

I started my 3 month sabbatical from work last week, a massive thanks to Richard, Alastair and RRD for the continued support. It was the sensible solution after much deliberation as to how I am going to cope with the ongoing chemo and biological therapy. As it stands I have spent last week and this week so far in/on bed as the increased pain does not allow me to stand, lie on my back or sit. The pain was incredible and can only be described as on par with a very bad toothache or several toothaches in the same mouth. 

The Macmillan nurse from the local Ashgate Hospice has been managing my pain in conjunction with my GP Dr P and I can quite honestly say that apart from a couple of blips we are moving in the right direction...

I am on a drug called Zomorph twice a day for the main pain and have liquid Oramorph for the break-through pain in an emergency. In addition today we are trying a new drug amitriptyline to take at bed time as I am experiencing issues at 2-4am with the pain so will see how that goes.

Next step is to find the cause of the pain...

T xx

Saturday, 2 April 2011

This not about me but about YOU!

You have all supported me though my journey, many of you say what an inspirational person I am - therefore if you haven't already acted upon that inspiration now is the time to do so...Let me inspire you to get checked out if you notice any abnormal changes in your bowel habits however small...they can do very simple tests which take minutes:

April is 'Beating Bowel Cancer' month...familiarise yourself with the symptoms and remember that you don't have to have ALL the symptoms. If in doubt, check it out

Five-year survival rates for male rectal cancer rose from 25% in the early 1970s to 51% in mid 2000s and from 27% to 55% for female rectal cancer. These improvements are a result of earlier diagnosis and better treatment but there is still much scope for further progress...




All the very best

Tony xx


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Day 472 - Pain

Hello All,

Sorry I have not been around - I have been working on controlling the pain I have. I must add that I haven't been very successful and have just worked out why.

Up until last week I have been trying to deal with it on my own as didn't want to admit that yet another 'thing' needed medical help...I was wrong and am suffering more than I needed to for my stubbornness.

At the site of the original tumour I have a lot of scar tissue and cancer hotspots...as no tumours showed up on the scan it is believed that the Avastin is attacking the scar tissue and any rogue cancer cells, which is ultimately good. The pain of the intense activity is incredible...and with the medication etc the constipation adds to the pressure....so last week I went to the GP surgery...

I had been self medicating on Ibuprofen and Codeine which hit the spot for 3 hours of the 6 hour cycle. My GP noted that we needed to get a more consistent and level reaction to the medication so prescribed Tramadol x1 (24hr) tablet. This worked for 6.5 hours so the following night I tried x2, which lasted for 18hrs and finally the maximum dose of x3 which lasted for 19 hrs. Each of the doses have been topped up with codeine....so back to the drawing board.

I spoke with my Macmillan nurse via eMail who is going to put me in contact with the local palliative nurses who can carry out a full pain assessment and liaise with my GP surgery also....we will get this sorted.

I feel so guilty as I have been praying so much more since I have been in pain, but I suppose God expects that.

I am very tired and had to work from my bed last week as I could not sit for long...I have things in place to take a sabbatical from work for 3 months which starts in a week...It makes sense that as my body is recovering on week 3 so well from the chemo that the chemo and avastin continues indefinitely...however it makes no sense that if I was to continue in the same way as I have been that I would become too ill to continue with my treatment...

Parents visited last week, I made pan fried sea bass and Fran did some salad and dessert..it was great to see them both also good to hear my Dad's news that he doesn't have something more sinister in his lung/s however he does have Emphysema which is bad enough...more investigations to come. We always laugh a lot when they visit which is good...wish we could see them more.

So looking forwards to next week, Irinotecan No8 and Avastin No5....Pain relief at last...

Catherine not very happy as lost her dream house - I feel sad for her and Mark however it was not meant to be and something better wil come along when the time is right. Charlotte doing well in exam year, I went to her open evening a couple of weeks ago and she is doing good and just needs a final push to get the grades she needs to get a college place.

Me with my Happy Face!




















God Bless and Much Love to all.

Tony xxx

Friday, 11 March 2011

RIP Brian - 10th March 2011

RIP Brian who passed away peacefully yesterday 10th March 2011 at 06:40...

An old friend of mine who I worked with for many years Ann, her husband Brian who used to meet her from work most nights and brought me my first car after I passed my driving test....14.02.95












He will be missed by many x

T

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Great news...

Liver tumour reduced from 2.6cm to 2.1cm down by 19%, Para-Aortic Lymph nodes no change, slight mark on my lung that could be anything and Dr F said they are not concerned about, so I am not either...

It is Irinotecan No7, Avastin No4 tomorrow and things are beginning to wear me down a little, nothing to worry your heads about, just a little extra pain and fatigue and not unexpected - there are a few changes needed in my life that I will share with you in due course.

I went to see Minister Lyn tonight at her evening surgery, we had a good chat, it is amazing how many of my actions are guided by the Rocky film...the night before a fight he always went to his minister for a blessing...I didn't intend to go but saw a sign, literally, that told me the surgery was on tonight so off I went and it was well needed...

I will end this blog tonight on a note that will surprise some of you as it is not about me, me, me :-) ...there are a few people out there that need your prayers and positive thoughts...

My Dad had a scan a few days ago and is getting his results on Friday and a very good friend of mine Cait, her sister had recent bowel surgery and is having a tough time (sorry I haven't got Cait's sisters name however I am sure the Man upstairs knows who we mean when we pray)

Much Love

T xx

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Birthdays aint so bad...

CT Scan okay as CT scans go...results in a couple of weeks and until then no news is good news....'Don't borrow trouble until trouble comes' is my motto!

Had a great Birthday today 01.Mar, I thanked the Lord for a beautiful day, for family and friends who wished me a Happy Birthday. Catherine my eldest daughter came up with my two beautiful grandaughters from Newbury, just for a couple of hours for some lunch - meant loads and got a rather expensive bottle of Olive Oil. My youngest daughter Charlotte brought me a rather expensive PC game, a new and updated version of a game we used to play years ago. I mentioned expensive not because I know they care more because they cost more just because I know they thought a lot about what I may like.

Minister Lyn popped round with a card and I went for a quick spin on my bike to show off to Catherine and the girls....I pulled a great wheelie quite by mistake but apparently it was a good one! On my bike travels I tooted outside Chris and Colin's house and they both came out with a card and big smiles...



Fran, well what can I say..... Breakfast in bed, and a bottle of Jaipur, alongside a great bottle of wine and dinner for two at Stones and some money for some Kevlar Jeans for casual bike wear..We also went to Chatsworth Farm shop to buy pies for dinner....had a bath before dinner and my bottle of Jaipur 'just the one'. Pie and Mash for dinner and had to blow the candles out again on my cake and of course eat another piece!

Later in the evening the Kenyons arrived with a spooky surprise...two pies from the Chatsworth Farm shop that I had looked at and were going to buy at a later date...what a present :-)

Spoke with me Ma and chatted about my day... received a photo of the family a while back....good memories.

and finally just checked Facebook, there were over 100 birthday messages...

Sitting here having quiet time at 30 mins past my birthday I am reflecting on the day... I had a thought that all the special presents, the attention, the cards and the messages were so numerous and expressive of love and caring, that all this was because I am ill and I have cancer....then I remembered last year and all the birthdays that Fran has worked so hard at that I have never fully appreciated - I haven't ever really enjoyed birthdays like I should have, therefore I have never really noticed and fully appreciated the special presents, the attention, the cards and the messages that were numerous and expressive of love and caring. This birthday is the same as all the others, I just have had my eyes closed and my senses dulled.

Well a revelation, Birthdays really are cool... I choose not to have cancer but it has taught me many things one of which is Birthdays Aint So Bad :-)

Much Love and thanks...especially to you Fran xxx

Tony xx

p.s. Here's to next year!

Friday, 25 February 2011

I hate to ask....But...

CT Scan at CRH on Monday 28Feb at approx 10:40,

Whilst there is so much to pray and wish for in this world can I yet again put in a request for me that all will be well.

Much Love

Tony xxx

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Just be normal....

When things are looking a bit wobbly then just think and do normal things....

Today has not been a 'normal' day in the way that most of us think of the day as normal however little things make it feel okay...actually better than okay...

Fran came back from being away for two days and after chemo on Friday, being without Fran is a little strange...so when she came back I told her so...I then preceded to tell her that we had run out of tea-bags which gave the impression that I was glad she was home just so she could get tea-bags...I put her straight on that one!

We had dinner which was a lovely Macaroni, Cauliflower Cheese made with Creme Freche etc (one of Jamie's) and cheese of course...

Then I watched as Fran tried to put up a hat and coat stand...it is in the style of those mahogany Victorian stands, came from ebay in loads of bits....however we worked together and made a good job of it...coats finally hanging on a coat hook rather than  on the backs of dining room chairs!

Things are not 'normal' but just sometimes there are little snippets of 'normal' that we should treasure...

Night! :-)

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Oh dear!

Hello Blog,

I am back from chemo yesterday...I have had a bit of a rough time probably the worst yet but when you consider what it's up against it's not going to be a couple of headache tablets and a cup of tea!

My Thursday visit was a bitter-sweet meeting, part of me is pleased and another part no so...but going back to the previous sentence it is what's needed. I was on cycle 6 of Irinotecan and 3 of Avastin...my onco has decided that it is best to carry on with the Irinotecan as I am bearing up well. They are to book me in for a scan asap to see how things are getting on. The most I am hoping for is that I have no trace of cancer in my body (I think that is what is known as a miracle, they have been known to happen) the least is that it has not progressed and maybe in the middle that it has reduced...we will see.

We did have a smile in my review as we were going through the ever growing list of side affects when I told my onco and macmillan nurse that whilst the hair on my head was pretty much okay my armpit hairs had fallen out - we laughed as we said some woman would love to have that problem then agreed it was a little drastic to have chemo. I got to ride my bike to Sheffield and back which was fun...

So after my chemo I felt very nauseous and had to have an extra injection and a lie down in a side room for a couple of hours before I was allowed home...didn't eat until a piece of toast at breakfast and then some soup for lunch...I did what my good wife recommended and stayed in bed from when I got back from hospital until about 10 minutes ago....and suprisingly I have slept for alot of that time which was good.

I had a great week from last Saturday when Colm came for a visit and cooked lunch for us...nice salmon with cous cous was really good...he brought me an early birthday present of a remote controlled helicopter which we took over the field to fly...it was so funny when it went up so high the signal couldn't control it so it flew over the trees and someones house and into their back garden...luckily they weren't in so we managed to get it back!

Monday - I went to Coventry with work for a great workshop on a new account we have and then stayed up until past 2am to get a project plan sorted...I will have to keep an eye on that as I payed for that for the rest of the week.

Tuesday - I went to take the minutes at our Church council meeting, it was lovely to see friends there that I just don't get to see enough...lots of serious talk but lots of laughter and prayers too.

Wednesday - I was on an important conference call at home unstairs, the lovely Chris and Colin came round so all I could do was listen to Chris calling from downstairs, I would have loved to see them and have prayer...there will be other times - Round to Wendy and Steve's to celebrate Steve's birthday in the evening...we had lovely Indian food from the Maazi which all enjoyed, lots of clean plates and then we had cakes and cheese and biscuits too...not all about the food, there was lots of fellowship.

Thursday - Oncologist review and blood test (only took two goes this time)...

Friday - Chemo and Biological warfare...all okay now.

Saturday - I am finally realising that I don't want this cancer any more or the treatment although obviously whilst the cancer remains then so will the treatment...difficult to explain...I have not exactly wanted the cancer just that I have never actually not wanted it...more of an acceptance - tears flowed whilst sitting on the toilet of all places...too much information or just saying it like it is!

Well been a busy week so needing to rest...still feeling rough as a bag of spanners but better than I was!

One of my favourite songs at the moment sung by Adele and written by Bob Dylan and is for you all out there who need a 'Tony Hug'



Much Love to all

T xxxx

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Day 430 - Take this cup from me?

To whomever is listening out there...

I am struggling a bit at the moment....In the main I can handle what ever the treatment throws at me, I can handle the side effects however I can't handle the anger that I feel....I can't handle that I may die from what is inside me...

I pray and wonder why God sometimes answers prayers and sometimes he doesn't. What is there that I need to do... Is there someone out there who deserves to have his prayers answered more than I do, Is there a more worthy person than I....

Then I remembered a Rob Bell video...I have watched this a number of times and have started to walk through the anger...part of me wants to hand back the cup and say this is not for me, take it away and put me on a different path and the other part of me wants to accept what has been given to me, what is clearly for me and it is my path wherever it shall lead me!



BUT...What if I take a combination of both paths - I take the path that I am on as I am already on this journey, I continue to learn from it as I have learnt so much already... however I pray that the ending is not set and that I have a long and fruitful future...that is what I am about from here forwards!

This reminds me also of something Minister Lyn said to me and apologies if I don't have this completely right..she said that I am allowed to question the path I may have been given, that god has broad shoulders....I will continue to pray that my path is long...

There, that is better...

I will update next week after my chemo as to what has been happening lately other than me being angry with the world, with God and the universe, angry also with myself for abusing my body for all those years and being overweight and angry at myself for waiting over a year with the symptoms...what I need to make clear is that I am NOT angry with Fran, NOT her fault, so I shall discontinue NOW taking my anger out on her...Sorry!

Tony xxx

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

BE CLEAR ON CANCER CAMPAIGN

Thanks to Carole for bringing this to our attention....


BE CLEAR ON CANCER CAMPAIGN


The Department of Health have just started a 7 week pilot scheme to attempt to make people more aware of Bowel Cancer. This pilot is initially going to be aimed at two areas in the UK, the East and South West and if they feel it was successful they will then roll it out nationwide.

I've decided to feature it here on my blog for obvious reasons.


Health Minister Paul Burstow said:
“No one likes talking about their poo – it’s embarrassing. But if we see something different and tell our GP it could save our life.
“Early diagnosis makes a huge difference to cancer survival rates and bowel cancer is one of the biggest killers.
That’s why the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign uses simple messages to make people aware of the early signs of bowel cancer and to give them the confidence to talk to their GP about them.
“To make sure we get it right, we’re testing this campaign in two regions and, if it works, we’ll roll it out nationally.

My only 'gripe' with this campaign is the age range it is targeted at....currently they are aiming to get more over 55's aware but I want EVERYONE to be aware.
The simple facts are this - Bowel Cancer affects approximately 38,000 people per year in the UK.
75% of people fall into the over 60's age group which means that approximately 9,500 people may feel 'This doesn't affect me, I'm too young'....Harsh reality is it COULD affect you so if you have symptoms you need to get them checked.
I was 49 when diagnosed with Rectal Cancer, Stage 3 - my surgeon estimated that my cancer had been growing, silently without obvious symptoms, for anything up to 8 years...that made me potentially around 41 years old when it began. Screening me at 55 would simply have been way too late.
There is no plan to screen earlier but if people notice symptoms then they MUST contact their GP and insist on being checked over.
My message is simple 'If in doubt about it, shout about it'......






If you have any of the higher risk bowel cancer symptoms listed below for more than six weeks you should visit your GP:


  • Bleeding from the bottom (rectal bleeding) without any obvious reason. If you have other symptoms such as straining, soreness, lumps and itchiness the problem is likely to be piles but it’s still important to get this confirmed by your GP
  • A persistent change in bowel habit especially going to the toilet more often or experiencing looser stools for several weeks
  • Abdominal pain especially if severe
  • A lump in your tummy
  • Weight loss and tiredness (signs of anaemia)

Please remember that most of these symptoms will not be bowel cancer, but to rule it out you must first visit your GP.

Reliable information available from www.beatingbowelcancer.org

Finally, if you're in the East or South West areas - let me know if you've seen this advertising campaign yet and what you think about it - ie; is it effective; the right message; enough information; too much information; embarrassing; all comments welcomed......

Look after those bowels and 'if in doubt, give the GP a shout'.

p.s. I left my symptoms for a year and look where that got me....

Tony xx