Thursday, 31 December 2009
I had a CT scan at Maidstone Hospital on December 21st and have to see the consultant for the result on January 5th. As I have been told several times that I only have months to live you can imagine that Christmas was rather a worrying time, and as it gets nearer to January 5th I am becoming more aprehensive. At the moment I feel perfectly well but I am preparing myself for the worst possible result. Lets just hope its not as grim as I fear.
I would also like to say a big THANKYOU to all my friends for there support during the last 12 months and to a very special friend whose friendship and support has meant the world to me, I am so happy that you have found happiness.
Friday, 18 December 2009
Sunday, 6 December 2009
I have had a DAB radio for the last couple of years and to be honest the quality is only as good as FM. This morning I tried to tune in to one of my favourite radio stations Jazz FM which despite its title is only on DAB and on line. The only stations that i could pick up were the BBC national ones which are broadcast from there own multiplex. Even the BBC locals were off air (still on FM though) which is rather a disturbing thought as it is these stations that we rely on in an emergency, this is what happened in the recent floods when BBC Cumbria slaughtered the comercial opposition with there news and information.
After about an hour DAB came back, the reason being that there had been a failure with the UBS line at the Croydon multiplex causing loss of DAB throughout the South of England.
In this instance UPS stands for unbreakable power supply! What would happen if there was an emergency as in Cumbria and there was no AM/FM backup? I think someone somewhere needs to do a rethink!
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Well this time last year I did not imagine what the next 12 months would bring including a week long spell in intensive care when they thought I would not live longer than 24 hours. My disease has now been classed as incurable but I am actually going back to work on Tuesday 1st December. Mind you I have 31 days holiday to use up by the end of the year! On a five day week that is going to be interesting......
I am pleased to say that I feel very well and even my GP says I look disgustingly healthy so instead of sitting round at home vegetating going back to work was an easy decision to make.
As it is my birthday I thought I would take the opportunity to say a very big thank you to all my followers and say a very large THANK YOU to you all. Your support has has been very important to me and has helped me through some black times.
As a professional railwayman the news of the train crash in Russia saddens me especially as it appears to have been caused by an act of terrorism.
I do not know if the person who left an anonymous comment a couple of weeks ago about the Bluebell Hill Ghost entry I made back in February is reading this but I am not certain if he is interested in just that incident or ghosts in general. If it is in general I have recently been reading about a ghostly apparition following a railway fatality in Northern England.
Saturday, 21 November 2009
One of the leading insurance companies has just launched a competition to replace the word pension as apparently the younger generation consider the word has connotations with getting old. The prize is £4953 the amount of state 'pension' a single person receives! Why change a word that surely everybody knows and understands. No matter what you call it you should start saving for it about 10 years before you are born to enable you to retire in a modicum of comfort in your old age.
Mind you certain words in the English language conjure up images which are not strictly true. For example the word spinster means an unmarried woman but can conjure up images of a Miss Havisham kind of character.
On a personal note I saw the consultant at Maidstone Hospital the other day and he is suggesting that I return to work. As a result I am seeing the company doctor next Tuesday. The consultant said that I look very fit and healthy and am not exhibiting any symptoms of NHL there is a good chance that the Ofatumumab is still working on the tumour. Time alone will be the answer to that one I think. I have a CT scan booked on December 21st and see the consultant on January 5th.
As for going back to work it sounds like a good idea as I have 30 days leave to use up by the end of the year!
Saturday, 14 November 2009
I must first of all point out that I have only lived in the Maidstone area since 1990 some 25 years after the fatal road crash which is supposed to have caused the haunting. Therefore the only information I have about the incident is what is freely available on the internet and I have no pictures other than those that are available on the websites. In my original posting I did cast doubts if this crash was the cause of the haunting especially as the sightings vary from a 10 year old girl through a young woman to an elderly person.
Sorry that I can not be any more help and I hope you manage to pick this message up.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
On Saturday I went up to London and back on South Easterns new high speed train. It travels at 140 mph and the journey from Ashford to London takes 37 minutes as opposed to the hour plus taken by conventional trains. As it was only a preview service the train was not full but when full service starts on December 13th it should attract a lot of custom. Not being full I was able to sit back and enjoy the ride which was very smooth and quiet.
This coming Sunday I am going to the firework display at Leeds Castle advertised as the loveliest castle in the world. It always amazes me that some people think that the castle is situated in Leeds Yorkshire but it is actually in the village of Leeds in Kent. The only other thing Leeds in Kent is famous for is the regularity of HGVs getting jammed together when trying to pass on the road, it is time that Maidstone had another bypass with east/west and north/south links.
As for football despite drawing 3 all with Hartlepool my club Brighton and Hove Albion sacked there manager who had been there for all of eight months. I will be the first to admit that our results this season have been lacklustre to say the least and at the moment we are only one position above the drop zone. However as a small club with a limited budget and no proper home ground we can not go out and get the players we want like Manchester United et al can do. Lets hope the new manager whoever he (or she) is can work miracles. Incidentally have you noticed how few women are involved in football management?
Friday, 30 October 2009
Diana Krall was her usual fabulous self, in my opinion she is one of the best pianist/vocalist around at the moment.
The support act was the saxaphonist Yolanda Brown who I had never heard of but she was very good indeed. Very similar to Candy Dulfer.
A lovely evening thoroughly enjoyed.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Jane is one of the most courageous people I know and a perusal of her blog will show so please please send her your best wishes.
Thursday, 22 October 2009
To call him a DJ is an understatement he was the ultimate broadcaster and his sense of humour and play on words was fantastic. For examble when the Americans launched the space shuttle he referred to it as the 'space shuffle' It is not often that I can say this but the man was an absolute genius. Waking up and hearing him on Breakfast Special on Radio 2 made certain that every day was a good day.
Sadly I do not think that any recordings of his radio broadcasts exist but his TV interview with Terry Wogan is on You Tube.
Sadly as I say Ray passed away 20 years ago with throat cancer.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
My daughter has given me an early birthday present. Tickets to see the fantastic Diana Krall in concert at the Royal Albert Hall on October 28th. I am counting the days and hours already so you can assume that I am very much looking forward to it!
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Friday, 9 October 2009
Unfortunately the treatment with Ofatumumab has done no more than slow down the growth of the cancer. As it is only a trial drug they can offer no more treatment with it and the consultant told me that the future looked bleak, possibly I have no more than a couple of months.
To say I feel gutted and devestated is an understatement.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Thursday, 24 September 2009
On a sadder note today would also of been Linda McCartneys birthday.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
People have been making a fuss because the London tube map is a brilliant piece of publicity and of course information. It was first introduced in 1933 and was based on an electrical circuit and is a masterpiece of simplicity.
It is slightly incorrect to call it a tube map however. The term tube only refers to the deep level lines which were built using a boring machine. The rest of the system is known as the Underground and was built on the cut and cover system where a deep trench was dug, the railway was than built and covered over.
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
2009 in the words of the Queen has become 'Anas Horribilus' and I can not wait to see the back of it. I still try and be positive but there are frequent 'dark' moments.
Having a scan on October 5th and see the consultant the following day. Good news hopefully but time will tell......
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Apart from the e coli infection (which I can not attribute to the drug or treatment) there have been no side effects at all. In fact I feel very well in myself apart from a severe case of boredom.
Still I suppose I should not complain, back in June a 'horrible' consultant at a London hospital told me that I only had a couple of months to live. By horrible I really mean HORRIBLE.
I have been reading bits about the health reforms in the USA and all I can say is thank god we have the NHS in this country and do not have to pay up front for treatment. Apart from the person mentioned above I have no complaint at all either about the treatment or the staff-in fact the staff have been exceptional.
Sunday, 23 August 2009
Thanks to those who e mailed me but my absence was caused by serious computer problems, £110 worth to be precise. Sadly I have lost all my music and photos as well as some documents.
Think I am getting accident prone as I am getting older, I managed to trip over a sheet of chipboard the other day and managed to badly cut and bruise my toes forcing one of the nails back.
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
As you know we had our family get together on Saturday 25th July and I felt fine and enjoyed myself. I will post some pictures later.
Anyway woke up on Sunday morning still feeling ok but by the afternoon was begining to feel breathless but put it down to the heat and having to much to eat the day before. Went to bed about 11 on Sunday and dosed off but woke up about 2.30 shivering violently enough to shake the bed! This was followed by a period of profuse sweating. I rang the chemotherapy help line at the hospital and was told that it was sun stroke and to take a couple of paracetamol.
I was no better in the morning so I took myself to hospital and they discovered that my blood pressure had dropped to 70/42 and my body was slowly closing itself down and risking chronic kidney failure as I was suffering from an e coli infection. They admitted me to Intensive Care where I stayed until Saturday night when I was transferred to an ordinary ward coming home this evening.
I can not praise the staff in Intensive Care and Lord North Ward at Maidstone Hospital enough but suffice to say that it was an experience I do not wish to repeat and its thanks to there efforts that I am still here.
Friday, 24 July 2009
Have been without the computer all this week as somehow Windows had become corrupted, how I am not sure but it still cost me £55.
Had the third session of the clinical trial of the new drug Ofatumumab yesterday and so far so good. No side effects and my hair is growing back. They dont do a CT scan until week 11 of the treatment so I just hope its working. I certainly feel better in my self than I have for a long time. Ofatumumab is not chemotherapy but is a monoclonal antibody.
Saturday is our yearly family get together and there will be about 40 people there so a good chance to catch up with one and other.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
Some how we all survived though and looking back I realise what a struggle it must of been for her. If somehow she is reading this all I can say is 'Mum thank you'.
Monica Ishbell Friend 1924 1998 RIP
Changing subjects tomorrow the 13th sees the release of the latest CD 'All the Ghosts' by the delightful Gwyneth Herbert. My name is already on a copy at HMV. If you have never listened to her I recommend her wholeheartedly, she is a wonderful singer/songwriter who deserves a lot more recognition.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
At least they through in lunch and I had a really nice sandwich salami, turkey and salad with mayo. Not a combination I had ever tried before or even thought about but it was extremely yummy.
Friday, 26 June 2009
Have to back next Tuesday for a bone marrow biopsy, that is something to look forward to!
If everything goes to plan I start the new treatment on july 8th and is an injection once a week over a period of eight weeks followed by a whole series of checkups.
One good thing about this kind of tratment is that it does not involve any hairloss, its only just starting to grow back after the chemotherapy.
Another plus is that it does not involve any overnight stays in hospital--I think I have had my share of hospital food this year!
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
After a very miserable week I saw Mark Hill at Maidstone Hospital yesterday and he said that there are plenty of treatment options available. He has booked me in for treatment using a new drug called Ofatumumab which involves a weekly injection over a period of 8 weeks with regular blood tests and CT scans. This is followed by regular monitoring over a period of 5 years. If this treatment does not work there are other options available including a different chemotherapy regime and/or radiotherapy.
The dark clouds from last week are rolling away fast but whatever happens I am not giving up.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
BC Bryan Chalker
CD Charles Dickens, Celine Dione, Charlie Drake
DE Dave Edmunds
EF Ella Fitzgerald
GH Gwyneth Herbert,George Harrison
JK John Kennedy
KL Ken Livingstone
OP Oliver Postgate
PQ Pauline Quirke
RS Ringo Starr
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
The good news is that the tumours have considerably reduced and he thinks the residue may be scar tissue. I am having a PET scan on Thursday to confirm this so keep your fingers crossed.
Seeing the consultant at Kings on the 17ih about the stem cell transplant.
Saturday, 6 June 2009
Here in Kent the Conservatives have a large majority on the County Council. One of the basic principles of democrocy is to have an effective oppposition that challenges decisions by the ruling group. Sadly this is now lacking and policies will be followed without any challenges being made.
Nationally there are calls for a General Election but I disagree with this. MPs belonging to all the major political groups have become embroiled in the expenses debacle and if an election was called now people would be tempted to vote either for a fringe party or not at all allowing one of the lesser known groups come to power.
I have the utmost respect for people who wish to stand on an anti sleaze ticket but with due respect to them what knowlege do they have of issues such as health, education or defence? All issues that are fundamental to the running of the country.
Maybe we should wait until the expenses issue has been resolved and than call an election with politicians we can trust. Or as an alternative to that maybe, bearing in mind the financial situation a government of national unity where all the political infighting is put to one side and the welfare of the country is put first.
Thursday, 28 May 2009
Leaving my health issues aside the last couple of days have certainly full of tribulations! my central heating/hot water has been supplied from a back boiler located behind a gas fire in the lounge. It has been functioning day in day out for the last 17 years with no problems but every British Gas engineer who has been out to service it for the last three years has muttered dire threats about it not meeting present day standards culminating in this years visit when they threatened to turn it off and stick 'Do not use' stickers all over it. So I thought I had better get it replaced but aparently you can not have a back boiler now as they are reckoned to be inefficent and unsafe. In the end I decided to go for one of the new style condensing boilers which I am told is going to reduce my gas bill by as much as 40%-we will wait and see though. Another advantage is that you dont need any water tanks with the system.
They arrived just before 8 on Tuesday morning to fit it and were here all day, the day turned out to be cold to say the least. I was sitting here wearing two jumpers and a coat and I was still frozen. Just after 6 the installation was complete and they left. Shortly afterwards I needed some hot water and there was none. Rang the installer and he said to check the water pressure in the boiler, it should be between 1 and 2 bars (whatever happened to PSI!) and if it was less to open the inlet valve and let the pressure build up. Once I had done that everything worked, I even had a lovely hot shower. Everything was OK, well at least until 5 the following morning when yet again I was on all fours under the boiler letting more water in. I should explain that the new boiler is in the airing cupboard and the site of the old back boiler has been bricked up.
Again at 8.30 there was no hot water or heating so called the installers out who thought that the problem was caused by a leaking pipe somewhere in the system. They managed to configure the system so that I had hot water but no heating. They came back this morning and found the leak behind the newly bricked up fireplace, which has now been opened up again to repair the leak and let it dry out. As a result this is the third day without heating and yes I know its nearly June but once you get cold its very difficult to warm up.
Amongst all this kerfuffle my mobile phone charger has vanished. I was lucky enough to find one on Ebay for 99p which I ordered on Tuesday and arrived today. I think this was brilliant service and even allowing for postal charges extremely good value. In fact everything I have had from Ebay has been of similar ilk. On Sunday I successfully bid for a colour ink cartridge for my printer and it was delivered yesterday. Again I got it for 99p plus £1.50 postage and packing a little different from the £18 plus they want in the shops.
Talking of feeling the cold did you read in the news about the 83 year old woman who had kept her Mothers body in the freezer for the last twenty years. It happened in Sidcup which is about 20 miles from here and I am not going to make any jokes about the 'That's why Mums go to Iceland' adverts.
Anyway I suppose its all part of life's rich tapestry
Monday, 25 May 2009
I was originaly told that I would be having the bone marrow biopsy this Wednesday but they have now decided that it will be to close to the last lot of chemo. I have a CT scan next week which I hope will show some good news with a further reduction in the size of the tumours.
The original proposal was that I was going to go to Kings College Hospital for stem cell harvesting after the biopsy and scan, guess what the appointment for Kings has come for June 1st and has had to be cancelled as no new date for the biopsy yet. I think its just a breakdown in communication between the hospitals but Hello Right Hand meet Left Hand!
If you have not already visited her blog please drop in and visit Jane at http://a-journey-of-another-kind.blogspot.com/ . She has kidney cancer and is at present in Brazil seeking spiritual treatment for cancerand thats after having a TV crew follow her for a week. She is a very brave and determined person and I am sure she would appreciate your support.
Tomorrow is going to be one hell of a day as I am having my old gas central heating back boiler replaced by one of these new condensing boilers. Apparently there are very very few circumstances now that you can have a back boiler so I am going to be left with a gaping hole in the chimney breast that will need filling and I suppose the rest of the room will need redecorating but at the moment I certainly don't feel in the mood for that.
Well its been a typical Bank Holiday Monday here in Kent- showers this morning and quite heavy rain with thunder this afternoon. Should really know better than to expect a good bank holiday weekend shouldn't I.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Wednesday, 13 May 2009
Anyway the Daily Telegraph has now published details of questionable expense claims by members of all three major parties. These apparently range from a claim for dog food to swimming pool repairs.
Now I am not against people claiming expenses that are justified and to be honest have not a lot of people outside parliament also tweaked there expenses. This country is a democracy and anyone has the right to stand for election to parliament provided they pay the £500 deposit, repayable if they get more than one fifth of the votes in that constituency.. Obviously if you are lucky enough to get elected you should expect fair recompense for your efforts as you can not do any other form of employment. If you want to stand as a Conservative,Labour or Liberal Democrat you have to be selected by them otherwise you can stand as an independent.
Having established that you need a salary to live on, if you are elected for an area away from London e.g. Scotland or Cornwall you are going to need somewhere in London to live during the parliamentary session as no one can be expected to commute hundreds of miles each day. In these cases I have no qualms about them claiming expenses for a second home in the capital, after all it only allows democracy to work and means that people of any stature can stand as an MP. The basic principal of democracy is that every ones voice can be heard and anybody can become elected as an MP without having strong financial backing. Money not make good politics.
One final thought on political matters. Maybe I am being rather cynical but this year Kent County Council announced one of the lowest increases in council tax. June this year sees the County Council elections and I wonder if next years increase will be quite so low. I wonder.............
Saturday, 9 May 2009
Well almost no side effects. Was laying in the hospital bed and they came to take some blood at 6 in the morning, quite why they wait until you finally doze off is another matter. Anyway the nurse said to me your hand and arm are swollen, mention it to the doctor when you see him. When I did see a doctor it was about 5 hours later and the response was-it might be nothing or it may be a blood clot, so we will send you for an urgent ultra sound scan. Three days later I was sent home without the scan and had to go back two days later for the scan. Fortunately it showed that there was nothing wrong and my arm has now gone back to normal. However no one has given me an explanation of what happened. Was it a clot which dispersed quickly or was it a reaction to the drugs??
As to the future I have to have another session of chemo before I go to Kings College hospital for stem cell harvesting which is something that I accept as inevitable now and I am sure its the way forward but for some unexplainable reason it still worries me-maybe its fear of the unknown or even just fear! I have always been the worlds worst patient and I am finding it very very frustrating sitting round at home. I have to see the consultant again on Tuesday afternoon so maybe the plans will change.
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
I start my third session of chemotherapy tomorrow- assuming there is a bed available!
Thet are not going to use the enhanced treatment as after deliberation they have decided it wont make much difference. So I have been sitting round for two weeks for nothing........................
Friday, 24 April 2009
Road into the park from the Bearsted direction
View across the lake
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Anyway I was perusing one of our local free newspapers the other day and I came across a little snippet saying that Miner Bees had been found in Mote Park. Mote Park is 450 acres of open land which is protected by law and forms a green barrier between Maidstone and Bearsted.
Now I had never heard of Miner Bees before and apparently they are bees that burrow into things like brickwork to create there nest. The good news is that they can not sting you as there sting is not sharp enough to penetrate human skin.
A search on the Internet has shown that there are 250 different kinds of bee in the United Kingdom which is something that I did not know but I am sure that if any bee keeper reads this they will correct me if I am wrong. One bee is called the Cuckoo Bee which kills the traditional Bumble Bee and takes over its nest. Life can be cruel in the animal kingdom!
I was going to take some pictures in Mote Park to add to this entry but my digital camera works on an XD card and its showing card corrupt! I have rung round all the local shops but all they stock are type M or type H XD cards which my camera wont accept. Rather than go out and buy a new camera I have tracked down some ordinary XD cards which I have ordered. When they get here I will add some photos.
On a personal level I am still waiting for the next lot of chemotherapy to start. The hospital rang me on Saturday night to go in for a blood test but than rang back and asked me to ring on Monday morning to see if a bed was available, which it was not. I than had to ring back on Monday afternoon only to be told to ring back on Tuesday morning. When I did I was told that as the treatment I was having was slightly different to normal it had to be approved at a higher level and treatment would probably not start again until next week. To say that I am rather p****d of is rather an understatement especially as I feel perfectly well in my self.
Sunday, 19 April 2009
What did I come across-only the return of Jazz FM except that it only broadcasts on DAB and the internet. But what joy of joys not only is it back but they also feature one of my favourite DJs- Robbie Vincent.
Those of us of a certain age will remember Robbie from the halcyon days of BBC Radio London when not only was his soul music show on a Saturday lunchtime compulsory listening but he also did a late night phone in which was introduced in the crisis period in the early 1970s when during the power crisis caused by the miners strike television closed down at 10.30! Again this was a programme which became almost mandatory listening.
One of Robbie Vincents jingles was 'If it moves funk it' hence the title of this entry and all I can say is if you get the chance give him a listen on Sunday mornings (10 to 1 UK time) do it and while there give Jazz FM a listen.
Does anyone else remember the power crisis of the 1970s when industry was reduced to a three day week, power cuts by rota and electrically powered train services were reduced or is it just me getting old!
On a personal note I had an appointment at Kings College hospital on Friday to discuss stem cell transfer and they are confident that it will work for me although they say my response to chemotherapy so far has been reasonable rather than the good that the local hospital said.
Anyway the plan is for me to have another session of chemotherapy locally followed by stem cell harvesting at Kings than a fourth session of chemo at Maidstone. This will than be followed by a high dose session of chemo at Kings followed by stem cell transfer. This will mean staying in hospital for about three weeks. I am still quite aprehensive about it all but if it works it will be fantastic.
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
As I said earlier donations were requested for the Kent Air Ambulance which is a very worthy cause and the Air Ambulance has proved its worth many times and I dont mind contributing. However it does make you wonder why it has to be funded by voluntary contribution and not funded like the normal ambulance service.
Monday, 6 April 2009
For those that do not know it is the story of an off shore radio (pirate) station in the 1960s and is based on the much missed Radio Caroline. Back in those days the only pop music played on the BBC was about two hours a week, other than that the only pop music station was Radio Luxembourg. The pirates were a breath of fresh air!
They brought about two major changes to British radio, firstly the introduction of Radio 1 and the introduction of independant commercial radio to the UK. I have used the word independant because at the time thasts what it was but sadly stations have been swallowed up into a couple of large groups all using the same playlist and features. You can here 'Flirty at Ten Thirty' on any number of stations throughout the UK. In fact I find commercial radio in the UK extremely boring.
The former pirate disc jockeys must cringe when they here what there efforts have led to. In fact a lot of them now work for the BBC. In fact it has created a bit of a problem here as two of the leading DJs are on at the same time on a Saturday night. Dave Cash is on BBC Radio Kent from 6 whilst at the same time the legendry Johnie Walker is on Pirate Johnie Walker on BBC Radio 2. Johnie Walker was and still is one of my all time heroes, anyone who uses a track by Duane Eddy as his theme tune must be OK!
Going back to Radio Luxembourg they only played about half of each record before cutting in and saying that was so and so on the Decca label. The reason for this was that the records were supplied by the record companies and the idea was to encourage you to go out and buy the record. Luxembourg also carried the advert by the well known Horrace Batchelor encouraging you to send him a postal order to get his foolproof way of winning the football pools. What made the advert memorable was the address to send to was in Keynsham near Bristol -thats spelt K E Y N S H A M!
I wonder if anyone did send him any money and whats more to the point did they win anything on thev pools!
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Unfortunately it has led to some violence in the street, maybe not to serious but violence none the less. I have never ever understood the need for violence of any sort. If an objector has a legitimate point to make they should be allowed to voice there opinion and to be told why there proposal will or wont work. This is one of the basic freedoms in the free world or have I lost the plot somewhere.
Had my CT scan yesterday and after 8 attempts they managed to insert the cannula, needless to say I feel like a well used dartboard at the moment. Wont get the results until next week though. Otherwise I am feeling fine at the moment.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
To my wife on Mothers Day
Happy Mothers Day to the mother of the unborn child
To Grandma on Mothers Day
Since when has anybodys wife or Grandma been there Mother??? Next thing will be cards saying To my Girl Friend on my birthday!
Another thing thats making my hackles raise is the fact that Kent County Council want to turn off some street lights at midnight where vthere is no safety implications to save money. As for safety implications surely anywhere that is a dark corner becomes a safety risk not just for motorists but for pedestrians as well. I have over a period of time noticed (as indeed have several correspondants to the local paper) that if they really wanted to save money why not turn of the street lights during the day where they are left on 24hours a day. Went to see a friend in Herne Bay this afternoon and a classic example of this was on the A229 (Thanet Way).
On the subject of cars some kind person sideswiped my car the other day damaging the rear bumber and the nearside door mirror. Fortunately I was parked with handbrake on and engine off and no one sustained any injury. Relatively speaking it was a minor incident but I certainly could of done without the hassle of dealing with an insurance claim but fortunately there was an independant witness.
As I said in my last entry I came home from hospital on Friday morning following the second course of chemotherapy. However this time they changed the treatment from R-DHAP to R-ICE as I only have one functioning kidney has the left one is atrophic. I have a CT scan booked for 31st March with an appointment to see the consultant the following week so hopefully he will have some good news for me. Fortunately I have not had any serious side efects from the chemo but I have noticed that my hair is thinning out. Wonder if I will end up looking like Kojac but sadly I dont like lollipops!
On a slightly more serious note the consultant at Maidstone has referred me to Kings College Hospital in London for an autlogus stem cell transplantation following salvage. I have been doing the great no no on this and reading about it on the internet and to be honest it frightens me. On one site I read that if the host cells reject the returned cells it can cause early death-and that has not cheared me up at all. On the off chance have you or anyone you know been through this treatment and give me any information and advice.
Finishing on a slightly more cheerful note the following joke was sent to me by a friend recently.
Las Vegas Churches accept gambling chips THIS MAY COME AS A SURPRISE TO THOSE OF YOU NOT LIVING IN LAS VEGAS, BUT THERE ARE MORE CATHOLIC CHURCHES THAN CASINOS. NOT SURPRISINGLY SOME WORSHIPERS AT SUNDAY SERVICES WILL GIVE CASINO CHIPS RATHER THAN CASH WHEN THE BASKET IS PASSED. SINCE THEY GET CHIPS FROM MANY DIFFERENT CASINOS, THE CHURCHES HAVE DEVISED A METHOD TO COLLECT THE OFFERINGS… THE CHURCHES SEND ALL THEIR COLLECTED CHIPS TO A NEARBY FRANSISCAN MONASTERY FOR SORTING AND THEN THE CHIPS ARE TAKEN TO THE CASINOS OF ORIGIN AND CASHED IN. THIS IS DONE BY CHIP MONKS . YOU DIDN'T EVEN SEE IT COMING DID YOU ?GOTCHA!
Dont all groan at once
Friday, 20 March 2009
Monday, 16 March 2009
First of all I had to renew the car insurance and road tax. The insurance was not to bad as I pay it monthly but the road tax at £145 hurt.
However it did not hurt as much as having to buy a new dishwasher at £325. The old one had packed up for the second time with a seized up pump which was going to cost about £200 to replace and as it was over 8 years old and aparently dishwashers only last 10 years it was more cost effective. Lets just hope my bank manager loves me.
I am going back into hospital tommorow for another session of chemotherapy. Its a different kind this time as they reckon the previous type was affecting my one remaining kidney. Will let you know how I get on.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
So I was thrilled to read my e mails this morning to find that there is a new album by Diana Krall released at the end of this month followed in April by one from Melody Gardot. However the best news of all is that May brings a new release by the fabulous Gwyneth Herbert. I can see me spending money in HMV on the first two. However Gwyneth Herbert is releasing hers on her own label Monkeywood Records so it will probably be an online purchase. Her last release was on her own label but was subsequently re released on Bluenote. If you have never heard her check out her website-she is brilliant.
On a sadder note I was horrified to hear about the school shooting in Germany, what ever can posess some one to shoot dead inocent victims aparently at random. I know that when I was at school there were some teachers that I got on with and others that you wished you had never met but there is no way I would of thought of picking up a gun and shooting them let alone do it.
On a personal note I had an appointment with the oncologist yesterday and they are going to change my chemotherapy as the one I was on was affecting my kidney. I use the word kidney in the singular as I only have one functioning kidney and in the consultants words I have to look after it. At the moment I dont have a date for the next corse of chemo but I believe it will be next week.
Take Care (and have a listen to Gwyneth Herbert)
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
Whatever your point of view the two main characters in the dispute Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill were both formidable in there respective roles. What actually happened as a result of the strike is well recorded but its interesting to think about what could or would of happened if the miners had won. Back in the 1970's they had defeated Ted Heath with there actions. Remember the three day week and power cuts by rota.
Some people interviwed on Radio Kent this morning were unaware that Kent was once a coal mining area with pits at Snowdown, Tilmanstone, Betteshanger and Chislet. Of these the only one with any buildings left standing is Snowdown and there are calls for these to be preserved as a museum/memorial to those who worked in the pits and an important part of Kents history.
Kent has recently been struck by its second earthquake in the last couple of years and even though the latest one was minor Folkestone seems to becoming a dangerous place to live!
I saw the consultant at Maidstone Hospital yesterday and he wants to change the chemotherapy regime as one of the drugs is affecting my kidney function. I have got to have a couple of blood tests done before I see him again next Tuesday as he is concerned that my platelet level could become low. I also have to have another CT scan.
Monday, 2 March 2009
Yes I know I need to rest after chemotherapy and the risk of infection,but its still boring. I have listened to a couple of plays on Radio 4 which I enjoyed as listening to the radio you have to use your own imagination as to what the characters look like etc rather than straight in your face on TV. I even managed to do the Times crossword the other day in less than half an hour.
Looking through the local paper I see that they want to make Maidstone plastic carrier bag free by 31st March. This is very laudable but I always recycle my carrier bags as bin liners, I suppose I will just have to go out and buy some bin liners which seems to defeat the object somewhat.
On the subject of carrier bags, why can you not get paper ones anymore. We have a fortnightly recycling collection which takes anything that can be recycled. For security reasons I shred any paper that has any personal information on and this can go for recycling. If you tip the shredded paper straight into the bin when they come to empty it the shredded paper can blow down the road like confetti. As its not recylable I can not put it in a plastic carrier bag first so I have to try and find a paper carrier or similar.
I have to see the oncologist tomorrow afternoon and will let you know what happens.
Excuse my ramblings
Thursday, 26 February 2009
I seem to have been lucky with the first session of chemotherapy and the only side effect I seem to have is total boredom. To pass the time I have upgraded to Microsoft Office 2007 on my computer and its a completely different language to anything I have ever used before, especially with pivot tables (if you dont know what they are its best not to know!) Had to return to the hospital on Tuesday for a blood test and was asked to ring in the afternoon for the result. When I did they could not find the result!!! However they did ring me on Wednesday morning to tell me that they could not test the blood as it had clotted. I am going back on Friday morning for another blood test and have to see the consultant on Tuesday afternoon. They have given me a chemo hotline number to ring in an emergency i.e. if my temperature goes above 37.8 but so far its not been above 35.
A friend has sent me an article about raspberries. Aparently they contain all sorts of good things which can help defeat cancer. They also have considerably less calories than strawberries so its probably just as well that I like them! The other interesting thing about them is that they contain more vitamin C than oranges, so even if they dont fight the cancer I will still enjoy them safe in the knowledge that I wont get scurvey!
Saturday, 21 February 2009
I have just come home from hospital after the first session of R-DHAP chemotherapy, which apart from being stuck on a drip for most of the time was not reallyt that bad. The line insertion was not that bad either as it was done by ultra sound rather than x ray and meant that I did not have to have a marker dye inserted. In fact the biggest problem was that as a man I have hairs on my chest and they could not find a razor to shave the area and had to put the dressing straight on, result every time I stretch I indulge in a bit of self waxing!
Howwever I think there is worse to come as I have been told that the side effects of the chemo will kick in soon, the worst being neutropenia which means my imune system has been supressed and if I come into contact with someone who has a common virus such as a cold it could kill me-not a pleasant prospect! I have to stay off work until the end of the course of chemo (a couple of months) which to be perfectly honest is a prospect that I do not relish even though I appreciate the neccesity.
Again thanks for all your kind thoughts
Monday, 16 February 2009
Have to ring the hospital at 9 in the morning to confirm that a bed is available and expect to be in for three or four days. its a nice ward though, each bed has its own TV and there are only four beds in each bay which has its own bathroom there should be no queing to wash or use the loo.
Will post again over the coming weekend to let you know how things are working out.
Anyway thats enough of my problems, i hope you are all keeping well.
Thursday, 12 February 2009
Have to have a blood test done on Sunday and have the line inserted on Monday.
They hope to start chemo on Tuesday so at last things are beginning to happen.
I honestly can not say I am looking forward to it but I am still positive, after all Rolls Royces have punctures and are still back on the road again!
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Part of my job is visiting all stations in the Southeastern TOC area. Depending on the size and revenue of the station visits are made either twice or four times a year. Pluckley is one that gets visited twice and is quite a unique location in so far that the station building is the original one built by the original SDouth Eastern Railway back in the 1800's. It has obviously seen some improvements such as the installation of electricity and is actually situated in the hamlet of Chambers Green some two miles from Pluckley village itself.
Pluckley village has the reputation of being the most haunted village. The resident member of staff at the station must know me to well as thew first thing she says when i arrive is 'I have put the kettle on'! Anyway on this occasion she made the tea and I completed the audit which got its normal high score (we are not that harsh) and being fully housetrained took my cup out to the kitchen to wash it up.
Have you ever entered a room and felt that someone else was there and as i turned round caught a glimpse of an elderly lady dressed in Victorian clothing. I say caught a glimpse because it was a case of seeing her and when I looked closely she had vanished.
I mentioned it to Fiona and she said that she had seen her several times, the first time it had scared the s**t out of her but there was never any harm or other problems after the sightings.
The only record of a death at the station was back in 1919 when a porter was killed by a passing train whilst crossing the track so maybe the ghost is his mother.
I am always open minded about this kind of thing and I am quite happy to believe in ghosts and things like spiritulism but I know there are lots of reported sightings, for example Borley Rectory in Suffolk comes to mind.
Went to Maidstone Hospital yesterday for an assesment to fit a Hickman Line for chemotherapy and waited over an hour only to be told by a nurse what the consultant had already told me. At the moment treatment is not due to start for another two weeks.
Hope you are managing to avoid the storms and flooding, heavy frosts are forecast for the next couple of days, so take care and keep warm.
Friday, 6 February 2009
The lymphoma has returned and as they are treating it as a re ocurrance rather than a new problem I can not have the same treatment as before as my body has probably built up a resistance to those drugs.
Instead I have to have a form of chemo known as R-DHAP which will be given intaveneously over 3 days as an in patient in hospital every month for four months. If that is not succesful I will need to have a stem cell transplant which means hospitilisation for a month followed by a months recovery. As the consultant said it looks like 2009 is going to be a c**p year.
In myself I actually feel better than i have done for a long time and I intend to keep positive although at times its difficult.
Had a phone call from the hospital after I got home asking me to go in on Monday afternoon to be assesed to have a line put in for chemo although they wont be able to fit it until February 28th, thats three weeks away. Why???
Hope you are avoiding this horrible weather we seem to be having recently.
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Will tell you the worst when I know it and yes will tell you about my ghost sighting soon.
However most of them refer to a serious road accident in 1965 when a bride to be and her two friends were killed on the eve of there wedding. What they dont mention is that the accident happened on the old road and the ghost appears on the new road which is a dual carriageway which runs from Maidstone to Rochester Airport and the Medway Conurbation. (A229). One sight does mention a sighting back in 1934 so I think the evidence does not support the car crash theory especially as she died in the old West Kent Hospital in maidstone and not at the scene of the accident.
Another theory is that as the road (both old and new) pass very close to Kits Coty which is a prehistoric burial site which predates Stonehenge and where they also celebrate the summer and winter solstices. So there is a chance that at some stage the spirits of the past may of been disturbed. Again a search of thev internet will tell you about Kits Coty.
I would also like to say that having seen a ghost I certainly believe in them but I will tell you more about that another time.
Had a bad day trying to get to work today, was trying to get to Kent House station to do an audit but never managed to get there due to a fatality at Beckenham Junction.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
On a personal level my musical tastes are very much jazz orientated and I have a love of female jazz vocalists such as Karrin Allyson, Diana Krall, Jane Monheidt and a special favourite is Gwyneth Herbert who is probably one of the best singer/songwriters in the UK jazz scene at the moment. Word on the grapevine is that she has a new album out in March so there are no prizes for guessing who will be visiting HMV soon.
Last night I was trawling through some jazz tracks on the internet station Last FM and I came across a track by an American vocalist - Ruth Cameron. I had never heard of her before and I liked what I heard but a trawl through the internet showed that she only released one album called First Songs in 2000 and I can not find anything since. I was wondering on a million to one chance if any body reading this has either heard of her or knows if she has released any other material. Her biog states that she used to work in the theatre so maybe First Songs was also her last songs-I hope not.
Winter has reared its ugly head again here in Kent, with snow and freezing temperature set to last until next weekend. The forecast is for 10 to 15 cm of snow overnight with local amounts of up to 3. cms- hibernation sounds like a good idea! Here in Maidstone we are south of the North Downs so hopefully we will escape the worst but people who live on top of Bluebell or Detling hills wont be so lucky. I wonder if the ghost of Blubell Hill will put in an appearance as she only seems to appear on cold dark nights but thats a story for next time.
Take Care and keep warm.
Friday, 30 January 2009
In my case I was not allowed to eat or drink after 3am on Wednesday morning which in real life turned out to be about 9 on Tuesday evening. I also had to ring the hospital at 7 in the morning to find out if a bed was available--guess what there was not one! They did promise to ring me back when one became available which they did at 1.30! When I got to the hospital I still had to wait until 5 before a bed was found.
Went to theatre at 5.45 and was back in the ward wide awake at 7.15, they could not understand why I felt so dry- maybe nearly 24 hours without a drink had some part in it.
As the biopsies were done by laparoscopy I have 5 inciscions on my stomach which are sore rather than painful. I have to wait until February 10th for the results though but I am cautiously optomistic.
Listening to the weather forecast I see winter is due to return with the possibility of snow next week-think I will hibernate until Easter.
Friday, 23 January 2009
Workwise our office is located at Gravesend and if I go into the office my journeytakes me up the valley of the River Medway and than across the marshes to Gravesend. At the moment the Medway is at the highest level thyat I have seen it for many years. Where it passes through Maidstone town centre it is already over the towpath and is lapping against the Archbishops Palace and All Saints. It is certainly fast flowing and very muddy indicating the amount of top soil that has been washed of the land. They have even had to move the river bus to a safer mooring. On the marshes the land is so waterlogged that the lifestock that graze there are huddled on to dry pieces of land. I really must remember to take my camera and take some pictures and post them here, this is something i have been intending to do since I started my A O Hell blog ages ago. Aparently there is going to be a frost tonight- what a lovely thought wet roads freezing.
Any one who knows me will know that I am a great fan of the music of Gwyneth Herbert and I understand that she is releasing a new cd in the not to distant future. If you have never heard her I would heartily recomend that you check her out. Other artists I enjoy are Karrin Allyson, Jane Monheidt, Liz Wright,Alison Krausse, Alison Crowe, Alice Russell, Fiona Apple, Luther Van Dross, Michael Buble, Candy Dulfer and Diana Krall. Now what makes you think I like female jazz vocalists!
On a personal basis I have received my date for the surgical procedure-its next Wednesday the 28th at 8.00am but in true NHS style I have to ring at 07.30 to check that a bed is available. If there is I dont know how they expect me to get there by 8 bearing in mind the normal flow of traffic in Maidstone at any time of day. Thought I was speeding the other day-I overtook a pedestrian!
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
The good news is that with chemotherapy and a possible bone marrow transplant the chances of remission are very good. Aparently I can not have the same chemo as I had before (CHOP & PMITCEBO) as the body can only take so much treatment of this type. However since than treatment has moved on and other chemo is available and now they also give you antibodies which has improved treatment.
I am still managing to stay optomistic about things though, it seems pointless to be otherwise. As my late Mother used to say, if you worry about it you would never get out of bed in the morning-you would just turn over and suffocate on your own pillow. She had a large range of sayings such as that. It also helps that we are particularly busy at work-we have been working on a case since New Year and think we have finally cracked it.
However the most important thing that has helped me stay positive is all your kind messages of support on here I feel privileged to know so many caring people even if its just through a message on a computer.
Friday, 16 January 2009
Had to ring Maidstone Hospital at 8 last Tuesday morning to see if a bed was available and of course in true NHS style there was not one. They rang me back at 9.30 and asked if I could get there in 10 minutes, sadly as I have not managed to conquer time travel it took me an hour to get there.
The actual procedure took all of 8 minutes and I than had to rest for 4 hours in case of any complications! During this time I managed to re read one of my favourite books, Raise The Titanic by Clive Cussler. I must of read it about 6 times by now but its still as good as ever.
I will find out the biopsy result next Tuesday and even though I am determined to stay positive I must admit to a certain amount of aprehension.
Work wise I am extremely busy which helps keeps my mind occupied.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
As well as those of you who have left comments on the blog I would like to say a special thanks to a couple of people who have contacted me directly your messages meant a lot to me especially over Christmas and New Year.
I have the kidney biopsy this Tuesday at Maidstone Hospital on Tuesday as a day case but wont get the result until the following week. The reason treatment can not start any earlier is that they have to be certain exactly what they are treating and give the appropriate treatment.
Again thank you all from the bottom of my heart you are friends in a million.
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
However this year it has left me with a legacy. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma which is a form of cancer for which I went through a two lots of chemotherapy which dealt with the issue and after five years I was told that it could not return. However as I said in my last entry I was very poorly before Christmas and a kidney function test revealed a creatinine level of 157 as opposed to the 'normal' level of 110. Creatinine is the measure of how effective the kidney disposes of waste. As a result I had a CT scan at Maidstone Hospital which has revealed another tumour on the kidney and I am waiting for a kidney biopsy to identify the type of tumour and possible treatment. However there was some good news, a subsequent blood test has revealed that the creatinine level has dropped to 120 and they are satisfied with the result.
Obviously this has left rather a dampner on Christmas and New Year but I refuse to let it get me down and when I get the result of the biopsy and have treatment will try and stay positive but I am expecting some 'black' days but I am sure I will be able to cope and will look forward to having a bit more time to read and comment on all your blogs-you have been warned!
I cant say I like this cold snap much, there is still snow on the ground here in Kent and walking and driving conditions are dangerous away from the main routes, indeed have ended up slipping over a couple of times fortunately without any harm other than to my pride!
Anyway I hope you are all enjoying good health and managing to keep warm, they are forecasting freezing fog for tonight!