Thursday, 28 May 2009


When I first started writing a blog on AOL it was meant to be a reflection on life and all its tribulations.

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

Home again

Well it was quite an uneventful session of chemotherapy this time with no side effects apart from loosing a bit more hair. I think the local hairdresser will be out of business soon!

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 . 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.

Take Care


Monday, 18 May 2009

Sooner in-sooner out

Had a hone call from the hospital this afternoon. i am going in on Tuesday for the next session of chemotherapy instead of on thursday. Looking on the bright side going in two days earlier I should hopefully be home two days earlier.

take care


Wednesday, 13 May 2009


First and foremost let me say that this entry does not follow any political bias on my part. We have a secret ballot and how any person votes should be a secret between themselves.

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

Not according to plan!!

As you are aware in the latest session of chemotherapy I was due to have RICE treatment with the addition of Gemcitabine. Well the treatment was delayed by a week whilst the powers that be hummed and hahed about it. At the end of the day they decided that Gemcitabine would be of no benefit to me. So I ended up just having RICE chemotherapy and again (touches the nearest bit of wood) I have had no serious side effects.

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.