Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ups and Downs

I had intended to post something last week but good days have been filled with visitors and bad days have been spent wrestling with pain control.

Christmas was very good – one of the best I can remember.  Karen and I drove over to Peter and Jenny’s on Christmas Eve and we all went to the local pub (Stanley Arms) before dinner.  Never having been to a pub on Christmas Eve before I had assumed it would be crowded and lively, but it was very quiet, so we didn’t stay long and went back for dinner, which Peter cooked (with Jenny assisting) while Karen and I watched another episode of ‘Lost’.  We’d received DVDs of the 6th (and final) series as a joint Christmas present (both being addicts) and, of course, opened it before Christmas day and tried to limit ourselves to watching 2 episodes a day (or at least no more than 3…).   On Christmas Day we watched TV and DVDs while Peter cooked a wonderful dinner with all the trimmings.  I can’t claim any credit for him being such an accomplished cook because he took it up long after he’d left home.  Then we all played Scrabble, slept and watched more DVDs.  Being so warm and sleepy and comfortable, Karen and I decided to stay another night and came home on Sunday morning. I had a quiet afternoon at home while Karen and Peter went to see their half sister and new baby nephew.

Monday was Peter’s birthday and I’d planned to do a roast beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner for the four of us, with special birthday cake to follow (bought, not made – with a Manchester City logo and appropriate piped wording) – reminiscent of their childhood when I used to make birthday cakes with themed decorations for their birthdays. However, I’d not taken into account how challenging this meal would have been at the best of times - ensuring that everything (joint, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables) would all be ready at the same time (many years since I’d done it).  The result was that by the time it was all ready, I had to leave them to do the carving and the serving out, while I crawled on to the settee to lie down for 10 minutes before I was fit enough to eat with them.

The rest of the days since then have been very busy with visitors, alternating with bad days when I just couldn’t get the pain under control.  In an attempt to control the severe peaks of the pain cycle and try to get smaller fluctuations I changed the medication regime to taking smaller doses more frequently rather than large, infrequent doses, but this turned out to be a disaster, so I went back to large doses at 4-5 hourly intervals. The pain peaks were still erratic and unpredictable, and the only thing bringing it down was a double dose of Codeine.  Although small doses of Morphine helped initially with the breathing (and Karen called it my turbo booster juice) it’s ceased to be effective.  The Macmillan nurse said that I could take larger doses at 4-hourly intervals, but unbelievably, it still doesn’t bring down the pain – although I’m sure if I drank the whole bottle it would!!!

Anyway, last night things came to a head and whatever I took, the pain went on escalating until I daren’t take anything else for fear of overdosing, so I rang the out-of-hours GP service – which I have to say was wonderful.  After going through the routine questions with an administrator, a doctor rang me back within 10 minutes and went through with me what I’d taken during the day and said I could safely take another Tramadol and that a doctor would be with within 2 hours.  He actually arrived within 20 minutes (by which time the pain had begun to recede) and did a very thorough examination and was very informative about what pain meds could be taken frequently and what should be restricted.   He thought I might have fluid on my lung again, so this morning I contacted the Christie and they booked me in for an assessment at 11am.  After chest x-ray, blood tests and the usual ‘obs’ and tests the doctor concluded that there wasn’t any fluid (thankfully) but possibly a chest infection, for which I now have anti-biotics.  So, the pain is now under control and the chemotherapy is still on schedule for next Wednesday (followed by 3 other courses at 3 weekly intervals).

I heard over Christmas that an old friend from the Labour Party in the ‘80s (whom some you may know) - John Shiers - has also got lung cancer – mesothelioma (from exposure to asbestos).  He is not going to go for chemotherapy but, as he is a therapist and practitioner of meditation and acupuncture, he is going to use these alternative therapies. We are going to meet up when he gets back from India and compare notes and he is happy for me to share all this in my blog.  Very worryingly, his exposure to asbestos was from his days living in the Hulme Crescents and he says there are a number of former Hulme residents in the same situation who are getting together a campaign to raise awareness and claim compensation. As soon as I know any more about this, I’ll pass it on. 

I need to finish this now, or it will never get posted. I’ll post something about the book in a few days.  

No comments:

Post a Comment