Tuesday, 5 February 2013

It was only Flu after all!!!

I have just had my three monthly review and all is well.  However, thought I would do an up-date as I had been belly-aching to all and sundry that I thought my cancer had progressed.  This was due to the fact that I felt like death after a bout of the flu and thought the nasty little cancer cells had taken advantage of me whilst I was down on my luck.

To start from the beginning, I finally decided to have my back operation done privately after some worrying symptoms that had me in accident and emergency at Tunbridge Wells hospital for 2 days.  It looked as if the operation to remove the cyst would have to be done as an emergency, but there was no bed in the National Health sector at King's College Hospital and I was going to have to wait for a bed at a more local hospital. However I particularly wanted the lovely consultant whom I had seen and researched (Dr David Bell) to fiddle about in my back, so I asked if he could do it privately.  A week later all was done and dusted at the London Bridge Hotel (sorry Hospital).  Cost per night £1,108.  Following the operation all back pain ceased.  Bliss.  The reason for the pain ( and towards the end of my time before the operation, I could hardly stand up, sit or lie down without extreme agony), was a grape sized benign growth filled with fluid.  This growth meant my sciatic nerve was constantly squashed.  All the surgeon had to do was 'pop the zit' and 'Bob's your Uncle', the pain disappeared.  (He did of course have to make an incision in my back and staple it together.  So now have another distinguishing mark to add to all the others on my body.  They won't need dental records to identify me in a plane crash!).

I was only in hospital for one night.  My kind brother paid for the hospital stay and I paid for the surgeon and anesthetist.  It was worth every penny of the £7,500 it cost as  the operation on the National Health was scheduled for 29th January and Christmas would have been a misery.

I came out of hospital on the 12th December and by the 13th I was feeling lousy.  It is a long time since I had the flu and couldn't remember the symptoms.  As I felt so awful I thought the worst.  However a blood test and chest x-ray showed nothing significant and the G.P. thought it was the flu with a chest infection.  However when, a month later - 12th January I was still having difficulty getting up the stairs,  stopping every forth stair and still had a very poor appetite (I lost another half stone so looked very trim for Christmas.), I was seriously worried.  All for nothing however.  I had a scheduled CT scan for my three monthly review the second week in January and the results revealed ..................... absolutely no progression of the cancer.  The blood tests were also normal.  So all is well that ends well.  Oddly enough as soon as I got the news that my lousy symptoms were not due to the cancer, I started to feel better!

So now have to fit in more holidays.  I am writing this knowing that I should be packing to go to Portugal on Friday.  Not the sunny Algarve, but the rather cold North Eastern bit - Idanha Nova.  A group of us are going to compete in the 5 day Portugal Orienteering Meeting - well compete is not exactly what I do now as I go around at a snail's pace.  I have been two years ago and was very aware that I had to come back to another 6 months of chemotherapy at that time.  Gladly this year I can can enjoy my time there much more. I was on steroids the last time I went, was moon faced and as high as a kite.  To make matters worse my trusty Kindle broke and I had not taken any books.  I remember sitting up all night as I could not sleep and the only thing to read were old emails on my phone.  There wasn't even a Gideon Bible in the room!  This time I am going prepared.  Kindle, books and a 'tablet' with Kindle app.

Still enjoying the grandson-minding every other Friday.  Have become a seasoned minder since my last blog.  I never go to daughter's house without a pushchair and child seat in my car, not to mention enough equipment to start up my own baby shop, when I take him out.  We had a lovely outing to a children's farm near where Sarah lives a few weeks ago.  David was not with me, but Teresa a very kind and forbearing friend, stood in as Granny helper.  We decided to walk to the farm which should have taken about 35 minutes.  However great orienteers that we are, we somehow managed to go the wrong way and took a tortuous route through a country park.  An hour and a half later we arrived at said farm with a somewhat hungry baby.  I have failed miserably to stick to Ralph's routine whenever I look after him - he doesn't seem to notice too much that his lunches and naps are not at the scheduled times.  Once at the farm we seated ourselves in the cafe, fed a hungry baby and ourselves and realised that in order to get back before night-fall we had about 20 minutes in the farm.  The cafe housed an enormous soft play area complete with tunnels, slides, climbing bits and pieces and an illuminated dance floor once you worked your way to the middle of the system.  Teresa and I braved arthritic knees and aching backs to give young Ralph an exhilarating experience. (Not sure who was the most exhilarated though).  Once we reached the central dance floor, I was keen to show Teresa how young Ralphy could walk a few steps between us.  He achieved this beautifully twice and then lost his balance and fell backwards on to the hard floor.  Loud screams ensued and a very guilty grandmother decided we ought to work our way out of the soft play maze as quickly as possible.  Easier said than done, but eventually we got out alive and started getting ready to leave. By now of course it was dark and Sarah was due to return probably before we got home. I made it back just before she got in.  Still way out of schedule Ralph got his evening meal only an hour later than usual, but I don't think he will hold it against me.  So as you can see I am now really good at looking after the grandson although I don't think I will take child-minding up as a career.

Well I better start packing my long Johns and thermal underwear as well as, of course, the matching scarves, bling, shoes, and lots of electronic devices.

Till the next blog .....