Sunday, 1 June 2008

In The Meantime

Life in what passes for my mind has returned to normal and most of the time I don't even think of what is happening or what is to come. There is so much 'nothing' to get on with.

For the most part it's been quite a quiet week and CJ and I just pottered around like an old married couple doing the shopping and take photographs, going for coffee and the crossword and take photographs, deciding to go for a car ride and take photographs or a walk to take photographs. In fact we take a lot of photographs. I did a some gardening and outside work and lots of cooking (so that's what it's like being a housewife) but not, I have to say, much housework. We had friends for dinner on last Sunday and Monday (Sue Marshall stayed) and callers who 'just happened to be passing' (as if you can just pass this house - well actually you can if you are walking down to the shore). We spent hours on the computers sorting photos, writing blogs and I've started sorting and scanning in my old photos. I shall have to live to 100 just to do that! Actually it was a very busy week - we just didn't do very much - if you see what I mean.

Faith Restored

I decided last Thursday afternoon to email Mr Hollins and tell him that Mr Bramwell had referred me and that he wouldn't be getting the letter for a while. Within hours he'd emailed the radiologist and oncologist and sorted everything. On Friday afternoon I got an email from the oncologist saying that if I hadn't heard with a scan appointment by Tuesday I was to get in touch with him directly. It's restored my faith. Well in the NHS anyway!

I'll probably have my appointment before Mr Hollins knows officially that I've been referred to him.

Friday, 30 May 2008

For Want of a Nail

I started off the last posting by saying that my praise for the NHS continues. What a shame that I can't say the same 8 days later.

I rang Mr Bramwell's secretary in Raigmore yesterday afternoon to ask for a copy of the letter to Mr Hollins as promised by Mr Bramwell so that I could see my GP with it. Apparantly letters from the Western Isles Clinic are typed in the Western Isles to expedite matters. To quote one of my favourite lines from a film "Big mistake!". The letters from that clinic haven't been typed yet because there's been no one to type them.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A Friendly Face

My praise for the NHS continues: it took half a day on Monday for the NHS to arrange for me to visit the Urology Clinic which I did this afternoon. I saw Mr Bramwell (who visits once every blue moon - how lucky was I?), who was Mr Hollins' fellow Consultant in Raigmore when I had my op in 1998 and who is still there as the senior consultant. It was very re-assuring to be greeted by someone who was not only a friendly face but who remembered me - I have seen him since 1998 I should add.

After an introduction to Mr Sharath a Consultant at the Hospital and a specialist nurse we had a long chat (and a brief examination which I shall gloss over) the upshot of which is that he thinks I should continue all my treatment and scans etc through Mr Hollins and his team. He is writing to Mr Hollins and copying it to me so that I can 'persuade' my GP that this is what is going to happen. 'Cos it is! Mr Hollins is in Ayr which in itself is not so easy to get to but everything else is done in Glasgow which is much more visitor friendly for me because of the people I know there and the fact that Gaz's flat is there if I need accommodation. Inverness may be nearer but I have no real friends or contacts there any more so a stay for treatment would be a very lonely couple of weeks.

The Start of a New Blog

This is an unashamed, self-indulgent Blog. I say that by way of explanation and without apology.

When I wrote the words that are the first posting on this Blog it didn't occur to me that they might be regarded as gloomy and negative. In fact, despite the fact that it was 'one of those days' I thought that I felt upbeat and positive and that the posting had been quite funny in a peculiar sort of way. It was only when Marcel pointed out that he had taken it to be all doom and gloom that I realised that either my subconscious had ruled my conscious brain when I had penned the words or, alternatively, I had completely misjudged my use of words.

I'm still not sure which scenario is accurate and I still think that the posting was a positive portrayal of a pretty negative and shitty day.

Anyway (I used to use that word a great deal in letters. I wonder if I still do in emails.) the comments did make me think - an achievement in themselves! I wondered if I was still as positive about my cancer as I have always been. When I was first diagnosed in September 1998 it never even crossed my mind that I was about to die. After the operation I recall standing at the window of the ward in Raigmore Hospital looking south along the A9 and wondering if the pain was worth it. I'd had no pain or discomfort before the operation. Of course it was and nearly 10 years down the line I've had all this extra life that, sans intervention, I would not have had. During those ten years it has never (well, as the Captain of HMS Pinnafore would say, 'hardly ever') occurred to me that my life was in any immediate form of danger from the cancer. That was even with the knowledge from the day I was discharged from Raigmore that the cancer had not been completely caught and the treatment that I have had since then.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no incompatibility between positive thought and the realisation that something could happen. To think otherwise is to adopt the ostrich approach and deny reality. The comment has been made to me that we could all pop off this mortal coil at any time at a moment's notice. Correct. Every time we fly the plane could crash. Every time we sail the boat could sink. Every time we drive a car, cross a road....... However the difference is that we don't dwell on those possibilities and they have a remoteness which is impersonal. Cancer is not. It is very personal when it's you that it's growing in.

When Andrew was being treated for cancer he wrote a blog. Some of the entries are heart-wrenching. Yet Andrew was one of the most positive of victims. He had so much to live for.

I've had a very good innings so far and whist I don't expect to make it into the 90s as the great majority of my family has done I don't expect to be missing the next croquet season! After all my life now is as happy and contented as it has ever been: perhaps more so.

So with that in mind I shall write the occasional posting in this blog to remind me about 'things'.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A Rather Peculiar Sort of Day

Today has been rather an odd sort of day. I thought that I'd share some of it with you. I'm not sure why but I think that if one believes that a trouble shared is a trouble halved then a trouble publicised to the world become pretty minute and insignificant. Least ways that's my 'reason' for penning this.

Yesterday I called in to the Surgery and picked up my PSA results. "They're quite normal" opined the receptionist "Less than 4.5". That's quite an accurate statement for the normal person but I've never claimed to be normal in any way and, in respect of PSA (Prostate Specific Antigens) having had cancer and my prostate removed, the reading should be zero. Modern (and by that I mean in the last year or so) thinking is that if the PSA count doubles in six months then that is considered serious enough to take action (in the form of radio or chemo or hormone therapy). My reading has gone from 1.4 to 4 in 3 months. The Consultant this morning decided that action was required. Exactly what will depend on the results of the MRI scan and tests and so on.

I also had the letter from the hospital with my appointment with the Orthopaedic Surgeon to see what's to be done about my dickie knee.

And I've had severe toothache since the visit to the dentist yesterday.

And Muriel at The Shrub Stall didn't have the hebes that I want for the garden.

And the weather vane I bought yesterday won't give the wind direction which is a fairly fundamental flaw.

So on the way home from The Shrub Stall I called at the garden centre to change the weather vane. This turned out to be a very expensive mistake. I'm not sure why but I decided to reverse into a small but perfectly formed blue VW Polo. Somehow my eyes saw it but my mind ignored my eyes. What then happened was quite remarkable.

I returned to the garden centre and asked those within earshot if anyone owned a blue Polo. A young lady with her boyfriend apologised embarrassingly profusely and said that she'd move it. Given that it was parked at the pavement in a place where it could not possibly have obstructed anyone this demonstrated considerable consideration (apologies for the alliteration) for her fellow humans. I eventually convinced her that I didn't want her to move but just to tell her that her car had a new, small but equally perfectly formed dent in the wing which had been caused by me - or rather by me bumping 1.5 tonnes of assorted metals and plastics etc into it.

What then transpired rather surprised me. Instead of being angry she and her boyfriend were full of gratitude. That someone should have stopped and actually admitted they had done such a thing was almost beyond their belief. The theme continued this evening when they apologised over and over for the fact that this was going to cost me £150.75 after they had received quotes. They gave me the telephone numbers and asked me to speak to the garages.

So I'll send her a cheque tomorrow with my apologies for causing her the inconvenience of having to get her car repaired. After all, in the scheme of things, that which is a huge matter to a young lady with what must be her first beautifully kept wee car is of absolutely no consequence to someone who has just been told that 'it's only a matter of time.... let's hope that there's a lot of it!'

As Andrew said "It's a funny old world Dad."

All in all I've had better days.

And it had better not interfere with my croquet!