Thursday, 28 January 2010

denied. again.

I'll keep this short-ish, as we've been here before.

I went for chemo session 3. They took my blood. I was sent home. Not enough white blood cells.

Annoying, but not totally unsurprising as I'm feeling run-down at the moment - I have a coldsore, a few mouth ulcers and a background sick feeling.

But I've learnt a new word today - Neutrophenia ... I shall quote from my latest booklet

"Following chemotherapy there is a risk of infection from bacteria or fungus in foods. This is for two reasons: 1) The white blood cells (neutrophils) that would usually fight food poisoning bacteria are at a low level. This is referred to as neutropenia. 2) The gut lining acts as a barrier between bacteria and the bloodstream. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy damage the gut lining making it easier for any bacteria to cross this barrier.

During neutropenia, the following guidelines will help to reduce the risk of food poisoning whilst still allowing as varied a diet as possible. There is no single agreed definition of neutropenia or severe neutropenia; the levels quoted below are very widely used but if a doctor uses different levels patients should be guided by those. The type of advice to be followed is dependent on the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream: this is known as the neutrophil count."

Link to booklet

And there is then a few pages about what you can eat and what you shouldn't. Fairly basic stuff that can be boiled down to things like, don't eat raw eggs, don't eat cheese that you find in the back of a gym locker, don't defrost your chicken, stuff it with melted ice-cream, refreeze it for a few hours, then leave to defrost on your toilet seat before having for dinner. Also, don't suck on a cows teat, dont bite the heads off gerbils and wash your hands after playing with your own faeces. Or someone else's faeces.

Slightly hacked off that I had to go through another round of 'find the vein' and wait around, before being sent home - but on the plus side I do have another week off to play Modern Warfare 2, my latest 'alternative to real life' distraction.


Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The C-Plan Diet

Wanna lose weight fast?
Can't motivate yourself to go to the gym?
Want to eat whatever you want and still lose weight?

Now you can lose the weight you want, eat all the foods you love without all those boring gym sessions with my guaranteed C-Plan weight loss program.

That's right, simply contract Hodgkins Lymphoma and you too can sit on the sofa for 8 hours a day, stuffing your lazy-ass face with chocolate and melted cheese sandwiches, whilst the weight simply drops off.

Afternoon. I went to the gym today. For the first time since November. I don't actually know what the plan was, but it was to do 'something' in an attempt to feel some sort of sparkle running through my body. I miss those endorphins.

I used the time as a chance to catch up with my personal trainer, who helped me through my '08 London Marathon, got me into boxercise and is a great guy to talk about love, life and the universe with. I miss our little sessions together.

Before we met today, I weighed myself on the gym scales. I am normally around the 78 kilograms mark, which is about 12.3 stone (for the record, I am six foot, medium build). Today I was 74 kilograms, which is just over 11.5 stone. In a nutshell, I've lost nearly a stone by sitting on my sofa and eating junk food.

My Lymphoma Manual has a section on diet and suggests eating *when* you want (rather than at mealtimes), adding cheese to everything, choosing full-fat products, drinking lard smoothies and chewing bacon rind between meals ... in fact, The Manual suggests doing everything that our Beloved Nanny State Government suggest we don't. It's fundementally a diet that Jeremy Kyle viewers would die for. Literally.

The exercise session was pathetic. 5 mins on a cross-trainer, 10 mins walking up a 12 degree gradient, 15 mins on a bike. I was shattered.

Still, it was something.

Then something very nice happened. The manager of the gym cancelled my membership. Not in a 'I've told you about setting up streaming webcams in the girls showers before, now get the hell out of here!' kind of way, but in a 'just come in when you can mate, it's free from now on' kind of way. One more success story for The Cancer Card.

As I walked back from the gym I felt a bit tearful. The realisation that my body is so fucked that it's going to be a long time before I can pound out a 10k run at lunchtime, or take a slower 10 mile jog at the weekend hit home. I was also touched by the free gym that I now have access too, when my pathetic body will allow it. People are quite nice really, you just gotta get a life-threatening illness to see it.

In a related subject, the creators of my music software (FL Studio), Image Line, sent me their new virtual synth product completely free, as they know about my illness. That is a $80 product.

I think I'm going to make a list of things that I want and start playing The Cancer Card whereever I go. I wonder if I can get sponsorship. I should write to Nike. "Just Do It ... But Don't Worry If You're Not Up To It Mate, Just Do What You Can"

Thursday looms. Chemo session 3 beckons like a school headmaster at the end of the summer break. I guess I better pack my PE kit.

And so that will be all for today. But remember, if you work for a company that makes cool stuff, send me free shit before I die. It'll make you feel better about yourself.

Monday, 25 January 2010

"Side Effects" - mu-sick

Side Effects by DeleteAllContacts

OK, as promised ... here's the first draft of my jolly little tune about chemotherapy. It's still work in progress but I'm unlikely to get around to doing much more anytime soon.

Put on your headphones, turn it up and press 'play'


Friday, 22 January 2010

climbing out of holes

I've been back in the office since Tuesday. Christ, that first day was hard. I probably shouldn't have gone in. I didn't sleep well the night before (2:00am) as I was well and truly on the pity-pot, racked with self-pity and the 'poor me's'.

The day was a series of realisations of how detached I was from the reality of a working office, how difficult thinking about anything other than how shit I felt had become and how exhausted I could get just walking up stairs or to the shop to get lunch. I know how it feels to be that old, confused man who talks to pigeons in the park.

The week, however, has improved daily and as I write this on Friday at 17:00, I'm pleased to report that I'm 'good enough' to work and enjoy life. Of course, when I say 'enjoy life', I don't want to conjure up some Gillette Mach3 world of eternal happiness here. This is not the best a man can get, but it'll do.

And so it would appear that this is the way it shall be. One week 'off', one week 'on'. The 'off' week shall contain a couple of frustrating days trying to get back to be 'on', but I think I'll reside myself to the fact it takes a whole week to be 'good enough'. Too many quote marks ...

... but not enough bullet points. I like bullet points. I'd like a bullet gun to be honest, but that's another story.

  • I've had a haircut. And it's haircut that would ensure cries of 'HAIRCUUUT!' from pointing school children in the playground many years ago. As it stands, my now grown-up peers just stare into their laps after stealing a glance. It's a pretty damn short haircut to be fair, but as my hair was breaking off and leaving itself all around my bathroom, the time had come for it to go. Fuck it.

  • I had a blood test and a quick consultation with my consultant on Wednesday, who told me that I was 'good to go' for my next session. She didn't say 'good to go' actually. She's not American. I just paraphrased it for you. Now I wish I hadn't bothered. Anyway, I'm 'good to go'. You can imagine how happy I was with that news. Does my sarcasm travel via the medium of text blogging? I do hope so. But for the avoidance of doubt, I wasn't happy and I was being sarcastic. I was hoping for another extra week off before being hooked back up to the Drips from Satan's Ballsacks. Fuck it.

  • I mentioned to my consultant that just talking or writing about my chemo treatment - especially the Drips from Satan's Ballsacks - made me actually feel nauseous. I thought as first I was imagining it, but it's repeatable and continues to the point where I'm getting it RIGHT NOW. To stress the point, I just used capitals. Capital letters stress points, as any internet forum visitor will tell you. To my surprise, I was told this was quite common, especially by those that are having ABVD chemo. I used capitals then as those are letters of abbreviations and not to stress a point. I don't know how I would express ABVD if I wanted to do it forcefully. Anyway, I digress. There is a name for this 'nausea from memory' thingy, something like 'recall nausea' or something, but I didn't remember it because it at the time as I was starting to feel sick just talking about it. FUCK IT.

  • I've also discovered this week that there is such a thing as 'chemo brain'. If you don't believe me, go and look it up on Wikipedia. Do I have to do everything around here? I'm quite ill you know! Anyway, In a nutshell, about 30% of people who have chemo report having 'chemo brain'. Maybe the other 70% forgot to report it, as apparently it affects memory and your ability to 'do stuff' as quickly/sharply as you used to be able to do. You cannot multi-task and will get 'things' confused. The good news is, according to the reports I read, is that is goes after 4 years or so. Well, that's a relief, I thought for a moment it was going to drag on for a bit. I'm sure the 4 years will fly by, as I'm leaving my wallet in the fridge and wiping my arse with my toothbrush. Fuck it.

  • I've made a decision. I will have to fill the 'good weekends' with things to do that are fun and involve other human beings. I will have to stop my normal 'go home and see what happens' weekend plan. Because, nine times out of ten, guess what? ... nothing fucking happens ever. No one wants to play with the teetotal, drugfree kid, so I end up watching 8 hours of football straight and pacing around my room like a rabid dog in an airport quarantine. As I now have the luxery of having a whole week to go insane during my sick week, I need to make more of an effort on my 'good weekend' to do things that The Normal People do. I'm pleased to report that I've successfully played The Cancer Card on a few of my friends and I have a whole weekend of things to do. Which is good news, although this rather cheery final bullet point has left me with no way to end my paragraph with a self-depreciating or cynical comment. Hmmmm.

    Fuck it. 

Monday, 18 January 2010

cabin fever

Saturday 16th - lots of nausea, sick twice
Sunday 17th - aching, slept for most of day and night, sweats, no energy, mouth 'metallic' taste, nausea not as strong
Monday 18th - lethargy, general aching/pain, tingling in fingers/mouth, mild nausea

OK, well, that's the side-effects for all of you 'how are you feeling?' fans, but the overriding feelings that I have at the moment is one of uselessness at my current situation and one of hopelessness when I look to the near future. The thought of riding the chemo-coaster every two weeks, for the next 8 months, is playing on my mind heavy.

Time becomes distorted when I'm trapped home-alone. The nights are long and full of sweats and strange dreams, whilst the days are filled with box-sets and mind-rot TV. Whatever 'novelty' there was in this initially, has worn thin already. 

Self-pity is a useless and selfish emotion, but all the same, I've found myself wallowing at times. I'm missing little things, like running, going to the gym, jumping into the car and zooming off somewhere - day to day stuff that you take for granted until it's gone. My body yearns to go swimming and play tennis ... even though I haven't played tennis since I was 11 and I swim like a brick.

For an example of my own patheticness, today's 'to do' list was to a) wash-up and b) go to the local shops to get some milk and some tinned peaches. (for some reason I had a craving for tinned peaches). If I could achieve both of these things, then I felt that the day was not wasted. 

And 'Yes', I have managed to achieve both of these milestones, but each one was a gargantuan effort, requiring some solid sofa-recovery time each side. 

I try to counter the negative with positive. I realise I am lucky in many ways. My cancer is treatable and being treated, I live in area of the world with expert (and free!) care, I am not dying (well, that I know of), I have plenty of people around me, I am 'young' etc. There are a hundred reasons to be grateful.

I am particularly grateful that I have a supportive employer (and colleagues) that enable me to do some work from home - it could be a lot worse, I could be a self-employed taxi driver or a hod-carrier ... and realistically, that it shouldn't be long before I'm at least able to get into the office for a few hours a day to see some faces and life and feel like I'm contributing. It's just these sick-days are pretty long ... 

I am already dreaming of a holiday somewhere - some sun, some sea, some diving ... I realise that I have a minor mountain to climb before I make this happen, but it's a happy thought to cling to.

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Everything I said below was a lie.

I feel horrible.


chemo session 2

I find it hard to write a blog after chemo without feeling sick - odd thing, but whenever I think about 'those bags' that go into my arm, it brings on my nausea. So I've just eaten some toast and am trying to bang this one out. It won't be a very entertaining blog, I'm afraid.

The chemo session was looooooong. I arrived at 10am and didn't leave until 5:30pm. Crickey. As usual, finding a vein was a headache - four attempts in one arm, two in the other. I think we got through eleven needels (one batch was blunt!). I do not like needles at all and this was a pretty traumatic 30 minutes.

Once the vein was found and my tube was in, there was a lot of waiting. I had my PSP with me, so watched most of a movie. Pre-med didn't start until 1:00pm - I was given a lot of antihistamines to stop the shaking I had last time. Administration of the drugs was pretty quick, until that last dreaded bag which gives me so much "vein pain" as it goes in - they turn the drip-speed down and that's where the time went.

My dear ol' dad turned up, despite all the warnings I could give him, ridiculously early. So he sat there and ranted aimlessly for hours. He's not 'old'-old but he's managed to bugger-up one ear and should have a hearing aid, but he 'forgets' it, so half of what I say and what the nurses say is completely lost on him and he's always behind the flow of the conversation. I want to kill him after 30 mins.

The meds went in OK, but as we reached the end, that familiar feeling of nausea set it. Horrible, However, I have been given extra anti-sickness drugs as the nurses were fully aware of my problem with nausea.

I was sick once that night and again the next morning, but apart from that, I've felt 'fine'. The nausea comes in waves - it's always there in the background and then suddenly it ramps up ... and then fades. The less I think about it, the better (writing this blog is actually bloody horrible, as all I'm thinking about is how sick I feel).

But the good news is that apart from that, so far, no other side effects. I've slept well, possibly better than I have done for a while. I am not ghostly white, which is good. My ol' man, who has stayed at my flat since Thursday night, has described the difference as 'amazing'. And I guess it is.

So, I wonder why the difference - well, three things are in my favour. Before the my first session, I had not long had an operation with general anaesthetic, which does hang around in the body and make you feel pretty flaky. I had also had that horrible bone-marrow scrape and on top of the whirlwind of news, I remember I was looking and feeling pretty hellish before the treatment. Also, this time I've had three weeks of recovery time (which won't happen again, sadly) and was feeling strong before the treatment. Finally, perhaps my body has not had such a shock this time around. I have a history of being able to adapt to drugs fairly quickly, although normally the drugs I took didn't makes me feel like death for six days - well, maybe they did, but not before making me feel like a golden God for a night.

So, the last day and a half has been spent on the sofa watching films with my dad, with the volume on 95/100 whilst he still struggles to hear the dialog. I took my dad to the pub, sorted him out with somewhere to smoke and basically looked after him ... hang on a minute. What's wrong with this picture?

Today, Saturday, I've woken again to 'just nausea', so I've released my father of his parental responsibilities this morning, which I suspect he was relieved about, but not before we fed the ducks. The flat is my own my again. And exhale.

So, I'm home alone - wondering if this is the extent on the side-effects I'll get. I'll be lucky ... I'm fully expecting an attack on the immune system that will drain me, but so far, so good ... oh yes, I can't work out if I need a haircut or my hair has started to fall out ... it's breaking a lot in a shower and the bathroom seems to have a lot of hair hanging around. Might be time to have a chat with my hair dresser.

Right, i'm not writing anymore because it just makes me feel ill and 'the football' is on ... my day plan is to watch the two Premiership games on TV, plus Man Utd on the internet. Feel free to join me, call me, come over this weekend ... and thanks again for all the txts etc. Very kind.

Love you all.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

seedless gripes

The results are in!

In case you missed yesterday's blog - I took a trip to London to have my semen frozen, as chemotherapy will most likely make me infertile. Due to a bit of a 'timing' ballsup, I have already had one chemotherapy session prior to yesterday's 'sample taking'.

This morning I called the clinic to see what they found.

  • The 'good news' is that they did freeze the sample, as some moving sperm were found
  • *however* - the sample was (and I quote),  'a very, very poor' sample. I blamed the 'very, very poor' pornography on offer.
  • The average sample will contain 20 million sperm per millilitre. Of which over 50% will be healthy and moving ...
  • ... my somewhat pathetic attempt contained 4.6 million sperm per millilitre, of which only 32% were moving. Or, as I like to think of it, 68% were dead. Probably from hitting their little heads on the side of a plastic pot whilst travelling at about 32 mph. That would do it.
  • I have a lot of respect for the guy in the lab who counted all of these yesterday. Very keen eyes.

So what does this mean?

Well, I'm buggered if I know really ... I asked the very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very hyporthetical question that should I meet Ms Right tomorrow and we took a trip to my little frozen deposit box, what are the odds of us being able to spawn our demon child. He said that it would depend on her and that there were some advanced treatments where only one sperm was needed. I think, shrouded in the answer, was the implication of 'how much money are you prepared to throw at this thing?'. What do I get for a fiver, would be my answer if pushed for one.

He did invite me back for free annual checks-up - they can't freeze any more but would be able to tell me if my count was any higher. But it's safe to say that if that's the drop-off after one chemo dose, by the end of the 8 or so months that lay ahead, I'm going to be as fertile as an allotment plot in the Sahara.

So that's it. I currently have 1.472 million swimming sperm in a pot being held at minus 191 degrees celsius in a freezer near Euston, ready to save the human race after everyone wakes up infertile on the Day Of The Jaffa Triffids - huge stalking, penis-shaped plants, that make clicking sounds whilst sucking your balls dry with their laser eyes ...

... armed with only a pippette, a steady hand and some willing open-legged females, we shall then break into London UCH and repopulate the earth with my breed of deeply sarcatic and bitter offspring, all with very limited maths and DIY skills and a genetic disposition to addictions and cancer. What can go wrong?

More chemo tomorrow.


Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I've had more interest in this impending blog than anything else I've written, showing what a sick bunch of friends I have. No one cares about the technical details of my cancer, they just want to hear about me wanking into a jar.

To be honest, I'm tired. No, not because it took that long, but I've had quite a 'physical' day - lumping a load of goods for the office and trudging around on trains. I've just got in and I'm not feeling 'sharp', so this blog will be fairly short and to the point.

I went to the EGA building, a new part of the UCH ... I have no idea what EGA stands for, but it's a new, white, gleemingly bright building that reminded me of the kind of clinics you see on American television shows.

The department I went to was very quiet - thankfully I wasn't in a waiting room full of people waiting their turn - I only saw one other guy and very briefly.

I was taken into a consultation room and given a small mound of paperwork to do. The 'very nice man' then started to explain a few things to me. I'll bullet point what I can remember ...

  • There is a good chance my sperm may be affected by the bout of chemo I had (DNA damage)
  • If they have just one good 'swimmer', they will freeze it anyhow - as 'one' might be enough in the future, with the speed that this kind of technology changes
  • I can get my results of how 'good' my sample is, tomorrow AM
  • They will keep the sperm for 10 years (if it's worth keeping)
  • The sperm is kept at minus 191 degrees C. That is very cold.
  • If I was not on the NHS, it would cost £5,000 per YEAR to keep in storage (£50,000 for 10 years!)
  • I can have a free 'sperm test' after 6-12 months after chemo has finished to see if I'm producing any good stuff
I think that's about all I can remember. Finally, I was led into a room to do the deed.

I'm not going to get too graphic - Yes, there was some magazines - standard UK top shelf stuff. No video ... but to be honest, it wasn't a joyful experience. It's just about the last thing in the world that you feel like doing after all that talk - plus there is a certain sadness that you're HERE, doing THIS, because of THAT.

After handing over the pot to a bloke whose day job is looking under a microscope at this stuff all day, I left.

Job done. Back to work.

I'll phone up tomorrow for the results and post the results here.

Monday, 11 January 2010

a friend in need

I've got a favour to ask, but more on that in a moment.

First of all, I guess we need to discuss tomorrow. The trip to my "deposit box" in London.

For those that are out of the loop - let me explain.

Chemotherapy makes you infertile. As part of the process, I have been offered the opportunity to have some of my semen frozen and kept in a vault somewhere in London, until such a time it is needed.

Being infertile doesn't actually frighten me that much. For a start, I'm 37 and have had no real paternal feelings. Not since, er, ... well, "forever", if I'm being honest. Occasionally I feel like I should and I manage to convince myself that I do, but left alone to my own devices and thoughts, I don't think I've ever felt regretful of not having kids. Or if I do, I soon conclude that I'm far too emotionally unstable to be able to look after another human being. The responsibility of just bringing up a kid who doesn't talk with his mouth full scares me to hell, let alone standing by watching him end up in Feltham Young Offenders at the age of 11, having been crowned 'Lord of the Asbo's' by his many Asbo urchin crackden joyriding disciples.

So after spending a few minutes thinking about the many ways that a child born into Brown's Britain can go disastrously wrong, I turn on my Playstation 3 and decide that getting through Modern Warfare 2's 'Snow Sniping' level is all the challenge I need in my life right now, thanks all the same.

Yet, despite all this, somehow the bullying voices of the family, friends and nurses who say 'well, you might as well - you never know!' have ensured that tomorrow I'm going to place my mutant seed into a some plastic container to be frozen in some laboratory vault, awaiting the mythical day when my fairy tale princess shall take a trip to London with a bunser burner and a turkey baster, and fill her womb with my demon seed to make beautiful babies, just the way God intended.

Actually, the reality will be a little more difficult then that. Should some complete idiot woman decide that she wants my children, providing the authorities haven't captured her by then, then she shall need to go through a full IVF programe, which I shall have to pay for, apparently. I did hear you get 'one free spin' on the NHS, but after that, it's £5,000 a pop.

I cannot comprehend any situation where I would be willing to loan my unborn baby five thousand pound. How much pocket money is that? It's never going to get a decent start in life, if it's already owes me five grand. And then there's interest to discuss. Seriously, it's a bad deal for everyone all around really. Best leave it there.

Anyway, back to tomorrow. I'm quite looking forward to my 'videos and magazines' designed to aid me in my quest to fill my pot. I have three fears a) not being to finish the job b) missing the pot c) overfilling the pot (this is probably wishful thinking, but it has been a while).

Either way, I can pretty much guarantee you that no matter what 'visual aids' they lay on for me, I shall be poking my head around the door, pants around ankles, shouting 'for the love of God, this isn't pornography! Get me a laptop and an open firewall and I'll show you pornography!'. Some 1970's NHS-endorsed jazz-mag just isn't going to work for this sick puppy, folks. If this were Amsterdam, they'd provide two hookers, some lube, a horse, drill peep-holes in the door and charge people to watch. With the pay-per-view fee and the video sell-through profits, it's a solution to NHS funding issues that someone in power needs to seriously consider.

All joking aside, I imagine tomorrow is going to be a weird day. But I know I can count on my good friends for support, as usual. It's quite incredible how many people call and ask if I'm OK now.

A lot of people, mostly women it seems, say to me 'if there's anything I can do, just let me know'. I think it's the maternal instinct that's built into them. That maternal streak that come through in times of needs and brings out a willingness to cook, to clean, to fuss over, to tend to and mother.

I never really know what to say when I'm asked 'is there anything I can do?'. I've never been very good at accepting this kind of help, not wanting to see myself as a charity case, or not feeling quite 'pathetic' enough to warrant accepting having others do things for me. I've always been quite self-sufficient really. My own flat, living by myself, cooking and cleaning for myself. So I find asking for help difficult.

So, with that in mind, it takes some courage for me to come on here and publicly ask for help. But, to all those women who kindly did offer, then "yes", actually, there is something that perhaps you could do for me.

I'm almost ashamed to ask, but this trip to London tomorrow, girls ...

I don't suppose any of you fancy coming along and lending a hand, do you?

Thursday, 7 January 2010


I'm back in the office, chemoless.

I arrived and after 4 attempts to hit a vein by a nurse that ended up more nervous that I was, I finally managed to give some blood for testing. This is a normal procedure before any chemo is given. The blood has to be rushed 'upstairs' for checking - mostly looking for a white blood cell count.

I'm no doctor, but it's my understanding that chemo affects your ability to make white blood cells ... and whilst this does return in due course, it can be slow. I was told that my white blood cell count was too low to be taking the treatment today. If I had another dose of chemo, I would have had no real way to fight back. So it's been delayed for a week.

Apparently, if I return next week and it's the same, they will give me some bone marrow injections. I have no idea what that entails, but those three words 'bone','marrow' and 'injection' sound 'very','fucking' and 'scary'. Fingers crossed for some bountiful white cell generation in the next 7 days.

Speaking of making the white stuff, I do have an appointment at The Wank Bank on Tuesday at the UCH in Euston. I'm very excited about this for lots of reasons - all of them sick and twisted. More news on that soon.

So, I'm back in the office - with some very stern warnings from my key nurses about looking after myself. A low white cell blood counts means my ability to fight against infections is now about as effective as the French Navy. I have been warned, twice, very sternly, that if my temperature rises about 38 degrees again, then I must go to A&E, so they can fill me up with antibiotics. I also have to stay away from people with colds, coughs and such like. Which is about 85% of the population at the moment. That's OK, I like staying away from people. It's good to have a reason at last.

Well, there it is then. All in all, it's quite nice to have another week of feeling 'OK', although, of course, there's always that feeling that it would be nicer to get the things out the way.

I'm never happy.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The walk of the condemed man

Right-ho ...

The eve before Chemo session 2.

It does seem strange that I've got to go somewhere tomorrow that I will know is going to make me feel one hundred times worse than I do now ... but, then again, I've had to take a girlfriend to see Cats before, so it won't be the first time I've felt this sense of dread.

I'll get a train into work tomorrow and get a lift from someone to the hospital. My step-dad was intending to come up from Surrey, pick me up at the hospital and come and keep me company through the puking days, but it's looking unlikely as the roads are very dangerous right now. I turned on the BBC News today and it flashed up "BREAKING NEWS: SNOW HAS FUCKED EVERYTHING. KILL YOUR FAMILY AND YOURSELF. ALL IS LOST". We don't handle snow too well in these parts.

Speaking of the jolly BBC, I saw a semi-interesting report today about the (potential lack of) long-term aftercare for cancer 'survivors' (god, I hate that term with a passion - we may as well start referring to ourselves as 'tickley cough survivor'. I myself am a 'athletes foot survivor').

Although I tend to take these scare reports with the bucketful of salt they deserve, I will make a point of asking my consultant about these long term effects. The woman in the video (see link below, first embedded video) had 'non'-Hodkins Lymphoma and although in the clear for some time, she still has many long term effects. She still has persistent mouth ulcers, which is a worry - I have them already after one session - I'm not sure I want them all my life.

Perhaps more worryingly, she also has very bad memory loss, claiming she has to write things down on Post-It notes to get anything done. However, the good news is that by taking a look at her, we can be assured that she hasn't forgotten where the fridge is yet. You take hope where you can find it.

My last few days of feeling 'OK' have been spent knuckling down to some hardcore Sony gaming ... I spent yet more money that I was saving for this rainy day on a new PSP Go, which means I can 'game' and watch movies whilst hanging around hospitals, trying to avoid eyecontact with the old people with bags of blood strapped to them.  I also got myself some older PS3 games in the sale - am currently enthralled in Fallout 3, a post-apocalyptic role playing game, where you trudge around a toxic wasteland, avoiding/killing local mutants whilst trying to complete quests ... think Christmas Shopping in Luton, but with the joy of being able to use a frag granade on the shopping-mall mutant scum.

I'm pretty grateful for my gaming toys, as I cannot watch TV for too long - I need to 'do' something. Interact. So it's gaming or sit around and wank all day - and since my sex drive has gone through the floor since the ol' every-growing spleen took over my body, the only other recreational pastime of all teenagers apart from wanking - gaming - has hit the number one spot again. Don't worry porn, i'll be back. Just you wait and see.

Oh, yes, I do realise that in the tradional sense I am no longer a teenger and should have evolved beyond these trivial matters by now, but as anyone who has dated me can testify to, I am emotionally stunted somewhere around 14. Hence, gaming and porn. So much easier than real life.

Another hobby of mine is creating electronic music. The kind of noise I should have stopped listening to when I was 20 (see above). I've started writing a 'cancer themed' tune (I'll leave you to ponder what on earth that might entail) ... it's sounding pretty Nine Inch Nails already and I'm chuffed but it's going to have to go on the backburner for a week or so. I'll post the MP3 up here when it's done. Maybe Macmillian will use if for their new ad campaign - lots of bald headed kids rockin' out to some underground beats. It could improve the whole 'negative vibe' this cancer thing seem to have hanging over it. It needs a makeover to be honest.

Right - that's me for now ... I'll probably post something in the next day or so, but to be honest I can tell you what it's going to say now

a) felt sick
b) was sick
c) slept badly
d) sweated a lot
e) got fucked off generally

Until next time, you sick, sick rubberneckers, you ...


I've just remembered my nan reads this blog.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Hodgkin lymphoma

Found a link on the Macmillian site that might be useful if you want to know more about the type of Lymphoma I have.

Link Here


Welcome to another decade then. 2010. A very futuristic sounding year. But, where are the flying cars we were promised? Rubbish.

Needless to say it was a very quiet one for me. Home alone with a few DVD's for company. I watched the fireworks on the telly – just so I could laugh at the idiots who stood in the cold for five hours to watch six minutes of entertainment. Next year guys, stay at home, take some mushrooms and enjoy the vastly more impressive firework display on your insides of your eyelids.

Right, I've some moaning to do.

I think I left you on a 'good day', which was perhaps obviously, followed by a bad night. My body has taken its new itching phase to a new level and it was driving me bananas. I called my hospital Key Worker yesterday who said unless there was a rash, it wasn't anything to worry about, apart from the discomfort. That's easy for you to say, I said, I've got through three cheese graters already today.

Yesterday, a friend bought me round some antihistamines which seem to be helping and these now sit amongst the plethora of pharmaceuticals piled up on the floor in living room, like a strange collection of Christmas presents given by parents with Munchausen syndrome.

The nights continue to be a big challenge. I never sleep for more than an hour. I wake in various states. Hot. Cold. Sweating. Shaking. Need drugs. Need toilet. Need water. The dreams are just one big continuous trippy dialogue of commentary about my sleep and by the time I wake up – I'm exhausted.

I got a rather nice half-price ("was £110!") double electric blanket yesterday from Argos. My mate gave me a lift to pick it up. It's very good, as it helps keep the bed warm and dry from all my sweating, which makes the nights better. It's now airing my bed and mattress for me, so hopefully it won't collapse into a pile of damp rotting sponge in the coming months.

Overall, the days are better, although time is sliding past too quick. It's already 14:00 and I'm still here, in my 'lounge wear' having achieved a quick tidy up and a shower today. Thankfully, inbetween the snoozing I've been kept sane by a few things in the last 48 hours
  • Das Boot – DVD - finally got around the seeing the 3.5 hour WWII submarine epic last night. Watched with subtitles as it was originally made. Great.
  • Breaking Bad – DVD – series 1 of a US 'boxset'. Dark comedy drama about a chemistry teacher with Lung Cancer who decides to make crystal meth to make money. Funny, dark and bound to be a cult success. By the way, this was my dad's recommend. Cancer and speed. It's nice to know you're thinking about me.
  • Worms – PS3 Game – the old classic PC game, available for £6.29 on PSN. Brilliant. Doesn't require ninja reactions and isn't too hectic.
  • Hustle Kings – PS3 Game – another cheap PSN download. Great game (if you like Pool). Again, chilled. No computer controlled characters shouting at you to 'get down!', whilst bombs fly overhead. Peaceful.
  • 'My Shit Life So Far' – Frankie Boyle's book – easy to read and a hate filled insult every paragraph. Excellent.
There you go then. Not a huge amount to report. As usual I'm grateful to all those that have been around, called, txt'ed or emailed. I guess the next challenge will be 'work'. I'm hoping to get a good few hours in each day from the 4th to the 7th. We shall see.

Oh yeah, happy new year then guys ... I don't think I'll be writing again until I go back to work, as I can't see things changing very much now, so until then ... enjoy yourselves.