Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Hello to the London Olympics

I'm really looking forward to the Olympics. They officially open on Friday but have already got off to a good start with GB's women's football team beating New Zealand this afternoon. I don't really have much in the way of Olympic themed photographs but here's a recent shot of the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle complete with Olympic rings...

Hopefully the first British gold will come on Saturday with Mark Cavendish and friends in the men's cycling road race.

I was due to have my latest chemotherapy treatment on Monday of this week, however my white blood cell count was too low so the treatment has now been postponed until Monday 30th. If you've been following this blog you will know that this was not unexpected. I was due to have a scan next week but this has been moved back a week as the oncologist wants me to complete four cycles of treatment before he assesses whether or not the drug is working. I should get the results of that scan on Thursday 10th August. 

Whilst I hope very much that the Trabectedin is having a positive impact on my tumours I've been researching alternative treatment options just in case. It's important to have a list of options to discuss with the oncologist and the old maxim of "hope for the best but prepare for the worst" is certainly one that seems appropriate in this situation.

Monday, 16 July 2012


Katie and I spent a few days in north Devon last week. We stayed in a cottage in a small village just south of Exmoor. A combination of poor weather and chemotherapy related fatigue meant that we didn't get out and about as much as we'd have liked but it was still an enjoyable trip.

The moor itself doesn't appeal too much to me but the coastal scenery is stunning as are the river valleys and coastal forests of the area. The trees in the forests are festooned in moss and lichen with lots of ferns and bracken covering the woodland floor; they remind me of the temperate rain forests I've seen in some other parts of the world, notably British Columbia.

Katie and I last visited Exmoor in 2009. At that time we were in training for the gorilla trekking trip we made to Uganda in the September of that year. We were spending as much time as we could walking in order to build our stamina and Exmoor provided some great terrain to practice in. This time around I found myself struggling to walk more than a short distance; the last round of chemotherapy took more of a toll on me physically than I initially realised. As the week went on I did make a recovery and on our last day we were able to take advantage of some rare sunshine to walk through some of the most beautiful English coastal scenery, the photo below is typical of the view:

I'm due to have my next treatment on Monday though that assumes that my white blood cell count will have recovered sufficiently, something that remains doubtful given the experience from the previous two chemotherapy cycles.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Latest round of treatment completed

After two failed attempts to have my latest round of treatment last week my white blood cell count finally crossed the line yesterday and I was able to proceed with the Trabectedin.

All went well with the infusion. As usual the large dose of pre-med steroids gave me a completely sleepless night yesterday so I am little tired tonight. That's the third cycle of treatment completed, I'm going to have a scan after the fourth. Given that I've had to delay this and the previous treatment both by a week I wouldn't be surprised if that happens again next time, in which case I will get the scan results in five or six weeks from now.

Katie and I don't usually have much luck seeing owls, but this year we've had two great sightings so far, a fantastic view of a barn owl during our trip to Norfolk in February (guess who had their camera in the boot of the car at the time) and one of a very obliging Little Owl during our trip to Rutland Water a couple of weeks ago. Yet again the camera was in the boot but the owl waited while we drove out of sight so I could get out of the car and retrieve the camera without spooking it.