Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Here's a quick update following on from my last post. The snow here in the South West meant that I didn't get the ultrasound scan on my legs done until Monday. The scan didn't show any sign of a blood clot which was good news but leaves us none the wiser as to what caused the rash on my ankle last week. The rash cleared up over the weekend anyway, perhaps it was the pint of real ale I had on Saturday that did the trick! I'm not supposed to be drinking during this treatment but given that my liver function is ok at present I'm treating myself to one alcoholic drink every four week cycle. Those pints of beer taste extremely good to me!
On Tuesday I had my twisted PICC line removed from my right arm and a new line inserted into my left. I'd had the PICC line since May last year and I was starting to get some skin irritation in the area covered by the dressing, my right arm will get a chance to recover now.
The procedure for inserting the PICC line is virtually painless, perhaps the most uncomfortable part was having to listen to a really cheesy 1960's music compilation which included Cliff Richard. I've found having chemotherapy through the PICC line much better than having it via a temporary cannula inserted into the back of my hand. Not only is the PICC line more convenient it also prevents the chemotherapy drugs from damaging the veins in the hands and arms which is something that can happen when chemo is administered via a cannula.
My tenth Trabectedin chemotherapy cycle begins tomorrow, blood count and bed availability permitting.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Happy New Year

I had what I expected to be a routine appointment with my oncologist today ahead of my next chemo cycle. I've had a rash on my right ankle for the last few days, the oncologist thinks there is a small chance that it could be an indicator of a blood clot so I've got to go back to the hospital tomorrow for an ultrasound scan. I also had a chest X-ray today that showed that my PICC line is a little twisted so they are going to have someone see if they can straighten it out tomorrow. There go our plans to go to the cinema tomorrow afternoon!  

The side effects from the last chemo cycle have been in line with my previous experiences though the fluid retention seems greater with each treatment. I've got an Excel spreadsheet where I track the changes in my weight that the fluid retention causes; the difference between my maximum and minimum weight during the last cycle was over 14lbs - that's a lot of fluid. The extra weight makes me snore so I've been taking Katie cups of tea in bed in the morning to try and keep on her good side!
I haven't taken any photos so far in 2013 though I'm hoping to put that right in the next few weeks. I did however have some small success with one of my pictures from 2011, it was chosen as one of nine 'highly commended' images in the 'Travel Icons' category of Audley Travel's 2012 photo competition. There were around a 1,000 entries in that category so I was pleased to get an image in the top ten. Here's the image, "Queen of the Jungle", which I took in Kanha National Park in India:

Finally, a quick update on my fund raising efforts for Cancer Research UK. Sales of my photo book together with donations have raised £2,248! Once again thanks to all those who so generously contributed - I really appreciate your support. 
If you have bought a copy of my book direct from Blurb (either an e-Book or a hard copy) then please note that I don't get visibility from Blurb as to who has made those purchases; it would be great if you could drop me an e-mail or otherwise let me know if you have purchased a book through that route so that I can pass on my thanks to you.