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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Slowing Down

After the last couple of weeks of being non stop I feel a need to start slowing down and resting more. I want to do things that I enjoy like running or cycling but at the moment it’s out of the question as I am becoming more exhausted, but this means it’s also a little depressing. I am gutted that I can’t just go for a run like I used to, and seeing peoples status updates on Facebook about them going for a run or taking part in a 10k/half marathon just hits home that I would struggle at the moment to even run a 5K. So when I saw a status update from a friend about wanting to get started on doing some fitness I jumped at the chance to offer some help. I contacted Leanne Whitehead on the back of a (probably off the cuff comment) about getting fit. She had her third child about 3 months ago, I offered to send her a training plan. I set up DC Fitness Planning on Facebook late last year, but due to the circumstances had not really done anything, but as I don’t have the energy to do it myself, I found that doing Leanne’s plan motivated me in some way. Leanne also agreed to have a think about taking part in the Preston 5K in September, so I hope she uses the plan and builds her fitness to take on the 5K challenge. On the back of this I did a second training plan for Lisa McLoughlin, she had been asking for a training plan for a few weeks, but I kept putting it off for one reason or another. I eventually sorted a half marathon training plan for Lisa. I sent them both off to the respective “clients”. Not being motivated myself to run due to having no energy, I suppose I can put my knowledge of running and training plans to some good use in my downtime and help others keep fit and take on challenges themselves, so if anyone wants a training plan doing for them, contact me and I will help out.

On Saturday mornin I received a parcel from my tein sister, Janette, with some Nakd bars, these are gluten free fruit bars and are delicious, I ate them quite a bit, so getting them in the post made my morning, one was eaten oretty quickly, the other I will save for my lunch at work.  I spent most of Saturday afternoon doing the plans while the boys watched “Batman Forever”. When Leonie got home from work, we planned to have a family picnic in the living room and all get in our pyjamas to watch Britain’s got Talent. I went to get some pizzas and we sat on some blankets and enjoyed a bit of family time while eating pizza – it was a good evening. Once the boys were in bed, Louise text to see how we were doing, a few more texts and half an hour later she had come over and we all sat in our PJ’s watching the most ridiculous Eurovision Song Contest where a bearded lady from Austria won the competition; the world is a strange place. We had a few drinks and laughed … a lot!

After probably a few too many we went to bed. Leonie was working Sunday as well, so when we got up Leonie had to leave so we did some jigsaws with Louise before she left, then it was another daddy day. We read comics and played a bit of football, played outside (although it was quite windy) and watched the fast cars (Formula 1) and then I let the boys watch another Batman (Batman and Robin this time – I think this is possibly the worst Batman by far – need I say anything other than Mr Freeze?).

Hopefully we can get an early night, so I can catch up on my sleep, I am getting more than the recommended 7 hours a night, but it just isn’t enough at the moment. This week I will finish with the Chemo medication and then it will be a break from all medication until the operation, In one way I can’t wait to have a day where I don’t take tablets, but at the same time, it just means the surgery is just round the corner, and that I can wait for, but for now it also means I am almost a third of the way through the treatment. It’s a slow process but I am heading in the right direction and I have a scan a week on Monday which will let us know how effective the Chemo treatment has been so far. I am hoping for good news following the scan, but will have to wait and see.  

Tiring Week

I was due to go back to work on Tuesday, but Oscar was being looked after by my mum so I dropped him off around half 9, on my way to dropping off Sidney at Nursery before going into work for 10am. At work it’s getting difficult as we are under staffed at the moment and just waiting for the new starters to join the team, which means it will be a difficult couple of weeks until they arrive. Both the guys, Mike and Matt, have been absolute stars recently with taking on all the work without complaints and also covering me as well, they have been awesome. As soon as I got home from work I managed a couple of rows of bricks on the new BBQ before getting the boys ready for bed. In the evening we watched a bit of Breaking Bad (my new favourite TV show) before having an early night after the busy weekend.

It’s getting harder to get up in the mornings, and I feel tired for most of the day. I have been going into work late and Karyn has been really supportive through the whole process. This time around I have been so tired, the Chemo must be doing its job and my body is fighting back I suppose. And all this extra work my body is doing is now starting to take its toll.  On top of this I have felt more sick throughout the 21 days of Chemo, I haven't been sick but it's just an uneasy stomach, I have taken a lot more anti sickness tablets this time around. 

Wednesday I went back to work as normal (albeit late again due to having a lie in – I just can’t seem to get enough sleep). Laura came over for a brew after work and to say hi, Zoe couldn’t make it this week as she was preparing for her birthday gigs at the Ferret, we were planning to go to Friday’s gig, Richard Lomax, Jackpot Golden Boys and The Rook and The Raven’s. We had a chat with Laura and again just simply climbed into bed to sleep after another arduous day – it wouldn’t be so hard, in fact it would just be another normal day, but at the moment it’s arduous. Sometimes I sleep really well, but tonight was a night that I didn’t sleep too well, I think it was after 2am that I finally fell to sleep.

This week I have been messaging Emma Grandison quite a bit, and it’s good to speak to someone in a similar position. As she puts it, "as much as partners are amazing support, there’s always going to be that 5% they won’t get”. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s good to talk to someone who can have a better understanding of what’s going on. This works both ways as well, as there are times I know of where I don’t understand Leonie. Unfortunately as Emma and I keep telling each other to slow down, we both lead pretty busy lives and we haven’t had chance to meet up for a good chat and a brew outside of the hospital.

Thursday and Friday were busy at work as one of the two in the team was on holiday, meaning that left a lot of work to do. I had a few interviews to do as well, putting more pressure on Matt, so we called on an old team member to help out, but it’s now getting a little critical. Matt was again fantastic, and Rob’s help was appreciated. Thursday, Karyn sent me home early as I was looking knackered and almost falling asleep, the evening was again an early night, but again a little restless.

On Friday night we went out for Zoe’s birthday and saw a few familiar faces at the Ferret. I really like Richard Lomax, he is a singer songwriter (been in bands previously, but I think he is just as awesome solo). His music is kind of whimsical folk but with very observational lyrics, he is pretty funny with his lyrics and can hold an audience easily. Second up was Jackpot Golden Boys who are on the verge of jetting off for an American Tour supporting Nice Peter. And last on were The Rook and the Ravens, as I was getting tired (again) we only stayed for a couple of songs from the headliners before getting back to bed. While we were at the Ferret though we chatted with a few people and it had been a while since we had seen some so it was good to catch up with the likes of Billy and Lauren – I even agreed to start a band with Lauren, we would be called “Dixi and the Clap”, we would share vocals, I would clap and Lauren would play the triangle, I don’t think it’s been done before so we could be onto something here … watch this space for us topping the charts soon!!

Bank Holiday Fun

As usual Saturday was a Daddy Day as Leonie was working. We always have fun and I really appreciate my time with the two boys, as Oscar always says, we are the three best mates. After getting the boys dressed and painting Oscar with Calamine lotion for his Chicken Pox, we watched Spiderman as the boys love their superheroes (I really don’t know where they get it from!) In the afternoon I got some things together for the boys as they were due to stay at Granny and Granddads while me and Leonie went out. Generally it was a lazy day as I am permanently tired. We went to pick up Leonie from work then drove over to Fulwood to Leonie’s parents. When we arrived I was lucky enough to watch Everton v Man City (it was a good match but unfortunately Everton lost, basically handing the title to Man City and making it almost impossible for Liverpool to win the league). After having some tea and getting the boys ready for bed, Leonie and I drove over to Poulton for the night. It was Louise’s birthday night out. As it turned out I was the only man to go, so I had seven women, although they said I was the token gay guy!!

We had a few drinks and laughs before going out into Poulton for more drinks. We went to two places and jumped between the two all night, Vibe and the Cube. It was a good night out; I told Louise that I had left the cancer “at home” for the evening. It was so relaxed and good to be normal. It was my first full night out this year and since finding out about my cancer. We danced and drank; I was even dancing on the tables at one point. As the evening continued I could feel myself getting more tired and about 2am I had to call it a night. Leonie and I walked the 10 minutes back to Louise’s house where we were all staying, and we were privileged to have her bed, while everybody else (including Louise) were on air beds in the living room. I went straight to sleep and didn’t here them bring the party back, but in the morning they said that they were up drinking until very late. Louise made a breakfast sandwich for everyone and I had the gluten free version, toast, bacon mushrooms and egg, it was needed!

Having a night out with friends and having a few drinks was a real release, we don’t go out that often, but this has been sidelined since finding out, and to be honest I don’t have the energy to go out drinking and dancing every week, so to get out and enjoys ourselves was in someway exciting, and Leonie enjoyed going out to! I think a night out was needed for both of us, and we took full advantage of getting out too.

We made our way back to Leonie’s parents to pick up the boys and then made our way back home. In the afternoon due to further tiredness we all sat on the sofa under a blanket and watched the next Spiderman, it was a good day to relax with cuddles from the boys. I enjoy going out with Leonie for a night out, but I miss my two best mates and it’s always good to get back home.  During the afternoon, my sister, Sheila, and her family popped over .  She had baked a gluten free chocolate cake and brought some over for me.  While she was here I told her about my symptoms and one of them is a runny nose, it turns out that I could also have rhinitis!

In the evening we had planned to have another night out, this time we had arranged to go to the cinema to watch Captain America: Winter Soldier with Laura and Lee. I say the boys like superheroes but I do too. We all enjoyed the film; I thought it was better than the first Cap offering (although I did like the Red Skull in the first one). Having a more sedate evening than the previous night was needed, I wouldn’t be able to do that too often, but it was bank holiday.

Monday brought some good weather so I took the opportunity to continue with building the BBQ, and we spent the day in the garden. As Laura was working, Lee came over and we had lunch together and then he played with the boys, Sidney calls him a “big lad”, but he is well over six foot so I imagine to Sid that Lee is a giant. I didn’t get much done as I am a bit of a slow brick layer, but small steps and all that. Having a couple of family days together is pretty rare so we spent time playing with the boys more than anything, and they were running around all day. Overall the weekend was fun packed and quite exhausting, but we all enjoyed spending the time together. But now it’s back to work and nursery and Oscar has the week off school due to his Chicken Pox, although he has pox, you wouldn’t know he was ill and he isn’t fazed by it, but then again kids are pretty resilient creatures.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Tiredness

The past week has just been pretty straight forward but the biggest problem I have had is managing my tiredness.  I certainly don't have the same amount of energy levels that I used to have.  On Monday I tried to have my morning coffee to wake me up, but it wasn't agreeing with me so I didn't finish it, that was to be my last caffine for a couple of days.  The metallic taste had reached a new level, but I had now found a drink that would help, mango juice.  I can now drink cartons of mango quite easily and would buy them on my lunch to get rid of the taste I had.

Over the weekend I had gotten a bit "bunged up" but on Monday and Tuesday this wasn't the case, in fact it was quite the opposite.  I keep taking my temperature and it sits right in the middle of the where it should be, so nothing wrong there.  In the evenings I have been going to bed quite early, between 9-9.30 and I have been sleeping right through, but the mornings have been slow, its been hard to get going straight away.

On Tuesday I went to work as normal but had a meeting off site in the afternoon, so went out.  Lunch was to be provided, but being a coeliac thought it best if I ate my own before going, as it turned out there was food I could eat, so I had two lunches.  This was a bit of a turn around from the loss of appetite I had had the previous couple of days.  The meeting went well and gave me idea of the next couple of months ahead for the team.  On Tuesday evening our friends Zoe and Laura came over for their weekly visit and Zoe brought her sponsorship money she had raised at her work, over £100, and the money is still coming in for the Walk in the Dark.  I went to bed early again and Leonie recieved a call from Karyn, my next door neighbour at work had come down with suspected scarlett fever.

On Wednesday morning I called oncology and asked for some advice, they told me to rest and "keep away" if possible,  I called in to work and took the day off, mainly so I could sleep, as I think the walk had caught up with me.  Most of the day I led on the sofa and as Leonie was off she waited on me, making sure I was ok and providing plenty of sweet tea, which I had now found was my new favourite hot drink.  Again I went to bed early, but not after starting a new box set, Breaking Bad.

Thursday I returned to work as normal, but the tiredness remained, although I felt fit enough to go to work.  Luckily, the side affects I have experienced throughout Chemo had been minimal (touch wood), a little bit of feeling sick, occasional tinnitus but mainly its the exhaustion, which I'm not really used to, I usually have an abundance of energy, Leonie would probably say to much energy (I bet she is glad that I'm not running about the place for a change!)

Friday was another day at work and today we were having a chippy lunch at work,  I could only have the chips as the battered fish isn't coeliac, but I still enjoyed it, I love chip shop chips.  During the day I had a text from Leonie to tell me that Oscar had Chicken Pox, after a few calls to my GP, I was prescribed more medication.  When we arrived home, I have never seen such excitement for being ill, Oz was happy to have Pox, and he was fine in himself.  In the evening we had a relaxing evening and watched some more Breaking Bad, it had been a tiring week.

During the week, the donations kept coming in for the team completing the Walk in the Dark.  The response has been overwhelming, and it still makes me proud of not just everyones effort to complete the walk, but also everyone's generosity too.  For my Lancashire Evening Post article this week, I included some photos of the team, and everyone was happy to see how funny we looked covered in glow sticks.  It was an awesome event and we will all be doing it again next year I'm sure.