Friday, June 29, 2007

Day +3

So, hello there, pain. I was wondering when you'd get here!
Last night the mouth finally exploded. My tongue is swollen and feels as if it is being constantly grated and the rest of my mouth just feels like I'm chewing on glass. Not pleasant... but it is surprisingly bearable. I can still swallow so that means I can still eat and therefore keep my strength up; allegedly. Let me fill you in on yesterdays culinary hospital delights. Bear in mind you'd think a hospital would promote healthy eating!

Two weetabix, full fat milk and OJ for brekkie
Mutton Pie, baked beans and creamy mash for lunch
Chicken Tikka Masala with Fried Rice for Dinner.

Total lack of fruit and veggies here!

Here's my nurse with some pain meds. I'm gong to check out for an hour.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day +1 Count up to release begins.

Just having a wee lie down at the moment in an attempt to keep my strength up so I thought I'd write some random nonsense down here whilst I await my last bags of cells.
I was checked out by the consultant again this morning and everything is spot-on. The phrase "perfect progress at this stage" was used so I'm well chuffed about that. I thought I'd be crawling under the bed covers moaning in agony by now. I've also been told that they'll kick me out when my neutrophils hit the 0.5 mark. I thought it was at least 1.0 so this is another boost for me.

On the down side my mouth is definitely starting to feel the effects of the chemo so this could be the start of the pain. Hopefully it won't be too bad but it would be rude to say no to opiates if they get offered. To be honest, and I have no idea where this positive new me has come from recently, but I don't think it is going to be that bad.

I've also been wondering to myself why I'm keeping this blog... I told you this was a random post! At first I believed I was doing it to keep friends and family aware of my ongoing situation and to stop having to repeat myself. Maybe even to help people behind me who find themselves in this situation in the future. It probably was; but it has evolved into a bit more than that now. I think I'm now doing it for more personal and perhaps selfish reasons.
I need to see daily that I am giving everything that I can in this fight against The Hodge and I need people on the outside to see it as well. I don't want anyone at any point thinking that I am giving into it and if the worst ever did happen I want my girls to be able to read through it and know that their Daddy did everything he possibly could to win.
I also like being centre of attention as well!!

Nowt but Wimbledon on the TV as well. At least this time last year I was skiving off watching the World Cup... but tennis? I draw the line at that. Such a boring game to watch.

Twinkies on eBay. Whatever next! Thanks again for them!

Oh, and I still stink of sweetcorn!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 0 - Transplant Day. Happy Birthday to me

They are in and swimming towards my marrow. On yerselfs, chaps!
Well, half of them are on the way. I've had three bags today and I'm getting the other three bags tomorrow. The delay is due to the amount of preservatives used due to me being "a bit bigger".

For something that I had built up to be huge and monumental it was all a bit anti-climactic! The nurse and doctor arrived, defrosted a bag of cells, hooked me up and drained it into me. Each bag took about 12 minutes and the whole process was over in 40 minutes! Now, the only side effects are I'm am completely knackered and I stink of sweet corn... and I bloody hate sweet corn!

Thanks for all the cards that arrived today and an HUGE thanks to Chris and Vicky for the Twinkies. I'm going to fire into them after my dinner. Mmmmmmmm!! Did Kelly play a part in them?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Day -1


I apologise. I am much more intelligent than the above title suggests but that is just my 100% total attitude today.
Fuck you, chemo!
Now, don't get me wrong. I am eternally gratefully for all you have done for me, Mr. Chemotherapy, but I am never, ever going to see you again. Auf weidersehen, pet.

So today has been a good today. I received my last chemo ever at 1230 and munched through 8 ice poles to numb the tingles you seemingly get in your mouth. Lovely jubbly. No after effects but due to the amount of fluids being pumped through me I'm running to the loo every 30 minutes. I currently have the bladder of a hamster!
Oh, my haemoglobin is a wee bit low so I'm getting a bag of blood later tonight as a wee booster.

Hoping everyone is well.
Tomorrow, when the stem cells are returned, I'm officially reborn.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day -2

Absolutely nothing to report today. Just how I like it. An easy day (for me anyway, Veronica took 2hours to get to me today due to traffic) just kicking back watching DVDs and listening to tunes. Pretty peaceful, all in all.

I'm pretty excited about tomorrow, mind.


Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day -3

So far, so good. I'm tolerating the chemo a lot better than I thought and, apart from a tiny amount of nausea in the mornings, I'm fine. It was tougher getting the DHAP pumped into me than this stuff. All my bloodwork is checking out just great and I'm on schedule... whatever that is! I know the tough times are yet to come so I'm making the most of these good ones and getting plenty of exercise in. I've lost 5.5lbs in weight but that is due to the chemo making your body burn calories. I had it all explained to me but it went way over my head. I've been assured that this early weight loss will be fat and not muscle but they'll keep an eye on it. It's not as if my 200lbs bulk is wasting away!!

I got a move out of my room but the room they put me in was much smaller although it did have a window. I wasn't at all comfortable in there so I punted myself back into my old room. Better the devil you know.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day -4

A bit of a shitty day to be perfectly blunt. Nothing to do with chemo... that's me half way through that now... I've just been really really down. I blame some of it on my steroid downer which would have started this morning but most of it is just plain old home sickness. Missing the girls, my bed, the familiar smells and even the dogs. The slightest thing would start my eyes welling up; especially looking at pictures of the girls.
Then just when I think I've composed myself I read Kellys last comment in my previous post and I'm in floods for 10 minutes! Ridiculous!
How can people like Kelly, Chris, Vicky, Susan, Susie, Sim and everyone else that I HAVE NEVER MET show such support and compassion for me and Veronica?

You all make me feel very small and humbled.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day -5 continued.

So the day gets more interesting.
Veronica wakes up to discover a mini flood upstairs. One plumber in later and it appears the sealant around the bath is dodgy and water has steadily been building up over time. It decided last night would be a good time to break out. Ruined carpets and a new ceiling in the kitchen downstairs were the only damage.
Next, my dad pops into my attic to make sure there are no faulty pipes to discover a wasps nest. The exterminators will be out tomorrow.

Finally, I found a little friend in the bathroom of my des res room.

A cockroach.

I'm waiting to see if I now have to vacate this room and move to the "emergency room". A room so small I can stand in the middle and touch all the walls.
Day -5

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday... Day -6.... but the BCNU chemo juice gave me an instant and blinding hangover. The glare of a laptop screen would have been to much for my little, bloodshot eyes to take. I effectively had to shoo my parents out of the room at 2100h last night as I just wanted all the lights off and to bury my head under a pillow. We've all been there!
Fortunately a couple of paracetamol and a sleep got rid of it.

So far it has been pretty uneventful. I'm slapped awake at 0600h to get bloods taken and BP, temp and pulse measured. Then I'm free to do as I please so I go back to sleep till 0800 and then drag my sorry butt out of bed and to the shower.
Chemo started at 0930 this morning and I am currently on bag 2 of today's 4. Apart from a flushed face there is nothing to report. It's just a matter of staving off the boredom.

Hope all is well in the outside world and thanks for all the kind comments that have been left.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Anon commenter please stand up.

Ok, ok. Who is the anon poster in my previous post that recited the "Footsteps" parable? It is my all time favourite and I must recite it in my head a couple of time daily these days. Someone is on the same wavelength as me.

Thank-you for giving me that extra boost to get through this first night of many.
Room without a view.

Here is a picture of my digs for the next few weeks. Lovely, ain't it? No window and it is tiny! Seemingly I'll get moved once one of the other patients checks out and gets home... lucky buggers.

Been a busy old day today. Bloods taken, chest x-ray, head examined by the shrink, ECG and a damn bone marrow aspiration. Owwwwie! I wasn't told about that one.
I now also have my full schedule and I'm not getting a rest day after the chemo after all. My stem cells will be given back to me one week today.... June 26th... so already I'm one day ahead of schedule and one day closer to hugging Erin and Rebecca. Woo Hoo!

As you can also probably tell by this blog entry I have managed to obtain web access. I've nipped onto the hospital wireless connection. Seeing as there was no security on the line I thought it would be rude not to and it will save me a bit of money in 3G/GPRS charges. Now to setup MSN or some other chat facility so that I can constantly pester Veronica. I'll maybe have to get her to get me a cheapo web cam. I was going to just use Skype on the PDA but this line is fairly quick so a cam on the lappy would be much better... and cheaper.
Veronica, give the girls a huuuuuuuuuuuuuge hug from their Daddy tonight please! And don't forget the tickles for Erin.

Tomorrow the battle commences. There will only be one winner.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Once more unto the breach...

That's probably the one and only time you'll ever get me quoting Shakespeare... and especially Henry V.
That's me ready and counting down the hours till admission tomorrow. I'm all packed up and all my gadgets and gizmos are either charged up or getting charged up. Skype is installed on the PDA so I hope I can get a 3G signal down in the bowels of Glasgow Royal Infirmary. The sooner I get started the sooner I get out. I'm 100% fine about the treatment and what lies ahead but I do get upset when I think about Erin and Rebecca. I'm gonna miss them sooooo much. Veronica has said she'll beg the nurses to let them in once or twice but I think that would be harder for me than just not seeing them. I'm already counting the days until I'm out... I'll maybe get Veronica to make one of her sticker charts for me.

Keep in touch, everyone. I have the technology!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

So what is this stem cell transplant lark?

Just because someone asked here is the run down of what will happen to me starting next week.

I will be admitted to Ward 40 at Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Tuesday 19th June. I will be shown to my little room and no doubt numerous pints of blood will be taken for infection checks etc. I'll then have a quiet night before the fun starts on Wednesday. I will then start high dose BEAM chemotherapy which will be given in potentially lethal doses if I didn't have the transplant at the end of it.

Day -7
See what I've done there? Those wacky oncologists do a countdown now to transplant so Wednesday will be day -7 to transplant.
Today I will get the "B". It is called BCNU and is given to me through a drip into my line over about 2 hours

Day -6 to Day -3
On these days I will have two drugs. Ara-C and VP-16. I believe these are given as two 1 hour drips

Day -2
On this glorious day my body will receive its last ever dose of chemotherapy and that is fact. No matter what the outcome of this whole transplant procedure I will not be having chemo again.
The drug is called Melphalan and takes between 15mins and 30mins to administer.

Day -1
Bugger all. It's called the "Rest Day"... sounds ominous.

Day 0 - hopefully June 27th 2007.
My new birthday. Today I am reborn with my life-saving stem cells that were harvested a couple of months back. They will be given back to me via a transfusion and should only take a couple of hours.

Now I wait for my bone marrow to go into terminal decline and for my stem cells to administer the Last Rites and make sure the marrow does the greatest comeback since Lazarus. I get blood tests twice daily to monitor what is going on and seemingly the worst pain is with something called Mucositis and this usually kicks in for the period of Day +3 to Day +11.
I believe it hurts like hell and 75% of SCT patients get it. I'm due a break so hopefully I'll be in the 25% that don't really experience it.


From Day 0 it is really just a pain management and waiting game. My blood is monitored constantly and as soon as the white blood cells and neutrophils return to a sufficient level to give me some form of low-level immunity I'll be discharged. There is no method of working this time out so I could be in hospital for anywhere between 3 to 6 weeks.

Tiocfaidh ár lá

Friday, June 15, 2007

I've got nothing!

I've got absolutely nada to say today. Zip, zero, nothing. All I've done today is pop into work to find the IP routing changes that I had requested from our backbone provider hadn't been carried out so my weekend work has now been scuppered. I did, however, get my hands on my PDA and it does everything I could wish for including video calls. I just need to check if there is a Skype for Windows Mobile. That means, that you, dear reader, are going to have to put up with my morphine induced rants from my hospital bed. I, for one, am really looking forward to seeing what insane nonsense I write in my drug induced state when I exit from the place!

Congratulations to Kelly for finishing her own personal ABVD hell today. I know there will be the mother of all parties when she can get back on the sauce! I will make sure a bottle of Scotland's finest makes it way over to her... and I don't mean Irn Bru.
Also well done to Chris who is coping amazing well with being turned into RadioActive Man. I pray it goes this smoothly for the remaining treatments and I'm sure it will.

Finally Brian. I'm praying for you buddy and I ask everyone to read his blog if you haven't already. It has got me through many rough times and has been truly inspirational to me.
I'm positive all will be cool with your PET.

Oh... and I'm pretty scared right now. As the "big day" gets ever nearer I wonder what horrors lie ahead. Just what circle of Dante's Hell will I go to?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Warning. Sick post ahead.

Well not sick but diarrhea.
I woke up this morning and smelt a terrible smell. To be honest I first thought that Veronica had been at the apricots again but she hadn't. Next thought was that one of the girls had had an incident during the night. Nope, not that either. Veronica thought she knew what it was so she ominously walked down stairs and headed for the kitchen... this is where our doggies sleep during the night. They used to sleep in our room but they've been banned since chemo started and my white blood counts were a bit dodgy. Anyway, she opened the door and was greeted with an almost literal sea of poo.
It was everywhere. No wonder we could smell it upstairs and at the opposite side of the house.
To now cut a long story short it took a good 4 hours to gut the place. Veronica got the worst of it up and then conveniently had to take Erin and Rebecca to their toddlers play morning leaving me on my hands and knees scrubbing the flooring and bleaching every surface. The dogs are never going to that kennel again.

On the plus side it is one less room that needs gutting for post transplant.

Now I'm just getting together stuff I need to get through the boredom of my hospital stay.
Got my DVD player and Nintendo DS Lite for entertainment. I'll be raiding the local book shop tomorrow and Veronica will bring me in my magazines and Private Eye when they drop through the letter-box. My work are getting me an SPV PDA unit so that I can keep in touch with email and surf the web (we don't seem to do internet connections in the NHS; we'd rather spend the millions on administrators and paper-pushing managers). Hopefully I'll be able to keep this blog updated in a basic fashion so please keep the encouraging comments coming. I especially want to hear how my fellow Hodgers are doing with their treatments... or lack of it in a few weeks time! Please keep me up to date with your news.
I think that'll keep me going but if any post-SCT'ers have and further suggestions then let me know.

6 days and counting. The end is in sight.

Bring it on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It's the Final Countdown....

So now the countdown to transplant officially begins. One week to go and these days are going to drag so I'm going to have to keep myself occupied. I'm also looking for some new authors to read so if anyone has any suggestions then let me know... I'm a fantasy / sci-fi kinda guy with Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Moore and Tom Holt being favs. I like Jasper Fforde as well but will read practically anything except Chick Lit. Three of these dudes have new books out during my stay in hozzie but I can fly through a book so will need a pile.

The last two days have been great... just me and the girls and we've had a right good time. If only the dogs weren't around. I picked them up from kennels yesterday and they looked a bit peaky. Today I have had to clear up THREE lots of diarrhea from the behinds of my lovely puppies and each time there was nearly a pile of my sick next to it because of the smell! Thank God we have wooden floors for easy clean up. If you couple this with the fact that Erin has caught a wee bug and threw up on me yesterday I can't help but get paranoid that the world is conspiring against me to catch a pre-transplant infection! Thankfully I'm holding up with no problems.

Our couple of days away in Colvend Bay in Dumfries and Galloway were extremely relaxing and refreshing and just what we all needed. The girls had an absolute blast and Veronica and I just enjoyed them enjoying themselves. The days were full of activities and the weather (for Scotland) was superb. I had to keep running for shade it was that warm. The beach was lovely and sandy and the adventure parks knackered the weans out enough to make sure they sleep solid in the evening whilst Veronica and I just kicked back. Erin particularly enjoyed the Ice-Cream farm. She ate enough of the stuff that we still can't believe she wasn't sick. (There seems to be a theme of vomit running through this post so I might as well add that Erin chucked up all over herself on the way down to the cottage. Getting the smell out of her car seat was no easy task and we were only two minutes away from out destination. Why don't children give you a bit of warning? All we got was "I don't feel well" and the "Bleuuuuuurgh". Marvelous). I'll get some photies chucked on when I can be bothered.
We're thinking of getting a place down there because we loved it so much. We'll check things out after transplant.

For the record Veronica is still a bit gassy.

Monday, June 04, 2007


No posts recently because I've got nothing to say! We're pretty much just counting down the days until transplant although we have booked into a log cabin later this week to get away from it all. A couple of days spoiling the girls is just what I need and Veronica just wants to get out of the house and not think about cancer for a while. I can't wait to see how she copes without being able to read other folks blogs or login to The Hodge Forum. I'll probably be made to go into work to get a GPRS enabled iPaq to keep her going.
Once back it'll be the start of gutting the house and making it nice and clean in preparation for my return from SCT. I think we'll get some professionals in as neither Veronica or I are particularly tidy... we're surface cleaners and the gaff needs a good, deep cleanse.

As a side note; don't EVER let your spouse eat a whole bag of dried apricots. If you do then be prepared to sleep in the spare room or the car as the smell that is generated during and after digestion is truly horrific. They're of the "silent and deadly" variety of farts as well so they just creep up on you. Veronica thought it hilarious to let one drop and then wait for me to jump out of bed in disgust... and that's with two windows open. It set back my taste bud recovery by a good few days.