What happened to December?! I had planned to take it easy, relax and not do anything. However, I seem to have been really busy. Whoops! Actually, it’s been great, particularly as I don’t feel I’ve been overdoing it. I’ve done lots because I’ve felt able to do lots, and when I haven’t been feeling so great, I’ve taken it easy. A couple of people have given me the advice to ‘listen to my body’, and I’ve tried to do exactly that.
Having been stuck in hospital, and if not stuck in hospital then certain to be back inside within a short time, for so long, I came out to find quite a lot of bits and bobs that needed sorting out. And most of them still do. What’s more, I’ve thrown myself back into my OMV work, so have lots and lots of responsibilities for that, again particularly because in some areas nothing has been done for a while… In addition to all that, I’ve still had to visit hospital at least once a week, and have been trying to bring my socialising quota up!
Medically, I started the maintenance tablets almost two weeks ago (Tuesday 5th), and had intravenous Vinblastine in my arm that day, too. The tablets are, well, numerous, but taking them doesn’t bother me too much. They did block me up a bit, so of course I needed MORE drugs to keep my insides working, but generally they seem to have been OK. They include two different types of chemotherapy (Mercaptopurine every day and Methotrexate once a week), and at lunchtime one Friday I had to have a total of 27 tablets… Yum! I had five days of steroids, and then belatedly tapered them off when I was feeling sore, in case their sudden stop was the reason, but my face hasn’t inflated. Yet. It definitely helped bring my appetite back up, though.
The side-effects of the Vinblastine, however, weren’t so much fun. I got a really sore mouth (it felt like a structural pain, not ulcerous), which made eating, drinking and even sleeping difficult for a few days and nights. It then wore off, fortunately, but not until I’d had a couple of mostly-sleepless nights to knock me down a bit. Meanwhile, my back had started getting sore as well, so I found it impossible to get into a comfortable position, be it standing, sitting or lying down. Being blocked up probably didn’t help that, though painkillers did a bit. Again, though, in time it got better. And now I’m fine! Next time I have vinblastine they may choose to reassess the dose to minimise those side-effects… I hope so!
Anyway, the most annoying thing about not feeling so great for several days was that it was during Mariacristina’s second visit: this time she came for a much more sensible 8 days. However, we still had a great time. We spent a couple of days in London, during which I took her up and down the Thames, around the London Eye, across the ice at the Tower of London, and to a meal at Madison’s (in the Washington Mayfair). It was all lovely, and I enjoyed being a London tourist – I learnt loads, particularly on the cruise, which I recommend whole-heartedly.
After a couple of nights at Tomandalice’s we then came down to Chichester, where we attended a fab charity concert (for Macmillan nurses) with the Neath Male Voice Choir, a professional soprano whose name I’ve forgotten, and celebrity readers including Rupert Penry-Jones (Adam from ‘Spooks’), Geraldine James (Hilary in ‘The Amazing Mrs Pritchard’) and Robert Hardy (Cornelius Fudge from the ‘Harry Potter’ films) after an, erm, Italian meal. On Tuesday, Mariacristina took me to see ‘The Producers’, which was enormous fun – we then had another delightful meal together before she left on Wednesday.
Since then it’s all been OMV, with a White Knights Ball meeting on Wednesday and then this weekend the Christmas Reunion. The former was productive; the latter enormous fun, with a really great bunch of people, both helpers and guests. Seeing lots of my best friends, all in one place, was brilliant, and I made a few new ones, too. We had a mini Carol Service (ie choose a note, start singing), Christmas dinner, a Christmas party, and then went to Mass in Worth Abbey this morning. The only sadness is that it was over so soon… Worth was lovely: it was started by Downside, and it was interesting to see the similarities but also very clear differences. Adam introduced me to the Abbot, explaining our rivalry (I tell Adam he made two big mistakes: going to Worth and going to Cambridge), and I think hoped to get some support on his side from him… However, it transpired Father Christopher not only went to Downside and Oxford, but even read Modern Languages! He is a good man, but I have no plans to follow in his steps when it comes to careers.
On Wednesday I have an intrathecal at St George’s, and hope to go to drinks parties either side of it in London. Then on Friday I’ll be off down to Devon with my father and Freddie, with Harriet joining us on Saturday and Tomandalice coming along on Boxing Day. But I’ll post again before then.
I ought to do some Christmas shopping…