Thank you for all the reassuring comments you added to my last post, even if I can’t help but doubt I’d be hearing such compliments if I hadn’t got leukaemia in the first place ;-).
Anyway, it’s been another decent time between posts, and once again that’s due to FUN! I’ve been up to all sorts, as I continue to ignore my illness as much as possible. This is made easier by continuing high blood counts, as shown on Thursday:
- WBC 5.1
- Neuts 3.7
- Hb 11.9
- Platelets 245
FAO Katie Carson: that means I’m healthy. Almost as healthy as a normal person, indeed! The neutrophils are flying high, which means I have a good number of cells to fight bugs and infections, and the haemoglobin is pretty good, so I’m getting a decent amount of oxygen around my body and therefore have enough energy.
So Chemo Thursday proceeded as expected, with, erm, some more chemo. I had got up exceedingly early in order to get there, which at least had the benefit of assuring me that I can still get up early if I need to… I also seem to be in the habit of having just an orange from the delights of the hospital food trolley, which both times has been a complete disaster and left my much stickier and messier than before. Perhaps I’ll learn. Or perhaps I’ll be stubborn and hope that this week is 3rd time lucky. There were some interesting characters in the Day Unit with me, but I shan’t post about them in case it’s against blogging ethics.
Then I popped along to Bushey Park in order to join Amy’s and Alex’s joint birthday celebration picnic, which was delightful. The people I knew all left just before or just after I arrived, but I like to think it wasn’t personal. Then I whizzed back into town, saw The Hof briefly in order to relieve him of the OMV Secretaryship – hurrah! I’m now OMV Secretary again, which is great news and will give me something to really get my teeth into. We had a ceremonial handshake, but perhaps more importantly he gave me things like the database. The evening was a relaxed affair at Sheila’s: she cooked and was very self-deprecating about it, but it was actually lovely.
After that long day, Friday was much easier, involving an enormous lie-in and a relaxed time in Regent’s Park with a newspaper before finding Marie-Anne and her friends to celebrate her birthday. That, too, was good, and included a chance to catch up with some of her friends whom I only ever seem to see at her gatherings… I then trundled down to Strawberry Hill to stay at the house of Jo, Sooz and Aoifeu, though only Sooz was there. I sat up chatting for a while, despite having an early wake-up ahead of me: Row was coming to pick me up at 7.30am…
This she did, and we set off for Longleat (with John and a couple of Row’s friends too) to go to the Red Bull Air Race… What fun! Our intention in getting up early was to get there in time for various events before the actual Air Race, but we entirely missed them due to abysmal traffic. It took us six hours to get there, though at least we were in time for the race itself. Indeed, we soon discovered we hadn’t missed any of the air displays, which hadn’t happened due to the weather conditions, and the race itself was postponed by a couple of hours. That was fortunate, as it gave us plenty of time to get across the site – it took about half an hour to walk 100 yards, due to there being one narrow bridge and tens of thousands of people. Anyway, we got something to eat, and set about entertaining ourselves. It was a bit rainy, a bit cold, and pretty windy, so I did what any self-respecting Englishman would do, and bought an ice-cream.
Time passed, and Steve Rider (for it was he) tried to keep the crowd excited with the occasional amusing interview with Lord Bath, and with the pilots. Cometh 4pm, however, cometh an announcement that, as the winds had got up again, it was looking as though there might not be any racing after all. Hearing that a final official decision would be made in fifteen minutes, we rushed back to the car in the hope of missing the rush (the weather looked extremely unlikely to improve in those 15 minutes). However, we happened to be in the middle of the site, so getting out of the car park took about an hour and a half. Oops!
Remarkably, in spite of traffic jams, our failure to get there in time for the paper aeroplane competition, the cancellation of the air race, and our trek to just get out of the car park, we all decided we’d actually not had THAT bad a day. I blame the banter.
So then, being in the West Country anyway, I thought (prompted by Sooz’s suggestion) I might pop up to Bath to see Jo and go around the Great Western Maze. Originally there was going to be a Night Maze on Saturday night, with hog roast, music, maze etc, but they couldn’t get a licence for that night (it’s now on 16th September if anyone’s interested), so I joined Sooz in staying at Jo’s, going out on Saturday night, and, most excitingly perhaps, doing the maze on Sunday! We took an hour and three quarters, and then wandered into Bath to kill time before Jo and friends finished work. This picture’s of us at the Royal Crescent. I forgot to take any at the maze.
On Sunday we were joined by Dom, too, so we went out again, and then went back and played cards until the early hours of the morning. As you do. All in all it was a delightful couple of days in the Bath. I then returned home, and slept for a million hours on Monday night.
Isn’t it wonderful that I’m able to do these things? I didn’t really recognise quite how good it was until it had all finished and I was back home, but to be rushing all over the country, seeing friends and having fun, is just brilliant considering all the time I’ve been in hospital, not to mention my little ICU trip just a few months ago. I’ve also been pleased at my managing to keep myself motivated to do all this, as regularly I’ve thought, “oh, maybe I’ll just go home and not bother with all this rushing around”. I do still need lots of sleep, and do get tired and lethargic, but while I have the energy, the immune system and the invitations, I’m determined to make the most of my social life! I do appreciate it even more after so many months without one… Or even, with one confined to a hospital room.
Before getting too carried away, though, do I have to remember that I’m far from being in the clear. My blood counts are certain to drop during this phase and the next of chemo, so I’ll not only have to be careful, but also be back in hospital for a time. And unfortunately having got through one trip to ICU does not preclude the possibility of picking up another infection when counts are down. My friend Jess is still in a semi-awake state, and though she’s started to make some small improvements, there’s a long way to go. Please continue to pray for her. As I look and feel much better than usual, it’s sometimes easy to forget I’m still undergoing treatment for leukaemia, and though that’s quite nice in some ways, I think it’s important to remember.